Joe is a proud Michigander that finds himself in unusual, beautiful, and faraway places. He enjoys getting lost, drinking with strangers, and worshipping at the church of rock ‘n’ roll.
Intense but magical, Iceland’s beauty comes from its extreme contradictions. Active volcanoes stir next to glacial ice. Find out the best extreme activities in Iceland.
It's not for nothing that Iceland is known as the Land of Fire and Ice. Volcanic activity and geothermal pools stir beneath old glaciers. Here are the best things to do in Iceland to come face to face with its extremes.
Discover Real Iceland
River, bridge and car from the drone in Iceland
In Iceland, the landscape is weathered and ancient. Volcanoes rumble beneath Europe's largest ice cap.
In extreme locations of the Earth, with great hardship comes great reward, and nowhere else is this so clear in Iceland.
Iceland’s extraordinary sights astound and beg to be seen.
Explore Lake Myvatn, the Alien World
Grotagja Cave in North Iceland, Myvatn
Blast off to North Iceland and take a trek to what seems like a far, distant world. Lake Myvatn and the surrounding geothermal area feel as if it dropped straight out of sci-fi.
Around the lake, you'll find purple mud pools. Red stone reminiscent of Mars. Misshapen lava towers. Geothermal waters run vivid blue and steam rises from stone stacks. Craters pot-mark the surface of the lava fields. You are far, far from home.
In a place so otherworldly, it's no surprise that Lake Myvatn has been used as a practice area for astronauts heading to space. The astronauts of space shuttle Apollo 11 trained in this very landscape.
Brave Black Sand Beaches
Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach in South Coast Iceland
Volcanoes built Iceland and are still spewing forth new land to this day. Lava rocks collapse out of the hot earth, into the icy Atlantic Ocean.
Thanks to constant volcanic activity, we have amazing basalt geometric cliffs, colorful lava tubes, and world-famous black sand beaches.
The most famous black beach, Reynisfjara, sits between volcanoes and glaciers and the raging Atlantic. Look for the Reynisdrangar basalt sea stacks just off the coast. Here also stands the beautiful Dyrholaey archway.
The black sand beach of Reynisfjara is a perfect example of Iceland's natural beauty, carved by time and the elements.
Encounter Geothermal Hot Springs
Hot Spring in Reykjadalur, Iceland
Iceland's Highlands are a treasure-trove of hiking trails. At the end of the day, hikers often soak their sore feet in a geothermal river.
Explore the Reykjadalur Valley and Hveragerdi for both the task and reward needed to let out that sweet sigh of relief.
Day hike through the geothermal area around Hengill Volcano, then afterward slide into the sweet salvation of a natural hot spring.
Plus, between colorful mountains and glacial rivers, hiking in the Highlands is one of the most extreme things to do in Iceland!
Iceland has plenty of off-the-beaten-path discoveries waiting to be found by those who are willing to explore. The fruit of your own labor is always a bit sweeter when you go way out there to pick it.
Savor The Midnight Sun & The Northern Lights
Northern Lights in Iceland
The summer days are long in near-arctic Iceland and the winter nights are longer.
During summer solstice, there are almost 24 hours of daylight. This phenomenon, known as the Midnight Sun, only occurs once each year in June.
Both Icelanders and tourists make the most of the extra daytime of Midsummer with festivals and events. Secret Solstice is one of the most popular music festivals in Reykjavik. Celebrations include live music acts, a rave in a glacial cave, and cozy live shows in an ancient lava tunnel.
In the winter, the Northern Lights come to dance above Iceland. The lack of light pollution and closeness to the Arctic Circle make for perfect viewing conditions.
Head over from September to April to watch the aurora borealis transform the night with dancing illuminations.
Check out Reykjavik
Hallgrímskirkja Church in Capital City Reykjavik, Iceland
Reykjavik is the ideal capital. In between North America and Europe, a perfect base to explore the rest of Iceland.
It's a city full of food, celebrations, and warm fireplaces. And with the Blue Lagoon just 45 minutes away, it’s no wonder that it’s a top destination for wellness travel.
There's a cozy, almost magical quality in Reykjavik that makes the city so special.
The kind of generosity, comfort, and creativity you find in the capital is uniquely Icelandic. You’ll find yourself wishing for it again as soon as you are away.
One Extreme To The Next
Blue Lagoon pool natural bath in Iceland
Iceland’s beauty can be found in its stark contrasts. The difference from one arctic extreme to the next takes place only moments from one another. The sheer amount of change from region to town, from mountaintops to seashores, from the road to the trail, sparks the imagination.
Iceland challenges you to wonder what's over the next hill, what's around the next bend in this wild island of extremes.