Grab this adventure-packed winter package in Iceland, and you'll be ticking some things off your wish list for sure! This package offers the most popular activities and attractions when Iceland is at its wintry best.
Along with famous locations such as the Golden Circle, Kirkjufell on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, and Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon at Vatnajökull National Park, we'll take you 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.
A thrilling snowmobile ride is included in the 3-day tour of Landmannalaugar, which is paired with total relaxation at a wild hot spring in the highlands, surrounded by snow. There can hardly be a more fitting location to enjoy the Northern Lights at night.
You will explore a natural blue ice cave underneath the 1000-year-old Vatnajökull glacier during your tour to the south coast. During your trip to Snæfellsnes peninsula in west Iceland, you will have the chance to explore Vatnshellir lava cave and compare its beauty to the ice cave.
With this package, you will be able to experience Icelandic nature as the locals do. Get on a Superjeep with mammoth tires and head to the heart of this country with otherworldly landscapes. You'll experience all of this in small groups, with highly professional tour guides that will help you find the elusive Northern Lights.
If all this wasn't enough, you can also add more excitement during the booking process. Other possibilities include a 2-hour horseback riding tour in the countryside around Reykjavik 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).
All accommodation is included, and the detailed itinerary can be found below.
Don't miss this ultimate, mind-blowing wintertime adventure! Check availability by choosing a date.
The Golden Circle is a 300 km route to the 3 most popular natural attractions in Iceland. The Golden Circle consists of Geysir, Gullfoss and Thingvellir.
See this for Golden circle tours.
Geysir is a geyser that gives its name to hot springs all over the world. But although Geysir itself is not active anymore the area features spectacular hot springs such as the powerful Strokkur (spouting a vast amount of water every 10 minutes, regularly about 15-20 meters into the air), Smidur and Litli-Strokkur.
The 'Golden Waterfall', is the second part of the Golden Circle, and one of the most beautiful and powerful waterfalls in Iceland, plummeting 32 meters into the river gorge of the popular rafting river Hvita. It is Iocated about 10 km from Geysir.
The largest attraction of the Golden Circle is Thingvellir National Park. The Icelandic parliament was founded there in 930 and remained until the year 1798.
Today it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most important places to visit in Iceland, not just for its historical and cultural values, but for also its magnificent landscape.
Thingvellir is surrounded by a beautiful mountain and volcano range and is the site of a rift valley, where the tectonic plates meet, marking the crest of the Mid-Atlantic ridge.
Of particular note at Thingvellir are the magnificent Almannagja gorge, and the beautiful lake Thingvallavatn, the largest lake in Iceland. The popular Gjabakkahellir lava cave is also in the area.
The fissure Silfra is located by Thingvallavatn, Iceland's largest lake, and is famous for its clear waters and popular for diving and snorkeling, as you can literally swim between continents.
Reykjavik is the capital of Iceland and the northernmost capital of a sovereign state in the world.
Despite a small population (120.000 and more than 200.000 in the Greater Reykjavik area), it is a vibrant city that draws an ever increasing number of visitors. It is the financial, cultural and governmental centre of Iceland. It also has a reputation of being one of the cleanest and safest cities in the world.
The city of Reykjavik is located in southwest Iceland by the creek of the same name. Throughout the ages, the landscape has been shaped by glaciers, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions and the area is geothermal. Much of the current city area area was subglacial during the Ice Age, with the glacier reaching as far as the Álftanes peninsula, while other areas lay under the sea. After the end of the ice age the land rose as the glaciers drifted away, and it began to take on its present form.
The coastline of Reykjavik is set with peninsulas, coves, straights and islands, most notably the island of Videy, and seabirds and whales frequent the shores. The mountain ring as seen from the shore is particularly beautiful. Mount Esja is the highest mountain in the vicinity of Reykjavik and lends its distinct feature to the whole area. This majestic mountain is also highly popular for climbing. Other notable mountains that can be seen from the seaside are Akrafjall and Skardsheidi and on clear days one may even see as far to the legendary Snaefellsjokull glacier, at the end of the Snafellsnes peninsula.
The largest river to run through the city is Ellidaa in Ellidaardalur valley, which is also one of Iceland‘s best rivers for salmon fishing.
