Frozen horizons and fiery skies in Iceland


The Backpacks are eager for adventures and what is more exciting and adventurous than frozen winter landscapes and spitting lava volcanos. That’s right, our backpacks are starting their adventure in the land of elves and snow people: Iceland.

Catching a flight from Vienna, Austria was not that costly, although we must consider that it is a 4-and-a-half-hour trip and then another 45 minutes’ drive from the airport to the capital Reykjavik. You could go by bus or by taxi. We wanted to save money since we expected Iceland to be very expensive, so we took the Airport Direct Bus which was about 27 Euro one direction per person. There is a little trick here, if you rely on the fact that the most buses from the airport to the city stop at the central station or at least close to the city, you might be a bit disappointed here. There is a special system, where the bus will drop you at the Bus Terminal, which is a 20 minutes’ walk to the city center. The bus companies offer pick up and drop off, which costs more, but al least you will not be dropped somewhere far away. There are BUS STOPS, which are only for the tourists and usually there are the pick-ups for tours. You will be left there if you decide to book your airport transfer with a hotel drop off.

We have booked the Reykjavík Marina hotel, you can use our affiliate link to book it and support us: Go to hotel page. It was very convenient because the Tourist BUS STOP 15 is next to it and they have a reception cat😊. Regarding the prices it was also affordable, although breakfast would cost you another 30 € (per person of course). Check out the lunch deals which are delicious and great value for money!

We arrived in the early afternoon, so there was a bit of time to explore the Reykjavík City with its highlight, the Hallgrimskirkja church and Rainbow Street. We were astonished of the architecture and relatively minimalistic interior of the church. It reminded us of the beautiful winter nature of Iceland.

Having a good, long, dark night helped us to recover from the flight and we woke up ready for new winter adventures. The weather was promising since it was snowing the whole night, and we woke up in the dark morning of the snowy Reykjavík City. Quick coffee and breakfast for our humans and we were already waiting for our pickup at BUS STOP 15. We are going on a full day of adventures, called the ‘South coast’ tour. The first stop was the majestic Skogafoss waterfall, its name “Skogafoss” is derived from the Icelandic words “skógar” (forest) and “foss” (waterfall) and it is 25 meters wide (82 feet) and 60 meters high (197 feet). You can climb the steps next to it and even see it from above. This was a good warm up since the weather in January is quite unpredictable and we experienced not only heavy snowfall but strong wind as well.


After seeing the majestic waterfall, we headed further south to the famous Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach. The beach is well known for the “sneaker waves.” These are larger waves that can unexpectedly surge much further up the beach than others. It’s important to maintain a safe distance from the water’s edge and never turn your back to the ocean. BE SAFE OUT THERE!!


The next stop of our south coast adventure was the Katla Ice Cave, nestled at the foot of the Katla glacier. We had to leave the normal paved street and drive 40 min in the sheer white ground, relying only on the GPS and our guide. Once we reached the Katla glacier, we put on crampons and helmets, and started our ascent in to the glacier’s heart. It is important to hike like a cowboy and avoid stepping around like a ballerina, because the crampons are sharp, and you can hurt yourself. After going trough wooden bridges and icy rocks, we reached the entry of the Ice Cave. There, one must be very careful, holding tight to a rope and make sure you really use those crampons. Once inside, we could only be thankful, that we are so lucky, to experience all this. Being in an ice cave is a unique and awe-inspiring experience. The play of light on the ice produces mesmerizing effects and you can see this on our photos below:


‘My adrenaline is through the roof!!’ – said N. Back and it look like P. Pack was sharing this emotional state. Being so hyped, the backpacks could not stop giggling and chatting in the car on the way back. They have not realized that it was almost dawn, and the light of the nonexistent nordic sun was fading out. In the dark, at around 4pm the backpacks had to experience the cold beauty of Seljalandsfoss. Seljalandsfoss is a stunning waterfall, best known for its unique feature of allowing visitors to walk behind the cascading water. Although this was another amazing sight to visit in Iceland, the challenging conditions and the breathtaking experiences had left us both physically and mentally tired. We were eager to go and rest.


We returned to our hotel around 8pm and, almost instantly, surrendered to the embrace of sleep. A good night’s sleep is crucial to prepare you for the unknown challenges that lie ahead, and we have plenty of those planned for the next day.

After a restful night’s sleep, we awoke feeling rejuvenated and ready to embrace whatever the day had in store for us. The plan is to start with an ice bucket challenge. This is not what you might have in mind, but a rather colder and more extreme one. Upon our arrival at the Thingvellir National Park, darkness still cloaked the surroundings, casting a mysterious veil over the landscape. As the temperature plummeted to -15 degrees Celsius, a biting cold enveloped us.  We realized that this could mark the end of our adventures for quite some time. A blend of excitement and fear surged through our souls, creating a potent mix of emotions as we were putting on our dry neoprene gear. Indeed, you heard correctly—neoprene. Winter snorkeling in Silfra, between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates has always been on the top of our Bucket list and we finally got to do it.

Perhaps some would call us crazy, but our pursuit for new experiences and our strong desire to push boundaries, strengthened our determination, as well as our freezing bodies. One might be even surprised – it was not as cold as expected. 😊

The reward was sweet — sipping on hot chocolate and indulging in biscuits, provided us with the much-needed energy and warmth for the rest of the day. The next destination on our agenda was the captivating Geysir geothermal area, where a collection of colorful hot springs awaited exploration. Currently only Strokkur erupts, every 8-10 minutes, at the height of 20m. The famous Great Geysir fell asleep in 2016 and has not erupted since then.


A perfect day in Iceland always ends with the breathtaking view of a waterfall. Gullfoss’s cascading waters provided a picturesque and serene scene to complete our remarkable day with a (frozen) smile.

waterfall full of ice in iceland

Throughout our journey, the cold and the relentless winds remained steady companions, shaping our experiences and adding an extra layer of challenge to the beauty of the Icelandic winter trip. In the face of those elements, we discovered a unique sense of resilience and appreciation for the raw, untamed nature of Iceland and we fell in love with it.

Your Backpacks,

N. Back and P. Pack

Secrets revealed:

  • If you expect to see this Katla Ice cave that is being posted repeatedly on social media, you might be slightly disappointed. This cave is gone, the ruff collapsed and now only the dome is left. However, there are other ice caves you can visit.

  • Almost every experience could be done, by renting a car and going by yourself to those places. In winter we felt we should book tours, but in summer we will do it for sure by car.

  • The prices are sometimes insane. For example, a small sandwich next to the Geysir was 20 Euro! Our tip is to go and eat a hot dog at the gas station or bring your own sandwich.

  • It is recommended to take a Termos, so you can make yourself a tea before you go on your winter adventure.

  • We found Kronan supermarkets have everything fresh what you might need, so we invite you to go and buy your apple, rye bread and Hakarl (fermented shark) there.

  • For the Northern light forecast, here is our tip:

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