If you are looking for a holiday that is out of the ordinary, take in the Nordic nation that appeals to adventure travellers and leisure lovers alike. Lovers of the nature must consider all of the great outdoor sights in Iceland when planning their next getaway.
Whether you are in the final stage of planning an Icelandic holiday or dreaming of a change, consider Cover-More’s guide to amazing outdoor sights in Iceland.
The majestic ice caps of Iceland’s mountains tower over the island cities and offer amazing views. A number of area outfitters offer hiking tours and trekking trips, so be sure to look in to visiting these wonderful sights:
Looking to ski-doo down the mountain? This activity is similar to snowmobiling, and is the most popular activity on this flat, snowy land high above the cities of Iceland. Several local companies offer relatively cheap day trips with specially-trained 4x4 drivers. For the ultimate winter sports excursion, visit Langjokull Glacier. (Make sure your travel insurance policy offers adventure sports cover – and covers this specific activity – before booking a ski-doo ride.)
Sitting alone near the western town of Grundarfjörður, this mountain offers clear and breathtaking views of waterfalls and the Northern Lights. Several large cities, such as Reykjavík, Borgarnes and Vegamót, all offer bus services to this area. If you are looking to take in the sights of Iceland without the roar of winter sports enthusiasts nearby, this quiet refuge should be at the top of your list.
If you have a geology buff in your travel group, the island’s many active volcanoes are a must-see. (Always be sure you are aware of the volcano status before you begin exploring volcanoes.)
A collection of multi-coloured rhyolite mountains, expansive lava fields and a volcano (the Hekla), Landmannalaugar is famous for its hiking fields, such as the Laugavegurinn trail.
This mound will match your stereotypical view of a volcano – during summertime it forms a perfect cone shape and features a lush green base. The surrounding national park, which houses several smaller volcanoes, also includes hot springs.
It’s hard to imagine there are areas warm enough in this snowy nation to support waterfalls, but seeing is believing. Visit any of these sights for views of crystal clear water and majestic beauty.
Known as the golden waterfall, Gullfoss is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Iceland. Located on the southwest side of the island, visiting this waterfall offers stunning views of the Hvítá River’s distinctive tiered falls.
Svartifoss translates to Black Fall, so-called because it is surrounded by dark lava columns. Only a few other places in the world offer black falls such as this – most notably, the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland, Devil’s Tower in Wyoming, USA and Staffa in Scotland. This is one of the most popular sights in Vatnajökull National Park and many Icelandic architects have been inspired by the columns of lava, most visibly in the Hallgrímskirkja church in Reykjavík and the National Theatre.
If you are looking to enjoy the country’s famous geothermal spas, look no further than the famous Blue Lagoon. Children soak in this pool for free, while adult packages begin around A$50. A perfect location for any weather, the water is naturally heated and pools are surrounded by lava fields of black volcanic boulders. The Blue Lagoon is 40 minutes away from Reykjavík and offers full spa services, in additional to the geothermal pools.
Head to the sea and see some beautiful sights in Iceland. Whales are often visible around the island between May and September. Popular trips depart from Reykjavík several times a day and tours often last a few hours. The waters surrounding Iceland are home to 23 different types of whales, many of which can be spotted on guided tours, including humpback and minke wales.
In Iceland, the practice of whale hunting is generally culturally accepted, and whale meat can also be found in area restaurants if you are interested in a taste.
The most popular tourist activity in Iceland, this atmospheric phenomenon also known as Aurora Borealis is best seen from late fall (September to November) and early spring (March to April). Many companies offer guided tours with great views of these colourful lights, but be warned: the Northern lights are a natural phenomenon and may not always be visible depending on weather conditions. Check with specific companies and news organizations before planning an entire trip around the lights. If you are visiting another Northern nation, these lights may also be visible – they can typically be seen in Greendland; Alaska, USA; Canada, Scotland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, among other countries.
These outdoor sights are definitely worth the hike through Iceland, and the adventures through icy, rugged terrain can sometimes result in disaster. Whether a medical emergency or broken camera–be prepared for the worst. Compare our plans to find the most suitable Cover-Travel Insurance to fit your Icelandic adventure.
Image courtesy of Flickr user Moyan Brenn; cropped from original