There are no trains or trams in Iceland, but most people travel by car. The city also operates a bus system. There are two major harbours in town, the old harbour in the centre and Sundahofn in the east. The domestic Reykjavik Airport is located at Vatnsmyrin, not far from the city centre and close to Oskjuhlid and Perlan. The international Keflavik Airport at Midnesheidi heath then lies around 50 km from the city. Cars, jeeps and bicycles can be readily rented in the city and many organized tours are also being offered.
The local arts scene is strong in Iceland, with both annual events and single ones, many of whom have hit the international stage. For the annual ones please check our articles Best Annual Events in Iceland and the Top Ten Festivals in Iceland. Major events taking place in Reykjavik include the Iceland Airwaves, Gay Pride, RIFF (The Reykjavik International Film Festival), The Reykjavik Literature Festival, Cultural Night, the Reykjavik Arts Festival, Food & Fun, the Reykjavik Fashion Festival and the Sónar music festival.
Among famous people from Reykjavik are artists Bjork Gudmundsdottir, Sigur Ros, writers Halldor Laxness (born in Laugavegur) and Arnaldur Indridason and mayor Jon Gnarr. For more well-known and fairly-well known Icelanders, check our article on the subject.
You might also want to check our article on some of the many things to see and do in Reykjavik, such as visiting the city‘s many museums, exhibitions and galleries, checking out live music, visiting the Harpa music hall or the theatres, visiting the lighthouse at Grotta, the main shopping street of Laugavegur, visiting the old harbour and the flea market, going on a bird- and whale watching tour or visiting Videy island. We also have a top ten list of things to do.
Make sure to visit the public square of Austurvollur, one of the city‘s most popular gathering places, where you‘ll also find the national parliament, Althingi, the state church a statue of independence hero Jon Sigurdson, as well as cafés, bars and restaurants. Austurvollur was central in the 2008 protests, along with Laekjargata, home to the House of Government. You are also not likely to miss the great church of Hallgrimskirkja that towers over the city from the hill of Skolavorduholt, wherefrom you‘ll get a great view of the city.
Try a walk by the city pond, greet the many birds that frequent the area and visit the city hall, stationed by its banks. The Hljomaskalagardur is a beautiful park that lies by the pond, it ideal for a nice walk and sometimes concerts get held there. Further off is the campus of the university of Iceland, the Nordic house and the Vatnsmyri wetland, a particularly pleasant place, but be mindful of not disturbing the wildlife there and keep to the pathways.
For a nice swim on a warm day, we particularly recommend Nautholsvik beach.
Visit the Laugardalur valley, home to one of the city‘s best swimming pools, as well as the Asmundarsafn gallery, a beautiful botanical garden and a domestic zoo. A walk by the Aegissida beach, with it‘s old fishing sheds, in the west part of Reykjavik also holds a particular charm. The aforementioned Elllidaardalur valley is also a popular resort.
Another place that offers one of the city‘s best (and free) views is Perlan, up in Oskjuhlid hill. The hill itself is a popular resort, with over 176.000 trees and great opportunities for walking and cycling.
Travel to Alftanes to see the president‘s house at Bessastadir, which is also a historical site in it‘s own right, having been the educational centre of Iceland for centuries. Nearby is a beautiful lava field, Galgahraun, well worth a visit, though there is currently an environmental struggle going on as to it‘s future state.
The city is furthermore a short drive from many of Iceland‘s major attractions, most famously the Golden Circle and the Blue Lagoon. In close vicinity you‘ll also find the Heidmork preservation area, a favourite pastime resort of the people of Reykjavik, as well as the Blue Mountains, one of Iceland‘s most beloved skiing venues.
Check our Best of Reykjavik guide further for tips on the best cheap things to do in Reykjavik, some of the best restaurants in the city, happy hours, the top ten value places to eat and our two articles on the famous Reykjavik nightlife; Nightlife in Reykjavik and Nightlife and mating.
Finally, we‘d like to stress that these are only some suggestions of the many things you might check out in Reykjavik. Whatever you choose to do, we hope you‘ll be able to make the most of your visit and we wish you a pleasant stay in our capital.
Jokulsarlon is a glacier lagoon in the south of Vatnajokull national park that is easily reached by the Ring Road.
Covered in thick glacial ice until the 1930’s when the glacier started retreating, the lagoon today measures 7 square miles (20 km2). More than 300 feet of ice still breaks away each year, reshaping the lagoon and filling it with icebergs - causing an alarmingly beautiful sight.
