The Ultimate Guide to Seyðisfjörður

view over seyðisfjörður

Seyðisfjörður is a small town nestled in Iceland’s East Fjords. With a flourishing art scene and small town vibes, it’s a beautiful and cozy place to visit on a day trip. There’s also a lot of beautiful nature nearby, so for explorers who really want to get to know this beautiful part of East Iceland, there’s lots to discover!

How to get to Seyðisfjörður

Seyðisfjörður is a pretty remote village, so it can be a little tricky getting out there. That said, with all of the cultural offerings and the beautiful surroundings, it’s more than worth the effort!

Fly to Seyðisfjörður

Flying to Seyðisfjörður is a great option for people who plan on spending most of their time either there or in the neighbouring town of Egilsstaðir, the capital of East Iceland. Seyðisfjörður is a very small village, so it can be great to explore on foot.

The easiest way is to fly from Reykjavík Airport to Egilsstaðir and then drive to Seyðisfjörður. It’s possible to pick up a rental car at the Egilsstaðir airport, but there is also a regional bus that runs between the towns. Note that this bus is not a regular city bus, but a special rural route. It may have less regular hours, so it’s best to check its schedule online.

Domestic flights in Iceland tend to run about 200-300 USD/EUR per adult passenger, but prices will of course fluctuate. The flight from Reykjavík to Egilsstaðir takes just under an hour, and you also get a great view of some of the Icelandic highlands.

Driving to Seyðisfjörður

Driving to Seyðisfjörður is of course possible, and it can be a great option if you want to explore the rest of East Iceland as well. Many of the small towns in the East Fjords are charming and are well worth a day trip, so having a car in the East Fjords can give you much more freedom to explore.

Assuming you’re leaving from the capital area, it takes around eight and a half hours to drive to Seyðisfjörður. It’s nearly the same distance if you head north or south on Route 1, so it really just depends on which part of the country you’d like to see! While you technically could make the drive in one day, Icelandic mountain roads can be more demanding to drive than roads many travelers are familiar with. We recommend making the trip in at least two days, both to enjoy yourself and see more of Iceland, and also to stay safe by not driving while exhausted.

If you plan on driving to Seyðisfjörður, we really only recommend traveling during the summer. Even shoulder months such as May and October can be treacherous, and during the winter, the road over Fjarðarheiði, the mountain pass which separates Seyðisfjörður from the regional capital of Egilsstaðir, is closed more often than not. The road over Fjarðarheiði can be dangerous to drivers not used to driving in winter conditions in the mountains, so plan on visiting in the summer.

Taking the ferry to Seyðisfjörður

Though taking the ferry won’t be a practical option for most travelers, it is possible to take a ferry to Seyðisfjörður. This can be a charming and slower way of getting to Iceland, while also seeing the beautiful Faroe Islands along the way. 

seyðisfjörður ferry

The ferry, which is called the MS Norröna and is operated by Smyril Lines, runs from Hirtshals in northern Denmark to Seyðisfjörður, with a stop in Tórshavn, the capital of the Faroe Islands. This won’t suit all travelers, but many Europeans with campervans choose the ferry to be able to travel with their vehicle.

At the time of writing, tickets begin around $158/€146 for one adult with basic accommodations and no vehicle. The ferry sails weekly from Denmark to Iceland during the summer, but there is no sailing from the end of November to the middle of March. Read more here.

It’s worth noting that Seyðisfjörður is also an increasingly popular destination for cruise ship tourism. However, given the overall negative impact on the local community and environment, we have to recommend against this particular way of traveling to Seyðisfjörður. Read more about cruise ship tourism in Iceland.

seyðisfjörður cruise ship

Art and culture in Seyðisfjörður

Seyðisfjörður is one of those towns that probably has one of the highest artist-to-population ratios in the world. While everyone might have a day job, the average Seyðisfjörður resident is likely also a potter, a painter, photographer, or musician. One of the main reasons for this is that the town has historically been rather cosmopolitan. Situated in East Iceland, it’s where the Atlantic cable came to Iceland, and so it was a major point of contact with the outside world. The influential Swiss artist Dieter Roth also called Seyðisfjörður home for some time, and a popular artist festival, LungA, is also held here annually. 2024 will, unfortunately, be the last year for the festival.

Skaftfell Art Center

Skaftfell Art Center in Seyðisfjörður is the regional visual arts hub for East Iceland. Established in 1998 in honor of artist Dieter Roth, it operates in a historic building from 1907. Skaftfell, a non-profit organization, features exhibition spaces, an art library, meeting rooms, guest accommodations, and a bistro. It supports contemporary art internationally through artist residencies, exhibitions, workshops, talks, and collaborations with other art entities. Exhibitions are free and always interesting. Highly recommended!

“How’s It Going” Phone Booth

This little memorial probably isn’t why you came to Seyðisfjörður, but it’s worth checking out if you’re walking by! You might think it’s an old phone booth, but you definitely can’t make a call here. It’s a sculpture by Icelandic artist Guðjón Ketilsson, created in 2006 to commemorate the centennial of Iceland’s first international telegraph cable, which connected Iceland to Scotland and initiated the country’s telecommunications with the world. Inside the booth, a moss-covered plaque reads, “Hvernig gengur?” which translates to “How’s it going?” in English.

hvernig gengur seyðisfjörður

Geirahús

Ásgeir Jón Emilsson (1931-1999), known as Geiri, was a naive artist from Seyðisfjörður. A lively and charismatic figure, Geiri was self-taught and had a profound artistic drive, creating works from everyday materials like aluminum cans and cigarette packaging. His home, unchanged since his death, reflects his artistic spirit and is preserved by Skaftfell Art Center. Geiri, a former fisherman and fish plant worker, was known for his sincerity and compassion. His home, Geirahús, is now a museum showcasing his life and art, offering private tours in summer and closed during winter.

geirahús seyðisfjörður

Technical museum of East Iceland

The Technical Museum of East Iceland was established in 1984 as one of four specialized museums in Iceland’s Eastfjords. It later took on the additional role of a local heritage museum for the Seyðisfjörður area. The museum is currently closed due to significant damage caused by a mudslide in 2020.

Tvísöngur sound sculpture

Tvísöngur is a sound sculpture by German artist Lukas Kühne, situated on a mountainside above Seyðisfjörður. Made of concrete, it features five interconnected domes of varying sizes, each resonating with a specific tone from Icelandic five-tone harmony, acting as natural amplifiers. Opened on September 5, 2012, this piece of conceptual art is accessible to the public and offers a unique acoustic experience in a tranquil setting with stunning fjord views. Visitors can reach this unique artwork by walking a 15-20 minute gravel road starting from town.

tvísöngur sound sculpture

Iceland’s original Rainbow Road

Travelers to Reykjavík will no doubt have heard of Skólavörðustígur – the Instagram-famous “Rainbow Road.” Not everyone might know, however, that the original Icelandic Rainbow Road is actually in Seyðisfjörður! Local legend has it that a young man couldn’t make it to Reykjavík for the annual Pride Parade, and so his father had the road painted for him to celebrate in Seyðisfjörður. While you’re here, you may as well get a photo of Seyðisfjörður’s church as well – it’s probably one of the most-photographed churches in all of Iceland!

seyðisfjörður church

Hiking near Seyðisfjörður

In addition to the plentiful arts and culture in this small, idyllic town, Seyðisfjörður is also something of a hiker’s paradise, with a variety of trails for all skill and fitness levels. Here are some of our top recommendations for hiking around Seyðisfjörður, and be sure to check out our guide to hiking in Iceland for more general information on the weather, trails, what to wear, and more. Note: Google Maps isn’t the best for hiking trails. If you’re serious about hiking, you likely already know about Alltrails, but we think the app is well worth it for finding casual day hikes as well.

If you’re short on time

If you’re really short on time, the trail to Búðareyrarfoss takes literally minutes to walk, making it a favourite of cruise ship tourists (it also helps that the waterfall directly overlooks the harbour area). A swift 5-minute (and maybe not even that) walk up to the fall rewards you with a beautiful view of the town as well, so even if you’re not in a rush, there’s really no reason not to check out this scenic waterfall.

seyðisfjörður waterfall

If you have 2 hours

If you have a bit more time (and also want to see some creative architecture) then hiking up to Tvísöngur is a great little walk. The walk up to this sound sculpture doesn’t actually take very long – you can probably reach it in around 20 or 30 minutes from downtown Seyðisfjörður. However, once there, you can continue on the trail which runs along the plateau above town. This affords the day hiker a great view of the fjord, and there are several well-marked places to get off the path, so you can tailor this walk to your preferences.

If you want to spend the afternoon hiking

There are several day hikes near Seyðisfjörður as well, if you’re looking to stretch your legs but don’t quite have the gear or time for something more ambitious. One of our favourite hikes in the area is Vestdalsvatn, a beautiful mountain lake. 

vestdalur hike seyðisfjörður

This trail can either be done as a simple out-and-back, or else as a point-to-point, which will take you further down the road. This is a lovely area that features stunning views of the fjord, and it’s one of our favourite hikes in East Iceland. Expect to spend about 4 to 5 hours on this walk.

If you’re looking for a guided experience, there are many tours near Seyðisfjörður as well!

Where to eat in Seyðisfjörður

As a small town, Seyðisfjörður has relatively limited options for travelers. Still, there’s no reason to go hungry while exploring this wonderful town – indeed, it’s possible to eat quite well! Note that most restaurants in Seyðisfjörður are closed during the winter, so this information only applies to the high season in summer. 

Kaffi Lára

Kaffi Lára is a family-operated restaurant and bar situated by the lagoon in central Seyðisfjörður. Serving locally brewed beer and Icelandic grilled meats, alongside quality coffee and homemade cakes, it’s the perfect spot to mingle with locals, catch a football game, enjoy music from a local troubadour, or savor a delicious meal. Lunch offerings include salads and sandwiches and begin around ISK 3,200 [$23; €21]. Dinner offerings include burgers, ribs, and vegetarian offerings. Expect to spend ISK 3,500 [$25; €23] for a burger and upwards of ISK 4,000 [$29; €27] for a meat entree.

