8 Day Winter Excursion | Guided Circle of Iceland Small Group Tour

8 Day Winter Excursion | Guided Circle of Iceland Small Group Tour
On this 8-day guided tour you will travel from Reykjavík around the Ring Road of Iceland seeing attractions such as Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, many waterfalls, Akureyri and the Snæfellsnes peninsula.
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.
4.9
Based on 129 traveller reviews

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, marvel at 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, go horse riding, 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 UNESCO World Heritage site Þingvellir and Vatnajökull National Park. For landscape photographers and nature lovers, these regions offer a fantastic opportunity to revel 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 phenomena 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 your best chances of spotting them. You will also retire to the best available accommodation available throughout your entire stay.  

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:
  • Available: Sep. - Apr.
  • Duration: 8 days
  • Activities: Glacier Hiking, Caving, Horse Riding, Whale Watching, Sightseeing, Northern lights hunting, Hot Spring Bathing, Cultural Activity, Ice Caving
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Minimum age: 8 years.
  • Languages: English
  • Highlights: Golden Circle, East Iceland, North Iceland, West Iceland , Reykjavík, Akureyri, Jökulsárlón, Vatnajökull, Mývatn, Dimmuborgir, Goðafoss, Snæfellsjökull, Skógafoss, Seljalandsfoss, Geysir, Gullfoss, Eyjafjallajökull, Þingvellir, Katla, Snæfellsnes, Sólheimajökull, Mýrdalsjökull, Skaftafell, Silfra, Sólheimasandur, Eyjafjörður, Borgarfjörður, Húsafell, Höfn, Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach, Hellnar, Reykholt, Borgarnes, Skeiðarársandur, Arnarstapi, Vík í Mýrdal, Egilsstaðir, Hella, Akureyrarkirkja, Fáskrúðsfjörður, Kirkjufell, Reynisfjall, Snæfellsjökull National Park, Reynisdrangar, Öxarárfoss, Haukadalur, Skaftafellsjökull, Námaskarð, Lagarfljót, Vatnshellir Cave, Breiðavík, Lóndrangar, Djúpalónssandur, Hallormsstaðaskógur, Breiðamerkurjökull, South Coast, Diamond Beach, Ring Road, Kjarnaskógur
Pickup information:
  • Pickup time : 08:00.

Pick up might take 30-40 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 nights of accommodation in various country hotels with breakfast and a private bathroom

  • Northern Lights spotting

  • Taxes

  • Flights

  • Any additional activities (can be added when booking)

  • Lunch and dinner


What to bring:
  • Warm and waterproof clothing

  • Camera

  • A sense of adventure

  • Winter hiking shoes

  • Swimsuit and a towel


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.

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 pick up and drop-off from designated pick up 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.

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


Strokkur blasting out boiling water at sunrise.


Today, you start your 8-day adventure. After being picked up, you will meet your experienced guide and acquaint yourself with the rest of the group. Then it's on to the real fun: the Golden Circle tour, one of Iceland's most popular attractions. First, you will discover Þingvellir National Park, one of only three national parks in Iceland, and the only site on the mainland with UNESCO World Heritage status.

The reasons for this are immediately apparent. First, this is the site where Iceland's earliest settlers formed what would later become known as the Alþingi, in 930 AD, making it the oldest surviving Parliament 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 here, standing out of the earth.

From Þingvellir, you will travel a short distance to two more attractions, Geysir and Gullfoss. The first is a geothermally active area where visitors can see the hot spring Strokkur, spurting out boiling water every five minutes or so—another intriguing insight into the country's geological activity.

From there, you will travel to Gullfoss ("Golden Falls"), one of Iceland's most iconic waterfalls. This powerful feature drops 32 metres over two rocky tiers, an incredible natural display.

If you wish to make this memorable day even more memorable, you can add on a horse riding tour during the booking process and ride the friendly Icelandic horse through the beautiful snowy countryside.

On your first evening, you will spend the night in an area near the Golden Circle, or in Hella village. Throughout your journey, you'll mostly be staying in countryside accommodations, providing excellent opportunities to witness the northern lights, should the skies be clear of clouds.


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 great variety: rustic farmlands, cascading rivers and picturesque waterfalls, including Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss.

On your right side, the rolling blue waves of the Atlantic Ocean complement this Nordic paradise. There will be numerous stops to take photographs and soak up the scenery. There will also be a stop for an additional 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.

Before you retire to your accommodations—either in or close to the small coastal village of Vík—you will visit the famous black sand beach of Reynisfjara where you will be able to get an up-close look at the naturally intricate basalt stacks.

The village is also an excellent stop to chow down on delicious, traditional Icelandic food and shop for homemade handicrafts.


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 - Jokulsarlon & Ice Caving


The dazzling blue interior of Iceland's ice caves.


Your third day is sure 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, Breiðamerkurjökull, then floating out into 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.

On this day you will also have the unique opportunity to explore the insides of a glacier on a trip to one of Iceland's ice caves. 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. If visiting at other times of the year, you'll step inside the frozen world of the glacier Mýrdalsjökull.

