As a destination, Iceland is absolutely booming — and that means the list of crowded, tourist hotspots is getting longer and longer. If a more authentic take on this island country is what you're after, veer off the Ring Road. Skip the popular tourist attractions, and explore in all directions. Here are five of our favorites ways to get a deeper look into the Land of Fire and Ice.
Travel Advice for Iceland
Iceland doesn't need a London, Paris, or Rome to fill any travel itinerary — budget, luxe, adventure, or otherwise. With no shortage of beautiful landscapes, untamed wildlife, and plenty of both nature and nightlife, you'll have no trouble keeping busy and entertained throughout your week-long vacation.
From natural phenomena like geysers and glaciers to Reykjavík’s buzzing cultural and dining scene, you’ll want to make the most of your trip to Iceland. Learn about your options for touring the country and start planning an adventure that works for you.
Iceland's most visited region attracts more than a million visitors a year with its dramatic landscape. Get inspired to plan your own trip with these itinerary-planning tips and top recommendations for South Coast lodging and dining.
From must-try foods to the perfect time to see the Northern Lights, find answers to all of your most pressing questions about Iceland in this comprehensive list.
Iceland has no shortage of hotels, but if you're looking for a truly memorable travel experience, why not defy convention? From camping on a glacier to overnighting in a historic herring factory, you're sure to find a unique lodging option for your Iceland trip that's more than just a place to rest your head.
With a variety of fun and unique outdoor and indoor activities, your kids will love Iceland just as much as you will. Where else can kids take a dip in a natural hot spring, explore a Viking village, and go ice-skating on the same day?
Looking for a unique destination to celebrate your marriage? Iceland offers the perfect escape for a newlywed couple, and with so many thrilling adventures that await you there, you can rest assured that your honeymoon will be an unforgettable experience.
Iceland’s capital is ideally situated only a couple of hours from some of the country’s most beautiful natural sights, and there's plenty to be seen in the span of a single day. Whether you drive the popular Golden Circle route or opt for the basalt columns and lava fields of the remote Snaefellsnes Peninsula, it won't take you long to feel far from the city.
As Game of Thrones fans already know, Westeros is a fictional continent, home to the famous Seven Kingdoms and the uncharted, snow-covered territory beyond. In reality, much of the hit show was filmed in Iceland, and you can visit many of these stunning locations on your next trip to the real land of ice and fire.
Northeast Iceland is more remote and wild than its southern counterpart. It’s known for abundant wildlife, from whales in Húsavik harbor to puffins on the Rauðanes Peninsula, as well as desolate cliffsides by the sea.
Just a few hours’ drive from Akureyri, the northeast of Iceland is a mix of curving highlands, dramatic canyons and bubbling mud pits. One of the best locations is Jokulsargljufur National Park, home to three forceful and elegant waterfalls, canyons and craters.
Most people come to Iceland to explore its natural beauty away from the hustle and bustle of cities, but its capital is worth your time and attention as well. Reykjavik offers an impressive array of activities, so whether you visit in the summer or winter, spending a couple of days here is a must.
Often overlooked by visitors traveling the famed Ring Road, West Iceland is packed with photo-worthy natural features and cultural history. Get off the beaten path on your next trip to Iceland and take in the waterfalls, geothermal pools, and cultural lore that make this region special.
Despite being Iceland’s second largest city, Akureyri is home to a mere 18,000 residents. Don’t let its size fool you though: this epicenter of Northern Iceland is home to world-class restaurants, hip cafés, and even a few hotspots for nightlife.
Whether it’s summer or winter, Akureyri proudly reigns as Iceland's second city. It may be no larger than a small town, but the capital of Northern Iceland abounds with activity. From taking in the town's history to hiking north of the Arctic Circle, Akureyri has something for every traveler.
The Ring Road is the most popular way to see and experience a variety of landscapes and sights all over Iceland. Route 1 starts from Reykjavik and circles to Akureyri in the North, to the small fishing villages in the East Fjords, passing Vatnajökull National Park and the South Coast. From this highway, you can also get to all the main detours like Snaefellsnes Peninsula, the remote Westfjords, Thorsmork, and the Highlands.
Having a great first day in Iceland after a long flight requires a bit of planning. We recommend starting your adventure on the right foot by diving right into all the great things Iceland has to offer. Based on the experience of travelers and the expertise of our local specialists, here are some useful strategies to make the most of your first day in Iceland.
You can have an epic Iceland experience when you spend 5 days or more in Iceland. Shorter trips are possible but won’t give you enough time to really explore beyond the Reykjavik area and the western section of the South Coast. Starting at 8 days or more you can complete the famous ring road and experience Iceland’s natural beauty in all its glory, seeing incredible sights most tourists miss, like Godafoss Waterfall, the unique volcanic hotspots surrounding Lake Myvatn and the Westfjords.
Don’t just stick to the Golden Circle and South Coast. You may see some great sights, but you’ll spend a lot of time in lines and waiting for people to get out of your pictures. To see a side of Iceland fewer travelers see, spend some time in Snaefellsnes, the Westfjords, or the North of the country. You’ll appreciate more of Iceland’s beauty and culture than you can by sticking to the most-visited areas.
Want to spend your holidays in a winter wonderland, see the northern lights, take a dogsled or snowmobile tour, hike on a glacier, or climb through ice caves? Iceland is the perfect place to spend some time this winter. While daylight is limited and the nights are long, you can experience some truly unique adventures without the big crowds of the peak season.
Given the rapidly increasing popularity of Iceland as travel destination, the question "When is the best time of year to go to Iceland?" has become as much about taking into account the right weather conditions as it is about avoiding the crowds and finding available accommodation at reasonable rates. Depending on how you weigh these factors, and what you would like to do in Iceland, we'll help you decide which season is right for you.
The Northern Lights are breathtaking…and elusive. Follow these tips to increase the chances you will see Mother Nature’s glorious display.