9 Day Winter Itinerary | The Complete Iceland Experience
Reserve this 9-day package tour to experience all the best attractions Iceland has to offer in winter. In addition to visiting the most exciting and popular attractions, such as the Blue Lagoon and the Golden Circle, you'll have a rare opportunity to see a natural gem, an ice cave in the Vatnajökull glacier.
You will also see the famed Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, which has made numerous appearances in Hollywood blockbuster films. Snæfellsnes, the peninsula aptly nicknamed "Iceland in miniature," is another highlight of this package.
You will also have a free day to explore the capital Reykjavík while also the chance to visit Akureyri, the largest city in northern Iceland, with an included flight. From there, you'll investigate the cratered landscape of the Lake Mývatn area and the strange, elf-blessed formations of lava rocks.
All your accommodation is included in this travel package. You'll be able to customise your trip with additional activities to suit your interests, whether you want to make your vacation a haven of relaxation, or cram every evening with something fun.
On your day in the Golden Circle area, you can go snorkelling in Silfra fissure while at Þingvellir.
If the waters don't call to you, try the glacier and mountains! You can go snowmobiling on top of Langjökull glacier, the second largest ice cap in Iceland. Zoom across the ice as fast as you can, or take your time and enjoy the view.
If you're feeling tired, but not ready to call it a day, let someone else do the walking. Go horseback riding and get to know the sturdy Icelandic horse. These horses are cutest at this time of year, in their shaggy winter coats.
The package is also designed to allow you to hunt for the Northern Lights often throughout your stay, increasing your chances of seeing their fleeting glory.
Don't miss out on this full tour of Iceland, including a one-of-a-kind ice cave! Check availability by choosing a date.
- Available: Nov. - Mar.
- Duration: 9 days
- Activities: Snorkelling, Caving, Hiking, Snowmobile, Horse Riding, Sightseeing, Boat Trip, Northern lights hunting, Hot Spring Bathing, Ice Caving
- Difficulty: Easy
- Minimum age: 8 years.
- Languages: English
- Highlights: Blue Lagoon,
The Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spa and is the single most popular attraction in Iceland.
The water is rich in silica and sulphur that helps make your skin shine like a baby. The Blue Lagoon also operates a Research and Development facility that helps find cures for skin ailments using the mineral-rich water.
The temperature in the bathing and swimming area is very comfortable, and averages 37–39 °C (98–102 °F). There´s a restaurant there and it´s a truly romantic and beautiful place one should not miss while in Iceland.Golden Circle,
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.
Thingvellir national park
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.Reykjavík,
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.
What to See & Do in Reykjavik
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.Akureyri,
Akureyri, ‘The Capital of the North’ is a town in the fjord Eyjafjordur in North Iceland. It lies just 100 km away from the Arctic Circle. It is Iceland’s second-largest urban area with a population of about 17,800.
Akureyri is an important fishing centre and port, but in the last few years tourism, industry, higher education and services have become the fastest growing sectors of the economy.
An international airport is located about 3 km from the center. A large number of cruisers also stop at Akureyri. One of Iceland's best skiing sites is found by Akureyri, at Hlidarfjall.
Traditionally Akureyri has survived on fisheries and some of Iceland’s largest fishing companies, like for example Samherji, have their headquarters there. Other large companies include Brim, Nordurmjolk, and Vifilfell hf, the largest brewery in Iceland.
FSA/Akureyri Hospital is a major employer in the area and is one of two major hospitals in Iceland.
Akureyri has excellent facilities for travelers and is located a short drive from many of Iceland’s top natural, cultural and historical attractions.
Nature & Landscape
Akureyri is surrounded by mountains, the highest one being Kerling (1538 m). The area around it has rich agriculture and a beautiful mountain ring.
The innermost part of the fjord, Pollurinn ('The Pool') further lends the town a special character. The climate in Akureyri is generally very pleasant.
The islands Hrisey in the middle of Eyfjordur and Grimsey, straddling the Artic Circle, both belong to the municipality of Akureyri. Hrisey is often called 'The Pearl of Eyjafjordur' and Grimsey 'The Pearl of the Artic' and these beautiful and peaceful islands are highly popular with travelers.
History & Culture
During World War II the town was an important site for the Allies and the town grew considerably after the war, as people increasingly moved to urban areas.
Akureyri has a strong cultural scene, with several bars and renowned restaurants. Folk culture in general is more prevalent there than in Reykjavik. During the summer there are several notable festivals in Akureyri and its surroundings.
Sites of interest in Akureyri include the brand-new Hof concert hall and Akureyri’s many museums, The Nature Museum, Nonnahus, a.k.a. Jon Sveinsson Memorial Museum, for the writer, David's house or David Stefansson Memorial Museum, for the poet, Akureyri Art Museum.
Akureyri also has several churches, Akureyrarkirkja being the most notable, as well as beautiful botanical gardens. The old town is particularly charming, ideal for a nice walk.Jökulsárlón,
Jökulsárlón is Iceland’s most famous glacier lagoon. Conveniently located in the southeast by Route 1, about halfway between the Skaftafell Nature Reserve and Höfn, it is a popular stop for those travelling along the South Coast or around the circular ring road of the country.
