8 Day Winter Excursion | Guided Circle of Iceland Small Group Tour

8 Day Winter Excursion | Guided Circle of Iceland Small Group Tour
There's nothing so magical as stepping inside of an ice cave for the first time.
'The mountain like an arrowhead' - Mt. Kirkjufell.
Iceland's landscape is wild, eclectic and like no where else on earth.
Iceland is the land of a thousand waterfalls, with more being found every year.
An inner city park in Reykjavik during the wintertime.
The mighty Gullfoss waterfall during dusk.

Join this all-encompassing, guided minibus tour, travelling the full circle around Iceland to explore and experience the country's most iconic natural attractions. This tour is tailored to travellers who are looking to maximise their vacation time, as well as those looking to experience the full breadth of Iceland's unmatched diversity.  

From the snow-wreathed mountains of the Eastfjords to the rugged, dried lava fields of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, there's no telling of the adventure that awaits. Throughout this eight-day winter journey, you will visit numerous towns and coastal villages, scale glaciers, discover charming lakes, marvel at cascading waterfalls, and so much more. 

There is also ample opportunity to add extra excursions to your trip during the booking process. You can go glacier hiking up Sólheimajökull, venture into a lava tube at Vatnshellir Cave, go horse riding, or partake in the incredible chance to go inside an authentic ice cave.

You will spend time in many of Iceland's national parks and nature reserves, including UNESCO World Heritage site Þingvellir and Vatnajökull National Park. For landscape photographers and nature lovers, these regions offer a fantastic opportunity to revel in Iceland's landscape and geology. 

This is a guided tour, meaning there will be plenty of opportunities to soak up the Icelandic culture, ask questions and garner a true understanding of the geological makeup and natural phenomena that make the country so attractive. 

Every night will conclude with a possible display of the celestial phenomenon,  the Northern Lights. Their appearance can never be guaranteed, but exploring the country in wintertime is one of your best chances of spotting them. 

So don't delay—hop on this fantastic guided bus excursion and you too can experience the best of Iceland's natural delights! Check availability by choosing a date.


Quick facts

Tour information:
  • Available: Sep. - Apr.
  • Duration: 8 days
  • Activities: Glacier Hiking, Caving, Horse Riding, Whale Watching, Sightseeing, Northern lights hunting, Hot Spring Bathing, Cultural Activity, Ice Caving
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Minimum age: 8 years.
  • Languages: English
  • Highlights: Golden Circle, East Iceland, North Iceland, West Iceland , Reykjavík, Akureyri, Jökulsárlón, Vatnajökull, Mývatn, Dimmuborgir, Goðafoss, Snæfellsjökull, Skógafoss, Seljalandsfoss, Geysir, Gullfoss, Eyjafjallajökull, Þingvellir, Katla, Snæfellsnes, Sólheimajökull, Mýrdalsjökull, Skaftafell, Silfra, Sólheimasandur, Eyjafjörður, Borgarfjörður, Húsafell, Höfn, Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach, Hellnar, Reykholt, Borgarnes, Skeiðarársandur, Arnarstapi, Vík í Mýrdal, Egilsstaðir, Hella, Akureyrarkirkja, Fáskrúðsfjörður, Kirkjufell, Reynisfjall, Snæfellsjökull National Park, Reynisdrangar, Öxarárfoss, Haukadalur, Skaftafellsjökull, Námaskarð, Lagarfljót, Vatnshellir Cave, Breiðavík, Lóndrangar, Djúpalónssandur, Hallormsstaðaskógur, Breiðamerkurjökull, South Coast, Diamond Beach, Ring Road, Kjarnaskógur
Pickup information:
  • Pickup time : 08:00.

Pick up might take 30 minutes. Please be ready at your selected location. Read carefully if you will be picked up at your hotel or at the nearest designated area (Bus Stop). For walking distance to bus stops, please check busstop.is.

