Fjords of Fantasy - East Iceland is open to the senses
Tiny, tight-knit communities extend a warm welcome here. A well-developed infrastructure, with regular flights from Reykjavik to Egilsstaðir, the main hub of the area, enable visitors to enjoy the beauty of the region. The ferry from Europe docks at the 19th century town of Seyðisfjörður, making the East a good starting point for a holiday. Tours of all types take visitors to Europe’s largest glacier, stark highland mountains and sweet-smelling heathlands and, for fishing and kayaking, to mirror-smooth fjords. The hiking nature-lover can discover countless spectacular routes, with frequent waterfalls and reindeer sightings.
The beauty of this area has drawn artists and designers to the little towns, which have developed their own cultural flavour, many with a strong European—and especially, French or Norwegian—influence.
There is a long history of folklore here. Borgarfjörður eystri is known as the capital of the elves. It’s also an area of hiking trails and birdwatching, with puffins being especially plentiful.
Brilliantly coloured semi-precious stones are found in the mountains and Petra’s Stone Museum in Stöðvarfjörður holds probably the world’s largest private collection.
The numerous hotels, guesthouses and camping areas attest to the rising popularity of the area.
So Much To See, So Much To Do - South Iceland has a long list of sights and activities
The wealth of South Iceland lies in the variety of geological, historical and nature sites along with the long list of activities that can be experienced in the region.
This is the region with a series of geological wonders unique to Iceland. There’s Geysir; the Gulfoss, Haifoss, Skogafoss, Systra and Seljalandsfoss waterfalls; Þingvellir, where the tectonic plates meet and crack the Earth; Europe’s largest glacier, Vatnajökull, just one of several; the Kerið caldera; world-famous volcanos like Hekla, the Gateway to Hell, Lakagigar, Laki, the notorious Eyjafjallajökull and the Katla Geopark; fantasy sites like Þórsmörk and Jökulsárlon.
Amongst those wonders are the historical sites like the world’s longest-running parliament founded at Þingvellir; museums, churches, the Stong settlement, the Saga centre and villages like Eyrabakki.
Activities abound. Tours take you to all the sites, including the glaciers. Horse riding tours are popular. Try the riverjet, boat trips or kayaking; scuba diving in clear waters, fishing or caving. Independent travellers can try hiking and cycling, camping or caravanning. Fortunately, there is plenty of accommodation available throughout the region from camping to high-class hotels and restaurants to suit every taste. A developed infrastructure helps you get the most from your trips.
Award-Winning West Fjords - The most famous unknown place in Iceland
It was for good reasons that the ‘Lonely Planet’ guide put this area in its list of the top 10 regions of the world to visit in 2011 and it won a ‘European Destination of Excellence’ (EDEN) award.
A very sparsely populated region of Iceland, it is home to the Arctic fox, a dizzying variety of birdlife and a nature that is simply breathtaking. With precipitous cliffs that plunge almost vertically to the deep blue seas below, its multitude of beautiful fjords, its hot springs, pure streams and waterfalls, it’s a place for the nature-lover to be awed by its silence and tranquility, pierced only by the birds.
Although a region easy to get to, once there, the isolation and untouched beauty is best explored by hiking, horse riding or kayaking. After a day enjoying this nature, it is always nice to relax in the hot springs, well known for their healing properties, dine in one of the numerous restaurants or cafés or to go fishing under the midnight sun.
The tiny, picturesque villages dotted around the fjords and the main town of Ísafjörður welcome visitors with campsites, guesthouses and hotels. There is much history here, too, worth investigating.
Life under the Midnight Sun - North Iceland’s diversity makes it an exciting place
Summer in the North is characterised by the midnight sun. You can play golf, go seal and whale watching, horse riding, hiking, swimming, fishing, river rafting, bird-watching, camping or simply enjoy the disparate forms of nature.
Northern Iceland is probably Iceland’s most diverse region—in every sphere. Nature varies from the mystical area around Mývatn Lake, a birdwatching paradise, to the awesome horse-shoe canyon of Ásbyrgi, the thunderous waterfalls at Goðafoss and Dettifoss, Askja’s calderas and volcanos, or islands like Drangey, to name a few. Tours to the Highlands are unforgettable.
