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30 Bucket List Things To Do In Iceland In Winter

If you are searching for the best things to do in Iceland in winter, we have you covered! There are so many things to do in Iceland any time of the year, and many of these activities can be done during the winter too. That being said, some of the best things to do in Iceland in summer are not able to be done during the winter for safety or because of the weather etc. Even better? There are some activities in Iceland that can only be done during the winter and no other time of the year.

We put together this comprehensive list so that you can gather inspiration on things to do in Iceland in winter while planning your trip. Make sure to bookmark this page and screenshot the names of places that you particularly fall in love with so you can come back for further research. There are so many things to do in Iceland that we know you will love the country as much as we do!

Save money in Iceland by staying at an Airbnb! Get a FREE $40 Airbnb Coupon by using our code when you book! 

If you are in the process of planning winter travel to Iceland, here are some posts to read later:

The Ultimate 5 Day Iceland Itinerary 

How To Pack For All Seasons In Iceland

Top 15 Tours In Iceland Worth Every Penny

7 Things To Know Before Driving In Iceland

10 Budget Iceland Travel Tips To Help You Save Hundreds

(Please note: Some links may be affiliate links which means we may make a small portion of the sale)

Epic Things To Do In Iceland In Winter

30 Epic Things To Do In Iceland In Winter

Visiting Godafoss Waterfall Is One Of The Things To Do In Iceland That Is Even Better During The Winter

Suggested by Gabriela Here And There

Godafoss Waterfall is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Iceland and one of the best things to do in Iceland in winter. It is especially spectacular in the winter when the heavy snow has blanketed the banks of the river. The color of the water looks amazingly turquoise in a right lighting and the contrast with the snow makes it even more amazing.

North Iceland is an area that not so many tourists visit – especially in the winter when it can be hardly accessible because of the weather and heavy snow. The waterfall is a short walk from the main road but getting there can sometimes be challenging because the weather in the northern parts of the country can change quickly and even get extreme. If visiting Godafoss Waterfall is one of the things to do in Iceland that you want to see on your winter trip, make sure to plan ahead and prepare.

Blizzards are regular and there is pretty much always a lot of snow in the winter so if you’re not used to driving in the winter, it’s better to take a tour. You can rent a small and cheap car that is NOT a 4 wheel drive vehicle and still be okay if the roads are open and conditions are good. Even though the drive to North Iceland was long, it was totally worth it. Godafoss Waterfall is one of those waterfalls that should top your list of things to do in Iceland in winter.

visiting Godafoss waterfall is one of the Things To Do In Iceland In Winter

Exploring The DC-3 Plane Wreck In Iceland Is Totally Epic During The Winter

Suggested by Swedish Nomad

The crashed plane at Solheimasandur Beach has become an iconic tourist attraction and one of the most epic things to do in Iceland. It’s accessible throughout the year but bear in mind that a 25-40 minute walk has to be made from the parking space. No cars are allowed since the Plane wreck is located on private land. You used to be able to drive to the DC-3 Plane wreck in Iceland, but now that it has become one of the most popular things to do in Iceland, driving is restricted and you must walk to the site.

The walk from the parking lot is long [about 4km round trip] and on flat to a slightly rocky beach. You will not see the plane until you come over a hill and are right upon it. It is one of the best things to do in Iceland in winter because it is less busy than other times of the year and snow makes it quite beautiful.

The story behind the plane is quite interesting. On Saturday Nov 24, 1973, a U.S Navy Douglas Super DC-3 airplane was forced to land on Sólheimasandur’s black sand beach due to icing. It has been on this beach since then, and it’s even possible to walk around inside the plane wreck. If you are looking for one of the more unique things to do in Iceland in winter, this is the place to visit!

Here are the exact coordinates to get to the Plane Crash – 63.459523,-19.364618

Visit the plane wreck for best things to do in iceland in winter

Getting Up Close And Personal With Svinasfellsjokull Glacier Is One Of The “Coolest” Things To Do In Iceland In Winter

Suggested by World Travel Adventurers

Svinasfellsjokull Glacier is one of the many glacier tongues of Vatnajökull, Europe’s largest glacier and one of the super cool things to do in Iceland in winter.  It’s just a short drive off the Ring Road, making it very easy to visit. If you’re heading East, watch for a small sign after you pass the Skaftafell Visitor Center that says Svinasfellsjokull. This is where you turn left off the Ring Road and can drive almost right up it.

After you park, you can walk about two minutes and see the glacier tongue and lagoon right in front of you. It is mind-blowing to get so close! Make sure not to walk on the glacier unless you’re part of a guided glacier hike since it is extremely dangerous. Hiking on a glacier is one of the memorable things to do in Iceland, but you shouldn’t do it alone and should go on a guided tour.

