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Iceland: The best way to see the Nordic island nation

This guide will help you decide between car rental, cruise, and organized tours.

August 12, 2022

Iceland is one of the most captivating countries in Europe. This Nordic island nation is a melting point of volcanoes, geysers, glaciers, hot springs, and lava fields. After a day devouring the dramatic sights, you can indulge in some rest and relaxation in the geothermal pools. Today’s article is going to help you decide the best way to see Iceland.

Highlights of Iceland

Here is an overview of the typical sights you will want to experience in Iceland.

  • Reykjavík
  • Golden Circle (Þingvellir National Park, Geysir Geothermal Area, and Gullfoss Waterfall)
  • Vatnajökull and Snæfellsjökull national parks
  • Blue Lagoon and Secret Lagoon
  • Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon
  • Lake Myvatn
  • Reynisfjara black beaches
  • Whale watching (April until September)
  • Northern Lights (winter)


Cruising is always an exciting means of discovering a destination and Iceland is no different. Cruises in Iceland take you up close to the fjords and glaciers while increasing your odds of sighting marine birds and mammals including whales. Expeditions aim to educate you on the unique geology of the country and the history of the Vikings in Iceland. Cruises typically run from late May to early October.


  • Major providers such as Princess, Viking, and Hurtigruten to name a few mean that there is a cruise to suit all travelers’ needs and exemplary liveaboard conditions are to be expected
  • Cruise routes often overlap with Norway so you can expect to add two stamps to your passport


  • Restricts the number of inland sights and reduces cultural immersion
  • Cruises are not available during the winter months when the likelihood of seeing the northern lights increases

Car rental

Renting a car and self-driving your way around Iceland is one of the popular ways of exploring the island. This gives you complete control over your itinerary and where and for how long you stop. You can select your choice of accommodation in each town or even opt to rent a campervan for an off-the-grid experience. Icelanders drive on the right and an international permit is not required to rent a car. But you must remember to keep your headlights on at all times as per Icelandic laws.


  • The most independent way to see Iceland
  • Road rules in Iceland are not complicated to get your head around


  • You may lose out on gaining knowledge about the country without the help of a tour guide
  • Winter weather is unpredictable and extreme so you will need to prepare thoroughly if you choose this time of year to visit Iceland

Organized tour

Organized tours are another attractive way of exploring Iceland. These run from as little as two or three nights to three weeks. That means that you have the option to book several day tours as a hybrid with self-driving. Tours run all year round and are designed to suit the seasons; during the winter months, you can join escorted tours to witness the northern lights. Meanwhile, summer tours are geared towards hiking.


  • Guided tours are ideal for winter visitors seeking a glimpse of the northern lights and save you from navigating the challenging road conditions
  • Most tours depart from Reykjavík which is convenient for incoming travel


  • Less flexibility – it’s important to compare different itineraries in full before making a decision
  • This is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to planning your Iceland adventure. Contact me to discuss your personalized options in full.
Ready to embark on your own journey to the extraordinary?