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A whale of a time: the world’s best whale-watching destinations

Want to spot a whale in the wild? Then these are the destinations for you.

Thórsmörk and Landmannalaugar

Nothing compares to the wild wonderland that is Landmannalaugar © Marten House, Shutterstock Trek through the colourful landscapes of this region along one Iceland’s most popular hiking trails.  ‘Thór’s woods’ is renowned for its stunning nature, a transcendent, hidden valley beneath a romantic breadth of volcanic mountains. Hundreds of glacial streams pour down the mountainsides […]


Visitors can take guided walking tours on Vatnajökull, the largest glacier in Europe © Ollie Taylor, Shutterstock Climb the vast glacier that covers the southeastern region of Iceland.  Vatnajökull is the largest glacier in Europe and the third largest in the world (after the ice caps in Antarctica and Greenland). The glacier’s entire surface area […]


An original window from Coventry Cathedral in England decorates the far back wall of Akureyrarkirkja © Pavel Svoboda, Shutterstock Make a trip to the charming Akureyri for its excellent art scene and botanical garden. Akureyri may be the most civilised place in Iceland, insisting on normality despite its Arctic reputation. Nowhere else are gardens planted with such […]

Grímsey Island

Dramatic sea cliffs and birdlife dominate this tiny northern island, which straddles the Arctic Circle.  The tiny isle of Grímsey is an utterly pure and separate world from the rest of Iceland, 40km (24.5 miles) off the northern coast. As the country’s remotest (inhabited) offshore island, Grímsey grants the traveller the gift of isolation and […]


A pseudocrater at Mývatn © orxy, Shutterstock Soothing natural baths and superb wildlife viewing can be found in the area around Lake Mývatn. The volcanic wonderland of Mývatn is a bright oasis at the edge of Iceland’s desert highlands. Black lava fields give way to young mountains, interesting crater circles, and a flow of inland […]

Snæfellsnes and Snæfellsjökull National Park

Mt Snæfellsjökull last erupted 1,800 years ago © kfk, Wikimedia Commons This part of Iceland’s west coast is filled with majestic sea cliffs, beaches and lush fjords Snæ-fells-nes merely means ‘snow mountain peninsula’, which it clearly is. Covered in a permanent shield of lumpy ice, Mt Snæfellsjökull (1,446m) is the tallest mountain in the long […]

East Fjords

Visit the fishing villages, waterfalls and heaths of this stunning part of the east coast. Iceland’s east coast is a rugged fringe of long, V-shaped fjords in between rows of layered, pointy mountains. There are 14 fjords in total (not counting the smaller bays) and each one cut out by the fast-moving glaciers of the […]


The purest part of Strandir is the ‘horn’ – the final peninsula that juts over the top of the West Fjords. It is a daunting place for its intense beauty and extreme nature. The mountains are pyramid-shaped, sharpened by constant ice and wind. The cliffs stand up like defiant walls against the sea, and the […]


Black-legged kittiwakes are among the thousands of birds on the Látrabjarg bird cliffs © BMJ, Shutterstock It is impossible to exaggerate the sheer size of these cliffs – or the mind-boggling number of the summer avian population. The great cliffs of Látrabjarg are one of the great natural wonders of Iceland. The vertical wall of layered […]