6 Day Winter Circle of Iceland Tour | Small Group

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Tour starts
Reykjavík
Duration:
6 days
Languages:
English, Icelandic
Difficulty:
Easy
Available:
All year
Minimum age:
8 years old

Discover the ‘Land of Fire and Ice’ on this magical 6-day winter tour around Iceland! This small group adventure will have you travelling by minibus on a circle of Iceland’s best attractions, from Reykjavík city to the famous Golden Circle route, the South Coast, East Fjords and Lake Mývatn in the north.

Iceland is renowned for its spectacular nature, fascinating history and rich culture. From small fishing villages standing amidst expansive lava fields to gorgeous black sand beaches and UNESCO World Heritage Listed sites, this eclectic combination of the natural, old and new is best experienced in a small group, away from the hustle and bustle that larger tours may bring.

This exciting tour package includes a knowledgeable driver and guide, who will take you to some of the country’s most popular sites, as well as a few hidden gems well and truly off the beaten track. Be prepared to stand at the base of extraordinary waterfalls, marvel at steaming geothermal areas, explore the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, wander across snowy landscapes and savour the freedom of being out in nature.

Winter is one of the best times to visit Iceland, when the days are awash with ethereal Arctic light and the skies are dark enough to see the Northern Lights. On every night of this tour, you’ll have the chance to witness the Aurora Borealis sweeping through the atmosphere. It’s a natural phenomenon that only a handful of people ever get to see in their lifetime and a sight that you will cherish in your memories for years to come.

To make your vacation even more special, there is the option of adding extra tours and activities during your time in Iceland. Go horse riding with gentle Icelandic horses across the picturesque countryside, get out onto the fjords for a spot of whale watching, descend into the depths of a crystal ice cave in the heart of Vatnajökull National Park, or traverse thousand-year-old ice on a glacier hike with spectacular views of volcanoes looming upon the horizon. The opportunities are endless!

Your accommodation will be pre-arranged for you prior to the commencement of the tour, as will be any activities that you choose during the booking process. All you’ll have to do is to bring along a sense of adventure and pick what you want to do during your vacation in Iceland.

Spend less time figuring out your way around and more time exploring on this 6-day guided winter tour of Iceland! This is an ideal choice for visitors with a limited time in Iceland, who are seeking to pack in as much fun and excitement as possible. Check availability by choosing a date.

Included

6 day guided tour of the Ring Road of Iceland
5 night of accommodation in various country hotels with breakfast and a private bathroom
Northern Lights spotting
Taxes

Activities

Glacier Hiking
Horse Riding
Whale Watching
Sight Seeing
Boat Trip
Northern Lights
Cultural Activity
Photo Workshop

Daily itinerary

Day 1
6 Day Winter Circle of Iceland Tour | Small Group - day 1

The Golden Circle Route 

You’ll be picked up early in the morning from Reykjavík in a minibus. From there, you’ll begin the journey to Iceland’s wild and famous Golden Circle route. Home to some of the country’s most spectacular landscapes, it is a place where you will certainly discover why Iceland has been nicknamed the ‘Land of Fire and Ice’.

Your first stop will be at Þingvellir National Park. This UNESCO World Heritage Site sprawls across expansive lava fields; its location upon the Mid-Atlantic Ridge is quite special, making it a unique place where you may observe geological evidence of thousands of years of continental drift between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. The landscape is marked by rifts and fissures, of which Silfra is the most notable. Filled with clear freshwater, it’s a great place to go snorkelling or diving, so be sure to add this activity in the booking process if you’d like to take a dip between the continents.

Your second destination upon the Golden Circle will be the Geysir geothermal area. Be prepared to immerse yourself in the steaming surroundings, where hot springs, bubbling mud pots and seething fumaroles reign supreme. The highlight here is Strokkur, an active fountain geyser that explodes every 5-10 minutes, spurting hot water almost 20 metres into the air. It’s quite an exhilarating sight and makes for stunning photographic opportunities.

You’ll then continue onwards to Gullfoss, one of the most beautiful waterfalls in all of Iceland. In the right conditions, it takes on a gleaming golden hue beneath the sunlight. There are several vantage points from which you will be able to see the icy waters of the mighty Hvítá river, plunging 32 metres over two tiers through a giant crevasse.

From here, you will make a short trip to your accommodation in the Icelandic countryside. If you’d like to continue exploring, then there is the option of adding a scenic horse riding tour with a friendly Icelandic horse. Otherwise, settle in for a warm and cosy dinner. Once it gets dark, you’ll be perfectly placed away from the city lights of Reykjavík to view the Aurora Borealis so be sure to look upwards for the chance to witness the show of a lifetime!

