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.
Iceland in Summer vs Winter
Have you ever dreamed of visiting Iceland? A trip here can be a truly magical experience, without a doubt, but this naturally raises the question: should you go in summer or winter?
The short answer is that there is no definitive ‘best time’ to visit Iceland, as it all depends on what you want to experience. You might be keen for the best weather, the Northern Lights, or something else. The truth is, there’s so much to see! So considering the opportunities in Iceland in summer vs. winter is crucial.
Fortunately, our travel experts are on hand to help you decide when to take your vacation. So read on to find out the reasons for exploring Iceland in summer or winter.
- Discover these winter and summer vacation packages.
Is Iceland better in summer or winter?
Planning a holiday in Iceland is an exciting decision. And, for many, the obvious choice here is to visit Iceland in the summer. However, it’s important to recognize that summer isn’t the only option, as winter has its own draw too.
Luckily, whether you choose to visit Iceland in winter or summer, there are always going to be beautiful natural attractions and cool cultural experiences waiting for you.
What to know about Iceland in summer
The months of June, July, and August bring the mildest weather to Iceland. The average temperatures are between 10–13°C (50–55°F), with some warm days in the low 20s (68–77°F). And there’s generally less precipitation.
Another awesome thing about Iceland in summer is that you get the longest daylight hours of the year. This means you can explore for longer, as the day stretches on and on!
- Get the lowdown on the weather in Iceland.
What to know about Iceland in winter
In Iceland, the winter season usually begins in October or November and lasts until March or April. The coldest months are December, January, and February, with average temperatures of around -2°C (28°F).
It’s not as freezing in winter here as you might expect – especially given the ‘ice’ in the name ‘Iceland’! The reason is that the Gulf Stream tempers the climate. But you should always be prepared to experience multiple seasons in one day, including snow, rain, wind, sun, and storms.
Want to know something really cool about Iceland in winter? It’s the best time to visit Iceland for Northern Lights. But more on that later!
- Find out about winter weather and what to pack.
The best things to do during an Icelandic summer
So, you’re thinking about exploring Iceland during the summer? This time of year offers a massive appeal for many people. There are some pretty special activities you’ll definitely want to make the most of during the warmest season in Iceland.
1. Discover the midnight sun’s beauty
We’re generally used to the established norms of sunset and sunrise. But did you know this isn’t actually as firmly defined in Iceland?
Indeed, since Iceland is located so far north, the sun doesn’t ever seem to fully dip below the horizon during the summer. This undeniably makes for a truly breathtaking sight. Even if only for one night, be sure to stay up later to see this intriguing phenomenon.
- Explore these adventure tours in Iceland.
2. Go whale and puffin watching
Iceland’s whales return home every summer to the country’s crystal clear waters. There are many different species here, including minke, humpback, sperm, bowhead, beluga, and blue whales. You can head off on a whale-watching cruise during Iceland’s summer months.
Another creature that flocks to Iceland in summer is the puffin. They’re such cute characters and they seem to love Iceland, which is why they’ve become a national symbol. If you want to witness them for yourself, you can check out the best places to see puffins in Iceland.
Watching whales and puffins free in their natural habitat is truly a delightful, once-in-a-lifetime experience. Very few other locations can offer this sort of opportunity, making it well worth considering during your trip.
- Related: Your guide to whale watching in Iceland.
3. Discover Iceland’s national parks
Did you know that Iceland has 3 stunning national parks that are classed as UNESCO world heritage sites? These are Þingvellir, which is part of the Golden Circle route, plus Snæfellsjökull and Vatnajökull.
Any of these three breathtaking sights is well worth a visit. But the Vatnajökull National Park is especially notable for its unique ‘fire and ice’ dynamic. The region has 10 volcanoes, two of which are especially active.
It seems like something of a contradiction considering the otherwise icy nature of the regions. Of course, this only makes it all the more awe-inspiring if you ask us. And so, we would strongly recommend visiting during your time in Iceland.
4. Explore off the beaten path
The mild summer weather has another plus, aside from the obvious. It allows you to reach some of the more hidden-gem spots of Iceland. That’s because mountain roads (or F-roads as they are called here) are open in summer, and have to close in winter due to the weather.
So that means you can venture off the beaten path to wild and captivating places like the Westfjords and the central highlands. You can go where fewer visitors tend to explore and have more gorgeous Icelandic scenery to yourself.
Or you could just spend longer touring the Ring Road as you circumnavigate the entire island!
- Rent a car in summer and take a self-drive tour in Iceland.
The best things to do in Iceland in winter
What is there to do in wintertime in Iceland? Much more than you might’ve guessed!
1. Watch the Northern Lights
The aurora borealis is truly an exceptional natural phenomenon. But it’s much easier to see during the winter months. As such, if you’ve always dreamed of seeing the dancing lights, visiting Iceland in winter is ideal for you.
While you can potentially still see the Northern Lights in Iceland during the summer, the opportunities are more limited. That’s because the skies in summer are too light to spot them. The darker the sky, the more clearly they will shine for you.
What exactly is the aurora borealis, you ask? The Northern Lights are caused by highly charged solar wind particles coming directly from the sun. When these collide with the Earth’s atmosphere and air molecules, their energy is rapidly changed into an awe-inspiring light display.
It’s definitely something everyone deserves the chance to see once in their life. But since the Northern Lights only occur around converging magnetic fields, you’ll only see them in very specific locations. As such, you’ll want to visit Iceland to take in these amazing sights.
- Witness the auroras on a Northern Lights tour in Iceland in winter.
2. Explore icy wonders
The crisp Icelandic winter air is the perfect accompaniment for soaking up Iceland’s icy side. It’s up to you whether you want to explore the mind-boggling ice cave system, impressive glaciers, or stunning frozen waterfalls. Or why not all of the above?
At Langjökull glacier, you can snowmobile on it, or walk inside it. Man-made tunnels have been carved out so that you can see what it’s like deep within an Icelandic glacier.
There are naturally formed ice caves in Iceland too. The glacial waters freeze over each winter and create blue caverns that you can walk through. This is a perfect winter wonderland setting that makes for a totally unusual experience.
- Find your perfect Iceland ice cave tour package.
3. Celebrate Christmas or New Year’s
Prepare for a festive season to remember when you explore Iceland in December. Imagine experiencing local Christmas traditions, seeing all the twinkling lights in Reykjavík, and marveling at natural wonders too.
