In the beginning of March, we traveled to Iceland. It had been a harsh winter according to the natives, and we definitely witnessed the tail end of it. It was cold, but dang was it beautiful.
As we drove around the perimeter of the country, we saw more varieties of snow-covered landscapes than you could ever imagine. There were mountains, there were fields, there were waterfalls, there were cliffs, there were other planet-like lava fields, there was even a glacier!
Here are my top picks for what to do in the winter in Iceland.
1. Visit Icelandic Horses
When you land in Reykjavik, you’ll find pamphlets about a horse show and horse farms and a horse museum. I’m sure these are fantastic. However, we opted to steer clear of touristy, crowded places in the capital city. Instead, we pulled over when we saw something that caught our attention. As an animal lover, the horses grabbed my attention first and foremost. We saw these beauties on the side of the road in the southwest, and I had to get out and pet them and feed them and find out all of their personalities. They tried to eat my hand and clothes, but other than that they were wonderful!
2. Climb in and on a Glacier
I never thought I would touch a glacier in my lifetime. I hadn’t really thought too much about glaciers, to be honest. But this was an incredible experience. We took an ice cave tour on Vatnajökull, which is one of the largest glaciers in Europe. It’s incredible to think that the state of this mass of ice affects the weather and tides in much of the world. For example, when it’s hotter than usual in Iceland, the ice melts, then water rises, and then the beaches of Long Island become eroded from the extra water. Amazing! Besides the science of the glacier, you’ll also enjoy the incredible photo opportunities. There are even longer trips for avid and professional photographers, so that you’ll have more time to capture the beauty of the ice caves.
3. Visit Akureyri, the Capital of the North and Go Dog Sledding
Akureyri is located in northern Iceland. It feels like a small New York, with its trendy (and delicious!) restaurants, beautiful buildings, and funky and good-looking young people out on the town at night. We changed our travel plans last minute to pass through this “capital of the north” because we found a dog sledding tour that was available. It was so much fun to pet the huskies and get to ride through the dark night with a pack of them. What an experience! Since we arrived early for our tour, we were able to eat at a very cool upscale restaurant called Rub23. I definitely recommend it! I ate sushi, while my husband ate off the special meat menu where you choose your meat and a handful of spices that you get to add to it yourself. He tried a different rub or sauce on almost every bite of his meal.
4. Explore! We found our own personal hot spring cave on our adventures…
If you rent a car like us, you can pick your own route . Make sure you check the road conditions before you head out, and then every half hour or so while you’re traveling. Whether changes dramatically within 5 minutes in this country. There are so many beautiful sights to see, so go explore!