Skip to main content

Embrace the magic of Iceland's frosty embrace in this deep dive into its winter wonders. From the ethereal dance of the Northern Lights to the soothing warmth of geothermal pools amid snowy landscapes, uncover why winter might just be the best season to experience the Land of Fire and Ice.
Written by:
Viktória Komjáti
Content creator
18 Oct 2023
Guides, Inspiration

Why Iceland is a Perfect Winter Destination

As global warming intensifies, snowfall becomes an increasingly rare spectacle in many temperate countries, transforming winter from a once-familiar season to a novel experience for many. This evolving dynamic has sparked a curiosity in countless souls to witness and embrace winter in its most authentic form.

We have great news: Iceland is an ideal destination for any winter adventure! Despite its proximity to the Arctic Circle, Iceland's winters are surprisingly mild. While temperatures seldom plummet below -10°C (14°F), they typically hover around a manageable -5°C (23°F). This mildness is a gift from the Gulf Stream, a powerful warm ocean current originating in the Gulf of Mexico, which plays a pivotal role in moderating Iceland's climate.

From Glowing Skies to Hot Springs: Iceland’s Winter Charm

But Iceland's allure goes beyond just mild winters. Its unparalleled landscapes, from vast glaciers to volcanic terrains, are a visual feast - not to mention the mystical Northern Lights.

For those who might flinch at the thought of bracing cold, the abundance of hot springs and geothermal spas offers frequent respite, ensuring they can indulge in nature's warm embrace whenever they wish.

What truly sets Iceland apart, though, is the ease of access to its breathtaking natural wonders. Many of these iconic sites are just day trips away from the capital, Reykjavik. Visitors don't need to embark on arduous winter expeditions or delve deep into the wilderness. A myriad of convenient and safe options await, making Iceland not just a winter wonderland but a wonderland that’s wonderfully accessible.

Three individuals gazing in awe at the vibrant green Northern Lights illuminating the night sky.

The Ethereal Northern Lights

One of the most coveted experiences for any traveller is beholding the Northern Lights. During winter, Iceland boasts the longest nights, providing ample opportunity to witness this celestial ballet. Imagine a canvas painted with vibrant hues of greens, purples, and pinks dancing against a star-studded sky. In Iceland in winter, this isn’t the stuff of dreams; it’s a nightly reality.

A woman serenely floating in warm waters, framed by towering cliffs, bathed in the golden hues of sunset.

A Dip into Nature's Jacuzzi

If you've never experienced the sheer joy of soaking in a geothermal pool while the world around you is enveloped in snow, you're in for a treat. Picture this: steam rising against a backdrop of snow-clad landscapes while you're wrapped in warmth. There’s truly something magical about floating in a hot spring, watching the snowflakes melt before they even touch the water's surface. It's rejuvenation, Icelandic style!

Skógafoss waterfall in winter landscape

The Icy Splendour of Landscapes

Iceland's iconic landscapes take on a fairy-tale quality during winter. Many of the country's most famous spots remain accessible, and there’s nothing quite like standing before a 60 m (nearly 200 feet) tall frozen waterfall. The cascade, frozen in time, glistens in the soft winter sun, looking like something straight out of a fantasy novel.

A person riding a snowmobile across a vast glacier, silhouetted against the radiant glow of a setting sun.

Glide and Ride on Glaciers

Adventurous souls, rejoice! Iceland's glaciers beckon with thrilling activities. Whether it's a hike across the crystalline expanse or the adrenaline rush of snowmobiling, the glaciers promise unparalleled winter fun. And let’s not forget the mystical blue glacial ice caves. Venturing inside feels like entering another realm, with the shimmering blue walls enveloping you in their chilly embrace.

Snorkeller gracefully floating in crystal-clear blue water, flanked by towering rock walls on either side

Snorkelling in the Chill? Embrace Iceland's Wintry Waters!

You might be raising an eyebrow at the thought, but yes, winter snorkelling in Iceland is a genuine and thrilling activity. The country beckons adventure seekers to plunge into the crystalline waters of the Silfra fissure. Here, the visibility is unparalleled, extending beyond 100 metres, creating a mesmerising underwater panorama.

