Best Winter places in South Iceland

Best Winter places in South Iceland

We wrote a short list of places we consider the most beautiful winter places in South Iceland.

South Iceland is undoubtedly the most touristy region, but for a reason. There are plenty of amazingly beautiful places, with most of them being well accessible also in 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:

Reykjadalur hot river valley

reykjadalur river in winter

Beginning of a Reykjadalur hike in winter

Reykjadalur in winter is accessible during good weather and with proper winter hiking gear, see below.

reykjadalur hike winter iceland

Views from the Reykjadalur hike in winter

Hike to Reykjadalur hot river is a very easy hike in summer. In winter it’s still easy, but snow and ice complicate it a little bit. I admit we had underestimated hiking Reykjadalur in winter, because we used just regular hiking shoes. And that was a mistake. Definitely bring at least little spikes for your shoes. Hiking trails to Reykjadalur in winter are all icy and slippery and thus may be even dangerous if you fall.

reykjadalur hot river hike in winter

The most slippery part on the right with a steep fall to the left. In reality this was much more scary than in the picture.

Apart from the icy and slippery trails, hiking to Reykjadalur in winter is a nice and pleasant hike, with a hot river in the end as a reward. A winter hike to Reykjadalur is especially beautiful on a nice sunny day. In case of strong winds and/or stronger rain/snow, we don’t recommend doing the hike, nor any other hike longer than just a few minutes.

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reykjadalur hot river winter

Reykjadalur hot river in winter

It took us roughly 3-4 hours to complete a winter Reykjadalur hot river hike, which is naturally considerably longer compared to summer. We’ve already explained in our Iceland in Winter – What you need to know article that you should prepare for considerably longer and tougher hikes in winter compared to summer.

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

Kerid crater

kerid crater in winter

Kerid crater in winter

Kerid crater in winter is a nice short stop, though we think it’s nicer in summer.

Hrunalaug hot spring

hrunalaug in winter

Hrunalaug in winter

Hrunalaug in winter is probably are most favorite winter hot spring in Iceland. Most of the time it’s easy to get to Hrunalaug by car even in winter and the surroundings of winter Hrunalaug are simply amazing! Moreover, there are usually considerably less visitors compared to summer. Water in Hrunalaug is pleasantly hot also in winter, which is not always the case with Icelandic hot springs in winter. We write more about Hrunalaug in our List of all Hot Springs in Iceland.

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

Seljalandsfoss waterfall

seljalandsfoss winter iceland

Seljalandsfoss in winter

Seljalandsfoss in winter is touristy as well, but for a good reason. In spite of tourists, Seljalandsfoss is one of our favorite Icelandic waterfalls in winter. Pretty often, a rainbow appears over winter Seljalandsfoss and the waterfall itself is simply picturesque in winter.

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

Gljúfrabúi waterfall

Gljúfrabúi waterfall in winter

Gljúfrabúi waterfall in winter

If you are visiting Seljalandsfoss, definitely go see also Gljúfrabúi in winter, a “hidden” waterfall just a few minutes of walk from Seljalandsfoss. Gljúfrabúi in winter is easily accessible and comparably, if not more, beautiful compared to summer.

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

Nauthuságil waterfall

Nauthuságil waterfall in winter is unfortunately not accessible for most of the time, due to snow.

hiking trail nauthusagil winter

Hiking trail to Nauthuságil waterfall in winter

Nauthuságil waterfall is in our opinion one of the most amazing Icelandic waterfalls in summer. Especially if you include in the ranking also a little adventurous hike to reach Nauthuságil. That being said, we tried to visit Nauthuságil also in winter, but it wasn’t possible. Nauthuságil in winter is inaccessible, once the first real snow settles down. The gorge leading to Nauthuságil is just full of snow and impassable.

Read How we fit all of these into a 2-week itinerary.

