Experience Iceland Like a Local

5 activities Icon location Iceland
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Forget the big tours. Here's what to do in Iceland if you're looking for a more authentic experience. As travel destinations go, Iceland is hot, so to speak, and for good reason: the country boasts 30 active volcanoes, milky-blue hot springs, elf-inhabited lava fields (or so many Icelanders believe), extraordinary scuba diving, and a landscape best described as a blend of the moon, the Arctic, and western Ireland.

Unscheduled Activities

Drive the Dirt tracks

Icon location Fiskislóð, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland

Driving the F-roads inThe highlands of Iceland is a magnificent place to drive. The scenery is big and powerful, at times you only see black mountains and black sand. There is only one gas station up there called Hrauneyjar which is the last stop before the great highlands. There you can fill up your car, use the facilities, get a meal before heading out to the wilderness. The roads up there can be pretty rough so make sure you tske your time and again, do not drive off road.

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Stop at the Glymur Waterfall

Icon location Glymur, Hvalfjörður/Botnsdal, 47, 301 Akranes, Iceland

Glymur, with a cascade of 198 m, is the second-highest waterfall in Iceland. It was long regarded as the tallest waterfall in Iceland until being surpassed by a newly measured waterfall near Morsárjökull in 2011.

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See the Eyjafjallajökull Volcano

Icon location Eyjafjallajökull, Eyjafjallajökull, Iceland

Eyjafjallajökull, English Eyjafjalla Glacier, is one of the smaller ice caps of Iceland, situated to the north of Skógar and to the west of Mýrdalsjökull. The ice cap covers the caldera of a volcano with a summit elevation of 1,651 metres.

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Chill in your own remote rented digs

Icon location Thjorsardalur, Thjorsardalur, Iceland

Like many natives of Reykjavik, you'll want to escape to a spare stylish holiday cottage in the quiet countryside. Many of these houses dot isolated lava fields—striking land blanketed in moss, heather, and blueberry bushes. Soak in a naturally heated hot tub overlooking a distant volcano. Buy local lamb or seafood and dine in instead of eating at one of Iceland's notoriously expensive restaurants.

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Feast at a local Reykjavik haunt

Icon location Matur og Drykkur, Grandagarður 2, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland

Once back in Reykjavik, carnivores can indulge in þorramatur, a traditional meat medley with a contemporary Nordic twist at Matur go Drykkur. Cap off the meal with crazy-good homemade gelato at Valdís next door.

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