14 Cozy Things to Do in Reykjavik in Winter

Are you dreaming of the Northern Lights dancing across the sky, hot springs that defy the cold, and charming neighborhoods blanketed in snow?

If so, get ready to explore the magic of winter in Reykjavík—the world’s northernmost capital!

This article will be your indispensable guide, revealing the hidden gems, heart-warming traditions, and adrenaline-filled activities this vibrant city has to offer in its winter glory.

As the temperatures drop and the days shorten, snuggle in and let’s explore the best things to do in Reykjavik in the winter, before the magic of the season melts away!

people relaxing and bathing in the stunning Geothermal Area of the Blue Lagoon near Reykjavik
Geothermal Area of the Blue Lagoon near Reykjavik

1. Warm Up in the Blue Lagoon

Chilly Reykjavik weather got you shivering? Fear no more; warm up by immersing yourself in the Blue Lagoon’s cozy, geothermal waters.

The water stays toasty at 37-40 Celsius (98-104 Fahrenheit); it’s a soothing sensation like no other and Iceland’s dreamy winter wonderland escape!

The mystical milky-blue hue of the lagoon is thanks to silica and minerals, making it not just a warm hug for your body, but a lavish treat for your skin too.

2. Go Shopping Along Laugavegur

Put on your coziest scarf and head to Laugavegur, a shopping wonderland guaranteed to make your heart sing.

Bursting with quirky boutiques, delightful cafes, and chic restaurants, this colorful street is the ultimate winter escape for fashionistas and foodies alike.

Laugavegur is not just your regular shopping street, it’s the beating heart of Reykjavik’s nightlife and commercial hub.

While you’re exploring the treasures of Icelandic fashion, don’t forget to taste the delicious local cuisine and maybe even dance the chilly night away.

Eruption of Strokkur Geysir Golden circle route in Iceland
Eruption of Strokkur Geysir Golden circle route in Iceland

3. Take a Tour of the Golden Circle

Winter in Reykjavik is nothing short of magical, and what better way to embrace the enchanting spirit than to embark on a Golden Circle tour?

As you traverse this iconic route, prepare to be wowed by breathtaking geysers, powerful waterfalls, and awe-inspiring volcanic craters.

Not only will your senses be delighted, but you’ll also get cozy with Icelandic nature’s finest.

And, as if that’s not enough, this particular tour includes a farm visit with free ice cream. Yup, you read that right – winter wonderland and ice cream, a match made in Icelandic heaven!

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4. National Museum of Iceland

Hey, winter wanderer, ready to dive into Iceland’s vibrant history? A visit to the National Museum of Iceland is a must when exploring Reykjavik during those chilly months.

This cozy corner of historical discovery offers a stunning collection of artifacts and exhibits, shedding light on everything Iceland, from its Viking roots to the present day.

The museum hosts temporary exhibitions too, adding an extra dose of excitement to your visit.

Fagradalsfjall Volcano in Iceland
Fagradalsfjall Volcano in Iceland

5. Go on a Volcano Hike at Fagradalsfjall

Winter in Reykjavik has a fiery surprise for extra-curious explorers like you. Brave the cold and venture on an active volcano hike at Fagradalsfjall for a steamy twist to your frosty escapade.

Fagradalsfjall is the newest celeb in Iceland’s volcanic scene, having erupted in 2021 after snoozing for 800 years. Can you believe it?

This hike has some mind-blowing sights like glowing magma and cooled-off lava patterns. Remember to take plenty of selfies with the fiery star – just for fun and bragging rights.

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6. Sip Cocktails in an Ice Bar

Chilly temperatures got you down? Warm up (or rather, cool down) with some delightful cocktails at Reykjavik’s one and only Magic Ice Bar. It’s the place where ice and drinks mingle in perfect harmony.

With your poncho and gloves on, say goodbye to the cold world outside and step into a frosty wonderland of ice sculptures and carvings.

As you sip on your cool creation (served in an ice cup, of course), bask in the magnificence of the arctic art surrounding you. What a way to chill!

Fun fact: the ice carvings are inspired by Iceland’s Viking history, so not only are you getting your frosty fix, but you’re also taking in a bit of cultural zest. Cheers to that.

Ice Cave at the Langjokull Glacier Iceland
Ice Cave at the Langjokull Glacier Iceland

7. Go Snowmobiling on a Glacier

Get ready for the adventure of a lifetime as you zip through the icy landscapes of Langjökull Glacier on a snowmobile.

The frigid air on your face and the thrill of zooming through the winter wonderland will make you feel like you’ve teleported to the North Pole!

While many tourists flock to Reykjavik’s famous Golden Circle, combining this popular tour with an epic snowmobiling ride on Langjökull Glacier makes your trip extra special.

