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Wondering how to spend a weekend in Iceland during the winter? If you're traveling for a short time, you'd likely want to organize and preplan to make the most out of your trip. Here, you'll find some ideas for spending a memorable weekend in Iceland in winter.
Iceland is a perfect destination for short getaways - it is small and compact, allowing you to explore more of it in a short period of time. Particularly winter brings a lot of charm to Icelandic nature, with new ice caves, snowmobiling, glacier hiking, and other fun activities to explore.
TIPS TO PREPARE FOR WINTER TRIP TO ICELAND
During any trip, we wonder what the main things we should have with us are, what documents or arrangements we should prepare in advance, and what other important things to consider before leaving.
Iceland in winter means that the first thing you should think about is what clothes to wear and pack in your suitcase. Iceland is unpredictable all year round, so the best course of action here is to dress in layers and have water and windproof clothing on. If you’re looking at what exactly you’ll need on your trip clothing-wise, here is a full guide on what to wear during your trip to Iceland.
Iceland winter itinerary most definitely will include activities outside. While winters might not seem so harsh temperature-wise, they can still cause some disruptions. For this, it’s best to know the main informational pages to check before you head out on your adventures.
While the idea of exploring Iceland by yourself sounds tempting, it also comes with a bit of a risk. From having to think of some of the things to do in Iceland in winter to making sure you understand all the safety precautions, it takes a lot of time and effort to plan a smooth trip. Instead of thinking of a whole itinerary yourself, you can choose guided tours. Continue reading to discover the differences between self-drive and guided tour options.
SELF-DRIVE OR GUIDED TOURS?
Before starting to plan your grand trip, one of the important steps is to evaluate what way of traveling is more suitable for you: self-drive or a guided tour. Both options have pros and cons, so what are they?
Self-drive allows you to do everything at your own pace, stay at certain locations longer, and perhaps even mingle with the locals. While all this sounds tempting, it also comes with a few cons, such as not knowing all the best places to visit, not understanding distances, or not knowing how to get to a specific attraction.
In such cases or when you don’t feel like planning everything yourself, guided tours are a solution. This way, all you have to do is choose attractions you’re interested in and book a tour. On your trip, you’ll learn a lot from your guide, who will also ensure your safety. The downside of going on a tour is that you won’t have that much freedom and have to keep up with the schedule.
Now, to make the planning easier, here's the itinerary for an exciting winter weekend in Iceland.
DAY 1: CRYSTAL ICE CAVE
Inside view of Crystal Ice Cave in Iceland
Crystal Ice Cave is one of the most impressive nature marvels in Iceland. Here you can witness the crystal blue ice unlike anywhere else. This ice cave has captivated much attention in recent years. The main reason behind that is that it's situated in Europe's largest glacier, Vatnajokull, which is an incredible attraction itself and offers amazing photo opportunities.
Get a glimpse of the famous Crystal Ice Cave Tour featuring the charismatic ice cave guide Fannar.
Hotel Hof – Close to Vatnajökull Glacier: After marveling at the crystal blue ice of the Crystal Ice Cave, retreat to Hotel Hof, located near the Vatnajökull glacier. This hotel offers a serene environment to relax in after a day of icy exploration, with comfortable rooms and stunning views of the surrounding landscapes.
DAY 2: GLACIER HIKE
Marble Sólheimajökull glacier - perfect option for a glacier hike
Iceland is nicknamed the land of Fire and Ice for a reason. During your Glacier Hiking & Ice climbing tour, you will be able to explore the "cooler" part of it. Glacier hikes, followed by ice climbing and ice caving, are among one of the best ways to explore the ancient ice formations. There are several locations in Iceland where you can go glacier hiking, Skaftafell and Sólheimajökull being among the most popular. You can learn the main differences between the two in our Skaftafell vs. Sólheimajökull video:
Hotel Geirland – Accommodation in South Iceland: Following your glacier hike, unwind at Hotel Geirland, nestled in the tranquil hills of South Iceland. The hotel's cozy atmosphere and scenic surroundings perfectly end an adventurous day on the glaciers.
DAY 3: SNOWMOBILING AND ICE CAVING
When you take snowmobiling and ice caving, there's nothing better than combining them both. Engage in two exhilarating activities on the same day!
Snowmobiling and Ice Caving tour on Langjökull glacier in Iceland
Your snowmobiling and ice caving tour will take you to the top of the Langjökull Glacier, the longest and the second-largest glacier in Iceland. After a thrilling ride, a visit to a natural cave awaits you. Ice caves are a natural phenomenon that is constantly moving and changing - which is why the glacier guides start the winter season by searching for new ones. With ice caves, you'll never know what to expect, but you are sure that it's going to be amazing to step into the frozen ice palace within the glacier!
Ice cave visit during Snowmobiling and Ice Caving tour on Langjökull glacier, Iceland
If you still have any doubts, you can watch the first-hand experiences from the Snowmobiling and Ice Cave tour here.
DAY 4: REYKJAVIK AND NORTHERN LIGHTS
You cannot really say that you've visited Iceland without visiting its capital, right? Reykjavik is a city full of life and vibrant colors. The country's capital is also a hub for culture with modern museums, vivid nightlife, and numerous shops, restaurants, and galleries.
Northern Lights over the Reykjavik city at night, Iceland
The other big advantage of the Icelandic capital is that it's extremely close to nature. You can easily visit the famous Blue Lagoon and Golden Circle or catch the Northern Lights. Northern Lights tours are one of the most popular activities to participate in from Reykjavik. You can see the magical auroras dancing in the night sky only a short distance from Reykjavik if you know where to look.
During the Northern Lights tour, your knowledgeable guide will take you to places with the highest chances of seeing the aurora borealis. So, hop on a Super Jeep and go exploring the Northern lights!
ICELAND WINTER ITINERARY MAP
SEE YOU SOON!
There is nowhere on Earth quite like Iceland, especially in winter when the ice and snow come out to glisten, and the Northern Lights are dancing across our skies. We hope you’ll get the chance to pop by soon and join us on one of our winter tours!
FAQ ABOUT ICELAND WINTER TRIP
Is it worth going to Iceland in the winter?
Visiting Iceland in winter means discovering why it’s also called “a land of fire and ice.” Be prepared to witness white panorama, icy glaciers, black skies painted with the Northern Lights, and many more exciting attractions.
Can you do Iceland in a weekend?
If you have only a weekend to spend in Iceland, then it should be enough to understand what the country is all about. Especially if you decide to see Reykjavik in winter.
Is 3 days in Iceland enough?
If you’re looking for a short getaway, then Iceland is definitely a great place for a sweet escape. However, if you’re planning on traveling around the country and visiting its rather remote areas, you’ll have to organize a longer trip.
How many days do you need in Iceland in winter?
The number of days may vary according to your expectations and itinerary. 3 to 4 days are plenty to visit the main sights, while 5 to 7 days allow you to explore the country deeper, perhaps with less rush, and see more distant and rare sights.