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Iceland is open: volcano update

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Iceland Bíldshöfði 20 110 Reykjavík +354 578 20 80 View Map

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ICELAND HOLIDAY PACKAGES FROM THE UK

Iceland is within easy reach of the UK by plane, so hop aboard and discover stunning glaciers, geysers and volcanoes. Make your trip hassle-free by choosing one of these Iceland packages from the UK. Speak to a travel consultant in Reykjavík or Edinburgh – email, live chat, or phone us on 0800 066 4730 .

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ICELAND HOLIDAYS FROM THE UK

Visit Iceland and you will find that it’s a place of stark beauty and incredible natural wonders. On these Iceland holiday packages from the UK, you could discover the majestic glaciers, roaring waterfalls, and sweeping black sand beaches for yourself.

When you book one of Nordic Visitor’s holidays to Iceland , you'll have a dedicated travel consultant based in Reykjavík to plan your itinerary. They will organise everything on your behalf, including handpicked accommodation and optional excursions, as well as providing personal recommendations for your trip.

Plus you can have peace of mind knowing that your travel plans with us are flexible. You'll be able to change your tour if you need to with our Cancellation Protection.

Get in touch with our travel experts in Reykjavík or Edinburgh. Email, live chat, or phone us on 0800 066 4730 and we'll gladly plan your trip to Iceland.

— WHY US?

Why book with nordic visitor.

  • All bookings protected by our Package Travel insurance
  • Hassle-free & seamless travel experience
  • Support from our 24/7 helpline when you are travelling
  • Flexible & customisable tour options
  • Professional service from an Icelandic travel agency
  • Cancel or change your plans if you need to – we'll handle it for you

CALL US TOLL FREE

0800 066 4730.

Open Monday to Friday from 9 AM to 5 PM (GMT)

JOIN A GROUP TOUR

Discover Iceland with like-minded travellers and an experienced local guide on a small group tour. Expect a maximum of 16 people per group, and top hygiene standards on your comfy minibus.

Scenic South Iceland

Geysers, volcanoes & glacier lagoon.

Level 2 (Classic)

Natural Wonders of Iceland

The ring road & snæfellsnes, winter highlights & northern lights, ice cave & glacier lagoon.

Level 2 (Moderate)

Northern Lights Circle Tour

Iceland's famous ring road, self-drive road trips.

Explore Iceland’s natural wonders at your own pace. Tour packages include a rental car with insurance included, accommodation, hand-marked maps, and top recommendations from local experts.

Iceland Full Circle Classic

South & west iceland classic, iceland complete classic, south iceland at leisure, popular in the uk: short breaks.

Multi-day tours give you the best of both worlds. Enjoy experiencing Iceland independently, with the option of adding guided excursions or extra activities to your trip. They are also ideal if you want to combine adventures in the countryside with a stay in Reykjavík or Akureyri.

Golden Circle Classic

Golden circle & blue lagoon, golden circle classic - winter, golden circle, blue lagoon & northern lights, best of south iceland, golden circle, south coast & blue lagoon, best of south iceland - winter, why choose nordic visitor.

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Book With Confidence

Secure your trip your way with Nordic Visitor. Book a tour with as little as 10% deposit. With a 20% deposit or more, you will receive our Cancellation Protection free of charge. You can also pay the full price right away to guarantee today’s exchange rate. Terms & conditions apply.

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Trusted local travel experts

Established in 2002, Nordic Visitor is a leading travel agency with travel consultants based in Iceland’s capital city of Reykjavík. Our local experts live and breathe Iceland, and have in-depth knowledge of the locations and activities you'll want to include on your itinerary.

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Full financial protection

With Nordic Visitor, you have peace of mind knowing your holiday arrangements with us are 100% financially protected. Your payments are safeguarded as we comply with European Union laws on Package Travel regulations. This guarantees you a refund in the unlikely event that the company experiences insolvency.

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Great reviews

Nordic Visitor is dedicated to the best service quality, and this is reflected year after year when TripAdvisor awards us with their Certificate of Excellence. We also take great pride in our customer feedback: 97% of our travellers say they would recommend us to friends and family.

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Hassle-free experience

We take care of the details for you so that you can relax and enjoy your holiday. Your dedicated travel consultant will book your hotels, along with transport included in your tour, and any optional excursions that you have chosen. You’ll also get a travel guide with recommended attractions.

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You are in good hands

One of our Reykjavík-based travel experts is on call 24/7 to handle any unforeseen situations during your trip. Unexpected event or weather issue? No problem. We will get in touch and rework your itinerary, rearranging your accommodation and re-booking activities, while keeping you safe and informed.

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Customisable tour options

When you choose a flexible Iceland tour with Nordic Visitor, it’s easy to adjust your itinerary online. Add extra nights and choose from a curated range of activities to add to your trip. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, speak to one of our local experts about creating a tailored tour.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT HOLIDAYS TO ICELAND

The enchanting Land of Fire and Ice is easily accessible via direct routes from British airports. Fly from the UK to Iceland and prepare to discover the country’s incredible natural wonders for yourself.

Our Iceland travel experts have answered frequently asked questions about visiting from the UK. Read on for safety information, advice on how to get to Iceland from the UK, tips for what to do when you arrive, plus lots more.

CAN I TRAVEL TO ICELAND FROM THE UK?

Yes, Iceland is open to fully vaccinated visitors from the UK. Head to our Iceland Travel Update page to find out more.

It's good to know that Nordic Visitor has a flexible booking policy, so that you can make travel arrangements with peace of mind. Our  Book With Confidence  plan gives you the option to cancel or change your tour if you need to, and you will never lose the money you’ve paid to us. 

Rest assured your wellbeing is our number one priority, so you can  Travel With Confidence when you visit Iceland with Nordic Visitor. Now’s the time to start planning an unforgettable trip to the Land of Fire and Ice.

DO I NEED A VISA TO VISIT ICELAND FROM THE UK?

You don’t currently need a visa to visit Iceland from the UK if you have a British passport.*

If you’re unsure about your personal situation, we recommend checking the Government of Iceland London Embassy page . This is where you’ll find the most up-to-date information about whether or not you need a visa to visit Iceland as a tourist.

*Please note that this information is correct at the time of writing.

  • Is Iceland safe to visit? Read this blog for more information
  • Find out what thrilling things you can do on a trip to Iceland

HOW FAR IS ICELAND FROM THE UK?

London is approximately 1,896 kilometres (1,178 miles) from the capital city of Iceland, Reykjavík. This means that your flight time will be around 3 hours from London.

You can also fly into Iceland’s main airport, Keflavik International Airport, from a few other cities in the UK. Read on to find out which other British airports you can fly to Iceland from, and what the journey times are from each.

HOW LONG IS THE FLIGHT FROM THE UK TO ICELAND?

You can fly direct from the UK to Iceland in as little as 2 hours 20 minutes, depending on where you depart from.

Below you’ll find the approximate journey times between these UK airports and Keflavik International Airport :

  • Birmingham (BHX) - 2 hours 50 minutes
  • Bristol (BRS) - 3 hours 10 minutes
  • Edinburgh (EDI) - 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Glasgow (GLA) - 2 hours 20 minutes
  • London Gatwick (LGW) - 3 hours
  • London Heathrow (LHR) - 3 hours 15 minutes
  • London Luton (LTN) - 3 hours 10 minutes
  • London Stansted (STN) - 3 hours 10 minutes
  • Manchester (MAN) - 2 hours 45 minutes  

Find out more about  flights between the UK and Iceland.

  • Check out the top 15 things to do in Reykjavík on a city break
  • Read this helpful article for advice on how many days you need in Iceland

DOES NORDIC VISITOR OFFER PACKAGE TRAVEL INSURANCE?

Yes, if you book with Nordic Visitor, you’ll have peace of mind knowing your trip is 100% financially protected. Your payments are safeguarded as we comply with the European Union’s Package Travel regulations. This means that you will get a refund in the unlikely event of insolvency.

DO THEY SPEAK ENGLISH IN ICELAND?

Icelandic is the official language of Iceland. It derives from a North Germanic language, similar to Old Norse, that has changed little since Iceland’s Viking history.

Most Icelanders speak English fluently though, since it’s a mandatory subject in primary schools. So although you don't need to bring a phrasebook, you might like to learn some of these basic words and phrases before you go:

Já = Yes Nei = No Góðan daginn / Góðan dag = Good day Gott kvöld = Good evening Hæ / Halló = Hi / Hello Bless = Goodbye Takk = Thank you

  • Get inspired for your next trip and check out these most popular holidays in Iceland
  • Look no further than these honeymoon and romance packages in Iceland if you’re seeking adventure with your loved one

WHAT IS THE BEST MONTH TO VISIT ICELAND?

Iceland has plenty to offer year round, so there isn’t one month in particular that stands out. The best time to visit Iceland really depends on where you’d like to go and what activities you plan on doing.

Throughout the year, changes to daylight hours mean that you can explore late into the evening under the midnight sun in summer. Meanwhile, winter’s long, dark nights are ideal for chasing the magical aurora borealis on a northern lights tour.

The country’s distinct seasonal changes give you the opportunity to discover Iceland in different ways, whether you visit in summer or winter.

If you head to Iceland during the summer months, you could:

  • Get up close to dazzling icebergs on a boat trip in the renowned Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon.
  • Take advantage of the calmer seas and go on a whale-watching cruise to try and spot these incredible creatures.
  • Visit remote regions of Iceland, like the highlands and Westfjords, while the weather is at its mildest.
  • Enjoy one of the many art or music festivals that happen throughout summer.  

On the other hand, winter in Iceland brings a different set of experiences for you to enjoy, including:

  • Seeing the northern lights dance in colourful arcs above Iceland’s stunning scenery.
  • Soaking up the lively festive atmosphere in Reykjavík around Christmas and New Year.
  • Joining guided snowmobiling and ice caving excursions on Vatnajökull and Kötlujökull glaciers.
  • Horse riding through beautiful snow-dusted countryside on a charming, yet sturdy, Icelandic horse.  

There are also plenty of top things to do in Iceland that can be enjoyed year round, like driving southern Iceland’s Golden Circle route.

While this is certainly a popular summer activity, it’s something that you might prefer to do in winter. With less visitors at this time of year, you’re more likely to have iconic places, like Gullfoss waterfall , Geysir and Þingvellir National Park , to yourself.

Another year-round activity that you’ll love is a visit to one of the many hot springs and geothermal pools in Iceland . Why not treat yourself to a trip to the most famous geothermal pool in the country? Picture yourself luxuriating in the mineral-rich waters of the Blue Lagoon after a day of sight-seeing.

Check out these guides for more information about the weather, daylight hours and what to do in Iceland depending on the season:

  • Iceland's climate and weather conditions
  • Iceland's time and daylight hours
  • Iceland in summer: 12 things to see & do
  • Top 10 things to do in Iceland in winter
  • Check out these summer tours to Iceland from the UK
  • Browse this range of Iceland winter holiday packages

WHAT IS THE BEST MONTH TO SEE THE NORTHERN LIGHTS IN ICELAND?

There isn’t one particular month that comes out on top for northern lights sightings in Iceland. That said, the best time of year to chase the aurora is during the Icelandic winter, from October to March.

Timing your visit to when the skies are at their darkest, for longest, is key to increasing your chances of seeing the northern lights.

This is because the long winter nights give you more opportunities for sightings. Plus, the shimmering aurora stands out more against the dark skies of winter, compared to the light summer nights.

The best time of day to see the northern lights tends to be later in the evening. So it’s worth noting that if you choose a northern lights excursion it will start in the evening, rather than during the day.

Want to make sure that you don’t miss out on a spectacular display while you’re sleeping? No problem, you can take advantage of the aurora wake-up service offered by many hotels.

You could benefit from the knowledge of a local guide by adding a northern lights excursion to your trip to Iceland. Or, if seeing the aurora is your main reason for wanting to visit, then we recommend a northern lights holiday package in Iceland .*

To find out more, we recommend reading this helpful blog about the best times and places to see the northern lights in Iceland . You can also find additional tips and advice in this Iceland aurora borealis guide .

*Please note that northern lights are a natural phenomenon, so unfortunately sightings cannot be guaranteed on your trip.

  • What causes the aurora borealis? Find out on our experts’ blog
  • Discover the top 5 northern lights hotels in Iceland

WHAT DO I PACK FOR ICELAND?

Iceland is known for its changeable weather. In fact, the locals have a saying, “there is no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes”.

As such, warm layers and waterproofs are recommended, whether you are travelling in summer or winter. That way, come rain or shine, you can get out and about to enjoy Iceland’s natural beauty.

Don’t forget to bring swimwear and sandals too. If you’re planning to indulge in the local’s favourite pastime of bathing in hot springs and geothermal pools, then these will come in handy. While you can hire a towel at some bathing spots, it’s best to bring your own for visiting smaller or more remote ones.

Below you’ll find a basic all-season packing list for your trip to Iceland:

  • Walking boots or shoes with good grip
  • Waterproof jacket and trousers
  • Insulated jacket
  • Woollen or fleece jumpers
  • Thermal base layers
  • Warm hat, scarf and gloves
  • Warm hiking socks
  • Quick-drying travel towel  

For more seasonal information on what to bring, read this  Iceland packing guide . You can also check out this blog on what to wear on your trip to Iceland for further tips and advice.

Scroll down to learn more about Nordic Visitor’s services.

— LOCAL SUPPORT & KNOWLEDGE

Get the most out of your holiday.

  • Relax knowing you can always reach us on our 24/7 helpline
  • Explore places handpicked for you by experts based in Reykjavík
  • Save time and effort with everything arranged for you
  • Have peace of mind with our Cancellation Protection

Different ways you can experience Iceland

We have tours for all varieties of travel styles and interests. See our options for exploring Iceland below.

