Hidden Gems: Iceland – With its breathtaking coastlines, contrasting natural wonders, and ancient mythology, Iceland is a natural addition to our Hidden Gems destination list.
Iceland is a Nordic Island nation that perfectly blends adventure and tranquillity. Its dramatic landscape combines majestic glaciers, volcanoes, rugged mountain ranges, thermal geysers, ice fields, and a stunning coastline marked by fjords and sea stacks. Its capital Reykjavík (“Bay of Smokes”) is a vibrant, handsome city in abundant culture, art, and history and its coastline is peppered with charming and quaint towns. The country’s commitment to preserving its natural beauty is evident in its pristine wilderness areas and it offers a myriad of unique wildlife and nature experiences to the intrepid traveller.
Iceland is known as ‘the land of ice and fire’, a reference to the many glaciers and volcanoes that have sculpted its enchanting and intoxicating landscape.
Iceland is located between the Greenland Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, 1,200 km or 750 miles northwest of Scotland, it’s nearest neighbour.
Icelandic people are known to be self-reliant, creative, and quite reserved. They can trace their roots back to Norse settlers who arrived in the 9th century. Its remarkably homogenous population amounts to approximately 373,000.
The Icelandic tourism industry currently contributes about 10% to the country’s total GDP. In 2017 alone, there were more than 2 million visitors to Iceland, the highest number of tourists to have ever entered the country.
What makes Iceland unique
It’s the extreme contrasts in Icelandic nature that make it unique. As well as being home to some of the largest glaciers in Europe, it is also home to some of the world’s most active volcanoes. Its physical isolation and mysteriousness also add to its unique appeal.
Best places to visit in Iceland
- Jökulsárlón glacial lake
- Reynisfjara beach
- Thingvellir national park
- Lake Myvatn
- The Great Geysir (geyser)
- Gullfoss waterfall
- Aurora borealis (Northern Lights)
Iceland is perfect for those who like an equal combination of stark nature and ancient culture in their travels and yearn to visit somewhere unique.
Best time to visit
Although the offshore Gulf Stream provides a surprisingly mild climate for what is one of the northernmost inhabited places on earth, it is advisable to visit Iceland during its summer months. However, if you are traveling to see the Northern Lights, between September and March is the best time.
Flying private to Iceland
Chartering a private jet for your trip to Iceland will ensure a memorable and hassle-free travel experience. Customize your trip to your exact requirements with tailored itineraries and enjoy ultimate luxury and exclusivity.
Keflavík International Airport
Keflavík is the main international airport, and the arrival point for most international travelers to Iceland. It is located west of Keflavík and 50 km southwest of Reykjavík.
- IATA code: KEF
- ICAO code: BIKF
- Coordinates: 63°59′06″N 22°36′20″W
- Elevation: 52 m / 171 ft
- Fuel: Jet A1 is available
- IATA code: AEY
- ICAO code: BIAR
- Coordinates: 653924N 0180419W
- Elevation: 7 FT / 14° C
- Fuel: Avgas
- IATA code: EGS
- ICAO code: BIEG
- Coordinates: N65°16.56′ / W14°24.59
- Elevation: 76 FT / 15.1° C
- Fuel: Avgas
- No prior permission is required for private flights of aircraft registered in states which are parties to the Chicago Convention
- The information contained in the flight plan is accepted as adequate advance notification of the arrival of incoming aircraft and must be transmitted at least two hours in advance of arrival
- Prior permission is required for private flights operated in Icelandic territorial airspace with aircraft registered in states not party to the Chicago Convention with applications submitted no later than 48 hours prior to the estimated time of departure
- Parking is available subject to your schedule
Iceland is served by many full-service airlines as well as low-cost carriers with direct flights from Europe, the U.S. and Canada.
- Nationals of Schengen countries do not require a tourist visa, other nationalities require a visa to enter. Click here for more information
- Non-Schengen tourists are advised to apply at least three weeks ahead of their trip to ensure they get their visa on time (the earliest you can apply is six months before and latest is two weeks before) For more information, click here
- Icelandic tourist visas can be valid for up to 90 days within a six-month period (but this depends on the embassy or consult processing each visa) and cost 80 EUR
There are no vaccination or PCR requirement for visitors to Iceland.
- Iceland favors cashless payments so there is no need to bring cash, your debit or credit card will be accepted everywhere
- Be prepared for incredibly changeable weather! Iceland can go from sunshine to torrential rain to gale force winds, all in the space of a few hours
- Whatever time of year you visit, keep an ear out for weather and road closure alerts, but this is essential if visiting outside the summer season
- If you plan on driving, familiarize yourself with your route and the roads systems. Secondary roads in Iceland are called F-roads and require a 4×4 or 4WD
- Always book everything in advance
For more Hidden Gems, visit the UAS Blog