Included:
  • 8 day guided tour to the South Coast, East and North of Iceland as well as Snæfellsnes Peninsula, travelling via the Ring Route

  • 7 nights of accommodation in various country hotels with breakfast and a private bathroom

  • Northern Lights spotting

  • Taxes

  • Flights

  • Any additional activities (can be added when booking)

  • Lunch and dinner


What to bring:
  • Warm and waterproof clothing

  • Camera

  • A sense of adventure

  • Winter hiking shoes

  • Swimsuit and a towel


Good to know:

Customers travelling on their own will receive a single room. Reservations for 2 people will be allocated a double room. For bookings of 3 or more, triple rooms will automatically be allocated. For example, a group of 8 will receive 2 triple rooms and 1 double. If these arrangements do not meet your requirements, please contact the provider.

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.

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.

Please note that only pick up and drop-off from designated pick up locations in the greater capital area is available, not from Keflavík International Airport. Therefore, we do not recommend attempting to start this tour on your arrival day in Iceland. Arrival time back to Reykjavík at the end of your tour can vary depending on weather and traffic.

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 - The Golden Circle


Strokkur blasting out boiling water at sunrise.


Today, you start your 8-day adventure. After being picked up, you will meet your experienced guide and acquaint yourself with the rest of the group. Then it's on to the real fun: the Golden Circle tour, one of Iceland's most popular attractions. First, you will discover Þingvellir National Park, one of only three national parks in Iceland, and the only site on the mainland with UNESCO World Heritage status.

The reasons for this are immediately apparent. First, this is the site where Iceland's earliest settlers formed what would later become known as the Alþingi, in 930 AD, making it the oldest surviving Parliament in the world. Second, the park is located directly atop the Mid-Atlantic Ridge; both the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates can be seen here, standing out of the earth.

From Þingvellir, you will travel a short distance to two more attractions, Geysir and Gullfoss. The first is a geothermally active area where visitors can see the hot spring Strokkur, spurting out boiling water every five minutes or so—another intriguing insight into the country's geological activity.

From there, you will travel to Gullfoss ("Golden Falls"), one of Iceland's most iconic waterfalls. This powerful feature drops 32 metres over two rocky tiers, an incredible natural display.

If you wish to make this memorable day even more memorable, you can add on a horse riding tour during the booking process and ride the friendly Icelandic horse through the beautiful snowy countryside.

On your first evening, you will spend the night in an area near the Golden Circle, or in Hella village. Throughout your journey, you'll mostly be staying in countryside accommodations, providing excellent opportunities to witness the northern lights, should the skies be clear of clouds.


Accommodation

Fosshótel Hekla

Fosshotel Hekla is a 3-star hotel in the Golden Circle area. The hotel has a restaurant which serves traditional Icelandic cuisine, a bar and a lounge. Free access to hot tub. Private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.

Stracta Hotel Hella

Stracta Hotel Hella is a 3-star hotel in the town of Hella. The hotel has an on-site bar with a lounge for guest and a sun terrace. Free access to hot tub. Private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.


Day 2 - The South Coast & Glacier Hike


The black sand beach, Reynisfjara, during the winter.


Your second day will see you travelling down the South Coast of Iceland, one of the country's most beautiful areas. From your accommodations, you will pass scenery of great variety: rustic farmlands, cascading rivers and picturesque waterfalls, including Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss.

On your right side, the rolling blue waves of the Atlantic Ocean complement this Nordic paradise. There will be numerous stops to take photographs and soak up the scenery. There will also be a stop for an additional adventure: a glacier hike on Sólheimajökull (if you opted for that in your booking process).

On the hike, you will trek up the glacier, passing deep crevasses and jagged ridges, all the while taking in the incredible view of your surroundings. The ice itself is deep blue, but the glacier's snowy peaks are blackened by ash from volcanic eruptions.

Before you retire to your accommodations—either in or close to the small coastal village of Vík—you will visit the famous black sand beach of Reynisfjara where you will be able to get an up-close look at the naturally intricate basalt stacks.

The village is also an excellent stop to chow down on delicious, traditional Icelandic food and shop for homemade handicrafts.


