Home to some of the world’s most dramatic scenery and mind-blowing natural wonders, Iceland winter holidays conjure up images of huge waterfalls frozen in time, giant glaciers, erupting geysers and steaming hot pools. There are few places on the planet where you can experience such wonders created by Mother Nature herself.
Winter holidays in Iceland are designed for the explorers and thrill seekers wanting to discover the most diverse landscapes. Imagine walking across a giant glacier lagoon, walking behind a 60ft waterfall or watching the hot water of the Strokkur geyser erupting up to 30 metres in the air – this is the mighty Land of Fire and Ice.
Reykjavik is a small but beautiful city and provides the start and end point of most winter holidays in Iceland. Being the most northern city in the world, Reykjavik is considered the gateway to many of the country’s natural wonders. No trip to Iceland would be complete without a visit to the steaming waters of the Blue Lagoon, a natural geothermal pool that can be found on the Reykjanes Peninsula. We’d also recommend visiting the distinctive Hallgrimskirkia church and the Harpa concert hall.
One of the biggest draws on trips to Iceland is of course the phenomenal Northern Lights which are regularly seen dancing across the dark winter skies. Also known as the Aurora Borealis, these natural phenomena are known for their elusive nature but if you are lucky enough to see them on your trip, you’ll be in awe of their unparalleled beauty.
Top 5 Natural Wonders to See on Iceland Winter Holidays
Skogafoss Waterfall: Iceland is known throughout the world for its impressive waterfalls and while there are many to choose from, Skogafoss is one of the biggest and most beautiful in the country. Plummeting down a 60-metre-tall cliff face into the Skoga River below, the cascade is captivating. You might even be fortunate enough to see a rainbow form across the waters or the Northern Lights dancing in the sky above. To appreciate the full force of the waterfall, get close up and feel the spray on your face and to listen to its tremendous roar.
Myrdalsjokull Glacier: Stretching for approximately 600 square kilometres on top of Katla volcano on the South Coast of Iceland, Myrdalsjokull is a beast of a glacier and one of the biggest in the country. The giant ice cap is made up of smaller glaciers and two glacial tongues called Sólheimajökull and Kötlujökull. The frozen landscape is an incredible sight and the ash clouds created from Katla volcano add to the unearthly and almost dreamlike scenery.
Northern Lights: The Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis as they’re otherwise known, are among the most sought-after phenomena in the world owing to their unpredictable behaviour and, of course, their unsurpassable beauty. Often seen frolicking across dark, Artic skies, the dancing waves of neon-coloured lights are spellbinding and are possibly one of the most beautiful sights you’ll ever witness in your lifetime. Sightings of the Northern Lights can never be guaranteed but to optimise your chances it’s best to visit Iceland in the winter months between November and February and head out to somewhere where there is no interference from artificial lights.
Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon: Formed by increasing temperatures since the mid -20th century, Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon lies within Vatnajokull National Park and is one of the most extraordinary natural wonders in Iceland, if not the world. Although the lagoon isn’t very wide, it is up to 250 metres deep in some places. As smaller pieces of ice break away from the glacier, the water becomes strewn with icebergs. It’s incredible to hear the loud creaking sounds and watch the different coloured icebergs continually shifting on the water. When the weather allows, you can walk along the perimeter of the lagoon or explore on a Zodiac boat ride where you might spot a seal or two.
Geysir Hot Springs: Found inside Iceland’s famous Golden Circle, the Geysir Hot Spring area is home to many active geysers and bubbling mud pools. The oldest and previously one of the most impressive is Great Geyser, whose eruptions were believed to reach a staggering 170 metres high. Nowadays it is less active and Strokkur has become the new favourite. Although its heights reached are considerably lower at 30 metres, it is the most active in the Geysir Hot Springs area, with eruptions occurring approximately every few minutes.
Never having done snowshoeing before we were not sure how easy it would be but if you can walk you can snowshoe! It was a wonderful novel way of exploring the woodlands around the basecamp with plenty of time to chill in the sauna at the end of the afternoon.
As a complete beginner with no expectations leading up to it, I was left amazed by the stunning location and excellent tour leaders. The leaders managed the group superbly, considering the various ages, experience and ability levels. The accommodation was fun, though a bit tight for space with 4 grown men sharing a 4-sleepr room, I felt like I was at camp. The skiing itself was one of the best things I have ever experienced and can’t wait to try again. Very demanding at times physically, but I pushed myself more than what was expected. A special mention of the food, which was all included. The chefs really know what they’re doing!