Pass through the gate on the left and hike up the trail to get a better perspective. Be careful since there are no barriers. We stood there in awe of the beautiful blue ice crevices. It was one of our favorite experiences in Iceland because no one else was around. We had this hidden gem all to ourselves! Fun fact- this was a filming location for Game of Thrones Season 7 to represent “north of the wall” so this is one of the best things to do in Iceland in winter if you love the series.

visiting Svinasfellsjokull glacier is one of the best things to do in iceland anytime of the year

Drinking Brennivin Is One Of The Best Things To Do In Iceland If You Want To Warm Up

Suggested by Foodie Flashpacker 

One of the best ways to beat the frigid cold of an Iceland winter is to sample the famous local drink Brennivin, which translates to “burning wine”. It is most commonly known as black death which gives you an indication of how it will taste! If you are looking for things to do in Iceland in winter that involves warming up quickly, take a shot of this stuff!
Brennivin is a clear, unsweetened schnapps that is flavored with caraway seeds, giving it a very distinct flavor. Most people, when asked to describe the taste, say it tastes most like anise or licorice. It’s also the signature drink of Iceland!
Usually, locals will sip Brennivin straight, only chilling it first. Most Icelandic people will tell you that it pairs well with their fermented and pickled foods. Brennivin can also be used in making craft cocktails. If you are looking to travel Iceland on a budget, understand that liquor will cost more than you are normally used to but the rush is well worth it! So, when the cold sets in during your trip and you are looking for things to do in Iceland to warm up, crack open a bottle of black death- anything called burning wine is sure to keep you cozy!
Drink Brennivin is one of the most fun things to do in iceland

Go On A Mini Road Trip Of The Snaefellsnes Peninsula

Suggested by Two For The World

If you took all the drama and diversity of Iceland‘s geology, squeezed it into a snow globe and shook it, you’d be looking at a winter scene straight out of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. One of the best things to do in Iceland in winter, the Snaefellsnes Peninsula will exceed all of your expectations. As with all driving in Iceland, this is a road tripper’s delight at any time of year, but winter lends this landscape a particularly wild and ethereal beauty.

Snaefellsnes’ more iconic sites can be visited on a whirlwind day trip from Reykjavik, however, it’s worth lingering with your own wheels to explore beyond the famous Kirkjufell mountain or vast Snaefellsjökull glacier. In wintertime, fickle weather and limited daylight mean it is a good idea to spend 1-2 nights, if possible, on the peninsula. There are so many things to do in Iceland located here and you want to see all of them!

With snow tires, a Snaefellsnes Peninsula self-drive in winter is an otherworldly experience of cozy traditional fishing villages, icy black sand beaches, geometric basalt cliffs and remote natural hot springs. There are so many things to do in this part of Iceland for the whole family.

The volcanic Eldborg crater rises sharply from a flat, snow-drifted lava plain, while spiky, mist-shrouded lava fields like Berserkjahraun evoke Icelandic sagasIn Grundarfjördur, daily boat tours accompany orcas on their winter herring hunt. Whale watching is one of the best tours in Iceland worth your money too!

Taking a road trip to Snaefellsnes is to experience a snapshot of Iceland‘s best and one of the more memorable things to do in Iceland in winter!

Check pricing: The Snaefellsnes Peninsula Full Day Tour From Reykjavik

things to do in iceland in winter kirkjufell

Relax In One Of Iceland’s Swimming Pools During The Winter

Suggested by The Thought Card

Although most people visit swimming pools during the summer months, in Iceland, visiting swimming pools or sundlaugs is an all year round recreational activity and one of the more relaxing things to do in Iceland.
In fact, swimming is such a big part of Icelandic culture that there are swimming pools in nearly every town in Iceland. In Reykjavik alone, there are 17 swimming pools to choose from! Going to the swimming pool is one of the locals favorite things to do in Iceland and you can find them even in the smaller towns!  Visiting a swimming pool in Iceland is not only relaxing or good exercise but it’s also a great way to meet locals and socialize.
5 Best Easy Hikes In Iceland That Will Blow Your Mind

Get Your Adventure On By Snowmobiling On A Glacier During Your Winter Trip To Iceland

Suggested by Nomad By Trade

What better thing to do in winter in Iceland than by zipping across the top of the enormous mass of ice known as the Vatnajökull Glacier? Europe’s largest glacier offers many ways to explore from ice hikes to Jeep tours, but snowmobiling is the best way to get a feel for its size. This is one of those things to do in Iceland that should be done in winter. Make sure to get dress warmly before you do this activity in Iceland so you enjoy it instead of freeze.

Flying over the seemingly endless landscape of ice and snow is absolutely incredible. Snowmobiling hadn’t even been in our plans, and it ended up being the highlight of our trip. Several companies offer snowmobiling tours of Vatnajökull, many of them departing right from the parking lot of nearby Jökulsárlón.

