Ultimate 10 Day Adventure | Highlands in Winter & Ice Cave

Perfect travel plan
Fully customizable
24/7 customer support
Tour starts
Keflavík Airport, Flexible
Duration:
10 days
Languages:
English
Difficulty:
Easy
Available:
Sep. - Apr.
Minimum age:
8 years old

Experience the beauty of the Arctic at your fingertips on this ultimate 10-day winter adventure in Iceland!

 

This package tour will have you travelling to four of the most famous regions in Iceland: the South Coast, Highlands, Golden Circle and the magical Snæfellsnes Peninsula. An exciting combination of locations means that you’ll have the perfect opportunity to encounter Iceland’s wild and diverse landscapes, from sweeping coastal views to stunning waterfalls and areas seething with geothermal activity.

Winter is the best time to visit Iceland, when pristine snow swathes the surroundings in an enchanting layer of white. With frost-bound scenery at every turn, you’ll feel as though you’ve entered a winter wonderland, where the forces of nature reign supreme. All of your accommodation will be arranged prior to your arrival, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable trip ahead.

During this tour, you’ll visit some of the most iconic destinations on offer in the Land of Fire and Ice. Be prepared to marvel at the pyramid-shaped mountain of Kirkjufell, stand between two continental plates at Þingvellir National Park, gaze down at the frozen tiered waterfall of Gullfoss and immerse yourself in the captivating charm of the Reynisfjara black sand beach, where tumultuous waves crash in from the North Atlantic Ocean.

As part of the journey, you’ll find yourself immersed in the heart of the Vatnajökull National Park, home to Europe’s largest ice-cap and the stunning Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. There will be the opportunity to embark upon a glacier walk and venture within two magnificent ice caves, which are a true testament to the power and grace of nature.

Perhaps one of the most exciting aspects of this adventure is the chance to head off-the-beaten-track by super jeep in Iceland, to regions of the Highlands which are otherwise inaccessible during winter. You’ll venture into the mysterious areas of Landmannalaugar and Þórsmörk, where colourful rhyolite mountains and breathtaking valleys make for extraordinary scenes. Here, the chance to bathe in a natural hot spring awaits.

The dark nights during winter in Iceland mean that the prospects of witnessing the amazing Northern Lights dancing through the sky at the end of every day is high, provided that there is little cloud cover and conditions are favourable. Your professional tour guides will keep an eye on the weather and solar activity forecast throughout the tour to ensure that you’ll be well-placed to see the Aurora should it make an appearance.

This small-group tour is the best way to experience all the best of winter in Iceland, from traversing the spectacular landscapes from the Highlands to ice caves. If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, then there is the option of booking add-ons, including a 2-hour horseback riding tour through the countryside of Reykjavík, helicopter tours to see the island from above, as well as a day trip to Lake Mývatn in the north (including flights).

Do not miss out on this exciting once-in-a-lifetime 10-day winter adventure in Iceland! Check availability by choosing a date.

Included

Airport transfer on arrival/departure
7 nights of accommodation in Reykjavik (Different levels available; breakfast included for Comfort and Quality levels; more detailed information below)
Small-group day tour to the Golden Circle
2-day small group winter adventure to Jökulsárlón with Ice Caving
1 night of accommodation in a country hotel in Vatnajokull National Park during the 2-day south coast trip (breakfast included, private bathroom depending on availability)
Super jeep day tour to Landmannalaugar
Super jeep day tour to Thorsmork
2-day small group adventure to Snaefellsnes Peninsula
1 night of accommodation in a country hotel in Snaefellsnes during the 2-day Snaefellsnes tour (breakfast included, private bathroom depending on availability)
Northern Lights hunting
Blue Lagoon comfort entrance (upgrade to premium level available) with transfer
Detailed Itinerary with fun and practical information on the nature, history and culture of Iceland
Hands-on travel agent to oversee your itinerary
Taxes

Activities

Glacier Hiking
Caving
Super Jeep
Horse Riding
Sight Seeing
Boat Trip
Northern Lights
Hot Spring Bathing
Cultural Activity
Photo Tours
Photo Workshop

Daily itinerary

Day 1
Ultimate 10 Day Adventure | Highlands in Winter & Ice Cave - day 1

Arrival - Blue Lagoon and Reykjavik

Your adventure begins upon arrival to Keflavík International Airport, where you’ll collect your bags and take a bus transfer to the city of Reykjavík. Depending on your arrival time, there may be the opportunity to stop and relax in the therapeutic waters of the world-class day-spa at the Blue Lagoon along the way. There’s nothing more luxurious than indulging in a massage or treatment before enjoying a bite to eat of the delicious local fare at the restaurant on-site. If your flight arrives later in the day, then we will organise your visit to the Blue Lagoon for another time.