Nordic Restaurant

Come and enjoy eating freshly caught fish from the beautiful fjord and delicious grilled meat, salads, and colorful, tasty appetizers made from local ingredients. The kitchen is open for lunch from 12:00-15:00 and for dinner from 17:00. Table reservations are recommended. Brunch offerings include tasty Norwegian eggs benedict served with smoked salmon and a yummy chorizo open-faced sandwich. 

Norð Austur

If you’re looking for fresh sea food, Norð Austur is the place to go! Located right downtown, Norð Austur features locally caught fresh fish from the surrounding rivers and fjords. You can choose to order à la carte, or choose from a tasting menu. A popular set menu of sashimi and nigiri, with a total of 11 pieces of sushi, will cost you around ISK 5,500 [$39; €37]. We recommend booking ahead.

The Filling Station - Coop

The Seyðisfjörður Food Coop is a small family-run business offering breakfast and fresh-pressed juices made from organic fruits and vegetables, paired with freshly baked sourdough bread. They also sell fresh fruits and vegetables and offer subscription boxes for locals filled with seasonal, organic produce. Lunch offerings include chef’s choice selections, which often feature fresh fish with lots of healthy veggies. Prices are reasonable as well, but a warning – the Filling Station can have somewhat erratic opening hours.

seyðisfjörður food coop

Skaftfell Bistro

Underneath the Skaftell Art Center is Skaftfell Bistro, which serves satisfying meals, pizzas, flavorful coffee, delectable cakes and sweets, along with beer, wine, and other drinks. The Bistro, inspired by the late artist Dieter Roth, is part of the Dieter Roth Academy. It showcases his book works alongside other fascinating art books and book art (and also has free WiFi). A great pick-me-up after viewing some art at the exhibition space above the bistro!

Where to stay in Seyðisfjörður

Hostels in Seyðisfjörður

Luckily for budget travellers and backpackers, there are several hostels to pick from in Seyðisfjörður. Hafaldan has two locations, one by the harbour and one in the old hospital in town. Rates will of course vary, but a bunk for one adult currently goes for around €40 [$43]. Post Hostel is also a good option, where you can get a double or twin bed with a shared bathroom for €194 [$210]. Both hostels come with basic amenities, including a shared kitchen.

seyðisfjörður hostel

Camping in Seyðisfjörður

In the high summer, there’s really nothing like camping out in Icelandic nature. It doesn’t hurt that it can also be a cheaper option either! The campsite in Seyðisfjörður is centrally located, surrounded by trees and bushes, and includes a large RV parking area with bathroom access. Only tents or RVs are allowed for overnight stays. The campsite features a welcoming environment, with cooking facilities, a lounge, showers, toilets, laundry facilities, free internet, outdoor grills, and RV amenities. Expect to pay 2,000 ISK [$15; €13] per adult per night.

Hotels in Seyðisfjörður

For those looking for a more comfortable stay in Seyðisfjörður, there are plenty of hotels to choose from. For such a small town, there’s no lack of options here because of Seyðisfjörður’s popularity. There are many options, and prices will certainly vary depending on season and demand, but expect to spend at least around 200 euros or dollars on a room per night. We recommend booking early, as accommodations in this small town can fill up very quickly! 

Destinations near Seyðisfjörður

Vök Nature Baths

Vök Baths, opened in July 2019, features serene geothermal floating pools with infinity views on Lake Urriðavatn in East Iceland. Geothermal heat in the area was discovered when locals noticed unfrozen spots on the lake during winter, which were historically used for washing clothes and became the center of myths about a creature named Tuska. These ice-free patches, called “Vök” in Icelandic, now fill the warm, floating pools at Vök Baths. Guests can enjoy the unique experience of bathing in these geothermal spots, connecting with the surrounding nature. While Iceland is known for geothermal activity, geothermal activity is more scarce in the eastern region of the country, making Vök extra special. At the time of writing, admission is 6,990 ISK [$51; €47]. The facilities include the unique floating pool pods, a steam bath, cold mist tunnel, a bistro and bar, and of course a fresh Icelandic lake to take a dip in!

Egilsstaðir

The town of Egilsstaðir, population 2,500, is known as the capital of East Iceland. It might be humble by international standards, but there’s actually lots to do here if you’re visiting from Seyðisfjörður. One of our favourite places to visit in Egilsstaðir is the East Iceland Heritage Museum, which has interesting exhibits on the history of the area. It also has an exhibit on reindeer, which live only in East Iceland. Admission is 1,500 ISK [$11; €10] for adults.

seyðisfjörður reindeer

If you’re looking for even more nature around Egilsstaðir, the waterfall Hengifoss is well worth a visit! Although it appears high in the mountains, the hike to Hengifoss is easy. Standing at 128 meters, Hengifoss is the third highest waterfall in Iceland and is located in a great canyon. The cliffs feature red lines indicating different layers from volcanic eruptions. For added enjoyment, bring a water bottle and fill it from the incredibly fresh stream.

If visiting Seyðisfjörður has whetted your taste for the arts, you may want to check out Sláturhúsið Art Center. Located in Egilsstaðir, it focuses on promoting performing arts and other cultural activities, with a strong emphasis on educating children and youth. It participates in the annual BRAS cultural festival and hosts art exhibitions. Founded in 2005, it is a key institution for cultural policy implementation in the region. Most exhibits are free and open to the public.

The town of Egilsstaðir also has plenty of traditional options for dinner, but travellers looking for more of an experience may want to check out the restaurant at Skriðuklaustur! Skriðuklaustur is the site of an old Catholic monastery, which is now in ruins. The restaurant Klausturkaffi, located in a famous old house on the premises, offers two types of buffets from May through September: a lunch buffet and a coffee buffet. The coffee buffet, available in the afternoon, features a variety of treats including pies, buns, chocolate cakes, cheese, and crackers. The lunch buffet is just as enjoyable. It’s a great way to end your day of travelling around East Iceland!

There are also many tours of East Iceland that depart from Egilsstaðir, so it’s truly a traveler’s gateway to East Iceland!

Skálanes nature reserve

Closer to Seyðisfjörður is the Skálanes Nature Reserve, a unique area filled with bird life. Skálanes is an independent field center that hosts university students from around the world, focusing on research and education about Iceland’s natural and cultural environment. The center supports and encourages learning through various projects and studies conducted on-site. It provides a space for people to interact with nature, history, and each other, fostering idea development and exposure to new concepts. It has a sizeable colony of Eider ducks as well, whose down is harvested sustainably. Note that Skálanes Nature Reserve is open to visit, but it is located on private land. The trip out there can also be tricky (the road is rather rough and there’s at least one river crossing), so we recommend taking a tour instead of exploring it by yourself.

skálanes nature reserve

Nature, culture, and adventure

Nestled in a picturesque fjord in East Iceland, Seyðisfjörður is a charming town that offers visitors an enchanting blend of natural beauty, rich history, and vibrant culture. Surrounded by majestic mountains and cascading waterfalls, this quaint town boasts colorful wooden houses, a bustling arts scene, and a welcoming community. Explore the local galleries, enjoy the serene harbor views, and hike through stunning landscapes. Whether you’re soaking in the tranquil atmosphere or indulging in the town’s unique culinary delights, Seyðisfjörður promises an unforgettable Icelandic experience. Seyðisfjörður is where nature, culture, and adventure converge!

How to Read a Northern Lights Forecast

Three people watching the northern lights by Skjaldbreið mountain.

The northern lights are a phenomenal natural occurance and some people make their way all the way to Iceland specifically to see them. Whether your one of those people, or simply think some aurora magic would be an ejoyable add-on to your vacation, the northern lights forecast can be a helpful useful tool. As any forecast, it’s not 100% reliable or accurate. Nature will do what nature does, and sometimes it’s not what we expected. However, the forecast is a decent indicator of whether you can expect to see some lights, how much, and where. Let’s take a closer look at what the northern lights are, how the northern lights forecast works, and how to read it.

What are the northern lights?

Before diving into the ins and outs of the northern lights forecast, let’s take a quick look at what the northern lights are. In short, the multicoloured lights we see dancing in the night sky and call the northern lights exist due to charged particles that originate from the sun. If they manage to break through Earth’s magnetic field, they collide with atmospheric gases which results in the gases being stripped of their electrons. The magic happens when these are recovered, and given the right conditions, we here on Earth are so tremendously lucky to be able to witness it.

But the right conditions are not always in place, which is why the norhtern light forecast can be a helpful guiding tool on our hunt.

The northern light forecast

On the Icelandic Met Office website, there’s a section called ‘Aurora forecast’. The forecast constitutes four parts: a cloud forecast, the time of sunrise and sunset, the time of moonrise and the moon phase, and a forecast of auroral activity. Together, these four components will give you a good idea of whether you can expect to see the northern lights or not. But how do you actually read the forecast?

Cloud forecast

Starting with the cloud forecast, you’ll see it on a big map of Iceland when you enter the Aurora forecast page. This maps tells you the predicted cloud covarage for the next three days. This is an important factor as mostly clear skies are necessary for us to see northern lights. You should, therefore, find a place where the sky is mostly or fully clear. On the map, coloured areas represent clouds while white areas represent clear skies. You can move back and forth in time by using the sliding bar at the bottom of the map.

Screenshot of the vloud forecast from the Icelandic Met Office.
Screenshot of the cloud forecast from the Icelandic Met Office. The forecast indicates nearly full cloud coverage in most places.

Level of brightness

Another necessary condition to see the northern lights is, of course, darkness. This is why autumn, winter, and spring are the best times to see them. During the summer months in Iceland, the sun is pretty much up 24/7. While it’s a phenomenal and highly reccommended experience, it doesn’t accommodate for northern light spotting.