The region is rife with vibrant history, just waiting to be enjoyed. Museums are found in almost every town, with fascinating insights into fields such as the seals at Selasettur in Hvammstangi or the Whale Museum in Húsavík to the turf house of Glaumbær farm in Sauðárkrókur, also home to the Museum of Prophecies and known as the country music capital of Iceland. Close by is Hólar, formerly the bishop’s seat and site of the first printing press. Siglufjörður hosts the Folk Music and Herring museums. Blonduos has several museums, as does Akureyri, the largest town of the north, along with its art galleries and rich culture.
Iceland in a Nutshell - Step off the plane and step into history
You could spend your whole holiday on the Reykjanes peninsula. Stand on the bridge spanning the continents. Take a thrilling ATV ride up to a moonscape of mountains, volcanos and lava fields. Bathe in the world-renowned Blue Lagoon, with its warm, healing waters. Ride the Icelandic horse. Go hiking and caving. Catch your breath—you are just beginning!
Here, some of the first pioneers set up home. You can see their ancient ruins. Their rich fishing fields just offshore still provide large catches but winter storms are so fierce they can throw ships a hundred metres inland. Their salt fish is famous in the Mediterranean countries. Here, you will find the Viking longship that sailed to America, celebrating the Millennium, and the museum for one of the world’s most famous polar explorers, Jean-Baptiste Chacot.
Take a tour with one of the knowledgeable guides to see the area: the birdwatching sites, the ancestral Viking house, the boiling mud springs and steam vents, bubbling lakes, the cultural centres.
Enjoy a stay in one of the hotels, guesthouses or camp sites and eat delicious meals in a wide variety of restaurants, pubs and cafés. This is the Land of the Vikings!
The Cosmopolitan Capital - where History and Culture meet today’s world
One of the world’s smaller capitals, Reykjavik nonetheless blends old and new, with a vibrancy in its art, music, culture and international cuisine that never fails to amaze visitors, given such a small population.
Reykjavik is also one of Europe’s youngest capitals. Founded by the first permanent Viking settler in the 900’s, Ingólfur Árnarson, it has grown from a handful of houses a few centuries ago to a compact and thriving metropolis. The National Museum holds the history of the nation, while the National Library, just opposite it, has the nation’s books and records. There are many art galleries and museums throughout the city.
Innovation and inspiration play a major role in the city’s life. From here, visitors can reach the whole country. The countryside is always very close by. Activities such as tours, whale- or bird-watching, fishing, swimming, hiking, biking and horse-riding are very popular. There’s even ice skating. On weekends especially, the city is filled with nightlife that goes till morning. There are plenty of pubs and restaurants with both genuine Icelandic food and international cuisines. So you never need to go hungry.
From youth hostel to guesthouses and hotels, there’s accommodation for every budget.
Nature steeped in History and Beauty - Discover West Iceland’s rich culture and nature
There’s much more to West Iceland than the spectacular Snæfellsjökull, made famous by Jules Verne, gleaming in the summer sunshine. The beauty and variety of Icelandic nature is everywhere. Magnificent views overlooking mountains and glaciers, fertile regions, colourful birdlife, abundant rivers and lakes, fjords and bays, along with gushing geothermal activity.
But West Iceland is more than magnificent nature. Land and history form an unbroken whole as the setting for sagas like Sturlunga, Egils Saga, Eyrbyggja and Laxdaela, not to mention the rich folklore and tales of adventure. Tours bring history to life as museums and historical sites abound. For the outdoor enthusiasts, there is enough to keep them busy all summer long. Horse riding tours are popular, as are hiking, fishing and golf. At the end of an active day, there are plenty of swimming pools and hot pots to relax in. Accommodation cover the complete range from sleeping bag to hotel.
The mystical Breiðafjörður bay, with its countless islands is home to all kinds of sea life and tours out into the bay will visit islands covered in birds, with some offering sea fishing.
The tourist information office in Borgarnes provides a wealth of helpful material.