Iceland Winter Adventure
- Hike, snowshoe and take a glacier walk on this active winter exploration of Iceland
- Discover Iceland's beautiful winter landscapes, sculpted by fire and ice
- Search the night skies for multicolored displays of the Northern Lights
- Take a soothing dip in the waters of the geothermally-heated Blue Lagoon
- Set out in search of Orca and other wildlife on a whale-watching cruise
When Icelanders hear "winter is coming," hibernation is the furthest thing from their minds. The inhabitants of this dramatically-beautiful North Atlantic island have learned how to fill all seasons with outdoor activity. Our new Iceland multisport makes the most of a wintertime getaway with a week of exploration and adventure in this country sculpted by volcanism and glaciation.
A dip in the geothermally-heated Blue Lagoon helps soak away our cares shortly after our arrival. In the days that follow, discover a wide range of landscapes as we enjoy a coastal hike on the rugged Snaefellsnes Peninsula, snowshoe over lava fields in the Blue Mountains, and strap on crampons to walk on the icy-blue Solheimajokull Glacier.
In addition to our muscle-powered exploits, we'll search for orca on a whale-watching cruise, visit frozen waterfalls and bubbling hot springs, and discover always-vibrant Reykjavik. We spend our evenings in the comfort of small hotels and set out on nighttime drives into the countryside to scan the dark skies for the ethereal Northern Lights.
Important Notice: Day 1 is the day you should plan to arrive at the meeting point for the trip. This may require departing your hometown one or more days in advance and traveling on an overnight flight.
Iceland Winter Adventure Itinerary:
Day 1 Enjoy a soak in the Blue Lagoon. Explore the Leidarendi lava tube.
Day 2 Go whale-watching in search of Orca, other marine mammals, and seabirds.
Day 3 Discover Snaefellsnes National Park on a scenic coastal hike.
Day 4 Marvel at Iceland's winter landscapes and search the night skies for the Northern Lights.
Day 5 Strap on your crampons and take a walk on Solheimajokull glacier.
Day 6 Snowshoe in the Blue Mountains. Tour vibrant Reykjavik.
Day 7 Spend a final morning in Reykjavik before catching your flight home.
Although we do our best to adhere to the schedule listed above, this itinerary is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control.
Please check with us before purchasing your airline tickets to ensure your trip has the necessary minimum number of participants required to operate.
If you are traveling alone and specifically request single accommodations, you will be asked to pay the full single supplement noted on the trip itinerary. If you wish to share accommodations, we will assign you a roommate if one is available. If a roommate cannot be found, you will be asked to pay a reduced single fee, which is half of the full single supplement. Please be advised that there are a limited number of single rooms available on most departures.
Hotel/guesthouse accommodations (6 nights); all meals as noted on the daily itinerary; guides; group transfer from/to Keflavik Airport; transportation within Iceland; whale-watch cruise; snowshoes; crampons and ice ax (for glacier walk); entrance to all national parks and Blue Lagoon thermal pool.
Air transportation to/from Iceland; 1 lunch; alcoholic beverages and soft drinks; guide gratuities; travel insurance; laundry expenses and items of a personal nature.
This adventure is rated Moderate .It's not necessary to be an expert hiker or snowshoer to participate, but you should enjoy hiking and feel comfortable covering distances of up to 6 miles (3-5 hours) on your walks. No prior experience is required for the glacier walk. To maximize your enjoyment of the trip and to avoid sore muscles, we suggest beginning a regular exercise regimen at least 3 months prior to departure. Recommended exercises include hiking, snowshoeing and/or jogging being sure to incorporate some uphill segments into your training routine. The better shape you're in upon arrival, the more fun you will have!
Iceland's winter climate can be extremely variable with the Gulf Stream current and north Atlantic weather patterns greatly influencing local conditions. Daytime temperatures average in the 30s with nighttime temperatures dropping below freezing (teens and 20s). In late January, the sun rises at approx. 10 a.m. and sets at 5 p.m. with daylight hours increasing as the calendar moves into February and March (by mid-March, the sun is rising at 7:45 a.m. and setting at 7:30 p.m.). Precipitation in the form of snow or rain is a possibility during any of the winter months and, although we are generally quite successful in following the itinerary as written, daily schedules may need to be rearranged and activities possibly canceled should any strong weather fronts move through the region during our visit. Participants must be prepared for weather extremes that vary greatly and follow the recommendations on the specific trip Gear List closely in order to ensure that you arrive properly equipped.
