Boasting an array of natural wonders, Iceland, dubbed the ‘Land of Ice and Fire’, has plenty to offer the adventure holidaymaker, regardless of how experienced they are. Whether you’re scaling a glacier or descending into an inactive volcano, you’re sure to find the adventure of a lifetime in this awe-inspiring country.
Here’s our top pick of Icelandic experiences:
Watching the Northern Lights
Even though the majority of visitors will catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights from September to April, you need to make sure you’re getting the most out of this aurora adventure. Firstly, you’ll want to venture somewhere that isn’t affected by light pollution. Although you may see the spectacle in Reykjavik, the lights from the city can spoil the views on offer.
To be in with a chance of seeing the Northern Lights in all their glory, there are a number of specialist tours available with companies like Exodus Travels . Some allow you to sleep under the stars (in your very own igloo) while others have hot tubs that keep you warm as you’re watching the display.
Whale Watching in Skjalfandi Bay
To the north of Iceland you’ll find Husavik, which is a prime location if you want to spot some whales. Known as the whale watching capital of Europe, this is the perfect place to witness nature in all its glory. Hop on board an old trawler or a more modern schooner and set sail into the expanse of Skjalfandi Bay.
Once there, you’ll be in with a chance of seeing humpback and minke whales, an array of seabirds and white-beaked dolphins. And, if you’re really lucky, you might also meet the mighty blue whale, who’s a regular visitor to the area at the end of spring and throughout summer.
These types of trips are also available from Reykjavik, with plenty of orcas gathering between January and March to stuff themselves full of the herring that gather in the fjords and bays of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula.
Hiking Across the Volcanic Landscapes
Think your adventure holiday needs heating up a little? Then you might want to take a hike across the mesmerising volcanic landscapes Iceland’s got to offer. Boasting fumaroles, geothermal lagoons, volcanic craters and jaw-dropping lava fields, the majority of these natural features are available to visit all year round. You might even be able to witness your very own live eruption!
The Golden Circle is one of the best places to start from. This allows you to walk along the rift between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates in Thingvellir National Park, before seeing water spurting up to 20 metres into the air at Geysir. Furthermore, if you’re feeling quite adventurous, you could even have a go at diving or snorkelling in the Thingvellir’s Silfra fissure. Or why not head to Thrinukagigur to drop down into the extinct volcano’s magma chamber?
Experiencing Iceland’s Glaciers
No trip to Iceland would be complete without a look at its distinguished glaciers. You can choose between guided hikes or snowmobile tours across these landscapes, with a number of different areas available to explore.
For a guided hike, you might want to head to the glacier on Solheimajokull, which is easily accessible on the south coast. Or, for an added touch of adventure, embark on a trip to the Vatnajokull ice cap which is home to the ice caves of Kverkfjoll. This takes an entire day to reach and will require a four-wheel-drive vehicle, but the scenery en route and once you’re there is more than worth the long trip!
Travelling to Iceland?
Whatever your idea of an adventure is, Iceland has got plenty to offer you. And the best bit? When you’re finished hiking, diving, descending or sailing, there’s no better place to relax and unwind than in the steaming hot geothermal lagoons that are dotted around the country.
What more could you ask for?