Your guide will give you gear and a helmet for your ride before loading your group into a vehicle. The ride out to the entry point is a bit rough, but once you arrive, your snowmobiles will be waiting for you to begin your adventure. Don’t worry if you’ve never driven one before. Your guide will give you safety tips and a driving demonstration before you set off. Once you mount up, hang on tight – you’re in for the ride of your life! If you are an adventure lover who is looking for things to do in Iceland in winter, check out this activity!

Check Prices: Snowmobiling On A Glacier In Iceland

best things to do in iceland snowmobile on a glacier

Hiking To Svartifoss Waterfall Is One Of The Things To Do In Iceland For Nature Lovers

Suggested by Happiest Outdoors

If you are a landscape lover looking for things to do in Iceland in winter, consider hiking to Svartifoss Waterfall. Svartifoss Waterfall, in Vatnajokull National Park at Skaftafell, is a popular destination in summer, but in winter you can have it nearly to yourself. Plus you can see it draped in ice!

Svartifoss means “black falls” in Icelandic and if you put this hike on your list of things to do in Iceland in winter, you will see why! Its name comes from the unique black volcanic rock columns around the falls. (They are similar to the rock columns you can find at the Reynisfjara black sand beach near Vik… but these ones have a waterfall on them!) In winter the 20m/80ft high falls partially freezes, leaving incredibly long icicles hanging overhead.

To get there, you’ll have to hike 1.5km/1 mile through the snowy and icy terrain. The path can be very slippery so don’t attempt the trip unless you have crampons or microspikes to put on your shoes. The hike is entirely uphill and takes about 45 minutes each way so make sure to put this on your list of things to do in Iceland only if you feel comfortable with these conditions.

You’ll pass two other waterfalls, Magnusarfoss and Hundafoss, but they are far less spectacular than Svartifoss. Make sure you grab a map at the visitor info centre in the Skaftafell parking lot before you head out. Once you arrive, the stunning waterfall and black basalt wall will make this one of your favorite things to do in Iceland in winter.

epic things to do in iceland during the winter include hiking to waterfalls

Make Memories And Go On A Super Jeep Tour Into Thorsmark Valley

Suggested by We 3 Travel

Visiting Thorsmark Valley is one of the best things to do in Iceland in summer. The valley is green and stretches for miles. That being said, just because you are traveling to Iceland in the off-season doesn’t mean you can’t visit Thorsmark Valley!

As Iceland gets more popular, even in the winter, it can be fun to get off the Ring Road and explore off-the-beaten-path. The best way to see the interior of the island is with a super jeep tour. This is another one of those things to do in Iceland that you should never attempt to do yourself during the winter as it is very dangerous and may result in death or injury.

 When you are exploring the South Coast, plan a super jeep tour into Thorsmark Valley (or Thor’s Valley.) Situated between three glaciers and in the shadow of volcanoes, Thorsmark is also a great place to learn about the geology and volcanic activity that has made Iceland what it is today. Thorsmark is one of the most stunning places to visit in Iceland and a place that not many people put on their bucket list of things to do in Iceland, especially during the winter.

Your super jeep tour is equipped to go off-road through any conditions, even in the winter. Expect to ford glacial rivers and streams, while stopping along the way for short hikes and photo ops. Everyone is entertained by the way these jeeps inflate their tires to make it through deep rivers. This is definitely not something you can do on your own. This is one of the things to do in Iceland in winter that isn’t cheap but is worth the price.

Check pricing and availability: Thorsmork Super Jeep Tour And Hike

best things to do in Iceland in winter

Going Ice Caving Is One Of The Things To Do In Iceland That Can Be Only Done In Winter

Suggested by WanderlustingK

Seeing the ice caves are a must if you’re traveling to this beautiful country in winter!  The ice caves in Iceland are one of the things to do in Iceland that can only be done in the winter. If the ground isn’t frozen enough, even in winter, you won’t be able to visit the ice caves for safety reasons!

Although there are artificial caves that some people visit, you can visit the real thing close to Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon.  This is the largest glacier in Europe and although it’s not a guarantee that ice will form, there has been an ice cave to view most years.  If you are looking for what to do in Iceland that will provide epic photo opportunities, this is the activity for you!

Each year, the guides go seeking out the newly formed ice caves as the locations and the size of the caves vary on a yearly basis.  These caves form due to water entering the glacier—and require a tour to visit.  This is not one of those things to do in Iceland that you can do yourself. You must go on a guided tour for your safety.

As soon as you enter, it’s a breathtaking experience.  Most of the caves appear blue as this is the color that the ice turns after being exposed to sunlight.  Seeing an ice cave in Iceland will be a truly memorable experience as it shows you how amazing nature really is!

Reserve now: Iceland’s Crystal Ice Cave Tour

photography in iceland ice caves

Skogafoss Waterfall Is A Top Thing To Do In Iceland That Is  More Magical In Winter

Suggested by Christine Abroad

Skogafoss is one of the most famous waterfalls in Iceland and also easily accessible just next to the Ring Road about 2 hours drive from Reykjavik. It’s a massive waterfall that’s 25 meters wide and 60 meters tall. Skogafoss is spectacular in every season, just like Iceland in general, but during winter you get to see the snow covering the ground and it becomes an adventure to venture up to the top where you can hear the cascading water. Skogafoss is one of the best things to do in Iceland in winter because it is so beautiful yet so easily accessible!

