Must-Sees in Iceland

Must-Sees in Iceland

Iceland may be small, but its must-sees are big. Topping bucket lists with its natural wonders and hitting headlines with its innovative ways to preserve them, the talents of this mighty isle seem almost endless. From jet-black beaches  festooned with carat-worthy ice chunks to storybook towns carved around colourful brick roads, deciding what to see first promises to be the only arduous task of an Iceland adventure. Fortunately for you, discussing the must-sees in Iceland happens to be one of our European teams’ favourite topics. Whether it’s winter or summer, autumn or spring, there is a sight for every season. Read on to discover more.

  1. Diamond Beach
  2. Silent Whale Watching
  3. Seyðisfjörður
  4. Northern Lights
  5. Katla Ice Cave


Diamond Beach


Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend but they’re also Iceland’s. Earning its name from the glittering shards of ice that wash up on its beach (having broken away from the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier and floated along the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon), Diamond Beach is a firm favourite among geographers and photographers. Even if you don’t belong to either group, a walk along its equally mystifying black sand, sandwiched between scenes of lolling seals and distant huffing orcas, will easily amaze you. Bask in nature’s company and beat the tour bus crowds (who will undoubtedly come) by visiting before 10am. Your body may not appreciate the early wake up call, but as one of our top must-sees in Iceland, your eyes most certainly will.

Diamond Beach, Iceland


Silent Whale Watching


True spectacles deserve silence, which is why, second on our must-sees in Iceland list, is silent whale watching. Aboard an electric eco-friendly sailing boat, it’ll be just you, the Atlantic and between two and twenty whales. Of course, triumphant squeals at the sight of an orca’s pectoral fins are encouraged, but the sense of calm that the boat’s silent motor instils in tourists means you’ll be able to hear every blow, minke splash and humpback breach. Silent whale watching tours don’t just take pin drop travel to new extremes though. Since their inception a couple of years ago, they have helped rejuvenate support for whaling locally, with local restaurants like Gamli Baukur choosing to use reclaimed whaling ships in their décor and proudly bear the badge of the ‘Meet Us Don’t Eat Us’ campaign.

Village, Iceland



There’s more to Iceland than Reykjavik, and Seyðisfjörður is the proof. Nestled deep in the eastern fjords between the Bjolfur and Strandartindur mountains, this coastal town feels like it was plucked straight from a fairytale. And with a rainbow path that leads straight to a spindly church, you’d be forgiven for thinking it actually was. Start your visit (we reckon a day or two is plenty) with a mooch round its streets of multicoloured houses. Stop by charming craft markets and cafes for a quick kaffitímar (think Icelandic fika) before heading into its surrounding snowcapped mountains and cascading waterfalls. What makes Seyðisfjörður such a firm favourite among our Europe specialists though is its vibrant cultural scene. In between its February light festival, week-long art celebration in summer and myriad art exhibit openings throughout the year, it’s a wonder how its 700 locals ever get anything done... 


Northern Lights

Practically synonymous with the word bucket list, the Northern Lights remain one of the most subscribed must-sees in Iceland. And for good reason. Famously elusive, catching them feels like finding a golden ticket in a chocolate bar to nature’s greatest show. The majority of aurora chasers try to tick them off in winter, when nights are long, temperatures are low and skies are crystal clear. Of course, having a trusty guide in tow helps. Let them lead you across the Golden Circle on snowmobiles, snowshoe off the beaten track to Tolkien-esque lava fields in Dimmuborgir and speed into the night in 4x4s. Eyes are sure to stay transfixed to the sky, but Iceland at night? Nowhere even comes close.

Katla Ice Cave, Iceland


Katla Ice Cave

Kötlujökull Glacier

You think you know the world and then you visit the Katla Ice Cave. A glittering dome of centuries-old cerulean and onyx ice, it’s one of mother nature’s most prized jewels. Located beneath the Kötlujökull Glacier and above the notorious active volcano – don’t worry, it last erupted in 1918 – on the island’s south coast, it is home to walls of white band and black ash ice (dubbed ‘dragon glass’) as well as an impressive dome-like ceiling (nicknamed Katla’s ‘ice cathedral’). Fans of Star Wars may get a sense of déjà vu too as the cave was used in Star Wars: Rogue One. But, whether you’re a sci-fi aficionado or not, Katla should be high on every Iceland itinerary – especially when it can be visited all year round.