Iceland is a very special place during the holidays. For many of the locals, it’s the best time of the year. But even the run-up to the celebrations is a magical time – visit in the weeks leading up to it and you’ll see why. Expect an exciting atmosphere and pretty decorations galore.
As for New Year’s in Reykjavík, you should get ready for an epic celebration. Think community bonfires, fireworks, and of course, lots of parties!
- Check out these Christmas tours and New Year’s packages in Iceland.
4. Discover the delight of natural hot springs
Few things are more inviting when the weather is cold than submerging yourself in the warmth of a natural hot spring or geothermal pool. Fortunately, this is something you can indulge in when you visit Iceland in the winter.
Iceland’s hot springs are generally as warm as a hot bath, between 36–40°C (97–104°F) in temperature. They’re the perfect way to warm up and relax after a long day of outdoor adventures, for sure. But that’s not to say you can’t still delight in Iceland’s divine hot springs in the summer, too!
Iceland’s exceptional Blue Lagoon is undoubtedly the most popular geothermal pool. Widely believed to have healing waters, it’s a relaxing destination in which you’re sure to feel pampered.
Hopefully, this should inspire you for when to take your perfect Iceland trip. But remember, if you’re wondering, “Is Iceland better in summer or winter?” there’s no single answer. It really just depends on what you’ve dreamed of seeing!
There are different ways for you to travel. Take your pick from self-drive tours, multi-day trips, guided group vacations, or private packages. If you’re looking for a road trip in the cooler months, check out these dedicated self-drive winter tours.
So why not get started now?
New Year’s Eve in Reykjavík: How to Celebrate
In Iceland’s capital, Reykjavík, New Year’s a big deal. Wander the city’s streets on 31 December and you’ll sense the undeniable magic in the air. But what exactly does celebrating New Year’s Eve mean to Icelanders, and how can you join in?
There’s a full evening of festivities to enjoy across the Reykjavík area. You’ll notice family-friendly bonfires in local neighborhoods, before the evening gives way to fireworks and partying!
- Join the celebrations on a New Year’s trip to Iceland.
5 Icelandic New Year’s Eve traditions
If you find yourself in Reykjavík, Iceland on New Year’s Eve, what can you expect? Read on and you’ll get the insider scoop on these top 5 New Year traditions in Iceland.
1. New Year’s dinner
Traditionally Icelanders kick off the evening’s festivities at 6 p.m. with an indulgent dinner. You’ll find that there’s no one set meal on this day, but some kind of roast meat is often involved. Leg of lamb, roast beef, turkey, duck, and ptarmigan are all popular options.
You can join in by going to a New Year’s Eve buffet at a local restaurant or hotel. All of the New Year’s packages that Iceland Tours offers include a New Year’s dinner experience. So you don’t need to worry about making your own restaurant reservation.
- Read this Travel Guide for more about Icelandic food and restaurants.
Another Icelandic New Year’s tradition is the neighborhood bonfire. This traces its roots back to the late 18th century. Back then some schoolboys from Reykjavík kindled scraps of wood at the top of a local hill.
There are bonfires dotted about Reykjavík city center on New Year’s Eve, lit at various times throughout the evening. You might even see locals dressed up as elves, dancing and singing álfasöngvar, or elf songs, around the fire.
The most famous of them, Álfadansinn or ‘Dance of the Elves’, is one that all Icelandic people know. It goes like this:
Máninn hátt á himni skín
hrímfölur og grár.
Líf og tími líður
og liðið er nú ár.
Bregðum blysum á loft,
bleika lýsum grund.
Glottir tungl, en hrín við hrönn
og hratt flýr stund.
High above shines the moon,
pale as ice and gray.
Life and time ebbs away,
and another year is gone.
Let us hold our sparklers aloft,
and light up the dull earth.
The moon smiles, but squeals at crowds,
as time flies by.
Why not join in by visiting a neighborhood bonfire for yourself? You can light sparklers, listen to the songs, and soak up the merry atmosphere.
You’ll see people gathering around bonfires from as early as 3 p.m., but check local listings for exact times and locations.
3. New Year’s addresses
In the Nordic countries, it’s traditional for the leaders of the nation to give an address on New Year’s Eve. This is instead of a Christmas Day speech as in some other countries.
- Thinking of visiting earlier in December? Take a look at these Iceland Christmas vacations.
- Related: Things to see and do in Iceland in December.
Iceland follows this Nordic tradition. In the early evening, both the prime minister and president of Iceland will address the people in separate speeches.
This is a chance for them to reflect on the events of the past year, and offer messages of hope and inspiration for the year ahead.
Áramótaskaupið, or the ‘New Year’s Skit’, is a comedy show put on by RÚV, the main TV channel in Iceland. First broadcast in 1966, the show is an hour-long piece of satire on everything that’s happened over the past year. It’s known as Skaupið for short.
The show parodies people and events of the year from both Iceland and abroad, and is a great example of Icelandic humor. They definitely don’t take themselves too seriously!
These days, you can watch Skaupið with English subtitles, so you can get in on the jokes too. This is the show from 2020, full of Covid references of course.
- Get the lowdown on Iceland’s people and culture.
Áramótaskaupið is shown live on TV at 10:30 p.m. You’ll notice Icelanders flocking home to watch the show before getting ready to ring in the New Year at midnight.
Another thing you can be sure of is that Icelanders will be talking non-stop for the next few weeks about whether this year’s Skaupið was better than the last!
5. Firework shows
As in other countries, New Year’s Eve in Iceland is the night for breathtaking firework displays. You’ll find them all over the country, but the biggest by far is in Reykjavík. Altogether, Icelanders set off about 500 tons of fireworks on this night of celebration!
- See the fireworks on a winter tour of Iceland.
Fireworks in Iceland are normally sold by Björgunarsveitir, the local search and rescue teams. The proceeds from the sales go towards funding their vital services, which are run entirely by volunteers.
Shortly before midnight, people head down to the old harbor area to secure a good spot to watch the impressive firework display. Here you can even join a boat cruise for a unique view of them from the water.
You’ll also find smaller firework shows dotted around the city. A popular spot is the square in front of the iconic Hallgrímskirkja church. Other places that are great for seeing the colorful displays are Perlan, which has views over the whole city, and Tjörnin, the main pond.
Beyond Reykjavík, you’ll find firework shows in towns and villages around the countryside. One of the most famous takes place at Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. Just imagine how the colorful streams of light look reflecting off the glistening icebergs and mirror-like water.
Visiting Reykjavík at New Year’s
If you’ve got your heart set on being in Reykjavík for New Year’s Eve, you’re probably wondering how to make that happen.
