When making a trip to Iceland, it is hard not to pay special attention to the country's namesake—namely, its 4,500 square miles of glacier. Ice climbing on the glaciers is practiced year-round and takes place mainly on the Sólheimajökull and Svínafellsjökull glaciers in the south of Iceland, to which day trips are offered from Reykjavík (and Skaftafell).
Without exception, glacier walking or climbing should not be done without the accompaniment of a trained guide.
Hiking trips are also available onto the Snæfellsjökull glacier in the west and the Vatnajökull glacier in the east. Without exception, glacier walking or climbing should not be done without the accompaniment of a trained guide. Glacier walking tours can often be combined with other tours such as jeep safaris and boating on a glacier lagoon.
These tours offer visitors an amazing first-hand experience of some of Iceland's untamed nature, lead by trained professionals. The tours can be undertaken at various levels of experience and difficulty. Crampons and ice axes are generally provided, but it is recommended that you bring a waterproof jacket and trousers, a light sweater, quick dry trousers, a hat and gloves. In addition, hiking boots are often available for rent.
Iceland is the perfect location for whale watching. The cold waters off the coast play host to a diverse marine life. During the summer months in particular, Iceland's shores become a veritable feeding ground for multiple species of large marine mammals, giving visitors a chance to observe these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat.
Due to its position on the Mid-Atlantic ridge, Iceland is one of the most active volcanic regions in the world. Its unique geological conditions make for some awe-inspiring rock formations, both beneath the surface as well as above it. Various tube caves—formed by magma flowing underneath the earth's surface after lava has solidified overhead—can safely be explored through guided excursions year-round.
The local natural wonder that is perhaps most ingrained in the fabric of Icelandic culture is the bounty of geothermal energy, the naturally heated water that powers our lives and heats our homes, baths and pools, public as well as private. And as unlikely as it may sound, Reykjavík sports its own geothermal beach, with white sands and warm ocean water.
Because Quality Matters
VAKINN is the official quality and environmental system within Icelandic tourism. Only companies that maintain the highest standards in all aspects of business practices and meet a comprehensive assessment criteria have earned the right to carry VAKINN – Iceland tourism's official quality and environment label.
The quality system is divided into two categories, star grading system for accommodation and
other tourism services.
VAKINN is run by the Icelandic Tourist Board which has led the project in close cooperation with The Icelandic Travel Industry Association, Innovation Center Iceland and the Icelandic Tourism Association.