Iceland will capture your heart with its breath-taking natural beauty. Situated just below the Arctic Circle, it is the adventure lovers’ dream destination: rugged, unspoilt nature with its volcanos, glaciers and geothermal pools. There are activities to get your heart racing from kayaking on the smooth mirror-like waters, snowmobiling, glacier hikes and many more experiences to get your heart racing.
Iceland is also famous for being one of the Northern countries where you can enjoy the spectacle of the Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, which draws thousands of visitors per year. See the sky come to life in a celestial dance of colours and lights that is unlike anything you’ve ever seen in your life.
Iceland is the ultimate luxury destination, as it can be quite pricey but the cost is well worth it. Ultimately, this is a travel destination for those who enjoy the great outdoors and wild nature. In this guide, we will show you the very best that Iceland has to offer and luxury experiences, hotels and restaurants to ensure that you have an unforgettable visit.
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The best time to visit Iceland
Iceland makes an excellent destination all year round, depending on what you plan to do during your stay. For whale watching, visit between the months of May to September; for the Northern Lights, it’s best to travel from late September to the middle of March. Though the winter is bitterly cold, with temperatures reaching a maximum of – 10 degrees centigrade, this is the best time to encounter the Northern Lights due to the long periods of darkness.
The summer months of June to August are the most popular for tourism and due to its location close to the Arctic Circle, there is sunshine 24 hours a day. This is the most popular time to visit and can be costlier than other periods of the year and it is also the time when most festivals are held in Iceland.
Don’t forget to bring very warm clothing and excellent walking or hiking boots, conditions can vary all year round and it’s advisable to be well-prepared.
Luxury things to do in Iceland
Swim in the Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon is one of Iceland’s top activities. This geothermal pool is heated by nearby volcanoes and is renowned for the healing properties of silica mud. Immerse yourself in the clear blue waters with a mud mask and feel all your stresses and worries melt away. You can also enjoy a water massage. For the most luxurious experience, make sure to reserve in advance as this is Iceland’s most popular tourist attraction and tickets sell out quickly.
A luxury package will set you back 53,000 Icelandic kroner for two, which is approximately €400 and includes a bathrobe, slippers, skin products, face mask, towel, as well as access to the Blue Lagoon. You also have access to a private lounge, with a roaring fire and fresh fruit and drinks as refreshments after swimming in the Blue Lagoon.
See the Northern Lights
Most visitors to Iceland want to experience the celestial dance of the Northern Lights and the spectacle draws thousands of tourists annually. Though there is no guarantee, most half-day trips will allow you to have another opportunity to see the lights if you are unlucky enough to miss them on the first trip.
For a truly unique and luxurious Northern Lights experience, book a luxury yacht tour to see the lights, far from the city lights of Reykjavik whilst sailing around the islands of Faxaflói Bay. There cannot be a more magical experience than to enjoy the incredible dancing lights which change from pink and green to white from aboard one of the three observation deck of the yacht.
Go whale watching
The freezing cold seas of Iceland are home to Minke Whales, Orcas, Harbour Porpoises and Humpbacks, among other species of Cetaceans. Iceland is one of the best destinations for whale watching in the world and you can enjoy getting up-close-and-personal with these majestic creatures during your stay. The best time of year is from April to October with the most whale action occurring in the summer months from June to August.
A capable crew will transport you to the bay of Reykjavik where under the guidance of an expert spotter, you can view the whales from a boat, with plenty of blankets and warm overalls provided to ward off the cold during the three-hour boat trip. You can also find shelter from the cold in the indoor saloon. Prices for the tour start from €83 per person.
Descend into a sleeping volcano
Iceland is the land of ice and fire and is home to the impressive dormant volcano of Thrihnukagigur. You can descend into the interior of this volcano situated beyond the Blue Mountains and the lava fields. A tour will take you inside the cavern at this impressive geological site where you can explore volcano walls scorched by eruptions that occurred over 4,000 years ago!
This expedition is aimed at people who love hiking and have a good level of fitness and a great pair of walking boots. A five-hour tour with an expert guide with safety equipment and harnesses provided starts from €328 per person including round-trip transportation to your hotel.
Explore lava fields on horseback
If you want to experience the wild expanse of Iceland’s natural landscape in a different way, take a tour across the volcanic fields on horseback. A tour will take you through the incredible nature of Redhills and the picturesque Lake Raudavatn. You will see a landscape shaped by the eruption of Iceland’s volcanoes, creating stunning geological formations and a surrealistic landscape that resembles the lunar surface.