It’s a good idea to combine a New Year’s trip with other winter activities, like hunting the Northern Lights or exploring an ice cave. With Iceland Tours, you have a range of New Year’s vacations to choose from.
These packages all include accommodation, local transport, a festive meal, and day trips. This means you’ll get to take part in the celebrations and see Iceland’s jaw-dropping natural wonders for yourself.
All it takes to secure your booking is a 5% deposit. The only thing left to do? Learn how to pronounce Gleðilegt nýtt ár ‘Happy New Year’ in Icelandic!
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.
All About Iceland Christmas Traditions
For many Icelanders, Christmas is the biggest holiday of the year. It’s a chance to relax and be merry with friends and family. But how exactly do you celebrate Christmas in Iceland? Read on to find out all about Iceland Christmas traditions.
You might be surprised to hear that Icelanders begin their Christmas celebrations on 12 December. This is when the first of the ‘Yule Lads’ arrives, bringing mischief with him. They are part of Iceland’s very own Christmas folklore, more to come on that.
As Christmas Eve itself draws near, you’ll notice Icelanders rushing to buy presents in time for the big day. And of course, stocking up on all the tasty treats to enjoy over the holiday season.
Visit Iceland in the run-up to Christmas, and you’ll experience the undeniable festive magic for yourself. Take a wander down any Icelandic street at this time of year and you’ll spot twinkling fairy lights and decorations in the windows.
On top of the cozy atmosphere, you’ll have the chance to hunt the Northern Lights or see snow on Christmas Day. Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?
- Enjoy a festive break with one of these Iceland Christmas packages.
- Related: Best places to see the Northern Lights in Iceland.
How Icelanders celebrate Christmas
A traditional Icelandic Christmas is similar to that of most other European countries, but with a Nordic twist. In fact, the Icelandic word for Christmas is jól, pronounced ‘yoal’, which isn’t far off the English word ‘Yule’!
Here’s some things Icelanders get up to at Yuletide:
- Exchanging Christmas gifts, especially books
- Making laufabrauð, or ‘leaf bread’, with intricate patterns
- Buying a real Christmas tree and decorating it together
- Baking jólakaka, ‘Christmas cake’, with vanilla and raisins
- Singing Christmas songs in a church choir
Many of these are traditions you can take part in yourself if you visit Iceland around Christmastime. But what actually happens on the big day?
24 December: Christmas Eve
As in other Northern European countries, Christmas Eve is the centerpiece of the holiday in Iceland. It’s known as aðfangadagur in Icelandic, or ‘Preparation Day’.
The main focus of the day is the Christmas dinner, which is often a large feast where families gather together. You can read all about what kind of food Icelanders eat on this day in just a little bit.
Festivities kick off at 6 p.m. in most families. This is when presents are given and opened, with kids usually getting the most.
Icelanders love to give books as gifts. In the weeks before Christmas, there’s a flood of new books onto the market, known as jólabókaflóðið. Visit at this time of year and you’ll see locals streaming into bookshops to pick up all the latest titles. You can even pick up some English translations of Icelandic classics for yourself.
- Experience the festive magic on an Iceland self-drive winter tour.
25 December: Christmas Day
Christmas Day, or jóladagur, is a pretty low-key day in Iceland. As the main celebrations are the night before, most people simply spend the day relaxing, eating treats, and visiting family.
Icelandic Christmas food
Of course, in Iceland as in other countries, food is a big part of the Christmas festivities. You’ll see lots of locals going to a jólahlaðborð, or Christmas buffet, with work colleagues or extended family in the run-up to Christmas.
When it comes to Christmas dinner, what exactly do Icelanders eat? There’s no one set meal, but it’ll usually center around one of the following meats:
- Rjúpa, ptarmigan (a small game bird)
- Hamborgarhryggur, joint of ham
- Lambalæri, leg of lamb
- Kalkúnn, turkey
The traditional accompaniments are sugar-glazed potatoes, and red cabbage with the ptarmigan. As ptarmigan numbers have fallen in Iceland, meats such as ham and turkey have grown in popularity.
For a taste of Icelandic Christmas at home, why not try this ptarmigan recipe (link in Icelandic) from Berglind Hreiðarsdóttir? If you can source it sustainability of course.
On Christmas Day, some Icelanders serve hangikjöt or smoked lamb. You can find this dish here all year round, but locals don’t normally cook it at home except at Christmas. It’s served with potatoes, peas, and a béchamel sauce.
- Travel Guide: Food & restaurants in Iceland
Christmas drinks in Iceland
Visit Iceland in December and you’re likely to see something called jólabjór in alcohol shops and bars. This is none other than Icelandic Christmas beer, which seems to go on sale earlier every year!
Many of Iceland’s breweries take part in this tradition, producing a special version of their beer with special seasonal flavors. Christmas beers are often darker, sometimes having a maltier taste or being flavored with spices.
Another popular drink in Iceland at Christmas is malt og appelsín. This a cocktail of two of the country’s most-loved soft drinks, malt extract and Appelsín, an orange-flavored drink similar to Fanta. You can buy it ready-mixed in shops, so why not try it yourself?
- Explore these Iceland Christmas tour packages.
Icelandic Yule Lads
Icelanders are known for their storytelling, a legacy that stretches all the way back to the sagas of the Viking era. So it stands to reason that this legend-loving nation would have its very own traditional Christmas folklore.
This is centered on the Jólasveinar or ‘Yule Lads’. They’re sometimes described as Santa Clauses, but they’re really more like mischief-makers with a giving side. You can meet the Yule Lads for yourself at various Christmas festivals around Iceland.
They appear in the run up to Christmas starting on 12 December. A different one arrives each day until 25 December. They all have quite silly names that reflect the kind of trickery they inflict on the people they visit:
- Stekkjastaur ‘Sheepcote Clod’
- Giljagaur ‘Gully Gawk’
- Stúfur ‘Stubby’
- Þvörusleikir ‘Spoon-Licker’
- Pottaskefill ‘Pot-Scraper’
- Askasleikir ‘Bowl-Licker’
- Hurðaskellir ‘Door-Slammer’
- Skyrgámur ‘Skyr-Gobbler’
- Bjúgnakrækir ‘Sausage-Swiper’
- Gluggagægir ‘Window-Peeper’
- Gáttaþefir ‘Doorway-Sniffer’
- Ketkrókur ‘Meat-Hook’
- Kertasníkir ‘Candle-Stealer’
If you wander the streets of Iceland at Christmastime, you’ll likely notice small shoes left in people’s windows. The Yule Lads will leave small presents for children inside them as they arrive, but only if the children have been good! If not, they’ll get a rotten potato instead.