Guided Small Groups

Multi-day tours, privately guided, summer tours, northern lights packages, our services.

Whether you opt for a guided tour or a self-drive holiday, all customers receive personalised service with a designated travel consultant , tailor-made quality travel documents , and our self-drive clients receive a hand-marked map that outlines their route, overnight stays and highlights along the way. Furthermore, Nordic Visitor has long-standing professional relationships with local tour operators which are carefully selected by our staff and are recognised for consistent, quality service.

Book with confidence

  • Protect your money & plans with our  flexible booking terms    .
  • Get peace of mind with a 24/7 helpline during your stay.
  • Enjoy personal service from Iceland-based travel experts.
  • We’re here for you in case of unforeseen circumstances.
  • 97% of customers say they’d recommend us to friends.
  • As a local agency, we work closely with trusted suppliers.
  • We’re a fully licensed and insured company in Iceland.

What do our customers say?

The reviews speak for themselves. See what Nordic Visitor travellers said about their experience with us.

We had an amazing time

We cannot recommend our tour enough. We had an amazing time and have already told friends and family about it. Iceland is an amazing place and I am sure we will be back and will use Nordic Visitor again!

Experience of a lifetime

I primarily wanted to use Nordic Visitor as a resource for creating our 14-day trip itinerary, to help weed through what seemed to be an endless array of choices, and to help us to get the very most out of our time in Iceland. Yes, we could have pieced it together ourselves but I needed an advocate in Iceland, an advisor, and maybe a resource for us if issues were to arise. That piece of mind was important to my wife and me and I'm glad we chose them to frame our trip. It made it much easier to piece in the parts that were important to us to see and experience. That allowed us to just enjoy the trip and not get bogged down in the details of planning each and every moment.

There are so many things I could say about our experience, an experience of a lifetime and after posting snippets of our trip on social media I have found that several friends of mine want to know how we planned this trip. I told them the same thing I am saying here, save a little money if you want and plan it yourself or trust a reliable source like Nordic Visitor and let them give you the trip framework and essential advice. I would do it the same way if I were doing it over.

Went off without a hitch!

Everything was well-organised and went off without a hitch. The private guide was amazing. He could not have been better. I highly recommend him to anyone considering a private guide as an option. He's extremely knowledgeable about the history of the area. He knew all of the best places to go and was entertaining and delightful as well. Accommodation was all spectacular.

Warm and engaging guide

Great tour. The sights are of course amazing and the tour made the most of our time, weather and our interests/priorities. Driver and guide David managed all of these very well. He was also very knowledgeable and personally warm and engaging. Could not have asked for more.

Perfect for solo traveller

A beautiful itinerary, exceptional guide and perfect weather made this a trip I will never forget. Nordic Visitor made the process easy, and Iceland opened her arms. My 10-day small group tour was perfect for a solo traveller who wanted to see it all. 

Working with Nordic Visitor was wonderful. Our travel consultant, Heddy, was quick to respond when we had a question or concern. She helped us plan a fabulous itinerary. Everything we booked through Nordic Visitor was fantastic. I have already recommended Nordic Visitor to friends, and I will continue to do so.

Trip of a lifetime

Overall this was an amazing experience! A trip of a lifetime that I could never have planned myself. Any questions I had during planning were answered faster than expected and I felt safe and well looked after during the trip. Trip was smooth and hassle free.

5-star experience

Not only did we absolutely love every stop on the Scenic South Iceland tour, but prior to the tour we stayed for 4 days in Reykjavík. I appreciated Nordic Visitor's recommendations for things to do and places to eat there and felt highly supported by Marko, our travel consultant, in every regard to booking our flight and own hotel, day trips I was interested in, and taking public transport around. A definite 5-star experience!

I will certainly travel with Nordic Visitor again!

I cannot thank Nordic Visitor enough for providing me with a wonderful and memorable once-in-a-lifetime experience. Everything was seamless, from the pickup at the airport, to the excellent hotels, delicious food served and our friendly, knowledgeable guide, Jakob. Nothing was too much trouble - we all thoroughly enjoyed our experience in Iceland, and all came away with wonderful memories of many of the amazing sights of such a scenic country. We were even lucky enough to see the northern lights. I will certainly travel with Nordic Visitor again and would recommend them to anyone thinking about visiting the countries where they offer tours. Thank you Nordic Visitor!

Many thanks to Nordic Visitor

Absolutely amazing. No issues whatsoever. We saw it all from North to South and much of in between. From reindeer to whales and more beautiful waterfalls and volcanic bits than you could hope to see in a week. Every hour the scenery seemed to change dramatically. Just a great experience. Many thanks to Nordic Visitor.

Best vacation we have had

Everyone at Nordic Visitor were very responsive to all questions we had during our 30-year anniversary trip to Iceland. We had airline travel issues and the representative adjusted our itinerary so we were able to see the whole island. The accommodation were beautiful and everyone was so friendly. This was the best vacation we have had, we left Iceland relaxed!

An amazing and unique experience

Our tour was great! Went for our honeymoon and it was everything we wanted. First night we got to see the northern lights which were fantastic! Second day, most certainly our longest, visited several sites (Geysire & Þingvellir) and went snowmobiling on a glacier. Such an amazing and unique experience. The walking tour around Reykjavik was surprisingly educational and our guide pointed out things that we ordinarily would have missed. The NYE dinner was delicious and going out to see the firework displays by (what seemed to be like) everyone was something. Practically had to dodge fireworks! Our 4th day was spent at the Blue Lagoon; perfect after a night of partying! Our last day was nice and relaxing, did some final shopping before we headed off to the airport. Hope to go back & visit Iceland again!

Flights to Iceland

Iceland’s largest airport, Keflavik International Airport, is around a 45-minute drive from the capital city of Reykjavík. Happily, you can fly here from a number of UK gateways.

Airlines serving Keflavik International Airport (KEF)*: British Airways : from London Heathrow (LHR)  EasyJet : from Bristol (BRS), Edinburgh (EDI), London Gatwick (LGW), London Luton (LTN) and Manchester (MAN) Icelandair : from Glasgow (GLA), London Gatwick (LGW), London Heathrow (LHR) and Manchester (MAN) Jet2 : from Birmingham (BHX), Edinburgh (EDI), London Stansted (STN) and Manchester (MAN) Play : from London Stansted (STN) Wizz Air : from London Luton (LTN)

We recommend checking directly with the airlines for flight availability and timetables. Flights are not included in Nordic Visitor packages.

See our Travel With Confidence page for more information about what we are doing to keep you safe on your trip.

*Details correct at time of publishing.

Travel Guide

Be prepared for just about anything on your Icelandic adventure.

Reykjavik Capital area

Welcome to the world’s northernmost capital! Reykjavík is the most gender equal, literate...

Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon is probably Iceland’s most famous attraction and has become considered a...

The famed hot spring Geysir is located in the Haukadalur valley in southwestern Iceland. It was...

How to get to Iceland

Find out here which airlines fly to Iceland.

What to pack

Layers, layers, layers! Come prepared for all type..

Climate & weather conditions

How icy is Iceland? You might be surprised

Time & Daylight

When to expect sunrises, sunsets, northern lights ..

Get in touch with one of our Reykjavík-based travel experts. You can customise your tour of Iceland or ask us questions about Iceland package holidays from the UK. Our Edinburgh and Stockholm-based travel consultants are also ready to answer your questions about travelling with Nordic Visitor.

Ring us freephone on 0800 066 4730

How about a live chat with one of our local travel experts?

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Iceland Tours & Holidays

People walking near the crater with rising sea at the geothermal area of Iceland, Namaskaro

Greenland’s the icy one; Iceland’s the green one. But remember this: they don’t call part of it the Golden Circle for nothing.

Calling all nature lovers, adventure seekers and fearless travellers. Iceland may be cold, but that’s the point—you’ll get to see all the glaciers, geysers and geothermal wonders you can handle. Discover a land of natural colour: hues of azure at the  Blue Lagoon  and the icy Jokulsarlon, shades of green on the rolling hills framing Skogafoss, and the striking black sand beaches hugging the coast. Not to mention the magical  aurora borealis  dancing across the sky! From uncovering Viking tales and bathing in steamy springs to cruising past icebergs and exploring quirky farm towns,  Iceland  is island life like no other.

Our Iceland trips

Let's create an exclusive trip for your group.

Iceland tour reviews

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We also travel to

Iceland at a glance, capital city.

Reykjavik (population approximately 123,000)

Approximately 372,520

(GMT) Monrovia, Reykjavik

CALLING CODE

Electricity.

Type C (European 2-pin) Type F (German 2-pin, side clip earth)

Learn more about Iceland

Culture and customs.

Similar to many other parts of Europe , Iceland has rules in place to help preserve its culture and geographic isolation is also a factor in developing and preserving the country’s cultural qualities. Independence, self-sufficiency and a strong work ethic – traits that allowed this northern island to flourish in challenging conditions – continue to be highly valued today.

Icelandic culture and customs are full of myths and legends, many with a connection to Christian and pagan values. Folk tales of elves, gnomes, fairies and trolls still circulate, and whether or not the locals continue telling these to unlock the secrets of the past, or simply in jest, they’re definitely worth listening to. But when news outlets report on road plans being changed to avoid disrupting an elfin church, it’s easy to believe that this unusual country and its magical landscapes are a product of what lies ‘hidden’ in its mysterious depths.

Today, Iceland is a highly modern and progressive society. It is consistently rated as having the smallest gender pay gap and strong LGBTQIA+ rights representation in the parliament and media. It’s also one of the greenest countries in the world, with almost all energy coming from renewable resources such as hydropower and geothermal.

Read more about Iceland's History and Folklore

History and government

Pre-modern history.

This island nation was settled by Vikings in the ninth century, with much of the early literature recognising Norse sailor Ingolfur Arnason as the first settler of Iceland, founding Reykjavik in AD874 along with his wife and brother. Icelanders remain proud to this day of their Viking heritage. The Icelandic language, for example, is so similar to the Old Norse spoken during Viking times that Icelanders can still read and understand the original Icelandic sagas.

A book of settlements titled Landnamabok, compiled in the 12th century, documents the names and other details of nearly 400 original settlers of Iceland who arrived in the ninth and tenth centuries. The document tells of a Norse Viking called Floki who sailed to Iceland for fishing and farming, however, due to his livestock not surviving in the conditions, had to return to his home in Norway. After heading up a mountain and looking over a fjord full of sea ice, he named this land Iceland.

In AD930, an Icelandic General Assembly was established and was deemed a Christian settlement less than a century later. Settlers and slaves brought to Iceland by Scandinavians were of Irish and Norse descent, and although some still debate which communities influenced the identity we now know to be Icelandic, the first distinctive text documenting ‘Icelandic-ness’ is said to be a rule book of sorts – the First Grammatical Treatise.

20th century and today

After long periods under Norwegian and Danish rule, Iceland was recognized as a sovereign state in 1918. On 17 June 1944, Iceland became an independent republic. It has a multi-party parliamentary system and a written constitution. The parliament is still called Althingi after its medieval General Assembly.

Many of Iceland’s major industries stem from its location and surrounding natural resources. Tourism aside, fishing and seafood products make up much of the country’s exports and employ a majority of the workforce along with agriculture and farming. Recent investment in greenhouses and geothermal energy has seen Iceland become increasingly self-sufficient, growing products that usually do not fare well in icy climates, such as potatoes, tomatoes and potted plants. Other food is imported along with many consumer goods.

Eating and drinking

Flanked by the ocean and inhabited by almost twice the amount of sheep as humans, Iceland understandably boasts a cuisine dominated by seafood and local lamb.

The country’s diet relies on plenty of potatoes and lamb, but seafood trumps all – sourced fresh year-round from the waters of the North Atlantic and Arctic and prepared in a variety of ways. Be sure to try Hardfiskur – a salty fish jerky, best enjoyed buttered.

Sheep and cows are free-range and fed chemical-free diets, making lamb and dairy products exceptionally good here. One of the best ways to enjoy the produce on offer is to warm yourself up from the inside out with a hearty meat soup: a mixture of lamb, root vegetables, herbs and rice.

Skyr, a popular yogurt that is technically a cheese, is also a must-try in all its variety of flavours. Eat it like the locals do at any time of the day – for breakfast, as a snack, as a dipping sauce, in drink form (called drykkur) or as a dessert topping.

Surprisingly, hot dogs are Iceland’s most iconic fast food. Widely available, a hot dog is probably the cheapest meal you’ll have in Iceland. Order one with all the toppings – sweet mustard, ketchup, raw onions, deep-fried onions and aioli.

Rye bread (also known as rugbraud) and butter is a common side to most meals in Iceland, but the preferred way of cooking the loaves are quite unique. Traditionally, the bread is buried near a natural hot spring, sprinkled with sugar and left to gently steam for up to 24 hours. The end result is dense, cake-like bread that has a slightly sweet taste. Enjoy it with a traditional Icelandic soup, smoked lamb or, of course, fish.

Name a food and chances are Icelanders have tried to add licorice to it. Black licorice is beloved by locals and found in a wide range of desserts and candy bars. During your time here, head to Valdis in Reykjavik to test out a cone filled with salted black licorice ice cream. Even if the weather’s cold, the ice cream joints will be open!

The weird and wacky

Icelanders have a reputation for serving up some of the most unusual food in the world – boiled sheep’s head, fermented shark known as harkarl, ram testicles and smoked puffin to name a few. Although the country’s isolation and harsh winters once meant these foods were eaten out of necessity, today most of these ‘delicacies’ are only prepared to shock tourists. Try if you dare, but we suggest sticking to the common foods that locals eat.

Alcohol can be expensive in Iceland and is best bought at the duty-free shop. Although forms of prohibition existed until 1989, alcohol is now widely available all over the country in state-run liquor stores. If you’re feeling brave, try the local brew, Brennivin – a potent, traditional caraway-flavoured schnapps nicknamed ‘black death’.

