15 Day Northern Lights Winter Vacation of the Complete Ring Road of Iceland with Snaefellsnes
Dive into the wonders of Iceland by joining this 15-day package around the country. On this adventure, you'll be driven around the entire Ring Road, with added stops at the Blue Lagoon and Snæfellnes Peninsula, all without worrying about organizing accommodations, extra activities, or driving.
Those looking for a comfortable way to discover the beautiful Icelandic nature need to look no further.
Amongst the highlights of Iceland you will see are the sites of the famous Golden Circle, the stunning Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon on the South Coast, the remote Eastfjords, and the otherworldly Lake Mývatn area in the North.
This excursion includes whale-watching, glacier hiking, and ice caving. During the booking process, you will also have the option to add on a wealth of other tours. Of course, you will also get plenty of time to enjoy the history, art, and attractions of the country's capital, Reykjavík, as you'll spend seven nights in this vibrant city.
This package is available from September to April, meaning that you will avoid the majority of the crowds that come in the height of summer and have a chance to hunt for the Northern Lights every night.
Come along on this fantastic journey. Whether traveling to Iceland for adventure, serenity, culture, or nature, the 15-day winter package will not disappoint. Check availability by choosing a date.
Day 1 - Arrival
On the first day of your Icelandic holiday, you will arrive at Keflavík International Airport and take a bus to your hotel in Reykjavík. Here, you can unpack, refresh from your travels, then spend the rest of the day getting to know the capital.
On your way to Iceland’s capital city, 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.
Don’t feel pressured to fit as much as you can into today, as you’ll have plenty of time to explore the city before the end of your vacation. But to fill your time today, you can take a stroll down Laugavegur shopping street and explore the many shops, cafés, and restaurants found on this strip.
Day 2 - Blue Lagoon & Reykjavik
On Day 2, you have the opportunity to visit the world-famous Blue Lagoon Spa. This luxurious resort has geothermal pools of aquamarine water, saunas, steam rooms, facilities for children, and therapy treatments. All guests are welcome to put on masks of silica mud, said to bear healing properties.
During the booking process, you can choose between a morning or an afternoon departure. The lagoon is in high demand, so the exact time cannot be guaranteed, but your travel planner will do their best to find a time that suits your holiday plan.
You can then spend the rest of the day exploring Reykjavík’s cultural and architectural sites.
Day 3 - The Golden Circle
Today, you will begin your journey around Iceland, starting with visits to its three most popular sites on the Golden Circle route.
The first stop on this trail is Þingvellir, one of the three National Parks in Iceland, all of which you will visit. This location has spectacular geology because it is located right between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates.
The walls of these plates are visible within the park, and their movements, as they pull apart, have ripped open many ravines that have since filled with spring water. Þingvellir's history is as fascinating as its geography, as it was the original location of Iceland's still-ongoing parliament, formed in 930 AD.
Geysir is the second stop on the Golden Circle. Geysir is a geothermal area named after, as can be presumed, the geysers within in. The area's main attraction, the geyser Strokkur, goes off every five to ten minutes, shooting water over 66 feet (20 meters) into the air. The surrounding area has many hot springs and fumaroles that can be admired as you wait for an eruption.
Gullfoss is the final stop of the Golden Circle. Its name translates to 'the Golden Waterfall', with several theories speculating why; some attribute it to the water's milky hue, that looks golden in the sunset, while others claim it regards a legend about lost treasure.
Either way, the two-steeped waterfall is beautiful to behold, throwing out rainbows from its mist in the sun and plastering ice over the rocks around it in winter.
You will then spend the night in a country hotel in the area. Make sure you keep an eye out on the sky for a chance to witness the beautiful Northern Lights in action.
Day 4 - The South Coast
On Day 4, you'll start to explore the South Coast of Iceland as you begin your circle around the country.
Today's journey will take you past a wealth of natural sites. The first are two waterfalls: Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss. The former is narrow, falling from 197 feet (60 meters) over a concave cliff. It is possible to fully encircle the falls for some amazing views out on the South Coast in decent weather.
Skógafoss, on the other hand, is more powerful. It is the same height as Seljalandsfoss but with a width of up to 66 feet (20 meters). The land underneath is very flat, allowing you to walk right up to the curtain of water.
These waterfalls sit in the shadows of two mighty glaciers, Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull. Both of these can be seen in clear weather, and both conceal powerful volcanoes.
You will then take part in a glacier hiking tour on one of the tongues of Mýrdalsjökull, Sólheimajökull. This adventure will reveal to you the dramatic landscape of an ice cap and some incredible views of the surrounding area.
The South Coast has even more attractions a little further along, like Reynisfjara beach, a beautiful stretch of black sands with views of the dramatic rock pillars Reynisdrangar. From the beach, you will have a fantastic view of the Dyrhólaey Cliffs, home to an enormous rock arch large enough for ships to sail through (even a few intrepid pilots have flown through it).
You will reside for the night in or near the beautiful village of Vík.
