The Aurora Borealis, more commonly referred to as the Northern Lights is a natural phenomenon created when particles emitted by the sun interact with the atmosphere in the Earth's magnetic field. This releases energy, causing peculiar luminous green streaks across the skies.
On clear winter nights, sightseeing trips are organized around this spectacular—though fickle—natural phenomenon. The ideal location for sightings varies and excursion leaders are skilled in "hunting" the lights, finding locations where conditions are best for seeing them on any given night.
There are no guarantees that you will see the Northern Lights during your stay, but in most cases, sightings are immediately improved outside populated areas, especially away from the light-pollution of the capital. A number of hotels in the countryside offer special Northern Lights wake-up service.
A favorite stop along the Golden Circle is the highly active Geysir Hot Spring Area with boiling mud pits, exploding geysers and the lively Strokkur which spouts water 30 metres (100 ft) into the air every few minutes. The newly opened Geysir Center offers exhibits and informative presentations year round. Geysir Hot Spring Area is one of the most popular tourist stop in Iceland.
The geothermal field is believed to have a surface area of approximately 3 km². Most of the springs are aligned along a 100m wide strip of land running in the same direction as the tectonic lines in the area, from south to southwest. The strip is 500m long and culminates near what once was the seat of the lords of Haukadalur.
The area became active more than 1000 years ago and comprises more than a dozen hot water blow holes. Although the geyser is less active these days, it did lend its name to hot springs all over the world. It was the first geyser described in a printed source and the first known to modern Europeans and along with the geyser in Yellowstone National Park in the United States, Geyser is the most famous geyser in the world.
Travelling around Iceland on two wheels is both challenging and rewarding. There is no better way to experience the beauty of Iceland than from the saddle of your bicycle. But the weather is unpredictable and the distances you'll need to cover can be long. Many bike enthusiasts come to Iceland to cycle the Ring Road, the well-known highway number 1, that runs around the country. Others choose more difficult paths into the highlands, such as the beautiful trail across Kjölur. Such paths are only suitable for experienced cyclists.
If you intend to travel into the highlands, be prepared to face gravel roads, as most of the roads in the Icelandic highlands are not paved. You should not travel alone in the Icelandic interior. In some cases, you can expect unbridged rivers. Do not attempt to cross them without taking proper safety measures. Fully equipped bikes with shock absorbers are a good idea as well.
Outside of urban areas, bike paths are uncommon, and cyclists will usually have to share the road with motor driven vehicles.
Come and see what the Northern Lights are all about at Iceland's first educational and recreational Northern Lights Center.
We are a Northern Lights Center and Iceland's first educational and recreational Northern Lights Center. People can learn about, enjoy the beauty and facts about the Northern Lights. We use multimedia along with touch and play methods to explain it all. We are located downtown in Reykjavík, at the Old Harbour, next to Icelandair Hotel Marina and Víkin Maritime Museum.
Due to its position on the Mid-Atlantic ridge, Iceland is one of the most active volcanic regions in the world. Its unique geological conditions make for some awe-inspiring rock formations, both beneath the surface as well as above it. Various tube caves—formed by magma flowing underneath the earth's surface after lava has solidified overhead—can safely be explored through guided excursions year-round.
For safety reasons, different caves are explored during different seasons. The most commonly visited caves are the Gjábakkahellir Cave near Þingvellir National Park in the summer months, and the Leiðarendi Cave in the Bláfjöll area in wintertime.
Iceland's diverse landscape is at its most breathtaking when viewed from above, which makes aerial sightseeing tours by plane or helicopter an awe inspiring experiences. Many of Iceland's most beautiful locations are in remote areas, where the rugged terrain can be difficult to traverse. Flying allows you to reach hard-to-access places with limited effort, and gives you an opportunity to experience nature from a new perspective.
And if you are in to skiing, there are pristine areas ripe for Heli skiing in many areas. Take your skiing to new heights by reaching untouched slopes via helicopter. This unforgettable experience is an epic adventure, combining powder skiing with an exhilarating air journey and incredible views.
An island, where art, history and nature lie just beyond the city shore.
