9 Day Winter Itinerary | The Complete Iceland Experience

4.7
Based on 7 traveller reviews

Reserve this 9-day package tour to experience all the best attractions Iceland has to offer in winter. In addition to visiting the most exciting and popular attractions, such as the Blue Lagoon and the Golden Circle, you'll have a rare opportunity to see a natural gem, an ice cave in the Vatnajökull glacier.

You will also see the famed Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, which has made numerous appearances in Hollywood blockbuster films. Snæfellsnes, the peninsula aptly nicknamed "Iceland in miniature," is another highlight of this package.

You will also have a free day to explore the capital Reykjavík while also the chance to visit Akureyri, the largest city in northern Iceland, with an included flight. From there, you'll investigate the cratered landscape of the Lake Mývatn area and the strange, elf-blessed formations of lava rocks.

All your accommodation is included in this travel package. You'll be able to customise your trip with additional activities to suit your interests, whether you want to make your vacation a haven of relaxation, or cram every evening with something fun.

On your day in the Golden Circle area, you can go snorkelling in Silfra fissure while at Þingvellir. 

If the waters don't call to you, try the glacier and mountains! You can go snowmobiling on top of Langjökull glacier, the second largest ice cap in Iceland. Zoom across the ice as fast as you can, or take your time and enjoy the view.

If you're feeling tired, but not ready to call it a day, let someone else do the walking. Go horseback riding and get to know the sturdy Icelandic horse. These horses are cutest at this time of year, in their shaggy winter coats. 

The package is also designed to allow you to hunt for the Northern Lights often throughout your stay, increasing your chances of seeing their fleeting glory.

Don't miss out on this full tour of Iceland, including a one-of-a-kind ice cave! Check availability by choosing a date.


Quick facts

Tour information:
  • Available: Nov. - Mar.
  • Duration: 9 days
  • Activities: Snorkelling, Caving, Hiking, Snowmobile, Horse Riding, Sightseeing, Boat Trip, Northern lights hunting, Hot Spring Bathing, Ice Caving
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Minimum age: 8 years old
  • Languages: English
  • Highlights: Blue Lagoon, Golden Circle, Reykjavík, Akureyri, Jökulsárlón, Mývatn, Dimmuborgir, Goðafoss, Skógafoss, Seljalandsfoss, Geysir, Gullfoss, Þingvellir, Hraunfossar, Strokkur, Snæfellsnes, Skaftafell, Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach, Hellnar, Barnafoss, Arnarstapi, Vík í Mýrdal, Ólafsvík, Kirkjufell, Grundarfjörður, Ytri Tunga Beach, South Coast
Pickup information:
  • Starting time : Flexible Open Voucher (anytime),

Included:
  • Airport transfer on arrival/departure

  • 6 nights of accommodation in Reykjavik (different levels available; breakfast not included for Super Budget level; breakfast included for Comfort and Quality levels; more detailed info below)

  • Blue Lagoon standard entrance (upgrades available) and return transfer

  • Golden Circle sightseeing tour in a minibus (upgrades available with other activities)

  • South Coast 2-day minibus tour with ice caving

  • 1 night of accommodation in a country hotel in Vatnajokull National Park during the 2-day south coast tour (breakfast included, private bathroom depending on availability)

  • Snaefellsnes 2 day minibus tour (lava caving optional)

  • 1 night of accommodation in a country hotel on Snaefellsnes peninsula during the 2-day Snaefellsnes tour (breakfast included, private bathroom depending on availability)

  • Northern Lights hunting

  • Day tour to Lake Myvatn with return flights between Reykjavik and Akureyri

  • Detailed Itinerary with fun and practical information on the nature, history and culture of Iceland

  • Hands-on travel agent to oversee your itinerary

  • Taxes

  • Myvatn Nature Bath entrance

  • Entrance fee to the Vatnshellir lava cave

  • Dinner

  • Lunch


What to bring:
  • Camera

  • Swimsuit

  • Warm clothes

  • Good hiking shoes

  • Good waterproof outer layers


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. Please be aware that your itinerary may have to be rearranged to fit your arrival date and time better.

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.



Daily itinerary

Day 1 - Arrival & Welcome to Iceland!


