9 Day Northern Lights Winter Vacation Package in Iceland with a Guided Ring Road Minibus Tour
Embrace the Icelandic winter on this 9-day tour package, where you'll see the most iconic sights of the island while sitting back and allowing the experts to plan the journey and drive the icy roads.
This package, which includes a guided bus tour, will see you hunt for the Northern Lights while taking you along the South Coast and through the Eastfjords to the wonders of Lake Mývatn, and finally completing the entire Ring Road of Iceland. This excursion is perfect for adventurous travelers who want to experience Iceland's wonderland in winter with ease and comfort.
Your journey begins with an included pickup at the airport and an optional visit to the Blue Lagoon, after which you will be transported to the capital city, Reykjavík. You will then embark on a thoroughly planned journey around the island, starting with the Golden Circle, before reaching Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, the remote Eastfjords, and Akureyri town. Your journey ends back in Reykjavík, where you'll spend your final night in the land of ice and fire.
Your Ring Road adventure comes with exciting activities such as glacier hiking, whale watching, and ice caving. You can opt to add horse riding and visit a geothermal bath by a lake as well.
Each day will end with a possible display of the magnificent phenomenon that is the Northern Lights—although they can never be fully guaranteed, traveling around Iceland in winter provides the best chance of spotting their incredible and colorful display.
This package includes all the comforts of a winter journey and takes you to some of the most famed highlights and lesser-known hidden gems off the beaten track of the island. Don't hesitate to book your Iceland adventure now—check availability by choosing a date.
Day 1 - Arrival & Blue Lagoon
Welcome to Iceland. When you arrive at Keflavík International Airport, you will board a shuttle to take you through the stark lava fields of the Reykjanes Peninsula to Reykjavík City.
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.
Depending on your arrival time, you can explore the charming downtown of Reykjavík, lined with numerous local cafés, restaurants, shops, and museums.
You will spend the night at accommodation in Reykjavík.
Day 2 - Geysers & Waterfalls of the Golden Circle
Your journey begins as you board the minibus and get acquainted with your guide and the rest of the passengers. On the agenda today are Iceland’s most esteemed sights of the Golden Circle route, and you’ll soon see what all the hype is about.
First up on the Golden Circle route is Þingvellir National Park—a UNESCO World Heritage site. It marks the original location of the world’s longest-running democratic parliament, Alþingi, where Icelanders of the Viking Age would gather to establish and discuss national law and order.
The scenic park is located in a rift valley between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. As the continents drift apart, they tear up the ground in the valley and create fissures and gorges that traverse the region.
After exploring this unparalleled site, you will head on to the geothermal valley of Haukadalur, home to bubbling mud pools and active geysers. There you can observe the hot spring Strokkur mightily erupt boiling water some 49-66 feet (15-20 meters) into the air every few minutes.
The final site of the popular circle route is the grand waterfall Gullfoss, a magnificent display of unharnessed power cascading down two tiers into a glacial water crevice.
You will spend the night nearby but before turning in, remember to check the sky for the green veils of the Aurora Borealis.
Day 3 - South Coast & Glacier Hike
Day three will see you set out to traverse along the South Coast of Iceland. There are a wealth of sights and places to visit on this route, so zip up your warmest jacket and get your camera ready.
The day's first stop is Seljalandsfoss, a narrow wonder with a 197-foot (60-meter) drop and one of the most visited waterfalls in Iceland. Next up is another magnificent waterfall, Skógafoss, which cascades off the cliffs of the former coastline, separating the Highlands from the lowlands.
You will pass gigantic glaciers on your drive today, including the infamous Eyjafjallajökull that so memorably erupted back in 2010, putting a stop to European air traffic due to the incredible amount of ash the volcanic ice cap produced. You will also pass the alluring Mýrdalsjökull, the fourth largest glacier in the country.
One of Mýrdalsjökull's outlet glaciers is called Sólheimajökull, and your bus will go right to its icy edges. You will strap on a pair of crampons and embark on a thrilling glacier hike. On top of the ice, you are confronted with astounding views of the coast and surrounding mountains.
Your final destination for the day is the coastal village Vík, where you will visit the black sand beach Reynisfjara and admire the castle-like structure of Reynisdrangar sea stacks where they nest just offshore in the freezing Atlantic Ocean. Marvel at the peculiar basalt columns that make up the cliffs of the beach as well as a fascinating cavern.
You'll spend the night in accommodation close to Vík, relaxing or hunting for the Northern Lights before turning in.
Day 4 - Jokulsarlon & Diamond Beach
On day four, you will continue along the South Coast until you reach the acclaimed glacier lagoon Jökulsárlón—a serene display of majestic icebergs that have broken off Vatnajökull and float in a still blue lake.
The stretch of black beach nearby is rightfully called the Diamond Beach since bergs from the lagoon gather to glisten like gemstones in the sun. You can walk through a field of ice chunks, standing in stark contrast to the black sands they rest on.
On this day, you will also have the unique opportunity to explore one of the South Coast’s beautiful ice caves. If you are visiting between November and March, you will explore one of the ice caves beneath Vatnajökull glacier. If you visit outside of these months, you will discover an ice cave beneath Mýrdalsjökull ice cap. Both are truly out of this world!
These glittering blue tunnels are a must for nature enthusiasts and photographers alike, providing a fascinating insight into how glaciers come to form. You will be amazed by the variety of blue shades found inside, as well as the intricate ice sculptures and sweeping moulins.
