Iceland- a Nordic island nation, is defined by its dramatic landscape with volcanoes, geysers, hot springs and lava fields. Massive glaciers are protected in Vatnajökull and Snæfellsjökull national parks. Most of the population lives in the capital, Reykjavik, which runs on geothermal power and is home to the National and Saga museums, tracing Iceland’s Viking history.
Trip Planning: The planning stage of your trip can be instrumental in its success and an enjoyable part of the experience itself. You have a world of options...and plenty to consider.
Entry and Exit formalities: Visitors must hold a passport valid for at least six months & beyond at the time of entering the country. Some nationalities can obtain visa on arrival and for nationalities who requires visa please refer to the VFS global Dubai website: www.vfsglobal.com. Iceland is part of the 26 Schengen State Countries.
Transportation: Figuring out how to get around is one of your biggest pre-trip decisions. Get our holiday expert best advice on deciding between your options. Based on your trip itinerary, our experts will help you choose wisely. You'll also find a wealth of practical travel tips.
Money: Use your money wisely. Know the best time to use cash or card — and how to avoid unnecessary fees either way — as well as tipping etiquette, and how shoppers can take advantage of VAT refunds.
Phones and Technology: Phones and other smart devices can be huge time-savers...or expensive distractions. Get our tips for making the best use of technology during your trip, and for calling home with or without your own phone.
Packing Light: On your trip you'll meet two kinds of travelers: those who pack light and those who wish they had.
Sleeping and Eating: Your hotel and restaurant choices can be a matter-of-face chore…or they can provide rich opportunities to connect with locals and their culture.
Health & Hygiene: Take comfort: Doctors, hospitals, launderettes, and bathrooms aren’t that different. Dealing with them can even be part of the fun of travel.
Sightseeing & Activities: Once you're on the ground, the real fun begins…but it pays to have a thoughtful plan. Our experts will help you get oriented to your surroundings, use your sightseeing hours wisely, and find your way off the beaten path.
Things do & see:
Reykjavik-is the country's capital and largest city. It's home to the National and Saga museums, tracing Iceland’s Viking history. The striking concrete Hallgrimskirkja church and rotating Perlan glass dome offer sweeping views of the sea and nearby hills. Exemplifying the island’s volcanic activity is the geothermal Blue Lagoon spa, near the village of Grindavik.
Akureyri -is a city at the base of Eyjafjörður Fjord in northern Iceland. In the center, the 1940 Akureyri Church has stained-glass windows portraying scenes from Icelandic Christian history. There are views of the fjord from the forecourt. Nearby, the Akureyri Art Museum displays contemporary art from Iceland and farther afield. To the south are the Botanical Gardens, with specimens from across Iceland.
Hafnarfjörður -is a port town and municipality located on the southwest coast of Iceland, about 10 km south of Reykjavík. It is the third-most populous city in Iceland, after Reykjavík and Kópavogur. Hafnarfjörður has established local industry and a variety of urban activities, with annual festival events.
Selfoss - is a town in southern Iceland on the banks of the Ölfusá river. It is the seat of the municipality of Árborg. The Icelandic Route 1 runs through the town on its way between Hveragerði and Hella.
Vík í Mýrdal -is a remote seafront village in south Iceland. It sits in the shadow of Mýrdalsjökull glacier, which covers the Katla volcano. Reyniskirkja is a wooden church dating to 1929. Reynisfjara beach has black pebbles, basalt columns and the Reynisdrangar offshore rock formations. The cliffs of Reynisfjall mountain are home to seabirds such as puffins. Just west, the Dyrhólaey peninsula has a large rock arch.
Gullfoss-Fed by Langjökull, Iceland’s second biggest glacier, this is one of the most photographed waterfalls in the country. While not the biggest or most majestic, its V shape is unique and powerful to watch. Iceland’s most famous waterfall tumbles 105 feet into a steep-sided canyon, kicking up a wall of spray. On sunny days, the spray creates shimmering rainbows over the gorge. This is a truly amazing spectacle and a rewarding scene after a nice hike.