From there, you’ll make your way to your accommodation in the heart of Reykjavík, where you’ll be perfectly placed to explore the charms of the world’s most northern capital city. Meander along the shoreline, where colourful, quirky houses meet the sleek elegance of modern architecture. Be sure to visit the Harpa Concert Hall as well as the Sun Voyager for glorious views across the bay, towards snow-capped Mount Esja in the distance.

Despite the darkness of winter, the many museums and shopping streets in Reykjavík are open late. In the evening, enjoy a meal at one of the wonderful restaurants downtown, visit a bar to experience the nightlife, or take a complimentary Northern Lights tour by boat or bus away from the city lights.

Day 2
Ultimate 10 Day Adventure | Highlands in Winter & Ice Cave - day 2

The Golden Circle

Get ready for a full day of adventure! After breakfast, you’ll be picked up by your guide in the morning to head to Iceland’s famous Golden Circle. This 300km route encompasses some of Iceland’s most extraordinary sites, giving you a taste of why we call it the Land of Fire and Ice.

Your first stop will be at Þingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Listed site that brims with cultural and historical significance. It was here that the national parliament of Iceland first convened in 930AD, marking the beginning of the country’s movement towards independence. Situated between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates, the landscape of Þingvellir bears evidence of geological occurrences, dating back thousands of years. One such formation is the Silfra fissure, with its crystal clear water making it one of the most spectacular places in the world for snorkelling.

Your next destination will be Gullfoss, a breathtaking two-tiered waterfall that has its origins in the Langjökull glacier, the second-largest ice-cap in all of Iceland. Although it only falls from a height of 32 metres, the sheer amount of churning water makes for an astonishing spectacle as it plunges with force through a crevasse into the stunning blue depths of the Hvítá river below.

Thereafter, you’ll continue the journey around the Golden Circle. You’ll witness the landscape changing as you near the Geysir hot spring area, where steam rises from the Earth and mud pots bubble, making the ground seem alive beneath your feet. It is here that you will have the chance to witness the great fountain geyser named ‘Strokkur’, bursting forth with hot water almost 20 metres into the air! It’s the perfect spot for a photo opportunity, seeing as it erupts every 5-10 minutes.

Your final stop for the day will be at Kerið, a magical crater lake that was formed around 6500 years ago by explosive volcanic activity. Standing at 270 metres long and 170 metres wide, this ancient crater with its vivid red and black volcanic banks is filled with sparkling blue water, making it a truly impressive sight to behold.

You will then make your way from the Golden Circle back to Reykjavík, just in time for dinner at one of the local restaurants. In the evening, you can explore more of the city or turn your eyes towards the sky for a glimpse of the Northern Lights.

Day 3
Ultimate 10 Day Adventure | Highlands in Winter & Ice Cave - day 3

The South Coast

On day three of your adventure, you’ll depart Reykjavík and begin heading along the spectacular South Coast of Iceland, towards the Jökulsárlon glacier lagoon in the east. Along the way, you’ll catch a peek of the majestic Eyjafjallajökull ice-cap looming over the landscape, famed for its 2010 volcanic eruption which halted much of the air traffic across Europe.

Meltwater from the glacier feeds into the gorgeous Seljalandsfoss waterfall, your first stop for the day. Descending from a height of 60 metres, this beautiful cascade is surrounded by multiple vantage points from where you can witness the icy water flowing into the river below. A cave that leads around the rear of the waterfall offers a unique view behind the curtain of water.

Nearby, you’ll find the Skógafoss waterfall, thundering down from cliffs which historically marked the former coastline. While a staircase to the top gives you the opportunity to view the waterfall from above, perhaps the most exciting feature of this waterfall is the ability to get so close to its base that you might find yourself drenched!

