Explore all facets of the mysterious Land of Ice and Fire with this immersive ten-day winter vacation around Iceland. Visitors who wish to encircle the Ring Road, embark on a range of exhilarating tours and get to know the country’s quirky culture should not hesitate to book this adventure.
By choosing this vacation package, you can forget about all the stresses that come with organising a holiday; your airport transfers, hotels and tours will all be arranged to your preferences before you arrive. Furthermore, you’ll be escorted around Iceland’s Ring Road by a friendly, local guide, meaning you don’t need to worry about navigating any icy trails and will be privy to insider information about the country’s incredible sites.
On your journey, you will get to explore the country’s magnificent south, which is lined with countless attractions, such as Seljalandsfoss waterfall and the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon. After this, you’ll navigate the Eastfjords, one of the country’s most untouched regions, allowing you to marvel over the unbelievable views far from the tourist crowds.
Once you reach north Iceland, you’ll be entering a world of geological and geothermal marvel, with attractions such as the hot springs and lava fortresses at Lake Myvatn. You’ll then pass through the rural bliss of the west before returning to Reykjavík.
You’ll have two full days in the country’s bustling capital, framing your Ring Road adventure; this provides you with plenty of opportunities to witness the city’s famous art and architecture, to explore its museums and galleries, and get a taste of the cuisine and nightlife. If, however, you are eager to spend as much time in nature as possible, both of these days offer exciting tours out of the city.
Regarding the tours on offer throughout your trip, you’ll find something to your tastes regardless of whether you like adrenaline-pumping adventure, spectacular scenery, abundant wildlife or ultimate relaxation. Glacier hiking, horseback riding and even a trip into a volcano’s magma chamber are all on offer, as are multiple geothermal spas and pools that you can book admission to.
The cherry on top of this incredible holiday is that it is conducted through Iceland’s winter, the season of the Northern Lights. Whenever the sky is dark and clear, this spectacular phenomenon has a chance of appearing and considering you will spend five nights in hotels in nature outside the capital; you will have plenty of opportunities to hunt for them.
Don’t miss the chance to immerse yourself in Iceland’s culture and nature with this ten-day winter vacation package. Check availability by choosing a date.
Welcome to Iceland! Once you have landed at Keflavik International Airport and passed through customs, you’ll find a shuttle bus conveniently waiting to whisk you to your hotel.
On your way to Iceland’s capital city of Reykjavík, you could choose to make a stop at the Blue Lagoon. This world-renowned spa is known for its healing waters, vivid azure colours 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.
Regardless of whether or not you choose to enjoy the spa, you’ll still need to be escorted across the Reykjanes Peninsula to the capital. This drive provides a magnificent introduction to the nature of Iceland; so long as you’ve arrived in the sunlight hours, you’ll be privy to sights of volcanoes, lava fields and beautiful stretches of coastline.
If you have arrived after dark, keep your eyes out the window anyway in the hope of seeing your first glimpse of the Northern Lights.
After settling into your Reykjavík hotel, you are welcome to enjoy the bustling city, by admiring its public works of art and striking architecture, visiting a restaurant or bar, or booking an admission to a local swimming pool. There is no need to try to fit too much in, however, as you’ll also have all of tomorrow to explore.
On the second day of your ten-day winter holiday in Iceland, you will get to know Reykjavik, the world’s northernmost capital city. If you are exhausted from your travels, today can be nice and relaxed, but those eager to start their holiday off with gusto have a range of opportunities before them.
As noted, Reykjavik is a lively capital city with a range of attractions. From geothermally heated pools to fancy boutiques, from spectacular nature reserves to museums on all facets of Iceland’s culture, you’ll be able to pack your day with fun regardless of the interests of your group.
