From daily earthquakes to dormant volcanoes reawakening, Iceland is known for its quirks. Whether you're an outdoorsy type or a hip urbanite, if you're visiting Reykjavik, there's a weird and wonderful experience for you. Increasingly popular as a travel destination, Reykjavik has a lot to offer to adventure and nature seekers. Check out our top 6 weird and wonderful Icelandic experiences and plan your trip today!
1. Take the Ring Road
Route 1, the 832-mile "Ring Road" encircling Iceland, is undoubtedly one of the world’s best road trips. The scenic adventure is one of the best ways to fully appreciate the country’s volcanoes, fjords, waterfalls and canyons. Explore the jagged coastline of the remote Westfjords peninsula, where traditional fishing villages dwindle but an impressive array of avian wildlife promises to make the trek worthwhile for dedicated bird watchers.
2. Stay up all night under the midnight sun
Traditionally, Icelanders celebrated the summer solstice by rolling through the dew in the nude. These days you can feel comfortable partaking in less extreme celebrations, like dining around a bonfire with the locals! The holiday is a significant one in Icelandic culture, so make the most of the midnight sun and take advantage of one of the many events on offer. For runners, there's the Mývatn Midnight Sun Marathon, or slow things down at the Arctic Open Golf Tournament in Akureyri.
3. Ride a flying horse
If you'd rather avoid driving while on holiday, explore the country's rugged landscape on horseback. Icelandic horses are really something special - at high speeds, some reach a fifth gait often compared to flying. Whether you're a novice or expert rider, you'll be impressed by the most notable characteristic of the Icelandic horse; they're known for an unusually smooth gait called tölt. Riders can fly over beaches, mountains, and craggy lava fields on horseback without any bouncing or discomfort since Icelandic horses always keep one foot on the ground.
4. Get lucky under the Aurora
There's no way to guarantee spotting the Northern Lights, but your chances are best during crisp, clear nights between September and March. So, if you're planning a trip this summer, make sure to book as close to September as possible! If you're feeling lucky, book a tour to escape the light pollution - you'll be taken about 30 minutes out of town to a viewing spot like Almannagjá Canyon in Thingvellir National Park, where nothing can block your view of the sky. Or just look up through the skylights of a suite at the Radisson Blu 1919 Hotel, Reykjavik.
Psst! Check our experts' tips to experiencing the Northern Lights in Reykjavik!
5. Float in a hot spring on a cold night
Just outside Reykjavik you'll find Reykjadalur, otherwise known as steam valley, where hot springs are set amid rugged arctic landscape. Spend a day hiking through the mossy green terrain, following the trail of steam rising from the thermal waters.
6. Experience Icelandic Music
Bjork, Sigur Ros and Múm are three of the best known Icelandic bands. If you're a fan of their bleakly beautiful music, head to a live concert and make the most of the local music scene. The summer's biggest music festival however is Secret Solstice, held outside in Laugardalur Valley and featuring a broad spectrum of Icelandic and international music. If you visit during November, the Airwaves Festival takes over pubs, bars and clubs in downtown Reykjavik. Traveling in the fall? Check out the Iceland Airwaves festival.