It stands out, however, due to the fact that it also fills with icebergs breaking from the glacier, some of which tower several stories high.
These icebergs, other than their scale, are notable for their colouration. Although they are, as expected, largely white, most are also dyed electric blue in part, with black streaks of ash from eruptions centuries past.
When the icebergs finally make it across the lagoon, they either drift out to sea or wash up on the nearby shore. Because of the way they glisten against the black sands of Breiðamerkursandur, this area has been nicknamed ‘the Diamond Beach’.
In spite of being a rather recent formation, Jökulsárlón is the deepest lake in the country, with depths reaching 248 metres. With a surface area of 18 square kilometres, it is also growing to be one of the largest.
Jökulsárlón has not been around since Iceland’s settlement; it only formed around 1935. This was due to rapidly rising temperatures in the country from the turn of the twentieth century; since 1920, Breiðamerkurjökull has been shrinking at a dramatic rate, and the lagoon has begun to fill its space.
Today, the expansion of Jökulsárlón is accelerating. As recently as 1975, it was just 8 square kilometres, and now that size has more than doubled.
In the relatively near future, it is expected that the lagoon will continue to grow until it becomes a large, deep fjord.
Though a dark omen for Iceland’s glaciers and ice caps in general, the retreat of Breiðamerkurjökull has resulted in an incredibly beautiful, if temporary, site. This has not been overlooked by Hollywood.
Jökulsárlón has been featured in the James Bond films A View to Kill in 1985 and Die Another Day in 2002, 2001’s Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, and 2005’s Batman Begins.
In 2017, Jökulsárlón was enveloped into the Vatnajökull National Park, thus it is now fully protected by Icelandic law.
Because of the wealth of herring and capelin that the tides bring into the lagoon, Jökulsárlón is somewhat of a hot-spot for Iceland’s wildlife.
In summer, it is a nesting site for Arctic Terns; stay well away from this area, as these birds are notorious for the fierceness with which they protect their eggs, dive-bombing the heads of any they see as a threat. Skuas also nest on the lake’s shores in this season.
Seals can be reliably spotted here throughout the year, swimming amongst or else hauling out on the icebergs. Jökulsárlón provides them with a safe haven to rest and socialise, especially considering the waters of southeast Iceland are renowned for their population of orcas.Mývatn,
Myvatn is a beautiful lake with many small islands in the north of Iceland, the fourth largest lake in the country. Along with its surrounding area, the lake is one of Iceland's most amazing natural attractions.
Some of the islands in Myvatn are pseudocraters, formed by steam explosions. The lake has rich birdlife and more species of ducks than anywhere else in the world. As for vegetation, it is one of the few places in the world that grows Marimo, also known as Cladophora ball, Lake ball, or Moss Balls in English, a species of filamentous green algae (Chlorophyta).
The Myvatn nature baths are also renowned throughout the world, a perfect place to relax, surrounded by breathtaking landscape.
Close to the lake is Dimmuborgir, a fascinating area of dramatic and chaotic lava. Norwegian symphonic metal band Dimmu Borgir takes its name from the the lava field, and it continues to inspire travellers from all over the world.
The Myvatn area is definitely one of the most beautiful places in Iceland. Don´t miss it!Dimmuborgir,
Dimmuborgir (e. ‘Black Forts') is a large area of chaotic lava, situated right east of Lake Myvatn, in North Iceland. With its dramatic view, Dimmuborgir is one of Iceland's most popular attractions.
The area is composed of various volcanic caves and rock formations, reminiscent of an ancient collapsed citadel. In folklore the Dimmuborgir lava field has been connected with hell, Satan was to have landed there after being cast from heaven and the Norwegian symphonic black metal band derives its name from the region.Goðafoss,
Goðafoss waterfall is located the river Skjálfandafljót in north Iceland, the fourth largest river in Iceland. It is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Iceland, falling from a height of 12 metres over a width of 30 metres.
The fall's name means either waterfall of the gods or of the 'goði' (i.e. priest/ chieftain). It is said that when the lawspeaker Þorgeir Ljósvetningagoði declared Christianity the official religion in Iceland, after his own conversion, he threw the statues of the old Norse gods into the waterfall.Skógafoss,
Skógafoss is one of the country’s biggest and most beautiful waterfalls with an astounding width of 25 meters (82 ft) and a drop of 60 meters (197 ft). Due to the amount of spray the cascade produces, a rainbow is present any time the sun emerges from behind the clouds.
Located on the Skógá river, this mighty cascade is clearly visible from Route 1 and is an excellent place to stop and stretch the legs while travelling Iceland’s South Coast. The river below Skógafoss holds a large char and salmon population and is thus a favourite spot for fishermen in the summer.
The land underneath the waterfall is very flat, allowing visitors to walk right up to the wall of water. Keep in mind, however, that this will get you drenched. Skógafoss can also be viewed from the top as a steep staircase leads to an observational platform above the cascade.
