Travel

31 Epic Sights from Iceland Cruise Excursions

There are very few places remaining on earth that allow you to see nature in all of its undisturbed glory, but that is exactly what you will find throughout most of Iceland. When taking an ‘Around Iceland Cruise’, you will have access to breathtaking views, as well as the opportunity to explore all that the rugged islands have to offer. Just take a look at the stunning view from the deck of the Adventure of the Seas!

Iceland’s exceptional combination of magnificent waterfalls, volcanic craters, snowcapped mountains, gigantic glaciers, fields of lava, gorgeous green meadows, black pebble beaches, and much, much more guarantee memorable and unique excursions that you simply cannot take on cruises to other parts of the world.

When you think of going on a cruise, chances are that Iceland isn’t one of the first destinations that come to mind. However, have a look through our Iceland tour gallery and you will quickly see why an Icelandic cruise tour is one the best ways to see all the Land of Fire and Ice has to offer. The following gallery captures many of the most popular Iceland cruise excursions and attempts to put into words the true beauty you are guaranteed to see. Your Journey Begins at the Port of Reykjavik…

Stop #1 – Heimaey Island

After departing from Reykjavik, you first stop is known as the Icelandic town frozen in time by a volcano. Heimaey Island is home to the Eldfell Volcano, which last erupted for five months in 1973. Today visitors can visit the volcanic crater with lava that remains warm, as well as the houses that remain half buried, yet perfectly preserved. In the center of the island one home has been completely freed from the volcanic ash and now serves as a museum. On a side note, Heimaey Island is home to the world’s only golf course located in a crater.

1. Westman Islands

Westman Islands

Considered one of the best and lesser known Iceland cruise excursions, Westman Islands is known for its serene environment, a charming village that is reminiscent of centuries past, and providing a mesmerizing look at the best nature has to offer. Steep sea cliffs provide spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean below, while hiking to the top of Eldfell Volcano allows for a clear view of the neighboring, uninhabited islands, as well as Myrdalsjokull, a sparkling icecap. The archipelago is also home to an amazing array of wild seabirds, including thousands of Atlantic Puffins.

2. Helgafell Mountain (Volcano)

Helgafell Mountain Iceland

After making a relatively easy hike to the top, Helgafell Mountain (Holy Mountain) rewards visitors with an outstanding 360 degree view of the surrounding countryside, fjords, peaks, and ancient monastery ruins.   Still considered sacred today, the god Odin grants three wishes to climbers, though you have to follow very specific rules for your wishes to come true. Photo: Sebastian Werner/Flickr CC

3. Eldfell Volcano

Eldfell Mountain Iceland

More than 660 feet tall, Eldfell Volcano (Fire Mountain) last erupted in 1973. Today, visitors can make the steep hike to the top. At the top, amazingly beautiful lava rock formations and outstanding views await you. On a clear day it is possible to see the Reynisdrangar basalt sea stacks, a group of spooky spindles that rise up out of the water. Photo: Bekassine…/Flickr CC

4. Atlantic Puffins

Atlantic Puffins Iceland

These seriously adorable seabirds with a parrot-like orange beak call Iceland, particularly the Westman Islands home. In the late spring, it is not unusual to see confused chicks roaming the streets, as their parents leave them when they are 40 days old. Don’t worry, the Puffin Patrol rescues and feeds them before releasing them to the safety of the sea. Photo: Michael Ransburg/Flickr CC

5. Seljalandsfoss Waterfall

Seljalandsfoss Waterfall Iceland

Considered by many locals and visitors to be the best waterfall in Iceland, Seljalandfoss is a magnificent example of the beauty of nature. You can walk right up the waterfall’s base, as well as climb to the top of cliff (though it is rather steep) for a look down on the waterfall. What sets Seljalandfoss apart is the ability to walk around behind it for even more great views. Be aware that you will probably get wet, so carry a rain jacket. Photo: Andrés Nieto Porras/Flickr CC

