River Tours

River Tours | Guide to Iceland

River Tours
Thanks to Iceland's mighty glaciers, great river systems line the entire country. River tours provide opportunities for rafting, angling and even super jeep crossings, as well as a unique means of experiencing Iceland's unbound natural beauty.

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Frequently asked questions

What rivers in Iceland are best for rafting?

Hvítá river is the most rafted river in West Iceland and best suited for beginners. In North Iceland, the Jökulsá river system is widely considered the best. The most challenging river, however, is Austari-Jökulsá (also known as ‘the Beast of the East’) in northeast Iceland.

What type of rapids can I expect in Icelandic rivers?

Iceland’s rafting rivers are graded between 2 and 4+. There are no graded 5 rafting rivers in Iceland. Hvítá, which is relatively close to Reykjavík, is graded between 2 and 3, whereas Austari-Jökulsá, in northeast Iceland, is graded 4+ and has a minimum age requirement of 18 years.

What should I wear on a rafting tour?

Although you will be provided with a dry suit, you will get wet. So be sure to wear warm inner layers such as fleece, wool or synthetic materials, but not cotton or denim. Wear warm socks and bring a change of clothes to put on after the tour.

Is rafting in Iceland dangerous?

Rafting tours are led by rafting experts who know the rivers well. Guests wear helmets, dry suits and life jackets, and the rapids on beginner rivers are not too fierce. Rafting in Iceland is, therefore, a relatively safe activity. It should be noted, however, that all adventure activities are intrinsically risky, and are undertaken at your own peril.

How many people are on a single boat during a rafting tour?

The maximum number of people on any boat will be thirteen, including your guide.

Can children go on river rafting tours?

On Vestari-Jökulsá river, six-year-old children can go rafting. On Hvítá river, the age limit is eleven years.

What is a glacier river?

A glacier river is a river that is primarily fed from glacial meltwater.

Can I fish in Icelandic rivers?

You need a fishing license to fish in Icelandic rivers. We recommend participating in a fishing tour to save you the trouble of obtaining the license. Contact your tour planner for more information.

Is it safe to drink water directly from Icelandic rivers?

Glacier rivers most often contain sand and other sediments which render the water unsuitable for drinking. It is not recommended that you to drink from any river or stream unless a local guide confirms that the water is clean.

Are there any dangerous animals in Icelandic rivers?

No, you will not find any animals that pose serious threats to humans in rivers in Iceland.