The combination of stunning views, historical ruins and contemporary art pieces make Viðey island something special. Just a short boat-ride takes you to another world, to be explored in your own time. From nesting birds and panoramic views, to Yoko Ono's famous 'Imagine Peace Tower' and Richard Serra's 'Milestones', you'll discover an oasis of peace, beauty and history. Close to shore, but a world away.
When making a trip to Iceland, it is hard not to pay special attention to the country's namesake—namely, its 4,500 square miles of glacier. Ice climbing on the glaciers is practiced year-round and takes place mainly on the Sólheimajökull and Svínafellsjökull glaciers in the south of Iceland, to which day trips are offered from Reykjavík (and Skaftafell).
Hiking trips are also available onto the Snæfellsjökull glacier in the west and the Vatnajökull glacier in the east. Without exception, glacier walking or climbing should not be done without the accompaniment of a trained guide. Glacier walking tours can often be combined with other tours such as jeep safaris and boating on a glacier lagoon.
A visit to the Blue Lagoon Iceland geothermal spa is an important part of your stay in Iceland.Guests renew their relationship with nature, soak up the scenic beauty and enjoy breathing the clean, fresh air while relaxing in the warm geothermal seawater. It is no surprise that the readers of “Conde Nast Traveller” voted Blue Lagoon as the best spa worldwide and voted one of 25 wonders of the world by National Geographic. For ten consecutive years Blue Lagoon has been awarded the Blue Flag environmental recognition granted to natural beaches and marinas. The water’s temperature is 37-39°C / 98-102°F. The lagoon holds nine million liters of geothermal seawater. Regular sampling shows that “common” bacteria do not thrive in this ecosystem, thus additional cleansers such as chlorine are not needed.
In the last few decades, research has made it clear that Þingvellir is a natural wonder on a international scale, with the geologic history and the biosystem of Lake Þingvallavatn forming a unique entity, a magnificent showcase.
Being able to witness the evolution and formation of new species in a place like Lake Þingvallavatn is of immense value.
The Þingvellir area is part of a fissure zone running through Iceland, being situated on the tectonic plate boundaries of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.
The faults and fissures of the area make evident the rifting of the earth's crust.
With distinctive red volcanic rock slopes, measuring 170 meters wide, 270 meters in circumference and 55 meters deep, Kerid crater lake is a 3,000 year old volcanic crater lake in South Iceland on the Golden Circle route. The actual lake itself is relatively shallow, between 7 and 14 metres, depending on rainfall and other factors, but as a result of minerals from the surrounding soil, the water is a unique and strikingly vivid aquamarine shade of blue. Take an easy hike around Kerid crater and enjoy the spectacular view!
Although there are other crater lakes in the area, Kerið is famous for being one of the lakes with the most caldera still intact. A unique factor about this crater is that it is (only) about 3000 years old, so is about half as old as the geological features that surround it! There’s an easy hike around the rim of the crater, so you can get really close if you like! Alternatively, there is a ladder down to the lake.
A ride along the Golden Circle in the south of Iceland reveals the breathtaking Gullfoss Waterfall. There you traverse a narrow path that provides close-up views of the massive, two-tiered waterfall below. In winter the view is spectacular when the waterfall freezes over into undulating waves of glistening ice. On sunny days you are treated to thousands of rainbows, a natural reaction with the clouds of spray from the tumbling falls.Gullfoss is one of the most popular tourist attraction in Iceland and part of the Golden Circle. The waterfall is by many considered one of the most beautiful waterfall in Iceland. You can find the waterfall in the upper part of the Hvita river. The water cascades down in two stages, one 11 m (36 ft) high, and the other 21 m (69 ft), into the 2,5 km (1.6 mi) long crevasse below. This crevasse was created at the end of the Ice Age by catastrophic flood waves and is lengthened by 25 cm (9.8 in) a year by the constant erosion from the water.If you visit Gullfoss during winter time, please be careful, since the narrow path can freeze over. We strongly recommend that you stay within the path.
In Southeast Iceland, you'll find a glacier lagoon filled with icebergs. This ice lagoon has become one of Iceland's most popular attractions due to its stunning beauty. The lagoon is called Jökulsárlón, or 'Glacier's-River-Lagoon'.
Jökulsárlón is one of Iceland's natural crown jewels, and we've even started calling the nearby black beach our Diamond Beach, as the ice chunks lying on it resemble diamonds glistening in the sun.