Skógafoss is located near the small village of Skógar, south of the Eyjafjallajökull glacier volcano. There you’ll find the Skógasafn folk museum, an open-air museum with both old wooden houses and turf houses, as well as a regional museum with various artefacts from this area.
A part of the Skógasafn Regional Museum is the Museum of Transportation, which showcases the history and evolution of transportation, communication and technologies in Iceland. There, you can see how this nation evolved from the age of the working horse to the digital communications of the 21st century.
The Skógasafn museum also includes a café and a museum shop, and in the village of Skógar, you will find both a hotel and a restaurant.
At the eastern side of Skógafoss, you will find one of Iceland’s most famed hiking routes; the Fimmvörðuháls pass. The 22 km (14 mi) trail takes you along Skógá river, between two glaciers, Mýrdalsjökull and Eyjafjallajökull, before ending in the beautiful Þórsmörk valley.
A gold ring is on display at the Skógasafn museum. According to legend, the ring is from a chest that was owned by Þrasi Þórólfsson, one of the first Viking settlers in the area. Folklore states that before his death in 900 AD, Þrasi buried a chest filled with gold in a cave behind Skógafoss waterfall.
Many attempts were made to retrieve the chest after Þrasi’s death, and years later, locals managed to grasp a ring on the side of the chest. As they pulled, the ring broke off, and the treasure was lost forever. The ring was then given to the local church before it made its way to the museum.Seljalandsfoss,
Seljalandsfoss in the river Seljalandsa in South Iceland is one of the most sought waterfalls in the country.
Seljalandsfoss has a narrow cascade but is one of Iceland's highest waterfalls, at 63 meters. The waterfall is highly picturesque and has the rare distinction that one can actually walk behind it.Geysir,
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,
Gullfoss (translated to ‘Golden Falls’) is one of Iceland’s most iconic and beloved waterfalls, found on the Hvítá river canyon in south Iceland. The water in Hvítá river travels from the glacier Langjökull, finally cascading 32m down Gullfoss’ two stages in a dramatic display of nature’s raw power.
Because of the waterfall’s two stages, Gullfoss should actually be thought of as two separate waterfalls. The first, shorter stage of the waterfall is 11m, whilst the second stage is 21m. The canyon walls on both sides of the waterfall reach heights of up to 70m, descending into the 2.5km long Gullfossgjúfur canyon (geologists indicate that this canyon was formed by glacial outbursts at the beginning of the last age.)
In the summer, approximately 140 cubic metres of water surges down the waterfall every second, whilst in winter that number drops to around 109 cubic metres. With such energy, visitor’s should not be surprised to find themselves drenched by the waterfall’s mighty spray-off.
In the early days of the last century, Gullfoss was at the centre of much controversy regarding foreign investors and their desire to profit off Iceland’s nature. In the year 1907, an English businessman known only as Howells sought to utilise the waterfall’s energy and harboured ambitions to use its energy to fuel a hydroelectric plant.
At the time, Gullfoss was owned by a farmer named Tómas Tómasson. Tómas declined Howell’s offer to purchase the land, stating famously “I will not sell my friend!” He would, however, go on to lease Howells the land, inadvertently beginning the first chapter of Icelandic environmentalism.
It was Tómas’ daughter, Sigríður Tómasdóttir, who would lead the charge. Having grown up on her father’s sheep farm, she sought to get the lease contract nullified, hurriedly saving her own money to hire a lawyer. The ensuing legal battle was an uphill struggle; the case continued for years, forcing Sigríður to travel many times by foot to Reykjavík if only to keep the trial moving. Circumstances became so difficult that Sigríður threatened to throw herself into the waterfall if any construction began.
Thankfully, in 1929, the waterfall fell back into the hands of the Icelandic people. Today, Sigríður is recognised for her perseverance in protecting Gullfoss and is often hailed as Iceland’s first environmentalist. Her contribution is forever marked in stone; a plaque detailing her plight sits at the top of Gullfoss.
Restaurant / Cafe
Besides Gullfoss, visitors can enjoy the views from Gullfoss Cafe, a locally run delicatessen that serves a wide variety of refreshments and meals. The menu has options to tantalise everyone’s taste buds; hot soups, sandwiches, salads and cakes. There is also a shop on site where visitors’ can browse and purchase traditional Icelandic souvenirs.Þingvellir,
Þingvellir is one of the most important sites to visit in Iceland for its landscape, history and cultural value.
The Icelandic parliament was founded in Þingvellir in 930 and remained there for centuries. Þingvellir 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 Almannagjá, which marks the eastern boundary of the North American plate and into which the beautiful waterfall Öxarárfoss falls.
Other notable attractions within the park include the beautiful lake Þingvallavatn, the largest lake in Iceland, the Silfra fissure, one of the world's top dives, Þingvallakirkja Church and Gjábakkahellir, 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.Strokkur,
Strokkur (Icelandic for "churn") is one of the most famous hot springs in Iceland and belongs to the famous Golden Circle.
Strokkur is a fountain geyser in the Geysir geothermal area in the southwest part of the country, east of Reykjavik. Strokkur is a powerful hot spring and an impressive sight. It erupts about every 4–8 minutes and spouts water to a height of 15 – 20 m, sometimes up to 40 m.Snæfellsnes,
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.Skaftafell,
Skaftafell is a nature preserve in Oraefasveit. It used to be a national park of its own but joined the larger Vatnajokull National Park in 2008.
