Author: Camila Contreras-Langlois
Katla Ice Cave – Ultimate Guide
Located on the south coast of Iceland, next to an active volcano, Katla ice cave is a huge and ancient natural-carved wonder. You won’t want to miss the chance to check it out on your trip to Iceland.
Book an Iceland ice cave package to explore it and see the country’s glaciers, mountains, and volcanoes up close.
Or, if you’re touring around the south of Iceland, set aside a day for exploring the ice cave by the Katla volcano. You won’t regret taking the time to wander inside this frozen spectacle!
Below you’ll find local tips and answers to frequently asked questions to plan your visit.
Where is the Katla ice cave located?
You can best access Katla from the Icelandic town of Vík, which is a 2.5-hour’s drive from the capital Reykjavík, or 187 km (116 mi). You can hire a car as part of a winter self-drive tour, or guided trips are available.
Many ice caving tours have their meeting point in Vík, ready to take you onward to the glacier and the volcano. From Vík, you can explore other sights of South Iceland, such as the famous ‘Diamond Beach’, a black sand beach dotted with icebergs.
- Related: Your guide to exploring Diamond Beach.
Katla is actually the name of the volcano under the Kötlujökull glacier, where the Katla ice cave is located. Kötlujökull is an offshoot of the larger Mýrdalsjökull glacier, which is Iceland’s 4th largest glacier.
The ice cave is underground and requires a hike and descent into it, but with a good glacier guide, you’ll have no problem exploring.
Is the Katla ice cave natural?
The Katla ice cave is a completely natural structure, despite its otherworldly appearance.
Approaching the Kötlujökull glacier, you’ll notice the ice is black due to layers of volcanic ash. Once you enter the Katla ice cave, you can see the black ash encased in ice from hundreds of years of eruptions.
As you move through the ice cave, you can see the older blue ice layers, along with trapped air bubbles. The volcanic ash helps to date the glacier as well as create the amazing black ice striped with layers of sediment.
The formations in the caves have long been called ‘dragon glass’. The black ash ice looks very much like the black stone obsidian, so you can see the resemblance and how the ice formations got their nickname.
Some steps have been carved into the glacier ice to help tour groups access it more easily and safely. Apart from that, the ice cave is completely natural.
- Related: A guide to ice and lava caves in Iceland and about local glaciers.
Is the Katla volcano active?
Katla, the volcano which is covered by the Mýrdalsjökull glacier, is indeed an active volcano. However, there’s no need to worry about this on an ice cave tour.
It last erupted in 1918, and since the year 920 AD, only 20 eruptions have been recorded. It’s very safe for day tours to attend with an experienced glacier guide on hand.
- Learn more about Iceland’s natural landscape.
How long do I need for the Katla ice cave tour?
A typical ice cave tour here takes around 3 hours. You need to take into consideration time for the following:
- Driving from the meeting point in Vík to the drop-off point (typically around 45 minutes)
- Equipping yourself with the right gear (hiking boots and glacier crampons, additional layers of warm clothing, torches)
- A short hike across the glacier and up to the entrance of the ice cave
- Time to explore the ice cave!
Inside, you can explore the oldest part of the ice cave, which is the clear blue ice, as well as the dragon glass caves and tunnels. Some glacier tours offer the chance to sample the Icelandic national spirit brennivín with ice from the cave itself.
Surrounding the Katla ice cave are other smaller ice caves in the glacier. You might be able to explore these if it’s the right season and the guides can advise if they are safe.
If you want to visit the Katla ice cave from Reykjavík, you’ll need to allow additional travel time of around 2.5 to 3 hours.
- Browse Iceland multi-day tours to explore the countryside from a base in Reykjavík.
- Related: How many days do you need to visit Iceland in winter?
Can I go to Katla ice cave alone?
It is not recommended that you go to the Katla ice cave alone. There are many changing factors including:
- Stability of the ice
- Daylight available
- Volcanic activity
Only experienced glacier guides will be able to know the safety of the cave on a day-to-day basis.
You also need to be properly equipped with caving equipment and a suitable vehicle to reach the cave. Proper hiking shoes, waterproof and warm clothing, crampons, and more are all needed to explore safely and comfortably.
There are many guided tours of the glacier and ice cave available, so you’ll be sure to find one that suits the level of adventure you’re after.
Can you drive to Katla ice cave?
Driving to Katla ice cave is only safe in a special all-terrain 4×4 vehicle. These super jeeps are equipped with rugged tires and tough suspension and can be driven over sand, ice, and rock.
Super jeeps are not typically available for private rental and are used by licensed tour guides.
When booking a day tour to Katla with a glacier guide, you will usually be collected from a meeting point in a super jeep. The drive to Katla takes around 45 minutes and crosses sandy volcanic ash plains, as well as wet and icy conditions.
Normal rental cars are not designed to handle this kind of terrain. We highly recommend always choosing an ice caving tour to explore Katla safely with the expertise of local guides.
If you are vacationing in Iceland as part of a self-drive tour or private guided tour, you could stop in Vík. This is the most common meeting point for ice cave tours. You can leave your rental car at the hotel and hop into a super jeep for the day.
- You could also pick a northern lights trip in Iceland.
- Related: How to pack for a winter vacation to Iceland.
When is the best time to visit Katla?
You can visit Katla anytime throughout the year. That said, because it is an ice cave, you’re best off visiting in the winter. This way your guides will be able to show you the magic of Iceland at this time of year!
You’ll also be able to explore more of the cave if you visit between October and March. You could also have the chance to see other natural ice caves that only form in the colder season. Guides will be able to advise on which caves are best to visit.
- Check out winter vacations in Iceland.
- Related: When is the best time to visit Iceland?
Is the Katla ice cave worth it?
Exploring the glacier tunnels of Katla ice cave is an incredible experience. You’ll be able to see the ice sparkling and glittering and spot ancient ask trapped in. From the black dragon glass to the ancient blue ice, the glacier is full of wonders.
You’re sure to have a memorable experience standing in the heart of the Kötlujökull glacier, on top of an active volcano. A glacier hike through the cave gives you the chance to get up close and personal with the forces of nature that shape and define Iceland.
Even the drive over in the super jeep gives you amazing views of the volcanic landscape that surrounds the glacier!
If you want an adventure and are keen to try something a little challenging and different, the Katla ice cave is definitely worth it. Book your trip with Iceland Tours today with as little as a 5% deposit.
Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon in Iceland – Ultimate Guide
Your vacation to Iceland isn’t complete without a visit to the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, one of the absolute must-see highlights of the country.
There’s nothing that quite compares to seeing this ancient natural feature. Huge icebergs float in the unique teal green water of the lagoon and flow down to the black sand beaches on the coast.
Whether you stroll along the shore or explore it from the water, there’s so much you can see here. With the lagoon changing with the seasons too, you can visit lots of times and never see the same thing twice!
If you’re exploring Iceland at your own pace, make sure to include a trip to the Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon.
- Why not explore on an Iceland self-drive tour to see the sights at your leisure?
We’ve rounded up some of the best facts, tips and advice to help make your visit to Jökulsárlón one you’ll never forget.
What makes Jökulsárlón so special?
As one of the natural wonders of Iceland, seeing Jökulsárlón will really take your breath away. It’s well worth a visit and you won’t regret taking the time to see it. Here’s why…
Icebergs floating on a clear lake is not a sight you spot every day. Jökulsárlón is also famous for this unforgettable landscape of mountains and glaciers, as it sits at the foot of Breiðamerkurjökull glacier. That’s where the ice chunks break off from and sail away to sea.
You may even be able to see an icefall when you are there, which really brings home the power of nature.
Jökulsárlón is also the deepest lake in Iceland, being approximately 280-meters (930-feet) deep in places. The mix of freshwater from the glacier and saltwater from the Atlantic Ocean is what makes the waters their teal color.
The lagoon is a popular destination and has featured in several movies too. It’s easy to see why filmmakers were inspired when you stand on the shore of this icy wonder.
Where is Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon?
You’ll find the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon in the southeast of Iceland. The lagoon is a 5-hour drive east from the capital of Reykjavík, close to the East Fjords of Iceland.
The lagoon borders the Vatnajökull National Park, which includes the Skaftafell Nature Reserve and Vatnajökull, Europe’s largest glacier. Sitting at the foot of Hvannadalshnúkur, Iceland’s highest mountain, the lagoon offers a spectacular backdrop.
The famous black sand Diamond Beach is also found very close to the lagoon. This means you can see several of Iceland’s top sights when visiting the southeast of Iceland. The icebergs breaking on the shore are quite a sight to see.
- Read more about Iceland’s nature and landscape.
How far is Jökulsárlón from Reykjavík?
The glacier lagoon is approximately 380 km (236 mi) from Reykjavík, roughly 5 hours of driving time.
As most trips to Iceland begin in Reykjavík, visiting Jökulsárlón in the southeast does require a drive. You can either hire a car and drive yourself, or there are many guided minibus and private tours that will also take you.
- Pick an Iceland winter self-drive tour for a snowy backdrop.
How do I get from Reykjavík to Jökulsárlón?
Whether you’re driving or getting whisked away on a guided tour, you’ll be following the Ring Road (“Route 1”). It is the main road around the country and is well-maintained all year long.
You can break up the 5-hour drive with a stop in the popular town of Vík, which is an ideal halfway stopping point. Or you could opt to follow the Golden Circle route, before taking the Ring Road along the south coast. Self-drive tours give you the freedom to explore Iceland.
For those who drive, be prepared if you’re planning to visit Iceland in winter. Hire a 4×4 car suitable for coping with snowy and icy roads, or opt for a licensed minibus tour operator.
- Look up Ring Road tours to drive around Iceland.
- Related: Driving Iceland’s Ring Road.
What can I see and do around Jökulsárlón?
There’s so much you can do when visiting the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. Here are some ideas:
1. Take a boat trip
Why not hop on a boat trip out on the lagoon itself? You’ll be cruising through the aquamarine waters and around the ice floes. Some boat tours are amphibious, allowing you to explore some of the shoreline as well.
2. Kayak in summer
During the summer months, it’s possible to kayak on the lagoon. You can get up close to the 1,000-year-old glacier chunks and go exploring off the usual path of the boats.
Pre-book a kayaking tour for the best experience. You’ll take advantage of a knowledgeable guide and have access to appropriate gear like a dry suit, as the water is still quite cold.
- Discover a range of day tours from Reykjavík.
