With its huge glaciers and volcanic landscape, Iceland is a country of unique and otherworldly beauty. Rugged, remote and sparsely populated, this place is so out there you’ll soon run out of adjectives to describe its visual splendour. Best to just sit back and take it all in, whether that’s thundering waterfalls like Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss, geothermal phenomena like Strokkur and lake Víti or charming Reykjavik, Iceland's colourful capital.
Whether you come for the incredible landscape, the Northern Lights or the legendary Reykjavik nightlife, Iceland is unique. You won’t tick the lot off in one trip, but our round-up is a good place to start.
Marvel at the iconic Sagrada Familla in Barcelona.
Gaudi’s majestic creation has been wowing crowds since it first began construction in 1882. Since then, multiple architects have taken up the reins on the project, some honouring Gaudi’s original designs, other’s redefining the creation completely. The multiple and varied facades of the building, plus its sheer size and majesty, make it a must do for any traveller visiting Barcelona.See all trips that visit Barcelona
Indulge in traditional Andalusian delicacies in Seville.
Seville is renowned for its gastronomic offerings, and whilst the traditional dishes may be simple to prepare, they’re bursting with fresh regional flavours. Gazpacho, Pescaito frito and Huevos a la Flamenca are all famed Andalusian specialities, or for those preferring traditional tapas, Seville has around 4,000 tapas bars to choose from – take your pick!See all trips that visit Seville
Live like a King in the Royal Palace of Madrid.
Get a glimpse of life as the other half live with a guided tour of the Royal Palace in Madrid. The largest palace in Europe, the Palacio Real de Madrid is the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family, though is only used formally for state ceremonies. Gorge your eyes on the many works of art by famed Spanish painters as you delve a little deeper into Spain’s rich history.See all trips that visit Madrid
Party till dawn in the clubbing mecca of Ibiza.
Nowhere on Earth will you experience clubbing quite like Ibiza. Home to some of the world’s most infamous clubs, come and join the party as night after night revered world class DJ’s play their hearts out to adoring crowds. Get into the mood with sunset cocktails at Café Del Mar then party till sunrise at Space, DC-10 or Ibiza Rocks.See all trips that visit Ibiza
Bask in sunlight on Barceloneta Beach.
Some cities are fortunate enough to have the perfect city/beach balance, and Barcelona is one of them. Whilst Barceloneta Beach may be man-made, the water is clear and refreshing and the beach is alive with travellers and locals alike chatting, swimming and generally loving life. Spend long leisurely lunches in the surrounding cafes and restaurants, hire bikes or rollerblades or just relax in the sunshine.See all trips that visit Barcelona
Explore the Islamic inspired fortress of Alhambra.
Rising from woods of cypress and elm, the Alhambra reigns supreme on the hillside of Gibraltar. Born in the 11th Century and then further developed over the 14th and 15th century’s, the fortress holds an extensive network of lavishly decorated palaces and irrigated gardens and gives those who visit it a glimpse into the rich history of the Spanish empire and the influence both Islam and Catholicism had on the Alhambra’s design.See all trips that visit Gibraltar
1. Food & Fun Festival, Reykjavik – This yearly weeklong festival sees some of the world's best chefs collaborating with Reykjavik's best restaurants to dish up some unimaginably tasty cuisine, using exclusively Icelandic ingredients. Throw in the legendary Reykjavik nightlife and you have one of the capital's biggest parties!
For more information on the Food & Fun Festival, click here.
2. Bræðslan Music Festival, Borgarfjörður eystra – If you like your festivals small and intimate, you can't do much better than Bræðslan. Held in a former fish factory in a remote village on Iceland's east coast, it features a cosy lineup of Icelandic performers, with a smattering of international names.
For more information on the Bræðslan Music Festival, click here.
3. Sónar Reykjavik – Sónar Reykjavik operates on the same principle that made the original Barcelona event so successful: cutting edge music from some of the most respected names in international electronic and dance music. It's held annually in February, in the strikingly modern Harpa concert hall on Reykjavik's waterfront.
For more information on the Sónar Reykjavik, click here.
4. Reykjavik Art Festival – Founded in 1969, this wide-ranging multi arts festival is an Icelandic cultural institution. It takes place each May, with a large number of performances and exhibitions hosted at venues across the city, from concert halls and theatres to public spaces and even people's houses!
For more information on the Reykjavik Art Festival, click here.
5. Thjodhatid Festival, Westman Islands – Iceland's largest festival takes place over a holiday weekend in late July or early August, promising music, dance and general boozy carnage. Its spectacular Westman Islands location provides an incredibly picturesque setting for the year's most memorable hangover.
