7 Day Guided Winter Tour | Half-Circle of Iceland and Flight back to Reykjavik

7 Day Guided Winter Tour | Half-Circle of Iceland and Flight back to Reykjavik
Travel the Ring Road from Reykjavík to Akureyri as see the South Coast, Mývatn and the Eastfjords.
Iceland's ice caves are as if straight out of a dream.
Jokusarlon is widely considered one of the most spectacular natural attractions in Iceland.
Sunrise over Haukadalur geothermal area.
The black sand beach, Reynisfjara, during the cold winter months. The distinctive rock stacks can be seen in the distance.
The powerful Gullfoss waterfall, one of three stops on the famous Golden Circle sightseeing tour.
4.8
Based on 21 traveller reviews

Jump aboard this seven-day winter minibus tour around Iceland where you'll travel from Reykjavík to iconic sites such as Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon and Lake Mývatn, as well as those on the South Coast and Golden Circle sightseeing route, and end your journey with a flight from Akureyri back to the capital.

This excursion should appeal to anyone who wants to see as much of Iceland as possible during the Northern Lights season, without worrying about organising accommodation or driving on the winter roads.

All accommodation on this tour is of the highest possible quality, giving you plenty of rest and peace to recharge your batteries for the adventures ahead.

As an added bonus, all the accommodation for this tour is among the best available, providing restful evenings after your exciting days.

For those looking for the full circle of Iceland, there is also the 8 Day Winter Excursion | Guided Circle of Iceland Minibus Tour, adding the unique experience of the western Icelandic shores and the spectacular Snæfellsnes Peninsula into the tour.

Departing from Reykjavík on this 7-day guided tour, you will not only get to experience some incredible sightseeing, but you will have the option to add on tours during booking, such as a glacier hiking tour, a horse riding excursion, a visit to Mývatn Nature Baths, and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore an ice cave. 

Come along on this immersive trip from the capital to the North, visiting some of the greatest attractions the country has to offer as well as a few hidden gems. Check availability by choosing a date. 


Quick facts

Tour information:
  • Available: Sep. - Apr.
  • Duration: 7 days
  • Activities: Glacier Hiking, Whale Watching, Sightseeing, Northern lights hunting, Hot Spring Bathing, Cultural Activity, Ice Caving, Airplane
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Minimum age: 8 years.
  • Languages: English
  • Highlights: Golden Circle, East Iceland, North Iceland, West Iceland , Reykjavík, Akureyri, Jökulsárlón, Vatnajökull, Mývatn, Dimmuborgir, Skógafoss, Seljalandsfoss, Geysir, Gullfoss, Eyjafjallajökull, Dyrhólaey, Þingvellir, Sólheimajökull, Mýrdalsjökull, Skaftafell, Eyjafjörður, Höfn, Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach, Vík í Mýrdal, Egilsstaðir, Akureyrarkirkja, Reynisfjall, Reynisdrangar, Öxarárfoss, Námaskarð, Lagarfljót, Hallormsstaðaskógur, Breiðamerkurjökull, South Coast, Diamond Beach, Ring Road, Kjarnaskógur
Pickup information:
  • Pickup time : 08:00.

Pick up might take 30 minutes. Please be ready at your selected location. Read carefully if you will be picked up at your hotel or at the nearest designated area (Bus Stop). For walking distance to bus stops, please check busstop.is.

Included:
  • 7 day guided tour to the south and east coast of Iceland, travelling from Reykjavík to Akureyri via the southern ring route

  • 6 nights of accommodation in various country hotels with private bathroom and breakfast each morning

  • Flight from Akureyri to Reykjavík

  • Northern Lights spotting

  • Taxes

  • Any additional activities (can be added when booking)

  • Flights (other than stated above)

  • Lunch and dinner


What to bring:
  • Warm Clothes

  • Waterproof jacket and trousers

  • Camera

  • Winter hiking shoes

  • Swimsuit


Good to know:

Customers travelling on their own will receive a single room. Reservations for 2 people will be allocated a double room. For bookings of 3 or more, triple rooms will automatically be allocated. For example, a group of 8 will receive 2 triple rooms and 1 double. If these arrangements do not meet your requirements, please contact the provider.

Please note that there is a luggage limit to the flight of one suitcase of up to 20 kilos in weight and one item of hand luggage of up to 6 kilos per person. Additional luggage might incur an additional fee at the airport.