Skaftafell is notable for its rich flora, growing between sands and glaciers, and overall for its amazing and contrasting scenery. You can take short and easy trails to the waterfalls Svartifoss and Hundafoss, as well as Skaftafell glacier, with the mountain Kristinartindar and Morsardalur valley further off.
Skaftafell is also the perfect base camp for those seeking to climb Iceland’s highest peak, Hvannadalshnukur.Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach,
Reynisfjara is a world-famous black-sand beach found on the South Coast of Iceland, just beside the small fishing village of Vík í Mýrdal.
With its enormous basalt stacks, roaring Atlantic waves and stunning panoramas, Reynisfjara is widely considered to be the most beautiful example of Iceland’s black sand beaches. In 1991, National Geographic voted Reynisfjara as one of the Top 10 non-tropical beaches to visit on the planet.
Reynisfjara is found around 180 km from Iceland’s capital city, Reykjavik, and is a popular stop-off for those taking a sightseeing tour along South Coast. Driving to the beach is particularly easy, taking an approximate two and a half hours from the capital.
Upon visiting the beach, travellers will immediately observe rocky sea stacks sitting off the shoreline, known as Reynisdrangar. According to local Icelandic folklore, these large basalt columns were once trolls engaged in trying to pull ships from the ocean. However, as bad luck would have it, the dawn quickly arose, turning the trolls into solid stone.
Another legend tells of a husband whose wife was kidnapped and killed by two trolls. The man followed the trolls down to Reynisfjara where he froze them, ensuring that they would never kill again.
The sea stacks themselves are home to thousands of nesting seabirds. Species that can be found here include Puffins, Fulmars and Guillemots, making it a must-see location for all birdwatchers out there.
Visitors to Reynisfjara must be made well aware of the potential dangers present at the beach. First of all, the rolling, roaring waves of Reynisfjara are particularly violent, often pushing far further up the beach than many would expect.
Visitors are advised to never turn their back on the waves, don't go chasing after them and keep a safe distance of 20-30 metres.
Aside from these sudden and dramatic shifts in tide (known as “sneaker waves”), the currents off the shore are infamous for their strength and ability to drag helpless people out into the freezing cold open ocean. A number of fatal accidents have occurred at Reynisfjara, the last of which occurred in January 2017.Hellnar,
Hellnar is an old fishing village on the westernmost part of the Snaefellsnes peninsula. It used to be one of the largest fishing stations of the peninsula, the oldest record of seafaring there being from 1560.
At the shore are spectacular rock formations. Among them is a protruding cliff called Valasnos. Tunneling into the cliff is a cave renowned for its changing colourful hues, according to the light and sea movement. Large colonies of birds also nest in the area.
At Gvendarbrunnar a.k.a. Mariulind you can taste excellent spring water which is said to have healing powers.
Hellnar hosts the guesthouse for Snaefellsnes National Park and has a very interesting exhibition about the economy of former times and on the geology, flora and fauna of the national park.Barnafoss,
Barnafoss ('Children's Waterfall') is a waterfall in Hvita river in Borgarfjordur.
The waterfall runs through a narrow rocky gorge and legend has it that there once was a natural stone arc over the river, that was demolished after two children fell from it to their death. Not far away is the stunning series of waterfalls Hraunfossar, flowing out of a lava field into Hvita.Arnarstapi,
Arnarstapi is a village in the southern part of the Snaefellsnes peninsula. The area has several old and charming houses with interesting stories to them and is furthermore renowned for its beautiful nature.
The beach holds a particular attraction. It has an eroded circular stone arch, called Gatklettur, and three rifts, Hundagja,Midgja and Musagja. The interplay of spectacular waves and the light of the sun creates a fascinating spectacle. Large colonies of the arctic tern also nest in the area.
An old horse trail through the lava field Hellnahraun is highly popular for hiking, due to the impressiveness of the surrounding landscape.Vík í Mýrdal,
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.Ólafsvík,
Olafsvik is a fishing town of just over a 1000 people, located on the west side of the Snaefellsnes peninsula.
Economy and services
Olafsvik has a good natural harbour and it has a thriving fishing industry. Other main sources of the economy are commerce and services. Accomodation can be had in the town, at Hotel Olafsvik, sleeping bag accommodation is available at the Lysuholl Community Center, and camping grounds are open from June through August.
The Pakkhus at Olafsvik is a regional museum and a center for culture and art. It is open in the summer. The building is an old trading store, built in 1844. The first floor has a handicrafts store and a coffee shop and on the upper floor guests can get to experience the feel of a 19th century home and the life of seafarers and farmers in former times. The exhibition 'Krambudarloftid' bears witness to Icelandic trade history. The museum also functions as an information center for travelers. The town also features a small maritime museum, located by the harbour.
A short drive from Olafsvik is the 412 m high Gufuskalar radio mast, the highest structure in Iceland, and for a time the highest in Western Europe.
