Vast glacier fields punctuated by icy caves, volcanic landscapes that crash into rocky coastal settings, and rushing rivers that cascade through mountains in misty waterfalls—Iceland’s terrain makes it one of the most rugged and extreme places on earth, the perfect setting for outdoor adventure for those looking for things to do in Reykjavik and beyond. From white-water rafting to snorkeling between tectonic plates, there’s always more to explore in Iceland’s wild outdoors.
Since 1983, Arctic Adventures has been showcasing Iceland’s wild outdoors for locals and visitors alike. Inspired by a rafting trip in Nepal, the owners sought to bring something similar back home and found their dream on the Hvita River. Now with a whole team of adventure-seeking guides to back them up, Arctic Adventures is ready to take you underwater, underground, and over sea to show you the best the country has to offer.
Snorkeller giving thumbs up at surface in clear waters
Snorkelling Between Continents
Running north to south through Iceland’s hinterland, the confluence of the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates has resulted in a dramatic rift between rocks. Explore its underwater sections as you don a snorkel and head out to explore this geological wonder. With a drysuit to keep you toasty in the ice-cold waters, explore rock formations in crystal clear depths, gaze out over sweeping lava fields, and learn about the earth-moving forces at play with engaging commentary from your helpful guide.
Scuba divers swim through clear waters in Silfra Gorge
Small-Group Diving Silfra Fissure
For a deeper look at Iceland’s geologic confluence, head out with for a small-group dive straight into the heart of the Silfra Fissure. Drift between the tectonic plates of Eurasia and North America, so close you can touch both at the same time, and enjoy unreal visibility with waters clear enough to allow you to see up to 260 feet (80 m). Learn about the freshwater aquifers that seep into the fissure, and find out how the porous volcanic terrain keeps the water incredibly clean.
If snorkelling’s not enough, add on a caving expedition to your day out. Strap on a helmet, flick on a flashlight and squeeze past icicles as you make your way into the Leiðarendi or Gjábakkahellir cave, following a natural lava tube deep into underground chambers.
Climber scaling ice walls on glacier
Hiking & Ice Climbing
Grab an ice axe and slip into some crampons for a day spent scaling sheer ice walls, crossing deep crevasses, and exploring frozen canyons as you make your around the Sólheimajökull glacier. Hone your technical climbing skills, learn about the area’s glacial activity, and cap off your day at the misty falls at Skógarfoss.
Glymur waterfall cascading down cliffs
Guided Nature Hike to Glymur Waterfall
Natural aquifers and glacial runoff makes Iceland a world of rivers and streams perfect to explore on an afternoon hike. Lace up your boots, cruise to Hvalfjördur and take a trek to get up-close views of the Glymur waterfall. Snap photos of slick black cliffs dusted with bright green vegetation, watch rainbows gather in the misty cloud resonating from the slick rock face, and then make your way to Thingvellir National Park to learn about the country’s earliest settlers as you explore the shores of Thingvallavatn Lake.
Rafters paddle down river rapids on Gullfoss
Half-Day Gulfoss Canyon River Rafting
Follow the waters of the Hvítá River as it stretches from glacier to sea on this white water rafting excursion. Navigate around rough-and-tumble rapids, pass through tranquil canyons, and hone your paddling skills as you make your way down. End your day with a tasty lunch and a much-deserved spa session sure to soothe your tired arms.
Couple kayaking in Hvalfjordur Fjord
Sea Kayaking Hvalfjordur Fjord
Explore Iceland’s fjords by water on this sea kayaking excursion around Hvalfjörður. With an experienced paddling guide to lead you, check out historic sites where Allied forces hid their ships during WWII, look for marine life including nesting puffins and migrating whales, and pass by volcanic landscapes that have left their mark in dramatic rock formations surrounding the fjord’s cool clear waters.
What outdoor adventure is first on your list in Iceland?