Iceland winter vacations
Escape to a snowy wonderland with these Iceland winter vacation packages. Chase the Northern Lights, explore ice caves, and marvel at glistening glaciers. And with your itinerary, transport, and accommodation organized for you, booking is a breeze.
- Packages designed by local experts
- Extend your trip with extra days
- Add winter activities like ice caving
- 24/7 helpline in Iceland
About our Iceland winter vacations
- Choose from self-drive or bus tours
- Secure your booking with 5% deposit
- Flexible departure dates
- Trusted by travelers for 40 years
FAQs about Iceland winter tours
It’s 100% worth it! Iceland is a winter wonderland full of things to see and do at this time of year. Although it gets chilly, it’s probably not as cold as you think.
Many attractions remain open year-round, especially along the south coast and in the Reykjavík area. In fact, some natural sights like waterfalls look even more spectacular covered in snow and ice.
Then there are some things you can only do in winter. For example, ice caves are open just in the coldest months. And if a Northern Lights tour is on your list, then you’ll need the dark skies that winter provides.
Yes, in Iceland the days are shorter in the wintertime and so there’s more darkness. The darkest months are December and January, with days gradually getting longer again toward the summer.
Shorter hours of daylight give you more time to spot the Northern Lights though. The long evenings can also be really cozy, especially around Christmas when the lights are on. The drawn-out, salmon-tinted sunrises and sunsets are spectacular too.
It’s undeniably chilly in Iceland in wintertime, but it’s not as cold as other countries on the same latitude. Thanks to the warming currents of the Gulf Stream, it rarely drops more than a few degrees below freezing in most of the country.
February is the coldest month, with the average temperature being around 1°C (33°F). In the countryside, it’s often a couple of degrees colder. That said, temperatures still don’t plunge to the icy depths you see in North America or continental Europe.
The wind can make it feel colder than the thermometer suggests though. So make sure you bring plenty of warm layers (see our suggested packing list below).
Check out this guide to Iceland’s weather and climate for more on what to expect.
Absolutely! The star attraction in the wintertime is the Northern Lights. In fact, they’re only visible in the dark, so you have to go in winter if you want to see them. Longer nights means more time to chase them down.
As they’re a natural phenomenon, no one can guarantee you’ll see them for sure. In order to catch a sighting, you’ll need:
- Plenty of darkness (away from the city)
- Clear skies
- High levels of solar activity
Fortunately, winter gives you darkness in spades. On a Northern Lights tour package, you can even join a special expedition to search for them.
If you’re lucky and conditions are right, you might just get to spot them. We think the rarity of the Northern Lights is what makes them all the more special!
Here’s even more ideas for what you could get up to when visiting Iceland in winter:
- Wander around Þingvellir National Park, the ancient Viking parliament
- Take a warming dip in the Blue Lagoon or Sky Lagoon as the snow falls
- Join an ice cave tour under one of Iceland’s frozen glaciers
- Rent a car and go waterfall-hopping in South Iceland
- Marvel as dense clouds of steam rise from hot springs
- Use the long evenings to hunt down the Northern Lights
- Watch baby icebergs float out to sea at Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon
- Go snowmobiling on a glacier on a guided excursion
- Tour Reykjavík’s many interesting museums and galleries
- Shop for lopapeysur, traditional Icelandic woolen sweaters
You’ll find winter tours to Iceland of all sorts of different lengths. The right number of days for you depends on what you want to experience.
With 5 to 7 days to spend, you can venture further afield and explore Iceland in its winter costume. Explore the Snæfellsnes peninsula, known as ‘Iceland in Miniature’, with its very own glacier. Or spot frosted waterfalls on the south coast.
In a week or more, you could go on an Iceland Ring Road trip. It can be tricky with the daylight hours from November to February, so if this is your plan it might be better to go in October or March. That way you’ll have longer days to fit in all the sights.
For more suggestions for winter trips, see this guide to how many days you need in Iceland in winter.
Thinking about visiting Iceland in summer instead? Check out these Iceland summer vacations.
Just as in summer, you have a whole load of different ways to travel around Iceland in winter.
Multi-day trips by bus are a popular option for winter. On one of these, you’ll base yourself in Reykjavík and join different excursions by bus each day. This means you don’t have to worry about driving yourself.
Another car-free option is a guided group tour, where you explore Iceland with the same bunch of travelers for your whole trip. You have the option to join a small or large group, and you’ll all get around together by bus.
If you’re looking for a more intimate experience, you could go for a private tour. Your very own driver-guide will take you around Iceland by jeep, showing you their favorite spots and hidden gems.
Of course, for ultimate freedom you could take an Iceland winter self-drive tour. This means you can go where you want, whenever you want. Read on for more info on driving in Iceland in winter.
Yes, it’s possible to drive safely in Iceland during the winter. Although it can be icy or snowy, main roads are cleared regularly both in Reykjavík and near countryside attractions.
And the weather’s not always bad in winter, in fact it can be really bright and sunny! So don’t forget your sunglasses for your Iceland winter self-drive trip. Check out our Travel Guide for more Iceland driving tips.
All that said, you should be prepared for conditions to be different to what you’re used to back home. Winter storms might mean you have to tweak your Iceland itinerary. If you book a package from us, we can organize this all for you via our 24/7 helpline.
If you’d prefer to let someone else do the driving, you could join a multi-day tour by bus or guided group tour.
With Iceland Tours, booking is easy. All you need to do is pick your package and we take care of arranging everything for you.
Start by browsing the Iceland winter tours on this page. You’ll find different travel styles, including self-drive, guided group, and privately guided trips.
Once you’ve found the package for you, simply book from the package page. You can customize your trip by choosing your accommodation type and adding extra days. If you go for a self-drive, you’ll also be able to select your rental car.
We’ll confirm your booking and send all your travel documents via email.
It’s a good idea to figure out your trip dates first of all. With almost all our travel styles, you can start your trip on any day you like. The exception is guided group tours, which have fixed departure dates.
You can start searching for flights around these dates to get an idea of what’s available. Then, book your package and wait for your confirmation. Once you have that, you’re all set to go ahead and finalize your flight booking.
Iceland is well connected by air to Europe and North America. There are daily flights to international hubs and flights to major cities across these continents multiple times a week.
Even though Iceland doesn’t get as cold as some of its neighbors, it’s still wintertime. Depending on where you live, you might not be used to the cold and conditions. With that in mind, it makes sense to come prepared.
Here’s an Iceland winter packing list to help you out:
- Waterproof winter coat with insulated lining
- Sweaters, fleeces, and other warm layers
- Thermal underlayers and thick socks (pack extra in case they get wet)
- Gloves, scarf, and wooly hat
- Sturdy walking boots with good grip
- Swimming gear for the hot springs
It’s also a great idea to bring a decent pair of sunglasses. They will help protect you against the low-lying sun, especially if you plan to drive. Also, if there’s snow on the ground and it’s a sunny day, it can get pretty bright!
For more tips, see our Iceland winter packing guide.