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Best activities to do in Iceland during winter

Shorter days, lower temperatures, moody weather, and northern lights mean you can enjoy some of the best activities to do in Iceland during winter time. Even if winter is coming with moody and sometimes extreme weather in Iceland that doesn’t mean there are no chances to enjoy the winter while doing some exciting activities.

Following the old Norse calendar, the first day of winter in Iceland starts at the end of October and ends on the 18th of April. This year, in 2021 the first day of winter is on the 23rd of October.

The old Norse calendar had only two seasons winter and summer. The winter season is also called the short days months “Skammdegi (“Short days”)”.

Those six months of winter have different names and meanings as follows:

  1. Gormánuður (mid-October – mid-November, “slaughter month” or “Gór’s month”)
  2. Ýlir (mid-November – mid-December, “Yule month”)
  3. Mörsugur (mid-December – mid-January, “fat sucking month”)
  4. Þorri (mid-January – mid-February, “frozen snow month”)
  5. Góa (mid-February – mid-March, “Góa’s month”)
  6. Einmánuður (mid-March – mid-April, “lone” or “single month”). (Source: Wikipedia)

Which month would you choose for your trip?

The Winter season in Iceland is really beautiful and exciting as you can do some of the coolest activities there. Keep reading to find the best activities you can do in Iceland during winter.

Glacier hiking

Iceland is known as the land of Fire and Ice and we have a lot of ice here. There are many glaciers in Iceland and one of the most famous is Vatnajökull which is also the largest glacier in Europe the most interesting part is that you can climb and walk on them.

Also, one of the most popular glaciers for hiking is the Sólheimajökull glacier in south Iceland. It is a tongue of the Mýrdalsjökull glacier that covers the Katla volcano.

Man hiking on a glacier in Iceland.

Glacier hiking is one of the most famous activities to do all year round but during winter the adrenaline is even higher as there are tours that take you to a glacier walk and northern lights watching.  

For most of those glacier hiking tours, you are provided with safety equipment and the only things you have to bring are warm clothing, sturdy boots and your adventurous spirit.

Dogsledding 

A true nordic adventure has to include dogsledding and our furry friends are waiting for you to join them on a one hour tour. Dogsledding is an exciting family activity and kids are the most welcome.

Girl petting a Husky sitting on snow.

A dog sledding tour is one of the best activities to do in Iceland during winter. Find more details about dogsledding tours here.

Enjoying a geothermal spa

Iceland is known for its numerous geothermal baths. Bathing in hot springs and geothermal baths is a Viking tradition that is still followed by Icelanders and tourists as well. You can’t say you visited Iceland without enjoying a geothermal bath.

There are many places all around Iceland where you can enjoy a warm bath and you can find the best one in our blog dedicated to this subject.

Blue Lagoon

Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon is a popular spa destination featuring
an outdoor lagoon with mineral-rich waters in a lava field.

Sky Lagoon admission with private transfer

Sky Lagoon admission with private transfer

Visit the wonderful new geothermal baths by the North Atlantic Ocean

Private Transfer to and from Sky Lagoon

Private Transfer to and from Sky Lagoon

This transport will pick you up from the accommodation and
drop you off at Sky Lagoon and back to your accommodation after.

Sky Lagoon with Hotel Pick-Up in Reykjavik

Sky Lagoon with Hotel Pick-Up in Reykjavik

The Sky Lagoon experience - An escape to paradise

Sky Lagoon Transfer Including Admission

Sky Lagoon Transfer Including Admission

Visit the wonderful new geothermal baths by the North Atlantic Ocean

Sky Pass

Sky Pass

Experience Iceland's all-new Sky Lagoon

Pure Pass

Sky Pass

Experience Iceland's all-new Sky Lagoon

The Secret Lagoon

The Secret Lagoon

Soak in the magical geothermal waters
of the Secret Lagoon.

Krauma Geothermal Baths & Spa

Krauma Geothermal Baths & Spa

Experience nature from its core by bathing in the geothermal baths at Krauma

Geo Sea Ticket

Geo Sea Ticket

Geosea - Geothermal Sea Baths

Myvatn Natural Bath

Myvatn Natural Bath

Enjoy a relaxing bath in the natural geothermal waters

Laugarvatn Fontana

Myvatn Natural Bath

Enjoy a relaxing bath in the natural geothermal waters

Bjórböðin

Bjórböðin

Iceland‘s very first beer spa.

Vök Baths - Standard entrance

Vök Baths - Standard entrance

Standard entrance to Vök Baths geothermal pools.

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Ice Cave Exploration

On top of your winter bucketlist for Iceland should be an ice cave exploration tour. The glaciers in Iceland are offering so many opportunities to be explored and ice caving is one of the most interesting as you can go inside the glacier.

The most popular ice cave is the Blue Ice Cave at Breidamekurjökull Glacier Tongue near Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. The ice cave is available only during the winter season and the fun fact about it is that the ice inside it is blue in colour and every year the cave has a different form.