Thousands of people are drawn to Jökulsárlón all year round. An incredible amount of photographs capture the lagoon's stunning beauty, and it has even become one of Iceland's most popular filming location!
A short walk into Skaftafell National Park in South Iceland provides visitors with a breathtaking view of Svartifoss (Black Falls). Ice-cold meltwater from the Svinafellsjokull glacier feeds the famous Svartifoss waterfall. The waterfall tumbles down 20 metres (80ft) over a cliff which is bordered on both sides by tall black basalt columns, resembling pipes of a giant organ, which is where the waterfall gets its name.
This wonder of natural architecture inspired the design for Iceland’s National Theatre and the Hallgrimskirkja church in Reykjavik. The hexagonal columns form inside a lava flow which then cools extremely slowly, giving rise to crystallization. Similar well-known lava formations are seen at the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland, and on the island of Staffa in Scotland.
Enjoy a relaxing visit to Myvatn Nature Bath. Located in the heart of north-east Iceland about 105 kilometres (65 miles) south of the Arctic Circle, Lake Mývatn and its surroundings are one of Europe's greatest natural treasures. A designated nature reserve, Mývatn is an area of fragile beauty where tourist services have been developed in such a way as to cause as little disruption as possible to what is a unique and highly delicate ecosystem.
Opened in June 2004 Mývatn Nature Baths is the latest addition to the region's many visitor attractions. Drawing on a centuries-old tradition, the tastefully designed complex offers bathers a completely natural experience that begins with a relaxing dip in clouds of steam rising up from a fissure deep in the earth's surface, and ends with a luxurious swim in a pool of geothermal water drawn from depths of up to 2,500 metres. Containing a unique blend of minerals, silicates and geothermal micro-organisms, the warm soothing water of Myvatn Nature Bath benefit both skin and spirit alike.
At the foothills of this spectacular volcanic mountain is an expanse of hot springs called Hveraröndor Hverir that are known for their changing variety. You may also find a number of fumaroles, mud pools and mud pots that all seem to be boiling with relentless energy. The pass Námaskarð is strategically located at a short distance from the Krafla volcano system as well as other interesting geological spots like Búrfellshraun and the desert Mývatsöræfi.
Námaskarð earns its notoriety chiefly because of its sulphurous mud springs called solfataras and steam springs called fumaroles. Though you will scarcely find any pure water spring in this wonderful geothermal site of Iceland, the beauty of the colorful minerals defies all comparisons. The gigantic size of the mud craters is what makes you go 'wow' at the sight of them.
The other thing that is sure to strike you about Námaskarð is the sheer lack of vegetation. However, if you give a thought to the high temperature range, it does not appear an impossibility altogether. The constant emission of the fumes has made the ground utterly sterile and acidic, unfit to sustain any floras and faunas.
Plunge into Iceland’s purest hot spring water, bath in floating pools out on the lake.
Vök Baths is a new destination opened in summer 2019 by lake Urriðavatn, just northwest from Egilsstaðir, in Eastern Iceland. It features the first floating pools in Iceland.
Located in Eastern Iceland, still one of the most untouched places on the island, Vök Baths offer a new bathing experience and the perfect stop for travellers to rest and rejuvenate by the crystal clear waters of Urriðavatn lake along their journeys.
The 75-degrees warm water streams from hot springs deep under the lake. Years ago, during the long arctic winters, the locals noticed that the lake ice always melted in the same place. The name, Vök, is the Icelandic word for these melted ice holes.
The East is the only part of Iceland where you will find wild reindeer. They contribute to the unique nature and are strongly connected to the region’s history and culture. The focus of the exhibition is on the reindeer's nature, characteristics and survival, as well as reindeer hunting and how reindeer products have been used in fashion design and handcraft.
On display are items from the historical old rural community of East Iceland that lasted until the mid-20th century. Some items relate their practical roles in everyday life, while others bear witness to the fact that life was not only about basic survival but also about creating beautiful things for decoration and pleasure.
Fardagafoss is a waterfall located just outside of Egilsstaðir on the route towards Seyðisfjörður town. It winds its way up the mountainside of Fjarðarheiði heath. The ascent from the parking area (located only 6 km from Egilsstaðir) to the waterfall takes about half an hour and on the way you will see another waterfall in a beautiful gorge and great views over the surrounding area. There used to be a cave behind the waterfall and legend said that if you entered the cave and made a wish it would come true. Now that the cave has collapsed it is well worth the try to just make a wish by the waterfall.
