Charming Christmas | 2 Day Yuletide Adventure in the Highlands
Join us for an authentic Christmas experience in Iceland. This tour offers you to spend two days, filled with old-time Christmas spirit an engaging wilderness experience, in the Icelandic highlands. The Wilderness Center is a unique site in the midst of peaceful surroundings, and the Wilderness exhibition is an informative experience that no-one should miss out on.
Christmas is a magical time an like any country, Iceland has its own traditions, tales, and customs. From local food traditions to the stories of the Yule Lads (the thirteen Icelandic Santas) and their mother, the ogress Grýla, there are countless charms to this season here near the arctic circle.
On this tour, you will enjoy great local food, made with locally sourced produce and prepared in our home-style kitchen where you can chat with your hosts while they prepare your meal. You will have a chance to bathe in natural hot springs at Laugarfell and marvel at the magnificent landscape of the East Icelandic highlands.
You will learn how people made Christmas decorations in olden days and try your hand at making them your self, assisting in preparing the Yuletide in your Highland home. Then you will learn to make the traditional Icelandic Yuletide bread, laufabrauð and you will be able to take the bread you made home with you.
For a little action, we will also head out for a walk to a nearby abandoned farm where you can cross the river canyon with a traditional renovated cableway-cart. In the past, this cableway and others alike were used as the primary transportation across many glacier rivers.
If we are lucky, we might come across some reindeer. In Iceland, they only live in the Eastern part of the country, and wintertime is the best season to see them. This is also a good season for northern lights so we will be on the lookout in hopes for clear skies and a beautiful display of auroras.
Day 1 - Trolls and Elves, Highland Huts and Yuletide Feasts
We will pick you up at either Seyðisfjörður village or Egilsstaðir town. On our way into the valley, we take a step back in time. We stop at a place where the legend tells us that Grýla, the mother of the Jólasveinar or Yule lads (the thirteen Icelandic Santas) is supposed to live.
You never know, we may run into her or some of her relatives. In that case, they can tell us the story and invite us a sip of jólaglögg (mulled wine). We also visit the last Icelandic farmer still to use turf buildings as sheep stables.
Once at the Wilderness Center, we will enjoy local lunch with some Christmas specialities. After a delicious meal, you will explore the exhibition at the Wilderness Center, with a guide showing how life was during the Christmas season in the old days. We try the delicacy smoked mountain lamb, straight from the smoke hut.
You will also have the chance to make some traditional Christmas decorations as well as joining a guided adventure trip to an abandoned farm even further up the valley and trying the old transportation across the glacial river, a cableway-cart.
In the evening you’ll enjoy a Wilderness Christmas meal with ingredients from the highlands and nearby farms. The feast is followed by entertainment of stories, traditional singing and playing on old pedal harmonium and guitar.
Day 2 - Hot Spring bathing, Laufabraud making, and Christmastime cosiness
After a tasty breakfast in the cosy old farmhouse, we teach our guests how to make their own laufabrauð, a traditional Icelandic Christmas bread and you will be able to take home your hand-carved Laufabrauð.
Before lunch, we take a short and relaxing hike in the area, listening to local stories and experience nature. Afterwards, we leave the Wilderness Center and visit Valþjófsstaður, a small country church. There we watch an old silent film telling the story of Iceland's most famous outlaw couple, Eyvindur and Halla.
After the viewing, we take a scenic drive up to the highlands where we dip into the geothermal pools at Laugarfell and bask in the serenity of the highlands. To end the day, we head back to the town of Egilsstaðir, or the Smyril Line ferry at Seyðisfjörður, with some photo stops along the way.
What to bring
Good to know
Maximum 16 travellers per tour. For guaranteed departure, minimum of two persons or twice the individual rate. Tour is available on other days upon request. To upgrade, please contact us by clicking the 'inquire about this tour' button on this page.
Please note that the itinerary is subject to change, in case of bad winter weathers.