Those with a passion for wildlife have a unique opportunity today to go whale-watching from the city’s Old Harbour. The waters of Faxafloi are teeming with life, with countless seabirds, dolphins and porpoises feeding here throughout the year. If you are coming in the months framing the country’s winter (such as August, September and April), you’ll also have an excellent chance to see Humpback whales, Minke whales and even Atlantic puffins before they set off on their migration south.
If arriving before the end of October, however, you have an even more highly recommended tour (considering another whale-watch is on offer later in this trip, and this excursion cannot be done anywhere else on earth). After being escorted to Thrihnukagigur volcano, you will board a mining lift and enjoy a spectacular descent into its vast magma chamber.
Coloured by the elements of the earth and large enough to comfortably hold monuments such as the Statue of Liberty, you will be awed as you approach the chamber’s bottom. Once you reach it, you’ll have over half an hour to explore, marvelling over the incredible features and the gravity of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Regardless of if you whale watch or descend into the volcano, you’ll still have plenty of time to get to know Reykjavík. If the sky is clear when the sun sets, you could find a park or nature reserve far from the city’s urban light pollution in hopes of a display of the aurora borealis.
On the third day of your ten-day winter vacation to Iceland, you will hopefully be fully rested and ready to begin your Ring Road adventure. Your guide for the next six days will pick you up in good time, and after introductions, will escort you around the sites of the world-famous Golden Circle.
The first of the three attractions that make this route so renowned is Thingvellir National Park, the Icelandic mainland’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site. Those with a passion for nature will marvel over the forests, waterways, and lava fields, as well as the surrounding volcanoes and views of the country’s largest lake.
History and culture buffs, meanwhile, will marvel over the fact that it was here that Iceland founded its still-ongoing parliament over a thousand years ago.
The second Golden Circle attraction is the Geysir Geothermal Area; as its name suggests, this is home to the country’s most famous geysers (one of which gave its name to all similar features across the world). The most impressive of these is Strokkur, a hot spring that boasts just minutes between its eruptions, the heights of which often reach and even exceed twenty meters.
The third major attraction is Gullfoss waterfall. Standing at an impressive height of over thirty meters, you’ll marvel over it from the viewing platforms above as it cascades in two steps down an ancient valley. If you are traveling outside midwinter, there will even be a path to a deck where you will be close enough to feel the spray of the falls on your face.
Another adventure is on offer today: a horseback riding trip through the landscapes of Iceland’s southwest. Except for the puffins, Icelandic horses are the country’s most famous animals, renowned for their small stature, friendliness, curiosity, and abundant intelligence. Meeting one is a pleasure, and riding one through beautiful nature like a Viking of old even more so.
Once you have completed Iceland’s most famous sightseeing route, you’ll travel to a hotel in the area for the night. Of course, should the conditions be promising, it is highly recommended to take a short walk from your accommodation in hopes of catching the aurora borealis.
On the next day of your Icelandic package holiday, you’ll be driven along Iceland’s South Coast. On this journey, you’ll be blessed with a showcase of beautiful natural features to your left and magnificent views over the seas to your right.
The first two major attractions are waterfalls that you will no doubt have seen plenty of photographs of when researching Iceland for a holiday: Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss. Both of these pour from a height of sixty metres from sea-facing cliffs but otherwise are completely different.
Seljalandsfoss tumbles in a gentle stream before an enormous cavern, making it one of Iceland’s most unique waterfalls; Skogafoss, meanwhile, is much more classic in its appearance, but far more powerful.
After enjoying both of these falls, there is an optional tour you can partake in. In clear weather, you will have caught glimpses of the glaciers of Eyjafjallajokull and Myrdalsjokull earlier in your travels, but now have the opportunity to get up close to them by embarking on a glacier hike on a tongue the latter.
Glacier hiking is an incredible experience. The terrain of snow and ice, the dramatic formations and the unbelievable views all make for an unforgettable adventure, and the sad reality that these glaciers are fast disappearing makes the tour that much more special.