A short drive from there will take you to the famous Reynisfjara black sand beach, where the tumultuous waves of the North Atlantic Ocean have shaped the breathtaking basalt columnar cliffs line the coastline. If the tide is low, then you may have the chance to wander closer to the Reynisdrangar sea stacks perched close to shore, though be careful as ‘sneaker waves’ make this location one of the most dangerous beaches in the world.

From there, you’ll continue the journey towards the east, passing barren lava fields and turf houses along the way. On a clear day, you’ll catch sight of glistening glacier tongues getting closer on the horizon, as you near your destination – the Jökulsárlon glacier lagoon. Filled with icebergs that have calved from the nearby Breiðamerkurjökull glacier, this breathtaking beauty of nature flows through a narrow canal into the open ocean. It is there that the icebergs are pummelled by the waves and deposited back ashore upon the ‘Diamond Beach’ in a haphazard array of shapes and sizes, resembling jewels when they catch the light.

Your accommodation for the next two nights will be in the vicinity of the Jökulsárlon glacier lagoon, where bewildering landscapes make the perfect backdrop for a display of the Northern Lights.

Day 4
Ultimate 10 Day Adventure | Highlands in Winter & Ice Cave - day 4

Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon

You’ll rise early on day four to spend an incredible day in one of nature’s most spectacular creations – an ice cave! Iceland is one of the only places in the world where ice caves form, so be prepared for a true adventure of a lifetime.

Ice caves are dynamic in that they are constantly melting and reshaping over time. As such, no two ice caves are the same and they differ completely from one season to the next. By the following season, ice caves that were once present may already be gone. Given their rarity and ever-changing nature, what you are about to witness will be truly unique and an experience that will no doubt carve a special place in your memories for the years to come.

Given the conditions within an ice cave, it is important that you prepare by wearing warm clothing and waterproof hiking boots. All other safety gear will be provided to you when you meet your guide, including crampons and helmets. In addition, your guide will equip you with the knowledge and equipment for a safe and exciting trek across the glacier before you finally make your way into the crystalline surrounds of an ice cave within Vatnajökull National Park.

Being inside an ice cave is an enchanting experience that can be rivalled by no other. The smooth, frozen walls can take on an array of mysterious colours, from black and grey to bright, vivid blue. You’ll have plenty of time to explore the ice cave and surrounds, taking in the labyrinth of curious features, ice sculptures, hollows and tunnels.

After your visit to the ice cave, you’ll gather your belongings and begin the journey back to Reykjavík. There will be the chance to stop off at some locations by the South Coast along the way, including the spectacular cliffs of Dyrhólaey. You’ll reach Reykjavík by evening, where you’ll check into your accommodation. If the conditions are favourable, then you may have the chance to see the Northern Lights glowing above the city tonight.

Day 5
Ultimate 10 Day Adventure | Highlands in Winter & Ice Cave - day 5

Landmannalaugar Super Jeep Day Tour

Day five sees you boarding a super jeep capable of traversing the rugged, wintery terrain of Landmannalaugar in the heart of Iceland’s southern Highlands! This fully-customised vehicle with mammoth wheels is a truly comfortable way to explore parts of Iceland rendered inaccessible by heavy snow.

Your first stop will be at the magnificent Hjálparfoss waterfall. Situated within a lava field north of the Hekla stratovolcano, this beautiful landmark is where the rivers Fossá and Þjórsá meet, making for two gorgeous cascades flowing serenely into a pool surrounded by cliffs.

From there, you’ll journey onwards to the Fjallabak Nature Reserve, where you’ll visit the red-rimmed crater lake known as Ljótipollur. Dubbed the ‘ugly puddle, it is actually rather beguiling with its crystal blue water encased in rich, earthen-hued surrounds.

Nearby is Frostaðavatn, one of the most photographed mountain lakes in the Icelandic Highlands. With expansive views of the mountain peaks all around, it’s no wonder that it’s often described as the gateway to Landmannalaugar. From here, you’ll notice the landscape taking on an otherworldly quality as you get closer to the Landmannalaugar campsite, situated at the edge of the Laugahraun lava field.

The scenery to be found in this incredible part of Iceland is unlike what you’ll encounter in any other part of Iceland. Colourful rhyolite mountains rise high in every direction, with their gorgeous hues swathed in lines of snow. Meanwhile, geothermal features such as seething fumaroles dot the landscape – a reminder of the volcanic activity that bubbles underneath. Landmannalaugar contains some of Iceland’s most picturesque hiking trails. You’ll have the opportunity to explore one of these before returning to the campsite to unwind in the soothing waters of a natural hot pool.

