Kayaking in Iceland is not only a fun outdoor activity but also a great way to explore the country from a different angle. Often called the land of Fire and Ice, Iceland offers excellent waterways that are best explored in a kayak. Paddle close to majestic glaciers and uniquely shaped icebergs and enjoy some of the best kayaking in the world.

Two people in a kayak

Kayaking tours

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About Kayaking in Iceland

A kayaking adventure is a perfect way to spend your day in Iceland and collect some memories that will last a lifetime. Suitable for both novice and experienced paddlers, kayaking day tours are available to every type of adventure seeker.

two kayaks in Iceland

What is Kayaking?

Kayaking is a water-based activity that takes place in a narrow, pointed boat called a kayak. The kayaker’s lower body is submerged inside the boat, while the upper body is exposed, allowing them to propel themselves through the water using a double-bladed paddle. The kayak’s small size and maneuverability make them ideal for exploring a wide range of different waterways.

Types of Kayaking

Kayaking can be divided into two subcategories: 

Flatwater Flatwater kayaking takes place on calm waters with little to no current. It’s the easiest kind of kayaking and is often combined with another activity like sightseeing or fishing. Flatwater kayaking is not very physically demanding and can be done by people with no previous kayaking experience. 

Whitewater Whitewater kayaking takes place on moving waters with some kind of current. Typically, this would be a whitewater river, although it can be found in other places. It’s considered to be more dangerous than flatwater kayaking and is usually not combined with other activities. Previous kayaking experience is best depending on the difficulty rating of the whitewater rapids. 

Kayaking on Glacier Lagoons

Kayaking on a glacier lake is a truly extraordinary paddling experience. Drink in panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and glaciers while carefully maneuvering through natural ice sculptures. There are very few places in the entire world where you can kayak in such a spectacular environment!

kayaking next to a glacier

Paddling on a glacier lagoon will show you a different side of glaciers that you’d never be able to imagine while standing on the shore. A great example is Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, near the largest glacier in Europe in Vatnajökull National Park. Paddle on calm waters and enjoy the sight of Vatnajökull Glacier rising up from the horizon. This tour provides countless picture-perfect sights. Among them is the famous black-sand Diamond Beach dotted with bright blue chunks of ice. Another picturesque sight is the mighty Breiðamerkurjökull Glacier, the source of the icebergs found in Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon.

Kayaking around Heinaberslon Glacier Lagoon

Combine glacier kayaking with other activities at Vatnajökull National Park. Choose from a glacier hike or visit a crystal ice cave and enjoy an activity-packed full day trip, or an exciting multi-day adventure!

Sea Kayaking in Iceland

Sea kayaking is a relaxing, meditative activity. All you have to do is sit back and slowly glide on top of the clear, calm waters while enjoying the sights of sea birds and the sounds of their chirps and songs. You may even catch a glimpse of local seals as they occasionally peek up from the glassy water.

Kayaking around small islands in the west

If you’re looking to get away from the buzz of busy city life, our sea kayaking tour from Reykjavik is your great escape. During this trip, you’ll paddle on Geldinganes in a traditional closed up sea kayak. Perfect for beginners, you’re highly unlikely to get wet as our kayaks are safe and easy to navigate. Simply relax and enjoy the sea’s everlasting peace and quiet.

FAQ

Still got questions about kayaking? Find the answer here!

We use high quality plastic sea kayaks. For our kayaking tour on Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, we use sit-on-top kayaks. For the Reykjavik sea kayaking trip we provide closed up sea kayaks.

No prior experience is needed as your guide will teach you the main techniques before the tour.

We recommend wearing warm outdoor clothing. It could be a fleece or wool sweater and pants. While you might not need it, we recommend bringing a change of clothing and swimwear.

We highly recommend you be able to swim, although it is not required as you’ll be wearing a life jacket at all times. You must be comfortable with floating on water.

Our kayaks are very stable and they don’t normally tip over. However, if it does happen, our guides have all the tools and knowledge to handle the situation. Every participant is given a life jacket and a neoprene suit, so you will not get too cold even if you do end up in the water.

If you have a waterproof camera, you’re very welcome to bring it with you! As for your other belongings, please only bring what is necessary.