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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Reykjavik's open air museum, where you can stroll through the past and experience the way we lived.
Fun, fascinating and full of surprises, this living museum takes you on a journey through time. Reykjavík's early history is preserved in a series of lovingly-restored homes, where you'll encounter costumed guides, grazing animals and traditional crafts. Exhibitions, demonstrations and tours reveal how Reykjavík came to life, from a few scattered farms to a vibrant capital city.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Hallgrímskirkja church is Reykjavík's main landmark and its tower can be seen from almost everywhere in the city.
It was designed by the late Guðjón Samúelsson in 1937, who was often inspired in his endeavours by the fascinating shapes and forms created when lava cools into basalt rock.
Construction of the church began in 1945 and ended in 1986, with the tower completed long before the rest of the building. The crypt beneath the choir was consecrated in 1948, the steeple and wings completed in 1974 and the nave consecrated in 1986.
Harpa is one of Reykjavik‘s greatest and distinguished landmarks. It is a cultural and social centre in the heart of the city and features stunning views of the surrounding mountains and the North Atlantic Ocean. Harpa is an enchanting destination for intrigued travellers and its grand-scale award-winning architecture has attracted 4 million guests since its opening, May 4, 2011.
Whether your visit to Iceland is for business or pleasure, making time for a trip to the National Museum will leave you fully enlightened about the making of the Icelandic nation and its history.
The museum offers a variety of fascinating exhibitions and one permanent display illustrating lavishly the story of Iceland’s past, from the medieval days of Viking settlements to current contemporary culture. The main exhibition has over 2,000 artefacts discovered in various parts of the country. In pride of place amongst the museum’s many treasures is the Valthjófsstadur door, featuring elaborate medieval engravings depicting scenes from the legendary 12th century knight’s tale Le Chevalier au Lion.
Perlan Museum - Wonders of Iceland is one of the largest and most ambitious exhibition project in Reykjavík in recent years. The museum is situated in one of Reykjavík's most impressive buildings, Perlan, and will be a must-visit for any tourist - not only for the world-class museum, but also for its amazing panoramic views of Reykjavík, great architecture and excellent restaurant, café and gift shop.
Reykjavík is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean with water-front paths stretching around the entire peninsula.
There are many beautiful places to stop and admire the scenery on these coastal paths, which are very popular with joggers and cyclists, however there is one well-photographed spot which has the added charm of being home to the striking Sun Voyager - a massive steel sculpture by Jón Gunnar Arnason which may resemble a Viking ship, but in fact, a dream boat and ode to the sun.
Tales from Iceland Video Museum introduce a numerous short but very informative cinematic features about a multitude of Icelandic topics. Iceland’s musicians, fisherman, landscape, history, recent events and many other topics all get their due share. We have created something unique that will enlighten and delight you, your family and your group.
Each feature lasts 3 - 4 minutes and covers one topic. All features have matching show times, so you have about twenty seconds to walk to another cinema screen with another fascinating topic. There is no distinct order and you will spend about one and a half hour watching all the movies. The museum occupies two floors in a house called Austurbær which is located downtown Reykjavík.
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.
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.