Winter Sports in Iceland: Skiing, Snowboarding, and Ice Climbing

In the land of frozen beauty, where glaciers meet volcanoes and Northern Lights dance in the sky, winter sports in Iceland scene come alive. The country offers many options for beginners and seasoned enthusiasts, from skiing to snowboarding and ice climbing.

Let’s delve into the captivating world of Iceland’s winter sports and discover what makes skiing in Iceland, snowboarding adventures, and ice-climbing experiences extraordinary.

Winter Sports in Iceland: Skiing in Iceland

Winter Sports in Iceland

Iceland’s dramatic landscapes transform into a skiing paradise during winter. Skiing in Iceland offers more than just breathtaking scenery; it’s an invitation to explore varied terrains, including mountains, glaciers, and even the opportunity to ski under the mesmerizing aurora borealis.


Best Skiing Locations


Akureyri – Hlíðarfjall

Situated near the town of Akureyri, Hlíðarfjall offers a blend of beginner, intermediate, and expert trails. The resort boasts modern facilities, including chair lifts, tow lifts, and a cozy cafe to warm up. Night skiing is available, illuminated by floodlights, and you might even catch the Northern Lights dancing overhead.


Bláfjöll – The Blue Mountains

Just a short drive from Reykjavik, Bláfjöll offers over 15 slopes catering to all skill levels. It’s known for wide-open pistes and some thrilling off-piste possibilities. They also offer equipment rentals, ski schools, and a welcoming lodge where you can enjoy Icelandic pastries after a day on the slopes.


Isafjordur – Troll Peninsula

A hidden gem in the Westfjords, Isafjordur offers an enchanting experience for those seeking adventure in untouched snow. The Troll Peninsula provides opportunities for heli-skiing and touring in addition to traditional slopes.

This is a truly unique skiing destination with majestic fjord views and the possibility of skiing down to the ocean’s edge. Local guides and operators can provide personalized experiences for downhill and cross-country skiing.


Dalvík – Mt. Böggvisstaðafjall

Known for its family-friendly environment, Dalvík offers several well-groomed slopes suitable for children and beginners. The ski school is well-reputed, and there’s even a small snow park for those wanting to try jumps and tricks.


Siglufjörður – Skarðsdalur Ski Area

A historical skiing location in North Iceland, Siglufjörður provides a variety of slopes ranging from green to black. The on-site ski school, rental shops, and pleasant dining area add to the convenience. The surrounding scenery of mountains and fjords adds to the area’s charm.


These locations encapsulate the essence of skiing in Iceland, providing an extraordinary experience for skiers of all abilities. The blend of professional facilities, natural beauty, and unique Icelandic hospitality makes skiing in these areas an unforgettable adventure. Whether you’re seeking the thrill of challenging slopes or the serenity of snow-covered landscapes, Iceland’s top skiing locations have something to offer.


Season and Weather Considerations


While the skiing season runs from November to April, the prime period is from December to February. Watch the Icelandic Meteorological Office for weather forecasts and avalanche warnings.


Winter Sports in Iceland: Snowboarding in Iceland

Winter Sports in Iceland


Snowboarding in Iceland is an adventure waiting to unfold. The combination of groomed trails, freestyle parks, and endless off-piste possibilities makes Iceland a thrilling destination for snowboarding enthusiasts of all levels.


Top Snowboarding Spots

Hlíðarfjall, Akureyri

This well-known resort near Akureyri is a snowboarder’s dream, offering everything from freestyle parks complete with jumps, rails, and a halfpipe, to off-piste areas for those seeking adventure. The resort hosts regular competitions, and its proximity to Akureyri means vibrant nightlife and dining options are just a short drive away.


Oddsskarð, East Iceland

A hidden gem in the East Fjords, Oddsskarð offers a blend of groomed trails and untouched backcountry terrain. Famous for its deep powder and challenging runs, it’s perfect for experienced snowboarders looking to escape the crowds. A historic ski lift adds charm to the area, and local guides can help navigate the best trails.


Glíma, Reykjavik Area

Geared towards younger snowboarders and those seeking a social scene, Glíma is close to Reykjavik and offers an excellent park full of features for freestyle enthusiasts. Regular events, music festivals, and snowboarding gatherings are common here, making it a hub for the local snowboarding community.


Westfjords Backcountry

For those seeking a truly wild snowboarding experience, the Westfjords region offers untouched backcountry terrain that few get to explore. With towering fjords and deep snow, guided tours are highly recommended. Local guides can tailor multi-day expeditions, providing a snowboarding experience that’s both thrilling and exclusive.


