A Thrill-Seeker’s Guide to Iceland’s Winter Activities

With a name like Iceland, it’s no wonder this Nordic island has a lot of winter activities on offer. From skiing to snowmobiling, Nomad Nick steers you to the best.

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Photo © Shutterstock/Roel Slootweg

Skiing & Snowboarding

If the Norse god of weather is in a good mood, you’ll enjoy some spectacular slopes in Iceland.

Hlíðarfjall near Akureyri, the largest town in Northern Iceland, is a great place for off-trail ski junkies with plenty of chutes, peaks, cornices, pipes, and cliffs. Day passes here will cost around kr. 4,750 (US $46) for adults and kr. 1,340 (US $13) for children. For those looking to get some style points, there’s also an excellent snow park here. 

Siglufjörður is another great spot for backcountry skiing, while Oddsskarð has two tow lifts and a beginners’ lift as well if you’re just starting out. Just a 25-30-minute drive from the city of Reykjavik, Bláfjöll is the largest ski hill around, with two double-seater chair lifts, a detachable quad, and nine tows.

Hlíðarfjall resort. Photo credit: iStock

Snowmobiling

Some of Iceland’s best snowmobiling is also near Reykjavik and Akureyri. The Langjökull Glacier is the second-largest glacier in Iceland and after riding across it, you can also get off your snowmobile for a while and head down into the depths of an ice cave.

The hills around Akureyri are also spectacular for snowboarding, with one-hour rides starting at around kr. 24,280 (US $235).

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Snowshoeing

There are plenty of snowshoeing tours around Iceland, but some of the most scenic will again be around Akureyri and Reykjavik.

From Akureyri, you can do two-to-four-hour tours that run through the hills, past waterfalls, and along the nearby fjord. You can also do an amazing six-day snowshoe tour that includes a hike up to Lake Mývatn, which is set in in an active volcanic zone. The scenery here is breathtaking and while the hike is a bit strenuous at times, only a reasonable level of fitness is required.

From Reykjavik, you can join a tour and head to Drangshlid to Skogafoss waterfall, or hike up the beautiful Mount Hengill. Prices for three- to four-hour snowshoeing tours usually start at around kr. 12,340 (US $120).

Want to know more about Iceland? Check out our podcast. We chat about where to capture the best photos in Iceland, how to speak like a Viking (almost), and how a social policy got the country to the World Cup.

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