Iceland’s oxymoronic landscape of erupting geysers, icy glaciers, bubbling mud pools and snow-capped peaks provide a smorgasbord of natural attractions. With so much to see, you’ll wonder where to start.
The number of tourists to Iceland have reached figures more than six times the island’s total population (350,000). While many head off on the popular Golden Circle tour (Thingvellir national park, Gullfoss waterfall, the Blue Lagoon and Geysir), it remains a well-trodden route. So as you land in Keflavik, head further afield in search of your very own piece of Iceland - making sure to check out Reykjavik on your way first!
Millions of years of volcanic activity have created a rugged, lava-laced land that is otherworldly. As you head inland north-eastwards, the road to the Husafell area sure lives up to these expectations. Make your first port of call the magnificent Hraunfossar waterfalls. A series of cascades spanning over 900m and that pour into the Hvítá river below, the waterfalls were formed by rivulets streaming out of the Hallmundarhraun lava field. Nearby, make sure to visit the lava tube caves of Víðgelmir, formed over a 1000 years ago as molten lava flowed and cooled on the outside. Walkways take you deep into the dark, narrow tubes festooned with beautiful rock formations. For an icier experience, Langjökull icecap is calling! Explore Europe’s second-largest glacier from the inside out, via a manmade tunnel and series of ice caves. However, if you prefer staying above ground, warm your cockles at the Krauma geothermal baths near Deildartunguhver, Europe’s most powerful hot spring.
Extend your trip west to the Snaefellsnes peninsula, driving through fjords and craters, taking in the breathtaking vistas with the dramatic Snaefellsjokull glacier ever-present in the background. Reaching a height of 1446m, the peninsula’s highest mountain is also known as the setting to Jules Verne’s 19th-century classic, Journey to the Centre of the Earth. The peninsula is the perfect launch pad to take a whale watching tour, or even for a spot of birdwatching.