Bláfjöll, Near Reykjavik

This resort is conveniently located near Reykjavik, offering over 15 different runs and a snowboard park. Bláfjöll is known for its night skiing and snowboarding, thanks to floodlit slopes. It’s an excellent choice for those who want to combine city life with snowboarding adventures.


Dalir, North-West Iceland

This lesser-known spot in the North-West is growing in popularity, especially among locals. Dalir offers a more relaxed snowboarding experience, with beautiful views of the surrounding valleys. It’s an ideal destination for those exploring Iceland’s snowboarding scene off the beaten path.


Each location offers a unique flavor of snowboarding in Iceland, catering to various skill levels, styles, and preferences. Whether you’re a freestyle junkie, a backcountry explorer, or just looking to enjoy well-groomed slopes with stunning views, Iceland’s snowboarding spots promise unforgettable experiences.


Snowboarding Schools and Lessons


Whether a beginner or an advanced rider, schools like Arctic Freeride and Reykjavik Snowboard School offer tailored lessons. Many have multi-day courses, including accommodation.
Look out for the Icelandic Snowboard Championships and various local festivals, where you can showcase your talent or enjoy the high-flying spectacle.


Winter Sports in Iceland: Ice Climbing in Iceland

Winter Sports in Iceland


With glaciers covering over 10% of the country, ice climbing in Iceland offers a unique and exhilarating experience. From beginner-friendly climbs to challenges that test the most experienced climbers, the country is a playground for ice-climbing enthusiasts.


Ideal Ice Climbing Locations in Iceland


Vatnajökull Glacier

The largest glacier in Iceland and a hub for ice climbing. Its sheer size offers varied ice formations, from crevasses to ice tunnels, suitable for climbers of all skill levels. From guided tours to customized expeditions, Vatnajökull provides unmatched opportunities for exploration.


Svínafellsjökull Glacier Tongue

A popular part of Vatnajökull, offering ice walls ranging from 20 to 60 meters. Accessible throughout the year, it’s renowned for its stunning blue ice.


Falljökull Glacier Tongue

Another exciting section of Vatnajökull for intermediate and advanced climbers, Falljökull offers vertical climbs and awe-inspiring views of the surrounding mountains.


Sólheimajökull Glacier

A part of the larger Mýrdalsjökull Glacier, Sólheimajökull is ideal for those new to ice climbing. Professional guides lead climbers through fascinating ice formations sculpted by wind and water. The glacier’s accessibility, just 2 hours from Reykjavik, makes it a favorite day-trip destination.


Fimmvörðuháls Pass

Close to Sólheimajökull, this area offers mixed climbing experiences where ice meets rock, providing an exciting challenge for those seeking variety in their climbs.


Eyjafjallajökull Glacier

This famous volcano glacier offers exciting ice-climbing possibilities. The climb offers unique perspectives of the craters formed during the 2010 eruption. Given its complex terrain and unpredictable conditions, the site is best suited for experienced climbers.


Snæfellsjökull Glacier

Located on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Snæfellsjökull is a mystical site, often associated with spiritual experiences. Its diverse ice formations and panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean make it an inspiring location for ice climbers. Guided climbs are recommended here due to the glacier’s crevassed surface.
These locations together represent the diverse and breathtaking opportunities that ice climbing in Iceland has to offer.

With options suitable for every climber, from those taking their first icy steps to the seasoned pros, Iceland’s glaciers invite you to a world of frozen wonder and thrilling ascents. Remember to consult with local guides, adhere to safety guidelines, and embrace the unforgettable ice climbing experiences that await in Iceland.


Guides and Tours for Winter Sports in Iceland


For a safe and memorable ice climbing experience, opt for professional guides. Companies like Icelandic Mountain Guides offer day trips and longer expeditions.
Safety and equipment such as helmets, ice axes, and crampons are essential. Rental shops are available near popular climbing locations, and guides usually provide the necessary equipment.


Conclusion


The allure of winter sports in Iceland is irresistible, blending world-class facilities with natural beauty. Whether carving through virgin snow or scaling a glacier, Iceland offers winter sports experiences to cherish. Share your stories, and immerse yourself in the unique world of Iceland’s winter sports.

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Sea Kayaking

Sea Kayaking

One of the most exhilarating ways to experience Antarctica, the Arctic and beyond.

Sea kayaking holidays in the humbling wilderness of Antarcticathe Arctic, and some of the world’s most biodiverse regions, are guaranteed to stir your soul. Paddle between brash ice and icebergs of all shapes and sizes, absorbing the majestic scenery as it unfolds before you. 

In Antarctica, keep your camera on-hand for unforgettable encounters with penguins, seals and whales, and occasionally leopard seals or orcas. In the Arctic, prepare to  paddle under nesting bird colonies, past massive glaciers and around large iceberg. 