There are many opportunities available for travelers in the area, such as birdwatching, hiking and exploring the sandy beaches. Near to the town is a pleasant waterfall called Baejarfoss, well worth visitng. Furthermore, though, Olafsvik lies right next to Snaefellsjokull National Park. At the park you can see many fascinating attractions. These include 'The Singing Cave' of Songhellir, the beautiful Djupalonssandur beach by the village Arnarstapi, with its amazing lava formations, the Saxholl volcano crater, the magnificent Londrangar lava rocks and more.Kirkjufell,
Kirkjufell (“Church Mountain”) is a distinctly shaped mountain found on the north coast of Iceland’s Snæfellsnes Peninsula, only a short distance away from the town of Grundarfjörður.
Kirkjufell takes it’s name from its resemblance to a church steeple, sharpened at the top with long curved sides. From other angles, the mountain can resemble a witch’s hat or even a freshly scooped ice cream.
Photography at Kirkjufell
Peaking at 463 m, Kirkjufell holds the honour of being Iceland’s most photographed mountain. Throughout the centuries, Kirkjufell’s striking slopes have acted as a visual landmark for seafarers and travellers.
Walking distance from Kirkjufell, one can find the photogenic waterfall Kirkjufellsfoss (“Church Mountain Falls”), an excellent subject for photographers who can easily frame the mountain in the background. Despite its relatively diminutive height, Kirkjufellsfoss’ three-pronged falls make the waterfall particularly stunning, even for Iceland.
At the base of the mountain, visitors will also be able to find a lake; on calm and clear days, this lake reflects a perfect mirror image of Kirkjufell, only adding to the fantastic photo opportunities around this area. On top of that, the colours of Kirkjufell change with the passing seasons; the summer see it a lush green, full of life, whilst the winter months scar the mountain’s face with a mask of barren brown and white.
Fans of the HBO series Game of Thrones will recognise Kirkjufell as a shooting location from Season 7 of Game of Thrones. The mountain is showcased from the scenes ‘beyond the wall’ when Jon Snow, The Hound and Jorah Mormont, among others, brave the wilderness in hopes of catching an undead wight. Having seen it in a vision, The Hound acknowledges Kirkjufell as “[...] the mountain like an arrowhead.” Even the Games of Thrones producers can’t resist capturing the mountain on celluloid!
There is a fairly steep trail to the top of Kirkjufell, from where there are magnificent panoramas of the surrounding fields, coastlines and rivers. The mountain takes roughly an hour and a half to ascend, and one and a half hours back to the bottom.
Alongside this mountain-track is a steeper route to the peak which involves two points where one needs to rope-climb. This route should never be attempted in the winter, and never without a certified guide. Given the steep elevation, it is highly recommended that you bring a sturdy pair of hiking boots, snacks and water to the trail.
Getting to Kirkjufell
Kirkjufell is extremely close to Grundarfjörður, a small town on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, approximately two hours drive from Iceland's capital city, Reykjavik. From Grundarfjörður, one travels ten minutes west down Route Snaefellsnesvegur 54 to the base of Kirkjufell. Visitors have plenty of parking space to choose from, all free of charge.Grundarfjörður,
Grundarfjörður is a small town found on the north coast of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula in the west of Iceland.
The town has an approximate population of 872 people and has been twinned with the French town Paimpol since 2004. The town’s main industries lie in fishing and fish processing. Grundarfjörður also bears host to substantial ship traffic, a consequence of’ the settlement’s natural harbour.
Grundarfjörður boasts a public library, a historical centre, a resident’s café and a photography exhibition, Bæringsstofa, a collection of pictures by the late Icelandic photographer and honorary citizen of Grundarfjörður, Bærings Cecilsson. Asides from accommodation and amenities, Grundarfjörður offers the opportunity to partake in numerous outdoor activities, ranging from horseback riding and camping to ice-climbing. One can also find a nine-hole golf course beside the town.
Visitors to Grundarfjörður will likely visit the town’s main landmark, the photogenic Kirkjufell (“Church Mountain”). Clearly distinguishable from its dramatic slopes, steeple-like peak and surrounding shorelines, Kirkjufell is both one of the most beautiful and photographed mountains found in Iceland. Besides the mountain itself, one can find Kirkjufellsfoss (“Church Mountain Falls”), a beautiful three-pronged waterfall.
Folklore & History
Nearby, one can find the town and municipality of Stykkishólmur (population: 1195), a centre of commerce and services for the region. The road from Grundarfjörður to Stykkishólmur crosses a wide lava field known as Berserkjahraun. The name of this lava field is derived from the Eyrbyggja saga, in which it said two berserkers (Viking Warriors) were slaughtered by their master because one of them fell madly in love with own daughter.
Grundarfjörður is an important historical town in Iceland, having been a centre of trade for the Snæfellsnes Peninsula since at least the 15th century. The town was certified official as one the country’s six designated marketplaces in the year 1786. There are a number of antiquity sites around the town, however, that point to the region being well-inhabited as far back as the Viking era.
Header Photo: Wikimedia. Creative Commons. ChensiyuanYtri Tunga Beach,
Ytri Tunga is a beach by a farm of the same name on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula.
