Icelandic Winter Adventure

Winter in Reykjavik
Northern Lights over Akureyri
Godafoss Waterfalls
Strokkur Geysir
Gullfoss Waterfalls
  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • Dates
  • Explore!

This adventure allows us to explore the stunning natural beauty of Iceland's volcanic landscape in winter with its snow-covered glaciers, steaming geysers and lava fields. We also have the opportunity to travel by boat to Hrisey Island, ride in a snow cat or super jeep, walk on a glacier and hopefully watch wildlife including reindeer and whales in their natural habitat. If we are lucky, we may even experience the natural phenomenon of the Northern Lights.

Highlights
Akureyri - Take an exhilarating snow cat or super jeep ride and enjoy a traditional fish lunch and beer tasting
Lake Myvatn - Explore this diverse volcanic landscape and warm up in the Nature Baths
Golden Circle - Travel around Iceland's famous loop to see the remarkable natural wonders of Thingvellir, Geysir and Gullfoss
Reykjavik - Discover this vibrant and contrasting city that is the world's most northerly capital
Northern Lights - Stay in accommodation providing the best chance of viewing this natural spectacle
Why Book this Tour
An ideal tour for anyone with a sense of adventure! This tour offers the best of Iceland at a spectacular time of year when the tourists are very few and far between. Although the itinerary is hugely weather dependent, keep an open mind because every day brings a new experience and the local crew work tirelessly to ensure you get the best out of your time in their country. And of course the chance to stand under a clear sky and see the Northern Lights is a tick off your bucket list!
Destinations
  • Iceland
  • Reykjavik
  • Europe
  • Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon
  • Godafoss
  • Lake Myvatn
  • Geysir
  • Blue Lagoon
  • Akureyri
  • Gullfoss
  • Vatnajokull
Tour Types
  • Discovery
  • Northern Lights
  • Wildlife
  • Active
  • Small Group
  • Cultural
  • Scenic
  • Snow Activities
  • Adventure
Day 1: Join trip in Reykjavik

Today the adventure begins with a transfer from Keflavik Airport (KEF) to our hotel on the public FlyBus shuttle bus service. On arrival at Keflavik Airport please proceed to the FlyBus desk which is located in the arrivals hall, a FlyBus representative will give you a voucher and direct you to the bus. Buses leave every 35-40 minutes and the drive to the hotel will take approximately 45 minutes. On the drive from the airport to the hotel you'll get your first glimpse of the blackened and rocky volcanic scenery found on this part of the island. There are no activities planned today so you are free to arrive at a time that suits you. After checking-in to the hotel, you may have time to explore a little of the world's most northerly capital. Bustling with cosmopolitan energy and surrounded by pure, unpolluted nature, Reykjavik is a city of striking contrasts. Small colourful corrugated iron houses nestle next to futuristic glass buildings; state-of-the-art facilities lie beside rugged volcanic terrain and international influences mingle with Icelandic national traditions. All this creates a unique culture where old embraces new. On this holiday you'll be accompanied by a local Leader from days 2 to 8, so this evening you are free to settle in and enjoy this charming city.

Accommodation: Hotel

Day 2: Travel to Akureyri 'the capital of the north'

This morning we leave Reykjavik and drive to Iceland's second city, Akureyri where we will spend the next two nights. The journey will take between five to eight hours, depending on road conditions. However, there will be plenty of opportunities to stop along the way to stretch our legs and take photos of the stunning winter scenery. One of the scenic stops along the way will be in the small fishing town of Akranes, just north-west of Reykjavik. This traditional town is home to two of Iceland's 104 lighthouses and from where they stand on the edge of the peninsula we will be afforded panoramic views over the fjord. If we're lucky enough to have a clear sky we will be able to see across the fjord to Reykjavik.We'll stop at a local farm in Hraunsnef for a relaxed lunch before continuing north. Standing on the shores of the country's longest fjord, Akureyri is a pretty town, with a thriving arts community. It is seen as the cultural heart of the north of the island and its galleries and Lutheran cathedral are worth a visit.

Accommodation: Hotel

Day 3: Explore Hrisey Island and sample the local beer

After yesterday's long drive we have a relaxed start to the morning. After breakfast we'll make our way to the harbour, stopping at viewpoint and an old fish factory along the way. The factory is no longer in use but is a great insight to the regions main industry. From Arskogstrond we take a 15-minute ferry ride to Hrisey Island. Here, together with a local guide, we will have the chance to experience the slow pace of life on the island, discover some of its rich Viking history and try a traditional fish lunch. After exploring the island we return to the mainland, where we will visit a small brewery for the chance to taste the locally produced beers before heading back to Akureyri for the evening.