9 Day Winter Itinerary | The Complete Iceland Experience


Welcome to Iceland! Your winter adventure begins as soon as you step outside and the refreshing winter chill envelopes you. Be sure to layer up!

You'll be picked up and whisked off toward the capital city. Settle into your accommodation in the heart of the city centre and explore the Nordic ambiance. If it suits your itinerary you may also dip into the Blue Lagoon on your way from the airport to Reykjavík, as it's ideally placed between the airport and the city.

If you like, take a complimentary Northern Lights tour in the evening. You may choose what kind of Northern Lights experience you prefer: By boat or by bus.

Go for the boat tour in the Old Harbour, to see the dancing lights over the ocean while the wind plays with your hair, or choose a bus tour to head out into the countryside under cover of darkness and watch for glimmers of colour against a backdrop of the Icelandic wilderness.

Spend the night in Reykjavik.


Day 2 - The Golden Circle


9 Day Winter Itinerary | The Complete Iceland Experience


On this day, you'll begin your adventure in Iceland with the most popular locations of all time: the Golden Circle, a well-travelled route that takes you to Þingvellir National Park, Geysir geothermal area, and Gullfoss waterfall.

If you choose to go horseback riding, then your horseback ride would take place at the start of your day, before reaching Þingvellir National Park.

Þingvellir National Park is a rift valley located on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, a place torn by the incredible pressure and movement of the earth's crust. The continental divide is a deep gorge, where you can walk directly between the North American and Eurasian plates, as they pull apart ever so slowly, year after year.

The cracking and shifting of the land has created deep fissures, such as Silfra, where divers and snorkellers explore the clear water and underground formations. Silfra sits on the peaceful shore of Þingvallavatn, the largest natural lake in Iceland. You have the option to go snorkelling here yourself if you like.

The wide-open space here also made it an ideal meeting place for the world's oldest running parliament, founded in 930 AD. For this reason, the park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Vikings in days of old would travel from every part of the country before each session to partake in the discussion of law and the news of the land.

The second stop on the Golden Circle is another one of geothermal excitement. The entire area is rife with the heat and power found deep inside the earth. Steam and sulphurous gases emanate from vents and fumaroles. Heated water trickles over the rocks. The very ground is warm beneath your feet.

There are many smaller hot springs and geysers here, but the stars of this show are the Great Geyser, resting now after 10,000 years of activity, and Strokkur, which erupts every few minutes with blasts of more than 30 m (100 ft).

The final stop is Gullfoss, called the Golden Waterfall. It is named because of the gorgeous mists churned up by its power, which appear golden in the sunlight. In the winter, the view is even more spectacular as the glacial waters burst through snow and ice, relentlessly crashing into the canyon below.

From there you can also choose to add a snowmobile tour on the nearby Langjökull glacier.

On the way back to the city after a day on the Golden Circle, you’ll make a stop at the Blue Lagoon, for a sensory experience unique to Iceland. Release all your tension, letting the azure water soothe tired muscles and joints.

Please note that if you have arranged additional activities with your Golden Circle tour, such as snorkelling, horseback riding or snowmobiling, your visit to the Blue Lagoon will be scheduled on your arrival or departure day instead, so you will have time to take full advantage of its restorative powers. The Lagoon is world-famous for its healing, mineral-rich waters - This is not a place you want to rush.

You'll return to your accommodation in Reykjavik for the evening.

If you are still dreaming of Northern Lights, add an additional bus tour which will deliver you to the most likely viewing spots just outside the city.


Day 3 - The South Coast


9 Day Winter Itinerary | The Complete Iceland Experience


The south coast of Iceland is filled with breathtaking wonders and today begins your two-day trip along it. You will be picked up early at your hotel, so be ready and wear clothing according to weather.

First, you will see Seljalandsfoss waterfall, a stunning high and narrow waterfall that tumbles from a cliff with a large cave behind it. You can walk behind the waterfall and enjoy the view, but mind your steps: the rocks can be slippery with ice in the winter! Next, another stunning waterfall: Skógafoss. This one is even bigger than Seljalandsfoss and is the last in a long row of impressive waterfalls that cascade down from the infamous Eyjafjallajökull volcano that looms over the south coast.

Eyjafjallajökull is a glacier with a volcano underneath the ice cap. In 2010, European air travel was shut down for several days because of its eruption.