3. Spot the local wildlife
The lagoon is popular for its range of wildlife. Look out for seals basking on the ice, Arctic terns wheeling in the summer, and perhaps even ravens or the rare gyrfalcon. If you’re keen to see wildlife, travel to Iceland in summer to enjoy some local flora and fauna.
4. Visit Diamond Beach
Across the road from the lagoon, you’ll find Diamond Beach. The icebergs follow through the narrow waterways and end up here. Visit Diamond Beach and you’ll be wandering along one of Iceland’s most famous black sand beaches.
The huge white chunks of ice glitter against the contrasting sand – it’s easy to see how the beach gets its name! You can visit the beach all year round, although be aware of rogue waves that can occur by the waterline.
- Related: Your guide to Iceland’s Diamond Beach.
5. Walk inside glacier ice caves
As the lagoon is very close to the Vatnajökull glacier, you can easily make a trip to see the ice caves. The best time to walk inside the ice caves is October to March, when the colder weather makes them more stable for exploring.
The blue ice cave is one of the most well-known and tends to form in the same place each year. The ice shines a bright sky-blue and is carved with natural patterns from the water. The cave forms in the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier, which is one of the ‘tongues’ of the Vatnajökull glacier.
The best way to experience this is with one of the ice cave tours that run in the area. Local tour operators will be able to advise the safest way to enjoy the ice caves and provide the all-terrain transport to get you there.
- Related: Ice caves and lava caves in Iceland.
6. Hunt the Northern Lights
If you’re visiting during the colder months, you can seek out the Northern Lights at Jökulsárlón with a guided tour.
Seeing the iridescent lights dancing on the ice and waters of the glacier lagoon is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Remember they are natural, so it’s all down to luck and timing to see them.
There are very low levels of light pollution in this part of Iceland. It’s a great opportunity to try your luck at spotting the aurora in some of Iceland’s most spectacular scenery.
A word of advice
It’s important to bear in mind that you should not go swimming in the lagoon or climbing on the ice floes.
While the waters might look calm and inviting, even in the summer months, the water is still very cold. You can quickly get into difficulty when swimming.
The ice floes are also not as stable as they look. If you try to climb on them, they can tip over or break, which can pull you under and into danger. For your safety, you should stick to the shore, boat tours or kayaks for exploring.
- Check out Iceland adventure tours.
How long should I spend at Jökulsárlón?
Exploring the glacier lagoon and surrounding areas could be packed into a couple of hours if you’re well organized. However, we recommend staying for at least a full day so you can make the most of the beautiful scenery and surrounding areas.
As the drive from Reykjavík takes several hours, don’t rush to jump back in the car. You could spend time at Jökulsárlón easily as follows:
- Enjoy a boat tour of Jökulsárlón. Book a boat tour to explore the glacier lagoon. You can see the turquoise water and impressive ice floes, and maybe even a relaxing seal. If you’re on a kayaking tour, you can get really up close.
- Explore Vatnajökull. Go hiking up to Vatnajökull glacier. Explore the blue ice cave, or maybe try a spot of snowmobiling on the glacier itself.
- Visit Diamond Beach. Here you can stand on the famous black sands and walk around the icebergs. Watch out for sea birds and see the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean.
Where can I stay near Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon?
It’s not possible to stay directly at the Jökulsárlón lagoon itself, but luckily you can find plenty of accommodation just a short drive away. Some of the most popular places to stay near the glacier lagoon include:
1. Hoffell and Höfn
Hoffell has its own glacier nearby, the Hoffellsjökull outlet glacier, part of the larger Vatnajökull glacier. This village also features its own geothermal heated outdoor hot tubs for a little extra luxury.
Höfn is further from the glacier but flaunts its own charm and things to see. As a fishing village, Höfn has lots of traditional Icelandic culture and history. It offers great views of the Vatnajökull glacier as well as plenty of places to stay too.
- Related: Your guide to Iceland’s glaciers.
For both locations, the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon is approximately a 1-hour drive away.
This picturesque little farming hamlet may be small, but it offers lots to visitors. Kirkjubæjarklaustur is home to 3 beautiful waterfalls – Rauðárfoss, Stjórnarfoss, and Systrafoss. You can easily visit all of them in one day and still have time to look around the village.
Kirkjubæjarklaustur is close to Vík, which is another excellent place to add to your itinerary. Jökulsárlón is approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes away.
Is Jökulsárlón worth it?
Still debating whether or not to make visiting Jökulsárlón part of your trip to Iceland? You should know that the glacier lagoon is popular for a reason. The beautiful water, ethereal ice floes, bright blue ice caves, and black sands all make Jökulsárlón a must-see in Iceland.
It’s regularly rated by visitors as one of the most spectacular sights to see in Iceland and is well worth the drive from Reykjavík.
- Explore self-drive tours of Iceland.
Make time in your itinerary to visit the unique glacier lagoon and you truly won’t regret it. Whether you visit in winter or summer, witnessing Jökulsárlón is an unforgettable experience.
You can secure your trip to the glacier today for just a 5% deposit when you book with Iceland Tours.
Best Time to See the Northern Lights in Iceland
Seeing the Northern Lights is something you likely have on your bucket list. It’s a truly breathtaking experience that you never get tired of seeing. But when is the best time to see the Northern Lights in Iceland?
Visit Iceland on a Northern Lights tour for a chance to see the beautiful display and experience the Land of Fire and Ice yourself. There are plenty of unique winter activities you can do to make your trip to Iceland even more memorable.
When can you see the Northern Lights in Iceland?
The best time to visit Iceland for Northern Lights is in the winter. The period from October until March is generally regarded as the ideal time to seek out the aurora.
This is because Iceland has very long dark nights in the winter months – a contrast to the midnight sun of the summer. Daylight is limited at this time of year, and the extensive periods of darkness are optimal to spot the Northern Lights.
It’s sometimes thought that your chances to see the Northern Lights are better when it’s colder. This is only partly true. When it’s colder, skies tend to be clear, so it’s easier to see any dancing colors in the sky. The temperature itself has little impact on whether the lights appear.
The Northern Lights do actually occur all year round, but they are hard to detect against a light summer sky. Visiting Iceland in the winter makes seeing them much easier.
Where is a good place to see the Northern Lights in Iceland?
People want to see the aurora in Iceland for many reasons. You might have a lifelong dream of watching them, or maybe you’re keen to photograph the phenomenon. Perhaps a trip to Iceland is just a great idea!
Luckily, Iceland is a beautiful country to visit, and there are many excellent spots to see the Northern Lights.
- Book a winter tour of Iceland.
- Related: A guide to how many days you need to visit Iceland in winter.
If you’re on a city break in Reykjavík, Seltjarnarnes is a great place to start your Northern Lights hunt. This small town is located within the capital but juts out into the North Atlantic Ocean.
Set away from the light pollution of the city, you can find a dedicated viewing point for seeing the Northern Lights. Seltjarnarnes is only a 10-minute drive from the center of Reykjavík, so if you see that there’s a good aurora forecast, you can hop over and try your luck.
If you’re heading to the south coast of Iceland, the beaches of Vík are an excellent viewing opportunity. You can travel out from Vík to Reynisfjara, which boasts impressive basalt cliffs and the Reynisdrangar rocks as a backdrop.
With wide open views of the sea and sky, you can pick a spot anywhere to see the lights.
Staying further along the south coast as part of a private guided trip or self-drive tour of Iceland? Skaftafell nature reserve is an ideal location to visit. Situated close to Europe’s largest glacier, Vatnajökull, there are plenty of good spots in the heart of the reserve.
You can easily spend an evening watching out for the aurora, cozied up together.
4. Snæfellsnes peninsula
The Snæfellsnes peninsula offers stunning backdrops if you’re keen to photograph the aurora. Here you will find the world-famous Kirkjufell mountain, plus many of Iceland’s best waterfalls. This area is quite sparsely populated, so light pollution shouldn’t interfere with your view of the light show.
- Related: Your guide to the Snæfellsnes peninsula.
Almost any place in Iceland is a good choice to see the Northern Lights. You could even make a road trip out of seeing them against the famous landmarks of Iceland.
What conditions do I need to see the Northern Lights?
Seeing the Northern Lights does involve a bit of luck, but there are also weather and solar activity conditions that help increase your chances. If you want to try and maximize your likelihood of seeing them, here are some top tips:
1. Check the aurora forecast
Keep an eye on the Icelandic meteorological office regularly. Weather can be changeable in Iceland, especially in the winter and in coastal areas. You should choose an evening that is calm with no chance of storms for the best chance to see the Northern Lights.
You can also download an aurora forecast app. Many of these apps track solar activity (which causes the aurora) in the atmosphere. This can help you know when the lights are appearing and at what time.
2. Look out for darkness
You need clear, dark skies to see the lights at their best. A night with no cloud and plenty of hours of darkness will give you the best viewing opportunities.
3. Get away from light pollution
Iceland tends to have very low levels of light pollution, thanks to its sparse population. That said, traveling away from major cities and towns will improve your viewing experience.
4. Visit in winter
Wondering when are the Northern Lights in Iceland? Visit between October and March. These months offer longer nights in Iceland, ideal for going on a Northern Lights hunt.
- Related: Must sees and dos for Iceland in winter.
5. Be patient
Even when the aurora forecast is good and weather conditions are perfect, you might need to wait a little bit. The lights are a natural phenomenon after all and can’t always be predicted.
Follow the advice around the Northern Lights season to give yourself a head start on witnessing this natural wonder.
- Enjoy getting into the great outdoors on one of these Iceland adventure tours.
What else can I do in winter in Iceland?
Traveling to Iceland and getting around the country is more than possible in winter. Make sure to rent a 4-wheel drive vehicle if you’re planning to do a self-drive tour. Always go with a guided tour if you’re unsure of managing the winter road conditions.
Be prepared with appropriate cold and wet weather clothing!
Northern Lights tours are a must-do for a winter trip to Iceland. But there is plenty more you can experience in the colder months to make your visit unforgettable. Whether you’re after adventure or want to unwind, Iceland has options for everyone.
1. Visit ice caves
A great recommendation for a winter activity is to explore the ice cave formations around Langjökull glacier. Located north of Þingvellir National Park, you can wander into man-made tunnels that go deep into the glacier, forming ice caves.
Explore the bright blue otherworld of the glacier and step back to the Ice Age with an ice cave tour.
- Discover ice cave tours of Iceland and book today.
2. Take on glacier walking
If you’re on the south coast, you can hike the Vatnajökull glacier in winter. As Europe’s largest glacier, Vatnajökull has many smaller glaciers coming off it, creating trails and routes.