Day 2
6 Day Winter Circle of Iceland Tour | Small Group - day 2

South Coast, and Glacier Hiking

On day two of your adventure, you’ll delve into the spectacular sights of Iceland’s South Coast as you head from the Golden Circle to the seaside village of Vík. Along the way, you’ll pass by dramatic cliffs, snow capped mountains, glacial rivers, lava fields and black sand deserts until you reach Seljalandsfoss waterfall. Fed by glacial meltwater from an ice cap atop the Eyjafjallajökull volcano, it is truly picturesque in wintertime with icicles clinging to the cavern wall behind the cascade.

Nearby is Skógafoss, another wonderful sight to behold. It’s possible to climb the stairs here to a viewing platform at the top, where you’ll be able to see out over Iceland’s former coastline. On a sunny day, rainbows may often be found in the mist and spray that drifts forth from this beautiful waterfall!

From there, a short drive will take you to the tongue of the Sólheimajökull glacier. You’ll have the opportunity to wander close to the glacier lagoon, where large chunks of ice drift after calving from the glacier itself. If you have a penchant for adventure, then there is the chance this afternoon to take a glacier hike with expert Icelandic mountain guides. This is the perfect way to get up close to the striated blue ice which has been marked with black ash from hundreds of years of volcanic eruptions.

Afterwards, you’ll continue onwards to the hauntingly beautiful Reynisfjara black sand beach. The crashing waves here are an extraordinary sight, even on a rainy day. Tall basalt columns and interesting rock formations line this stretch of coastline. You’ll have spectacular views of the Reynisdrangar sea stacks which stand just offshore, as well as the Dyrhólaey rock arch extending out of the waters of the North Atlantic Ocean in the distance.

This evening, you’ll be staying in the village of Vík. When the sun goes down, be sure to head outside for a chance to see the Northern Lights.

Day 3
6 Day Winter Circle of Iceland Tour | Small Group - day 3

Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon & Ice Caving

Day three sees you journeying into the icy surrounds of Vatnajökull National Park, home to Europe’s largest ice cap! The drive may be long but you’ll make several stops along the way to stretch your legs and to take in the many breathtaking sights. There is much to see in this incredible part of Iceland, with glistening glaciers and volcano peaks looming on the horizon.

If you’re looking for a unique experience, then this is the place to have it. The glaciers here continually melt and reshape over time, creating astonishing natural ice caves. You have the option today of going on an ice cave tour, which will take you on a super jeep ride over the ice sheet. The thrill of descending into an ice cave will give you a sheer rush of adrenaline! Throughout this adventure, you’ll be in the safe hands of an expert glacier guide, who will share their knowledge with you about Iceland and how these marvellous natural phenomena came to be.

After this excursion, you’ll have plenty of time to explore the tranquil surroundings of the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. Huge icebergs float about in the tidal waters here, having calved from the nearby Breiðamerkurjökull glacier. Eventually, the icebergs drift out to sea, where they are reshaped by the waves and deposited back ashore onto the Diamond Beach. The area is a haven for seals and seabirds, which play and rest upon the drifting ice. You can take an optional boat tour on an amphibious vehicle for an out-of-this-world experience that will take you closer to the action in the lagoon. Otherwise, wander by the shore and admire the chunks of ice which resemble jewels glistening in the sun.

Tonight, you’ll stay in accommodation within the vicinity of the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. The icy landscape here makes for the perfect backdrop in the evening, should the Northern Lights make a display.

Day 4
6 Day Winter Circle of Iceland Tour | Small Group - day 4

The Eastfjords

The Eastfjords are a remote and fascinating region of Iceland which are seldom visited. Today, you’ll head into the heart of this coastal winter wonderland, passing by small fishing villages and towering snow capped mountains as far as the eye can see.

Dramatic scenery awaits, as does the opportunity to spot Icelandic wildlife. Make sure to be on the lookout for Arctic foxes and herds of reindeer, hunting and feeding in their natural habitat. You’ll have spectacular views of Vatnajökull glacier to the west as you travel along the winding roads, taking in the beauty of abandoned farmhouses and historic churches, as well as Hallormsstaðaskógur – the largest forest in Iceland.

The latter part of your journey will take you by Lake Lagarfljót, where a large wormlike serpent (similar to the Loch Ness monster) is rumoured to have lived since Viking times, deep beneath its murky depths. Folklore aside, this is the third largest lake in Iceland, measuring in at 53 square kilometres! It contains glacial meltwater and in winter, the surface is often covered in a layer of ice.

In the evening, take your time exploring the town of Egilsstaðir, where you will spend the night. The atmosphere is a mix of charming and modern, with many cosy places to dine and drink. Be sure to rug up if you plan to head out tonight in search of the Northern Lights; the unimaginable beauty of the fjords and wide expanses of sky in this part of Iceland make for great Aurora viewing opportunities.

Day 5
6 Day Winter Circle of Iceland Tour | Small Group - day 5

Lake Myvatn, Dimmuborgir Fortress & Namaskard Pass

On day five, you’ll make the long journey from the Eastfjords to Lake Mývatn. The scenery will change dramatically as you get closer to this area in north Iceland, taking on an otherworldly appearance. Pseudo craters, lava fields and hot springs dominate the diverse and volcanic landscape. At Námaskarð pass, you’ll have the chance to wander between bubbling mud pools and steaming fumaroles; evidence of the strong geothermal activity that lies just beneath your feet.