Accommodation: Hotel

Day 4: Experience Iceland's snow tractors and visit Godafoss waterfall, Lake Myvatn and the Nature Baths

Today we will ride into the mountains on a snow cat vehicle. The journey to the summit of Kaldbakur Mountain takes around 45 minutes, during which we are rewarded with spectacular views of the snow covered peaks. . After fulfilling the tradition of signing the Kaldbakur guest book that is kept in a cairn on the top of the mountain, we begin our descent back down the mountain. This is a true snowy adventure, so make sure you wrap up warm and get ready for a thrilling ride! If you are travelling in October-December or there hasn't been enough snow to operate the snow cat then we visit another mountain nearby and enjoy an exciting super-jeep excursion instead. These 10 feet high monsters can cross glacial moraine, lava flows and fast-flowing rivers with relative ease. In fact, you won't believe what the drivers can make them do, but fear not - they do this for a living! We leave the mountains behind and spend the afternoon discovering Iceland's waterfalls. Starting with Godafoss, known as 'the waterfall of the gods', it is particularly spectacular in winter when the clear blue waters partially freeze. In the afternoon we explore Lake Myvatn. This active volcanic area was formed 3800 years ago when a lava flow blocked the valley. Here we will be treated to the surreal sight of steam rising from ground vents through the snow-covered ground. We will also see a variety of fascinating rock formations caused by past lava eruptions. After a day exploring, we take a soothing dip in the Nature Baths, where we will find a man-made lagoon to swim in and natural steam baths to relax in. Your leader will endeavour to time this with sunset so you can relax below the red and pink skies and watch the sun go down over a beautifully frozen Lake Myvatn. The Nature Baths here are a great quieter alternative to the busier Blue Lagoon in Reykjavik - they offer the same wonderful experience but with less people around you.

Accommodation: Hotel

Day 5: Visit Egilsstadir en route to the Wilderness Centre

Today we have a longer drive, through the small village of Egilsstadir to the Wilderness Centre, our home for the night. Depending on the road conditions the drive will take approximately 7-8 hours, there will be plenty of stops along the way to break the journey. On arrival we will experience true Icelandic culture as we stay in a 1940's originally-restored farmhouse. The farmhouse is a living museum and has been decorated in the fashion of times gone by and are true to the taste of the past owners, including original furnishings and objects. The rooms here are simple and do not have en suite bathrooms, instead there are shared bathrooms for us to use during our stay. We'll have dinner with our hosts tonight, a typical Icelandic family meal which will often be locally reared lamb, lots of vegetables and salads followed by rhurbarb pie. The Wilderness centre is superbly-positioned for viewing the Northern Lights so if the conditions are right it's worth staying up late!

Accommodation: Guesthouse

Day 6: Coastal road to Hofn; chance to see the Northern Lights

Today, we drive along the eastern coastal road to the fishing town of Hofn, admiring the wind-swept sea views along the way. We also hope to catch our first glimpses of Vatnajokull - the largest ice cap in Europe. On the way we will stop in small villages and walk along the deserted beaches of the east coast. We arrive in Hofn in the late afternoon and the evening is free to relax. Guesthouse Smyrlabjorg Guesthouse Smyrlabjorg is a family run establishment, located next to Iceland's Ring Road. All rooms are decorated in a country house style & include a TV & ensuite. Most rooms have views of the Atlantic Ocean, while others overlook the mountains. There is also a restaurant on site that serves homemade dishes made from local produce.

Accommodation: Guesthouse

Day 7: Visit Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon and travel to Vik

Continuing our circumnavigation of the island, we'll see more of the Vatnajokull Glacier before stopping at the Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon. Here, we can marvel at newly formed icebergs as they make their way out to sea. The ice is breaking off from the Breidamerkurjokull Glacier and the icebergs then slowly float through the lagoon and out to sea under a bridge for the main number one road. On one of the bridge's pillars there is painting, supposedly by Banksy, of a headless polar bear pushing a shopping trolley. You can see the icebergs drifting out into the ocean whilst others sit lazily on the black sand beaches waiting for the current to sweep them away. The sparkling ice gives the beach its name - Diamond Beach. Tonight's hotel is in the remote countryside, providing us with another chance to look out for the Northern Lights. Hotel Katla Located just a 5-minute drive from Vik's black sand beach, Hotel Katla is a countryside Hotel that offers stunning views of the Mýrdalsjökull Glacier. Rooms are spacious & classically decorated, all including a TV & an ensuite. The hotels offers free Wi-Fi in the lobby, as well as free access to the outdoor geothermal hot tubs & fitness centre. The hotel also has an in-house restaurant that serves a buffet breakfast & local specialities for dinner.