The Skaftafell nature reserve nearby holds the outlet glacier, ideal for hiking. Choose a pre-booked excursion to get the best experience. Even if you’re a confident hiker, you should still go with a guide and make sure you have all the appropriate safety equipment.
3. Drive a snowmobile on a glacier
To see the winter landscape of Iceland without the hard work of climbing, hop on a snowmobile tour to see the sights. Travel around the Golden Circle and Gullfoss waterfall, or whizz across the Vatnajökull or Mýrdalsjökull glacier.
4. Look out for the winter wildlife
For nature enthusiasts, the Icelandic wildlife in winter offers a great chance to see some of the Arctic Circle residents. For bird watchers, look out for ptarmigans in their white winter plumage – you might see them hopping across volcanic landscapes in the national parks.
On the south coast, you can spy eider ducks in the sea and on the shoreline. If you’re in a more rural spot, you might even catch a glimpse of the rare Arctic fox.
5. Go whale watching
When you go whale watching in winter, you might see minke whales, beluga whales, and harbor porpoises off the coast of Iceland. If you’re around the Snæfellsnes peninsula, there might even be the opportunity to see orca pods.
6. Spend Christmas in Iceland
Visiting Iceland in December? Time your trip with Christmastime. Icelanders have many unique Christmas traditions including the merry Yule Lads and the witch Grýla with her ghostly Yule Cat.
Join in the winter celebrations with some jólabjór (Icelandic Christmas beer) and smoked lamb. You could also visit the Hallgrímskirkja in Reykjavík to attend a Christmas service.
- Visit Iceland with a Christmas vacation package.
7. Celebrate New Year the Icelandic way
New Year in Iceland is also a wonderful event to be part of. Bonfires are built up to celebrate the turning of the year, and Icelanders are not ones to shy away from a party! Expect to see some fireworks at midnight, or maybe even the Northern Lights if you’re really lucky.
- Check out New Year’s package in Iceland
- Visit Iceland in January or come later in February.
8. Bathe in geothermal hot springs
You can always unwind in one of Iceland’s many geothermal pools. The hot springs are a real delight in the cold weather. Sit back and relax in the volcanic-warmed water while the air temperature drops.
The Blue Lagoon is open all year round, or there are many local hot springs you can visit if you’re staying further from the capital.
What makes Iceland a great place to see the Northern Lights?
You simply can’t beat the Land of Fire and Ice as one of the best places to see the Northern Lights. With its long dark nights and low light pollution, spotting the aurora is much easier than in more populated countries.
Not only that, but the range of stunning scenery means that you’re guaranteed an extra level of wow factor if you want to photograph the Northern Lights.
It’s worth remembering that the Northern Lights are a natural phenomenon and cannot be guaranteed. That said, when you visit Iceland, you experience more than just the aurora. You’ll also get to see volcanic landscapes, learn about Viking history, and admire snowy mountains while you hunt for the lights.
Winter is by far the best season to see Northern Lights in Iceland. There are all kinds of exciting winter activities on offer, so it’s a great time to visit Iceland in general!
Book your Northern Lights adventure to Iceland now to make this dream a reality. For just a 5% deposit you can secure the vacation of a lifetime with Iceland Tours. Explore the Northern Lights packages and tours to get started.
Iceland in April: Things to See & Do
Come spend April in Iceland for an unforgettable vacation! Picture yourself walking along glacier lagoons, visiting remote corners of Iceland, and joining in local celebrations.
April marks a transition from winter to summer, meaning you’ll get to enjoy some of the benefits of both. It’s an excellent time to travel off peak and see the country changing from snowy blankets to blooming flowers.
Below you’ll find the best things to see in Iceland in April, the best activities to try, and spots to visit. We’ve also added a handy weather and packing guide to help you prepare for this trip.
- Browse Iceland winter vacation packages.
- Or look up summer trips to Iceland.
Should you visit Iceland in April?
The one-word answer is: yes! The longer answer is this whole blog where we share with you just what makes April in Iceland so special.
As a quick summary, Iceland is a country that is worth seeing in all its splendor, winter and summer alike. Visit at this time of year and you might get the best of both worlds – all dependent on the weather of course!
But April is a very changeable month, so you might experience it all in one day anyway.
It might still snow at higher altitudes, but flowers start to bring color to the lava fields and mossy landscape. With a good balance of daylight and darkness, it’s a great month to maximize your trip. Go on thrilling adventures during the day and spend your nights chasing the Northern Lights.
As the conditions start to get better after the winter, it’s also a great time to visit Iceland on a road trip. With fewer visitors before the summer vacations, you’ll have more attractions to yourself and there’ll be less traffic on the roads.
And these are just some of the reasons why visiting Iceland in April is a good idea. Keep reading for more.
- Travel to Iceland in March for more of a winter vacation.
- Or visit in May to experience summer in Iceland.
Top things to do in Iceland in April
What can you get up to if you visit in April? Iceland is a jaw-dropping country overflowing with natural gems to explore and offering so many unique activities for you to try.
Here are some of our favorite things:
- Catch sight of icicles or rainbows at waterfalls
- Warm up in a geothermal spa
- See bubbling hot springs and geysers
- Try a new-to-you activity like exploring ice caves or glacier walking
- Admire vast glaciers and bobbing icebergs
- Drive around the Ring Road to see highlights and hidden gems
- See or even go inside a volcano
And much more is available, depending on what interests you most. You could go for fun seaside walks, visit museums in Reykjavík, bathe in natural hot springs, or go snowmobiling in the pristine, glacier snow.
- Check out what kind of Iceland activities and day excursions, like whale watching tours, you could add to your itinerary.
Events in Iceland in April
There are a few cultural experiences you might want to join in during your vacation in Iceland.
Iceland’s cultural life in April revolves around the First Day of Summer (‘sumardagurinn fyrsti’). It takes place on the first Thursday following 18 April. This national day is celebrated around the country and is based on a Viking tradition.
Back in the day, this was the start of the longer days of summer when the calendar looked a bit different. It’s similar to today’s spring equinox. Locals will be off work and you might see parades, people waving flags, and musicians playing in the streets.
- See what other events take place around Iceland throughout the year with our festival guide.
Just to highlight it’s not quite summer yet, the AK Extreme snowboarding festival is also held every April. This one is hosted in North Iceland.
If you enjoy music, then consider including the Westfjords in your April itinerary of Iceland. The music festival I Never Went South is held over Easter weekend in the fjords’ main settlement, Ísafjörður.
Those traveling with kids may want to pop by the Children’s Culture Festival in Reykjavík. It’s a fun way to entertain the little ones. There are usually exhibitions and activities for a range of ages.
Best places to visit in Iceland in April
Where you go during your April visit depends on how much time you have.
In town for a few days? Stay in Reykjavík and take day tours to top locations such as the Golden Circle route. If you have 1 or 2 weeks to spend on our stunning island, then drive the Ring Road on an epic road trip. Or have a private driver-guide take you on an unforgettable tour. The choice is yours!
These are the places we recommend you add to your itinerary in April:
Location: North-west peninsula of Iceland
The Westfjords are a must-see for anyone hoping to travel off the beaten path in Iceland. The roads into this region are difficult to manage or completely closed in winter, so April is when the Westfjords are finally accessible for the summer months.
Why visit? Travel here for outstanding, untouched landscapes, miles and miles of dramatic sea cliffs, red sand beaches, and wildlife encounters.
Don’t miss: A visit to the tallest waterfall in the region, Dynjandi, the main town Ísafjörður, and to the Arctic Fox Center to learn about Arctic foxes. You could also drive part (or all!) of the Westfjords Way, a touring route that’ll take you to some of the best spots on the peninsula.
- Blog: Read this ultimate guide to the Westfjords to find out what else to see.
2. East Iceland
Location: East Iceland
East Iceland is often overlooked – being located on the other side of the country from Reykjavík – but it’s worth the detour around the Ring Road.
Why visit? Travel east and you’ll encounter a variety of backdrops, each more stunning than the last. Admire the largest forest in Iceland, the serene landscape of the eastern fjords, and the vast Vatnajökull National Park.
Don’t miss: Going on a boat tour on the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, eating the local langoustine in Höfn, and spotting the wild roaming reindeer.
3. Borgarfjörður area
Location: West Iceland
This is a great day adventure to add to your itinerary if you’re traveling north from Reykjavík to visit the Snæfellsnes peninsula. It stretches from the Borgarfjörður fjord to Húsafell, the most inland farm settlement in the region.
Why visit? To experience the highlands of Iceland without traveling too far into that region. In fact, the roads into the highlands don’t usually open until late June. So in April it’ll give you a taste of the rugged landscape, with hot springs, craters, and rolling mountains.
Don’t miss: Having a wander around the village of Reykholt, being in awe of the power of the Deildartunguhver hot spring, and seeing the Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls.
4. Reykjavík and surroundings
Location: South-west Iceland
When you fly to Iceland, you’ll probably stay at least one night in Reykjavík. You could then set off on an adventure around the country. Or base yourself here to explore the capital of Iceland in more depth.
Why visit? For a taste of Iceland if you don’t have time to discover more of the country. Staying in Reykjavík doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the stunning countryside either. From here, day tours can take you to the south coast, to the Snæfellsnes peninsula, around the Golden Circle, and more.
Don’t miss: Checking out a local town or village festival, trying the local food at top restaurants, or going for a dip in geothermal spas such as the Sky Lagoon or Blue Lagoon.
What’s the weather like in Iceland in April?
In April, Iceland celebrates the first day of summer, but that doesn’t mean summer weather is here yet. Visit at this time of year and you can expect a month of transition where flowers start to bloom but snow may still fall. That said the days are brighter and longer than in winter.
Average temperatures are around 5°C (41°F) throughout the country but will vary slightly. You may well find it chillier on windy days, or warmer if you’re out walking on a sunny day. It’s best to also come prepared for some rainy days as average rainfall is around 20 mm in April.
- Read more about Iceland’s weather and climate in our travel guide.
Does it snow in Iceland in April?
Yes, it may well snow when you’re visiting Iceland on your April vacation. It’s unlikely to stick in the city, but you might find the countryside covered in frost on some days.
Whatever the weather is during your stay, mountain peaks in the distance are still likely to be snow-capped. It’ll give an even more magical vibe to your pics!
What are the driving conditions like in Iceland in April?
The driving conditions will depend on what kind of weather you encounter during your vacation. April is an especially changeable month, so it’s best to come prepared with winter driving in mind.
Make yourself aware of road regulations and safety precautions before your arrival in Iceland. For example, you should always have your headlights turned on, day and night, summer and winter alike. It’s also better to drive slowly, giving yourself time to react and to avoid black ice.
