13 Best Day Trips from Reykjavik in Winter in 2024

Want to take a day trip from Reykjavik in Winter?

You’re in luck as I’m about to tell you the best options you have for day trips from Reykjavik in Winter.

Iceland is an amazing country to visit, especially in Winter, and while Reykjavik is a beautiful city, it’s not quite the reason people go to Iceland.

Day trips pretty much single-handedly make up a trip to Iceland and most people take day trips nearly every day of their trip, so it can be hard to find enough places to go to.

Luckily for you, I’ve visited Iceland and spent a lot of days taking day trips from Reykjavik, and I’ve created this ultimate guide compiling all of the best options.

So without further ado, let’s get on with it.

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Best Day Trips from Reykjavik in Winter

Winter is one of the most popular times to visit Iceland and Reykjavik because it’s the best time to see the Northern Lights, and the natural beauty of Iceland is incredible at this time of year.

But some Google results encourage you to take day trips which might be a bit of a letdown. For example, lots of posts say to take a whale-watching tour, yet the best time for watching whales is between April and September…literally the exact opposite of winter.

Don’t worry- I will only give you the best options. You’ll be pleased to know that Reykjavik is the best place to stay in Iceland because it’s where all the best tours and excursions leave from, meaning you have an abundance of day trip options.

In no particular order…

1. Golden Circle

Without a doubt, the most popular day trip from Reykjavik in winter, and all year round, is a Golden Circle tour.

It would be impossible to visit Iceland without taking a Golden Circle tour. It visits 3 of the island’s main attractions: Geysir Area, Gullfoss Waterfall & Þingvellir National Park.

I recommend booking the Golden Circle Full-Day Tour with Kerid Crater which has 10,000 positive reviews which I think speaks for itself as to how good the tour is. Plus, you get to visit an extra destination in Kerid Crater.

As the name “Golden Circle” suggests, it’s a beautiful scenic drive between all of the stops. The loop offers some of the most incredible views in all of Iceland, and as I said, it’s impossible to take a trip to Iceland without taking a Golden Circle day tour.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Golden Circle route, the Geysir Area is a unique terrain featuring a series of hot springs, geysers, and bubbling mud pools, with the famous Strokkur geyser erupting impressively approximately every 10 minutes.

Gullfoss Waterfall is a stunning waterfall known for its impressive two-tiered drop, one of which you can see in this photo.

A picture of Gullfoss Waterfall.

Þingvellir National Park is where the North American and Eurasian plates meet. In other words, you can walk across two continents. And the rest of the National Park is beautiful too.

All in all, taking a Golden Circle tour is one of the best day trips from Reykjavik in winter, and you genuinely can’t go wrong with it. It will be one of the best days of your trip to Iceland, no doubt about it.

2. Iceland’s South Coast

Another “must-do” day trip from Reykjavik in Winter is to Iceland’s South Coast. Just like the Golden Circle, there are lots of South Coast tours.

A typical tour of the South of Iceland includes stops at Skógafoss, Sólheimajökull, Vik, Reynisfjara Beach and Seljalandsfoss. Taking one of these tours is the best way to get to Seljalandsfoss from Reykjavik, as well as all of the other attractions.

And similarly, there are plenty of other examples of the breathtaking natural beauty of Iceland along the way.

My recommendation is to book the South of Iceland Full-Day Trip which has over 4,000 reviews and an average of 4.7/5 stars. It’s the best of the best when it comes to South Iceland day trips from Reykjavik.

A picture taken from behind Seljalandsfoss- a key stop along the South of Iceland during day trips from Reykjavik in winter.

Skógafoss, Sólheimajökull, Reynisfjara Beach and Seljalandsfoss are some of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. Skógafoss is a huge 60 metre high waterfall which creates a huge mist making for an atmosphere like no other.

Sólheimajökull is a glacier which offers views which are simply out of this world, and hiking opportunities if you want to return on another day trip- or maybe even take an Iceland snowmobile tour! Reynisfjara Beach is a black sand beach with basalt columns similar to the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland.

Lastly, Seljalandsfoss, which is also my favourite stop. If you have ever seen or heard about the waterfall in Iceland where you can walk behind the waterfall, this is it. It’s indescribable- something straight out of a fairy tale.

Exploring the South of Iceland isn’t something to be considered, it’s something to add to your Iceland itinerary no questions asked. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

3. Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Snæfellsnes Peninsula is the thin strip of land in the middle of Iceland which goes out towards the west. If you fly into Keflavík International Airport, you will be on the peninsula, just not the right part of it.

Day trips to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula offer an unforgettable experience. Many people consider the Peninsula to be a miniature version of the whole of Iceland.

In such a small area, it’s got a little bit of everything. Volcanoes and lava, glaciers and ice caps, stunning waterfalls, unique geological formations, everything.