After exploring the outlet of Solheimajokull, your journey along the South Coast will continue until you stop at Reynisfjara beach. Covered in black sands and beaten mercilessly by the waves of the Atlantic, this spot is as haunting as it is beautiful. What makes it all the more spectacular is the coastal geology here; the Dyrholaey rock arch curves out to sea on the horizon, and the Reynisdrangar sea stacks tower just offshore.
These sea stacks are particularly compelling to those interested in Iceland’s folklore. It is said that they were created when two malevolent trolls waded into the waters to grab a ship. Before they could drag it to shore for whatever nefarious purpose they intended, however, the sun rose and both of them - as well as the vessel they had contact with - were turned to stone.
After enjoying Reynisfjara, you’ll head to the adjacent village of Vik. Incredibly scenic, this is not only a wonderful place to retire in after a day full of adventure, but a fantastic spot to marvel over the Northern Lights.
To mark the halfway point of your ten-day holiday to Iceland, you will get to marvel over what many consider to be the country’s most awe-inspiring place: the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon in the south-east. Before departing Vík, however, guests travelling before the end of October or in April have the opportunity to go ice caving.
After boarding a super jeep in Vik, you’ll be escorted back to Myrdalsjokull glacier, and driven to its summit. Here, unusual caves have opened, allowing visitors to witness the beautiful world inside an ice cap. To make this tour even more tantalising, Myrdalsjokull covers Katla volcano, meaning you will be exploring over one of the most explosive peaks in the country.
After this excursion, you’ll travel further east along the South Coast, through some beautiful scenery of volcanic deserts, coastal wonders and colossal mountains. The further you travel, the more you will see glacier tongues creeping through the valleys on your left, all outlets of the largest ice cap in Europe, Vatnajokull.
Jokulsarlon is part of the national park that holds (and is named after) Vatnajokull glacier. The country’s deepest lake, it is internationally lauded as one of the world’s most beautiful places due to the way that it fills with colossal icebergs throughout the year. Some of these tower many metres above the surface; many are vividly coloured an electric blue; and all are spectacular.
Adding to this site are the countless seals that call the waters home. They can often be seen swimming through the milky waters or hauling out in their colonies on one of the larger icebergs.
Hours can be spent walking up and down the shores of Jokulsarlon, watching the bergs slowly cruise towards the sea and listening to them groan as they gradually break apart; the area’s mesmerising ambience can barely be described. Be sure not to lose track of time too much, however, as you’ll also want to visit the adjacent Diamond Beach, where the ice washes up and contrasts splendidly with the black sands.
Your hotel for the night will be in this area; if you are lucky, you’ll be able to enjoy the unforgettable experience of watching the auroras over the lagoon before retiring.
On the sixth day of your winter vacation in Iceland, you’ll wind up and down the magnificent fjords of the East, far from any of the tourist crowds that gathered at the more accessible locations over the past few days. Not only is this one of the country’s most remote regions, particularly in the winter months, it is also one of the most magnificent.
In terms of natural landscapes, you can expect enormous bays of sparkling water, framed by great tabletop mountains; inland, you will get glimpses of Vatnajokull glacier and Snaefell, the country’s tallest freestanding peak. Vestrahorn and Eystrahorn are two other dramatic mountains you will see, renowned for their ominously dark rocks and jagged twin peaks.
Further on your journey, you will also be privy to less classically Icelandic landscapes, such as those at Hallormsstadaskogur; though Iceland has very little woodland, you’d never think so when looking at the country’s largest forest.
Regarding wildlife, this is likely to be the favourite region for animal enthusiasts. In the cliffs and islands of the Eastfjords are countless seabirds, with many staying over the winter months; along the shores, those with a keen eye have a great chance of spotting seals. Furthermore, herds of wild reindeer, which are not found anywhere else in Iceland, roam in this region and are easiest to find in winter when they move to lower lands to graze in.
