See a kaleidescope of natural wonders during a last minute break to Iceland
Fly from the UK to Iceland in just under three hours and a world of incredible attractions await. Short flight times equals less time on the plane, so more time to explore on your last minute getaway.
A trip to Iceland isn’t just a holiday, it’s an event, with wonders such as the Northern Lights to take in as well as volcanoes, mountains, geysers and hot springs. The Golden Circle trip is a highlight and the 300-kilometre circuit incorporated many of the main attractions, such as dazzling waterfalls, tectonic ridge zones and impressive geyser.
Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik, is the ideal base from which to take day trips and explore the country’s highlights. It’s also a gem in itself, with a lively cafe culture, bustling markets and geothermal spa pools to enjoy as well as the opportunity to dine in some of Iceland’s best restaurants.
Those in search of retail therapy will find numerous trendy shops selling the latest in cutting edge Icelandic fashion. The flea market, which is open during weekends, is the place to head for an eclectic range of goods including the iconic lopapeysa, a hand knitted wool jumper synonymous with Iceland.
When the sun sets, the city comes alive with everything from laid-back bars with live music to clubs open to the small hours for those who like to party, and comedy clubs, opera and cabaret in between. To sample Icelandic city life at it’s most colourful, head to Austurvollur Square, just north of the city pond. Lined with shops and cafe, this is where friends and family come to relax, celebrate and drink beer.
You don’t have to go far to enjoy a geothermal spa, as there’s a manmade hot spring at the sandy Nautholsvik Beach near Reykjavik University. Or travel 40 minutes to the infamous Blue Lagoon, to soak in dazzling blue geothermal seawater between 37°C and 40°C, and have an in-water massage or rejuvenating mud mask.
The best time of year to book your last minute holiday
With so many city and natural attractions on offer in Iceland, a last minute break really is possible at any time of the year. But to see this snowy landscape’s biggest and best amenity on full display, you’ll want to visit between November and March – we’re talking about none other than the Northern Lights, of course. And because this is technically off-season for Iceland, you’re more likely to get the best deals at this time of year, too.
You’ll want to book up to eight weeks before your target holiday slot to ensure a wide choice of last minute deals. Abiding by this school of thought, you’re looking at booking your holiday no sooner than September, all the way through to January. It’s also possible to leave it until a few days before to snap up a late bargain, though you’ll have to be ready to potentially go on the fly.
Other last minute holiday destinations
When it comes to last minute holidays Iceland is by no means the only choice. If it’s icy terrain and hot chocolate by the barrel-full you’re after, you’ll want to have a look at similar holiday spots like Lapland and Slovenia. But if Iceland has captured your imagination, you can discover more about this frosty destination with our handy travel guide. In the meantime, here’s a selection of Icelandic hotels to get you started.
The Reykjavik Lights Hotel is around a half-hour walk to the centre of town or guests can make use of the local bus service – there's a stop right outside the property. Buffet breakfast is served in the dining area and there's also a bar ideal for chilled-out evening drinks. With a manageable 60-minute coach transfer to and from the airport and two excursions included, guests can make the most of their time here.
The Skuggi Hotel is situated on one of the oldest streets in Reykjavik, just a short walk from the main shopping district. The hotel restaurant is open daily for breakfast and there are an array of restaurants and bars close by for those who want to explore. Rooms offer Free Wi-Fi and guests at the hotel will be able to take advantage of two free excursions to the Golden Circle and Northern Lights.
Situated on a main road running through the centre of Reykjavik, guests at the CenterHotel Midgardur are ideally placed for sightseeing and shopping. There's a breakfast room serving buffet meals each morning between 7am and 10am and you can head to the bar for evening drinks after a day of exploration. Two excursions are included in a stay at this modern hotel – Golden Circle and Northern Lights trips. Free Wi-Fi zones will enable guests to stay connect while away.