After you've had your waterfall fix, you'll head to Reynisfjara, a gorgeous black sand beach with stunning vistas of the rock formations and ocean waves. The rocks at Reynisdrangar, beyond the coast, stand strong against volatile Atlantic Ocean waves. This location is stunningly beautiful, but also dangerous due to its unpredictable waves. Don't get too caught up in taking pictures and make sure to stay 20-30 metres away from the surf so you don't get captured by a sneaky wave and brought out to the freezing Atlantic ocean!

You'll have a lunch break and then continue further east, past a large extension of black sand plains, the results of a single volcanic eruption. This area is home to one of the biggest pseudo-crater collections in the world. You'll see the impressive Vatnajökull glacier right next to these enormous sand plains.

Finally, you'll arrive at the stunning Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. The lagoon is particularly beautiful in low light, the floating ice sparkling in shades of gold. When an iceberg has just tumbled into the lagoon, you'll be able to see the gorgeous deep blue colour of the ice. To finish off the day with even more spectacular sights, you'll go hunting for Northern Lights in the evening if the sky is clear. Your accommodation will be in a cozy country hotel either near Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon or Skaftafell Nature Reserve.


Day 4 - Inside the Blue Ice Cave


9 Day Winter Itinerary | The Complete Iceland Experience


Today, you will take part in one of the rarest and most special experiences in all of Iceland. The cave, rising out of the snowy landscape like an Ice Queen's castle from a fairytale, is yours to explore!

You'll first take a cool ride in a modified truck built to plough through the winter snow. There is a short hike from the parking area to the cave itself, so be prepared to take a morning walk in the brisk air. Wear sturdy hiking boots that come up over the ankle, to ensure that melting snow does not find your socks and that the crampons you're provided with fit nicely over the boots.

Each autumn, specialists search the area around Vatnajökull glacier, the largest glacier in Iceland, hoping to find these natural formations of ice, large enough to safely traverse and admire the wonders inside.

Throughout the winter, the changing temperatures cause the ice to melt and refreeze, changing the shape of the cave constantly. Each cave is unique, ever-shifting, and beautiful to behold - an entire cave made of pure blue ice.

You'll spend around 45 minutes exploring the ice cave, provided with all necessary equipment and with the support of your knowledgeable guide. You must dress warmly and remember to wear a winter hat that is not too bulky, as it needs to fit under your caving helmet.

After this one-of-a-kind excursion, you'll return to Reykjavík for the evening. On the way, you'll make a second stop to admire Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. Occasionally, seals like to sun themselves on the icebergs so make sure you look out for them.

On the drive home, keep your eyes on the skies for another chance to spot the Northern Lights. It is always a lovely surprise when they appear!


Day 5 - Snæfellsnes Peninsula


9 Day Winter Itinerary | The Complete Iceland Experience


Today, you'll begin your 2-day, in-depth exploration of the Snæfellsnes peninsula, an area of such beauty that it is often called "Iceland in miniature" as many Icelanders believe it has all the features which make Iceland so beautiful.

You'll be picked up from your accommodation and taken first to the beach at Ytri-Tunga, which is home to a large seal colony.

In the winter, it is a place of solitude. As you stand on the rocky beach and look out at the ocean, let your thoughts drift like the ocean waves.

Your next stop is Rauðafellsgjá, a fissure on the eastern side of Mt. Botnsfjall. A nearby stream feeds the fissure, nourishing the plants there. As a result, the walls inside are covered with moss during the warmer months. For now, the imposing cliff walls are traced with ice and snow.

After passing two historic fishing villages, you'll spend an hour wandering the picturesque cliffs at Hellnar.

Then, you'll go to Snæfellsjökull National Park where for a small additional fee you have the option of another experience deep in the caves: this time, a lava cave formed more than 7,000 years ago, Vatnshellir.

You'll then embrace the wide open spaces at Djúpalónssandur and Dritvík, two beachfront areas. Finally, you'll make one last hike to Lóndrangar, a black basalt formation more than 70 m (230 ft) high.

You'll rest in a country hotel for the night, in the seaside village of Ólafsvík.