Culture enthusiasts will also find plenty to keep them entertained throughout the journey. You will pass through many tiny fishing hamlets and villages that feel as if they have barely changed in centuries; despite this, each has its own distinctive charm. Furthermore, the east boasts a wealth of folklore, and your guide can tell you about the legends of each elf rock and tales of the monster said to reside in the serene Lake Lagarfljot.
Once you have explored the magnificent, untouched Eastfjords, you’ll head to Egilsstaðir, the region’s largest town. After exploring the vibrant settlement and looking out for the auroras from one of its dark corners, you’ll retire here for the night.
A week into your ten-day vacation to Iceland, you will depart Egilsstadir and be escorted to north Iceland through Vatnajokull National Park. This route boasts lava landscapes so barren that they appear to be from another planet and a range of spectacular sites to admire from the window as you travel.
Once you have entered north Iceland, you’ll head to its most famous and magnificent region, Lake Myvatn. In fact, a series of lakes, this area boasts some of the country’s most striking and diverse geology, with towers of lava rising from the waters, pseudocraters arranged in neat lines on the shore, and the basalt fortress of Dimmuborgir.
Dimmuborgir is not only a monumental natural feature but also one of the many Icelandic sites steeped in folklore. The thirteen Yule Lads, the nation’s alternatives to Santa Claus, are said to make their home here, with their evil child-eating mother, Gryla. If travelling around Christmas, a visit here is a great way to get into the festive atmosphere.
If you are visiting in the months surrounding midwinter, meanwhile, Lake Myvatn has quite a different ambience; when not covered in a blanket of snow, the landscapes are fertile and bursting with wildflowers. Similarly, when the lake is not caked in a thick layer of ice, it is home to thousands of freshwater birds.
When in this area, those who booked admission to the Mývatn Nature Baths will be in for a treat. This alluring spa has steam rooms and geothermally heated pools where you can ease away any tension built over your holiday and enjoy spectacular views from the comfort of the healing waters.
The Nature Baths, however, are not the only place in northern Iceland where you can find geothermal forces at work; the entire region is famous for its volcanic activity. When you head to Namaskard Pass, you will see this at its most dramatic; across a lifeless mountain plateau are many steaming vents and fumaroles pouring poisonous gasses in spectacular columns into the sky.
Once you have enjoyed the Lake Myvatn area and its surrounding sites, you will head to Akureyri, the capital of the north, where your hotel awaits. En route, however, you will make one final stop at the beautiful waterfall of Godafoss. Over a millennium ago, it was at this location where the country’s lawspeaker tossed his idols of the Old Norse Gods to symbolise the country’s conversion to Christianity.
Akureyri is a cultural hub that many guests will wish to explore before retiring. With boutiques, restaurants, bars, public art, dramatic architecture and amazing natural views, it is somewhat of a compact version of Reykjavík with an appeal to all sorts of guests.
On day eight of your ten-day Iceland vacation, you will journey back to Reykjavik through the magnificent landscapes of north and west; there are plenty of detours you will make, however, to the most beautiful sites of both regions.
If you selected a tour today when booking, the first of these detours will come as soon as you leave Akureyri. Rather than join the Ring Road, you’ll head north up the magnificent fjord of Eyjafjordur, renowned for its gargantuan surrounding mountains, bountiful life, and plentiful fishing villages. If you booked a whale-watch, you will head to Haukanes, whereas if you picked a visit to the Beer Baths, you’ll go to the adjacent Arskogssandur.
North Iceland is considered one of the best whale-watching locations in the world, and by taking a tour from Haukanes, you’ll soon see why. Not only are the backdrops to your viewings magnificent, but the range and scale of the creatures are astounding. Humpback whales are most common outside of midwinter, whereas in the colder months, you’re more likely to see pods of dolphins, and even rare creatures such as orcas and belugas.