- Learn more on our Driving in Iceland guide.
We also highly recommend being flexible when visiting Iceland, especially between October and April. At this time of year, you might need to change your plans at a moment’s notice. Always check road and weather conditions before departing each day to know what to expect.
One of the advantages of booking with Iceland Tours is that we make sure you travel with peace of mind. You’ll benefit from in-car Wi-Fi, a detailed itinerary, and access to our 24/7 helpline if you need our support.
And the main advantage of taking on a self-drive tour of Iceland in April is definitely that there’s lighter traffic on the road. You’ll have more of the highlights along the way to yourself as you travel around the Ring Road.
What are the daylight hours like in Iceland in April?
In the spring, the daylight hours increase significantly as we head toward the summer solstice (which marks the longest day of the year). You’ll notice there’s even a big change between the beginning and end of the month. Generally, you can expect an average of 15 hours of daylight.
In early April, the sun rises in Reykjavík around 6:45 a.m. and sets around 8:20 p.m. By the end of the month, the sunrise happens just before 5 a.m. and sunset at almost 10 p.m.
Can I see the Northern Lights in April in Iceland?
Although the Northern Lights season is winding down in April, there are still chances to spot them. This is especially true in the first half of the month.
In order to witness this heavenly show, you need a dark, cloudless sky and the right solar conditions. You’re not really in control of the sun’s particles or the weather, so come when Iceland has longer nights to put all the chances on your side.
Visit Iceland between October and March for the longest nights of the year. The earlier or later in the season you come, the more balance you’ll have in terms of daylight hours.
As the Northern Lights are reliant on nature, we can’t promise you’ll see them during your time in Iceland. But it’s definitely worth putting them on your bucket list!
What to pack for a trip to Iceland in April?
When packing for a visit to Iceland, it’s always good to remember its ever-changing weather conditions. As April falls at the end of winter, pack layers to keep warm and dry and you’ll be good to go!
Here are some must-have items for your suitcase:
- Insulated and waterproof winter coat
- Wooly or fleece sweaters
- Sturdy, waterproof boots
- Gloves, scarf, and warm hat
- Thermal underwear and thick socks
- Face and lip moisturizers
- Swimwear and towel to visit pools and spas
Read our Iceland winter packing guide for more useful tips and details.
Planning your trip to Iceland
Let Iceland in April charm you – why not start planning your next getaway now? Pick which spots you want to visit most and the way you want to travel, and you can start finding the ideal itinerary for you.
Browse the selection of packages Iceland Tours offers to get started. You can pick from self-drive itineraries, private travel, multi-day excursions from Reykjavík, or guided group tours. These all have their own benefits, depending on your preferences.
Then, booking online is an easy process and you can even take advantage of our 5% deposit policy. Don’t just dream of Iceland, start your vacation plans now!
Your Complete Guide to Diamond Beach
Visiting Iceland’s stunning south coast isn’t complete without a short stop to admire Breiðamerkursandur, aka Diamond Beach. Iceland is renowned for its black sand beaches, but this one has some extra perks. In fact, we bet this is a sight unlike any you’ve seen before.
Interested in learning more about this beach? Or keen to see it IRL? Read on to find out where the black Diamond Beach in Iceland got its name and how to visit it.
- Browse all Iceland vacation packages to find your ideal itinerary.
Why is it called Diamond Beach?
The real name of Diamond Beach is Breiðamerkursandur, which translates to “Broad Plain Sand”. But its jewel-like nickname comes from the chunks of ice that decorate the beach all year long.
Icebergs from the nearby Breiðamerkurjökull glacier break away and bob through the famous Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon before setting out to sea. Some blocks of ice get stranded on the beach, creating the illusion of large diamonds.
The phenomenon is striking because of the ice’s bright color and the beach’s dark sand.
- Blog: Learn more about another of Iceland’s highlights, Reynisfjara black sand beach.
What’s the best way to visit Diamond Beach?
A self-drive itinerary is the best way to see this unique black sand beach. Rent a car and drive along Route 1, stopping to take in the sights you want to see at your own pace.
You could explore the highlights of South Iceland only, going as far as Diamond Beach. But, as it’s located quite far east along the south coast, you could also drive around the entire Ring Road while you’re at it. Tour the country for the road trip of a lifetime.
- Check out Iceland Ring Road packages.
- Blog: Find out how long it takes to drive all the way around Iceland.
FAQs about Diamond Beach
To help you prepare for your visit, we’ve answered top questions about Diamond Beach:
1. Where is it located?
Diamond Beach is located in southeast Iceland, right by the iconic Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. Once you reach the lagoon, you’ll cross a single-track bridge. Take the first right for the Diamond Beach parking lot.
2. How far away from Reykjavík is it?
The beach is located around 390 kilometers (242 miles) from the capital of Iceland, Reykjavík. That’s around 5–6 hours of non-stop driving. With the extra daylight of summer, it’s feasible to make it in one day. That said, we recommend breaking up the journey.
Make this a multi-day adventure for a more leisurely pace and to fit in more attraction breaks. A popular place to sleep along the way is the Vík area.
- See Diamond Beach on a 5-day Iceland itinerary.
3. Is there parking at Diamond Beach?
Yes, there is a parking lot right by the Ring Road. It’s only a short walk to the beach from there.
4. Why is the ice blue?
You might find that the visually mesmerizing chunks of ice scattered around Diamond Beach are a bit blue. In fact, the ice comes in a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes. Some will be dark or light blue and some even black.
There are different reasons for the variation in color. Blue is often a sign of an older block of ice. Lack of air pockets in the ice may influence the blue shade too.
If you see bits of ice with black in it, they might simply be reflecting the color of the sand. Or they may have volcanic dust inside of them.
These differences are what make Breiðamerkursandur such a cool sight. You’ll walk along the beach and admire the wide variety of icebergs on display.
5. Why is the sand black?
Diamond Beach isn’t the only black beach in Iceland. The country is renowned for its dark sands. You’ll find that it’s the red and golden sand beaches that are unusual here.
There is a simple reason that black sand beaches are so common in Iceland. It’s all thanks to the volcanic landscape of the island.
The black sand is mostly made up of basalt, which is lava that cooled rapidly after contact with the sea. The shattered basalt gets smaller and smaller over time becoming sand.
- Learn all about the country’s varied landscapes in our Iceland nature guide.
- Blog: Read this guide to Iceland’s volcanoes.
6. Can I swim at Diamond Beach?
Sadly, no. You shouldn’t try to swim when you visit Diamond Beach and many other beaches in Iceland. In fact, it’s best if you stay clear of the waterline as much as possible. The tides and currents by the south coast can change quickly and be very strong.
Another reason is that you might find it very cold. For example, in summer water temperatures average around 10°C (50°F). Definitely chilly!
If you’d like to take a dip while in Iceland, why not visit the Fontana spa in Laugarvatn? Or another great option is the Nauthólsvík geothermal beach in Reykjavík. You can even safely swim outside of the heated area.
- Discover more swimming spots in our guide to Iceland’s spas & hot springs.
7. When is the best time to visit Diamond Beach?
As with most of the natural attractions of Iceland, you can see it at any time of the year. That said, if you’d like to drive there, the summer months are preferable. At this time the weather and driving conditions are more stable and predictable. You’ll also have more daylight to take advantage of.
- Blog: Learn more about the best time to visit Iceland.
8. Can I see the Northern Lights at Diamond Beach?
Diamond Beach is a great spot to go chasing after the Northern Lights in winter. This is thanks to its location far from light pollution. The countryside is always better to catch sight of these dancing lights.
Find out more of the best places to spot the Northern Lights in Iceland.
You might find the darkness a bit of a challenge during winter nights. You don’t want to trip on the blocks of ice or wander too close to the water, so make sure you bring a flashlight. That way you can enjoy Diamond Beach nice and safely.
- Browse Northern Lights packages in Iceland or winter self-drive tours.
- Blog: All about Aurora Borealis.
Here is your friendly remember that Northern Lights are a natural phenomenon. They can only be seen on dark nights and there are no guaranteed sightings. If you’d like to hunt for the Aurora Borealis, travel to Iceland between October and March.
If you travel to Diamond Beach in the summer months, you can enjoy the midnight sun instead.
9. What should I pack and wear for Diamond Beach?
When visiting Iceland, you want to come prepared for all weather conditions.
To be safe and comfortable on your trip to Diamond Beach, you’ll want:
- Sturdy walking shoes or boots, as the ground can be uneven
- A waterproof jacket (and maybe trousers too) in case of rainy weather
- Warm layers, including gloves, hat, and scarf
This way you’ll still be able to enjoy a walk on the beach, whatever the Icelandic weather has in store for you. And don’t forget your camera and tripod to capture the scenery and maybe even the Northern Lights in winter.
- Blog: View our winter packing list.
Safety at Diamond Beach
Diamond Beach isn’t a particularly unsafe place to visit, but as on any other Icelandic beach, you should be sensible. Follow these safety tips:
- Avoid the waterline not to get surprised by a wave
- Watch your footing, so you don’t trip, as some icebergs can be concealed in the sand
- Do not climb on an iceberg, they can be slippery or have sharp edges
- And most importantly, never climb on floating ice, as this could be dangerous. This is true on the beach and at the glacier lagoon.
Other attractions to visit nearby
If you’re on a self-guided tour you could spend some time at nearby attractions at your leisure. The south coast of Iceland is studded with striking highlights, so you can take your pick.
- Drive the entire south coast on one of these self-drive packages.
You won’t want to miss the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. Here you’ll witness the icebergs coming straight off the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier. Watch them float across the lagoon and slowly make their way to the Atlantic Ocean.
To get a different perspective, book a boat tour onto the lagoon. You might even spot some seals lounging about on the ice.
You can’t be in the area and not spend some time in the Vatnajökull National Park. This is the largest national park in Iceland and is made up of one of the largest ice caps in all of Europe.
When you visit this area, you could go ice caving under the glacier. Or try snowmobiling or glacier walking atop Vatnajökull.
- Look up what kind of day activities you could get up to in Iceland.
- Related: Best glaciers to visit in Iceland.
Planning your vacation to Iceland
Are you inspired and want to plan your trip to the Land of Fire and Ice? Get started by picking which season you’d like to visit and what kind of travel you want to experience.
Drive around the country with a self-drive itinerary. Visit in summer on a camping adventure. Or how about having your very own driver-guide with a private package or guided group tour?
