Thrilling Rafting Adventures in Iceland’s Glacial Rivers



A co-founder of Local Adventures and guide, Arnar has a degree in physical education and is certified glacier guide. Along with his education he has worked in tourism for 20 years.

I can hear you thinking: Is it even possible to go rafting in Iceland? I hadn’t thought of that!

Rafting isn’t probably among the first few activities you think about when pondering about Iceland, but it is an unforgettable experience. The adrenaline rushes through your body while rafting on the most intense glacial river in Iceland: the East Glacial River, or Austari-Jökulksá.

Even if you have conquered this river many times, it remains a huge thrill!

Of course, the motto ‘Safety First’ also applies here. You will travel down the river accompanied by a helmsman and with the safe assistance of 1 or 2 canoeists. If you don’t want or dare to go down the most intense waterfall (called The Green Room), you don’t have to. But you will regret it when you see the faces of your fellow rafters afterward. Super cool!

The trip takes about 5 hours, and once on shore, you can savour a delicious Icelandic lamb soup. Half an hour later when you get back to the guesthouse you can use the two hot tubs and the swimming pool for free!

Does this all seem too exciting to you? There is also a rafting trip on the West River. It is not so intense, and children can also participate in. You can also kayak on the river that flows next to the campsite, the Svartá.

The infamous Green Room

The location

The great thing about this trip is that it both starts and ends at the guesthouse Bakkaflöt in the valley of the horses, Skagafjördur. In addition to the guesthouse, there are also several cabins where you can spend the night. There is also a beautiful campsite with a kitchen for camping before or after your trip. It is a nice place that has been run for decades by an Icelandic family who all work in the company.

There are various walks in the area, among others the waterfall. For the more sporty – you can conquer the top of the Maelifellshnjúkur with a beautiful view over the valley. There is also the possibility of horse riding in this valley, we recommend that you inquire at the guesthouse if you wish. They will be happy to help you!

When, what, and how?

The best months for rafting are the summer months, from the first weekend of June until approximately the end of September. Bakkaflöt’s website lists the times, what to bring, and where to go. If you take a trip with us: this tour is included on the Midsummer Night trip!

The guesthouse is a 10-minute drive from Varmahlid (about an hour west of Akureyri) on the road number 752. If you follow the ring road across Iceland you will encounter it on the way.

Do you want to know more?

Are you interested in such a cool trip? Then take a look at the reviews on Tripadvisor, for example. We are more than happy to include rafting as one of your adventures on a private trip.

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