Grýla the Ogre and the Christmas Cat
Let us tell you the story of the Yule Lads, the sons of a formidable ogre called Grýla. She lives in a cave in the mountains, but comes down into towns and villages at Christmas. Plus, she keeps track of which children have been good and bad, and begs parents to give her their naughty children. The ogre then makes them into a stew, her favorite meal.
Grýla has a pet cat known as Jólakötturinn or ‘Christmas Cat’. The legend goes that he crawls around, sniffing out people who haven’t got any new clothes to wear for Christmas. If he finds someone wearing old clothes, he’ll gobble them up!
In recent years, the internationally recognized Santa Claus has become more popular in Iceland. But as the Icelandic Christmas legend is still alive and well, he doesn’t seem to mind sharing the fame too much.
New Year’s in Iceland
After the cozy family-focused celebrations of Christmas, Icelanders have a few days’ rest before getting into the New Year’s party mood. On New Year’s Eve, you’ll see bonfires roaring in the neighborhoods of Reykjavík.
Then later in the evening, people will join parties and gather around the TV to watch Áramótaskaupið. This is an hour of comedy parodying the main events, political and cultural, of the past year. It’s a tradition to watch it together over a drink.
As the night continues, so does the partying! It all comes to a head at midnight, when large firework displays begin and Icelanders ring in the New Year.
The days around New Year’s are perfect for getting out into Iceland’s wintry nature. Go snowmobiling, chase down the Northern Lights, or relax in a hot spring. You can do all of this on one of these Iceland New Year’s tour packages.
Planning a festive trip to Iceland
The holiday season is a great time to visit Iceland. You can surround yourself with warm Christmassy vibes and celebrate things a little differently than you would normally. There’s also a good chance of a white Christmas!
Meanwhile, a New Year’s is perfect if you want to experience Iceland’s famous party atmosphere and start the new year with a bang.
It’s also worth remembering that Iceland’s natural attractions are open all year round. This means you can see the wonders of the Golden Circle or marvel at Iceland’s waterfalls on your Christmas or New Year trip as well.
Travel with Iceland Tours and you’ll be able to choose from a wide range of Iceland vacation packages. Many of these run throughout the festive period. What’s more, if you want to celebrate like the locals do, opt for a special Christmas or New Year trip, with seasonal meals included.
So check out these winter trips to Iceland and start dreaming about how you could celebrate the holidays this year.
Best Places to See the Northern Lights in Iceland
If you’re visiting the Land of Fire and Ice, there might be one particular thing on your bucket list: the Northern Lights. You’re not alone. This natural spectacle has been enchanting us since the time of the Vikings, and with one glimpse of the auroras’ ethereal beauty, it’s easy to see why.
The Aurora Borealis can be unpredictable, as it’s a natural phenomenon. But by finding the best place to see the Northern Lights in Iceland, you’re setting yourself up for the chance to witness this unforgettable light show.
- Check out these Northern Lights tours in Iceland.
Read on to discover the best spots for Northern Lights in Iceland, and get insider advice on how to seek them out. Even if the Aurora Borealis elude you, these locations are still beautiful and well worth seeing when you’re planning a trip to Iceland.
1. Vatnajökull National Park
To combine Arctic landscapes with truly wild nature and the potential to see the Northern Lights, Vatnajökull National Park is where you should head to.
This huge nature reserve features the impressive Vatnajökull glacier at its heart and is encircled by active volcanoes, waterfalls, and rivers. Dramatic cliffs, swooping ravines and fierce blue ice caves beside black sand beaches make Vatnajökull National Park feel like you’re in the Ice Age.
As Vatnajökull National Park is so open and has very low levels of light pollution, it’s a great place to see the Northern Lights. Watching the colorful ribbons appear over the glaciers and snow-capped hills is an experience that you can’t replicate.
- Related: Iceland in winter – your guide.
The national park does require factoring in travel time if you’re flying into Reykjavík. Vatnajökull is approximately 320 km (200 mi) from the capital – between 4 and 7 hours drive depending on weather conditions.
The journey is definitely worth it though, as this is truly one of the greatest wonders of Iceland. Make your drive out to the national park an adventure in itself. Stop along the way to visit places like Vík, Skógafoss, and the black sands and hexagonal basalt columns of Reynisfjara beach.
Explore Vatnajökull in winter, and you could also discover natural glacial caverns on an ice cave tour package.
- Travel independently on a self-drive tour of Iceland in winter.
2. Seltjarnarnes in Reykjavík
Perhaps you’re staying in Reykjavík and are keen to see the Northern Lights, but wondering if it’s even possible in the capital city? Fortunately, Reykjavík has a hidden gem, the town of Seltjarnarnes, that you could seek out.
Seltjarnarnes is set almost out into the sea, as it sits on the most westerly edge of Reykjavík. This means it has much lower levels of light pollution compared to the city itself.
Head out to Grótta Lighthouse, or the Seltjarnarnes golf course, where there’s even a dedicated Northern Lights viewing point. Both spots are only a 10-minute drive from the center of Reykjavík, making them ideal for working into a city break.
This can be a great option if you happen to see that the forecast for the lights is good and you want to catch a glimpse. Simply hop over to Seltjarnarnes and try your luck!
- Look for the Northern Lights on a multi-day tour from Reykjavík.
3. Snæfellsnes peninsula
Snæfellsnes, home to the jaw-dropping Snæfellsjökull National Park, demonstrates all that Iceland has to offer: glaciers, volcanoes, lakes, geothermal pools, rugged landscapes, and more. Whether you see the Northern Lights or not, this attraction-packed peninsula in West Iceland will amaze you.
There are plenty of places where you can set up camp to watch for the Aurora Borealis. Head to Ytri Tunga beach, a gold sand beach that makes for a beautiful lookout point with its open view out to sea.
For an iconic Icelandic backdrop, choose Kirkjufell mountain to photograph the Northern Lights. You might recognize it from Game of Thrones.
Or, for sea views, visit the fjords of Breiðafjörður or Kolgrafafjörður. Here you can marvel at the ocean, islands and snow-capped hills stretching out before you.
4. Þingvellir National Park
Þingvellir (Thingvellir) National Park straddles two continental tectonic plates, and this titanic power has shaped the landscape of Iceland. With ravines, cliffs, waterfalls, volcanoes, and lava fields, Þingvellir offers plenty of opportunity to explore.
