The most sparsely populated country in Europe, Iceland is a place where nature dwarfs humanity. Here, the raw power of the earth is on full display. The landscape erupts with vibrant colors, stunning rivers carve through glacial valleys and dramatic volcanic eruptions send floods of lava and melted ice rushing to the sea. It’s awe-inspiring and humbling, and it’s one of our favorite places to travel!
Check out all our Iceland trips here, or read on to discover five reasons to plan your next trip to the Land of Fire and Ice.
No place in the world looks like Iceland. Black-sand beaches, thundering waterfalls, verdant fields of moss and one of Europe’s largest glaciers give this small island an outsize natural presence—and make it an incredible destination for active travelers. The scenery is incredibly diverse, and with more than a third of the country’s population living in its capital city Reykjavik, the countryside is wide open and waiting to be explored.
The glacial tongues and volcanic valleys of rural Iceland are populated by a unique variety of local creatures, from the wild reindeer of the East Fjords to the cute (but elusive) puffins who populate the coastal regions. And with the humpback whales that call the northern waters their home and the shaggy, charming Icelandic horses that roam the country’s mossy plains, Iceland deserves a place high on the bucket list of any wildlife-lover.
On top of stunning landscapes and fascinating geology, Iceland’s volcanic roots give the country yet another incredible feature: its hot springs! From luxurious resorts to the natural hot springs, steaming fissures and warm rivers we hike to on our Iceland trips, there’s no shortage of options for a soak here—and in summer, there’s nothing like a late-night visit to the springs to enjoy the water and bask in the light of the Midnight Sun.
Geologically, Iceland is one of the world’s youngest countries, having only recently blossomed from the ocean floor where the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates are slowly separating. The drama of its birth is far from over, with recent events like the dramatic, pulsating lava fountains of the Fagradalsfjall eruption bringing Iceland's volcanoes back into the news. And with one of the highest rates of novel-writing in the world—in 2013, it was reported that 10% of Icelanders will publish a book in their lives—you’ll have no trouble encountering locals willing to spin a tale about their country’s fascinating culture.
These ghostly nighttime apparitions, which look like the colorful trail of a starry matador’s cape sweeping through the sky, are famously elusive—especially in summer, when the Midnight Sun reduces the window of opportunity to only a few hours in the darkest night. Luckily, some of our fantastic partner hotels offer wake-up calls when the Aurora comes to visit—and for cosmic connoisseurs, our winter Northern Lights Tours offer your best shot of seeing this iconic phenomenon in person.
Ready for an adventure in the Land of Fire and Ice? Discover all our Iceland tours here.