Iceland Winter Weekend Itinerary
Plan your Iceland winter itinerary to make the most of a weekend getaway.
Short winter breaks in Iceland are common: the country is small enough to allow for exploration, there’s more than enough to do, and winter brings magical charms that are harder to find in warmer months.
From bucket list experiences to dipping in warm springs, here’s our itinerary that makes the most of a winter weekend in Iceland.
Day 1: Golden Circle Bucket List Experience
Time will be limited on your weekend trip to Iceland, so it’s a good idea to hit the ground running, covering a lot of said ground!
One of our most popular attractions, the Golden Circle, covers 300 kilometers and includes Thingvellir National park, Gullfoss waterfall, and Geysir Geothermal Area.
Thingvellir is famous both for the part it played in Icelandic history, and for its awe-inspiring landscape. Our first parliamentary meeting was held here in 930 c.e.
Geographically speaking, Thingvellir is both beautiful and fascinating: the continental drift between Europe and North America can be seen here, meaning that you can see cracks and faults to this day. It also has the shores of Thingvallavatn, Iceland’s largest lake.
Gullfoss Waterfall is a sight to behold. This epic waterfall can only be viewed from above, making for an astonishing vista of this 32-meter marvel of nature. On some days, the mists from this roaring waterfall create little rainbows!
A natural attraction unique to Iceland, the geothermal field in Haukadalur contains volcanic hot springs. This means geysers that spout up to 40 meters, volcanic lakes and landscapes shaped, molded and scorched by Iceland’s volcanoes.
Day 2: Reykjavik & the Northern Lights
Morning – How about a Food Tour?
A good way to get to know a country is to try the local delicacies. Icelandic food has plenty to offer, especially if you’re a seafood fan, and you should make sure to spend a portion of your weekend itinerary sampling some local dishes.
Our Reykjavik food tour is a perfect way to sample a lot of tastes in a little time, bringing you to food markets, cafes, restaurants and stalls. Icelanders love fresh ingredients, and you’ll notice it on this tour, whether you’re trying the lamb, the cheese or the local ice-cream.
The tour lasts 3-4 hours, so – depending on what else you’re doing – you might have time to look around the city as well.
Afternoon – Exploring Reykjavik
Reykjavik walking tour with a local guide will show you the fascinating history of Iceland’s capital, bringing you to the churches, landmarks and museums that make this city so interesting.
From the historical sites to the modern murals, you’ll get an overview of this country’s eventful past and present. And, should you want to, you can learn more about any of the hotspots, including where to dine and drink. Our guides love follow-on questions!
Evening – Time for Northern Lights!
The Northern Lights are among the most incredible sights you’ll ever see. And Iceland is the best place to see them. What’s more, winter is the best time of year to see this amazing natural phenomenon.
With shorter days and longer nights, this is the perfect time to see the multicolor spectacular in all its glory. Many visitors come to Iceland during the winter months just to see this cosmic ballet.
The Aurora Borealis can vary when it comes to color, intensity or size. Every time you see it, you’re seeing a unique, live show that will never be repeated in the same way again. The bright, fluorescent shades of greens, purples, blues, yellows and other mesmerizing colors undulate across the sky like translucent curtains.
Most of the Northern Lights tours leave from Reykjavik and take 3-4 hours.
Day 3: Hiking & Hot Springs
Morning – Anyone for a hike?
Iceland is a hiker’s paradise and you have several options when it comes to trekking across Iceland’s spectacular landscapes.
Some opt for Landmannalaugar, a gorgeous, surreal part of the world. These highlands are part of the Fjallabak Nature Reserve. The obsidian and rhyolite mountains are in a range of colors, from reds to greens. The area is bursting with hiking trails, for all levels, as well as some springs.
Landmannaluagar is in the middle of the country, a three-hour drive from Reykjavik, so you can meet on-site or opt for a tour that brings you straight from the capital.
If that doesn’t suit, there are numerous other hikes, some of which are closer to the capital.
Afternoon/Evening – Let off some steam in the Hot Springs
If you have some time left at the end of your Icelandic weekend, there are a few ways to experience Iceland’s natural, rejuvenating springs. This geothermal water is naturally hot year-round, and Icelanders have been enjoying it since they first settled here centuries ago.
Many enjoy the hot spring hunt, which incorporates hiking and a dip in the water of the wild, open springs.
The Blue Lagoon is one of the most popular hot springs in the country. This world-famous spa and hot spring is located in the middle of a lava field, filled with blue water.
Winter Packing Checklist
The price we pay for glorious, unique weather and landscape is an unpredictable climate. But, if you have the right gear and guides, you’re prepared for anything.
Here’s a checklist of what to pack if you’re coming our way for a winter weekend…
- Waterproof gloves
- Water and wind-proof jacket
- Waterproof hiking boots
- Thermal base layers (top and bottom)
- A decent camera (or phone with one)
- Chargers / adapters
- Waterproof case or bag for small objects
See you soon!
There is nowhere on Earth quite like Iceland, and that’s especially the case 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 adventure tours!
48 hours in Reykjavík might not seem like a lot, but with the right itinerary, some advanced planning and a good pair of walking shoes you’ll get to enjoy all the best things the city has to offer. From swimming pools to schnapps and everything in between, we’ve compiled the perfect 48-hour itinerary for Reykjavík.