Though remote and isolated, surrounded on all sides by the horror winds and swells of the Atlantic and a snowflake away from the Arctic Circle, Iceland is impossible to ignore as a holiday destination. See itinerary ideas
The island has one of the world's most exciting landscapes. Lava flows melt glaciers, giant waterfalls burst through igneous rock, thermal springs bubble away under freezing blizzards, and, on clear winter nights, the sky is swept with the radiant green of the Northern Lights. Everything dramatic, everything epic.
Here, the outdoors is God, and its followers head into the wild interior each weekend to hike, ski, climb and kayak. This unique landscape has influenced all forms of Icelandic society down the years - the country's first parliament, indeed the world's first, gathered by a large, pristine lake, surrounded by conical mountains and scraggy rock in Pingvellier.
This epic sense of landscape is reflected in the country's artistic output, from the celebrated Sagas to the soaring choruses of Sigur Ros, one of the country's best-loved bands. The local art galleries would be a hit in Paris and the bookshops cater to a population that reads more books than any other country in the world.
It's an almost mythical, magical, mystic world, this land of fire and ice; no painting, song, poem or pastel could prepare you for it.