Around Iceland in 15 days | Winter



Around Iceland in 15 days | Winter

Embark on a slow travel roadtrip around Iceland on this 15 days and 14 nights self-drive tour, all the way from Reykjavík to the more remote parts of the country. Along the way, classic sights including the Golden Circle, Snæfellsnes Peninsula, glacier lagoons, spectacular waterfalls, hot springs, as well as lesser-known reaches of the country and hidden gems. An ideal vacation for travelers wishing to experience Iceland winter wonderland at slow pace. The longer you stay, the higher the chances of witnessing the magical northern lights! Available 1 October to 30 April.

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Included

  • Accommodation for 14 nights, budget or comfort rooms with breakfast
  • Rental car for 15 days, with unlimited mileage and CDW insurance (pick up & drop off in Reykjavik)
  • Two authorized drivers
  • Flybus transfer to and from airport
  • E-Itinerary with the tour map, location points, and pictures for you to view before you arrive.
  • Driver Guide tablet mapping and navigating your personalized journey and highlights of surrounding areas. Including a GPS Navigation system, recommendations along the way, Wi-Fi, helpful information, a messenger system to stay in touch with us, our Driver Guide will instantly become your best travel mate.
  • Free Wi-Fi Hotspot through tablet
  • 24/7 emergency phone line service
  • Taxes and service fee

Highlights

  • Experience Reykjavík’s wintry atmosphere and lively nightlife
  • Explore the scenic and mystical Snæfellsnes Peninsula in its winter coat
  • Discover Icelandic music scene and local food in Akureyri
  • Drive through otherworldly volcanic landscapes by Lake Mývatn
  • Soak in the unique atmosphere of fishing towns in the Eastfjords
  • See the beautiful snow-capped mountain range on Stokksnes Peninsula
  • Let your mind wander at Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon and Diamond Beach
  • Visit Iceland’s most iconic wonders on the Golden Circle
  • If you are lucky, see the northern lights dancing all night!

Optional

Available as

Included

The Driver Guide Tablet

Driver Guide was designed to assist you on your journey to Iceland, guiding you through your personalized day-to-day itinerary. The tablet also gives you recommendations along the way, and helpful information regarding driving conditions, weather forecast, and more. How does it all work?

Learn more
  • Personal Wifi hotspot

  • Safe Travel Information

  • Digital Vouchers

Itinerary

Arrival day | Reykjavík

Spend the day exploring Iceland’s vibrant capital city, bustling with museums and historical attractions, cosy cafés with live music, outdoor geothermal pools, and home to a wealth of gourmet restaurants. No visit to Reykjavík is complete without a stop at the Sun Voyager and at Hallgrímskirkja, an architectural masterpiece directly inspired by the country’s basalt columns. At the top, the open-air viewing platform provides a 360° view over the city’s colourful houses sprinkled with snow, all the way to the ocean and surrounding mountains. The Airport Direct shuttle will transfer you to your accommodation in Reykjavík from Keflavik Airport upon arrival. Optional, and not included in the price, is to pick up the rental car at the airport when you arrive.

Accommodation is in Reykjavík Capital Area (optional not included in the price).

Optional

  • Take a dip in the Blue Lagoon geothermal mineral waters (admission to the lagoon must be booked in advance).

Day 1 | Borgarfjörður Area

Today, explore the pearls of West Iceland, starting with Borgarfjörður, whose every single corner is tied to a surfeit of sagas and stories, adding depth and mystery to the region. Visit Reykholt, one of Iceland's most notable historical sites, housing a cultural centre dedicated to medieval studies, along with a nice quaint church and an ancient geothermally-heated pool. Let your mind wander to the magnificent contrasts of the blue waters of Hraunfossar and Barnafoss Waterfalls and surrounding snow-covered lava cliffs. End the day at Europe’s highest flowing hot spring, Deildartunguhver, which feeds the scenic Geothermal Baths and Spa Krauma nearby.

Accommodation is in Borganes or Borgarfjörður area for 2 nights.

Day 2 | Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Travel to the enchanting Snæfellsnes Peninsula, whose countless natural wonders and wintry atmosphere make for an unforgettable experience. Take your time to walk along Djúpalónssandur black sand beach and try your hand at lifting stones once used by fishermen to test their strength. Admire the photogenic Búðir church and the incredible columnar basalt formations at Arnarstapi, before reaching the Western tip of the Peninsula and Skarðsvík golden sand beach. Other sights include the iconic Snæfellsjökull Glacier, made famous by Jules Verne’s novel ‘Journey to the Center of the Earth’, the picturesque fishing villages of Hellisandur and Grundarfjörður, and what must be the most photographed mountain in Iceland, and for good reasons, Mount Kirkjufell.