One thing you shouldn’t miss is to be here when the rays of sunlight hit the waterfall. This creates a very clear and visible rainbow in front of the waterfall. To get here, just continue East on the Ring Road for 25 minutes after Seljalandsfoss, and you’ll have the Skogafoss waterfall on your left side!

things to do in iceland in winter skogafoss

If You Love History And Nature, Thingvellir National Park Will Be Perfect For You

Suggested by History Fan Girl

Thingvellir is an important destination in Iceland for multiple reasons. One of the coolest is that this field was where the Vikings held their Parliament, so it’s one of the most interesting historic sites in the country. If you are looking for what to do in Iceland for history lovers, Thingvellir National Park won’t disappoint!
It’s also a UNESCO World Heritage site and Iceland’s only site which people can visit (their other UNESCO site is an island off the coast where visitors aren’t allowed). The site is also important as a beautiful natural park and also as the place where the North American and European tectonic plates are pulling apart.
In winter, Thingvellir is even more captivating than at other times of the year. When it’s dusted with a layer of snow, the mountains light up and the already magical landscape positively sparkles. Visiting Thingvellir from Reykjavik is easy since it’s one of the three sites on the standard Golden Circle tour. For more information about the history of Thingvellir download this interview about how the Vikings came to Iceland.
things to do in iceland in winter Thingvellir

Explore Landmannalauger In Winter For An Otherworldy Experience

Suggested by The World Pursuit

Less than two hours away from Reykjavik is the mystical area of Landmannalauger. Landmannalauger is where many far off apocalyptic movies are filmed and once you see the landscape you see why. Visiting this area is one of the coolest things to do in Iceland in winter for movie buffs because who doesn’t want to walk where films were shot?

The lava fields, mountain lakes, and hot springs truly look like they are from another planet. Getting here any time of year is a must, but if you visit in the winter you’re likely to experience the area almost all to yourself which is magical. Landmannalauger is one of the tougher places to visit in Iceland given its inaccessibility and need of a four-wheel drive.

However, it is completely possible to still visit with a proper tour of the area. This is one of the things to do in Iceland in winter that require a tour for your safety. All you need is an Icelandic who knows the area and a tough 4 by 4 to tackle the tough and harsh terrain. Most tours will also include a stop at the famous and active Hekla volcano, which provides stunning views over the area.

Reserve here: Tour Of Landmannalaugar: Pearl Of The Highlands

things to do in iceland in winter Landmannalauger

Walk On Iceland’s Most Popular Black Sand Beach

Suggested by Travel By A Sherrie Affair 

If you have always associated Iceland with winter, then this is the perfect place to visit! One of the best things to do in Iceland in winter, visiting Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach will not disappoint!

There are countless beautiful sites to experience in Iceland. Including Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach near the fishing village Vik in southern Iceland.  Visiting during the winter gives this popular tourist stop a whole different perspective. Even if you have already been to Iceland during the summer, you should still visit this popular beach in Iceland during the winter too!

Knowing we would be near the water we prepared ourselves for wind and cold and dressed as warm as we could manage (layers is the trick). Once we managed to escape our car we made our track to the beach.  We passed a little touristy café, which we stopped on the way back for much needed hot chocolate.  Then there are the signs to warn you of dangerous swimming conditions as you approach the beach area.

The very first thing I noticed was white little balls of ice/snow making the most beautiful shiny mixture with the black sand.  It really was something to see! Add the crashing high waves, the rock formations that look like steps up to the sky and you have one incredible place to experience. If you are on the hunt for what to do in Iceland for the whole family, visiting a black sand beach is perfect and great fun!

Book here: South Iceland Tour From Reykjavik

visit a black sand beach for what to do in iceland in winter

Taking In The View From Hallgrímskirkja Church In Reykjavik Is A Fun Year-Round Activity

One of the best views and deeply discounted activities in all of Reykjavik year round is taking in the view from the very top of Hallgrímskirkja Church. Having been twice during the winter months, going inside of the church is a nice escape from the often brisk weather. You will need to take an elevator to the top and then there are about 32 stairs you will need to walk up to get to the covered roof. Once up top, there are open slates for viewing and photographing.
You can see nearly a 360-degree view over Reykjavik, including the North Atlantic Ocean, beautiful Mountain Esjan and the iconic colored rooftops over the city. What’s even more special about this activity is if you can visit during the sunrise or sunset – as it rises late and sets early during the winter, but the sky has a tendency to light up in beautiful colors. During the winter it is not as busy as it is shoulder season but it can get crowded from time to time. Taking in the view from Hallgrímskirkja Church is truly one of the best things to do in Iceland in winter!
things to do in iceland in winter Hallgrímskirkja Church

Viewing The Northern Lights Is Another One Of The Best Things To Do In Iceland That Can Only Be Done During The Winter

Suggested by Tracie Travels

If your number one thing to do in Iceland is to see the Northern Lights, you are not alone! For many people, the number one reason for visiting Iceland in the winter is to see the Aurora Borealis, because it’s the one thing that you absolutely cannot do in Iceland during the summer. Winter means dark skies in Iceland, and given the right conditions, you may get to witness one of nature’s most impressive shows. 

