New Year, new you! We love this time of year with its promise of new beginnings, exciting adventures and the opportunity to go over your bucket list and think of items to tick off this coming year. A visit to Iceland is on a lot of bucket lists, but while you’re here making that dream come true, why not tick off some other items too? We’ve put together a list of once in a lifetime experiences you can do in Iceland that will be sure to make this year completely unforgettable!
Iceland has many underground caves, ranging from the massive to narrow slits in the cliffs that all, nevertheless, have a great history and connections to local legends. A must see for all geology enthusiasts, as well as anyone who wants to get a sense of the awesome power of nature and how small in comparison us humans really are. You can even see a volcano from the inside! Not to mention Iceland’s specialty, the many crystal ice caves that form in the glaciers that take up a large percentage of our landmass. Some of the caves form every year but others only appear once before never appearing again, giving you the opportunity to literally go where no man has gone before. There are few things as magical as standing in the clear blue confines of an ice cave like it’s your very own ice castle. Elsa from Frozen has got nothing on you!
Ice caves aren’t the only things worth exploring on a glacier, there’s also the glacier itself. Hiking on ice that’s thousands of years old while enjoying amazing views over the nearby countryside, or just the beautiful snowy hills all around you on a massive glacier, makes you feel like a real polar explorer. Experienced guides will teach you all about the wonders of these ancient giants and the influence they’ve had on the country and its people.
Helicopter Sightseeing Over the Glacial Lagoon
You’ve probably seen countless pictures of the famous Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon on Instagram from enthusiastic travelers that can’t get enough of its ethereal beauty. Now you will have the opportunity to experience this mystical marvel from a brand new point of view! A helicopter tour will give you a birds-eye view of the best and most dramtic sights on the south coast, culminating in a breathtaking flight over the glacial lagoon and a stop where you can watch the icebergs float by as seals play on the shore.
Have you always wished you could fly? Well here’s your chance! Or as close to it as you can get. Tandem paragliding offers the opportunity to fly over the stunning Icelandic countryside with an instructor. No previous experience needed, the instructor will take the reins while all you have to do is enjoy the feeling of freedom and the amazing view!
Yet another way to enjoy the unique beauty the Icelandic glaciers have to offer. A snowmobile tour combines the ingenuity of man with the ancient and awesome power of the glacier to make for an unforgettable experience. A combination tour will take you through the famous Golden Circle, an absolute must-visit when you’re in Iceland, to the majestic Langjökull glacier where you can explore the icy peaks with a guide on your own snowmobile.
Snorkeling in Silfra
The historical Þingvellir National Park is the site of the gorgeous Silfra rift. Even experienced snorkelers will have never seen anything like Silfra. The crystal clear waters offer an otherworldly view of the rock formations and plant life of this underwater lava field. Nowhere else in the world will you have the opportunity to swim between two continents, as this underwater river flows between two tectonic plates connecting Europe and North America. This is truly a life changing experience.
The Icelandic horse is one of a kind. With five gaits instead of the usual four, this friendly and sturdy animal is uniquely equipped for the harsh Icelandic terrain. Ride through stunning lava fields and over rivers and connect to the land and nature in a way that has become too far removed from our modern lifestyle.
See Iceland’s World Famous Puffins
If your bucket list includes seeing the world’s cutest animals in person, Iceland is here to help! With many densely populated puffin colonies around the country, these adorable birds can easily be a part of your Iceland experience. The most breathtaking place to see the cuties is definitely Látrabjarg cliffs in West Iceland. The cliffs are the most western point in Europe and are the home to millions of seabirds. The puffins of Látrabjarg are known to offer great photographic opportunities since the cliffs give easy access to them and they are very unconcerned about humans. After all this is their home turf. So snap that perfect pic and cross one more thing off your list!
Witness the Northern Lights
A staple of bucket lists all over the world, witnessing the elusive aurora borealis is a life-long dream for many. Icelanders sure know how lucky they are in having the northern lights sometimes literally in their backyard, and therefore we do our best to share the joy with our visitors. There are a number of northern lights tours operating in Iceland, but for the perfect, dream-come-true experience you should without a doubt book a private tour. That way you can give yourselves completely to the hunt as you drive through the Icelandic countryside in search of the dancing, colorful lights in the sky and share a special moment with a friend or a loved one. No matter what, you’ll never forget the magical Icelandic winter nights.
What better way to experience the incredible force of mother nature than expertly hurtling down white water rapids in a boat with experienced guides? In between the adrenaline fueled excitement of the rapids, you will have the opportunity to take in the beautiful landscape all around you as you sail down a glacial river in the Icelandic countryside. Perfect for daredevils of all levels (families included!), this activity is sure to make you feel more alive than ever.
Sure, you’ve probably been in a swimming pool before. But we bet you haven’t been in an Icelandic geothermal swimming pool before. The Icelandic pool-culture is something you won’t find anywhere else. Often used as a sort of community center, the locals will gather in pools all year round for a swim, a soak in the hot tub and, most importantly, a chat about current affairs. The outdoor pools and hot tubs will keep you warm even in winter and the conversation will make you feel like a part of this small island community.