VISITING AMSTERDAM IN WINTER

Best things to do in Amsterdam in winter

Best THINGS TO DO IN AMSTERDAM IN WINTER

Amsterdam in winter is a great to experience this unique city.

Amsterdam by night

Amsterdam is known for its rich heritage and booming arts scene. It is one of the coolest cities in Europe (and not only because of the coffee shops) that makes it easy for visitors to fall in love and enjoy the vibe of the city.

Many of the buildings date all the way back to the 17th century, leaving plenty of historical areas to be explored. These are made even more captivating under the winter sun. 

If you visit Europe in December or in generally in winter then add Amsterdam to your bucket list. Winter is a great time to visit Amsterdam, and runs from mid-December to mid-March. So, while Amsterdam is not winter wonderland – nor the best city to visit if you are into Christmas Markets – it is a vibrant and cool city to visit. And even in the winter months Amsterdam has plenty to offer.

While I had visited Amsterdam mostly in the summer months, it was my first trip to Amsterdam in winter – and it was a fun city because it is also so different to other cities I have visited in winter like London, Vienna or Zurich.

If you are wondering what to pack for Europe in winter, check my guide so you know what to wear and how to dress in the cold winter months.

Anyhow, here are some of the best things to do in Amsterdam in the winter.

Arzo Travels in December in Amsterdam

The Canals Of Amsterdam

Amsterdam is known for its beautiful canals that flow through the city.

Christmas illumination in Amsterdam in winter

Every once in a while the canals freeze over and are cleared to allow people to ice skate across the once flowing waters. If, however, the canals do not freeze while you’re in Amsterdam, there’s another great way to experience the canals.

Taking a canal cruise allows you to see the beautiful city from the perspective of the water. It’s also an opportunity to see the historic district and learn about its fascinating history.

If a skating experience is what you’re after, there are plenty of other places to enjoy an outdoor skating experience. ICE Amsterdam is located on the Museumplein and is an outdoor skating rink that is open every winter. Grab a warm cup of cocoa and skate around the rink in a cozy manner.

Anne Frank House

Anyone with a fair knowledge of World War II will have heard of Anne Frank. Anne Frank House is the former residence of the famed writer, whose diary was published shortly after WWII. 

A visit to the historic site is a must for anyone traveling to Amsterdam. You’ll learn about the events that took place in the city during this tragic time in history, as well as about the writer herself. 

You can purchase your tickets to Anne Frank House before your visit, which allows you to skip the line at the door. 

Amsterdam Ice Bar

Visiting the Amsterdam Ice Bar is by far one of the ‘coolest’ experiences you can have in Amsterdam. Dress warmly for this experience, as it can get quite chilly. Although extra coats are provided at the door to make sure you stay warm. 

At this bar, you’ll get the chance to sip on cocktails out of a glass made of ice. But that’s not the most interesting thing about the experience. The bar is actually made from 35 tons of natural ice and kept at a temperature of 14 degrees Fahrenheit (-10 degrees Celsius).

If you’re looking for a ‘chilled’ experience with your travel buddies, this is it. You may not be escaping the cold of wintery Amsterdam, but you’ll surely be getting the full winter experience.

The Royal Palace

Spend an afternoon walking in the footsteps of queens and kings of years gone by in the Royal Palace. Take in the magnificent architecture, the grandeur of the space, and the well-preserved furniture that was used by the Netherlands Royalty.

You’ll see paintings by the famed artists of the Dutch Golden Age. As well as chandeliers and ornaments from Napoleon’s time. 

It’s a great way to get a glimpse of the past. The audio guide that you’ll receive at the entrance allows you to learn a great deal about the royals from the history books and the way they lived.

Christmas Market

While Amsterdam may not be the hub of Christmas markets in Europe, it does have a few worth visiting. The main Christmas market that takes place in Amsterdam is the Ice Village in Museumplein. 

It takes place around the ice rink and provides a fairly magical atmosphere. It should be noted that it’s not nearly as extravagant as many of the other Christmas markets in Europe. That being said, it’s definitely worth a visit if you’re in Amsterdam over the Christmas season.

Christmas lights and tree in Amsterdam

Moco Museum

Art fanatic? There’s no better way to escape the cold of Amsterdam in winter, than heading into the Moco Museum. As most people know, the Netherlands has been an artistic hub for hundreds of years, producing some of the world’s most famed artists.

With the rise of contemporary art, Amsterdam has continued to be a hub for creatives. You’ll find incredible artworks from artists all over the world like Banksy, Arsham, Basquiat, Haring, KAWS, Hirst, JR, Koons, Kusama, and more.

at Oliebollen

Oliebollen is a traditional Christmas/New Years’ Eve snack in Amsterdam. During the winter months, you’ll find oliebollen stalls popping up all over the city. These scrumptious snacks are fried balls of dough, similar to doughnuts, that are served with a sprinkling of powdered sugar.

Be sure to eat them while they’re still warm as this is when they’re most delicious!

Stroll Along the Canals

Even though it does get a little chilly during the winter months, that shouldn’t stop you from heading into the great outdoors. In fact, some of the most beautiful sights await you during the colder months.

Flower markets in Amsterdam in winter

Take a stroll next to the canals, and be sure to take your camera with for the excursion. You’re sure to come across some of the most picture-perfect scenes. The inner canals are often quite busy with pedestrians. If you head to the outer canals such as Herengracht you’ll get the chance to walk in peace and quiet.

Colofrul houses Amsterdam in December

If you’re in Amsterdam between the beginning of December and mid-January, you’ll get the chance to take part in the Amsterdam Lights Festival. Beautiful light shows are artfully hung over the canals making for a breathtaking sight, especially at night. 

Rijkmuseum 

The Rijkmuseum is the biggest museum in the country. So you can easily spend an entire day exploring its many pieces. The museum is dedicated to art as well as history. You’ll not only see artworks by famed artists like Rembrandt but also historical artifacts dating back hundreds of years. 

Another bonus is that there are two other great museums nearby. The Van Gogh Museum and the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam are in close proximity, making for some great rainy day activities.

Ons’ Lieve Heer Op Solder

Ons’ Lieve Heer Op Solder has got to be one of the most fascinating museums in Amsterdam. It’s located inside a 17th-century canal house. What makes it so interesting is the top three floors of this canal house were converted into a Catholic Church. 
It was a secret church as the only religion that was allowed to practice in the Netherlands during the 17th century was the Dutch Reformed Church. 

It’s now been turned into a museum that gives you insight into how people lived in the 17th century, as well as the secrecy in practicing their own religion. 

Final Thoughts On Things To Do In Amsterdam During Winter

Winter is a magical time of year in Europe, and Amsterdam is no different. Although winter can get very cold in Europe, Amsterdams winters tend to be a lot milder than many of the other major European cities. So you’ll be able to get out and about even in the middle of winter.

Amsterdam canal cruise

And luckily for you there are plenty of indoor activities to indulge in during the wintertime in Amsterdam. Museums, cultural attractions, and ice bars await you at this exciting destination – so add Amsterdam in winter to your bucket list.

Safe Travels, Arzo

THINGS TO DO IN ONE DAY IN GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

Best things to do in one day in Geneva itinerary

ONE DAY GENEVA ITINERARY (PLUS TIPS FOR 2 DAYS)

Geneva is one of the most unique places to visit in Switzerland – mostly, because it is completely different to the rest of the country.

If you plan to spend one day in Geneva this post is for you – with this Geneva itinerary, you can find out about the best things to in Geneva in one day. However, if you plan to stay a little longer, you will also find some travel tips for how to spend 2 days in Geneva.

Along with the top attractions, you will also find some travel tips for your one day – or two day – Geneva trip.

Travel Tips for One Day in Geneva

Before diving into the Geneva itinerary, here are some tips for your first trip to Geneva. If you’re not sure what to take with you, check out my packing list for Switzerland.

How to Get to Geneva

Geneva has its own international airport so you can arrive by plane from almost anywhere.

One of my favorite ways to explore Geneva is part of a Switzerland road trip. Though Geneva is not centrally located – it is in the very south-west of Switzerland – it is great to include in a road trip.

Alternatively, you can reach the city by train, bus or boat. Switzerland’s public transportation is amazing and you can hop on a train and enjoy the ride from places like Zurich or Lucerne (or any other city in Switzerland).

How to Get Around Geneva in One Day

Public transportation in Geneva is good – you can buy single tickets if you do not have the Transport Card (that you will get for free if you stay in an official accommodation in Geneva).

Or you can get around Geneva with a Geneva Pass. This will give you access to free transportation for 24 hours while allowing you to visit over 50 attractions (and you’ll save some money while doing so). 

However, most sights are close to each other and you won’t need public transportation much if you stay in Geneva for one day.

If you have the Swiss Travel Pass, you can use public transportation on Geneva – including boats – for free.

Where to Stay

You can see a large portion of Geneva’s attractions in one day. But if you want a little more time to experience this stunning Swiss city, it might be worth extending your stay. 

I have had my own experiences with hotels in Geneva – and I must say, there were quite some bad experiences amongst them. They are very, very expensive and also standard was not always what I expected.

However, there are some stunning hotels close to all the main attractions that won’t break the bank. My personal favorite is Hotel Manotel N’vY

I definitely recommend staying in the old town or just at the shores of Lake Geneva in the city center.

Tip: If you stay in an official hotel, hostel or campsite you get a Transport Card that will allow you to use public transportation for free.

For more general Switzerland travel tips, check out this post.

What to See in One Day in Geneva

I am aware that not everyone loves Geneva – Geneva is different to the rest of Switzerland. It doesn’t feel Swiss – personally, I love Geneva. It is not my favorite city in the country and if you have only 10 days in Switzerland, one or two days in Geneva is surely enough.

Geneva is considered to be the global hub for diplomacy and banking.

But there’s also plenty to do for tourists. One day in Geneva is enough time to see the most exciting attractions in this incredibly clean and well-maintained city.

Palais des Nations / United Nations Headquarters

Start your day at the United Nations headquarters which is not located directly in the city center of Geneva.

United Nations in Geneva

Switzerland is known for its neutrality, so it makes sense that the United Nations offices are located in Geneva. Throughout the year, the building sees thousands of meetings between global governments in its conference rooms. 

