Outdoors

Take the Road Less Traveled: 5 Iceland Adventures Off the Tourist Trail

Exploring Iceland’s otherworldly landscapes feels like being on a different planet—black-sand beaches, desolate mountains, miles upon miles of lava fields. From volcano hikes to snorkeling between tectonic plates, there’s more to do and see in Iceland than you’d ever guess. These 13 Iceland tours will show you the best of the country in all its natural glory.

Tour the World’s Largest Ice Tunnel

Hidden among Iceland’s countless natural wonders is one particularly impressive human-made sight: the world’s largest man-made ice tunnel, carved roughly 1,600 feet through the ice of the Langjökull glacier.

Iceland Unlimited will get you there in a modified monster truck designed to tackle the harsh terrain. If you’re visiting during the winter, the tour will pick you up at the nearby Husafell geothermal swimming pool; during the summer, groups meet at the Klaki Base Camp near the glacier’s edge before the two-and-a-half-hour tour. No matter how you get there, be prepared to see bluer blues than you’ve ever seen before.

iceland tours
The black sand beach is unforgettable. (Photo: Getty Images)

Black-Sand Beach Quad Bike Tour

The black-sand beaches lining Iceland are a must-see. Yes, you could theoretically park in a nearby lot and walk toward the water on your own, but we suggest booking a tour with Arcanum, who will set you up on a quad bike for a two-hour high-adrenaline ride through streams, lava rock formations, and black-sand dunes.

Your route includes a stop at the famed DC3 plane wreck (yes, the one featured in Justin Bieber’s music video). The tour price alone is worth the energy it would take to hike the 2.5 miles to this infamous landmark.

iceland tours
See a creepy, abandoned plane. (Photo: Getty Images)

Snorkel the Silfra Fissure

Iceland’s Silfra Fissure is located in Thingvellir National Park, one of the most stunning parts of the country where two tectonic plates sit saddled up next to each other. That’s what makes this snorkeling spot so special: the water, which is filtered through volcanic rock, is so clear you can see hundreds of feet below.

Not only does Iceland Adventure Tours provide the gear you need and guide you through the fissure safely, their team of expert divers also snap photos as you paddle your way between the plates. The snorkeling session lasts about 45 minutes, concluding with few moments to freely explore a small nearby pool. Bonus: they also offer hotel pick-up in Reykjavík and diving for those looking to venture a bit deeper.

iceland tours
Take a deep dive into a fissure. (Photo: Getty Images)

Vatnshellir Lava Cave Tour

Iceland is home to two national parks, Thingvellir and Snæfellsjökull, the latter of which is where you’ll find the Vatnshellir Lava Cave, a lava tube system that was formed almost 8,000 years ago.

Hey Iceland guides offer lessons in the cave’s geology as you descend almost 115 feet underground to take it all in. Necessary safety gear (like a helmet and flashlight) are provided, but make sure to arrive in warm clothes and hiking boots; you’ll be taking on some uneven terrain and chilly temps deep inside the cave.

Paragliding Day Tour, Happy World

Paragliding over Reynisfjara, Iceland’s most famous black-sand beach near Vík, is something many tourists don’t get the chance to brag about.

During a day tour with Happy World, you’ll stop by some of the South’s most iconic sites—the Eyjafjallajökull ice cap; the Seljalandsfoss waterfall; lava and moss fields—but you can also add paragliding over the beach to your itinerary.

Together with an experienced pilot, you’ll glide over your choice of sites (be it Skogafoss or Reynisfjara itself). We suggest Reynisfjara: on foot, getting close to the waves is incredibly dangerous, but from above, you’ll get a completely unique view few are able to experience.

This article was published through a partnership with Jetsetter magazine. Read the original story: 13 Tours of Iceland That Will Get You Off the Tourist Trail by Erika Owen, a regular contributor to Jetsetter.

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