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Discover Iceland in depth with this 8-day winter trip from Reykjavík around the Golden Circle and Ring Road!
This incredible 8-day guided winter tour package will take you on a return journey through Iceland’s famous Golden Circle route, along the South Coast to Vatnajökull National Park, into the mysterious Eastfjords and north to the steaming Lake Mývatn geothermal region. It’s a good amount of time for an introduction to Iceland’s history and culture, as well as to take in the country’s must-see attractions. Be prepared to encounter sprawling lava fields, black sand beaches, magnificent waterfalls, snow capped mountains, glacier lagoons, icebergs, hot springs and more.
Long regarded as a magical time in Iceland, winter is when hours upon hours of ethereal light give way to long, dark nights. It’s perfect for witnessing the Aurora Borealis dancing against a backdrop of stars in the sky. You’ll be visiting some of the most remote areas in Iceland, meaning that you’ll be well-placed, far away from light pollution, to view this incredible natural phenomenon. Alongside, you’ll have numerous chances to spot the local wildlife, including Arctic foxes, herds of reindeer, seals and whales as you immerse yourself in spectacular winter landscapes.
You’ll travel in a comfortable minibus on this small group adventure as you make your way around the Ring Road of Iceland, on a scenic voyage to the best destinations that this country has to offer. Your package includes accommodation which will be arranged prior to your arrival in Iceland, an expert guide, transfers to and from the airport, as well as transport for the duration of the tour.
There is a reason that Iceland is a bucket-list destination for adventurers all over the world. To enhance your winter vacation in Iceland, there is the option of adding on a number of excursions during the booking process. These unique activities include horse riding in the countryside, glacier hiking, ice caving, snowmobiling, bathing in geothermal pools, whale watching and more. Challenge yourself in snowy surroundings with knowledgeable and skilled local guides as you take in the fresh mountain air!
Experience the beauty of Iceland, where hot, active volcanic regions meet snowy landscapes set amidst thousand-year-old glaciers. This 8-day winter adventure is your opportunity to see and do everything that this country has to offer. Check availability by choosing a date.
You’ll arrive at Keflavík International Airport in the south west of Iceland. From there, you’ll use your voucher for a bus transfer to the city of Reykjavík, just a short 45 minute drive away.
If your flight arrives early, then there is the option today of making a stop at the Blue Lagoon for a dip in its mineral-rich geothermal pools. You’ll receive a complimentary silica mud mask, as well as a drink of your choice, as you relax your muscles after a long flight. Luxuriate in a number of spa treatments and massages or dine at the world-class restaurant onsite before continuing on your journey. Don’t worry if you don’t have time to fit this activity in today, as you’ll be able to schedule it for another time during your stay in Iceland.
Once you reach Reykjavík, you’ll check in to your accommodation downtown and have the rest of the afternoon to explore the city at your leisure. Be sure to check out the waterfront walk, where you’ll find the Harpa Concert Hall and Sun Voyager sculpture. Otherwise, stroll along the charming streets and take in the atmosphere of this quirky capital in the midst of winter.
In the evening, experience the vibrant nightlife that the city has to offer or book a boat ride to view the Northern Lights from the water.
You’ll retire for the night at your accommodation in Reykjavík.
On day two of your adventure, you’ll leave the city of Reykjavík, bound for the famous Golden Circle route. Along the way, you’ll pass by stunning lava fields, swathed in ice and snow. There is the option today of adding a snowmobile tour to Langjökull glacier or to go horse riding in the Icelandic countryside, on the back of an Icelandic horse.
Your first stop on the Golden Circle will be at Þingvellir National Park. This UNESCO World Heritage Listed site teems with both cultural and historical significance. It was the meeting place of Alþingi, the world’s oldest parliament, in the year 930 AD. In addition, this spectacular rift valley is situated on the Mid-Atlantic ridge – the meeting point of the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. Thousands of years of continental drift may be witnessed in the many geological features to be found throughout the park, of which the Silfra fissure stands out. Here, you may take a snorkelling tour in crystal clear freshwater, between the walls of the continents.
The second location that you will visit is Geysir. This fascinating geothermal area is home to a number of bubbling mud pots, hot springs and steaming fumaroles. The highlight here is the Strokkur fountain geyser, which erupts every 5-10 minutes and spews hot water almost 20 metres into the air!
Your final destination upon the Golden Circle will be the magnificent Gullfoss waterfall. Under sunlight, it takes on a golden sheen and rainbows may often be found in the mist that drifts away from the cascades. The waterfall originates at the mighty Langjökull glacier, eventually plunging over two tiers through a crevasse into the Hvítá river below.
In the evening, you’ll be well-placed at your accommodation in southern Iceland to see the Northern Lights, should the conditions be favourable.