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Day 3 | Hvammstangi - Skagafjörður - Tröllaskagi

Head North towards Iceland’s seal sanctuary, Vatnsnes Peninsula, where seals can be seen in large flocks basking in the sun, resting on drifting icebergs and very often entertaining humans! Hvítserkur sea stack is a sight to behold regardless of when you visit - at dawn, at dusk, but it gets beyond magical when bathed in northern lights. Take a small detour around Skagafjörður area, the cradle of the Icelandic horse and home to a jaw-dropping swimming pool in Hofsós, with an infinite view over the Greenland Sea, with a few small islands breaking through. Continue onwards on a scenic drive around Tröllaskagi Peninsula before checking in at your accommodation for the night in Eyjafjörður.

Accommodation is in Eyjafjörður area for 2 nights.

Day 4 | Dalvík - Hrísey - Grímsey

Soak in the atmosphere of North Iceland with a stop at Dalvík fishing town, the departure point for the ferry Sæfari, sailing to Grímsey Island, Iceland's northernmost community, which lies on the Arctic Circle. With less than 100 inhabitants, light pollution is not an issue, making for the ideal conditions to observe northern lights from September until the end of April. Alternatively, you can sail to Hrísey, a beautiful serene island in the middle of Eyjafjörður with the most breathtaking view over the mountains and fjord mouth, where we recommend a visit to the museum tracing the island’s rich history.

Day 5 | Akureyri

Discover the charm of Iceland’s second largest city, Akureyri, covered with a thick blanket of snow. Get the thrill of a downhill or cross-country skiing adventure at Hlídarfjall Ski Resort, walk Akureyri’s streets consisting of beautifully-restored colourful timber houses before chilling in one of the town’s friendliest cafés. Families and independent travelers alike are spoilt for choice when it comes to outdoor recreation options near Akureyri, from whale watching and dog sledding to ice fishing and sightseeing flights (need to be booked in advance). After an intense day, head to Mývatn Lake area, your home for the next two nights.

Accommodation in Mývatn area for 2 nights.

Day 6 | Lake Mývatn

Wake up to the silence and tranquility of Lake Mývatn Area, an area of diverse and stunning scenery, shaped by volcanic activity. Make a first stop at Goðafoss Waterfall, the so-called 'Waterfall of the Gods', glorious in its winter coat, before exploring the natural wonders in the immediate vicinity of Lake Mývatn, including Dimmuborgir Lava Fields, Skútustaðargígar Pseudo Craters, Grjótagjá Lava Cave, Námafjall Geothermal Field, and Krafla Crater whose intense blue is truly something special. Unwind your day of sightseeing in the healing waters of Mývatn Nature Baths, under starry skies and even northern lights if you are lucky.

Day 7 | Húsavík – Tjörnes

Visit Húsavík town, the capital of whale watching (limited in winter), and the ideal gateway connecting most of the highlights in The Diamond Circle. Hop on a boat and quietly approach the humpback whales, for a timeless moment in their natural environment. Watch them swim under the boat, blow in the waves, and even make incredible acrobatics. Soak in the view over the ocean and snow-capped mountains from Húsavík Geothermal Sea Baths, a real temple of relaxation, before taking the direction of the northern part of Vatnajökull National Park, where the rugged beauty of Dettifoss and Selfoss Waterfalls, set in a rocky canyon, is guaranteed to steal your breath away.

Accommodation is in Egilsstaðir area for 3 nights.

Day 8 | Fljótsdalur Valley

Experience the charm and magnificent surroundings of Egilsstaðir, a town located on Lagarfljót riverbanks, where you won’t be surprised to come across Lagarfljótsormur, the alleged sea worm! Take your time and visit the beautiful Hengifoss and Litlanesfoss Waterfalls, both testifying of past volcanic eruptions in the area. Reach Iceland’s largest forest, Hallormsstaðaskógur, offering plenty opportunities for outdoor recreation. Alternatively, stop at the Wilderness Center, which has not only an interesting museum, but also offers a wide range of guided tours with a focus on authenticity, a great way to meet the locals and get a glimpse of the Icelandic highlands.

Day 9 | Borgarfjörður Eystri

Borgarfjörður Eystri deserves a trip by itself, its natural beauty making it one of Iceland’s most expansive hiking areas. For a full immersion in the wild Icelandic Nature, hike to Stórurð, an extraordinary place scattered by giant turf boulders once transported by glaciers, located on the western flank of Dyrfjöll Mountains. Opt for a shorter option along Brúnavík Bay, and visit the peaceful town of Bakkagerði, where lies one of the very few turf houses in Iceland to be still inhabited, Lindarbakki. We recommend checking out the Wilderness Center themed tours, the best way to discover the Eastern region’s history and cultural heritage.