6. Porsmork, Thorsmörk National Park

Porsmork Iceland

Surrounded by Icelandic glaciers and mountains cut with delis, gullies, rivers, and valleys, Thorsmörk National Park is one of Iceland’s most popular hiking areas. Often referred to as “Thor’s Woodland” or “The Land of The Gods”, the protected area has a wide array of vegetation, including ferns, birchwood, moss, and much more. The park offers exquisite views of nature at its best. Photo: Aljo Hartgers/Flickr CC

7. Skogarfoss Waterfall

Skofarfoss Waterfall Iceland

Skogarfoss Waterfall drops huge volumes of water 60m, producing a thunderous sound and a mist that often results in gorgeous rainbows. For an amazing view of the cascading waterfall from the top, take the 537 step trek via the iron staircase that is definitely not for the faint at heart. However, the unobstructed views up and down the coast are truly breathtaking. Photo: Javier Rodruiguez/Flickr CC

8. Eyjafjallajokull Glacier

Eyjafjallajokull Glacier Iceland

Rising more than 5,500 feet into the air along the coast, the Eyjafjallajokull Glacier and volcano is made up of an intricate pattern of fissures, canyons, and valleys. Although the volcano’s 2010 eruption left the area devastated, the area has almost completely been restored to its former glory. If you decide to hike to the top (with a professional guide), be ready to cross rivers, climb snow covered peaks, and drive over volcanic terrain. Overall, it is an incredible experience that you will never forget. Photo: Paul Clement/Flickr CC

9. Stop #2 – Seydisfjordur

Seydisfjordur - Iceland

With fewer than 800 highly creative and artistic residents, Seydisfjordur is a small, yet welcoming town that is known for its uniqueness. Cascading waterfalls and snowcapped mountains provide the perfect backdrop for the vibrant, colorful wooden homes. Walking trails through the town, as well as along the coast and the Fjardará River, make it easy for visitors to see everything this town has to offer, including its close proximity to uncultivated nature in all its glory. Photo: Lucien Manshanden/Flickr CC

10. Fjardarheidi Mountain Pass

Fjardarheidi Pass Iceland

A 17 mile road crosses over the forbidding Fjardarheidi Mountain connecting Seydisfjordur to Egilisstadir and gives visitors access to skiing, hiking, and golf. Travelers often appreciate the scenic views that guarantee plenty of gorgeous photo opportunities. Photo: Yeh Yeh/Flickr CC

11. Lake Lagarfljot

Lake Lagarfljot Icleand

Located 328 feet below sea level, Lake Lagarfljot is the third largest lake in Iceland. Said to be home to Lagarfljótsormur, a huge creature that resembles a worm or serpent and is Iceland’s version of the Loch Ness Monster, the freshwater lake is only 2 km wide and 25 km long. However, with depths up to 426 feet, there is plenty of room for the serpent to hide. Be sure to have your camera ready because the serpent often pops up without warning, according to locals. Photo: Federico Moroni/Flickr CC

12. Hengifoss Waterfall

Hengifoss Iceland

At a height of 367 feet, the Hengifoss Waterfall is believed to the third tallest waterfall in the world. A well established trail gives visitor a direct route to the top, but be aware that it is not an easy hike and the wind gets very blustery the farther up you go. Surrounding the falls are unique patterns of black, red, and orange strata that are rarely, if ever, seen around waterfalls. Photo: Brook Ward/Flickr CC

13. Skalanes Nature Preserve

Skalanes Nature Preserve Iceland

Independently owned, Skalenes is home to more than 150 plant and 47 bird species, as well as several mammals. The centre is situated in an exquisitely restored Icelandic farm house, while the land has everything from massive sea cliffs to snow capped mountains, wildflower meadows, secluded black sandy beaches, and much more. The centre was created with the intention of helping others gain a deeper understanding of nature and offers plenty of learning experiences. Photo: CaptainOates/Flickr CC