Day 6 - Kirkjufell and lava waterfalls


9 Day Winter Itinerary | The Complete Iceland Experience


On your second day in Snæfellsnes, you'll see even more of the region's fascinating topography.

This is a perfect day for taking photos of your Icelandic adventure, at the uniquely shaped mountain Kirkjufell and Gerðuberg basalt column.

You'll get to experience the life of an Icelandic fisherman at the Bjarnarhöfn Shark Museum. Bjarni, who collected all the artefacts in the museum over a lifetime at sea, will happily share stories from his long career if you ask, or you can just browse.

He may also have some of the famous Icelandic hákarl, better known as "fermented shark," for you to enjoy, washed down with a sip or two of locally made Brennivín, a schnapps which is a traditional winter beverage.

In the Borgarfjörður area, you'll see two waterfalls, Hraunfossar and Barnafoss. Barnafoss, the "children's waterfall," was so named when two children tragically drowned there in the early 20th century.

The day will finish with a visit to Deildartunguhver, the highest-flow hot spring in Europe. You'll pass through the charming village of Borgarnes on your way back to Reykjavík, where you will spend the night.

Don't forget to save some energy for another Northern Lights tour, if you are so inclined.


Day 7 - Lake Myvatn in the North


9 Day Winter Itinerary | The Complete Iceland Experience


Today, you'll leave the land entirely for a short flight across the country to the town known as the "Capital of the North": Akureyri.

Make your own way to Reykjavík Domestic Airport for your morning departure. This tour officially begins in Akureyri and your tour guide will meet you at the airport there.

You'll go directly to the Lake Mývatn area to explore this strange landscape of volcanic craters filled with snow and a frozen lake waiting silently for spring.

After taking in the Skútustaðagígar craters, you'll visit the Dimmuborgir lava field. The formations here, forming holes, towers and strangely shaped crags of lava rock, are called the "Dark Cities" because of their unsettling appearance. It is said that the elves hide here, and sometimes trolls, too.

Next, you'll see the underground hot spring Grjótagjá, steaming in the chilly air.

Hverir, a geothermal field, is your next destination. This area does battle against the cold of winter all season long, with bubbling hot springs and gaseous fumaroles keeping up their activity despite the weather.

Now that you've experienced the temperamental beauty of the earth, you'll enjoy its more soothing qualities with a long soak in the geothermal pool of Mývatn Nature Baths, outdoors so that you can enjoy the scenery.

After another flight from Akureyri in the evening, you'll spend the night in Reykjavík.


Day 8 - Free Day in Reykjavik


9 Day Winter Itinerary | The Complete Iceland Experience


Take advantage of this free day to explore Reykjavík. There are a multitude of small businesses and quirky shops, which offer everything from speciality cheese and baked goods to Icelandic wool crafts, books, volcanic jewellery and other keepsakes. The Little Christmas Shop (Litla Jólabúðin) on the main shopping street celebrates Christmas all year round!

You'll never be hungry in Reykjavík. There are many restaurants and cafés, with unique dishes of seafood and lamb, or coffee beans roasted in small batches for the finest flavours.

You can chart your own course, and wander where the city takes you, from Harpa Concert Hall overlooking the Old Harbour, where you can hop on a short whale-watching cruise, to the distinctive spire of Hallgrímskirkja church, where you can ascend the spire and gaze out over the entire city. Pop inside Reykjavík's City Hall to see a large 3D map of Iceland and get tips from the traveller information centre about live music in the evening.

You may also want to visit various theatres, art galleries or museums which showcase Iceland's vibrant art community, history, and culture.

At night, once again, you may book an extra bus tour to view the Northern Lights. Sometimes they can be shy, and you may want to take every opportunity to see them. Spend one more night in Reykjavík.


Day 9 - Farewell to Iceland


9 Day Winter Itinerary | The Complete Iceland Experience


On your final day in Iceland, use any extra time you have for one last meal, a cup of coffee or some final souvenir shopping on the streets of Reykjavík.

If you are lucky enough to have a late flight, you may find a stop at the Blue Lagoon the perfect way to bid farewell to Iceland and relax before the journey home.

Whatever you choose to do, we hope you will remember Iceland fondly and come back soon!


