Ultimate 10 Day Adventure | Highlands in Winter & Ice Caves

Ultimate 10 Day Adventure | Highlands in Winter & Ice Caves
Northern lights can fill Iceland's starry skies on clear winter nights.
On of the highlights of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula in west Iceland, Mount Kirkjufell, is a spectacular feature when clad in winter ice.
Hot spring bathing is possible all over Iceland, and is a great way to warm up in winter.
Seljalandsfoss can be fully encircled if conditions allow; while in winter, it is often too icy, there are opportunities to do so.
Strokkur the geyser spouts in the steaming geothermal area of Haukadalur Valley in winter.
Iceland's winter can make walking paths treacherous, so always bring good hiking shoes if visiting in this season.
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Based on 12 traveller reviews

Experience Iceland at its wintery best with this 10-day trip. This package offers you the chance to visit Iceland's most popular attractions such as the South Coast, Golden Circle and Snæfellsnes Peninsula, and pairs the excursions with adventures in the Highlands, a glacier walk, and visits to two ice caves. Those looking to visit Iceland during the Northern Lights season should grab this chance now.

Along with famous locations such as the Golden Circle, Kirkjufell on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, and Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon at Vatnajökull National Park, you'll be taken to the remote and wild Landmannalaugar highlands. There, you can admire the area's colourful rhyolite mountains in pristine winter beauty when they are ringed with frost and snow, and unwind in a natural hot spring. 

You will explore not one, but two ice caves on the South Coast. One a natural blue ice cave underneath the 1000-year-old Vatnajökull glacier, the other is darker and streaked with ash as the glacier, Mýrdalsjökull, sits on top of Katla volcano. You will also strap on crampons and a harness, and take a walk on top of one of Mýrdalsjökull's outlet glaciers

With this package, you will be able to experience Icelandic nature as the locals do. Get on a super jeep with mammoth tires and head to the heart of this country with otherworldly landscapes. All accommodations are included, and you'll experience all of this in small groups, with highly professional tour guides that will help you search for the elusive Northern Lights in the evening.

If all this wasn't enough, you can also add more excitement during the booking process, such as a 2-hour horseback riding tour in the countryside around Reykjavík on the smooth-gaited Icelandic horse, a choice of helicopter tours for unforgettable views, or a day trip to Mývatn in the north (including flights). 

Don't miss this ultimate, mind-blowing wintertime adventure! Check availability by choosing a date.


Quick facts

Tour information:
  • Available: Nov. - Mar.
  • Duration: 10 days
  • Activities: Glacier Hiking, Caving, Super Jeep, Horse Riding, Sightseeing, Boat Trip, Northern lights hunting, Hot Spring Bathing, Cultural Activity, Helicopter, Ice Caving
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Minimum age: 8 years.
  • Languages: English
  • Highlights: Blue Lagoon, Golden Circle, Reykjavík, Jökulsárlón, Vatnajökull, Mývatn, Dimmuborgir, Landmannalaugar, Skógafoss, Seljalandsfoss, Hekla, Geysir, Gullfoss, Eyjafjallajökull, Þingvellir, Hraunfossar, Deildartunguhver, Strokkur, Snæfellsnes, Reykjanes, Sólheimajökull, Mýrdalsjökull, Skaftafell, Sólheimasandur, Borgarfjörður, Hjálparfoss, Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach, Hellnar, Barnafoss, Langjökull, Vík í Mýrdal, Ólafsvík, Keflavik International Airport, Kirkjufell, Reynisdrangar, Frostastaðavatn, Haukadalur, Námaskarð, Vatnshellir Cave, Djúpalónssandur, Ytri Tunga Beach, Breiðamerkurjökull, South Coast, Diamond Beach
Pickup information:
  • Pickup time : Flexible.

You will have a voucher to take the airport shuttle to a hotel in Reykjavík or we can pick you up from anywhere within the city limits
Included:
  • Airport transfer on arrival/departure

  • 5 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)

  • 3-day small group super jeep adventure to Landmannalaugar & Golden Circle

  • 2 nights of accommodation in a country hotel during the 3-day Landmannalaugar trip (breakfast included, private bathroom depending on availability)

  • 2-day small group winter adventure to Jökulsárlón with Ice Caving

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

  • 2-day small group adventure to Snaefellsnes Peninsula

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

  • Northern Lights hunting

  • Blue Lagoon comfort entrance (upgrade to premium level available) with transfer

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

  • Hands-on travel agent to oversee your itinerary

  • Taxes

  • Entrance fee to the Vatnshellir lava cave

  • Lunch

  • Dinner


What to bring:
  • Camera

  • Swimsuit

  • Warm clothes

  • Winter 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.

