Take a week-long winter vacation to the spectacular arctic wonderland of Iceland and fill it with unique opportunities you cannot experience anywhere else on earth. Those who wish to explore magnificent landscapes covered in snow and admire the Northern Lights and ice caves shouldn't miss this holiday of a lifetime.
On this all-inclusive journey, you will get to explore the iconic attractions along the country's most breathtaking sightseeing routes: the Golden Circle, the South Coast, and the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. Each of these areas boasts one of Iceland's three National Parks, and as you travel between them, you'll be exposed to a range of natural attractions, such as hot springs, waterfalls, glaciers, and volcanoes.
Each night, you have a great shot at seeing the aurora borealis, a spectacular display that only graces the northern reaches of the world in the winter months. To maximize your chances of experiencing this marvel, you will get to embark on a guided Northern Lights hunt on the day of your arrival by taking a bus tour into the dark nature around the capital or a boat tour onto its seas.
Furthermore, you will be spending two nights in far-flung hotels nestled deep in the Icelandic landscapes, away from any light pollution, greatly increasing your chances for multiple viewings.
One of these nights will be spent on the Snaefllsnes Peninsula, a region so packed with destinations and so diverse that it has been nicknamed 'Iceland in Miniature.' The second will be spent on the South Coast, allowing you to make the most of a second uniquely Icelandic winter phenomenon: the crystal blue ice caves.
All of the stresses and worries associated with planning your holiday are entirely alleviated. When booking, you will choose your accommodation level and which of the three exciting additional tours you wish to add to your Golden Circle sightseeing day. The rest, from your hotel transfer to your Blue Lagoon ticket, will be sorted before your arrival.
Don't miss this all-inclusive immersion into the world's most beautiful frozen wilderness with this week-long winter holiday to Iceland. Check availability by choosing a date.
A bus transfer will be waiting to take you to your hotel, easily visible as soon as you get through customs. To get to the capital, you'll be driven along the stunning Reykjanes Peninsula, allowing you to get a taste of Iceland's nature immediately. Cone-shaped volcanoes, fields of centuries-old lava, and dramatic coastal formations are all visible from the road.
You can take a detour en route to Reykjavik and go to the Blue Lagoon if you elect to do so while booking. This world-famous attraction has vividly blue, geothermally heated waters that are said to boast an array of healing properties, as well as a range of spa facilities, such as saunas and steam rooms.
With a comfort-level entrance, you are welcome to enjoy a silica mask and full use of the facilities. Premium entrance, however, provides you with more luxuries, such as a bonus face mask and a complimentary glass of wine at the Lava Restaurant.
Once you reach Reykjavik, you may have a few hours to spare before your Northern Lights tour. After their journey, those who don't need to rest will find the capital a delightful place to explore ahead of their excursion's departure.
If you choose a bus tour, a friendly guide will pick you up and escort you to the beautiful landscapes around the city, away from any light pollution. Surrounded by breathtaking nature, far from other guests, such an excursion is a great way to connect with such a wonderful phenomenon.
If you elect to marvel over the auroras by boat, you will instead board a whale-watching vessel at the Old Harbor and sail into Faxafloi Bay. Watching the Northern Lights from the water is an especially unique experience, and the city skyline and the silhouettes of the surrounding mountains form a fantastic backdrop.
After a magnificent show, you will retire for the night in the capital.
After being picked up in the morning, you'll be escorted through the beautiful landscapes of southwest Iceland; expect fjords, charming villages, and dramatic seascapes. Leaving the Ring Road, you will enter Snaefellsnes and very quickly come to realize how it earned its nickname 'Iceland in Miniature.'
The first two major sites are the perfect example. Gerduberg is a dramatic cliff face decorated with columns of basalt shaped into perfect hexagons. Such phenomena only occur under very specific volcanic conditions. Just down the road, Ytri Tunga beach reveals a completely different side to Iceland's nature, being famous for its resident seal colony.
The more you travel and explore, the more apparent the peninsula's diversity will become. Budir is a beautiful church with a mystical air of abandonment, alone in a long deserted hamlet. Arnarstapi, meanwhile, is a fishing village still pumping with life.
