Your Ultimate Guide to Visiting Iceland in January

For many of us, by the time the holidays are over, we’re ready to take a vacation from our holiday vacation. If you find yourself in that place, you should consider escaping to Iceland this January. This island nation offers some of the most stunning natural views in the world.

If you’re planning on visiting Iceland this January, it’s a good idea to do some research and planning first. Read on to discover your ultimate guide to visiting Iceland, from where to stay and how to travel to where to eat and what to bring back.

Blue Lagoon Spa in Iceland

Where to Go in January

One of the best places to go in Iceland is the capital, Reykjavik. Reykjavik sits on the southwest coast of Iceland and is the largest city in Iceland. Many of the attractions we’ll talk about are accessible in the area outside Reykjavik, so it’s a good place to explore a variety of options for your trip.

The Snaefellsnes Peninsula offers stunning views of a glacier perched atop a volcano surrounded by dramatic lava fields and coastline. You can also enjoy the black sand beaches of the South Coast and stunning basalt pillars called Reynisdrangar off the beach at Reynisfjara. Or go get a natural spa treatment in the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa on the Reykjanes Peninsula. 

What to Do in Iceland in January

Iceland offers a wide variety of stunning landscapes and unparalleled views of the Northern Lights. You can climb glaciers, watch the aurora borealis dance, or go snowmobiling. You can go snorkeling and diving, ride horses, attend local festivals, and explore breathtaking ice caves.

Gullfoss waterfall in Iceland

In January, there are several special attractions you can enjoy on your Iceland vacation. The Golden Circle trail is located right between two tectonic plates and offers some stunning landscapes and history. You can also enjoy the New Year’s Eve celebrations, the Dark Music Days, and the Reykjavik International Games.


Where to Stay in January

If you’re staying in Reykjavik, you have a ton of options for where to stay. Hotel Borg and the Icelandair Hotel Marina are gorgeous options, as are Centerhotels and Fosshotel chains. You can also find hostels and budget guesthouses if you’re traveling on a budget.

If you’re staying near the Golden Circle and the South Coast, you can also find hostels there. The Hotel Litli Geysir and Geysir Cottages offer reasonably priced accommodations. You can also check out the Hotel Gullfoss and Hotel Borealis, as well as the Hotel Selfoss and the Guesthouse Frost and Fire.

How to Travel

Once you get to Iceland, you’re going to want a way to get around the country to see all the astounding sights. One great option is to get an Iceland rental car. If you do decide to take advantage of the car rental Iceland has to offer, be sure you know how to drive on ice and you get a four-wheel-drive vehicle.

Be sure before you get behind the wheel that you always stay on the road – illegal off-roading can cost you several thousand dollars. If you’re sticking around Reykjavik, there’s a solid public transportation system you can rely on. You can get a bus tour that will take you around much of Iceland, or you can take taxis if you have a larger budget for your trip. 

Where to Eat in Iceland

One of the best parts of world travel is trying new foods from different cultures. There are some amazing places to eat around Iceland, far more than we can list here. But here are some good options to try if you get the chance.

Kaffi Hornid is a great restaurant on the South Coast that serves incredible seafood that you’ll appreciate after a day of driving past gorgeous glaciers. DILL Restaurant offers incredible traditional Nordic fare, and Skolabru has Icelandic cuisine with Mediterranean influences. And don’t miss Baejarins Beztu Pylsur, a hot dog stand that’s been in the harbor since 1937.

Iceland in winter

How to Dress in Iceland in January

As you might expect, visiting Iceland in January gets very cold, and you need to be prepared to dress accordingly. If you live somewhere where it’s difficult to get your hands on warm clothing, you can buy it when you get to Iceland. There are stores prepared to outfit the whole family with solid winter clothing.

Everything starts with a good coat, and you need to be sure it’s waterproof to keep the snow off. You’re also going to need hats, gloves, socks, and a scarf, all preferably made out of wool to keep you warm. Then you’re going to need solid winter boots that can get a good grip on icy streets.

What to Bring Back from Iceland

The souvenirs you bring back from your Iceland trip will depend a lot on where you go. But there are some souvenirs you can bring back that will help you bring an authentic piece of your Icelandic experience home. This should, of course, start with plenty of vacation photos (and even a Viking photoshoot if you like).

One of the most amazing Icelandic souvenirs you can bring back is a lopapeysa, an authentic Icelandic wool sweater. You can also bring some Icelandic music from icons like Pall Oskar, Elly Vilhjalms, Asgeir Trausti, GusGus, and Mugison. You could also get a piece of fiction from the country with more books written, sold, and read per capita than any other nation on Earth.

Iceland bay in winter

Make the Most of Visiting Iceland in January

Iceland is a stunning nation of volcanos and glaciers, northern lights and black sand beaches. Visiting in January can give you an amazing view of the wild beauty of this rugged landscape. Plan your visit to the land of fire and ice and discover the natural wonder of the world today. If you’d like to rent a car for your trip to Iceland, reach out to us at Geysir. We have the best prices around, and all taxes and unlimited mileage are included in the rental price. Book online and get a 10 percent discount and a free insurance package on select vehicles.

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