Although Iceland offers a diverse range of activities to enjoy, its natural environment is one of its main draws—and with that comes a nearly endless assortment of active outdoor excursions. Experience kayaking through a glacial lagoon or hiking to the country's many waterfalls. Go ice climbing up one of the glaciers or ride horses along the coast. Snorkel between tectonic plates and zip line over river canyons. You can do all this and more in beautiful Iceland.

Getting Oriented

Explore Iceland's diverse and extraordinary nature.

Iceland is an outdoor enthusiast's dreamland. If you think about it, every aspect of the country offers an active alternative within its diverse landscapes. If you want to visit glaciers, make the experience more active by hiking across the ice, exploring caves, kayaking in an iceberg lagoon, or going ice climbing. If you like waterfalls, visit the ones that require a hike. Absorb the beauty of the country's coastline on horseback or experience its deep river canyons on a zip line. 

In addition to turning typical experiences into active excursions, Iceland also offers some unique activities not typically found elsewhere, such as snorkeling between two tectonic plates or riding quads across lava fields. So, whether you're drawn to the country for its volcanoes, glaciers, beaches, or canyons, you'll find plenty of opportunities to get active in Iceland.  

On the Water

With the help of wetsuits to keep you warm, you can enjoy watersports in Iceland! Add a unique spin to these activities by kayaking in a glacier lagoon or snorkeling between tectonic plates.

Sólheimajökulll Glacier Lagoon Kayaking

Kayak next to floating icebergs in a glacier lagoon.

Enjoy one of the most unique active experiences in Iceland by kayaking through a glacier lagoon. You'll get up close with floating icebergs that break off from the Sólheimajökulll glacier and gradually make their way to the sea. Whether a beginner or seasoned kayaker, you can enjoy this scenic tour paddling through the icy waters of the South Coast, fully equipped with a wetsuit and kayaking basics. Read More 

Silfra Snorkeling

Swim between two tectonic plates in some of the clearest water in the world.

If you've ever wanted to swim between two of the Earth's tectonic plates, you can do so in Iceland! This snorkeling excursion takes you to the Silfra Fissure, the clear water that separates the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. Equipped with a wetsuit and local guide, you'll view the four main parts of the fissure: Big Crack, Silfra Hall, Silfra Cathedral, and Silfra Lagoon. The Big Crack is typically the highlight, as this is the narrowest part of Silfra and where you can nearly touch both plates at once. Read More

Gullfoss Canyon Rafting

Enjoy a scenic and thrilling experience down the famous Hvítá River.

The Hvítá River is most famous for its thunderous cascade, the Gullfoss waterfall, but you can enjoy its scenery in a different way by joining a river rafting experience through the Gullfoss River Canyon. Along with a professional guide, you'll ride about 4 miles (7 km) down the river, taking in the picturesque canyon and navigating thrilling waves and rapids. A wetsuit will keep you cozy, as the river is quite cold, originating from the Langjökull Glacier. Read More

Scenic Coastline

As an island, Iceland offers plenty of idyllic, scenic, and interesting coastline. So whether you want to scope out the country's natural bays or experience its volcanic history, you can enjoy it all.

Tour the Lava Fields on an ATV

Ride an ATV to better explore the Icelandic coastal landscapes.

A quad or ATV gives you better access to some of the lava sites along the scenic Reykjanes Peninsula. Discover lava fields, black-sand beaches, and 11th-century fishing huts along Selatangar (Seal Bay). Stop at the old harbor area of Hópsnes and enjoy the scenery along this stretch of rugged coastline not far from Reykjavík. Read More

Seaside Horse Ride in Húsavík

Ride Icelandic horses along the scenic coastline.

The coastal scenery around the town of Húsavík is a true highlight of Northern Iceland. One of the best ways to experience it is on horseback, riding along sea cliffs and up hills for fantastic views. Get a near bird's-eye-view of Skjálfandi Bay, known as the "World of Whales," thanks to the area's large population of these magnificent ocean creatures. While enjoying the ride, you'll learn more about Iceland's unique breed of horses. Read More

Hike, Climb, & Zipline

Hike a glacier? Climb up an ice shelf? Zipline over a river canyon? Put a unique spin on these fun experiences in Iceland!

Skaftafell Ice Climbing & Glacier Hike

Hike across a glacier and climb up the ice.

Rappel down into a glacier crevasse and climb up an ice shelf on Vatnajökull, Europe's largest glacier. A professional guide will help you learn the basics of ice climbing and enjoy this thrilling experience. The glacier hike takes you by cracks, crevasses, and moulins, plus ice caves in the winter months. You'll also enjoy some of Iceland's most coveted mountain scenery, as several films and series have featured this particular glacial landscape. Read More

Zipline Adventure Tour

Zip through the countryside and get unique views of canyons and waterfalls.

Zip through the incredible landscapes near Vík with a series of zip lines taking you over canyons and waterfalls. A short hike leads you to the platform of the first of four routes (Little Rush, Gentle Giant, Leap of Faith, and Big Rush). The longest and most scenic is the Gentle Giant, but many prefer Little Rush for its views over Grafargil (Grave Canyon) or Big Rush, as it takes you over the powerful Hundafoss (Dog's Waterfall). Read More

Hike in Hornstrandir Nature Reserve

Hike up to the cliffs and peaks of Hornstrandir Nature Reserve.

Combine a bit of history, wildlife, and scenery by hiking to the top of the cliffs of Hornstrandir Nature Reserve in the Westfjords. The park is known for its 1,600-foot (500-m) sea cliffs, home to numerous bird species, and its WWII history. You'll start with a scenic boat ride before hiking to Lake Teistuvatn, home to beautiful swans. Then, make your way to the top of the cliffs, walking until you find the remains of a British naval radar station from 1943. Keep an eye out for other wildlife, including seals, whales, and more birds, including puffins. Read More

How to Craft the Perfect Active Itinerary in Iceland

Walk over glaciers, hills, and cliffs in Iceland's wild nature.

Iceland's biggest draw arguably includes its waterfalls, glaciers, volcanic terrain, and rugged coastline. With so much outdoor appeal, it's actually quite easy to incorporate active experiences into your Icelandic itinerary! For example, if you fly into Reykjavík, you can add all these draws to your itinerary by combining regions like the South Coast and Golden Circle. Of course, you can also devote an entire trip to just hiking hut-to-hut or walking through the country's highlands!

How many days you spend in Iceland will depend on how much you want to do. If you have limited time but still want to enjoy active excursions, try to give yourself at least five days in the country. Plan for at least one week if you're going to see more regions in Iceland or get off the beaten path a bit. 

Past kimkim travelers enjoyed the following itineraries that include active experiences in Iceland: