With wild geysers, steaming lagoons and cool cities to explore, holidays to Iceland are on everyone’s wish list for a reason.

Iceland, AKA the land of fire and ice, is all about the drama. Things are only done in extremes here, from boiling volcanos and thermal lagoons to frozen waterfalls and knee-deep snow. Even the seasons are all or nothing, with the sun only showing its face for a few hours in the winter and then sticking around all summer long. Whatever time of year you visit, jaw-dropping scenery and nature’s quirks are guaranteed.

Why pick Iceland

The Northern Lights

A perk of being in the Artic Circle is that you get a free light show from time to time. The Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis if you’re feeling fancy, are one of nature’s coolest phenomena. When the conditions are just right in the winter, a paint palette of ripples lights up the night sky. The colours look even better on camera, making for some top-tier holiday pics. They can be a bit shy, though, so guided tours or boat trips away from the city lights are your best bet for seeing them.

Next-level nature

Iceland’s like the geography trip to end all geography trips. To tick off some of the must-see spots, join the Golden Circle tour to Thingvellir National Park, where you’ll see wild geysers, steaming craters and bubbling thermal pools. You’ll also stop to see the huge Gullfoss Waterfall, as well as the line where the European and American continents separate. Mind = blown.

Luxury lagoons

Did you even go to Iceland if you didn’t visit the Blue Lagoon? The toasty geothermal water is heated by the steam from the island’s active volcanoes, and it’s rich with minerals that give it a milky blue colour. The whole experience is taken to another level by the swim-up bar and free face mask, so you can really live your best life while you’re having a soak. And the newer Sky Lagoon’s got an even more boujie vibe – the seven-step spa ritual will leave you feeling brand new, and the sea views from the water are something else.

Wildlife watching

Channel your inner David Attenborough by getting up close and personal with some of Iceland’s wildlife. Grab your binoculars and join a whale-watching cruise around the coast, keeping your eyes peeled for humpbacks, orcas, and even a dolphin or two if you’re lucky. Prefer sticking to dry land? Head to Budir Beach for some free seal-spotting, or go for a hike out in the countryside to see the Icelandic horses. They’re extra furry in the winter, and they love being outside even when it’s snowing.

City scenes

If Iceland’s capital was a person, it would be the life and soul of the party. Reykjavik’s bursting with personality, from its colourful streets and buildings covered in murals to its long list of lively bars. For the best view, climb to the top of Hallgrimskirkja Church and you’ll be able to see the whole city, its harbour and out to sea. It’s not all about the looks, though. The locals here are super friendly and proud to be Icelandic, so if you want to get to know the real Reykjavik, you’ll easily be able to find someone who’ll point you in the right direction.

Our pick

Take it from someone that's been there – here’s a top tip from our team:

“Iceland’s a big name in the experimental music scene, with famous faces like Björk putting the island firmly on the map. If you’re into your music, don’t miss the Icelandic Punk Museum. It’s in an old underground public toilet right in Reykjavik’s centre, and every wall is plastered in posters, photos and memorabilia from bands all over the world. It gives you a proper taste of Reykjavik’s quirky side.”– Daisy Colley

The non-touristy pick

If the lagoons are too spenny for your budget but you don’t want to miss out on all the geothermal fun, Vesturbæjarlaug’s your answer. These open-air pools are heated up by the island’s volcanoes, too, but this is where where Reykjavik’s locals go for a dip instead – and for a fraction of the price. It’s £6 (or 825 Icelandic Krona) per sesh, and that gives you access to the outdoor pool, kids’ pool, waterslide, hot tubs, steam room and sauna. You’re welcome.

Best places to stay


Although it’s the northernmost capital city in the world, Reykjavik certainly doesn’t feel cold. Everything about it is warm and welcoming, from the people to its brightly painted buildings. It’s super easy to get around on foot, so exploring everything the city’s got to offer is a breeze. Spend your days museum hopping to learn about the country’s Viking roots, and then it’s into a cosy bar for a cocktail and some live music. And because the island’s got geothermal energy coming out of its ears, Reykjavik’s commitment to sustainability makes it an absolute pleasure to stay here.

Picks that don’t cost a penny

Everyone loves a freebie, and learning about Iceland’s history won’t cost you a thing. Reykjavik City Museum is made up of five separate exhibits, and you can visit all of them for free. Wind back the clock at the Arbaer Open Air Museum, which shows what Reykjavik looked like in the old days – most of the buildings were literally picked up and moved from the old city centre to preserve the traditional style of architecture.

Getting around

Iceland may be small, but there’s a lot to see. You’ve got a few options for getting around…

Car hire

A car is your ticket to exploring Iceland. Stick to the main Ring Road to reach all the must-see spots, or head off the beaten track – literally – on the F-roads that’ll lead you into the highlands. You’ll want a 4x4 to tackle those bad boys.


If driving's not your thing, Iceland's got your back with a network of buses linking Reykjavik to points of interest all over the island. Services becomes less regular the more remote you go, so it’s a good shout to plan ahead. Or, keep the planning to a minimum by hopping on a guided tour. From quick day trips to epic excursions into the wilderness, these tours are perfect if you’re pinched for time and want to squeeze it all in.

On foot

For seeing the sights in the capital, walking is the cheapest way to get around. To make sure you’re not missing out on anything, City Walk Reykjavik does guided walking tours of the city with a pay-what-you-like policy.

At a Glance

  • Soak in the Blue Lagoon
  • See Iceland’s best bits on a Golden Circle tour
  • Check out Reykjavik’s colourful streets

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