Magnificent fjords, mountainous landscapes, harrowing lava fields, and stunning glacial rivers all make the Nordic country of Iceland a dreamlike environment to travel for adventure seekers from across the planet. From the cold, uninhabitable interior to the charming towns and dramatic landscapes spanning the coastal areas, Europe’s most sparsely populated country is not your typical island nation. Leaving home to adventure travel in Iceland will be an incredible journey, during which you experience a country and culture not quite like any other on earth.
Sitting between the Arctic and North Atlantic Oceans off the east coast of the European mainland, Iceland is the world’s 18th largest island, and with just over 300,000 citizens, it also one of the world’s least densely populated countries. Iceland’s interior highlands are largely uninhabitable, with the bulk of the population living instead in small towns and settlements dotting the country’s extensive coastline.
Reykjavik, the country’s capital and largest city, is typically the most populated destination where you will visit while you adventure travel in Iceland. With around 130,000 people, Reykjavik is the undisputed economic, political, and cultural heart of the tiny island nation. Other locations you might visit while you adventure travel in Iceland include the much smaller towns of Hafnarfjorour, Akureyri, and Isafjordur, in addition to the trips you may take to soak in the country’s unsettled areas.
As you might have already guessed by virtue of its name and geography, Iceland can get pretty cold. Although the climate is temperate, it’s peak average generally sits around 50°F in the summer months, when most adventure travel programs in Iceland take course. Pack warmly and plan for a brisk journey abroad!
Adventure Travel in Iceland
Adventure travel is perhaps the most popular means of travel in Iceland, and for good reason. The country’s dramatic landscapes and sparse population make it a dream destination for outdoor-oriented individuals who want to experience a side of nature they’ve never seen before. From backpacking and spelunking on land to kayaking and fishing at sea, there are tons of exciting outings you will embark on while you adventure travel in Iceland.
For environmental enthusiasts, it will also please you to know that Iceland is one of the most sustainable countries on the planet. It runs mostly on renewable energy, and has in place some of the most progressive climate legislation in the international community. Eco tours in Iceland will enable you to have a ton of fun engaging in adrenaline-seeking activities, while also keeping pace through volunteering, geology, and environmental studies.
Adventure travel programs in Iceland typically run anywhere from just a couple of weeks to a few months long, with the opportunity to choose from a flexible set of dates. Each program will have a unique itinerary featuring different activities for adventure travel in Iceland, so research widely to find one that feels like the perfect fit for you!
Costs & Affordability
Like other Nordic countries, Iceland is an expensive place to travel. On top of this, adventure travel program fees can cost a pretty penny as well, covering most on-the-ground costs including food, housing, and transportation. If you have your heart set on adventure travel in Iceland but feel it may cost too much, fundraising is always a great idea to help cover your bases. The local currency in Iceland is the Icelandic krona, which exchanges at about 120 ISK to $1 USD.
Accommodation & Visas
Because you will likely move around a lot, you will enjoy a variety of different accommodations while adventure traveling in Iceland. Within the towns and cities you will likely stay at hostels or hotels, while adventuring through the countryside you may do more camping or stay in more remote inns. Be sure to check out multiple itineraries in detail to compare what kind of housing if offered along the way!
Iceland is part of the Schengen agreement, which means that European Union citizens will not have to apply for a visa in order to adventure travel in Iceland, and citizens of many other countries are allowed to travel for up to 90 days before obtaining documentation. To learn more about Iceland’s visa policy toward your home nation, be sure to check out our Iceland Embassy Directory.
Benefits & Challenges
Remoteness. Located nearly 300 miles away from the nearest body of land in Europe, Iceland has a sense of remoteness about it which is perfect for an adventure travel getaway. Get ready to explore off the map!
Landscape. From volcanoes and glaciers to fjords and beaches, Iceland boasts an incredible amount of unique geographical diversity. It can feel like a whole different planet at times.
Sustainability. Perhaps most impressive of all is Iceland’s commitment to preserve and care for the health of its environment. The small northern island nation is truly a role model for the international community.
Embarking on an adventure travel program in Iceland is the opportunity to get away from the doldrums of home and experience some entirely new excitement. Are you ready for a great journey ahead?