However, it’s also open for guided tours in an array of different languages. The tours usually last around an hour and the parts of the building you’ll get to see will depend on any meetings taking place. 

One of the highlights of the tour is the Human Rights and Alliance of Civilizations Room. This room was decorated by Spanish artist Miquel Barcelò and is absolutely magnificent. Look up and be awestruck by the brightly painted ceiling.

You’ll also be able to see the largest room in the building, The Assembly Hall, and The Salles des Pas Perdus, the main concourse of the Palais. 

If you’re lucky, the tour will take you to The Council Chamber where many paramount historical negotiations have occurred. In this room you’ll also find gold and sepia murals created by Catalan painter, José Maria Sert.

Check out tours in advance – but even if you do not do a guided tour, you could visit the headquarters and look at it from far.

Also it is where you will find the Broken Chair which was made in 1997 – standing at a height of 12 metres, this work of art has been dominating the Place des Nations and it has a simple message: to remember the victims of landmines and to urge governments to promote a ban on landmines.

International Committee of the Red Cross

From there, you can walk to the International Museum of the Red Cross.

The International Committee of the Red Cross houses an incredible museum that is largely considered one of the best in Geneva. 

The permanent exhibition takes you on a moving journey through the experiences of people throughout history. It documents some of the important work done by the Red Cross over the past 150 years. 

In the museum you’ll explore three major challenges facing the world including Defending Human Dignity, Restoring Family Links, and Reducing Natural Risks. The Red Crescent Museum also hosts temporary exhibitions that showcase current humanitarian efforts 

A trip to the Red Cross is a worthwhile experience that’ll show you the best and worst of mankind. Parts of the exhibition are quite shocking, so it might not be ideal for young kids or sensitive viewers.

Lake Geneva (and the Jet d’Eau)

From there, take public transportation or your car and get to Lake Geneva (it is about 4 kilometers).

Lake Geneva with fountain in beackground, Arzo Travels

One of my favorite things to do in Geneva is to visit Lake Geneva. Not only is this the largest lake in Central Europe but it’s also one of the most beautiful. Amateur and professional photographers will be captivated by the sparkling waters.

The lake’s most impressive feature is the enormous fountain that spouts water 140 meters into the air, the Jet d’Eau. It’s one of the city’s most famous landmarks and is one of the tallest fountains in the world. 

While walking along the edge of Lake Geneva offers impressive views, the best way to experience the lake and the awe-inspiring landscape of Geneva is from the water. With an hour-long boat tour of Lake Geneva, you’ll be able to see everything up close, including the Jet d’ Eau.

If you have more than one day in Geneva, you could do longer boat tours (I have a ridiculous thing for boat trips, so I have done the long tours which take hours).

Make sure you go all the way to Mont Blanc Bridge – the water color is extremely beautiful there, and you often have some local swans you can say hello to.

Mont Blanc Bridge in Lake Geneva must see in one day

Tip: It might be time for lunch, so I recommend looking for a nice spot where you can have lunch with a Lake Geneva view.

Old Town

Then it is time to explore the old town.

A trip to Geneva would be incomplete without visiting the Old Town. This part of the city is filled with interesting buildings and squares that’ll lure you in. Along the maze of small streets you’ll find some boutique stores and cozy restaurants.

Old Town of Lake Geneva in one day

The Old Town (or Vieille Ville) is filled with places to visit, including the Maison Tavel, a museum that commemorates Geneva’s history. You’ll also be able to see the luxurious Hotel de Ville and the Old Arsenal, five interesting cannons that were used up until the 19th century.

Within Geneva’s Old Town you’ll also find St. Pierre’s Cathedral. Founded in the 4th century, this stunning historical site took over a century to build and is worth a visit.

Geneva view of the lake for your one day itinerary

You will also find many cafes and restaurants and could have your dinner here. Whether you’re a foodie, history buff or avid shopper, Geneva’s Old Town will keep you busy.

Tip: Make sure you’re wearing comfy shoes to walk in, as the Old Town has many cobbled streets and uphill roads. Or take an Old Town Segway tour which will save you a little time (and blisters) while allowing you to experience a lot more.

Reformation Wall

Next to the St. Pierre Cathedral you will find one of Geneva’s most famous landmarks: The International Monument to the Reformation, more commonly known as Reformation Wall is one of the top places to visit in 1 day in Geneva.

Geneva was one of the key places during the Reformation that took Europe by storm in the 1500s. 

This gigantic wall features some of Geneva’s most famous reformers, namely John Calvin, Theodore Beza, John Knox, and William Farel. These four figures played an integral role in the revolution. It’s conveniently located close to Old Town and is perfect for a quick stop during your day in Geneva. 

Near the Reformation Wall, you’ll also find The International Museum of the Reformation. This is a great place to learn more about the history of Geneva. It’s also an incredible photo opportunity.

To end the day, I recommend heading back to Lake Geneva and watch the sunset there.

Lake Geneva at sunset ArzoTravels

More Things to do in Geneva in 2 Days

If you happen to stay 2 days in Geneva, I recommend doing some day trips. You could either hop on a train or on a boat and visit beautiful places at Lake Geneva.

Montreux is a perfect day trip as is the little town of Yvoire – which lies in France and can be best reached by boat.

You can also do a day trip to stunning Annecy – which is probably one of the most beautiful towns in France and quite close to Geneva.

Of course, there are also many other excursions you can take. A day trip to Mount Blanc is such an option – it is still on my own bucket list though.

CONCLUSION: WHAT TO DO IN 1 DAY IN GENEVA

Geneva is an interesting and fun city to visit in Switzerland – though it surely is not THE top place to see in the country, it has many beautiful places. Especially for those who are into politics, history or watches Geneva is a must-visit.

So, with one day in Geneva you will have enough time to check out the main attractions and if you can add a day and stay 2 days in Geneva, even better.

Stay safe and enjoy!

Safe Travels, Arzo

WHAT TO WEAR IN ICELAND IN WINTER

What to wear in Iceland in winter

Iceland in winter is a magical time – a real Winter Wonderland.The scenery is one of world’s most extraordinary at any time of the year – and the snow-capped mountains and hills, plus frozen waterfalls, make this country even more beautiful.

Winter weather in Iceland is – surprisingly – not as cold as many might think. Yes, there is a lot of snow and ice. But it isn’t the coldest country in Europe and especially in Reykjavik or the South Coast have a quite mild climate.

Iceland actually enjoys a much milder climate than other Nordic countries. This is partly because of the Gulf Stream which flows along the West and South of Iceland, and that brings warmth all the way from the Caribbean.

But the mild Atlantic air gets mixed with the cold Arctic air coming from the north – this leads to sudden and frequent changes in the weather.

But this also means, that there is a lot of wind and stormy weather in the country and that the south part of the country gets more rainfall than the north. The north, however, is much colder and heavy snowfalls might traveling to the north or Icelandic Westfjords difficult.

While I do not want to tell you to pack light skirts and dresses, I just want to say, that it is not necessarily freezing.

In winter, the average temperature in Reykjavík, Iceland’s capital, is around 1-2°C (33-35°F) during the day – with quite a lot of rain.

For travel tips in summer, read this post.

DISCLAIMER: THIS POST CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS – THIS MEANS I MIGHT EARN A SMALL COMMISSION WHEN YOU BUY A PRODUCT/SERVICE (AT NO EXTRA COST TO YOU). MORE ABOUT IT HERE.

Places to visit in Iceland in winter - and what to wear

WHAT TO WEAR IN ICELAND IN WINTER

If you’re planning to travel to Iceland during the winter months, the key is dressing in layers.

The temperature can reach freezing levels. Dressing in layers allows you to keep warm without compromising on comfort. 

But your items should be versatile in function. For example, pack a jacket that is both waterproof and warm. In addition, comfortable walking shoes are essential.

So, read on to find out what to wear in Iceland in winter.

Skógafoss Waterfall in winter in Iceland

Everyday Attire Essentials For Iceland In Winter

Here are a few items that you should pack – whether you visit Iceland in winter or summer.

  • Tops: If you dress in layers, tops are essential. If you do day trips from Reykjavik, buses can be really hot and thus you do not want to wear to warm clothes.
  • Cardigans: Perfect if you want to dress in layers – tops and cardigans are my way to go whenever weather conditions change during the day.
  • Warm Pullovers – Iceland is famous for its sweaters made 100% from Icelandic´s wool sheep. Personally, I avoid products from wool and recommend bringing your own warm pullovers. The Icelandic´s pullovers are very expensive but they are popular and they might keep you warm.
  • I brought some jeans with me and did not regret it. There were not the only pants I wore but they were the best option on a cold day, when I wanted to “dress up”.
  • Sweatpants – for longs days in the bus, plane etc. – and yes, you can look great in sweatpants.
  • Footwear: Flip flops are a must – yes, even in Iceland in winter. You will need them for the days in the geothermal pools.
  • Bikini: Iceland in winter is the perfect time to visit geothermal pools – so bring at least one.

So, after some more general things to pack for Iceland, here are items to wear in Iceland in winter.

At the top of your packing list should be the following versatile, essential items. Using these items to dress in layers will keep you both stylish and warm. 

  • Coat – warm And waterproof: A warm, waterproof jacket should be one of the very first items that you think to pack. I brought my super warm Wellensteyn jacket – bulky but warm and with many pockets. I did not need an extra scarf for most of the time. However, if you have a lightweight, trench raincoat that will keep you warm, dry, and comfortable better bring that because a bulky jacket can make you feel uncomfortable when you have layers underneath.
  • Hat: Apparently, we lose up to 10% of our body heat through our heads, meaning that it’s essential to keep this area warm. A knitted beanie will keep you toasty warm whether you’re outdoors sipping coffee, or exploring the sights. 
  • Gloves: Have you ever tried to use your phone with frozen fingers? Yes, it isn’t that easy. A pair of gloves can do wonders for your mobility, dexterity, and comfort. This makes it one of the most important items on your Iceland winter packing list. When selecting your options, it’s worth investing in a pair that can dry quickly and are touch-screen compatible.
  • Scarf: A warm scarf and/or turtleneck sweater are key items for keeping your neck covered. Not only do these items keep you warm, but they also prevent you from getting ill (and thereby ruining the fun). While my jacket was very warm and kept my neck warm, I still brought my scarf – especially on the bus or plane.
  • Turtleneck: A turtleneck sweater is perfect as a garment to wear underneath your jacket, while the scarf can be removed easily. 
  • Leggings: Leggings are perfect to wear underneath your jeans as an extra layer of warmth. Unless you really like cold, I do not recommend wearing them without any jeans or ski pants though. They are both comfortable and snug. Leggings are an essential item to pack as you can dress them up or down. You can even wear them underneath your denims as an extra layer of warmth. 
  • Socks: When it comes to packing socks for your Iceland winter trip – the thicker the better. Chances are that you’ll be spending a lot of time outdoors in the snow and cold, and you’ll want your feet to be warm and cozy. I bought myself some pairs of ski socks and they were a great investment.
  • Thermals: BEST. INVENTION. EVER. A quality set of thermals is your key to enjoying the winter weather in Iceland. They provide the extra layer of heat that will allow you to spend an extra hour outside instead of excess clothing. If you asked me for my top 5 items to wear in Iceland in winter, then surely thermals are among them.
  • Comfortable Walking Shoes: If you can only pack one pair of shoes, then make sure that they are a trusty pair of waterproof snowshoes. Break them in before you visit Iceland for the first time. If you will do a lot of hiking and and snowshoe walking, then consider buying snowshoes that allow you to enjoy a variety of activities while keeping your feet warm and dry. 
  • Crampers: I wore my hiking boots – and bought some crampers for them while I was in Iceland. It will almost be impossible to stroll some sights without the crampers because it is very icy in the winter months.
Crampers - What to wear in Iceland in winter, crampers

Winter Sportswear for Iceland in Winter

While Iceland is a winter wonderland, it is not known for offering the best winter sports opportunities. However, you can do some winter sports + winter sport clothes are just amazing to keep you warm while allowing you to be comfortable.

  • Ski Jacket: When choosing the perfect ski jacket, you need to consider warmth, level of waterproofing, and freedom of movement. A jacket that is adjustable in fit, seals effectively, and dries quickly is the perfect apparel for snowboarding, skiing, and other winter outdoor sports.
  • Ski Pants: My best friend, next to my thermals, were my ski pants. They cost a fortune but a trusty pair of insulated ski pants are the next essential item to keep you warm. Make sure that your choice of pants is breathable, warm, and waterproof. These details will keep you dry, warm, and comfortable – whenever the weather forecast wasn’t too bad, I didnt even wear thermals and just my beloved ski pants and they kept me more than war,  
  • Umbrella: Iceland in winter tends to be very rainy. Especially Reykjavik was very rainy – so pack a foldable umbrella. It can be the difference between a leisurely stroll in the city streets and getting caught in a flu-inspired downpour. 
  • Sunglasses: Sunglasses aren’t really an essential in Iceland in winter – daylight and thus sun is not “a big thing”. But I still packed a pair of polarized sunglasses – you never know!

So, if you dress appropriately and if you know what to wear in Iceland in winter, you can enjoy a fantastic trip to this unique country.

Stay safe and enjoy!

WHAT TO PACK FOR EUROPE IN WINTER

What to pack for Europe in winter

PACKING LIST FOR EUROPE IN WINTER

If you are want to find out what to pack for Europe in winter, then this post is for you.

While you might have to think about which places to visit in Europe in winter, you will also need to plan what to pack for the cold winter months in Europe.

While Europe might not be the biggest continent, weather conditions strongly vary. So, it does make a big difference whether you visit North countries like Iceland or Norway, Central Europe like Switzerland or France or Southern Europe with places like Valencia in Spain.

If you head to Southern Spain you will not need all the super warm winter clothes – and you will be happy with some warm pullovers and jeans. In the Nordic countries you will definitely need to pack differently.

In this post, you will find one general part of what to pack in Europe for winter. Then you will find out about what to pack for warmer countries like Spain or Malta, but you will also find out what to pack if you visit countries like Switzerland, Estonia or Iceland in winter.

First ski experience in Verbier, Switzerland what to pack in winter

Winter Weather in Europe

Before talking about what to bring to Europe in winter, we should talk weather in Europe in winter. Because your packing list depends on where you visit.

Southern Europe is much milder and warmer than Eastern Europe or Northern Europe. While you could wear a light jacket in Southern Spain in the winter months, you surely have to dress very warm in countries like Norway or Iceland.

If you come to Europe in winter – come prepared. 

Be advised that the average temperature can reach as low as -10° degree Celsius in countries like Iceland and Norway and while it gets up to 15° degree Celsius in other countries.

Climate change has lead to much warmer climate in many countries – I remember the years – as a little child – where we had many days with freezing temperatures in Germany. And a lot of snow – but nowadays, snow is no longer the rule for many parts in Europe. But it can be.

What to do in Alicante, Costa Blanca

WHAT TO BRING TO EUROPE IN WINTER – GENERAL ITEMS

So, the first part of the post is a general packing ist. Then you will find an additional packing list for winter.

Luggage for Europe

Here is what luggage/bags you might need for your winter Europe trip.

  • Suitcase: Though it depends, where exactly and for how long you travel, I recommend taking a good, light, and quality suitcase with you where all your clothes and most of your toiletries fit in.
  • Carry-On: If you visit for longer and aren’t a minimalist, then you might need an extra carry-on luggage.
  • Laundry bags: They are great if you travel for longer and don’t want your dirty and clean clothes to mix up. I prefer them over plastic bags.
  • Packing Cubes: They are the new must-items when it comes to traveling, they are very handy and they also come in cool colors. I recommend using packing cubes because it makes packing and organizing easier.
  • For my handbag, I choose a cross-body handbag with a zipper (just to be safe) and several extra pockets. My tip: The size of the handbag is important: do you carry a camera with your? A water bottle? Keep that in mind when you decide on one handbag.
  • Passport Holder, since i have become more minimalistic, I prefer not using a passport holder but if you need a passport (and an ID is not enough) you might want to have one.
  • For a day at the hotel pool or for some shopping, I recommend a beach bag or a cotton bag. Plastic bags – fortunately – do costs money in many parts of Europe…and plastic you use only once, sucks anyway, so with a cotton bag you use for years, you do the environment a favour (and it looks much better than to carry your shoppings in a plastic or paper bag).

Toiletries to Pack for Europe in Winter

Lately, I have reduced the care products. Less is better if you ask me. However, in winter our skin is also subject to stress. Here you will find a detailed list – even if I do not use all products below throughout the year, you might use more products.

If I travel for 10 days or shorter I take travel sizes toiletries which I refill with my natural and organic beauty products from home. To pack light, shampoo, conditioner, hair masks, cleaning water and cleansing milk is all in small bottles.

Of course, you could buy toiletries in Europe as well, but if you do not want to waste your time in drug stores or supermarkets, use this checklist for Europe.

  • (TSA Approved Clear) Travel Toiletry Bag (if you fly)
  • Sunscreen (even in winter – depending on where you travel to. If you go for a ski trip, then take it but you most likely will not need it for most other winter trips).
  • Travel bottles to refill – I refill them with my own organic products that I normally use (I do not use shampoo & conditioner provided by hotels)
  • Electric Hair Removal Epilator (only if you stay longer than a week or if you remove your bidy hair with it) – otherwise a razor or whatever you prefer
  • Face cream – (which I also use as a hand cream, so I do not have to take another cream).
  • Refillable Travel Size Perfume Bottle
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste and mouthwash plus Dental floss
  • Tissues
  • Deodorant
  • Magnifying make-up mirror
  • Nail polish and nail polish remover + glass nail file
  • My favorite hairbrush (especially for longer hair) – or if you have less space take a comb
  • Hair ties
  • A small cosmetic bag with the following items: Mascara / Rouge / Eyebrow powder (Taming & Shaping Kit For Brows) / Tweezer / Eyeliner and Eye Shadow / Make-up brushes/ Cotton swabs

Here are a few more items which I personally do hardly use but which might be important to you, so I added them here:

hair spray, hand cream, foundation, powder, lipstick, sanitiser

Tech Stuff to Pack for Europe

  • I have my laptop with me whenever I fly – however, I do work online while traveling and I also watch Netflix on it.
  • My phone is without a doubt one of my most useful and important (travel) items.
  • My camera is a must – because Europe has so many great spots that need to be photographed.
  • I have to admit, that I still don’t have a kindle, so a “real” book is often an essential
  • Power Charger – how long does your phone battery last? Not long? Neither does mine, so this  is an essential
  • Do you need an adapter? It depends on where you travel to in Europe, so please check if you need one for your destination.

Random Things to Pack for Europe

  • Umbrella (in many countries, like Germany, Switzerland, or England is can still rain quite a lot in the winter)
  • Guides
  • Medicine (headache pills etc.)
Cycling in London in winter

What to Pack for Europe in Winter

The key is dressing in layers for Europe in winter. The temperature can reach freezing levels, and yet the sun can be deceptively strong. Dressing in layers allows you to keep warm without compromising on comfort. 

Also, it really depends on where exactly you travel – as I mentioned before, Southern Europe has mild weather in winter where you will not need a super warm jacket and gloves plus a hat.

Depending on where you travel, the wind might make you feel much colder than the temperature actually says.

In worst case scenario, hypothermia and frostbite will be a result if If you’re wet and not appropriately dressed.

Your items should be versatile in function. For example, pack a jacket that is both waterproof and warm. In addition, comfortable walking shoes are essential.

December in Iceland, Golden Circle with Arzo Travels

Everyday Attire Essentials For Europe In Winter

At the top of your packing list should be the following versatile, essential items. Using these items to dress in layers will keep you both stylish and warm. 

  • Coat – Warm And Waterproof: A warm, waterproof jacket should be one of the very first items that you think to pack. Avoid choosing a bulky jacket that takes up a lot of space. This can make you feel uncomfortable when you have layers underneath. Instead, opt for a lightweight, trench raincoat that will keep you warm, dry, and comfortable. 
  • Hat: Science tells us that we lose up to 10% of our body heat through our heads, meaning that it’s essential to keep this area warm. A knitted beanie is a perfect solution for keeping the warmth in while you venture out.  A hat will keep you toasty warm whether you’re on the slopes, sipping coffee, or exploring the sights. 
  • Gloves: Have you ever tried to use your phone with frozen fingers? It’s a nearly impossible task. A pair of gloves can do wonders for your mobility, dexterity, and comfort. This makes it one of the most important items on your Switzerland packing list. When selecting your options, it’s worth investing in a pair that can dry quickly and are touch-screen compatible.
  • Scarf Or Turtleneck: A warm scarf and/or turtleneck sweater are key items for keeping your neck covered. Not only do these items keep you warm, but they also prevent you from getting ill (and thereby ruining the fun). A turtleneck sweater is perfect as a garment to wear underneath your jacket, while the scarf can be removed easily. 
  • Leggings: There’s a reason that almost every woman owns a pair of leggings. They are both comfortable and snug. Leggings are an essential item to pack as you can dress them up or down. You can even wear them underneath your denims as an extra layer of warmth. 
  • Socks: When it comes to packing socks for your Switzerland trip – the thicker the better. Chances are that you’ll be spending a lot of time outdoors in the snow, and you’ll want your feet to be warm and cozy. If you plan on hitting the slopes at any stage, then you’ll want your socks to be extra-thick or padded for increased comfort. 
  • Thermals: A quality set of thermals is your key to enjoying the winter weather in Switzerland. They provide the extra layer of heat that will allow you to spend an extra hour on the slopes, or to pack fewer items on your road trip instead of excess clothing.
  • Comfortable Walking Shoes: If you can only pack one pair of shoes, then make sure that they are a trusty pair of waterproof snowshoes. You’ll want your shoes to be as versatile as possible. Snowshoes allow you to enjoy a variety of activities while keeping your feet warm and dry. 
Verbier in Switzerland in the winter

Winter Sportswear

One of the best top reasons to visit Switzerland during the winter months is winter sports opportunities. While most ski resorts will offer rental equipment, there are a few essentials to pack for yourself. 

  • Ski Jacket: When choosing the perfect ski jacket, you need to consider warmth, level of waterproofing, and freedom of movement. A jacket that is adjustable in fit, seals effectively, and dries quickly is the perfect apparel for snowboarding, skiing, and other winter outdoor sports.
  • Ski Pants: A trusty pair of insulated ski pants are the next essential item for all winter sports fans. Make sure that your choice of pants is breathable, warm, and waterproof. These details will keep you dry, warm, and comfortable on the slopes.  
  • Winter Protection: There are a few items that will make your winter vacation all the more comfortable. The last thing that you want is to be soaked on your first day, or get a migraine from snow blindness
  • Umbrella: Regardless of what time of year you visit Switzerland, it’s always a smart move to pack a foldable umbrella. The nifty item doesn’t take up too much space. It can be the difference between a leisurely stroll in the city streets and getting caught in a flu-inspired downpour. 
  • Chapstick: Visiting Switzerland in winter will most likely find you spending hours of fun on the snow-covered slopes. This can quickly dry out your lips and burn your skin. In this instance, you’re going to be grateful that you’ve packed your moisturizing stick of Chapstick. 
  • Sunglasses: The best days on the slopes are the ones accompanied by clear, sunny skies and good conditions. These circumstances also increase the glare of the sun on the white snow, making it close to unbearable on your eyes. A pair of polarized sunglasses or ski goggles can protect your eyes from the wind and bright light.

CONCLUSION: WHAT TO PACK FOR EUROPE IN WINTER

Europe in winter is a fantastic travel destination. Whether you come for a ski trip in Switzerland, explore the Christmas markets in London or want to have a weekend trip to a warmer place like Valencia – Europe is so diverse and has something for every taste.

Just be aware of what to pack for Europe in winter and you can enjoy some fantastic time in Europe.

Stay safe and enjoy!

Safe Travels, Arzo

Travel Tips for Reykjavik in Winter + What to Do

Best things to do in Reykjavik in winter

Reykjavik in winter is a great time to visit – the country is magical and Reykjavik is a great place to base yourself. From there you can easily do some fun day trips and explore other parts of the country.

TRAVEL TIPS FOR REYKJAVIK IN THE WINTER

However, but even Reykjavik in winter is interesting. So, plan in some time for Iceland´s capital and check out some activities. Many activities in Iceland – and Reykjavik – can be done throughout the year. This post is about what to do in Reykjavik in winter – including some travel tips for your trip.

Weather in Reykjavik in Winter

Reykjavik in winter is not perfection – I actually struggled quite a but. Especially the weather was a problem for me – and I do not mean that it was cold. Reykjavik is quite rainy in the winter months. I stayed 12 nights in Reykjavik and it rained on – probably – 6 out of 12 days.

So, keep that in mind. Apart from the rain, winter in Reykjavik is not as bad as you might think. Temperatures are similar to Central Europe – often ranging between 3° / -2° degree Celsius.

Snow in Reykjavik is common though it doesn’t stay for long – to experience winter wonderland, I highly suggest doing a few day trips from Reykjavik.

How to Get Around in Reykjavik in Winter

Public transportation in Reykjavik is okay – I used it a few times to get around but mostly I walked to most attractions.

If you book guided tours, you normally will be picked up from your hotel or from a pick-up station near your hotel.

So, renting a car is not essential for the winter months. However, ff you rent a car you can easily get around via car. Driving in Reykjavik in winter is better than driving in other parts (especially in the Northern parts of the Highlands).

BEST THINGS TO DO IN REYKJAVIK IN WINTER

After so much talking it is time to talk about the best things to do in Reykjavik in winter – check out what to do in December, January or February.

Experience Flyover Iceland

Flyover Iceland is so much more than a 4D movie. It’s a passion project that celebrates the unique beauty of Iceland and its history. 

In the simulation, you’ll fly over Iceland’s mountainous landscape and rough coastline, feeling the wind in your hair, and the twists and turns. It was designed to feel like mankind’s greatest dream fulfilled; to feel like you’re flying. With over 200 hours of aerial videography, and years of work put into it, I’d say it was successful! 

You’ll learn about how Iceland was formed, its long history, and Icelandic culture. So not only is it a great deal of fun – but you’ll also go away with a much better understanding of your surroundings and the Icelandic people.

It was one of my most favorite activities – it made me feel happy. I was excited and fell in love before I had seen much of Iceland in real life. However, some other people I talked to criticised the short movie (about 10 minutes, the rest is just blablabla) and the quite high price. For me, it was worth the money.

Also, this is the perfect thing to do on a very cold day in Reykjavik in winter as it is indoors (once you book your tickets, email them and agree on a time slot).

Even though I stayed in Iceland for about 10 nights in winter, I did not get to see the Northern Lights. Neither in Reykjavik nor when I did Northern Lights tours as they do not appear that often.

Marvel at Hallgrímskirkja Church

A trip to Reykjavik would be incomplete without a visit to its most recognizable building, which can be seen from anywhere in the city.

HALLGRÍMSKIRKJA CHURCH in winter one of the top things to do in Reykjavik

This Lutheran parish church is one of the tallest buildings in the whole country. It’s striking and unusual, totally different from churches you’ll find anywhere else in the world.  

The church has a truly massive organ and an austerely beautiful interior. Be sure to venture in for the full experience, and admire the immense effort put into this structure.

View from HALLGRÍMSKIRKJA CHURCH in Reykajvik in winter

From here, you also have some of the best view points in Reykjavik.

Bathe in Geothermal Pools

Iceland in December and the winter months can be daunting. But the locals have been making it comfortable for a long time now. 

The country is famous for its geothermal pools. These warm outdoor pools have long since been a large part of the culture in Reykjavik. Particularly in winter when the water contrasts so strongly with the frigid air. You’ll even find locals chatting away in a rainstorm.

The geothermal pools are fed by underground hot springs. You can laze in the naturally warm waters of the main pool, before tiptoeing across to the hot tubs to luxuriate in even warmer conditions. 

When you visit, be sure to follow etiquette, and shower with soap before getting into the water. This helps them keep the pools clean with minimal chlorine.

And feel free to hop into a sauna before or after your swim, to really round out the experience. No matter the weather around you, you’ll feel snug for hours after leaving the pools. 

See the Iconic Northern Lights

If you’re lucky, you don’t even need to leave Reykjavik to catch a glimpse of the iconically beautiful Northern Lights. If the aurora is active and the sky is clear, you should be able to see it.

Northern Lights in Iceland in winter
@shutterstock

If you’re trying to spot the Northern Lights within the city, head down to the coast. There’s less light pollution in this part of the city, and no lights or buildings obstructing your view. You can simply stroll along the coast and admire the fantastical display. Alternatively, you can set sail on a 2-hour boat tour off the coast.

Because Reykjavik is a city, it has more light pollution than the Icelandic countryside. This means you’ll see the aurora more vibrantly far outside the city, where the Northern Lights is the only thing brightening the sky.

You can take a half day tour from Reykjavik for a better chance at this once in a lifetime experience.

Visit Harpa Center

One of the best things to do during Reykjavik’s winter months is to see a performance at Harpa. 

Harpa Center in Reykjavik in winter

This unique landmark is a concert hall where you’ll see some of Iceland’s top musical performances. It is also a massive sculpture reflecting everything around it – including the gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains and ocean.

Even if there are no performances during your visit to Reykjavik, Harpa Center is well worth a visit. One alternative option is to enjoy a meal at one of the Harpa restaurants, where the center’s innovation is applied to Icelandic ingredients and exciting cuisines. 

Spot Street Art in Reykjavik in WInter

The streets of Reykjavik are full of impressive social and political commentary, as well as just fun art. The Old Harbor area boasts some of the city’s best work, though.

But you can also find some street art in the town center.

Street art is one of the best things to do in Reykjavik in winter

Spend a few daylight hours (between about 10 am and 4 pm) strolling through the streets and spotting as many of the artworks as you can. It’s like an outdoor museum, full of exhibitions and open to interpretation.

Go Ice Skating on Tjörnin

Ice skating on the lake is a Reykjavik tradition. It’s referred to as a pond by the locals because it’s so shallow. Thankfully, this means the water quickly freezes over in winter and can be safely enjoyed throughout the season.

If you’re not really into ice skating (read: keep falling on your butt every time you try), it’s still a lovely place to spend a few hours. You can watch locals and foreigners gliding on the ice, and even see an ice hockey or football match. 

Unfortunately, there are no ice skate rentals around the pond, as it’s geared towards locals. So you’ll have to either bring along your own skates, or take to the ice in your boots for a clumsy but fun time. 

Reykjavik also has some lovely indoor skating rinks, where ice skates actually can be found. Some favorites are Egilshöll and Ice Rink Laugardalur.

See the Stars at the Planetarium

Reykjavik’s Perlan Planetarium is another amazing immersive experience. The world-class planetarium allows you to witness the Northern Lights and Iceland’s other wonders. All while snug and warm in the city.

The Perlan Planetarium show runs every hour and is thankfully in English. So you’ll have an opportunity to learn about the science behind the aurora borealis and much much more while you’re awed by the beauty.

Taste Rekyavik’s cuisine

Reykjavik is a modern metropolitan, combining traditional cuisine with modern twists and global fusions. Icelandic food is famous for being pure, with natural ingredients, often locally sourced.

While they’re well-known for many of their meat dishes, you’ll find the city surprisingly vegan-friendly. I really was in vegan heaven – who would have thought?

Amazing vegan burger in Reykjavik

A recent cultural and ideological shift has made veganism popular among younger Icelanders. This shift means you’ll find some fantastic, creative food, from noodle soup and vegan burgers to gazpacho.

Visit the cafe Ecstasy’s Heart-Garden for some tasty vegan and vegetarian treats, or splurge on fine dining at Burro.  

Explore the National Museum of Iceland

Leave the outside chill behind for a few hours and head into Iceland’s National Museum. You’ll learn about the country’s fascinating history, from Viking settlements to contemporary civilization. 

The museum hosts some wonderful historic artifacts and medieval engravings. You can stroll through exhibitions, and marvel at the strength and perseverance of a culture that developed here, long before aircon made the chill more manageable!

Just a note: the museum is closed on Mondays during winter, so plan your itinerary accordingly.

Go on an Icelandic Horseriding Tour

I am allergic to horses and so I stay away from them but Icelandic horses are iconic. Yes, they are not as gracious as Arabic horses but these chubby little animals are one of a kind.

Icelandic horses - horse back riding in Reykjavik in winter
@Shutterstock

Icelandic horses are short and stocky, with long shaggy hair. They’re a great joy to ride for all ages. But more excitingly, the area around Reykjavik is an incredible place to explore on horseback.

Spend a few hours riding through lava fields and along the startling green (or white) hillside. It’s one of the best things to do in Iceland, and totally unique to the country. 

In addition to the actual riding, horseback riding tours include rubber boots, helmets, rainwear or warm clothes if needed, and a guide. You can even request transport there if you’d prefer.

Reykjavik in winter is an interesting place to visit. It is far way from the perfect winter city destination in Europe, it offers quite some beautiful places and fun activities. Stay safe and enjoy!

Safe Travels, Arzo

ICELAND IN SUMMER – TRAVEL TIPS AND BEST THINGS TO DO

What to do in Iceland in summer

Heading to Iceland in summer? Then read on and find out about the best things to do in summer + travel tips for your summer trips.

As I have visited Iceland in December/January, I have asked some fellow travel bloggers to share their favorite activities for a summer trip to Iceland.

Important Travel Information for Iceland in Summer

written by Constance from The Adventures of Panda Bear

Iceland is one of the most beautiful places in the world, it’s got amazing landscapes and scenery. It is gorgeous throughout the year in many different ways.

In the spring, you get some ice along with greenery and a chance at the northern lights; in the summer, there will be tons of green, pretty blooms, and the midnight sun. Fall greets with you autumnal foliage and the northern lights which continue on into the winter along with the snow and ice.

The best time to visit is highly dependent upon what you want to see in Iceland. Each season has its charm – here are some travel tips for your trip to Iceland in summer.

How to Get Around in Iceland in Summer

While Iceland in winter isn’t the perfect time to drive, summer is perfect for a road trip.

So get a rental car because it is the best way to get around, driving is easy since there aren’t too many cars once you leave the Reykjavik and Golden Circle area.

If you want to make Reykjavik your base and do some day trips, you cannot rely on public transportation. In this case you will have to book guided tours – this is a great option if you stay near Reykjavik and do not plan to visit the North of Iceland for the East Coast.

Language

Everyone speaks English. Technically, the national language is Icelandic, but they all learn English in school. You might run into the older generation who don’t always speak English, but everyone’s super friendly so don’t worry about it!

How to Pay in Iceland

Credit is king! I’m sure you’ve all heard the saying “Cash is king!” but in Iceland all of the stores, restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, etc. take credit cards. Just make sure your card has no foreign transaction fees!

Where to Stay in Iceland

If you road trip Iceland you will have to change locations accordingly. Check out this detailed guide on where to stay in Iceland.

WHAT TO DO IN ICELAND IN SUMMER

Here are some of the best summer activities in Iceland (many can be done throughout the year but some can only be done in the summer months).

Blue Lagoon

Recommended by Alexis and Bertaud from World Travel Adventures

Visiting the Blue Lagoon is one of the best places to visit in Iceland. This milky-blue geothermal spa is one of the 25 wonders of the world and is the top bucket list travel experience for millennials.

Top Things to do in Iceland The Blue Lagoon geothermal spa is one of the best places to visit in Iceland in winter
@Shutterstock

You cannot visit Iceland without soaking in the Blue Lagoon!

It is the perfect place to visit in Iceland – there’s no better way to enjoy a break from the freezing cold temperatures in winter.

It is also very romantic, so grab your lover or find one there and blissfully soak the day away. Get a glass of prosecco from the swim-up bar and you’re in heaven! Lose the crowds by wandering to the outer edges of the Lagoon.

The Blue Lagoon is only about 30 minutes from the airport, so it makes sense to visit after you land or on your last day before heading to the airport. Give yourself plenty of time- we spent about 4 hours there but could have easily stayed all day. There are buses that will take to from the airport to the lagoon, or you can rent a car and drive yourself.

Make sure that you book your Blue Lagoon tickets well in advance – the Blue Lagoon has become one of the main tourist attractions in Iceland and so  this does not surprise it is so busy. 

Tickets start at $50 which includes a silica mud mask for silky smooth skin. Bring your own towels, bathrobes, and flip flops if you want to buy the cheapest package.

Don’t forget to bring your camera to snap photos of the famous blue water that seems to glow thanks to its mineral content which reflects the sun.

Depending on how serious you are about your hair, bring something to pull it up or even a swim cap if you plan to get under the waterfall. The minerals dry out your hair, so slather it with tons of conditioner when you shower prior to entering the lagoon. Enjoy this epic experience in Iceland!

Visit Glaumbaer

Recommended by Shoba from Just Go Places

Glaumbaer is a traditional turf farmhouse which is now being operated as a museum – is one of the best places to visit in Iceland in summer.

Glaumbaer is one of the best things to do in Iceland in summer
@Shutterstock

Located in the north of Iceland, the farmhouse that you see was built in the mid 18th century. Building turf houses with sod roofs and little windows was an Icelandic tradition that dates back to the time of the Vikings.

There has been a house in this location since the 11th century when the land was farmed by Snorri Porfinnsson. Porfinnson was probably the first European born in North America because his mother accompanied her husband on the expedition to Vinland with Leif Ericsson.

Porfinsson is also created with helping to spread Christianity in Iceland. There is a statute to Porfinnson and his mother in the church next door to Glumbaer.

Visiting Glaumbaer was like stepping back into time. You have newfound respect for the hardiness of the Icelandic people who created homes in this inhospitable climate. The turf houses look like hobbit houses from the outside but the inside is spacious if somewhat dark.

Everyone who worked on the farm would have lived in this house from the owner and his family to the servants and the farmhands.

Trip Around the Famous Ring Road

Recommended by Natascha and Cameron from The World Pursuit

A trip around the famous Ring Road is a another great activity in Iceland in summer. In winter, parts of the streets might be closed – or at least not easy to drive due to snow. But summer is perfect for driving here.

Skogafoss waterfall in Iceland - best things to do in Iceland
@Shutterstock

There are so many magical stops right off it to venture to it will be hard to see everything without years of exploration. However, one of the best sights literally right off “Route 1” is Skógafoss waterfall.

Skógafoss is one of the biggest and most iconic waterfalls in Iceland at 15 meters wide and 60m high and if you are wondering what to do in Iceland this has to be on your Iceland itinerary.

It is located in the Southern part of Iceland near the town of Vik. It has even been featured in a number of movies like “The Secret Life of Water Mitty” and Thor”.

You really can’t miss the stop here as the waterfall can easily be seen from the road. Once at the waterfall just park your car and walk right up to see natures beauty – you cannot visit Iceland without seeing it – there is a reason why this is one of Iceland´ top attractions

You can either venture under it or climb up to the very top of the waterfall on a nearby staircase. If you want to stay overnight there is a campsite and restaurant at the site!

Go on a Boat Tour on the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon

Recommended by Cindy from Travel Bliss Now

Jökulsárlón is one of the most otherworldly places in Iceland you have to see – so if you want to visit the best place in Iceland this might be it.

JÖKULSÁRLÓN GLACIER LAGOON one of the best things to do in summer
Pic: adrenalinerushdiaries Shutterstock.com

The name means “glacial river lagoon” and that’s exactly what it is.  Due to climate change, icebergs are breaking off the glacier next to the lagoon and slowly floating out to sea.  It’s a new phenomenon – the lake didn’t exist 80 years ago.

If you want to see the icebergs and the glacier up close, the best thing to do is the one-hour zodiac tour that runs from May 1st to the end of September (longer if weather permits).  They get as close to the ice as safely possible and you may even see it calve off the glacier.  The boats are small, so be sure to make a reservation.

For a tamer approach, you can take a 30 to 40 minutes amphibious boat tour that starts on land and floats among the icebergs.  The tours run frequently during the May to September season, but if you don’t like waiting, it’s best to reserve ahead.

Don’t miss Diamond Beach across from the lagoon.  It’s where polished chunks of ice wash up along the wild ocean shoreline.

The Glacier Lagoon is easy to find on the ring road on the south coast of Iceland.  It’s about 400 kilometerss from Reykjavik. The drive is stunning so if you want to enjoy the scenery along the way, consider making a 2-day trip out of it.  One and two-day tours from Reykjavik are also offered and are one of the top things to see in Iceland.

Check out Best Rates for a Day Trip to the Glacier Lagoon from Reykjavik

See the Gullfoss Waterfall

Recommended by Rene from Together We Roam

Iceland’s iconic Gullfoss Falls in the well-trodden Golden Triangle tourist route is hardly visible on approach, as you wind along the cliff edge; the largest waterfall in Iceland reveals itself, tumbling between two rugged rock faces, like the earth has opened up releasing a magnificent mass of water.

Gullfoss Waterfall which places to visit in Iceland in summer
@Shutterstock

You hear Gullfoss before you see it, and even in the cold embrace of Iceland’s winter there’s a promising roar. There’s no real difference when the temps plummet past zero, the cool brings less crowds, a sense of calm and a distinctly beautiful landscape.

The unbridled force of the Olfusa river emptying into the canyon is replaced with a less urgent rush, yet still as magnificent. Add this place to your Iceland itinerary as it one of the most beautiful places in Iceland.

It’s as if the tumbling falls have been snap frozen, creating spider-like icicle tentacles that creep up the 32 meter falls and consumer the cliff faces, which can tower 70 meters high.

Below the surface the water fed by Langjokul, Iceland’s second largest glacier still stirs and at the very center of the falls, the falls are at its most fierce, evident with a plume of white mist rising to the surface, like a reverse snow storm.

Gullfoss Falls in the winter offers a spectacular wintery scene of snow and ice against the crisp blue sky and much more exciting than the familiar ‘Golden’ brown hued tumbling body of water and hoards of snap-happy tourists in the summer.

Go Glacier Hiking in Iceland

Recommended by Ryazan from Everything Zany

If you are heading to Iceland in summer, you might want to consider to travel down to the Southern coast of the island to experience of the best things to see in Iceland.

Glacier Iceland top things to do in Iceland
Myrdalsjokull Glacier @shutterstock

A few hour drive from Reykjavik is the Solheim Glacier (Sólheimajökull).  The word “jökull” means glacier in Icelandic and it is one of the best tours to do in Iceland.

You can take a group tour bus to pick you up from your accommodation in Reykjavik or its an easy drive down via Route 1, you can also stop along the way to see the beautiful waterfalls, Seljandafoss and Skogafoss.

The glacier hike in Iceland was one of the most memorable experiences and best activities in Iceland.

Our guide was very experienced hiking in the icy conditions and shared very valuable stories and information about the Global warming and climate change and its harmful effects to our world.

The hike took us about a couple of hours, we started at the campsite at the edge of the glacier to do our safety briefing and instructions. Since the glacier preceded in such an alarming rate, the entry to the glacier was now around 30minutes trek from the campsite unlike before that is only a stone throw away.

It was my first time to trek on a glacial ice and it feels so surreal. The beautiful landscape of Iceland was truly mesmerizing as if you are on another planet.

I would definitely recommend this hike to anyone during the glorious summer days in Iceland, just remember to wrap up warm (yes, even in summer).

Check out Prices for a Glacier Hike in Iceland

Visit Seljavallalaug

Recommended by Kay from Jet Farer

One of the most spectacular geothermal swimming pools in the world is tucked away between the mountains in Southern Iceland and if you are asking yourself where to go in Iceland then visiting this place is your answer.

Seljavallalaug one of the best things to do in Iceland in summer
@shutterstock

Seljavallalaug, this hot mountain spring, is surrounded almost entirely by mountains and is a beautiful place to go for a warm dip.

Dipping your feet in, and soaking in the surrounding mountain views – this is a perfect place to chill. Because it requires straying a bit from the main Ring Road and hiking for a few minutes, this hideaway is significantly less tourist-filled than the nearby waterfalls or the Blue Lagoon.

While there, you can relax in the warm geothermal waters, or just dip your feet in and explore around some of the nearby hiking trails. Either way, Seljavallalaug is worth a visit for the sheer beauty and seclusion of this unique swimming pool.

Located within a few hours from Reykjavik, it’s an easy day trip from the city, or a nice stop on your Ring Road itinerary in Iceland.

To get to Seljavallalaug from Reykjavik, drive east on the Ring Road past Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss. Turn onto road 242 – Raufarfell.

Drive into that road for a few minutes until you see a gated pool area and a parking lot marked Seljavellir (this is not the pool). From the parking lot, hike on the dirt path towards the mountains about 20 minutes until you see the pool.

Swimming in Seljavallalaug is free of charge.

CONCULSION: PLACES TO VISIT IN ICELAND IN SUMMER

Iceland in summer is a perfect time to visit – though there might be crowds, it is great for road tripping the country. It is perfect for hikes, to chase waterfalls and spend time outdoors. Given the weather in summer, it is the so much fun to spend time in hot pools after a day of exploring and to enjoy the endless summer nights.

Stay safe and enjoy!

WHAT TO PACK FOR SWITZERLAND

What to pack for Switzerland in winter, summer, fall or spring.

PACKING LIST FOR SWITZERLAND

If you are want to find out what to pack for Switzerland, then this post is for you. Whether you visit Switzerland in winter, spring, fall, or summer – this Switzerland packing guide will help you with your packing.

While you might have to think about which places to visit in Switzerland, you will also need to plan what to pack for Switzerland.

There are not many places that are as amazing as Switzerland – no matter when you visit, Switzerland will always amaze you.

And we all know, this country is beyond stunning. So, this is not to convince you to visit Switzerland – this post is my packing list for Switzerland.

Please keep in mind, that Switzerland is very expensive. So, if you pack properly you can save money and time.

GENERAL TIPS FOR WHAT TO BRING TO SWITZERLAND

So, the first part of the post is a general packing ist. Then you will find a packing list for summer, fall and spring and then you will find an additional packing list for winter.

best things to do in Switzerland

Switzerland Weather

Summer Weather in Switzerland

Summer in Switzerland (June to August) is mostly beautiful. From July to August the daytime temperature range is 18 to 28 °C (65° – 82° F) – however, rain is quite common in Switzerland. Unfortunately, I can say this with confidence.

Spring and Fall Weather in Switzerland

In spring and autumn, the daytime temperature ranges from 8 to 15 °C (46° – 59° F) and it is probably one of the best times for long hikes and city sightseeing. Rain is also common.

Winter Weather in Switzerland

Switzerland’s winter months are from December to March. Although the outdoor air has a definite chill, the ski slopes are primed for fun and the scenery is particularly beautiful. The trick to enjoying Switzerland during winter is to come prepared. 

Be advised that the average temperature can reach as low as -10° F in the mountainous regions. You’ll want to have your packing list waxed if you want to enjoy Switzerland’s mountain views

Freezing temperatures and snow are no longer the rule in Switzerland, especially in the lowlands. Actually, many ski resorts could hardly survive without artificial snow. However, there is snow – especially in the mountains and thus you should dress appropriately.

Winter in Switzerland is considered both a high and low season for tourism, especially for those who love Christmas markets and shooting down the slopes. 

WHAT TO PACK FOR SWITZERLAND – GENERAL ITEMS

Here are items that you will need in Switzerland regardless the season.

Luggage for Switzerland

Since Switzerland is a safe travel destination in general, you could bring your fancy suitcases. However, if you are a backpacker you´ll find plenty of your equals in Switzerland.

  • Suitcase: Though it depends, where exactly and for how long you travel, I recommend taking a good, light, and quality suitcase with you where all your clothes and most of your toiletries fit in.
  • Carry-On: I normally always have extra carry-on luggage with me.
  • Laundry bags: They are great if you travel for longer and don’t want your dirty and clean clothes to mix up. I prefer them over plastic bags.
  • Packing Cubes: Packing Cubes are the new must-items when it comes to traveling, they are very handy and they also come in cool colors. I recommend using packing cubes that make packing and organizing easier and do not forget a laundry bag.
  • For my handbag, I choose a cross-body handbag with a zipper (just to be safe) and several extra pockets.
  • Passport Holder, I need a passport when I travel to Dubai (ID is not enough) so I need a bigger wallet (aka a passport holder) and I love the fun colors here.
  • If you go on a beach holiday (in Switzerland this means, spending time at the lakes) you should also take a light and (ideally foldable) beach bag or a cotton bag instead.
Where to stay in Switzerland

Clothes to Pack for Switzerland

  • Hats: A hat is more than just an accessory in summer, so my must-have item is a stylish hat.
  • Sunglasses: Another must-have item are Sunglasses. Ray Ban seems to be always a great choice, but the most important thing is the quality (sunglasses are an investment in healthy eyes)
  • Jewelry: I love jewelry but since I tend to lose stuff, I do not wear much. One exception is watches: I am totally addicted to watches.
  • Maxi Dresses: Summer means wearing cute dresses and Europe is made to wear maxi dresses.
  • Skirts: You can wear short skirts in most places, some shopping malls actually have dress codes and do not allow too short skirts or shorts (though many do not follow the rules)
  • Linen Trousers: Though I love maxi dresses, the best thing to wear when it is hot is probably linen trousers – combined with a cool tank top and nice flat sandals it can be super chic.
  • Some long skirts should be on your list.
  • Tops: The more the merrier – my rule for hot destinations. I love skirts/trousers which I can wear with tops that are easy to change and are made from cotton are other light materials.
  • Shorts: Shorts are okay for most places – I love them especially for the beaches.
  • Denim is big in Europe
  • Cardigans and jackets: It can actually get chilly in the afternoon – not only but also after the sun sets. So definitely take at least 1 or 2 cardigans or jackets.
  • Blouses: Some cute blouses should be on your list (for the evening, some places that do not allow naked arms, or for the winter).
  • Footwear:  flat sandals, flip flops, and ballerinas. but a pair of sneakers are almost always a good choice, too. If you are into hiking, make sure to pack proper hiking boots.
What to pack for Switzerland to see the most beautiful places
8

Toiletries to Pack for Switzerland

If I travel for 10 days or shorter I take travel sizes toiletries which I refill with my natural and organic beauty products from home (shampoo, conditioner, hair masks, cleaning water and cleansing milk). Of course, you could buy toiletries here as well, but if you do not want to waste your time in drug stores or supermarkets, use this checklist for Europe.

Forget all the different small bags for shampoo etc. – get them all packed in a Toiletry Kit and have them super organized with you.

  • TSA Approved Clear Travel Toiletry Bag (if you fly)
  • Sunscreen
  • Travel bottles to refill – I refill them with my own organic products that I normally use (I do not use shampoo & conditioner provided by hotels)
  • Electric Hair Removal Epilator (only if you stay longer than a week or if you remove your bidy hair with it) – otherwise a razor or whatever you prefer
  • Face cream – (which I also use as a hand cream, so I do not have to take another cream)
  • Refillable Travel Size Perfume Bottle
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste and mouthwash plus Dental floss
  • Tissues
  • Deodorant
  • Refreshing towelettes
  • Magnifying make-up mirror
  • Nail polish and nail polish remover + glass nail file
  • My favorite hairbrush (especially for longer hair) – or if you have less space take a comb
  • Hair ties
  • A small cosmetic bag with the following items:
  • Mascara
  • Rouge
  • Eyebrow powder (Taming & Shaping Kit For Brows)
  • Tweezer
  • Eyelash curler
  • Eyeliner and eye shadow
  • Make-up brushes
  • Cotton swabs

Here are a few more items which I personally do hardly use but which might be important to you, so I added them here:

hair spray, hand cream, foundation, powder, lipstick, sanitizer

Best things to do in Zurich : Boat tour on Lake Zurich

What to Pack for a Day at the Lake in Europe

  • Swimming Suits: bikinis.
  • I love kaftans and think, it is best to wear from the beach back to the hotel room etc. Luckily, they look super cool these days.
  • Beach Bag: I recommend one of the cool beach bags, which are light, affordable, and stylish.
  • Flip Flops are my must-have for beach aka lake days.
  • If you have a great hotel with a private beach section, you probably do not need a towel. If this is not the case not it should also be on your list. If you do not have any beach towel yet, click here to get your beach essential.
  • A reading book / Kindle is also a great idea for a day at the beach.
  • Click here to find my complete list: What to pack for a day at the beach (or lake)

Tech Stuff to Pack for Europe

  • I have my laptop with me whenever I fly – however, I do work online while traveling and I also watch Netflix on it.
  • My phone is without a doubt one of my most useful and important (travel) items.
  • My camera is a must – because Europe has so many great spots that need to be photographed.
  • I have to admit, that I still don’t have a kindle, so a “real” book is often an essential
  • A day at the beach or pool would not be perfect without my iPod
  • Power Charger- how long does your phone battery last? Not long? neither does mine, so this  is an essential
  • Do you need an adapter? Well, it gets a bit complicated here: Swiss plugs and wall sockets are non-grounded wall outlets with 2 holes and grounded wall outlets with 3 holes. The non-grounded European plug with two pins will often fit in a Swiss wall socket. But not always because the European prongs are a bit bigger! Other plugs will mostly not fit, so an adapter is needed. This means= when I charge my mobile it is fine – if I want to charge my laptop I need an adapter because the prongs are bigger. Complicated I know.

Random Things to Pack for Europe

  • Umbrella (in many countries, like Germany, Switzerland, or England is can still rain quite a lot in the summer)
  • Guides
  • Medicine (headache pills etc.)

What to Pack for Switzerland in Winter

If you’re planning to travel to Switzerland during the winter months, the key is dressing in layers. The temperature can reach freezing levels, and yet the sun can be deceptively strong. You can work up a sweat on your adventures. Dressing in layers allows you to keep warm without compromising on comfort. 

In the same breath, your items should be versatile in function. For example, pack a jacket that is both waterproof and warm. In addition, comfortable walking shoes are essential. If your Switzerland itinerary takes you through snowy areas, then snowshoes are a must.

First ski experience in Verbier, Switzerland what to pack in winter

Everyday Attire Essentials For Switzerland In Winter

At the top of your packing list should be the following versatile, essential items. Using these items to dress in layers will keep you both stylish and warm. 

Coat – Warm And Waterproof: A warm, waterproof jacket should be one of the very first items that you think to pack. Avoid choosing a bulky jacket that takes up a lot of space. This can make you feel uncomfortable when you have layers underneath. Instead, opt for a lightweight, trench raincoat that will keep you warm, dry, and comfortable. 

Hat: Science tells us that we lose up to 10% of our body heat through our heads, meaning that it’s essential to keep this area warm. A knitted beanie is a perfect solution for keeping the warmth in while you venture out.  A hat will keep you toasty warm whether you’re on the slopes, sipping coffee, or exploring the sights. 

Gloves: Have you ever tried to use your phone with frozen fingers? It’s a nearly impossible task. A pair of gloves can do wonders for your mobility, dexterity, and comfort. This makes it one of the most important items on your Switzerland packing list. When selecting your options, it’s worth investing in a pair that can dry quickly and are touch-screen compatible.

Scarf Or Turtleneck: A warm scarf and/or turtleneck sweater are key items for keeping your neck covered. Not only do these items keep you warm, but they also prevent you from getting ill (and thereby ruining the fun). A turtleneck sweater is perfect as a garment to wear underneath your jacket, while the scarf can be removed easily. 

Leggings: There’s a reason that almost every woman owns a pair of leggings. They are both comfortable and snug. Leggings are an essential item to pack as you can dress them up or down. You can even wear them underneath your denims as an extra layer of warmth. 

Socks: When it comes to packing socks for your Switzerland trip – the thicker the better. Chances are that you’ll be spending a lot of time outdoors in the snow, and you’ll want your feet to be warm and cozy. If you plan on hitting the slopes at any stage, then you’ll want your socks to be extra-thick or padded for increased comfort. 

Thermals: A quality set of thermals is your key to enjoying the winter weather in Switzerland. They provide the extra layer of heat that will allow you to spend an extra hour on the slopes, or to pack fewer items on your road trip instead of excess clothing.

Comfortable Walking Shoes: If you can only pack one pair of shoes, then make sure that they are a trusty pair of waterproof snowshoes. You’ll want your shoes to be as versatile as possible. Snowshoes allow you to enjoy a variety of activities while keeping your feet warm and dry. 

Winter Sportswear

One of the best top reasons to visit Switzerland during the winter months is winter sports opportunities. While most ski resorts will offer rental equipment, there are a few essentials to pack for yourself. 

Ski Jacket: When choosing the perfect ski jacket, you need to consider warmth, level of waterproofing, and freedom of movement. A jacket that is adjustable in fit, seals effectively, and dries quickly is the perfect apparel for snowboarding, skiing, and other winter outdoor sports.

Ski Pants: A trusty pair of insulated ski pants are the next essential item for all winter sports fans. Make sure that your choice of pants is breathable, warm, and waterproof. These details will keep you dry, warm, and comfortable on the slopes.  

Winter Protection: There are a few items that will make your winter vacation all the more comfortable. The last thing that you want is to be soaked on your first day, or get a migraine from snow blindness. 

Umbrella: Regardless of what time of year you visit Switzerland, it’s always a smart move to pack a foldable umbrella. The nifty item doesn’t take up too much space. It can be the difference between a leisurely stroll in the city streets and getting caught in a flu-inspired downpour. 

Chapstick: Visiting Switzerland in winter will most likely find you spending hours of fun on the snow-covered slopes. This can quickly dry out your lips and burn your skin. In this instance, you’re going to be grateful that you’ve packed your moisturizing stick of Chapstick. 

Sunglasses: The best days on the slopes are the ones accompanied by clear, sunny skies and good conditions. These circumstances also increase the glare of the sun on the white snow, making it close to unbearable on your eyes. A pair of polarized sunglasses or ski goggles can protect your eyes from the wind and bright light.

CONCLUSION: THINGS TO TAKE TO SWITZERLAND

Whether you visit Switzerland in summer, fall, winter or spring – with this Switzerland packing list you should be all set.

BEST & EASY DAY TRIPS FROM REYKJAVIK IN WINTER

Best day trips in winter from Reykjavik Cover

BEST REYKJAVIK DAY TRIPS IN WINTER

Headed to Iceland in winter and wondering about the best day trips from Reykjavik in winter?

If you head to Reykjavik in winter, you surely will be amazed by its stunning nature. While Iceland in summer is also breathtaking, winter is a totally different world.

Besides the short days (which wasn’t always easy on me to be honest though), Iceland in winter was just beyond magical. And while I based myself in Reykjavik, I did quite a few day trips and I am happy to share my favorite day tours in winter from Reykjavik.

Beautiful Iceland scenery winter

I did not rent a car because of the weather conditions, instead I just booked day tours from Reykjavik. And I must say, that was a smart decision. Booking tours in Iceland are easy – cancelling is easy as rescheduling is (I had to reschedule a few times due to weather conditions).

However, as already mentioned, the short days in Iceland in winter, can be challenging. At least the short days were for me.

I mean, it is cool to just sit in a bus and relax and be warned that you will not be able to enjoy the scenery to the fullest because it is dark. Most of the time it is just dark.

So, while the Reykjavik day trips are a lot of fun, make sure to bring a neck pillow and to download some music or audio books so you can enjoy that – because when you look out the window, you won’t see much except some darkness.

However, once you arrive at the destination there normally is daylight and you should be fine exploring the places.

What to PAck for Your Day Trips

Though Iceland in winter is not as cold as many think, it is still important to dress warm. Or better to dress in layers.

Coat – Warm And Waterproof: A warm, waterproof jacket should be one of the very first items that you think to pack. Avoid choosing a bulky jacket that takes up a lot of space. This can make you feel uncomfortable when you have layers underneath. Instead, opt for a lightweight, trench raincoat that will keep you warm, dry, and comfortable. 

Hat: A knitted beanie is a perfect solution for keeping the warmth in while you venture out. A hat will keep you toasty warm wherever you are.

Gloves: A pair of gloves can do wonders for your mobility, dexterity, and comfort. When selecting your options, it’s worth investing in a pair that can dry quickly and are touch-screen compatible.

Scarf Or Turtleneck: A warm scarf and/or turtleneck sweater are key items for keeping your neck covered. A turtleneck sweater is perfect as a garment to wear underneath your jacket, while the scarf can be removed easily. 

Leggings: Leggings are an essential item to pack as you can dress them up or down. You can even wear them underneath your denims as an extra layer of warmth. 

Socks: When it comes to packing socks for your Iceland trip – the thicker the better. Chances are that you’ll be spending a lot of time outdoors in the snow, and you’ll want your feet to be warm and cozy. 

Thermals: My favorite winter clothes are thermals. A quality set of thermals is your key to enjoying the winter weather in Iceland. You have to wear them on a cold day to believe what a wonderful invention it is!

Comfortable Walking Shoes: If you can only pack one pair of shoes, then make sure that they are a trusty pair of waterproof snowshoes. You’ll want your shoes to be as versatile as possible. Snowshoes allow you to enjoy a variety of activities while keeping your feet warm and dry. 

Crampers: I bought my crampers in Iceland. I really thought I could make it without crampers but I was wrong. If you want to be able to walk and see places from different angles, then you will need crampers. They were a lifesaver and while I fell many times on my first day, I didn’t fall after I got them (and only got to see other people falling) because they help walking on ice.

Neck Pillow: Since you will sit in the bus for quite a while, I highly suggest getting yourself a neck pillow so you can sleep/relax in the bus.

So, now, without further ado, here my favorite winter day trips.

Snæfellsnes Peninsula 

If you ask me about my FAVORITE day trip from Reykjavik, then this will be my answer.

Snæfellsnes has earned the nickname ‘Iceland in Miniature’ because it’s home to many of the country’s classic sights and attractions. It’s a narrow peninsula in the North Atlantic Ocean, filled with spectacular scenery.

And it’s just a couple of hours’ drive north of Reykjavik.

Here, you’ll find gorges, waterfalls, lava fields, and black sand beaches. Along with the ancient and famous Snæfellsjökull volcano and a myriad of quaint Icelandic villages – here you have everything. You’ll even come across some golden sand beaches – a rare sight in Iceland.

The area is gorgeous during Iceland’s frigid winters. Freshly fallen snow blankets the dramatic landscapes, while the sunsets are long and beautiful.

A typical day trip to Snæfellsnes Peninsula includes stops at a few charming fishing villages, such as Arnarstapi and Grundarfjordur.

West of Iceland in December

And often, visitors will stop to admire Djúpalónssandur’s black sand beaches. 

A visit to Kirkjufell is also a popular choice. This 463m tall mountain is said to be the most photographed in the country, thanks to its striking and unique shape. It’s a particularly beautiful sight when capped with fresh winter snowfall.

Best day trips from Reykjavk, Iceland

Along the way, you’ll be able to take in stunning views of the surrounding fjords, cliffs, and lava fields. Making this a magical Icelandic day trip.

Tip: I was one of the very few of my group who was able to walk all the way to the waterfall. It was so icy and other people slipped before they even got there…Thanks to my crampers, I could carefully walk around and see more than most others.

Hraunfossar Waterfall, Deildartunguhver, Lava Cave, and Thermal Pools

The original tour I had booked git canceled and instead I was offered this one – and looking back, it was the best that could have happened because that day was one of my highlights. So, depending on what tour you book you could see all the places in one day.

Hraunfossar is a stunning waterfall a couple of hours’ drive northeast of Reykjavik. And it’s surrounded by a selection of other amazing attractions.

Hraunfossar waterfall tour from Reykjavik

A trip to the falls can comfortably be combined with stops at the Húsafell thermal pools, the Deildartunguhver hot spring, and the Lava Tunnel – Raufarholshellir,

In practice, the Hraunfossar is more like a series of smaller falls than one large one. The water flowing over them is glacial melt, pouring into the Hvita River. It’s a picturesque scene, and the striking azure of the water looks spectacular against the stark, black volcanic rock. In winter, the surrounding greenery turns to crisp white.

Though it is not the most popular place – and surely not one of the most famous and most popular day trips – I loved it. Every second (at least when I had daylight). This is the more a Iceland off-the-beathen-path day trip in winter – but the water color was just so striking, so I highly recommend it.

Nearby, you’ll find the outdoor thermal pools and hot tubs of Húsafell. Here, you can escape the winter chills by soaking in the wonderful, naturally heated waters.

Hot tubs of Húsafell

There are different tours offered – and most of my group decided on something else for this part of the day. So, I had all the pools there for myself. Seriously, no one was there in the winter time (that, of course, isn’t guaranteed though).

Then, head over to Raufarhólshellir which is the fourth-longest lava tube in Iceland. This lava cave is just 15 minutes away and I enjoyed the drive so it was worth it.

The cave is the chance to witness the inner working of a volcanic eruption – you can walk the path that flowed an eruption more than 5,000 years ago. And the guided tour will allow you to learn about the volcanic eruptions and its effect on the environment.

Though this part wasn’t my highlight it was interesting because it was completely different to the rest of the day.

Depending on the exact itinerary, you might add another stop on that day.

En route back to Reykjavik, you can stop at Deildartunguhver, which is considered to be Europe’s most powerful hot spring. It pumps out 97°C water at a rate of 180 liters/second and provides heating to a pair of Icelandic towns.

Wooden walkways lead visitors around the springs and through the rising steam. This stop normally will be short – but its again shows how stunning the country is.

If you find this tour or a similar tour – go for it. It is a beautiful, lesser-known day trip from Reykjavik in winter even though it was breathtaking.

Golden Circle and Secret Lagoon

The Golden Circle is a sightseeing route that is deserving of its name. It’s among the most popular things to do in Iceland and easily one of the best day trips from Reykjavik.

It’s basically a route that leads between 3 of Iceland’s most celebrated attractions, with some stunning scenery along the way.

The journey is roughly 230km in length, and can easily be driven in one day.

From Reykjavik, it winds east toward Thingvellir National Park, before continuing on to the Geysir Geothermal Area. And, finally, arriving at the Gullfoss waterfall before completing the loop by heading back to Reykjavik.

Thingvellir National Park at sunrise in Iceland_

Thingvellir National Park is a stunning area that has earned UNESCO World Heritage Site status. The park combines spectacular natural scenery with a rich history. Its geography is unique, and it was the site where Iceland’s civilization began.

The next stop, Geysir, is a hot spring area. It’s home to roughly a dozen geysers that blast hot water and steam high into the air. In fact, this site is where the term ‘geyser’ originated. And it’s a classic Iceland experience and since they erupt every few minutes you will see its eruption.

Geysir Geothermal Area as a day trip in winter from Reykjavik

The next stop, Gullfoss, is a roaring waterfall that’s a sight to behold.

December in Iceland, Golden Circle with Arzo Travels

Though this is a very touristy tour, I think, it is a must in winter. You can’t visit Reykjavik and skip the Golden Circle in winter. Also, these tours are offered very often and chances they might get canceled are very low.

Then after a wintery day of exploring, indulge in the gorgeous thermal pool at Secret Lagoon – the oldest of its kind in Iceland.

Some tours, however, make some additional stops en route – I joined the one with the Secret Lagoon. I have to admit that I am not the biggest pool person though it was an interesting experience. Alternatively, you can choose a tour without an additional stop or other stops.

Secret Lagoon in Iceland - less crowded than Blue Lagoon

Let´s continue with a few more recommendations for day trips from Reykjavik in winter.

The South of Iceland

The area surrounding the southern coast of Iceland is a beautiful region that boasts a range of spectacular attractions. I guess, that the South of Iceland is almost as popular as the Golden Circle.

Black Sand Beach with Arzo Travels

Most of these tours are easily accessible from Reykjavik. On a day trip here, you can head to the ocean to see the black sand beaches and dramatic cliffs of the south coast.

While you’re there, pay a visit to Vik, the most southerly village in Iceland. It’s quaint and gorgeous, set to the backdrop of rugged coastal cliffs and rock formations.

Black Sand Beach in Vik, a day tour from Reykjavik

There are also some spectacular waterfalls in the area. The amazing Skógafoss falls are a popular sight, with a wide torrent of water pouring over a 60-meter cliff.

Skógafoss Waterfall in winter in Iceland

The Seljalandsfoss falls are equally impressive, but they also allow you to step into a cave behind the cascade of water – if it is not too icey. The raw power of the falls and the spray that rises make for quite the exhilarating experience!

Another popular stop is the Sólheimajökull glacier, where you can explore a frozen wonderland made of white and blue ice. 

Solheimajökull in Iceland is one of the best day trips from Reykjavk

While touring the south of Iceland, you’ll undoubtedly pass a range of stunning mountains, rivers, waterfalls, and glaciers. So keep your eyes peeled.

As mentioned, the South of Iceland is one of the most visited areas and tours from Reykjavik are extremely popular. I – to be very honest – liked the West of Iceland better. Full stop.

Okay aaybe I should, however, add that it is still a beautiful day trip – even if I enjoyed the first two day trips much better.

Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon is easily one of the most popular attractions in Iceland. It’s a naturally heated, geothermal lagoon, that’s renowned for its striking blue color – giving the attraction its name.

Blue Lagoon in Iceland, where to stay
@shutterstock

4 out of 5 tourists to Iceland flock to soak in the wonderfully warm waters that are filled with a range of minerals. And it’s just a 45-minute drive from Reykjavik, making it a crime to miss out on.

The blue water stands out perfectly against the dark volcanic rock that surrounds it. And the steam rising up from the surface just adds to the charm, making it a stunning scene and an otherworldly experience.

Winter is actually the best time to visit the lagoon, as that’s when it’s least crowded. The contrast of being in the silky, warm water with the icy winter conditions around you is an incredible experience, too. And you might even be fortunate enough to see the northern lights while you’re swimming if you go after dark (I didn’t but you might be one of the very few lucky people).

The lagoon even contains a swim-up bar area where you can get your fill of drinks right from the water. And all guests can make use of the silica mud masks that are included in the ticket price.

Just a side note: I did not see any real effect – after I spend time at the Dead Sea in Jordan my skin really glowed but here…not so much.

I enjoyed my time at the Blue Lagoon but it was NOT The highlight of my trip – I visited at the very last day of my trip (often, it is fully booked several weeks in advance and so you need to book early) and I had visited two other beautiful pools before.

Prices are high – and the crowds are there, so keep that in mind when you plan your Iceland itinerary.

CONCLUSION: EASY DAY TRIPS FROM REYKJAVIK IN THE WINTER MONTHS

Iceland in winter is stunning – and while Reykjavik is a great city to explore, I highly recommend to book yourself a few days trips and discover more of Iceland.

And since I am not a fan of driving in the winter months (at least in a country like Iceland) a road trip was not an option and doing different day trips from Reykjavik in winter are the best way to explore the country.

Stay safe and enjoy!

Safe Travels, Arzo

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