Christmas Tours in Iceland
Head to the Land of Fire and Ice for an unforgettable festive getaway. Experience local traditions, chase the northern lights and explore stunning landscapes on these Iceland Christmas tours, including accommodation, transport and excursions.
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About Your Christmas Tour in Iceland
Soak up the best of this picture-perfect winter wonderland and benefit from the expertise of your Reykjavík-based travel consultant. Enjoy Reykjavík’s twinkling Christmas lights, New Year’s Eve firework displays and must-see attractions along the Golden Circle.
When you book one of Nordic Visitor’s Christmas trips to Iceland, you get:
• An authentic travel experience planned by an established and trusted agency
• A dedicated travel consultant to arrange your tour
• A detailed itinerary with personal recommendations waiting for you on arrival
• Handpicked accommodation, for a comfortable stay
• 24/7 phone support for peace of mind
• Festive tour itineraries crafted to make the most of Christmastime
Nordic Visitor has made it easy to start planning your getaway. Simply follow these steps:
1. Pick your favourite Nordic Visitor tour
2. Confirm your package
3. Check your confirmation email
4. Book your flights
5. Get ready for your trip
Why Choose Nordic Visitor
Book With Confidence
Plan your trip risk-free with Nordic Visitor's cancellation insurance. Add it to your booking to enjoy flexible terms and peace of mind. Purchase it with your package or secure it free of charge by booking a tour with 20% deposit or more. Terms & conditions apply.
Travel With Confidence
Your safety, wellbeing and enjoyment is at the heart of everything we do. That's why we’ve committed to the Icelandic Tourist Board’s “Clean & Safe” pledge, which reflects the health measures we are implementing to ensure you Travel With Confidence.
Trusted local travel experts
Founded in Reykjavík in 2002, Nordic Visitor is ideally placed to arrange your perfect Christmas tour in Iceland. Take the hassle out of planning your trip and let us do the legwork for you. Benefit from our insider knowledge and expertise as we make all the arrangements on your behalf.
You are in good hands
You don’t have to worry if something unexpected crops up on your trip. Call the 24/7 helpline and one of our travel consultants will be available to assist you. Whether it’s an unforeseen event or bad weather, we will make alternative arrangements for you while keeping you safe and informed.
Nordic Visitor is dedicated to the best service quality, and this is reflected year after year when TripAdvisor awards us with their Certificate of Excellence. We also take great pride in our customer feedback: 97% of our travellers say they would recommend us to friends and family.
Customisable tour options
Choose from a range of tours curated to make the most of Iceland’s Christmas and New Year celebrations. You can customise your trip with additional nights, accommodation upgrades and optional excursions. Speak to your personal travel expert about tailoring your tour or to ask about special requests.
Full financial protection
With Nordic Visitor, you have peace of mind knowing your tour arrangements with us are 100% financially protected. Your payments are safeguarded as we comply with European Union laws on Package Travel regulations. This guarantees you a refund in the unlikely event of insolvency.
Sleep soundly knowing that we have personally selected the best hotels in the areas that you’ll be staying in. Each has been chosen for its high quality, good location and friendly character. We also listen carefully to feedback from previous guests and only use accommodation with great reviews.
ICELAND CHRISTMAS TOUR REVIEWS
Find out what previous visitors loved about their Iceland Christmas breaks in these reviews.
Klara was excellent. Iceland was great and we would love to visit again in the summer in future!
It was the best trip of my life that I have ever been on. The Hotels and the car rental were managed for us, which... read more
It was the best trip of my life that I have ever been on. The Hotels and the car rental were managed for us, which took off all the stresses of traveling for us. The detailed map was perfect, loved the little details like where to find "homemade ice cream". Loved that every day there was something to see and do but still had the option to relax and/or take the day off. Our favorite moments was The whole entire New Year's Eve day! Starting out with the guided tour around Reykjavik. Learning about local folklore. Then heading over to the New Year's Eve dinner, that had us laughing and entertained! (Please get us the hosts name. She was beautiful and the highlight of our night). Then we got to hangout with locals at an enormous Bon fire while watching fireworks across the city. Then ending at the perfect place to be on top of the building to watch the count down to midnight with a 360 degree view of Reykjavík, with a lit up sky of fireworks!! Iceland was beautiful and magical and we can not wait to go back with the Nordic Visitor. I did have one complaint but was resolved... there were no instructions that I found in the itinerary that told us what to do with the Emergency phone after we were done trip. But It turns out there were separate instructions that I found crumpled up at the bottom of my travel bag. So really Nordic Visitor did it all correctly and can't wait to book with them again.
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Your Icelandic Christmas Highlights
Make memories that will last a lifetime, as you explore must-see sights and experience festive customs on one of these Iceland Christmas holidays. Visit Iceland and soon you could ...