Accommodation in Reykjavik

See our accommodation levels below. Super Budget booking will be arranged in hostel dormitory bed accommodation. For Comfort and Quality bookings, single person bookings will be arranged in a single room, while bookings of 2 or more people will share twin/double room(s) or triple room(s). If you are travelling in a group, but prefer a single room, please make separate bookings. For multi-day guided tours, accommodation cannot be upgraded and the levels below do not apply. We always do our best to accommodate special requests, which may incur additional costs.

Super Budget

Rooms or dormitory beds with shared bathrooms in guesthouses or hostels, such as HI Hostels. Located in the capital region. Breakfast is not included.

Comfort

Rooms with a private bathroom at three-star hotels such as Fosshótel Barón, or quality guesthouses. Located in the city center or in close vicinity. Breakfast is included.

Quality

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.


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.


Map


Reviews

Average rating 4.7 / Number of reviews 7

It was truly a wonderful experience. To start with, I would like to thank Unnur Helgar, my trip advisor, for her wonderful planning and prompt response to all my queries before and during the trip. Then , I did my Golden Circle tour with TRIPS Iceland. The guide was very knowledgeable , humorous and kept us entertained during the whole day trip. Then I did my 2 day South Coast trip with Aurora Hunters. Our tour guide was Margaret. Trust me, I have traveled the world , but haven't seen such an amusing, witty, humorous and knowledgeable guide in my life. She is just too good. We stayed in a small town named Honn, and she took all of us for a short walk around the town. Being a small town with only 1800 people , the town isn't that fascinating, but her stories, humors and enthusiasm made it very interesting. We got numerous stops on our way to refresh ourselves and we never felt tired during the whole trip. We were lucky to have a sunny weather and enjoyed all the places. On the following day, I went for Snæfellsnes Peninsula with Extreme Iceland. Our guide Christone picked us timely from the hotel. The weather wasn't that good on that particular day with bit of snow storm. So, he personally went with us in all the places. He showed us every small places of interest on the way ( which was even not on the itinerary ) and took really good care of us. He had given us enough to enjoy all the places thoroughly and managed the trip well. On the following day, we went for the lava caving and Kirkjufell mountain and got an awesome view. Later in the evening we went for the Norther Light trip. At first , we moved to a place, but couldn't see anything. We waited for sometime, until our guide decided to move to a different location. However, on our way to the other location, we spotted Northern Lights from the bus and stopped there. It was amazing, to see the bright aurora dancing in the sky. It lasted for around half an hour and we managed to get excellent photos. The following day, I boarded early morning flight for Lake Myvatn with Saga Travels. Although , I am not overwhelmed like the South Coast trip or the Snæfellsnes Peninsula trip, but still , overall it was a well managed trip. We were picked up from the airport and then we stopped at the Godafoss waterfall. It's indeed a mighty waterfall but there were some snow storm around. Still we managed to get some decent pictures. North Iceland is definitely not for everyone. It's a really cold place and you can see layers of snow everywhere. But still if you can make it, it's worth it. Then we visited Lake Myvatn and few other exceptionally cold places with fantastic scenaries before heading towards the Nature Bath. That was indeed a relief from the cold weather . After spending around 2 hours over there, we headed back to the airport to catch our flight back to Reykjavik. After these hectic trip, the next day was a free day to relax. I opted to go for Blue Lagoon. This is even better than the nature bath at Myvatn and feels heavenly. After spending 3 hours over there, we headed back to the city for the last time. Had the time of my life in Iceland. Thanks to Guide to Iceland once again.

It's overall a well organized and smooth trip. Staff in Guidetoiceland are willing to help and provided great details in how to contact different travel organizers and info about the trips. Xavier from TRIPS Iceland was our first tour guide. He briefed us in great details of history and tales of Iceland and showed us around the Golden Circle, also he brought us for the Northern lights tour and we managed to get some great photos of the lights. Antonio and Robbie from NICE TRAVEL are awesome during the west coast trip. They arrange the trip nicely according to the weather conditions and ensures we get the best out of our trip. Charlie and Ali from Aura Hunters gave us a nice trip on the south coast as well, despite the tiny misfortune of not being able to go into the blue ice caves due safety condition. In general, it is very good value of money and it saved me a lot of trouble with planning the trip. Highly recommended!

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9 Day Winter Itinerary | The Complete Iceland Experience

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