10-Day Extreme Winter Adventures Package in Iceland | The Highlands and Ice Caves
Set out on the winter vacation of a lifetime with this 10-day holiday package. If you wish to explore Iceland’s spectacular nature, witness the Northern Lights phenomenon, and pack every day with an exciting range of seasonal adventures, then this is the tour for you.
On this immersive holiday, you will get to see many of Iceland’s famous sites, such as the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, the Golden Circle, and all 3 National Parks. What makes it particularly unique, however, is the more remote areas you will spend time visiting.
Landmannalaugar, for example, is a Highland reserve on your schedule that is usually only accessible in summer. You will be able to bathe in its hot springs with no other soul in sight, surrounded by a winter wonderland. Thorsmork, a spectacular valley renowned for its forests and glacier tongues, is another far-flung destination you will get to explore.
The second draw of this winter adventure is the fact that it includes an ice caving tour. This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity will introduce you to the vividly colored world inside a glacier, an experience that can only be enjoyed in Iceland’s coldest months.
Other than the ice caves, the most considerable appeal of Iceland in winter is the Northern Lights. On this vacation, you will have nine nights to seek them out, including on an official tour on the first day of your trip.
This excursion can either be conducted on a bus, heading out into the stunning nature around Reykjavik, or a boat, setting out into Faxafloi Bay from the city’s harbor. Should the weather or conditions mean that the auroras do not show, you will be able to retake the excursion until they do.
Other than on your first tour, your best chance to see a beautiful display of the Northern Lights will be on the two nights you stay out in countryside hotels. The rest of your time will be spent in a hotel in Reykjavík, allowing you to immerse yourself in Iceland’s culture each evening and have a convenient base.
As this is a vacation package, all your accommodation, tours, and transfers will be organized before your arrival, allowing you to enjoy the build-up to your holiday stress-free. Furthermore, you will be driven everywhere by experienced, friendly guides, meaning you don’t have to risk embarking on Iceland’s winter roads.
Set out on an unforgettable winter vacation in Iceland with this 10-day holiday package.
Check availability by choosing a date and book your Iceland adventure.
Day 1 - Arrival - Blue Lagoon and Reykjavik
Upon arrival to Iceland, you will land at Keflavik International Airport and speedily make your way through customs. As soon as you have, you’ll find a Flybus waiting to escort you to your hotel in Reykjavik.
On your way to Iceland’s capital city of Reykjavik, you could choose to make a stop at the Blue Lagoon. This world-renowned spa is known for its healing waters, vivid azure colors, and luxurious treatments. It is located in the middle of a moss-covered lava field, giving it an otherworldly atmosphere. If you add the Blue Lagoon, it will be arranged according to your flights. If there is no time to visit the lagoon today, it can be added to another day. Your travel consultant will be able to arrange this for you. There is still plenty to see and do in Reykjavik if you have extra free time.
Once you reach Reykjavik, you can settle into your hotel and explore a little of the capital. After all, it is an increasingly renowned center for culture and the arts, with beautiful architecture and a wealth of museums and galleries.
However, be sure to reach the meeting point for your Northern Lights tour in good time. Based on what you selected during booking, two equally enticing adventures are available.
The first of these is a bus tour. After being picked up by a friendly, professional guide, you will be driven into the dark nature surrounding the capital in hunt of the lights. After finding a spot far from the crowds, clouds, and city lights, you’ll be able to marvel over the auroras as they descend over a beautiful landscape.
Alternatively, you could set out on a boat tour into Faxafloi Bay. While any Northern Lights experience is magical, to be able to watch them from the still waters outside Reykjavik, surrounded by dark mountains and peninsulas, is particularly unique.
After marveling over one of the world’s greatest phenomena, you’ll retire for the night at a hotel in the capital.
Day 2 - The Golden Circle
On the second day of your 10-day winter holiday in Iceland, you will set out on a sightseeing tour around the spectacular attractions of the Golden Circle. Not only will this allow you to witness some of the country's most famous sites, but it can also include 1 of 3 exciting adventures.
You'll be picked up by a local guide in the morning and first head to Thingvellir National Park. This beautiful valley, defined by forests, ravines, and springs, is located directly between the two continents that divide Iceland. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site for the central role it played in modern democratic thought.