One of East Iceland's most illustrious spots is the Stórurð ("The Giant Boulders"). Stórurð lies below the small glacier west of Dyrfjöll mountains. It consists of gigantic tuff boulders, charming meadows and attractive ponds. This wonderful scene can be reached in 2.5 hours on foot from Vatnsskarð pass. To enjoy Dyrfjöll and Stórurð a whole day plan is highly recommended.
Hikers start from the facilities cabin in Vatnsskarð to crossroads south of Mjóadalsvarp. Hikers are always advised to go by the staked trails. In Stórurð you will find the box with visitors’ logbook and stamp. Few other trails lead back from Stórurð. You can walk towards Vatnsskarðsvegur or you can go to Njarðvík. The best time of year to hike to Stórurð is from the middle of July to the middle of September.
Nine Kilometres south of Sanaigmore Bay is Islay's most beautiful bay, according to many, called Saligo Bay. The bay is accessible through a gate halfway between Machir and Ballinaby farm west of Loch Gorm. For access cross the dunes with numerous rabbits and descend to reach the breathtaking beach. Saligo Bay offers one of the most beautiful light conditions according to some photographers and is a favourite spot for people to watch and photograph an Atlantic Sunset. North of Saligo Bay is a distinctive rock formation, locally known as the "Sleeping Giant".
Cross the gate and from here it is only a short walk over the dunes directly west towards the sea to get access to Saligo Bay. Here wonderful sunsets and stunning light awaits you or just a memorable beach walk. The light on this part of Islay is exceptional and by some considered to be the best in the whole of Scotland! This beach is not safe for swimming due to strong currents!
Loch Gruinart is perhaps one of the most beautiful parts of Islay offering stunning views combined with unique wildlife, rare birds and thousands of geese in the wintertime. From the parking close to the bird hide a track takes the visitor through some sheltered woodland offering nice views over the loch, good birding opportunities and viewing platform.
RSPB Loch Gruinart Nature Reserve lies to the north-west of Islay and covers some 1600ha. It is a special kind of nature reserve because it includes a working farm - in fact, the biggest in-hand farming operation on a nature reserve anywhere in the UK, and possibly in Europe.
There is something to see year-round at the reserve. Some say the most spectacular time to visit is in October when internationally important numbers of barnacle and white-fronted geese return from Greenland for the winter. At the same time, brent geese and whooper swans fly in from Iceland and stop for a day or two's rest before heading onwards to Ireland. This is also a good time to see birds of prey - hen harriers, sparrow-hawks, merlin, peregrine and golden eagles. Redwings strip bare the berries on the rowan trees, flocks of small birds feed in the autumn stubbles, and choughs pull apart cowpats for dung-beetle larvae.
This is a very sheltered part of Islay's east coast. The road towards Claggain Bay is wonderful and offers a wide variety of landscapes, views and great distilleries to visit. Here 3 major distilleries offer tours and a dram and are not to be missed when visiting Islay. After you pass the distillery of Ardbeg the road becomes smaller and passes some sheltered bays on the right where lots of seals bask in the sun. I have counted as much as 27 seals one time. A little further down the road, one of the most interesting historical sites on Islay can be visited. Kildalton church and Cross. The Kildalton cross is well preserved and of great detail and is one of the few remaining in Scotland. Built in the Iona tradition with Pictish, Irish, Northumbrian and Celtic motives. The cross is 2.7 metres tall and can be dated back as far as 800AD. A few miles down the road the most beautiful bay on Islay reveals itself: Claggain Bay. An idyllic and totally unspoilt sandy beach with colourful pebbles waits to be discovered. Lovely birds seek shelter here and the views towards Kintyre are stunning. Claggain Bay is probably one of the most beautiful bays in the whole of Scotland, at least in my opinion. If you park the car on a sunny day without wind and just sit around and watch the views and enjoy the wildlife in this quiet and remote part of islay you never want to leave Islay.
This beautiful garden offers a tranquil environment with spectacular views across the River Tay and boasts a wonderful range of alpines, shrubs, woodland and waterside planting.
