Located in the mid-Atlantic, straddling the American and Eurasian tectonic plates, Iceland is known as the land of fire of ice due its constant geo-thermic activity. Steam rises from the hills and streams are at boiling point, giving it a fairy tale aura about it; perhaps that’s why much of the population still believe in elves!

In the months of June and July you can experience 24 hours of daylight, whilst in the winter months, Iceland is one of the best places to witness the Northern Lights.

At Go Overseas, we strive to provide the most comprehensive program and gap year listings available. At this time, we are only able to find a few gap year opportunities in Iceland, listed below. You can read this full guide to planning your gap year in Iceland, or use the Search page to explore other gap year opportunities.

Iceland is the ideal gap year destination if you are interested in the great outdoors. From exploring the country on a backpacking trip to environmental research, Iceland has a lot to offer when it comes to gap year programs.

Environmental and Nature Studies

A geologist's dream, you can volunteer to assist scientists as they monitor volcanic, seismic and glacial activity. Renowned for its prolific bird and marine life, Iceland can provide research opportunities.

Adventure Travel and Backpacking

The rugged beauty of Iceland lends itself to exploration. From hiking, mountain biking and horse riding in the summer to skiing and snowmobiling in the winter months there is plenty of action and adventure to be experienced. You can raft the glacial waters and dive between the tectonic plates.

There is a bus service that services the outer ring road around Iceland in the summer months of June to August, however in the winter months the service is very restricted and in some places non-existent.

So you’ve made your mind up on Iceland what can you expect when you get there?

Cost of Living in Iceland

Compared to other gap year destinations, Iceland is not a cheap destination to live as many things have to be imported. So it is important that you budget accordingly. If you are planning a backpacking trip in the summer months, there are numerous campsites which may keep the costs down.

Culture and Etiquette in Iceland

With its Viking heritage, the Icelandic history is documented through its sagas (stories) and many traditional Viking beliefs form the foundation of their culture. However due to its geographical location you will find both American and European influences.

Some Tips
  • Many Icelandics will catch up socially in the many swimming pools and thermal baths throughout the country.
  • If you are visiting a local home, it is customary to remove your shoes before entering. Traditional food can consist of harkal (fermented shark), svio (sheep’s head) and hvalspik (whale fat). If you want something closer to home, then head to Baejarins beztu, a hot dog stand that has been operating in Reykjavik since 1937.
  • Tipping is not expected in restaurants.
Health and Safety in Iceland

The bars in Reykjavik can get very lively particularly at the weekends so be aware of petty theft. If hiking and camping, be prepared for changeable weather conditions.

Iceland is a land of seismic and volcanic activity, which can lead to travel disruption. Eyjafjallajokull volcano erupted in 2010 causing major disruption to air travel due to its ash cloud. The Icelandic Meterological Office website provides updates on seismic activity.

Contributed by Kay Durden

Gap Year Programs in Iceland

Displaying 1 - 2 of 2 programs
Pure Exploration
Adventure Guide Program - Iceland

Enormous cascading waterfalls, incredible natural hot springs, moon...

United Planet
Gap Year: 6-month + Service Learning Opportunities Abroad in Iceland with United Planet

Join United Planet on a gap year volunteer Quest in Iceland! Volunteer...

Gap Year Volunteering in Iceland

Volunteering is a great way to experience Iceland on your gap year
  • Thórsmörk Trailteam Volunteers, Iceland (Trailteam.is)
    Iceland Forest Service Trailteams
    9.83 •24 reviews

    The main activities of our team are maintaining hiking trails in the...

  • Volunteers For Peace (VFP)
    Volunteer Abroad in Iceland with Volunteers for Peace
    9.2 •5 reviews

    Volunteers for Peace offers multiple volunteer projects in Iceland...

  • GoBeyond Student Travel
    GoBeyond Iceland: Inspiring Iceland
    10 •2 reviews

    Traverse this legendary landscape and leave forever inspired by the...

  • MovingWorlds
    Experteer Your Communication, Social Media and PR Skills Anywhere
    Multiple Countries
    10 •1 review

    Volunteering your communication skills abroad provides mutual benefits...

  • SEEDS Iceland
    SEEDS Volunteering Workshops in Iceland
    9 •1 review

    Workcamps are the most common form of short-term volunteering, where a...

  • Working Abroad Projects
    Iceland Wilderness Management Programme

    Become a conservation volunteer in Skaftafell National Park, Iceland...

    Environmental Volunteering in Iceland with CADIP

    To truly sense the remote beauty of the north-east, then the charming...

  • Adventures For Students
    Volunteer in Iceland with Adventures For Students

    Iceland is a stunning Iceland country situated in the North Atlantic...

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