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29 Books About Iceland That Are Total Must Reads!

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Whether you’re after books about Iceland to help you plan your trip. Or ones that promise to give you some last minute inspiration. Or even heartwarming books set in Iceland to tuck into during cosy nights in.

Either way, we’ve got you covered with this list of 29 must-read books about Iceland. Njóta / Enjoy!

Must Read Books About Iceland

Books About Iceland To Help You Plan Your Trip

1. Lonely Planet’s Iceland Travel Guide

If you’re looking for a complete Iceland travel guide full of inspiration, insider tips, maps and more, then look no further than Lonely Planet’s Iceland Travel Guide. LP is our travel publisher of choice every single time; we can’t recommend them enough.

Buy Lonely Planet’s Iceland Travel Guide on Amazon >>>


2. DK Eyewitness Top 10 Iceland: 2020

The DK Eyewitness Top 10 Iceland book (updated for 2020) is pocket-sized but still chock-full of useful information about Iceland. This is a great option if you’re not yet sure what you want to see or do in Iceland as it takes you through the top ten of everything from waterfalls and volcanoes to museums and festivals.

Buy DK Eyewitness Top 10 Iceland on Amazon >>>

3. Lonely Planet’s Pocket Reykjavik & Southwest Iceland

If you know you’ll be focusing on Reykjavik and Southwest Iceland during your trip then this pocket-sized Lonely Planet guide is for you. It’s small but perfectly formed to show you what to see and what to skip in these areas – from top must-sees to unique hidden gems.

Buy Lonely Planet’s Reykjavik Pocket Guide on Amazon >>>

4. The Rough Guide to Iceland

Another top travel publisher is Rough Guides. Their books are chock-full of practical advice and information whether you’re into adventure travel or partying the night away. Their latest Iceland travel guide even comes with a free ebook version so you don’t have to lug the actual book around with you.

Buy The Rough Guide to Iceland on Amazon >>>

5. Lonely Planet’s Best of Iceland 

For top Iceland inspiration, Lonely Planet’s Best of Iceland is full of stunning photos and useful tips to help you see the most popular attractions in Iceland. It even has useful itineraries throughout for quick weekend trips and longer holidays.

Buy Lonely Planet’s Best of Iceland on Amazon >>>


6. Rick Steves Iceland

Whether you want to hike glaciers, soak in hidden hot springs or otherwise, this Iceland travel guide by Rick Steves is best for those of you who like to explore hidden gems and get off the beaten path. Inside, you’ll find top tips and recommendations as well as itineraries and candid writing to guide you through the land of the midnight sun.

Buy Rick Steves Iceland on Amazon >>>

7. Iceland Marco Polo Travel Guide & Handbook

One more Iceland travel guide to add to your list is this one by Marco Polo. It’s full of insider tips, sightseeing highlights, top tours you can take and fun suggestions of things to do in Iceland – whatever you’re in the mood for.

Buy Marco Polo’s Iceland Travel Guide on Amazon >>>


8. Lonely Planet Iceland’s Ring Road

If you want to head out on Iceland’s most famous road trip route then this Lonely Planet guide is for you. From maps and itineraries to top attractions and need to know tips, this is one of the most comprehensive guides out there that is totally dedicated to Iceland’s Ring Road.

Buy Lonely Planet’s Ring Road Travel Guide on Amazon >>>

Books About Iceland To Inspire You

9. Photographing Iceland: An Insider’s Guide to the Most Iconic Locations

Written by photographer and Iceland expert, Martin Schulz, this book about photographing Iceland has five unique photography-focused tours inside to help you visit 37 must-see locations in Iceland. The incredible photos themselves are enough to inspire anyone to visit Iceland.

Buy Photographing Iceland on Amazon >>>

10. Iceland by Chris McNab

If you’re looking for a travel coffee table book dedicated to Iceland then this is the one for you. It has over 200 stunning photos of Iceland inside with captions for each one to tell the unique story of the moment that has been captured. The perfect book to flick through while you patiently wait for your trip to Iceland to start.

Buy McNab’s Iceland on Amazon >>>

11. Out in the Cold – Travels North: Adventures in Svalbard, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland and Canada

An inspirational tale of adventure, Out in the Cold is Bill Murray’s vivid depiction of his adventure across Svalbard, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland and Canada. From seeing a total solar eclipse in Svalbard to tasting wind-dried sheep in the Faroe Islands and hiking across glaciers in Iceland, this book is one for the adventure lovers among you.

Buy Out in the Cold on Amazon >>>

12. Names for the Sea: Strangers in Iceland 

If you’ve ever had dreams of packing up your life and living in Iceland then this is the book for you. Written as a memoir, this book follows Sarah Moss as she embarks on her childhood dream of moving to Iceland from Kent in the UK. While the book is honest and funny, it’s also so inspiring to hear how the author’s adventure panned out and how she came to love Iceland even more.

Buy Strangers in Iceland on Amazon >>>

More Books About Iceland You Might Like

13. The Little Book of Tourists in Iceland: Tips, Tricks, and what the Icelanders Really Think of You

Iceland is in the middle of an unprecedented boom in tourism. While this has brought great wealth to the country, it has also presented a myriad of issues and challenges. Through a collection of short essays, this book seeks to provide a unique insight into the social and environmental impact that tourism is having on Iceland and offers tips for travelling safely, responsibly and in harmony with the locals.

Buy The Little Book of Tourists in Iceland on Amazon >>>

14. The Little Book of the Icelanders: 50 miniature essays on the quirks and foibles of the Icelandic people

For a humorous take on the Icelandic culture, this book is a fun read. Some of the topics covered include local driving habits, Icelandic wedding rituals and where you should go to meet the “real” Iceland locals. Humorous, witty but actually quite informative when it comes to the local culture.

