Iceland extreme adventures

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 sleeve. 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 icy glaciers, to charging across the powder on snowmobiles. We’ve spent years handpicking the best Iceland hotels to retreat back to after a day out navigating the Arctic slopes. We’ve also spent years developing strong bonds with guides on the ground to ensure you’re safely guided through the ice caves and taken to the best spot for glacier hiking. It’s expert guides like Sven, Omar and Tristan who make these trips unforgettable. 

What follows is our guide to the best in luxury extreme adventure holidays in this rugged, captivating country.

Helicopter tour in Iceland

Iceland helicopter tour over Eyjafjallajokull Volcano

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.

Read more: Next on our five-night helicopter tour through Iceland, watch humpbacks breaching from above.

Snowmobile tour across the icy expanse of Langjökull glacier

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

Read more: On our epic Golden Circle jeep tour weave past exploding geysers at Thingvellir National Park.

Ice climbing adventure at Sólheimajökull glacier

Whether you’re a seasoned climber or a first-timer, the raw desire to climb in Iceland is unavoidable. Our long-time friend and expert guide, Sven will whisk you off to Sólheimajökull glacier where you’ll throw your crampons on and begin the ascent. This cragged, marbled beast is – visually – a genuine marvel. But its surface complexity also makes for ideal and varied climbing conditions.

Stay here: Retreat back to one of our favourite hotels in Iceland for a night under the glowing Northern Lights.

Glacier hiking in Iceland’s Valley of Thor

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.

Read more: Þórsmörk and these 9 other Iceland locations made it onto our top 10 photo-worthy landscapes list.

Snorkel between North America and Eurasia

By which we mean, dive into the eye-shatteringly clear waters of the Silfra Fissure. A crack in the world between the two tectonic plates, taking the plunge 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.

Read more: One more adventure? Dive into the magma chamber of one of Iceland’s most iconic volcanoes.

Ready for your own extreme trip to Iceland?

Like what you see? Our Travel Experts have scoured the frosty corners for years, perfecting both extreme–and chilled– Iceland itineraries for families, couples and solo travellers. Head to our Iceland page to pick the perfect one for you.