Make the most of your stay in Iceland by exploring the country’s nature and unique landscape. However, nature is unpredictable in Iceland so we urge you to be careful. Be safe and don’t put yourself or others at risk, read warning signs carefully, respect warning notices and stay on marked paths.
Waterfalls in Iceland
Majestic waterfalls of various sizes can be found all over the country. Please be careful around the waterfalls, stay on marked paths and don‘t go too close to the edge. The drizzle from the waterfalls can make the ground slippery and during winter it is likely to freeze, causing icing on the ground. Examples of waterfalls in Iceland are Gullfoss, Seljalandsfoss, Skógafoss, Svartifoss, Háifoss, Dettifoss, Dynjandi and Hraunfossar.
Beaches in Iceland
To stand on the beach and listen to the ocean bashing against the shore, flowing over a pile of black basaltic pebbles and cobbles, can be an amazing experience. Please be aware that on some beaches the water depth might increase suddenly and therefore it can be dangerous to enter the water. The surf is also unpredictable and can come in very quickly. These conditions as well as strong sea currents can be life threatening if you are not careful when standing near the shore. Examples of beaches with strong currents and/or sharp increase in depth are Reynisfjara and Djúpalónssandur.
Geothermal areas in Iceland
Iceland is a volcanic island where hot springs, fumaroles and mud-pools are a part of the nature. We urge you to be careful in geothermally active areas and not to go too close to the hot springs, fumaroles and mud-pools, since they can be boiling hot and cause severe burns. The vapour from the geothermal areas damps the surrounding ground which can be slippery, especially during winter when the water freez-es. Examples of geothermal areas in Iceland are Seltún, Geysir area, Deildatunguhver and Námaskarð.
Swimming in Iceland
Icelanders rarely swim in lakes in Iceland, simply due to the cold temperature of the water. But they enjoy swimming in the numerous thermal pools located all around the island as well as soaking in the warm waters of hot tubs and natural hot spring pools. You should not miss out on experiencing the geothermal swimming pools and natural hot spring pools. The temperature of the water in natural hot spring pools can vary from one side of the pool to the other, so never jump into the pool without checking the temperature of the water first. Children should never enter the pools without the supervision of an adult.
Glaciers in Iceland
These magnificent bodies of frozen water, that are thought to have covered nearly all of Iceland around 18.000 years ago, have shaped the country by carving out the valleys and fjords that are so distinct in the East, North and the Westfjords. The glaciers might seem stag-nant, but they are moving slowly and therefore they are constantly changing. There are many things to consider when travelling on or in the proximity of a glacier. Be aware that melted chunks of ice that were buried in the sand in front of a retreating glacier can form quagmires, so be careful where you step. One should never swim in a glacier lagoon since the temperature of the lagoon can be near freezing point. Deep crevasses may be hidden under a layer of snow on the glacier, therefore we don‘t recommend to go on the glacier on your own but to go on a guided tour. Several tour operating companies in Iceland are specialized in glacier tours and offer a variety of ways to enjoy the glaciers, e.g. snowmobile tours, super-jeep tours, ice-climbing and hiking tours, and even a tour to view the insides of a glacier! Examples of glaciers in Iceland are Snæfellsjökull, Langjökull, Mýrdalsjökull and Vatnajökull.
Canyons in Iceland
When walking along a canyon, please be careful, stay on marked paths and don’t go too close to the edge to look below. If you are walking in the canyon, please be aware of rocks that might fall off cliffs. Examples of canyons in Iceland are Fjaðrárgljúfur and Jökulsárgljúfur.
Weather in Iceland
There is a saying in Iceland that if you don‘t like the weather, just wait a couple of minutes and it will change. Therefore it is wise to dress in layers, that way you can either take off or add a layer based on what you feel is comfortable at that time. Sturdy shoes and even crampons might come in handy, especially during winter when conditions are icy. We advise you to carefully pay attention to the weather, particularly when travelling during winter, and check the weather forecast and road conditions before starting the day.
To seek information and register your travel plans on safetravel.is.
Hiking in Iceland
Be well prepared when you go on a hike and seek information on the level of difficulty of the hike to see if your physical condition is suitable to complete the hike. Always wear proper clothing, good shoes and bring water with you.
On safetravel.is you will find a list of things to keep in mind before you start a hike and we recommend that you take a look at the site for preparation.
Keep in mind!
- Do not litter; always save your litter for a trash bin and never leave it out in nature.
- Recycle when you have the opportunity.
- Carry a reusable container to fill up on fresh Icelandic spring water straight from the tap.
- Never drive outside of marked roads. It can take centuries for nature to heal wounds caused by reckless driving.
- Respect the fragile natural landscape and wildlife of Iceland and stay on marked paths.
Check out our blog What to wear on a trip to Iceland
Useful phone numbers and websites when in Iceland
One emergency number that represents all parties that respond to accidents; fire, crime, search, rescue and natural disasters on land, at sea or in air.
Information on road conditions and weather
1777 and/or road.is.
Icelandic Association for Search and Rescue
The Icelandic Meteorological Office