There’s a reason that the South Coast is the most visited region of Iceland and you’ll soon find out why as you continue along your journey from the Golden Circle.
Stunning waterfalls, glaciers, sea stacks, breathtaking cliffs, turf houses and rolling countryside will greet you everywhere that you look. You’ll stop at two well-known waterfalls, Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss, which are both glorious in their own right. You can get very close to the wall of water at both of these cascades, which tumble from a height of around 60 metres.
Afterwards, you’ll visit the Sólheimajökull glacier, where there is the chance to go on a glacier hiking adventure! Be sure to add this activity during the booking process if you’d like to explore the deep crevasses, moulins and fascinating ice formations in this snowy wonderland. You’ll be accompanied by an Icelandic mountain guide, who will take you on a guided tour of the glacial tongue, equipped with ice picks and safety gear. It’s an amazing experience to get up close to the crystal blue ice and to take in the sheer breadth of this pristine natural wonder.
From there, you’ll head to the Reynisfjara black sand beach, one of the most popular attractions along the South Coast. It is here that the tumultuous waves of the Atlantic Ocean sweep in and churn around the Reynisdrangar sea stacks, rising high from the water. Remnants of geological activity line the beach and tall basalt columns form a cliff face that stands steadfast against the tides. If the horizon is clear, you’ll have a spectacular view of the Dyrhólaey rock arch in the distance.
It won’t be long before you arrive in the small village of Vík í Mýrdal, where you will be staying for the night.
Today, you will complete the journey from the South Coast to Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. You’ll notice the scenery changing as you get closer to Vatnajökull National Park, where the tongues of thousand-year-old glaciers glisten upon the horizon.
You’ll pass by the Skeiðarársandur outwash floodplains, a vast expanse of black desert that has been generated by overflowing glacial rivers over time. Covering an area of around 1300 km2, it’s truly a haunting sight to see. Thereafter, you will drive past Skaftafell Nature Reserve where you’ll have spectacular views of Hvannadalshnjúkur, Iceland’s highest mountain peak.
Eventually, you will arrive at the famous Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. This breathtaking natural lake is the result of many years of glacial melt from the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier. The icebergs that float within its tidal waters float through a narrow canal into the ocean, where they are deposited by the waves onto a stretch of black sand known affectionately as the ‘Diamond Beach’. Wildlife lovers will be keen to spot the many seals and birds that circle the icebergs as they hunt for fish.
The highlight of your day will be a visit to an ice cave within the depths of Vatnajökull glacier, the largest ice cap in all of Europe. Here, you will have the chance to observe the way that the light dances off the solid frozen walls, bouncing off crystal blue, white and black ice. It’s an exhilarating experience that will stay in your memories for a lifetime.
You will spend the night in the area within the vicinity of Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon.
On day five, you will make the move from Iceland’s spectacular South Coast towards the remote Eastfjords. This region is a little visited area that is made all the more magical when swathed in layers of snow and ice. There is a lot to see, from majestic mountains to glorious seascapes dotted with charming villages. If you’re lucky, then you may even spot some of the local wildlife! Arctic foxes and herds of reindeer are known to inhabit this part of Iceland through the cold reaches of winter.
Throughout the long drive, you’ll make several stops in picturesque locations where you’ll be able to enjoy breathtaking views of the fjords and sprawling wilderness. Here, you will find the largest forest in all of Iceland, pretty lighthouses, sheer cliff faces that drop straight into the ocean and unspoiled landscapes as far as the eye can see. Your guide will take you to some hidden locations well off the beaten track as you explore this incredible stretch of coastline.
In the evening, you’ll arrive at a gorgeous town in the Eastfjords, where you will stay overnight. Be sure to head out in the evening to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights!
On day six, you will head from the Eastfjords to the geologically diverse Lake Mývatn area in the north. This active volcanic region is famed for its stunning scenery. Immerse yourself in spectacular lava fields, pseudo-craters, wetlands, hot springs and more in the stunning landscapes of this beautiful part of northern Iceland.
At Dimmuborgir, incredible lava formations tower overhead in a range of different shapes and sizes, reminiscent of dark castles. It’s no wonder that this spectacular site has often been referred to as a fortress.
Meanwhile, at Námaskarð pass, you will feel as though you have entered another world. Mud pools, steaming fumaroles and bubbling hot springs rise forth from underneath your feet – a reminder of the volcanic activity that rages beneath the Earth’s crust – as Krafla volcano looms in the distance.
In the afternoon, there is the option of visiting the Mývatn Nature Baths, where you’ll be able to soak in thermal pools. It’s similar to the Blue Lagoon with changing rooms, sauna and showers making for a truly relaxing experience in the awe-inspiring surrounds of nature.