Your night will then be spent in the area under Vatnajökull glacier.


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 Eastfjords, 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 described as 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.

There are a number of stops this day that, due 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 in accommodations in the Eastfjords 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 & Dimmuborgir


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. Legends state that this is the home of the hidden people, but the harsh looking lava fields have also been used as mythical and otherworldly locations for film and television.

Another remarkable site is Námaskarð, a geothermal area of bubbling mud pools and steaming fumaroles. A local custom is to place dough of sweet rye bread in metal containers and bury them in the area overnight, leaving the land to slowly bake the most delicious meal.

During the day, you will also have the option to visit Mývatn Nature Baths, an excellent spa fed by warm and mineral-rich geothermal water.

You will spend the evening in the Mývatn area.


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 - Akureyri


Make sure you keep your eyes on the sky as you travel around the country in the winter, you might catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights.


Today you will be making your way to the largest town in the North of Iceland, Akureyri. On your way from the Mývatn area, you will stop at the waterfall Goðafoss, which is rich with history as well as beauty.

As you drive through the Víkurskarð mountain pass, you can take in the stunning views of the surrounding Eyjafjörður fjord and snowy vistas. Soon you will enter Akureyri, where you can look forward to exploring the town, which is full of museums, shops and cafes.

You could visit the church that dominates the landscape and, close by, the local swimming pool, which has two slides and many jacuzzi hot tubs.

You also have the option to join a whale watching tour. Get to know the gentle giants of the sea up close and in the wild. You won't regret it.

After this day, you will spend the night 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 - Drive from Akureyri to Reykholt


Iceland becomes a winter wonderland when it is blanketed in snow.


Now that you've become familiar with Akureyri, you'll be heading to the west, towards the village of Reykholt in Borgarfjörður, up and down mountainous regions and valleys. As you pass through the Skagafjörður region, be sure to keep an eye open for Icelandic horses, as this is the only fjord in Iceland where horses outnumber people.

Reykholt is among the most important historical locations in the country. It 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.

Nearby, you will pay a visit to the largest hot spring in Europe, Deildartunguhver, which provides hot water to the western towns Borganes and Akranes.

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


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

While here, you're sure to make a stop at Snæfellsjökull National Park, named after the iconic glacier, Snæfellsjökull. Another highlight of this charming peninsula is Mount Kirkjufell, known for its jagged peak as well as its role in the TV show Game of Thrones.

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 most extensive lava caves, this underground dome is easily accessible and explorable with a good guide. Go on your own Jules Verne adventure and journey—at least partially—to the centre of the earth.

When your excursion of this 90 km long peninsula comes to an end, you will head to Reykjavík, bringing your journey to an end. You can expect to arrive in Reykavík in the early evening but it is highly recommended that you do not plan to fly out the same night in case of any delays or bad weather. Take the opportunity to explore the world's most northern capital Reykjavík and its exciting nightlife.


Cancellation Insurance

This insurance guarantees that you can cancel the booking of this package and receive a full refund, minus the insurance cost of 5,000 ISK per person.
The cancellation must be made within a minimum of 48-hours before the listed starting time. To cancel your booking and claim your refund, simply contact our service desk by writing to info@guidetoiceland.is no later than 48-hours before departure and declare the cancellation.
Please note that this insurance only covers the full cancellation of this entire package. It does not cover cancellations of individual activities and services within the package. The cost of the Cancellation Insurance is neither refundable nor transferable.


