Blessed with one of the world's most dramatic landscapes, Iceland is a starkly beautiful island. Settled in the 9th century by Scandinavian chieftains drawn by its icy lustre, Iceland is has a thriving Nordic culture with deep roots. Emanating out of its bleak, magical terrain came much of Scandinavia's literary heritage, with the gods, battles and fantastical beasts of the Old Norse universe written for posterity by the Icelandic poets.
Aside from its mythic beauty, Iceland has many captivating attractions. The population based largely in Reykjavik, Icelanders' tough, hardy spirit thrives amid the island's volcanic majesty. Invigorating, thrilling and dramatic, Iceland will delight you.
Flights to Iceland from London take you into Keflavik International Airport, which is a short distance from the capital city of Reykjavik. Dwarfed by brooding Icelandic peaks, Reykjavik is a compact city with an easy-going, chic vibe. As the world's northernmost capital, trendy cafés and bustling markets stand amid frontier scenes of stunning beauty.
The floating spectacle available at Jökulsárlón will leave you breathless with wonder. An enormous glacial river slopes into an icy lagoon, while giant electric-blue icebergs drift out to sea, creating an astonishingly ethereal scene.
Carry on up the road and you'll discover a striking black-sand beach, where you can pick up hefty blue ice blocks and admire the primordial landscape.
Pay a visit to the tectonic plates on the Þingvellir Plain, where the North American and European shelves meet in a viciously scarred terrain of dramatic fissures and lakes.
History and architecture
Viking culture is alive and well in Iceland, where the ancient folklore of the Norsemen is celebrated in a quirky, creative way.
Behind the triumphant statue of Leifur Eiríksson, the first European to discover America, stands the vividly white façade of the Hallgrímskirkja. Dominating the Reykjavik skyline, the immense church is a prominent national landmark.
The National Museum is a feast of drinking horns, folkloric heraldry and hordes of silver and bronze. Exhibits include fascinating insights into Viking life.
Food and drink
Iceland enjoys an exciting Scandinavian cuisine, with many restaurants tempting your palate. Lunches often come in the form of a smorgasbord, a traditional Swedish meal featuring many dishes, while seafood is central to many meals.
Randulffs-sjóhus has an evocative setting inside an old boat house. Many fish caught fresh can be enjoyed including shark, salmon and cod. Meanwhile, delicious fish soup is served at Geitafell, a popular eatery with a diverse menu in a friendly, local atmosphere.
Rekjavik has a buzzing night scene, with plenty of local vodka available and many clubs open till the early hours. Most bars are clustered around Laugavegur Street, where you can enjoy an evening cocktail at Kaffibarinn or trendy DJs at Húrra. Afterwards, you can dance to great live music at Dolly nightclub.
|Food and drinks||Prices average|
|Beer (0.5 litre)||£3.00|
|Meal at McDonald's||£12.00|
|Water (0.33 litre)||£2.00|
|One way tube ticket||£3.00|
|Taxi starting price (normal tariff)||£5.00|
|1 summer dress in a chain store (Zara, H&M,...)||£70.00|
|1 pair of jeans (Levi's 501 or similar)||£126.00|
|Average monthly disposable salary (net)||£2,107.00|