Accommodation: Hotel

Day 8: Golden Circle tour of Geysir, Gullfoss and Thingvellir

Today, we take a tour of Iceland's 'Golden Circle', which includes many of the natural wonders which make the country so famous. Thingvellir is a rare site of both historical and geological importance. Meaning 'Parliament Plains', this was the location of Iceland's first National Assembly from 930AD until 1798 and, as such, is hugely significant in the country's cultural heritage. What's more, the impressive landscape sits on a unique spot where the Mid-Atlantic Ridge can be seen on dry land before disappearing to the ocean floor where it spends most of its existence. This provides the quirky opportunity to place one foot on the North American tectonic plate and one foot on the Eurasian plate. We move on to the Gullfoss, known as the 'Golden Waterfall', due to the way it cascades into a deep gorge with tremendous force. Regarded by many as one of the most beautiful falls in the world, it often remains partially frozen during the winter months. Geysir is our next stop, with the claim to fame that, as the first spouting spring known to Europeans, it gave all such springs their name. However, it is the Strokkur, meaning 'The Butter Churn', which is the main attraction these days, due to its impressive 100 feet eruptions every few minutes. We return to Reykjavik this afternoon, where we will have a short sightseeing tour by bus to help us orientate ourselves before checking in to our hotel. The food scene in Reykjavik is impressive and this evening is free for a final dinner in one of the capitals many restaurants.

Accommodation: Hotel

Day 9: Trip ends in Reykjavik

Our trip ends after breakfast this morning. The transfer back to Keflavik airport (KEF) will be on the public FlyBus shuttle bus service and your leader will provide you with the details of your pick up time and with your voucher for this service. Please note: The itinerary for this tour is subject to amendment due to weather or road conditions. Winter is a beautiful time to visit Iceland, but the weather can be unpredictable and snow can have a big impact on travel times. Consequently, it may be necessary to alter the order of the itinerary or to change inclusions whilst on tour.

You will have the option to book your own flights independently with the operator.

Dates Price Single Availability
14-Feb-2021 for 8 Nights Visit Website
14-Feb-2021 for 8 Nights Flight Included Visit Website
14-Mar-2021 for 8 Nights Visit Website
14-Mar-2021 for 8 Nights Flight Included Visit Website
17-Oct-2021 for 8 Nights Visit Website
17-Oct-2021 for 8 Nights Flight Included Visit Website
14-Nov-2021 for 8 Nights Visit Website
14-Nov-2021 for 8 Nights Flight Included Visit Website

Touring with Explore

Explore have been creating award-winning adventures for over 35 years and are experts when it comes to unique travel experiences.

Their small group adventure holidays have been running since 1981 and today, Explore are one of the most trusted travel companies in the UK with over 600 trips to more than 130 countries. At Explore, they are passionate about travel and have developed a wide range of unique activities and experiences which gives their customers an unforgettable adventure with a team of award-winning Explore leaders .

With Explore, you'll get to see your destination from a whole new perspective that takes you away from the typical well-trodden tourist track. You'll have the chance to meet, dine and stay with local people, rest in authentic accommodation with other like-minded explorers and travel to must-see destinations with a unique Explore twist.

From family trips to holidays for solo travellers; cycling tours to wildlife safaris; trekking on mountains or exploring miles of scenic coastline; self-guided holidays or small group trips; there is something for every kind of traveller with Explore. They will provide their expert knowledge, exciting itineraries and outstanding service as part of their sustainable travel experiences which take you under the skin of the country you're visiting for the adventure of a lifetime.

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tour details

This tour is operated by Explore!

8 nights from pp exc.flights; per Night
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Group Size:0 - 18
Suitable For: Adult
Accommodation:Simple
Difficulty:Moderate
Meals:Breakfast: 9 Lunch: 2
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