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.



Daily itinerary

Day 1 - Arrival - Blue Lagoon and Reykjavik


The warm waters of the Blue Lagoon make it a perfect place to warm up in winter.


Your winter adventure begins as soon as you land. The international airport is in Keflavík, on the Reykjanes peninsula, and the drive to the capital city of Reykjavík will take you through an otherworldly, lunar landscape. You'll pass by a black lava field covered with moss and possibly snow.

Your accommodation will be a cosy hotel in Reykjavík's city centre, so you can start exploring this quirky city straight away.

If your flight arrives early, you can even choose to soak in the Blue Lagoon before you reach Reykjavík. This milky-blue hot spring stays warm all year round and its natural silica mud does wonders for your skin! A perfect way to relax after your flight. If your flight arrives late, the Blue Lagoon trip will be arranged on a different day and instead, you can spend your evening in one of Reykjavík's top restaurants, admire its colourful houses and soak in the Nordic atmosphere.

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.


Day 2 - The South Coast


In the midnight sun, the skies above Jökulsárlón become dyed magical colours, that reflect on the ice.


The nature extravaganza officially kicks off today. In the next 8 days, you will travel down the South Coast along the Ring Road, explore the Golden Circle and Landmannalaugar highlands route, head west to see the Snæfellsnes peninsula, and spend a free day in the capital of Reykjavík.

Please note that the sequence of those trips will depend on which day of the week you land, so you might spend your second day in Iceland exploring Reykjavík, followed by the national park days, or have the free day in Reykjavík on day 9, before your departure day.

On your first day along the South Coast, you'll see some beautiful waterfalls, notably Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss. Seljalandsfoss can be seen from the Ring Road, as this high and narrow waterfall plunges into a small pond underneath. You'll be able to walk the path behind the waterfall and get great views of the waterfall, just remember to take care as the path might be icy and slippery.

Nearby is Skógafoss, another stunning waterfall measuring 60 m (197 ft) high and 25 m (82 ft) wide. The infamous volcano Eyjafjallajökull looms high above the waterfall.

An impressive stop is then the black sand beach of Reynisfjara with the dark Reynisdrangar rock stacks keeping guard over the hexagonal cliffs as the ocean rushes upon the shore with tremendous power. 

There will be a lunch break before heading further east towards Vatnajökull glacier, Europe's largest glacier. You'll make a stop inside Vatnajökull National Park, at Skaftafell Nature Reserve where you'll get magnificent views of the glacier itself.

Finally, you'll go to Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, filled with floating icebergs that have broken off Breiðamerkurjökull glacier. Right next to the lagoon is a black sand beach covered in icebergs. The ice lying on the sands glistens when the sun's rays hit it, giving this area the name Diamond Beach.

Accommodation is arranged in a country hotel either near Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon or Skaftafell Nature Reserve, and you'll search for the Northern Lights in the evening if conditions are favourable.


Day 3 - The Ice Cave in Vatnajokull


The ice caves in the south-east of Iceland are like something from another planet, or a mystical realm.


The second day of the 2-day tour of the South Coast includes a blue ice cave exploration.

Today’s activity will be one of the rarest experiences in Iceland, a real wintertime treat. To get to the ice caves, jump into a modified SUV able to handle the icy winter driving, which will take you to Vatnajökull glacier. There is a short hike from the parking area to the cave itself, so be prepared to walk and wear sturdy hiking boots. It’s best if they come up over the ankle so that your feet stay dry all day.

No two ice caves are the same, and there is no telling where or when one might appear. The same is true for when they melt in the spring. Once a cave is gone, it is gone forever, creating a one-of-a-kind experience for each cave.

Every year, specialists scour the area around the glacier, looking for ice caves which are safe to enter. These experts know when the caves are forming and when they are likely to disappear, as weather changes cause the ice cave to melt, refreeze, contract and expand each day.

You'll spend at least 45 minutes within the ice cave so make sure that you dress warmly. This leaves you plenty of time to admire the blue crystalline walls of the cave and take pictures of the most impressive ice sculptures you find. You'll be provided with all the necessary safety equipment, including a helmet, so wear a winter hat that can fit under the helmet.

