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Iceland travel guide

It’s truly cool, but Iceland is not really that icy – well, except for a handful of truly massive glaciers

Iceland is, though, wild – outside the buzzing, artistic capital, Reykjavík, it’s the natural wonders and sweeping empty landscapes that captivate.

Iceland’s ‘Golden Circle’ captures most visitors’ attention, and no wonder: the steaming thermal waters of the Blue Lagoon, thundering waterfall of Gullfoss and spouting geyser of, well, Geysir are pretty awe-inspiring.

But there’s much more to do in Iceland: whalewatching from Reykjavík or Húsavík; exploring the volcanic landscapes of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula; discovering the puffin-speckled Westmann Islands; striking out across the vast Vatnajökull icecap; and sailing around the isolated, silent Westfjords, home to seals, seabirds and Arctic foxes.

Reykjavík itself is a colourful little town, with great bars, museums and hot springs to souse yourself in.

Wanderlust recommends

  1. Explore the remote Hornstrandir nature reserve - Sail Iceland’s Westfjords region.
  2. Take the kids to Iceland – Land of the little folk
  3. Join the annual horse roundup
  4. Gird your loins for the weekly Runtur bar crawl around Reykjavík’s pubs
  5. Go whalewatching from Husavík
  6. Venture onto the vast Vatnajökull icecap

Wanderlust tips

Look out for music festivals – the big names (Björk, Sigur Rós) may play Reykjavík’s Airwaves Festival (October), but consider heading to Isafjor∂ur in the Westfjords for the unique Aldrei Fór Ég Suður (‘Never Went South’), where the likes of Mugison and up-and-coming bands play.

Taking a sleeping bag can save you good chunks of money – bargain sleeping-bag accommodation is available in many guesthouses, not just in hostels.

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