Thereafter, you’ll return to Reykjavík, stopping at Þjófafoss waterfall along the way. This wide and tranquil cascade is a wonderful place to visit at the end of the day, surrounded by lunar-like lava fields with the famous volcano, Hekla, looming in the distance.

Day 6
Ultimate 10 Day Adventure | Highlands in Winter & Ice Cave - day 6

Thorsmork Super Jeep Day Tour

On day six, you’ll be picked up once again in a super jeep, this time to pass over harsh terrain on your way to the valley of Þórsmörk. Your journey will take you back to the South Coast, where you’ll have another chance to visit the Seljalandsfoss waterfall. Nearby is Gljúfrabúi, a hidden gem that many travellers overlook. This breathtaking waterfall is situated right next to Seljalandsfoss, though it is obscured by a cliff wall. A narrow passageway takes you within a cavern where you’ll be able to view the water tumbling down from the rocks above. Be sure to wear waterproof clothing and boots as you’ll be bound to get a little wet!

From there, you’ll get back on the super jeep, continuing over mounds of undulating snow to Þórsmörk. Named after the Norse god of thunder, Thor, this area is a paradise of snow capped mountain peaks, undulating valleys and glacial streams, bordered by three massive glaciers. It is home to some spectacular hiking trails which are accessible from the Þórsmörk mountain hut. Upon arrival, you’ll have the option of hiking up to the summit of Valahnúkur mountain with your guide for unabridged, panoramic views over the dramatic landscapes below.

After an adventure-filled day in Þórsmörk, you’ll return to Reykjavík, arriving in time for dinner. In the evening, you may delight in exploring the bustling nightlife. The city has a vibrant bar scene where you can taste some of the finest craft beers and spirits, made in Iceland’s local breweries.

Day 7
Ultimate 10 Day Adventure | Highlands in Winter & Ice Cave - day 7

Enter the West

On day seven, you’ll begin the journey into Iceland’s west, heading towards the magical Snæfellsnes Peninsula. Along the way, you’ll pass Mt Esja, looming high upon the city outskirts of Reykjavík.

Your first stop will be at Borgarfjörður, a charming fjord near the town of Borgarnes. It is a place of historical significance, where Norwegian Vikings first settled upon arriving in Iceland. Throughout the area, there are a number of hot springs and waterfalls situated amongst sprawling lava fields. You’ll have the chance to explore the tiny village of Reykholt within the geothermal Reykholtsdalur valley, where Iceland’s most well-known author and scholar, Snorri Sturluson, lived during the 13th century. It is also home to Deildartunguhver hot spring, the fastest of its kind in Europe with a flow rate of 180 litres per second!

Following lunch, you’ll visit the spectacular Hraunfossar waterfall. Don’t expect to see a giant cascade here! Rather, this unique waterfall – or series of waterfalls – is made up of a number of rivulets of water. There is no river from which it flows; rather, the water originates at the Langjökull glacier, bursting its way through porous rock within the Hallmundarhraun lava field and trickling into the Hvítá river below. It is an extremely beautiful sight during winter, when parts of the waterfall freeze over, leaving icy trails in its wake. Be sure to follow the trail from Hraunfossar to nearby Barnafoss, a waterfall that stuns with its turquoise blue water surrounded by snow and ice.

After a day of exploring the surroundings, you’ll head to your accommodation within the vicinity, where you’ll be able to rest and prepare for the day ahead. If the skies are clear in the evening, be sure to look above for a chance to catch the Northern Lights.

Day 8
Ultimate 10 Day Adventure | Highlands in Winter & Ice Cave - day 8

Snaefellsnes Peninsula - Iceland in Miniature

Day eight sees you continuing the journey into the west, towards the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. Often described as ‘Iceland in Miniature’, this region is home to mountains, glaciers, spectacular coastlines, lava fields and more, making it the perfect place to see the country’s most iconic features within a small area. Along the way, you’ll visit the tall, hexagonal basalt columns of the Gerðuberg cliff. At over a kilometre long, this extensive natural geological formation came into being when flowing lava cooled after coming into contact with the sea.

Once you reach the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, you’ll head towards the Ytri Tunga beach. It’s a great location for spotting seals in Iceland; as well as being picturesque, it’s one of the only places where you’ll find white sand in the Land of Fire and Ice!