Geysir-A famous hot spring in Haukadalur Valley. Geysir itself seldom erupts anymore, but nearby Strokkur spouts 15-20 meters of water about every 10 minutes. There are also numerous strikingly colored hot pools in the area along the path. If you want to hike up the mountains nearby (takes 20 minutes to get to the top), you’ll be rewarded with picturesque views of farmland.
Thingvellir-This place is full of hiking trails and stunning camping grounds, but its big draw is that it’s the only place in the world where you can see two major tectonic plates drifting apart above sea level. Walking through the park takes a good 1-2 hours.
Kópavogur -is a town in Iceland that is the country's second largest municipality by population. It lies immediately south of Reykjavík and is part of the Capital Region. The name literally means seal pup inlet. The town seal contains the profile of the church Kópavogskirkja with a seal pup underneath.
Ísafjörður -is a town in the Westfjords region of northwest Iceland. It's known for its dramatic landscapes. The old town has wooden houses with corrugated tin roofs built by fishing merchants in the 18th and 19th centuries. The Westfjords Heritage Museum has exhibits on the town’s maritime history, including a collection of old fishing boats. The old hospital, now a cultural center, contains archives and photography.
Seyðisfjörður -is a town and municipality in the Eastern Region of Iceland at the innermost point of the fjord of the same name. A road over Fjarðarheiði mountain pass connects Seyðisfjörður to the rest of Iceland; 27 kilometres to the ring road and Egilsstaðir.
Húsavík -is a town in Norðurþing municipality on the north coast of Iceland on the shores of Skjálfandi bay with 2,307 inhabitants. The most famous landmark of the town is the wooden church Húsavíkurkirkja, built in 1907. Húsavík is served by Húsavík Airport.
Keflavík -is a town in the Reykjanes region in southwest Iceland. It is included in the municipality of Reykjanesbær whose population as of 2016 is 15,129. In 1995, Keflavik merged with nearby Njarðvík and Hafnir to form the municipality of Reykjanesbær.
Höfn or Höfn í Hornafirði -is an Icelandic fishing town in the southeastern part of the country. It lies near Hornafjörður fjord. The town, the second largest in the southeastern part of Iceland, offers scenic views of Vatnajökull. The community was formerly known as Hornafjarðarbær between 1994 and 1998.
Egilsstaðir -is a town in east Iceland on the banks of the Lagarfljót river. It is part of the municipality of Fljótsdalshérað, the county seat of Norður-Múlasýsla and the largest settlement of the Eastern Region with, as of 2016, a population of 2,306 inhabitants.
Akranes -is a port town and municipality on the west coast of Iceland, around 20 km north of the capital Reykjavík. The area where Akranes is located was settled in the 9th century, but did not receive a municipal charter until 1942.
Mosfellsbær -is a town in south-west Iceland, some 12 kilometres east of the country's capital, Reykjavík. The town of Mosfellsbær is only a 15-minute drive from midtown Reykjavík. The district includes the Leiruvogur cove, which forms part of Kollafjörður fjord.
Siglufjörður -is a small fishing town in a narrow fjord with the same name on the northern coast of Iceland. The population in 2011 was 1,206; the town has been shrinking in size since the 1950s when the town reached its peak of 3,000 inhabitants.
Stykkishólmur -is a town and municipality situated in the western part of Iceland, in the northern part of the Snæfellsnes peninsula. It is a center of services and commerce for the area. Most of the people make their living from fishing and tourism.
Grindavík -is a fishing town on the Southern Peninsula of Iceland not far from the tuya Þorbjörn. It is one of the few cities with a harbour at this coast. Most of the inhabitants work in the fishing industry. The Blue Lagoon, Grindavík's premiere attraction, is located 5 kilometres from the town centre.
Borgarnes -is a town located on a peninsula at the shore of Borgarfjörður in Iceland and is the largest town in the Borgarbyggð municipality with a population of about 3750 residents. It is a main junction in Iceland and the gateway to the Snaefellsnes National Park.
Hveragerði -is a town and municipality in the south of Iceland, 45 km east of Reykjavík on Iceland's main ringroad, Route 1. The river Varmá runs through the town.
Eskifjörður, or also Eskifjördur -is a town and port in eastern Iceland with a large fishing industry. With a population of 1,043, it is one of the most populous towns in the municipality of Fjarðabyggð.