The best option for taking a day trip is to book the Snæfellsnes Peninsula Full-Day Tour which like all my recommendations, is well thought-of, with over 1500 positive reviews.

Some of the main attractions include quaint fishing villages like Grundarfjordur, Arnarstapi, and Hellnar; the mountains and volcanic craters of Kirkjufell and Ljósufjöll; Djúpalónssandur’s black sand beach; the glacier of Snæfellsjökull; and the infamous Black Church at Budir.

A picture of Kirkjufell mountain.
Kirkjufell mountain.

As you can see, it’s a pretty jam-packed part of Iceland, and it’s actually really close to the capital city, making it the perfect day trip from Reykjavik in winter. There’s no better time than in winter, especially with the glacier!

The peninsula will leave you speechless. It’s impossible to find the words to describe the beauty of an area like this. A Snæfellsnes Peninsula Full-Day Tour will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.

4. Blue Lagoon

One of the main reasons people visit Iceland is to spend a day relaxing in the Blue Lagoon, Iceland’s natural geothermal spa.

But a common issue is that it’s a bit outside Reykjavik, and since most people don’t rent a car during a trip to Iceland, it can be hard knowing how to get there.

That’s why I recommend taking a day trip to the Blue Lagoon. There’s no Uber in Iceland, but thankfully, there are tours which include a transfer to and from Reykjavik as well as entry to the Blue Lagoon.

You could easily spend a full day at the Blue Lagoon. Relaxing in the warm waters of the lagoon while there is a cold Icelandic breeze is one of the best feelings I have ever had.

That’s why it’s one of my top day trips from Reykjavik in winter- because the contrast of the cold with the heat of the water is unreal.

A picture taken from in the water of the Blue Lagoon showing the steam coming off the water.

Not to mention the landscape around the lagoon. It’s typical Iceland terrain with otherworldly rock formations and views that leave you thinking you’re on another planet. Once you’re there, it’s clear to see why nearly 1 million people visit each year.

There are also lots of other ways to relax at the Blue Lagoon with massages, float therapy, skin treatments and more available. Aside from having a really great time, you’ll leave feeling like a new person.

And the best part is, it’s not even too far from Reykjavik, so by taking a day tour, you’re not wasting a lot of time on the bus. It’s actually a pretty short transfer, but it does book up in advance so make sure to book your Blue Lagoon day well ahead of your trip.

5. Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon

Taking a day trip to the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon is pretty much like visiting Antarctica. Minus the penguins, of course. There are seals though!

There are plenty of options for taking day tours to the glacier but I suggest booking the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon Full-Day Trip. With over 2000 ratings and endless positive reviews, you just know you’re going to have a day to remember.

Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon is Iceland’s largest and deepest glacier lagoon. The landscape is made up of icebergs, snowy mountains and pretty much everything else you would expect. It’s a real-life winter wonderland- hence why it makes this list of Reykjavik winter day trips.

By taking the above day tour, you can even book onto a boat tour, to get up close and personal to the glacier, and get out there on the water. I don’t use the phrase lightly, but it’s a true once-in-a-lifetime experience.

A picture of Jökulsárlón. It's one of the best day trips from Reykjavik in winter because it's all based around snow, ice, glaciers, which are all wintery things.

On the way back to Reykjavik, the tour also stops at Diamond Beach, another of Iceland’s many black sand beaches, but this one has a unique twist. It has blocks of ice on the sand.

The contrast between the black of the sand versus the white of the ice is magical to see. It actually looks fake in pictures, and seeing it for yourself, it still doesn’t feel real haha. But it’s very much real and it’s fascinating to see.

For a true winter-themed day trip, take the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon Full-Day Trip from Reykjavik. It can’t get much more wintery than this!

6. Landmannalaugar

Landmannalaugar is part of Iceland’s Fjallabak Nature Reserve in the Highlands and visiting is like stepping into a different world.

A 13-hour day tour from Reykjavik to Landmannalaugar & Háifoss Waterfall Tour is the best way of exploring the region.

There’s so much on offer in this part of Iceland, with lots of hiking trails, countless waterfalls, obsidian rock formations, geothermal pools, and more.

For me, it’s one of the best hiking spots in Iceland. Just take a look at the picture below.

A picture of the mountains of Landmannalaugar.

But the day tour visits more than just Landmannalaugar. Reykjavik to Landmannalaugar & Háifoss Waterfall Tour as the name suggests makes other stops. How do the three waterfalls of Hjálparafoss, Glanni and Háifoss and the crater lake of Hnausapollur sound?

Sounds good to me, and I can’t recommend this day trip enough. It’s not the most popular, I would even consider it underrated. Because it’s truly amazing.

By the way, make sure you follow the policy of “take nothing, leave nothing”. It’s illegal to take rocks etc. from Iceland as it is all protected. Instead, buy a lava rock necklace or something as a souvenir to take from Iceland.

