This 10-day road trip through southern Iceland perfectly balances winter wonderland adventures and relaxing spa time. The moment you arrive, you'll visit lava caves, fjords, and villages—all while making time to unwind in geothermal hot springs. After a trip around the geysers and waterfalls of the famous Golden Circle, you'll tour glacier lagoons, explore ice caves, and seek out the northern lights before wrapping up the adventure with soaks in even more hot springs like the Blue Lagoon.

Highlights

  • Tour the peninsulas, fjords, and coastal villages north of Reykjavík
  • Hit the road on the famous Golden Circle to see waterfalls and geysers
  • See the northern lights, explore ice caves, and visit glacier lagoons
  • Soak in hot springs throughout Iceland, including the famous Blue Lagoon

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Iceland, Drive From Reykjavík to Húsafell & Krauma Spa Húsafell
Day 2 Drive to Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Sightseeing & Lava Cave Tour Arnarstapi
Day 3 The Golden Circle & Secret Lagoon Golden Circle
Day 4 Laugarvatn Fontana Spa & Fridheimar Farm Golden Circle
Day 5 South Coast Waterfalls & Seljavallalaug Pool Vík
Day 6 Super Jeep Ice Cave Tour & See the Northern Lights Vík
Day 7 Drive to Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, Visit Crystal Blue Ice Cave Kirkjubæjarklaustur
Day 8 South Coast to Reykjavík & Sky Lagoon Reykjavík
Day 9 Visit the Blue Lagoon Reykjanes Peninsula
Day 10 Tour Reykjanes Peninsula, Depart Iceland  

Detailed Itinerary

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

The Borgarfjörður fjord

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, 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°F-107°F (38°C-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 continue to your nearby hotel.

Day 2: Drive to Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Sightseeing & Lava Cave Tour

Mount Kirkjufell on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula

In the morning, you'll visit Víðgelmir, the largest lava tube in Iceland. Formed during a lava flow that occurred around 900 CE, this cave stretches 5,200 feet (1,585 m) underground and is lined with hanging stalactites and protruding stalagmites. On a 1.5-hour tour, you'll descend into this tunnel and navigate it via a network of paved walkways and stairways. There's no need to be scared of the dark, as state-of-the-art lighting illuminates the interior of the cave.

After Víðgelmir, 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 can 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. On the north side is Kirkjufellsfoss, whose three waterfalls are complimented by the rounded point of Mount Kirkjufell in the background. You'll be spending the night in the historic fishing village of Arnarstapi, whose coastline features unique rock formations, including natural arches. Once you're settled in your accommodation, you can head out for dinner at one of the cozy restaurants in town. 

Day 3: The Golden Circle & Secret Lagoon

Gullfoss, Iceland's most famous waterfall
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After breakfast, you'll head back down toward Reykjavík and embark on a drive along the famous Golden Circle. This 190-mile (300 km) route features some of southern Iceland's most popular natural attractions. First up is Þingvellir National Park and Law Rock. It was at this outcropping during the Middle Ages that chieftains met once a year to air grievances and recite new laws. Also in the park is the Silfra fissure, a rift located in a crystalline lake on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. It's the only place in the world where you can dive between two continents.

Next is the Geysir geothermal area. With its bubbling mud pits, steam vents, and erupting geysers, this is one of the most impressive geothermal zones in the country. The geyser is rarely active these days but can reach up to 230 feet (70 m) when it does erupt. However, the area, which covers much of the Haukadalur Valley, is also home to the Strokkur Geyser, which erupts like clockwork every 5-10 minutes and can reach up to 130 feet (40 m). 

Then it's on to Gullfoss, one of Iceland's most impressive waterfalls. You can follow trails to the top of the falls or view them above the canyon's edge. Another highlight is Kerið Kerið, a 180-foot (55 m) volcanic crater lake whose steep slopes resemble an ancient amphitheater. Cap the day with a visit to the Secret Lagoon. Created in 1891 in the geothermal area of Hverahólmi, this is the oldest man-made swimming pool in Iceland. The water here is between 86°F-104°F (38°C-40°C) year-round and is fed by a nearby geyser. After enjoying the lagoon, head to your hotel to rest up for tomorrow's adventures.

Day 4: Laugarvatn Fontana Spa & Fridheimar Farm

Laugarvatn, Iceland

You're in luck because today is another rejuvenating spa day. Located a mere hour's drive from Reykjavík, Laugarvatn Fontana is the place for relaxation along the Golden Circle. Sitting on the shores of Lake Laugarvatn, it offers hot-spring pools as well as natural steam rooms. There's even a geothermal bakery on site where local grandmothers produce fresh rye bread the same way they have for decades: by burying it in the ground and using the earth's heat to cook it.

Complimenting the spa visit is a trip east to nearby Fridheimar Farm for lunch. This family-run restaurant exemplifies the farm-to-table ethos by serving a variety of dishes featuring the organic tomatoes they grow in their own greenhouse. That means you can enjoy some fresh tomato soup while surrounded by the very plants that grew the fruit.

Day 5: South Coast Waterfalls & Seljavallalaug Pool

Seljalandsfoss Waterfall

Get ready for a scenic drive down Route 1 (Ring Road) along the southern coast of Iceland. One of the highlights you'll pass is Urriðafoss, a waterfall on Iceland's longest river of Þjórsá. The falls here aren't big, but they do cascade at high speeds over rugged lava rocks. You can also stretch your legs at Kvernufoss, a small canyon near Seljalandsfoss, a romantic waterfall that plunges 200 feet (60 m) into a lagoon.