Read more about what to eat in Iceland

Read more about what to drink in Iceland

Iceland travel highlights

1. explore reykjavik.

Iceland's capital city is totally beguiling, surrounded by volcanic peaks and boasting a vibrant art and nightlife scene. Browse the city’s galleries, explore the colourful street art, dine on fresh lox (traditionally cured salmon),   or cycle to the striking cathedral of Hallgrimskirkja – trying to say that after a tipple or two of Brennivin (Iceland's signature spirit) might be tricky!

Get stuck into Icelandic culture on our 6 day Northern Lights Escape .

2. Discover the Golden Circle

The Golden Circle is the holy trinity of southern Iceland. This 186-mile (300 km) route is brimming with natural wonders that showcase why so many travellers fall under Iceland's spell. Marvel at the layered cascades of Gullfoss Waterfall, explore the dramatic rift valley in Thingvellir National Park and witness the unpredictable eruptions in Geysir Geothermal Area.

Marvel at breathtaking natural landscapes on our 5 day Iceland Express tour.

3. Cruise along Jokulsarlon

It's impossible not to be amazed by the sheer size and beauty of Jokulsarlon, Iceland’s famous glacial lagoon. Enjoy a boat tour along the icy waters where you'll cruise past towering glaciers and witness icebergs of all shapes, sizes and shades of blue drifting into the Atlantic Ocean.

Cool down on our 8 day Iceland Discovery tour.

4. Experience life in Akureyri

Soak up the charm of this northern port city – the second-largest city in Iceland. Better described as a big town with lots of character, you'll be won over by its quaint turf homes, rich history and folklore, and the imposing Mount Súlur that looms over the town. Akureyri is also an ideal Northern Lights viewing location between September and April.

Explore the streets of Akureyri on our 9 day Premium Iceland tour.

5. Be wowed by Westfjords

Venture off course to the unspoiled, untamed reaches of the Westfjords – without the big crowds. This is a land where mountains meet the sea most dramatically, where waterfalls tumble down into the inky fjords and puffins live along the towering cliffs. If you’re lucky and conditions allow, we might cruise along Látrabjarg (Europe’s largest bird cliff) to see puffins, razorbills, guillemots and more.

Adventure through the Westfjords on our 14 day East Greenland and Iceland Northern Lights tour.

6. Bathe in the Blue Lagoon

There's no need to worry about being cold all the time in Iceland when you can slip into the famous Blue Lagoon just out of Reykjavik. Surrounded by black volcanic rock, a soak in the mineral-rich, milk-blue waters of this geothermal spa is the perfect way to relax and unwind after a big day of walking. 

Geography and environment

Iceland possesses some of the world’s most incredible natural wonders and unique landscapes. From active volcanoes to vast ice fields, bubbling hot springs and enormous glaciers, these dramatic contrasts have earned Iceland the nickname of the ‘Land of Fire and Ice’.

Many of these geological features are products of geographical location – on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates intersect and their movements away from each other create volcanic activity. The country is covered by moss-carpeted lava fields, soaring fjords, incredible waterfalls and dramatic geysers, all of which add to Iceland’s otherworldly look.

The country is also the perfect spot to see the Northern Lights. From September to March, you’ll have the best chance to view this spectacular natural light show when the skies are clear and auroral activity is high. But don’t let that stop you from visiting in other seasons – Iceland’s natural wonders are truly year-round attractions.

Top 4 natural phenomena of Iceland

1. Northern Lights

The Northern Hemisphere's Aurora Borealis has captivated and intrigued travellers for years. Any winter tour of Iceland absolutely must include a chance to see the Northern Lights. This natural light display that runs along magnetic fields often brings hypnotic green, yellow and red shades to the night sky in Iceland from September to March. As one of nature's most magnificent triumphs, this is one unforgettable spectacle.

2. Gullfoss

Otherwise known as Golden Falls, this spectacular three-tiered waterfall drops suddenly into a deep cavern. The falls are surrounded by lush, green countryside, and the rainbows created by the mist and spray provide brilliant photo opportunities.

3. Lake Myvatn

This part of northern Iceland was born from volcanic eruptions millions of years ago and continues to be shaped by volcanic activity to this day. The combination of strange lava formations, thermal caves and a sprawling lake dotted with craters and rising rocks makes for an eerie yet beautiful landscape.

4. Jokulsarlon

Literally translating to ‘glacial river lagoon’, this monumental glacier lake is the largest in Iceland. Featuring a parade of large and small blue icebergs floating on and under the pure, icy water, this lagoon is so beautiful that it has been used as a backdrop for Hollywood films, a set for reality television shows and in a starring role on a postage stamp!

Iceland is notorious for being an expensive destination. Travelling on a budget here is difficult but can be done. Head to Bonus – Iceland’s discount grocery store – so you can cook rather than eat out for each meal. The duty-free store at Keflavik International Airport is the best place to pick up a bottle of Icelandic alcohol such as Brennivin liquor, Reyka vodka or Viking Gold beer for a fraction of the price you’d find elsewhere. It’s also a good idea to travel as a group, as operators can get better rates than a single traveller at hotels and restaurants, plus they know all the local hotspots.

If you’d like to take home Icelandic local specialties, Reykjavik is the best place to shop. Some of the country’s coolest retailers can be found on Laugavegur, one of the oldest shopping streets. Here you can browse clothing from quirky local designers alongside traditional lambswool sweaters, as well as tourist shops selling plastic Viking hats and puffin magnets. For smaller boutiques selling local art, head to Skolavordustigur.

Festival and events

Despite the long and dark winters, Icelanders are among the happiest people in the world. Why? One reason is that they understand the importance of getting together and having a good time, even if it’s pitch black outside. There are many celebrations to join in on throughout the year, but here are a few to look out for:

Winter Lights Festival

Every year, buildings around Reykjavik light up at night to celebrate both the winter world and the growing light after a long period of darkness. The Winter Lights Festival uses many public buildings, all major museums, and thermal pools to illuminate the city with lighting designs and art installations to thaw people out after a long winter.

This annual mid-winter feast in January or February is one of Iceland’s oldest festivals, dating back to Viking days. Fearless eaters can find restaurants in Reykjavik offering special Thorrablot dinners of boiled sheep’s head, rotten shark’s meat and cured ram testicles. If you can, try to snag an invitation to a local’s house, where celebrations tend to be more festive and involve lots of singing, dancing and drinking.

Viking Festival

Modern-day Vikings in traditional garb flock to Hafnarfjorour each June for a festival Leif Erikson would approve of. The festivities include swordfights, archery, axe throwing, a traditional market, concerts and a proper Viking feast.

National Day

1944 marks the year that Iceland became a republic after an overwhelming majority of the citizens voted for independence. The deciding referendum took place between May 20 and 23 that year; however, Iceland’s National Day is celebrated on June 17th – the birthday of the man who originally led the movement in the late 19th century, Jon Sigurdsson. There are parades all around the country, usually with brass bands and marching horses. Music, food, fireworks and street parties – you get it, they’re a patriotic bunch.

Dalvik Fiskidagurinn Mikli (The Great Fish Day)

Each August, the northern fishing village of Dalvik invites you to a free, all-you-can-eat fish and seafood buffet – held for no reason other than to get people together over a delicious meal. You might come for the free food, but you’ll stay for the company.

Read more about festivals in Iceland

Public holidays that may impact travel include:

Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Monday

Ascension Day

Whit Sunday and Whit Monday

Commerce Day

Please note that the dates of  Iceland's public holidays  may vary.

Further reading

For inspiring stories to prepare you for your Iceland adventure, check out these resources:

  • Independent People  – Halldor Laxness
  • Jar City  – Arnaldur Indridason
  • The Little Book of Tourists in Iceland  – Alda Sigmundsdottir
  • Waking Up in Iceland  – Paul Sullivan
  • The Tricking of Freya  – Christina Sunley
  • Viking Age Iceland  – Jesse L Bycock
  • The Far Traveler: Voyages of a Viking Woman  – Nancy Marie Brown
  • Burial Rites  – Hannah Kent
  • The Book of Settlements: Landnamabok  – Herman Palsson (trans.)

Discover more about visiting Iceland from our travel experts in our Complete Guide to Iceland.

Similar destinations

We have a variety of similar destinations, trips and routes that you could consider! Tie another trip into your holiday, or, see how we can help you get from A to B. We have tours departing from a variety of locations around Iceland. The options below may be of interest:

Tours to Reykjavik 

Northern Lights Tours

Iceland or Greenland

Iceland travel FAQs

Do i need a covid-19 vaccine to join an intrepid trip.

Trips from 1 January 2023 onwards

From 1 January 2023, Intrepid will no longer require travellers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (excluding all Polar trips and select adventure cruises).

However, we continue to strongly recommend that all Intrepid travellers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.

Specific proof of testing or vaccination may still be required by your destination or airline. Please ensure you check travel and entry requirements carefully.

When is the best time to visit Iceland?

Deciding what you want to see in Iceland will give you a better idea of when is the best time to travel. Wanting to get active around the countryside and see waterfalls and wildlife? The warmer spring and summer months are probably ideal. Prefer to soak in the geothermal lagoons and get a chance to see the Northern Lights? Well, likely the cooler months – with their longer nights – are best for you.

Spring and summer are considered optimal times to visit Iceland if green landscapes and balmy days are your thing. The early spring months bring warmer days, while summer offers long daylight hours with only short nights. In the summer season, July and August are the warmest months and the busiest time for tourists.

In September, tourism tends to slow down as the weather becomes unpredictable and the countryside is usually less accessible. However, there are plenty of attractions for the off-peak traveller, including the beauty of fall colours and, of course, the awe-inspiring Northern Lights.

As you might expect, winters in Iceland can be challenging. During late December there are about four-and-a-half hours of daylight and it's often cloudy. In January, there are on average three sunny days in Reykjavík, with temperatures hovering around freezing point, often with chilling winds.

Do I need a visa to travel to Iceland?

Iceland is a member of the Schengen Convention, which means that if you travel to an EU member country or countries, like Iceland, for a total of less than 90 days, a visa is not required. Citizens of Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the US, the UK and other member countries of the EU and Schengen area are included under this arrangement. Other countries do require a visa to visit Iceland, including citizens of South Africa.

Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your country of origin. Check the Essential Trip Information section of your tour itinerary for more information.

Is tipping customary in Iceland?

Tipping isn't expected in Iceland. Hotels, restaurants and cafes already include a service fee and consumption taxes (VAT) in the bill, so tipping extra isn't necessary. However, feel free to leave a small amount if your experience has been particularly good, especially for assistance provided by drivers, tour leaders or service workers.

What is the internet access like in Iceland?

Travellers will be able to access the internet in cybercafes and at wi-fi hotspots in Iceland's cities and large towns. Rural and remote areas may have less internet access, so be prepared when travelling away from the city.

Most accommodation and eateries in Iceland offer wi-fi access, which is usually free to use with a code. If you wish to stay connected for the majority of your trip, it may be wise to purchase a prepaid SIM card with a data package.

Many Icelandic libraries and tourist information offices have shared computers for public internet access if you are without a device to connect to wi-fi. Sometimes a small fee is charged for this service.

Can I use my mobile phone while in Iceland?

Travellers can use their mobile phones in Iceland's main cities and towns, though remote and isolated areas may have inferior cell reception.

If you wish to stay connected for the majority of your trip, it may be wise to purchase a prepaid SIM card for the duration of your journey. This will likely be the cheapest way to use your phone in Iceland.

For EU citizens, depending on who you have your mobile phone plan with, you may be able to use your current SIM in Iceland – your service provider will be able to provide more details.

Global roaming can also be activated, but check with your service provider to find out about any fees you may incur, as sometimes this can be expensive.

What are the toilets like in Iceland?

Modern, flushable toilets are the standard in Iceland.

In terms of public toilets, Reykjavik and other major towns and cities have some, but along highways and at many tourist destinations – especially campgrounds and natural attractions – there is a lack of facilities. Expect to pay a small fee when visiting public toilets and, in busy months, expect queues in main tourist areas.

There have been recent occurrences of tourists resorting to other means in remote places and near tourist sites. We recommend being prepared and talking to your group leader if you have any concerns.

Can I drink the water in Iceland?

Tap water is considered safe to drink in Iceland unless marked otherwise. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water instead.

Are credit cards widely accepted in Iceland?

Credit cards are widely accepted in Iceland and are used frequently by locals to pay for just about anything. Paying with a credit card at shops, guesthouses, supermarkets, restaurants, cafes and on taxi rides shouldn't present a problem. Iceland is almost a cashless society, so cards are the best option; however, a lot of payments will require your four-digit PIN, so be sure to know this before you leave home.

What is ATM access like in Iceland?

ATMs are usually easy to find in Iceland's cities and villages and generally accept most foreign cards.

What is the weather like in Iceland?

Iceland’s temperatures are cool and do vary throughout the year. In winter months, minimum temperatures plummet to below freezing. In Reykjavik, summer temperatures average at around 11°C, while winter maximums are approximately 0°C. Rainfall is quite consistent throughout the year; between 25–50 mm per month, with most days experiencing some rainfall.

Is it safe to travel to Iceland?

Iceland is a very safe country to travel to and is one of the safest countries in the world.

Is Iceland safe for LGBTQIA+ travellers?

The people of Iceland have an open and accepting attitude to LGBTQIA+ communities, and Iceland is considered one of the world’s most LGBTQIA+ friendly countries. Since 2006, same-sex couples have had equal access to adoption and IVF, and in 2010 the Icelandic Parliament made a unanimous decision to define marriage as between two individuals. As might be expected in a small country, however, the gay scene is quite low-key, even in Reykjavik.

