With autumn comes another unique opportunity for an activity you might not get to do at home – animal roundups (or ‘dýrahestur’). Local farmers hike into the hills to gather their animals and bring them in to shelter before the harsh winter arrives, and they’ll always welcome a helping hand from family members and tourists! You can find out more information on where the roundups are happening at a local tourist office, it’s a lot of fun!
Iceland is a geothermal island, covered with volcanoes and constant geothermal activity. With that activity comes natural hot springs, and what better time of year to experience them than when it’s chilly outside, the sun is rising (or setting) and there are far less tourists around?!
Frolicking in a warm Iceland stream after a day's hiking
If you’re travelling independently rather than with a guided tour operator, then winter is a great time of year to visit Iceland if doing it cheaply is your priority. Flights, rental cars and accommodation prices are slashed as much as in half – careful though, if you want to spend what you saved on a few drinks, the tax on alcohol in Iceland is very high!
On average, the winter temperatures in Iceland are -2⁰-3⁰C (28⁰-37⁰F), with an average monthly precipitation of around 45mm.
Do I need a visa to visit Iceland?
Iceland is a party to the Schengen Agreement, which means that citizens of the USA, Australia, Europe and others, can travel to Iceland for up to 90 days without a visa. If you’re from the UK, as it stands you too are able to travel without a visa, for up to 90 days – although at this stage it is unclear how those rights will be affected as the Brexit process progresses. We’d advise you to seek the most up to date information by calling your country’s passport authority around the time of booking.
What to do in Iceland
Iceland is one of the most unique landscapes on earth, and so activities such as hiking, ice-hiking, photography, and ornithology are amongst the most popular ways for visitors to spend their time. If you’re travelling with a multi-day tour operator, you’re likely to be partaking in a series of hikes, viewing many of Iceland’s stunning waterfalls, its coastal islands, volcanoes and glaciers.
If you have time on your Iceland trip, we’d strongly recommend spending a few days hiking in the East-Fjords region, it’s a long way from the capital city where most tourists spend their time, the landscapes are absolutely stunning, and with cosy backcountry cabins to stay warm in each night, it’s a special experience not to be missed.
Hiking the East-Fjords
Iceland’s capital city, Reykjavik, is packed with interesting buildings, great restaurants, and bars to explore. One of the most popular stops is the impressive Hallgrímskirkja, a Lutheran church in the city centre. Its architecture is said to have been inspired by one of the many waterfalls in Iceland, and boasts a 74.5 metre tall spire.
Another must-do near the country’s capital city is Blue Lagoon. The huge natural hot pools between the international airport and the city-centre are a great place to relax after your international flight, and a really good indication of the relaxed, luxurious experiences available in this beautiful and unique, but expensive country!
How to choose a guided tour operator
If, like so many others who love adventure travel, you prefer to leave the details of the itinerary to a guided tour operator, then choosing the best experience with the most reputable operators is crucial. If you can’t relax knowing you’re in the best hands, or you’re constantly second-guessing what’s in store day-to-day on your trip, you won’t get the most fulfiling experience from your adventure.
That’s where we come in. We’ve been running adventure vacations for 22+ years – we started in Queenstown, New Zealand (the adventure capital of the world!), where most of our office-based team is still located. Since Active Adventures began in 1996 we’ve expanded to run trips all over New Zealand, as well is in Peru, Patagonia, Bolivia, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, the Himalayas, and most recently – Europe.
Our recipe for creating the perfect trip starts with a carefully personalised customer service experience. Our belief in creating this personal experience passes all the way to our guides on all our adventures – they really are incredible. Our guides are the number one thing our delighted guests comment on when they talk about their adventure – head over to our Europe reviews to find out more. Or if you’d prefer to see reviews from an independent site, check out our TrustPilot feed below.
Add to our exceptional customer service, and outstanding guides, our carefully researched itineraries, and you’re starting to see something special in the making. We always try to make our adventures multi-sport – although the focus is generally on hiking. On our Iceland trips for example, we’ll also do some kayaking for a unique perspective of one of the country’s many glacial lagoons.
Finally, we always make sure our trips are all-inclusive – we want you to relax knowing we’ll take care of everything. You won’t need to worry about where, when, or what you’ll eat, or whether you’ll be able to find accommodation – we’ve got it covered. So all you need to do is arrive, enthusiastic and ready to engage with like-minded people on an adventure of discovery, and your amazing guides will take care of the rest.
Booking your flights to Iceland
Iceland is an expensive country to visit once you arrive, but getting there, particularly from the USA and the UK, is very reasonably priced. We have a good relationship with a company called New Zealand Travel Brokers, and wherever you’re travelling from and to in the world, these guys can help you get a great deal, and make the process as hassle-free as possible. If you’d like us to put you in touch with them just let us know.
We can give you all the information you need for what time of day to arrive and depart in order to join our trip, as well as advice on airport transfers and places to stay pre and post trip.
5 tips for pronouncing Icelandic words
- Most consonants are pronounced as they are in English.
- J in Icelandic is pronounced like the ‘y’ in ‘you’.
- An Icelandic ‘a’ is pronounced like the ‘a’ in ‘bar’, but an Icelandic ‘á’ (with an accent) is pronounced like the ‘ou’ in ‘about’.
- Icelandic ‘I’ and ‘y’ are pronounced as in the ‘I’ in ‘thin’ but ‘í’ and ‘ý’ (with accents) pronounced as the ‘ee’ in ‘feet’.
- Icelandic characters ‘Þ’ and ‘Ð’ pronounced like the ‘th’ in ‘these’.
Stelkur Iceland Hiking Adventure
Iceland is a hiking destination that rivals the best in the world - it's wildly beautiful and largely undisturbed... and it’s easy to get to from North America and within Europe! On this trip you’ll see some of Iceland's famous waterfalls whilst traversing the island from west to east. For the first seven nights you’ll rest in modern and cozy hotel accommodation, and then for two nights you’ll stay in warm backcountry cabins, for a classic Icelandic hiking experience in the Eastern Fjordland region. Also on this diverse adventure you’ll have the chance to view puffin or ‘Lundi’, kayak on a tranquil lagoon and hike up and down an offshore archipelago volcano. Now is the time to visit Iceland - join us during the Northern Hemisphere summer to experience this Nordic wonder.
Lundi Essence of Iceland
You’ll be surprised how much you’ll fit into one week exploring Iceland, from Reykjavík in the east to Höfn in the west. It’s no secret that Iceland is a feast for the eyes, but what you may not know is how fascinating Icelandic people are. You’ll witness their self sufficiency and learn about their proud viking heritage, in fact, their language today is very similar to what it was during the Viking Age! Iceland is commonly ranked as one of the happiest nations in the world, so prepare to have some of this attitude rub off, when you’re out and about exploring with the locals. Hiking is the main activity on this trip, with a touch of kayaking on a lagoon in Vatnajökull National Park.