From snorkeling in the Silfra Fissure to enjoying the hot springs of the Blue Lagoon, Iceland serves up neverending opportunties to enjoy its coastal and inland waters. The country’s enticing aquatic adventures offer something magical for every age and season. Here’s a look at how to best explore these wonders.
Snorkel between two continents at the Silfra Fissure
The North American and European tectonic plates meet at Silfra in Thingvellir National Park. Gear up with a drysuit and dive under the glacial water by snorkel or scuba to see up-close where the tectonic plates meet. The amazing crystal clear water allows for visibility to incredible distances under water.
Watch for whales along Iceland’s North Coast
Ride along in a ship from Husavik, Iceland’s whale-watching capital, in the hopes of spotting humpbacks, porpoises and sea birds. Unlike in Reykjavik, where you have to sail farther to find the whales, in Husavik they sometimes hang out within minutes of the harbor.
Kayak calm fjords below steep mountains
The Westfjords in northwest Iceland were made for kayaking. Paddle clear blue waters in the fjords as you take in the towering mountains above. If you are looking for more adventure, consider paddling to another fjord or to Vigur Island, one of the top birdwatching areas in all of Iceland.
Float alongside icebergs as they drift out to sea
At Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon, you can watch as large icebergs float from the Vatnajokull glacier out to sea. For a better view, hop aboard an amphibious boat or take a Zodiac inflatable boat tour to get up close to the larger icebergs in the water. When you’re done, walk amidst the icebergs washed up on the shore; the giant, crystal-like sculptures on the black sand beach make for some very unique photographs. Keep an eye out for seals and porpoises in the lagoon—they often hang out nearby.
Relax in natural geothermal hot springs
No trip to Iceland would be complete without a dip in geothermal pools. While you can find many pools and hot tubs scattered throughout the country, the best and most picturesque are the Secret Lagoon (Gamla Laugin, along Golden Circle), Jardbodin Nature Baths in the north near Lake Myvatn, Landmannalaugar hot springs under the volcanoes, and the popular Blue Lagoon between the airport and Reykjavik. If you need your hot pool fix more frequently, many small towns have their own hot tubs and swimming pools, which they advertise on highway signs.
Witness the dramatic force of waterfalls both powerful and picturesque
You could spend an entire trip to Iceland only visiting waterfalls, and you still wouldn’t see them all. Gullfoss is the closest to Reykjavik along the Golden Circle Route, and well deserving of its fame. In the north you will find Dettifoss, Europe’s most powerful waterfall. You’ll find Glymur, Iceland’s tallest, dropping into a canyon an hour away from Reykjavik. At Skogafoss in the south you can walk up to the base (be sure to wear a rain jacket). Walk along a cave behind Seljalandsfoss, or take one of Iceland’s most popular photographs of Kirkjufellsfoss with Kirkjufell mountain in the background.
Chris is an avid world traveler with a soft spot for Iceland. He loves finding new adventures off the beaten path, and is an Iceland expert for Kimkim.com.
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