- Celebrate Christmas Eve with an elegant gourmet dinner in Reykjavík
- Tour Reykjavík’s Christmas markets with a local on a guided tour
- Visit the renowned black sand beach of Reynisfjara, complete with basalt columns
- Bathe in the geothermal spa waters of the iconic Blue Lagoon
- Tour the top attractions on the Golden Circle, including beautiful Þingvellir National Park
- See the forces of nature at work when you visit Geysir or witness the aurora borealis
- Go on a thrilling guided snowmobile tour of Langjökull glacier
- Enjoy views of Eyjafjallajökull volcano on a horse riding excursion to Írárfoss waterfall
- Marvel at the thundering curtain of water at Gullfoss waterfall
Advice About Visiting Iceland
Prepare for spending your Christmas holidays in Iceland and get the most out of your getaway by reading these helpful guides.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT
ICELAND CHRISTMAS TOURS
Read on for answers to practical questions about your visit and to find out more about Iceland’s Christmas traditions. You can also find detailed information on booking and payment on our FAQ page and in the booking terms.
Check out our Book With Confidence policy to find out more about our flexible terms and cancellation insurance.
Christmastime in Iceland is from 24 December until 6 January.
If you are lucky enough to be in Iceland on Christmas Eve, you will hear the church bells ringing at 6 PM, signalling the start of the Christmas celebrations. This is when families and friends get together for their Christmas meal, and to exchange gifts.
Find out more in this blog about Christmas in the Nordics.
Iceland in December can be cloaked in a blanket of snow and daylight hours are at their shortest. This, along with the lively festive celebrations, makes December one of the best times of the year to visit Iceland.
If you visit Reykjavík, alongside the usual cultural highlights you can soak up the festive atmosphere and explore Christmas markets. The city feels particularly magical at this time of year, draped in twinkling lights and sometimes sparkling under a dusting of snow.
The frosty landscapes are the perfect playground for winter activities like snowmobiling and ice cave tours. Meanwhile, the short days mean that you can enjoy long nights chasing the northern lights.
Join in with the favourite local pastime of bathing and seek out one of Iceland's many natural hot springs, geothermal pools and hot pots. Enjoy luxuriating in warm mineral-rich waters while taking in the view.
Find out more about Iceland's hot springs and geothermal pools in this guide, featuring iconic spots and hidden gems.
Icelanders celebrate Christmas by getting together with friends and family on 24 December to give gifts and have their Christmas dinner. Most people begin their meal after the ringing of the church bells at 6 PM.
With the main festivities taking place on 24 December, this leaves Christmas Day for more get togethers with extended family and friends.
In the run up to Christmas, Icelanders also celebrate in a number of other ways. You could join in some common customs by enjoying a Christmas buffet, going to a Christmas market, and sampling intricately patterned laufabrauð (wafer-thin crisp bread).
Like any nation that celebrates Christmas, Iceland has a few unique festive traditions of its own. Here are some of the local customs at this time of year:
- • Icelanders celebrate Christmas on 24 December by getting together with family and friends for a meal and gift-giving.
- • 13 days before Christmas, children put shoes by their windows for the Yule Lads to leave them small gifts.*
- • Families bake and decorate sweet ginger biscuits together to give to their visitors.
- • People make laufabrauð, wafer-thin crisp bread, with cut-out details that create an intricate pattern.
• On 23 December many Icelanders eat fermented skate fish to celebrate the mass of Saint Þorlákur (“Þorláksmessa”).
*See FAQ number 5 for the folklore and traditions surrounding Iceland’s Yule Lads.
Forget partridges and “lords a’leaping'', Iceland’s 13 days of Christmas are very different to the 12 days you might be familiar with. The 13 days of Christmas begin on 12 December, and each day is associated with a different “Yule Lad” from Icelandic folklore.
The Yule Lads are the mischievous sons of an ogre, Grýla. It was said the Yule Lads used to come down from the mountains to wreak havoc in towns and villages before Christmas. Each has specific trouble-making characteristics, described in the poem Jólasveinavísur by Jóhannes frá Kötlum.
Grýla herself is a sinister ogre who kidnaps and boils badly behaved children. As if that wasn’t unsettling enough for young Icelanders, Grýla also has a prowling cat called Jólakötturinn. Her cat is said to roam around in search of anyone that hasn’t received a new item of clothing for Christmas.
Nowadays, in the era of Santa Claus and his elves, the story of the Yule Lads has been softened. They have now been transformed into benevolent gift-givers.
On each of the 13 days before Christmas, children leave a shoe, sometimes accompanied by a snack, beside their window. The Yule Lads will take the snack and leave something in their shoes.
Naughty kids will receive only a rotten potato, while those who are well-behaved can look forward to finding a small gift when they wake up.
Why not go and meet the Yule Lads for yourself at the Hafnarfjörður Christmas market near Reykjavík?
Of course, Icelanders love the festive season so you’ll find Reykjavík’s neighbourhoods are dotted with markets in the run up to Christmas.
Some of the most popular ones include:
- • Hafnarfjörður – nearby Reykjavík, this market is best for souvenirs and meeting the Yule Lads.
