"Iceland’s weird and wonderful landscapes are unlike anywhere else on earth, an open-air geological laboratory where scalding geysers shoot high into the air and waterfalls tumble over great rifts in the land."
Touring in Iceland
Iceland’s weird and wonderful landscapes are unlike anywhere else on earth, an open-air geological laboratory where scalding geysers shoot high into the air and waterfalls tumble over great rifts in the land. This weather-beaten island in the North Atlantic is a place of myth and mystery, steeped in Norse mythology, tales of Viking heroism and the famous Sagas. Come in the summer and marvel at the midnight sun; visit in winter and you might be rewarded with the incredible spectacle of the Northern Lights dancing in the night sky.
Most tours of Iceland begin in the compact and quirky capital, Reykjavík, but it’s only by striking out into the countryside that you get a true feel for what makes Iceland so special. The Golden Circle is the most famous touring route, a short circuit of geothermal wonders that can be seen in a day trip from Reykjavík. But we recommend a longer itinerary exploring the many attractions linked by Route 1, the famous ‘Ring Road’ that circumnavigates the island. From the spectacular icebergs of the Jökulsárlón lagoon to the sleepy fishing villages of the East Fjords, from the bizarre geological phenomena of Lake Mývatn to the whales that breach the waters off the coast of Húsavík, Iceland is truly one of the most unique destinations on the planet.
Touring Highlights of Iceland
- Reykjavík may be small, but the Icelandic capital is a surprisingly cosmopolitan place, packing in plenty of cultural attractions, some great restaurants and a lively nightlife scene.
- The Golden Circle is the perfect introduction to Iceland’s unique geology, a 200-mile loop that links Reykjavík with Þingvellir National Park, the Gullfoss waterfall and the geysers of Haukadalur.
- Iceland’s location just to the south of the Arctic Circle means that it’s a great place to see the Northern Lights during the dark winter months. While sightings can never be guaranteed, you’ll maximise your chances by choosing a rural location with low levels of light pollution.
- Jökulsárlón is a remarkable sight, a glacial lagoon where icebergs calve off the vast Vatnajökull ice cap and drift towards the ocean. Take a boat trip or paddle out in a kayak for a closer look.
- The beautiful Snæfellsnes Peninsula is located within easy reach of Reykjavík, a varied landscape of fjords, golden beaches, volcanic peaks and the towering Snæfellsjökull ice cap.
- The East Fjords offer a slice of authentic rural life, home to sleepy fishing villages, breathtaking landscapes and plenty of puffins.
- The rugged Westman Islands are young in geological terms, formed by underwater volcanoes 11,000 years ago. The newest island, Surtsey, only emerged from the sea in 1963!
- Húsavík is Iceland’s whale watching capital, the jumping off point for boat trips in search of species including humpback, minke and the legendary blue whale.
- Situated at the head of a beautiful fjord, the buzzing town of Akureyri hosts a number of festivals and serves as an excellent base for exploring northern Iceland.
- The area around Lake Mývatn is a surreal landscape of bubbling mudpots, pungent sulphur springs, bizarre volcanic rock formations and smouldering fumaroles.