Finally, you will spend the night at local accommodation in the southeast area.
Day 5 - Eastfjords Wilderness
Day five of your adventure will see you zigzagging through the wild and desolate fjords of the East, home to incredible landscapes of untouched nature, steep mountains, and sharp coastal cliffs.
The mythical sense of isolation one feels when traveling through here will entice any visitor looking to experience authentic and stark Icelandic terrain. The stops you make today will be dependant on the weather, but rest assured your experienced guide will make the best of this unparalleled route.
After driving through Iceland's largest forest, Hallormstaðarskógur, your final destination will be Egilsstaðir. This friendly town rests on the banks of Lake Lagarfljót, the alleged home to a legendary sea monster whose sightings outdate those of Scotland's Loch Ness monster.
If you choose so during the booking process, your day will also include a horse riding tour through the wild Icelandic nature. Icelandic horses are friendly and gentle, making this the perfect tour for beginners and expert riders alike.
You also have the option to visit the Vök geothermal baths just outside of Egilsstaðir town. The geothermal baths are located right by a lake, providing great views and a peaceful experience.
You will spend the night in a charming town in eastern Iceland. If you find yourself with a little extra time, why not check out the local swimming pool, or go out for dinner in one of the town's restaurants.
Day 6 - Lake Myvatn
On your sixth morning, you will leave the Eastfjords behind and head up North. The destination of the day will be Lake Mývatn, which offers an array of natural wonders to behold.
The Myvatn area is bustling with geothermal activity. You'll see the sulfurous mud springs of Námaskarð Pass, the rocky lava fortress at Dimmuborgir, and the enchanting pseudo-craters of Skútustaðagígar.
If any parts of this geothermal paradise look familiar, it is probably due to many of the wildling scenes of HBO's Game of Thrones having been filmed here. Its otherworldly landscapes are well suited to stand in for pure fantasy - and science fiction, too, as this place was used to train astronauts for the moon landing back in the sixties.
On your way to Akureyri, you will stop at the stunning waterfall Goðafoss, rich in history and natural beauty. When Iceland officially declared itself as a Christian nation, the local law-speaker cast the idols of the pagan gods into this waterfall.
As you make your way over the mountains, Akureyri will come into view across the bay. Explore the town's charming streets, boutiques, museums, cafés, and celebrated restaurants, or pay a visit to its luxurious public swimming pool at the top of the hill. Akureyri is the largest settlement in the North which rests by the finest skiing slopes in the country.
You will spend the night in the Akureyri town area.
Day 7 - Adventures in the North & West
Fasten your seatbelts. Day 7 is sure to provide plenty of adventure! From Akureyri, you'll visit the small village of Hauganes, in Eyjafjörður, the deepest fjord in Iceland. Here you will have the opportunity to partake in exciting extra activities.
First, you are welcome to enjoy a thrilling whale-watching expedition, allowing you to get up and personal with Iceland's gentle giants. Over twenty cetacean species in Icelandic waters, making this the optimum choice for wildlife lovers and landscape enthusiasts.
Following your time at Hauganes, you'll visit the "Troll of the Northwest," Hvítserkur rock stack. Comprised of basalt and standing a towering 49 feet (fifteen meters) high over the ocean, this is one of the country's most peculiar natural rock formations.
Finally, you will travel back to Reykjavík, where you will spend the night.
Day 8 - Reykjavik and Beyond
On day 8, you are free to enjoy Iceland's gorgeous capital city, Reykjavík, or the Snaefellnes Peninsula.
As the country's central hub for the arts, retail, and recreation, Reykjavik is sure to provide you with countless options on how best to spend your day.
By booking a Reykjavik City Card, you can visit many museums, galleries, and pools for free or at discounted prices, adding to your sightseeing and cultural experience. You can also get to know the capital better by booking a walking tour with lots of tastings of traditional, local snacks.
Another fantastic Reykjavik experience you can add onto your day is a dip into the magical Sky Lagoon. This geothermal spa has an infinity pool overlooking the sea, a sauna with similarly beautiful views, and a relaxing seven-step ritual.
For those looking to continue the action, several tours can be embarked upon, the first of which is whale watching if you missed it from the day before. Faxafloi Bay is famed as a fantastic feeding ground for Iceland's whales and dolphins, providing the perfect opportunity to photograph and appreciate these majestic creatures at their best.
Another option is a snorkeling day tour to Silfra fissure in Thingvellir National Park. You can marvel over beautiful underwater views while swimming betweeen two tectonic plates.
Alternatively, you could spend the whole time exploring the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. This stunning part of West Iceland has dramatic mountains, beautiful beaches, abundant wildlife, and stunning geology.
Snaefellnes is also home to the Snaefellsjokull National Park, which is centered around Snaefellsjokull glacier. This beautiful feature has inspired many writers and artists, and is famous for its two peaks.
Game of Thrones fans will particularly enjoy their Snaefellsnes adventures because it features Mount Kirkjufell, or 'the Mountain Shaped Like an Arrowhead' from the later seasons.
Day 9 - Farewell
Today your adventure comes to an end for the time being. Pack your bags and catch your complimentary ride to the airport in due time for your flight home.
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.
Know that you just experienced the Icelandic winter in all its glory as you leave the island’s shores, providing you with memories and wonderful photographs that will last you a lifetime.
Have a safe journey home and come back soon.
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.