10 Unique Things to Do in Iceland

Eruption of Strokkur geyser, Iceland | © ZinaidaSopina/Shutterstock
Eruption of Strokkur geyser, Iceland | © ZinaidaSopina/Shutterstock
Photo of Vala Árnadóttir
20 December 2017

There are many special things to do in Iceland, but some are just more Icelandic than others and can’t be done anywhere else in the world. Here are a few of those unique Icelandic activities.

Snorkel and touch two continents

In Silfra, at Thingvellir National Park, you can dive between and touch the Eurasian and North American continental plates. While you are at it, you can drink the water too, as it is so clean!

Diving in Silfra, Iceland | © Grant M Henderson/Shutterstock

Dog sledding

Most of us have probably wondered at some point what it would be like to ride a dog sled. Well, if you’re still wondering, you should give it a try on your visit. Tours are always available in the summertime and often for the rest of the year as well. They take place on top of the glacier, so the weather is mild. It’s not far from Reykjavik and perfect for young kids to enjoy Iceland in their own unique and memorable way.

Enjoy the aurora

If you find yourself in Iceland in winter, watch out for the Northern Lights. Some locations are more conducive than others and it is advisable to get away from city lights. The aurora has such a big effect on tourists, that recently the Icelandic police has stopped drivers who looked like they were under the influence, only to find out that they were so smitten by the display, they forgot to watch out for the road!

Aurora and stars in Iceland | © Claudia Regina / Flickr

Go fishing!

Iceland has some of the best fly-fishing rivers in the whole world, attracting thousands of visitors yearly – for the salmon in particular. If you have a couple of free days, this is a unique opportunity to fish in some of the best places in the world. If you only have a couple of hours, it might be fun to go out with a boat from Reykjavik and check out some sea fishing. You can then eat your catch at a harbourside restaurant in the evening.

Fly Fishing in Iceland | © J.Helgason/Shutterstock

Take a dip in a hot spring under the midnight sun

One of the best things about Icelandic summers is that the sun barely goes down – this is the perfect opportunity to take a late dip in a warm hot spring.

Horseback riding

Icelandic horses are small and sometimes mistaken for ponies. The breed is also unique, as it displays two gaits in addition to the typical walk, gallop and trot. The two extra moves are called tölt and skeið in Icelandic and they both allow these little horses to move much faster than they otherwise could. Skeið – often used in races – is very fast and smooth, allowing speeds of up to 50km/h (31 mi./h). If that’s a bit much for you then try a more sedate riding tour of the countryside.

Horseback riding at Skogafoss Waterfall, Iceland | © Anna Levan/Shutterstock

River rafting

There are various river rafting options available in Iceland and the whitewater rafting is definitely one of the more exciting. You could, for example, try canyon rafting at the Gullfoss Waterfall and enjoy the landscape from a different angle.

Visit an ice cave

It cannot have gone past you that Iceland is full of glaciers, but did you know that some have caves inside them? If you want to walk through a natural cave, you have to visit in winter; during the summer you can visit ice tunnels in Iceland’s largest glacier – Langjökull.

Explorer inside an ice cave, Vatnajokull n National Park, Iceland | © Bill45/Shutterstock

Go to the beach

If you are in Reykjavik and the weather is nice, it might be a good time to hit the man-made beach at Nautholsvik. Don’t despair, the sea surrounding the beach has geothermal water in the lagoon.

Check out the outside festivals

There are many weekend summer festivals around the country that are fun to visit – both party festivals and family-friendly ones. Many of them are are themed, such as the Great Fish Day festival, the Lobster Festival and so on.

Shark on Great Fish Day, Iceland | © Gestur Gislason/Shutterstock

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