Skógafoss waterfall

skogafoss in winter

Skógafoss in winter

Skógafoss in winter is well accessible and totally worth the visit. Skógafoss definitely belongs to the most beautiful winter waterfalls in Iceland. We stopped at Skógafoss on a day with strong winds and clear skies. We were lucky to see the rainbow at Skógafoss, which occurs quite often on a sunny day, so be sure to go and see it too.

skogafoss winter iceland

Skógafoss with tourists cut out of the picture

There are stairs leading above Skógafoss, which are very slippery when covered with snow. Many visitors were struggling when climbing up and down the stairs. Some of them even wore sneakers and jeans – totally inappropriate shoes and clothes for Iceland – see section of our article How to dress properly for Iceland in winter. These stairs are another example of a place where shoe spikes come pretty handy.

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

Waterfall way

waterfall way skogafoss winter

The waterfall way next to Skógafoss in a Fimmvörðuháls direction in winter

One of the most beautiful parts of the legendary Fimmvörðuháls hike (summer only) is called the waterfall way and begins exactly at Skógafoss. Is it possible to hike the waterfall way in winter? Yes, it is, on a nice day and with proper winter clothes and shoe spikes. The waterfall way in winter is accessible for visitors but much harder to visit compared to an easy summer hike.

We picked the Best Winter Guided tours in Iceland for you

We attempted to hike the waterfall way in February on a partially sunny day with some strong winds and we didn’t succeed. The wind was simply too strong making the hike too dangerous. We decided to stop and turn back after the first few hundreds if meters, because at times we felt like falling and not moving at all due to the strong wind. Additionally, we also made a mistake of not bringing shoe spikes, which made the waterfall way in winter impossible to pass.

Here is a short video of our Waterfall Way hike in winter.

Kvernufoss waterfall

kvernufoss winter

An easy hike to Kvernufoss in winter

Kvernufoss in winter is well accessible and we highly recommend a visit! Kvernufoss undoubtedly belongs to the most amazing winter waterfalls in Iceland. We were lucky enough to be alone at Kvernufoss and enjoyed Kvernufoss in winter actually even more than in summer! A roundtrip took us roughly 45 minutes.

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


dyrholaey in winter iceland

Dyrhólaey in winter

Dyrhólaey cliffs are easily accessible in winter and make for a nice winter stop in the south.

Reynisfjara beach

reynisfjara beach winter

Reynisfjara beach can easily get crowded also in winter. This is one of the most touristy places in Iceland.

Reynisfjara beach, or the black beach in winter is also easily accessible in winter. Please take special care about the unexpected waves there, which may be deadly. Stay only where you see the dry ground.

Reynisdrangar beach

Horses Reynisdrangar beach Vik winter

Horses at Reynisdrangar beach in Vik in winter

Reynisdrangar cliffs in Vik are a beautiful stop during a winter trip in Iceland. We were lucky to witness a horse photo-shoot during sunset at Reynisdrangar, one of the most picturesque moments in the area.

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

Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon

fjadrargljufur canyon winter iceland

Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon in winter

Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon in winter is easily accessible to visitors. Although we prefer a lush green “summer” look of Icelandic canyons compared to a winter white one, Fjaðrárgljúfur is undoubtedly nice also in winter.

Here is a short video of our Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon visit in winter.

Svartifoss waterfall

svartifoss waterfall in winter iceland

Svartifoss waterfall in winter

Svartifoss waterfall in winter is easily accessible to visitors and totally worth stopping by. Svartifoss proudly belongs to the list of the top places to see in Iceland in winter. A hike to Svartifoss in winter will take you slightly longer due to snow, but on a nice day is very beautiful and pretty different compared to a summer one. A roundtrip took us roughly 75 minutes.

Here is a short video of our Svartifoss waterfall visit in winter.

Svínafellsjökull glacier

svinafellsjokull glacier walk winter

A walk to Svínafellsjökull glacier

Want to hike to a glacier in Iceland without a guided tour? There are a few possibilities to actually do this. Just remember, you should never walk ON the glacier without the guide, because you can die easily. But, you can still hike close enough to glacier to see the glacier and admire it.