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 advised that there is no specific Northern Lights hunt on this 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.

Please note that only pickup and drop-off from designated pickup locations in the greater capital area is available, not from Keflavík International Airport. Therefore, we do not recommend attempting to start this tour on your arrival day in Iceland. Arrival time back to Reykjavík at the end of your tour can vary depending on weather and traffic.

Your domestic flight from Akureyri to Reykjavík will land in the afternoon/evening. It is highly recommended that you do not book your flight home the same night as bad weather or delays could affect your journey. Please be sure to arrange accommodation for this evening and an airport transfer the next day to take you to Keflavík International Airport for your departure.

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.

If you book the extra activities alongside this tour, you will get them at a lower price.



Daily itinerary

Day 1 - The Golden Circle


Gullfoss makes up just one part of the Golden Circle.


On your first day of this guided tour, you will be picked up by bus from Reykjavík. You will immerse yourself in the beauty of Iceland immediately, with a trip around the three iconic sites of the Golden Circle.

Þingvellir National Park is first on the agenda. This UNESCO World Heritage Site has two great features that make it an unmissable spot. First, it was the original site of Alþingi, Iceland's Parliament, where early settlers established national laws in 930 AD.

Secondly, it is located on the boundaries of the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates with the gorge, Almannagjá, marking the western edge of the North American plate. The continents are steadily drifting apart, causing the surrounding moss-covered lava field to be streaked with cracks and canyons.

Next up you will head to the Geysir geothermal area, to witness the geyser Strokkur erupting every ten minutes or so, to heights that can reach up to 30 metres. You will also be able to see the fountain that gave all others their name, Geysir itself, although it goes off rarely and unpredictably nowadays.

The final stop of the Golden Circle is Gullfoss waterfall, the most iconic falls in the country. This two-tier waterfall can be admired from a variety of viewing platforms, allowing you to enjoy it in all its majesty.

If you are an animal lover, you can add on a horse riding tour during the booking process. Meet the friendly Icelandic horse and ride around the beautiful countryside before you embark on your Golden Circle trip.

You will spend your first night at your accommodation in the Golden Circle area or the nearby town of Hella. Throughout your journey, you will be staying at accommodations which are ideal for northern lights spotting, so make sure you keep your eyes on the sky at night.


Accommodation

Fosshótel Hekla

Fosshotel Hekla is a 3-star hotel in the Golden Circle area. The hotel has a restaurant which serves traditional Icelandic cuisine, a bar and a lounge. Free access to hot tub. Private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.

Stracta Hotel Hella

Stracta Hotel Hella is a 3-star hotel in the town of Hella. The hotel has an on-site bar with a lounge for guest and a sun terrace. Free access to hot tub. Private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.


Day 2 - South Coast


Reynisfjara black sand beach can be found on the South Coast of Iceland.


Day two will consist of driving from site to site along the beautiful South Coast of Iceland. Just off the main road, there are a wealth of places to visit.

Seljalandsfoss will be the first stop of the day, a high and narrow waterfall with a large cave behind it. You will then head to the large and powerful Skógafoss waterfall, passing the notorious Eyjafjallajökull (the volcano that halted European air travel in 2010).

As you continue along the South Coast, you will pass Mýrdalsjökull glacier, the fourth largest glacier in Iceland. Here, you will make a stop at the glacial tongue Sólheimajökull.

If you elected to do so during the booking process, you can embark on a glacier hike up Sólheimajökull, where you can trek past blue crevasses and high peaks that are blackened by the ash from nearby volcanoes.

The final sites of today will be coastal. You will visit the beautiful Reynisfjara black-sand beach, where you can admire some fascinating geology, such as the Dyrhólaey rock arch, and the Reynisdrangar basalt sea stacks.

You will spend this night in or near the picturesque village of Vík.


Accommodation

Puffin Hótel Vík

The Puffin Hótel Vík is a country hotel and guesthouse situated in the coastal village of Vík. Located next to a restaurant, museum and swimming pool. Private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free access to outdoor hot tubs. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.

Hotel Katla

Hotel Katla is a 3-star country hotel situated 5 km east of Vík. Comfortable private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free access to a hot tub and a sauna. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.


Day 3 - The South Coast


Guests will see icebergs of all different shapes and sizes at the glacial lagoon.


Your third day will take you along the remainder of the South Coast, to up to three of Iceland’s most renowned locations.