7. Sky Lagoon

Some people choose not to visit the Blue Lagoon as it’s so popular and is so touristy. Instead, some people prefer to visit the Sky Lagoon. It’s a similar idea- a natural geothermal spa.

Just like for the Blue Lagoon, you can get a transfer to and from the Sky Lagoon which includes entrance to the spa.

It makes for the perfect relaxing day trip, with a 7-step ritual included in your entry. If you’d like to know in advance, here is the ritual.

Step 1: Slow down and relax in the lagoon
Step 2: Cool down with the cold plunge
Step 3: Relax and enjoy the views in the sauna
Step 4: Refresh in a cold fog-mist
Step 5: Invigorate and exfoliate with a rejuvenating body scrub
Step 6: Chill out in the steam room
Step 7: Shower and relax in the lagoon

A picture taken from the Sky Lagoon looking out into the North Atlantic Ocean.

The perfect way to relax, if you ask me. And the same logic for why I included the Blue Lagoon in the best day trips from Reykjavik in winter stands: The contrast of the cool winter weather and the warm lagoon water is a magical sensation.

Those who visit both the Blue Lagoon and Sky Lagoon have split opinions on which is better. But I can tell you that both offer an extraordinary day trip and if you only visit the Sky Lagoon, you’ll experience fewer crowds and have a lot more room to move about.

A common argument in favour of the Sky Lagoon is that the view out into the North Atlantic Sea is beautiful (which it is), take a look at the picture above and you’ll see.

Fancy a relaxing day trip from Reykjavik? Book your excursion to the Sky Lagoon.

8. Northern Lights Tour

Admittedly, this isn’t exactly a Reykjavik day trip, it’s more of a night trip, but still, it deserves a spot on this list.

There are plenty of day trips from Reykjavik in winter which are special, but I personally don’t think any of them come close to being just quite as special as seeing the Northern Lights.

I’d recommend taking a Northern Lights tour towards the start of your trip, because if you don’t get to see the auroras, you are booked on for the next night free of charge, and this applies until you get to see the Northern Lights.

And trust me, when you see them, you’ll be left with memories to last a lifetime. There aren’t any words to describe seeing the Northern Lights- it’s the most magical feeling ever.

A picture of some green auroras. Seeing the northern lights is one of the best day trips from Reykjavik in winter no doubt about it.

And as it turns out, the best time to see the Northern Lights in Iceland is in winter. So it should be guaranteed a spot on any Iceland winter trip, in my opinion.

Most tours leave around 9 pm but it might be an hour later or an hour earlier depending on which month you visit Iceland, but the late night is so worth it.

It’s one of my favourite memories- a core memory that I’ll cherish forever.

I took the Northern Lights Bus Tour from Reykjavik and had the time of my life. I can’t recommend it enough.

9. Þingvellir National Park and Silfra Fissure Snorkeling

One of the more unique winter day trips from Reykjavik involves swimming between two continents– yes, you read that sentence correctly.

You might recall that Þingvellir National Park is included in the Golden Circle tour, but that’s for a more ordinary visit.

As I said earlier, the National Park is where the North American and Eurasian plates meet. But there’s a one-of-a-kind opportunity here: to swim in Silfra, a fissure (crack) between the two tectonic plates.

Silfra Fissure Snorkeling Half-Day Trip takes you from Reykjavik, to the National Park, allows you to swim and then takes you back to the city.

An underwater shot of snorkelling. in Silfra. Unfortunately it's listed as not suitable for people with visual impairment.

It’s a bit pricey, but it’s so worth it. How many people can say they’ve swam between two continents?! By the way, Iceland’s currency is Icelandic króna but you can book all of these experiences through GetYourGuide in your home currency.

You get 45 minutes of snorkelling time in Silfra – I’ll pre-warn you that it’s absolutely freezing – and it’s amazing. It’s considered one of the best diving spots in the world.

It’s not for the faint-hearted though. The water is extremely cold (even with a dry suit on) and you aren’t allowed to take part if you have any medical conditions (respiratory, cardiac, diabetes, epilepsy, etc.), claustrophobia, or mobility issues.

But if it sounds like a bit of you, Silfra Fissure Snorkeling Half-Day Trip is the best way to do it from Reykjavik.

10. Horseride through Lava Fields

Another unique day trip you can take from Reykjavik is not by taking a coach, but by riding a horse. Technically speaking, you need to get a coach to get to the horseriding, but who cares about technicalities?

Icelandic horses are actually a breed of horse, which are famous around the world for their cute looks and friendly personalities.

They have never had any predators, so they have no survival instinct, and even wild horses are very friendly.