After your exploration of the cave, you'll return to Reykjavík. On the way, you'll make a second stop at Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon to view it in the changing light of mid-afternoon. You might also see seals playing on the ice in the sunshine.

In the evening, your guide will make every effort to anticipate the Northern Lights forecast and give you a good experience as you head back to Reykjavík city where you will spend the night.


Day 4 - Golden Circle


Whether coming in summer, winter, spring or autumn, Gullfoss waterfall is always worth a visit.


Today, you'll be picked up at your hotel in Reykjavík and driven towards the first stop on the Golden Circle route, Þingvellir. The area was declared a National Park in 1930 and was later designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is sometimes called "the heart of Iceland," because of its immense beauty and importance in Icelandic history. Wander here at your leisure.

Next, there is the geothermal field of Geysir with hundreds of hot springs of all types, most with boiling water. The geyser Strokkur erupts every 10-15 minutes.

Geysir, one of the most famous hot springs in the world, sometimes called the Great Geysir, was the first geyser described in a printed source and the first known to modern Europeans. The English word geyser (a spouting hot spring) therefore derives from the Icelandic word “geysir,” which is derived from the verb "geysa", meaning "to gush."

You'll then head to to the majestic Gullfoss Falls (the "Golden Falls"). This is considered by many to be Iceland's most beautiful waterfall, and it's especially impressive during winter time as the water plunges through ice and snow.

You'll make your way to a country hotel in the Fljótshlíð area. Make sure you check the sky for sightings of the Northern Lights before you go to bed. 


Day 5 - Landmannalaugar


Bathing in a hot spring in Landmannalaugar in winter is a great way to stave off the chill.


Today, you'll be driven towards the valley of Þjórsárdalur. From there, you'll have a view of Hekla, one of Iceland's most famous volcanoes, known as 'the Gateway to Hell.' It is still active and last erupted in the year 2000.

The drive takes you through vast lava fields covered by snow to a stop at Lake Ljótipollur. Although the name of this lake translates to ‘Ugly Puddle’ it is quite beautiful with high, red edges and aquamarine water.

Finally, you'll reach Landmannalaugar. The area will probably be covered in snow, but the steep rhyolite mountains and rough lava fields will still be visible. You'll also be able to see the geothermal activity of the hot springs and naturally heated rivers crisscrossing the land at every turn.

After the drive, you can relax in the geothermal pool. Don't forget to watch for the Northern Lights in the evening, if the sky is clear. Even if the auroras don't show up, it is still spectacular to view the stars shining so brightly, far from man-made light pollution.

You’ll then head back to your accommodations in the rural Fljótshlíð area.


Day 6 - Katla Ice Cave


The Northern Lights moving like dancers in the sky above Seljalandsfoss waterfall on the South Coast.


Now it is time to explore another glacier, Mýrdalsjökull. This is Iceland’s fourth largest glacier, and it sits on the infamous volcano Katla. You don’t have to worry about Katla, though, all volcanoes are highly monitored. 

You will first visit one of Mýrdalsjökull’s outlet glaciers, Sóleheimajökull. There, you’ll strap on crampons, a harness and take an ice axe in your hand as you are about to embark on a fun walk on top of the glacier to discover its frosty wilderness.

From Sólheimajökull, you’ll be taken back to the village of Vík, here you’ll have another chance to explore the beautiful black sand beach of Reynisfjara, with its strange hexagonal cliffs and daunting Reynisdrangar sea stacks. 

The Icelandic weather is very unpredictable, so you will likely be exploring this feature in an entirely new light. But no matter if it is sunny, snowing, raining or all of these at once, Reynisfjara promises to deliver on beauty and dramatics.

From Vík, you will head out to the secret ice cave in Mýrdalsjökull glacier. This cave is unlike the blue ice cave you saw at Vatnajökull, as it is much darker due to the amount of ash embedded in the ice from past volcanic eruptions. 

After a day of adventures, you’ll be transported back to Reykjavík, stopping for one last look at the waterfalls Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss on the way.


Day 7 - Snaefellsnes Peninsula


Snæfellsnes is a peninsula that stretches 90 kilometres from the west of Iceland.


Today, you'll begin an exciting tour of the Snæfellsnes peninsula, an area with many of the terrain features which make Iceland a favourite with visitors to our shores: snowy lava fields, wind-swept cliffs, white-tipped waves crashing on the shores of black sand beaches, and icy blue pools.