The Barnhill Rock Garden is an award-winning public park extending to more than two hectares. This beautiful garden boasts a wonderful array of alpines, shrubs, woodland and waterside planting with spectacular views across the River Tay.
The garden, which is situated on part of a former nine-hole golf course, was started in 1955 by clearing an area of volcanic rock which at one time had been the old shoreline. Over the years it was then extended eastwards over areas which had once been sand dunes.
Visitors and locals alike can enjoy the beauty of the garden which provides an excellent place for recreation and relaxation. Situated on the esplanade in Broughty Ferry, the garden is within a short distance of other amenities and attractions such as restaurants, an award-winning beach, and the 15th century Broughty Castle which overlooks the harbour.
See 14 species of deer from around the world at the Scottish Deer Centre, a unique wildlife park in Fife. So much more to see and do other than just deer
With 14 species of deer from around the world including Reindeer. Daily Bird Of Prey demonstrations in our outdoor theatre.
You can see European Wolves (feeding time 3 pm daily except Friday's), Asian Short Clawed Otters, European Brown Bears, Northern Lynx and Native Red Fox.
Also, Regular Guided Tours provided with our Educational Rangers.
Strathclyde Country Park is an iconic North Lanarkshire Country park which lies in 400 hectares of countryside in the valley of the River Clyde. Set within beautiful surroundings the park is one of the most popular family attractions in the central belt of Scotland, with thousands of visitors coming each year to the park in order to enjoy the vast range of activities and events on offer.
The wildest visitor attraction in Scotland. Edinburgh Zoo is home to over 1,000 rare and beautiful animals from around the world and home to the UK's only giant pandas and koalas.
RZSS Edinburgh Zoo is packed with fun and un-zoo-sual things to do. Why not watch zoo's famous penguin parade and visit the world’s only Knighted penguin, Sir Nils Olav. Or spend your day learning about brilliant birds, mischievous meerkats, super strong sun bears and more with daily keeper talks!
Get closer than ever to monkeys, lemurs, wallabies and pelicans in a walkthrough habitats or at a daily animal-handling sessions. Watch a Sumatran tiger walk right over your head in Tiger Tracks, an amazing glass viewing tunnel. And if you prefer smaller critters, you’ll enjoy Wee Beasties where you can find reptiles, amphibians and insects.
Edinburgh Zoo is unlike any other visitor attraction in Scotland. As part of RZSS, one of Scotland’s leading conservation charities, the Park acts as a gateway to our wider work, both here in Scotland and in over 20 countries around the world.
A visit to Dynamic Earth is like nothing else on Earth. It's a chance to experience the primeval forces of nature as they shaped our planet, to journey through space and time and even go on a 4DVENTURE around the world. You'll be embarking on the interactive adventure of a lifetime - the lifetime of our planet.
Belfast Zoological Gardens is home to more than 140 species of animal, many of which are in danger in their natural habitat.
As one of the oldest visitor attractions in Northern Ireland, many visitors have fond memories of visiting the gardens, which have been home to the animals since 1934. Belfast Zoo is now a leading and award-winning visitor attraction in Northern Ireland, with more than 200,000 visitors each year.
Popular attractions include the Asian elephants, Barbary lions, Rothschild's giraffes, California sea lions, penguins, apes, Malayan tapirs, giant anteater, Malayan sun bears, Visayan warty pigs, Goodfellow's tree kangaroo, red-backed bearded sakis, crowned sifaka, ring-tailed lemurs and reptiles.
Titanic Belfast is the world's largest Titanic visitor experience and a must-see on any visit to Belfast and Northern Ireland.
Titanic Belfast, named the World's Leading Tourist Attraction at the prestigious World Travel Awards in 2016, is located beside the Titanic Slipways, the Harland and Wolff Drawing Offices and Hamilton Graving Dock, the very place where Titanic was designed, built and launched in 1912.
Titanic Belfast tells the story of the Titanic, from her conception in Belfast in the early 1900s, through her construction and launch, to its maiden voyage and subsequent place in history.
The self-guided Titanic Experience extends over nine interpretive and interactive galleries, which explore the sights, sounds, smells and stories of RMS Titanic, as well as the city and people who made her.