Extreme Adventure activities
At the cold upper reaches of the Atlantic, Iceland is marked by the fiery wrath of volcanoes and the cool precision of steamrolling glaciers. It's also a spot of remarkable instability, situated right on top of the rift between the North American and European tectonic plates. Dubbed Silfra, the fissure is filled with water that, melted from glaciers and filtered through lava fields, is some of the clearest on the planet, often topping 300 feet (91 meters) of visibility. Though the water barely scrapes above freezing, it's a favorite among divers.
The dive starts on a nondescript platform in the barren tundra of Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. There, divers squeeze into down-lined drysuits and plunge into the water. Few visible creatures live down there other than the occasional trout. Instead, the appeal is the experience of slipping between two of the Earth's great bones, witnessing the fissure's cathedral-like formations, and watching a light show of sunbeams filtering through the rocks and water.
Post-dive, emulate the Icelandic people, who spend much of the 20-plus hours of summer daylight in their wild and sparsely populated wildernesses. Raft the Class III Hvita River, scramble through a kilometer-long cave, hike to remote waterfalls, and discover the perfect accompaniment to cold-water diving in Skaftafell National Park: remote, wilderness hot springs bubbling up from the Earth's internal oven.