Sveitarfélagið Árborg -is the biggest municipality in southern Iceland founded in 1998. The biggest town in the municipality is Selfoss. Eyrarbakki and Stokkseyri are two communities on the southern coast and Sandvíkurhreppur is a rural administrative region between those three other towns.
Kirkjubæjarklaustur -is a village in the south of Iceland on the hringvegur between Vík í Mýrdal and Höfn. It is part of the municipality of Skaftárhreppur and has about 500 inhabitants.
Hvammstangi -is an Icelandic village in the north-west part of the country, on Vatnsnes peninsula, situated on the Miðfjörður. It is the most densely populated area in the Húnaþing County, with a population of about 580 people as of January 2011.
Neskaupstaður -is a town located on the fjord Norðfjörður on the eastern side of Iceland. It is part of the municipality of Fjarðabyggð and, as of 2016, it has a population of 1,481. Neskaupstaður is the third largest town in Eastern Region. The town was originally built on a farm called "Nes", settled by Egill rauði.
Blönduós -is a town and municipality in the north of Iceland with a population of 895 in 2018. Like many towns and villages around Iceland, Blönduós didn't emerge as a village until the late 19th century. Blönduós is situated on Route 1 at the mouth of the glacial river Blanda.
Sauðárkrókur -is a town in Skagafjörður in northern Iceland and a part of the municipality of Skagafjörður. Sauðárkrókur is the largest town in Northwest Iceland and the second-largest town on the north coast of Iceland.
Reyðarfjörður -is a town in Iceland. It has a population of 1,350 and is one of the most populated villages that constitute the municipality of Fjarðabyggð.
Grundarfjörður -is a small town, situated in the north of the Snæfellsnes peninsula in the west of Iceland. It is situated between a mountain range and the sea. The nearby mountain Kirkjufell forms a small peninsula.
Sandgerðisbær -is a former Icelandic municipality located in southwestern Iceland on the Southern Peninsula. In 2018 it merged with Garður to create the new municipality of Suðurnesjabær.
Hella -is a small town in southern Iceland on the shores of the river Ytri-Rangá and has, as of 2011, 781 inhabitants. Hella is situated 94 kilometres to the east of Reykjavík on the Hringvegur between Selfoss and Hvolsvöllur.
Eyrarbakki -is a fishing village on the south coast of Iceland with a population of about 570 people, not including inhabitants of the prison located there. The village is founded on the Great Þjórsá Lava.
Bolungarvík -is a small town and the only built-up area in the municipality of Bolungarvíkurkaupstaður in the northwest of Iceland, located on the Westfjords peninsula, approximately 14 kilometres from the town of Ísafjörður and 473 km. from the capital city Reykjavík
Þorlákshöfn -is a town on the southern coast of Iceland in the Municipality of Ölfus. The town is named after Saint Thorlak who was a bishop at Skálholt. Its main importance is as a port as it has the only harbour on Iceland's southern coastline between Grindavík in the west and Höfn in the east.
Dalvík -is the main village of the Icelandic municipality of Dalvíkurbyggð. Its population is approximately 1,400. The town's name means "valley bay."
Vopnafjörður -is a village and municipality in Northeast Iceland, standing on a peninsula in the middle of a mountainous bay by the same name. The main industries of Vopnafjörður are fish processing, agriculture and tourism and other services.
Hvolsvöllur -is a small town in the south of Iceland about 106 km to the east of Reykjavík. Hvolsvöllur, situated in the municipality of Rangárþing eystra, is an excellent location from which to base for exploration of South Iceland.
Djúpivogur -is a small town and municipality located on a peninsula in the Austurland in eastern Iceland, near the island of Papey and on the fjord Berufjörður. The municipality was formed by the merger of rural communities Berunes, Buland, and Geithellur on October 1, 1992.
Stokkseyri -is a small town in Southern Iceland, with a population of around 445. In the old days Stokkseyri was a fishing village. It remains now a cultural icon. There are a lot of interesting places to visit in Stokkseyri.
Ölfus -is a municipality located in Iceland. The major town is called Þorlákshöfn. The bottled water brand Icelandic Glacial is manufactured in this area, at the Ölfus spring.