Important: How to choose the best car for Iceland?

road to svínafellsjökull in winter

Road to Svínafellsjökull in winter

One of the best spots to see a glacier in winter in Iceland is Svínafellsjökull glacier. Svínafellsjökull is located very close to the ring road, thus it doesn’t take much time to get there, whether by walking or by car. There’s a road leading pretty close to the Svínafellsjökull glacier, but this road is usually covered by snow. We were able to drive roughly into the half of the road with Dacia Duster. Then the snow started to be thicker and wetter, so we rather decided to park our car on the side of the road and continue by walking.

svinafellsjokull glacier winter iceland

Svínafellsjökull glacier in winter

Why go and see glaciers in Iceland in winter rather than in summer? The trick is, glacier colors are much much more beautiful in winter, compared to summer. Due to cold and ice, glaciers will shine with azure blue colors in winter, making them an amazing target for all photographers.

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

Diamond beach

diamond beach winter iceland

Diamond beach next to Jökulsárlón in winter

Jökulsárlón lagoon

jokulsarlon lagoon in winter iceland

Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon in winter

Diamond Beach and Jökulsárlón are great winter stops. As I explain above, glaciers and ice look even more impressive in winter with their unbelievably blue colors. We recommend a short stop at these, usually rather touristy places, anyway.

Ice Cave and Glacier Hike

best ice cave in iceland

Crystal Blue Ice Cave near Jökulsárlón

Seeing an ice cave in winter is one of the most beautiful things you can experience in Iceland. Ice Cave tour combined with a glacier hike was undoubtedly our favorite winter tour in Iceland. We decided to do a Crystal Blue Ice cave tour combined with a Glacier hike and we were absolutely happy with the choice. A glacier suitable for hiking is actually right next to ice caves, so it makes perfect sense to combine these tours into one day full of amazing Icelandic adventure.

A PROMO CODE EPICICELAND will get you a 5% discount with Glacier Adventure, (in our opinion) the best Ice Cave and Glacier tour company.

We can highly recommend Glacier Adventure as a top-notch tour provider for Ice cave tours, Glacier hike tours and combo tours. They have amazing guides and even more amazing tours! The tours are fairly easy, even the full-day combo tour, and everyone, at least slightly fit should be totally able to make it.

glacier lagoon iceland

Glacier lagoon picnic stop

We started our full day combo tour in Hali, where we were picked up by an Icelandic monster super jeep. The super jeep drove with us close to an ice cave and glacier area. There we got off the jeep and headed towards glacier with our guide. A guide chose carefully the path so that we were the only group there, away from any crowds. The glacier hike led to a hidden fairy-tale like part of the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, where you can’t get in any other way than by hiking the glacier.

secret ice tunnel iceland

Combo Ice Cave + Glacier hike tour by GlacierAdventure.is

After the picnic at the glacier lagoon we continued towards ice caves. Yes, ice caves, not just one ice cave! We started with a “hidden” dark blue ice cave, where we were again the only visitors. Then we continued towards an amazingly beautiful ice tunnel, hidden unbelievably under the ground. At that moment it started snowing, which actually made the entire experience even more magical.

hidden ice cave iceland

Secret ice cave

Finally, we headed to the most famous, most beautiful, but unfortunately also the most crowded, crystal blue ice cave. This is the ice cave where everyone goes, because colors of this ice cave are simply the most impressive with out-of-this world crystal blue tones. A typical ice cave tours would take you only to this ice cave, that’s why we strongly recommend to take a combo ice cave + glacier tour. This way you can visit not only popular crystal blue ice cave, but also much more remote glacier lagoon and smaller ice caves and ice tunnels.

Here is a short video of our Ice Cave visit and Glacier Hike in winter.

Super Jeep tour

thorsmork winter super jeep tour

Thórsmörk winter super jeep tour by www.glaciersandwaterfalls.is

Is it possible to go for a super jeep tour in winter? Of course, it is! And it actually makes perfect sense! Why? Well, in summer, if you rent a right car and have enough experience, you can drive to almost all amazing remote places in the highlands yourself. However, in winter, forget about driving to highlands. Everywhere is snow, often several meters/feet deep, and it’s simply too dangerous to drive to highlands alone, regardless of the car. Even Icelandic monster trucks not always make it in winter!