Your first destination after being picked up at your accommodation is the beach at Ytri-Tunga, which is home to a large seal colony in the summer months. Though the seals may be absent, depending on the weather, the beach is a place of solitary contemplation, as many Vikings have done in the past, standing on the stones and gazing out at the cold sea.

The 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 small fishing villages called Arnarstapi and Hellnar, you'll spend an hour wandering the cliffs at Hellnar, overlooking the sea. Spectacular rock formations decorate the shore, spreading across the sand and reaching out to the water.

Then, you'll go to Snæfellsjökull National Park where for a small additional fee you have the option of venturing into one of Iceland's most famous lava caves, Vatnshellir. This cave formed when the lava from an eruption began to run down the hillside. The lava on the outside of the flow cooled faster in the Icelandic winds, while inside, the lava continued to pour out, leaving behind the distinctive tube shape of Vatnshellir.

After this, you’ll go on to Djúpalónssandur and Dritvík, two beachfront areas. Finally, you'll hike to Lóndrangar, a black basalt formation in a u-shape, with two pinnacles, more than 70 m (230 ft) high.

At night, you’ll bed down in the seaside village of Ólafsvik.


Day 8 - Journey to Hraunfossar


Kirkjufell, on the north of Snæfellsnes, has an adjacent waterfall called Kirkjufellsfoss.


You’ll spend one more day in Snæfellsnes to make sure you can take in all its beauty.

But first, see the peninsula the way the fish do by heading out to the open waves. Watch for birds in the sky and tail fins in the water as you breathe the salty ocean air and relax.

You’ll visit other fascinating formations, popular with photographers, such as the mountain Kirkjufell and the Gerðuberg basalt column.

At the Bjarnarhöfn Shark Museum, you’ll experience the life of an Icelandic fisherman. A retired fisherman named Bjarni collected hundreds of artifacts in the museum over his lifetime and is happy to welcome guests to his gallery of items, including ship rigging, tools, and an actual boat.

If you’ve been wondering about traditional Icelandic food, you’ll have the chance to try hákarl here, or fermented shark, with a sip or two of locally made brennivín, a strong liquor that wards off the winter chill.

Next, you’re off to the Borgarfjörður area to see two waterfalls, Hraunfossar and Barnafoss.

The day will finish with a visit to Deildartunguhver, the highest-flow hot spring in Europe. If you are a gardening or botany enthusiast, you may want to look for the deer fern, which grows in only this one location in Iceland. Finally, you’ll drive through Borgarnes on your way back to Reykjavik for the night.

If you're not too tired, you may feel the urge to go hunting once more for the Northern Lights.


Day 9 - Relax in Reykjavik


It is possible to walk across the ice on Tjörnin Pond, but only in the very depths of winter.


You'll have a day of discovering Reykjavík's hidden gems within your itinerary. This day may fall in between your other planned tours.

As you will always be staying in the heart of Reykjavík, you should make the most of your proximity to the exciting city centre. There are plenty of museums, galleries, cafés, bars, theatres, designer shops and street art to admire and explore. And don't forget the restaurants! The seafood and lamb are local delicacies.

This day also offers great possibilities if you just can't get enough of adventure. If you feel like exploring you could join a tour to Lake Mývatn in the north and visit some of the most impressive lava fields and geothermal sites in Iceland. If you'd rather stay in the city you could go on a helicopter tour for a final view from sky high. Another amazing option is to visit the ice tunnels in Langjökull glacier in the western highlands.

Whale watching is also available as well as horse riding, for those who like to keep close to the ground, and Reykjavík also has a number of public outdoor pools that are warm all year round, so you can relax in a sauna, soak in a hot tub and meet the locals. Treat yourself to an Icelandic hot dog afterwards. You can also choose to visit the Blue Lagoon today, instead of doing it on your arrival or departure day.


Day 10 - Reykjavik and Departure


The skyline of Reykjavík when clad in its winter coat.


If you are lucky enough to have even more time in Iceland, you may do your last-minute shopping and soaking in the clean Nordic air before going to the airport for your departure.

With a late departure, you may also have time to visit to the Blue Lagoon before your flight, if you haven't done so already. It may be just the thing before a stressful day of travel.

We hope you had a wonderful stay in Iceland and will see you again. Perhaps next time you will visit in the summer, and compare the beauty of the country in each season!


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.


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Ultimate 10 Day Adventure | Highlands in Winter & Ice Caves
 
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