Ultimate 10 Day Adventure | Highlands in Winter & the Ice Cave

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

Grab this adventure-packed winter package in Iceland, and tick many things off your bucket list. This package offers the most popular activities and attractions when Iceland is at its wintry best.

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

A thrilling snowmobile ride is included in the 3-day tour of Landmannalaugar, which is paired with total relaxation at a wild hot spring in the highlands, surrounded by snow. There can hardly be a more fitting location to enjoy the Northern Lights at night.

You will explore a natural blue ice cave underneath the 1000-year-old Vatnajökull glacier during your tour to the south coast. During your trip to Snæfellsnes peninsula in west Iceland, you will have the option of exploring the Vatnshellir lava cave for a small additional fee, and compare its beauty to the ice cave. 

With this package, you will be able to experience Icelandic nature as the locals do. Get on a Superjeep with mammoth tires and head to the heart of this country with otherworldly landscapes. You'll experience all of this in small groups, with highly professional tour guides that will help you find the elusive Northern Lights.

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

All accommodation is included, and the detailed itinerary can be found below.

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

Quick facts

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

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

  • 5 nights of accommodation in Reykjavik (different levels available; breakfast not included for Super Budget level; breakfast included for Comfort and Quality levels; more detailed info below)

  • 3-day super jeep adventure to Landmannalaugar & Golden Circle (1 lunch and 2 dinners included)

  • 2 nights of accommodation in a mountain lodge during the 3-day Landmannalaugar trip in the Mountain Lodge (sleeping bags included)

  • 2-day winter adventure to Jökulsárlón with Ice Caving

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

  • 2-day adventure to Snaefellsnes Peninsula

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

  • Northern Lights hunting

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

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

  • Hands-on travel agent to oversee your itinerary

  • Taxes

  • Entrance fee to the Vatnshellir lava cave

  • Lunch (unless included above)

  • Dinner (unless included above)

What to bring:
  • Camera

  • Swimsuit

  • Warm clothes

  • Winter hiking shoes

  • Good waterproof outer layers

  • Driver's License (Required for Snowmobiling)

Good to know:

The Northern Lights are a natural phenomenon, and therefore cannot be guaranteed, but this itinerary is designed to maximise your chances to see them if weather allows. Please be aware that your itinerary may have to be rearranged to fit your arrival date and time better.

It can happen, in the case of extreme weather, that an activity is cancelled. If your chosen activity is cancelled, we will assist you with rearranging or booking other activities when possible, and any potential price difference will be refunded to you.

Note that Icelandic roads and pavements can be slippery in the wintertime. We recommend you bring shoes with slip-resistant soles or ice-grip shoe covers. The covers can be purchased in most supermarkets and gas stations around the country.

Daily itinerary

Day 1 - Arrival - Blue Lagoon and Reykjavik

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

Your winter adventure begins as soon as you land. The international airport is in Keflavík, on the Reykjanes peninsula, and the 40-minute drive to the capital city of Reykjavík will take you through an otherworldly, lunar landscape. You'll pass by a black lava field covered with moss and possibly snow.

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

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

If you like, take a complimentary Northern Lights tour in the evening. You may choose what kind of Northern Lights experience you prefer: by boat or by bus. Go for the boat tour in the Old Harbour, to see the dancing lights over the ocean while the wind plays with your hair, or choose a bus tour to head out into the countryside under cover of darkness and watch for glimmers of colour against a backdrop of the Icelandic wilderness.

You'll spend the night in Reykjavik.

Day 2 - The South Coast

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

The nature extravaganza officially kicks off today. In the next 8 days, you will spend 2 days travelling down the South Coast along the Ring Road, 3 days along the Golden Circle and Landmannalaugar highlands route, and another 2 days exploring Snæfellsnes peninsula in the west wrapped up by a free day in the capital of Reykjavík.

Please note that the sequence of those trips will depend on which day of the week you land, so you might spend your day in Reykjavík on day 2, followed by the national park days, or vice versa and have the free day in Reykjavik on day 9, before your departure day.

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

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

An impressive stop is then the black sand beach of Reynisfjara with the dark Reynisdrangar rock stacks keeping guard over the hexagonal cliffs as the ocean rushes upon the shore with tremendous power. Just be careful not to go too close, as the beach is infamous for fast-growing sneaker waves.

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

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

You'll search for the Northern Lights in the evening if conditions are favourable.

Accommodation is arranged in a country hotel either near Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon or Skaftafell Nature Reserve.

Day 3 - The Natural Ice Cave in Vatnajökull

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

The second day of the 2-day tour of the south coast includes a blue ice cave exploration.

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

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

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

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

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

As always, in the evening you can choose to join another Northern Lights tour, and your guide will make every effort to anticipate the Northern Lights forecast and give you a good experience. You’ll spend the night in Reykjavík.

Day 4 - Landmannalaugar

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

Again, please note that the arrangement of your tours will depend on which day of the week you arrive in Iceland, so you might spend your first day in Reykjavík and begin this tour with the 2-day journey to the south coast or your 2-day journey to Snæfellsnes peninsula. At other times, you may begin in Reykjavik and immediately depart for a 3-day tour into the Icelandic highlands instead.