During my own visit, when the Aurora was suddenly predicted to happen, I camped out next to the best foreground I could find in the area. My camera was the first to pick up any hint of a show, long after I thought I would only be photographing stars that night. I then began to see the shimmering pattern of vertical sheets of color for myself. Dazzling colors danced in the distance – green, purple, and rare orange-red hues. 

If seeing the Northern Lights tops your list of what to do in Iceland, you have two options. You can take a Northern Lights tour OR you can self-drive to a location yourself. Northern Lights tours are quite affordable and allow you to have the best chance of seeing the lights. Self-drive allows you to spend as much time as you want! Seeing the Northern Lights is one of the premier things to do in Iceland in winter so if it is a priority, make sure to check out all of your options!

Book here: Four Hour Northern Lights Bus Tour

You may also love: Northern Lights Boat Cruise (2 hours)

5 Things To Know About Driving In Iceland

Visit Gullfoss Waterfall, Which Looks Even More Beautiful In Winter

Suggested By The Travel Bunny

The mighty Gullfoss waterfall, which in Icelandic means golden falls, is one of the country’s icons and a must-see. Gullfoss is in the southwest of Iceland, just 1.5 hours from Reykjavik and can be seen as part of a Golden Circle tour. A visit offers the chance to witness the incredible raw power of nature as the Hvítá river thunders down into the rugged canyon.

The river is fed by the mighty Langjökull glacier and drops twice on its route. In winter the river freezes into spectacular bubbling ice formations over the first 11-meter drop before plummeting dramatically down another 21 meters over the second. You’ll hear the roar of Gullfoss before you see it as you make your way down the icy pathway from the car park.

A frozen mist chills the air and standing on the exposed viewing area looking down onto Gullfoss was the coldest I’ve ever been. Warm, windproof, waterproof clothing together with gloves, neck-warmer and hat are essential if you visit in winter. Gullfoss is magnificent and a visit to this mesmerizing force of nature should be high on your list of things to do in Iceland in winter!

Book Now: Full Day Golden Circle Tour From Reykjavik 

25 Iceland Photography Locations That Will Blow Your Mind

Experience The Harpa Center In Downtown Reykjavik If You Are An Architecture Or Music Buff

Suggested by She Goes Global

Visiting the Harpa Center in Reykjavik is one of the more unique things to do in Iceland during the winter.  The Harpa Center is an architectural wonder and you won’t be able to stop staring. This concert and events center is home to the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra and has hosted countless musicians, artists, and events since it opened in 2011.

It was difficult to stand outside in the cold but I could bear it for this view.  The sights that can be seen from the inside are pretty spectacular as well! You will enjoy being inside the warmth looking out at the ice-capped mountains and the sea.  When you’re exploring Reykjavik in the Winter, the Harpa Center is a MUST see.  Whether you’re catching a show or just enjoying the center itself, it’s well worth a visit.  You can’t spend all your time in the icy Winter outdoors can you? If you are looking for what to do in Iceland that involves the indoors, the Harpa Center is perfect for you!

Book here: Reykjavik Minibus City Tour (3 hours)

Finding Iceland’s Hidden Waterfall Is Totally Doable In Winter

Suggested by Where In The World Is Nina

Iceland has a lot to offer and there are so many things to do in Iceland in winter! If you are looking for something truly unique, I’d say Gljúfrabúi waterfall. Ironically, this place isn’t visited too much despite being a 5-minute walk away from the very popular Seljalandsfoss waterfall!
What makes Gljúfrabúi so great, even when visiting Iceland in winter, is its timidness. Tucked away in a narrow canyon, Gljúfrabúi roars and demands that you walk through an icy stream to even get to it. It’s only a hop skip and jump over some rocks but you even if you make it over the stream without getting wet, the waterfall, unless totally frozen, will get you wet! Once you’re inside, get an epic picture on the rock, you earned it.
If visiting this hidden waterfall is on your list of things to do in Iceland, make sure to wear waterproof shoes and a good jacket or else you will be freezing and wet! The photos are all worth it though!
things to do in iceland in winter Gljúfrabúi waterfall

Get Blown Away By Geysers In Iceland

Suggested by Jet Set And Forget

Want to add some excitement to your trip to Iceland? Then follow the Golden Circle to the highly active Geysir Hot Spring area. You will see exploding geysers which spout water 100 feet (30 meters) into the air every five to ten minutes. This is one of the coolest things to do in Iceland because you can stand under the water as it rains down after being cold by the chilly Icelandic air!

