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A helicopter on top of a glacier in Iceland
Photo: Photo: The Golden Circle with a twist.

Take Flight with Helicopter Tours in Iceland

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Helicopter tours offer visitors a view of Iceland’s untameable terrain from above, culminating in one of the most memorable activities available in the country. So what can prospective flyers expect from their helicopter ride in Iceland? Embark on an aerial journey with us as we explore the exhilarating world of helicopter tours in Iceland!

Stepping up to the landing pad for the first time, your heart will pump with adrenaline, drowned out by the whirring rotors of your ride. Clambering nervously aboard, you will don a thick pair of headphones, muting the thunderous sound of the wind as it whips by the cool aluminium of your rotorcraft taking flight. 

Now high in the air, you cannot help but peer down out of the bay windows, taking in the full perspective of the ethereal Icelandic landscape moving by below. 

An aerial view of a glacier in Iceland
Photo: Volcanoes, Waterfalls and Glacier Landing – Helicopter Tour from Reykjavik

Demonstrating the helicopter’s incredible manoeuvrability, your experienced, certified pilot may skim breathtakingly close to snow-blanketed mountain slopes, or rise at high-speeds towards a magnificent covering of clouds. Simply sit back and enjoy the ride!

So, without further ado, let’s learn more about taking a helicopter adventure above the land of ice and fire. 

What do I need to know before taking a helicopter tour in Iceland?

A landed helicopter in a geothermal area
Photo: Geothermal Adventure

Before setting out, there are a few points to keep in mind before taking part in one of these aeronautical feats. First of all, Iceland’s helicopter tours always have a weight limit. Anyone weighing over 120 kg / 265 lbs / 19 stone will be required to pay for 1.5 seats on the helicopter. 

On top of that, tours typically require a minimum number of guests. Usually, this is 3-4 people. If you are in a group that does not meet this number, you can still sign up to be taken for a flight in the company of another small party.

Many operators also choose to vary their departure times depending on how tours they are providing that day. Morning tours can begin anywhere between 8.00 and 13.00, with the last evening tours often happening at 18.00. 

 

Are helicopter tours dependent on weather?


Be aware that during the winter, tour providers must take into account the limited number of daylight hours, so tend to start later than they otherwise would in summer. This leads us to another point – helicopter tours are very weather dependent, and will be forced to reschedule or even cancel should conditions not be optimum for flying. Because of this, it is very important to stay aware of the forecast during your trip, and book in advance.

And a final note about the weather – everyone knows that Iceland can be chilly, so take the time to dress yourself appropriately. Gloves, hats, scarves, and thick layers will all keep you warm during your flight and any landings you might make. 

Be aware that details as to departure times, weight limits, and minimum passenger counts will vary depending on the operator you choose. Be sure to check the website before booking your tour so as not to be caught out when it’s too late!   

Why experience a helicopter tour in Iceland? 

A helicopter landing on a mountain in Iceland
Photo: Flyover Reykjavík

One reason why you experience helicopter tours in Iceland might be that they are far less popular than land-based excursions. This is not because the experience itself is any way lacking, but more likely to do with the higher cost. 

Still, if money is no concern, there are very real reasons why you should experience an Icelandic helicopter tour. 

Taking part in this aerial activity would provide the chance to take part in a daring escapade that most people have not tried, thus adding a certain edge to the stories you tell of your time in the land of ice and fire. 

For those looking for a more personal tour, you can opt for a private helicopter ride, which offers 90-minutes flight time with two landings included. If you’re seeking VIP treatment, then this would be the tour for you! 

Where can you take helicopter rides in Iceland?

A helicopter in Skaftafell
Photo: Ice Cave & Helicopter Tour from Skaftafell

Helicopter tours are available from a few locations across the country. The most accessible location is Reykjavík domestic airport. 

From here, you can take part in a helicopter tour over the Hengill geothermal area, or alternatively, take in a broader array of features with this volcanoes, waterfalls and glaciers tour in the Hvalfjördur region

As these tours demonstrate, helicopters offer supreme mobility, making it easy to take-off from one destination and travel to another entirely. 

Fly over Iceland’s capital city, Reykjavík  

Reykjavík from above
Photo: Golli. Aerial view over Reykjavík

Soaring above Reykjavík is an experience without comparison. Looking down on the multi-coloured tin rooftops of Iceland’s capital, the wide panoramas of the ocean and mountains, is about as different of a perspective as one can hope for. 

