The great outdoors are a way of life in Reykjavik, making the city a magnet for adventurous types. In addition to long walks through the parks, you can soak in geothermal hot springs, breathe in the ocean spray on a whale watching tour, or scramble through ancient lava tubes.
The whale watching season lasts from April through October, but you can try your luck on the open water throughout the year just outside the capital. Tour companies like Elding run whale watching adventures departing from Reykjavik, or you can venture up north to Húsavík on a day trip to get up close and personal with these gentle giants. Birdwatchers, take note – you're also likely to spot a puffin or two.
Icelandic horses are a completely unique breed. Smaller than most European horses, they make up for their lack of height with an impressive five different gaits. While most riders will be familiar with walking, trotting, cantering and galloping, Icelandic horses throw 'tölt' into the mix. This ambling gait is both fast and smooth, making it the most comfortable way to travel over Iceland's uneven terrain. Book your own horseback riding experience with Íslenski Hesturinn and practice the tölt all over the lava fields that surround Reykjavik.
Around nine out of ten city residents live within a five minute walk of a public green space, so at our Radisson Blu 1919 Hotel, Reykjavik, you're never far from the exotic flowers of the Botanical Gardens, or the grassy expanses of Austurvöllur Park. Laugardalur, or Hot Springs Valley, gives you the chance to try out the bizarre sensation of stepping off frozen ground into a gorgeously warm geothermal pool, while the park and zoo will keep less brave travelers happy. If you're looking for more of a workout, sign up for a day spent hiking over the active Hekla volcano.
Iceland is deservedly famous for its natural hot springs, and the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa has become the most popular tourist attraction in the country. Located just an hour outside the city, it's not hard to understand the appeal – spend the day floating in ethereal blue water, surrounded by a barren volcanic landscape. If you prefer to avoid the beaten track, take a scenic hour-long walk from Hverageroi to Reykjadalur, which translates literally as 'steam valley'. Warm water rushes down the mountain in a picturesque stream, tempting you to jump straight in.
Diving and snorkeling
Dive Iceland will take you out to see wolf fish, flat fish, and colorful marine algae in this North Atlantic Ocean, while the crystal clear water in the Thingvellir National Park provides another unforgettable diving opportunity in the form of the Silfra fissure. Don your wetsuit and swim through the crack between two continental tectonic plates, enjoying incredible underwater visibility as you go.
Caves have played an integral role in Icelandic society, providing respite from the harsh weather and doubling up as stables, sheds and storage spaces. Explore lava tubes or glacier caves on a tour that'll test the limits of your courage (and claustrophobia). If you're with children or novices, the Mariuhellar caves are a great place to start, while more advanced spelunkers can take on Vorduhellir, the longest lava tube in Thingvellir National Park.
Book your stay at the Radisson Blu 1919 Hotel, Reykjavik for the best experience!