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Zip lining over a glacier
Photo: Zip Line + Ice Cave Adventure Winter .

The Best Zip lines in Iceland

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Where can you go zip-lining during your visit to Iceland? What is the longest zipline in the country, and is it safe? Read on to learn all you need to know about zipping over the land of ice and fire! 

Attached to a harness, visitors soar down a predetermined route that allows for incredible perspectives over natural landscapes. Given the spectacle and absolute beauty of Iceland’s countryside, zip-lining is one activity that is going from strength to strength with each passing year. 

Sure, excursions like glacier hiking, ice caving, horse riding, or snowmobiling might take the top spots on the wishlist for travellers to Iceland, but zip-lining not only takes less time commitment but also offers a burst of adrenaline that can rival any of those mentioned before.

The mega zipline in Iceland
Photo: Mega Zipline with transfer – Conventional Ride

And, good news for those impulsively inclined. Zip-lining needs very little in the way of preparation. Just make sure to bring with you a hefty dose of courage, the thirst for a challenge, and some warm attire to help combat the passing wind. With these in your back pocket, you’re sure to engage in one of the most exciting and newest activities available in the country. 

But first, a quick diversion, if you’ll allow it… 

Zipline at Hljómskálagarður Park in Reykjavík, Capital Region 

Reykjavík pond
Photo: Golli. Tjörnin pond.

With no name and no company that operates it, this is your classic, beginner-level zipline that can be found in children’s play parks all across our planet. It is not large, nor impressive, nor does it offer incredible aerial views – but it exists. Those enjoying the pleasant green ambience of Hljómskálagarður Park might notice it while strolling by Reykjavík’s city pond, Tjörnin, and on impulse, consider taking a quick ride to help break up your day. 

So, why then is this particularly non-descript zipline included in a travel article such as this one? Well, the compulsion to write up this entry was strong for admittedly no other reason other than the amusing reviews found on Google. For example:  

  • A bit stiff to begin with but after a while it was the ride of a lifetime!
  • A nice zipline in the park.”
  • “Nice shoulder strap, but the access to it is a complete shame. A steep ramp with three rails to get up to the starting platform. Very slippery in the wet and no railing to lean on. Access for all is thoroughly broken here. It’s a scandal that it’s done like this at this time. The swing itself is high-quality and cool, but this ramp puts everyone who came to this to shame!”
  • Very difficult to get to the platform, and no handrail. No steps, just a steep ramp with some rails. As promising as this is, it’s just unusable for a large group of people.

All joking aside…

 

One hates to be so dismissive, or to possibly suggest that all of us are not entitled to an opinion… But this is a playground zipline.

A zipline reviewed, it would appear, by disgruntled or overly-enthused adults capable – and, indeed, eager in this case – to share their thoughts on a computer. 

I do understand that, sometimes, everything is not to a person’s liking.

Even so, I conclude that comments like ‘it was the ride of a lifetime’ and ‘this ramp puts everyone who came to this to shame’ are slightly at odds with sane criticism. At the end of the day, it’s a zipline that might amuse you for five minutes if you’re travelling by this Reykjavík park with children. 

Speaking of Reykjavík zip lines, one was temporarily open at Perlan Museum and Observation Deck, built to complement its wonderful viewing deck. However, the activity was closed in recent years due to both the weather-related and logistical challenges that came with operating it at Öskjuhlíð

There are no plans for the zipline to reopen, but the observation deck remains a fantastic place to gain impressive views over Iceland’s capital city and its gorgeous surrounding scenery. 

Zipline in Vík, South Iceland

A zip liner ready to ride
Photo: Zip line Iceland

Now, let’s get down to the real deal when it comes to extreme zip-lining in Iceland. Iceland’s South Coast is renowned for its incredible aesthetics; waterfalls, canyons, black sand beaches, and ancient cliff sides. No surprise then that one of the best zip lines in the country is located nearby to the pleasant seaside village of Vík í Mýrdal

After booking the zipline adventure in Vík, you will meet your guides in base camp at Víkurbraut 5. After a five-minute drive, and then a five-minute hike, you will arrive at the take-off platform for your first zipline of the day – Little Rush! Once there, you will listen to a safety briefing, be fitted with a harness and a helmet, and then before you know it, you’ll be flying through the air over a scenic canyon. 

But this is just the beginning of your adventure. Not long after your feet are back on solid ground, you will hike just around the corner to the next zipline, this one called the Gentle Giant. This is the longest – and some say, prettiest – of the South Coast’s zip lines, coming in at 240 m long. 

More than a single zip line…

After that, you will hike for ten minutes through the beautiful, but ominous-sounding Grafargil (Grave Canyon). Take time to appreciate the intricacies of its unique rock formations. Here, you will find the excursion’s smallest zipline, Leap of Faith. As the name implies, the operator does things a little differently here. We won’t spoil the surprise. Just know that this might be where you need to summon up as much of your courage as possible. 

Finally, you will ride one more zip line before ending the day with a scenic hike back to base camp. This one has been dubbed Big Rush and sees guests soar over the cascading waters of the 25 m high Hundafoss (Dog’s waterfall). 