Over 1,000 years ago the geysers became active and the area comprises of over a dozen blowholes. It is noted to be some of the first geysers found in print and the first known to Europeans, so it’s a real hot spot for tourists. There is no fee to visit Geysir and you can find it located 100 km from Reykjavik. The area also offers exhibits and presentations at the Geysir Center all year long. There is free parking and across the street is a restaurant, a market, and some shops.

Still looking for something different to do in Iceland? One of the unique things you can do in Iceland (for a fee) is to assist a chef to boil eggs outside in one of the hot springs and dig up rye bread that has been baking underground for 24 hours, a truly unique Iceland experience!

You might also like: Golden Circle Afternoon Tour

visit geyser for a unique thing to do in iceland

Go Hiking On A Glacier For A Totally Unique Experience In Iceland

Suggested by Full Suitcase

You can not go to ICEland and not experience the ice, especially in winter. One of the best ways to do this is to go hiking on a glacier where you can see endless ice landscapes and amazing frozen nature creations up close. 

Glacier hiking is a great activity that pretty much anyone in a good physical condition can do. Just do not attempt to walk on a glacier without a local guide and proper equipment. Crampons and an ice axe are a must! As with a few other suggestions above, this is one of the things to do in Iceland in winter that must be done with a guide. 

There are several places where you can do glacier hiking in Iceland, but probably the best and the easiest to access are the glaciers along the South Coast. There are many guided tours available and they only last 2-3 hours, so it’s easy to combine a glacier hike with a visit to one of the many landmarks in the area. 

Book this tour: Glacier Wonders Tour In Skaftafell National Park

things to do in iceland in winter hike on a glacier

Stay At Iceland’s Bubble Hotel For A Once-In-A-Lifetime Experience

Suggested by One In A Lifetime Journey 

The bubble hotel in Iceland is one of the most romantic and amazing places you can stay at and if the Northern Lights play game, the experience is absolutely magical. The stay cannot be booked separately but instead, you need to book the 24h Golden Circle Tour with the company that manages the bubbles and then the night is spent at one. It is a one-night affair only as the tour departs the next morning back to Reykjavik. In winter you will be arriving in the dark but may depart when the sun rises if you go in March or later.
The bubbles are made of heavy duty plastic so they are see-through which is what makes them magical. While temperatures outside can hover around the -20 (as they did when I stayed there), inside there is a heating system that keeps the bubbles warm at around 18 degrees. There is also an electric blanket and an extra heater for those like me who live in the tropics. We were incredibly lucky to see the northern lights from our bed. It was around 9pm when they started to dance above our heads. For once, I decided to forgo the impulse to go out and take a photo and simply stayed in, cuddling up under the blanket with my partner and simply enjoying the show.
If you are looking for what to do in Iceland that will provide you with a totally unique and memorable experience, staying at the Bubble Hotel fits the bill!
stay at the bubble hotel for one of the coolest things to do in iceland

Drive Iceland’s Golden Circle To Hit Multiple Things To Do In Iceland In Winter In One Day!

Suggested by Phila Travel Girl

Iceland in winter is about chasing the light – sunlight, the Northern lights and daylight in general. But the lack of light won’t deter the visitors along The Golden Circle, one of the more popular things to do in Iceland near Reykjavik. The Golden Circle route (approximately 300 km) covers a good amount of landscapes, visits Viking history and provides so many “wow” moments along the way you forget about the light (or lack of it).

Most people will start at Thingvellir National Park visitor center [mentioned as one of the things to do in Iceland above] to learn about Viking history in Iceland.  From there you can walk to the viewing platform and down along the path to imagine the history. Nature is the next stop on the route to experience the Haukadalur Geysir as you aim your camera waiting.

The last stop (on most tours) will be at the Gullfoss Waterfall – a pizza slice of a waterfall that you’ve likely seen on Insta feed when friends visit Iceland. Our small tour group went a bit further by deflating tires and off-roading the landscape on our way to the Langjokull Glacier for a snowmobiling adventure. A day of beauty and adventure on the Golden Circle is a great way to experience multiple things to do in Iceland in winter all in one day! 

5 Things To Know Before Visiting Iceland In Winter

Soaking In Iceland’s Blue Lagoon Is Even More Magical During The Winter

Suggested By Battle Mum

If you are looking for the best things to do in Iceland in winter, there is one thing you must experience. And that is the Blue Lagoon. A geothermal spa, there is no way to describe going from freezing cold atmospheric temperatures into the gorgeously warm waters of the Blue Lagoon. You just have to experience it for yourself. Many people want to forgo the Blue Lagoon because they consider it “touristy” but it is popular for a great reason! 