You can see why it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site. That’s before you learn it’s the location of the world’s oldest surviving parliament, Alþingi, dating to 930 AD!
Much of Þingvellir National Park sits on the famous Golden Circle. Encapsulating the beauty and heritage of the country, the Golden Circle is an absolute must-do when you’re visiting Iceland.
Gullfoss, one of the largest waterfalls in Iceland, is part of the Golden Circle route and provides an incredible backdrop. Travel out further for the chance watch the Northern Lights appear over the Silfra fissure and rocky lava plains.
Þingvallavatn, Iceland’s largest lake, also makes for the perfect site to embark on a Northern Lights hunt. Seeing the colors of the aurora reflected back into the water is a bonus sight for you.
It’s good to know that Þingvellir National Park is close to Reykjavík – around 50 km (31 mi) from the capital. So if you’re based in the city, you can quite easily drive out to catch the aurora.
Do be mindful about driving in Iceland in winter, particularly if you’re inexperienced on snowy roads.
- Let someone else do the driving on a privately guided trip or small group tour of Iceland.
5. Westfjords and North Iceland
The Westfjords and North Iceland are two of the most untouched regions of this country. These areas are less visited compared to South Iceland, as they aren’t as easy to reach from Reykjavík.
Venture here and you’ll get to see some of Iceland’s most pristine scenery, so you won’t regret the extra travel time. And they are the closest parts of the country to the Arctic Circle, so here you’ll find yourself inside the “Northern Lights Belt” where aurora activity is strongest.
Thanks to being sparsely populated regions, the Westfjords and North Iceland have some of the lowest levels of light pollution in Iceland. So you’re guaranteed dark night skies in winter for a stunning backdrop to the Northern Lights.
- Related: Ultimate guide to the Westfjords.
In the Westfjords, you’ll discover tall cliffs, wide-open beaches and natural carved waterfalls such as Dynjandi and Vascofoss. Wherever you choose to set up camp and wait for the Aurora Borealis, you’ll be surrounded by some of the country’s most rugged and wild landscapes.
Vatnsfjörður, a nature reserve with a geothermal hot spring, located right by the rural town of Flókalundur, is an ideal base for the Westfjords. Whereas over in the North Iceland, the route between Lake Mývatn and Akureyri blesses you with lunar-like nature and very little light pollution.
Should you decide to visit the Westfjords and North Iceland, you could make it a full tour of the Ring Road. There’s so much to see and experience in Iceland, driving around the country will help you to make the most of your time here.
Plus, as a general rule of thumb, the longer you stay in Iceland, the better your chances are of spotting the Northern Lights!
Top tips for hunting the Aurora Borealis in Iceland
Aside from finding the right place to look for them, there are more ways you can increase the likelihood of catching sight of the Northern Lights.
Best time to see the Aurora Borealis
Winter – October to March – is the best time to go aurora hunting. The nights are much longer in the winter months, giving you a better chance of seeing it.
Northern Lights displays are usually between 15 and 30 minutes. Some are shorter, some longer. Whether you see them for 5 minutes or 50, catching a glimpse of the aurora is one of the most incredible natural displays to witness.
- Check out winter vacations in Iceland.
Advice for chasing the Northern Lights
Tick these off your list to ensure you get the best opportunity to see the Northern Lights:
- Clear skies – with no cloud cover.
- Darkness – preferably with low levels of light pollution and moonlight.
- Calm weather – no snow or rain.
- Solar wind or solar activity – this is because particles in the atmosphere are what cause the beautiful displays.
- Patience – the lights are unpredictable, but well worth the wait.
- Northern Lights tour – local guides will take you to the best places to see the light show.
There are also many apps you can download that track solar activity and the aurora forecast. These can help you decide where to see the Northern Lights in Iceland.
For those lucky enough to see the Northern Lights, it is truly an unforgettable sight. Although there is a great deal of luck involved, choosing where to see the auroras in Iceland can make a big difference.
Not only can it increase your chances of getting the best view, but with so much wild Icelandic scenery around you, the experience becomes magical in ways you wouldn’t expect.
If you miss out on viewing the Northern Lights on this occasion, there’s no need for concern. Instead, see it as a chance to explore more of Iceland’s beauty and get to know this wonderful country a little better!
Tick seeing the Aurora Borealis off your bucket list with the help of Iceland Tours’ local experts. They’ll make your travel plans and ensure you’re ready to see the Land of Fire and Ice up close and personal.
You’ll have a dedicated travel consultant to arrange everything to make your Iceland Northern Lights trip seamless, including accommodation, transport, and activities. Secure your booking with as little as 5% deposit today and prepare for a special adventure!
Glaciers in Iceland: Your Ultimate Guide
When visiting Iceland, glaciers are something you’ll see almost by accident! Just over a tenth of the country is covered in them, meaning there are plenty of ice-capped mountaintops to see. You’ll also see huge stretches of ice extending from outlet glaciers.
So where’s the best place to see a glacier in Iceland? They are mostly concentrated in the southern half of the country, in a crescent from the Snæfellsnes peninsula in the west to Vatnajökull glacier in the southeast.
- Get up close to a glacier on one of these adventure tours of Iceland.
Read on and find out about more about how they were formed and which ones are the best to visit.
Hint: The Icelandic word for ‘glacier’ is jökull and features in the name of almost every one in the country!
Where are the glaciers in Iceland?
You’ll find the majority of Iceland’s glaciers, including its largest, in central or south Iceland. The reason for this is not to do with temperature, but the fact that there is more snowfall in those parts of the country.
Vatnajökull, which is the biggest glacier in Iceland, stretches all the way from the central highlands to the south coast. One of its outlets empties into Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, where you can see baby icebergs calving off before floating out to sea.
The largest glacier in the north is Drangajökull in the Westfjords. It’s also the fifth largest in the country.
How many glaciers are there in Iceland?
It’s impossible to put an exact figure on it, but there are at least 13 large glaciers in Iceland. In order of size from largest to smallest, they are:
As well as these, you’ll find there are hundreds of smaller glaciers around the country, some only a few square meters in size.
Iceland glacier map
You can see the main glaciers we’ll cover in this blog post on a map:
How much of Iceland is covered by glaciers?
11,400 km² (4,400 sq mi), is covered by glaciers. This is around 11% of Iceland’s total land area. You can spot them pretty easily on any map or satellite image of the country. They’re the big white splotches (or gray on the map above)!