You will be riding an Icelandic horse, considered a national treasure and protected by the Icelandic government from export and cross-breeding. This tour is suitable for all levels of rider and costs €90 for a two-hour ride.
Take to the skies in a helicopter
See Iceland’s volcanoes from a bird’s-eye view, in the comfort of a helicopter. This is an unforgettable luxury experience that will take your breath away. Flying over the geothermal area of Mount Hengil, you can see the active volcanoes and gurgling mud pools from the sky, on this tour you will be able to get close to the volcano upon landing nearby and observe the immense and powerful forces of nature just below your feet.
The helicopter tour consists of a 25-minute helicopter flight and 20 minutes on the ground. The price of this tour starts at around €348 per person.
Discover the Ice caves of Vatnajökull
Known as Vatna Glacier, this ice cap which occupies 8% of the entire country is known as one of the largest glaciers in Iceland the second largest in Europe. Visit the glaciers and the ice caves in the wintertime (between November and March) with an expert guide on this tour and visit caves such as the Crystal Cave which glitters like jewels with a turquoise light due to the clarity of the ice.
The caves visited may vary according to conditions and the seasons and safety equipment, crampons and helmets are provided for maximum safety. The three-hour tour starts from €140 per person and includes transportation to and from your hotel.
Bathe in geothermal pools of Lake Myvatn
The stunning Lake Myvatn is known as the fourth biggest lake in the country and was created during turbulent volcanic activity over 200 years ago. The surrounding area is still full of active volcanoes and the result of the dramatic movements of the earth resulted in jagged lava which surrounds the lake. Fables say that it was where Satan fell to the earth when he was expelled from heaven.
You can bathe in the hot geothermal pools on a day trip and also explore breath-taking cascading waterfalls on a full-day tour of the area of Lake Myvatn. Prices for a full-day tour start from €271 per person including transportation to and from your hotel, an expert local guide and food and drink.
Learn about the Vikings
Reykjavik has excellent museums where you can learn about the country’s history. Viking World has a wealth of artifacts and Norse mythology in the museum. The impressive full-size replica of a 9th century Viking ship is one of the highlights of the museum’s exhibits. The Saga Museum is a museum with recreations of moments from Iceland’s history and tours are available in different languages.
Where to stay in Iceland – Luxury Hotels
This hotel is situated South of Reykjavik and is famous for being a hotel with views of the Northern Lights with its own telescopes and observatories. Its remote location overlooking the Ytri-Rangá river and surrounded by countryside is compensated by having the most unspoilt views of this natural wonder.
There are 51 luxury rooms decorated in a rustic cabin chic, rooms have mini-fridges and televisions. The deluxe suites have outdoor terraces and hot tubs. The hotel also boasts a fine-dining restaurant and geothermal hot tubs outdoors where you can enjoy a soak under the starlit sky and breakfast and parking are included in the price of the rooms which starts from €287 per night.
The ultra-modernist ION Adventure Hotel feels like something straight out of science fiction. The hotel has 45 rooms that are decorated in chic minimalist style with wood-panelled floors and upgraded rooms have the benefit of floor-to-ceiling glass panels that look out onto the glacial views.
The hotel runs on geothermal power and is designed with sustainability in mind, it also has a fantastic contemporary Nordic restaurant and bar, sauna, spa and heated outdoor pool so you can enjoy a swim in the peaceful tranquillity of the glacial surroundings. The remote location of the hotel means that it is set in unspoilt nature and you may even be rewarded with a glimpse of the stunning aurora borealis. Prices start from €272 per night.
This peaceful hotel is situated by the Varmá River and has fantastic views of the nearby Mount Reykjafjall. All rooms offer scenic views of the mountain or over the river and each room can be accessed from the exterior of the hotel, the rooms are chic and contemporary and are equipped with large comfortable beds, wood-panelled floors, flat-screen televisions, tea and coffee making facilities.
The hotel has a heated outdoor pool, geothermal steam room and outdoor hot tubs as well as an Icelandic restaurant that serves delicious “slow food” with ingredients sourced from nearby organic farms. Breakfast is included in the price of the room of €204 per night.
Be close to Iceland’s number one attraction at this hotel which is just 10 minutes by foot from the famous Blue Lagoon spa. The rooms are decorated in Nordic chic, cosy and comfortable with wood-panelled floors and televisions, terraces and sitting areas. Some of the rooms have unparalleled views of the Blue Lagoon.
