Visiting Iceland in January 2023

Everything you need to know about traveling in Iceland in January. Winter is the best time for northern lights, hot springs, and ice caves

Kyana Sue Powers


Are you considering a trip to Iceland in January?

While the colder weather and shorter days may deter some travelers, there are still plenty of reasons to visit this beautiful country during the winter months. I’ll provide you with all the information you need to know about visiting Iceland in January, including what to expect in terms of weather, what to pack, and some of the top things to do during your visit.

Weather in Iceland in January

The average high temperature during this month ranges from about 33 to 37 degrees Fahrenheit (1 to 3 degrees Celsius), while the average low temperature ranges from about 27 to 31 degrees Fahrenheit (-3 to -1 degrees Celsius). The wind chills can make feel even colder than this! As you can see, it can be quite cold in Iceland in January, and it's important to dress accordingly. Layering is key, as is bringing warm, waterproof clothing and good quality winter boots and micro spikes for any icy walkways. It's also a good idea to bring a windproof jacket, as Iceland can be very windy.

Its important to have flexible plans when you travel in Iceland during the wintertime due to the unpredictable weather and road conditions.

January Activities in Iceland

Despite the colder weather and shorter days, there are still plenty of things to do in Iceland in January. One of the biggest attractions is the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis), which are often visible during this time of year. Take a Northern Lights Guided Tour to some of the best viewing spots, or you can try to see them on your own by driving out of the city and away from light pollution. Just be sure to check the forecast before you go, as the Northern Lights are more likely to be visible on clear nights. Check out my Northern Lights Tips to help you find them in Iceland.

In addition to the Northern Lights, there are many other activities to enjoy in Iceland in January. One popular option is Elding Whale Watching , which can be done from the comfort of a boat. Iceland is home to a variety of whale species, including humpback whales, minke whales, and killer whales, and January is a good time to see them.

If you're looking to relax, you might consider visiting one of Iceland's many geothermal pools and spas. The Blue Lagoon is one of the most famous, but there are many other options as well. These pools and spas are a great way to warm up after a cold day of sightseeing.

A MUST do activity in January is to explore Ice Caves. A guide is REQUIRED to visit Ice Caves and you cannot visit then on your own. My favorite Ice Cave tours are with Katlatrack Ice Cave and the Ice Cave Discovery tour with Local Guide - Glacier Hikes . I cannot recommend these tours enough, it’s the most magical experience you can have in Iceland! Use code KYANASUE10 for a discount on either of these tours!

For the more adventurous spirits, you may want to take a snowmobil or ATV tour with Arcanum Adventure Tours by Icelandia - Mýrdalsjökull Base Camp

If you are hanging around Reykjavik then the Reykjavik Food Tour is right up your alley! You’ll go on a small group tour with a local guide and try amazing authentic Iceland cuisines. Please just trust me on this one, you’re going to absolutely love it! You can use code KYANASUE10 for a 10% discount.

Read 10 of the Best things to do in Reykjavik

Another popular activity in Iceland is a Golden Circle tour, which includes stops at Þingvellir National Park, Geysir geothermal area, and Gullfoss waterfall. Þingvellir National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to a variety of geological and historical attractions. The Geysir geothermal area is known for its geysers, including the famous Geysir, which gives the area its name. Finally, Gullfoss waterfall is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Iceland, with a two-tiered drop that is over 100 feet high.

One of my favorite road trips to do in the winter is to drive along the south coast and see all the frozen waterfalls. My favorites are Seljandsfoss and Skogafoss but you can find even more waterfalls and stops on Iceland Map. I think it’s the most beautiful time to take a roadtrip in Iceland.

Take a Small Group Guided Bus Tours with Hidden Iceland or Rent a 4x4 Car with Blue Car Rental for the ultimate freedom and road trip.

Overall, visiting Iceland in January can be a unique and memorable experience. The colder weather and shorter days mean that you'll have to be prepared and dress warmly, but the opportunity to see the Northern Lights and enjoy a variety of outdoor activities can make it well worth it. Just be sure to bring warm, waterproof clothing and good quality winter boots, and be prepared for any weather. If you're interested in visiting Iceland in January, be sure to start planning your trip soon to ensure the best availability.

Bonus tips:

Check the Icelandic Weather on VEDUR.IS

Check road closures and conditions on ROAD.IS

Sign up for Weather text alerts on SAFETRAVEL.IS

Find more Helpful Apps and Websites to Know Before Visiting Iceland

And learn more things to know before visiting Iceland for the first time

I hope this gives you some inspiration for your trip to Iceland!

To see more ideas, check out my adventure map of Iceland!


celand truly is a bucket list destination for adventure travelers and nature lovers. Iceland has something for everyone, solo travelers, honeymooners, and families with kids!

Check out my other itineraries for more detailed planning, including the best places to stay, Restaurants to try , an interactive map, and hidden gems all over Iceland.

Don't see what you need? Submit for a personalized itinerary , and I'll tailor to fit all your needs! I'm so excited for your trip to Iceland :)