An insider’s guide to extreme excursions in Iceland

They call Iceland the ‘land of fire and ice’ for a disarmingly simple reason – that, as a destination, it wears its geological intensity on its sleeve¹. When we plan luxury holidays and tours to Iceland, we know that it’s the ideal place to let your hair down and show your wild side – from brisk helicopter rides across the chill surfaces of glaciers, to charging across the powder on a snowmobile. What follows is our guide to the best in luxury extreme adventure holidays in this rugged, island country.

¹ Or thermal vest, more appropriately.

Iceland helicopter tours will take you across the vast and unimaginable

There are few better ways to see this magisterial land than up above. Taking a helicopter tour of Iceland gives you a sense of the immense scale and raw, brute physicality of a landscape that has literally been formed by the shoving and ploughing of million-tonne glaciers and the fiery bursts of bubbling volcanoes.

Ride out on a snowmobile tour to Langjökull, “the long glacier”

There is something undeniably James Bond about this experience. Minus the danger. Minus the spying². What’s more, Iceland – being slathered in great whips and slopes of snow – is the ideal place to dart around on a snowmobile. The vast, pulverizing expanse of the Langjokull glacier will be your roadway to further adventure. Langjökull is home to the world’s biggest man-made ice cave, stretching an incredible 2,645ft.

² We hope.

Hike a glacier and descend into another world

Having seen Iceland’s great glaciers from up high (and even then they don’t look small), the next thing to do is descend. Hiking tours of Iceland’s glaciers are remarkable not only for the wild views, but for the way in which they’ll turn you into something of a latter-day explorer. You truly feel like you’re venturing on an alien world as you step onto these (surprisingly) blue-black-white formations. Named after the Norse god Thor, Þórsmörk (home to the infamous Eyjafjallajökull glacier volcano that erupted in 2010, drawing the world’s attention to the island) remains another feverish option for hiking tours.

Ice climbing in Iceland? the options are not surprisingly plentiful

Whether you’re a seasoned climber or a first-timer, the raw desire to climb in Iceland is unavoidable. Sólheimajökull glacier is one of the many hotspots where you can throw your crampons on and begin to ascend³. This cragged, marbled beast is – visually – a genuine marvel. But its surface complexity also makes for ideal and varied climbing conditions.

³ Accompanied, of course, by an expert guide.

Cool off between North America and Eurasia

By which we mean, dive into the eye-shatteringly clear, blue waters of the Silfra fissure – a crack in the world between the two tectonic plates. Diving between these two, thuggish blocks of landscape is an immeasurably calming experience. As you descend (wet-suited, in all of that brilliant cold), the most surprising thing is that your visibility is far greater than you’d assume. The crashing of rocks and boulders (long ago, don’t worry) into the fissure has also created an extremely varied dive experience, adding mini-fissures and grottos within this awe-inspiring trench.

Ready for your own extreme trip to Iceland?