5 Days Iceland Itinerary in Winter
Are you one of those “daredevils” who dreams of a trip to Iceland in winter?
Then you will like to know that the wonders of nature are so concentrated and diverse that a 5-day tour of Iceland is a good start to be amazed and, in all probability, enraptured by amazement and wonder.
Check out this day-by-day itinerary with maps to save on Google Maps, strategically located accommodations, and must-do activities.
In the end, don’t forget to read the best tips from It Will Why Travel to plan with peace of mind.
Trip to winter Iceland
Planning this tour of Iceland in winter means choosing the months from October to March.
Remember that in October you may not find snow and that in December the hours of light are reduced and you will only be able to enjoy a few hours of light in the central hours of the day.
When is the best time to organize a trip this season, then? To fully enjoy the snowy landscape, but also the sun’s rays that illuminate Iceland’s beauties, I recommend planning your trip from mid-February to the end of March.
This in my view is one of the best times to enjoy the chance to see the Northern Lights in Iceland, have sufficient hours of light and be able to enjoy the tour in the ice caves, which can only be accessed from November to March approximately.
It is also true, however, that by opting for the winter you will have to be ready for sudden changes in your plans: the weather in Iceland is uncertain and, although the Ring Road, the main road that goes around the island is cleaned frequently, you may have to coping with roadblocks perhaps caused by days of too intense wind or snow on the road.
It is therefore advisable that the itinerary is not too tight and that the situation of the roads should be monitored on the official website.
5-day Iceland tour in winter: itinerary
During this winter tour in Iceland you will see the main beauties of this land that are concentrated in the southern coast: you will admire the Golden Circle, the Icelandic attraction par excellence, you will walk on the terrain of Thingvellir National Park, passing from one tectonic plate to other (here is precisely the dividing point of the American and European plates), you will see geysers erupt with your own eyes, you will admire the largest glacier in Europe, floating icebergs, black beaches and waterfalls.
But there will be no shortage of the best activities of the season, such as outings to see the northern lights, tours of the ice caves, whale watching and afternoons soaking in the thermal waters.
Well, it’s time to take a look at the map below to see the itinerary for these 5 days in Iceland in winter.
Know that these 5 days are effective in Iceland, and do not include any air travel.
Take a few more days to reach this land and return home to be as comfortable as possible.
It will be because I travel : the ice and the wind will be your worst enemies during this journey and, unfortunately, you will have to take into account that you could slip and hurt yourself.
In Iceland you will be able to use the health card, but you could find yourself shelling out the cost of the ticket required for some visits and exams and medical repatriation (which no, it is not cheap).
Day 1: Volcano and Golden Circle
Departure in the morning towards the Fagradalsfjall á Reykjanesi volcano which erupted for several months in 2021 and started again in August 2022. If you want to do the excursion and the weather permits, you will have to dedicate a day only to the volcano (the excursion has a about 4 hours round trip).
Nearby is also the geothermal area Krýsuvík.
Then continue towards the Golden Circle, visiting the attractions that compose it: Thingvellir National Park, the Geysers and Gullfoss waterfall.
In each of these attractions you can comfortably leave your car in the designated parking area, a short distance from the place of interest.
Near the geysers you will also find a place where you can stop for lunch if you wish.
For overnight stays, check availability at the cheap Efra-Sel hostel or evaluate these charming Au44 cottages.
Get the day 1 itinerary on Google Maps.
Day 2: waterfalls, black beach and Vík
Morning departure from accommodation towards Seljalandsfoss, Gljufrabui and Skógafoss waterfalls .
These waterfalls are right next to the road.
Continue to Dyrhólaey headland and Reynisfjara, the black beach of Vík.
Visit the town of Vík and its iconic church, where I suggest you spend the night at Guesthouse Carina or Hótel Kría.
Day 3: Jökulsarlon and Diamond Beach
Departure towards the Jökulsarlon glacier lagoon, where you will see the icebergs of Europe’s largest glacier floating.