For more information on Thjodhatid Festival, click here.
1. The Herring Era Museum, Siglufjörður – Located in Siglufjörður, the former capital of Iceland's herring fishing industry, this award winning museum gives visitors a glimpse into the life and times of the country's one-time backbone. It's spread over several buildings, covering everything from the herring salting process to harbour life.
For more information on the Herring Era Museum, click here.
2. The Open-Air Folk Museum - Arbaejarsafn, Reykjavik – This popular open-air museum was founded in 1957, and is one of the most popular things to do in Reykjavik. Located in the outskirts of the city on an old farm, it documents traditional Icelandic life with a collection of old and restored buildings, many of which were relocated from the city center.
For more information on The Open-Air Folk Museum - Arbaejarsafn, click here.
3. The National Museum of Iceland, Reykjavik – Iceland's national museum gives an overview of the country's history and culture from the Settlement Age to present day. Highlights include the fabled Valþjófsstaður Door, a splendid carved wooden church door dating from the 13th century that depicts a variation of the Lion-Knight legend.
For more information on the National Museum of Iceland, click here.
4. Einar Jónsson Museum, ReykjavikThis museum is dedicated to the work of Einar Jónsson, Iceland's first contemporary sculptor. The building itself was designed by the artist himself as a live-work space, and features a collection of well over 100 of his works.
For more information on the Einar Jónsson Museum, click here.
5. Reykjavik Maritime Museum – Housed in a former fish factory in Reykjavik's old harbour, the Reykjavik Maritime Museum is a go-to location for anyone with an interest in Iceland's maritime history. Chief amongst its attractions is the former coast guard vessel Óðinn, which has been converted into an exhibition about the Cod Wars of the 20th century.
For more information on the Reykjavik Maritime Museum, click here.
Geographically isolated from continental Europe, Iceland's cuisine is rooted in the foods and techniques brought by its Viking settlers. Traditionally, fish and meat run the game, supplemented by a range of cured goods and dairy products like skyr, a yoghurt-like substance with a milder flavour. Modern Icelandic cuisine makes far greater use of fresh vegetables, with top quality produce and distinctive ingredients like seabird (yes, really) and Icelandic moss (ditto) giving it an identity all its own.
Hot dog – A must-try Reykjavik food, the Icelandic hotdog is distinguished from its international counterparts by the addition of the country's top quality lamb. Popular toppings include crispy deep-fried onions and sweet brown mustard.
Best eaten at – Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur, Tryggvagata 101, Hafnarstræti, Reykjavík
Smoked puffin – Puffins may be cute, but unfortunately for them - they're also delicious! You won't find smoked puffin on the menu in any country, so now's your chance!
Best eaten at –3 Frakkar, Baldursgata 14, 101 Reykjavík
Hákarl – With its intense flavour and rank aroma, hákarl is the most notorious of Icelandic delicacies. It consists of Greenland shark, fermented and then hung out to dry for several months. Only the strong of stomach need apply!
Best eaten at –Kolaportid Flea Market, Tryggvagötu 19, Old Harbour, Grófin, Reykjavík
Kjötsúpa – Rich and filling, this hangover-busting meat soup is made from winter vegetables such as leeks, carrots and rutabaga, simmered with fresh herbs and a generous helping of Iceland's legendary lamb. Trying it is an Iceland travel 2015 essential!
Best eaten at – Café Loki, Lokastígur 28, 101 Reykjavík
Harðfiskur – Hard and flaky, this wind-dried fish is a ubiquitous Icelandic snack and perhaps the least challenging of the country's preserved foods. Cod, haddock and flounder are the most commonly used candidates.
Best eaten at – Grillmarkaðurinn, Lækjargata 2A, 101 Reykjavík
Hiking boots - Whether you're hiking the Laugavegur trail or exploring Thingvellir National Park, a pair of sturdy hiking boots will put you in good stead.
A copy of Journey to the Center of the Earth - Read this book here and you'll understand why Jules Verne used it as the setting for his famous science fiction novel.
Plenty of money - Iceland's costs of living are amongst the highest in the world, so be sure to have your readies at the ready!
Sunglasses - Whether it's the long summer daylight hours or the low angle of the sun in winter, you won't regret the decision to pack your shades.
Warm clothing - It's chilly here in winter, so a jacket, scarf and hat are a must. Don't let the shivers ruin that once in a lifetime encounter with the Northern Lights!