A PROMO CODE EPICICELAND will get you a 10% discount with Glaciers and Waterfalls, (in our opinion) the best small-group Super Jeep tour company.

Where to go for a super jeep tour from Reykjavik or in the south? The most beautiful winter super jeep tours in Icelandic highlands are definitely Thórsmörk and Landmannalaugar. Which one to choose if you can go only for one? Well, we rather recommend a Thórsmörk winter super jeep tour. Thórsmörk has slightly more versatile landscapes in winter, so if we had to choose just one, it would be Thórsmörk.

winter super jeep tour iceland

Winter super jeep tour by www.glaciersandwaterfalls.is

There are several super jeep tour providers and we researched all of them. In our opinion the best value-to-price super jeep tour company is called Glaciers and Waterfalls. They are actually a small family company and they give their full hearts into their tours. They also operate very small groups (usually max 6 people). That’s why we decided to partner with Glaciers and Waterfalls and we can offer our readers a 10% discount on all their tours with the discount code: EPICICELAND

Videos of South Iceland in Winter

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Day 5 – Ring road from the South to the East

Day 5 – Ring road from the South to the East

We woke up on the foggy, cloudy morning in Kirkjubaerklaustur campsite. Exactly according to the forecast. By the way, weather forecasts were quite accurate during our stay. From Kirkjubaerklaustur it’s a short drive to one of the main sights we had been planning to see on day 5 of our journey – Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon.

Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon


Distance from car park: 5 minutes
Time spent at: 15-30 minutes
Worth visiting even with bad weather: yes
Physical condition needed: little
Interesting index: 1 – amazing  (1-amazing, 2-great, 3-nice)

fjadrargljufur canyon sheep

Picturesque surroundings of Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon

Compared to the day before – full of Landmannalaugar hiking – this was supposed to be much more relaxing day. Our first stop was, probably thanks to Mr Bieber, Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon. You’re going to spot the place quite clearly, because there will already be several cars parking at the spot before you arrive, regardless of time. Yes, Fjadrargljufur has become a really touristy place after Justin’s video even in Covid times.

fjadrargljufur canyon ropes

One of the main viewpoints at Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon

It will take you some 5 minutes from the parking lot to get to the canyon itself. Yes, Fjadrargljufur canyon is really nice, but compared to the Sigöldugljufur canyon, we were a bit disappointed after all that hype about it. This was definitely the most touristy canyon we’d visited, even during Covid times. Nevertheless, Fjadrargljufur canyon was still very nice and worth visiting.

fjadrargljufur canyon viewpoint

One of the main viewpoints at Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon

A few minutes before reaching Fjadrargljufur canyon there was a detour for Laki craters which we were considering going for. At the end of the day, we decided not to, due to mostly not very pleasant weather and tight schedule of ourselves (it was cloudy and it rained a little on the day of our visit with a half foggy air). There’s an F-road leading to Laki craters and in the event of nice weather, the views from Laki should be very nice. The entire trip takes a couple of hours and since the weather at the time of us passing by was quite foggy, we decided not to go.

Svartifoss in Skaftafell park


Distance from car park: 20-30 minutes one way
Time spent at: 15-30 minutes
Worth visiting even with bad weather: yes
Physical condition needed: little
Interesting index: 1 – amazing  (1-amazing, 2-great, 3-nice)

svartifoss in skaftafell

Svartifoss in the distance. 30 minutes before, all we could see was fog.

This was a touristy day and we were aware of it, as we were visiting the most touristy part of an Iceland – the south. Our next stop was Svartifoss waterfall famous mostly thanks to the Vikings series. Once we reached the car park of the Skaftafell national park, we realized what “touristy” actually means here. The car park and entire infrastructure around the entrance of the park were huge compared to all other sites we’d seen before. So we did park our car along 40 other cars and went for the Skaftafell trail towards Svartifoss.