The water is freezing cold and contains a mixture of salt and freshwater giving it a blue-green color. There is plenty of fish and birdlife by the lagoon and the vast sand area of Breiðamerkursandur, and hundreds of seals stay there in winter.
Vatnajökull is the largest glacier in Europe covering 8% of the island of Iceland. Vatnajökull National Park - which encompasses the earlier national parks of Skaftafell and Jökulsárgljúfur - is the largest protected area in Europe and believed by many to be the most beautiful place on earth.
In this area you'll find some of the most stunning and diverse sights in Iceland. Among those are Iceland's highest peak, Hvannadalshnjúkur, its most active volcano, Grímsvötn, beautiful waterfalls such as Svartifoss by Skaftafell and Dettifoss, Europe's most powerful waterfall, stunning canyons such as Jökulsargljúfur and Ásbyrgi, and the breathtaking Jökulsárlon, an ice-riddled glacier lagoon that is one of the most beautiful attractions in Iceland.
The glacier itself covers a surface area of about 100 km2. The thickness of the ice is generally around 400-600 meters, at its thickest around 950 meters. Under the glacier are valleys, mountains and plateuas as well as active volcanoes, most notably Grimsvotn and Bardarbunga, both the largest and most active of these. Then there are Esjufjoll, a glorious volcanic mountain island, surrounded by the glacier on all sides.
Vatnajokull has over 30 outlets, some of the major ones being Dyngjujokull and Bruarjokull to the north and Breidamerkurjokull, Oraefajokull, Skeidararjokull and Sidujokull towards the south. On the west side from the north are smaller glaciers Eyjabakkajokull, Hofsjokull, Flaajokull Heinabergsjokull and Skalafellsjokull.
The highest peak of Iceland then lies to the south, Hvannadalshnjukur in the Oraefajokull outlet, reaching 2109 m, according to latest measurements.
Many rivers have their sources at Vatnajokull, including some of the greatest glacier rivers in the country. To the North are Jokulsa a Fjollum and Skjalfandafljot, to the Northeast are Jokulsa a Bru, and Jokulsa i Fljotsdal and to the south are Jokulsa i Loni, Hornafjardarfljot, Jokulsa a Breidamerkursandi, Skeidara, Nupsvotn, Hverfisfljot and Skafta.
The area around the glacier is highly varied. The highland plateu to the north is divided by glacier rivers which see massive floods in the summer. This is a highly volcanic region, where the volcanoes Askja, Herdubreid, Kverkfjoll and Snaefell tower over the scene. In this area is also the Jokulsargljufur preservation area with its magnificent canyon and the mighty glacier ricer Jokulsa a Fjollum where you'll find stunning waterfalls such as Dettifoss, Europe's most powerful waterfall. Further north are the Hljodaklettar echoing caves and the horse shoe-shaped Asbyrgi canyon, among other incredible sights.
Broad wetlands lie near the glacier and in the vicinity of Snaefell, further east. Particularly notable is the Eyjabakkar oasis, one of the largest nesting places for pink feeted geese in the world and located north of the Eyjabakkajokull outlet. To the east is also the stunning Jokulsarlon.
South of Vatnajokull, majestic mountain ridges characterise the scene, with outlet glaciers lying between them and reaching onto the lowlands. The Skaftafell preservation area is located there, with its rich flora and home to the beautiful waterfalls Hundafoss and Skogafoss, the latter famed for its with its magnificent columnar basalt formations.
To the south lies the vast sand desert Skeidararsandur, reaching all the way to the sea. The glacier river Skeidara runs through it and the sand was indeed created by great glacier bursts from Skeidara, with its origins in volcanic activity at Grimsvotn.
To the west of Vatnajokull there is strong volcanic activity as well. Some of the world's greatest fissure and lava eruptions happened there, at the Eldgja volcanic chasm and the Lakagigar craters in the 18th century. Vonarskard pass, to the northwest is also worth checking out, a highly colourful geothermal area that connects the North and South of Iceland.
Fans of the James Bond films might recognize the glacier from A View to a Kill and the stunning Jokulsarlon from Die Another Day, though the events of the former were supposed to take place in Siberia.
Scenes by the Wall in the HBO fantasy series Game of Thrones were also shot by Vatnajokull and further scenes were shot at lake Myvatn, another Iceland's major attractions.
