Winter in Iceland

Design your perfect winter vacation in Iceland with a local expert
Customize a tour idea created by one of our local agents based in the destination

What to do in Iceland?

Iceland is one of Europe’s fastest growing tourist destinations and with so much beauty, variety and culture, it’s no wonder that tourists keep returning to the island. If you haven’t yet been and are wondering if Iceland is for you, be inspired our top 5 reasons to travel to Iceland:

  • For a trip that’s suitable for any age or traveller. Whether you’re travelling with children, with friends, as a couple or going solo, Iceland is the perfect destination. Children and adults alike will be blown away by the dramatic cliffs of the fjords or the thrill of seeing a whale up close.
  • For a culture trip. Reykjavik is well known for its artsy atmosphere and you will notice this as soon as you step foot in this cool city, with cool bars, cafes, museums, galleries and shops around every corner.
  • For delicious food. Stay in Reykjavik for a taste of haute cuisine in any of the cool, minimalistic restaurants that are becoming famous here, or go off the beaten track; going on a fishing trip in the afternoon to catch your evening meal. Iceland’s fresh seafood is unbeatable and this alone is well worth the trip!
  • For an experience of Iceland’s animals. See the wild ponies that roam the fjords here as you hike around this incredible location. Visit the westman islands to see the famous puffins that live here in their hundreds. Go on a once in a lifetime cruise to see the whales and killer whales that live in the waters surrounding Iceland.  
  • For more natural beauty than you’ve ever seen. Visit one of the many stunning waterfalls, fjords, villages, beaches, cities or forests here, which are almost entirely untouched. Godafoss, meaning ‘the waterfall of the gods’ is just one unmissable spot, why not have a picnic here to truly enjoy it. The black sand beach is just one example of an incredible Icelandic cove, with so many more, such as Diamond Beach.
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When to go in Iceland?

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Start planning your winter vacation to Iceland

In the middle of the northern Atlantic Ocean, Iceland is a unique destination for a fascinating vacation. It is an excellent choice for nature lovers and outdoor adventurers, and no matter when you travel, Iceland will not disappoint. Winter in Iceland, though, provides an extra mystical element, with long dark nights and a low, orange sun during the few daylight hours. The mountains are covered in fresh snow, the waterfalls and lakes freeze over to create natural spectacles, and the northern lights put on a mesmerizing show. 

Why should I visit Iceland in the winter? 

Comprising mountains, volcanoes, dramatic coastlines, glaciers, caves, rock formations, and forests, Iceland offers a wide variety of landscapes and experiences. What's more, visiting Iceland in winter gives a new perspective on the usually black, volcanic landscape, when rural areas are transformed into glorious snowy scenes. Short days when the sun is low in the sky transform the country, creating an almost perpetual sunrise before darkness falls again. A challenging but spectacular time of year, winter is a brilliant time to visit Iceland. 

The best things to do in Iceland in winter 

Despite the cold, there’s still plenty of reason to visit Iceland in winter. Here are the top activities. 

Seek out the northern lights 

Winter is the best time to see the Northern Lights, with the colder weather providing a better environment to witness the colors. During this natural phenomenon, the sky is painted with gorgeous green spirals of light—an extraordinary natural show. Take a tour with a reputable company from Reykjavik and they’ll take you out into the countryside for the best viewing opportunity. 

Attend a musical festival 

There’s always a party going on somewhere in the Icelandic capital, but in winter there are lots of music celebrations. Time your trip with the Dark Music Days, held at the Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavik, or the Reykjavik Jazz Festival. Art museums and galleries also organize orchestra, opera and other musical events featuring international performers as well as local artists. 

Get your thrills with some winter sports 

If you enjoy skiing, ice skating or bobsledding, Iceland is the ideal destination for these winter sports. The largest ski resort is in Iceland, just 30 minutes driving from the capital city, Reykjavik. The winter months also bring exciting sports events into the city, like the Reykjavik International Games, featuring dog sledding, wrestling, athletics, and even karate. 

Explore ice caves and glaciers 

Winter is the ideal time to explore a natural ice cave or ice tunnel. Here you will have the opportunity to walk inside beautiful glaciers and ice tunnels and witness their striking blue colors. Go with an English-speaking guide and you’ll learn about the formation of the ice caves and the geological landscape around you. 

Bathe in hot springs 

Relaxing in warm water in winter is a heavenly feeling, especially when the outside air is cold. There are plenty of natural hot springs all across Iceland's countryside, where you can relax your muscles and unwind. The steaming hot springs are an integral part of Icelandic culture, and they are fed and heated by volcanic activity underground. 

What's the weather like in Iceland in winter? 

The temperatures during winter in Iceland often get incredibly low. Expect chills of around 13°F to 22°F, as well as wild winds. Thick winter coats are essential here, and you might well encounter snow, hail or rain on your trip. Iceland is a popular road trip destination, but in winter roads can be treacherous, so it's best to book onto an organized tour.

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