The basalt plug of Londrangar and the mountainside cleft of Raudfeldsgja may be enormous monuments, but the lifting stones at Djupalonssandur beach are just as interesting, surrounded by black sands and intrinsically tied to local history.
Of course, the main attraction of Snaefellsnes is Snaefellsjokull, the glacier and volcano that crowns the peninsula's tip and dominates much of the scenery. This site is so mysterious that thousands once flocked here on the date of an alleged alien landing; so impressive that it features as a central location in countless pieces of literature; and so beautiful that it is one of Iceland's three national parks.
After a day packed full of sightseeing and adventure, you'll retire at a hotel on the peninsula.
If the weather is clear, your drive will be especially breathtaking as you will be able to see right across Breidafjordur Bay. These waters boast countless islands, thousands of birds even in winter, resident seals, and unbelievable views of the magnificent Westfjords, one of the country's most untouched regions.
While the fishing villages of the southern shores are largely abandoned, quickly being reclaimed by nature, many of those you will visit today are still largely thriving and great examples of traditional Icelandic culture. Bjarnahofn, for example, is home to the shark museum, where you can learn about Iceland's notorious delicacy of fermented shark. At the same time, Stykkisholmur is the peninsula's largest town with a wealth of folklore.
However, the most impressive natural attraction you will visit is Mount Kirkjufell, called 'the church mountain' by locals. Game of Thrones fans will recognize it as 'the mountain shaped like an arrowhead' featured in season seven. A standalone peak, it is magnificent to admire from all angles, but particularly from beside its adjacent waterfall.
Another particularly beautiful attraction of note is the Berserkjahraun lava field. Dramatic, barren, and haunting, the treacherous history of how a road across it was built is such a sorry tale that one of the Icelandic Sagas is dedicated to it.
After plenty of time at all the incredible sites that the Snaefellsnes Peninsula has to offer, you will make your way back to Reykjavik. Keep your eyes peeled out the window if you are still traveling after nightfall. You never know when the auroras may show.
The major sites of the Golden Circle are Thingvellir National Park, the Geysir Geothermal Area, and Gullfoss waterfall. Thingvellir has the unique honor of being the only UNESCO World Heritage Site on the Icelandic mainland, as it was here that the earliest Icelanders formed their first assembly over a millennium ago.
Even more fascinating than the park's incredible history is its nature. It sits directly between the tectonic plates that separate Iceland, the dramatic cliff edges clearly visible. Furthermore, it is simply spectacular, surrounded by volcanoes and a vast lake and filled with forests, ravines, and lava fields.
Within many of these ravines are crystal clear springs, and within one of these, Silfra, you can embark on one of the three adventures offered today: a snorkeling tour. Winter snorkeling in Iceland is made possible and enjoyable by drysuits and other protective gear and will allow you to witness an unbelievable underwater world.
The visibility in Silfra often exceeds 328 ft (100 m). The shades of blue are vivid and beautiful, and the water is so clean that you can drink it.
After your time at Thingvellir, you will continue along the Golden Circle to Haukadalur Valley, home to the geyser of Strokkur. With dramatic eruptions occurring at least every ten minutes, this is an incredible place to be awed over the volcanic forces that continue to shape Iceland.
Surrounding Strokkur are plenty of bubbling hot springs and steaming vents you can admire as you wait for it to eject a column of water up to 66 ft (20 m) into the sky.
Finally, you will come to the waterfall of Gullfoss. Formed by a milky glacier river flowing from Langjokull glacier (which is visible from the site in clear weather), Gullfoss is both ominous and majestic in its power. This is only exaggerated in winter when it tosses chunks of ice into its canyon with surging waters.
For a more intimate experience on Langjokull, you can take a tour racing across its surface on a snowmobile from the car park at Gullfoss. Not only is this a fantastic way to witness some marvelous glacier and highland views, but it is a thrilling excursion that promises to get your adrenaline pumping.
The third tour option today is a horseback ride through the rural and dramatic landscapes of the southwest. What Icelandic horses lack in size, they make up for in heart, personality, and spirit, making this adventure fun for novices and expert riders alike.
After a thrilling day traversing the Golden Circle, you'll return to Reykjavik for the night. If you still have some energy, check out a local restaurant, a live show at one of the music bars, or find a dark corner in the hope of seeing the auroras once more.
