hauganes hot pots in winter

Best winter places in North Iceland

We wrote a short list of places we consider the most beautiful winter places in North Iceland. North Iceland is definitely more often visited compared to for example Eastfjords, but on the other hand much less compared to the most touristy South. This is also true for winter.

The aim of this article is not to list all of the beautiful places. We rather want to show you how some of our most favorite places in Iceland look like in winter. You can then decide for yourself, whether you want to visit a specific place or not, or whether you want to visit the place in summer or in winter, or at both times.

This post is part of our Winter Iceland articles series:

Hverir hot springs

hverir namaskard in winter

Hverir, or Námaskarð, in winter

Hverir hot spring area is well accessible also in winter. This is a very touristy spot, though, where all the tour buses stop throughout the day. We recommend only a short visit. Beware you cannot bath in any of these hot springs, they are simply too hot and too small. Námaskarð is just the synonym, that is another name for the same Hverir hot spring area.

Dimmuborgir lava field

dimmuborgir in winter

Dimmuborgir in winter

Dimmuborgir lava field is another place around lake Mývatn worth a short visit. This is one of the places which are usually too touristy and too boring to visit in summer, however in winter it’s slightly different. There are several very easy hiking trails around the Dimmuborgir lava field and in winter it makes much more sense to take a short walk around the lava field.

Höfði hike

hofdi myvatn winter

Höfði in Skutustadhir, Mývatn, in winter

Höfði is a little peninsula and nature reserve, where you may take a short walk and enjoy the views and atmosphere of lake Mývatn.

Skútustaðagígar craters

skutustadagigar in winter iceland

Skútustaðagígar in winter

Skútustaðagígar is a nice crater area right next to lake Mývatn, well accessible also in winter. Skútustaðagígar is hard to pronounce but easy to hike. It takes less than an hour to hike around the entire crater area, and you will be rewarded with peaceful surroundings and nice views over lake Mývatn. We definitely recommend a short visit to Skútustaðagígar in winter.

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Hverfjall hike

hverfjall in winter

Hverfjall in winter

Hverfjall is usually accessible also in winter. In summer it makes for a short (10-15 minutes) climb from the car park all the way up to the rim of the crater. In winter, a hike up Hverfjall gets much more difficult, though. The trail is usually slippery due to snow and ice, so it’s definitely helpful to have spikes on your shoes. We also recommend climbing Hverfjall only when weather is alright, i.e. no strong wind, rain or weather alert. But this is more or less a general advice for almost any moderate hike in Iceland in winter.

hverfjall hike in winter

Hverfjall hike in winter

We climbed up Hverfjall on a nice March day even without wearing spikes, but we struggled a bit and slipped a few times along the way. A short climb is totally worth it, because the view from above are amazing. And they are totally different from the summer views. While we had nice weather, we took a little hike all around the entire crater of Hverfjall, which took us around 1 hour.

Here is a short video of our Hverfjall hike in winter.

Geosea Húsavík hot SPA

husavik geosea geothermal baths

Husavik Geosea geothermal baths

Another in the series of fabulous paid SPAs in Iceland is located in Húsavík and is called Geosea. There are two hot pools with different temperatures and of course also a pool bar. There’s also a beautiful lighthouse right next to Geosea hot springs.

husavik geosea in winter

Husavik Geosea Baths in winter

But the main attraction of Húsavík’s Geosea hot springs is the view. On a nice day, there’s an amazing view over the nearby fjord and mountains on the other side of the fjord. Hot springs are also made in the style of an “infinity pool” which only adds to the magic of the place. A visit totally recommended, especially in winter 🙂

Mývatn Winter Festival

myvatn winter festival

Mývatn winter festival

We usually do not recommend any restaurants or festivals, these are simply not our things and we leave them for someone else to comment on. But with Mývatn Winter Festival we will make one exception. Why? Simply, because we consider Mývatn Winter Festival to be the nicest, cutest and possibly the most beautiful winter festival in Iceland.

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Check the website of the festival for dates and schedule. You can usually expect horse riding on ice, several funny competitions, dog sledging, ice fishing and many other fun local activities, including food tasting etc. A great way to spend a winter day in our opinion!

Goðafoss waterfall

godafoss in winter

Goðafoss in winter

Goðafoss is one of the most beautiful winter waterfalls in Iceland in our opinion. Goðafoss, contrary to many other waterfalls, does not get completely frozen in winter. Goðafoss is also easily accessible also in winter, so we more than just recommend a short and easy visit.

Here is a short video of our Goðafoss visit in winter.


hjalteyri winter

Hjalteyri in winter

Hjalteyri is a cute little village sitting in the fjord northwest of Akureyri. We spent a night in Hjalteyri and took several romantic walks in here. You will usually not find here any restaurants open in winter, though. You will rather find here tranquil, quiet and peaceful fjord surroundings, whale watching tour companies and an old factory.

Here is a short video of our Hjalteyri visit in winter.

Hauganes hot pots

hauganes hot pots in winter

Hauganes hot pots in winter

Hauganes is mostly famous due to its hot springs. Hauganes hot springs are accessible also in winter and we more than just recommend stopping for a visit. We visited Hauganes hot springs both in summer and in winter. Winter was actually even more comfortable season for a visit, because the hot tubes were simply too hot for us in summer. The opposite is true for a “boat-shaped” hot spring, though, where water is much less hot, so this one is more comfortable in summer.