Day 10 | The Eastfjords

Abrupt mountains, icy deserts, roadside waterfalls, hairpin turns... Today, expect the drive itself to the Eastfjords to be scenic, with a succession of diverse and breathtaking panoramas in the rearview! Visit Seyðisfjörður, a characterful village nestled between impressive mountains, where colourful, Norwegian-style wooden houses and little cheerful cafés create magic in the (crisp) air. Enjoy the moment at Djúpivogur, one of Iceland's oldest settlements, whose beauty and wintry scenery is hard to beat. Delight your tastebuds with the most delicious lobster soup at Höfn, a stone’s throw from the spectacular Vestrahorn Mountain and Stokksnes Peninsula, the perfect foreground to photograph northern lights.


Accommodation is in Höfn area. 

Day 11 | Vatnajökull National Park

Continue South in the direction of Iceland’s crown jewel, Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, where floating icebergs and moody skies reveal the brightest hues of blues, while the Sun gives the scenery a soft golden look. Walk along the neighbouring Diamond Beach, a shimmering world of stranded chunks of ice. Opt for one of the numerous outdoor activities available in winter in the South of Vatnajökull National Park, from glacier walking and icecaving to super jeep tours and hiking (must be booked in advance). Skaftafell National Park boasts a variety of trails, of which we recommend the one leading to Svartifoss Basalt Column Waterfall, and its spectacular meter-long icicles hanging from the basalt columns.

Accommodation is in Vík area for 2 nights.

Day 12 | Vík

Visit the highlights of the South Coast, starting with the charming town of Vík, characterized by Reynisdrangar sea stacks. Reach the lunar black sand beach of Reynisfjara, backed by an incredible stack of basalt columns, reminiscent of a church organ. Admire the open view from Dyrhólaey Promontory and its legendary rock arch, or what remains today of an ancient volcanic island. Drive past the glorious Mýrdalsjökull and Eyjafjallajökull ice-capped volcanos. From Landeyjahöfn, take the ferry to the Westmann Islands, the Pompeii of the North, where we recommend a visit to the local museum Eldheimar, retracing the events of the 1973 volcanic eruptions. Please note that the ferry sometimes departs from Þorlákshöfn depending on winter conditions.

Accommodation is in Vík area for two nights.

Day 13 | Skálholt - Flúðir

Start the day with a visit to the mighty Skógafoss Waterfall, splendid in winter. Make the most of the daylight to take the 1-hour hike, weather permitting, leading to the abandoned DC-3 plane in Sólheimasandur, for a magical, almost otherworldly scenery. Marvel at Seljalandsfoss Waterfall, where it is usually possible to walk behind except during the winter months when the path can get extremely slippery. Stop at Skálholt, one Iceland’s two bishoprics with Hólar, for more than 700 years, and home to a stunning modern cathedral contrasting with the old turf houses nearby. Sit back and relax in the warm waters of the Secret Lagoon and visit the mini-geyser in the geothermal area.

Accommodation is in Gullfoss/Geysir area for two nights.

Day 14 | The Golden Circle

Today drive the Golden Circle and visit Iceland’s most famous landmarks with a twist . Walk at the heart of the continental drift at Thingvellir National Park, a huge crack in this white vastness, before exploring Gullfoss Waterfall, which remains strong in winter, plummeting down an impressive rocky canyon. Wait for Strokkur geyser to erupt, every 10 minutes on average, and enjoy the contrasts between the ice-cold surroundings and powerful steam rising from the grounds. Bonus stops include Þórufoss Waterfall, Brúarárfoss Waterfall and Kerið Volcanic Crater Lake, all very near the Golden Circle’s three main attractions and worth the small detour.

Day 15 | Hveragerði Geothermal Park

Your itinerary today depends on the time of your flight. Visit the Geothermal Park in Hveragerði and get an insight into the greenhouse process or take the hot spring river trail in Reykjadalur Valley for a last bath in the wilderness. Alternatively, take a small roadtrip around Reykjanes Peninsula, rich in natural wonders including Gunnhuver Hot Spring and Brimketill Lava Pool, and home to the infamous Blue Lagoon, for a relaxed moment before heading to the airport, with unforgettable memories to bring home.

Accommodation is in Reykjavík (optional and not included in the price).

 

TripAdvisor reviews

Good Service and great itinerary for Ring Road self- drive. Would highly recommend. They were responsive even when I had a question during the tour. The guest houses in the country side and the guest house in Reykjavik were superior and there were no issues with finding our way using the tablet provided. A plus was getting a great car (maybe this was just luck?) a Suzuki 4WD All Grip which did great on the roads. I have never used an agency before, but would do it again without hesitation. Thank you, Hey Iceland!
David W, Washington DC

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