Plus, as you enjoy your sled adventure, you’ll be exploring Iceland’s second-largest glacier; talk about bucket list material.

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8. See the Northern Lights

Winter in Reykjavik is a magical time when darkness becomes your BFF and offers you the most spectacular light show on Earth.

Bundle up, brave explorers, because the Northern Lights are waiting for you just outside the city.

So, what’s the secret sauce for catching sight of these elusive, mystical ribbons of color? Patience, luck, and a pinch of persistence!

Aim for a clear, dark night, and venture away from the city lights to maximize your chances.

Note: Mother Nature can be quite moody, so there’s no guarantee you’ll see the auroras on your first try.

Kirkjufell and Aurora in Iceland
Kirkjufell and Aurora in Iceland

9. Foodie Tour of Reykjavik

Get ready for a mouth-watering adventure on a Reykjavik walking food tour. Bundle up and stroll through the chilly streets, discovering the city’s culinary secrets with fellow food enthusiasts.

Trust us, Reykjavik’s incredible dishes are worth braving the cold. Discover everything from traditional Icelandic cheeses to the famous hot dogs. Tempt your palate with the infamous fermented shark and hearty lamb dishes.

Plus, did you know Reykjavik boasts some adorably cozy cafes and food trucks? Don’t forget to savor their homemade ice cream – it’s simply divine.

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10. See Reykjavik by Helicopter

Ready to soar through the skies? Try a helicopter tour during the winter. Witness the mind-blowing icy landscapes and frosted city views like never before.

No, it’s not a dream – you’ll really be flying high. Plus, the frosty weather adds a touch of wintery magic to the mix.

Just remember to dress warmly – you’re not going to find any toasty beaches up there.

Here’s a tip for you savvy traveler: book your tour early. Winter in Reykjavik is for the cool kids so these helicopter rides are quite popular.

11. Celebrate Christmas in Iceland

Reykjavik transforms into a holiday haven you won’t want to miss; bundle up and stroll through twinkling streets draped in festive garlands.

Guess what’s more magical than watching holiday lights? Gorging on unique Icelandic Christmas food! Savor local delights as you enjoy the lively atmosphere – it’s truly a taste of holiday cheer.

You’ll find all the Icelandic Christmas Creatures scattered about town. Keep an eye out for these quirky beings and make a game of spotting them all.

Reynisdrangar rock formations on Reynisfjara Beach
Reynisdrangar rock formations on Reynisfjara Beach

12. Explore Iceland’s South Coast

On your trip to Reykjavik, don’t miss the chance to explore the magnificent South Coast of Iceland and the remarkable Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach.

Now, you may be thinking, “A beach in winter? Are you bonkers?” Don’t worry, your socks will remain cozily on your feet.

Reynisfjara’s dramatic black sands paint a striking contrast against the gleaming white snow – a sight that’ll leave you in awe, we promise.

Did you know that Reynisfjara is home to the legendary Garðar cliff and Hálsanefshellir sea cave? They’re entirely made of basalt columns and offer splendid views of the mystical Reynisdrangar Sea Stacks.

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13. Glacier Hike at Skaftafell National Park

Get ready for a frosty adventure of epic proportions; bundle up and venture to the stunning Skaftafell National Park for a thrilling glacier hike that’ll leave you captivated.

You’ll marvel at the icy landscape beneath your feet, stumble upon fascinating ice formations, and gather impeccable memories like snowflakes. Don your crampons, folks – you’ll never look at frozen H2O the same way again.

It’s not just about the hike; you’ll also learn amazing facts about glaciers that will elevate your appreciation for these icy giants.

Svínafellsjökull glacier Skaftafell Vatnajökull National Park Iceland
Svínafellsjökull glacier Skaftafell Vatnajökull National Park Iceland

14. Check Out the Árbær Open Air Museum

Right in the heart of Reykjavik, there’s a lovely little place called the Árbær Open Air Museum. You don’t want to miss this magical step back in time.

This delightful open-air museum is a fantastic winter activity. With over 20 picturesque buildings, including a cozy town square, village, and farm, you can practically feel the whispers of the past.

Pro tip: join the guided tours offered daily at 13:00. Not only are these tours free with your ticket, but they’ll fill you with all the fascinating details of life in 19th and 20th-century Iceland.

Final Thoughts

There we have it, a whirling waltz through Reykjavik’s winter wonderland! Who knew an icy landscape could get your blood pumping so much?

Don’t let your Icelandic escapade leave a gaping hole in your pocket; we’ve whipped up another article for you budget-conscious gourmands out there. Indulge freely with our insider’s guide to the best cheap eats in Reykjavik!