The unstill Earth
Iceland is one of the world's most geologically active countries, defined by vast lava fields, rugged valleys and ranges that could double for Mordor, giant glaciers and berg-dotted fjords. Add volcanoes such as Hekla and ice-crowned Eyjafjallajökull that are as stunning when not erupting as when they are. Trek underground lava tubes - or see the fiery fissure in the Earth's crust where the North American and European tectonic plates are tearing themselves apart.
Geysir is the Icelandic word now used for all these quirky spouters, the best found in the so-called Golden Circle near Reykjavik – including the Great Geyser in the Haukadular valley, whose clockwork eruptions send steaming water jets 70 metres into the air. Geothermal pools beckon in gorgeous settings, offering the world's most idyllic bathing experiences.
Iceland has some of the world's most spectacular and easily accessed ice phenomena, from Europe's largest ice cap to unique black beaches decorated with glittering chunks of sea ice. Vik is particularly good for icy beach vistas plus dramatic sea stacks and basalt columns.