Travelers head to Reykjavik for its colorful culture and culinary scene, but they stay for Iceland’s wild landscapes and natural beauty. From glacier trekking to wildlife spotting, here are the top outdoor adventures in the Land of Fire and Ice.
Cruises and Boat Trips
Surrounded by the ocean on all sides, Iceland is home to a rich array of native wildlife. From the harborside city of Reykjavik, boat tours run to Akurey Island—home to arctic terns, gulls, and puffins. Out in the deeper waters of Faxaflói Bay, porpoises and humpback whales splash through the waves while travelers look on from sightseeing boats. And as night falls, the open waters far from the city lights provide the perfect setting to hunt for the spectacular Northern Lights.
For an action-packed day, escape the capital on a Golden Circle jeep tour, taking in powerful geysers, the cascading waterfalls of Gullfoss, and the UNESCO–listed Thingvellir National Park. Travelers in search of high-octane thrills can traverse the icy terrain of Langjokull—Iceland's second-largest glacier—by snowmobile, or explore the rugged landscapes of Mt. Hafrafell and Mt. Úlfarsfell by quad bike. For something a little more sedate, combine a horse-riding excursion with a trip to the steamy Blue Lagoon.
Volcano and Glacier Hikes
From massive icefields to underground lava caves, there’s a wealth of exhilarating hikes and climbs to tackle from Reykjavik. Delve inside Iceland’s dormant Thrihnukagigur volcano and discover lava caves dating back 4,000 years, or harness up to scale the mighty Sólheimajökull Glacier—where cracks, crevasses, and ridges dominate the landscape. Elsewhere, destinations such as Snaefellsnes National Park and the picturesque valley of Reykjadalur offer further opportunities for outdoor exploration.