Our collection of Iceland tours explores this extraordinary country of smouldering volcanoes, hot geothermal springs, huge waterfalls and spouting geysers. Just below the Arctic Circle, the long summer days enjoy almost 24 hours of sunlight, whilst in winter the magical Aurora Borealis often lights up the night sky. Visit the colourful capital of Reykjavik, the iconic Blue Lagoon, Thingvellir National Park and Godafoss and Gullfoss Waterfalls.
Finding & Loading Tours
- 9 Nights - Reykjavik and Back
- Fly Cruise from £3,249
Isolated peninsulas backed by imposing mountains, whales breaching in the clear Arctic waters, waterfalls thundering down into placid fjords. Water and the ocean are significant in Iceland’s identity.
The Althing is the national parliament of Iceland; founded in 930 it is the oldest parliament in the world and was originally set in the Thingvellir National Park. The Viking Saga Centre in Reykjavik tells the bloodcurdling story of the Viking settlement in Iceland and the Settlement Exhibition focuses on what daily life was like during that period. Centuries ago, during the long dark winter nights, storytelling was the chief form of entertainment and Icelandic culture is steeped in the vivid sagas of the great families who settled there in the 10th and 11th centuries, and in the folkloric tales of elves, fairies and ‘hidden people’.
Iceland’s scenery is like nowhere else on earth, with spectacular waterfalls tumbling over huge cliffs, iceberg-strewn glacial lagoons and lunar-like lava fields. Its position in the middle of the Mid-Atlantic Rift makes it a major source of geothermal activity with hundreds of boiling hot springs, gushing geysers and active volcanoes. Iceland is still taking shape with landscapes being born from volcanic eruptions and carved out by giant glaciers, whereas in other parts of the country it as though time has stood still and the land hasn’t changed since Viking settlers arrived.
For lovers of wildlife, the waters around Iceland offer some of the best chances to spot grand humpbacks, spectacular killer whales, minkes and dolphins frolicking in the waves. On the south coast of Iceland Reynisfjara’s volcanic black sandy beach and gigantic basalt stacks are home to renowned puffin colonies.
Puffins also nest on the cliffs of some offshore islands and you may see them diving into the water in an extraordinary display of aquatics, whilst the Westman Islands are considered to have the largest Atlantic puffin colony in the world. The bird sanctuary and verdant wetlands of Lake Mývatn attract vast numbers of migratory birds every summer, making this a perfect place for bird lovers to visit, with the Sigurgeirs Bird Museum offering an insight into Icelandic birdlife.
Highlights of Iceland
The Westman Islands were created by underwater volcanoes around 11,000 years ago, except for the island of Surtsey which was created by an eruption in 1963. Heimaey is the only inhabited island and is known as the Pompeii of the North; the Eldheimar Museum tells the story of the volcano that erupted on the island in 1973. Sagnheimar Folk Museum offers a glimpse into the history and heritage of the Westman Islands whilst other attractions on the island include an aquarium, 13th-century fort and reconstructed Viking church.
The area around Lake Myvatn is full of amazing geological features with volcanic craters, bubbling mudpots and thermal waters, and the lake’s crystal-clear waters are a wildlife haven. The Myvatyn Nature Baths has a large mineral-packed lagoon as well as two steam baths set on top of the geothermal waters and a hot tub. Close by is Dettifoss Waterfall, said to be the most powerful in Europe, whose thundering waters flow from the mighty Vatnajokull glacier.
Reykholt was a major medieval settlement and home to the Icelandic poet and medieval chieftain Snorri Sturluson whose homestead was in the village. You can still see the geothermally-heated outdoor bathing pool that he used back in the 13th century and the remains of his home have been partially excavated. Nearby lies the beautiful waterfall of Hraunfossar and the dramatic rapids at Barnafoss, as well as the bubbling hot springs at Deildartunguhver, the most powerful in Europe.
Reykjavik was first settled by Vikings in 874 and the city has many museums dedicated to Icelandic history including the Settlement Exhibition which is built around an unearthed Viking longhouse, the huge National Museum and the Saga Museum. Contemporary city life is showcased at the Reykjavík Art Museum and National Gallery, with art from famous Icelandic artists housed in edgy galleries throughout the city. The city’s most famous landmark is the Blue Lagoon with its mineral-rich, naturally heated thermal waters with a stunning volcanic backdrop.
The Snaefellsnes Peninsula is often referred to as Iceland in Miniature because of the diversity of its landscapes, ranging from volcanic craters to natural geothermal pools and dramatic gorges cleaving through mountains. The iconic glacier-capped Snaefellsjokull volcano has inspired legends and stories, and it was the entrance to the underground world in the classic novel Journey to the Centre of the Earth. Kirkjufell Mountain is the most photographed mountain in Iceland due to its isolated position and distinctively-shaped peak.
The Golden Circle consists of three spectacular sites: Thingvellir National Park, the Geysir Geothermal Area and Gullfoss waterfall. Thingvellir National Park is the oldest national park in Iceland and is steeped in history and folklore. Famous for the Great Geysir, the Geysir Geothermal Area is dotted with hot springs and boiling mud pits, and is also home to the Strokkur Geysir which erupts every 10 minutes. The magnificent two-tiered Gullfoss Waterfall drops into a deep rugged glacial canyon and the spray produces breathtaking rainbows on sunny days.
Akureyri nestles at the head of Eyjafjordur, Iceland’s longest fjord, with a backdrop of snow-capped peaks. The iconic Akureyri Church dominates the town from its hilltop position and the beautiful Botanical Gardens provide a tranquil retreat. The renovated Laufas turf homes show how Icelanders used to live in the 19th century, furnished with household items and clothes from that era. Akureyri is the gateway to the spectacular horseshoe-shaped Godafoss Waterfall, known as the Waterfall of the Gods.