Get lost. That feeling of not quite knowing where you are and what’s coming next is exactly what you need to push your boundaries and help you discover whole new sides to yourself. Read on to get the most of your trip to Iceland.
Adventure Travel in Iceland
Fire and ice climbing, adventure and tranquility
Vatnajökull National Park
Kick off your trip — and get the most bang for your buck — with a visit to the Vatnajökull National Park. In just one park you will be spoilt for choice with natural wonders: volcanoes (such as the Askja, or the flat-topped Herðubreið, the “queen of the Icelandic mountains”),waterfalls (the breathtaking Dettifoss),crystal-clear lakes (Langisjór up in the highlands) and rivers (the long and winding Jökulsá á Fjöllum). Located in the southeast, this national park takes its name from Europe’s largest glacier, the Vatnajökull, which accounts for eight percent of Iceland’s surface area and dates back 2,500 years. Fun fact: in Iceland, as in all Scandinavian countries, the “freedom to roam” is guaranteed by law, so entrance will always be free for natural attractions.
Glacier walks and ice climbing in Iceland
As so much of Iceland is covered by glaciers, glacier tours, walks and ice climbing are great ways to experience nature at its most extreme. Glaciers are fascinating in that they are constantly changing, and forever moving slowly forward; a journey that often creates deep cracks and mysterious ice caves. Glaciers are best explored on foot — hiking or ice climbing — but a snowmobile is a good option for those who prefer a sub-zero adrenaline rush.
Explore the Svínafellsjökull glacier
Also located in Vatnajökull National Park is the beautiful Svínafellsjökull glacier. Its glacial lake is calm, unmoving and mesmerising. Inside, the ice caves glow blue and outside, other blocks of ice are scarred black from ancient volcanic eruptions; all framed by majestic mountains covered in dark green. This beautiful landscape has provided the backdrop for several seasons of Game of Thrones, so as you take in the majesty of Iceland you can also plan your campaign for the Iron Throne.
Ice caves in Iceland
A visit to an ice cave provides a unique experience every single time. Even the same ice cave will not be the same if you revisit it (let’s hope we still have glaciers to revisit in the future). Every year ice caves form anew, so the same ice cave on the same location will never be the same as it was the year before. Ice caves are shaped by glacial runoff, which is why the most spectacular shapes are to be found inside, where they glow in iridescent blue. Visitors are only able to enter ice caves from November until March, when the ice is fully frozen and safe enough to support adventurers.
Iceland has so many incredible sights that one week probably won’t be enough to soak up all the beauty the country has to offer. Some sights you definitely shouldn’t miss, though, are the Blue Lagoon (which is worth seeing even though it gets crowded),the black sandy beaches in the south and the artsy city of Seyðisfjörður in the east. Don’t miss the Westfjords in the northwest, with their secluded, winding tranquility. Pro tip: grab a car, drive from bay to bay and be delighted by one hot spring after the other, dreamy spots for fishing and a beautiful mountain background along the way.
One more thing: the Northern Lights
Lest we forget the breathtaking northern lights. Our tip for the best place to take in the view is the top of Mount Kirkjufell in the northern part of the Snæfellsnes peninsula, especially in the late autumn months. An experience you won’t ever forget and a sight that will stay with you forever.
What to pack