Iceland

Travel Guide
Dyrholaey which includes rocky coastline

An increasingly popular vacation hot spot, this sparsely populated Nordic nation offers epic adventures amid volcanos, glaciers, caves and waterfalls.

See some of Europe’s greatest natural wonders in Iceland, the “Land of Fire and Ice.” Despite an inhospitable environment formed by volcanoes and glaciers, Iceland has been settled since the ninth century. Walk on glaciers, relax in hot springs and learn about Iceland’s rugged history.

Glaciers cover 11 percent of Iceland’s area, so any itinerary should include these vast ice masses and the terrain they have shaped. Trek into Vatnajökull National Park, the site of Iceland’s largest glacier. Join a tour to step out onto the glacier, which is punctuated by volcanoes. Hvannadalshnúkur, Iceland’s highest peak, is located here. Head into the park’s northern reaches to find one of Europe’s most powerful waterfalls, Dettifoss.

After your icy trip, get warm in one of Iceland’s hundreds of natural and manmade hot springs. The most popular is the Blue Lagoon southwest of Reykjavik, which steams among craggy volcanic rocks. Go farther west along the Reykjanes Peninsula, which is rife with lava fields. After exploring this area, travel to the peninsula north of Reykjavik to see Snaefellsjökull, perhaps the world’s most famous volcano due to its role in Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth.

While Iceland’s terrain is still being formed, its human history is some of the oldest in the Western world. Visit Þingvellir National Park, where one of Europe’s oldest parliaments was formed in A.D. 930. Head into the northwestern Dalir region, where Leif Erikson, the first European to arrive in America, was born. A statue of Erikson stands in front of the Hallgrimskirkja in Reykjavik.

Iceland is sparsely populated, with half of its inhabitants in Reykjavik. Nonetheless, its road network is extensive. For the most comprehensive view of the country, follow the Ring Road. This loosely parallels the nation’s perimeter, passing through Reykjavik and skirting most of the country’s main attractions. To reach Iceland, fly into Reykjavik’s international airport or take a ferry to Seyðisfjörður from mainland Europe.

Iceland Travel Guide Video

Popular cities in Iceland

Reykjavik
Reykjavik
The most northerly capital city in the world combines amazing natural wonders with the exciting buzz of a thriving, creative metropolis.

Reasons to visit

  • Reykjavik Harbour
  • Laugavegur
  • Hallgrimskirkja
Skogar featuring a waterfall as well as a large group of people
Rangárþing eystra
Venture to sights like Seljalandsfoss and Eyjafjallajokull as you discover Rangárþing eystra.

Reasons to visit

  • Skogafoss
  • Seljalandsfoss
  • Eyjafjallajokull
Akureyri featuring a coastal town
Akureyri
Visit museums and a magnificent church and stroll leisurely in the botanical garden of what has been nicknamed “the capital of northern Iceland.”

Reasons to visit

  • Hof - Cultural Center and Conference Hall
  • Akureyri Church
Borgarnes
Borgarnes
Experience secluded Borgarnes: its museums, northern lights, adventures, and more!
Hafnarfjordur
Hafnarfjordur
Quaint Hafnarfjordur is calling! Discover its hiking, museums, food, and more.
Iceland featuring mountains, snow and a river or creek
Skagafjörour
Explore attractions like Reykjafoss Waterfall and Church in Víðimýri as you discover things to see and do in Skagafjörour.

Iceland