Landmannalaugar ("The people's pools") is a wast area of stunning beauty in Iceland's Southern Highlands.
This unique geological marvel lies by the edge of the raven-black Laugahraun lava field and is flanked by windswept rhyolite mountains whose vibrant shades of red, purple and pink, constantly change in keeping with the movement of the sun.
Primarily known for the natural geothermal baths from which the area derives its name, Landmannalaugar has long been an oasis where tired travellers have found a recuperating shelter in soothing warm waters after hard and tiresome excursions.
The area marks the northern end of the Laugavegur, one of Iceland's most popular hiking trails, but it is also home to many other notable trails, including the path onto Mt. Brennisteinsalda ("Sulphur Wave"), and the trail up the Bláhnjúkur ("Blue Peak") volcano, whose summit allows for a sweeping view of five glaciers on clear days.
Multiple operators run daily tours to Landmannalaugar from mid-June to mid-September, during which time The Icelandic Touring Association operates a small shop there, as well as three camp sites and a mountain hut with sleeping bag accommodation for up to 80 visitors.
Skogafoss is one of the biggest and most beautiful waterfalls of the island with an astounding width of 25 meters and a drop of 60 meters.
This is one of the most popular waterfalls in Iceland for travellers to visit. It is located in South Iceland, not far from Skogar, which itself features a highly interesting regional museum. Due to the amount of spray the waterfall often produces a single or double rainbow on sunny days.
Geysir is a famous hot spring in Haukadalur valley in South Iceland. Part of the ‘Golden Circle', Geysir gives its name to hot springs all over the world.
Though Geysir itself is hardly active anymore, the area features spectacular hot springs such as the powerful Strokkur, which spouts a vast amount of water every 10 minutes, around 15-20 meters into the air, Smidur and Litli-Strokkur.
North of Geysir are fumaroles, i.e. unlike the hot springs that emit hot water, only steam and gas emanate from these. You may be able to observe bright yellow stains at the fumaroles, this is native sulphur, which crystallizes from the steam. At the southern part of the geothermal area, called Thykkuhverir, you‘ll find various mud pots. Such mud pots are actually fumaroles that boil up through surface water/groundwater and may become steaming fumaroles during dry spells, rather than the usual boiling mud pots.
About 2 km from Geysir is an old preserved natural pool called Kúalaug. One can bathe in it and it has room for 3-5 people at a time, but care should be taken, as the area around the pool is very delicate. The temperature is 39-43°C, depending on how you are positioned in the pool. The water is slightly muddy, as the pool is built on soil, and the bottom is slippery due to algae, so caution is advised.
In Haukadalur there has also been tree planting in recent times and today the forest Haukadalsskógur is one of the largest in South Iceland. Aspen, various types of pine, and other plants have been tried out there and experiments and research continue. We also recommend visiting the tree museum, built in the memory of forester Gunnar Freysteinsson. There are good paths and roads in the forest and the wood is specially designed to accommodate wheelchairs.
Haukadalur has been a church site since ancient time. The current wooden church was last rebuilt in 1938 but the variety and appearance of the church dates back to 1842, making it one of the oldest of its kind in Iceland.
Haukadalur is indeed a historical place. It was settled during the age of settlement and scholar Ari “The Wise“ Thorgilsson grew up there. The first pastoral school in Iceland was also built there.
For accommodation, Hotel Gullfoss is about 7 km from the Geysir area, and closer still is the Hotel Geysir.
Gullfoss ('Golden Waterfall') in Hvita river is one of the most beautiful and beloved waterfalls in Iceland and forms a part of the famous Golden Circle along with Thingvellir National Park and the Geysir geothemal area.
This mighty waterfall cascades 32 meters into the river gorge and you'll be able to stand close enough to feel the waterspray on your face. Hvita itself should not be missed by any fan of rafting, as it is one of the most popular rafting rivers in Iceland.
Thingvellir is one of the most important sites to visit in Iceland for its landscape, history and cultural value.
The Icelandic parliament was founded in Thingvellir in 930 and remained there for centuries.Thingvellir is surrounded by a beautiful mountain range and is the site of a rift valley, marking the crest of the Mid-Atlantic range. Today it is a natural park, listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and considered a vital part of the ‘Golden triangle’ (with Geysir and Gullfoss). Of particular note is the magnificent gorge Almannagja, which marks the eastern boundary of the north American plate and into which the beautiful waterfall Oxararfoss falls.