In 2012, more legislation was passed to formalize the name and identity-changing process for the needs of trans and genderqueer individuals. There is still a way to go to achieve full equality, but Iceland is, in many regards, leading the way globally.

For more detailed and up-to-date advice, we recommend visiting Equaldex or ILGA before you travel and reading more about the LGBTQIA+ culture in Iceland .

If you are travelling solo on an Intrepid group tour, you will share accommodation with a passenger of the same gender as per your passport information. If you don’t identify with the gender assigned on your passport, please let us know at the time of booking and we’ll arrange the rooming configuration accordingly. A single supplement is available on some tours for travellers who do not wish to share a room.

Is Iceland accessible for travellers with disabilities?

Intrepid is committed to making travel widely accessible, regardless of ability or disability. That’s why we do our best to help as many people see the world as possible, regardless of any physical or mental limitations they might have. We’re always happy to talk to travellers with disabilities and see if we can help guide them towards the most suitable itinerary for their needs and, where possible, make reasonable adjustments to our itineraries.

Because of its remote location and size, Iceland can prove difficult when it comes to accessibility for individuals with mobility issues. Some of the main sights, such as the Blue Lagoon, are wheelchair accessible, but many of the natural attractions have unpaved paths and unsteady terrain. Iceland has a dedicated information centre, Thekkingarmidstod Sjalfsbjorg , that provides up-to-date information on accessibility and accessible facilities in Iceland, as well as other related information.

If you do live with a visual, hearing or other impairment, let your booking agent or group leader know early on so they’re aware and suitable arrangements can be made. As a general rule, knowing some common words in the local language, carrying a written itinerary with you and taking to the streets in a group, rather than solo, can help make your travel experience the best it can be.

What to wear in Iceland

In summer, Iceland experiences cool but mild weather throughout the country, with maximum temperatures averaging around 13°C. It’s still important, however, to pack some warm clothing at this time, as temperatures at night can drop quite dramatically. In winter, some days barely reach over 0°C, so preparing for this is crucial. It can be wet and windy, and roads may be iced over, so thermal gear, a waterproof jacket and pants and sturdy walking boots are all highly recommended.

How do I stay safe and healthy while travelling?

Intrepid takes the health and safety of its travellers seriously and takes every measure to ensure that trips are safe, fun and enjoyable for everyone. We recommend that all travellers check with their government or national travel advisory organisation for the latest information before departure:

From Australia?

Go to: Smart Traveller

From Canada?

Go to:  Canada Travel Information

From the UK?

Go to:  UK Foreign Travel Advice

From New Zealand?

Go to:  Safe Travel

From the US?

Go to:  US Department of State

The World Health Organisation also provides useful health information.

Do I need to purchase travel insurance before travelling?

Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of their trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.

For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance

How will I be travelling around Iceland?

Intrepid believes half the fun of experiencing a new country is getting there, and getting around once there! Where possible, Intrepid uses local transport options and traditional modes of transport – which usually have less of an environmental impact, support small local operators and are heaps more fun.

Depending on what trip you're on in Iceland, you may find yourself travelling by:

All-terrain Unimog

To see all of Iceland, you’ll need some heavy-duty transport. This super-sized van will take you on glacier visits to admire these almighty ice caps up close.

Amphibian boat

Part truck, part boat, all adventure ­– cruise the Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon in a small group aboard one of these vessels, on land and lake.

What is it like travelling on a small group tour?

Whether you’re a seasoned traveller or you’re about to embark on your first trip, travelling can be as intimidating as it is exciting. That's the beauty of a small group tour. From handling the logistics and organising amazing cultural activities to local leaders who know each destination like the back of their hand (like which street has the best markets and where to get the most authentic food), travelling on a small group tour with Intrepid will give you unforgettable travel experiences without the hassle that comes with exploring a new place. Plus, you'll have ready-made friends to share the journey with. All you have to do is turn up with a healthy sense of adventure and we’ll take care of the rest.

Does my trip support The Intrepid Foundation?

Yes, all Intrepid trips support the Intrepid Foundation. Trips to this country directly support our global Intrepid Foundation partners Eden Reforestation Projects and World Bicycle Relief. Intrepid will double the impact by dollar-matching all post-trip donations made to The Intrepid Foundation.

Eden Reforestation Projects

Eden Reforestation Projects are helping to mitigate climate change by restoring forests worldwide; they also hire locally and create job opportunities within vulnerable communities. Donations from our trips support restoration across planting sites in 10 countries around the globe. Find out more or make a donation World Bicycle Relief

World Bicycle Relief provides people in low-income communities with bicycles to mobilise school kids, health workers, and farmers in far-out areas – giving them access to vital education, healthcare, and income. Donations help provide Buffalo Bicycles – specifically designed to withstand the rugged terrain and harsh environment of rural regions – to those who need them most. Find out more or make a donation

Tailor made Iceland holidays with the leading specialists

Iceland holidays.

Imagine driving through a land where volcanoes loom above vast icecaps or hiking through moss-clad lava fields to a waterfall crashing over 100m-tall cliffs. Imagine a coastline where black-sand beaches stretch as far as the eye can see, or where colourful fishing villages lie scattered like confetti through majestic fjords. Iceland's natural wonders and vibrant culture can be explored year round – from summer under the midnight sun to winter in the glow of the northern lights.

The world's leading operator to the Land of Fire and Ice, we've been creating Iceland holidays for 40 years. You won't find a more comprehensive or exciting collection of holidays to Iceland available anywhere.

Now is a great time to visit Iceland as a volcanic activity continues on Iceland’s Reykjanes peninsula. Travel writer William Gray talks to the experts to find out what’s really happening… Read our blog

Contact our Iceland experts now

01737 214 250

Personalised adventures. Trusted expertise.

Choose your Iceland holiday

Wonders of the south west.

from £1311 excluding flights

7 nights | Year round

This independent self drive focusing in the south and west offers a touch of class based at two of our favourite rural…

Northern Lights Special

from £1368 excluding flights

3 nights | Jan-Feb, Nov

Escorted | Short Break | Northern Lights | Solo Traveller | Winter Break

Based in countryside hotels, this popular small group tour combines the natural wonders of Iceland's south west with excellent chances to witness…

Essential Iceland

from £917 excluding flights

Self Drive | Classic Experiences

This easy going self drive showcases south Iceland's spectacular natural wonders.

Around Iceland

from £2142 excluding flights

14 nights | May-Sep

Tailor-made | Self Drive | Classic Experiences

This classic two-week fly drive itinerary takes in the best of Iceland's Road 1. Fjords, glaciers, volcanoes and waterfalls all feature.

Why now is great time to visit Iceland

Iceland is open and safe to visit, with the recent volcanic activity showcasing the extraordinary geological make-up of this country.

“We had a fantastic time in Iceland. Thank you for your quick change in sorting out our last hotel after our original one closed due to volcanic activity. We managed to go to the Blue Lagoon without any worries which we loved and actually seeing all the lava fields and recent volcanic activity was amazing, certainly something you don’t see every day!” Holly Madill, Iceland Self Drive, March 2024

Our Iceland Volcano Disruption Protection also offers added reassurance for our clients in location, as should the unexpected occur we are on call 24/7 to make any necessary alternative plans at no cost to you.

Iceland Trip Types and Experiences

Browse our Iceland holidays, which can be tailor-made to suit your interests, time-frame and budget. Whether you prefer escorted small-group tours or free-roaming self-drives, northern lights holidays, city breaks or summer hiking adventures, make sure your next holiday is with the specialists.

Northern Lights

Christmas and new year, short breaks, walking and trekking, whale watching, independent, wildlife and nature, read our blog, yes, it is certainly safe to travel to iceland.

As volcanic eruptions continue on Iceland’s Reykjanes peninsula, travel writer William Gray talks to the experts to find out what’s really happening…

The Volcanic Way – Iceland’s New Touring Route

Eight volcanoes. 1200 kilometres. 17 towns and villages. Iceland's Volcanic Way brings together the extensive volcanic areas of the south in a weeklong(ish) touring suggestion.

Planning a trip to Iceland

Just over 3 hours from the UK, this north Atlantic island has a unique charm and a cultural identity like no other. Travel during the summer months and the midnight sun gives rise to long days ripe for adventure. On a self-drive holiday choose winding coastal routes, easy-going circuits linking popular highlights or spectacular 4WD routes in the interior. Join a small-group escorted tour with an exceptional guide or stride out on a walking holiday through breathtaking scenery.

Visit in the winter months and our northern lights holidays offer the electrifying prospect of the seeing the aurora borealis as well as the opportunity to hike on glaciers, go snowmobiling or take an adrenaline-filled Superjeep ride off the beaten track. A winter self-drive is surprisingly accessible and of course, it’s less busy than summer, so you might well find a natural wonder all to yourself. Meanwhile, our small-group escorted tours take you in search of everything from orcas to ice caves.

Our Iceland holiday packages on this website are just a starting point. Our Travel Specialists can tailor-make your trip to Iceland to suit your individual requirements. Booking flights, car hire, accommodation and a range of activities including the Blue Lagoon. Get in touch with our team on 01737 214 250 to start planning or fill in our enquiry form .

Northern lights Holidays

We’ve been specialising in northern lights holidays to Iceland for four decades and know a thing or two about how to catch sight of this celestial phenomenon

Visible from late August through to mid-April, that’s eight months of opportunity for planning your Iceland holiday. We can tailor make a trip to see the northern lights or you can choose from one of our tried and tested holiday packages.

Stay in a countryside accommodation for optimum northern lights viewing perhaps combining with a city break. Our holidays are all about putting yourself in the best location to see the northern lights should they appear as well as enjoying exceptional experiences.

Where to go in Iceland

As the world's most northerly capital, Reykjavik never fails to delight, at any time of year. Blending Nordic heritage with modern, and distinctly unique style, this vibrant city can be reached in less than 3 hours from the UK.

South West Iceland

Easily accessible from the airport, this is the most visited region of Iceland. There is so much stunning scenery to explore, including the sights on the famed Golden Circle route and impressive waterfalls and glaciers.

South East Iceland

Also known as the ‘beautiful south’ – this region is dominated by the vast Vatnajokull icecap and many a glacier spilling out over the land.

East Fjords

A mesmerising mix of mountains, fjords and hidden waterfalls, the East Fjords are scattered with idyllic fishing villages, while routes north and south connect you easily to Icelandic icons.

North Iceland

A region of diverse and incredible natural beauty, the north of Iceland boasts thundering waterfalls, dramatic canyons, scenic fjords, rivers, lakes and striking volcanic features.

West Fjords

This is the oldest and wildest region – remote and stunningly beautiful with countless fjords, precipitous mountains, amazing coastal roads and hidden gems.

Snaefellsnes and the West

Snaefellsnes and West Iceland is the region beloved of artists, musicians, writers and anyone seeking Viking history and inspiration from nature at its most magical.

The Highlands

A vast and fascinating area, isolated, raw and rugged - once visited, never forgotten. Feel humbled by lofty scenery and nature's awesome talent. A 4WD, high clearance vehicle is an absolute must or explore on foot.

When to Go to Iceland

Despite its name and close proximity to the Arctic Circle, Iceland is not a frozen frontier perpetually locked in ice – a branch of the Gulf Stream brushes its southern and western coasts bringing mild Atlantic air across the country. This not only moderates the climate, but can also create changeable weather. You really can experience all four seasons in one day!

Iceland is a year-round destination, punctuated by two heavenly highlights: the midnight sun in summer and the northern lights in winter. But every season has its special appeal.

Iceland makes a brilliant location for a winter break. Spend a weekend away based in the secluded countryside, perfect for northern lights hunting at night and exploring the sights by day.

Spend your summer exploring under Iceland’s midnight sun. Travel one of the world’s classic drives, Route 1 – an irresistible loop around the Land of Fire and Ice with our Around Iceland holiday.

Things To Do on Iceland Holidays

With spectacular volcanic landscapes, a plethora of waterfalls and adventure around every corner, you should experience Iceland at least once in your lifetime. We’ve been travelling to this striking island for 40 years and every trip brings something new!

Get off the beaten track and lose count of waterfalls, geysers, fjords and volcanoes. Encounter orca, humpback, blue whales and more in Europe’s whale-watching capital. Discover a natural playground perfect for hiking and adventures for all the family.

Discover Our Way

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Top Tours in Iceland, Europe

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1. Iceland South Coast Full Day Small-Group Tour from Reykjavik

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2. Golden Circle, Blue Lagoon with Ticket and Kerid Volcanic Crater

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3. Reykjavik Food Walk - Local Foodie Adventure in Iceland

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4. Silfra: Snorkeling Between Tectonic Plates - meet on location

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5. The Original Classic Whale Watching from Reykjavik

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6. Dynjandi Waterfall & Iceland Farm Visit Tour

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7. #1 Northern Lights Tour In Iceland from Reykjavik with PRO photos

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8. 3,5-Hour Sightseeing Tour To Dynjandi Waterfall

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9. Lake Myvatn, Hot-Springs & Godafoss Waterfall Tour from Akureyri

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10. Cruise Tour from Djúpivogur:Glacial Lagoon-Stokksnes-Höfn

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11. Big Whales & Puffins RIB boat tour from Húsavík

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12. Golden Circle Classic Day Tour from Reykjavik

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13. Golden Circle and Secret Lagoon Full Day Tour from Reykjavik by Minibus

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14. Golden Circle, Volcano Crater and Blue Lagoon Small-Group Tour

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15. South Iceland Glaciers, Waterfalls and Black Sand Beach Day Tour from Reykjavik

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16. Golden Circle Full Day Tour from Reykjavik by Minibus

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17. New Volcanic Eruption Area Helicopter Tour in Iceland

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18. Puffin and Volcano Minibus Tour - Guided by Ebbi

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19. Fimmvorduhals Small Group Hike

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20. Reykjavik Food Lovers Tour - Icelandic Traditional Food

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21. Whale Watching in Húsavík with Friends of Moby Dick

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22. Golden Circle and Secret Lagoon Small-Group Tour from Reykjavik

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23. Glacier Hike, South Coast Waterfalls and Black Sand Beach Tour

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24. Speedboat Whale Watching Small-Group Tour in Reykjavik

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25. Lake Myvatn Day Tour and Godafoss Waterfall for Cruise Ships from Akureyri Port

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26. Golden Circle, Secret Lagoon and Kerid Crater Tour from Reykjavik

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27. Icelandic Horseback Riding Tour from Reykjavik

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28. Golden Circle, Sky Lagoon and Kerid Crater Tour from Reykjavik

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29. Twin Peaks ATV Iceland Adventure from Reykjavik

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30. Ice Cave Tour in the National Park of Vatnajökull

What travellers are saying.

