If you want to visit Iceland in the winter there are so many things you can do and see! Iceland in winter is surprisingly not as cold as you would think.
Best Things to do in Iceland in Winter
The location just south of the Arctic Circle would make anyone believe that the winters are unbearable. And yes, they were cold. But in December it was in the 30’s and low 40’s which I consider to be pretty mild. As long as you wear layers and lots of warm, waterproof clothes the weather shouldn’t be a problem.
1. Visit The Black Sand Beach In Vik Iceland
Visiting the black sand beach in Vik is definitely a must in the winter in Iceland. The sand is crushed lava rock formed when it reaches the frigid ocean.
A beautiful beach to visit, but not where I chose to sun tan. Half way down the beach is a large vaulted cavern called Hálsanefeshellir (obviously really easy to pronounce).
2. Visit A Volcano
Iceland has about 130 volcanoes on the island. This is incredible to consider when you realize that Iceland is about the size of Georgia. Fears of a volcano erupting are a real concern there!
If you are planning a trip to Iceland and are not sure what to pack no worries, we got you covered! ? Read our Iceland Packing Guide and avoid the mistakes that we made when planning and packing for Iceland.
3. Take A Tour Of The Crystal Caves
There are definite benefits to visiting Iceland in the winter, and being able to see the glaciers is one of them.
Sometimes called Crystal Caves, the ice caves inside Iceland’s glaciers are a truly remarkable wonder of nature. They are hard to get good pictures of, but your eyes will be able to take in an amazing view.
Book your tour: Skaftafell: Ice Cave Tour & Glacier Hike
Book your tour: Ice Cave by Katla Volcano Super Jeep from Vik
Book your tour: Vatnajokull Glacier: Ice Caving and Glacier Hiking
Get to know Icelandic Culture with 10 of The Most Unique Things about Icelanders
4. Take A Tour Of Glacier Lagoon
The glaciers in Iceland are UNREAL! Some of the best are only two hours past Vik. I couldn’t help but think that one of these guys sunk the titanic.
Book your tour: Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon Full-Day Tour from Reykjavik (This is one of the most popular and highest reviewed tours I could find.)
5. Visit Seljalandsfoss Waterfall
Seljalandsfoss is an incredible waterfall in Iceland that is convenently located on the way to Vik and Jökulsárlón Iceland Glacier Lagoon (which are both must see’s in Iceland in the winter. Seljalandsfoss is located in the South Region so the roads shouldn’t be too bad, even with some snow.
Want to see more Iceland waterfalls? Check out our picks of the 15 Best Waterfalls in Iceland!
6. Drive Through Thingvellir National Park
In Thingvellir National Park you can see the Mid-Atlantic Ridge that splits Iceland further apart each year.
The island literally is being ripped apart by earth’s crust pulling in opposite directions, exposing the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. This rare occurrence obviously causes a number of geographic phenomenon, and excites snorkelers with views to the center of the earth. On the drive you can see bubbling hot springs, beautiful lakes, and Iceland’s famous super hairy horses.
If it is snowy you will want to be careful on the roads. They definitely get slick!
7. Visit The Abandoned Plane
On the Saturday of Nov 24, 1973 a United States Navy airplane ran out of fuel and was forced to land on Sólheimasandur’s beach in the south of Iceland. The crew survived the landing and the airplane’s remains are still at the crash site. I’m glad I wasn’t on board as flying is already stressful enough!
8. Soak In Geothermal Hot Springs at Blue Lagoon
Blue Lagoon is deservedly Iceland’s most popular tourist attractions. It is basically a football field sized hot tub that is powered by hot water shooting up from the center of the earth.
It is an awesome sight and super relaxing in the cold. Don’t worry, the hot spring even goes inside so you can get back into the locker room without having to be out in the cold. You can check out more details on what it was like visiting Blue Lagoon here.
Skip the lines and buy your ticket in advance here.
9. Visit Geysir
Every few minutes within the Golden Circle you can see the Strokkhur Geysir spout boiling water up in the air.
These powerful earth burps can sometimes shoot as high as 100 ft above the ground. Also cool to see are the boiling mud pits, but warning, they are not bubbling chocolate pits.
Every few minutes within the Golden Circle you can see the Strokkhur Geysir spout boiling water up in the air. These powerful earth burps can sometimes shoot as high as 100 ft above the ground. Also cool to see are the boiling mud pits, but warning, they are not bubbling chocolate pits.
10. Gullfoss Waterfall
Gullfoss is Iceland’s most famous waterfall. The pictures can’t show just how big this waterfall really is. The water is glacier runoff, and ultimately flows into the ocean.
Note – Ever wanted to visit Greenland? Did you know you can visit Iceland and Greenland on the same trip?! They now have day tours over to Greenland you can take straight from Reykjavik!
Read Next: Why You Need To Visit Vik Iceland
10 thoughts on “10 Best Things to do in Iceland in Winter”
Those look like fun things to do! I’ve never been to Iceland, but I’ve heard it’s really beautiful!
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I had a friend once who visited Iceland and saw the Crystal Caves, so beautiful! He is a photographer so I got to see lots of amazing shots. What a fun place!
Taking a tour of the Crystal Caves is high on my list after seeing a post on Expert Vagabonds blog. They caves look so breathtaking.
Hey there! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and say I genuinely enjoy reading your blog posts. Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that go over the same topics? Thanks a ton!
Wow!!! Loved all the pictures, they show a very beautiful side of Iceland..never been there before and would love to visit soon and have a pic with that elephant rock! lol
Absolutely amazing photographs! :D I want to get back to Iceland right away!
What, no horses!? The Icelandic Horse is the most unique riding horses in the world, having been bred in isolation for over 1,000 years. They have a comfortable running walk gait callt the Tolt. There are multiple companies that run tours on Icelandic horses where you travel with a herd of untethered horses, and swap out your riding horse for one from the herd and intervals. I can’t believe they didn’t mention it.
So beautiful, I cannot wait to visit Iceland!
Your difficulty in believing that a glacier sunk the Titanic is a good instinct. An iceberg sunk the Titanic and your photos are of icebergs. There is a BIG (quite literally) difference between these two forms of ice. In fact, icebergs are large chunks that have broken off a glacier and fallen into the ocean. Glaciers are very large ice fields often covering thousands of square miles over land, sometimes with ledges over the sea.
I meant to mention also that glaciers are often found in mountains and sometimes seem to be mountains themselves. A Google search in images for ‘glacier’ will result in some magnificent photos of all kinds of glaciers. Video even has glaciers ‘calving’ which is when icebergs break off the glacier. Scary, but awesome!