There are so many things to see and do in Iceland during the winter season. From outdoorsy excursions to nipping in and out of shops, flea markets and eateries in the city of Reykjavík, your agenda will be jam-packed with excitement.
No trip to Iceland would be complete without a tour of the Northern Lights, but don’t let your inner adventurer be stopped there. Embrace the elements at the Blue Lagoon or discover the Golden Circle’s phenomenal attractions. That’s just the beginning with natural sites and wildlife to discover too. So, come on – let us show you the best things to do in Reykjavík and beyond.
A psychedelic combo of colours washes over the sky when the Northern Lights take centre stage. So, it’s little wonder that this jaw-dropping natural site is one most people’s bucket list. This event is caused by the interaction of the sun’s particles and upper atmosphere.
When you book one of our stunning city breaks, you’ll have this tour included. Getting more tempted by the second? We thought so. The three-hour-long night-time expedition starts at 9pm, to give you the best chance of witnessing this spectacle for yourself. It’s utterly marvellous and one you simply have to factor into your trip!
Visiting the Blue Lagoon near Reykjavík is essential for pampering perfectionists. If you can’t turn down a soothing spa treatment, these thermal waters from rich within the volcanic landscape will be just the ticket. Rest mind, body and soul within the bubbles as you feel at one with nature.
The Blue Lagoon offers rejuvenating waters, mud masks, lava coves and subterranean spaces. You can also feed your stomach, not just your senses – the gourmet Lava Restaurant lays on lunchtime set menus of seafood and Icelandic fare, while if you eat in the evening, there’s a four-course tasting menu in play.
The Golden Circle
Three of Iceland’s most popular attractions and the most amazing things to do in Reykjavík make up the Golden Circle. On these tours, you’ll be whisked off to see Thingvellir National Park, the geothermal springs of Geysir and Gullfoss waterfall. Don’t forget your camera!
There’s something mystical about UNESCO-listed Thingvellir – it probably has something to do with it being the old Viking parliament site. Meanwhile, true tranquillity is achieved at the spouting waters of Geysir. What’s more, the icicle-dappled waterfall of Gullfoss projects fierce jets into the air!
Ice caves and glaciers
The incredible landscape of snow and ice sheets will instantly capture your attention in this cool country. The ice caves and glaciers across the countryside are rural treasures to behold. The cavernous networks were formed by water running through a glacier or underneath it, which has now left the natural cave of Vatnajökull and man-made Langjökull two of the most magical of the lot.
If you thought the commanding colours of the Northern Lights were enough, the terrific turquoises of the ice caves and glaciers are something else.
In the northernmost capital of the world, the cosmopolitan and compact city of Reykjavík waits to impress. Its staggering sights, contemporary culture and dazzling dining scenes will keep you busy day and night.
Of all the fun things to do in Reykjavík, tracing local art is up there. Tick off the Sun Voyager when you arrive, then spend a good few hours in the National Gallery of Iceland. You’ll come across various vibrant works on the walls of streets as you potter around too. The towering Hallgrímskirkja Church is a good bet for showstopping scenery – there’s a 360° viewing platform right at the top!
Once you’ve conquered the main landmarks of the city, who’s for a feast before a night on the tiles? Fermented fish dishes and lamb stews are just a couple of the local delicacies. Wash that down with Icelandic schnapps before heading out to cabaret shows or live music sets.
Whales are some of Iceland’s most popular wildlife that tourists try and see in the flesh. More than 20 species are said to be found around here and boat trips are easy to book. Epic humpback and minke whales, white-beaked dolphins and porpoises are often among the lot, while this is one of the most natural sightings of orcas you can embark on too.
If these blubbery beings have made your bucket list, why not consider squeezing in an unforgettable whale-watching outing while you’re there?
Inspired by the thought of going to Iceland? Snap up a Jet2CityBreak to add to your calendar now!
Posted: 25th Oct 2019. Updated: 7th Mar 2023.