3 can’t-miss winter activities in Iceland

winter activities in Iceland

Winter can be a great time to travel, as long as you’re prepared to brave the elements. But if you’re visiting Iceland in winter, you can enjoy an abundance of recreational activities to make the most of your trip. Whether you want to try something new or revisit your favourite pastime, these are three activities that shouldn’t be missed this winter in Iceland.

Ice swimming

One of the most popular winter activities in Iceland is swimming in the country’s many hot springs. But for a truly unique experience, try swimming in one of the glacial lakes. The water is freezing, but the views are breathtaking. Just make sure to wear a wet-suit. In fact, you’ll want to dress up for all your adventures in Iceland. For example, when you’re ice climbing you’ll need gloves and a helmet to keep your hands and head warm (it gets very cold). And when it comes time to explore Reykjavik by horseback or snowmobile (both great ways to see the countryside), be sure that you’re bundled up in woollen layers and ski goggles.

You’ll also need a balaclava, which covers your neck and face with fleece so only your eyes are exposed. While they may seem bulky at first, they actually help you stay warmer because they can trap heat close to your body. Be sure to bring some hot cocoa with you as well—you might not think about how much energy drinks can dehydrate you until after day two.

Ice climbing

For the adventurous traveller, Iceland is a playground full of opportunities to get outside and explore. And one of the best ways to do that is by ice climbing. Ice climbing is a challenging and exhilarating activity that will take you to some of the most beautiful places in the country. Plus, it’s a great way to get some exercise and fresh air. If you’re interested in trying it out, there are plenty of tour operators who offer guided trips. Be sure to wear all the proper gear – including crampons, harnesses, ropes, helmets, etc. You may also want to rent ice axes from your local climbing shop before heading up onto the glacier.

A winter trip to Iceland wouldn’t be complete without going on an excursion in Skaftafell National Park—and ice climbing is at its peak during winter months. Locals and tourists alike gather here year after year for a serious adventure that includes tons of breathtaking views across Svínafellsjökull Glacier. As if getting up close and personal with glaciers isn’t enough, travellers can also ice climb (with proper safety equipment) or hike on the park’s rugged terrain. Some people even go snowmobiling or skiing in this area.


There’s nothing quite like speeding across a blanket of snow on a snowmobile. And in Iceland, you can do just that. With miles and miles of trails to explore, you can easily spend a day (or two) snowmobiling. Just be sure to dress warmly and pack plenty of snacks. You may also want to bring your own waterproof jacket if possible. Snowmobile tours are available for all levels of expertise so don’t worry if you’ve never done it before.

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