Other notable attractions within the park include the beautiful lake Thingvallavatn, the largest lake in Iceland, the Silfra fissure, one of the world's top dives, and Gjabakkahellir, one of Iceland's most interesting lava tubes.
Hraunfossar in Borgarfjordur district is a series of beautiful waterfalls formed by rivulets streaming from a short distance out of the Hallmundarhraun lava field.
The lava field flowed from an eruption of one of the volcanoes lying under the glacier Langjokull. The waterfalls pour into the Hvita river from ledges of less porous rock in the lava. These are some of the most magnificent falls found in Iceland and not to be missed.
Snaefellsnes is a large peninsula extending to the west from West Iceland ending with a national park, Snaefellsjokull National Park, where the glacier towers over the scenery, as can sometimes be seen from Reykjavik, lending its beauty to the area.
The peninsula stretches over 100 km to the west as a mountain ridge that includes active volcanoes and is unique in the variety of mountains found.
A few small and beautiful villages are located on the south side and a few fishing villages are on the north side: Rif, Hellissandur, Olafsvik, Grundarfjordur and Stykkisholmur. The last one is highly popular for travelers, featuring a volcano museum and a ferry that takes you across the fascinating Breidafjordur bay to Brjanslaekur on the south border of the Westfjords.
Other museums you might want to check out are the Maritime Museum at Hellissandur, the regional museum Pakkhusid at Olafsvik, and, last but not least, the shark museum at Bjarnarhofn, indeed listed as the nr. 1 Snafellsnes attraction by Lonely Planet Travelers. Also, many of the Icelandic sagas take place at Snaefellsnes.
Snaefellsnes has an abundance of interesting sights. At the national park, you can witness the impressive lava formations of Djupalonssandur creek and test your strength on its four stones, see the two massive lava formations that compries Londrangar, explore the Saxholl volcanic crater and enjoy the echo of 'The Singing Cave', Songhellir. You may also hike on the majestic Snaefellsjokull glacier. The glacier has strong ties with folklore and was the setting for Jules Verne's Journey to the Center of the Earth.
Other sights we can recommend at Snaefellsnes recommend include Raudfeldsgja canyon, east of the national park and the rugged and colourful Berserkjahraun lava field, near Bjarnarhofn, on the north side of the peninsula.
Last, but not least, Snaefellsnes is one of the main setting for Laxdaela saga. Chieftain Snorri godi, Gudrun Osvifursdottir, Bolli Thorlakssson all lived there as well as his namesake Bolli Bollason, the first West Norse member of the Varangian guard, an elite unit of the Byzantine army. Iceland's most famous mass murderer, Axlar-Bjorn, also lived at Snaefellsnes.
The world-famous Reynisfjara shore, near the village Vik in Myrdalur on Iceland's South Coast, is widely regarded as the most impressive black-sand beach in Iceland.
To reach Reynisfjara you can either drive there yourself. Here you will find the largest and cheapest car rentals in Iceland. Or you can join this summer tour to the South coast, or this winter tour to Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon.
Reynisfjara is a black pebble beach and features an amazing cliff of regular basalt columns resembling a rocky step pyramid, which is called Hálsanef. Out in the sea are the spectacularly shaped basalt sea stacks Reynisdrangar. The area has a rich birdlife, including puffins, fulmars and guillemots.
The waves at Reynisfjara are especially strong and unpredictable, and fatal accidents have occurred at this beach, so people are advised to take extra care when visiting the area.
According to folklore, two trolls attempted to drag a ship to land but were turned to stone as daylight broke, turning them into the Reynisdrangar stacks, clearly visible from the beach.
Vik in Myrdalur valley is the southernmost village on the Icelandic mainland, located 186 km from the capital Reykjavik.
Vik is important as a service centre for the inhabitants and visitors of the marvellous Reynisfjara beach.
Reynisfjara is widely considered one of the most beautiful beaches on earth (see for example Islands Magazine). This black pebble beach boasts an amazing cliff of regular basalt columns called Gardar, which resembles a rocky step pyramid and out in the sea are the spectaculary shaped basalt sea stacks Reynisdrangar. The area has rich birdlife, including puffins, fulmars and guillemots.
