Holidays in the Land of Fire and Ice

28 October 18

Author: Betsy Harter

During the cold holiday season, there is no hotter destination than Iceland. Whether you crave activity, thrive on sightseeing, or rejuvenate by relaxation, this winter wonderland brings holiday happiness to every type of traveler.

Adventures on Ice

If heart-pumping activities are your idea of a memorable getaway, then Iceland has you covered. The snowy glaciers, volcanic rock formations, and natural ice caves are nature’s playground, particularly for cold-weather adventurers.

Photo courtesy of Inspired by Iceland

What could be more unique than hiking on a 500-year-old glacier? Experienced guides are available to teach you how to rappel into the heart of the glacier using crampons, rope, a harness, and a pick-axe. Suitable for everyone from first-time climbers to experienced trekkers, glacier hiking is truly the ultimate Icelandic experience.

Photo courtesy of Midgard Aventure

Another cold-weather adventure not to be missed is touring the 3,500-year-old Lofthellir Ice Cave. Mystical ice sculptures in varying shapes and sizes have formed due to water dripping over thousands of years. The quiet caves and cathedral-like formations create a spiritual environment unlike anything else. (Photos courtesy of Saga Travel.)

Prefer something faster-paced? Combine breathtaking scenery and an adrenaline rush with a Super Jeep tour. Explore the rugged landscape as you plow through snow-capped craters and volcanic rock until you reach mountainous peaks with spectacular views in every direction.

Photo courtesy of Midgard Adventure

Or, try a snowmobile tour. Perfect for families, the minimum age for this activity is usually 8 years old. No gear? No problem. Tour providers such as Midgard Adventure supply all the equipment you need, including winter overalls, helmets and gloves.

Photo Courtesy of Midgard Adventures

Natural Wonders

Do waterfalls drive you wild? Do you love to gawk at geysers? Iceland has plenty of both, particularly in the famed Golden Circle. Experiencing these natural wonders during the winter months adds a special kind of unforgettable magic that you will talk about for years to come.

There are so many waterfalls throughout Iceland that it would be impossible to name them all. However, seeing as many as possible during your visit is highly recommended, as each one is unique. Godafoss—the Waterfall of the Gods—was so named when the chieftain hurled idols of the Norse gods into the falls to symbolize the country’s conversion to Christianity.

Photo by Tradd Harter

Gullfoss, or The Golden Waterfall, is the country’s most popular waterfall, dropping 32 meters down into two tiers.

Just around the corner from Gullfoss on the Golden Circle Route is the Geysir Hot Spring Area. Geysir itself hasn’t erupted in years, but the Strokkur geyser just a few steps away never disappoints, spouting 100 feet into the air every ten minutes or so.

Although geysers and waterfalls are stunning, the most anticipated natural phenomenon in Iceland is the Northern Lights. Highly visible in the winter, the dancing green and purple spectacles appear around 11 p.m. on nights with few clouds and in areas far from city lights. If the Northern Lights are on your bucket list, visiting Iceland over the holidays is likely to be the right time for your wish to come true.

Photo by Tradd Harter

Chill Out

Although Iceland offers plenty of outdoor adventure, it’s also an amazing place to visit if you crave a slower pace during the holidays. What could be more relaxing than hot springs? In Iceland, which sits on top of a geothermal “hot spot,” they are everywhere. Of course, the most well-known geothermal spring is the famous Blue Lagoon. However, less populated springs such as the Secret Lagoon and the Myvatn Nature Baths offer healing minerals and relaxing waters without all the crowds.

Photo courtesy of Inspired by Iceland

Simply meandering through cities such as Reykjavik and Akureyri, decked in holiday splendor, is relaxing in and of itself. Attend a traditional Christmas concert, enjoy a spin around an ice-skating rink, stroll through a Christmas market, or check out the famous Christmas House. After you settle into the holiday spirit, enjoy a traditional Icelandic holiday meal of lamb, caramel-glazed potatoes, and leaf bread.

Photo Courtesy of Inspired by Iceland

Whether you are adventure-driven or seeking relaxation, the land of fire and ice will undoubtedly enchant you, especially over the holidays. From awe-inspiring Northern Lights to sparkling ice caves, Iceland’s natural wonders are certain to give you chills.

Ready to plan your Icelandic adventure? Set up a consultation with one of our Iceland specialists today!

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