Do not hesitate to book your Blue Ice Cave tour as this is one of the best activities to do in Iceland during winter.

Touching the ice inside a Blue Ice Cave.

There is also an ice cave at Katla that is available all year round but during winter is much more beautiful.

You can explore a man-made ice cave also at Langjokull. There are ice tunnels and some rooms for you to discover. This is a good choice if you can not get to the natural ice caves.

Blue Ice Cave Exploration

Blue Ice Cave Exploration

An unforgettable experience underneath
the biggest galcier in Europe

Private Blue Ice Cave Exploration

Private Blue Ice Cave Exploration

The most exciting activity to do in winter

Ice Cave Tour

Ice Cave Tour

Ice cave tour in Vatnajökull

Crystal Blue Ice Cave | Super Jeep from Jökulsárlón

Crystal Blue Ice Cave | Super Jeep from Jökulsárlón

Unforgettable experience under the largest glacier in Europe

Ice Cave - Only the Brave

Ice Cave - Only the Brave

Unforgettable experience under the largest glacier in Europe

Ice cave - Adventures dream

Ice cave - Adventures dream

Unforgettable experience under the largest glacier in Europe

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Aurora hunting

Going on an Aurora hunting tour is one of the best activities to do in Iceland during winter. It is also the top reason people are visiting Iceland during winter. The landscape in Iceland is stunningly beautiful with the northern lights dancing in the night sky and it is a show that you don’t have to miss. There are a lot of options to go on an aurora hunting tour where you will get the best views of the green lady.

Man watching the Northern Lights dancing in the night sky in Iceland.
Photo by Danny Katze

If you are planning to come to Iceland this winter then put at least two of those activities on your bucketlist and you will have an unforgettable experience in the Land of Fire and Ice.

Let us know in the comments what activity you like more or share with us your experience on Facebook and Instagram.

Northern Lights in Super Jeep Semi Private Tour - 6 People Max!

Northern Lights in Super Jeep Semi Private Tour - 6 People Max!

On the dark winter nights the lights are often seen dancing across the Icelandic sky

NORTHERN LIGHTS AND STARGAZING (Guided in 10 languages)

NORTHERN LIGHTS AND STARGAZING (Guided in 10 languages)

Guided in 10 languages.

Hiking, Hot Springs and Northern Lights

Hiking, Hot Springs and Northern Lights

This four-day winter adventure and hiking tour embraces
the highlights of the South West of Iceland.

Sails, Lights & Winter Nights

Sails, Lights & Winter Nights

Dancing lights in total silence — powered by wind and electricity

Northern Lights Explorer / Northern Lights Super Jeep tour

Northern Lights Explorer / Northern Lights Super Jeep tour

Jump on our super jeep to chase the northern lights off-the-beaten-track.

Magical Auroras - Northern lights in a minibus

Magical Auroras - Northern lights in a minibus

A minibus evening tour where we hunt for the northern lights!

Golden Circle, Secret lagoon & Northern Lights

Golden Circle, Secret lagoon & Northern Lights

Experience Icelandic nature at its best!

Sensational Iceland - Waterfalls, Glacier Hike and Northern Lights

Sensational Iceland - Waterfalls,
Glacier Hike and Northern Lights

Two great waterfalls, the best south coast sights,
a fabulous glacier hike and
the magic of the northern lights.

Northern Lights Tour

Northern Lights Tour

The Northern Lights tour in Iceland
takes you to see a spectacular natural phenomenon

Northern Lights Hunt

Northern Lights Hunt

Nothing compares to the enigmatic light show of the Aurora Borealis

Reykjavík Whales & Northern Lights

Reykjavík Whales & Northern Lights

This combo unites some of the most popular winter
attractions in Iceland - whales and northern lights!

Reykjavík Northern Lights Cruise & Aurora Exhibition

Reykjavík Northern Lights Cruise & Aurora Exhibition

Northern Lights Cruise including flexible Aurora Exhibition ticket

Reykjavík Northern Lights Cruise

Reykjavík Northern Lights Cruise

Search for northern lights on this thrilling winter cruise

Akureyri Northern Lights Cruise

Akureyri Northern Lights Cruise

Watch the Aurora Borealis dance across the dark sky

ATV and Northern Lights

ATV and Northern Lights

Start with a full hour of ATV action on Mount Hafrafell

Northern Light tour on ATV/Quad

Northern Light tour on ATV/Quad

Experience the Northern Lights ATV/Quad Tour close to Reykjavik

Northern Lights Mystery

Northern Lights Mystery

Join us on this tour to hunt for the Northern Lights

Northern Lights Mystery Private Tour

Northern Lights Mystery Private Tour

Book a private Northern Lights tour

From Hofn - Aurora Hunting & Photography (Private Tour)

From Hofn - Aurora Hunting & Photography (Private Tour)

Book a private tour with a guide who knows where you'll find the best spots to view the Northern Lights.

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