To the right of the cloud map, there’s a box marked ‘Sun’, in which you can see the times of sunset and sunrise. If you’re not sure how those will impact the level of brightness, the box will also tell you whether it’s dark outside or not.

Below the ‘Sun’ box, you’ll see the ‘Moon’ box which tells you the time of the moonrise. There’s also an image of the moon which indicates which phase it’s in. Mild and low auroral activity might be difficult to spot with the bright light of a full moon, but if the activity is strong, it allows for better photography.

Screenshot of the 'Auroral Forecast', 'Sun', and 'Moon' boxes from the Icelandic Met Office.
Screenshot of the ‘Auroral Forecast’, ‘Sun’, and ‘Moon’ boxes from the Icelandic Met Office.

Auroral activity

The aurora forecast itself is a prediction of auroral activity at midnight each day. It is measured using the Kp index, which will give you a number on the scale from zero to nine. A zero indicates very low level of activity and a nine indicates extremely high levels of activity. A Kp index of 4 or higher is usually a sign of decent or very good northern light viewing but even on days when it’s lower, you might be lucky and spot some!

To summerize, the things you should be looking for in the forecast is a combination  of the following:

  • Areas with clear or mostly clear skies
  • Darkness
  • Higher levels of auroral activity

The best places to spot the norhtern lights

Northern lights can often be spotted within cities and towns, even the bigger ones like Reykjavík. It won’t be as strong as in the countryside, but you’ll still be able to see it! Popular places to see the northern lights in the capital include Grótta lighthouse on Seltjarnarnes, Grandi area and the Old Harbour, Perlan and Öskjuhlíð hill. For further information, check out our full guide on the best places to see the northern lights in Reykjavík.

Northern lights by Áskirkja in Reykjavík.
Photo: Golli. Northern lights by Áskirkja in Reykjavík.

That being said, there are few things as breathtakingly beautiful as a clear sky full of northern lights in the countryside and Highlands. The absolute silence of the wilderness and the overwhelming amount of stars visible lift the experience up to a whole other, nearly indescribable level. So, if you came to Iceland with the goal of seeing the norhtern lights, you can get a much better show if you go outside cities and towns where there’s less light pollution or none at all.

If you can’t or don’t want to drive, there are plenty of northern light tours awailable to book. They are dependent on weather conditions and will confirm in the afternoon of the day of the trip whether it’s on or not. Most will offer you a free second try if the first one doesn’t result in any northern light spotting. You can choose between a driven tour or a boat tour and some of them even include a hot chocolate, a welcome source of warmth during cold nights.

A jeep on a northern lights tour.
A jeep on a northern lights tour.

What not to do when looking for northern lights

This one might be obvious, but do not, under any circumstances, stop your car in the middle of the road to watch the northern lights. You should always find a place where you can safely park your car before turning. The roads in Iceland are usually quite narrow and often don’t have a big shoulder, so you might have to take some time to look for a good spot.

Equally, don’t stand in the middle of the road. Ideally, you should also use reflectors to enhance your visibility. If you don’t have reflectors, you can usually find them in gas stations, paharmacies, and even souvenier shops. Since they can be both useful and have an interesting design, these make for excellent memorabilia!

Don’t forget to dress warmly in layers: thermal underwear, a wool or synthetic sweater, a warm jacket, mittens, a warm hat, and a scarf. If it’s supposed to rain, wear water resistant clothing. Don’t wear cotton clothes, as those will not keep you warm if you get damp or wet.

Don’t go on a northern light adventure without checking weather and road conditions beforehand. As you’ve probably heard, the weather in Iceland can be unpredictable and change quickly, especially during fall, winter, and spring. And even in good weather, road conditions can often be less than ideal.

Camper Rental in Iceland

A camper parked on the side of a mountain road.

In the past few years, campers have become tremendously popular amongst tourists in Iceland, leading to an abundance of camper rental services popping up. They offer freedom and flexibility that you won’t get from your typical hotel trip and more comfort than regular camping. Both fit well with the unpredictable nature of Icelandic weather. If you get doused with rain or caught in a storm, the car will provide you with better shelter than a tent and allow you to quickly leave for greener pastures, should you desire. But how convenient is travelling in a camper van in Iceland, and is it a cheaper alternative to hotels? Is it suitable for families, winter travel and trips to the Highland? Here are the answers to all these questions and more.

Campers in Iceland – cost and convenience

Due to its high popularity, renting a camper in Iceland has never been easier. There are close to 20 camper rentals on the market, all of which provide similar baseline campers, as well as ones with more amenities and comfort.

Whether renting a camper is cheaper than the combined price of a regular car and hotel accommodation depends on several factors. Firstly, camper rentals don’t all have the same prices, which is, in part, due to varying levels of luxury. For a two-week trip in a two-person camper, the price can range anywhere from around ISK 150.000 to over ISK 450.000 [$1072-3216, €993-2980]. 

The same goes for hotel accommodations. Their prices will vary depending on location, level of service, amenities, and so on. The average nightly hotel rate in Iceland is around ISK 21.000 [$150, €139], which would get us well above the price of a camper on the cheaper end. However, by choosing the cheapest lodgings available, you might end up paying a price similar to that of renting the camper. This means that if price is an important factor in your decision to rent a camper, you should get some research in before booking. 

In terms of convenience and comfort, campers strike a balance between good old-fashioned tent camping and a hotel. They provide better shelter than tents, a big plus considering the famously unpredictable weather of Iceland and the ever-looming possibility of cool temperatures and rain. Some of them even come with a heater and/or heated beds, a welcome luxury on cold nights. And if you would rather flee the bad weather, it’s a breeze to move unexpectedly to a different part of the country since you won’t have any pre-booked accommodations to get to. They also allow you to take unplanned detours to explore anything and everything that catches your eye or extend your stay if you get mesmerised by a black beach or highland wilderness

A black beach in Vík í Mýrdal, South Iceland.
Photo: Páll Stefánsson. A black beach in Vík í Mýrdal, South Iceland.

Regulations and insurance

To rent a camper, the basic Icelandic rules of car renting apply. You must be 20 years old or above, and you need to bring a valid driver’s license. In Iceland, all licenses issued in the USA, Canada, and the European Economic Area (EEA) are valid. Those with a license issued outside these areas have to ensure that their license is printed in Latin characters and has all three of the following: A license number, a photo of the license holder, and a valid date. If your license does not meet these requirements, you must acquire an international driver’s license before you can rent and drive cars and campers in Iceland. Usually, you’ll need to have a valid credit card as well.

On the insurance front, renting companies will offer several insurance options when you order your camper. They range from the most basic coverage, usually only covering collision damage, to a full one covering everything that might happen, such as various types of damages and theft. Seeing as car repairs are expensive in Iceland, buying extra insurance is always a good idea. This is especially true if your travel plans include gravel roads or Highland driving, where the risks of damage are higher than elsewhere. 

In terms of regulations, the same traffic and driving rules apply to campers as regular cars. The only addition is that when parking your camper for the night, you must do so at a designated campsite. It is prohibited to park your camper overnight in parking lots, on the side of the road, or in the wild. Breaking these rules can result in a high fine. 

Driving campers in the Icelandic Highland

For those planning on exploring the Highland, where the roads, called F-roads, are rough and unpaved, it’s imperative to rent a suitable camper. When browsing, look for campers with a four-wheel drive (4×4) or campers that are specifically marked as suitable for the Highland. Additionally, you should always follow the camper rental’s instructions on where you can and cannot drive. Not following these can impact your insurance should anything happen to the car. 

Mountain roads in the Highlands.
Photo: Golli. Mountain roads in the Highlands.

Many people have overestimated the ability of their two-wheel-drive (2WD) cars on these roads, leading to damaged vehicles and other car troubles. Do not attempt the F-roads on a two-wheel-drive camper. Even with the correct car, you need to be extremely careful, especially when crossing highland rivers. You don’t want to end up stuck in one of them! You should also note that not all campers are allowed to cross rivers unless you buy extra insurance.

In terms of finding places to park the camper overnight, the same restrictions apply in the Highland as in the rest of the country. You need to find a designated campsite. This is a bit more challenging in the Highland, as many of the

That being said, if you have the right camper, take caution when crossing rivers, and follow the camper rental’s instructions, campers are a wonderful way to experience the Highland. For more detailed information on how to drive safely in the Highlands, check out Safetravel’s Highland driving tips.

Can you travel in a camper during fall, winter, and spring

in Iceland?

It’s possible to rent and travel in a camper in Iceland throughout the year. However, doing so in fall, winter, and even spring will require careful consideration of the weather forecast and road conditions, as storms and cold weather are frequent during that time. During storms or heavy rain and snow, driving can be hazardous, and roads in the countryside sometimes get closed. Note that the majority of Highland roads are inaccessible from fall to spring due to snow, meaning that Highland travel is off-limits for campers during that time. 

Difficult driving conditions in the countryside during a snow storm.
Photo: Art Bicnick. Difficult driving conditions in the countryside during a snow storm.

For safety measures, keep a look out for weather alerts on the Icelandic Met Office website and road conditions on the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration website. If the wind is expected to reach more than 18 metres per second [40 miles per hour], it’s advised that you keep driving to a minimum. Should it reach 22 metres per second [50 miles per hour], it’s advised not to drive at all. If you see in the forecast that a storm is expected, the best thing you can do is head to the nearest town and wait it out there. In case you unexpectedly need to wait out a storm in the countryside and can’t make it to the next town, it’s a good idea to always have extra food in the camper.

