Winter in Iceland is just magical. It’s one of the best times to visit Iceland as there are fewer people, beautiful winter landscapes, and high chances to see the Northern Lights. This blog post is all about planning a winter trip to Iceland: reasons to visit, how to prepare and stay safe and how to make the most of it. We also include some of the best Iceland Winter tours that you can book online.
Reasons To Visit Iceland In The Winter
1. It’s Not As Cold As You Think
Despite its name and the latitude close to the Arctic Circle, winter in Iceland is relatively mild. The warm Gulfstream temperatures stay around Zero Degrees Celsius and are comparable to the one in New York City, London or Amsterdam. Read this blog for tips on what to wear in Iceland.
2. Budget Friendly
Traveling to Iceland in summer is a lot more expensive but in winter, prices tend to be lower – sometimes just a third of the cost. Especially the accommodation, renting the car and guided tours are cheaper in winter.
3. Northern Lights
Iceland is one of the best places on the planet for witnessing the incredible show of Aurora Borealis. The stunning beauty evokes the feelings of tranquility, quietness and happiness. The Northern Lights are stunningly beautiful but they are very unpredictable. So think of them as a bonus to your epic trip!
4. Less Crowded & Perfect For Photography
Those who don’t like to travel to crowded places Iceland in winter is just heaven for them. Iceland’s peak tourist season starts in June and ends in August. The low season is December, January, and February. During which time, you’ll have the best chance of sharing the sites with way fewer people.
In daylight, as the sun is not rising very high above the horizon, so it creates a beautiful and soft golden lightning. Whether you are a professional or amateur photographer, your pictures will look truly stunning.
5. Hot Springs
Doesn’t it feel amazing to take a dip in the hot water after all-day hiking in the snow? Iceland is full of special spots with geothermal water. You can enjoy them all year round, but I guess they give you the biggest pleasure during winter months.
Top Iceland Winter Tours
So many reasons to go to Iceland in the winter, and so many amazing Iceland Winter Tours. Here are some of the best that you can book online.
1. South Coast & Northern Lights Small-Group Winter Adventure
Duration: 17 hours
From black sand beaches to magical Northern Lights, this South Coast winter trip is truly amazing for all. The trip majorly covers Solheimajokull Glacier, the black sand beach of Reynisfjara, village Vik I Myrdal, Skogafoss Waterfall, Seljalandsfoss Waterfall, and the stunning Northern Lights. This tour includes pick up from Reykjavik and drop off, free Wi-Fi and certified guide.
2. Magnificent Iceland Winter: Aurora Borealis & Golden Circle
Duration: 10 hours
Discover Iceland’s breathtaking sites with this Golden Circle and Northern Lights tour. You will experience heavenly delights in store by way of sights and experiences when you join this combo.
In this tour, you get to visit the most famous area in Iceland, where you will see two tectonic plates playing apart. Major attractions of the tour are Gullfoss Waterfall, Northern Lights, Geysir, and Kerid Volcanic Crater. The trip includes pickup and drop-off from your location in Reykjavik, free Wi-Fi, an audio tour guide in English, transport by minibus and along with the guide.
There all also evening Northern Lights bus tours available. I saw the Northern lights twice – the first time dancing spikes and then a green curtain! What an amazing experience!
3. Snowmobiling on Eyjafjallajökull
Duration: 3 hours
The snowmobiling tour is perfect for those individuals, who are looking for a scenic, fun ride, exploring and experiencing the wilderness, the glacier and the breathtaking views over South Iceland. The tour includes snowmobiling on top of the Eyjafjallajökull glacier, which is extraordinary and once in a lifetime experience.
All the necessary equipment will be provided along with the tour guide. All you need to do is to bring your driving license and hiking shoes!
4. Private Glacier Lagoon: Jökulsárlón
Duration: 13 hours
This private tour of Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon allows you to visit several of Iceland’s wonders. You will explore the most magnificent scenery of Iceland including the mighty Skógarfoss Waterfall with its 60 meters drop, the “black sand desert” and some of Iceland’s largest glacial rivers.
The trip includes hotel pick up and drop off facility, private guide, and private vehicle.
