Volcanoes and glaciers – Marco Polo’s list of the top 10 things not to be missed in Iceland! Our best recommendations – from the top down – help you to plan your tour of Iceland’s most important sights.
1. GOLDEN CIRCLE
This day trip takes in the most beautiful sights in the vicinity of Reykjavík. The route includes Þingvellir, Geysir, Gullfoss and Skálholt.
2. BLÁA LÓNIÐ (BLUE LAGOON)
Milky blue, delightfully warm, mineral-rich water set in the midst of a bizarre volcanic landscape; a dip in the Blue Lagoon is a must on any visit to Iceland.
The shores of the Mývatn (meaning “midge lake”) are covered with lush green vegetation but the surrounding area is an otherworldly volcanic landscape.
4. INSIDE THE VOLCANO
Ride an open elevator cable lift down 120m (395ft) into the magma chamber of Iceland’s dormant Þríhnúkagígur volcano.
The small village on the north coast of Iceland is one of the best places to whale watch in Europe. Sperm whales, humpback whales and finbacks are just three of the species you may be lucky enough to spot.
In summer, hundreds of thousands of seabirds nest on the North Atlantic’s largest bird cliffs, producing a deafening wildlife spectacle.
The magical glacier, which inspired authors such as Jules Verne and Halldór Laxness, is the culmination of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula that juts out far into the sea.
8. GAMLA HÖFN
Reykjavík’s Old Harbour has developed into a vibrant new tourist area. It is the starting point for whale watching excursions and city tours, there are restaurants offering culinary delights and several museums to explore.
9. ÞJÓÐMINJASAFN ÍSLANDS
The National Museum of Iceland in Reykjavík provides a modern overview of the country’s cultural history – from the Vikings to the present day.
A volcanic eruption in 1973 made the Westman Islands off the south coast world famous. Traces of this natural catastrophe can still be seen in the main town of Heimaey.
Buy the Iceland Marco Polo Spiral Guide.