If your goal is to reinvigorate your mind and body while connecting with nature, there are few better places for it than Iceland. On this winter getaway, you'll take a road trip along famous circuit routes dotted with stunning scenery like rivers, waterfalls, rugged beaches, geothermal areas, and historic villages. And almost every day of the trip, you'll stop at natural hot springs to relax and recharge.


  • Tour the peninsulas, fjords, and coastal villages north of Reykjavík
  • Hit the road on the famous Diamond Circle to see waterfalls and ice caves
  • Enjoy total relaxation as you soak in the country's famous hot springs
  • Visit geothermal areas and take an evening cruise to see the northern lights

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Iceland, Drive from Reykjavík to Húsafell & Krauma Spa Borgarnes
Day 2 Drive to Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Sightseeing & Natural Hot Springs Arnarstapi
Day 3 Drive to Laugarbakki via Historic Villages & Kolufoss Waterfall Laugarbakki
Day 4 Drive to Lake Mývatn, Private Ice Cave Tour Lake Mývatn
Day 5 Drive the Diamond Circle: GeoSea Baths, Explore Akureyri Akureyri
Day 6 Fly to Reykjavík, Sky Lagoon & Northern Lights Cruise Reykjavík
Day 7 Tour Reykjanes Geopark, Depart Iceland  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Iceland, Drive from Reykjavík to Húsafell & Krauma Spa

The lighthouse in Akranes

Welcome to Iceland! This northern volcanic island is a hotbed of geological wonders whose settlement dates back over 1,000 years to the Viking Age. After arriving at Keflavík International Airport, you'll pick up your rental car and drive 45 minutes east to the capital of Reykjavík. From here, you'll turn north and continue up the coast to the Borgarfjörður fjord. Along the way, you can stop at any number of natural attractions and historic villages.

One option is the port town of Akranes, whose Folk Museum is a real crowd-pleaser. Established in 1959, it's an open-air museum featuring 19th-century buildings and Icelandic boats. After Akranes, you could visit a nearby historic lighthouse, then stretch your legs with a hike around Hvalfjörður, a scenic fjord surrounded by volcanic mountains.

End the drive just east of Borgarfjörður at Húsafell, a rustic farm area nestled in a mountain valley. Here, you'll enjoy some relaxation and rejuvenation in the geothermal springs at Krauma Spa. This spa takes boiling water from the nearby Deildartunguhver spring and mixes it with chilled glacier waters to create perfect 100-107°F (38-42°C) bathing temperatures in its five baths. There's also a cold-water tub to get your circulation going. After a long soak, you'll transfer to your nearby hotel.

Day 2: Drive to Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Sightseeing & Natural Hot Springs

The Kirkjufellsfoss falls, with Mount Kirkjufell in the background

Today you'll hit the road north to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. The trip takes about 1.5 hours, but there are plenty of scenic places to stop on the way, like the black-sand beaches at Borgarnes. Upon arrival at the peninsula, you'll head to the north side and Stykkishólmur. Here, you can enjoy a soak in natural pools heated by geothermal waters.

Then, continue east and stroll the rugged seaside cliffs between the fishing villages of Arnarstapi and Hellnar. Nearby is Djúpalónssandur, another black-sand beach with jagged lava rock formations. Once a prominent fishing village, today, there remain four stones of various sizes that sea captains used to test the strength of potential sailors. 

Near the western end of the peninsula is the Saxhóll crater. A walk up to the rim reveals excellent views of the surrounding area. Back on the north side is Kirkjufellsfoss, whose three waterfalls are complimented by the rounded point of Mount Kirkjufell in the background. You can stop here on your way back to the historic village of Arnarstapi, where you'll overnight. Perhaps enjoy dinner at one of the cozy restaurants in town. 

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Day 3: Drive to Laugarbakki via Historic Villages & Kolufoss Waterfall

An Icelandic pony grazing in the countryside near Laugarbakki

In the morning, drive northeast to Búðardalur. This village is situated on the Hvammsfjörður fjord and has a long history dating from the time of the first settlements in Iceland. In fact, a short distance from the village is Eiríksstaðir, the homestead of Erik the Red (950 to 1003 CE) and his son, Leif Erikson, who was the first European to discover America. Come for a visit, and you'll be greeted by guides wearing traditional Viking Era clothing—you can even try using real Viking tools.

Afterward, you'll visit more historic villages. First, head east to Borðeyri, located on the Hrútafjörður fjord. This small village is mentioned in historical texts and is home to Riis Hús, which dates to 1862 and is one of the oldest buildings in the region. On the other side of the fjord is Hvammstangi, whose history as a trading center dates back over 100 years. There's a nice harbor here where you can do some seal-watching, and you can stop in at the Icelandic Seal Center to learn more about these animals.

Continue a little way east to Kolugljúfur Canyon, another of Iceland's natural wonders. Here, the tranquil waters of the Víðidalsá River meet the gorge and turn into the Kolufoss, which cascades 26 feet (8 m) into a natural pool. Head to the viewing platform to enjoy this breathtaking sight and snap photos. Afterward, you'll drive to the nearby town of Laugarbakki, where you'll overnight.

