8 Day Guided Northern Lights Winter Tour of the Complete Ring Road of Iceland
Join this small group guided minibus tour to travel the full circle around Iceland in 8 days. Explore and experience the country's most iconic natural attractions. This tour is tailored to travelers looking to maximize their vacation time by enjoying the full breadth of Iceland's unmatched diversity.
From the snow-wreathed mountains of the Eastfjords to the rugged, dried lava fields of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, there's no telling of the adventure that awaits. Throughout this 8-day winter journey, you will visit numerous towns and coastal villages, discover charming lakes, marvel at cascading waterfalls, and so much more.
You will even spend time in all three of Iceland's wondrous national parks. These regions offer a fantastic opportunity to revel in incredible landscapes and geology for landscape photographers and nature lovers.
On top of all of this, many life-changing activities are included in the price of this tour. An ice cave exploration, a trek to an active volcano; a hike upon the surface of a glacier; and a breathtaking whale-watching excursion are all part of the package.
Because this is a guided tour, there will be plenty of opportunities to soak up the Icelandic culture, ask questions and garner a better understanding of the geological makeup and natural phenomena that make the country so attractive. As such, you'll get the most out of every experience as you explore the wonders of Iceland.
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 your best chance of spotting them. You will also rest at the end of each day at 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.
Day 1 - The Golden Circle
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 Thingvellir 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 Althingi in 930 AD, making it the oldest surviving Parliament in the world. Second, the park is located directly within the Mid-Atlantic Ridge; the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates stand out of the earth.
From Thingvellir, 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 meters 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 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.
Day 2 - The South Coast & Glacier Hike
Your second day will see you traveling 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 Skogafoss 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 Solheimajokull.
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 accommodation—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-formed intricate basalt stacks.
The village is also an excellent stop to chow down on delicious, traditional Icelandic food and shop for homemade handicrafts.
Day 3 - Jokulsarlon & Ice Caving
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 Jokulsarlon 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, Breidamerkurjokull, 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 colors 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 see a cave in Vatnajokull glacier. If coming at other times of the year, you'll step inside the frozen world of the glacier Myrdalsjokull.
Your night will then be spent in the area under Vatnajokull glacier.
Day 4 - The Eastfjords
Today, you will continue towards the Eastfjords, one of Iceland's most spectacular and untouched wilderness regions. The sense of peace and tranquillity that comes with exploring this diverse area can only be described as a genuine 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.
Due to their natural splendor, there are several stops this day that are bound to defy the imagination, including the forest Hallormsstadaskogur, the lake Lagarfljot, the sweeping fjords of the East, and several charming fishing settlements.
Suppose you wish to make this unforgettable day even more memorable. In that case, you can add on a horse riding tour during the booking process and ride the friendly Icelandic horse through the beautiful snowy countryside.
Tonight, you will stay in accommodations in the Eastfjords area.
Day 5 - Lake Myvatn & Dimmuborgir
At the beginning of your fifth day, you have an option to bask in the geothermal waters of the Vok Baths, a spa immersed in a serene lake near the town of Egilsstadir. After this, you will head north toward the scenic Lake Myvatn ("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 characterized 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 Christmas trolls, but the harsh-looking lava fields have also been used as mythical and otherworldly locations for film and television.
Another great site is Namaskard, 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.
On your way from Mývatn, you will stop at the waterfall Godafoss, which is rich in history and beauty. As you drive through the Vikurskard mountain pass, you can take in the stunning views of the surrounding Eyjafjordur 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 will spend the evening in the Akureyri area.
Day 6 - Whale Watching and North Iceland
Today you will be making your way to the west part of the island. Before you leave the North, however, you will visit the peaceful, picturesque village of Hauganes.
This tiny settlement is home to only about 140 people, but it is rich in charm. Here, you can spend some time strolling on the black sand beach found there or walk to the harbor to see the fishing boats bob up and down in the ocean.
If you are looking for some adventure, you will join a whale-watching tour from the harbor and try and spot these gentle giants in their natural habitat. Of the many species found there, the great Humpback Whales, Minke Whales, Harbour Porpoise, and White Beaked Dolphins are the most commonly spotted, but there is always a chance to see other types such as Orcas or even Blue Whales.