Alongside Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon and the Vatnsnes Peninsula, Ytri Tunga is the most reliable place in Iceland to see seals. Just offshore, on some rocks protruding from the water, at least a few individuals from the local colony can be seen hauling out year round. The best time to see them, however, is in the summer months.
Unlike many of the beaches in Iceland, Ytri Tunga has golden sand, rather than black.
Photo above from Wikimedia, Creative Commons, by pjt56South Coast
The South Coast of Iceland is the country's most visited sightseeing route, along with the Golden Circle.
The famed South Coast shoreline stretches from the greater Reykjavík area and is dotted with natural wonders such as cascading waterfalls, volcanoes both active and dormant, black sand beaches and glacier lagoons.
Geography, Nature & Wildlife
Iceland is divided into eight geographical regions. Out of these, the Southern Region is the largest, as it spans over 24.000 square kilometres with its administrative centre in the municipality of Selfoss.
What is known as the South Coast embodies the shoreline of this particular region. The area consists of a lowland that is mostly composed of marshlands, bays and cultivated pastures that are met by a series of black beaches where the estuaries to the east and west of the district close off the coastal body.
Underneath the soil rests a vast lava field, known as Þjórsárhraun. Its edges reach several hundred metres offshore where the ocean waves crash upon them, thereby protecting the lowland from the invasion of the sea. This results in the South Coast being unusually lacking in the deep fjords that so distinctly characterise the rest of Iceland's shore line.
The region boasts vibrant bird life during all seasons. It is not only rich with both marshland birds and seabirds but also migrating birds such as the North Atlantic puffin. Some species stay throughout the harsh Icelandic winter, including the northern diver, the loom and various species of gulls and ducks.
Highlights of the South Coast
The South Coast offers an unprecedented array of natural wonders that draw thousands of visitors each day. When driving the route from Reykjavík City, the highlights in their correct order are:
- Seljalandsfoss Waterfall
- Vestmannaeyjar; The Westman Islands
- Eyjafjallajökull Glacier Volcano
- Skógafoss Waterfall
- Sólheimajökull Glacier
- Dyrhólaey Peninsula
- Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach
- Reynisdrangar Sea Stacks
- Coastal Village Vík í Mýrdal
- Skeiðarársandur Glacial Sand Plain
- Vatnajökull National Park
- Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
These attractions count for but a fraction of what the South Coast has to offer. The vast sand plains of Sólheimasandur are home to a crashed DC-3 Plane Wreck, and close to Seljavellir by the Skógar Village there's Seljavallalaug, one of the oldest swimming pools in Iceland.
- Explore the many wonders of the area on these South Coast Tours
Pickup time : Flexible, Open Voucher (anytime)
Airport transfer on arrival/departure
6 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)
Blue Lagoon standard entrance (upgrades available) and return transfer
Golden Circle sightseeing tour in a minibus (upgrades available with other activities)
South Coast 2-day minibus tour with ice caving
1 night of accommodation in a country hotel in Vatnajokull National Park during the 2-day south coast tour (breakfast included, private bathroom depending on availability)
Snaefellsnes 2 day minibus tour (lava caving optional)
1 night of accommodation in a country hotel on Snaefellsnes peninsula during the 2-day Snaefellsnes tour (breakfast included, private bathroom depending on availability)
Northern Lights hunting
Day tour to Lake Myvatn with return flights between Reykjavik and Akureyri
Detailed Itinerary with fun and practical information on the nature, history and culture of Iceland
Hands-on travel agent to oversee your itinerary
Myvatn Nature Bath entrance
Entrance fee to the Vatnshellir lava cave
What to bring:
Good 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.
Day 1 - Arrival & Welcome to Iceland!
Welcome to Iceland! Your winter adventure begins as soon as you step outside and the refreshing winter chill envelopes you. Be sure to layer up!
You'll be picked up and whisked off toward the capital city. Settle into your accommodation in the heart of the city centre and explore the Nordic ambiance. If it suits your itinerary you may also dip into the Blue Lagoon on your way from the airport to Reykjavík, as it's ideally placed between the airport and the city.
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.
Spend the night in Reykjavik.
Day 2 - The Golden Circle
On this day, you'll begin your adventure in Iceland with the most popular locations of all time: the Golden Circle, a well-travelled route that takes you to Þingvellir National Park, Geysir geothermal area, and Gullfoss waterfall.
If you choose to go horseback riding, then your horseback ride would take place at the start of your day, before reaching Þingvellir National Park.
Þingvellir National Park is a rift valley located on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, a place torn by the incredible pressure and movement of the earth's crust. The continental divide is a deep gorge, where you can walk directly between the North American and Eurasian plates, as they pull apart ever so slowly, year after year.
The cracking and shifting of the land has created deep fissures, such as Silfra, where divers and snorkellers explore the clear water and underground formations. Silfra sits on the peaceful shore of Þingvallavatn, the largest natural lake in Iceland. You have the option to go snorkelling here yourself if you like.
