• Su?ureyri: This traditional yet eco-conscious fishing village in the Westfjords is pioneering a tourism model that welcomes visitors into the daily work rituals of Icelandic life. Touring a fish-processing factory or joining a fishing boat crew may not be your idea of a fun vacation -- but these are authentic cross-cultural experiences you're unlikely to forget.

  • Isafjor?ur: The Westfjords region is almost a country unto itself, and its honorary capital has real vibrancy despite its remoteness and small population. Credit the phenomenal setting, thriving harbor, first-rate dining, hip cafes, and festivals ranging from alternative music to solo theater performance -- and even "swamp soccer."

  • Siglufjor?ur: With a single road leading in, this isolated, untouristy fjord town has a picture-perfect setting and an endearing nostalgia for its herring-boom glory days -- case in point, the ambitious Herring Era Museum -- and fabulous hiking.

  • Akureyri: With a university, several museums, fine dining, a distinguished summer arts festival, lively downtown pedestrian streets, and active nightlife, this northern capital's 17,000 inhabitants think they have everything Reykjavik has -- minus the rainy weather.

  • Heimaey: As the only town in the gorgeous Westman Islands, Heimaey -- surrounded by magnificent sea cliffs and two ominous volcanic cones -- would have made this list for its setting (and cute puffin population) alone. Its distinctive local identity and heroic resilience in the aftermath of a devastating 1973 eruption only add to its luster.

  • Vik: This southernmost village in Iceland wears its fine setting lightly, but its landscape stays vividly etched in the mind: the lovely beaches of black volcanic sand, the spiky sea stacks offshore, and on the neighboring Reynisfjall cliffs, the most scenic walk on Iceland's south coast.

  • Sey?isfjor?ur: The arrival point for European ferry passengers, and a fashionable summer retreat for Icelandic artists, this dramatically situated Eastfjords village has a cosmopolitan pulse that squares perfectly well with its tiny scale and pristine surroundings. Chalet-style wooden kit homes from the 19th and early-20th centuries provide a rare architectural historicity, and the country's first telegraph station is now an interesting technology museum.

  • Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.