At the end of the last ice age, Iceland was almost entirely covered in glaciers. The ice would have joined Iceland up to the Arctic and British Isles. The glaciers that you can see today are the last remnants of this ginormous ice cap.
Are Iceland’s glaciers melting?
Unfortunately, yes. Due to the rise in temperature caused by climate change, the country’s glaciers are gradually receding. In fact, one of the smallest, Okjökull, disappeared altogether in 2014. That said, you can still see other glaciers in all of their glory today.
It’s normal for sections of glaciers to melt on a seasonal basis. In the springtime, the meltwater left behind by the glacier ice carves out spectacular ice caves underneath Langjökull and Vatnajökull.
- Walk under a glacier yourself on an ice cave tour in Iceland.
- Related: Guide to ice caves and lava caves in Iceland.
And because Iceland’s glaciers contain the equivalent of 20 times the annual precipitation the country receives, they’re an important source of freshwater.
As it happens, the glaciers feed many of Iceland’s waterfalls, including Gullfoss, Seljalandsfoss, and Skógafoss. You can see how much of an effect they have by visiting these waterfalls in the summer months during the seasonal melt.
In wintertime, the glaciers freeze solid once again. And they’re topped up with fresh snowfall, which becomes gradually compressed and turns to solid ice over the years.
Can I visit a glacier in Iceland?
Absolutely! One important thing is though that you shouldn’t attempt to visit a glacier by yourself. Always go on an organized trip with a trained and experienced guide, like those offered by Iceland Tours.
The surface of a glacier is constantly changing and there can be hidden dangers. So it’s vital that you go with a qualified guide who can ensure you have a safe and fun time on the glacier!
Best glaciers to visit in Iceland
Area: 7,900 km² (3,050 sq mi)
Location: Southeast Iceland
Vatnajökull is by far the largest glacier in Iceland. This beast alone covers 8% of the country (bear in mind that all of Iceland’s glaciers combined cover 11%). So if you’re driving anywhere along the southeast coast, Vatnajökull will likely be towering over you.
As with lots of Iceland’s glaciers, Vatnajökull hides active volcanoes. The most lively of these is Grímsvötn, which last erupted in 2011. Because the volcano lies beneath the ice, when it erupts it causes outburst floods known in Icelandic as jökulhlaup.
Other volcanoes under the glacier include Bárðarbunga (last eruption: 2014–15) and Öræfajökull (last eruption: 1728).
Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon
The Vatnajökull ice cap has dozens of valley glaciers that empty into different rivers. One of the most important is Breiðamerkurjökull, which stretches into the Jökulsárlón lagoon. This glacial lake is teeming with icebergs large and small that have broken off the glacier.
You can access Jökulsárlón easily from the Ring Road, which actually passes over the lagoon via a bridge. And because the lagoon connects to the North Atlantic, you can watch the icebergs drift out to sea from here.
- Why not set off on an Iceland Ring Road trip of your own?
- Blog: Ultimate guide to driving Iceland’s Ring Road.
Some icebergs are even washed ashore on the nearby Breiðamerkursandur (aka Diamond Beach). This creates a magical effect as the blue ice contrasts with the pitch-black volcanic sand.
Area: 560 km² (215 sq mi)
Location: South Iceland
Mýrdalsjökull is the southernmost glacier in Iceland, not far from the village of Vík. It covers Katla, the largest active volcano in Iceland. Although it hasn’t properly erupted since 1918, it’s considered to be one of the most active volcanoes in the country.
You can see the mark of past volcanic eruptions on the glacier in the form of layers of ash. This black grit settles on top of the ice and is quickly covered in snow. But if you enter an ice cave and see black veins in the ice, what you’re looking at is volcanic ash. Like the rings of a tree, they tell us more about the history of a glacier.
The Mýrdalsjökull glacier itself is a popular spot for adventure activities like snowmobiling tours and glacier hiking, especially on the Sólheimajökull outlet.
- Take a multi-day tour from Reykjavík and join the fun on Mýrdalsjökull.
Area: 900 km² (350 sq mi)
Location: West Iceland
Langjökull means ‘Long Glacier’. Look at a map and it’s easy to see why, it’s much longer than it is wide. If you venture to the Golden Circle and stop off at the Gullfoss waterfall, you’ll catch a glimpse of Langjökull in the distance.
Thanks to its location near the Golden Circle, Langjökull is another great spot for glacier-based adventures. Here you can join a glacier hike, go snowmobiling, or take a glacier jeep tour on top of the glacier itself.
Once you’re up on the glacier surface, you can follow a trained guide and explore one of the dozens of ice caves that form under Langjökull every year!
- Check out these day trips for a full selection of ice-focused adventures.
Area: 78 km² (30 sq mi)
Location: South Iceland
If there’s one glacier in Iceland you might have heard of before, it’s Eyjafjallajökull. Newsreaders across the world mangled the pronunciation of this glacier when the volcano beneath it started erupting in 2010.
- See Eyjafjallajökull and more on a self-drive trip to Iceland.
- Get the lowdown on Iceland’s volcanoes with this guide.
So let’s get this out of the way first: you pronounce it EY-ya-fyat-la-yoekut-l. Or at least, that’s the best way we can write it using English spelling. YouTube has loads of videos teaching you how to pronounce it if you want something more precise!
Tongue twisters aside, Eyjafjallajökull is one South Iceland’s most stand-out glaciers. It’s easily visible from the Ring Road as you drive south to Seljalandsfoss. And on a clear day, it can even be seen from the Westman Islands off the south coast.
Eyjafjallajökull is super close to its bigger brother Mýrdalsjökull. In fact, they’re connected by the Fimmvörðuháls mountain pass. This is actually the spot where the infamous eruption started back in 2010.
Area: 11 km² (4 sq mi)
Location: Snæfellsnes peninsula, West Iceland
Although it’s the smallest of Iceland’s main glaciers, Snæfellsjökull is still a stunning sight. Located at the far western end of the Snæfellsnes peninsula, the glacier sits within its very own national park.
Snæfellsjökull caps an active volcano, the only one on the whole peninsula. Despite being labeled as ‘active’, it hasn’t actually erupted for almost 2,000 years.
This was the volcano that served as inspiration for Jules Verne. In his iconic novel Journey to the Center of the Earth, the main character uncovers a passage leading to the Earth’s core underneath Snæfellsjökull.
On a clear day, the glacier is easily visible from Reykjavík. And in the summer, you can climb the mountain below Snæfellsjökull, although you shouldn’t hike on the actual glacier by yourself.