Svartifoss trail takes some 20-30 minutes to complete, i.e. to reach the Svartifoss waterfall itself and it’s a fairly easy one. Map of the area is available e.g. here. You’re going to probably meet a lot of fellow tourists, as we did, along the path. When we reached the Svartifoss, however, there were just 2-3 couples together with us and shortly thereafter we were there all by ourselves. The weather was so-so with cloudy sky and slight fog. Still, Svartifoss was really beautiful and worth seeing.

svartifoss viewpoint

The closest viewpoint to Svartifoss after sky finally cleared a bit. Still, we are wet in the pic as you may see.

There are many other hiking trails in the Skaftafell national park, so if you are into hiking you have several options to go for. Since Svartifoss is supposed to be the highlight of the entire area, we again didn’t go for any other trail and went just for Svartifoss. After seeing it and enjoying the views we turned back towards our car.

It looked like we will be spending the night according to plan in Egilsstaðir so we decided to adhere to rules set by the Icelandic government and go for the second Covid testing as recommended. On our way back to the car park I called the health centre in Egilsstaðir with an inquiry whether we may come the next day for our second Covid test. I also explained that we prefer the earliest possible time to not interfere with our planned visit to Askja. A very friendly receptionist replied that yes, we may come the next day for testing even before the official start at 8 am and it shouldn’t take long to be tested. And, so we did.

Fjallsárlón and Jökulsárlón


Distance from car park: 5 minutes each
Time spent at: 15-20 minutes each
Worth visiting even with bad weather: yes
Physical condition needed: little
Interesting index: 3 – nice  (1-amazing, 2-great, 3-nice)


Fjallsárlón on a cloudy day

Fjallsárlón and Jökulsárlón are two glacial lakes located right next to the glacier. This means that you can observe pieces of glacier floating in the lake, which is an interesting experience. Coming from the Vik direction Fjallsárlón is the first and the smaller one compared to Jökulsárlón. That being said, Fjallsárlón experience is very similar to that of Jökulsárlón. And both are definitely touristy places, because of their easy accessibility by car and stable place in all Icelandic travel guides.

If we had to skip any sight due to lack of time, these two would probably be the ones we’d choose. It’s a short walk from the car park to the lake, where you can observe exactly what guides promise – pieces of glacier floating in the water. You may even approach the bank of the lake to look at these pieces from the closes possible point and even touch them if they are out on the shore.

iceberg near fjallsarlon

Making fancy iceberg pictures near Fjallsárlón

There are several guided boat trips around the lake, which will take you closer to the floating glaciers, or the big glacier itself. We didn’t find them to be worth the time (1-2 hours) and money (50-100eur/person) spent as the experience is quite similar to the one we already had and we aren’t any special fans of glaciers. As I already mentioned, and as you may read almost in every guide, Jökulsárlón is bigger and more touristy, but otherwise, the experience is about the same.



Time spent at: 15-20 minutes
Worth visiting even with bad weather: no
Physical condition needed: little
Interesting index: 3 – nice  (1-amazing, 2-great, 3-nice)

Our ultimate destination where we wanted to camp on day 5 of our Icelandic journey was supposed to be eastern metropole of Egilsstaðir. This was also the place where we were supposed to take the second Covid test the next day in the morning. On our way towards Egilsstaðir, we wanted to firstly stop at Höfn. According to guides and Google maps, this was supposed to be a nice small village by the sea with beautiful views of the surrounding volcanic mountains. That sounds like a nice place to make a short stop.

The reality was, however, slightly different, as the weather on that day kept being cloudy and foggy. Hence, once we arrived at Höfn, there was no visibility of the surrounding mountains and we were able to see only the small part of them. Apart from the mountains, we realized there was nothing particularly fascinating about Höfn, so, after a short meal break, we continued our road towards Egilsstaðir.

Eastfjords and Öxi road


Worth visiting even with bad weather: yes, probably
Interesting index: 1 – amazing  (1-amazing, 2-great, 3-nice)


Short stop near Djúpivogur. Observe illegal off-road driving by someone.