Here is a short video of our Hauganes hot spring visit in winter.

Tvistur horse rental

winter horse riding iceland

Tvistur horse rental in Dalvik

With my wife being an avid horse rider, we of course have to go for Icelandic horse riding each time we visit Iceland. Our winter visit was not the exception. Not all horse-riding services are open in winter, so definitely contact them in advance to check if they operate also in winter.

tvistur horse rental winter

Tvistur horse rental in Dalvik in winter

We’ve had a great experience with Tvistur horse riding in Dalvik and they operate also in winter, so it was an easy choice for us to book a tour with them again. And we didn’t regret it at all. We had a cold but nice March day and a winter horse riding experience was pretty different from the summer one, despite riding almost the same trail. Everything looked totally different.

horse riding winter iceland

Horse riding in winter in Iceland

If you are afraid of the cold, as we had been, don’t be. A good horse-riding company, as Tvistur undoubtedly is, would usually give or rent you also warm overalls to keep you comfortable.

Here is a short video of our Tvistur horse riding in winter.


siglufjordur in winter

Siglufjörður in winter

As we mentioned earlier, picturesque Icelandic coastal towns are often even nicer in winter. And exactly in winter it makes perfect sense to visit them more, due to lower number of visitors. This is the case also with famous Siglufjörður.

siglufjordur winter

Winter Siglufjörður

Siglufjörður makes for a beautiful few-hours long stop, where you can simply walk around this cute town, or have probably the best coffee in Iceland in Café Freda. Views over the fjord along the entire town are more than just worth stopping by.

Here is a short video of our Siglufjörður visit in winter.


grafarkirkja in winter

Grafarkirkja in winter

Did you know that Iceland has a turf church that is almost 400 years old? Well, that’s Grafarkirkja, the oldest church in Iceland. You will find it close to coast near Varmahlíð, so definitely not on a touristy route. Grafarkirkja is located just a short a walk from the road and can be a nice stop also in winter.

grafarkirkja winter parking

Grafarkirkja winter parking

Interior of Grafarkirkja was closed for visitors at the time of our trip but it may open in the future and also the exterior is interesting to visit. We’ve managed to make some pretty cool skyline shots right next to Grafarkirkja.


fosslaug hot spring iceland

No winter picture, sorry, just summer one from Fosslaug

Fosslaug hot spring is accessible also in winter and definitely worth visiting if you haven’t been there yet. That was not our case, though. We had visited Fosslaug already in summer. And if we have to compare these two periods, we rather prefer a summer visit. Why? Because the water in Fosslaug is not that hot and in winter can get only mildly warm instead of hot. On the other hand, the water felt just right in summer.

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Fosslaug is well hidden south of Varmahlíð, away from civilization. It’s also not that easy to find, we had wandered a lot around the area when we visited Fosslaug for the first time. Nonetheless, once you find an improvised muddy car park, Fosslaug is then about 15 minutes of walk away from the car park. There’s no changing room, so I recommend bringing some bag to keep your clothes at when bathing.

reykjafoss in winter

Reykjafoss in winter

On your way to Fosslaug you’re gonna see also a beautiful Reykjafoss waterfall. We’ve met two couples when we visited Fosslaug last time in the beginning of March. That was still bearable, while the hot spring is definitely getting more and more popular.


glaumbaer winter

Glaumbær in winter

Have you ever wondered where to visit these typical Icelandic turf houses? Well, Glaumbær is possibly one of the best such places. There’s a little museum for which you have to pay and surroundings of the Glaumbær are also beautiful. If you are not into museums, you may just take a look at Glaumbær turf houses from the outside, without actually paying the entrance fee.


hvitserkur in winter

Hvitserkur in winter

Hvitserkur is probably the most famous Icelandic rock in the sea. You can find Hvitserkur in countless picturesque photos of Iceland. Hvitserkur is not among our favorite spots in Iceland, because in our opinion, well, it’s just a rock in the water 🙂 But, of course, a beautiful rock. So, many would disagree with us and come and see it anyway.

Hvitserkur is usually accessible also in winter, just watch the road conditions on www.road.is. A 4wd car is highly recommended to reach Hvitserkur in winter, because only a 3-digit road leads there. This means, the road is usually less maintained and covered more by snow than ring road.

hvitserkur winter hike

Hvitserkur winter hike in the background (if you want to get as closer as possible)

You can see Hvitserkur already from the car park in the distance. It’s also possible to hike all the way down closer to Hvitserkur, but we again recommend proper hiking shoes for that with spikes to protect you against icy, snowy and slippery trails.


kolugljufur in winter

Kolugljúfur in winter

Kolugljúfur canyon is a beautiful canyon not that far from the ring road. Kolugljúfur is typically accessible also in winter, while it’s definitely better to drive with a 4wd car there.

Videos of North Iceland in Winter

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Posted by Igor

Igor has spent months exploring every inch of Iceland over several years. He specializes in the Highlands, F-roads, hiking, hot springs, and less touristy places. He loves Iceland and keeps coming back.

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