From whale watching and glacier hikes to the Northern Lights and Game of Thrones, these are the very finest winter excursions out of the Icelandic capital. For the best summer ideas, take a look here. All of the below are perfect for our superb-value Reykjavik break:
- Northern Lights by Superjeep
- The Blue Lagoon
- Whale watching
- Sky Lagoon excursion
- The Golden Circle
- Geldingadalur guided volcano hike
- Glacier hike
- Icelandic horse ride
- Into the glacier
- Northern Lights by boat
1. Hunt for the Northern Lights by Superjeep
This is the finest chance of spotting the aurora borealis, heading off-the-beaten-track in an souped up off-roader. You'll be brought to an isolated region picked by your expert guide based on the night's forecast. You'll also be provided with hot drinks, photos and plenty of photography tips. And, if you don’t see the lights, you can rebook for free.
A Superjeep under the aurora borealis
2. Enjoy a soak in the famous Blue Lagoon
Shrouded in mist and ringed by jagged lava rock, the Blue Lagoon’s bright cerulean waters are heated by lively geothermal energy. Alongside a complimentary silica mud mask and welcome drink, this tour also includes access to natural saunas and steam rooms. Pre-booking is essential.
The Blue Lagoon
3. Watch Whales off the Reykjavik coast
Spotting a cutesy harbour porpoise playing in your ship’s wake and a giant humpback making a sweeping breach has to be one of the world’s greatest wildlife-watching experiences. This excursion, led by a local naturalist, is a particular favourite for its special offer; if you don’t have a sighting, you’ll receive a ticket to go again, completely free of charge.
Whale watching, Iceland
4. Soak in the new Sky Lagoon
Just a 10-minute drive from the centre of Reykjavik, this brand-new, infinity-edge geothermal lagoon has just opened in Iceland. Featuring ocean views, a seven-step hot and cold wellness ritual and a swim-up bar, it's even more magical during winter when – with luck – the illustrious Northern Lights make their entrance.
5. Explore the Golden Circle by coach
The Golden Circle represents a collection of some of Iceland’s most spectacular scenery. On this full-day coach excursion, you’ll marvel at the great torrents of Gullfoss Waterfall, set your watch by the giant eruptions of Strokkur Geyser and explore ancient Thingvellir National Park – the riftvalley home of the world’s first parliament. Alternatively, it’s also possible to explore on a self-drive or private, tailor-made trip.
Gullfoss Waterfall on the Golden Circle
6. Hike the Geldingadalur Volcano
Explore Iceland's Geldingadalur Volcano and its newly-formed crater following the March 2021 eruption, the first in the area in almost 800 years. Alongside a three-hour round-trip guided hike, on which you'll cover a total distance of 8km, you'll have nearly two hours to explore the area and the volcanic eruption, spotting streams of lava flowing into the valley and new areas of hot ground.
7. Hike over a glacier and explore the south coast
Strapping on a pair of crampons to hike out over the lunar landscape of a glacier is Iceland at its adventurous best. As if that wasn’t enough, your certified guide will also bring you to the south coast’s spectacular landscape of smoking volcanoes and snow-dusted farmlands to showcase two of the country’s most iconic waterfalls – rainbow-blessed Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss.
8. Explore the countryside on an Icelandic horse
Impossibly cute yet improbably hardy, the Icelandic horses were first introduced to the island over a 1,000 years ago, by the Viking no less. On this excursion, your guide will teach you a little about their history before heading out into the Icelandic countryside for a memorable ride.
9. Embark on a journey into a glacier
Enjoy a unique opportunity to step inside one of Iceland’s most impressive geographic features. After pausing to admire lava-field waterfalls and Europe’s most powerful hot spring, you’ll change to an all-terrain vehicle for the journey on to the monolithic Langjökull Glacier. Donning crampons, you’ll then venture into an ice-cave world of mighty crevasses and stratified layers.
Into the glacier
10. Chase the Northern Lights by boat
Leave the light pollution behind to head out onto Reykjavik's bay, offering ideal conditions for the aurora borealis. Watching the Lights glitter in the water is truly incredible, and if you don't see them, you'll be able to travel again for free.
Northern Lights from Reykjavik's Faxaflói Bay
Inspired? Take a look at our superb-value Reykjavik Winter Adventure to start planning your ideal trip, or get in contact with one of our Iceland experts: