Iceland – a winter in heaven!

Iceland: there’s something magical about this country, in everything you set out doing while there. No wonder they believe in elves. And, recently started to worship Norse gods again!
So you want to go to Iceland. Some practicalities first:

Getting There

At the time of our travels, and since we were living in Brussels at the time, it meant WOWAir was not the most convenient option to fly.
So we ended up paying roughly 450€ per person for a connecting flight on Brussels Airlines & Icelandair, which had a stopover in Oslo (and Copenhagen, on the way back).
In the meantime, More, cheaper and better alternatives have started to cope up, both across Europe and from the US.
Check out Norwegian, possibly the coolest low-cost airline (new fleet, free wifi and in-flight cartoons anyone?), which offers flights to Reykjavik from 53 locations and counting.
You can now fly into Iceland from as far away as Dubai, Los Angeles or Florida! The downside, of course, is the looming prospect of overtourism, which has started to hit the country in recent years.
We’ll just have to learn how to avoid each other and the rest of the hoards of tourists more efficiently…


Iceland is a notoriously expensive country, possibly the second most expensive in the world after Switzerland.
And although getting there has been made easier, hotels are still fairly expensive, in a price range close to New York City.
Even a double bed in a dormitory room of a hostel, or a double room of 10 sq meters in a guest house can cost 80€ or more per night.
Average price per night for a double room in a hotel will cost you, depending on the area, between 140€ and 270 €.

If you’re lucky and traveling in a group, I strongly recommend you weigh your options with AirBnb.
We were incredibly lucky to find Erna’s place available for new year’s – when the family usually goes out to their cabin in the mountains, but the listing did have a minimum 8-night policy. Airbnb won’t be short on options though.
And if you’re in a group, planning to slow travel through Iceland for at least a week,  you can set home base in Reykjavik.
It cost our party of five a total of 1.086 € for 8 nights, bringing us to an average of 27 €/ person/night!
What’s also great about AirBnb is the fact you’re in a proper home, so you’ll have access to a proper kitchen. Everywhere you look you’ll read about self catering while in Iceland.
We did the same and I am very happy to say we actually splurged on great food, which we cooked ourselves in the evening, instead of wrecking our budgets at the restaurants.
The day we arrived we went straight to Bonus supermarket for grocery shopping, and between the 5 of us, we spend an average of 50€ pp for the whole week.

What to do, What do do

If you’re flexible and willing to rent a car and drive around, Iceland is actually pretty cool. We were visiting all day long for the full week!

Admittedly, the definition of daytime in Iceland in December is quite different from what most of us are used to, since the sun rose at 11.30 AM and set at 3.30 PM

Most of the natural attractions will be free of charge so you can delight yourself with waterfalls, craters, lava fields etc  as they are all free. Here’s a quick glance at your options:
Free: Jokuslaron, Skaftafell, Skogafoss, Seljalandafoss, Golden Circle

Activities under 100€

Activities under 100€ & affordable :  Blue Lagoon,  Thorsmark,  Whale Watching,  ‘Game of Thrones’ Filming Locations,  Golden Circle Classic Tour

Blue Lagoon


Entrance price to the Blue Lagoon varies depending on the season and package, and starts at about 40 €. See their prices here.

Assuming you don’t have your own towel/ bathrobe, I’d recommend you go for the Premium package, at roughly 70 €.



Set out late to see the Northern Lights

If you spend a week in Iceland in wintertime, you’ll be quite unlucky to not see any northern lights. So keep your hopes up, and your eyes towards the sky, ready for a show!


Most tour companies will let you know if there is a chance of sighting the day of the trip, or suggest an alternative date to try your luck again, free of charge.

Buses usually depart for the northern lights hunt after 10PM, which is great because a reschedule is not going to impact your other travel plans all that much. Maybe just your lazy beauty sleep.

Activities Between 100-250€

Activities between 100-250€ – not cheap, but money well spent:  Silfra Snorkelling, Glacier Hiking on Sólheimajokull, South Iceland day Tour

Snorkel at Silfra

Silfra, in Thingvellir National Park, is where the Eurasian and American continental plates meet.
Silfra, snorkeling in purest waters, with almost 100% visibility.
The company provided us with a warm one-piece suit and a dry-suit that makes it pretty much incapable of going underwater, even if it fills up with water (which it won’t, thankfully).
diving_silfra19-1024x682 Diving in Silfra
So it’d require real effort from your part to end up in a bad situation once you’re in the water.
Note that after the recent unfortunate events involving the death of a person you’re now supposed to bring a doctor’s note with you if you want to enjoy snorkeling or diving at Silfra .
Or better yet, avoid the crowds and check out sustainable travel alternatives to Silfra.

South Iceland Day Tour:  Vik’s Black Sand Beach



Selfoss Waterfall


The tour operator will probably take you to the same restaurant we went for lunch (it’s not like there are too many options out there in the wild) so if you’re not a vegetarian, the all you can eat lamb soup is an absolute must!

Although you will struggle to fit that second helping of deliciousness.

Activities 250€ and more

Activities 250€ and more – Expensive but still worth it (like anything in Iceland): Ice Caves – Lava cave, Glacier Ice cave, Crystal Cave –  Snowmobile tours, or Helicopter tours.

We actually used GrayLine for some of these tours, but you’ll find plenty of options on websites such as Viator.

Reykjavik’s Sun Voyager sculpture

Heading back to Reykjavik for a stroll in the city, you’ll have to admire the beautifully cold Atlantic views from the Sun Voyager sculpture.

Reykjavik's Sun Voyager sculpture

This modern looking Viking ship sculpture is the work of Jon Gunnar Arnason, and makes for a cool shot whenever you go.

I am very much looking forward to returning to the beautiful land of Fire and Ice in  – the nearest future, and hopefully in spring or summer. Puffins await!

Happy Wandering!



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