Contemplating the setting sun in eastern Iceland (Shutterstock)
List Words : Wanderlust team | 04 March 2019

Iceland's best tours: Ice caves, hot springs and epic adventures

With its grand landscapes and untouched nature, Iceland is a perfect adventure. Trek across volcanoes, dive between the continents and ride sturdy ponies with these top tours...

1. Cycle through the heart of Iceland

Cycling near the Blue Lagoon (Shutterstock)

Cycling near the Blue Lagoon (Shutterstock)

Immerse yourself in Iceland’s untamed landscapes on this 9-day cycling adventure through this ancient land of of the vikings with Intrepid.

There is no better way to experience Iceland’s ethereal grandeur than on two wheels. You’ll cycle the famous Golden Circle, passing geo-thermal hot springs and geysers, millennia-old glaciers and some of Europe’s biggest and most spectacular waterfalls. At times you won’t see another soul, just mysterious and desolate landscapes that have inspired artists, poets and musicians for centuries.

You’ll finish in Jokulsarlon and its extraordinary glacier lagoon, where blue-white icebergs make their way silently to the sea, breaking apart and washing up on the black sand beach.

Trip: Cycle Iceland

Who: Intrepid

When: Departures Jun-Aug

How long: 9 days

How much: £3,410 (exc. flights)

2. Hike Iceland’s legendary Laugavegur Trek

Hiker looking over the Laugavegur Trek (Shutterstock)

Hiker looking over the Laugavegur Trek (Shutterstock)

Hike amongst hissing hot springs and across ancient ice caps on this 7-day walk along one of Europe’s most iconic treks with KE Adventure Travel.

Your adventure begins at Landmannalaugar, close to Hekla, Iceland’s famously active volcano. You’ll walk south, through rocky gorges and beside steaming hot springs to the ancient lava flows of Hrafntinnusker, where you’ll spend your first night in a cosy mountain hut. From there, all the highlights of the Fjallabak region await – Lake Alftavatn, the black sands of Maelifellssandur, the Myrdalsjokull Icecap and the summer grazing meadows of Emstrur. Your last night is spent in a mountain hut in Thorsmork (Thor’s Forest), a fitting end to this epic journey, worthy of a Norse myth.

Trip: Laugavegur Trek - Landmannalaugar to Thorsmork

Who: KE Adventure Travel

When: Departures Jun-Sep

How long: 7 days

How much: £1,795 (exc. flights)

3. Iceland at a tölt

Icelandic ponies in the mountains (Shutterstock)

Icelandic ponies in the mountains (Shutterstock)

Experience Iceland like the vikings did – from the back of a sturdy Icelandic pony – on this 6-day horse riding holiday with Venture Co Worldwide.

Icelandic ponies have evolved perfectly to suit the local conditions. Sure-footed and strong, they don’t trot or canter, but rather tölt, a gait somewhere in-between. It’s the most efficient way of covering the Icelandic terrain and more comfortable for the rider as well. Be warned: Icelandic ponies are sociable animals. It’s not uncommon to be joined by huge herds of wild ponies as you ride, just tagging along for the fun of it.

And who can blame them? You’ll ride through some of the most stunning scenery in the world, experiencing sights, sounds and smells that will stay with you for a lifetime.

Trip: The Northern Lights Ride

Who: Venture Co Worldwide

When: Departures Jan-Apr

How long: 6 days

How much: £1,195 (exc. flights)

4. Discover off-the-beaten track Iceland

4WD in Iceland (Shutterstock)

4WD in Iceland (Shutterstock)

Combine breathtaking day-long walks with adrenaline-rush off-roading drives on this unique 4WD and hiking adventure with Evaneos.

On this two-week tour, coastal roads and highland tracks will take you deep into the Icelandic wilderness and far from the tourist crowds. Taking advantage of your 4WD’s offload capabilities, you’ll get to parts of the country out of reach to most visitors and to trails only locals know about. One for outdoor enthusiasts, this tour is your fast track to the unique landscapes of Iceland and its staggering natural phenomena.

Trip: Iceland: 4WD and Hiking Adventure

Who: Evaneos

When: Flexible departures throughout the year

How long: 15 days

How much: From £3,190

5. Explore Iceland with Sir Chris Bonington

Your guide - Sir Chris Bonington (Robert Wilson)

Your guide - Sir Chris Bonington (Robert Wilson)

Explore Iceland in the company of one of the Britain’s greatest mountaineers and adventurers, on this small group tour of the country’s most extraordinary highlights with Sir Chris Bonington.

From the buzzing capital Reykjavík to the natural wonders of the Golden Circle, you’ll witness the thundering waterfalls, dramatic volcanoes, mighty geysers and otherworldly landscapes that have made the country famous. Sir Chris will regale you with tales of his extraordinary adventures and join you in exploring this striking scenery, including a glacier walk across Vatnajökull, Europe’s biggest ice cap. It promises to be a trip to remember.

Trip: The best of Iceland with Sir Chris Bonington

Who: Wanderlust Journeys

When: May

How long: 7 days

How much: £1,899 (Exc. flights)

6. Dive between continents

Diving the Silfra fissure (Shutterstock)

Diving the Silfra fissure (Shutterstock)

Dive between two continents in one of the top cold water dive sites in the world on this diving holiday to the Silfra fissure with Diving Worldwide.

The Silfra fissure is located in Thingvellir National Park, where the Eurasian and American tectonic plate boundaries meet, creating a unique diving experience. Visibility is extraordinary – often exceeding 100 metres – and with temperature never getting above 4 degrees Celsius, a dry suit an essential part of your equipment.

This long weekend break includes two dives at Silfra, as well as the chance to take a dip in a geothermal pool, enjoy the sights and sounds of Reykjavik or relax in a local health spa. This is a dive trip quite like any other. 

Trip: Silfra Diving Weekend

Who: Diving Worldwide

When: Departures Jun-Sep

How long: 4 days

How much: From £645 (exc. flights)

7. Clear your mind and raise your spirits

Practising yoga at Skogafoss (Shutterstock)

Practising yoga at Skogafoss (Shutterstock)

Get ready for a truly out-of-body travel experience on this wellness holiday in Iceland with G Adventures.

Iceland offers the perfect sanctuary from daily distractions back home, and your soothing journey will see you take in all the sights and tend to your general wellbeing, too. You’ll practice yoga in Thingvellir National Park, meditate in Reykjadalur and luxuriate in the geothermal baths in Laugarvatn. You'll also experience some uniquely Icelandic activities like a rye bread cooking class and waterfall guided meditation beside the mighty Seljalandsfoss.

Of course, no wellness visit to Iceland would be complete without a stop at the Blue Lagoon, a naturally-heated hotspot for travellers willing to go halfway around the world just to unwind.

Trip: Wellness Iceland

Who: G Adventures

When: Departures May-Sep

How long: 7 days

How much: From £2,099 (exc. flights)