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The trip is simply amazing and relaxing. Our tour guide Ingolfur Matthiasson (https://www.facebook.com/ingolfur.matthiasson) is super nice, professional and passionate. He is the guy you want to travel with, he knows all the stories about Iceland wherever we go and makes great arrangement every day. I enjoy every single minute with him during the tour. I definitely would like to visit this magical island again in the future and ask for Ingo's company as well.
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Absolutely fantastic trip! Enjoyed it all - scenery, glacier hiking, horseback riding . . . . . even the crazy weather. We've never experienced such bitter cold and wind before, even though the temperature was above freezing. Our guide Jakob Gudjohnsen was very knowledgeable and entertaining. He went above and beyond the call of duty several times for us. He drove us around one evening searching for the northern lights. Everyone on the tour was keen to go as we had not seen them yet and we were nearing the end of the 8 day tour. We did manage to see the northern lights the next day. Jakob was out with us that evening, and he took photos of us and the northern lights. Thank goodness he did that, as our cameras were unable to capture the northern lights. He emailed the photos to us the next day, and we are so grateful for the memories! That was my main reason for wanting to go to Iceland-the northern lights. Jakob also returned to the site of an excursion one evening to retrieve a cell phone we had left behind earlier in the day. He also arranged for the return of a pair of sunglasses we left behind as well. We can't thank Jakob enough. He was truly a life saver on this trip. Our son loved the trip so much he said he is going to move to Iceland (but we said he has to finish high school first).
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Would highly recommend this tour. It exceeded our expectations. Plenty of time was allowed at each stop and arrival at the hotels gave us time to freshen up, relax before dinner, something not all tours provide. Our guide, Hildi, was amazing, informative, and so much fun. She was a careful and patient driver in bad weather. Hotels were exceptional, especially Hotel Husafell!
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Our guide,Swend, is very good. He showed us the beautiful scenery of Iceland, shared a lot of funny stories, took care of us throughout the journey. We met some good friends in the trip that made the 8-day trip a memorable experience to us. Highly recommended if you wanna see the whole view of Iceland!
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One of the most amazing trips me and my wife have ever taken. Jon was our guide and I can’t say enough about how awesome he was and extremely knowledgeable about all things Iceland. We were picked up right on time at the location we were assigned. We were lucky enough to see the northern lights two times on our trip and all the lodging we stayed in was top notch. We hit all the highlights and were also shown a lot of extras. By the end of the trip our group was like family including our guide Jon. If you like to stay busy and see as much as possible this trip is for you. If you need a slower pace book a self drive but I highly recommend taking the 8 day winter tour if you really want to learn about Iceland and there culture. We absolutely love Iceland and will be back for sure!
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My husband and I took the 8-day full circle excursion with Guide to Iceland. We had a fantastic experience and an amazing holiday. We traveled in March 2019 and experienced all types of weather on our first day itself! Starting with a bright sunny day, to rain, snow, chilly wind and then being pleasant again - in a span of just 3 hours! Each day on this tour was a different experience - we hiked on top of glaciers, went inside ice caves, saw natural geysers, black sand beaches, natural lava caves, hot springs, lava fields, waterfalls (Can't count how many we must have seen on our trip!) and even experienced a wind storm with speeds of more than 130 kms/hour!! Booking ourselves on Guide to Iceland was the best decision we took and our entire stay there was stress-free. Circling the country can require a lot of planning and bookings, if one has to do it all by themselves, but Guide to Iceland made our trip completely hassle-free. Our Guide Omar was a really friendly guy who made sure we knew the history and significance of each place we visited. We were 15 people on our tour and we went around in a mini-bus which was quite comfortable (free wifi on board). All the hotels we stayed at (different each night) were comfortable and cosy. Icelandic people are extremely warm and friendly and would go out of their way to help you if needed. As a nature lover, I fell completely in love with the raw beauty of Iceland and what all unique sights and experiences it has to offer. I would definitely recommend Guide to Iceland for your trip to this unbelievable 'heaven on earth'!
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Our guide, Helga was excellent. She is knowledgable, relaxed and a very good driver. The accommodations were all top notch, new hotels. Food is really expensive but that's not the fault of the company, just something to be aware of. Iceland is so different, geologically from anywhere else we have been, it was fascinating.
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This 8 day excursion is a must!!! You see iceland on a whole new level! Hildi from Aurora hunters was our guide and she was amazing! A very safe driver, and even took us to some bonus stops not on the itinerary! The hotels we stayed at were great, plus they were away from light pollution so we were able to look for the northern lights, we got lucky the first night and last night of our trip to see them. The food was delicious, surprisingly they had many options for vegan/vegetarian which was great to see for me. Did you know the drinking water from taps is super clean and pure to drink, was a double bonus when I didn't have to buy bottled water! All of our tour stops at key points, etc we were given ample time to get some photos and enjoy the site! All in all this tour was the best SOLO trip I have ever done, thanks for putting together a great trip!
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Our group of six recently completed the 8 day tour of Iceland. The tour was very well planned with incredible sights and experiences on every day. Our tour guide, Thor was outstanding. Throughout the trip he shared Icelandic history, geopgraphical information and wonderful stories of the "Sagas" and folklore of Iceland. Thor's"Icelandic" pride was infectious. During our eight days together he worked very hard to make sure that all of the members of our group were having a good time. We did several of the excursions; the glacier hike, the ice cave, the lava cave and the hot springs. On the days we did not do the excursions, Thor took our group to see other sights. All of the hotels were lovely. At many of them the dinners were delicious. We would highly recommend this tour to others!
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My husband and I recently celebrated his 50th birthday and took an 8-day "Aurora Hunters" small group tour in Iceland in February. Iceland is a stunning country and so very raw. It was a privilege to see. Snow, ice, mountains and valleys formed and sculpted by volcanic activity, glaciers, waterfalls and the "NORTHERN LIGHTS"!!!!!!!!! Yes, we were lucky to see these on two nights and whilst the activity was only medium, we were enchanted. The photos have turned out well and we have been showing these off to friends and family! The tour was well organised and our guide Jon was great. We really had a sense that he was invested in showing his homeland off to us and ensuring we had the best experiences. We was a wealth of knowledge. We enjoyed all the add-on activities. We will be back! Like Carol, we would recommend the purchase of slip on spikes for your shoes unless of course you come from a country/city/town where snow and ice are regular events. They certainly made us feel more confident on our feet!!
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8 Day Winter Excursion | Guided Circle of Iceland Small Group Tour