Iceland boasts a surplus of natural thrills, making the island a playground for adventurous nature lovers in search of something different. An exciting combination of glaciers, hot springs, icy fjords, volcanoes, snowy slopes, geysers, and otherworldly rock formations ensure a unique holiday in Iceland, and that's not even taking into account the magical Northern Lights.
Although it is one of the most exciting outdoor travel destinations in the world, more conventional sightseeing in Iceland is also possible, with Reykjavik providing an impressive selection of museums and galleries, a famously fun nightlife, good shopping, and a mouth-watering array of restaurants.
Reykjavik is commonly the starting point for Icelandic holidays and the most well-beaten tourist route on the island, the Golden Circle, starts in the city. This 186-mile (300km) loop can be driven in a day and covers many of Iceland's most popular tourist attractions and activities, including the Gullfoss waterfalls, the geysers of Strokkur and Geysir, and the beautiful landscapes of Thingvellir National Park. For a longer trip, and to experience more of the island than the popular south, travellers can drive Iceland's Ring Road, which circles the island and takes about a week to travel.
Many travellers will find the Reykjavik City Card useful as it covers not only the major sightseeing attractions in the city but also a few excursions nearby, including a ferry ride to nearby islands and discounts for activities like whale watching and horse riding. The tourist card also allows unlimited bus transport and even includes discounts at some restaurants. The Reykjavik City Card is available in one-day, two-day, or three-day packages.
One of the tallest buildings in Iceland, this landmark church dominates the city from its highest point and is visible on a sunny day from up to 10 miles (16km) away. Named after the 17th-century Icelandic poet, hymn composer, and clergyman Hallgrimur Petursson, the... see full details
A favourite and unique attraction close to Reykjavik, about 30 miles (50km) southwest of the city, is the manmade geothermal Blue Lagoon. It is set in a lava field, filled with mineral-rich hot water pumped from about a mile below the surface. The... see full details
Iceland's famed Gullfoss (Golden) Falls are justly rated among the most beautiful in the world, and make for a popular excursion from Reykjavik. The falls, with their awesome double-cascade, are incredibly powerful, which has meant they have come under threat of being utilised... see full details
The weird landscape of the Haukadalur Valley in the southern lowlands of Iceland has been dominated for centuries by the Great Geysir. It's from here that all other such phenomena around the world have gained their name. The geyser once shot boiling water hundreds... see full details
Thingvellir National Park
The national park of Thingvellir, 30 miles (50km) east of Reykjavik, is not only Iceland's most important historic site, but also a place of natural and geological wonder. It was here that the world's first-ever parliament, the Alting, initially convened in AD 930,... see full details
The Aurora Borealis is one of nature's most celebrated and beautiful phenomena. Also called the Northern Lights, the magical dancing blue and green lights are caused by collisions between charged particles in the highest reaches of the earth's atmosphere. The spectacular lightshow is a... see full details
Jökulsárlón - literally, 'glacier lagoon' - is the largest glacial lake in Iceland, and an enormously popular tourist attraction. The site shot to prominence after being featured in Hollywood movies (most memorably, Batman Begins), and now attracts thousands of visitors each year. Caused by... see full details
One of the most interesting cultural drawcards of Iceland must surely be the Huldufólk ('Hidden People'). In Icelandic folklore, the Huldufólk are magical invisible beings who can appear at will. Also called elves, they can be observed by humans with a talent for... see full details