From there, you’ll visit the small coastal fishing village of Arnarstapi, at the base of Mt Stapafell. It’s one of the most popular places to visit on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula and you’ll soon learn why. This windswept village is bordered by spectacular cliffs and rock formations standing steadfast against the powerful waves of the Atlantic Ocean. As you stroll along the coastal ridge, be sure to take in the extraordinary sight of water churning through the Gatklettur rock arch, as well as the charming houses that dot the natural landscape.

As the afternoon rolls by, you’ll explore Djúpalónssandur, where black lava pebbles resembling pearls cover the shore. The views here are stunning, with a mountainous backdrop and rocky pillars to welcome you amongst the calming sound of the waves. A short walk will lead you to a shipwrecked fishing trawler between the cliffs and the rocks.

Thereafter, you’ll head into the depths of the Vatnshellir cave, a la Jules Verne’s inspiring novel, ‘Journey to the Centre of the Earth’. Seemingly inconspicuous from the outside, this beautiful cave was created around 8000 years ago and is the remnant of a huge lava tube. It descends 35 metres below the surface of the ground, where you’ll have the unique experience of heading down a spiral staircase into total darkness, where you’ll use a flashlight to observe stunning lava formations.

Once you emerge from the depths below, you’ll continue onwards to Mt Kirkjufell, the most photographed mountain in all of Iceland. Its fame extends beyond its beauty – this mountain was once featured in the HBO series, ‘Game of Thrones’, making it a huge drawcard for pilgrims eager to catch a glimpse of its characteristic conical shape.

As the evening draws near, you’ll begin the journey back to Reykjavík, passing by vast lava fields and the splendid lagoon of Hraunsfjörður. Upon arrival to the city, you’ll check in to your accommodation where you can rest or get ready for a night out on the town.

Day 9
Ultimate 10 Day Adventure | Highlands in Winter & Ice Cave - day 9

Relax in Reykjavik

Day nine is your chance to relax and to discover the melting pot of culture and sights to be found in downtown Reykjavík. Why not check out one of the many museums and galleries, or take a stroll to the iconic Hallgrímskirkja church in the heart of the city? There are many cafes, bars and restaurants to delight in, where you can sample some of the delicious local cuisine, such as seafood and lamb!

If you’re on the lookout for a souvenir, then be sure to explore the many designer boutiques and shops hidden amongst the small streets and alleyways. Reykjavík is home to a strong arts scene, as evidenced by its larger-than-life street art that graces the walls of buildings throughout the city.

If you’d prefer to head outside of Reykjavík for a tad more adventure, then there is the possibility of booking a helicopter tour to see Iceland from above. Otherwise, you can go snow-mobiling on Langjökull glacier, whale-watching in Faxaflói bay, horse-riding in the countryside or even take a day tour to Lake Mývatn in the north of Iceland. This geothermal area is particularly beautiful during winter and is a wonderful location to view the Northern Lights. Otherwise, soak your muscles in one of Reykjavík’s many outdoor pools or use your voucher to visit the Blue Lagoon today instead of on your arrival or departure days. The possibilities are endless.

Day 10
Ultimate 10 Day Adventure | Highlands in Winter & Ice Cave - day 10

Reykjavik and Departure

This will be your final day in Iceland. If you have some time before your flight, then you can get some last-minute shopping in and even try a famous Icelandic hot dog before catching your transfer back to Keflavík International Airport. Be sure to leave enough time to arrive and to check in for your flight.

If your flight departs later in the day, then there is the opportunity to visit the Blue Lagoon on your way to the airport for a spot of relaxation before the long journey home.

We hope you’ll have had a wonderful stay and exhilarating experiences on this 10-day winter adventure in Iceland! Perhaps next time, you’ll visit during the summer, when the glorious light of the Midnight Sun melts the snow away!

Map

What to bring

Camera
Swimsuit
Warm clothes
Winter hiking shoes
Good waterproof outer layers

Good to know

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 to fit your arrival date and time better.

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.

Accommodation in Reykjavik

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.

Meals

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.

Cancellation Insurance

This insurance guarantees that you can cancel tour and package bookings and receive a full refund, minus the insurance cost of 5,000 ISK per person. 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 info@guidetoiceland.is 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.

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