Day 5 - Vatnajokull National Park and Ice Caves
On your fifth day, you will complete the South Coast of Iceland, ending in the realm of Europe's largest glacier, Vatnajökull. This route will take you into Iceland's largest National Park, named after said glacier.
As you drive through the dark desert sands of the South Coast, the white glacier tongues of Vatnajökull will begin to appear over the horizon. You'll continue east, passing the many glacier tongues of Vatnajökull as you make your way to one of Iceland's most beautiful locations, Jökulsárlón.
Jökusárlón is Iceland's largest glacier lagoon and deepest lake. Here, hundreds of enormous icebergs break free from a glacier tongue and slowly cruise their way towards the ocean. Seals can often be spotted swimming in the waters.
Adjacent to the glacier lagoon is the Diamond Beach, where some of these icebergs wash up on the black sands where they glisten in the low sunlight like precious gemstones.
If traveling in September or October, you will start this day with an exploration of an ice cave in Mýrdalsjökull, called the Katla ice cave. If traveling between November and March, you will finish the day with a visit to the crystal ice caves underneath Vatnajökull glacier.
Day 6 - The Eastfjords
On your sixth day, you will explore one of Iceland's most remote and untouched regions, the Eastfjords.
The Eastfjords are defined by their sparkling bays, quaint fishing villages, and dramatic mountains. They are also notable for their wealth of wildlife. Reindeer can be seen roaming in herds in this region after running wild in the summer up in the highlands, and the waters are pregnant with seabirds.
After taking in the marvelous views and stopping for many photo opportunities, you will end the day in the largest town of the east, Egilsstaðir. This cultural hub sits on the bays of the beautiful lake Lagarfljót, which is said to hold a monster within it, records of which date back further than that of Nessie.
If you wish to add some adventure to this day of sightseeing, you may elect to join a horseback riding tour while booking. Icelandic horses are adorable, intelligent, curious creatures. The opportunity to explore the countryside on horseback should not be overlooked.
You can also book admission to the Vok Baths. This facility is the only geothermal spa in East Iceland, immersed in a lake, and surrounded by mountains.
You will then spend the night in Egilsstaðir or one of the lovely towns of the Eastfjords.
Day 7 - Lake Myvatn and Akureyri
On day seven, you will be traveling northwest to explore the Lake Mývatn region, where you'll find the sites Námaskarð Pass and Dimmuborgir lava fields.
The former is a geothermal area filled with bubbling mud pools and steaming fumaroles. The ground has been colored with minerals, giving the whole place an otherworldly look.
Incredibly geology can be found nearby at Dimmuborgir, otherwise called 'the Lava Fortress' due to its scale and formation. This location was used in the Game of Thrones series to represent Mance Raider's Wildling camp. Dimmuborgir is home to the 'Yule Lads', or the thirteen Icelandic Santa Clauses in Icelandic folklore.
En route to Akureyri, you will pass one of Iceland's most historically important waterfalls, Goðafoss. In 1000 AD, the Lawspeaker of Iceland threw his idols of the Old Norse Gods into the waters to symbolize the nation's conversion to Christianity. It has been named 'the Waterfall of the Gods' since.
You will then spend the night in Akureyri.
Day 8 - Hauganes and Hvitserkur
On your eighth day, you will continue from Iceland's unofficial northern capital to the quaint village of Hauganes, one of the most picturesque settlements in the north.
Hauganes is home to one of the oldest whale watching operators in Iceland, leaving you in expert hands as you embark offshore searching for these gentle giants. With over twenty cetacean species in Icelandic waters, you're sure to be amazed by these animals in their wild habitat.
Humpback whales, minke whales, and white-beaked dolphins are all common sights.
Your next stop of the day will be at the 49-foot (15-meter) high rock stack, Hvitserkur, known as the "Troll of the Northwest" thanks to its animal-like stance over the ocean.
You will spend the night in Borgarnes.
Day 9 - Snaefellsnes Peninsula
On day nine, you will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the wonders of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. This region is often called 'Iceland in Miniature', as it has a wide array of different sites along its 56-mile (90-kilometer) stretch.
The most notable feature of the peninsula is Mount Kirkjufell, a pyramid-shaped peak with a picturesque adjacent waterfall. You will stop by this impressive feature to capture its beauty and the nearby waterfall on film.
You will stop at the picturesque Djúpalónssandur beach where, after following a path through free-standing lava pillars, you will find a beautiful stretch of shoreline filled with smooth black pebbles and the remains of a trawler that perished in the ocean some 50 years ago.
Snæfellsjökull, the glacier and volcano at the peninsula's tip, forms a magnificent backdrop to many surrounding sites. This glacier has inspired literature for centuries, most notably in Jules Verne's 'Journey to the Centre of the Earth', and is now protected within a National Park of its own name.
If you wish to have your very own subterranean adventure, you can opt for a tour to Vatnshellir cave, a 656-foot (200-meter) long lava tube which reaches 115 feet (35 meters) underground. You'll follow a path that melted lava created thousands of years ago, seeing the strange rock formation and colorization it left behind.