Next up is Skógarfoss. Located barely a mile outside the town of Skógar, this thundering waterfall cascades 200 feet (60 m) over a cliff into the Skógá River. Then, near the southernmost tip of Iceland, you'll pass the town of Vík, known for its scenic coastal cliffs and volcanic beaches. Nearby is Dyrhólaey, a 393-foot (120 m) rock promontory whose name derives from its massive natural arch (Dyrhólaey translates to "door-hole"). After enjoying the views, you can stroll the black sands of Reynisfjara Beach, whose jagged rock formations lend it an otherworldly quality.

Capping the day is a visit to Seljavallalaug Pool, located just west of Skógar. This 82-foot (25-m) public pool was built in 1923, making it one of the oldest in the country. Situated next to a river and nestled between sloping hills, it's a great place to take a dip, relax, and enjoy the geothermal waters, which remain at 68-86°F (20-35°C). Afterward, you'll drive to your hotel in Vík.

Day 6: Super Jeep Ice Cave Tour & See the Northern Lights

Venture into soaring ice caves

In the morning, you'll meet a guide in Vík, hop in a Super Jeep 4WD, and embark on a quick but unforgettable ice-cave tour. It's a scenic 30-60-minute ride to a hidden ice cave near a glacier, and upon arrival, you'll receive your equipment and a safety briefing. Then it will be time to head into the cave for up to an hour of exploration. It's a great activity for individuals or families with a minimum age of six.

After the cave tour, head out to see the famous 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. However, it's possible to see it all year, and if conditions are ideal, you'll leave in the evening with a guide to a remote area free of light pollution. This may be near a glacier, a geothermal area, or even a boat on a fjord. Wherever you end up, it will be the best vantage point to witness and photograph one of Mother Nature's grandest spectacles. 

Day 7: Drive to Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, Visit Crystal Blue Ice Cave

Diamond Beach

In the morning, you'll leave Vík and drive east on Route 1 to Jökulsárlón, a glacial lagoon on the coast. The drive takes 2.5 hours, but you can stop on the way to visit natural attractions. One option is to enjoy the viewpoints and marvel at the otherworldly rock formations of the Fjaðrárgljúfur river canyon. There are a couple of famous waterfalls on the way, too, including Skaftafell and Svartifoss. The latter plunges 65 feet (20 m) over basalt cliffs and is accessible via a scenic 3-mile (5 km) trail.

Eventually, you'll arrive at Jökulsárlón. At 656 feet (200 m), this is the deepest lake in Iceland. The icebergs floating on its surface are over 1,000 years old, and if you're lucky, you might spot seals and small whales in the water. Then, follow the lagoon to the shores of the adjacent Diamond Beach. This black-sand beach is famous for the iceberg fragments that drift ashore from the lagoon and which gleam like gemstones in the sunlight.

The ice theme continues later in the day with a three-hour tour of Crystal Blue Ice Cave, which is located in Vatnajökull. This is Iceland's largest glacier, which flows down from the mountains and actually feeds the Jökulsárlón lagoon. Inside the cave, you'll be led by an expert guide for about an hour on an unforgettable exploration of shimmering walls and chasms of ice. Afterward, you can drive back to Vík or find accommodation in the area.

Day 8: South Coast to Reykjavík & Sky Lagoon

Hjörleifshöfði, the "Yoda cave"

Hop in the car this morning and hit the road for the return drive back up the southern coast to Reykjavík. Just like the previous days, there will be plenty of places to stop and enjoy the scenery. One unique landmark is Hjörleifshöfði. Known as the "Yoda cave," the entrance to this mountain cavern is actually shaped like the diminutive character from "Star Wars." 

You can also stop at Eldhraun lava field. This enormous field of moss-covered lava rocks resulted from a fissure eruption in 1783 and is believed to have been one of the greatest lava flows in history. If you missed them the first time around, you can also stop at impressive waterfalls like Urriðafoss and Kvernufoss. At the latter, there's a museum where you can learn about the area's history and how people traversed the glacial rivers before they were bridged.

Upon arrival in Reykjavík, you'll take a trip to 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.

Day 9: Visit the Blue Lagoon

Soak in the famous Blue Lagoon
Head west to the Reykjanes Peninsula today for a three-hour visit to Iceland's most famous hot spring: the Blue Lagoon. The spring is both romantic and otherworldly—surrounded by lunar lava fields and wreathed in a diaphanous blanket of mist. The electric-blue coloring of this water comes from the rich mineral content as well as algae and silica. This benefits your skin and is great for rejuvenation. So relax, enjoy the soak, swim under the man-made waterfall, and maybe treat yourself to a white-mud facial at the day spa on site. Afterward, you'll drive to your hotel on the peninsula. 

Day 10: Tour Reykjanes Peninsula, Depart Iceland

The northern lights over Reykjanes

Time to say goodbye to Iceland. In the morning, make your way to the airport, and If there's enough time before your flight, maybe go to the Blue Lagoon again for more relaxation. Or, you can continue the road trip and visit charming fishing villages, lava fields, and the Reykjanes Geopark.

One such highlight is Krýsuvík. This geothermal area is situated on Iceland's tectonic plates and thus is filled with hot springs, steam vents, and mud pots. Similarly, you can visit the bubbling and steaming mud cauldrons at Gunnuhver Hot Springs, named after a female ghost who was supposedly trapped here by a priest about 400 years ago. Temperatures at these springs are a balmy 572°F (300°C), so be sure to stay well within the marked pathways.

There are also some amazing views along the nearby cliffs. Here, you'll find 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, dropping off your rental car, and boarding your flight home. Until next time!

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Map

Map of Winter Spa Holiday in Iceland - 10 Days
Map of Winter Spa Holiday in Iceland - 10 Days