Led by experienced guides, you and your small group of like-minded adventurers will paddle between ice floes, brash ice and icebergs of all shapes and sizes. Paddling is one of the best ways to access and intimately explore the beautiful coastlines we visit and therefore make the most of your time in the wild and remote destinations we visit

Top reasons to choose a Sea Kayaking holiday

Annotation 2023-04-28 030538

See wildlife unobtrusively

Kayaking is one of the best ways to spot rare wildlife, from penguins to puffins.

Annotation 2023-04-28 030913

Better access

Access intimate bays and coves that bigger crafts can’t reach.​

Annotation 2023-04-28 030939

Knowledgeable guides

Our experienced sea kayak guides will help bring your chosen destination to life.

Annotation 2023-04-28 031035

Become an expert

Hone your kayaking skills and gain a hobby for life!

Annotation 2023-04-28 031035

Make friends

Become lifelong friends with your small group of like-minded adventurers.

Annotation 2023-04-28 031119

Stay fit on your holiday

Being active every day on your holiday means you don’t have to feel guilty about being spoilt by our expert chefs!

Annotation 2023-04-28 031119

Enhance your experience

Add another layer to your once-in-a-lifetime holiday and make the most out of your time in some of the most remote places on earth.

Annotation 2023-04-28 031213

It's fun!

Have the time of your life exploring some of the wildest places on earth from the water.

FAQs

Our guide to paddler ratio is 1:10 and we provide an accompanying safety Zodiac. There are 26 places available in Antarctica and tropical voyages, 20 in temperate regions, South Georgia and all Arctic trips except in Franz Josef Land where the maximum is 16 kayakers.

Kayakers must be 14 or over.

Sea kayaking is offered in place of regular shore excursions. We aim to paddle as often as possible. Depending on the voyage, we generally aim to paddle twice per day.

We will give you a drybag for extra clothing, binoculars and anything that needs to be kept dry. You should also carry a water bottle. We recommend bringing a waterproof camera or phone, or ensuring you have a good quality waterproof case.

If the weather changes during our outing we will head back to the ship and perhaps join a shore excursion. The ship’s captain, expedition leader and kayak guide always maintain close contact to ensure a safe paddling experience. We do not attempt to paddle too far away from the ship. The emphasis is on experiencing the destination rather than travelling long distances.

The kayaks are made with a hard plastic and are easily paddled in swell and conducting shore landings, and through small patches of brash ice. We manoeuvre around the larger ice chunks and floes.

Polar regions

Kayaking in the poles offers a unique wildlife viewing experience. In Antarctica, we have many opportunities to encounter penguins, seals and whales, and occasionally we may even spot leopard seals or orcas. In the Arctic, we’ll paddle under nesting bird colonies, past massive glaciers and around large icebergs, however we maintain a safe distance from polar bears and walruses. Our guides carry rifles and flare guns in the Arctic to ensure your safety against polar bears.

Temperate regions

Kayakers in wild temperate regions will have a unique wildlife experience, with possible encounters with seals and basking sharks. You will have the opportunity to view some of the largest sea bird colonies in the northern hemisphere.

Tropical regions

The superb wildlife-viewing opportunities are endless in the astonishingly biodiverse nature reserves we visit. Kayaks offer a unique opportunity to view marine and land mammals, coral reefs, tropical fish, sea birds and an astonishing range of rainforest birds. We will bring our snorkelling gear with us during our paddles and take advantage of any opportunities to view marine life up close.

In the unlikely event of a capsize, your experienced guide will assist by righting the kayak, stabilising it then pumping it out. Paddlers will re-enter with the guide’s help, or with a support Zodiac. With drysuits and warm clothing underneath you will be comfortable in cold water for up to half an hour. Note that the kayaks have separate compartments with bulkheads, which means they will float after a capsize.

No. Each kayaking place is for one person only. Passengers are unable to share a kayaking place as we customise the kayaks and dry suits for each individual kayaker at the beginning of each voyage.

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Balcony Stateroom Superior

Deck: 4 & 6

Cabin and balcony combined size: 29.2m² – 35.2m² (314.3ft² – 378.9ft²)

Beds: 
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King bed

 
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Twin beds

Features

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Private en-suite (wheelchair accessible)

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Private balcony

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Full size window

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Desk area

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Closet space

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Room-controlled thermostat

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Room safe

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42″ flat-screen TV

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Mini bar*

Cabin Inclusion

  • 1 x 3-in-1 polar jacket per person (polar voyages only)

Some of these rooms are equipped with wheelchair accessible bathrooms.

