Wondering if it’s possible or worthwhile to visit Iceland without hiking? Short answer, yes! Here’s the ultimate guide to Iceland for non hikers.
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Here, you’ll find the best things to do in Iceland without hiking, tips on how to travel Iceland for non hikers and more.
Is there a lot of hiking in Iceland?
First thing’s first: is there a lot of hiking in Iceland?
As you could imagine, yes, there are a lot of opportunities to hike in Iceland. However, the majority of Iceland’s most popular tourist attractions actually don’t require any hiking at all.
Meaning, even if you’re not a hiker, you can absolutely still enjoy visiting Iceland.
Most of Iceland’s biggest attractions, such as Skogafoss or Kirkjufellsfoss, have parking lots located right next to the main attraction. So, all you have to do is park your car and enjoy the view.
How many days should a non-hiking Iceland vacation be?
Without hiking, 5 days is plenty of time to experience all that Iceland has to offer. If you would like to plan extra time to account for immobility, 5-7 days would be plenty.
In my 5-day Ring Road itinerary, which you can find here, I only plan for one day of hiking. So, in theory, you could eliminate that itinerary day (day 4) altogether, and instead use that day as a buffer day to account for immobility or extra time needed between destinations.
How To Travel Iceland For Non Hikers
Whether you’re older, younger, physically disabled or simply a non hiker, here are a few critical tips to help you plan your non-hiking Iceland trip.
1. Rent A Car
While renting a car is recommended for all Iceland travelers, it is especially necessary for those who hope to walk as little as possible.
I have an entire guide to renting a car in Iceland here: Do I Need To Rent A Car In Iceland?
2. Book Accessible Hotel Rooms
Furthermore, as needed, book handicapped accessible hotel rooms for your stay in Iceland.
If mobility is an issue, accessible hotel rooms will be essential. Even without hiking, you’ll likely be physically tired from sightseeing each day. So, coming back to an accessible hotel room will be paramount to your rest.
If mobility is not an issue and you simply do not like hiking, you can skip this tip! Feel free to stay in whatever accommodations your heart desires. I give all my Iceland hotel recommendations here in my Ring Road itinerary.
3. Wear Appropriate Iceland Attire
Lastly, wearing the appropriate attire in Iceland will make or break your trip.
Iceland is very cold, even in the summertime. If you aren’t engaging in physical activity, bundle up extra to stay warm.
I have an entire Iceland packing list here (for June but applicable to any trip year-round) to guide you on what exactly to wear.
Best Things To Do In Iceland Without Hiking
Now let’s talk about the best things to do in Iceland that don’t require any hiking and solicit little to no walking.
Three of the best things to do in Iceland without hiking are waterfalls. The first waterfall worth mentioning is Seljalandsfoss.
Located near the town of Selfoss and next to the second point of interest, Skogafoss, Seljalandsfoss is a massive 200-foot waterfall that pours over a shallow cave.
Visitors can see the waterfall well from the parking lot. But, if you want, you can walk all the way around and behind the waterfall as well. This does include walking and a tiny bit of climbing on uneven, slippery ground, but it’s worth the effort if you’re physically able.
As alluded to, the next best thing to do in Iceland for non hikers is Skogafoss.
Skogafoss is another impressive 200-foot waterfall that has quickly become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Iceland. Like Seljalndsfoss, you can see the entire waterfall clearly from the parking lot.
However, unlike Seljalandsfoss, the ground is fairly flat (filled with rocks but flat, nonetheless) all the way up to the bottom of the falls. So, this waterfall is overall more accessible than the previous fall listed.
The third, and most accessible, waterfall on this Iceland for non hikers list is Kirkjufellsfoss.
Situated just north of Reykjavik, Kirkjufellsfoss offers a collection of short yet beautiful waterfalls with a majestic mountain, also known as Kirkjufell, as its backdrop.
Although you can’t see the waterfall from the parking lot, as it requires a short thirty second walk to the overlook, you can see the mountain from the parking lot. In fact, the parking lot sits right beneath the mountain.
Furthermore, there is a man-made pathway to the overlook, which is what makes this waterfall the most accessible of these three waterfalls.
4. Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach
Moving on from waterfalls, Reynisfjara Beach, otherwise known as Black Sand Beach, is another perfect Iceland destination for non hikers.
Here, you’ll find a long stretch of black sand beach, as well as massive volcanic basalt columns that tower over the coastline.
Personally, this is one of my favorite places in Iceland because it is so epic and otherworldly.
5. Drive Through Vatnajokull National Park
As you road trip further down Ring Road, you will inevitably drive through Vatnajokull National Park.
In Vatnajokull, you’ll pass enormous glaciers that are, without exaggeration, the same size as the mountains. In all my years traveling, I have never seen such massive glaciers.
The best part? You can see the majority of these glaciers from the comfort of your rental car.
6. Diamond Beach (Iceland For Non Hikers)
Just on the other side of Vatnajokull, you’ll come up to the next two points of interest: Diamond Beach and Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon.
Diamond Beach is another popular Iceland attraction that is visible from the parking lot. Basically, it’s a black sand beach filled with glacier-fed icebergs.
The teal-blue icebergs against the dark black sand gives the ice an extra shiny, diamond-like appearance, thus the name Diamond Beach.
Tip: if you want to find the most impressive icebergs on the beach, walk further away from the parking lot.
7. Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon
The glacier lagoon that provides Diamond Beach with icebergs is named Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon.
Although I had heard of Diamond Beach many times before visiting Iceland, I was stunned to accidentally stumble upon its more impressive hidden-gem neighbor, Jokulsarlon.
At Jokulsarlon, you can see exactly what you envision when you think of Iceland: Arctic icebergs, perfectly blue glacier water and a mountainous glacier backdrop.
However, you cannot see the lagoon from the parking lot. The lagoon is hidden behind a small dirt hill.
To get to Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon from the parking lot, simply take the designated walking path over the hill. It will be about a forty second walk from your car.
8. Swim In Geothermal Hot Springs (Iceland For Non Hikers)
In contrast to the icy beaches and lagoons, Iceland is also home to some of the best geothermal hot springs on Earth.
You can swim in natural geothermal hot springs all over the country. Though, without a doubt, the most famous hot spring is Blue Lagoon.
Blue Lagoon is now a complete spa and resort, thanks to its natural minerals that contain healing properties. Even though Blue Lagoon is a little expensive to visit, visiting is definitely worth it.
If you wish to swim in Blue Lagoon, book your tickets as soon as possible. Blue Lagoon tickets do sell out. You can book your Blue Lagoon tickets now here.
9. Namafjall Geothermal Area
Likewise, if geothermal and volcanic attractions peak your interest, you won’t want to miss Namafjall Geothermal Area.
Comparable to Yellowstone National Park in the USA, Namafjall boasts bubbling colorful hot springs, bright orange and red mountains, and plenty of sulfurous steam spouting out of the ground.
If you want to experience volcanic activity first-hand during your time in Iceland, Namafjall is the place to do it. This destination will make you feel like you’re on another planet.
10. Downtown Reykjavik (Iceland For Non Hikers)
Finally, although you definitely want to venture out of the city to see true Iceland, I must recommend downtown Reykjavik as one of the prime things to do in Iceland without hiking.
More specifically, you should visit the Hallgrimskirkja church, a traditional cathedral with a modern Icelandic twist. If you look carefully, you will see faux basalt columns etched into the church’s architecture — an ode to Iceland’s natural beauty.
Furthermore, just down the street in front of the church, you’ll see the famous Reykjavik Rainbow Street. Here, you can try traditional Icelandic foods, pick up Icelandic goods and souvenirs, and, of course, take a photo on the Rainbow Street.
Can you see the volcano in Iceland without hiking?
Yes, you can see the volcano in Iceland without hiking by taking a helicopter tour instead.
Although you cannot see the volcano from the ground without hiking, there are numerous helicopter tour companies that offer rides to see the volcano from above.
If you want to see the volcano in Iceland without hiking and can swing the price, I highly suggest you book a helicopter tour. You can book an Iceland volcano helicopter tour here!
Have any more questions about Iceland for non hikers? Leave a reply below, or follow and DM me on Instagram. I’m happy to help!
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