Your first destination of the day will be Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, where you can marvel over icebergs breaking off from a glacier and cruising towards the ocean. On the nearby stretch of coast, these icebergs wash up on shore where they glisten in the surf, lending the area its name: the Diamond Beach.

A true highlight of this day would be a visit to a natural ice cave. Their beauty is otherworldly and their colouration spectacular, so make sure you remember your camera for this unforgettable excursion. The cave is reached by a super jeep, which only adds to the adventure.

You can reserve this experience when booking. If you are travelling between November and March, you'll visit a cave in Vatnajökull glacier in the afternoon; otherwise, you'll start the with a caving excursion at Mýrdalsjökull glacier in the morning.

You will spend the night in the southeast. Remember to check the skies for signs of the dancing Northern Lights.


Accommodation

Fosshótel Vatnajökull

Fosshótel Vatnajökull is a country hotel situated near the coastal village of Höfn. Europe’s largest icecap Vatnajökull can be seen from the location. Private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included

Hótel Höfn

Hotel Höfn is a 3-star hotel located in Höfn town central. Private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included


Day 4 - The Eastfjords


Vestrahorn is instantly recognisable because of its dramatic peaks.


On your fourth day, you will head along the little-explored Eastfjords. This beautiful area is both the least populated and least visited region of the country. Thankfully, the east is brimming with incredible, diverse landscapes and wildlife. It is, for example, the only place in Iceland where you can find wild reindeer.

As you drive through this mountainous region, your guide will use his local knowledge to make a few stops at some of his favourite locations. Be it by the coast or up in the mountains, these hidden gems are sure to leave you in awe.

Your road will take you through Iceland’s largest forest, Hallormsstaðaskógur, and along the banks of Lake Lagarfljót, which is said to hold a terrible wyrm monster. Finally, you will reach your accommodations in the area.


Accommodation

Fosshótel Austfirðir

Fosshótel Austfirðir is a picturesque country hotel in the fjord of Fáskrúðsfjörður. Guests can enjoy Icelandic cuisine at the elegant restaurant L’Abri. Private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.

Lake Hótel Egilsstaðir

Lake Hotel Egilsstaðir is a 3-star hotel located right by the lake Lagarfljót. It is also within a short walking distance from the centre of Egilsstaðir town. Private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Spa on site for an additional price. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.


Day 5 - Lake Myvatn & Its Surroundings


Much of Iceland is geothermally active.


Today you will leave the East behind and head North. Your destination: the otherworldly area of Mývatn, where you can find steaming earth, jagged lava formations and a stunning lake.

First up is the Martian-like landscapes of Námaskarð pass where you can see greyish-blue mud pools bubble, and steam rise from rock piles. You will walk around this strange area, probably picturing yourself on another planet as you snap photos of the fumaroles, mud pots, and the unusual colours of the ground.

You will also visit Dimmuborgir, a large and vast lava field where trolls are said to live! Don't worry; trolls only come out at night, so you will be perfectly safe walking amongst the giant lava rocks and caves.

During your exploration of the beautiful Mývatn area, you will have the option of taking a dip in geothermally heated waters at the Mývatn Nature Baths. It is the perfect place to unwind and take in the beauty of the countryside as the pool offers excellent views over the nearby fields.

Your accommodations for this evening will be in the Lake Mývatn area. Remember to check the skies for sightings of the Northern Lights in the evening.


Accommodation

Fosshótel Mývatn

Fosshótel Mývatn is situated by Lake Mývatn in North Iceland. All rooms include a flat-screen TV with private bathrooms and a hairdryer. Breakfast is included. Free Wi-Fi.

Vogafjós Farm Resort

Vogafjós is a family-run guesthouse on the shore of Lake Mývatn surrounded by unique landscapes. Free WiFi. Private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Breakfast is included.


Day 6 - The North of Iceland


Icelanders are discovering new waterfalls all the time.


On your penultimate day, you will start with a visit to the stunning waterfall Goðafoss which is also knowns as 'Waterfall of the Gods.' This name came about not just due to the waterfall's beauty—which is certainly god-like— but also because back in the year 1000 AD, when the country became Christianised, an old pagan priest, in a symbolic gesture, threw idols of his old gods into the waterfall.

You will then head to Akureyri where you are free to explore this vibrant town at your own pace. You can visit the beautiful Akureyri Church, or Hof Culture Centre, discover Akureyri's many charming shops and restaurants or take a trip to the city's luxurious public pool which features an array of slides as well as many hot pools.