Area: 890 km² (345 sq mi)
Location: Central highlands
Up in the Icelandic highlands you’ll find Hofsjökull, Iceland’s third-largest glacier. Beneath the ice is a large and active volcanic system, although no one knows quite when it last erupted.
Because of its location, Hofsjökull is only accessible in the summer when the mountain roads (known as F-roads) are open. This part of Iceland experiences such harsh weather conditions in the wintertime that it is completely cut off from the rest of the country.
In the summer though, it’s safe for you to visit the highlands in a 4×4. There’s plenty to see there in fact, including the Landmannalaugar hot springs. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can even drive the Kjölur road which runs all the way up the country from south to north.
Planning your Iceland glacier trip
As we’ve seen, you don’t have to go far (or be a pro mountain climber!) to experience glaciers in Iceland. On an adventure tour of Iceland, you can join a group tour where you could:
- Go glacier hiking on Langjökull or Mýrdalsjökull
- Cross the glacier surface by snowmobile
- Explore a bright blue ice cave
On any of these activities, you’ll be led by a qualified and experienced guide. Plus, you’ll get all the gear you need to stay safe and comfy.
When you book an adventure package with Iceland Tours, you’ll get one or more ice-based experience included. And your accommodation and transport is all set up for you. All you need to do is book your flights and enjoy your trip.
And with just a 5% deposit, there’s no need to put your plans on ice, you can book today!
Iceland in March: Things to See & Do
Why take a trip to Iceland in March? You’ve got a great chance of seeing snow, and though the days are getting longer, the Northern Lights continue to appear. That sense of winter magic is still very much in the air.
If you want to make the most of a winter break in Iceland, then the month of March is a great time to visit. You’ll get all the charms of winter, but have much more sunlight than in December, January, or February.
So what does Iceland have in store for you in March? Read on to find out.
- Check out these Iceland winter vacation packages and plan your March trip today.
- Blog: Why visit Iceland in 2022?
Should I go to Iceland in March?
For sure! Even though March is definitely still wintertime in Iceland, it’s a great time of year to visit. It’s normally one of the snowiest months, making for not only beautiful backdrops but ideal skiing conditions.
March also offers you a good balance between day and night. The days are steadily getting longer, but equally you still have enough darkness to go out and hunt the Northern Lights.
Visiting Iceland in March allows you to catch all the highlights of winter before they disappear, including shimmering ice caves, snow-capped mountains, and glaciers at their fullest extent.
- Walk inside a glacier on an ice cave tour in Iceland.
- Blog: How many days do you need in Iceland in winter?
You’ll also be able to enjoy classic natural sights such as geysers, hot springs, waterfalls, volcanoes, and mountains.
Best things to see and do in Iceland in March
You’ve got shedloads of options on a trip to Iceland in March. Shake up your itinerary with a mix of nature and culture, all without having to venture too far from Reykjavík.
Imagine fresh and crisp winter days, with the bright sun illuminating snowy landscapes. Clouds of steam rising from the ground as naturally heated water hits the cold March air. A truly magical sight!
Here are some ideas for things to do in Iceland in March:
- Take a whale watching tour from Reykjavík or Húsavík
- Go glacier hiking and snowmobiling on Langjökull
- Relax and unwind in the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa
- Join ice cave tours in Vatnajökull National Park
- While away the evenings chasing the Northern Lights
- See snow fall on Reynisfjara black sand beach
- Ski the slopes of the Bláfjöll mountains
- Check out the classic gems of the Golden Circle route
- Watch water boil in the ground at the Deildartunguhver hot spring
- Venture to the Snæfellsnes peninsula with its own glacier
- Spot Icelandic horses as you drive through South Iceland
- Soak up culture in Reykjavík or Akureyri
Want to go earlier? Find out what you can do on a trip to Iceland in February.
Events in Iceland in March
Icelandic Beer Day
A curious fact about Iceland is that beer was banned in the country until 1989! Every year on 1 March, Icelandic Beer Day (called Bjórdagurinn in Icelandic) is held to mark the day the prohibition was lifted.
You could say we’re living in the golden era of the Icelandic beer scene. Over the past decade or so, craft breweries have sprung up around the country. The selection of high-quality, characterful Icelandic beers grows bigger and bigger every year.
Brewery tours are a great way to experience Icelandic beer culture. Why not visit Borg brewery in Borgarnes, West Iceland? Or if you’re heading up north, you could visit the famous Einstök Brewer’s Lounge in Akureyri.
- Read more about Iceland’s bars & nightlife.
Best places to visit in Iceland in March
1. West Iceland
Location: Around an hour’s drive north of Reykjavík.
Why visit? West Iceland is easily accessible at all times of year, so it’s perfect for a winter road trip.
For the fast route west, follow the Ring Road through the Hvalfjörður tunnel. Alternatively, you could drive the scenic way around the fjord along route 47. Hvalfjörður has fantastic coastal scenery and is famous for its clean waters, where mussels are harvested.
Check out the quaint town of Borgarnes, one of the oldest in Iceland. If you want to learn more about the first settlers, pay a visit to the Settlement Center museum in the town.
- Explore West Iceland on one of these winter vacation packages.
- Related: Best towns & cities to visit in Iceland.
The jewels in the crown of West Iceland are around the Reykholt area. There you’ll find the awe-inspiring Deildartunguhver hot spring. And be sure to check out Hraunfossar and Barnafoss, two of Iceland’s prettiest waterfalls.
Don’t miss: A guided tour of the Víðgelmir lava cave, if you’re feeling adventurous!
Location: North Iceland, 1–2 hours from Akureyri.
Why visit? Húsavík has been making a name for itself in recent years, mainly as the capital of whale watching in Iceland. The town’s most recent claim to fame though is as the backdrop to the Netflix film Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga.
Whatever reason you decide to visit Húsavík, there’s no denying its small-town charm. Here you’ll also find the Húsavík Whale Museum and Icelandic Maritime Museum.
What’s more, Húsavík boasts its own microbrewery. If you happen to be in town on or around Icelandic Beer Day, be sure to stop by for a cold one!
- Head to Húsavík on a winter self-drive trip around Iceland.
Don’t miss: The charming wooden-framed church opposite the harbor. When it’s open, you can climb the tower for a fantastic view over the sea.
3. South coast
Location: We’ll give you 1 guess.
Why visit? The great thing about Iceland’s south coast is that it’s easy to get to pretty much all year round. In wintertime, its star attractions look fantastic. Chief amongst them are the Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss waterfalls, which are particularly stunning against the snow.
