8 Day Winter Excursion | Guided Circle of Iceland Minibus Tour

8 Day Winter Excursion | Guided Circle of Iceland Minibus Tour
There's nothing so magical as stepping inside of an ice cave for the first time.
'The mountain like an arrowhead' - Mt. Kirkjufell.
Iceland's landscape is wild, eclectic and like no where else on earth.
Iceland is the land of a thousand waterfalls, with more being found every year.
An inner city park in Reykjavik during the wintertime.
The mighty Gullfoss waterfall during dusk.
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Join this all-encompassing, guided minibus tour, travelling the full circle around Iceland to explore and experience the country's most iconic natural attractions. This tour is tailored to travellers who are looking to maximise their vacation time, as well as those looking to experience the full breadth of Iceland's unmatched diversity.  

From the snow-wreathed mountains of the Eastfjords to the rugged, dried lava fields of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, there's no telling of the adventure that awaits. Throughout this eight-day winter journey, you will visit numerous towns and coastal villages, scale glaciers, discover charming lakes, cascading waterfalls and so much more. 

There is also ample opportunity to add extra excursions to your trip during the booking process. You can go glacier hiking up Sólheimajökull, venture into a lava tube at Vatnshellir Cave or partake in the incredible chance to go inside an authentic ice-cave.

You will spend time in many of Iceland's national parks and nature reserves, including the UNESCO World Heritage site, Þingvellir, and the Skaftafell Nature Reserve. For landscape photographers and nature lovers, these regions offer a fantastic opportunity to relish in Iceland's landscape and geology. 

This is a guided tour, meaning there will be plenty of opportunities to soak up the Icelandic culture, ask questions and garner a true understanding of the geological makeup and natural phenomenon that make the country so attractive. 

Every night will conclude with a possible display of the celestial phenomenon,  the Northern Lights. Their appearance can never be guaranteed, but exploring the country in wintertime is one of the best chances of spotting them. 

So don't delay—hop on this fantastic guided bus excursion and you too can experience the best of Iceland's natural delights! Check availability by choosing a date.


Quick facts

Tour information:
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:
  • 8 day guided tour to the South Coast, East and North of Iceland as well as Snæfellsnes Peninsula, travelling via the Ring Route.

  • 7 night of accommodation in various country hotels with breakfast and a private bathroom

  • Northern Lights Hunting

  • Taxes

  • Flights

  • Any additional activities (can be added when booking)

  • Lunch and dinner


What to bring:
  • Warm and waterproof clothing

  • Your camera

  • A sense of adventure

  • Winter hiking shoes

  • Swimsuit and a towel


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.

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.



Daily itinerary

Day 1 - The Golden Circle


Strokkur blasting out boiling water at sunrise.


Today, you start your 8-day adventure.  You will first be picked up in the morning and join up with the bus tour. There, you will meet your experienced guide and acquaint yourself with the rest of the group. Then, it's the real fun; the Golden Circle tour, one of Iceland's most popular attractions. You will first discover Þingvellir National Park, the largest national park in Iceland and the only site in the country with UNESCO World Heritage status.

The reasons for this are immediately clear. First, this is the site where Iceland's earliest settlers formed what would later become known as the Alþingi, in 930 AD, arguably the first parliamentary democracy in the world. Second, the park is located directly atop the Mid-Atlantic Ridge; both the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates can be seen exposed here from the earth. Finally, this area is home to Silfra Fissure, a clear-blue spring of glacial water directly between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates.

From Þingvellir, you will travel a short distance to two more attractions; Geysir and Gullfoss. The first is a geothermally active area where visitors are privy to the hot spring Strokkur, spurting out boiling water every five minutes or so; again, this is another true insight into the active makeup of the country's geology.

From there, you will travel to Gullfoss ("Golden Falls"), one of Iceland's most iconic waterfalls. This powerful feature drops 32 m over two rocky tiers, an incredible natural display. On your first evening, you will spend the night in an area near the Golden Circle or in Hella village.


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 - The South Coast & Glacier Hike


The black sand beach, Reynisfjara, during the winter.


Your second day will see you travelling down the South Coast of Iceland, one of the country's most beautiful areas. From your accommodations, you will pass scenery of splendid variety; rustic farmlands, cascading rivers and picturesque waterfalls, including Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss.

On your right side, the rolling blue waves of the Atlantic Ocean compliment this Nordic paradise. There will be numerous stops to take photographs and soak up the scenery. There will also be a stop for an adventure; a glacier hike on Sólheimajökull (if you opted for that in your booking process.)

On the hike, you will trek up the glacier, passing deep crevasses and jagged ridges, all the while taking in the incredible view of your surroundings. The ice itself is deep blue but the glacier's snowy peaks are blackened by ash from volcanic eruptions. 

That evening, you will sleep in accommodation at the small coastal village of Vík. The famous black sand beach, Reynisfjara, is within easy access; at the beach, you will be able to see up close the naturally intricate basalt stacks. Many have often noted how these stacks resemble a dark castle on the shoreline. The village is also an excellent stop to chow down on delicious, traditional Icelandic food and shop for homemade handicrafts; the perfect souvenir. 


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 - Skaftafell National Park with Jokulsarlon & Ice Caving


The dazzling blue interior of Iceland's ice caves.


Your third day is ensured to be one of the highlights of your trip. As you travel across the black sand desert of Skeiðarársandur, the sight of Skaftafell National Park emerges before you in a display of steep mountain ridges, carved ice sheets and dramatic wooded slopes.