The hotel has excellent amenities including its own private geothermal lagoon where you can enjoy the benefits by bathing in the mineral-rich waters without having to deal with the throngs of tourists that flock to the Blue Lagoon every day. There is an excellent spa offering a variety of beauty treatments and a gym and restaurant on-site. Complimentary breakfast is included in the price of €508 per night.
Luxury eats in Iceland
The first restaurant in Iceland to win a Michelin star, Dill is one of the best restaurants to savour New Nordic Cuisine which uses the freshest seasonal ingredients, foraged ingredients and combines classic Nordic dishes with a modern twist. Enjoy their ever-changing menu with its selection of artisanal dishes which include their own homemade salt and taste a real slice of Icelandic cuisine and culture in every dish. The price for their tasting menu is around €101 and an additional cost for wine pairing.
This modern luxury restaurant serves up delicious Icelandic cuisine with a focus on grilled meat dishes. It is not so suitable for vegetarian diners. The relaxed atmosphere of the restaurant is situated on the site of the New Cinema that was destroyed in a fire and was rebuilt in a faithful reconstruction of the cinema and its Art Nouveau style. Aside from the traditional fare, there are adventurous dishes to try including grilled puffin, lava salt butter, smoked horsemeat and whale served with soy sauce if you fancy going out of your comfort zone. The tasting menu starts from €83 per person or €164 with the wine pairing.
Seafood lovers rejoice! This restaurant serves world-class seafood with an Icelandic twist. The restaurant can be found in the cellar of the Zimsen Building which was built in 1884 and has a reputation for its delicious dishes such as arctic char served with dill vinaigrette, roasted artichokes and apple, giant Icelandic scallops and reindeer carpaccio. There are set menus for seafood or meat depending on your mood and prices for the menu start at only €65 per person.
The restaurant is the creation of Gústav Axel Gunnlaugsson, nominated Chef of the Year in 2010. This fine-dining restaurant serves up grilled seafood and some meat dishes combining prime-quality ingredients such as yellowfin tuna, arctic char and Icelandic lamb with an international twist. Situated in the city centre, the restaurant has a terrace for sunny days and a cosy wood-panelled interior. There are a selection of set menus from €61 per person and there is even a grilled lobster feast menu which costs €79 per person.
One of Iceland’s most renowned restaurants can be found in Hotel Holt in Reykjavik and is considered an institution. Enjoy delicious cuisine surrounded by beautiful art pieces, the restaurant is decorated with classical paintings and resembles a gallery, just like the hotel and some say that Hotel Holt possesses one of Iceland’s most extensive collections of privately-owned art. The restaurant serves contemporary Icelandic cuisine with an international influence including lobster soup, veal carpaccio served with Italian truffles and arctic char.
Luxury tours to do in Iceland
Golden Circle Super Jeep and Snowmobile Tour
If you are looking for adventure this tour is for you, head to the Thingvellir National Park in a jeep and explore the rugged terrain of Iceland’s dramatic landscape. You will explore the mud pools and geysers and visit the famous Gullfoss Waterfall. Afterwards, you can ride a snowmobile along one of Iceland’s biggest glaciers, Langjökull.
Aside from the adrenaline pumping adventure of travelling by jeep and snowmobile you will learn about Iceland’s geology from the local guide and take in some spectacular views that will be sure to take your breath away. A nine-hour tour starts from €298 per person and includes a guide and all equipment.
Take an Icelandic Food Tour
Savour the flavours of Icelandic cuisine on this private tour of Reykjavik city centre with a foodie guide where you can sample some interesting foods that form part of Iceland’s heritage, history and culture. You will sample some local delights such as lamb hot dog, lobster soup, fish and chips and smoked puffin. Be prepared with an empty stomach and an open mind! The tour starts at €145 per person.
Recommended luxury tours in Iceland
- South Coast of Iceland – Private Day Tour from Reykjavik
- Golden Circle of Iceland – Private Day Tour from Reykjavik
- Snaefellsnes Peninsula – Private Day Tour from Reykjavik
- Private Horse riding tour from Reykjavík
- Northern Lights Private Tour from Reykjavik
- Private Custom made Super Jeep with driver guide
- Glacier Lagoon and South Coast – Private Day Tour from Reykjavik
- Icelandic Sagas and Glacier Cave Private Tour from Reykjavik
- Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon and the South Coast Private Tour from Reykjavik
- Private Westman islands day tour
- Golden Circle with Blue Lagoon Private Tour from Reykjavik
- Mountain Helicopter Tour with Summit Landing from Reykjavik
- Inside the Volcano: Small Group Thrihnukagigur Hike and Tour from Reykjavik