Iceland Tours can organize it all for you, so it’s easy planning and easy booking. Secure your package with only a 5% deposit and have extra peace of mind with our Book with Confidence promise.
And if you visit Iceland, adding Diamond Beach to your itinerary will make for a unique photo op and memorable stopover. Come see it for yourself!
Iceland in February: Things to See & Do
Come enjoy a winter vacation in Iceland in February. At this time of year, you could hunt for the Northern Lights and see Reykjavík illuminated by the Winter Lights Festival. Or take on thrilling excursions like snorkeling, ice caving, and glacier walking.
February is a great time to enjoy the highlights of Iceland in all its serene winter beauty. Nature is out there for you to see and visit all year long after all. In February it might just be in its winter coat making it a memorable stay.
Get inspiration and find out top local tips to visit with this guide to Iceland in February.
- Browse Iceland winter vacation packages to start planning your February trip.
- Blog: Your guide to visiting Iceland in winter.
Is it worth visiting Iceland in February?
Definitely! February is a great month to visit Iceland. The winter months have huge benefits, so don’t be put off by the chilly weather and snowy conditions. If anything, the snow-capped mountains will make for an amazing backdrop to all your Insta photos.
In February, you’ll be able to visit most of the top highlights that Iceland is known for. That includes volcanoes, hot springs, mountains, ice caves, glaciers, and more.
- Wanna walk inside an ice cave? Choose one of these Iceland adventure packages.
You’ll get the best of both worlds, with enough daylight hours to sightsee and darkness to hunt for the Northern Lights. This phenomenon is the top reason to visit Iceland in winter. If the lights are on your bucket list, you can’t go wrong by visiting in February.
Travel at this time of year and you could also enjoy the healing warmth of geothermal pools and hot springs. Imagine spending your days enjoying adventures outdoors then rewarding yourself with a warming bathing experience at local swimming pools, hot tubs, or spas.
There’s something truly magical about soaking in naturally heated waters while snow falls on your face. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll be lucky enough to look up and see the Northern Lights give you a show to remember too.
Need more reasons to visit Iceland in February? Keep reading to see the kind of activities you could get up to and the best places to add to your itinerary.
- Would you rather visit earlier in January? The Iceland Tours blog has all the info you’ll need.
Top things to do in Iceland in February
During your February vacation in Iceland, you’ll enjoy a true taste of winter. Picture striking snow-covered volcanoes, steam rising from relaxing hot pools, and dancing lights in the night sky.
Visit Iceland in February and you could:
- Discover what makes Reykjavík a thriving cultural hub
- See magnificent waterfalls with large icicles and frost
- Experience surreal blue colors on ice cave tours
- Drive a snowmobile or hike atop a mighty glacier
- Spot Icelandic horses amidst the snowy Skagafjörður valley
- Enjoy an evening soak in a hot tub as the snow falls around you
- Chase the beauty of the Northern Lights
- Marvel at ice caps and volcanoes covered in snow
- Take a winter dip to snorkel between the Earth’s tectonic plates
- Walk along black sand beaches and admire impressive sea stacks
- Snap photos of erupting geysers and bubbling hot springs
- Rent a car to drive part of the Ring Road or explore the Golden Circle
Events in Iceland in February
You might think that February is synonymous with Valentine’s Day. And if you’re the romantic type, charming Iceland makes a great Valentine’s Day destination.
Come enjoy a unique honeymoon or couples’ getaway with your SO in Iceland. Imagine cuddling under Northern Lights at night, spotting romantic waterfalls in the rosy light of day, or treating yourself to a spa experience together. That’ll make for a Valentine’s to remember!
As for local traditions and events, February is a vibrant month to visit Iceland, especially the capital Reykjavík.
Early in the month, check out the free Winter Lights Festival. This event was created to stimulate the cultural life of the city. It celebrates both the darkness of the winter months and the upcoming bright summer season.
Every night during the festival, light installations illuminate the city from 7 p.m. until 10 p.m. This is a fantastic and enchanting way to explore Reykjavík. You’ll only get that chance in February!
As part of the line-up, don’t miss Pool Night and Museum Night. On both these occasions, you’ll get to visit the swimming facilities and many of the capital’s museums for free and with illuminations.
- Check out all Iceland vacation packages to find your next getaway.
Best places to visit in Iceland in February
1. Þingvellir National Park and nearby attractions
Location: Southwest Iceland.
Why visit? Þingvellir (Thingvellir) National Park is a jewel of history and natural beauty in Iceland and so you can’t miss it. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site because it was here that the chiefs of the Viking era met to establish the first Icelandic parliament. That dates back to the 10th century, which is why it’s so impressive and important!
Don’t miss: As Þingvellir is part of the Golden Circle, you won’t want to miss the other 2 main features of the route. That includes the Gullfoss waterfall and the hot geysers of the Haukadalur valley.
2. Geothermal spas
Location: All over the country.
Why visit? Traveling to Iceland is not complete without at least one visit to a spa or heated pool. Thankfully they are dotted all over the country and easily accessible. After a day of exploration, put on your bathing suit and unwind in naturally heated waters.
For a budget-friendly alternative to a spa experience, most cities and towns have public pools and hot tubs available for free or for a small fee. You’ll feel just like a local when you visit them.
Don’t miss: The Blue Lagoon spa near Keflavík Airport, the Mývatn Nature Baths in North Iceland, and the Secret Lagoon along the Golden Circle.
3. West Iceland
Location: West Iceland.
Why visit? This region is located within easy reach of Reykjavík, making it an ideal destination in February. With fewer daylight hours than in summer, closer excursions and day trips are ideal in winter.
Here you’ll be able to admire a variety of landscapes and geological formations. You’ll find imposing waterfalls, sweeping lava fields, steep mountains, glaciers, volcanoes, beautiful coastal scenery, and more.
The stand-out of West Iceland is the Snæfellsnes peninsula. Here you could explore the Snæfellsjökull National Park, spot a mountain famous from Game of Thrones, and admire the second-largest fjord in Iceland, Breiðafjörður Bay.
Don’t miss: The Deildartunguhver hot spring. It’s the biggest of its kind in Iceland by water production per second. It’ll be an impressive sight for sure!
4. Waterfalls of Iceland
Location: All regions of Iceland.
Why visit? Wherever you are in Iceland, you’re probably not far from a scenic waterfall. In February, you could visit the frosty Hraunfossar waterfall near Reykholt, where water flows out from beneath a lava field. Or be awestruck by the top waterfalls of the south coast, Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss. The Gullfoss and Faxi waterfalls are also must-sees along the Golden Circle.
Don’t miss: Everyone has a different favorite waterfall in Iceland, but in winter, Goðafoss, the ‘Waterfall of the Gods’, is particularly impressive. It is located in North Iceland.
- Look up day tours you could add to your itinerary in Iceland.
- Blog: Your guide to the best waterfalls in Iceland.
Location: Southwest Iceland.
Why visit? Thanks to its cultural highlights and entertaining festival, you can’t miss a stay in Reykjavík in February. Walk underneath sparkling light shows, discover foodie hot spots, enjoy a night out with your friends, or visit one of the many interactive museums of the capital.
Don’t miss: The illuminations every night of the Winter Lights Festival.
- Check out multi-day tours from Reykjavík.
Frequently asked questions about visiting Iceland in February
Read on to find the answers to some of your top questions about visiting Iceland in February:
1. What is the weather like in Iceland in February?
February is still very much winter in Iceland, so you should expect cold conditions and precipitation, whether that’s snow or rain. It might also be very windy. On average there are lows of -1°C (30°F) and highs of 4°C (39°F).
2. What is the average temperature in Iceland in February?
In Reykjavík and in the south of Iceland, average temperatures in February are around 1°C (34°F). In the north of the country, you might experience averages closer to -2°C (28°F).
3. Is there snow in Iceland in February?
February is a month when you’re likely to experience precipitation. If the weather is cold enough, this means snow. At least the backdrop of your vacation photos will be spruced up by the snow-capped mountains and falling snowflakes.
4. How are the driving conditions in Iceland in February?
In winter, driving conditions in Iceland can be trickier than you might expect. Even if you’re used to winter driving, Iceland is likely to be different from what you know back home. That said, road trips are doable at this time of year.
Come prepared knowing safety precautions and local road regulations. To enjoy an Iceland self-drive tour, we recommend a shorter trip where you’ll focus on one region, like South Iceland. We also recommend you rent a sturdy vehicle, preferably with a 4×4 drive.
During your trip, you’ll want to check road and weather conditions every day. This way you’ll know what to expect and if you need to change your plans. Icelandic winter can bring high winds, slippery roads, and poor visibility so make sure to be flexible and prepared.
Want to skip the driving? Then pick a multi-day tour from Reykjavík or guided group tour instead. Stay in the capital and enjoy all its fun activities, nightlife, and foodie stops. And you won’t miss out on the beauty of the countryside, as you’ll have day trips and excursions to look forward to.
- Check out self-drive tours of Iceland.
- Blog: Your guide to renting a car in Iceland.
5. How many hours of daylight does Iceland get in February?
In February, the days are getting longer and longer, offering a good balance of daylight hours (as opposed to late December and January when the days are very short).
Between the start and end of the month, there’s a big difference as daylight hours increase. In early February, the sun rises around 10:10 a.m. and sets by 5:15 p.m. By the end of February, sunrise happens by 8:30 a.m. and sunset around 6:45 p.m.
6. Can I see the Northern Lights in Iceland in February?
Yes, it’s possible to witness the Northern Lights in Iceland in February. At this time of year, the days are still short and the nights are long. This gives you more chances to see the colors against the dark skies of winter.
The Northern Lights, also called Aurora Borealis, are a natural phenomenon meaning there’s no promise you’ll get to see them.
In order to spot the lights, you need good solar activity, a clear dark sky without clouds, and low light pollution. If all these things align during your trip, you might well be lucky enough to see them. They are incredible to witness and come with bragging rights!
Maximize your chances of seeing the aurora by visiting one of the best places in Iceland to see the Northern Lights.
7. What to pack to visit Iceland in February
Now that you know what weather to expect, here’s what you need to pack for a visit to Iceland in February:
- Fleece or wool sweaters
- Insulated and waterproof jacket
- Waterproof (or snow) trousers
- Warm gloves, scarf, and hat
- Heated pads for your fingers and toes
- Thermal underwear (long johns) and socks
- Waterproof, lined boots
- Face and lip moisturizer
- Swimwear and towel to visit pools and spas
To summarize, you’ll want to bring plenty of layers to keep warm. The underlayers paired with your waterproof and windproof outerwear will give you the insulation you’ll need to enjoy the great outdoors.