You will have the chance to go lava caving in Vidgelmir if you elected to do so while booking. This exciting experience provides fascinating insight into the volcanism of this beautiful country.
You will spend the evening, once again, in Borgarnes, where you can relax in hot tubs and look out for the northern lights above.
Day 10 - West Iceland
On your tenth day, you will set off from Borganes to further explore the west. You will first drive through the stunning scenery of the Borgarfjordur region, where you'll pass towering mountains, wide valleys, and a few Icelandic horses.
West Iceland is the home of the highest flowing hot spring in Europe, Deildartunguhver. The water from Deildartunguhver is used to heat up two neighboring towns, Akranes and Borgarnes.
You will also stop by the historic settlement of Reykholt. This settlement is a historical center, as it was the home of legendary writer, chieftain, and historian, Snorri Sturluson. There is a museum in the village on his life and works.
After a day packed full of adventure, you will return to Reykjavík.
Day 11 - Free Day in Reykjavik
Day 11 will be your first of four consecutive days in Reykjavík, and there are many ways you can enjoy it. You may, for example, want to add a bit more adventure to your holiday, and there are two optional tours you can choose from during the booking process, both at a discounted price.
You could take a helicopter ride over the capital and its surrounding geothermal landscapes. As you will have seen over the past ten days, Iceland's landscapes are spectacular, but to see them from above is a unique, exhilarating, and incredibly rewarding experience.
Alternatively, you could take a super jeep tour into the Highland region of Landmannalaugar. Its brightly colored rhyolite mountains, stunning hikes, and many bubbling hot springs define this beautiful area. The Highlands are mostly inaccessible during winter except for specially made vehicles or super jeeps, making this a great opportunity to see even more of the country.
If you would rather spend the day enjoying the city than adventuring, you are more than welcome to. There are a wealth of museums, galleries, pools, and sites to see.
Day 12 - Second Free Day in Reykjavik
Today you can explore Reykjavík city or opt for a tour of the neighboring countryside. Today's tour options are snorkeling and adventuring in the Ice Cave Tunnel.
Snorkeling is conducted in Silfra fissure, within Þingvellir, which you visited on Day 3. Though the water is cold here, it is incredibly clear because it is a natural spring, making Silfra one of the best snorkeling sites globally. You are provided with protective drysuits and wetsuit hoods, and gloves to make this adventure possible.
The Ice Cave Tunnel is located on Langjökull glacier. It is a manmade tunnel carved into the ice cap and the only such one in the world where visitors, not just scientists, can enter to explore. This tunnel is much more reliable than the ice caves, as it is rarely compromised by inclement weather.
You are, of course, welcome to spend the day in Reykavík, exploring the many sights this city has to offer. Why not check out the view from the top of Hallgrímskirkja church or the observation deck at Perlan museum?
Day 13 - Third Free Day in Reykjavik
Day 13 can be enjoyed in Reykjavík, soaking up the local atmosphere and traditions. One thing that can be said about Icelanders is that they are largely a nation of beer-drinkers, and you can immerse yourself in this side of the culture by electing to take a beer tasting tour.
Suppose you'd rather explore other parts of the culture. Why not see the Árbær Open Air Museum, see reconstructed turf houses and how Icelandic communities existed for centuries, or attend the maritime museum to learn about Icelandic seafaring from the Viking settlement to the Cod Wars.
If you are seeking more of a 'novel' and humorous experience, you can visit the world's only Phallological Museum located near Hlemmur Food Hall in downtown Reykjavík.
Day 14 - Fourth Free Day in Reykjavik
Your final full day in Iceland is free for you to do whatever you wish; no doubt, over the past fortnight, you will have packed your holiday with fun and adventure and can tick any boxes that you may have missed before. If you want to spend the day in the pools, bars, or shopping streets, you are more than welcome to.
You may also want to see some of the natural areas Reykjavík has to offer. The Seltjarnarnes Peninsula is home to a protected bird watching area and the Grótta lighthouse. Viðey Island, meanwhile, is also home to many works, as well as the Imagine Peace Tower artwork, created by Yoko Ono. Mount Esjan, which overlooks the city from across the bay, can easily be reached by bus and hiked to the top of, so long as the weather is clear.
You can also contact your travel agent for advice on more tours if you are still feeling adventurous.
Day 15 - Departure
Today is sadly your departure day from Iceland.
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. If you have an early flight back home, we wish you a pleasant journey.
You will take a bus to Keflavík International Airport with enough time to get through customs comfortably before boarding your flight back home. No doubt your journey will be spent reminiscing over the incredible memories you have made over the past weeks.
What to bring
Good to know
The Northern Lights are a natural phenomenon, and therefore cannot be guaranteed, but this itinerary is designed to maximize your chances to see them if the weather allows. Please be aware that your itinerary may have to be rearranged to better fit your arrival date and time.
Some optional activities might need a valid driver's license, or you might need to send additional information to your travel planner. Please note that you need to know how to swim and present medical documents should you choose to go snorkeling or diving.
It can happen, in the case of extreme weather, that an activity is canceled. If your chosen activity is canceled, 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.