Icelandic folklore heralds the coming of the Yule Lads during winter in Iceland. These mischievous characters are said to live in the nearby Dimmuborgir lava fields, an interesting area full of lava formations that resemble dark fortresses. It is believed that they are the remains of a lava tube that formed thousands of years ago. An easy walk upon marked paths will take you around this fairytale place.

It can get very cold in the north of Iceland so if you’re in need of some warming up, there is the option today of bathing in the mineral-rich waters of the Mývatn Nature Baths. Soaking in these geothermal pools with stunning views all around and a drink from the bar is a truly relaxing experience.

Thereafter, you’ll continue on the journey towards the town of Akureyri, the second largest city in Iceland outside of the greater Reykjavík area. Along the way, you’ll make a stop at Goðafoss, the beautiful waterfall of the Norse gods. In winter, this waterfall is mostly frozen. There are viewing platforms to access from either side, as well as a staircase that will take you down closer by the water for a unique and exciting vantage point.

You’ll stay the night in the township of Akureyri.

Day 6
6 Day Winter Circle of Iceland Tour | Small Group - day 6

Exploring North Iceland

This will be the final day of your journey. After breakfast, you’ll begin making the drive from Akureyri back to Reykjavík, with some interesting stops along the way.

You’ll meander along the north, following the coastline of Eyjafjörður to Hauganes, a fishing village that is home to a community of around 140 people. It is known as the whale-watching capital of Iceland and for very good reason! You’ll have the option of taking a boat tour out upon the fjord for the opportunity to spot Humpback whales, dolphins and porpoises, frolicking in the waves.

If you’d prefer to keep your feet planted firmly on land, then check out the beautiful black sand beach near the town’s harbour, with gorgeous views of the surroundings. Beer lovers will be keen to know that there is a beer spa in this village, where you’ll have the chance to immerse yourself in a bath full of beer with your very own beer tap!

In the afternoon, you’ll visit Hvítserkur, a large basaltic monolith that stands out at sea. At low tide, you can wander down to the beach, where you’ll have a closer view of the rock formation surrounded by ripples in the black sand. Otherwise, a viewing platform atop the cliff offers a wonderful vantage point from which to observe the formation, which is often said to resemble a dragon drinking from the sea.

You’ll then continue on the return journey to Reykjavík, arriving back in the city by evening. We recommend that you do not book your flight home to depart on this day, as it is possible that weather conditions during winter may lead to delays. After checking in to your hotel, you’ll have some time to explore the colourful nightlife at your leisure. Take a stroll by the iconic waterfront, check out one of the many museums and art galleries, grab a bite to eat at the charming cafés and restaurants or get some last-minute souvenir shopping done. There is a lot to see and do in the world’s northernmost capital!

Until next time, we hope you’ll have had a wonderful vacation in Iceland!

Map

What to bring

Camera
Swimsuit and a towel
Warm clothes
Winter hiking shoes
Good waterproof outer layers

Good to know

Customers travelling on their own will receive a single room. Reservations for 2 people will be allocated a double room. For bookings of 3 or more, triple rooms will automatically be allocated. For example, a group of 8 will receive 2 triple rooms and 1 double. If these arrangements do not meet your requirements, please contact the provider.

The Northern Lights are a natural phenomenon, and therefore cannot be guaranteed, but this itinerary is designed to maximise your chances to see them if weather allows. Please be advised that there is no specific Northern Lights hunt on this tour, but your guide will notify you if the conditions are favourable and advise you on how to best spot them.

It can happen, in the case of extreme weather, that an activity is cancelled. If your chosen activity is cancelled, we will assist you with rearranging or booking other activities when possible, and any potential price difference will be refunded to you.

Note that Icelandic roads and pavements can be slippery in the wintertime. We recommend you bring shoes with slip-resistant soles or ice-grip shoe covers. The covers can be purchased in most supermarkets and gas stations around the country.

Please note that only pick up and drop-off from designated pick up locations in the greater capital area is available, not from Keflavík International Airport. Therefore, we do not recommend attempting to start this tour on your arrival day in Iceland. Arrival time back to Reykjavík at the end of your tour can vary depending on weather and traffic.

Cancellation Insurance

This insurance guarantees that you can cancel the booking of this package and receive a full refund, minus the insurance cost of 5,000 ISK per person. The cancellation must be made within a minimum of 48-hours before the listed starting time. To cancel your booking and claim your refund, simply contact our service desk by writing to info@guidetoiceland.is no later than 48-hours before departure and declare the cancellation. Please note that this insurance only covers the full cancellation of this entire package. It does not cover cancellations of individual activities and services within the package. The cost of the Cancellation Insurance is neither refundable nor transferable.

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