When in doubt, pack all the layers you think you might need. As the conditions can change quickly in Iceland, having those extra sweaters with you means you can adjust easily and always be comfortable.
You can read more about preparing for a winter trip with our blog, tips for Iceland in winter – weather and packing guide.
Planning your trip to Iceland in February
Your February Iceland adventure is waiting just round the corner. Start planning your trip now by picking your favorite places to see and itinerary to match.
Browse the selection of winter packages that Iceland Tours offer, including Northern Lights tours. If you’re comfortable with winter driving, you could take on a self-drive itinerary. Or stay in Reykjavík and travel by bus on multi-day tours.
Once you’ve picked the package that suits you best, book it online. It’s easily done with only a 5% deposit! And with our Book with Confidence promise, you can rest assured you can rebook or get a refund for your tour in case Covid-19 gets in the way.
See you in Iceland this February!
Iceland in December: Things to See & Do
Imagine snowy streets lit up by Christmas lights, you have a mulled wine in hand and you’re strolling through Iceland’s majestic capital. That’s what your next December vacation could look like.
With the guide below you’ll be able to plan an activity-filled December break. You’ll find out the best things to do at this time of year, including the best places to visit and top activities to try.
- Browse Iceland winter vacation packages to start planning your December trip.
- Blog: Your guide to visiting Iceland in winter.
Is it worth visiting Iceland in December?
Long story short: yes! Iceland is a country that’s worth visiting all year long and has huge bonuses in summer and in winter. It all depends on what you’re after.
Within the context of winter, December is an incredible month to visit. That’s thanks to the festive atmosphere enveloping the capital, Reykjavík, at this time of year. Picture Christmas markets, fairy lights, ice skating, and plenty of opportunities to party.
Just in case you’re not convinced yet, here are the top reasons to visit Iceland in December:
- Have a Christmas to remember in Reykjavík
- Spot the dancing Northern Lights
- Enjoy top scenic attractions with fewer visitors
- Ring in the new year in style with bonfires and fireworks
- See Iceland’s natural gems in their winter coat, with snow and ice
This is the enchanting and romantic winter vibe that awaits you in Iceland. Below you’ll find top tips to visit Iceland in December, including a packing and weather guide and must-see places.
- Would you rather visit early in October or November? Iceland Tours’ blog has all the info you’ll need!
Best things to do in Iceland in December
December is a top winter month to enjoy a vacation in Iceland. At this time of year, you could combine the celebrations and festivities of the vibrant capital city, Reykjavík, with some sightseeing.
Spend your days on thrilling excursions and your evenings lounging in hot tubs and geothermal pools. Or relax during the shorter days of December and spend the long nights looking out for the Northern Lights.
Above all, you’ll want to visit in December to soak up all the cozy and romantic atmosphere of Christmas. Go for a glass of mulled wine with your friends, or enjoy a walk under fairy lights with your SO.
In December, visit Iceland and you could:
- Embrace the festive mood at Christmas markets
- Take a whale watching tour
- Go on a glacier walk or ice cave tour
- Soak in hot tubs or relax at top Icelandic spas
- Visit the Golden Circle and its scenic highlights
- Snorkel between continents at Silfra
- Hunt for the Northern Lights
- Head inside a lava tunnel
- Snowmobile in the fresh snow atop a glacier
- Celebrate Christmas and learn about the 13 Yule Lads
- Spend New Year’s Eve in Reykjavík at a bonfire
Events in Iceland in December
The main activities that fill the December (advent!) calendar are the Christmas celebrations and New Year’s Eve festivities.
Visit Reykjavík in December and you’ll be able to take in the Icelandic traditions and culture around Christmastime. During these holidays, the capital city is transformed into a magical winter wonderland.
- Have a cozy holiday on one of these Iceland Christmas packages.
- Discover how Icelanders celebrate with this guide to Iceland Christmas traditions.
If you’re staying for the whole festive period, you won’t want to miss the New Year celebrations, with champagne, sparklers, bonfires, dancing, and fireworks. Although technically we’re fast-forwarding to January now…
- Join the celebrations with one of these Iceland New Year’s packages.
Best places to visit in Iceland in December
Location: Southwest Iceland, an hour from Keflavík International Airport.
Why visit? In winter, we recommend staying in Reykjavík so you can soak up the lively ambiance and buzzing nightlife in the capital. Enjoy Christmas shopping at the markets and evening strolls under the festive fairy lights.
To experience a bit more than the capital, add tours to the Golden Circle, majestic frozen waterfalls, and perhaps to relax at the famous Blue Lagoon spa.
Don’t miss: The lighting of the Christmas tree on the first day of advent at Austurvöllur square, ice skating at Skautahöllin, and Christmas buffets and concerts all over the city.
- Check out multi-day tours from Reykjavík.
2. Snæfellsnes peninsula
Location: Northeast of Reykjavík.
Why visit? Snæfellsnes is where you want to go if you’re after a taste of Iceland but don’t have the time to drive around the whole country. Here you’ll get beaches, rock formations, volcanoes, glaciers, lava fields, and waterfalls. Another bonus is its proximity to Iceland’s capital, only around a 2-hour drive north, making it easily accessible even in winter.
Don’t miss: Venture around the Snæfellsjökull National Park.
3. Golden Circle
Location: Southwest Iceland, near Reykjavík.
Why visit? The Golden Circle is a must-do circuit. Here you’ll get to see 3 of the most famous sights in Iceland: the exploding geysers of Haukadalur, the multi-tiered Gullfoss waterfall, and the UNESCO-listed Þingvellir (Thingvellir) National Park.
This is an ideal day trip to introduce you to the sights of the Land of Fire and Ice.
Don’t miss: Lunch at Friðheimar, a greenhouse where they grow vegetables with geothermal power.
- Drive the Golden Circle on a winter self-drive tour of Iceland.
- Blog: Your complete guide to the Golden Circle route.
Location: South coast of Iceland.
Why visit? Vík í Mýrdal (or simply Vík) is the southernmost village in Iceland and the location of one of Iceland’s top black sand beaches, Reynisfjara. To get here, you’ll pass by the waterfalls of Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss. In winter, they are even more magnificent as they are often frozen or covered in icicles.
Don’t miss: From the beach in Vík, you could spot the Reynisdrangar sea stacks. Nearby you could also go ice caving inside a glacier.
- See ice caves and lava caves on an Iceland adventure tour.
- Blog: Your guide to the Reynisfjara black sand beach.
5. Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon
Location: Southeast Iceland.
Why visit? Pic or it didn’t happen, right? Well, the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon is one of the most photographed places in Iceland and you’ll soon see why. Here you’ll be standing right below the largest ice cap in Iceland, Vatnajökull, and see icebergs break off from the glacier and bob across the lagoon.
Don’t miss: Literally just across Route 1, you can go for a stroll along Breiðamerkursandur (AKA Diamond Beach) to admire shining chunks of ice against the black sand.
- See Jökulsárlón on a guided group tour of Iceland.
- Blog: How many days do you need in Iceland in winter?
Bonus: The Ring Road
Location: Route 1 circles the entire island.
Why drive it? For the ultimate road trip, drive all around Iceland along Route 1, aka the Ring Road. This is feasible in December, granted you’re a confident winter driver of course. And it’s good to be aware that you’ll need to set off before sunrise to arrive at attractions during daylight.
You’ll get to explore most parts of Iceland, seeing fjords, mountains, glaciers, waterfalls, and canyons along the way.
Don’t miss: All the locations above, as you’re likely to pass them on your road trip. In North Iceland, take some time to explore the main city of Akureyri and the Lake Mývatn area.
Frequently asked questions about Iceland in December
Finally, below we’ve answered some of your top questions about visiting Iceland in December:
What is the weather like in Iceland in December?
Falling smack in the middle of winter, you can expect typical Icelandic weather, which means an unpredictable mix of snow, rain, and wind. On average there are highs of 4°C (39°F) and lows of -1°C (30°F).
What is the average temperature in Iceland in December?
So how cold does it get in Iceland in December? Well, not as cold as you might expect! In the capital, the average temperature at this time of year is 1°C (34°F).
Is there snow in Iceland in December?
It’s likely to snow in Iceland during December, but it varies from year to year. At higher altitudes, like up in the mountains, snow will start settling, adding a winter wonderland touch to the landscape. At sea level though, fallen snow may not stay longer than a few days.
How are the driving conditions in Iceland in December?
Winter driving in Iceland can be tricky, but road trips is doable at this time of year. You’ll need to hire a sturdy vehicle, preferably a 4×4 drive, for a more comfortable driving experience.
You’ll also want to make yourself aware of safety precautions and road regulations in Iceland. For example, day and night, you are required to keep your headlights on in Iceland.
It’s good to be flexible when visiting Iceland in winter, especially if you’re on a self-drive tour. Every day before setting off you should check the weather and road conditions so you know what’s ahead of you and if you need to change your plans.
If you prefer to skip the winter driving challenge this time around, you could choose to stay in Reykjavík. The capital city makes for a great city break, with its thriving nightlife, trendy restaurants and cafés, and welcoming geothermal swimming pools.
To enjoy some of the countryside, just hop on day tours to the top places you’d like to explore nearby.
How many hours of daylight does Iceland get in December?
December is the darkest month of the year in Iceland, with the shortest days and longest nights. This is because, in the Northern Hemisphere, the winter solstice coincides with 21 December, the shortest day of the year.
In general, you can expect 3 to 5 hours of daylight in Iceland in December. For example, in mid-December, the sun rises around 11:30 a.m., and sets by 2:40 p.m. in the north and 3:30 p.m. in the south.
This means you’ll need to be smart about the way you spend your daylight hours. But long nights will give you plenty of hours of darkness to chase the Northern Lights or relax in a geothermal hot tub.
Can I see the Northern Lights in Iceland in December?
Yes, it’s possible to spot the Aurora Borealis in Iceland during this month. To see them, you’ll need the right solar activity and a clear, dark sky.
As mentioned above, December boasts the longest nights of the year. This means you’ll have that much extra time to go on Northern Lights tours.
Make sure to get away from the bright city lights for your best chances of spotting the dancing lights in the sky. To help you out, we’ve rounded up some of the best places to see the Northern Lights in Iceland.
It goes without saying, but because the Northern Lights are a natural phenomenon, no one can promise you will see them during your visit.
But if the conditions are clear and the solar activity is strong, you may well be lucky enough to witness them! It’s truly spectacular and a highlight of visiting Iceland in winter.
