Ten crazy things to do in Iceland
In no particular order:
1. Go hidden
Yes, it’s the old chestnut about elves, trolls and hidden people. You see, while not many people actually claim to believe in them, there are similarly few people in Iceland who categorically do not believe in them. They are ‘hidden’, after all. As a result, their homes are treated with respect and stories of new roads being built to by-pass around hidden people rocks, and of expert elf consultants being hired on building sites, are very much true. You can take a hidden world guided tour in Hafnarfjörður, near Reykjavík – or even take a course at the Icelandic Elf School.
2. Go away
Why not go island hopping? The island of Iceland is an inhabited island which is the main part of the nation of Iceland. But the Republic of Iceland is made up of more inhabited islands than just Iceland, if you see what we mean… Grímsey springs to mind as an exciting place to visit; not least because it is the only part of Iceland which crosses the famous Arctic Circle. Other fun inhabited islands for you to visit include: Heimaey, Vigur, Viðey (pictured), Hrísey and Flatey.
3. Go Inuit
Thanks to the country’s sturdy and beautiful breed of horse and its unreliable snowfall, there is absolutely nothing Icelandic about dog sledding. But sometimes you have to say ‘to hell with history’ and just do what’s fun. Whether it’s on terra firma with wheels, or over a glacier with a sled, you’ll love the genuine-fake Eskimo experience. Using real Greenlandic sled dogs, passionate enthusiasts will guide you on an unforgettable trip. You can see some of the dogs in a recent David Guetta music video!
4. Go swim
you should remember there are good excuses to take a dip in the sea…even in Iceland. If you have a fluffy towel, crazy friends and a warm house, hotel, hot pot or sauna very nearby, then take the plunge in midwinter. It’s certainly something you’ll remember for years. Alternatively you might even go in by choice if you wake up in your boiling hot tent in summer by the beach, sticky with sweat and bunged up with pollen. There is no finer cure! If neither of these rather specific scenarios materialises, then you should remember the Nauthólsvík geothermal beach…even sane people enjoy a swim there!
5. Go native
Everyone should party in Reykjavík at least once. Even if that means spending far too much on beer and not going to bed ’til the morning. Of course the sensible thing to do is to combine the legendary partying with the equally celebrated live music and kill two proverbial birds with one rock (‘n roll). There’s plenty around every Friday and Saturday night. One of many places to find out what’s on where and when is the middle pages of The Reykjavík Grapevine. Remember though: don’t expect much of a party atmosphere before at least 12 or 1 o’clock.
6. Go wallow
It cannot have escaped your notice that people keep banging on about visiting the Blue Lagoon while in Iceland. We agree with them, but would remind you of the importance of ordering a beer, a blue lagoon, or a fruit smoothie at the Lagoon Bar. It’s a delightful treat to swim up to the bar, order and drink your lovely prize without having to remove yourself from the relaxing blue water for even a second.
7. Go fish
Iceland is famous for its fish. Everybody knows that. But have you ever thought of visiting Iceland specifically to go fishing? We have salmon and trout fishing rivers popular with princes, rock stars and the international jet set. We have fishing lakes and rivers popular with less wealthy people as well. Perhaps the most exciting options, however, are those out at sea. The water is teeming with life and sea angling tours (even whole weeks) are increasingly popular – especially in the Westfjords region. You can even go out on a real working longliner for a day…
8. Go dive
Diving and snorkelling do not always come to mind first when you think of Iceland. That’s why we’re including it here. The Silfra rift in Lake Þingvallavatn boasts as good visibility as you’ll find underwater anywhere on this planet, at up to 300 metres. The nearly-hundred-year-old glacier melt water is so clean you can drink it. Iceland boasts the world’s only undersea smoking ‘chimney’ shallow enough for recreational divers to visit, several good wrecks, and let’s not forget the fjords. There’s as much to explore underwater as on land!
9. Go equine
Iceland is one of the premier places to go horse riding. It is not only the Lord of the Rings style landscape and endless countryside that make this so, but also the horses themselves. Icelandic horses are of a unique breed, famous for their strength, their small size, their intelligence and their unusual extra gaits, including the ‘tölt’ which is between a trot and a canter, but as smooth and comfortable as being on wheels. Whatever you do, don’t call them ponies. They’ll only get upset.
10. Go jet
It’s seems fair to guess that you probably haven’t given attacking an Icelandic river in a jet boat a whole lot of thought. But maybe you should. Iceland Riverjet provides adrenaline packed blasts up and down the Hvítá river in the south of the country. The company puts great emphasis on keeping its customers safe and warm; but also aims to thrill their pants off (figuratively speaking).