These two Nordic nations share some traits together with dramatic landscapes, Viking historical past, and delightful trails. But when you scratch the floor, every is distinctively distinctive. Iceland is wildly standard (for good motive), whereas Norway—nonetheless a bit underneath the radar—is extra lately turning into the regional darling. Can’t resolve which journey is for you? Maybe you’re intrigued by each nations and easily need to know what to anticipate. Perhaps this comparability will assist you. No matter which vacation spot you select, we all know you’ll have a tremendous time exploring a brand new place and assembly pleasant locals!

The panorama

Iceland’s panorama has been formed by volcanic and seismic exercise. Vast lava fields, black sand seashores, and darkish, craggy cliff-faces distinction with moss-carpeted valleys, highly effective cascading waterfalls, floating icebergs, spectacular glaciers, deep ravines, and scorching springs. It’s not referred to as the “Land of Fire and Ice” for nothing. Norway’s panorama, then again, has been carved by glacial exercise and water. It is effectively-identified for its fjords, the place steep slopes coated in pine forests descend into slim waterways. Higher up, the vegetation thins out to low-scrub and uncovered rock. You’ll see glaciers right here, in addition to rocky shorelines and hovering, misty waterfalls.

Hiking problem

Hiking in Norway is a rugged with steep trails. However, Norway’s trails are effectively-maintained and lots of have constructed-in stone steps. Elevation positive factors will be as much as 1,700′, and there are numerous lengthy distance trails for multi-day hikes or lengthy day hikes. Generally, mountaineering in Iceland is just not tough. It’s principally flat or with rolling hills, though the terrain will be tough, particularly when mountaineering in lava fields, a lot of it’s on grime or mossy trails. Elevation positive factors are often between 200 and 400 ft, though if you wish to climb to the highest of Skogafoss Waterfall, that’s 700 ft.

Other actions

In each Iceland and Norway, you possibly can get pleasure from a half of-day glacier stroll. This is climate allowing and all mandatory tools is supplied, together with crampons and ice axes (though in actuality, the ice axes are extra for present!). Hike with skilled mountaineers who’ve an excessive amount of data about glaciers and security procedures. Kayak excursions can be found in each nations, as are RIB-boat cruises—in Iceland, you’ll rise up-near icebergs, whereas in Norway, you’ll glide by means of the fjords, previous ski-excessive waterfalls and villages on the water’s edge.


Summer is the driest time in Iceland and Norway, though climate remains to be fairly variable. You are unlikely to have sunshine every single day, however additionally it is unlikely for it to be cloudy for lengthy. Summer additionally convey close to spherical-the-clock daylight. Average temperatures in Iceland vary from about 45F/7C to 55F/12C, whereas Norway can get close to 65F/17C. The shoulder months of April, May, September, and October are a bit cooler and have a better probability of precipitation. Trails could also be a bit muddy however hikeable in Norway, and also you would possibly see the Northern Lights in Iceland. Winter can also be a stunning time to go to when the Northern Lights in Iceland are extra seen and Norway’s ski slopes and nordic trails are open.

Matt Holmes is the Founder & President of Boundless Journeys. Boundless Journeys is an award-successful tour operator that goes off the crushed path for immersive and genuine journey experiences.

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