Most horseriding tours ride through Red Lava fields, which is a dramatic terrain unlike any other, and when riding a horse through the landscape, you feel like you’re in a movie or something. It’s extraordinary.

As always, I have a tour recommendation, and this time it’s Red Lava Horse Riding Tour which has over 1000 positive ratings. Like I said earlier, I only recommend the best.

A head on picture of an Icelandic horse.

Just look at that cute face!

Oh and if you’re wondering, even though they speak English in Iceland, the horses understand Icelandic so you need to learn a few words to be able to control your horse. It all adds to the experience though!

If you’re an animal lover, this is the day trip for you. Iceland isn’t exactly filled with animals or zoos or many animal experiences, but riding Icelandic horses is up there as one of the best animal experiences you will ever have.

11. Westman Islands

Iceland in Icelandic is Ísland, so it’s only fitting that the best day trips from Reykjavik include a trip to the Westman Islands.

The Westman Islands are just off the southwest of Iceland and takes a 45-minute ferry journey to get there from Landeyjahöfn, 2 hours outside Reykjavik. You can get to Landeyjahöfn by taking public transport.

One of the main reasons to visit is the puffins. Sadly puffins tend to be out at sea during winter, but if you visit in October or November, there’s still a slim chance of seeing them.

Aside from puffins, there are so many stunning hiking routes and trails, a beluga whale sanctuary, unbelievable landscapes, and even museums.

Not many people know that the islands even exist, so they aren’t very busy and it’s definitely off-the-beaten-path. It’s well worth visiting though, for sure.

A picture of a puffin on the Westman Islands.

12. Húsafell and Langjökull Glacier

Another exceptional winter-themed day trip from Reykjavik is to Langjökull, Iceland’s second-largest glacier.

From Reykjavik: Into the Glacier Ice Cave Tour takes you to Husafell where you will layer up and hop into a specially modified glacier truck for a ride across the ice.

Then you get to take it one step even further and hike deep into the glacier itself through a man-made ice tunnel.

It’s essentially like being inside a huge igloo so big that it has lots of rooms and corridors. There’s genuinely nothing like it- but again, it’s not for the faint-hearted.

But being inside an actual glacier. Simply put, “wow”.

It’s also one of the best places for ice climbing in Iceland too, if you are interested in taking an adventurous day trip filled with adrenaline..

A picture of the Langjökull glacier. Taking a day trip from reykjavik to Langjökull in winter is phenomenal.

13. Greenland

Last but by no means least of these day trips from Reykjavik in Winter is one which you might not expect. Greenland. That’s right, Greenland.

It sounds far-fetched, and to be honest, it probably is. But logistically speaking, it is possible.

A flight from Iceland to Greenland only takes 2-3 hours. So it’s possible. Expensive, but possible.

When I was looking, it was hard to find a day when there was a flight both to and from Greenland. So it’s unlikely to line up with your trip, but if it does, it might be something to consider.

I don’t imagine anyone has ever made this day trip, but I’m sure there are some people reading this who would love to try it.

Greenland has so much to offer, and spending half a day there would allow you to see a glimpse of what the huge island has to offer.

So…if you feel like making the most unique day trip ever, book your flights to Greenland.

A picture of a typical landscape in Greenland. It's my most rogue option for day trips from reykjavik in winter.

Day Trips from Reykjavik in Winter: FAQ

Below are some questions relating to the best Reykjavik day trips in winter, along with my answers to each question.

Is Reykjavik worth visiting in winter?

Yes, Reykjavik is definitely worth visiting in winter. In fact, winter is one of the best times to visit Iceland. So many of Iceland’s best attractions are best enjoyed in the winter weather conditions, such as the glaciers and even the Blue Lagoon.

Can you do a day trip from Reykjavik?

Yes, there are endless day trip options from Reykjavik. The most popular include the Golden Circle route, a tour of the South of Iceland and a day trip to the Blue Lagoon. Reykjavik is the perfect starting point to explore Iceland.

What to do in Reykjavik when snowing?

One of the best things to do in Reykjavik when it’s snowing is to go to the Blue Lagoon. The contrast of the heat from the water versus the cold of the snow is a unique but incredible sensation.

How many days should I spend in Iceland in winter?

A week allows for a complete winter experience, seeing everything there is including Reykjavik, Golden Circle, South Coast, Blue Lagoon, Northern Lights and maybe even a glacier hike. Winter is the best time to visit Iceland.

Final Thoughts: Day Trips from Reykjavik in Winter

And there you have it, a complete guide to the best day trips from Reykjavik in Winter.

Whether you choose a classic Golden Circle tour or something a bit different, like taking. a ferry to the Westman Islands, you’re guaranteed to have an amazing time.

Iceland is a beautiful country and there’s no better starting point for day trips than Reykjavik.

Enjoy your trip to Iceland and most importantly, enjoy your day trips. 🙂