Starting time : Flexible
Airport transfer on arrival/departure
5 nights of accommodation in Reykjavik (different levels available; breakfast included for comfort and quality levels; more detailed info below)
3-day super jeep adventure to Landmannalaugar & Golden Circle (1 lunch and 2 dinners included)
2 nights of accommodation in a mountain lodge during the 3-day Landmannalaugar trip in the Mountain Lodge (sleeping bags included)
2-day 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 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 standard entrance 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
Lunch (unless included above)
Dinner (unless included above)
Good hiking shoes
Good waterproof outer layers
Driver's License (Required for Snowmobiling)
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.
Your winter adventure begins as soon as you land. The international airport is in Keflavík, on the Reykjanes peninsula, and the 40-minute 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 straightaway.
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.
You'll spend the night in Reykjavik.
The nature extravaganza officially kicks off today. In the next 8 days, you will spend 2 days traveling down the south coast along the Ring Road, 3 days along the Golden Circle and Landmannalaugar highlands route, and another 2 days exploring Snæfellsnes peninsula in the west wrapped up by a free day in the capital of Reykjavik.
Please note that the sequence of those trips will depend on which day of the week you land, so you might spend your day in Reykjavík on day 2, followed by the national park days, or vice versa and have the free day in Reykjavik 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.
You'll continue towards a black sandy beach called Reynisfjara, where you'll get a view of the Atlantic Ocean's powerful waves. This is a stunning location but equally dangerous. Be careful not to go too close to the waves as they can sweep you out to sea in seconds! Recommended distance is about 20 metres away. You'll also have a view of Reynisdrangar rocks, basalt columns which stand out in the pounding surf.
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.
You'll search for the Northern Lights in the evening if conditions are favourable.
Accommodation is arranged in a country hotel either near Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon or Skaftafell Nature Reserve.
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. You'll explore a natural ice cave. To get there, jump into a modified SUV able to handle the icy winter driving, to 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 Reykjavik. 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.
As always, in the evening you can choose to join another Northern Lights tour, and your guide will make every effort to anticipate the Northern Lights forecast and give you a good experience. You’ll spend the night in Reykjavík.
Again, please note that the arrangement of your tours will depend on which day of the week you arrive in Iceland, so you might spend your first day in Reykjavík and begin this tour with the 2-day journey to the south coast or your 2-day journey to Snæfellsnes peninsula. At other times, you may begin in Reykjavik and immediately depart for a 3-day tour into the Icelandic highlands instead.
The following description is for the first day of the 3-day Landmannalaugar tour:
You'll be picked up at your hotel in Reykjavík and driven towards the valley of Þjórsárdalur. From there, you'll have a view of Hekla, one of Iceland's most famous volcanoes. It's known as "the Gateway to Hell.' It is still active, and last erupted in the year 2000.
You'll be driving along Þjórsá river, Iceland's longest river towards Hjálparfoss waterfall. The name of the falls translates to Helping Falls, as it was the last lush area before entering the large, sandy desert Sprengisandur during the Viking Age. People would take the opportunity offered by this green place to let their horses graze one final time.
You'll have lunch at Hrauneyjar Highland Centre, located just before the real highlands of Fjallabak Nature Reserve.
The drive takes you through vast lava fields covered by snow, past Lake Hnausapollur and Lake Ljótipollur, to a stop at Lake Frostastaðavatn. When the weather is still, the surrounding mountains and strange rock formations are beautifully mirrored in the lake.
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 while your driver/guide prepares dinner. You'll be provided with a proper Icelandic meal, from healthy Icelandic ingredients. 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.
Please note that the mountain lodge where you'll be sleeping is very basic and rustic. You won't be getting a private en-suite room here! The bathrooms are not even in the same building but in an adjacent smaller building.
The two-story highland lodge is heated and kept warm all year round. Downstairs, there is a spacious sleeping area with bunk beds, a spacious kitchen, and a cozy sitting area. Upstairs, there are three separate sleeping areas. The lodge is heated with geothermal heat, and the kitchen is equipped with gas.
During breakfast, the day will be planned according to snow conditions, the weather, and your personal preferences. You might want to go for a snowmobile tour in the area, a hike to the numerous interesting locations nearby or take a ride with your guide in the modified Superjeep to nearby lakes and exotic places. Or even, if you are in the mood, relaxing in the hot pool outside and enjoying the peace and quiet.
