One of the greatest things about visiting Iceland is the opportunity it presents to partake in a variety of exciting adventure tours. But which ones to choose? Well, here are our top 5 favourite tours in Iceland of 2018.
While most of these present their participants with mind-blowing views of Iceland’s landscapes, others are unique in so much as they cannot be undertaken anywhere else but the land of ice and fire.
5. Ice Caving in Katla
Ice caving is one activity that most visitors associate solely with the wintertime. While this is true with the deep, blue ice caves that are found beneath Iceland’s largest glacier, Vatnajökull, there are other caves that can be entered throughout the year. It just so happens that these particular caves can be found a mere two and a half hours from Iceland’s capital city, Reykjavík.
Beneath Mýrdalsjökull glacier on the South Coast lies one of Iceland’s most active volcanoes, Katla, hence the name of the tour. The experience begins with a pickup from the capital by your experienced and friendly local guide, who will then proceed to whisk you along the South Coast in an iconic Super Jeep.
Along the way, you will make a number of stops at the South’s most prominent attractions, including Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss waterfalls and, if time allows, to the black sand beach of Reynisfjara.
Finally, you will be taken off road, driven on a gravel track passed stunning mountain views before finally arriving at the mouth of the ice cave. Once there, you will adorn yourself in a safety helmet, headlamp and crampons before entering.
Once inside, you will be immediately dazzled by the sheer aesthetic of the cave itself. It’s frozen walls, hidden corridors and looming sinkholes are quick to persuade guests that they have stepped into an entirely new world, one straight out of the pages of a fantasy book.
Aside from the intricate ice formations and compelling shades of blue, you will be drawn to the sheer novelty of walking both beneath a glacier and above an active volcano.
4. Visit the West Coast & Snæfellsnes Peninsula
The Snæfellsnes Peninsula is known as Iceland in Miniature due to its sheer range of diverse natural attractions. From tumbling waterfalls to sunken volcanic valleys to mist-swept glaciers, this is one region of the country that simply cannot be missed.
A 2-day tour allows visitors to get to grips with this ethereal region, taking time to appreciate its hidden wonders and staggering landscapes, all the while taking quality photographs that will help keep the memory of this experience alive and visceral in the imagination.
Travelling between ancient villages, you will be privy to such otherworldly sights as Kirkjufell, famous as the “Mountain like an arrowhead” from HBO’s Game of Thrones series. You will also see the black pebble beach of Djúpalónssandur where, throughout history, fisherman have tested their worthiness on the sea by trying to pick up the famed lifting stones.
Aside from all of this, participants on this tour are invited to enter the 8000-year old lava tube, Vatnshellir, and spend their evening in search of the elusive, yet beautiful Northern Lights.
You will also spend one day of this tour exploring all that West Iceland has to offer, including the two waterfalls Hraunfossar and Barnafoss, as well as Deildartunguhver, Europe’s most powerful hot spring.
If you’re hoping to explore Iceland’s western regions, you do not want to miss this option.
3. Relaxing at Krauma Spa
Krauma Spa in West Iceland is a wonderful location to wallow in some respite, a welcome break from jet lag or the adventuring of previous days.
The hot water used at Krauma is pumped directly from Europe’s most powerful hot spring, Deildartunguhver, then cooled with the glacial runoff from the former ice-cap, Ok. This creates the perfect bathing temperature, keeping Krauma’s guests relaxed and comfortable during their stay at the spa.
The steam from Deildartunguhver provides a vivid backdrop to this experience, all the while reminding bathers of the bubbling, geothermal power that lies beneath the earth’s crust.
After luxuriating in the warm water, guests are then welcome to try out some of the delicious meals served at Krauma Restaurant, an establishment that prides itself on locally sourced ingredients.
While the Blue Lagoon Spa, on the Reykjanes Peninsula, is undoubtedly Iceland’s most famous and popular choice for bathing, Krama makes for a quieter, more idyllic and cheaper alternative.
2. Inside the Volcano
This tour is, without a doubt, one of the more unique options available, if not just in Iceland, but the world. After all, how often do you get the chance to enter a volcano? Well, if you’ve ever had the compulsion to do so, there can be no better time than your holiday in the land of ice and fire.
Fear not, for the volcano Þríhnúkagígur has long been dormant, though has failed to lose any aspect of itself that keeps it so spectacular. For one, the caldera is so large that it could fit in the entire Statue of Liberty, providing some insight into the sheer power and influence this volcano’s magma once held.
Guests enter the volcano from its lip, descending 198 metres into the caldera by metal lift, a journey that takes approximately six minutes. Heading straight down to the volcano’s bottom, guests will immediately be taken by the dazzling array of colours that have been left imprinted on the interior walls, as well as the smooth, near glistening texture of the rock face itself.
1. Travel Around the Country in 6 Days
This epic 6-day experience takes you on a half circle of Iceland, presenting its participants with the unique and enviable chance of exploring each of the country’s majestic regions.
You will begin this tour in Iceland’s quintessential capital city, Reykjavík, before partaking in the most popular sightseeing route, the Golden Circle. This is comprised of three major attractions, Þingvellir National Park, Geysir geothermal valley and Gullfoss waterfall.
Next, you will be heading down the picturesque South Coast, making stops along the way, including at the waterfalls Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss, as well as the black sand beach of Reynisfjara.
You will then arrive at what is colloquially known as “the Crown Jewel of Iceland”, Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon. This natural attraction sees enormous icebergs floating peacefully on a crystal clear water surface, surrounded by the fantastic scenery of Vatnajökull National Park.
Nearby is the Diamond Beach, a site where icebergs wash up against the black pebbles, creating truly wonderful photographic opportunities.
Guests will also have the chance to explore a glittering ice cave beneath a majestic glacier.
The next day, you will explore the island’s Eastfjords, paying a visit to Lake Lagarfljót and Iceland’s largest national forest, Hallormsstaðaskógur.
The Mývatn region of Iceland is up; next, an area characterised by its stark volcanic terrain and fascinating rock formations, such as at Dimmuborgir (otherwise known as “the Black Fortress”), and the geothermal valley of Námaskarð Pass.
You will finally arrive at the unofficial northern capital, Akureyri where you will catch a domestic flight back to Reykjavík, wrapping up the end of your 6-day adventure.