After a day of exploring, you’ll continue onwards to the city of Akureyri, with a stop at the magnificent Goðafoss waterfall along the way. Also known as the ‘Waterfall of the Gods’, this enormous cascade is similar to Niagara Falls and may be viewed from two sides. A short walk will take you to the base of the falls, where you’ll be able to capture some unique photographs.
You’ll arrive in Akureyri by the evening, just in time to explore the old town and to sample some of the delicious local fare on offer at one of the city’s many cosy restaurants. Don’t forget to look towards the sky tonight for a chance to see the Northern Lights.
You will spend the night in Akureyri.
There will be a long drive today as you make your way from Akureyri back to Reykjavík city. Before you do, you will head up the coast along Eyjafjörður, the longest fjord in central north Iceland, to the village of Hauganes.
This whale watching hub is known for its steaming hot tubs, black sand beach and colourful harbour. Make your trip to Hauganes a day to remember with a boat tour to get closer to the whales, during which you can enjoy the fantastic scenery and birdlife to be spotted in the area. Seals are also known for hauling out and resting along the beach.
If you’d rather keep your feet onshore, then check out the local beer spa. This unique concept has been designed for beer lovers who are keen for an alternative experience! Bathe in beer as you pour yourself an ice cold beverage from the personal beer tap that accompanies every beer tub. The beer yeast is said to have many health-benefiting properties for your body and skin.
Thereafter, your next stop will be at the Hvítserkur rock stack, which rises high from the sea. This basalt formation resembles a giant dragon, drinking from the water at high tide. If the tide is low, you will be able to wander out closer and to catch a glimpse of the seals that frolic by the shoreline.
From there, you will continue the journey to Reykjavík, arriving in the evening. This will be your last chance to experience the rich history, culture and views of this wonderful city before your departure the next day. Sample one of Iceland’s best hot dogs, check out the nightlife or wander along Reykjavík’s iconic waterfront and capture some memorable photographs of the mountains on the horizon, with the Northern Lights dancing in the sky ahead.
You will then retire for the night at your accommodation in Reykjavík.
This will be your final day in Iceland. When the time is right, you will catch a bus transfer back to Keflavík International Airport, where you will fly home or onwards to your next destination.
If your flight is later on in the day, then you will have the whole morning to explore Reykjavík at your leisure. Have a lazy brunch at one of the local cafés, wander around the city and soak in the atmosphere, or do some last-minute souvenir shopping at the many charming boutiques.
It is possible to use your Blue Lagoon voucher on this day if you’d rather relax prior to your journey. The mineral-rich waters of this world-renowned spa will help you to unwind your muscles after a week of exploring in Iceland. Just be sure to leave enough time to get to the airport and to check-in for your flight.
We hope you’ll have a pleasant trip home and that you’ve enjoyed your time in the Land of Fire and Ice!
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 aware that your itinerary may have to be rearranged due to weather conditions.
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.
See our accommodation levels below and our preferred accommodation partners under each day in the daily itinerary. Super budget level accommodations will be arranged in hostel dorm beds. For budget and comfort levels, bookings for one person will be arranged in single rooms, and bookings for two or more people will share a twin/double or triple room(s). For quality level, odd number groups will always be allocated a single room. If you are travelling in a group, but prefer a single room, please make separate bookings. Teenagers and children will be arranged in the same room with parents. If additional room(s) is needed, additional costs will incur. For multi-day guided tours, accommodation cannot be upgraded and the levels below do not apply. Guide to Iceland will provide you with the best available accommodation at the time of your booking from our preferred partners. If our preferred partners are fully booked at the time of your booking, we will find another suitable accommodation for you of similar level. We always do our best to accommodate special requests, which may incur additional costs. Press choose a date to find availability.
You can now add meals to your booking. Select to include dinner on every night as an optional extra, and we will provide you with vouchers as part of your booking confirmation. We will choose from top-rated restaurants that fit with your vacation itinerary and make your reservations for you. At the restaurant, you will be offered a set menu, from which you can choose from meat, fish or vegetarian options. If you would prefer something else, the voucher will act as a credit that you can redeem at the restaurant against menu items that are not part of the set menu. Please notify the restaurant on arrival about any dietary requirements. Vouchers are non-refundable.
This insurance guarantees that you can cancel tour and package bookings and receive a full refund, minus the insurance cost. The cost of your cancellation insurance depends on the duration of your tour or package. A base cost of 5,000 ISK per person is applied to all tours and packages with a duration of 5 days or less. An additional 1,000 ISK per person will be added to the insurance cost for each day after. The cancellation must be made more than 48 hours before the listed starting time on your voucher. To cancel your booking and claim your refund, simply contact firstname.lastname@example.org and declare full cancellation. Please note that this insurance covers the cancellation of the whole tour or package. Individual services cannot be cancelled and refunded separately, but are all covered and refunded in case of a full cancellation.