You could also head down to the Vík area. This popular village is nestled between mountains and the world-famous Reynisfjara black sand beach. And because it’s Iceland in winter, you can’t rule out snow on a trip to the beach!
- Stop off at Reynisfjara on an Iceland Ring Road trip.
- Blog: Your guide to Reynisfjara black sand beach.
Don’t miss: The Reynisdrangar sea stacks. These columns of rock are visible from both the village of Vík and Reynisfjara beach.
4. Golden Circle
Location: Around 1 hour’s drive east of Reykjavík inland.
Why visit? It’s essentially a crime to visit Iceland without doing a Golden Circle tour. Here you’ll find 3 of Iceland’s most famous attractions.
First, there’s Þingvellir (Thingvellir) National Park. This is the site of Iceland’s ancient Viking parliament and spectacular scenery between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates.
Next, you’ll make your way to the Geysir area. Named after Iceland’s most famous geyser, it’s a hotbed of geothermal activity. Although Geysir itself may now be sleeping, you can see its younger brotherStrokkur erupt every few minutes.
- See Þingvellir, Geysir, and Gullfoss on a multi-day tour from Reykjavík.
- Blog: Your complete guide to the Golden Circle.
The icing on the cake is the jaw-dropping Gullfoss waterfall. Witness the powerful stream of water tumble over multiple sheer rock faces, over a total height of more than 40 meters (130 feet). On a sunny day, you might even be lucky enough to see a rainbow form in the waterfall’s mist.
Don’t miss: Peningagjá gorge at Þingvellir. Throw a coin in here for good luck!
5. Reykjavík culture
Location: Southwest Iceland.
Why visit? Reykjavík is packed full of galleries and museums, which make perfect additions to your itinerary in between adventures into the countryside.
Museums downtown include the Settlement Exhibition, National Museum of Iceland, and Icelandic Phallological Museum. Hold on, what? That’s right, Iceland has its very own museum dedicated to penises of various species.
- Delve into Reykjavík and its surroundings on a city break.
- Related: Best museums in Reykjavík.
On the more conventional side of things are the National Gallery of Iceland, Reykjavík Museum of Photography, and Ásmundarsalur Gallery. The Reykjavík Art Museum is also well worth checking out. It has two main locations: downtown in Tryggvagata, and at Kjarvalsstaðir in the Klambratún park.
Don’t miss: The Nordic House, a short walk from downtown near the University of Iceland. A beautiful library and gallery space designed by Finnish architect Alvar Aalto.
What’s the weather in Iceland like in March?
March is wintertime in Iceland, so weather conditions are still pretty cold. But don’t let that put you off!
The average high in Reykjavík in March is 3°C (38°F), whilst the average low is –2°C (28°F). This means there may well be snow, although if you get a warmer day it might not stick around.
Wind is a fairly constant fixture of the weather in Iceland at all times of year. It can knock a couple of degrees off how cold the temperature feels, so make sure you bring extra layers to keep warm.
- March sound too cold? Check out our guide to Iceland’s climate to find the perfect time of year for you.
Is there snow in Iceland in March?
Snow and ice are a definite possibility if you’re visiting Iceland at this time of year. In fact, the weather in March tends to be really quite snowy, with heavy overnight frosts.
On average, around 23 cm (9 in) of snow falls across the month in Reykjavík. This makes March the snowiest month of the year.
Is driving in Iceland in March safe?
Driving in Iceland in March can be done perfectly safely. That said, conditions are likely to be different from what you’re used to back home. There’s the chance of frost and snow on the roads, but they are cleared regularly.
You should keep an eye on the weather forecast and check for any road closures. That way you can adjust your itinerary if needed.
- Find out more about driving in Iceland with our car rental guide.
If the temperature climbs above freezing though, the snow will soon disappear by itself.
How many hours of daylight are there in Iceland in March?
The days are starting to get decently long by March. At the start of the month, sunrise is around 8:35 a.m. and sunset around 6:45 p.m., giving you a good 10 hours.
Towards the end of March, the sun is coming up by 6:50 a.m. and setting at around 8:15 p.m. This adds another 3½ hours onto your day.
Good to know: There’s no daylight savings time in Iceland, so the clocks don’t change in March as in many other countries.
Can you see the Northern Lights in Iceland in March?
Definitely! To maximize your chances, you should think about a trip in early March if seeing the Northern Lights is top of your list. That way you’ll have more darkness and therefore more opportunities to spot the lights.
Although it’s certainly possible to see the Northern Lights at this time of year, no one can guarantee a sighting. This is because they’re a natural phenomenon dependent on clear skies and high solar activity.
Northern Lights tours run every evening, and you normally get a chance to go again if you didn’t manage to catch them the first time. So try your luck, and fingers crossed they come out to play!
If you want to know more, check out the best places to spot the Northern Lights in Iceland.
What to wear and what to pack for a trip to Iceland in March
As the Icelandic weather in March is still decidedly wintry, it pays to pack well. Bring plenty of warm layers and extra changes of clothes. Streets can be wet and slushy, so having a spare pair of socks to hand means you’re never far away from being dry and toasty.
Here’s your list of must-pack items for March:
- Warm and waterproof winter coat
- Sturdy, waterproof boots and thick socks
- Gloves, scarf, and woolen hat
- Wooly sweaters
- Thermal underwear
- Swimwear and towel for hot springs and pools
- Lip salve and moisturizer
Read our packing guide to get all the deets on what to bring on your Iceland trip.
Planning your trip to Iceland in March
Now that you know how amazing visiting Iceland in March can be, how do you start putting your trip together? The first step is to pick your dates. Go for early March for more Northern Lights hunting time, or the end of the month if you want more daylight for road trips.
- Rack up more ideas for your trip with our winter must-sees and must-dos.
Next, think about how you want to travel. If you want the most freedom to explore, then a self-drive tour is a good option for you. Start and stop when you like, and take as many detours as you fancy.
On the other hand, if you’d rather not drive in wintry conditions, you could join a multi-day tour. On this sort of trip, you’ll stay in Reykjavík and join different day tours in the Icelandic countryside.
If you prefer a group vibe, you could join a guided group tour. You’ll spend your whole trip with the same driver-guide and pack of like-minded travelers.
With Iceland Tours, you can travel in any of these ways. All it takes to confirm your booking is a 5% deposit. And with our Book with Confidence promise, you have ultimate flexibility should Covid disrupt your plans.
So what’s holding you back? Start browsing winter vacations to Iceland and get that dream trip booked!
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!