Get your kicks in the land of Fire & Ice

If you think Iceland only offers only attractions like waterfalls, hot tubs, glaciers and volcanic fields, you’re dead wrong. Last summer, we explored this beautiful island and came across some splendid activities. As tourism is rising every year, you’ll find an increased offering each year. These ones below all offer amazing experiences.

RIB Safari on Westman Islands

When you’re in Westman Islands, this activity should be on your list. You’ll stop by major highlights of the coastal region like Elephant Rock, some hidden caves, Keiko’s basin and (maybe) spot some seals, whales and puffins along the way. Puffin presence depends on the season, but if you’re visiting Iceland in September, your chances are the highest they are still on these islands.
The RIB speedboat has 2x 400 horsepower engines and can blast at high speed to provide you with an awesome adrenaline rush. Funny and competent guides accompany you along the trip, together with some groovy beats.

The company offers multiple type of trips, and we went for the ‘one hour small islands trip’, which showed a great deals of highlights. You’ll get a short safety introduction first and receive protective clothing, float suit and life jacket. The trip is perfectly suitable for families with children as well. Booking online is highly convenient (and recommended) and overall service is great. Check their website for FAQs, trip schedules and actual prices.

More info on: http://www.ribsafari.is

Husavik Adventures Whale Spotting

Another great experience in the North is spotting whales. Husavik is like the Whale Capital of Iceland and offers very high spotting chances every day. We joined on an RIB tour with Husavik Adventures and spotted Minke whales, a shy Porpoise and several Humpback whales. Never came as close to these majestic creatures! They swim and dive slowly so you’ll be chilling right next to them on your RIB. Puffins can be spotted in abundance too.

Other types of trips (with bigger boats) are also offered but I’m glad we chose for the RIB.  They get you there faster and closer. A competent guide and eagle-eye captain made sure we didn’t disturb the animals and got great photo opportunities. You get a warm protective suit and life vest but don’t forget your hat and gloves. The ticket office can be hard to find so check their website for detailed directions 🙂 After the trip you can grab a pile of fresher-than-ever-before Fish & Chips from the restaurant next door. Awesome value for money. Must do in Husavik!

Husavik Adventures The Buggy Experience

This company started this summer with offering Buggy Rides in the area as well. If you’re feeling adventurous and you enjoy a bit off karting and quad-driving on gravel roads, you’ll love this activity. Powerful 4×4 Buggy Cars get you to places you’ll never explore by car, away from the beaten tracks. An experienced guide drives in front of you while you grind those slippery roads. Along the way, you can take a break to enjoy the scenery on top of the mountain and switch positions with your co-driver or take some pictures.

You’ll wear a helmet, gloves and a protective suit at all times, while you’re strapped in the buggy and additional safety nets are around you. I never felt unsure about tipping over or losing control over the wheel. Total trip lasts about 2 hours and will get your body thrilled for a few hours after. Check their website for actual prices and time tables.

More info on: https://husavikadventures.is/tours/buggy-experience/

Off-road to Askja crater – Saga Travels

The Myvatn area still has a lot of volcanic activtity and is famous for its unique volcanic formations. You’ll find an authentic answer to the Reykjavik’s (‘tourist trap’) Blue Lagoon near Reykjahlid, colorful mountains surrounding the Lake and ofcourse the most friendly people of Iceland. One of those highlights in the area is the Askja Crater. The downside is that you cannot reach it with your regular 4WD (unless you’re a daredevil and don’t care about exuberant car towing bills). The upside is that Saga Travels offers daily Superjeep tours to this magnificent crater lake and its turquoise little brother.

Our tour guide (Julius) was a funny, passionate and competent true-blood viking. He drove through the lava fields in a good pace and talked about his favorite spots along the way. You’ll see the main location where NASA trained their Apollo Astronauts before the first lunar landing and iconic landmarks such as HerĂ°ubreiĂ°alindir Oasis, Drekagil Gully and Holuhraun Lava Fields. These pit stops were a nice change to the tiring and extremely bumpy drive of 3 hours to the crater. Another upside is that this location hosts only few tourists (which is becoming a rare thing in Iceland).

The Askja Crater itself offers a stunning view in an extremely remote location. The two river crossings with regular 4×4 jeeps are tricky so we didn’t take any risk. We came across two jeeps that were stuck in the river. Flooded engines are very costly so you’d better stay safe with a guided tour.

Pack your own lunch, water and plenty of snacks as you don’t really come across anything like a cafĂ© to restock 🙂

Other activities in Iceland are surely worth mentioning as well. We didn’t had the opportunity to join in on a tour, so I don’t have any details about them.

Northern Lights Tours

Quite popular in the Myvatn-Husavik-Akureyri area. Spotting chances starting from the end of August but peak season around Dec-Jan. Check out Anton’s Geotravel (www.geotravel.is) or Halldor’s Amazing North offerings (www.amazingnorth.is).

Inside the Volcano

Quite pricey but one-of-a-kind experience. Descend with a small elevator into the belly of a volcano. Don’t expect to see any boiling Mordor lava but you’ll surely feel like a real explorer! They operate on a few time slots a day in the season, but it is best to book well in advance! (www.insidethevolcano.com)

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