Ólafsvík -is a small town in Iceland on the northern side of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. At one point in the 17th and 18th centuries, commercial vessels sailed between Ólafsvík and Denmark, and the village was one of the larger trading ports in Iceland.
Patreksfjörður -is an Icelandic village in the Westfjords with 687 inhabitants. The town was named after Patrick bishop in the Hebrides who was the spiritual guide of Örlygur Hrappson, the original settler in the area who came from the Hebrides. Its economy is mainly based on its fisheries.
Ólafsfjörður -is a town in the northeast of Iceland located at the mouth of the fjord Eyjafjörður. The town is connected to Dalvík on Eyjafjörður by the 3.5 km one-lane Múli tunnel and to Siglufjörður by the 11 km Héðinsfjörður Tunnels, opened in 2010.
Suðureyri -is a small Icelandic fishing village perched on the tip of the 13 km-long Súgandafjörður in the Westfjords. The community was isolated for years by the huge mountains and rough road that led over them. Now it is connected to Ísafjörður by a 5 km tunnel.
Þórshöfn -is a small fishing village in northeast Iceland, located on the northern coast of the Langanes peninsula on the Þistilfjörður bay. The village has a population of 380 people. It is the administrative centre of Langanesbyggð municipality and of the neighbouring Svalbarðshreppur municipality.
Skagaströnd -is a town and municipality on the north coast of Iceland, on the east coast of the bay Húnaflói.
Garður -is a former municipality and town located in southwestern Iceland, bordered by the Faxaflói Bay on the Southern Peninsula. In 2018 it merged with Sandgerði to create the new municipality of Suðurnesjabær.
Hofsós -is one of the oldest trading ports in northern Iceland dating back to the 16th century. The tiny village Hofsós in the Northern Region in Iceland was a rather busy trading post in the 17th century.
Seltjarnarnes - mountain-view peninsula of Seltjarnarnes, a nature path leads up to Grótta island, known for its lighthouse and rich birdlife. Visitors dip their toes into the Kvika footbath, a compact geothermal pool by the water's edge. Popular spots for outdoor recreation include a 9-hole golf course, set on a rugged headland, and Sundlaug Seltjarnarness, a public swimming complex with hot tubs.
The Westfjord-is a large peninsula in northwestern Iceland with tons mountains and a coastline heavily indented by fjords. It’s one of the most raw parts of Iceland and my favorite region.
The Golden Circle-is a popular tourist route in southern Iceland, covering about 300 kilometres looping from Reykjavík into the southern uplands of Iceland and back. It is the area that contains most tours and travel-related activities in Iceland is the popular tourist route that includes Gullfoss waterfall, Geysir, and Thingvellir National Park.
Ice Floe-Located in the southeast of Iceland, this ice floe is only a couple of decades old and now one of the most popular attractions in the area country. An ice floe or ice float is a large pack of floating ice often defined as a flat piece at least 20 m across at its widest point, and up to more than 10 km across.
Breiðamerkurjökull Glacier-retreated very quickly from 1920 to 1965, leaving this breathtaking lagoon behind, which is up to 190 meters deep. Icebergs float in the lagoon all year. I enjoy just sitting and listening to the ice blocks crash into each other on their way out to sea. You can also take boat trips around the lagoon.
Jökulsárlón (The Jökulsár Lagoon)-is on the edge of the National Highway 1 so very accessible if you stop on the side of the road. It’s free to visit.
Glacial Trek-During the winter months, the glaciers get a bit sturdier, and groups of tourists are led across them. There’s no better way to see the glaciers than to walk on them, releasing your inner Arctic explorer.
Vatnajökull-is one of the most popular glaciers to hike, though there are others around the country, as well. Some tour companies that offer glacial expeditions are Extreme Iceland, Icelandic Mountain Guides, Trek Iceland.
Hallgrímskirkja Church -It was built as a tribute to Icelandic poet, Hallgrimur Petursson. The magnificent 25-ton pipe organ inside the church is one of its most notable features. Construction on the Hallgrimskirkja church took more than 40 years. After you explore the main chapel, buy a token in the gift shop and ride the elevator up almost 74 meters to the steeple.