Accommodation

Puffin Hótel Vík

The Puffin Hótel Vík is a country hotel and guesthouse situated in the coastal village of Vík. Located next to a restaurant, museum and swimming pool. Private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free access to outdoor hot tubs. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.

Hotel Katla

Hotel Katla is a 3-star country hotel situated 5 km east of Vík. Comfortable private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free access to a hot tub and a sauna. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.


Day 3 - Jokulsarlon & Ice Caving


The dazzling blue interior of Iceland's ice caves.


Your third day is sure to be one of the highlights of your trip. As you travel across the black sand desert of Skeiðarársandur, the sight of Skaftafell National Park emerges before you in a display of steep mountain ridges, carved ice sheets and dramatic wooded slopes.

As you proceed, you will stop at Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, one of the most iconic spots in the whole of Iceland. Here you will see icebergs of pure white and cerulean blue breaking off from the enormous glacier, Breiðamerkurjökull, then floating out into the lagoon to create an awe-inspiring natural spectacle. If you keep your eyes peeled, you might even spot some resident seals playing in the water or lounging on the icebergs.

On this day you will also have the unique opportunity to explore the insides of a glacier on a trip to one of Iceland's ice caves. The full spectrum of colours is bound to entice you, as is the sense of adventure that comes with descending these icy inlets. If you are visiting between November and March, you'll visit a cave in Vatnajökull glacier. If visiting at other times of the year, you'll step inside the frozen world of the glacier Mýrdalsjökull.

Your night will then be spent in the area under Vatnajökull glacier.


Accommodation

Fosshótel Vatnajökull

Fosshótel Vatnajökull is a country hotel situated near the coastal village of Höfn. Europe’s largest icecap Vatnajökull can be seen from the location. Private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included

Hótel Höfn

Hotel Höfn is a 3-star hotel located in Höfn town central. Private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included


Day 4 - The Eastfjords


Vestrahorn, one of the East's most dramatic mountainscapes.


Today, you will continue towards the Eastfjords, one of the most spectacular and untouched wilderness regions in Iceland. The sense of peace and tranquillity that comes with exploring this diverse area can only be described as a true connection to nature.

Because of this region's lack of development, the East provides some of the best opportunities to potentially see wildlife, including herds of roaming wild reindeer.

There are a number of stops this day that, due to their natural splendour, are bound to defy the imagination, including the forest Hallormsstaðaskógur, the lake Lagarfljót, the sweeping fjords of the East and several charming fishing settlements.

Tonight, you will stay in accommodations in the Eastfjords area.


Accommodation

Fosshótel Austfirðir

Fosshótel Austfirðir is a picturesque country hotel in the fjord of Fáskrúðsfjörður. Guests can enjoy Icelandic cuisine at the elegant restaurant L’Abri. Private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.

Lake Hótel Egilsstaðir

Lake Hotel Egilsstaðir is a 3-star hotel located right by the lake Lagarfljót. It is also within a short walking distance from the centre of Egilsstaðir town. Private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Spa on site for an additional price. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.


Day 5 - Lake Myvatn & Dimmuborgir


Much of the area surrounding Lake Mývatn is geothermal.


At the beginning of your fifth day, you will head inward toward the scenic Lake Mývatn ("Fly Lake"). Thankfully, the flies are nowhere to be seen in the winter months, leaving you free to soak in the atmosphere of the lake and its dramatic volcanic scenery.

One point of interest here is Dimmuborgir ("Dark Castles"), an area characterised by its strange rock formations, some of which come together to resemble a dark, fantastical fort. Legends state that this is the home of the hidden people, but the harsh looking lava fields have also been used as mythical and otherworldly locations for film and television.

Another remarkable site is Námaskarð, a geothermal area of bubbling mud pools and steaming fumaroles. A local custom is to place dough of sweet rye bread in metal containers and bury them in the area overnight, leaving the land to slowly bake the most delicious meal.

During the day, you will also have the option to visit Mývatn Nature Baths, an excellent spa fed by warm and mineral-rich geothermal water.