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Experience the wonders of Iceland

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Iceland Holiday Packages

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We make sure that everything goes as planned on your business trip to Iceland.

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Group Travel

The best time you can have is when you share it with friends and family. Experience Iceland among the once you love and care about.

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How about sea angling in Iceland's Westfjords? Every year over 1,500 anglers come to the Westfjords to make their fishing dreams come true!

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Horse Riding

Discover Iceland on the back of an Icelandic horse and experience the country's nature in a unique way.

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Channel 5’s ‘Cruising with Jane McDonald’ visits Iceland

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Explore Iceland on one of these self-drive tours around the country. Various itineraries for all budgets.

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Discover Iceland's incredible natural wonders on one of these special guided tours.

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Discover the amazing Northern Lights in Iceland. Spend Christmas, New Year in Reykjavik or in the countryside.

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Daily flights all year around, only three hours away. Great city breaks to Reykjavik.

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Enjoy a luxury holiday in Iceland any time of year. First class hotels, the Blue Lagoon spa and fascinating nature to make a memorable holiday.

Northern Lights

Experience the magic of the Northern Lights this winter with one of these Northern Lights packages.

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Motorhome and Camper holidays in Iceland. Explore Iceland at your own pace!

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SPA & WELLNESS

Combine spa and nature in Iceland. Relax in the unique Blue Lagoon or Fontana Spa with breathtaking surroundings.

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Special interest

Hiking, biking, horse-riding tours, diving, bird-watching and much more. Discover the hidden secrets of Iceland.

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Experience the great wonders of Greenland during summer. Combine Iceland and Greenland for a great adventure.

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Day Excursions

Excursions and day tours to the Golden Circle, Northern Lights, Blue Lagoon, Whale watching and more.

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Sustainable travel

How can you make your Iceland holiday more sustainable? You can find tips on how to do this in our section on environmentally friendly travel.

Testimonials

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Vatnajökull National Park

Vatnajökull National Park is the largest of the three national parks in Iceland. The national park has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2012 and includes the Vatnajökull glacier, the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon and the Askja volcano.

Volcanic eruption near Grindavik

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DISCOVER ICELAND BY REGION

DISCOVER ICELAND BY REGION

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  • Good to know

How to Visit Iceland from the UK – Travel Tips

7 minute read

ITo Author Bio Max Transparent BG.png

By Max Naylor

19 January 2023

A man standing on the beach at Stokksnes, East Iceland

Picture rugged glaciers and rumbling volcanoes, deep fjords and mysterious black-sand beaches. Visit Iceland from the UK and discover this breathtaking wilderness right on your doorstep.

It might be geographically close, but the Land of Fire and Ice is packed full of surprises and wonders. See geysers firing boiling jets of water high into the sky. Glimpse the otherworldly Northern Lights. Or sample some truly unique delicacies you won’t find at home (fermented shark, anyone?). 

Before you do, though, get clued up on the practical info you need to know. Read on to find the answers to all your questions about travelling to Iceland from the UK. 

  • Explore these Iceland holidays from the UK to plan your trip.

1. How do I get to Iceland from the UK?

The only way to reach Iceland directly from the UK is by plane. That said, travelling to Iceland is really easy, with flights from across the UK taking you to Keflavík airport, Iceland’s international travel hub. 

From England, you can choose from regular connections from London, including Gatwick, Heathrow, Luton, and Stansted, or from Bristol or Manchester. Or, if you’re in Scotland, you’ll find planes to Iceland from Edinburgh and Glasgow. 

When you book with Iceland Tours, flights aren’t included in your package. That means you’ll have more flexibility on where you fly from and how much you pay. You can find cheap flights at Icelandair, easyJet, Play, British Airways, Jet2 and WizzAir.

How far is Iceland from the UK?

At their closest points, the distance between Iceland and the UK is less than 500 miles (about 790 kilometres). But if you’re travelling from further south, the distances are a little longer. It’s about 850 miles (1,350 kilometres), depending on where you measure from.

How long is the flight to Iceland from the UK?

The length of your flight between Iceland and the UK depends on where you’re flying from. 

If your flight leaves Heathrow, it’ll take about 3 hours 15 minutes to reach Keflavík. But a connection from Edinburgh to Keflavík will be a little shorter, about 2 hours 30 minutes. 

Flight times to Iceland from the UK

From other airports, you can expect these flight times:

  • From Bristol to Keflavík: 3 hours 10 minutes
  • From Manchester to Keflavík: 2 hours 50 minutes
  • From Glasgow to Keflavík: 2 hours 25 minutes

What’s the time difference between Iceland and the UK?

The time difference between Iceland and the UK changes between summer and winter. In the winter, the two countries are in the same time zone. But Iceland doesn’t change its clocks like the rest of Europe. That means that in summer Iceland is an hour behind. 

2. What do I need to visit Iceland from the UK?

A woman with a beanie standing in front of a waterfall in Iceland

What you need to pack for Iceland will change based on when you’re visiting and what you’re going to get up to. But in any season, you’ll find warm clothes, waterproof layers, and sturdy shoes are always a good idea.

What’s more, it’s always smart to check entry requirements and restrictions before you travel. Read on to find the answers. 

What are Iceland’s passport requirements from the UK?

If you’re visiting Iceland from the UK, check if your passport meets the requirements first. There are two things to look out for:

  • Your passport should be issued no more than 10 years before you enter Iceland
  • It should expire no more than 3 months after the day you plan to leave.

By the way, expect your passport to be stamped at Iceland’s border when you enter and leave. 

Do UK citizens need a visa for Iceland?

Most people who travel to Iceland from the UK won’t need a visa. But if you’ve been on a lot of trips to Europe lately, it’s worth checking how long you’ve been away, as this can affect your right to enter.

That’s because Brits can travel visa-free in Iceland and other countries in the Schengen area for a total of 90 days in every 180 days. That includes the whole length of your stay in Iceland. If you want to stay longer than 90 days, you will need a visa.

Find out more on the UK Government’s guide to entry requirements to Iceland . Or, if you need a visa, check with the Icelandic government what you need to do.

Can I drive in Iceland with a UK licence?

Unless you’re living in Iceland, there’s no need for any additional paperwork to hire a car in Iceland. As a tourist, you can simply use your UK driving licence as is.

What adapter do I need for Iceland from the UK?

Iceland uses the standard Europlug socket, that fits plugs with two round prongs. The adapter you’ll need is usually called a Northern European adapter or a type “C” or “F”.

3. What’s it like visiting Iceland from the UK?

A statue of Leifur Eiríksson in front of Hallgrímskirkja church

If you’ve never visited Iceland before, you’ll find it both familiar and surprisingly different. 

Most people speak English, and you’ll feel right at home in Reykjavík’s cafes and bars. Icelanders are friendly and welcoming, although they may seem a little reserved at first. Once they open up though, you’ll find that they have a dry sense of humour just like the Brits.

Iceland’s landscapes, architecture, and traditional local food will make you feel like you’re in a fascinating new world. 

How big is Iceland compared to the UK?

Iceland is a lot smaller than the UK, by pretty much any way you measure it. 

It covers an area of about 103,000 sq km (39,600 sq mi), which is slightly smaller than England at 130,000 sq km (50,300 sq mi). Meanwhile the whole of the UK is 243,610 sq km (94,060 sq mi).

The population of Iceland is 372,000, while the UK’s is 67 million. To put it in context, the size of Iceland’s population is roughly the same as that of Cardiff.

What Iceland lacks in size, it more than makes up for in pure wonder. With vast open spaces and a tiny population, it feels a lot bigger than it is. 

  • Related: How long does it take to drive around Iceland?

How expensive is Iceland compared to the UK?

You may have heard Iceland’s reputation for being a quite expensive country. According to one estimate , Iceland is the fourth most expensive country in the world, compared to the UK in 27th place.

That said, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the country without worrying about money. You could try camping during the summer months, or visit in the off-season, when prices tend to be lower.

  • Related: Is Iceland expensive? Your budgeting guide

What’s the weather like in Iceland?

As a nation at the edge of the Arctic Circle, Iceland can get cold. But if you’re coming from the UK, it might not be as cold as you think. 

In Reykjavík during winter, expect average lows of -2°C (28.4°F). It can get a lot colder, but that’s not so common. Most of the time, Iceland’s winter weather is comparable to what you’d experience in the Scottish Highlands.

iceland-clouds-mountain-snow-riccardo-chiarini.jpg.webp

Meanwhile, in summer, you can see temperatures rise as high as 20°C (68°F). If there’s a sea breeze though, it can often feel cooler than the thermometer suggests. With this in mind, make sure you pack a windproof outer layer.

The thing about Iceland’s weather (a bit like in the UK) is that it’s very changeable. You can experience every season – from snow to sunshine and gusty winds – in a single day. For enjoyable and safe travel, it’s best to be prepared and pack well!

If you’re planning to visit in winter, check out this handy packing guide so you don’t forget any essentials.

4. When should I visit Iceland and what should I do?

The best time to visit Iceland will be decided by what you want to do when you get here. The country offers everything from outdoor adventures and wildlife tours to cultural treasures and spa experiences.

When is the best time to visit Iceland?

It’s always a good time to visit Iceland. But what you can do here will change from season to season. 

For example, summer’s great for discovering Iceland’s wildernesses and national parks. At this time, the snow has retreated, opening up the whole country for you to explore. It’s also a great time for a whale watching tour, as many species of whale return to Iceland’s waters.

inside-ice-cave-iceland.jpg.webp

You’ll find Iceland in winter has its own joys too. See the Northern Lights, with its gorgeous colours against the dark winter sky. Or visit Iceland’s ice caves , for a different perspective on this pristine snowy landscape.

Spring in Iceland is the low season, when visitors are fewer and nature is blossoming. You’ll see that it’s a brilliant time for a road trip, particularly as prices are a little lower.

  • Related: When to visit Iceland: The best times to go

What are the best things to do in Iceland?

There’s so much to get up to on a visit to Iceland, whatever season you visit:

  • Relax in the soothing waters of the Blue Lagoon
  • Take a road trip around Iceland’s jaw-dropping Ring Road
  • Explore glaciers and waterfalls on the south coast
  • See geothermal wonders and historical sites around the Golden Circle
  • Try Icelandic food or sample cosy café culture in Reykjavík
  • Go whale watching or puffin spotting on a wildlife tour
  • Venture into Iceland’s rugged and remote highlands
  • Visit ice caves and lava tunnels to see Iceland’s fascinating geology
  • Stroll along cliff-tops or black-sand beaches on the Snæfellsnes peninsula
  • Marvel at the Northern Lights.

Find out more in our complete guide to Iceland .

  • Related: How long do you need in Iceland?

Explore the best of Iceland with Iceland Tours

Visit Iceland from the UK and discover a world of vast glaciers and enchanting beaches, snow-topped mountains and magical waterfalls. Whatever your travel plans, it promises a holiday you’ll never forget. 

If you prefer exploring alone, a self-drive tour of Iceland could be for you. Alternatively, on a group tour , you’ll share your experience with like-minded travellers.

At Iceland Tours we make your trip easy. Book a travel package with us and we’ll take care of your accommodation, travel within Iceland, and any added extras. Explore our holidays from the UK today. All you need is a 5% deposit to secure your booking.

  • Travel advice ,

About the author

Max has been back and forth from Iceland since 2009. He lived and worked there for several years, and although he’s moved away, he left a piece of his heart there. When he’s in Iceland, he loves to relax in the ‘hot pot’, chow down on some local food, and catch up with friends. He speaks Icelandic fluently, so if you need to know how to pronounce ‘Fagradalsfjall’, he’s your guy.

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Irresistible Iceland

8 days tour, reyholt | hraunfossar | barnafoss | snæfellsnes peninsula | seljalandsfoss | skogafoss | vik | skaftafell | jökulsárlón | reykjavik.

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Tour Overview

Due to fluctuation in accommodation/flight price supplements may apply to the  prices..

Please note children below the age of four are not permitted on this tour.

Tour Highlights

Golden Circle tour

Reykholt – Seljalandsfoss – Skogafoss

Snaefellsnes Peninsula

Black sand Beach – Vik

Skaftafell National Park

Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon

Fly Over Iceland Reykjavik

Tomato farm with Soup

Hraunfossar/Barnafoss

Plane wreck shuttle bus

Blue Lagoon comfort package with entrance

Price Includes

Return flights from London Heathrow Airport in economy class

Ground transportation in deluxe AC coach (without WC)

7 nights accommodation in 3/4* hotels with breakfast

7 Indian dinners, 

5 Indian lunches

Entrance and sightseeing as mentioned in Tour Highlights

All tips and service charge

Premium service of a Star Tours Representative

All airport charges and applicable fuel charge

ATOL Protection fee

Tour Itinerary

Other information, 2024 usd dates & prices.