In one of the springs in Thingvellir, Silfra, it is possible to embark on a snorkeling tour. Though this may seem strange in winter, your drysuits will protect you against the near-freezing waters, and the views between the tectonic plates are unbelievably spectacular, with vivid blues and visibility exceeding 328 feet (100 meters).
The second site of the Golden Circle is the Geysir Geothermal Area. Here, you can see the impressive Strokkur geyser erupt to heights up to 66 feet (20 meters) every 5-10 minutes. There are plenty of other hot springs and steam vents to admire when waiting for eruptions, including the currently inactive Great Geysir.
Finally, you will come to the waterfall of Gullfoss. Over 100 feet (30 meters) tall and pouring in 2 tiers, this is a beautiful feature throughout the year. However, in winter, it is even more spectacular due to the ice that adorns the surrounding rocks.
From the car park at Gullfoss, you can embark on a snowmobiling tour on Langjokull glacier. This thrilling adventure will allow you to race across the gleaming surface of one of Iceland's magnificent ice caps and introduce you to some otherworldly views.
If neither snorkeling nor snowmobiling appeal to you, you can instead elect to add a horseback riding tour onto your Golden Circle trip. Icelandic horses are a friendly, intelligent breed, and riding them is a fantastic way to witness the stunning landscapes of the southwest, regardless of your level of experience.
After your Golden Circle adventure, you will return to Reykjavik for the night.
Day 3 - The South Coast Day 1
On day 3 of your winter vacation to Iceland, you’ll be picked up to begin a 2-day tour along the South Coast. While tomorrow will be focused on the once-in-a-lifetime exploration of an ice cave, today, you will marvel over the countless attractions this region boasts.
The first two significant sites you will witness along this stretch are all spectacular waterfalls. Seljalandsfoss is narrow but tumbles before an enormous cavern from a 197 ft (60-meter) tall cliff, making it a breathtaking sight. Skogafoss is just as tall but far more powerful, creating an enormous spray as it crashes to the Earth.
As you continue along the South Coast, you’ll catch glimpses of other marvelous Icelandic attractions, such as the Westman Islands out to sea and the Eyjafjallajokull subglacial volcano inland. The next site you will explore, however, is the haunting and beautiful Reynisfjara beach.
Reynisfjara is renowned for having vast stretches of black volcanic sand, powerful sneaker waves, and stunning coastal geology. The Reynisdrangar sea-stacks, for example, are impressive monuments just offshore, said to be trolls frozen when caught out in the sun. A little further away, arching from a set of cliffs into the water, is the mighty Dyrholaey Rock Arch.
After leaving Reynisfjara, you will continue eastwards until the tongues of the incredible Vatnajokull glacier begins to materialize on your left. The landscapes moving forward will only get more dramatic until you reach your final destinations for the day, the Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon and Diamond Beach.
The glacier lagoon has earned the nickname ‘the Crown Jewel of Iceland’ due to its unbelievable beauty. Located between a disintegrating glacier tongue and the ocean, Jokulsarlon is the country’s deepest lake filled with vast icebergs year-round.
It is a mesmerizing experience to watch and listen to them as they slowly make their way through the waters, made all the more enjoyable by the resident seals.
Diamond Beach is where these icebergs wash up when they finally reach the sea. Breathtaking due to the contrasts between the melting ice and black sands, this is a magnificent place to finish the day.
If you are lucky, you may even see the Northern Lights descend over one of these sites before heading to your nearby countryside hotel.
Day 4 - The South Coast Day 2
The fourth day of your Icelandic winter holiday will begin with one of the most memorable experiences the country has to offer: an exploration of a crystal blue ice cave.
After being picked up by an experienced guide, you will be whisked to a corner of Vatnajokull, the largest glacier in Europe. Here, you’ll be equipped with all the protective equipment you need and led into its glistening depths.
Ice caves are most famous for their spectacular range of vivid blues, strange textures, formations, and the beautiful way light penetrates them. You’ll have plenty of time to explore and take photographs, as your guide tells you fascinating facts about the caves and glaciers.
After an unforgettable experience, you begin your journey back to Reykavik. Though the drive will last a few hours, the landscapes around you promise to be mesmerizing, and you will also stop en route at some lovely locations to stretch your legs and enjoy some refreshments.