The following description is for the first day of the 3-day Landmannalaugar tour:

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

You'll be driving along Þjórsá river, Iceland's longest river towards Hjálparfoss waterfall. The name of the falls translates to Helping Falls, as it was the last lush area before entering the large, sandy desert Sprengisandur during the Viking Age. People would take the opportunity offered by this green place to let their horses graze one final time.

You'll have lunch at Hrauneyjar Highland Centre, located just before the real highlands of Fjallabak Nature Reserve.

The drive takes you through vast lava fields covered by snow, past Lake Hnausapollur and Lake Ljótipollur, to a stop at Lake Frostastaðavatn. When the weather is still, the surrounding mountains and strange rock formations are beautifully mirrored in the lake.

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

After the drive, you can relax in the geothermal pool while your driver/guide prepares dinner. You'll be provided with a proper Icelandic meal, from healthy Icelandic ingredients. Don't forget to watch for the Northern Lights in the evening, if the sky is clear. Even if the auroras don't show up, it is still spectacular to view the stars shining so brightly, far from man-made light pollution.

Please note that the mountain lodge where you'll be sleeping is very basic and rustic. You won't be getting a private en-suite room here! The bathrooms are not even in the same building but in an adjacent smaller building.

The two-story highland lodge is heated and kept warm all year round. Downstairs, there is a spacious sleeping area with bunk beds, a spacious kitchen, and a cosy sitting area. Upstairs, there are three separate sleeping areas. The lodge is heated with geothermal heat, and the kitchen is equipped with gas.

Day 5 - Snowmobiling, Hiking or Geothermal Pool

Snowmobiling and the northern lights hunting are two awesome winter opportunities that you can combine.

During breakfast, the day will be planned according to snow conditions, the weather, and your personal preferences. You might want to go for a snowmobile tour in the area, a hike to the numerous interesting locations nearby or take a ride with your guide in the modified Superjeep to nearby lakes and exotic places. Or even, if you are in the mood, relaxing in the hot pool outside and enjoying the peace and quiet.

If you begin your day with bathing in the pool before breakfast, you might start wondering about the geothermal heat in the area. The mountains encircling this area are mostly formed from magma which accumulated in the magma chamber of a volcano located by the glacier of Torfajökull south of Landmannalaugar. The Torfajökull area is the country's second largest high-temperature geothermal area.

In the evening, your accommodation will once more be at the mountain lodge. You'll eat a delicious barbecue dinner, enjoy life in the lodge, embrace the solitude and, of course, the hot pool outside is open around the clock. As always, your group will be looking out for the Northern Lights.

Day 6 - The Golden Circle

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

After breakfast, you'll leave the peacefulness of Landmannalaugar and head for Hrauneyjar where you'll stop for lunch. From there, you'll drive back through Thjorsardalur on to the Golden Circle route which will bring you first to the majestic Gullfoss Falls (the "Golden Falls"). This is considered by many to be Iceland's most beautiful waterfall, and it's especially impressive during winter time as the water plunges through ice and snow.

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

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

You'll then head to Þingvellir. Þingvellir was declared a National Park in 1930 and was later designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is sometimes called "the heart of Iceland," because of its immense beauty and importance in Icelandic history. Wander here at your leisure.

Weather circumstances, snow and road conditions play a big role in this tour so the travelling time can vary greatly. Time of arrival in Reykjavik is estimated to be in the early evening at dinner time.

Day 7 - Snæfellsnes Peninsula

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

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

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

The next stop is Rauðafellsgjá, a fissure on the eastern side of Mt. Botnsfjall. A nearby stream feeds the fissure, nourishing the plants there. As a result, the walls inside are covered with moss during the warmer months. For now, the imposing cliff walls are traced with ice and snow.

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

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

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

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

Day 8 - Journey to Hraunfossar

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Day 9 - Relax in Reykjavík

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

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

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

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

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

Day 10 - Reykjavík and Departure

The skyline of Reykjavík when clad in its winter coat.

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

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

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

Accommodation in Reykjavik

See our accommodation levels below. Super Budget booking will be arranged in hostel dormitory bed accommodation. For Comfort and Quality bookings, single person bookings will be arranged in a single room, while bookings of 2 or more people will share twin/double room(s) or triple room(s). If you are travelling in a group, but prefer a single room, please make separate bookings. For multi-day guided tours, accommodation cannot be upgraded and the levels below do not apply. We always do our best to accommodate special requests, which may incur additional costs.

Super Budget

Rooms or dormitory beds with shared bathrooms in guesthouses or hostels, such as HI Hostels. Located in the capital region. Breakfast is not included.


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.


Rooms at four-star design hotels in the city center with a private bathroom at the absolute best locations downtown such as Hotel Alda. Breakfast is included.

Cancellation Insurance

This insurance guarantees that you can cancel the booking of this package and receive a full refund, minus the insurance cost of 5,000 ISK per person. The cancellation must be made within a minimum of 48-hours before the listed starting time. To cancel your booking and claim your refund, simply contact our service desk by writing to info@guidetoiceland.is no later than 48-hours before departure and declare the cancellation. Please note that this insurance only covers the full cancellation of this entire package. It does not cover cancellations of individual activities and services within the package. The cost of the Cancellation Insurance is neither refundable nor transferable.

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