If we wanted to see the best of Iceland in 12 days, we didn’t have enough time to explore Eastfjords separately, that’s why we just drove through them. When we left Höfn, we headed towards Djúpivogur, enjoying a nice part of southeast fjords. The weather was still only so-so with frequent clouds and quick rain showers alternating with brief periods of sunbeams penetrating the clouds. The seaside drive was very nice, although I can imagine, it may be even better in case of completely clear weather.

We’d driven already for more than 1,5 hour when we reached the junction with the road 939, with Google maps saying that exactly the road 939 should be the quickest way towards Egilsstaðir. We turned to 939, or the so-called “Öxi road” accordingly, not knowing at that time why the road has a name. Many other roads in Iceland don’t have any name. Well, we shortly found out why. Öxi road looked like a former F-road, or at least something very similar to the F-road. It was a gravel road with a lot of potholes and right after turning to it, it started to be quite steep.

Oxi road 939

Icelandic crazy Öxi road 939 – one of the viewpoints in the beginning

We’d experienced a short interlude of some nice weather when beginning with the Öxi drive and soon after driving on Öxi we reached a small car park where we saw several people taking pictures. This spot (see above) wasn’t marked on the Google maps, nor had I read anything about it. Nevertheless, we parked our car, got out of it and realized why do so many people take pictures. An amazingly picturesque valley full of waterfalls, fairytale-like green moss and cliffs emerged in front of us. Out of this world experience once again. One of the most beautiful photo spots of our entire trip. It was probably possible even to come closer to the waterfall valley by walking, but we remained satisfied with the look we just saw and continued through Öxi further.

This was the time when we finally realized why this road has a name. Öxi was a quite steep mountain road with lots of turns, potholes and beautiful scenery alongside it. I’d never read about it beforehand, but whatever, that’s Iceland, right? Our weather wasn’t ideal at all, with fog getting heavier and rain starting to pour persistently. Hence, the entire Öxi experience had become quite scary at some point, with my girlfriend starting to have a facial expression as if she were in a horror movie. The entire drive took some fair 45 minutes in these weather conditions. Once we turned to road 95, we also popped out of the fog and the weather was nice once again, keeping the fog and the rain at the Öxi road.

Egilsstaðir and Fellabaer camping


Soon, we reached Egilsstaðir around 9 pm, where we had planned to camp. That’s what we’d planned. However, having arrived at the campsite, the receptionist told us their campsite is full and they cannot take even more cars, now that the new Covid distancing restrictions are in place. So, for the first time, we were denied camping and we felt really desperate at that moment. We were really tired after an entire day and didn’t really feel like searching for another camp. The receptionist, however, was so nice to check for us, whether the nearest camp in Fellabaer has free space.

Fellabær campsite

Fellabær campsite next to Egilsstaðir

After her call, she got a positive reply and so we headed another 5-7 minutes towards Fellabaer where we camped at the small local campsite. This camp probably mostly served as a substitute in cases like this, when Egilsstaðir campsite happens to be full. The campsite was alright, although a bit small and not very modern, but it had everything we needed. Moreover, the kitchen was empty at the time when we wanted to cook the dinner, despite being really small.

Skipped places

  • Laki craters (foggy weather)
  • different trails in Skaftafell, especially Skaftafellsjökull viewpoint due to foggy and rainy weather
  • Svínafellsjökull
  • Hoffel hot tubs (paid and no time)

We skipped Laki craters due to bad visibility (cloudy and foggy weather) and prioritization of other sights which were about to follow on our journey. It’s also possible to hike several different trails in Skaftafell park, which we didn’t because the one towards Svartifoss was supposed to be the most beautiful.

If we went to Iceland next time and the weather was good, we would definitely go to Skaftafellsjökull viewpoint – a view over a magnificent glacier, which looked really nice in the pictures. It’s also possible to go see Svínafellsjökull for similar views and should be also worth visiting. The last sight we skipped were Hoffel hot tubs, due to the lack of time and a detour we didn’t find worth spending time on during our packed trip schedule.

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