A cursory examination of what’s on offer as part of a jaunt to this Nordic hotspot reveals that the combination of sublime scenery, wild landscape and spectacular sights on offer in the course of a holiday in Iceland cannot be had anywhere else in the world. And don’t forget the designer digs, converted farmhouses and luxury properties, which are equally singular.
Adventure is Iceland’s strong suit and amidst the vast glaciers, volcanoes and deep fjords you’d be forgiven for feeling that you’d accidentally landed on the moon. Natural phenomenon to discover include waterfalls, geysers and geothermal mud pools along with the surreal spectacle of the Northern Lights while the country’s cultural heritage is writ large in the form of ancient sagas and firmly entrenched beliefs in sprites and folklore. Coupled with its eccentric population and legendary nightlife, tiny Iceland punches well above its weight when presenting itself as a truly captivating country.
In this lunar landscape, marvel at 100ft tall spouting geysers and mud pots or be awed by the cascades of a giant waterfall. Climb volcanoes and even descend into the core of one. Explore the vast lava fields left after enormous eruptions by 4x4 and quad bikes. Cruise across glacial lagoons, pausing to traverse glaciers or ice-hike. Catch a helicopter to the top of a mountain and ski down to a fjord shoreline in the Troll Peninsula or set out on a snowmobile safari. Ride Iceland’s world-famous horses across dramatic deserted peninsulas or indulge your inner explorer on a Superjeep expedition. Experience unique snorkelling and diving opportunities by sinking below the icy waters to descend between two tectonic plates. Get a new perspective on the largest glaciers in the Northern Hemisphere by helicopter or descend deep into the huge cave system under the surface to wander through the ice tunnels with an expert guide. Let a guide lead you to coveted beats best for fishing for sea trout and river salmon. Listen to the cacophony of thousands of nesting seabirds on the cliffs of the western coast. Offshore, watch for minke and humpback whales or search for the blow of orcas from a private RIB safari. After everything, relax in geothermal spa lagoons and waterfalls, sipping a Viking cocktail at 10pm just as the sun sets or the surreal Northern Lights start to dance across the sky. Uncover local folklore and tales of elves, or listen to stories and ancient sagas beneath the Midnight Sun. In the capital, Reykjavik, stay up late with the summer sun and have a local show you the hippest spots to hangout. Stir yourself and sample local delicacies such as petrified shark and puffin carpaccio alongside fabulous seafood in the country’s best restaurants.
Base yourself at chic boutique hotels in Reykjavik such as Hotel Borg or ask us about a slick private city apartment. Beyond the city, seek out spectacular stays in luxury remote farmhouses and contemporary lodges both in the mountains and on the lake-shore, from modern lodges that nod to the local landscape and Icelandic architecture including the impossibly scenic Deplar Farm, which is best accessed by heli and the design-inspired, stilted Ion Hotel. Ask us as well about bespoke private (luxury) tented camps. Relax and rejuvenate at incredible spa stays such as the Retreat at the Blue Lagoon, which is carved into an 800-year-old lava flow and comes complete with its own exclusive, private corner of this geothermal wonder, or Silica, which offers a cosy spa stay in an untamed, starkly beautiful landscape.
This incredible turf-topped former farmhouse in Iceland’s isolated far north is the ultimate adventure retreat.
Iceland’s original luxury hotel has stood the test of time and today the historic Hotel Borg, Iceland’s Art Deco Grande Dame, remains Reykjavik’s most beloved.
Just a short stroll from the Blue Lagoon through the surrounding moss-covered lava fields and you come to the alluring Silica Hotel, an award-winning design property embedded in the landscape.
Travel to Iceland over the European summer, from April to October for outdoor adventure that seems to last forever under the long daylight hours. Or head there on a winter holiday between October and February and see how the country transforms into a snowy playground and the perfect place to hunt the Northern Lights.
Blue Lagoon & ION Adventure Hotel
4 days from £1,465 pp incl. flights
Combine the alluring thermal waters of the famed Blue Lagoon with the unbounded adventure on offer at Thingvellir National Park to experience some of Iceland's most iconic landscapes.
ION Hotel & Reykjavik
5 days from £1,065 pp
Experience Iceland’s wild side on an adrenaline-fuelled and adventure-packed luxury short break while staying in an amazing wilderness hotel and seriously stylish Art Deco gem.