With saunas and massage treatments in the water to be enjoyed as well, it is truly an unforgettable experience. If you can stretch to a few more dollars, why not go VIP. I’ve had the luxury of enjoying the VIP treatment at the Blue Lagoon. Lunch and champagne served while you are in bathrobes. Comfortable chairs to relax on if you’ve had enough of the water. You even get your own private entrance into the lagoon, saving you too much exposure to the cold, biting temperatures of winter.

And there is nothing more magical than watching the sunset at 3pm from the warm waters while snow falls around you. The Blue Lagoon is one of the best things to do in Iceland and visiting during the colder months makes the experience even better! 

Find out more: Blue Lagoon And Golden Circle Small Group Tour

things to do in iceland in winter blue lagoon

Visit The Sun Voyager Sculpture In Reykjavik

Suggested by Temples And Treehouses

In cold weather, it’s incredibly atmospheric walking Reykjavik’s cool city streets and coastal paths. On the waterfront, not far from the city center you’ll find a giant steel sculpture called the Sun Voyager, or the Solfar in Icelandic. The sculpture is apparently an “ode to the sun” and resembles an abstract viking ship. Personally, I think it looks like a whale.

With a backdrop of the Atlantic ocean and dramatic Mount Esja, it’s a great photography spot, especially at sunrise and sunset. Which, during winter in Iceland, take place at around 11am and 4pm, so you won’t have too much trouble getting the timing right! This is one of the great things to do in Iceland with kids as the kids love running around the sculpture!

Get your tickets here: Reykjavik Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour

visit the sun voyager sculpture for what to do in iceland in winter

Petting An Icelandic Horse Is A Totally Cute Thing To Do In Iceland

Suggested by Pure Wander

While temperatures may be dropping below freezing in Iceland‘s dreary winter, it doesn’t seem to stop the plucky ponies! Icelandic horses can be pony-sized and are all over the country. They’re known to be a friendly, hearty breed and can be seen from the side of many Ring Road spots. Visiting these cute horses are such a fun thing to do in Iceland, even during the winter!
Some people will ride in the summer – but in the winter, you can bribe them to come greet you along the fences with some fruit or grain! Be mindful of your fingers and don’t attempt to cross the fences into private property, that’d be a no-no. But the horses will most likely let you pet them for a while. They’re also known to be naturally curious and might approach even if you have no food. In the dead of winter they might be some of the only animals you’ll see, so go say hello when on your road trip through Iceland!
Top 15 Best Tours In Iceland For Your Money | Top Iceland Tours

Soak In The Landmannalaugar Hot Springs And Get Away From The Crowd

Suggested by Be My Travel Muse

The hot springs at Landmannalaugar are set against a backdrop of dramatically colored mountains and are accessible all year. If you want to put this on your list of things to do in Iceland in winter, make sure to come prepared! The drive in from Reykjavik is a big part of the adventure, down a 4×4 road through rural countryside and moon-like, monochrome-colored landscape.

The hot springs are right next to a quaint lodge and a few short hiking paths. Depending on snowfall, it’s possible to take a little walk around as well, getting a taste of the Rhyolite landscape. Tours run year round, or you can rent a 4×4 and self-drive. Landmannalaugar Hot Springs are lesser known and the perfect thing to do in Iceland if you are looking to get away from the crowds.

things to do in iceland in winter Landmannalaugar hot springs

Try An Icelandic Hot Dog For A World Famous Foodie Experience

Suggested by We Go With Kids

Getting hot dogs at Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur is one fun year-around activity in Reykjavik.  The popular hot dog stand means “the best hot dog in town” and has been open since 1937.  There are five locations in Reykjavik, but its most famous location is right near the harbor at Tryggvagata.   Guests eat hot dogs at outdoor picnic tables with build in hot dog holders.

Hot dogs are popular in Iceland, but none have as much worldwide notoriety as Bæjarins Beztu.  Bill Clinton brought Bæjarins Beztu international attention when he visited in 2004, and two years later The Guardian selected Bæjarins Beztu as Europe’s best hot dog stand.  The menu is limited, but the hot dogs at this walk-up stand definitely got a thumbs up from my crew.   Make sure to check hours and be prepared to stand in line if this is one of the things to do in Iceland in winter you want to visit.

Want more food? Try:  Reykjavik Food Tasting Tour (4 hours)

try hot dogs for a foodie experience in iceland

Snorkeling The Silfra Fissure Is Totally Doable In Winter

Suggested by What The Girl Says

If you’re looking for a great adventure on your winter trip to Iceland, and you dare to brave the cold…(the FREEZING cold that is)…then a dip in the Silfra Fissure is something you should add to your list of things to do in Iceland in winter.  Here, you can snorkel between the two tectonic plates of North America and Eurasia.

If you think the temperatures in Iceland during the winter are cold, just wait till you jump in the -1º C water on top of that.  Once you get dressed in some heavy duty dry suits, you’ll be walked down to the water, where you’ll get to snorkel through the fissure for about 30 minutes.  You’ll be floating with your group to the end, while enjoying the clearest and freshest water around.