Stop #3 – Akureyi

14. Eyjafjordur Fjord

Eyjafjordur Fjord

As the longest fjord in Iceland, Eyjafjordur Fjord is located near the Arctic Circle and is part of numerous species of birds and whales migratory route, making it an ideal place to see wild animals within their natural habitat. In addition, the fjord is surrounded by gorgeous mountain ranges and dramatic landscapes that give you a true appreciation of the beauty of nature. Photo: Etlenne/Flickr CC

15. Godafoss Waterfall

Godafoss Waterfall Iceland

Referred to as “The Waterfall of the Gods”, this is one of the most famous Iceland cruise excursions, and visitors are often transfixed by the true beauty of this majestic waterfall. To be honest, it is impossible to truly describe this wondrous site. Suffice to say, if you have the opportunity to see it in person, it should not be missed. Photo: Andrés Nieto Porras/Flickr CC

16. Lake Myvatn

Lake Myvatn

Considered by locals to be one of the best places to watch the Aurora Borealis, Lake Myvatn is also a great place for bird watching and hiking. The area surrounding one side of the lake provides the opportunity to explore geothermal caves, craters, distorted lava fields, and bubbling pools of mud, while the other side is filled with lush pastures. Photo: Javier Losa/Flickr CC

17. Namaskard Geothermal Pools

Namaskard Thermal Pools Iceland

Located on the northern side of Lake Myvatn, this area is home to a number of fumaroles blowing steam and colorful pools of mud that bubble and boil constantly. With a landscape consisting of reds, browns, oranges, and yellows, as well as the sulfuric smoke emerging from the ground, it almost has an extraterrestrial feel that can’t be found anywhere else on earth. If you decide to visit, be sure to wear boots that will protect your feet. Photo: mariejirousek/Flickr CC

18. Dimmuborgir Lava Fields

Dimmuborgir Lava Fields

Filled with impressive lava formations and caves that resemble everything from Santa Claus’ chair to eagles and trolls, Dimmuborgir is also dotted with scrub brush to create scenic views. On an interesting note, the lava fields offer visitors the unique opportunity to have one foot on North America and one foot on Europe at the same time. Photo: Jonathan/Flickr CC

19. Skutustadir Psuedocraters

Skutustadir Psuedocraters

Created by steam explosions that occurred when molten lava flowed into the wetlands during ancient times, the Skutustadir Psuedocraters gracefully jut out over Lake Myvatn. Today, the pseudocraters are considered national monuments that have stairs and trails that allow visitors the chance to walk up, around, and into the pseudocraters. Photo: Carsten ten Brink/Flickr CC

20. Aldeyjarfoss Waterfall

Aldeyjarfoss Waterfall

Though it is not as big or as easy to reach as many of the other waterfalls in Iceland, Aldeyjarfoss Waterfall is an amazing site that sends water tumbling out through a narrow passage among the black basalt columns and ancient lava fields. It is also one of Iceland’s most photographed sites, thanks to beautiful contrast of the rushing white water and black basalt. Photo: Jaisri Lingappa/Flickr CC

Stop #4 – Isafjordur

Located in northwestern Iceland, Isafjordur is the largest town in the Westfjords peninsula. The area is home to everything from a golf course to horseback riding trails, restaurants, government organizations, and more. However, with a population of slightly more than 2500, it still maintains a small town vibe.

22. Vigur Island

Vigur Island

With only five human residents living in perfect harmony amongst thousands of birds, as well as cattle and sheep, Vigur Island is often referred to as a place where time stands still. The island offers a glimpse into how families have managed to thrive in Iceland for centuries entirely by farming, fishing, and harvesting. On a side note, the island is also home to the oldest windmill in Iceland, which was built in 1840. Photo: Nico Kaiser/Flickr CC

23. West Fjords (Kayaking, Fishing)

West Fjords Iceland

One of the best ways to truly appreciate the West Fjords is by taking to the water. The calm sea water is ideal for a great kayaking experience that allows you to both enjoy the tranquility of being on the water and the outstanding scenery that surrounds it. If you prefer to fish, you’ll be excited to learn that some of the North Atlantic’s largest fish stocks are found in Icelandic waters. Photo: Peggy S/Flickr CC

Stop #5 – Grudarfjordur

Grudarfjordur is a small fishing village set in a fjord. The area is known for great deep sea fishing, as well as the opportunity to see plenty of birds and even catch a quick glimpse at seals and whales frolicking in the water. In addition, majestic mountains, amazing hiking trails, and stunning waterfalls can be found in the village.