Can you see whales in Iceland in December?
Whale watching is a fun, must-do activity in Iceland and it is available in summer and winter alike.
In December, you’re likely to spot dolphins, harbor porpoises, and minke whales. Visitors to Iceland in winter include a pod of orcas that feast on herring near the Snæfellsnes peninsula.
What to wear to Iceland in December and what to pack?
You’ve planned it all and now all that’s left to do is pack your suitcase. But what should you bring along? December is the middle of winter in Iceland and so you’ll want to be ready for cold, windy, and snowy conditions.
To help you know what clothes to pack for Iceland in December, here is a packing guide for your winter trip:
- Fleece or lightweight wool sweaters
- Insulated and waterproof jacket
- Waterproof (or even snow) trousers
- Warm gloves, scarf, and hat
- Thermal underwear (long johns) and socks
- Swimwear and towel to visit a spa or hot springs
- Hand cream and chapstick to keep hydrated in the winter conditions
The thing to remember is to bring plenty of warm layers. That way, whatever the weather, you can enjoy the activities you have planned in maximum comfort.
And what shoes should you wear in Iceland in December? We recommend you bring or wear a sturdy pair of waterproof hiking or winter boots. Don’t forget thick socks to keep you as warm as possible.
Some excursions may lend you extra clothing to keep warm, but make sure you’ve brought the essential warm layers with you.
You can read more about preparing for a winter trip with our blog: Tips for Iceland in winter – weather and packing guide.
Planning your trip to Iceland in December
Now that you’ve got all the info you need, how should you go about planning and booking your December vacation to Iceland?
Iceland Tours offers a good selection of winter tours, including Northern Lights packages. Start by picking the way you want to explore, either by staying in Reykjavík and enjoying multi-day tours or by taking the wheel with a self-drive itinerary.
Then you can choose a specific tour that fits your wishes. You can also add optional activities to fill your days with even more adventures. Simply book online and our team in Iceland will take care of the rest.
Make your next holiday season even more memorable by visiting Iceland!
Iceland in October: Things to See & Do
Excited to start planning your October adventure to Iceland? Or maybe you’re just wondering if it’s a good time to visit? Our local experts have put this useful guide together to help you plan and make the most of your October trip.
Read quick facts about the weather to know what to expect in Iceland in October, as well as our top reasons to visit at this time of year. Just in case you needed more convincing!
We’ve also put together the best Iceland things to do in October, including the best places to visit and top activities to try. Read on to make your next vacation the best one yet…
- Browse Iceland winter vacation packages to plan your October trip.
Should I visit Iceland in October?
Let’s start with the big question: Is it worth visiting Iceland in October? We say yes! The Land of Fire and Ice is truly spectacular all year long, so you can’t go wrong.
That said, October is a great month if you want a taste of winter with better road and weather conditions, and not too much snow.
In October there’s so much going on too! You can still go whale watching and swimming in hot springs, but you could also go on thrilling excursions in the snow. The landscapes start to get enveloped in a layer of frost and the Northern Lights season is upon us.
Sound good? We think so too!
If you need even more convincing, here are the top 5 reasons to visit Iceland in October:
- Quieter travel season than in summer
- More time for sightseeing with longer daylight hours than in the middle of winter
- Darker and longer nights so more possibilities to see the Northern Lights
- Start of the winter sports season, with ice caving, glacier hiking, and more
- A packed calendar full of cultural highlights
Best things to do in Iceland in October
October is a fantastic month to visit Iceland because you could combine exploring stunning natural wonders with enjoying the lively Reykjavík nightlife. Whether you’re looking for leisurely exploration or exciting adventure tours, you’ll have tons of choices to pick from at this time of year.
In October, you could get up to the following:
- Walk along striking black sand beaches
- Go to an international festival in Reykjavík
- Dip in hot springs nestled in the countryside
- Hunt for the Northern Lights at night
- Join an awesome ice cave expedition
- Take a whale-watching tour
- Drive the full circle on an Iceland Ring Road trip
- Stroll through pristine national parks
- Go glacier hiking along Europe’s largest ice cap
Events in Iceland in October
While cultural events aren’t as plentiful as in the summer, there’s still plenty to do in October. Mark your calendar for the following events:
The Reykjavík International Film Festival – If you’re a movie buff, why not attend a screening or two at RIFF? This festival attracts filmmakers from around the world and is hosted from the end of September to mid-October.
The lighting of the Imagine Peace Tower – Yes, there is a memorial to John Lennon in Iceland. Created by Yoko Ono, it is lit up every year on his birthday, 9 October, and sends an impressive beam of light into the heavens.
You’ll find the Imagine Peace Tower on Viðey island near Reykjavík.
Best things to see and places to visit in Iceland in October
Visiting Iceland during the winter month of October doesn’t mean all the cool summer stuff is off-limits. In fact, you might find you have even more to see thanks to winter excursions opening up at this time of year.
Add the following must-sees to your October vacation:
- Frosted waterfalls with giant icicles
- Wild national parks
- Unique ice caves and vast glaciers
- Active volcanoes covered in a dusting of snow
- Geysers spurting seething water
- Warming hot springs
- Glacial lagoons with newborn icebergs
- And much more!
But maybe your bucket list already includes all the Icelandic top sights, like waterfalls and volcanoes. What’s the best place to see them? Where should you visit in October?
The majority of the country is still easily accessible in October, so you can take your pick from the different regions. Read on for the top places to visit in Iceland in October and why.
Location: Southwestern coast, near Keflavík International Airport.
Why visit? You won’t miss Iceland’s capital city as it is the starting point of most trips here. That said, it is also perfect for a culture-filled city break. Swing by festivals, visit renowned museums, enjoy the nightlife, dip in swimming pools like the locals, and sink your teeth into delicious food.
And you can also book a wide variety of day tours and excursions from the capital. This way you won’t miss the natural highlights of the countryside.
Don’t miss: Eating at local food halls, visiting the interactive Perlan, and grabbing ice cream from Valdís.
- Check out multi-day tours from Reykjavík.
- Blog: Best museums in Reykjavík.
2. Reykjanes peninsula
Location: Southwest of Iceland, south of Reykjavík.
Why visit? Another one you won’t miss, as this is where you’re likely to land at Keflavík Airport. Most people hotfoot it to Reykjavík after their flight, but the peninsula has so much to offer!
This is a land rich in geothermal energy – doesn’t sound that exciting? Well, the vast lava fields, active volcano at Fagradalsfjall, and world-famous Blue Lagoon spa would say otherwise. The beauty of this region is that it’s super accessible on a shorter trip to Iceland.
Don’t miss: Hiking to an active volcano, relaxing in the warm waters of the Blue Lagoon, and exploring small fishing villages.
3. Snæfellsnes peninsula
Location: Just northeast of Reykjavík.
Why visit? This peninsula is ideally located within driving distance of the capital and offers the full range of Icelandic sights. It’s actually nicknamed “Iceland in miniature” thanks to its lava fields, waterfalls, rugged cliffs, steep mountains, and glaciers. Here you’ll find a little bit of everything that makes Iceland so special!
Don’t miss: Exploring the Snæfellsjökull National Park and taking an obligatory photo of Kirkjufell mountain for your Insta.
- Browse these Iceland self-drive tours to explore further out of the city.
4. Golden Circle
Location: Southwest, inland from the capital city.
Why visit? This famous route is a must for anyone who visits Iceland. It’s easily doable even with just a long weekend in Reykjavík.
The 3 top sights of the Golden Circle route are some of the most scenic and popular highlights in the country. They are: the geysers of Haukadalur, the multi-tiered Gullfoss waterfall, and the UNESCO-listed Þingvellir (Thingvellir) National Park.
Don’t miss: Lunch at the Friðheimar greenhouse cultivation center, where they grow vegetables with geothermal power.
- See the delights of the Golden Circle on one of these guided group tours.
- Blog: Your complete guide to the Golden Circle route.
5. South coast of Iceland
Why visit? Okay, the whole south coast isn’t very specific, we know! But there are so many wonderful sights to visit along this region that we had to include it as a whole. The south coast is a stunning stretch of Iceland that shouldn’t be missed.
From small villages to high-and-mighty glaciers, there’s much to see here! Travel east from Reykjavík and you’ll hit the Golden Circle first, before passing through quaint towns, national parks full of hiking trails, and scenic waterfalls.
As you arrive toward East Iceland, expect glacial lagoons, beaches strewn with chunks of glistening ice, and long fjords. How could we narrow that down?
Don’t miss: The stunning waterfalls of Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss, as well as the magnificent Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon and nearby Breiðamerkursandur (AKA Diamond Beach). For the quintessential black sand beach, go for a stroll along Reynisfjara.
6. Diamond Circle
Location: North Iceland, along the Ring Road and branching off to the northern coast.
Why visit? Another circle? Why yes, this is another route full of breathtaking sights that are worth including in your itinerary. This is for you if you enjoy sweeping landscapes full of waterfalls, scenic seaside towns, haunting rock formations, and bubbling geothermal sights.
The Diamond Circle spans from Akureyri, the “Capital of the North” north to Húsavík. Then across to Ásbyrgi and back along the moon-like landscape of the Lake Mývatn area.
Don’t miss: All the highlights of this scenic circuit! Especially make sure to take in the most powerful waterfall in Europe, Dettifoss, and go on a whale-watching cruise from Húsavík, the whale-watching capital of Iceland!
- Browse these winter self-drive itineraries of Iceland.
- Blog: Driving Iceland’s Ring Road – ultimate guide.
Location: Western peninsula located in northwest Iceland.
Why visit? October is the final month when the Westfjords are easily accessible to visitors, so don’t miss them! This is truly the place to go if you like to go off the beaten path and enjoy quiet time in nature. With endless fjords, tall sea cliffs, and rugged mountains, this is a haven if you’re a nature and wildlife enthusiast.
Don’t miss: Visit Ísafjörður, the unofficial capital of the Westfjords, stop by the Dynjandi waterfall, and bathe in the hot tubs in Drangsnes.
How’s the weather in Iceland in October?
October is the beginning of winter in Iceland, so for that reason you can expect changing conditions and dropping temperatures. On average, there are highs of 7°C (45°F) and lows of 3°C (37°F).
It’s also good to keep in mind that October can be a wet month and be quite windy, which adds a chill factor.
Does it snow in Iceland in October?
It’s not unusual for Iceland to experience its first snowfall in September or October, but it doesn’t settle. The mountaintops might start being snow-blanketed, but it’ll just add a cool element to your photos!