The Beer Baths are a great alternative to whale watching, particularly for those looking for unique cultural experiences unique to Iceland. Relaxing in a tub of young, geothermally heated lager with a drink in hand (for those over twenty), you’ll unwind as your skin is tightened and rejuvenated by the beer’s unusual qualities.
After enjoying one of these great opportunities, you’ll continue along the Ring Road towards west Iceland; before reaching the region, however, you’ll detour to the Vatnsnes Peninsula. This area boasts the offshore rock monolith of Hvitserkur, a beautiful structure many say resembles an elephant drinking from the shadows. In folklore, it is, in fact, a troll, who was frozen when lobbing rocks at the nearby basalt fortress of Borgarvirki.
Vatnsnes is also popular amongst wildlife lovers because it is the most reliable seal-watching location in the country.
As you continue towards Reykjavík, you’ll pass through beautiful countryside and lava fields, with plenty of mountains, rivers and historical settlements to marvel over. After passing beneath the Hvalfjordur tunnel, you’ll soon arrive back in the capital.
Feel free to celebrate the end of your road trip around the entire island with a few drinks at one of the city’s lively pubs before you retire.
On the penultimate day of your holiday, you’ll be based in Reykjavik. You are welcome to enjoy the capital’s attractions until it’s time to retire, as you will find the small city has a surprising range on offer. You can, however, also book one more excursion.
If you’d like to mix city sightseeing with an adventure in nature, there are two half-day tours you can choose from.
A snorkelling excursion will take you back to Thingvellir National Park, to the ravine of Silfra. Filled with crystal-clear springwater, the views and colours you can find in this fissure between the continents are absolutely spectacular, and you’ll stave off the freezing water with insulated drysuits. As these float and the spring has a gentle current, winter snorkelling in Iceland is surprisingly relaxing.
Alternatively, you could take a snowmobiling tour on the slopes of the second-largest glacier in the country, Langjokull. Snowmobiling is not just a wild experience that gets the adrenaline pumping as you glide across plains of ice and snow; it is also one of the best ways in which you can enjoy breathtaking views of the Highlands, south and west in clear weather.
If, however, you would rather spend a full day outside of Reykjavik, you can book a tour to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, or ‘Iceland in Miniature’. How it earned such a nickname will be apparent as soon as you begin to explore; it is jam-packed with diverse sites, boasting appeal to all sorts of travellers.
Wildlife enthusiasts will love the seals at Ytri Tunga Beach and the birds on the islands of Breidafjordur bay; those interested in Iceland’s volcanic geology will find greater appeal in the Gerduberg hexagonal columns and the basalt plug of Londrangar. If fascinated by Iceland’s history, there are many fishing villages, both thriving and long-abandoned, to admire, and any interested in folklore will be captivated by the countless tales associated with the natural sites.
The highlight of the peninsula, however, is Snaefellsjokull National Park, named after the twin-peaked subglacial volcano at its tip. Dominating much of the area’s scenery, this magical feature has inspired writers and artists for centuries; most notably, it was a key location in the novel ‘A Journey to the Centre of the Earth’ by Jules Verne.
However you spend your last full day, you’ll no doubt want to find a dark city spot for one more incredible display of the Northern Lights before you retire.
On the final day of your ten-day Icelandic holiday, you’ll need to catch your Flybus in time for your departure.
For those who have a later flight and choose to visit the Blue Lagoon today, you will finish off your stay unwinding before you head to the airport. This is the perfect place to relax as you bathe in the warm, mineral-rich waters as you look back on the incredible adventure you have just taken in the land of fire and ice. If your flight is later, there are plenty of things to do in Reykjavik.
Examples include visiting the Arbaer Open Air Museum, which is particularly festive over the holiday season; taking a dip in Laugardalslaug, the largest pool in the country; or shopping in the boutiques along Laugavegur.
We hope you enjoyed your stay, and that you come back to Iceland soon!
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 the weather allows. Please be advised that there is no specific Northern Lights hunt on the guided circle 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.
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.