If you would like to add some adventure to your day, you can opt to join a whale watching tour from Akureyri harbour. Sightings of the gentle giants of the sea are frequent in the North of Iceland whatever the time of year, so don't miss your opportunity to spot them in the wild.

You will then spend the evening in Akureyri.


Accommodation

Hótel Kjarnalundur

Hótel Kjarnalundur is located in a wooded area next to Akureyri town. The hotel offers an onsite bar, terrace, and a great mountain view. Free WiFi. Private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Breakfast is included.

Hótel Akureyri

Hótel Akureyri is located in the centre of Akureyri township, North Iceland. Rooms come equipped with luxury beds, private bathrooms, satellite TV, minibar and free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.


Day 7 - Flight to Reykjavik


Reykjavik is rich in culture and history.


On your seventh and final day, you will hop aboard a plane and fly across the country to Reykjavík, where you will be free to explore this vibrant capital city and all it has to offer.

Soak up some Nordic culture by strolling down Laugavegur street and exploring some of the designer boutiques and record shops found there. You could also visit a museum or two; Reykjavík is filled with both art galleries and historical museums, allowing you to immerse yourself in the art and culture of this northern nation.

You can expect to arrive in Reykjavík in the afternoon to early evening but it is not recommended that you book your flight home the same evening in case of bad weather or delays.