The wide-open space here also made it an ideal meeting place for the world's oldest running parliament, founded in 930 AD. For this reason, the park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Vikings in days of old would travel from every part of the country before each session to partake in the discussion of law and the news of the land.
The second stop on the Golden Circle is another one of geothermal excitement. The entire area is rife with the heat and power found deep inside the earth. Steam and sulphurous gases emanate from vents and fumaroles. Heated water trickles over the rocks. The very ground is warm beneath your feet.
There are many smaller hot springs and geysers here, but the stars of this show are the Great Geyser, resting now after 10,000 years of activity, and Strokkur, which erupts every few minutes with blasts of more than 30 m (100 ft).
The final stop is Gullfoss, called the Golden Waterfall. It is named because of the gorgeous mists churned up by its power, which appear golden in the sunlight. In the winter, the view is even more spectacular as the glacial waters burst through snow and ice, relentlessly crashing into the canyon below.
From there you can also choose to add a snowmobile tour on the nearby Langjökull glacier.
On the way back to the city after a day on the Golden Circle, you’ll make a stop at the Blue Lagoon, for a sensory experience unique to Iceland. Release all your tension, letting the azure water soothe tired muscles and joints.
Please note that if you have arranged additional activities with your Golden Circle tour, such as snorkelling, horseback riding or snowmobiling, your visit to the Blue Lagoon will be scheduled on your arrival or departure day instead, so you will have time to take full advantage of its restorative powers. The Lagoon is world-famous for its healing, mineral-rich waters - This is not a place you want to rush.
You'll return to your accommodation in Reykjavik for the evening.
If you are still dreaming of Northern Lights, add an additional bus tour which will deliver you to the most likely viewing spots just outside the city.
Day 3 - The South Coast
The south coast of Iceland is filled with breathtaking wonders and today begins your two-day trip along it. You will be picked up early at your hotel, so be ready and wear clothing according to weather.
First, you will see Seljalandsfoss waterfall, a stunning high and narrow waterfall that tumbles from a cliff with a large cave behind it. You can walk behind the waterfall and enjoy the view, but mind your steps: the rocks can be slippery with ice in the winter! Next, another stunning waterfall: Skógafoss. This one is even bigger than Seljalandsfoss and is the last in a long row of impressive waterfalls that cascade down from the infamous Eyjafjallajökull volcano that looms over the south coast.
Eyjafjallajökull is a glacier with a volcano underneath the ice cap. In 2010, European air travel was shut down for several days because of its eruption.
After you've had your waterfall fix, you'll head to Reynisfjara, a gorgeous black sand beach with stunning vistas of the rock formations and ocean waves. The rocks at Reynisdrangar, beyond the coast, stand strong against volatile Atlantic Ocean waves. This location is stunningly beautiful, but also dangerous due to its unpredictable waves. Don't get too caught up in taking pictures and make sure to stay 20-30 metres away from the surf so you don't get captured by a sneaky wave and brought out to the freezing Atlantic ocean!
You'll have a lunch break and then continue further east, past a large extension of black sand plains, the results of a single volcanic eruption. This area is home to one of the biggest pseudo-crater collections in the world. You'll see the impressive Vatnajökull glacier right next to these enormous sand plains.
Finally, you'll arrive at the stunning Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. The lagoon is particularly beautiful in low light, the floating ice sparkling in shades of gold. When an iceberg has just tumbled into the lagoon, you'll be able to see the gorgeous deep blue colour of the ice. To finish off the day with even more spectacular sights, you'll go hunting for Northern Lights in the evening if the sky is clear. Your accommodation will be in a cozy country hotel either near Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon or Skaftafell Nature Reserve.
Day 4 - Inside the Blue Ice Cave
Today, you will take part in one of the rarest and most special experiences in all of Iceland. The cave, rising out of the snowy landscape like an Ice Queen's castle from a fairytale, is yours to explore!
You'll first take a cool ride in a modified truck built to plough through the winter snow. There is a short hike from the parking area to the cave itself, so be prepared to take a morning walk in the brisk air. Wear sturdy hiking boots that come up over the ankle, to ensure that melting snow does not find your socks and that the crampons you're provided with fit nicely over the boots.
Each autumn, specialists search the area around Vatnajökull glacier, the largest glacier in Iceland, hoping to find these natural formations of ice, large enough to safely traverse and admire the wonders inside.
Throughout the winter, the changing temperatures cause the ice to melt and refreeze, changing the shape of the cave constantly. Each cave is unique, ever-shifting, and beautiful to behold - an entire cave made of pure blue ice.
You'll spend around 45 minutes exploring the ice cave, provided with all necessary equipment and with the support of your knowledgeable guide. You must dress warmly and remember to wear a winter hat that is not too bulky, as it needs to fit under your caving helmet.
After this one-of-a-kind excursion, you'll return to Reykjavík for the evening. On the way, you'll make a second stop to admire Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. Occasionally, seals like to sun themselves on the icebergs so make sure you look out for them.
On the drive home, keep your eyes on the skies for another chance to spot the Northern Lights. It is always a lovely surprise when they appear!