Price per person based on 2/3 adults sharing a room

Child 4 - 11 years must share a room with 2/3 adults

Infants 0 - 4 years old are not permitted on this tour

Max occupancy per room is 3 person (excluding infants )

Single supplement will be an additional $585

Iceland– Icelandic Króna

Some stores's may accept Euros but the change would be given back in local currencies.

Additional Excursions

We design our itineraries so that all the necessary excursions and places of interest are included to give the passenger the best possible holiday at an affordable price. However, often, the tour representative or local ground operator will offer passengers additional excursions that are designed to enhance the holiday experience and are not included in the tour cost.

Breakfast will be provided at the hotels. The breakfast is usually in a separate dining area of the hotel and is usually a continental breakfast, which will consist of tea, coffee, bread, cereals, fruit and yoghurt.

Passengers can choose from vegetarian, or non-vegetarian (Jain or Halal will not always be available) meals. The meals are pre-set buffet, and a choice of menu is not available. Meals will be provided with tap water only.

Dinners are usually provided within the hotel or restaurant in a separate dining facility. You should always consult your tour representative if you are not sure of what ingredients a dish contains.

Not all hotels in this tour will have air-conditioning so you should carry a small portable fan with you especially during the summer months.

Please also note that not all hotels provide a kettle so if hot water is required for warming milk etc. in the hotel then it is advisable to carry a bottle warmer/kettle as well as a thermos flask. Passengers may also want to carry a small travel iron and hairdryer etc., as many hotel rooms may not have these facilities.

Some hotels will provide two single beds put together as a Double occupancy room, as this sort of configuration allows the hotel to use a room for multi-use, we do contract with such hotels, and you should be prepared for such eventualities.

If you use services such as the phone or mini-bar or pay TV whilst in your room, you will have to pay the hotel directly when you check out; these services are not included in your tour cost.

The maximum occupancy per room on this tour is 3 person(s)..

Other Advisories

Once in Iceland, you must carry your passport with you at all times.

High Altitude

You should only make trips to high altitudes if you feel healthy. The following recommendations apply:

Advanced age is no barrier to high altitude. For blood pressure patients who are well controlled with medication, the altitude is not a concern. Asthmatics can travel to high altitudes without any problems. High-altitude air is less polluted with particles that can cause an asthma attack. Epileptics who are well controlled with medication should be able to negotiate the altitude.

Pregnant women: There may be a certain risk for pregnancy even without pre-existing diseases over 2500-3000 metres. Caution is therefore advised if in doubt, please consult your doctor in advance.

Infants: Short-term stays at the mountain tops are unproblematic. Infants and young children are often unable to equalise pressure during descent and are therefore increasingly at risk of ear irritation. Regular swallowing (drinking, sucking on a bottle) during the descent can prevent the occurrence of irritation.

Because children can chill faster than adults, always pay attention to sufficient protection from the cold at high altitude. Sunglasses and a good sunscreen are necessary on the glaciers!

High altitude visits not recommended for:

Lung and heart patients who are already short of breath while at rest or when climbing stairs are advised not to stay at high altitude. Patients with angina pectoris or severely impaired performance with heart enlargement and heart failure should not visit high altitude. Coronary artery disease (angina pectoris) and heart enlargement with medical therapy should not visit high altitude. Patients with a pronounced risk profile for cardiovascular disease (smoker + high blood pressure + diabetes + high blood fats + overweight + occasional chest pain) should consult the doctor before visiting high altitude.

Do not stay at high altitude after having striated muscles or a stroke.

Pick up and Drop off points & Times

You should always follow the protocol for flights as set out by the airline. You should check the board at the airport for any flight delays, change of gate number or any other useful information provided by the airline.

Visas & Passports

UK and USA passport holders don't need a visa to visit Iceland

All other nationals should check with the relevant embassy.

For further information please refer below link:

https://visa.vfsglobal.com/gbr/en/isl

The Summers are light and the temperatures are mild. Above the Arctic Circle you can experience the Midnight Sun. Much of the Nordic countries are covered in snow during Winter; although snow is much rarer in the south and along the coast. During winter you will experience the dark season; above the Arctic Circle there will be a period without daylight. Thus increasing the chances of seeing the Northern Lights. Autumn offers an explosion of colours while Spring brings nature alive after a long winter. During Autumn and Spring you have the opportunity to visit some of the most popular destinations outside high season.

Wheelchairs & Child Seats

We will accept lightweight manual wheelchair for travel, subject to them being capable of being stowed in the luggage hold of the vehicle. It is also essential that a family member is also on tour to push the wheelchair. Star Tour’s will also request hotels for suitably equipped rooms; however, this is only on a request basis and cannot be guaranteed.

For us to request a wheelchair for you with the airline, this request should be made to us in writing at the time of booking. The allocation of the wheelchair will be at the discretion of the airline/airport.

In most of Europe, the use of child seats in coaches is mandatory for children under the age of 12 or who are shorter than 150 cm. Children under 7 years old or less than 125 cm tall must use a child seat with a harness or a restraint system. Children between 7 and 12 years old or between 125 and 150 cm tall must use a booster seat or a seat cushion. It is the responsibility of the child's parent or guardian to provide the appropriate child seat for their child.

Useful links

Home pick-ups.

The map below can be used to check the price of a home pick-up. The map shows the price bands for each area we service.

Unfortunately, there are no home pickup locations at this moment.

Pick-up points.

Below is a list of pick-up points available on this tour.

Early Bird Offers

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Small on the map and enormous in person, Iceland barely feels like Earth at all. Isolated in the frigid North Atlantic and forged through centuries of volcanic upheaval and tectonic shifting, Iceland is staggering to look at and otherworldly to explore. The outdoors provide all the action you need: towering mountain peaks scratch the sky, massive glaciers scrape the earth, sprawling icefields stretch beyond the horizon, and gorgeous fjords dazzle the eye. And when you've had enough, head inside in weirdly wonderful Reykjavík and discover how the people lucky enough to live here full-time live.

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  • Passports, travel and living abroad
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Warnings and insurance

Volcanic eruptions.

Recently there has been a series of volcanic eruptions on the Reykjanes peninsula in south-west Iceland. Stay away from this area.

For more details see Extreme weather and natural disasters .

Before you travel

No travel can be guaranteed safe. Read all the advice in this guide and any specific travel advice that applies to you:

  • women travellers
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If you choose to travel, research your destinations and get appropriate travel insurance . Insurance should cover your itinerary, planned activities and expenses in an emergency.

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Travel To Scandinavia

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Scandinavia Tours

Relax and enjoy our best-selling all inclusive Scandinavian Escorted Coach tours through beautiful Norway with its spectacular fjords, Sweden, Denmark and Finland, complete with fjord cruises, Flam Railway and extensions to Moscow and St. Petersburg...

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  • 12:06, 12 May 2024

This weekend, many parts of the UK have been blessed with a rare sight of the incredible Aurora Borealis thanks to an 'extreme' geomagnetic storm. Ribbons of light danced across the night sky delighting millions of people on Friday night, with clear skies and increased solar activity creating the perfect conditions for an incredible show. Arriving without warning for many of us on Friday night, those who didn't wait up for long enough to catch them, awoke to amazing images splashed across social media.

If you, like me, missed out on witnessing the patterns of brilliant light from the comfort of your garden, you could join the thousands of Brits who head out to see them in Iceland every year. With Jet2 offering city break holidays from £469 per person in October and TUI from £565 in January, there has never been a better time to enjoy the magic of the crystal clear Nordic skies.

There are also lots of affordable flight options , car hire and hotels , meaning that booking that once-in-a-lifetime trip to Iceland has never been easier or better value for money.

READ MORE: Shoppers can save up to £135 on 'smart looking' suitcase sets from upscale luggage brand Antler

Home to three UNESCO-designated world heritage sites, the Nordic country of Iceland is brimming with areas of historical and scientific significance, providing incredible vistas and outstanding value to humanity. From the regenerative qualities of The Blue Lagoon to the rugged wilderness of Þingvellir (Thingvellir) National Park, there are breath-taking experiences to be had at every turn.

Before you book your bucket list trip, we've compiled some useful information starting with some top tips for hunting the Northern Lights in Iceland :

  • Book a package holiday or a self-drive tour to ensure you don't miss out on any of the best viewing points.
  • Plan your itinerary before you go, and be sure it is safe to travel by looking at road and weather conditions.
  • Look for areas with a clear sky. The Northern lights are above the clouds so if it's cloudy, you won’t be able to see them.
  • The Northern lights are most visible after dark so look for areas without light pollution.
  • Check the forecast for Northern Lights conditions from the Icelandic met office before you head out.
  • Wrap up warm, you may have to wait around for the light show to start.

What are the Northern Lights?

The Northern Lights are an atmospheric phenomenon that causes undulating waves of green, purple, and red lights to dance across the sky. The colourful light show is caused by energized particles from the sun slamming into Earth's upper atmosphere at speeds of up to 45 million mph (72 million kph).

As violent as the science behind the phenomenon is, thankfully enough, our planet's magnetic field protects us from the onslaught, leaving us with some of the most dramatic and breathtaking vistas to be found anywhere on the planet.

Where is the best place to see the Northern Lights in Iceland?

In the Northern Hemisphere, the most visually impressive light displays are centred around the Arctic Circle, meaning that countries like Iceland, Canada, Scandinavia, Siberia and Greenland are the best places to see the lights dancing in the crisp, clear skies.

Thousands of visitors head to Iceland every year with hopes of hunting the Northern Lights, as well as discovering the diverse and beautiful landscapes with their volcanos, fjords, waterfalls, geysers, black sand beaches and steaming lava fields.

Vatnajökull National Park

Vatnajökull National Park is a protected wilderness area in south Iceland that is defined by the incredible Vatnajökull glacier, as well as ice caves, snowy mountain peaks, active geothermal areas and rivers, the Jökulsárlón lagoon with icebergs, and the Svartifoss and Dettifosis waterfalls. The huge nature reserve combines the beauty of the wild rugged landscapes with the potential to capture the most amazing views of the Northern Lights.

The 5,460 square miles of open space makes for very low levels of light pollution, meaning it's the perfect space from which to watch the colourful ribbons of the northern lights appear over the snow-capped hills and beyond.

The national park is approximately 200 miles away from the capital city of Reykjavík, and it can take between 4 and 7 hours to drive there depending on the weather conditions.

The journey is well worth it though and you can stop off along the way to visit places like Vík, Skógafoss and the black sands and hexagonal basalt columns of Reynisfjara beach.

Seltjarnarnes in Reykjavík

Most package holidays and tours to Iceland will incorporate a stay in the uber-cool city of Reykjavík. Despite being more built up than the wilds of the national parks, the town of Seltjarnarnes, which sits on the westerly edge of the city, is the perfect place to capture to light show without having to travel too far.

Most visitors to the town will head out to Grótta Lighthouse or to the Northern Lights viewing point at the Seltjarnarnes golf course, both of which are just a 10-minute drive from the centre of Reykjavík.

There is also the Kvika footbath to explore with its compact geothermal pool by the water's edge and the Sundlaug Seltjarnarness, a public swimming complex with hot tubs.

Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Snaefellsnes Peninsula is just a two-hour drive from Reykjavik and is one of the best places in Iceland to hunt for the Northern lights.

Famous for its diverse landscapes and incredible natural features, is it also home to the jaw-dropping Snæfellsjökull National Park with its glaciers, volcanoes, lakes and geothermal pools.

For travellers who can't wait to document their adventure, this part of the region is home to some of the most iconic landscapes Iceland has to offer, including Kirkjufell Mountain which was used as "Arrowhead Mountain" in Game of Thrones, Djúpalónssandur Beach with its black sand and lava rocks, the breathtaking Selvallafoss Waterfall, the historic Snaefellsjökull Glacier and the Hellnar Arch.

There are plenty of places across the peninsula that offer an incredible backdrop for a northern light show, including the golden sandy beach at Ytri Tunga, and the fjords of Breiðafjörður or Kolgrafafjörður

Þingvellir National Park

Þingvellir (Thingvellir) National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that straddles two continental tectonic plates that have shaped the landscape of Iceland over many millions of years.

Located just a 45-minute drive from Reykjavík it is often the first stop on the Golden Circle and is home to the Gulfoss waterfalls and a wealth of secluded spots from which to see the northern lights appear over the Silfra fissure and rocky lava plains.

Comprising 92 square miles of ravines, cliffs, waterfalls, volcanoes, and lava fields, Þingvellir offers plenty of opportunity to explore the rugged beauty of the region.

Reykjanes Peninsula

Located in the southwest corner of Iceland, the peninsula is a UNESCO-recognised Global Geopark where the landscapes and sites are of geological significance.

Many visitors to the region come to explore the vast lava fields, bathe in the geothermally heated spas or hike to the famous Fagradalsfjall volcano.

Perhaps the most famous attraction in Reykjanes is The Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa that is famous for its regenerative qualities. Swimming around in water temperatures as high as 39C, the water is rich in silica and sulfur and offers an excellent remedy for skin ailments and an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime experience for visitors to the peninsula.

The Blue Lagoon is just a fifteen-minute drive from Keflavík International Airport or a thirty-minute drive from Reykjavík.

When is the best time to see the Northern Lights?

Chances of capturing the light show increase during the winter months and guided tours run from around September to April. While the weather is undoubtedly very chilly, the long, dark nights with crystal-clear skies make it worth getting wrapped up for.

Where to stay

Most visitors to Iceland in the winter will base themselves in the capital city of Reykjavik with its interesting art scene, lively nightlife and bustling city streets. The northernmost capital in the world is also an excellent base from which to explore the incredible beauty and breathtaking landscapes Iceland has to offer.