Buy The Little Book of the Icelanders on Amazon >>>

15. The Little Book of Icelandic: On the idiosyncrasies, delights, and sheer tyranny of the Icelandic language

Another witty read is The Little Book of Icelandic. From the meanings and origins behind local Icelandic idioms and proverbs to local curse words and slang you can learn, this book deconstructs the Icelandic language and the often-hilarious ways in which the words have been created.

Buy The Little Book of Icelandic on Amazon >>>

16. The Little Book of the Hidden People: Twenty stories of elves from Icelandic folklore

Icelandic folklore is rife with tales of elves and hidden people that inhabited hills and rocks in the landscape. But what do these stories really tell us about the Iceland of old and the people who lived there? In this book, author Alda Sigmundsdóttir presents twenty translated elf stories from Icelandic folklore, along with fascinating notes on the context behind them.

Buy The Little Book of the Hidden People on Amazon >>>

17. Lonely Planet’s Fast Talk Icelandic Phrasebook

Icelandic might be one of the world’s most complex languages to learn, and although you’ll get on fine without knowing any Icelandic words at all, it is polite to learn a few common phrases before your trip. This Lonely Planet phrasebook helps to break down the language and pronunciation making it relatively fast and easy to pick up a few key phrases.

Buy Lonely Planet’s Fast Talk Icelandic Phrasebook on Amazon >>>

18. Walking and Trekking in Iceland: 100 days of walking and multi-day treks

Keen on exploring Iceland’s many incredible hiking trails? Then this book is the one for you. With a total of 49 day walks and 10 multi-stage treks, you’ll find out how best to explore the Icelandic landscape on two feet while passing through three of the country’s most infamous national parks.

Buy Walking and Trekking in Iceland on Amazon >>>

Bonus: Books Set In Iceland That Are Total Must Reads!

19. Burial Rites

Set in Northern Iceland in 1829, Burial Rites is the award-winning fictional tale of a woman condemned to death for murdering her lover and the priest tasked with absolving her of her sins.

Buy Burial Rites on Amazon >>>


20. The Sagas of the Icelanders

In Iceland, the age of the Vikings is known as the Saga Age. Set around the turn of the last millennium, these stories depict the lives of the Norse men and women who first settled in Iceland and of their descendants, who ventured farther west to Greenland and, ultimately, North America.

Buy The Sagas of the Icelanders on Amazon >>>

21. The Sealwoman’s Gift

Set in Iceland in 1627, The Sealwoman’s Gift is an award-winning novel all about the pirates that raided the coast of Iceland and abducted 400 people into slavery in Algiers.

Buy The Sealwoman’s Gift on Amazon >>>


22. Butterflies in November

For a more contemporary book set in Iceland, try Butterflies in November. This fictional story written by a native Icelander follows the journey of a heartbroken woman who finds herself winning the road trip of a lifetime to Iceland. 

Buy Butterflies in November on Amazon >>>


23. Magnus Iceland Mystery Series

The Magnus Iceland Mystery novels are a popular series of five murder mystery books set in Iceland. The stories follow Detective Magnus Jonson as he tries to connect the dots between seemingly unconnected events in history and the murders of today.

Buy the complete Magnus Iceland Mystery Series on Amazon >>> 


24. Iceland, Defrosted

Iceland, Defrosted is the true story of an Englishman’s obsession with Iceland. Follow the author as he describes all the reasons why he loves Iceland – from the natural hot springs and howling winter storms to the elusive Northern Lights and local Icelandic music. This book is almost like a love letter to the country and is perfect for those who love Iceland just as much as him.

Buy Iceland, Defrosted on Amazon >>>

25. Independent People

Set in rural Iceland in the early 20th Century, Independent People follows a sheep farmer as he seeks to earn a living from a blighted patch of land after the destruction of the First World War. 

Buy Independent People on Amazon >>>


26. Dark Iceland Series

Dark Iceland is another series of five murder mystery books set in Iceland. This time, you follow rookie police officer Ari Thór Arason as he works through his first investigation and beyond.

Buy the complete Dark Iceland Series on Amazon >>> 


27. Storytellers

Storytellers is the debut novel of Icelandic writer, Bjørn Larssen, which tells the story of how on a cold Icelandic night in March 1920, a hermit blacksmith finds himself with an unwanted lodger. Sigurd, an injured stranger is there to share a story from the past that could alter the blacksmith’s entire life.

Buy Storytellers on Amazon >>>

28. The Blue Fox

Winner of the Nordic Literary Prize and nominated for the Icelandic Literature Prize, The Blue Fox seeks to transport you back to the year 1883 and into the midst of an Icelandic winter. The story follows a priest called Skugga-Baldur on his hunt for the enigmatic blue fox. Part mystery, part fairytale, this book promises to keep you spellbound throughout.

Buy The Blue Fox on Amazon >>>

29. The Dark Blue Winter Overcoat and other stories from the North

From the same author as The Blue Fox, The Dark Blue Winter Overcoat is a beautiful anthology of selected works of fiction from the Nordic region, which are often deep-rooted in the world of folklore, fairytale and intrigue.

Buy The Dark Blue Winter Overcoat on Amazon >>>


Over to you now – which books about Iceland do you love to read? We’re always after recommendations so leave us a few notes in the comments below…

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Justine Jenkins

Justine is one half of the married couple behind the Wanderers of the World travel blog. She lives in Bristol, UK and has travelled extensively within Europe and beyond since 2013. After her trips, she shares detailed travel itineraries, helpful travel guides and inspiring blog posts about the places she's been to. When she's not travelling overseas, you'll find her joining her husband, Scott on various day trips, weekend getaways and walks within the UK, which she also writes about on Wanderers of the World. Aside from travelling and writing, she also loves reading, crafting and learning about nature.

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