You will reach Reykjavik in the evening. If the sky begins to darken beforehand, you may see the auroras dancing from the road. After settling into your hotel in the capital, you could head to the bars to check out the live music scene or else explore the wintry streets before retiring.
Day 5 - Landmannalaugar Super Jeep Day Tour
On the fifth day of your vacation, you will get to experience a super jeep trip to the Highlands of Iceland. This desolate region is mainly inaccessible in winter, making this another unique opportunity very few guests to the country get to experience.
Your first destination en route to the Highlands is Thorsadalur, a spectacular valley most famous for being home to the waterfall of Hjalparfoss. Here, two streams meet as they cascade into a beautiful basin. Following this site, you’ll detour to 2 spectacular lakes, Ljotipollur, which sits in a red-rocked crater, and the serene Frostadavatn.
Your final and main destination, however, is the Landmannalaugar Highland Reserve. As you head towards it, you will travel through the stunning landscapes of Iceland’s interior. Expect to see lava fields, towering peaks, and glacier views.
Once you reach Landmannalaugar, you’ll immediately understand why it is considered one of the most beautiful parts of the Highlands. It is defined by beautiful rhyolite mountains and countless hot springs. It is even more breathtaking in winter when untouched snow blankets the otherworldly terrain.
Your guide will lead you on a hike through the beautiful scenery, allowing you to witness winter landscapes far off the beaten track. Your trek will come to an end at a geothermal spring, where you can take a refreshing bath immersed in nature.
After this incredible experience, you will return to the super jeep to visit two more sites: the beautiful Thjofafoss waterfall and the notorious volcano of Hekla. After marveling over these attractions, you’ll return to Reykjavik for the night.
Day 6 - Thorsmork Super Jeep Day Tour
On the sixth day of your Icelandic winter vacation, you will head to yet another location that few tourists reach in this season: Thorsmork. Landmannalaugar and Thorsmork are connected by the famous Laugavegur Trail, allowing you to see where this world-famous hiking route begins and ends.
You'll be picked up early again by a friendly guide in a super jeep, which will whisk you along Iceland's South Coast to your destination. En route, you'll make another stop at Seljalandsfoss waterfall to stretch your legs, and if the conditions allow, visit the hidden waterfall of Gljufrabui.
Thorsmork is a forested valley sheltered by three magnificent glaciers; as such, it is protected from the worst of Iceland's winter weather, making it a wonderful place to go hiking. The trail you will be led along will take you up the spectacular mountain of Valahnukur, exposing you to incredible views of the south, Highlands, and ice caps.
As you make your ascent and descent, you'll be left in no wonder as to why the reserve was named after the Old Norse god of thunder and fertility; Thorsmork translates to 'Thor's Valley'.
After making the most of this incredible place, you'll be escorted back to Reykjavik. If you still have some energy, be sure to check out the city's nightlife, or if it is clear, find a dark spot in the town in the hope of seeing the Northern Lights again.
Day 7 - Enter the West
On day 7, you will begin a 2-day tour exploring the majestic nature and cultural sites of West Iceland. You'll be picked up bright and early to be driven north out of Reykjavik through some beautiful landscapes that include the flat-topped mountain of Esjan and an abandoned naval base from World War Two.
Your first significant attraction will be one of the oldest towns in Iceland, Borgarnes, home to the fascinating Settlement Centre museum. After a brief stop here, you will continue to the highest flowing hot spring in Europe, Deildartunguhver, where you can marvel over the geothermal forces at work just beneath the country's surface.
Following this, you will head to the waterfalls of Hraunfossar and Barnafoss, which sit just a short walk apart. Even so, they are dramatically different. Hraunfossar is more of a series of waterfalls, which trickle gently in little rivulets through a field of lava. Many are frozen in the depths of winter. Barnafoss, meanwhile, is far too powerful to freeze, racing down a narrow canyon.
You'll follow up these beautiful natural attractions with a visit to another historical hotspot, the village of Reykholt. This quaint settlement was once home to the legendary historian, chieftain and writer, Snorri Sturluson, who was instrumental in the beginning and end of Iceland's medieval civil war.
After enjoying all that today has to offer, you will head to a hotel in the countryside of West Iceland for the night. If the sky is clear and the forecast is right, you'll have a great chance to see the auroras over the landscapes here, far from Reykjavik's urban light pollution.
