adventure tour capital of europe

A bold statement? It sure is. To bold a statement? Heck no.
No other city, town or village, in the grand dame that is Europe, can boast even half the adventure and activities that lie at Reykjavík´s doorstep in Iceland.
Reykjavík city has, over a space of ten years or so, been transformed from a destination that travelers visited to start or finish their self drive tour around the island (and taking a tour to the Blue Lagoon) to an thriving metropolis of adventure trips and activity tours that rival that of Queenstown New Zealand.

Gone are the days when a stroll through the city center would only cross paths with fifty seater buses filled with greying senior citizens on Viking Heritage tours taking pictures of architecture and each others Icelandic wooly jumpers. Yes, they are still here, and yes, they are as cute as ever. But, they are outnumbered by the young and young at heart. Gore-Tex armed and hiking shoes equipped (flip-flops hanging from carabiners on their backpacks, ready for the sunny day) adventurers throng the streets of the city with a twinkle in eye and their mind fixed on one thing and one thing only, to experience Iceland first hand.

So what has happened, how and why has Reykjavík gone from a sleepy little harbor town to a fully fledged adventure base camp in a little more then an decade?

Simple really, because it could.

Iceland is not small, but Iceland is also not big. It´s that perfect size somewhere in between. Nothing is too far away when you are in Iceland and because Reykjavík city is where you arrive on your flight to Iceland this where everything starts.

When I started guiding adventure tours from Reykjavík in 2001 you had a very limited choice of day tours from the city. You could go on a snowmobile tour on Langjökull or you could go on a river rafting tour. These two day tours are of course the all time classic adventure tours operated out of Reykjavík. One at its best in winter (the snowmobile trip) and one at its best in summer (you guessed it, the white water rafting trip). But that was pretty much it, the rest were just guided coach or super jeep tours.

But then things started to change, Arctic Adventures burst on to the scene and along with a handful of other great adventure tour operators (like Elding Whale Watching, Eldhestar horse ranch, Arctic Rafting, Glacier Guides, Wild Iceland and Snowmobile Tours to name a few) the adventure day tour selection from Reykjavík started to grow…and grow…and grow.

Today you would be absolutely stark raving mad not to spend at least four days in Reykjavík on your holiday in Iceland. Truthfully, with only four days you would need to spend another four days at home before traveling to Reykjavík, just to choose how to spend you four days of adventure in and from the city.

The reason? Because within 90 minutes from Reykjavík you can:

-Go river rafting on the Hvítá River and explore the Golden Circle (with Geysir, Gullfoss and Þingvellir) in one day.

-Snorkel or dive between the continents of Europe and America in Silfra in Iceland´s oldest national park, Þingvellir.

-Hike past steaming hot springs and even bathe in an naturally hot river on a Reykjadalur hiking tour.

-Trek to the top of Hekla Volcano (one of the most active volcanoes in the world) or summit the newest mountains in Iceland on Fimmvörðuháls (from the 2010 eruption).

-Explore the Sólheimajökull outlet glacier on foot on a guided glacier tour, even learn the basics of ice climbing.

-Brave the unknown and visit the lava caves and learn about how Iceland (and indeed the world) was made.

-Ride the Viking horse with its five gaits through picturesque farmlands.

-Take to the open seas in search of the biggest mammals on earth on a whale safari straight from Reykjavík harbor.

-Straddle a 4×4 ATV and ride up (yes, up) the hills and mountains (volcanoes in some cases) on the outskirts of Reykjavík.

and there are many more. Yes! Many. I promise.

The operators of these tours will all pick you up from your accommodation, some even have service desks located downtown and all are open all year round…

The adventure is close, Reykjavík is just a few hours flight out of the east coast of America, with direct flights from Seattle & Vancouver on the west coast and a multitude of low cost airlines zooming in from every major city and hub in Europe (all about 3 or 4 hours of airtime). London, Paris, Rome, Oslo, Stockholm, Berlin, Copenhagen, Helskinki, Madrid, Barcelona all have flight up on flight from competing carriers flying into Reykjavík.

In the brave new world of adventure travel, Reykjavík city in Iceland is one juicy low hanging fruit (easy to grasp and full of adventure goodness).

Contact Arctic Adventures