You’ll also need to bring some extra warm clothes with you, seeing as the average lowland temperature is around 3-7°C [37.4-44.6 °F] in fall and spring and 0 °C [32 °F] in winter. While some campers are equipped with a heater or even heated beds, not all of them are, so having the appropriate attire is crucial. Lastly, you should keep in mind that not all campsites are open during the wintertime, and campsites are the only place you’re allowed to park your camper overnight in Iceland. For an overview of campsites open all year round, have a look at the map in the ‘Campsites in Iceland’ section.

A campsite direction sign in Dalasýsla,
Photo: Páll Stefánsson. A campsite direction sign in Dalasýsla,

Campsites in Iceland

Even with the legal restrictions to where you can spend the night in your camper, we promise you won’t have any trouble finding a spot. Iceland is crawling with campsites, but some of the more popular include Húsafell in the west, Ásbyrgi in the north, Hallormsstaðarskógur forest in the east, and Laugardalur in Reykjavík (south). If you’re looking for something a bit more secluded, check out Fjalladýrð campsite in Möðruvellir (north-east), Raufarhöfn village in the north, or Urðartindur campsite in the Westfjords. Note that the last one requires driving on a gravel road where conditions can sometimes be less than ideal. You should always take caution when driving on gravel roads. 

The cost of camping in Iceland is usually between ISK 2000 and 5000 [$15-36, €13-33] per person for the night, not including electricity. If you plan to drive around Iceland in your camper for more than a week, you might want to consider purchasing the Camping Card. It gives you access to 35 campsites in Iceland for up to 28 nights and is valid for two adults and four children 16 years old or younger. It can be used from early/mid-May when participating campsites open for the summer to 15 September. Note that some campsites may close before that time. With the price of ISK 24.900 [$178, €165] it will quickly pay off, even for a couple with no children.

Above is a map of some of the most popular campsites in Iceland, some more secluded ones and ones that are open all year round. It was updated in 2024 and is not a full list of campsites in Iceland.

Are Campers suitable for family vacations in Iceland?

If you don’t mind the limited space, campers are a great way for families to travel in Iceland. The flexibility of the camper is ideal for those types of vacations, allowing for impromptu camp setup should anyone be too tired to keep going and eliminating the need to rush to get to your accommodation for the night. At the same time, they give you added comfort compared to sleeping in a tent, and as mentioned above, they can potentially save you money on the accommodation front.

Besides that, travelling in a camper means that the kids will have plenty of space to run around and play in when you set up camp. A lot of campsites in Iceland have playgrounds, areas for ball games and sometimes even mini-golf. Usually, they are also located close to swimming pools. That is to say, the kids will have plenty to do. Two particularly fun and popular campsites for families are Kjarnaskógur forest in the north and Úlfljótsvatn lake in the south. They both have expansive areas for various outdoor activities and playgrounds that are well above the average. 

A giant jumper, commonly found in playgrounds in Iceland.
A giant jumper, commonly found in playgrounds in Iceland.

Flying to Iceland

Keflavík airport Icelandair

Flying to Iceland in the near future? Which airlines should you take, and how can you find the best travel deals? Read on to find out more about flying to Iceland. 

Flying to Iceland need not be complicated.

In fact, the reality of having only a single airport, Keflavík International, already simplifies much of your travel planning. On top of that, approximately 20 different airlines include Iceland among their destination. 

Once your flights are booked, there’s nothing else for it but packing your bags, donning some thermal wear, and taxiing to the airport. Yee-hah!

(Alright, you might want to plan a little more than that. Try reading our featured Before You Go articles; How to Pack for Winter in Iceland and How to Pack for Summer in Iceland.) 

Table of Contents

 Photo: Golli. Seljalandsfoss on the South Coast

 If you happen to be European or American, Iceland is very accessible as a travel destination. It is approximately a two-hour flight from the United Kingdom, and only a six-hour flight from New York. That means, depending on where you hail from, it might be quicker getting to Iceland than it is somewhere else in your own country. 

Consider that – the world really is such a small place! And a country as strange and alluring as Iceland is right on your doorstep. 

Naturally, a vacation in Iceland promises awe, excitement, reflection – all in equal measure. But before you and your family can experience the wonders that the land of ice and fire has in store, you first have to get here

Thankfully, that can be a thrilling experience in itself given you’ll be arriving at Keflavik International Airport, a modern terminal situated atop a live lava field.  

Keflavík International Airport 

Keflavík airport
Photo: Páll Stefánsson. Iceland’s international airport in Keflavík

 As Keflavík (KEF) is Iceland’s only international airport. Do not get it confused with Reykjavík Domestic Airport, which deals solely in local flights. 

Keflavík International Airport is located on the Reykjanes Peninsula, a volcanic spit of land in the southwest of the country. You can read more about this fascinating part of the country in our full article, All About The Reykjanes Peninsula

It is approximately forty minutes drive from the capital city, Reykjavík. Bus transfers from the airport to various drop-off points throughout Reykjavík run 24/7. 

What are the cheapest airlines flying to Iceland?

 

While it might be surprising for a country with less than 400,000 citizens, Iceland actually operates multiple airlines of its own. The oldest, and largest, is IcelandAir, which flies from over fifty destinations around the world. 

Icelandair 

Keflavík airport Icelandair
Photo: Golli. IcelandAir boeing.

Icelandair began in 1937 as Flugfélag Akureyrar. It was, as the name suggests, founded in Akureyri. Three years later, it would move its headquarters to Reykjavík and change its moniker. The company began its first international flights in the 1940s, flying first to the Faroe Islands and Denmark. In the years since, they have become an internationally recognised airline, with many destinations and routes on their roster. 

Icelandair celebrated its 80th anniversary in 2017. It was a worthy milestone given the stellar reputation for comfort and efficiency IcelandAir has nurtured since first taking to the air. Most recently, Icelandair added fresh routes to Iceland’s big brother, Greenland, making the corners of the North Atlantic more accessible than ever before.   

A WizzAir Boeing
Photo: WizzAir Facebook.

Budget airlines in Iceland 

 

A cheaper option would be the recently opened budget-airline, WizzAir. With over 950 routes to choose from, it is easy to see why WizzAir is the number one option for many travellers, especially those keeping a tight grip of their wallet. 

Perhaps the fact Iceland has two airlines is not so shocking after all. In the last ten years, Iceland has become a must-visit destination amongst travellers. 

This is, in large part, due to its ethereal nature, from bubbling hot springs to cascading waterfalls and epic mountain rangers. Iceland truly is a place straight out of a storybook. 

However, a handful of guests are surprised to find Iceland a modern, technologically-savvy, culture, as well as one that recognises the importance of tourist infrastructure.

When are the best times to fly to Iceland? 

 Photo: Golli. Reyjavík in the summer, a prime time for a visit to Iceland

Ultimately, this question depends on whether you would rather experience Iceland in the winter or summer. Both seasons offer plenty of reasons to visit. 

For example, in summertime, Iceland is illuminated throughout the night by the fascinating Midnight Sun. This unique and, some might say, otherworldly phenomenon occurs because of Iceland’s geographical position, close to the Arctic Circle. 

With more sunlight means more time to explore all that Iceland has to offer. That might be horse-riding through mossy lava fields. It could be snorkelling in a crystalline glacial ravine, Maybe it’s simply enjoying waterfalls and villages along the South Coast. Whatever type of vacation you’re hoping to find in Iceland, the summer is sure to have you covered. 

Sightseeing is just one of the popular activities during winter in Iceland
 Photo: Golli. Gullfoss waterfall in Winter.

That is, of course, unless you happen to be seeking a frozen wonderland. 

Of the activities just listed, know that these can all be booked in the winter too, only the land is shrouded in twinkling white snow. Seeing the Northern Lights is just one of the greatest draws for guests at this time of year. It’s also the time to visit stunning ice caves, experience a spot of dog sledding in Iceland’s north, or even conquer a mighty glacier.  

Iceland as a stopover destination 

pedestrian street Laugavegur Reykjavík
 Reykjavíkurborg. Pedestrian street Laugavegur in the centre of Reykjavík on a busy summer day

Iceland is located midway between North America and continental Europe, and is therefore primed as a fantastic stopover destination for those travelling back and forth. Adding extra days to your itinerary in order to discover what all the fuss is about is worth it for those with time to spare. 

As we’ve mentioned, Reykjavík and many beloved natural attractions – be they waterfalls or national parks – are fairly close to Keflavik Airport. That means that even visitors staying at the airport’s hotels still have an opportunity to fill their days with fun and adventure. Best of all, an Iceland stopover has something to offer all different types of traveller, be you a businessperson or a family coming home from vacation. 

There are many quick tours that do not require multiple days of travel to experience. Take a trip into the Lava Tunnel, for instance. Not only is it a mere hour’s drive from the airport, but it can be fully experienced in a single hour. Our feature article, , breaks down what you can expect from this quick, underground adventure. 

A stopover in Iceland does not have to break the bank. Transatlantic flyers with IcelandAir can actually add stopover days in Iceland at no extra cost. In fact, you can add up to a week, completely for free! 

Is there an alternative to flying?

MS Norröna
 Photo: Smyril Line. MS Norröna is the only ferry that travels to Iceland.

Given that Iceland is an island, the simplest means of getting here is by air travel. However, there is one other option for European guests… 

Catching a ride on the MS Norröna

Travelling by the high seas like a real Viking voyager might be preferable for some visitors. Well, good news considering this car ferry makes regular trips between Denmark, the Faroe Islands, and Iceland, making port at the eastern town of Seyðisfjörður. 

In the summer, the boat is fully decked out with its own cinema, restaurants, and a swimming pool. Such luxuries might make you question the logic of flying in on a cramped plane, but winter travellers might experience less red-carpet treatment. The MS Norröna resembles more of a cargo ship during this season on account they operate a smaller crew and ferry less passengers.

Tourists in the Sapphire Ice Cave.

Where can I find travel deals for flying to Iceland? 

Before booking a trip to Iceland, it is advised to scour the internet for any deals that may be available. As the world is aware by now, Iceland can be an expensive destination to visit, so cutting costs wherever possible is a wise fiscal choice.