Day 8 - Snaefellsnes Peninsula - Iceland in Miniature
You'll wake up on the eighth day of your winter vacation perfectly positioned to explore the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. This is one of Iceland's most diverse regions, with countless sites packed along both coasts.
The first major attraction you will come to is the hexagonal basalt columns that decorate the cliffs of Gerduberg; such formations only occur in volcanic hotspots such as Iceland. Following this, you'll head to the Ytri Tunga beach, home to a resident seal colony, already showing you how contrasting the appeal of Snaefellsnes is.
The next site you'll come to is the enormous basalt plug of Londrangar, which towers over the ocean and is home to countless seabirds. As you continue along the road, you will enter Snaefellsjokull National Park, named after the twin-peaked glacier at its center.
Snaefellsjokull glacier is the most famous site of the peninsula, towering over many other attractions and gleaming a shimmering white. Its beauty has inspired many works of art, such as Jules Verne's novel 'A Journey to the Centre of the Earth'. It has plenty of incredible attractions surrounding it, such as Djupalonssandur beach and the hamlet of Arnarstapi.
As you begin your journey along the peninsula's northern shore, you will come across many historic fishing villages, which seem to have changed little in centuries. In clear weather, you will also have great views of Breidafjordur bay, across countless islands to the dramatic mountains of the Westfjords.
The most famous natural attraction along this stretch is Kirkjufell, a pyramid-shaped peak featured in Game of Thrones. By this breathtaking feature is a picturesque waterfall named Kirkjufellsfoss, which completes the site's beauty.
After circumnavigating the spectacular Snaefellsnes Peninsula, you will return to Reykjavik for your penultimate night.
Day 9 - Relax in Reykjavik
On your final full day in Iceland, you have many equally appealing options for what to do.
Those who would rather relax and get to know Reykjavik can choose to stay in the city. This will provide you with an opportunity to explore the local museums, galleries, pools, and boutiques and to admire the local architecture and public art.
If, however, you still have a taste for adventure, there are many tours you can embark upon.
The first option is to visit the far-flung North of Iceland to explore the spectacular Myvatn region. Here, you can see geological and geothermal marvels amongst landscapes that appear to be from another world. Such a trip is made possible by taking flights from domestic airports.
Another option is to take a tour into Langjokull glacier. You will board a monstrous jeep designed to scale the glacier's slopes, which will escort you to the Ice Tunnel, the world's only man-made tunnel into such a feature. Though not naturally occurring like the ice caves you visited earlier, it is still a beautiful space, with gleaming blue corridors and chambers.
If you'd like to spend part of the day adventuring and some of it in the city, whale watching or horseback riding are excellent alternatives.
The former departs from Reykjavik's Old Harbour and will allow you to marvel over the animals of Faxafloi Bay; even in winter, dolphins are plentiful, and you may even see a few minke whales that have not migrated. The latter, meanwhile, will take you through the beautiful valley of Mosfellsdalur, just outside Reykjavik.
Despite its proximity to the city, you'll still feel immersed in rural nature as you take a leisurely ride like an Icelander of old.
You'll spend your final night in Reykjavik.
Day 10 - Reykjavik and Departure
This is the last day of your holiday to Iceland. A Flybus will pick you up from your hotel and escort you to the airport in good time for your flight. If, however, you have a late departure, be sure to pick up some last souvenirs along Reykjavik’s main shopping street or enjoy a delicious lunch in one of its esteemed restaurants.
If you could not arrange a Blue Lagoon visit on your first day, you could instead arrange it before your flight. To bask in its azure waters and make the most of its luxurious steam rooms and saunas is a wonderful way to unwind from an action-packed vacation.
We hope you enjoyed your time in Iceland and wish you a safe flight home.
What to bring
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.
Dormitory beds with shared bathrooms in guesthouses or hostels, such as HI Hostels. Located in the capital region. Breakfast is not included.
Private rooms with shared bathroom in guesthouses or hostels such as Capital Inn Guesthouse. Located in the capital region. Breakfast is not included.
Rooms with a private bathroom at three-star hotels such as Hótel Klettur, or quality guesthouses. Located in the city center or in close vicinity. Breakfast is included.
Rooms at four-star design hotels in the city center with a private bathroom at the absolute best locations downtown such as Hotel Alda. Breakfast is included.