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Travel bucket list idea:

Cruise around Iceland

  • Iceland

  • Bucket List Experience

Last updated: 06 February, 2024

A cruise around Iceland reveals melancholy landscapes of massive U-shaped valleys carved by ancient glaciers, with long ribbons of waterfalls plunging into blue-green fjords.

You’ll see lunar landscapes of spiked rocks, spouting geysers and jauntily coloured fishing villages, tiny against the vast landscapes. Days are spent hiking, whale-watching – especially around Husavik – and venturing inland for unusual excursions, not least a chance to travel deep inside the Langjökull glacier.

There’s colourful folklore everywhere in this stark country, as well as human history dating back 2,000 years. And excitement for Game of Thrones fans, too, with myriad tours of the filming locations on offer, some led by actors who appeared in the series.

Logistics

Price from: £Varies
Minimum age: 0
Age suitable: 13+
When: All year around
Duration: Min 7 days

Getting there & doing it

Plenty of cruise lines visit Iceland but those with bigger ships tend to call at Reykjavik only.

While there’s plenty to see from here on the famous ‘Golden Circle’ route, you’ll have a better appreciation of Iceland’s wildlife, culture and endless vistas if you sail away from the city, up to the Westfjords and Akureyri, and south to the remote Vestmann islands.

This can be achieved by road, of course, but the distances are vast and the Westfjords, in particular, is especially beautiful from the water. One option is to do a cruise and then rent a car to explore deeper, and take in Reykjavik’s lively nightlife.

The French-owned Ponant line operate sleek, all-inclusive expedition ships on comprehensive Iceland itineraries all summer.

When to do it

Iceland’s cruising season is summer, when the days are long and snow retreats to higher ground. This is peak time for whale-watching and spotting puffins nesting on the high coastal cliffs.

Who to go with: tour operators

3

Our writer’s recommended tour operators to book with

Ponant [Iceland]

  • Iceland

Ponant [Iceland]

TourOperator

Ponant [Iceland]

Operates luxurious, state-of-the-art expedition ships exploring some of the remotest corners of the world. They offer comprehensive Iceland itineraries all summer, with all-inclusive comfort and top-notch expedition leaders.

Viking Cruises [Iceland]

  • Basel, Iceland

The world’s largest river cruise company, that now also offers Ocean cruises and Expeditions to more remote destinations. They have multiple itineraries out of Reykjavik, including circumnavigations, on luxury ships designed for cool climates. Over 18s only.

Windstar Cruises [Iceland]

  • Iceland

Small ship specialist, with 148 to 342 guests per voyage. Their recently-refurbished ‘Star Pride’ circumnavigates Iceland for the whole summer season. Excursions include kayaking, hiking and RIB safaris.