You can also keep track of airfares using websites like Google Flights and Kayak

And, while they may be better suited until after you’ve made a booking, Flightstats and Flightaware can also come in handy for keeping on top of your flight details. 

When it comes to finding the right tours and activities during your stay, you will find Iceland Review has a range of exciting and competitively-priced excursions available.

When looking for deals, your first stop should always be the airlines own website.  The following airlines fly to Iceland:

Whale-Watching From Reykjavík

Whales of Iceland

Everybody talks about Húsavík, in the north of Iceland, to be the whale-watching capital of Iceland – but what about Reykjavík? In Reykjavík’s home bay, Faxaflói, spanning between the Reykjanes and Snæfellsness peninsula, you can observe a surprising amount of whales that come every year to feed in the nutrient-dense waters! Which whales can you observe on a whale-watching tour from Reykjavík, and is it worth it compared to other places in Iceland?

Whale-Watching from Reykjavík

How can I get there?

On a beautiful but crisp Thursday morning in March, we headed to the Elding ticket booth right in the Reykjavík harbour to pick up our tickets for our three-hour classic whale-watching tour. Stepping through the whale-watching centre “Fífill”, a permanently docked old fishing vessel, we already got a small taste of what we were about to see. The former vessel holds a small souvenir shop and information centre, including a very intriguing minke whale skeleton hanging from the ceiling. Our tour’s boat is called “Eldey”, a former Norwegian ferry that carries two indoor decks with a kiosk and large seating area and a grand top deck for great observation spots!

If you’re interested in finding out which whales you can observe in the waters around Iceland and from its shores, you can check out our “Whales of Iceland” article here.

What should I wear on a whale watching tour?

The temperatures on the day of our Elding tour were around 0°C (32°F), so dressing warm was essential! I’ve been on around five whale-watching tours in Iceland, and every tour provider usually offers warm oversuits for layering above your regular street clothing. Being on the open water with strong winds can cool you down quite quickly – even during the summer months – so it’s crucial to be dressed accordingly.

I’d recommend bringing these essentials when you go on a whale-watching tour:

  • Hat, gloves & scarf
  • Warm jacket – or multiple layers underneath a fleece/soft shell jacket
  • Camera
  • Sunglasses
  • Binoculars (if you have some)
whale watching reykjavik, elding, reykjavik from the city, boat
Packed-up in a big oversuit, photo: Alina Maurer
What can I expect on a whale-watching tour?

Usually, you sail out into Faxaflói bay for about an hour to reach the playground of the whales, where they hang about and feed. The boat takes the route past Engey Island, the home of the local Reykjavík puffins! From mid-April to mid-August, you can observe many of the dorky seabirds from the boat and watch them dive for fish!

During the tour, two guides in the crow’s nest, the captain and other fellow crew members, are usually looking out for whales. But everybody is encouraged to keep an eye out for something. When we went on the whale-watching tour with Elding, another guest spotted the first minke whale of the tour – even before the guides! 

When trying to spot these large mammals out in the wide ocean, it is important to keep the “3 B’s rule” in mind:

  • Bodies
  • Blows
  • Birds
Make sure to look out for a flock of birds gathering around a certain spot on the water. This usually indicates that there is food available, meaning that whales will often appear soon after for a breath after indulging in some crustaceans and fish. Blows can be difficult to spot in between waves and ocean foam, but they often reach up to 6 metres in height, depending on the whale, and therefore are another important indicator that a whale is around! The last and most obvious indication is observing the bodies of the whales themselves – if you see something appear and dive down again, it most likely is a whale, a dolphin or a hidden sea monster!
whale watching reykjavik, elding, reykjavik from the city
Reykjavík from Faxaflói bay, photo: Alina Maurer
Dealing with seasickness – Can I still go whale-watching?

While we sailed out, our guide Anna told us some interesting facts about the area, the bay and the surrounding mountains like Esja. During our adventure, the March 16 eruption on the Reykjanes peninsula was still ongoing, and we could see a big pollution plume rise from the eruption site. The sea was quite calm that day, but we still had some bigger waves. 

After a while, a few people on deck got seasick. Elding offers free seasickness pills and peppermint tea for passengers feeling unwell and also recommends staying on deck for fresh air – which helps tremendously. 

If you know you easily get seasick but nevertheless want to head on a whale-watching tour, it is recommended to take medication battling seasickness before the boat ride and also to pick a relatively calm day. I was once on a whale-watching tour in Húsavík, and the sea was so rough that about 90% of the passengers started throwing up – I usually don’t feel any seasickness, but the fact that everybody else was barfing from the railing made me very nauseous and dampened the experience a bit!

lighthouse reykjavik, whale watching reykjavik, elding, reykjavik from the city, boat
minke whale, whale watching reykjavik, elding, reykjavik from the city, boat
whale watching reykjavik, edling
Minke whale, photo: Anna Richter, Elding
Which whales can I see from Reykjavík?

After arriving at the furthest point Elding would sail out to that day in Faxaflói bay, we caught sight of a minke whale continuously coming up to the surface to breathe. It was a truly magnificent sight to see and hear such a huge animal breathe—just metres away from where we stood! Another whale-watching boat from another provider was close by, as all companies work together and tell each other if they spot a whale! You generally don’t need to be worried about what spot on the boat is best for some great whale observations, as the captain usually makes sure to turn the boat around so everybody catches a glimpse. Oftentimes, many people also switch places on the deck according to which side the last whale appeared or even disappear down to the kiosk for a snack. So you don’t need to stress out if all the great spots on deck are already taken when you start the tour!

During our tour, we “only” saw two minke whales and a small pod of harbour porpoises on our way back. What a happy ending to a successful tour! Only a couple of days later, Elding announced on its website that hundreds of individuals had just arrived in Faxaflói bay and that they sighted about 50 humpback whales, 7-8 fin whales, and 8 white-beaked dolphins.

Generally, you can observe humpback whales, minke whales, harbour porpoises, white-beaked dolphins, orcas and very rarely fin and blue whales on whale-watching tours from Reykjavík. You can read more about these species here. Remember that going on a whale-watching tour means being out in nature – which tends to be unpredictable, and you might not see any whales! In that case, Elding offers a complimentary ticket for another whale-watching tour. You can book your own whale-watching experience with Elding via Iceland Review here

whale watching reykjavik, elding, reykjavik from the city, boat
Responsible whale-watching

Elding adheres to the Code of Conduct for responsible whale-watching by IceWhale (The Icelandic Whale Watching Association), a non-profit organisation formed by many Icelandic whale-watching operators. That means that the boats should not spend more than 20-30 minutes with a single individual and stop the propeller within 50 metres of the animal – among other measures.

whale watching reykjavik, elding
photo: Elding, Aleksandra Lechwar

The tour guides always take pictures of the whales sighted to add them to a data bank in Elding’s own established research programme. The images are then used to track and identify whales to research more about the cetacean’s migration routes, behavioural patterns and population numbers. If you are interested, you can also read the daily whale-watching diaries and get the pictures the guides took with their professional camera!

Elding also emphasises the importance of boycotting local restaurants that offer whale meat to their guests and tells them about the fact that whales are still actively hunted in Iceland to this day. If you want to read more about the topic, you can check out our 2023 magazine article about whale hunting in Iceland here. 

Other whale-watching hotspots in Iceland

Generally, going whale-watching from Reykjavík does not hold any disadvantages over other places in Iceland. Personally, I always thought that you could observe more whale species from other places in Iceland, like Húsavík –  the “capital” of whale-watching.

But I’ve also had cases where I observed more whales here in Reykjavík than on tours from Húsavík – so it really depends on the time of year and just luck! If you’re staying in Reykjavík, I can definitely recommend going on a whale-watching tour from the local harbour – and with some luck, you can witness the magnificent ocean wildlife, just like from any other place in Iceland! 

There are numerous whale-watching providers all around Iceland. You can check out other whale-watching tours here and other special tours by Elding, like midnight sun whale-watching or sea-angling tours here.

You can find a complete map of all whale-watching spots around Iceland here:

The Weather in Iceland: What to Expect and How to Read the Weather Report

A person walking a dog in a snowstorm.

If you’re planning a trip to Iceland, you’ve probably heard that in addition to northern lights and the magical midnight sun, it’s also famous for unpredictable weather. Constantly keeping the Icelandic people on their toes, it can change directions in an instant, sometimes even going so far as to offer all four seasons in a single day. Despite this uncertainty, staying up to date with the forecast is an important part of keeping yourself safe and comfortable. It allows you to plan ahead for packing, and travel-wise prevents you from getting caught in potentially dangerous situations. The Icelandic Met Office forecast, available on their website and app, is the best place to check. It provides detailed and up-to-date information about the expected weather and alerts you to extreme conditions. Below, you will find everything you need to know about what you can expect from the weather in Iceland and how to read the weather report.

What’s the weather like in Iceland?

Generally, temperatures fluctuate between -10 °C [14 °F] and 20°C [68°F] over the year, with January being the coldest month and July the warmest. Storms, often accompanied by snow or rain, are frequent from September to March but far less common during summer. 

This is not to say that the weather in Iceland is all storms and rain that slaps you in the face. The fall and winter days can be quite beautiful, with clear skies and frosty ground or snow that falls calmly to the ground, and the spring and summer usually offer some exceptional days of sun and warmth as well. 

Given this unpredictability, it’s imperative for your safety and comfort that you check the weather forecast a few days before your trip and stay informed throughout it. The weather often catches people off guard, leaving them cold and uncomfortable, a situation that can easily be avoided by checking the forecast and dressing in the right clothes. Likewise, knowing when extreme weather is expected can spare you from getting yourself into a potentially dangerous situation, such as driving on a mountain road in a blinding snowstorm.