Day 5 - Snæfellsnes Peninsula
Today, you'll begin your 2-day, in-depth exploration of the Snæfellsnes peninsula, an area of such beauty that it is often called "Iceland in miniature" as many Icelanders believe it has all the features which make Iceland so beautiful.
You'll be picked up from your accommodation and taken first to the beach at Ytri-Tunga, which is home to a large seal colony.
In the winter, it is a place of solitude. As you stand on the rocky beach and look out at the ocean, let your thoughts drift like the ocean waves.
Your 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 historic fishing villages, you'll spend an hour wandering the picturesque cliffs at Hellnar.
Then, you'll go to Snæfellsjökull National Park where for a small additional fee you have the option of another experience deep in the caves: this time, a lava cave formed more than 7,000 years ago, Vatnshellir.
You'll then embrace the wide open spaces at Djúpalónssandur and Dritvík, two beachfront areas. Finally, you'll make one last hike to Lóndrangar, a black basalt formation more than 70 m (230 ft) high.
You'll rest in a country hotel for the night, in the seaside village of Ólafsvík.
Day 6 - Kirkjufell and lava waterfalls
On your second day in Snæfellsnes, you'll see even more of the region's fascinating topography.
This is a perfect day for taking photos of your Icelandic adventure, at the uniquely shaped mountain Kirkjufell and Gerðuberg basalt column.
You'll get to experience the life of an Icelandic fisherman at the Bjarnarhöfn Shark Museum. Bjarni, who collected all the artefacts in the museum over a lifetime at sea, will happily share stories from his long career if you ask, or you can just browse.
He may also have some of the famous Icelandic hákarl, better known as "fermented shark," for you to enjoy, washed down with a sip or two of locally made Brennivín, a schnapps which is a traditional winter beverage.
In the Borgarfjörður area, you'll see two waterfalls, Hraunfossar and Barnafoss. Barnafoss, the "children's waterfall," was so named when two children tragically drowned there in the early 20th century.
The day will finish with a visit to Deildartunguhver, the highest-flow hot spring in Europe. You'll pass through the charming village of Borgarnes on your way back to Reykjavík, where you will spend the night.
Don't forget to save some energy for another Northern Lights tour, if you are so inclined.
Day 7 - Lake Myvatn in the North
Today, you'll leave the land entirely for a short flight across the country to the town known as the "Capital of the North": Akureyri.
Make your own way to Reykjavík Domestic Airport for your morning departure. This tour officially begins in Akureyri and your tour guide will meet you at the airport there.
You'll go directly to the Lake Mývatn area to explore this strange landscape of volcanic craters filled with snow and a frozen lake waiting silently for spring.
After taking in the Skútustaðagígar craters, you'll visit the Dimmuborgir lava field. The formations here, forming holes, towers and strangely shaped crags of lava rock, are called the "Dark Cities" because of their unsettling appearance. It is said that the elves hide here, and sometimes trolls, too.
Next, you'll see the underground hot spring Grjótagjá, steaming in the chilly air.
Hverir, a geothermal field, is your next destination. This area does battle against the cold of winter all season long, with bubbling hot springs and gaseous fumaroles keeping up their activity despite the weather.
Now that you've experienced the temperamental beauty of the earth, you'll enjoy its more soothing qualities with a long soak in the geothermal pool of Mývatn Nature Baths, outdoors so that you can enjoy the scenery.
After another flight from Akureyri in the evening, you'll spend the night in Reykjavík.
Day 8 - Free Day in Reykjavik
Take advantage of this free day to explore Reykjavík. There are a multitude of small businesses and quirky shops, which offer everything from speciality cheese and baked goods to Icelandic wool crafts, books, volcanic jewellery and other keepsakes. The Little Christmas Shop (Litla Jólabúðin) on the main shopping street celebrates Christmas all year round!
You'll never be hungry in Reykjavík. There are many restaurants and cafés, with unique dishes of seafood and lamb, or coffee beans roasted in small batches for the finest flavours.
You can chart your own course, and wander where the city takes you, from Harpa Concert Hall overlooking the Old Harbour, where you can hop on a short whale-watching cruise, to the distinctive spire of Hallgrímskirkja church, where you can ascend the spire and gaze out over the entire city. Pop inside Reykjavík's City Hall to see a large 3D map of Iceland and get tips from the traveller information centre about live music in the evening.
You may also want to visit various theatres, art galleries or museums which showcase Iceland's vibrant art community, history, and culture.
At night, once again, you may book an extra bus tour to view the Northern Lights. Sometimes they can be shy, and you may want to take every opportunity to see them. Spend one more night in Reykjavík.
Day 9 - Farewell to Iceland
On your final day in Iceland, use any extra time you have for one last meal, a cup of coffee or some final souvenir shopping on the streets of Reykjavík.
If you are lucky enough to have a late flight, you may find a stop at the Blue Lagoon the perfect way to bid farewell to Iceland and relax before the journey home.
Whatever you choose to do, we hope you will remember Iceland fondly and come back soon!
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.
Rooms or dormitory beds with shared bathrooms in guesthouses or hostels, such as HI Hostels. Located in the capital region. Breakfast is not included.
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.
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 email@example.com 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.