How many hours of daylight are there in Iceland in October?
From September to December, the days get shorter and shorter as we approach the winter solstice, the point of the year where the days start getting longer again. That said, you’ll still enjoy plenty of daylight during your trip in October, with 8-11 hours of daylight throughout the month.
Early in the month, the sun rises around 7:30 a.m. and sets by 6:45 p.m. By the end of October, it’ll be closer to 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The bonus of these daylight hours is that you still have plenty of time to sightsee during the day and go on Northern Lights tours at night.
Can I see the Northern Lights in Iceland in October?
Yes! As we’ve just mentioned, the daylight hours in Iceland at this time of year mean you have longer nights to go hunting for the Aurora Borealis.
Your chances are higher from October to March when the nights are longer and darker than in summer. This is because you need darkness to spot the colorful ribbons in the sky.
Because the Northern Lights are a natural phenomenon, we can’t promise you will see them on our tours. If the conditions are clear, you might be lucky enough to witness this spectacular light show in person!
- Browse Northern Lights packages to Iceland.
- Related: Best places to see the Northern Lights in Iceland.
What to wear and what to pack for a trip to Iceland in October?
October is the beginning of the winter season, so you’ll want to be prepared for cooler, windier, and wetter conditions. Bring plenty of layers to feel comfortable so you won’t miss any of the action, whatever the day’s weather.
Here is a packing guide for your winter trip:
- Fleece or lightweight wool sweaters
- Insulated and waterproof jacket
- Waterproof (and potentially snow) trousers
- Warm gloves, scarf, and hat
- Sturdy walking or hiking boots with good socks
- Thermal underwear (long johns) and socks
- Swimwear and towel for the spa or hot springs
You can read more about preparing for a winter trip with our blog tips for Iceland in winter – weather and packing guide.
Planning your trip to Iceland in October
After all this, our best advice is to pick what you want to see most and build your trip around it. Whether that’s seeing the Northern Lights, glacier walking, or even just enjoying some time in the northernmost capital city in the world, we can help.
With Iceland Tours, it’s as easy as planning a trip should be. You first pick your preferred travel styles, from multi-day itineraries from Reykjavík, self-drive packages around Iceland, or guided tours with a private guide.
Then you can choose a specific tour that fits you based on how long you want to stay. You can also add optional activities to fill your days with even more adventures. Simply book online and our team in Iceland will take care of the rest.
Your October vacation to Iceland awaits!
Tips for Iceland in Winter: Weather and Packing Guide
Excited about your first winter trip to Iceland? The Land of Fire and Ice is truly magical at this time of year, with frosted waterfalls, fluffy Icelandic horses, Northern Lights galore, and unique excursions like ice caving. You won’t regret visiting Iceland in winter, that’s for sure!
So you’ve picked your itinerary and all the fun activities you’ll do during your Icelandic vacation. All that’s left for you to do is pack a suitcase and come enjoy it all IRL. But what should you pack and how well dressed should you be?
Read this complete guide to the infamous Iceland winter weather and how to pack for it.
- Browse Iceland winter vacation packages.
Your guide to Iceland’s winter weather
Let’s dive right into what you can expect of Iceland’s winter months. These are the cooler months of the year, but don’t let that scare you. Iceland isn’t as icy as the name may suggest.
Iceland winter temperatures by month
Which winter month are you planning to visit Iceland? Check the average temperatures and conditions for each month here:
October: Though Iceland records low temperatures and even snow as early as August or September, the winter weather really sets in from October. On average, you can expect temperatures around 6°C (42°F).
November: Degrees keep dropping and average temperatures are between 1°C (34°F) to 5°C (41°F) in November. This is often a rainy month with northerly winds. You’ll start seeing snow dusting mountain tops.
December: Marking the middle of the winter, this is when temperatures can start dropping below freezing. Expect highs of 4°C (39°F) and lows of -1°C (30°F). While it may snow, you can expect some rain and wind in the cities.
Local tip: Don’t forget about the short hours of daylight as Iceland celebrates the winter solstice in late December. You’ll want to take full advantage of the short days for excursions – and long nights to catch sight of the Northern Lights.
January: January is usually the coldest month with temperatures just below freezing. Expect average temperatures around -1°C (30°F) or -2°C (28°F). This means it’s a great time to come enjoy the magical snow-covered mountains and lava fields.
February: From this time of year, the weather may start to warm up slightly. We said slightly… Hovering just above freezing, you can expect snow or rain depending on the day’s temperatures.
March: Iceland’s winter weather usually continues through March, with snow, northern winds, and some rain. Around the country, the average temperature is 2°C (30°F).
April: As spring awakens, the temperatures and daylight start to brighten up Iceland. The average temperature in April is 5°C (41°F).
FAQs about the weather in Iceland
With general hints as to what temperatures you can expect, we’ve also answered some frequently asked questions about Icelandic weather here:
Does it snow in Iceland?
Yes! Snow can start falling as early as August or September in the cities and lie on top of mountains as late as June and July. In the depth of the Icelandic winter, the country is covered in a frosty blanket that will add to the cool factor of your photos.
How much snow does Reykjavík get?
While it snows in Reykjavík, it may not settle as much as in the countryside or mountains. Accumulation is usually around 2-5 centimeters (1-2 inches).
- Explore these multi-day tours from Reykjavík.
What is the average winter temperature in Reykjavík?
Reykjavík will have slightly warmer conditions than other parts of the country. It’s usually a few degrees warmer than in North Iceland or the mountains, for example. You can expect temperatures around 0-5°C (32-41°F) depending on when you visit.
How cold does it get in Iceland?
Despite all the averages we’ve given you, it’s good to remember that Iceland can get quite cold. This is especially true if you take into consideration the northerly wind that adds a chill factor.
And, just like it can experience a heatwave in summer, Iceland can also get cold snaps in winter. Temperatures could drop as low as -30°C (-22°F), but this is very rare. That said, it all leads to the next section – how well you should pack for your winter adventure to Iceland.
What to pack for Iceland in winter
Now that you know what to expect of the weather, it should be easier to know how to pack for it. But the way you pack and dress will depend on what you’re used to and where you’re flying from.
If you’re coming from a warmer climate, make sure to pack more warm layers. Visiting from a cooler country? You may already be dressed the part.
Here’s a winter packing list to visit Iceland:
- Lightweight wool or fleece sweater
- Insulated rainproof and windproof jacket
- Water-resistant trousers and maybe snow pants
- Thermal base layers, such as long underwear (long johns)
- Warm gloves, scarves, and hat
- Winter boots or waterproof hiking boots and wool socks
- Hand warmers
- Packing cubes to separate your items depending on the weather
No matter how long you’re staying, your trip to Iceland won’t be complete without a visit to a geothermal spa or one of the many local pools or hot springs. Make sure to pack your swimsuit, a quick-dry towel, and some flip-flops.
You’ll find that places like the Blue Lagoon rent out bathing suits, but you might prefer to bring your own.
Are you visiting on a road trip? Bring some car chargers for electronics so you can stay connected during your time in Iceland.
- Pick the road trip that suits you with these self-drive tours of Iceland.
- Prefer to skip the driving? Check out these guided group tours.
And don’t forget your camera!
What clothes should I wear in Iceland in winter?
Our packing list above will give you a good indication of the kind of clothes you may need.
That said, if you’re just passing through Reykjavík, you may find that a pair of jeans and a warm coat will get you through your city break. But if you’re planning any excursions, it’s good to come prepared with everything from the above packing list.
Generally, we recommend you come pack several layers so you can adapt to the daily weather and activities. This way you won’t get too cold or too hot.
What pants should I wear in Iceland in winter?
Bring whatever pants or jeans you’re comfortable with. That said, especially if you intend to go on excursions and walks, you’ll want to also have thermal leggings as a base layer.
You may also want to bring a pair of snow pants or at least a waterproof layer to put on top of your normal clothes. They’ll add a layer of protection if you come upon cooler, wetter, and snowier days.
Some excursions provide gear and layers to wear on top of your clothes. But for extra warmth make sure to dress as well as you can.
What shoes should I wear in Iceland in winter?
For a trip to Iceland in winter, you’ll want to wear boots or at least insulated and waterproof hiking shoes. Your best bet is to have insulated, winter boots to keep warm as well as dry.
Good sturdy boots will be your friends for all kinds of Icelandic terrains. This includes strolls along black sand beaches or short hikes to waterfalls or glacier lagoons.
Excursions like ice cave tours will give you the added gear such as crampons, so you don’t have to bring these with you.
- Roam around ice caves and lava caves on an Iceland adventure tour.
What coat should I wear in Iceland in winter?
The best things to look for in a winter jacket for Iceland are as follows:
- Insulation – basically a warm layer inside the protective shell jacket.
- Water-resistant – this way it won’t soak up the snow or rain.
- A good hood – for an added head protection and layer of warmth.
- Plenty of pockets – this is a bonus so you always have extra gloves, hand warmers, and local snacks on you.
What should I wear to go hunting for the Northern Lights?
When you’re out on a Northern Lights tour or “hunting” by yourself at night, you may find that you get colder than during the day. Looking out for the Aurora Borealis often means being out late at night, in colder temperatures, and also keeping still, awaiting their magical arrival.
The best tip you can follow is to dress as warmly as you can, from head to toe. Set up your tripod and then stay warm with a hot beverage. You may want to bring extra gloves or heat packs to keep those fingers warm and ready to capture the light show.
- Browse these Northern Lights tours of Iceland.
- Related: Best places to see the Northern Lights in Iceland.
What do Icelanders wear in winter?
Icelanders are born and bred in this weather and always come prepared. Have you heard of the saying: “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing”? This rings true here! You don’t want the chilly wind or snowfall to dampen your days of magnificent sightseeing and thrilling activities.
If you want to do as the locals do, you could always pop into a Reykjavík shop to pick up an additional layer that’s made in and for Iceland. You could also purchase a traditional Iceland wool sweater, called a lopapeysa. These will make a warm layer and unique souvenir to take home!
- Set the pace on your own winter self-drive tour in Iceland.
- Want more top tips for Iceland in winter? Read our guide to the top things to do and see in Iceland in winter.
Hopefully this article helped you get ready to pack that suitcase of yours. We’re sure you’ll have an amazing time traveling to Iceland in winter as it is so rewarding. Remember to focus on staying warm and dry, and enjoying yourself.
If you want to start planning your next trip, browse our winter packages to Iceland. It’s easy to pick the itinerary you prefer, then tailor your tour with your car and accommodation preferences and any optional activities. Iceland awaits!