This striking island in the North Atlantic Ocean has become increasingly popular in recent years – and it’s not hard to see why. Whether visiting to catch a glimpse of the awe-inspiring northern lights or to experience the camera-worthy landscapes, there’s nowhere quite like Iceland.
There’s a whole host of natural wonders to be uncovered here, from its ancient volcanoes to its thermal lagoons. While this makes a perfect destination for lovers of adventure and the great outdoors, there’s also a distinct calm to this island. Indulge in lavish spa treatments, enjoy the region’s unique dining experiences or immerse yourself in the iconic Blue Lagoon – many people have fallen in love with Iceland’s quieter side.
Of course, those in search of something livelier needn’t be discouraged. Instead, enjoy a destination that lends itself perfectly to hiking, summer cycling and extreme sports. Afterwards, you can really let your hair down with Viking-style feasts and some of the best nightlife in Europe.
The bustling city of Reykjavik has plenty to keep you captivated on your holiday. Known as the nightlife capital of the north, the charming capital has a thriving music scene and more than enough bars and clubs to keep you dancing until dawn. By day, check out the vibrant arts scene or uncover Iceland’s strong literary heritage.
While this part of the island stretches just over 200km, a visit to Southwestern Iceland offers a glimpse into the country’s authentic way of life. The original parliament was founded here over a thousand years ago, as well as being home to a number of ancient churches.
The West Fjords
This part of the island is least visited but it is easily one of the most beautiful spots in Iceland. Icy waters and dramatic fjords make for stunning visuals, while majestic mountains tower ahead.
Embrace its nightlife
Iceland certainly knows how to have a good time. In summer, the island’s 24-hour sunlight provides the perfect excuse for parties, and you’ll never find yourself too far away from a humming bar or lively nightclub. Reykjavik, in particular, has a vibrant music scene, with many clubs showcasing every genre imaginable. In the winter time, crowds shelter themselves from the cold in edgy cocktail bars and cosy hideaways.
Experience the iconic Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon is Iceland’s top tourist attraction - and for good reason. A huge geothermal pool with a temperature of 37 degrees, tourists flock here from across the globe to take a dip in the mineral-soaked waters that claim to be very good for your skin. There’s also a swim-up bar, where you can treat yourself to a drink, and a luxurious spa with an extensive treatment menu.
Whether you choose to experience Iceland in summer or winter, you’ll still want to make the most of the shopping opportunities on the island. Reykjavik’s main streets are jam-packed with high street shops and designer stores selling everything you might need, and plenty you don’t, particularly if you’re looking to brave Iceland’s colder seasons. Keep space in your suitcase for handmade woolly hats, scarves and jumpers as well as the latest in ski fashion.
Sightseeing in Iceland
Of all the sights in Iceland, the northern lights are the most popular. This is a spectacle that can normally only be witnessed in the winter months, usually from September through to March. With a bit of luck, you’ll be treated to a spectacular light show across the sky – best remember to take your camera with you!
Additionally, a trip to Iceland’s glaciers makes for a memorable stop on the itinerary. Whether you choose to walk across them, climb up them or just gaze down at the glacier pools, nothing quite compares to these natural ice sculptures. The most popular are Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon and Jökulfirðir Glacier Fjord, for which plenty of excellent day trips are available.
When deciding when to visit Iceland there’s one decision that will inform your month: whales or Northern Lights
Summer’s considered the best time to visit Iceland thanks to extended daylight hours and mild temperatures. Most of the country sits to the south of the Arctic Circle, but the northern regions experience a true midnight sun during the months of June and July. This is also the prime season for whale watching, so if you’re planning on boarding a boat to spot some of these beauties, summer’s the time to go.
The Northern Lights are possibly the biggest draw for visitors to Iceland, providing a truly magical display if you’re very lucky. They light up the sky between September and April each year. The best times to see them are September, October, February and March, particularly around the dates of the solar equinoxes.
The dark days of winter can be a bit more challenging, with some roads closed during this time due to snow and ice. Temperatures may plummet to -30°C during December through February, with wind chill amplifying this effect.
Iceland’s diverse cultural calendar makes any time of year a good time to visit. Most of the music festivals take place in the summer, however. There’s the Secret Solstice Festival around the 21st of June each year, with big-name international headliners. For smaller local and independent bands, the Iceland Airwaves Festival brings thousands of music fans to Reyjkavik each November. Around the 19th or 20th of August, Reykjavik hosts a Culture Night featuring dance performances, concerts and pop-up boutiques throughout the city.
For a more traditional cultural event, don’t miss the Seaman’s Day on the first weekend in June. This celebrates everything pertaining to the local fishing industry, and boats remain in the harbour during the weekend so that sailors get a chance to participate. Visitors can enjoy swimming contests, rowing games, and herring feasts galore. And for those who want to taste the local cuisine, the Food and Fun Festival each March draws chefs from far and wide to create tempting new menus.
Cuisine in Iceland
If you’re searching for the opportunity to eat like a Viking, you’ve come to the right place. Iceland is renowned for its hearty helpings, with plenty of local dishes served up in its many eateries.
Due to its coastal location, fish is particularly popular. Saltfiskur is a fish that has been salted, dried and baked and is a favourite on many Icelandic menus. Additionally, Harofiskur is dried-out fish that you traditionally eat with butter – perhaps not to everyone’s tastes. If you’d prefer something more familiar, you can try one of Iceland’s famous hotdogs. Although the meal doesn’t originate from the island, they normally prove particularly popular!
Those with a sweet tooth might like to try Skyr, a dessert that is both high in protein and low in fat. Although it is technically a cheese, it looks and tastes like yoghurt and can often be found in cafes as well as food stores, served up with fruit or mixed into smoothies.
Restaurants in Iceland
Nordic cuisine is increasing in popularity, and you’ll find a great many restaurants serving up traditional Icelandic dishes. Reykjavik has become a hub for world-renowned chefs, making it a top spot for gastronomy.
Visit Reykjavik's harbour and you’ll be greeted with stylish restaurants and bars as well as stunning surroundings. Eateries are chic and modern, serving up fresh seafood dishes, salads and even live music. Alternatively, head to one of the city’s cool cafes for a hearty brunch – there are an endless amount of places to catch your eye.
From its impressive fjords and volcanic landscapes to its enticing nightlife, Iceland should be next on your to-travel list. Enjoy the remarkable northern lights, kick back and relax in a spa or sample Nordic cuisine – you’ll leave with plenty of excellent experiences under your belt.
Booking your holiday to Iceland with easyJet holidays is the ideal way to enjoy your next getaway without the hassle, plus you’ll even save on your trip when you book your flight and hotel together.