With so many possibilities, deciding among the many active things to do in Iceland may be your biggest challenge. From active volcanoes and mighty glaciers, to crystal ice caves and geothermal hot springs, adventures in Iceland fulfill a deep need to explore. Outfit yourself with crampons and an ice ax to venture into ice caves, or set out on a mission to discover massive glaciers. This island of fire and ice is like no other… Following are options for an adventuresome Iceland vacation.
Horseback Riding in the Highlands
The Highlands of Iceland are a mostly uninhabitable area, covering much of the island’s interior—there are exceptional trail opportunities for horseback riding. Whether you are a relatively new rider or an experienced competitor, there are tours ranging from hour-long walks around farms to multi-day treks across the rugged Highlands. Those familiar with horses know their three natural gaits—walking, trotting, and galloping. Some horses have a fourth gait, cantering. But, Icelandic horses are a special breed. Five gaits—the walk, the trot, the canter, the tölt, and the flying pace—set Icelandic horses apart from other breeds. Enjoy the difference!
Mountain Biking Along the Ring Road
The Ring Road is a scenic route that’s usually taken by car, but this 830-mile passage may best be appreciated on bicycle. Cycling along Iceland’s edge gives you the flexibility of venturing off the main road and into the mountainous terrain. Many of the island’s main sights and attractions, including the Skógafoss Waterfall, the Sólheimasandur Plane Wreck, the Dyrhólaey Peninsula, the Jökulsárlón Iceberg Lagoon, and the Diamond Beach are all a short distance from the Ring Road. They are easily accessible by bike. Enjoy the road less taken.
Snorkeling and Scuba Diving in Silfra
The Silfra Fissure is known for having some of the best snorkeling and scuba diving in the world. Created from the shifting of North American and Eurasian tectonic plates, this underwater landscape adds a new dimension to Iceland’s already majestic beauty. Silfra is situated in the Thingvellir National Park and has incredibly clear water, making its environment perfect for scuba diving and snorkeling in Iceland. A scuba diving certification is necessary to explore this natural wonder on your own, but it is possible to sign up for a dry suit snorkeling tour that will take you to the caves and canyons beneath Iceland’s surface.
The capital of Iceland doesn’t lie far away from the country’s vast wilderness, specifically its basalt cliffs and large boulders. Varying in size and level of difficulty, rock climbing in Iceland is suitable for both experienced climbers and those who are relatively new to the sport. Perhaps more popular than rock climbing is ice climbing, a unique way to explore the country’s glaciers. Join an ice climbing tour and wedge yourself between dark crevasses and ascend one frozen wall after another. There’s no comparable experience.
Kayaking on the Hvítá River
The Hvítá River is known for its famous two-tiered waterfall, Gullfoss. There are ideal rapids for river rafting, but this 25-mile-long river also has some calmer stretches for canoeing and kayaking. Another popular location for kayaking in Iceland is Hvalfjordur Bay, offering scenic views and wildlife. Even though its name translates to the Whale Bay, there have been no sightings of whales for 20 years, but you may very well spot flocks of puffins and seals.