In our July/August 2017 issue, writer Taffy Brodesser-Akner went to Iceland in search of two very specific things: puffins and peace. As she chased down the elusive little birds, she encountered travelers on their own Icelandic quests. She notes that, "Everyone comes to Iceland with a version of Iceland they’ve made up for themselves—a place of infinite happiness or infinite pools or infinite fermented shark or infinite Björk—and a visit to Iceland is very much about that particular Iceland, the one that really exists only in your mind . . . and we should all be looking for ways to find it."  

Whether you're looking to wander like a Viking or spot some of the island nation's most iconic creatures, one of these six journeys will help you see the Iceland of your dreams.

IF YOU'RE LOOKING TO...

...Explore the Ends of the Earth
Peer between two continents on Black Tomato’s weekend dive—or snorkel—tour of the Silfra Fissure in Thingvellir National Park. The glacial water between the tectonic plates offers 250 feet of visibility.—Four days, from $4,300.

...Hike the Highlands
Trek Iceland’s 34-mile trip along the Laugavegur Trail crosses the glaciers, lava fields, and rainbow-graced mountains of the Landmannalaugar highlands and Thórsmörk Valley. Each night guests stay in cozy mountain huts. Available June through mid-September.—Six days, from $1,500.

...Search for Whales and Puffins
Enjoy hot chocolate and cinnamon buns aboard one of North Sailing’s eco-friendly Icelandic sailing sloops while marveling at humpback whales and the 200,000 puffins on Lundey Island off the coast of Húsavík (mid-April through August).—From $112.

...Spot an Arctic Fox in the Westfjords
Explore Iceland’s remote reaches on Borea Adventure’s Hornstrandir glamping trip. Embrace wellness, hike the razor-edged Hornbjarg cliffs, and perhaps even glimpse an elusive arctic fox (June through August).—Three days, from $1,150.

...Commune with Elves AND Learn to Knit in East Iceland
Knitting retreats with Icelandic Mountain Guides celebrate the country’s most iconic craft. Learn about lace and elven folklore during the late-June trip to the lesser-traveled eastern fjords (an area known as elf country).—Eight days, from $3,255.

...Hotspring Hop in Rugged Landscapes
Travel from the nubby volcanic formations of Skaelingar to the hidden waterfalls of Skaftafell before arriving at the floating glaciers of Jökulsárlón Lagoon, stopping at hot springs along the way, with Extreme Iceland's Highland Roads expedition (July through August).—Six days, from $1,800.

>>Next: How to Be a Proper Viking in Iceland