As an added extra, it is possible to book a summit tour, meaning the helicopter will land atop the table-top of Mt. Esja. A forty-five minute tour in total, you will spend 20 minutes flying, and a further fifteen minutes enjoying the mountain scenery upon landing.   

In the wintertime, it is possible to conjoin a helicopter tour with a boat tour, allowing you to see Reykjavík from above during the day, and the Northern Lights atop the bobbing ocean surface during the evening. 

Soar across Iceland’s national parks 

 

Iceland boasts three national parks. These are as follows:

  • Þingvellir National Park, in the west of the country, and one-third of the famous Golden Circle sightseeing route.
  • Snæfellsjökull National Park, in the west of Iceland, on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula.
  • Vatnajökull National Park, in the south east of the country. 

All of these allow for helicopter tours, which is great for those looking for a different method of travel. Frankly, there is no other way to describe these high flying tours other than a spectacular and adrenaline-fuelled means of discovering Iceland’s most protected sites. 

Look upon Icelandic volcanoes from above

An aerial view of a volcano.
Photo: Volcanoes, Waterfalls and Glacier Landing – Helicopter Tour from Reykjavik

It’s not just drones that have access to aerial views of orange magma throwing itself from the ground. Thrilling volcano helicopter tours can also provide guests with this brilliant top-down view. 

The option to fly over an erupting volcano in Iceland is not always available. No surprises, it is very dependent on whether or not a volcano is actually erupting. 

Over the last few years, there have been more eruptions than usual, which might be considered lucky or unlucky depending on who you are. We speak, of course, of the January 2024 Sundhnúkahraun eruption that took place just outside of Grindavík fishing town. 

 

As you might expect, some helicopter tours were not permitted over this site so as for operators to avoid any accusation of disaster tourism

However, the Fagradalsfjall, Meradalir, and Litli-Hrútur eruptions that took place over the last few years allowed for helicopter tours, offering international guests to gain a whole new perspective of its flowing lava without the need to hike to the site themselves. 

When a volcano is not erupting, volcano tours with a helicopter will often take guests to recently dried lava fields, showcasing the fascinating aftermath of these enormous geological events. There is even the option to take a helicopter ride to the Into The Volcano tour, allowing you to skip the ride to the now-dormant Þríhnúkagígur crater. 

How long do Helicopter Tours in Iceland last? 

An aerial view of Icelandic landscapes
Photo: Volcanoes, Waterfalls and Glacier Landing – Helicopter Tour from Reykjavik

How long your helicopter flight lasts is dependent upon which operator you choose to fly with. Naturally, the length of time you will be skybound varies on the particular tour you choose, taking into account any landings that are made during the tour. 

For those flying above Reykjavík, you can expect anywhere between twenty minutes to one hour. For those travelling further afield, be it over Iceland’s glaciers or national parks, you might be soaring anywhere between 2-3 hours. 

To clarify a final time, how long you’ll be in the air differs greatly between companies. Be sure to check in with the operator before take-off so as to best manage a flight as part of your itinerary. 

Is it possible to go Heli-skiing in Iceland? 


Iceland is not considered to be a prime skiing destination like the French Alps or Switzerland, but it does boast a number of smaller ski slopes that are of more interest to locals than international visitors. 

With that said, Iceland’s mountains provide more than ample opportunity to ski, even though getting to them poses quite a challenge. 

Introducing heli-skiing – arguably the most extreme type of skiing available! 

Guests on these highly exciting tours will be flown above one such mountain, make their landing, and have a pristine mountainscape upon which to explore off-piste trails or summit-to-shoreline runs. 

It’s not just skiers presented with this opportunity. Snowboarders can take part too! So, whatever means of traversal you best enjoy on the slopes, seriously consider taking your passion for extreme-sports to thrilling new heights with an added helicopter commute. 

In Summary 

A helicopter in Iceland
Photo: Geothermal Hot Springs – Helicopter tour from Reykjavik

Are you ready to elevate your Iceland experience to incredible new heights? Spend some time choosing the right helicopter tour for you; one that suits your adventurous appetite and creates lasting memories that soar above any other! 

Whatever you’re looking for in a helicopter tour in Iceland, feel confident that there are plenty of options open to you. 

While most decide that a quick flight over Iceland’s capital will suffice, there is always room for more adventurous undertakings. If, for example, you hope to land on the cool ice of a mighty glacier, you can. If you would rather hover like a bird over lava pouring aggressively from the earth, knock yourself out!

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