Weather alerts

The most important thing to know about the Icelandic weather report is how the colour-coded alert system works. Alerts are issued in cases of extreme weather and are a convenient way to quickly get the lay of the land. As mentioned above, snowstorms, rainstorms, and windstorms are common during fall and winter, and keeping an eye out for alerts is essential for your safety. They are less common during spring and summer, but we advise you to check for them nonetheless, especially if you’re driving around the country or going up to the Highland.

The alert system is simple and easy to understand. It has three colours, each representing a different severity level: yellow, orange, and red. You’ll see the warnings in the top right corner of the Icelandic Met Office homepage. There’s a small blue map of Iceland there which will display the different colours in correspondence with the weather in each part of the country – north, west, south, east, and the Highland. You can click on each section of the country to get more specific information about the issued warnings, what they entail and where they apply.

Screenshot of the weather alert map from the Icelandic MET Office, showing a yellow alert for wind.
Screenshot of the weather alert map from the Icelandic MET Office, showing a yellow alert for wind.

A yellow alert is the least extreme, and although it probably won’t be pleasant to spend the day outside, you can usually go about your business uninterrupted. Just be mindful of wind gusts and things that might be blowing around. If you had a hike planned, you should postpone it to another day, as the weather is usually more extreme in the mountains. You should also be extra careful driving around, especially in the countryside. Wind gusts can easily catch you off guard if you’re not prepared for them, leading to accidents. 

An orange alert means that the weather can be dangerous, and people are advised not to take unnecessary trips outside. A red alert is the most extreme, indicating a level of emergency. It’s relatively uncommon that a red alert is issued, but in case you encounter one while you’re here, prepare to kick back and have a cosy day inside. You should only leave the house in case of emergencies.

For all stages of alerts, it’s important to be mindful of your surroundings and take caution when moving around, both on foot and in a car. If you’re staying in a home with a patio, balcony, or garden, and there is any furniture or other loose items, secure them so they won’t blow away. You could, for example, move the items inside or stack them in a sheltered corner. Any level of alert could result in cancelled trips, delays in transportation, and closed roads. 

If the map in the upper right corner is entirely blue, there is no warning, and you can proceed with your plans uninterrupted. 

The classic weather map

To get a closer look at the weather, you can check out the map labelled ‘whole country’. It’s a classic weather report map using sun and cloud symbols to display the expected weather – sunny, cloudy, rainy, snowy. Temperature is shown in Celsius beside the symbols, with a red number if it’s above freezing and a blue one if it’s below. Wind predictions are displayed as meters per second, with an arrow indicating the wind direction. Both the number and the arrows are black.

Screenshot of the classic weather map from the Icelandic MET Office.
Screenshot of the classic weather map from the Icelandic MET Office.

 

Use the sliding bar below the map to move back and forth in time, and click on the map to zoom in. Doing so will also give you more locations to look at. By hovering over a sun/cloud symbol, you’ll get basic written information about the weather in that location, and by clicking on it, a six-day forecast for the area will appear below the map.

In-depth weather report

In addition to the typical forecast map, you can find separate maps for temperature, wind, and precipitation predictions. These are colour-coded and more specific than the all-in-one map. 

The wind map shows the expected wind at 10 metres [33 feet] height. The arrows across the map indicate the direction of the wind, and the colours indicate speed. Green tones represent a wind speed of 0-8 metres per second, blue tones 8-16, purple tones 16-24, and red tones anything above that.

The temperature map shows the expected temperature at two metres [6.6 feet] height. The lowest temperatures are shown in green tones, each tone representing 2°C temperature intervals. As the heat increases, the colour tones will change to blue, yellow, orange, and red, with red representing the highest temperatures. 

 

Screenshot of the temperature map from the Icelandic MET Office.
Screenshot of the temperature map from the Icelandic MET Office.

The precipitation map shows the cumulative precipitation levels over a 1-hour, 3-hour or 6-hour period. The colours range from light yellow, indicating light precipitation of 0.1 mm [0.004 inches] per hour, to red, indicating heavy precipitation of 50 mm [2 inches] per hour. The map will also show you the direction and speed of the wind with wind barbs, the point of which will tell you the direction of the wind. Diagonal lines at the end of the barb symbolise wind speed. An increase in the length and number of lines means stronger winds. If the wind reaches 25 m/s, a triangle will be at the barb’s end. The lines across the map indicate mean sea level pressure.

 

The wind, temperature, and precipitation maps all have the same sliding bar function as the basic map, but you cannot zoom in on it or choose specific locations. 

Journey to the Centre of the Glacier: Into The Glacier Langjökull

Into the Glacier, Langjökull, photo by: Alina Maurer

Visiting a glacier in Iceland is always a great idea, but have you ever been inside one? With ‘Into the Glacier,’ you can visit the longest man-made ice cave in the world all year round, drilled into Iceland’s second largest glacier, Langjökull.

Here is everything you need to know about how to get there, what to wear, and what to expect from a man-made ice cave compared to a natural one!

All you need to know!

How to get there: Driving to Húsafell

The ice tunnel is located in Langjökull, Iceland’s second-largest glacier, in the western part of Iceland. Langjökull covers about 950 km² (10,225 sq ft) and is between 1,200 and 1,300 metres (about 4,000 ft) above sea level. You can easily get there by driving to Húsafell, a large holiday and campground area just a 2-hour drive away from Reykjavík.

If you are not renting a car, you can also just book the experience with transportation from Reykjavík. When we went “Into the Glacier”, we booked the experience from Húsafell and also decided to stay in a holiday hut for a few nights.

There are numerous options for accommodation in the area. You can stay at the Húsafell Hotel or the campground, or you can book one of the summer houses in the area—most come with a hot tub, which is very relaxing after a day in the glacier!

I have visited a few ice caves in Vatnajökull National Park before, and with most of them, you need to prepare for a small hike before reaching the glacier outlet. 

When visiting the man-made ice caves in Langjökull glacier, you are driven to the entrance of the tunnel system. This is a perfect option for people who have difficulty walking longer distances or families who want to take smaller kids on the experience. 

What should I wear?

When we visited in late March, it was pretty frosty, with temperatures reaching down to -15°C (5°F) on top of the glacier, with strong wind gusts making everything feel even colder. So it’s important that you dress warm and wear good waterproof boots (you can also get overshoes at the Húsafell Activity Camp), as it is around 0°C (32°F) in the tunnels.

You should definitely bring along:

  • Waterproof shoes and warm socks
  • Warm winter jacket
  • Hat & gloves
  • Sunglasses for the trip to the glacier
  • Base-/Mid-layer clothing
An adventurous superjeep ride to Langjökull

If you choose to visit the ice tunnel from Húsafell, you will meet up with your guide at the Húsafell Activity Center, where you can also buy snacks and get gas! 

Our little group was greeted by guide and operation manager for “Into the Glacier”, Óskar and his Superjeep Wrangler Rubicon. During the winter season, from October 16 to May 31, all groups meet up at Húsafell. During the summer months, visitors with a 4×4 vehicle can also drive up the F-road 550 to the Klaki Basecamp themselves, from where they will be picked up with a specifically modified glacier vehicle. 

Please note that the driving conditions heavily depend on the weather and that you should not drive an F-road unless you are prepared for it!

 

Into the Glacier, Langjökull, photo by: Alina Maurer
Guide Óskar & his superjeep, photos: Alina Maurer
Into the Glacier, Langjökull, photo by: Alina Maurer
Into the Glacier, Langjökull, photo by: Alina Maurer

The bumpy ride from Húsafell onto Langjökull glacier takes about an hour, depending on the weather and the road. When we visited, a minor snowstorm surprised us once we ascended higher on the road to Langjökull. During some parts of the ride, Óskar needed to rely on his GPS due to poor visibility. At some point, everything behind the windshield turned completely white, and I lost feeling for whether the vehicle was moving or not – but Óskar had everything under control. What an adventure!

You are driven past an ancient road that, back in the days, chieftains from all over Iceland used to get to the parliament assemblies in Þingvellir. You also pass Ok, a former glacier that lost its status in 2014 after its ice mass became too thin to move by its own weight and was, therefore, declared dead. Sadly, the reality of melting glaciers and climate change caught up with us a few times more while travelling up to Langjökull in the form of memory cairns, which mark the former edges of Langjökull for each decade.

Into the Glacier, Langjökull, photo by: Alina Maurer
The edge of the glacier in the year 2000, photo: Alina Maurer
Being inside a glacier: What to expect?

After arriving at Langjökull, we make our way through extreme wind gusts, slapping us in the face with ice-cold air and snow. The entrance of the tunnel system is unexpectedly narrow and inconspicuous, but finally, it’s windstill and nearly warm inside at around 0°C (32°F) after the harsh conditions outside. 

Óskar leads us to the “dressing room” past some (emergency) portable toilets so we can put on our crampons. The tunnel is unexpectedly grand, with the ceiling reaching as far up as more than 3 metres and 3.5 metres wide. The ground is quite slippery, but the crampons help find grip immensely.

Generally, the man-made ice cave is accessible to all. Children can get sledges to be pulled through the tunnels for an exciting adventure, and people relying on wheelchairs can also book special assistance so they are also able to visit Langjökull!

While Óskar leads us further inside the glacier, he explains the different stages of how a glacier forms, which can be easily seen at the beginning of the tunnel. The snow accumulates over time, and if it “survives” one melt season, it compresses through the weight of the snow on top of it and forms a denser layer called “firn”. After more compression, the layers slowly transform into a thick mass of ice.

 

Into the Glacier, Langjökull, photo by: Alina Maurer

"The ice in here is about 150 years old. So when people are in the chapel, the ice slowly melts from their heat, and we breathe in that old air in small quantities that emerges from the air bubbles within the ice."

