Swimming is a very popular activity all year round in Iceland. Most towns and villages have outdoor or indoor swimming pools filled with water from natural hot springs. The mean temperature of the water in the pools is about 84°F. In many places there are also saunas, a jacuzzi, solariums and hot pots with temperatures ranging from 97 - 111°F.
Action lovers in search of a real challenge will find plenty to their liking in Iceland. In some places where swirling glacial rivers race over rugged terrain on their way seaward, the scenery looks custom-built for river rafting. White water rafting operators often offer a choice of routes with different levels of challenge - for newcomers who want to experience the basic thrill and more difficult rides for the really wild at heart.
Iceland has over 50 golf courses throughout the island, some with outstanding views and always close to nature. Golf can be played in Iceland from May through September and in the summer golf can be played around-the-clock due to the midnight sun. Visitors are welcome at the courses. Green fees vary from USD 15- 30. Some courses offer clubs for rent. For further information contact the Icelandic Golf Association:
More than half of Iceland is over 1,312 feet above sea level, and a large part of the island is covered by lava, glaciers, lakes and sand. Few places in Iceland have marked walking paths, but hiking is a favorite pastime for Icelanders and tourists alike. During winter there are mostly day tours or weekend tours, but longer tours are organized during summer. Many travel agencies also organize hiking tours during winter and summer alike.
The Vikings arrived in Iceland more than a thousand years ago, bringing their horses with them. When these settlers created the world's oldest surviving Parliament in the year 930, one of their first acts was to prohibit further importation of horses. Today, more than ten centuries later, the breed remains pure. Strong and muscular, these horses are sure-footed enough to handle the roughest Icelandic terrain. Small and gentle, with great stamina, speed and intelligence, they are the perfect riding companions. They are friendly, willing, docile animals that take obvious pleasure in carrying their riders across grassy plains, up and down rocky slopes, through rivers and over fields of rough lava, offering travelers a unique way to enjoy the splendors and nature of Iceland.
Tours are available where travelers make the ascent by bus and belt-driven vehicle, and then have time to explore on their own - by snowmobile. Safaris in modified jeeps are also available. But because of the risk of hidden cracks in the glaciers, travelers should only visit glaciers on organized tours with experienced operators and guides. After all, there's all the freedom in the world - once you make it to the top. For more information click here.
Iceland is considered by various whale watching experts and tour operators as Europe's new 'Hot Spot', with astonishingly high sighting rates. The most common whales spotted are the friendly minke whales but also blue whales, humpback whales, sei and fin whales, killer whales and of course a number of dolphins including white beaks and harbor porpoises. Tours depart from several locations in Iceland such as Hafnarfjordur near Reykjavik, Breiddalsvik in the East, Olafsvik in the West, and the Westmann Islands in the South. But the most popular spot for whale watching is from Husavik, which is regarded by many as the 'Whale Watching Capital of Europe.' Cruises are made on a quiet, old-fashioned oaken boat and on shore there is an exhibition center dedicated to the many species of whales that sport in the bay. The season runs from May through September, and further information can be found at www.NordurSigling.is. www.gentlegiants.is
The season for salmon fishing is from around June 20th to mid-September. Trout fishing varies from one river/lake to the next, but the normal season is from April/May until late September/October. During winter, ice-fishing is quite popular. For salmon fishing, permits must be reserved well in advance, but trout fishing permits can be obtained at short notice, often the same day. For further information, please contact The National Angling Association: Bolholt 6, IS-105 Reykjavik, Tel: (+354) 553-1510 , fax: 568-4363, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website at www.angling.is. For more information click here.
Some places in Iceland are a paradise for birdwatchers. Latrabjarg in the West Fjords is the largest known bird cliff in the world. A great variety of cliff-nesting species can be found there, including the largest razorbill colony in the world. The Westmann Islands are known for many kinds of seabirds, and are home to both the world's and Iceland's largest puffin population.
Lake Myvatn in the north has more species of breeding ducks than any other place in Europe. The great skua colony on the sands in South Iceland is the largest in the world. Seabirds such as puffins can be seen in many places, as well as eiders, Arctic terns, waders and passerine birds. Some tour operators organize tours for birdwatchers in early summer. For more information click here
Iceland Travel Tips