Given that this excursion requires some hiking, make sure to come equipped with a sturdy pair of boots, as well as rainproof outerwear. Depending on the group size and the weather conditions, you can expect this breathtaking tour to take anywhere between 1.5 – 2 hours – more than enough time to experience the stunning South Coast in a way that many do not! 

Be aware that you must be a minimum of 8 years old to ride, and weigh between 30 – 120 kg. (65-260 lbs.) It is also important to remember that you will be hiking around 3 km. (or 1-2 miles) over rocky terrain, so make sure you’re ready for a small amount of physical excursion too. This tour offers daily departures between Easter and Xmas, making it a fun activity in both the summer and winter months. 

Zip-lining in Akureyri, North Iceland

Zip-lining in Akureyri
Photo: Zip Line Akureyri

Iceland’s north is closer to the Arctic Circle than any other part of the country and thus is known to be colder, more mountainous, and generally more of an extreme place to visit. Its largest town, Akureyri, is a settlement rich in culture, history, and natural splendour, as well as serving as the home base for those looking to take part in the great variety of activities on offer here. 

One such tour is that offered by Zipline Akureyri! This operator offers five zip rides over the 2 hours you’ll spend with them discovering the regal nature of the north’s woodland countryside. One of the great appeals of zip-lining here is that it brings you in close contact with forested landscapes, which is something of a rarity in Iceland. 

As with other zip lines elsewhere, you will be accompanied by experienced and certified guides who will not only take you through all of the necessary safety precautions but are also sure to share with you fascinating information about the fairytale environment in which you find yourself.    

Mega Zipline in Hveragerði, West Iceland

Zip lining in Iceland
Photo: Conventional Ride (Free as a bird!)

At exactly 1 km long, this fast and thrilling zipline near the simmering geothermal town of Hveragerði is the longest and fastest ride in the country. If you’re looking for the best zip-lining experience in Iceland – and one fairly close to the capital city – then Mega Zipline in Hveragerði would be the one! 

To be more precise, this operator offers two zip lines that run parallel to one another, allowing for simultaneous rides. Two by two, guests soar over the dramatic Svartagljúfur canyon, starting their journey atop the Kambar plateau. Svartagljúfur is well-known for its trickling waterfalls, rocky embankments, and grass-laden hillsides, thus offering quintessential views of the Icelandic countryside that, almost always, are best seen from above! 

 

If the splendid nature was not reason enough to visit, how about an enticing souvenir proving your time there? Automatic cameras are positioned all along the zipline, capturing photographs and videos of your ride. Not to mention the thrilled or terrified expressions that come with it. After your flight is over, you will hike back to base camp. There, you can see these recordings for yourself. And you can even purchase them to always remember the experience. 

Hveragerði is a beautiful visitor’s location in itself. It is famed for its smoking hot pots,  ambient hikes, and scenic horseback riding trails. Nearby, you can find interesting locations like Reykjadalur Hot Spring, a popular spot for bathing in naturally warm waters. Another stop might be the colourful underground lava tunnel, Raufarhólshellir

Glacier Zipline in Vatnajökull, South Iceland 

Ready for a zip line adventure in Iceland?
Photo: Zip Line + Ice Cave Adventure Winter

Zip-lining over dry land might be thrilling enough for some. But there are always ways to make the experience just that bit more daring. True daredevils will want to take part in a glacier zipline at the Vatnajökull ice cap! 

You heard us right. It’s now possible to experience Iceland’s glaciers from above in a way that does not require flying in a helicopter or light aircraft! 

Visitors will meet their guides at the crystalline Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, found at the base of Breiðamerkurjökull outlet glacier. This lagoon is a beloved, photogenic location in itself thanks to its gently floating icebergs and spectacular scenery.

 

From this stunning waterbody, you will ride in a 4×4 vehicle to Vatnajökull itself. On the ride, take in the splendour of its vast icy panoramas and beautiful blue and white hues. All the while, listen as your guide explains how such scenery was formed. 

Upon arriving at your destination, you will take part in a glacier hike. Next, you will visit an ice cave, then fly over a vertical ice wall – or moulin – aboard their zipline. Throughout the experience, there will be plenty of opportunities to snap photographs. And, of course, appreciate the beauty of the scenery around you.

This tour takes place on a glacier, so dress appropriately in rainproof outerwear and thermal layers. Your guides will provide you with all of the important equipment, from helmets to crampons and walking poles. For those who want to experience this tour without taking part in the zipline itself, there are options available that allow them to simply enjoy the landscape and observe fellow travellers take part in the aerial portion of the excursion. 

In Summary 

A boy zip lining in Iceland
Photo: Conventional Ride (Free as a bird!)

There may not be many zip lines across Iceland, but it is fast becoming one of its most popular activities. It does not require an enormous time commitment from its guests. And it provides for unforgettable views and feelings of adrenaline that can be found hardly anywhere else. So, at some point during your time here, include a spot of zip-lining in your itinerary. You will not regret it! 

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