24. Kirkjufellsfoss “Church Mountain Falls”

Grudarfjordur Kirkjufellsfoss Church Mountain Falls

Despite being a small waterfall, Kirkjufellsfoss is frequently photographed because the water gushes through three separate spouts and it is framed by the famous Kirkjufell Mountains. For an unforgettable experience, visit at a time when the Aurora Borealis should be streaking vividly across the sky.  The shear sight of the incredible forces of nature will leave you completely in awe. Photo: Andrés Nieto Porras/Flickr CC

25. Berserkjahraun Lava Fields

Berserkjahraun Lava Fields

This 3 or 4,000 year old lava field is an amazing combination of spikes of hardened lava jutting up from the ground, rocks covered in moss, and two lakes that formed when the lava was still flowing. A great place for hiking and mountain climbing, be sure to look for the large number of white tailed eagles that nest in the field. Photo: messicanbeer/Flickr CC

26. Stykkisholmur

Stykkisholmur

One of the most popular towns in Iceland, Stykkisholmur was the first European community to receive the EarthCheck environmental certification, meaning it delivers a safe, clean, healthy, and prosperous destination for travelers. In the center of town, you can visit the living museum of historical homes, as well as stop by one of the restaurants and craft stores stocked with an extensive selection of locally made products. Photo: Michael Ransburg/Flickr CC

27. Bjarnarhofn

Bjarnarhofn Shark Meat Curing

Bjarnarhofn is a farmstead (a farm and its surrounding buildings) that is the area’s leading producer of hakari, or fermented Greenland shark meat. A small museum is located on the land where locals (usually a 90 year old man) give passionate presentations on the area’s history. At the end of the presentation, you have the opportunity to try a small piece of hakari. Be aware that the smell of ammonia is really strong because it plays a significant role in the process of fermentation. Photo: kim&amy/Flickr CC

28. Snaefellsnes Peninsula

Volvanic Beach Snaefellsnes Peninsula

Often referred to as magical and beautiful, the peninsula is an exquisite combination of golden beaches, mountains formed from volcanic rock, natural mineral springs where it is safe to drink water straight out of the ground, basalt columns, and the Snæfellsjökull glacier, which is said to be one of the world’s seven chakras (energy centers).

29. Arnastapi Cove, Snaefellsnes Peninsula

Arnastapi Cove, Snaefellsnes Peninsula

Located in a secluded spot near a series of rocky coves, Arnastapi Cove is small fishing village surrounded by basalt cliffs. The perfectly clear blue Atlantic water offers the perfect backdrop for photographing the abundant array of birds that make this area their home. In May and June, arctic terns arrive in droves for nesting season. Be a tad leery of them because they will attack. Photo: Terry Feuerborn/Flickr CC

30. Djupalonssandur Beach

Djupalonssandur Beach Iceland

Often referred to as a “lava wonderland”, Djupalonssandur beach is a stunning beach made up of small, smooth black pebbles. There are also two freshwater lagoons by the beach. While walking on the beach, you may stumble upon the iron remains of the Epine GY7, a British vessel that wrecked in the area in 1948. They should not be removed as they serve to commemorate the 14 men who died. Photo: michael clarke stuff/Flickr CC

31. Finish at the Blue Lagoon Spa in Reykjavik

Station of geothermal production at Blue Lagoon, near Reykjavik Iceland

We finish up with one of the most visited Iceland cruise excursions, the Blue Lagoon Natural Spa naturally formed when a power plant began operating. Today, it is 100% powered by clean geothermal energy. Considered to be one of the 7 Wonders of the World, it is truly impossible to describe it in words. Soak your travel weary body in the 100 degree thermal pools and reflect on the unforgettable voyage you just completed.

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