Daniel Knieper

Books to Read before You Travel to Iceland

Books to Read before You Travel to Iceland

Mar 17, 2017|Traveler ResourcesWhere we travel| by cjinks

With a culture made up of Nordic folklore, exciting festivals, historic landscapes, and breathtaking landscapes and geological formations, Iceland gives its visitors a vast array of experiences. Before you visit, you may want to enlighten yourself on all this country has to offer. Thankfully, we've prepared a book list that will get you ready for your trip and provide some insight into this unique world. Enjoy!

Reading List


Birds of Europe
Lars Svensson

Featuring 3,500 glorious paintings by Killian Mullarney and Dan Zetterstrom, the second edition of this exquisite guide features updated text and maps.


The Arctic, A Guide to Coastal Wildlife
Tony Soper

An essential handbook for the ship-based traveler, this compact guide to the plants, marine mammals and birds of the Circumpolar North features handsome watercolor illustrations and lively text. This new edition includes a section on the Bering Sea.



Iceland Adventure Map
National Geographic Maps

A detailed map at a scale of 1:465,000, printed on handy tear- and water-resistant paper.



Insight Guide Iceland
Insight Guides

This guide emphasizes culture and history, with wonderful photographs, maps and essays from experts.


Frommer's Easyguide Iceland
Nicholas Gill

EasyGuides are full of practical, easy-to-absorb information and emphasize authentic experiences. This lightweight guide highlights important attractions with expert advice on accommodations and meals.


Lonely Planet Iceland
Deanna Swaney

This concise guide to Iceland includes short essays on history, culture and attractions and plenty of practical travel information.


Lonely Planet Pocket Reykjavik
Lonely Planet

With a section of not-to-be-missed highlights, pullout map, and a calendar of annual events.



A Naturalist's Guide to the Arctic
E.C. Pielou

Our bestselling book on the Arctic, this guide covers the geography and climate, plants, birds and wildlife of the Circumpolar North.


Island on Fire: The Extraordinary Story of a Forgotten Volcano That Changed the World
Jeff Kanipe & Alexandra Witze

Two science writers discuss the political and natural ramifications of the 1783 eruption of Iceland's largest volcano, Laki, which led to global death, famine and even revolution. Great for the geologically minded but accessible to all with an interest in volcanoes.


The Control of Nature
John McPhee

In the classic McPhee tradition, these sparkling essays explore our generally feeble attempts to combat all-powerful nature, including valiant efforts by Icelanders to control the flow of a volcano across the harbor at Heimaey in the Westman Islands.


Volcanoes, Fire from the Earth
Maurice Krafft

By the great French volcanologist (who died on the job on Mount Unzen in Japan in 1992), this pocket guide features hundreds of full-color paintings and traces the study of volcanoes from early myth and legend to modern science.



Ring of Seasons, Iceland, Its Culture and History
Terry G. Lacy

A longtime resident of Reykjavik, Lacy weaves tales of family life, anecdote, lore and history into this illuminating personal portrait of Iceland.


North: The New Nordic Cuisine of Iceland
Evan Sung, Jody Eddy & Gunnar Gislason

Catering to a rising interest in Nordic cuisine, this cookbook celebrates Iceland's food alongside its haunting landscapes, portrayed in starkly beautiful, full-color photos.


Iceland Imagined
Karen Oslund

This cultural and environmental history explores the geography, literature, language, culture, politics and symbolism of Iceland, Greenland, northern Norway and the Faroe Islands.


Penguin Historical Atlas of the Vikings
John Haywood

The history of the Vikings told through a series of innovative maps and excellent photographs. This book traces the routes of the ninth-century Viking merchants and explorers throughout Europe and onto the New World.


Song of the Vikings, Snorri and the Making of Norse Myths
Nancy Marie Brown

Brown brings to life not just the great Norse tales of medieval Iceland but also the life and times of the worldly Icelandic chieftain, known as the "Homer of the North."


The Almost Nearly Perfect People, Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia
Michael Booth

Guardian journalist Michael Booth writes with laugh-out-loud humor and brutal candor about the Scandinavians, mixing history and his own experiences in Nordic regions in this searing cultural portrait.


The Vikings, Lords of the Seas
Yves Cohat

An indispensable reference that fits in your pocket, this slim volume is packed with maps, archival photographs and illustrations.