If you begin your day with bathing in the pool before breakfast, you might start wondering about the geothermal heat in the area. The mountains encircling this area are mostly formed from magma which accumulated in the magma chamber of a volcano located by the glacier of Torfajökull south of Landmannalaugar. The Torfajökull area is the country's second largest high-temperature geothermal area.
In the evening, your accommodation will once more be at the mountain lodge. You'll eat a delicious barbecue dinner, enjoy life in the lodge, embrace the solitude and, of course, the hot pool outside is open around the clock. As always, your group will be looking out for the Northern Lights!
After breakfast, you'll leave the peacefulness of Landmannalaugar and head for Hrauneyjar where you'll stop for lunch. From there, you'll drive back through Thjorsardalur on to the Golden Circle route which will bring you first 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!
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,” derived from the verb geysa, meaning "to gush."
You'll then head to Þingvellir. Þingvellir 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.
Weather circumstances, snow and road conditions play a big role in this tour so the traveling time can vary greatly. Time of arrival in Reykjavik is estimated to be in the early evening at dinner time.
Today, you'll begin an exciting tour of the Snæfellsnes peninsula, an area with many of the terrain features which make Iceland a favorite 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 for another experience deep in the caves: this time, a lava 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.
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.
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!
Horse riding and whale watching are also available, for those who like to keep their feet on 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.
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!
See our accommodation levels below. 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 traveling 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.
Rooms with a private bathroom at three star hotels such as CenterHotel Skjaldbreið, or quality guesthouses. Located in the city center or in close vicinity. Breakfast is included.
Rooms at four star design hotels in the city centre with a private bathroom at the absolute best locations downtown or seaside locations such as Fosshótel Reykjavík. Breakfast is included.
My trip to Iceland was literally one of the best experiences of my life. The accommodations are all very nice and comfortable. I traveled alone and had a great time meeting fellow travelers, and I met several other solo travelers so don't let going alone worry you, you will make friends. My trip started with going immediately to Blue Lagoon directly from the airport and I highly recommend that as a start to your trip. When I got there the sun was rising and it was epic! (Do make sure you carry on your jackets and warm clothing, my bags were delayed and I was very happy to have my important warm clothes.) The second day we headed to the West Coast with Nice Travel and the guide was great and very knowledgable. It was too windy for our whale tour so he took us to a great volcano museum, and he also made a special effort to help us see the Northern Lights for the first time even though that wasn't included in the tour. Also, the Greenland Shark museum and experience was definitely unique and I am glad I saw it even if the taste isn't something I will miss! I then had a break day and was able to go clubbing in Reykjavik where I saw GusGus, which was suggested by my previous guide and was awesome. The next part of the trip was to the Highlands in a super jeep vehicle. The trucks were all very warm and comfy. This was by far the highlight of the trip and we stayed in a lodge near a geothermal pool. I loved snowmobiling and the view of the Norther Lights from this area was incredible due to the remoteness. The guides from Extreme Iceland were excellent. Olly is the bomb and you can tell he loves his job and Iceland. Also, on a side note the guides brought soup made by one of their mothers on the first night and it was superb. The second night they made lamb on a grill which was the best thing I had on the trip even counting the city. These guys know how to cook! I would suggest buying wine, beer or spirits at the Airport duty free before your trip starts or you won't have it for this part of the trip and you may want that stuff. Also, bring earplugs and a pillow for the group sleeping area. The last part of the trip to the Glacier Lagoon & Hohn to see the lights was incredible. The night we saw the lights it was a 6 out of 9 level and they were extremely strong for us. I am a pro-photographer and I was able to get great photos of them. Bring a tripod and experiment with your camera at 800ISO-3200ISO, shutter speed of 15-30seconds and F1.4-2.8 and focus on infinity in manual and you should be able to shoot the lights. Our guid on this trip Christian was extremely knowledgeable and made extra stops the whole way to and from Hohn. He also played Icelandic music the whole way back and did a full rundown on the history of Bjork, the Sugar Cubes along with the political history of Iceland and how that intersects with music as many of the artists are now politicians. He was also the manager of one of the bands he spoke about and knew Bjork from working with her on a charity. Christian was also a photographer so he knew the best spots to shoot and made efforts to help everyone not just me get great photos. This dude is legit! The black beach was great too! I decided to rent a car after my tour was over and return there so I had more time. I would recommend to everyone if you want to do photos of special stuff stay an extra couple of days and rent a car to go back to any highlights or things you might think you missed once you get to know the country. Take this trip you won't be disappointed!