You will then head to your accommodations near the town of Borgarnes. Before going to bed, you could spend the evening relaxing in the hotel’s hot tub and gaze up at the sky in hopes of catching a glimpse of the elusive northern lights.
Day 7 - Snaefellsnes Peninsula
Today, you will explore the Snaefellsnes Peninsula further. You will find a world of dramatic mountainscapes, great cliff-faces, numerous bird species, and ancient fishing settlements here.
Your first stop will be at Gerduberg, a stunning cliff made of hexagonal basalt columns. From there, you’ll head to Ytri-Tunga, where you’ll see something unusual in Iceland, a white sand beach.
The beach at Ytri-Tunga does not have black volcanic sand like most beaches. Though this quality makes it unique, the most remarkable sight here is the seal colonies lounging offshore.
From there, you’ll head to the black pebble beach of Djupalonssandur. To get to the beach, you will have to walk through a natural maze of free-standing lava pillars. The scene looks like it comes straight out of a fairytale.
Watching over you throughout your journey today is the massive Snaefellsjokull glacier. This natural feature was used as the entrance to the center of the Earth in Jules Verne’s classic sci-fi novel.
No tour of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula is complete without a visit to the iconic Kirkjufell mountain. This picturesque mountain is featured in Game of Thrones as the ‘mountain like an arrowhead,’ located beyond the Wall.
You will then make your way back to your accommodation. Get a good night’s sleep as you will spend the day tomorrow marveling over a volcanic eruption!
Day 8 - West Iceland
This is the final day of your tour, sure to round off your trip to Iceland wonderfully. You’ll get to explore the beautiful West-Iceland!
You’ll start the day by visiting Deildartunguhver, Europe’s most powerful hot spring, where boiling water bubbles up from the ground, which has been dyed red by the water’s minerals, and steam encompasses the area.
Then it is off to Reykholt, one of the country’s most important historical locations. It was the homestead of the poet, Saga-author, scholar, law-maker, and chieftain, Snorri Sturluson, who was arguably one of the most significant figures of the Middle Ages.
From there, you’ll visit two vastly different but equally stunning waterfalls, Hraunfossar and Barnafoss. The former is actually a series of rivulets that seep through pores in the surrounding dark lava field. The latter, Barnafoss, is a bright blue color and rushes rapidly through a narrow gorge.
Today, you have a fantastic opportunity to go lava caving as one of your last adventures. Vidgelmir is a spectacular tunnel beneath the landscapes of West Iceland, renowned for its breathtaking formations and sculptures of ice. Even those unsteady on their feet will find it manageable due to the footpath through the cave.
You’ll then be driven back to Reykjavik, where you can reminisce over your incredible trip in a friendly pub or acclaimed restaurant.
What to bring
Good to know
Customers traveling 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 issued. For example, a group of 8 will receive 2 triple rooms and 1 double. If these arrangements do not meet your requirements, don't hesitate to get in touch with the provider.
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 advised that there is no specific Northern Lights hunt on this tour, but your guide will notify you if the conditions are favorable and advise you on how to spot them.
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.
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, it is not recommended to attempt 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.
This insurance guarantees that you can cancel tour and package bookings and receive a full refund, minus the insurance cost.
The cost of your cancellation insurance depends on the duration of your tour or package. A base cost of 5,000 ISK per person is applied to all tours and packages with a duration of 5 days or less. An additional 1,000 ISK per person will be added to the insurance cost for each day after.
The cancellation must be made more than 48 hours before the listed starting time on your voucher. To cancel your booking and claim your refund, simply contact firstname.lastname@example.org and declare full cancellation.
COVID-19 Related Cancellations
If you need to cancel your booking due to COVID-19 related reasons, the cancellation insurance provides further protection for your booking. If you purchase a self-drive tour or guided tour package along with the cancellation insurance, you will also get a full refund.
If you test positive on arrival, to get the full refund after arrival, please email us at email@example.com with your booking details and your test result within 4 hours after you receive the test result.
If your flight gets cancelled due to COVID, to get the full refund, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your booking details and your flight cancellation confirmation prior to your scheduled flight departure time.
Please note that this insurance covers the cancellation of the whole tour or package. Individual services cannot be cancelled and refunded separately, but are all covered and refunded in case of a full cancellation.