The first major site you will come to is the 197 ft (60 m) tall waterfall of Seljalandsfoss. Though its stream is narrow and gentle, Seljalandsfoss is still one of the country's most impressive and unusual waterfalls due to the vast cavern in the cliff that opens behind it.
If you prefer your waterfalls to have awe-inspiring power, you'll be impressed by the next site, Skogafoss. As tall as Seljalandsfoss, it can be well over 33 ft (10 m) wide after a heavy rain and throws off vast blossoms of spray as it shatters to the ground.
Both of these features sit in the shadow of two of Iceland's most famous glaciers, which you can catch glimpses of as you travel. Myrdalsjokull covers one of the country's most active and explosive volcanoes, Katla, which has erupted about twenty times over the past millennium. Eyjafjallajokull is less explosive but still caught the world's attention when it erupted in 2010.
As you continue along the south, you will come to some incredible coastal attractions. First is the Dyrhólaey rock arch, a vast formation that curves from a dramatic set of cliffs into the ocean. Next is Reynisfjara beach, one of the most unique and beautiful stretches of shoreline in the world.
The reason for its appeal is threefold. Firstly, it is covered in black, volcanic sands that stretch for miles in both directions. Secondly, its waves are notoriously powerful (though be sure to admire from a distance. Finally, it is home to the enormous sea stack of Reynisdrangar, which tower over the already spectacular scenery.
By Reynisfjara is the serene village of Vik, where you will stop for refreshments before traveling further along the South Coast. The glacial outlets of Vatnajokull glacier, the latest ice cap in Europe, will begin to materialize on your left, showing a hint of the beauty ahead.
In spite of how great every attraction along this route is, your final destination for the day is unquestionably the best. Jokulsarlon, a feature of Vatnajokull National Park, is the country's deepest lake, largest glacier lagoon, and, to many, most beautiful attraction.
Huge chunks of ice, breaking from an outlet glacier, collect in the waters, towering many feet above the surface and gleaming white and blue. The way they rotate, break apart, groan and cruise through the lagoon is captivating, and the experience is made all the more wonderful by the many resident seals.
If you are lucky, you will be able to watch the aurora borealis descend from the skies over Jokulsarlon before you retire, an experience so breathtaking it cannot be described in words.
Ice caves are incredibly rare formations, requiring very specific conditions to form and be safe to enter. Iceland is one of the most reliable places to find them, but even then, they are only accessible in midwinter. Due to their remoteness and the limited frame in which they open, this is a much-sought-out adventure that few get to embark on.
With an experienced guide, you'll be driven from Jokulsarlon to a corner of the magnificent Vatnajokull glacier, well off the beaten track. You'll be provided with all the necessary safety equipment, briefed on how to interact with the mystical environment ahead of you, then led inside.
The way that light refracts through the ice and the way the shades of blue shimmer have an air of magic. The caves feel like they were torn from a fantasy novel. You'll have plenty of time to marvel over the colors, formations, and textures and can ask your guide any questions about the fascinating processes that create such a mesmerizing phenomenon.
After creating memories that will last a lifetime, you'll begin your journey back to Reykjavik, stopping first at Jokulsarlon once more to see it in a new light. If you did not have time yesterday, you'd also visit the nearby Diamond Beach. The icebergs of the lagoon end their journey here, washing onto the black sands and glistening like jewels in the surf as they slowly melt away.
The South Coast promises to have a new beauty as you see its sites on your return journey. Keep your eyes on the skies as they darken on your approach to Reykjavik, as you may be able to witness the auroras descend and dance one final time.
Considering you have spent the past six days immersing yourself in nature, you could use today to get to know Reykjavik. Many guests are surprised by the city's wealth of activities and attractions, with countless pools, museums, galleries, parks, restaurants, boutiques, and historic sites.
If you have an evening departure, it may even be worth getting a City Card to fit as much into your day as possible affordably.
If you cannot go to the Blue Lagoon on your first day, meanwhile, you can arrange it for today. After all, there is no better way to say farewell to Iceland than in its restorative saunas and healing waters.
We hope you enjoyed your week in Iceland in winter and hope you come back soon!
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.
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.