10 Spots for Your Iceland Winter Stopover

Thinking about Iceland? You don’t have to wait for the summer. Iceland is quickly becoming a popular tourist destination with cheap flights and unlimited stop overs. We took advantage of this on our way to Germany for Christmas.

Below are some of our favorite spots to give you some ideas of what to do in Iceland over the winter.

Note: When we were planning our trip, we were expecting to only have 3 hrs of sunlight to do stuff while freezing our fingers off. To our pleasant surprise, you can plan for double the time at temperatures hovering around 0°C. This was especially nice for pictures because you have a 2 hrs of sunrise conditions and 2 hrs of sunset conditions that made the sky light up in pink. So enough about what to expect; let’s talk about what to do.


We had a lot of fun taking a super jeep over glaciers to find an ice cave. These caves are the result of pressure from thousands of years pushing the ice melt through canyons in the glacier to finally surface only to disappear after the winter. This temporary nature of “frozen” time brought me to awe.

ice cave


Close to the caves, you can stop by the glacier lagoon in the winter and early spring. Chunks of ice breaks off of the glacier and float down the river. At a certain point, this river becomes more shallow and traps the icebergs. Once the icebergs melt enough to continue the journey, some gets carried back by the ocean waves to sit like gemstones on the black sand beach.
On a clear day, we definitely recommend waking up early to see the ice shine like crystals as the sun shines thru them during sunrise. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the luck of good weather when we were here.
glacier lagoon


Do I need to say more? It was awesome seeing the excitement every time the geyser erupted. Although there is only one active one, don’t worry if you miss an eruption when you get there because it erupts every 10–15 minutes. We had a ton of fun watching the eruptions and even got splashed on once — we survived.



Although we couldn’t do a hike on the glacier due to weather, the walk to this tongue was a very good alternative and the views were stunning. We were told that it was featured in many movies.

Vatnajokull Glacier Tongue


This is Iceland’s largest waterfall  and it was a lot of fun hiking down to it. When you arrive, there are 2 parking lots. With the right hiking shoes, we would definitely recommend checking out the bottom path because you walk much closer to the waterfall and feel the breeze.


A little further away from  Reykjavik, this waterfall is definitely worth the drive. We heard you can even go behind the fall to get another perspective! Unfortunately, we were on our first tour that we’ve ever taken and didn’t have enough time.


This UNESCO World Heritage site sits at an accessible spot where the European and North American tectonic plate separates.

There is a nice path that you can take between the plates to get to the historical assembly area. And if you come during warmer weather, you can even dive between the plates.



This stop was one of our favorites! I could stand here for hours listening to the roar of the ocean.

black sand beach


Going to Iceland in the middle of winter: base layer — check, gloves — check, swimsuit — check !?!? Yes, you read it right, swimsuit. No matter what time of year you are visiting Iceland, swimsuit is a must pack item. Situated between the airport and Reykjavik on a lava field, the Blue Lagoon hot bath is a great way to begin a vacation.

Soaking in the 38°C blue water will make all your worries go away. Although there is a rotten egg smell from the sulfur, it is all worth it! Plus, there is a bar in the middle of the pool to clench your thirst. 🙂

Hint: if you can, I would get there a little before 10am to avoid the line. Nevertheless, if you get there after 10am, you can always pay for the higher priced package to skip the line. The good thing with the package is that you also get 2 drinks in the pool and a welcome bubbly at the fantastic restaurant. This time around, we learned our lesson and got to the restaurant early to get the best seat in the house and ate a delicious lunch before heading to our next spot.

Blue Lagoon


Although there’s plenty of natural beauty to checkout in Iceland, it would be a shame to visit Iceland without strolling around Reykjavik. It’s a great city with many cute cafe’s and shops. For a great view, you can head up to the top of Hallgrímskirkja Church.

Hallgrimskirkja Church Top View



Hands down our favorite – a modern Icelandic restaurant.



If you are foodies like us, you probably heard of a variety of “unique” Icelandic dishes. We tried to get a taste of them all. Some I want to have again (whale and horse), while others were more of a once in a lifetime thing to know how it tastes (fermented shark — they had to serve it in a sealed jar, that should have given us a hint).

You can get a taste of all 3 at this traditional Icelandic restaurant with a nice, cozy atmosphere.



The fish was so fresh at this hip Icelandic Asian fusion restaurant. You can even have puffin there!

fish market


Stop in for some lobster soup and grilled fish at this low key local restaurant.

sea baron

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