Into the Glacier, Langjökull, photo by: Alina Maurer
Óskar explaining the age of the ice in the chapel, photo: Alina Maurer

We pass the picturesque blue wall, where the famous “Into the Glacier” logo is stationed and arrive at the chapel. In the past, people have gotten married here, and some celebrities have even rented the entire ice tunnel for an overnight stay! So if you are looking for a special place for a special celebration, you can contact the team and have a truly unique experience arranged.

Into the Glacier, Langjökull, photo by: Alina Maurer
Shift manager Kiddi is enlarging the tunnel and cutting ice with a chainsaw, photo: Alina Maurer

The tunnels need to be maintained constantly, as otherwise, the whole cave system would disappear after approximately seven years due to the glacier’s movement. 

Inside the tunnel, you can truly see how the glacier moves and how it finds its own paths for water drainage through moulins and cracks that open up into big crevasses. Everything is constantly monitored and maintained, so the experience is very safe. Óskar showed us remnants of old crevasses that closed themselves again and also a current crevasse that has been in the tunnel for some time. You can also see the ash layer of the Eyjafjallajökull eruption from 2010 preserved in the ice layer, which is pretty cool!

The tunnel is 500 metres (1640 ft) long and runs in a circle, so you don’t walk the same path twice. During the visit, you have plenty of time to ask all sorts of questions and take pictures. The guides also explain different characteristics of glaciers during the tour, like the drainage system of moulins, the formation of crevasses and the construction process of the ice tunnel.

Natural Ice Caves VS Man-Made Ice Tunnel
Einar Rúnar Sigurðsson standing in the Sapphire Ice Cave.
Golli. Einar Rúnar Sigurðsson standing in the Sapphire Ice Cave

If you are unsure whether you want to visit the man-made ice cave in Langjökull or a natural ice cave, here are all the facts to make your decision easier!

I’ve been to three natural ice caves at Breiðamerkurjökull, a glacier outlet that is part of the Vatnajökull National Park and in my opinion, both kinds of ice caves have their own charm. I was truly astonished that one could witness the glaciers’ movement in the man-made tunnel firsthand and I did not expect that at all – I’ve also not had that experience during my visits in a natural ice cave, as you don’t go in that far. 

In the man-made ice tunnel in Langjökull, you are truly INSIDE a glacier with about 25 metres of thick ice above you and over 200 metres of ancient ice beneath you, way further in than you would be in a natural ice cave, which is pretty cool!

While the lighting responsible for the infamous blue hues in ice caves is undoubtedly better in a natural ice cave, as it is natural light and does not come from LEDs, natural ice caves are mostly only accessible during the winter months from mid-October to late March. 

Into the Glacier, Langjökull, photo by: Alina Maurer
Hidden waterfall on the way back to Húsafell, photo: Alina Maurer

Therefore, the man-made ice tunnel in Langjökull is a great option for people visiting Iceland in the summer, families with smaller children and people who have difficulties walking longer distances. In my opinion, both experiences have their own perks and are quite different from each other!

Not to forget, the journey up and down the glacier is an adventure by itself. Riding in a modified supertruck and witnessing the harsh elements while standing on ancient ice is truly mesmerising! Óskar even made an extra pit stop on the way back to show us a hidden waterfall. “Into the Glacier” does a great job of sharing important knowledge about glaciers, a natural phenomenon that will be lost in the near future due to climate change. Visiting the ice cave with Óskar was truly an experience that we will cherish for a long time to come!

You can book your “Into the Glacier” experience here via Iceland Review.

A Guide to Reykjavík Airport

Reykjavík Airport.

Although Iceland is not the biggest country in terms of surface area, travelling between the south, west, north, and east can take a deceivingly long time. This is mostly due to the endless fjords and peninsulas you’ll weave through on the way. While these are quite often a sight for sore eyes, sometimes, you just don’t have the time or ability to make the journey. In these cases, domestic flights are a lifesaver, and, as luck would have it, there’s a domestic flight airport smack dab in the middle of Reykjavík: Reykjavík Airport. It’s been a topic of much debate due to its close proximity to residential areas, but for now, it’s here to help you explore Iceland in the quickest way possible. 

 

Airlines, destinations, and pricing

Three airlines fly from Reykjavík Airport, each to different towns and villages in Iceland. Icelandair flies to Akureyri in the north, Egilsstaðir in the east, Ísafjörður on the Westfjords, and Vestmannaeyjar islands in the south. Eagle Air (look for Flugfélagið Ernir on search engines) flies to Höfn in Hornafjörður in the southeast, and Norlandair flies to Bíldurdalur and Gjögur on the Westfjords, as well as Nerlerit Inaat in Greenland. Additionally, should none of the flight times or destinations meet your needs, Mýflug Air offers charter flights tailored to your plans.

This wide range of destinations allows a full and free exploration of Iceland for those who don’t have the time, desire, or capability to drive between the different parts of the country. Keep in mind that, as with most things in Iceland, airline tickets are probably quite a bit more expensive than what you’re used to. Prices for a one-way ticket range anywhere from ISK 14,000 [$99, €92] to 60,000 [$424, €395], depending on demand and location. To avoid the highest prices, book your tickets well in advance.

A group of people coming off an aeroplane at Akureyri Airport.
Photo: Golli. A group of people coming off an aeroplane at Akureyri Airport.

How to get to Reykjavík Airport

There are several ways to get to the airport. Firstly, with a walking distance of about 30 minutes from the city centre, there’s the option of going on foot. On a nice day, it’s a beautiful walk that will take you past Vatnsmýrin Nature Reserve, a small, protected moorland with 83 different plant species and plenty of birds. It’s equally pretty in winter as it is in summer, with the colder temperatures luring mystical-looking steam from the water.

If you don’t have a lot of luggage, you could also rent an e-scooter from Hopp. This is a great way to travel quickly and easily between locations while also enjoying the city. They have a pay-per-minute system, so depending on how far away you are, it might even be cheaper than taking the bus. Simply download the Hopp app, rent a scooter, and ride to the airport. Once you get there, you can park the scooter on the edge of the sidewalk and leave it for somebody else. 

A third option is to use Strætó, the public transport system which will take you almost to the door of the airport. Bus number 15 stops in a one-minute walking distance from the airport. If you haven’t been using Strætó, the best thing to do is download Klappið app, where you can purchase a single fair. For up-to-date pricing, see Strætó’s official pricing page. It is also possible to pay with cash, but as the drivers don’t have any change, you’ll have to have the exact amount to avoid paying more than you’re supposed to. 

Buses number 6, 4, and 15 at Hlemmur bus stop.
Buses number 6, 4, and 15 at Hlemmur bus stop.

If you have a rental car that you’re not dropping off before your flight, you can park it by the airport for a fee. The parking system uses automatic number plate recognition, which means that the system will calculate how much you owe based on the time you entered and exited the parking lot. To pay, you’ll need to create an account with Autopay. You should do this within 48 hours of exiting, or a late fee of ISK 1.490 [$10, €10] will be added to your charge. 

Lastly, there’s the option of taking a taxi. This is the most hassle-free way, allowing you to enjoy your journey without having to make any additional transportation plans, but note that taking a taxi in Iceland is very expensive. A 5 km trip within the city during the daytime will likely cost at least ISK 2,666 [$19, €18], or about four times the amount you would pay for a bus ticket.

How much luggage can you bring?

As for many international flights, on domestic flights in Iceland, 20 kg is a common maximum weight for checked-in bags and 6 kg for handbags. This will, of course, depend on the airline you’re flying with, so make sure to familiarize yourself with their rules. Security restrictions on what is allowed in hand luggage are similar to international flights, meaning that firearms, clubs, sharp tools, and anything else that could be considered a weapon are not allowed. However, you are allowed to travel with liquids. For a full list of restricted items, visit Isavia’s baggage information page

How long before departure should you arrive?

Seeing that the airport is a fraction of the size of Keflavík Airport, arriving to check in about 60 minutes before your departure is sufficient. The aeroplanes used to fly domestic flights are smaller than those used for international flights, and the amount of flights taking off and landing is far smaller than at Keflavík. This means that there are fewer people going through, leading to a less busy airport. There are also just two terminals, so you there’s no chance of getting lost and missing your flight. 

Reykjavík Airport from above.
Photo: Golli. Reykjavík Airport from above.

Are there food and beverages at Reykjavík Airport?

At the time of writing, the airport’s cafeteria is temporarily closed. However, there are a few vending machines where you can purchase food and coffee. Domestic flights generally do not offer food and beverages aboard, but if you think you might get hungry on the way, bringing your own refreshments – food and drink – is perfectly fine.  

Special assistance and hidden disabilities

Should you require a wheelchair or special assistance, please contact the airline you’re travelling with beforehand. This will allow them to plan ahead and make any necessary arrangements for your arrival. 

If you have a hidden disability, you can opt to wear the sunflower lanyard to make the journey as comfortable as possible. Airport staff are aware that passengers wearing them might need more time, patience, and understanding, and they will be happy to help you make your journey easier. If you don’t already have one, lanyards are available at the check-in desks in the departure hall and at the information desk in the arrival hall. 

Private flights

In addition to domestic flights flights and flights to Greenland, Reykjavík Airport is a common stopover for private jets. Due to Iceland’s convenient location in the middle of the Atlantic, it’s the ideal place to refuel your plane or divide up the journey between Europe and the United States. With its close proximity to Reykjavík city centre, it’s easy to hop off for a few hours to explore the attractions of the city or grab a bite at one of its exceptional restaurants before heading off again. 

Enjoying Iceland as a Couple

Something that can be said unequivocally about Iceland is that it is an exceptionally cozy place for couples. The small, intimate streets of Reykjavík, the numerous swimming pools and hot baths and the hotels and lodges in remote and breathtaking nature, all work together to make Iceland feel like a couple’s own private playground. Whether going on a honeymoon or simply a romantic getaway, Iceland is an ideal destination, making up for sandy beaches with raw, natural charm and unforgettable scenery. 

Romantic Reykjavík

It’s not necessary to plan a big trip around Iceland in order to have a romantic vacation there, Reykjavík is big enough to offer numerous activities and restaurants while it’s small enough for the natural elements to never seem far away. A perfect start to the day on a weekend would be to head to one of the many bottomless brunches around the city, for example at Brút Restaurant. Brút offers a delicious buffet of unconventional brunch courses that are a great way to try out some of the best of Icelandic cuisine. There’s also a separate dessert buffet and a self service bar of brunch drinks classics like mimosas and bloody mary’s. Afterwards, it’s nice to walk around down to the harbour or wander into Harpa music hall to enjoy the views of Esjan mountain that’s right off the coast. 

Photo: Golli. Beautiful scenery in the harbour area of Reykjavík

There are numerous museums in Reykjavík that are worth a visit, but The Einar Jónsson Museum, up by Hallgrímskirkja church, is one that stands out and would be a perfect addition to a couple’s visit to the city. The museum was designed and built by sculptor Einar himself, and he lived and worked there most of his career. As a result, it has a homey feel to it while also displaying Einar’s beautiful art in a distinct way. After a stroll to the museum, it’s a must to go up to Hallgrímskirkja tower for a stunning view of Reykjavík.

Soaking in Luxury 

While Reykjavík has no shortage of public swimming pools and hot tubs to soak in, for a special treat on a couple’s visit we recommend heading out to the Sky Lagoon in Kópavogur, a short 20 minute drive from Reykjavík. It’s a newly built, adult’s only, geothermal retreat with a special seven step spa type ritual that is designed to relax and rejuvenate visitors. 

Photo: Golli. Soaking in a natural pool is a great way to spend time together in Iceland for a couple

Going on a treasure hunt for a good natural bath is a great way for a couple to explore the country. In the vicinity of Reykjavík there are some good options, like Hvammsvík Hot Springs, which was opened in 2022. The Hvammsvík experience is similar to Sky Lagoon, with its man made, luxurious feel, but for a more authentic adventure, there is the Reykjadalur Hot Spring, an all natural river flowing down Reykjadalur Valley, close to the town of Hveragerði. There’s about an hour long hike to get to the hot spring but the reward of a soak in the unique landscape is priceless. Also in Reykjadalur is a newly installed zip line for thrill seekers looking for unconventional views of the land.

Seeking Adventure

In the fall and winter months, it’s possible to spot the Northern Lights from within Reykjavík but to make an event out of it, there’s no better way than on a cruise around Reykjavík Bay. A boat trip will take visitors far from the city lights and a nice, heated, café area inside the boat makes for a cozy, romantic outing. To get a glimpse at the power of Icelandic nature, the Golden Circle is a classic, taking visitors on an exciting trip to the iconic Gullfoss waterfall and Strokkur geysir. It’s the cherry on top for couples that are looking for an Icelandic experience they’ll never forget.

Photo: Golli. Catching the Northern Lights is an unforgettable experience

The possibilities for a couple’s getaway in Iceland are endless, and certainly not limited to Reykjavík. Some might enjoy renting a camper van and going rogue out in the rugged countryside while others might enjoy a more contained experience like the dreamy Highland Base on the Kerlingafjöll mountain range or a cozy cabin in the magnificent Þakgil canyon. Whichever route is chosen, Iceland is sure to deliver a romantic wonderland full of special moments that will last long after the trip is over.

Skiing in Iceland: Bláfjöll Ski Resort

Skiing resort Bláfjöll, skiing in Iceland

Iceland is famously referred to as the country of fire and ice. Fittingly, there are also some great ski resorts to discover. Luckily, the biggest ski resort in Iceland “Bláfjöll”, is right next to Reykjavík. We have compiled everything you need to know before heading on the wintery journey, from ‘How can I get there?’ & ‘Where can I find the best equipment?’ to ‘What slopes can I expect?’

The best thing about skiing in Iceland? – The ocean view!

As most ski resorts are (naturally) close to the island’s shores, it is likely that you can enjoy the most beautiful ocean view while gliding down the powdery mountains. If you are used to skiing or snowboarding in the European Alps, this is something quite peculiar! In total, Iceland has about 9 skiing resorts, with most of them located in the northern part of the country.

Bláfjöll Ski Resort: Wintersport adventure close to Reykjavík

Iceland’s biggest ski resort, Bláfjöll (“The Blue Mountains”), is just a 30-minute drive away from Reykjavík and perfect for a sporty pit-stop in between exploring Iceland’s sights. During the season from late November to early April (depending on the weather), skiers and snowboarders alike can enjoy 15 kilometres [10 mi] of slopes and 14 ski lifts. 

Bláfjöll ski resort opened in 1970, according to operating manager Einar Bjarnason, and has been the place where many Icelanders stood on skis for the first time in their lives, as the resort started out as a ski school. Just in the fall of 2023, the resort got two new chairlifts and snow-making machines in the hopes of making the season longer and more predictable.

Skiing resort Bláfjöll
The view from Bláfjöll mountain, photo: Alina Maurer
What you can expect?

Generally, when it comes to skiing in Iceland, don’t expect huge resorts with hundreds of kilometres of slopes, like in popular skiing areas in Austria and Switzerland. The views do make up for it, though! 

Most slopes in Bláfjöll are blue (easy), there are some red slopes (intermediate level) and even one black slope – which was actually fairly easy to ski on. The area is, therefore, perfect for beginner and intermediate ski enthusiasts and more than enough for just a day out on the slopes!

Skiing resort Bláfjöll, skiing in Iceland, Einar Bjarnason, operating manager
Einar Bjarnason, operating manager at Bláfjöll ski resort; photo: Alina Maurer

Before planning your visit, you should always be prepared and check the resort’s website or Facebook page. Icelandic weather can be unpredictable, so they make their decision whether to open the area on a day-to-day basis. On the weekends, the slopes are open from 10:00 AM to 05:00 PM. During workdays, you can ski from 02:00 PM until 09:00 PM in the evening with floodlights, which is a pretty cool experience. If you’re racing down the slopes is a bit too adventurous, you can also head on a cross-country-ski adventure at the foot of Bláfjöll.

If you are lucky, you can even watch the sunset right above the ocean as you’re skiing down, which is pretty unique! Many Icelanders make use of the long opening hours during the week to cool off after work on the slopes and send their kids to ski school in the evenings.

Skiing resort Bláfjöll, skiing in Iceland
Skiers shredding down the Bláfjöll slopes in the dark with floodlights, photo: Alina Maurer
How can you get there?

If you’re renting a car, you take the ring road (No 1) in the direction East to Hveragerði. After about 20 minutes, you will see the sign “Bláfjöll 11 km”. You take a turn to the right side, and then it’s only about 10 minutes until you reach the slopes.

There is also a bus commuting directly to the ski resort from the N1 Gas station, close to the BSÍ central bus terminal in Reykjavík and from other locations in the Reykjavík suburbs. The return ticket costs about ISK 4,000 [€ 26 / $ 28].

Where can you get the best equipment & ski passes?

Whether you are a skier or a snowboarder, you can rent all of your gear on-site, including ski helmets and snowsuits. A pair of skis, boots and poles costs about ISK 7,000 [€ 46/$50] per day. A snowboard and boots are the same price. Cross-country skies run for ISK 6,230 [€ 42/$45] per day. You can always get a helmet for free—which you should definitely wear safety-wise!

An adult ski pass for one day runs for about ISK 5,940 [€ 40/$ 43] – when compared to American prizes, that is a definite bargain! 

Children’s day passes are ISK 1,320 [€ 8.85/$ 9.61].

Skiing resort Bláfjöll, skiing in Iceland
Snowboarders at the peak of Bláfjöll during sunset, photo: Alina Maurer
What should you wear?

The simple answer is layers

While you tend to be moving while skiing or snowboarding, you should still make sure that you are dressed warm enough! It can get pretty frosty on top of the mountain, especially with strong and ice-cold winds blowing straight in your face. Make sure to check the weather forecast and dress accordingly. 

Generally, it is great to wear long woollen undergarments, thick wool socks, a fleece or woollen sweater, a ski mask, ski goggles for visibility, snow pants, gloves, and a thick anorak. During our visit to Bláfjöll, the temperatures reached about -18 °C [-0.4°F] on the top and even with many layers of clothing and a ski mask, the adventure got a bit chilly after a while. Luckily, the resort has a small restaurant right next to the ticket hut, where you can get some treats to warm up!

Skiing resort Bláfjöll, skiing in Iceland
Photo: Alina Maurer, the restaurant at Bláfjöll ski resort
What can you eat at Bláfjöll Ski Resort?

The small restaurant right at the bottom of the slopes is the perfect spot to warm up and gather more strength for the next descent. You can buy sandwiches, traditional Icelandic flatkökur (pancakes) with smoked lamb meat and butter, bagels, fries, hotdogs and sweet pastries. They also offer sodas and hot drinks from a vending machine, which tasted pretty good and helped to warm up quickly again. 

The prices are quite affordable, with a hotdog costing ISK 700 [€4.70/$5] and a hot chocolate running for ISK 500 [€3.35 / $3.64], which is even cheaper than in some downtown Reykjavík places.

More winter sport adventures in Iceland

If skiing or snowboarding in a regular ski resort isn’t enough adrenaline for you, you can always head on a guided winter expedition to one of Iceland’s many mountain tops for the ultimate endorphin rush. After an exhausting but thrilling 9 to 13-hour hike to Rótajallshnúkur, you are awarded by descending the mountain by skiing back down. If that sounds like the right adventure for you, make sure to check out this tour here.  If you are a cross-country ski enthusiast, make sure to check out our magazine feature on our expedition to Kerlingarfjöll in the midst of the Icelandic highland. 

Skiing resort Bláfjöll, skiing in Iceland
The ocean view from Bláfjöll, photo: Alina Maurer