- • Harpa – home to the Christmas Food Market, the top choice for gastronomy enthusiasts.
- • Ingólfstorg – charming stalls form a “yule town”, complete with an ice rink for skating.
• Heiðmörk Forest – located in a woodland park just outside of the city.
Like many countries in the Northern Hemisphere, Christmas in Iceland is a time for hearty dishes and warming drinks like cocoa.
However, rather than homing in on one main festive staple, such as turkey, many Icelanders enjoy smoked lamb, pork, ptarmigan or goose.
You’ll also come across fermented skate fish (“skata”) while exploring the Christmas food markets. It is commonly eaten on 23 December to celebrate the mass of Saint Þorlákur.
Similar to fermented shark, fermented skate is surely an acquired taste, or one for the adventurous foodie. In fact, you are more likely to smell this seasonal delicacy before you see it.
Other festive favourites that you might find more appealing include wafer-thin leaf bread (“laufabrauð”) and sweet ginger biscuits (“piparkökur”).
Check out this blog for 5 unmissable foodie experiences in Iceland.
Absolutely! Iceland is a magical place to be at Christmas. Indeed, of all the Nordic nations, Icelanders are perhaps the most enthusiastic in their love of this time of year. So why not join the locals as they go all-in on their Christmas celebrations?
Revel in Reykjavík’s cosy festive atmosphere, then gear up for the biggest party of the year on New Year’s Eve.
Spend afternoons strolling around the lively Christmas markets sipping hot chocolate. Later, head for one of the city’s many bars to sample their selection of Christmas beers. Icelanders love their beer, but there’s a special appreciation for the local craft breweries' festive flavours.
Why not extend your trip and also stay for New Year? Find out 6 reasons why Iceland is a great place to be on New Year’s Eve.
Icelanders celebrate Christmas and enjoy their main festive meal on Christmas Eve, so you’ll have Christmas Day free to explore. While some restaurants, cafés and attractions close on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, others do remain open.
So whether you are staying in Reykjavík or going on a peaceful countryside retreat, you’ll find that there is plenty to do in Iceland on Christmas Day. You could:
- • Relax and soak up the festive atmosphere in Reykjavík.
- • Go for a winter hike in beautiful Þingvellir National Park.
- • Unwind in a hot tub or head to the famous Blue Lagoon.
- • Opt for a thrilling ice caving excursion in the Katla glacier.
- • Marvel at the volcanic black sand beach of Reynisfjara.
• Chase the northern lights on a countryside excursion.
Discover more top things to do in Iceland in winter on our experts' blog.
All Iceland Christmas tours begin before 24 December.
If opting for a Christmas trip, you can choose between 3-4 possible start dates. Your dedicated travel consultant will move your itinerary around to ensure that any included excursions work around the festive celebrations.
Tours combining Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebrations have just one departure date before Christmas Eve. However, you can speak to your local travel expert about adding extra nights before or after the tour itinerary if you wish.
The easiest way for you to see which departure dates are possible for your tour is to check the availability calendar online.
Most of our self-drive and multi-day Iceland Christmas packages can be customised to suit your preferences.*
Why not extend your stay with additional nights or treat yourself to a hotel upgrade? You could also add extras – like a northern lights boat trip, a horse riding excursion or glacier walk – to your Iceland tour.
You can get in touch with us to ask about customising an itinerary, or make adjustments yourself while booking online.
*Please note that some festive activities and celebrations are linked to specific dates that can’t be changed, such as the dinner on Christmas Eve.
Before booking your tour, we advise checking that there are flights available for your preferred travel dates. However, it’s best to hold off on booking flights until after you have received the confirmation for your tour.
After booking your trip online, you will hear from your dedicated travel consultant within 2 working days. They will soon let you know when you can reserve your flights.
Once your tour is finalised, you can go ahead and book flights, safe in the knowledge that your dream trip is waiting for you.
Iceland’s maritime climate means that although it does get cold in winter, the temperature doesn’t fall far below freezing. Average temperatures in December and January are around 0° Celsius (32° Fahrenheit).
That said, the conditions can change quickly. So when you head outside it’s best to wrap up warm and be prepared for all conditions. Check out this basic packing list for what to bring with you on a winter trip to Iceland:
- Waterproof jacket and trousers
- Warm insulated jacket
- Wool or fleece jumper
- Thermal underwear
- Walking boots/shoes with good grip
- Ice grips that can attach onto your shoes
- Warm gloves, neck-warmer and beanie
- Warm socks
You might also like to bring a smart outfit or two so you can join the festivities in style. And don’t forget to bring your Christmas presents to exchange and open on the day.
Read this helpful travel guide for more tips and advice on what to pack for Iceland.
Our local travel consultants are just a call, live chat or email away. Whether you are ready to plan your Iceland Christmas tour or you’d like to find out more, get in touch.
Our main phone number is
+354 578 20 80
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