You will spend the evening in the Mývatn area.


Accommodation

Fosshótel Mývatn

Fosshótel Mývatn is situated by Lake Mývatn in North Iceland. All rooms include a flat-screen TV with private bathrooms and a hairdryer. Breakfast is included. Free Wi-Fi.

Vogafjós Farm Resort

Vogafjós is a family-run guesthouse on the shore of Lake Mývatn surrounded by unique landscapes. Free WiFi. Private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Breakfast is included.


Day 6 - Akureyri


Make sure you keep your eyes on the sky as you travel around the country in the winter, you might catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights.


Today you will be making your way to the largest town in the North of Iceland, Akureyri. On your way from the Mývatn area, you will stop at the waterfall Goðafoss, which is rich with history as well as beauty.

As you drive through the Víkurskarð mountain pass, you can take in the stunning views of the surrounding Eyjafjörður fjord and snowy vistas. Soon you will enter Akureyri, where you can look forward to exploring the town, which is full of museums, shops and cafes.

You could visit the church that dominates the landscape and, close by, the local swimming pool, which has two slides and many jacuzzi hot tubs.

You also have the option to join a whale watching tour. Get to know the gentle giants of the sea up close and in the wild. You won't regret it.

After this day, you will spend the night in Akureyri.


Accommodation

Hótel Kjarnalundur

Hótel Kjarnalundur is located in a wooded area next to Akureyri town. The hotel offers an onsite bar, terrace, and a great mountain view. Free WiFi. Private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Breakfast is included.

Hótel Akureyri

Hótel Akureyri is located in the centre of Akureyri township, North Iceland. Rooms come equipped with luxury beds, private bathrooms, satellite TV, minibar and free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.


Day 7 - Drive from Akureyri to Reykholt


Iceland becomes a winter wonderland when it is blanketed in snow.


Now that you've become familiar with Akureyri, you'll be heading to the west, towards the village of Reykholt in Borgarfjörður, up and down mountainous regions and valleys. As you pass through the Skagafjörður region, be sure to keep an eye open for Icelandic horses, as this is the only fjord in Iceland where horses outnumber people.

Reykholt is among the most important historical locations in the country. It was the homestead of the poet, Saga author, scholar, law-maker and chieftain Snorri Sturluson, arguably one of the most significant figures of the Middle Ages.

Nearby, you will pay a visit to the largest hot spring in Europe, Deildartunguhver, which provides hot water to the western towns Borganes and Akranes.

The area is not only rich in history but boasts breathtaking landscapes too. You'll spend the night at accommodations in this beautiful region.


Accommodation

Fosshótel Reykholt

Fosshótel Reykholt is a country hotel in West Iceland. All rooms have a private bathroom and free Wi-Fi. The hotel has a restaurant which offers traditional Icelandic cuisine, as well as a bar and TV lounge. Breakfast is included.

Hótel Húsafell

Hotel Húsafell is a 3-star hotel located in Húsafell settlement, surrounded by picturesque landscapes. All bedrooms have private bathrooms that include shower or bath, hairdryer, and free toiletries. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.


Day 8 - The Snaefellsnes Peninsula


Kirkjufell is the most photographed mountain in Iceland.


This is the final day of your tour, sure to round off your trip to Iceland wonderfully. Today, you will be heading to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, a world of dramatic mountainscapes, great cliff-faces, numerous bird species and ancient fishing settlements.

While here, you're sure to make a stop at Snæfellsjökull National Park, named after the iconic glacier, Snæfellsjökull. Another highlight of this charming peninsula is Mount Kirkjufell, known for its jagged peak as well as its role in the TV show Game of Thrones.

If you'd like to explore a bit more, there is an optional excursion to the Vatnshellir cave tour on this day. One of Iceland's most extensive lava caves, this underground dome is easily accessible and explorable with a good guide. Go on your own Jules Verne adventure and journey—at least partially—to the centre of the earth.

When your excursion of this 90 km long peninsula comes to an end, you will head to Reykjavík, bringing your journey to an end.


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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