According to TripAdvisor, the most popular hotels in Reykjavik include:

  • Tower Suites Reykjavik
  • ODDSSON Hotel
  • Reykjavik Residence Hotel
  • Reykjavik Lights by Keahotels
  • Sand Hotel by Keahotels
  • Black Pearl Hotel
  • Kvosin Downtown Hotel
  • Hotel Reykjavik Saga
  • Skuggi Hotel

Tour operators such as Jet2 offering three, four or seven-night city breaks to Reykjavik, including accommodation at some of the most popular hotels in the city.

How to get there

Visitors to Iceland who choose not to book a package holiday with a Northern Lights tour included could choose to opt for a cheap flight deal, separate hotel bookings and car hire instead.

Flights to Reykjavik depart from several UK airports and one operator in particular has some of the cheapest one-way fares available for the Winter 2024/2025 season.

EasyJet is offering flights in September from £31, October from £52, November from £42, December from £40, January from £40, February from £42 and March from £44.

British Airways , Icelandair , Norwegian Air , Jet2 and Play also fly from the UK to Iceland, but flights may not yet have been released for the winter season.

How to get around

Many visitors choose to explore the expansive landscapes of Iceland at their own pace on a self-drive trip.

Renting a vehicle lets adventurers choose the attractions they want to see, while also being more cost-effective and flexible than relying on public transport or organised tours.

Being in charge of your own journey also makes it easier to discover hidden gems tucked away off the beaten path, and in Iceland, there are many incredible sites to be seen away from the main roads and tourist highways.

The weather is also always a major factor to consider when visiting Iceland, and if conditions are inhospitable, having access to your own vehicle means you can change your plans without missing out.

Companies offering car hire from Keflavik International Airport, include:

There are also local companies who provide car hire in Iceland .

Some holiday companies will also offer self-drive holidays in Iceland , and will often throw in an itinerary for adventurers to follow to make the most of their time in the Northern landscapes.

British Airways offers a particularly good selection of dates and vehicle choices, with prices in December starting from £286 per person .

Tours and excursions

Many visitors to Iceland book themselves onto organised tours before they arrive. These types of tours and excursions are undertaken by experienced guides who have insider knowledge of all the best locations and experiences.

In a country that has so many incredible landscapes to explore, there are tours that attract every type of visitor, available to suit all budgets.

Unless your needs are very specific, most visitors will want to book a tour to take in the country's top attractions including The Northern Lights, The Blue Lagoon and the national parks.

As part of their low-cost Northern Lights packages, Jet2 offers unmissable tours that can be booked at the same time as your holiday.

Northern Lights Tour

This tour is included with all Jet2 Iceland city breaks, and local experts will determine the best spots for visitors to be in with a chance of spotting the dancing lights.

Golden Circle Tour

This 8-9 hour tour of the national park in Thingvellir lets you explore three of Iceland’s most popular attractions: Gullfoss waterfall, the spouting hot springs of Geysir and the national park of Thingvellir, the site of the Viking parliament. The tour also includes a visit to the Fridheimar tomato farm.

Blue Lagoon Tour

Journey to the Reykjanes Peninsula, where you’ll visit Iceland’s Blue Lagoon. Entrance to the lagoon is included, with 2.5 hours of free time allocated to spend there. This tour is very popular so travellers should book in advance.

South Short Tour

Visit the charming village of Vik, the island’s southernmost point, before marvelling at the spectacular cliffs that are home to nesting birds. See the mesmerising Skógafoss waterfall and stop off at the world-famous black-sand Reynisfjara Beach. Admire Seljalandsfoss waterfall, and weather permitting, you’ll get to venture into the cave behind to capture some amazing photos.

Jet2 city break holidays to see the Northern Lights start from £469 per person in October.

MORE ON Greenland Inc. Norwegian Air British Airways Weather City breaks Northern Lights Jet2 Tui Travel Group

NEWS... BUT NOT AS YOU KNOW IT

Major high street retailer launches its first ever own-brand food range with 34 ‘delicious’ items

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An image composition featuring shoppers, a WHSmith store and a wrap

WHSmith is traditionally where shoppers would go to grab the latest beach read , some new stationery, or a newspaper to flick through on the train.

But now it can also be where you head to buy your lunch or dinner on the go, as the retailer has just launched a new own-brand food range.

Called Smith’s Family Kitchen, the range features 34 new products and will be available in more than 300 of WHSmith’s UK travel stores, which are located in airports, train stations, motorway service areas, and hospitals across the country.

The retailer has almost 600 travel stores in total and is continuing to grow this arm of the business, which is helping to offset a decline in sales across high street stores and online over the last few years.

This new move is intended to give another boost to travel sales, giving customers ‘more reason’ to shop in WHSmith.

Items in the new range include sandwiches, salads, wraps , and baguettes with fillings such as falafel and hummus, Korean BBQ chicken with pickled slaw, and New York salt beef. There will also be dishes such as a Mexican naked burrito bowl with sweet potato and chipotle sauce. 

Prices for the products will vary, covering an array of ‘different price points’, but everything will be included in the retailer’s £4.99 meal deal.

WHSmith, Victoria Station, London, UK.

Not much else is known about the new products just yet, with packaging and imagery of the food being kept under wraps so far.

Andrew Harrison, managing director, UK travel, WHSmith said: ‘We’re on a mission to offer time-pressed customers all their travel essentials under one roof with a fast and convenient shopping experience. 

‘With millions of customers turning to WHSmith each year to fuel their journeys, we’re making our biggest investment in WHSmith’s food offer since we first started offering chilled food and drinks in our Travel stores more than 10 years ago, with the launch of a new and delicious food to go range.

‘Working with a team of chefs to tailor our range to ensure we’re using the best quality ingredients has been fantastic, and the team has done an excellent job with the look and feel of the new brand — it’s a really exciting time for the business.’

This change comes after it was revealed that WHSmith is helping to bring a little 90s magic back to the high street, by opening Toys R Us concessions in some of its stores.

The two brands have partnered to launch in more than 30 locations across the UK by the end of August 2024.

The books and stationery giant first announced it was teaming up with the iconic toy brand in 2022 and they trialled concessions in nine stores in York, Canterbury, Chelmsford, Cheltenham, Cwmbran, Oxford, Poole, Reading and Solihull.

Customers visiting the Toys R Us concessions in the lucky WHSmith stores will be able to discover and play with dedicated sections by age, interest and category.

The concessions will feature interactive experiences, demonstration tables and iconic visual elements throughout.

@whsmithofficial Toys R Us is back in the UK. Have you visited any of our new shop in shops yet?! #alwaysatoysruskid #toysrusatwhsmith #whsmith #toysruskid ♬ original sound – .

Each Toys R Us in WHSmith will feature a key range of products and activities from kid’s favourites including Bluey, Hot Wheels Barbie, Fisher Price, Paw Patrol, Lego, Peppa Pig Marvel and more.

The locations of the 30 new concessions have not yet been confirmed.

Toys R Us first launched in 1985 as the world’s first ‘toy supermarket’. 

But in 2017 the brand’s US parent company filed for bankruptcy, with the UK side going into administration the following year.

Despite months of rescue talks the iconic chain was forced to close all 100 of its stores, making thousands of people redundant.

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Iceland cruise demand surges after stunning Northern Lights displays across UK

A urora hunters have been rushing to research holidays to Iceland to catch the Northern Lights, new data suggests, after the phenomenon swept across the UK last week.

Cruise companies have seen a spike in people googling trips to Iceland , possibly to see the spectacular light display, according to research by Iglu Cruise.

The phenomenon, also known as the aurora borealis, was spotted across the country last week with Londoners stunned as bands of pink and green light could be seen over areas such as Hampstead Heath , Primrose Hill, Muswell Hill and Alexandra Palace.

The aurora borealis was visible all over the UK with spectacular photos flooding social media as people rushed into gardens and nearby parks to witness the display. 

Google Trends shows search data for cruises to Iceland has increased by 40% in May 2024 compared to 2023. 

Searches for “Northern Lights” have also shot up by 9,900% compared to last year.

Iceland is renowned for being one of the best destinations in the world for catching the Northern Lights.

Dave Mills, Chief Commercial Officer at Iglu Cruise said: “Demand for Iceland has been growing steadily in recent years. 

“The Northern Lights, the blue lagoon and Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach are just some of the world-famous sights to witness in Iceland. 

“Known as ‘the land of fire and ice’ the Nordic country is home to some of the largest glaciers in Europe and some of the world's most active volcanoes, making for an unforgettable trip.”

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Winter weather Dec 6th 2023

Money latest: Easiest countries for Britons to retire to revealed

Analysis has found the easiest countries for British retirees, taking into account culture, visa requirements, cost and more - with Ireland coming out top. Read this and the rest of today's consumer and personal finance news - and leave a comment - below.

Tuesday 21 May 2024 12:00, UK

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  • UK economy heading for 'soft landing' but mistakes have been made, says IMF
  • Grocery inflation at lowest level since October 2021, industry data suggests
  • Good news for drivers as oil prices hit two-month low
  • Two big moments this week - here's what's happening 

Essential reads

  • Easiest countries for Britons to retire
  • Britons should treat tea more like wine, expert says - as some secrets of improving flavour revealed
  • Money Problem : 'My second-hand Ford is being written off with a known issue - but no one is taking responsibility'
  • How to sell your home without an estate agent
  • Basically... What is the FTSE
  • Best of the Money blog - an archive

Ask a question or make a comment

The International Monetary Fund has said the UK economy is heading for a "soft landing", but reiterated its message to Jeremy Hunt that he should not have cut National Insurance at the last two fiscal events.

In its annual check-up on the state of Britain's economy, the Washington-based Fund raised its forecast for gross domestic product growth this year from 0.5% to 0.7%, saying: "The UK economy is approaching a soft landing, with a recovery in growth expected in 2024, strengthening in 2025."

The Fund now expects inflation to come down to close to 2% in the coming months, and the Bank of England to cut interest rates by as much as three quarters of a percent this year, and then another percentage point next year.

The chancellor welcomed the Fund's Article IV report, saying: "Today's report clearly shows that independent international economists agree that the UK economy has turned a corner and is on course for a soft landing.

"The IMF have upgraded our growth for this year and forecast we will grow faster than any other large European country over the next six years - so it is time to shake off some of the unjustified pessimism about our prospects."

Government 'won't meet its debt target'

However, the IMF, which has warned the government explicitly in the past not to cut taxes too fast, in the face of rising spending projections in future, said the two 2p National Insurance contribution cuts at the last two fiscal events were a mistake.

"In light of the medium-term fiscal challenge", the report said, "staff would have recommended against the NIC rate cuts, given their significant cost."

The Fund's staff also believes the government is not on track to meet its main fiscal rule, which commits it to cutting the national debt in five years' time.

It believes net debt will carry on rising towards 97% of GDP in the following years, instead of falling back to 93% of GDP, as the Office for Budget Responsibility has forecast.

The Fund's double-edged report comes amid improving news for the UK.

Data released two weeks ago showed the country ended its short-lived recession with faster than expected growth in the first quarter of the year.

The Office for National Statistics is expected to announce tomorrow that inflation dropped close to the Bank of England's 2% target in April. That may enable the Bank to begin cutting interest rates from their 5.25% level in June or August.

Bank should speak more

The Fund's report contained a number of other recommendations for economic policy in the UK, including that the Bank of England should commit to more news conferences to explain its decisions, and that the government should consider imposing road charges to replace the revenue lost from fuel duty as electric cars become more predominant on UK roads.

For many Britons, retirement means moving somewhere new.

New analysis from relocation experts Property Guides has found the easiest locations for retirees, taking into account culture, visa requirements, cost and more. 

Landing in the number one spot is Ireland, with a lack of visa requirements, English-speaking residents and relatively "safe and happy" environment.

Spain, Portugal and Cyprus claim the next three spots on the list.

However, Spain is high on the minimum annual income requirement.

"Spain's is one of the most expensive. It is currently around €27,000 (£23,000) per year for the first applicant. Just over the border in Portugal, it is less than €8,500 per year. Turkey's is the cheapest, working out at a little over £5,000, while Italy requires over €30,000," Property Guides says.

Turkey also came out well for the low cost of living - unlike New Zealand.

European countries in general offer visas aimed specifically at those receiving pensions or investment incomes, according to Property Guides.

Commonwealth countries such as Australia and Canada, however, actively restrict those over 55 from moving there, even if they have a high passive income (income such as pensions, that doesn't require a job). 

It becomes easier if retirees have children who are already legal residents.

"Golden visas", which encourage wealthy people to invest in a country, are becoming less common. 

"Most countries are now cancelling their residential investment option, including Cyprus and Portugal, and Spain will soon be closing its own. However, for now, you can still get one in Spain, Greece and Turkey, for as little as a €250,000 property, and these we have judged the easiest to retire to."

Property Guides also looked at health services. They took rankings from a Legatum Prosperity Index. 

"Top scorers were Germany, Italy and France, in that order. Bottom of the pile was the USA."

The research noted that state pensions are not uprated for retirees in Canada, New Zealand and Australia.

It also factored in "sunshine hours", with the top three being Cyprus, Portugal and the US. Ireland came last here.

By Sarah Taaffe-Maguire , business reporter 

Good news for motorists: oil prices are at a more than two-month low at $83.08 for a barrel of Brent crude oil.

Lower prices will likely filter down to the pumps in about 10 days.

But it's not such good news for those in the Brixham area.

The parent company of South West Water - who supplies the Devon area - said 15% don't have normal service.

Shares in Pennon Group, which also owns Bournemouth Water and Bristol Water, fell 6.7% after it reported flat pre-tax profit - £16.8m was recorded for the 2023-24 financial year, the same as 2022-23.

That's despite shareholders being in line for a higher payout of 44.37p  a share.

Drug maker AstraZeneca is one of the best-performing stocks on the FTSE 100 index of most valuable London-listed companies today.