Though the waters maintain a consistent temperature of 4°C (39.2°F) throughout the year, fear not the cold! Snorkellers are equipped with drysuits, ensuring a warm and comfortable exploration.

Embark on this adventure, and you're guaranteed a show-stopping story that will leave listeners awe-struck, whether it's a casual chat, a date, or any social gathering.

A Nordic Atmosphere Like No Other

Being a stone's throw from the Arctic Circle, the ambience of Iceland in winter is unparalleled. The quiet serenity, the crisp air, and the sense of being at the cusp of the world – it’s a feeling that words can barely encapsulate.

In conclusion, if you’re seeking a winter escape that marries adventure with tranquillity and natural splendour with unique experiences, then Iceland in winter is calling your name. Answer the call and embark on a journey you’ll cherish for a lifetime. Safe travels!

All You Need to Know About Iceland in Winter

Recommended tours

Woman relaxing in Blue Lagoon, steam and lava in background
  • Best seller
  • Popular
8 hours

Blue Lagoon & Northern Lights

Enjoy a perfect winter day in Iceland! Experience the best of Iceland with this package of two of the island’s most popular tours in one day! Soak in the milky blue healing water of the Blue Lagoon, which is one of Iceland's most famous tourist attractions and is considered by many to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience and an unmissable part of a visit to Iceland. After your return to Reykjavík, a guide will lead you on a search for the elusive northern lights! Watching the lights dance and flicker in the sky, changing shape and colour, is incredible. Prepare to be dazzled!

From €191/person
Northern lights dancing ovar a mountain landscape in Iceland
9 hours

The Golden Circle & Northern Lights - Combo Deal

Want to see the sites of the Golden Circle and hunt for the northern lights but have a limited amount of time? Consider this express Golden Circle/Northern Lights tour! Experience the landmarks of the classic Golden Circle in South Iceland on this unforgettable day tour. The Golden Circle encompasses the must-see sights of Thingvellir National Park, the golden Gullfoss waterfall, and the bubbling geothermal region of Geysir. After your return to Reykjavík, a guide will lead you on a search for the elusive northern lights!

From €123/person
Three people watching northern lights dancing in the sky in Iceland
3 hours

Northern Lights - Small Group Tour

Catch the stunning Northern Lights in the sky, and if they're shy, rebook for free until they show. Included admission to the Aurora Centre's Northern Lights Exhibition on the tour date. The small group size ensures an intimate experience and personalized attention from your expert guide.

From €94/person
Reykjavik Excursions bus and dancing northern lights on the background.
3.5 hours

Northern Lights Tour

See the majestic Northern Lights dancing across the sky. If the skies are shy, try again free of charge as many times as you need until you see them! Learn about the phenomenon by visiting the Aurora Centre - Northern Lights Exhibition in Reykjavík; admission is included in this tour!

From €58/person
Tourist at Gullfoss Waterfall in the golden circle, Iceland.
10 hours

Golden Circle & Blue Lagoon

Experience the best of Iceland with this package of two of the island’s most popular tours in one day! The Golden Circle encompasses the must-see sights of Þingvellir National Park, the golden Gullfoss waterfall, and the bubbling geothermal region of Geysir. After touring the landmarks, soak in the milky blue healing water of the Blue Lagoon.

From €203/person
Two explorers inside a lava cave in Iceland
10 hours

Lava Cave & Geothermal Adventure

Discover the magic of Borgafjörður, celebrated by Lonely Planet as a top region to visit. From Europe's mightiest hot spring, Deildartunguhver, to the captivating cascade of Hraunfossar and the mystique of Vidgelmir lava cave, embark on an adventure through Iceland's geothermal wonders and rich history.

From €175/person

Sign up for our newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter for exclusive tips, personalized travel advice, and early-bird offers on unique experiences!

  • Exclusive Insights
  • Tailored Travel Tips
  • Early Access to Offers