We strongly recommend the purchase of trip cancellation and travel insurance. This comprehensive travel protection provides for: trip cancellation and interruption, travel delay, loss of baggage and travel documents, baggage delay, medical expenses and emergency assistance. An insurance application is included with all trip confirmations.
This trip is subject to the booking information set forth in the current REI Adventures Reservation Information. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A full gear list and pre-departure information is sent upon sign-up. We highly recommend the purchase of travel insurance through REI Adventures. If coverage is purchased at the time of your initial reservation, the 'Pre-existing Conditions Exclusion' is waived (certain exclusions apply).
We look forward to having you join us for the trip of a lifetime! Why wait? Space is limited, reserve your adventure today.
Iceland Winter Adventure
The key to staying comfortable while on an active trip is layering. To get maximum comfort with minimum weight, you need versatile layers that mix and match to create the right amount of insulation, ventilation and weather protection. Try to bring only what is necessary—this will help you and the field staff.
- Helmets, crampons and ice axe (for glacier walk)
- Headlamps and helmets (for caving / lava tube exploration)
- Photo identification
- Airline tickets
- Large duffel bag or soft-sided suitcase
- Luggage tags and luggage locks
- Daypack - 2000 - 2500 cu. in. to carry your camera, water bottles, extra clothing.
- Bring a few lightweight, easily washable items for travel and evening wear
- Rain jacket/shell - waterproof, breathable
- Rain pants - waterproof, breathable
- Down or synthetic parka
- Midweight fleece or wool sweater
- Midweight thermal underwear top and bottom, synthetic or wool, two pair
- Hiking pants, synthetic
- Long-sleeve shirts (synthetic is best for daytime activity)
- T-shirts (synthetic is best for daytime activity)
- Hiking socks, wool or synthetic – bring extra pairs
- Liner socks, synthetic
- Swimsuit (for Blue Lagoon)
- Sun hat
- Wool or fleece winter hat that covers ears completely
- Waterproof winter gloves
- Knee-high gaiters
- Sturdy hiking boots, waterproof, broken-in
- Warm casual shoes/slippers for evening wear
- Two (2) one-quart water bottles or hydration system. (note: hydration pack tubes may freeze in cold weather)
- Headlamp or flashlight with spare batteries/bulb
- Watch with alarm or travel clock
- Sunglasses and retainer strap
- Sunblock and lip balm
- Toiletry kit
- Yak Traks (optional but recommended in the event that the ground is icy)
- Camera, extra memory, spare batteries
- Reading and writing materials
- Compact binoculars
- Pocket knife or multi-tool
- Spare contact lenses or glasses
- Walking staff or trekking poles with baskets
- Hand warmers/toe warmers
Things to Consider
- Please remember to always pack essential items such as your passport, money, eyewear, a change of clothing (including hiking boots), and medications in your carry-on baggage, in case your luggage is delayed.
- For snowshoeing, layering thermal underwear, hiking pants and waterproof/breathable rain pants allows one to stay comfortable in the many possible temperatures you will encounter.
- Cotton is wonderful in warm weather. However, once it becomes wet, it will drain your body heat. Bring synthetics such as Capilene®, MTS® and Thermax®.
- Always test your layers before a trip. Your outer layer should fit easily over the inside ones without binding and bunching up.
- We will be snowshoeing and possibly hiking through some snow. Warm, waterproof and broken-in hiking boots are a necessity. Lightweight hikers and trail shoes will not suffice on most days.
- Bring moleskin for foot treatment. Thin liner socks worn under regular hiking socks may minimize the risk of blisters. The liner sock should be synthetic, not cotton. Test your sock combination before you go on the trip.
- Please bring a headlamp. With short days and early nightfall this time of year, it is important to have a headlamp along while hiking or snowshoeing in case it is needed on the hike out.
Feel free to give us a call at (800) 622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales (800-426-4840) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out www.rei.com/learn. The Expert Advice section on our "Learn" page has great information to help you prepare for your trip.