After it announced it aims to double revenues by 2030, the share price rose 0.53%. 

If you're buying dollars, you can get $1.27 for your pound or €1.17. 

By James Sillars , business reporter 

Grocery inflation has eased to its lowest level since October 2021, according to industry data released before official figures tipped to show a big dent in the overall pace of price increases in the economy.

Kantar Worldpanel - which tracks supermarket till prices, sales and market share - said its measure of grocery inflation slowed to 2.4% in the four weeks to 12 May from 3.2% the previous month.

The measure showed there is still upward pressure on the cost of items such as chilled fruit juices, drinks, sugar confectionery and chocolate confectionery - the latter a consequence of poor cocoa harvests.

Prices were still falling fastest in toilet tissues, butter and milk, the report said. It has previously pointed to wider assistance in falling costs from a price war among supermarkets.

Fraser McKevitt, Kantar's head of retail and consumer insight, said: "Grocery price inflation is gradually returning to what we would consider more normal levels. It's now sitting only 0.8 percentage points higher than the 10-year average of 1.6% between 2012 and 2021, which is just before prices began to climb.

"However, after nearly two and a half years of rapidly rising prices, it could take a bit longer for shoppers to unwind the habits they have learnt to help them manage the cost of living crisis."

Read more on this story below ...

Airbnb has the highest percentage of scam-related reviews, according to new data.

8.5% of comments left on the holiday-let site warned about scams, travel payment website PayFasto said.

Trivago came in second with 7.5%, Hotels.com third with 6.5%,  Myholidays in fourth with 6.1% and Booking.com fifth with 5.8%.

PayFasto says it is essential to do your research before booking a holiday online.

"Sometimes, if a deal looks way too good to be true, it often is," the company said. 

"Make sure you do research on the site and make sure they have legitimate ways to contact them if you were in the position where you needed to. If the site has no contact options, then this is certainly a red flag. "

It also warned holiday-goers to look for the ATOL (Air Travel Organisers' Licensing) scheme on websites, which guarantees customers protection separate from insurance when booking a package holiday that includes a flight. 

Sky News has contacted Airbnb for comment.

Basically, the FTSE (short for Financial Times Stock Exchange) is an index of the 100 largest companies by market capitalisation listed on the London Stock Exchange.

The index, operated by a division of the London Stock Exchange Group, is often referred to by its nickname "Footsie" and was created in 1984.

Among the companies in it are BP, HSBC, Barclays, Glencore and AstraZeneca.

Figures are reviewed every quarter. At each review some companies will exit and others will enter. Promotion and relegation, just like in league football for example, depends on performance.

The value figure presented in the evening is the closing value of the FTSE 100 for that day - representing the combined value of the top 100 companies.

How to invest in FTSE 100

You can buy individual shares of FTSE 100 companies via a share dealing platform.

There is stamp duty of 0.5% to pay on UK share purchases.

Once you've bought shares, you will need to keep track of the markets. If the shares you buy go up in value, you'll make a profit when you sell them subject to any fees.

Losses are only crystallised if you sell below the purchase price.

Tracker funds (open-ended investment companies or exchange-traded funds) provide the easiest way of investing in the FTSE 100.

Trading hours are Monday to Friday from 8am- 4.30pm.

You may have read about the FTSE reaching record highs in recent weeks - but the London-based index is actually a relative laggard this year compared with rivals in the US, Japan and Germany.

Membership arguably doesn't hold the prestige it once did - and an increasing number of major companies are citing the fact they could be valued higher as a reason for snubbing London.

Shell last month indicted it could abandon the city for New York for this reason.

Is it the top British companies?

The index is chock-full of companies that have little or nothing to do with the UK - such as Fresnillo, a Mexican gold and silver miner; Antofagasta, a Chilean copper and gold miner; and Ashtead Group, a plant and tool hire company which derives £90 in every £100 it earns from the US.

Even companies thought of as British, such as BP, Rolls-Royce, BAE Systems, Shell and Diageo, the world's biggest scotch whisky and tequila producer, derive the vast majority of their earnings outside the UK. In fact, of the 20 biggest companies in the Footsie, only one - the Lloyds Banking Group - can be said to make most of its income in the UK.

For a better gauge of how corporate Britain is doing, investors are better off looking at the FTSE 250, the next biggest 250 listed companies on the London Stock Exchange and home to household names such as Bellway, Games Workshop and ITV.

Read other entries in our Basically... series:

Britons will, on average, pay £182.40 more a year for broadband and £94.80 for mobile after last month's hikes, according to research by Uswitch.

Price hikes in April mean monthly broadband bills have increased by an average £15.20 and mobile bills by £7.90, with customers who have stayed with their provider for more than five years being hit hardest. 

Mobile customers across both pay-monthly and SIM only contracts who have stayed with their provider for eight to nine years paid an extra £13.20 on their mobile bill last month - a huge rise in comparison with the national average price increase of £7.90, Uswitch reports.

Those who switched their provider less than one year ago were the best off, with their increases averaging out at £6.70.

Similarly, broadband customers who stayed with their provider for seven to eight years paid an extra £22.10 this month - significantly more than the national average price rise of £15.20.

Those who switched less than one year ago paid 23% lower than the national average.

This Uswitch chart illustrates the numbers...

"Customers seeing these price rises can still take action," says Sabrina Hoque, telecoms expert at Uswitch.

"Your provider will let you know when your contract is about to end, so don't be tempted to ignore these emails when they come through. Run a comparison or ring your provider up and negotiate a better deal."

We are a nation of tea drinkers – we drink around 100 million cups a day and 70% of us say we'd choose tea over alcohol.

But, on International Tea Day, experts have told Sky News that Britons should be treating tea more like wine.

One key thing not enough of us are doing is checking the back of the packet to see which country our tea is coming from.

Tea is grown in more than 60 countries, with the UK getting most of its supply from East Africa. All tea comes from the same plant – the Camellia sinensis – but where it is grown can really affect its flavour.

Let us know your tea tips, or how you make yours, in the comments section

"The black tea that we tend to drink here are blends, so you could have tea from seven different origins in one bag," the chief executive of the UK Tea and Infusions Association, Dr Sharon Hall, told the Money blog.

"You might have Kenyan tea in there for that really good colour but you might also have teas from Assam in there to give it that really malty flavour which we as consumers love in the UK.

"Depending on where that tea bush is grown, whether it's up high in the Himalayas or down low, the tea leaves off that will really have a different flavour profile. It's just like wines," she added.

If you look on the packet, it should tell you the origins of the tea you are consuming.

According to the Teabackyard website , the following regions have these flavour profiles...

Assam . Assam tea grows in tropical lowlands in the Assam region in India, near the Brahmaputra River. This produces a malty, chocolatey flavour. 

Ceylon . Ceylon tea is cultivated in Sri Lanka. Some tea plants are grown at up to 6,000 feet. The flavour is said to be spicy, chocolatey, and citrusy.

Kenyan . Kenya's black tea plants grow in lush green plantations located in lowland regions. This tea is often used in tea blends to provide a robust base because it is strong and full-bodied. It is a tea that almost needs milk to tame down its "bite".

Keemun . Keemun tea is grown only in the Anhui province of China. Some in China claim this was the first breakfast tea - and it is now used in tea blends too. It is a lighter-bodied black tea with a more delicate taste and isn't usually used as a base tea. Hints of smoky maltiness come through in flavour, with a subtle floral aroma.

Two teabags?

Dr Hall said two teabags was quite typical of the UK's habits, with the majority of Britons preferring a strong brew.

Despite this, data from the UKTIA shows only 7% of people brew their tea for the optimal 3-4 minutes suggested by many black tea brands, and nearly a fifth only leave the bag in for less than a minute.

Dr Hall insists tea hasn't become weaker, so if you are using two tea bags, it might be time to check the packet to see what your recommended brew time is and giving that a go to get the "optimal flavour". 

"Really in terms of the flavour you get out of those blends, they are very brand specific, like a stronger black tea you might find a brand that delivers that. But in terms of strength, that is really to do with brew time and how you prepare your tea," she explained,

She said that for green tea, she might brew the bag for slightly less time, but she likes to leave her black tea for a good five minutes.

If you are still struggling to make the perfect cup of tea, Dr Hall suggests a key ingredient could be how you boil your water.

One element that she emphasised in particular is using a "smart boil" system to make your tea – basically, measure out the amount of water you need and only boil that amount.

Not only does it save you money, it also means there is more oxygen in your water which "excites the flavours out of the leaves", meaning it could help to make your tea more flavourful, she said.

Your favourite mug, adding the milk after the water, and taking five minutes to relax are also key, she said.

UKTIA has released its latest UK "tea census" today - here are some of the key findings:

  • 70% of Britons are choosing tea over booze;
  • The age group most likely to choose a cuppa over alcohol are 30-44-year-olds (81%);
  • 18-29-year-olds are more likely (72%) than 45-59-year-olds (64%) to pass up alcohol in favour of tea;
  • Sweet biscuits are the most popular snack pairing (48%), followed by a chocolate biscuit, cake, a sandwich and chocolate;
  • Britons' preferred types of tea are black tea (84%), green tea (60%), peppermint (46%), ginger (43%), chamomile (37%), lemon balm (22%) and spearmint (20%);
  • Around 40% of people say putting on the kettle helps to encourage someone to open up, according to the UKTIA.

HMRC is reportedly using AI to recruit staff , with some not speaking to a human until their first day.

The hiring process for some junior roles - including customer service adviser - are being done virtually with candidates asked to send a CV and 1,000-word statement to an email address and then answer six questions from a pre-recorded video, according to The Sunday Times .

One current HMRC employee who went through the process told the newspaper it was "so daft and the questions themselves were waffle".

HMRC said that for entry-level roles, recruitment processes were automated to manage the higher level of applicants it received.

Ryanair has reported another year of record profits and passenger numbers.

At the same time, the average fare at the airline, which is Europe's largest by passenger numbers, was 21% more expensive than 12 months earlier, its annual results showed.

But the company suggested a cut in ticket prices could be on the way after this summer when prices will either be the same or more expensive than last year.

Annual profits reached €1.92bn (£1.64bn), surpassing the previous record of €1.45bn (£1.26bn) made in the year ending March 2018.

Read the full story here ...

Business flights to and from the UK have decreased by nearly a third  since the COVID pandemic.

Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and examined by the New Economics Foundation found there were 29%  fewer trips in 2023 than in 2019.

In total, businesses shelled out around £2.9bn less on air travel in 2023, a 22% decrease from four years earlier, according to City AM.

"Business use of air travel peaked in 2007 and has fallen further since the pandemic. Today, growth causes major damage to our climate while benefiting only a tiny group of airport owners and wealthy frequent flyers," Alex Chapman, senior economist at the New Economics Foundation, told the newspaper.

The number of 56-65 year olds looking to buy their first home has grown by 13% in the first quarter of this year.

The average age of a first-time buyer is 33 - but 2.2% are now in the 56-65 age bracket.

This compares with 44.8% aged 18-30 and 35.6% aged 31-40, according to data from Legal & General.

Further analysis found the average loan searched for at the end of 2023 and beginning of 2024 increased by 3.7% from £214,299 to £222,148, pointing to the fact buyers can afford larger loan values due to inflation dropping and monthly earning increasing.

Kevin Roberts, Legal & General Mortgage Services managing director, said: "Our figures show that the desire to own a home remains strong, even for those who are waiting longer to take those first steps onto the property ladder. 

"As affordability begins to ease, we'll likely see further activity in the first-time buyer market, especially if inflation continues to fall and the Bank of England reduces its base rate later in the year." 

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Vladimir Putin tours ‘Little Moscow’ as he trumpets deepening ties with China

Russian leader’s visit to northeastern harbin city with xi jinping is meant to symbolise growing strategic, economic and cultural ties, article bookmarked.

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Vladimir Putin kicked off his second day in China with a visit to Harbin city as the Russian president trumpets deeping economic and strategic ties between the two powerful neighbours.

Harbin in the northeastern Heilongjiang province, which borders Russia’s Far East , has deep social, economic and cultural ties with its neighbouring country. The city was once known as “Little Moscow ” for its substantial Russian population and cultural influence.

It remains a centre of Sino-Russian cooperation.

Mr Putin’s itinerary in Harbin includes attending the 8 th Russia-China Expo and the 4 th Russia-China Forum on Interregional Cooperation. He’s expected to be joined at these functions by his counterpart president Xi Jinping.

Mr Putin will also meet students and faculty at the Harbin Institute of Technology.

The Russian leader arrived in China for a state visit on Thursday. He met Mr Xi and signed a 7,000-word joint statement heralding a “new era” of partnership covering a range of political, economic and strategic interests.

The “no limits relationship”, as Moscow and Beijing have previously described it, is aimed at counterbalancing Western, especially American, influence in Asia and Europe.

The statement condemned the US and its allies for their “intimidation in the military sphere” against North Korea , which has strengthened its ties with Moscow in recent years and is accused of being a major supplier of weapons for Russia’s war in Ukraine . Mr Putin hosted leader North Korea’s Kim Jong-un last year .

On Thursday Mr Putin and Mr Xi also attended a gala celebration marking 75 years of diplomatic relations between their countries and gave speeches at the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing.

“I am very sorry for talking for so long, not allowing the translator to speak,” Mr Putin said at one point during his speech. “I’m just feeling so much at home and thought that everybody understands Russian here.”

Mr Xi and Mr Putin spent some leisure time at Zhongnanhai, a government complex in Beijing similar to the US White House.

They strolled and held "in-depth exchanges on strategic issues of common concern" over a cup of tea, Chinese news agency Xinhua reported. The discussion included the Ukraine war.

Mr Xi bid Mr Putin goodbye with a hug as they concluded the first day of the Russian leader’s two-day visit.

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