When it comes to Icelandic adventures, it's no secret that the country's glaciers, hot springs and volcanoes garner most of the attention. May through mid-September, however, there's another, lesser-known activity all you thrill seekers can add to your itineraries: some world-class white water rafting. And when it comes to tackling rapids, no river is better suited to sate your thirst for intensity than Austari-Jökulsá, also known as the East Glacial River. Located approximately 4 hours northeast of Reykjavik, this scenic waterway swells with glacial melt every summer, delivering around 20 km of Grade IV+ excitement and one of the most remote paddling experiences on Earth. Prep yourself for stunning Icelandic scenery, incredible blue water, and memorable drops like the Alarm Clock, the Screaming Lady, and the infamous 3-tiered Green Room.
There are several tour companies that will take you down this wild, frigid river, although you'll likely be responsible for the initial transportation from Reykjavik to the town of Varmahlíð (where most of the base camps are located) and back. Most tours total between 5-7 hours, depending on things like the pace of the river, the length of your snack break, and whether or not you feel like getting out to do a little brisk cliff jumping (hey, you may only get this one chance). So if you're in the market for a truly unique, heart-pounding whitewater experience, get yourself a guide and get out there.