Whale Watching Tour -The excursions provide up-close encounters with humpback and minke whales. You will likely see other wildlife on the tours such as dolphins. Several tour companies, including Elding, Special Tours, and Whale Safari, run regular trips out of the Old Harbour.
Downtown Reykjavik -Reykjavik to explore the downtown area. It is unlike any downtown scene you have ever experienced. Instead of kitschy souvenir shops, you will find independent boutiques selling unique items, like Icelandic wool clothing and volcanic rock pottery.
Harpa -Even if you do not attend a concert at the Harpa concert hall, this extraordinary landmark is one of the best places to visit in Reykjavik. The award-winning architecture of the building is uniquely artistic. The honeycomb exterior is eye-catching in the daylight and mesmerizing at night as the windows change in a rainbow of colors.
Thermal Pools –There are 17 pools located around the city are filled with Iceland's natural geothermal water. The thermal pools are Reykjavik's community meeting spots that provide a natural therapy for the mind and soul. These communal pools are an important part of the Icelandic culture and one way for you to truly immerse yourself in the customs of the country. Day trip to the Blue Lagoon for the ultimate thermal pool experience.
The Settlement Exhibition -One of the best ways to acclimate yourself to Icelandic culture is with a visit to The Settlement Exhibition museum. The museum is operated by the Reykjavik City Museum, but it is located in a separate building and requires a couple of hours to visit.
Mount Esja -The majestic presence of Mount Esja in the distance of Reykjavik is one of the best day trips you can take during your visit. Enjoy Iceland's fresh air by hiking one of the main trails around the mountain. Mount Esja is suitable for both casual hikers and extreme day trippers. You can hike to the top, at 914 meters, and sign the guestbook, or turn around at the more common stopping point just short of the peak at a rock called Steinn.
Perlan Museum of Icelandic Natural Wonders -The Perlan Museum of Icelandic Natural Wonders is a stunning building with new, state-of-the-art exhibits focusing on the many natural wonders of the country, from the cliffs and volcanos to the sea life around the island.
Old Harbour Area -Strolling through the Old Harbour area of Reykjavik gives you a true sense of Icelandic culture. This section of the city has some of the best views of the bay and Mount Esja. It is also the departure point for whale watching tours and puffin excursions.
Arbaer Open Air Museum -The Arbaer Open Air Museum is a small village with more than 20 historical Icelandic homes for you to explore. Walk the grounds to see how village homes were built over the years and take a peek inside for a glimpse of authentic Icelandic life. This is an interactive way to learn about the unique history of Iceland as you walk through this restored village and farm.
Videy Island -The allure of Videy Island is almost too difficult to resist. Visit the island and enjoy a spectacular view of the Snaefellsnes peninsula and the mainland. This island is significant because it was one of the first areas settled in Iceland. A point of interest during your visit to Videy Island is the Imagine Peace Tower artwork by Yoko Ono.
Bruarfoss Waterfall - You do not have to go far to experience one of the most breathtaking waterfalls in Iceland. The Bruarfoss waterfall in Reykjavik showcases natural blue water in a color that does not seem real. The full waterfall is a series of cascades from converging springs.
Grotta Lighthouse -The small Grotta Lighthouse on the Seltjarnarnes peninsula in north Reykjavik is a great spot to take in a sunset or just go for a morning walk. The lighthouse has been here since 1897, erected on farmland. It is great bird-watching. If you plan to visit the Grotta Lighthouse, take into account the timing of the low and high tides.
Volcano House -A small and quirky museum in Reykjavik that is worth visiting is the Volcano House. In the land of fire and ice, the presence of volcanos is an important part of life and history. The Volcano House is a great museum to learn about volcanic eruptions, which happen on the island about every five years. The Volcano House has mineral and geology exhibits, as well as a Volcano Cinema, where the fiery eruptions come to life.
Reykjavik Maritime Museum -With so much of Reykjavik's history reliant on the maritime industry, a visit to the Reykjavik Maritime Museum puts much of the present-day culture into perspective. The museum is appropriately located in the Old Harbour. You will see exhibitions that showcase how early Icelandic settlers relied on fishing as their main industry.