Up until quite recently, winter tourism in Iceland was almost unheard of. Most people thought the only time to pay us a visit was during the summer for the midnight sun. Luckily, things have changed since flight prices dropped to come here and more and more people are discovering our magical winters. Even though they are very dark and the weather can be wild, there is nothing quite like experiencing this country shrouded under the permanent night sky, sometimes with northern lights dancing above. It really is a winter wonderland!
There are dozens of fantastic things to do and places to see here during the winter but unfortunately it’s hard to do them all in a regular trip. It’s important to plan ahead carefully to make sure you can fit everything into your time in the country, without over-tiring yourself or going out of your budget. Here we’ve put together some great lesser-known options for a winter trip that are sure to give you the best experience possible.
Multi-Day Super-Jeep Tour
For a truly unforgettable trip where you’ll be fully taken care of, a multi-day cross-country trip by 4×4 is a great adventure to take. You’ll experience every terrain Iceland has, from lunar lava fields to black sand beaches, cold glacial mountains and hot springs. Typically lasting from 2 to 6 days (but can be longer upon request), these kinds of tours are perfect for a small group of travellers who want to see as much as possible in an intimate setting, tour groups usually being 4 to 6 people. The super-jeep drivers are expert tour guides with extensive knowledge and all the qualifications for extreme adventures in the country, so tourists can always be sure they’ll be in safe and smart hands. These tours can also be arranged to take a variety of routes, depending on what sights one is most keen to see, whether it’s the westfjords, the south coast, the northeast highlands, or the attractions near the capital area. It’s a real choose-your-own-adventure deal, with flexible packages at a range of great prices. Contact us to find out more and let us help you pick the best option.
Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon & South Coast
The glacial lagoon Jökulsárlón on Iceland’s south coast is a place that truly has to be seen to believe. No matter how beautiful a photograph one can take of it, nothing compares to standing on its shore and taking in its majesty. This frozen lake is where icebergs broken off from the great Vatnajökull glacier float into the Atlantic ocean, and there is no better time to see it than in the depths of winter, when the icebergs are at their biggest.
It’s located about a 7 hours drive from Reykjavík and makes a great 2 day trip either by guided tour or self-driven. On the way to the lagoon, you will pass by and have the chance to stop at the Seljalandsfoss waterfall (which you can walk behind wearing crampons), the beautiful Skógarfoss waterfall, the Reynisfjara black sand beach with its great basalt columns, the site of the infamous Eyjafjallajökull volcano. Time your arrival at Jökulsárlón right and you can stay to try and see the northern lights reflect off the lake and the icebergs. After you can stay in a number of lovely country hotels or guest houses in the region before returning to the capital the following day. We can help you book the perfect tour.
Lake Mývatn Winter Garden
Located up in Iceland’s northeast highlands, this beautiful lake town is perfect to visit during the winter, when it’s mild and peaceful. The northern winters are known for being quite lovely and scenic. Lake Mývatn in particular has some of the best natural sights to see and its remote location makes it perfect for looking for the northern lights. There is the great lava rock forest Dimmuborgir, formed from an ancient volcanic eruption, the active hot spring field Hverir, the Lofthellir cave and Ludentarborgir crater rows. And of course, the lake itself!
Here you can also enjoy a soak at the Mývatn Nature Baths, the Blue Lagoon of the north, located up on a hill overlooking the lake. You can take a gourmet tour of the region trying all the local produce, and visit the many farms of the area and get a taste of real Icelandic country life. Lake Mývatn is also specially known for being the mythical home of our thirteen Christmas elves, so it’s perfect for a great yuletide getaway. Let us help you plan your perfect visit to this fantastic area.
Getting Up On A Glacier
What could be better on a visit to Iceland than getting up close and personal with the glaciers that give us our name? Taking a snowmobile up our second largest glacier, Langjökull (“long glacier”), is a thrilling adventure that will leave you with lifelong memories. Just a few hours out of Reykjavík, this is a great day trip to make that needs no prior snowmobiling experience and is family friendly, as those without drivers lisences can be passengers. On top of it, snowmobiling trips can be tied into many other adventure packages or taken at night to hunt for northern lights. We highly recommend this experience.
If you want to get up on a glacier but snowmobiling isn’t for you, go for a climb instead on the Sólheimajökull glacier on Iceland’s south coast. Also majestic and fun for the whole family, the trained guides provide all the gear and advice for trekking on the icey giant and you get a hiking experience like no other. Surrounded by beautiful rows of blue coloured ice, you’ll really feel this island’s magic. This glacier is also just a few hours from Reykjavík and easily combined with many other activities and tours as well, so it’s always an option for a day out in the winter here. We can build it into your upcoming vacation.
Going Down Into The Depths
While it’s really popular to climb to the highest peaks of the country to see it from above, what lies below is not to be missed as well. The island is a geological marvel at every level and sometimes the best way to experience it is to go right inside it. There are several magnificent caves located right near Reykjavík that amateur speleologists can easily descend at any time of the year. Head to the Arnarker cave, Leiðarendi cave or Thrihnukagigur crater to go down and experience the inside of this rocky island.
If you like water more than rocks, you’re in luck too! Head to the continental rift in the historic Thingvellir national park to go snorkelling in Silfrá river, which runs right between the North American and European plate divide. You’ll be provided with a dry suit and all the equipment by helpful guides who will take you on a gentle paddle through the place where the country splits onto two continents. That is definitely something to check off your bucket list.
Come To Our Winter Wonderland!
Contact us now to let us help you plan the perfect winter trip to Iceland!