Then cross the road and reach the beautiful Diamond Beach, where the ice chunks are scattered on the black sand shore by the waves of the sea.
Later in the day (preferably in the morning to avoid the majority of tourists) take a tour inside the Vatnajökull Ice Caves, book as early as possible to avoid running out.
Overnight at Reynivellir II Guesthouse or Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon.
Remember: you can return to Jökulsarlon Glacier Lagoon in the evening as well, to experience seeing the Northern Lights dance over the icebergs and reflect in the lagoon.
Day 4: Reykjavík
Departure in the morning towards the capital, Reykjavík (about 378 km from the diamond beach).
This fourth day of the tour will be a real day on the road.
Even if there is a long way to go, consider based on the weather conditions and the road surface to stop at some attractions that I have indicated on the map: the Svínafellsjökull glacier and the Svartifoss waterfall for example (reachable only after a walk – in my case ice crampons were useful ), or the Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon.
Of course remember to also follow your gut if you see something cool from the car.
Once in the capital, consider spending the evening on an excursion with a local guidesee the aurora borealis, getting away from the illumination of the city: evaluate (according to your preferences) whether to opt for the bus tour or the cruise.
Spend the night on the town staying at the Grettir Guesthouse or Hotel R13.
Day 5: Whales and Blue Lagoon or Sky Lagoon
In the morning, based on your preferences, choose whether to visit the capital properly, or whether to participate in a whale watching excursion.
In the afternoon, treat yourself to a well-deserved rest by soaking in the thermal waters of the Blue Lagoon, by purchasing tickets in advance on the official website (remember that the spas are about a 45-minute drive from Reykjavík).
Alternatively, opt to spend the afternoon in the waters of the ocean-view thermal pool of the Sky Lagoon in Reykjavík.
Then spend the night at Mar Guesthouse in Grindavík, to be close to the airport for the return trip the next day.
- Save and consult regularly the Icelandic site of road conditions which will inform you of the situation of the road surface always updated and will report any closures;
- Daylight hours in winter in Iceland are reduced.
Consult the sunrise and sunset times on the dedicated page in the south of the island and customize the itinerary based on the actual hours of light in the period in which you will go;
- In this period you might be lucky and see the Northern Lights: the absolute best place is the Jökulsarlon glacier lagoon (in the south of the island), but if it’s your first time I suggest you also include a bus tour in the itinerary like this with departure from the capital or a nice cruise ;
- Rent a car to enjoy maximum freedom when moving.
For a winter trip, the 4×4 car is strongly recommended, as is a policy that covers you even in the event of damage caused by stones on the windshield and bodywork (preferably fully comprehensive);
FAQ – Questions with answers
When to go to Iceland in winter?
A trip to Iceland in winter can be followed by October to March (in which you will also be able to see the Northern Lights).
However, the best months are February and March, as the hours of light and the snowy landscape create the perfect characteristics to enjoy the Icelandic beauties.
What to see in Iceland in the winter season?
In winter you can focus on the capital and the south of the island.
In this way you will be able to see the main attractions, such as: the Golden Circle, the Vatnajökull glacier and its icebergs deposited on the diamond beach, waterfalls and black beaches, as well as whales and the northern lights.
How many days to stay in Iceland?
For a trip to Iceland in winter, I suggest a minimum of 5 days (flights excluded).
Following a tour of this length you will be able to see the main attractions of the south of the island.
I hope this 5-day Iceland winter tour has managed to give you a more comprehensive overview of what the top things to see and do are this season.
I hope you’ve found this itinerary helpful and that you’ll use this itinerary to plan your trip, but remember: you don’t have to follow every day of this tour to the letter.
Start from this base to customize it according to your personal tastes and needs.
If you have any doubts leave your comment below and I will help you with great pleasure.
Are you going to Iceland? Read also:
- Discover all our articles about Iceland: all articles about Iceland are listed here.
- Choose where to stay in Iceland among the 10 best accommodations.
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- 10 Days in Iceland: Complete 10-Day Iceland Itinerary (With Maps)
- Best Times and Places to See Northern Lights in Iceland