Iceland is the perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts who have a craving to explore rugged landscapes which could be straight out of a Tolkien book. Whether it is mystical waterfalls, hotsprings, or active volcanoes, Iceland won’t disappoint anyone in search of a true adventure holiday. If this all sounds like your kind of vacation, then read on to learn more about just a limited selection of the best adventures Iceland has to offer.

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Photo by Promote Iceland

Steamy Hot Springs

Iceland has always been an area of significant tectonic activity, but when a strong earthquake ripped through the Reykjadalur Valley in 2008, it opened up even more hot springs. While many hot springs are not safe for bathing, hiking enthusiasts who also enjoy a spot of post-hiking relaxation can trek a 3km trail in the valley, along a warm river that is perfect for a quick dip to sooth any aching muscles. In an added bonus, hot springs are supposedly great for the skin so you might end your trek looking younger than when you started.

Magical Waterfalls

The Seljalandsfoss waterfall spills over a 60m high cliff, and to make the experience even more truly magical, you can actually walk behind the waterfall and view the stunning landscape through the fall‘s misty waters. The Gljúfurárfoss waterfall, which is equally stunning, is only a 30 minute walk away so waterfall enthusiasts can really get their fill.

Ice Hiking

If you would like to do something truly adventurous, then you could always try and ice-hike the 800m thick glacier Vatnajökull. A guide can provide you with the necessary equipment and safely lead you through the 8,100 square km maze of ice pinnacles. Truly an otherworldly landscape that you are unlikely to forget.

Active Volcanos

Iceland is home to 130 volcanos and while many of them are dormant, a number of them are still active and as such crying out to be explored. The Bárðarbunga is one of the most active volcanos in Iceland with a 10km wide crater and lava that can erupt up to 60m high. For safety reasons it is not possible to hike up the volcano, but you can instead see its fiery displays from the safety of a helicopter which gives a stunning view of the power of nature.

Long Distance Hiking

Iceland’s spectacular, rugged landscape provides a range of possible routes for those interested in a long-distance hike. The four-day Laugavegur hike is not a very well-known trek which makes it a great option for those who don’t like being part of a busy tourist trail. During the 53km trek, you will be able to see lava fields, glaciers, hot springs and misty mountains. The hike could be done on your own if you have the requisite level of experience, but guides are also available if you feel more comfortable that way.

Aurora Borealis

Northern lights- Aurora Borealis

Photo by Promote Iceland

This natural phenomenon is a truly wonderful experience which is literally from out of space. The Aurora Borealis are solar particles clashing with the earth’s atmosphere which then appear as one of the most magical lights displays you could possibly imagine. The Aurora in Iceland can be witnessed between August and March, with the best place to view the displays being in Iceland’s countryside, away from the light pollution of the cities.

A Godly Forest

The wooded valley of Thorsmörk takes its name from one of the most famous of all the Norse gods, the mighty Thor. You can reach the forested area by bus or, if you prefer a bit more bumpy action, by jeep. Just make sure if you are wearing a hat, you hold onto it!

Horseback riding

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Photo by Promote Iceland

Should you ever find yourself all trekked out, another great way of exploring Iceland is on horseback. One option is the historic Kjölur Trail, a route comprising just over 200km between two icecaps. It is a historic 210km long route through Iceland’s highlands, and between two icecaps. Along the way you can experience diverse scenery including glaciers and lava deserts, and of course there’s an option to enjoy a hot dip.

A mystical realm

Returning to the Tolkien theme, Iceland is one of the few countries in the world where you can visit a landscape and genuinely feel that you might just encounter an elf at any time. Borgarfjörður Eystri, for example, is famous for the idea that secret elves inhabit a cluster of rocks off the coast of this small fishing community. Now where else in the world might you get to practice your fluent elf-speak?

So if any or all of the above has you hankering for an adventure in the great outdoors what are you waiting for, book your trip to Iceland without delay. If you do, you are sure to enjoy a holiday which will literally feel out of this world.

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About Tammyonthemove

Tammy & Chris are a couple hailing from Germany and England, meaning between them they are efficient and polite, but unable to talk about football. Find out why they stopped pushing pens around the British civil service to travel the world on their blog.

9 Thoughts on “An explorer’s guide to Iceland

  1. I really want to go to Iceland. As I want to see the Northern Lights, I have to wait at least until the second half of next year (until March is impossible). I’m already in love with all the photos I’ve seen and cannot wait to explore it myself.
    Stef recently posted…How do you choose between love and travel? I don’t.My Profile

  2. I want to go in Iceland to experience touring in those places! Can’t wait to apply for my visa and passport!
    Becky Charlotte recently posted…Electromagnetic Health BonusMy Profile

  3. I’ve always wanted to visit Iceland, the Aurora Borealis has been the no.1 in my bucket list! However, work takes away a lot of free time and i just hope i can explore Iceland in 2017!

  4. Really interesting with the steamy hot springs and really want to Iceland to see Aurora Borealis. Do you have experiences to travel Iceland, and can you give me some tips, I really want to go there maybe next year.

  5. My brother went to Iceland this year and He said it is one of the most amazing place he’s been to. Now, I read your blog and it just made me believe him. I can’t wait to go
    Karla | Karlaroundtheworld recently posted…Must-Eat in Philadelphia’s The Reading Terminal MarketMy Profile

  6. My Uncle has just returned from Iceland and took some amazing photos of the Northern Lights. Your list of places to see just reinforces the fact that I need to get out there and see it all for myself!

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