Don’t forget to swim to each side and touch the tectonic plates.  If you’re wanting to touch them simultaneously, you’ll have to scuba dive down there.  Snorkeling the Silfra Fissure is definitely a unique experience to add to your winter getaway in Iceland. Prepare to freeze, but also to be in an awesome place that not many people have the chance to see.

Book here: Silfra Fissure Snorkeling Tour

Top 15 Best Tours In Iceland For Your Money | Top Iceland Tours

Explore Iceland’s Glacier Lagoon For A Totally Memorable Thing To Do In Iceland

Suggested by Kids And Compass

Jokulsarlon might just be the most beautiful sight in all of Iceland, and that’s saying something!  Found on Iceland’s south coast, this lake is formed by meltwater from the nearby Vatnajokull glacier creeping slowly down the mountainside.  Huge chunks of ice break off the glacier and float on the lake before being swept out to sea.  These icebergs are thousands of years old and the newer chunks are blue, but chemical reactions with the sunlight quickly turn them white.  Although the zodiac and amphibian boat tours won’t be running in the winter, you can get just as good a view of Jokulsarlon from the lake shore.

Across the road, the lake empties slowly out into the sea and many of the icebergs wash up on to the black sand beach which is a stunning sight, especially in winter when they are more plentiful.  The glistening chunks of ice give this beach the name “Diamond Beach.”  This is one of the best things to do in Iceland and even cooler in winter when snow covers the beach as well!

An added bonus to all of this natural beauty is that both attractions are free and can be visited at any time.  Visiting the Glacier Lagoon is such a fun thing to do in Iceland because the icebergs are never in the same arrangement so the view is different every time!

Reserve Now: South Iceland Tour With Glacier Lagoon Visit And Boat Tour

5 Things To Know Before Visiting Iceland In Winter

 

Take In The Perfect Blue Water Of

Brúarfoss Waterfall

If you are on the hunt for things to do in Iceland that are less popular but still epic, this is one of them! Brúarfoss Waterfall is a much lesser thing to do in Iceland that doesn’t even have a proper road going to it! It is located off of the Golden Circle drive and you can find it by typing “Brúarfoss Waterfall” into your GPS! Do NOT type Brúarfoss alone or else your GPS will send you to northern Iceland. Make sure to add the “waterfall” part into your GPS for accurate directions.

Brúarfoss Waterfall is a great place to visit because of the stunning blue water!  The water is just as blue in real life as it appears in photos, which makes a striking contrast to the Icelandic landscape!

best iceland photography locations

Enjoy The View From The Dyrhólaey Lighthouse Overlook

Dyrhólaey is one of the best things to do in Iceland in winter because you will see stunning views of black sand beach as far as the eye can see!  Dyrhólaey is located near the town of Vik and you need to keep an eye out for the sign to visit it. It is right off the Ring Road so very accessible to drive to.

You can drive straight to a lower viewpoint, or you can take a sharp right and drive up a very steep and narrow road to the Dyrhólaey Lighthouse Overlook. If you want to add this to your list of things to do in Iceland in winter, make sure to proceed with caution as the road is very steep and there are no guardrails. You will not need a 4×4 car but proceed with care.

Once you arrive on top of Dyrhólaey, face west and walk along the edge of the cliff to see stunning views of Iceland’s black sand beach! This is a truly incredible thing to do in Iceland that shouldn’t be missed!

25 Iceland Photography Locations That Will Blow Your Mind

Experience The Power Of Dettifoss Waterfall Even When Visiting In Winter

This is another one for the movie buffs who are looking for things to do in Iceland in winter! Dettifoss Waterfall was used as a filming location for Prometheus and is one of the more powerful waterfalls in Iceland! It is located in the high north of Iceland so if you are hoping to add it to your list of what to do in Iceland in winter, be sure to check road conditions!

When visiting  Dettifoss Waterfall, make sure to proceed with extreme caution! This is not a waterfall that you want to mess with and the surrounding rock can be slippery. The views are totally worth it and this lesser known waterfall in Iceland is memorable!

25 Iceland Photography Locations That Will Blow Your Mind

There are so many things to do in Iceland in winter, it is hard to narrow them all down into just one post! From the more popular things like visiting Skogafoss Waterfall to lesser-known hikes in Iceland, there is so much to see and do any time of the year! What is your favorite thing to do in Iceland in winter? Share it with us in the comments! 

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5 thoughts on “30 Bucket List Things To Do In Iceland In Winter

  1. Alexandra

    I was in Reykjavik for a 12-hour layover but only went to the blue lagoon…realizing now theres so much more to do in Iceland. Guess I’ll have to go back! Amazing article 🙂

  2. Lindsey

    Love this! I love just having all of the Iceland things in one place! Makes my life easier haha. One day I will get here and see the Northern Lights!

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