What are the Most Exciting Things to Do in Iceland?

Welcome to Iceland, the Land of Fire and Ice! If you’re looking for an adventure-packed trip, then you’ve come to the right place.

Iceland offers an abundance of natural wonders that will leave you breathless and wanting more, from glacier hiking to canyoning to chasing the northern lights.

At Ice Guardians, we provide a range of exhilarating adventure trips and courses in Iceland that form the backbone of unforgettable trips to our unique country.

Start planning your adventure of a lifetime by reading through our choices for the most exciting things to do in Iceland.

If you have any questions for us in the meantime, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Feel the Thrill of Glacier Hiking on Vatnajökull 

The Vatnajökull Glacier, located in southeast Iceland, is Europe’s largest glacier by volume. 

It covers an area of approximately 7,800 km² which equates to 8% of Iceland’s area. 

There is so much ice, in fact, that it could be spread to cover the entire country in a layer 30m thick. 

Hiking on a glacier tongue of this huge ice cap is one of the most unique and thrilling experiences for adventurers visiting our country.

With Ice Guardians, glacier hiking on Vatnajökull involves an expert guide leading you on a journey through a maze of ice formations, crevasses, and ice caves. 

Our tour guides are experienced and trained to ensure your safety and provide you with an unforgettable experience.

Tours typically start with an introduction to the equipment and safety instructions. You will be provided with crampons, ice axes, and a helmet before setting off on your adventure. 

From the moment you start your hike, you’ll be amazed by the stunning views of the glacier and mountains. The ice formations are constantly changing, so every tour is unique.

Hiking on Vatnajökull is physically demanding, so make sure you’re prepared with comfortable, warm clothing and broken-in hiking boots. 

Our full-day Vatnajökull glacier hike lasts for up to 8 hours, allowing you to venture beyond the busiest parts of the ice cap where most tourists gather.

On an Ice Guardians Vatnajökull glacier hike, you can see sights and formations that almost nobody else will see! 

Dive into Canyoning Near Vatnajökull National Park

Another adventurous and adrenaline-pumping experience for your Iceland itinerary is canyoning in the Vatnajökull National Park area.

At Ice Guardians, we are proud to provide the only pre-bookable true canyoning experiences in Iceland!

For the uninitiated, canyoning is an exciting combination of hiking, climbing, abseiling, and swimming. 

Our tours take you through a narrow canyon carved by a glacier river, surrounded by the beautiful landscapes of the national park.

Our tour guides are canyoning experts, so you can rest assured that we will provide you with all the necessary equipment and safety instructions. 

We equip you with a wetsuit, helmet, harness, and all the other necessary gear before starting the tour. 

To reach the canyon, we hike through picturesque Icelandic nature, giving you a rare insight into what it would have been like to be a farmer at the foot of Europe’s largest ice cap.

Once we reach the canyon, you’ll begin your adventure with a series of jumps and slides into the crystal-clear glacial water.

And don’t forget abseiling down waterfalls! 

And it gets even better — you don’t need any previous canyoning experience! However, you must:

  • Be able to hike 5 km on uneven ground, through hilly terrain
  • Be comfortable spending 5 hours outdoors with frequent breaks
  • Be able to swim 20m in natural bodies of water
  • Be strong enough to use your body to scramble in and out of a river
  • Be comfortable wearing a wetsuit in cool water for 3 to 4 hours

Learn more before your adventure begins by reading our blog What is Canyoning?

Head Out to Sea for Whale Watching!

The action and adventure continue out at sea! When it comes to the most exciting things to do in Iceland, whale watching is a must-do activity!

And while these giants of the ocean are the main attraction, whale-watching tours take in a wide range of our country’s marine life.

So while you’ll likely see minke and humpback whales, you may also encounter harbour porpoises, white-beaked dolphins, and all manner of bird species.

Two of the most popular whale-watching tour departure points are Húsavík and Akureyri in the north.

If you’re not venturing around Iceland, you can also find plenty of tours in Reykjavik too.

Chase the Jaw-Dropping Beauty of the Northern Lights

The northern lights, also known as aurora borealis, are a natural wonder that should be on every adventurer’s bucket list. 

The lights are caused by solar particles hitting the earth’s atmosphere, creating a spectacular light show in the sky.

The best time to see the northern lights in Iceland is between September and April. 

To increase your chances of seeing the dancing green river, you must have a clear night in a location with minimal light pollution.

There’s always an element of luck involved in aurora hunting, so you may even encounter them purely by chance.

However, pre-planning in line with the aurora forecast significantly increases the likelihood of seeing this dazzling phenomenon.

If witnessing the northern lights is an absolute priority, we recommend driving out of the town or city you’re in using the Icelandic Met Office website as a guide.

Use their information to check where there is low cloud and head in that direction. Remember, it will be dark, so always find a safe spot to park. 

There are also some useful apps, such as Hello Aurora, that compile this information in one place and allow people to report their sightings live.

Start Your Iceland Adventure with Ice Guardians

We hope this list of the most exciting things to do in Iceland has inspired you to start planning your adventure in the Land of Fire and Ice.

If you’re looking for inspiration, check out our adventure trips and courses in Iceland to find out more about the experiences waiting for you here.

For more information about anything that catches your eye, please feel free to get in touch.