Day 4: Drive to Lake Mývatn, Private Ice Cave Tour

Steam vents near Lake Mývatn

Get back on the road this morning and head east, following Route 1 along the north side of Iceland to see the wonders of this region. First up is Lake Mývatn. This is one of the stops on the Diamond Circle, a 155-mile (250-km) circuit that passes the most incredible sites on Iceland's north side.

The area surrounding this volcanic lake has the highest concentration of geothermal sites in the country. In just a few hours, you can explore the craters, rock formations, and lava fields of this almost alien landscape. Continue the adventure with a hike up a volcanic crater, a dip in a thermal cave pool, or a walk around mud pots. You can also relax at the Mývatn Nature Baths, a hot-spring lagoon.

One exciting activity you'll enjoy around Lake Mývatn is a visit to Lofthellir, a lava cave famous for its incredible ice formations. Getting there requires a trip in a 4WD past the volcano of Hverfjall to the base of Mount Hvannfell. Upon arrival, you and your guide will enter the cave, and you'll have an hour to explore and snap photos of the glimmering ice stalagmites. 

Day 5: Drive the Diamond Circle: GeoSea Baths, Explore Akureyri

GeoSea, in Húsavík

In the morning, you'll leave Lake Mývatn and continue on the Diamond Circle, stopping at majestic Dettifoss, one of the most powerful waterfalls in Europe. Other highlight landmarks you'll visit include the Vesturdalur Valley, the "echo rocks" of Hljóðaklettar, the lava fields of the Krafla caldera, and the jagged rock formations at Dimmuborgir. You could also travel to hidden corners like the Tjörnes Peninsula, home to fossils and puffin colonies.

You'll then arrive in the seaside town of Húsavík, which, having been first inhabited in the ninth century, is the oldest settlement in the country. It's also a bathing mecca, as residents have been harnessing the area's geothermal waters for centuries. The fruits of this labor are exemplified in GeoSea, a spa whose geothermal sea baths you'll get to enjoy on a three-hour visit. Take time to decompress as you relax in mineral-rich seawater amid stunning views over the coastal cliffs looking out over Skjálfandi Bay.

Your last stop of the day will be in the colorful town of Akureyri, on the Eyjafjörður fjord. It's a great place to relax at a café and enjoy a leisurely walk. Perhaps take in the art-and-history scene with a visit to the notable Church of Akureyri and the Akureyri Art Museum. You can also visit the local botanical garden, which is filled with almost every species of plant native to Iceland. For relaxation, head to the town baths, which feature two large pools and various hot tubs, plus a steam room and sauna—all filled with geothermal waters. Afterward, transfer to your hotel in town.

Day 6: Fly to Reykjavík, Sky Lagoon & Northern Lights Cruise

The northern lights over Reykjavík's Hallgrímskirkja Cathedral

The road trip portion of your trip comes to an end today as you drive to the airport in Akureyri, drop off your car, and catch a 45-minute flight back to Reykjavík. Upon arrival, visit the Sky Lagoon, a natural hot spring located on a harbor in the south of the city. During your three-hour visit, you can take part in the Seven-Step Ritual. This involves alternating between soaks in the hot springs—whose temps hover around 100-104°F (38-40°C)—and cold plunges. Following this is a trip to the sauna and then stepping out into a refreshing cold-fog mist. Completing the sensory experience is a body scrub and one last soak in the geothermal lagoon.

Then, after dinner, you'll hop aboard another boat for a 2.5-hour cruise on the bay. During this excursion, you'll travel to an area free of light pollution and marvel at the incredible aurora borealis, also known as the northern lights. The best time to see this psychedelic display of light, which is caused by solar storms interacting with the earth's magnetic field, is from August to mid-April.

Day 7: Tour Reykjanes Geopark, Depart Iceland

The famous Blue Lagoon, in the Reykjanes Geopark

Unfortunately, today you must bid farewell to Iceland. However, depending on your flight schedule, you might have time for sightseeing in the UNESCO-listed Reykjanes Geopark. This hotbed of geothermal activity covers four separate volcano zones featuring steam vents, lava towers, mud pools, fumaroles, and more. Also located in this alien landscape is the Blue Lagoon, quite possibly the world's most famous natural hot spring. Feel free to take a dip if there's time.

Other highlights in the area include Reykjanesviti, the oldest lighthouse in Iceland, which dates to 1878. Nearby is the Bridge Between Continents, a footbridge over a fissure separating the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. Feel free to stop and take a quick stroll between two continents before heading to the airport and boarding your flight home. Safe travels!

More Great Iceland Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Iceland? Check out these other Iceland itineraries, explore more ways to spend seven days in Iceland, and learn about the best time to visit Iceland.


Map of Winter in Iceland: Relax & Reconnect - 7 Days
Map of Winter in Iceland: Relax & Reconnect - 7 Days