- Heimaey (Home Island): 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.
- Ísafjörður: Westfjords is almost a country unto itself, and its honorary capital has real vibrancy despite its remoteness and small population. Credit the phenomenal setting, thriving dockside, first-rate dining, hip cafes, and festivals ranging from alternative music to “swamp soccer.”
- Seyðisfjörður: The arrival point for the European ferry and a fashionable summer retreat for Icelandic artists, this dramatically situated Eastfjords village has a cosmopolitan pulse that squares perfectly with its tiny scale and pristine surroundings. Chalet-style wooden kit homes from the 19th and early 20th centuries provide a rare architectural historicity.
- Siglufjörður: 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.
- Vík: The southernmost village in Iceland wears its fine setting lightly, but the landscape stays vividly etched in the mind: the lovely beaches of black volcanic sand, the spiky sea stacks offshore, and, on the Reynisfjall cliffs, the most scenic walk on Iceland’s south coast.
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.