Travel Guides Crafted by Experienced Archaeologists & Historians

Iceland Travel Guide

With Europe’s largest glacier and the World’s most active volcanoes it is not surprising that Iceland is known as ‘the land of fire and ice.’ Today visitors are drawn to these primal elements, as well as the dramatic waterfalls in vast landscapes and northern lights that dance across winter skies. Besides the breathtaking natural features of Iceland, the archaeology and history is just as fascinating. People have been coming to this island for well over a thousand years, the earliest around 870 AD. Iceland is just as much a land of Vikings as it is of volcanoes and lights, glaciers and waterfalls.

Reasons to Visit Iceland

Historic Farms & Villages.

Northern Lights,

Norsemen & Vikings,

Strokkur Geyser Iceland

… the Land of Ice & Fire.

About Our Iceland Travel Guide

Interesting Things to Know About Iceland

The first people arrived on the island from Scandinavia and the Irish and British Isles during the 9th and 10th centuries. This makes Iceland the last of all the European countries to have been settled. In a truly spectacular interactive display, the Settlement Exhibition in downtown Reykjavik has the oldest evidence for human occupation in the city.

Iceland has three sites listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. One, Þingvellir National Park, for cultural reasons, and the other two for their natural value. These two are Surtsey island and Vatnajökull National Park. Þingvellir National Park is the location of the historic Alþing (Althing). This is where the Vikings had their annual general assembly from 930 AD. The site continued in use as an annual parliamentarz meeting point until 1798. Althing is the largest and most historically significant assembly site in northern Europe.

Þingvellir National Park is also an important geological site. The park is at the crest of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, which forms the boundary between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates – a 40,000 km crack in the ocean floor. Iceland is the only point where the Mid Atlantic Ridge lies above sea level. The island also lies at the boundary of the Arctic and North Atlantic Oceans.

Because of the extreme contrasts on the island, Iceland is known as the land of fire and Ice. Some of the largest glaciers in Europe are in Iceland. But only 10% of the island is covered in ice, despite its name. As are some of the most active volcanoes. The geology of the island is one of its main tourist attractions, including the many spectacular waterfalls, the geysers, volcanic black beaches as well as the glaciers. 

The extremely dark winters of Iceland make this a popular destination for seeing the Aurora Borealis, or the Northern Lights. From September to April, on clear nights and when solar wind particles interact with the earth’s magnetic field, is the best time to see them. There are, unfortunately, no guarantees you will see the northern lights. 

Explore Iceland more deeply

Featured Destination

A view of the waterfront in Reykjavik in the early evening.


Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, stands as a testament to the country’s rich history and unique charm. With origins in the 9th century, Reykjavik has grown from a humble village into a vibrant and modern metropolis while preserving its historical essence. This city, known for its stunning natural landscapes, geothermal wonders, and a vibrant arts scene, offers a captivating blend of tradition and innovation. Reykjavik’s historical attractions, such as the iconic Hallgrímskirkja church and the National Museum, invite visitors to explore its past, while its lively streets, bustling harbour, and lively culture reflect the dynamic present-day spirit of this remarkable Icelandic capital.

What to See in Iceland

Viking Age

Iceland was uninhabited until Norse settlers arrived in the 9th century AD. Here they established what is recognised as the world’s oldest parliament, the Althing. Over the following centuries Vikings and Celtic settlers travelled to Iceland seeking land and freedom from the growing power of Norwegian kings. The Age of Settlement gave way to the Commonwealth Period from 930-1262 AD, during which Iceland developed a rich literary tradition seen in texts like the medieval Eddic and Sagas. Today, Iceland offers many insights into its Viking heritage through historic sites such as Thingvellir National Park and the Settlement Exhibition in Reykjavik.

Turf Houses

Turf has been used as a building material in Europe since at least the Iron Age. Timber is used to build the structure, turf is then used to create the walls and cover the roof. This was a tradition and architectural vernacular that was brought to Iceland in the 9th century AD. There are still a number of traditional turf houses in Iceland, some of which have been restored and are now museums.

Popular Tours & Activities in Iceland