5. Glacier Snowcat Ride and Ice Caving
Duration: 5 hours
This incredible snowcat and ice caving tour is specially made for glacial crossings. It takes you through one of the most iconic routes in Iceland. The tour majorly covers Gullfoss Waterfall, glacial huts, natural ice caves, etc. Includes a transfer to and from Gullfoss and access to the Ice Cave.
6. Reykjavík Combo Trip: Glacier Hiking & Ice Climbing Day-Tour
Duration: 4-10 hours
In this Glacier Hiking and Ice Climbing Day Tour, you will travel to the frozen glacial tongue Sólheimajökull and witness breathtaking sights during this glacial experience. Explore the crevasse riddled outlet glacier with amazing ice formations, sinkholes, and jagged ridges.
The trip includes glacial gear, free Wi-Fi onboard, certified guide with an introduction to ice climbing. Good hiking shoes are highly recommended for the trip.
7. Reykjavík: Silver Circle and Ice Tour
Duration: 12 hours
The Silver Circle and Ice Tour is a full-day tour with some incredible natural sights along the way. The tour starts in Reykjavík where you will be picked up at your hotel around 8:00 AM. You will head to Hvalfjörður, a beautiful fjord with wavy roads. The major attractions include Borgarfjörður, Deildartunguhver (Europe’s highest outflowing hot spring), Reykholt (historical place), Hraunfossar Waterfall, Langjökull (aka The Long Glacier – second largest glacier in Iceland), a man-made ice cave and Húsafell – where you can eat.
The trip includes a meal, English-speaking guide, jeep tour, and Reykjavik pickup.
Iceland’s Special 7-Days Winter Tour – Covers South, East & North Iceland
This is the best out of all of the Iceland Winter tours and shouldn’t be missed by those eager to see Iceland’s most spectacular sights, such as the Golden Circle, Jökulsárlon Glacier Lagoon, and Lake Mývatn. Main highlights of the trip are stunning Northern Lights, the Golden Circle, and Skaftafell. Six nights in a cozy and local accommodation is included in the trip.
The detailed highlights of the trip are: Gullfoss Waterfall, Geysir, Þingvellir National Park, Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss Waterfall, Sólheimajökull Glacier, Village Vik, Skaftafell National Park, Northern Lights, East Fjords, Lake Lagarfljót, Iceland’s largest forest – Hallormsstaðaskógur, some villages of East, Lake Mývatn, Námaskarð Pass (a geothermal area), Eyjafjörður, Kaffi Kú, Akureyri – the biggest town in North Iceland.
This is a 7 day 6 nights guided tour of South, East, and North Iceland with breakfast each morning including a flight from Akureyri to Reykjavik, Northern Lights Hunting along with travel agent and taxes.
So immerse yourself in the beautiful landscapes of Iceland’s winter, with the best Iceland Winter tours guaranteed! And before you leave on a trip – don’t forget your travel insurance. Have a blissful trip and don’t forget to share your experience!
Beyond Iceland Winter Tours – Other things to do in Iceland
If you are in Iceland, you also might want to check out some of the other adventurous and wildlife based tours on offer.
For Whale Watching Iceland is a very popular destination and although weather is calmer in summer months Whale watching tours go year round. It’s often possible to find over 20 different Whale species in the Icelandic waters.
A helicopter tour of Iceland can show you the most amazing scenery from above including the geothermal area, Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon, Thellingvir National Park and The Highlands. Helicopter tours are perfect if you have limited time such as a weekend in Iceland, because you can cover so much ground so quickly. It can be an exhilarating experience.
The Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon is a ‘cannot miss’ destination in Iceland. Nothing beats relaxing in the hot waters on a cold day and slathering the silica mud on your skin! It’s a good idea to book a Blue Lagoon tour for your last day to chill before you go home.
What to Pack for Iceland
Iceland can get cold in winter, and so you definitely want to be thinking about investing in a thermal base layer and thermal socks. A good wind and waterproof mountain jacket and walking boots are essential purchases for Iceland in the winter.
Also remember to pack your hat, scarf and gloves. Regarding specialist equipment such as crampons and diving gear for Silfra, most tour operators supply these included in the price of your tour or for an extra supplement.