Wonderful experiences with 3 well-scheduled tours to a lot of amazing places in Iceland. Our guides were all terrific. This package is highly recommandable.
It is a really amazing trip in Iceland.The hotels are good and comfortable，the guide all are really awesome. Espacially the trip operated by the golden travel which make feel very happy. The guide Sveinbjorn Sigurdsson not only do the job well but also like a good friend to everyone. He took us to many different unbelievable beautiful place like the black beach in Vik and also a lot of other good-view place. He just like a good friend to me and really miss him. If i got another chance to iceland，the iceland golden travel and the guide Sveinbjorn Sigurdsson will always be my first choice. If there are other people is watching this rate，please trust me！！！ THE OPERATOR:ICELAND GOLDEN TRAVEL AND THE GUIDE:Sveinbjorn Sigurdsson IT WILL BE THE BEST CHOICE YOU'VE EVER MADE! REALLY APPRECIATE FOR THIS AMAZING TRIP!
This is indeed a well package winter tour as we visited a lot of places in Iceland. We visited a number of awesome waterfalls for the 2 days South Coast tour. The tour guide, Ivar, was very helpful and looked after our safety especially when we walked on icy footpaths. We were also amazed by the Blue Ice Cave and marveled at how nature formation can take place in such a manner. Though the seals did not come on shore for the 2 days Snaefellsnes Peninsula tour, we still managed to catch a glimpse of their heads popping out of the sea from afar. We also visited the lava cave and experience what it is like to be in total darkness deep beneath the ground (about 6 storeys deep) in the lava cave. Due to bad weather condition, we did not manage to do the whale watching tour at Snaefellsnes Peninsula. The main highlight of this package is the 3 days Landmannalaugar tour. Not only we enjoyed the long road journey to Landmannalaugar in the very comfortable modified super jeep, we also admired the magnificent snow mountains with clear and beautiful reflection in the lake. The scenery was one of the breathtaking beauty. Just as the saying goes...there are no shortcuts to any place worth going. Though the snow fall was not thick enough for us to go for the snowmobile tour, we still managed to do some hiking in the surrounding area and enjoyed the beautiful winter wonderland. Hiking makes one appreciative of the natural rhythms and makes you feel closer to Nature. We also got to relax in the open air geothermal hot pool with falling snow. Time comes to a stand still as we immerse ourselves in the open air hot pool and we felt we "lost" ourselves in paradise (snow fall and winter wonderland scenery). We also enjoyed the delicious barbecue dinner. The lamb meat is very tender and tasty and the mushroom sauce is a perfect match for the lamb meat. We enjoyed the cosy stay at the mountain lodge. We truly embrace the solitude that the environment provides. It is indeed a good getaway temporarily from the usual city life. We also managed to catch the Northern Lights just outside the lodge in the night and viewed the stars shining so brightly in the sky. The tour guide, Atli, is very experienced and knowledgeable. He is also always so ready to answer all our questions and never get frustrated with our never ending queries. He makes very good judgement on the changes needed for the accommodation and travel itinerary arrangement. We braved through snow storm and hail falling during the journey. However, we felt no fear as we know we are in safe hands with Atli as the driver. We reached our destination safely. All in all, we highly recommend this tour as it covers the most beautiful attractions and very interesting activities in Iceland. Definitely worth the money!!!
This tour basically give you the chance to experience what Iceland has to offer in winter. The core of the trip show you the snaefellnes peninsula, landmannalagur, and jokulsarlon with a lot of waterfalls in between. The weather can be quite windy sometimes especially in the peninsula area. We were lucky enough to have a few days of clear sky for us to capture the northern light in the highland. Highly recommending the highland trip, the geothermal pool was perfect. We have picked the comfort level hotel, which is more comfortable than we have expected. The reception was extra helpful. In general, Icelandic people are quite friendly and willing to help. A great country to visit in both summer and winter season. P.s For the complimentary northern light tour, we have picked the boat tour, but it got cancelled twice due to bad weather. I supposed there is a better chance for bus tour as in winter Reykjavik can get strong gale and make boat trip dangerous.