*Please note mini bar items are chargeable in all cabins except Junior Suite and Captain’s Suite

Sea Kayaking

Sea Kayaking

One of the most exhilarating ways to experience Antarctica, the Arctic and beyond.

Sea kayaking holidays in the humbling wilderness of Antarcticathe Arctic, and some of the world’s most biodiverse regions, are guaranteed to stir your soul. Paddle between brash ice and icebergs of all shapes and sizes, absorbing the majestic scenery as it unfolds before you. 

In Antarctica, keep your camera on-hand for unforgettable encounters with penguins, seals and whales, and occasionally leopard seals or orcas. In the Arctic, prepare to  paddle under nesting bird colonies, past massive glaciers and around large iceberg. 

Led by experienced guides, you and your small group of like-minded adventurers will paddle between ice floes, brash ice and icebergs of all shapes and sizes. Paddling is one of the best ways to access and intimately explore the beautiful coastlines we visit and therefore make the most of your time in the wild and remote destinations we visit

Top reasons to choose a Sea Kayaking holiday

Annotation 2023-04-28 030538

See wildlife unobtrusively

Kayaking is one of the best ways to spot rare wildlife, from penguins to puffins.

Annotation 2023-04-28 030913

Stay fit on your holiday

Being active every day on your holiday means you don’t have to feel guilty about being spoilt by our expert chefs!

Annotation 2023-04-28 030939

Knowledgeable guides

Our experienced sea kayak guides will help bring your chosen destination to life.

Annotation 2023-04-28 031035

Enhance your experience

Add another layer to your once-in-a-lifetime holiday and make the most out of your time in some of the most remote places on earth.

Annotation 2023-04-28 031035

Make friends

Become lifelong friends with your small group of like-minded adventurers.

Annotation 2023-04-28 031119

Better access

Access intimate bays and coves that bigger crafts can’t reach.​

Annotation 2023-04-28 031119

Become an expert

Hone your kayaking skills and gain a hobby for life!

Annotation 2023-04-28 031213

It's fun!

Have the time of your life exploring some of the wildest places on earth from the water.

FAQs

Our guide to paddler ratio is 1:10 and we provide an accompanying safety Zodiac. There are 26 places available in Antarctica and tropical voyages, 20 in temperate regions, South Georgia and all Arctic trips except in Franz Josef Land where the maximum is 16 kayakers.

Kayakers must be 14 or over.

Sea kayaking is offered in place of regular shore excursions. We aim to paddle as often as possible. Depending on the voyage, we generally aim to paddle twice per day.

Sea kayaking is offered in place of regular shore excursions. We aim to paddle as often as possible. Depending on the voyage, we generally aim to paddle twice per day.

If the weather changes during our outing we will head back to the ship and perhaps join a shore excursion. The ship’s captain, expedition leader and kayak guide always maintain close contact to ensure a safe paddling experience. We do not attempt to paddle too far away from the ship. The emphasis is on experiencing the destination rather than travelling long distances.

The kayaks are made with a hard plastic and are easily paddled in swell and conducting shore landings, and through small patches of brash ice. We manoeuvre around the larger ice chunks and floes.

Polar regions

Kayaking in the poles offers a unique wildlife viewing experience. In Antarctica, we have many opportunities to encounter penguins, seals and whales, and occasionally we may even spot leopard seals or orcas. In the Arctic, we’ll paddle under nesting bird colonies, past massive glaciers and around large icebergs, however we maintain a safe distance from polar bears and walruses. Our guides carry rifles and flare guns in the Arctic to ensure your safety against polar bears.

Temperate regions

Kayakers in wild temperate regions will have a unique wildlife experience, with possible encounters with seals and basking sharks. You will have the opportunity to view some of the largest sea bird colonies in the northern hemisphere.

Tropical regions

The superb wildlife-viewing opportunities are endless in the astonishingly biodiverse nature reserves we visit. Kayaks offer a unique opportunity to view marine and land mammals, coral reefs, tropical fish, sea birds and an astonishing range of rainforest birds. We will bring our snorkelling gear with us during our paddles and take advantage of any opportunities to view marine life up close.

In the unlikely event of a capsize, your experienced guide will assist by righting the kayak, stabilising it then pumping it out. Paddlers will re-enter with the guide’s help, or with a support Zodiac. With drysuits and warm clothing underneath you will be comfortable in cold water for up to half an hour. Note that the kayaks have separate compartments with bulkheads, which means they will float after a capsize.

No. Each kayaking place is for one person only. Passengers are unable to share a kayaking place as we customise the kayaks and dry suits for each individual kayaker at the beginning of each voyage.

Contact Us

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