5 Unusual Things to Do In Iceland

Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

Iceland is an unusual place. Traveling here is an education in folklore, huldufólk, the uniqueness of living on a small island, and in the creativity that arises from living in such a stark landscape.

Here, you learn that the hidden people encourage living harmoniously with nature, that winters can be long and fresh food historically hard to find, that trees aren’t necessary for extraordinary beauty, that history is present in everyday life, and that Iceland is ever-changing. It’s the perfect place to explore, to find yourself, and to dig deeply into history and experience the present. Whether you’re here for a weekend, a week’s vacation, or even on a short layover, my advice to you: be an explorer!

How do you explore Iceland?

While discovering Reyjkavik is important (as is visiting the Blue Lagoon), so is getting out of town and experiencing the extraordinary landscape and natural treasures – and a few activities that might surprise you. The best way to do so is to hit the road and take an Iceland road trip. Depending on the season, you might see the Northern Lights, take part in winter sports, or view all sorts of marine and wildlife. Whenever you come, you’ll eat well, enjoy the arts, and marvel at the welcome from the Icelandic people – noted the friendliest in the world to foreign visitors!


Here are 5 unusual things to do in Iceland

5 unusual things to do in Iceland


Horseback Riding on the Löngufjörur Beaches

Head north on the Golden Circle in Iceland and take Road 54 east to the Löngufjörur Beaches. Here, you can ride horses with a guide – right on the wide, sandy beach. These are white sand beaches, rare in Iceland. Enjoy the ride!

5 unusual things to do in Iceland: Horseback Riding on the Löngufjörur Beaches


Traverse Black Sand Beaches to see Puffins

Located in southern Iceland just south of Hof on the Ring Road, Ingólfshöfði cape is actually a headland where Iceland’s first settler, Ingolfur Arnarson, landed! Here, you can spot puffins and other seabirds by the scores. Bring your cameras – you will get closer than you can imagine! You’ll take a tractor ride across marshes and black sand beaches, then climb a hill to birdwatch. Note: this is a seasonal activity, and you will definitely need rain and wind gear. 

5 unusual things to do in Iceland: Traverse Black Sand Beaches to see Puffins


Hit the Links

Did you know there are 65 golf courses in Iceland? My husband did. What a gorgeous place to golf. For views of glaciers and mountains in Vatnajökull National Park, head to Silfurnesvöllur in South Iceland. This golf course offers 9 holes with extraordinary views.

Hit the Links: 5 unusual things to do in Iceland


Whitewater Kayaking or Rafting 

Glacial meltwater in rivers, rafting and kayaking through lavafields, and more -  whitewater watersports in Iceland are extraordinary. You can explore the Hvítá River (near Gulfoss) or other rivers up north with a guide – or even kayak waters in the Heinaberg Lagoon in the shadows of glaciers! Whatever you choose, it’s sure to be an adventure.

5 unusual things to do in Iceland: Whitewater Kayaking


Try your hand at Fly fishing in Thingvallavatn

Going fly fishing in Thingvallavatn takes you to the largest natural lake in Iceland, notable both for legendary fishing of trout and Arctic char, and for being the location of the first Icelandic Parliament (founded in 930!). Lake Thingvallavatn is part of Þingvellir National Park (also known as Thingvellir National Park), one of the most popular destinations in Iceland because of its unique geological features. Few people, however, go fly fishing there (or try scuba diving or snorkeling the Silfra rift!). Find a guide and get to fishing! 

5 unusual things to do in Iceland: Try your hand at Fly fishing in Thingvallavatn


What unique things do you want to do first, when you visit Iceland? 



All photos courtesy and copyright http://www.iceland.is/, used with permission