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First,I want to thank our guide Eythor Edvardsson. He is the most conscientious guide I had ever met. No matter winds or snows, he gave us the most safe driving. Even the weather was not very well, we had a wonderful tour around Iceland. The waterfalls, glaciers, ice caves and the views on the way.....all the points were so special for me. Maybe I would be there in other season, and hope to meet our guide again. If you have an idea to go to Iceland, just do it!!!
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This was an amazing tour, sadly I cannot remember the name of our tour guide, but she was amazing. She was giving us local and history facts of every place we crossed. She even re-arranged a tour we could have lost due to bad weather conditions, but she managed to schedule a different time for us to visit the places the tour offers. Excellent driver and always looking after us. Always telling us if we could be able to spot Northern Lights in our accommodations. The last 2 days of our trip we have dinner with the whole group and had an amazing experience getting to know each other and in the last day she took the rest of the group to a good restaurant in Akureyri where we had a blast once again. She arranged transportation for my brother and I to go to the airport, she did an amazing job.
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What an amazing tour! My friend Jamie and I took the Jan 30 - Feb 5 tour with Margaret as our tour guide, who was so incredibly informative and helpful. She really went the extra mile for us at the end when we were trying to re-book flights due to weather, and made sure all of our arrangements were satisfactory. The tour itself was just unbelievable, and a big part of that was having amazing sunny weather 5 out the 7 days. But the tour guide and driver were also great at making sure we got the most out of every sunny minute. They also checked conditions for the northern lights each night and made sure we knew about aurora wake-up calls at hotels, which was awesome because we got to see brilliant auroras 3 of the nights! More than we ever could've asked for. I won't go into detail about the itinerary, you can see that on this page, but if you would like to see a day-by-day video log of this tour, check out the Iceland section on my YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLFWX3wT095-OMTibZkDirRhQGaIQySLAa. First day/video was blue lagoon, but the second day is when this tour starts.
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This was a great tour (8-15 Jan 19), with Carlos as our tour guide. There were only 8 of us on the tour and we got on really well. Carlos made a point of stopping off at a local shop or supermarket each morning so we could buy something for our lunch at reasonable prices; it also meant we could eat on the minibus and weren’t restricted to being at an eatery at a specific time of day. The tour was just as it says on the tin and the accommodation was perfect. What’s more, we got to see the Northern Lights - twice! Although this tour is not advertised as going in search of the Aurora Borealis, the hotels are fairly remote so there is less light pollution and the chance of spotting the Aurora is therefore increased. The whole tour, including those optional extra tours, was very well organised. All the guides were professional, friendly and very knowledgeable. I did wonder if I should have chosen a date later in Jan or Feb to benefit from more daylight hours, but really this didn’t matter, we still got to see everything we were promised. I loved this tour and would definitely recommend it!
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We had a great tour with our tour guide Halldor who had his wife, Torunn, with him. They made a great pair and were extremely informative about their country and the places we visited. We also met some fabulous people on our tour and it was sad saying goodbye. On the day weather intervened, they put safety first and we made changes to ensure we all arrived at our next hotel safely. When all did not go to plan Halldor worked hard to provide amazinf alternatives. Iceland was spectacular and this tour was the highlight of our month away. Thank you.
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This trip was AMAZING- once in a lifetime experience for sure! We traveled over Christmas break (Dec 7 day excursion). There was a total of 18 people- which to start off with, Guide to Iceland said we would have no more then 16. I understand that because of the holidays they were short on Guide- BUT STILL be upfront about it. Regardless, we all moved past it and were able to enjoy the scenic views and each others company. All the hotels were pretty nice and far away from the city, which allowed for us to be able to see the Northern lights on our last 2 days of the trip (What a treat!) Our tour guide made sure he told us what the possibilities of seeing them each night were and the times. He even went out on the last day and took some pictures of us. So obviously, we had a great tour guide as well! With the short time that the sun allowed for us to view things (5 hrs to be exact)- I’d say our tour guide timed it perfectly so that we would be able to see everything important! Iceland is soo soo beautiful! I would highly recommend this tour to anyone wanting to learn more about Iceland and see the beauty! P.s And if something does change, not expected from your itinerary- I’d say just enjoy the views and don’t let that have a negative impact on your time in this fire and ice country!! Enjoy!
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It was once in a life time experience! I travelled in Christmas time, went to Icelandic church on Christmas Eve, saw northern light for 2 nights at the end. Saw many whales and dolphins at the whale watching. Just the Ice cave was a bit disappointed, not sure whether it was because of the bad weather. Great company and the tour guide was very informative. Definitely recommend for people that travel in Winter time.
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My experience was nothing less than wonderful. Our tour guide, Helgi, was extremely knowledgable and accommodating to the group. I especially liked that he did some extra stops along the way at sites not included in the itinerary. This allowed us to be more active and learn from a local! I highly suggest doing a guided tour in Iceland - coming from Arizona I am not comfortable driving through poor weather conditions/snow and navigating a foreign country on top of that would be difficult! We were unable to see the northern lights the first few days of the tour. We got to see them I believe on day 6 in Northern Iceland. What a beautiful site!! You are on your own at night when looking for the Northern Lights. I was slightly disappointed that me and my friend were placed on the bus with majority non english speakers (There was also another tour bus with guide to Iceland following our same route that was primarily english speakers). I typically like to bond with fellow travelers and it was hard to do with the group we were paired with - but we did our best! There was a 6, 7, and 8 day tour. We did the 7 and we were more than satisfied with it! You can not go wrong doing the 6,7, or 8 day tour. This tour was amazing. Iceland is a beautiful country with so much to see! Recommend 10/10
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It was a wonderful experience. The tour guide of my trip was excellent and knowledgeable. We made good friends and so as the other members of our trip. We saw beautiful aurora in two nights at our hotels. The last day in Akureyri is a bit disappointing due to the accomodation. Point to note is that the 6 days 7 days and 8 days tour were grouped together. I could recommend an 8 days tour so that you do not have to take a flight from Akureyri back to Reykjavik. Instead you could travel to the west a bit and back to Reykjavik by the bus.
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We had a wonderful time on the 7-day tour despite the disappointments of not seeing the Northern Lights or being able to do the ice caving because Mother Nature did not cooperate. Sveinbjorn Sigurdsson did an absolutely fantastic job of being our guide. It was stormy and overcast every night of the tour, so aurora viewing was not possible, but Svein did drive us around for about 4 hours one night trying to find a break in the clouds. He called several other locations on the island the next night to see if their conditions were amenable to viewing but they were not. He went out of his way to substitute locations and events when scheduled stops were not available due to conditions. Folks need to understand that weather can be a major deterrent to doing things in the winter in Iceland so flexibility is the key. Initially, we were concerned about doing a tour because we didn't want to feel constrained by a schedule, but Svein gave us plenty of time to see the sights and provided a lot of information about the culture, people, politics, history and geology of Iceland. We had 15 people on our tour, which was a comfortable number for the tour van. The accommodations were pleasant and modern and all provided hot breakfasts. Svein gave us time to go to grocery stores to buy lunch and/or dinner foods. We ate in the hotel restaurants each night, which were very flavorful but quite expensive. All in all, if Northern Lights are the only reason you are going to Iceland, no one can guarantee that you will see them.
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