The best outdoor experiences in Iceland

photo by CC user mejvis on Flickr

Being a sizable isle in the North Atlantic Ocean that is home to only 300,000 souls, there is no shortage of outdoor attractions for residents and travelers alike. If you are seeking the best outdoor experiences in Iceland, the following four activities will meet this desire in a satisfactory fashion. This island known for having fantasy like landscapes, some have even compared Iceland to Narnia.

1) Check out Landmannalaugar – the people’s pool

Want to experience some of Iceland’s hot springs, but don’t want to shell out a king’s ransom to swim with a bunch of tourists at the Blue Lagoon? During the Icelandic summer, make the journey out to the rugged highlands of south central Iceland, where Landmannalaugar, which translates to English as the people’s pool, releases its steam into the virgin Nordic air.

Minimally developed with just an approach boardwalk protecting the surrounding grasslands, the natural pool will allow you to connect with everyday Icelandic people as you admire the barren but beautiful mountains that rise around you.

2) Trek atop Vatnajokull – Europe’s largest ice cap

While Iceland would seem to be a much better descriptor for Greenland, its massive cousin to the northwest, this island contains more than its share of glaciers across its interior.

Covering a large portion of Iceland’s southeast, this icepack obscures more than 8% of its land area, easily making it the biggest glacier in Europe.

Ice climbing, trekking, ski touring, and more awaits you here, making it one of the coolest things you can do on your Iceland trip.

3) Go hiking to the gateway of Hell – Hekla Volcano

Straddling the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, a large portion of separation between tectonic plates on either sides of the pond, Iceland owes its existence to the volcanic processes that results from these geological forces, as violent volcanic events over the eons have built this sizable island nation.

One of the more active volcanoes that is easily accessible is Hekla, which grants incredible views of the surrounding area, including many glaciers that stretch well into the interior.

4) Be humbled by the power of Seljalandsfoss, Iceland’s most famous waterfall

With all that ice in its interior and a summer that features near perpetual daylight, it’s no surprise that Iceland has some of the world’s most spectacular waterfalls. Seljalandsfoss is easily its most spectacular, with unimaginable volumes of water tumbling over a 200 foot high sheer cliff.

The best part of this natural treasure: you actually walk behind it, though those that do this need to be prepared to get wet, so wrap up your electronics!

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