As you proceed, you will stop at Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, one of the most iconic spots in the whole of Iceland. Here you will see icebergs of pure white and cerulean blue breaking off from the enormous glacier, Breiðamerkurjökul, then floating out in the lagoon to create an awe-inspiring natural spectacle. If you keep your eyes peeled, you might even spot some resident seals playing in the water or lounging on the icebergs themselves.

On this day you will also have the opportunity to explore one of Iceland's ice caves. This is a unique experience, presenting the chance to explore the insides of a glacier. The full spectrum of colours is bound to entice you, as is the sense of adventure that comes with descending these icy inlets. If you are visiting between November and March, you'll visit a cave in Vatnajökull glacier otherwise you'll step inside the icy world of the glacier Mýrdalsjökull.

Your night will then be spent in the town of Höfn, by the shore of the North Atlantic ocean. 


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, one of the East's most dramatic mountainscapes.


Today, you will continue towards the East fjords, one of the most spectacular and untouched wilderness regions in Iceland. The sense of peace and tranquillity that comes with exploring this diverse area can only be surmised as gaining a true connection to nature.

Because of this region's lack of development, the East provides some of the best opportunities to potentially see wildlife, including herds of roaming wild reindeer and arctic foxes.

There are a number of stops this day that, due only to their natural splendour, are bound to defy the imagination, including the forest Hallormsstaðaskógur, the lake Lagarfljót, the sweeping fjords of the east and several charming fishing settlements.

Tonight, you will stay at accommodation in the Eastfjord 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 and Husavik Village


Much of the area surrounding Lake Mývatn is geothermal.


At the beginning of your fifth day, you will head inward toward the scenic Lake Mývatn ("Fly Lake"). Thankfully, the flies are nowhere to be seen in the winter months, leaving you free to soak in the atmosphere of the lake and its dramatic volcanic scenery.

One point of interest here is Dimmuborgir ("Dark Castles"), an area characterised by its strange rock formations, some of which come together to resemble a dark, fantastical fort. Another is Námaskarð, a geothermal area of bubbling mud pools and steaming fumaroles.

There will be part of the day dedicated to checking out Húsavík; it is a town of roughly 2000 people and an excellent place to learn more about the region. For a taste of history, you can visit Húsavíkurkirkja, a church built in 1907, or take a leisurely stroll around the town's small but charming shops. 

You will head back to the Mývatn area to spend the night.


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 - Eyjafjordur Fjord


The east of Iceland is the country's least visited, and least populated areas.


The following day, you will continue to immerse yourself in the culture of the region by making a visit to a farm in Eyjafjörður where you can get to grips with Iceland's agricultural history, learning about and exploring the café and farm Kaffi Kú.

This truly is a magnificent area, surrounded by sweeping mountainscapes and carved with picturesque rivers. Before you eventually make your way to the largest town in North Iceland, Akureyri; you will stop by at the Christmas House to experience the joy of Yuletide, no matter what day of the year it is.

You'll then explore Akureyri, a charming and friendly town in the shadow of the finest skiing slopes in the country. This is where you will spend the night.


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 - Drive from Akureyri to Reykholt


Akureyri has a vibrant local culture and gorgeous surrounding scenery.


Today, you will wake up in Akureyri, a fantastic place to soak up the local culture. This town, commonly known as 'The Capital of the North', lies just 100 km from the Arctic Circle. You can spend time visiting some of Akureyri's museums, charming boutiques, shops or cafés. 

Once you have made the most of the town, you'll be heading to the west, towards the village of Reykholt, in Borgarfjörður.

Reykholt is among the most important historical locations in the country. This was the homestead of the poet, Saga author, scholar, law-maker and chieftain, Snorri Sturluson, arguably one of the most significant figures of the Middle Ages. 

The area is not only rich in history but boasts breathtaking landscapes too. You'll spend the night at accommodations in this beautiful area.


Accommodation

Fosshótel Reykholt

Fosshótel Reykholt is a country hotel in West Iceland. All rooms have a private bathroom and free Wi-Fi. The hotel has a restaurant which offers traditional Icelandic cuisine, as well as a bar and TV lounge. Breakfast is included.

Hótel Húsafell

Hotel Húsafell is a 3-star hotel located in Húsafell settlement, surrounded by picturesque landscapes. All bedrooms have private bathrooms that include shower or bath, hairdryer, and free toiletries. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.


Day 8 - The Snaefellsnes Peninsula


Kirkjufell is the most photographed mountain in Iceland.


This is the final day of your tour and is sure to round off your trip to Iceland wonderfully. Today, you will be heading to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, a world of dramatic mountainscapes, tall cliff-faces, bird species and ancient fishing settlements.

Whilst here, you're sure to make a stop at Snæfellsjökull National Park, named after the iconic glacier, Snæfellsjökull. The glacier will be an ever-present sight throughout your time on the peninsula, as will Mt. Kirkjufell, the most photographed mountain in Iceland.

If you'd like to explore a bit more, there is an optional excursion to the Vatnshellir cave tour on this day. One of Iceland's largest lava caves, this underground dome is easily accessible and explorable with a good guide. You can try out your own Verne-esque adventure and go, at least partially, to the centre of the earth.

When your excursion of this 90km long peninsula comes to an end, you will head to Reykjavík, bringing your journey to an end.


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8 Day Winter Excursion | Guided Circle of Iceland Minibus Tour
 
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