Experience an entirely different side of Iceland on a winter road trip to explore all the highlights. Grab your coat and head to downtown Reykjavík, which offers incredible views this time of year. Then, head to the Golden Circle to visit the white-washed version of Gullfoss, followed by an action-packed snowmobiling adventure to Langjökull Glacier. Next, discover Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss waterfalls—complete with frozen fields—and embark on glacier hikes, ice cave tours, and ice climbing excursions at Skaftafell and Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. On the way back to Reykjavík, enjoy a relaxing soak in the hot springs of Rekjadalur, followed by a stop at the Blue Lagoon to close out the trip.
Iceland Travel Insights
Iceland's recent history tells a surprising story about its fast rise in popularity: Iceland's economic collapse during the financial crisis of 2008 created the perfect storm for its people to hunker down and join forces to rebuild its travel industry, and the subsequent 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull that grounded world air traffic for several weeks, provided an unexpected spotlight on Iceland's powerful, stunning nature. Together, these forces caused a surge in tourism, helping rebuild the Icelandic economy and earning Iceland a top spot on many travelers' bucket lists.
Explore the Golden Circle on this well-balanced, self-drive itinerary featuring both popular stops and hidden gems. First, drive to Þingvellir National Park, Geysir geothermal area, and Gullfoss waterfall, followed by a relaxing soak in the Secret Lagoon. Next, head to the South Coast to stunning waterfalls—Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss—and visits to Reynisfjara Beach, Vík, and the otherworldly Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon. Then, explore the glacial areas of Skaftafell, Svartifoss, and Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, followed by a day to discover the lesser-known Westman Islands. Return to Reykjavík for some sightseeing and tour the Reykjanes Peninsula—plus a stop for a final soak in the Blue Lagoon—before your departure flight home.
New visitors and returning travelers who’ve experienced the Golden Circle and South Coast can enjoy the best of Northern Iceland—without the crowds. First, explore Glymur Falls in West Iceland, followed by visits to turf houses, the Hvitserkur rock formation, and geothermal pools along the Arctic Coast. Next, tour Akureyri, the stunning Goðafoss Waterfall, and Lake Mývatn at length. Then, go whale watching in Husavik, before heading back west to discover the highlights of Reykjavík and the Reykjanes Peninsula, with a relaxing grand finale at the Blue Lagoon.
This five-day, self-drive trip is a great way to experience the best of Iceland without driving too far from Reykjavík. Begin in Snæfellsnes Peninsula to tour the Djúpalónssandur black-sand beach, Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall, and more. Then, visit the Golden Circle's Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls, along with Þingvellir National Park. Next, stop at the South Shore's Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss waterfalls and Reynisfjara Beach, before reaching Vik. The trip concludes with sightseeing in Reykjavík and a taste of the dining and nightlife scenes.
This 9-day self-drive adventure is a great alternative to the full Ring Road loop, especially during summer months when Iceland tourism hits its peak. With more than a week, you'll experience a range of incredible landscapes all over the island, like rugged peninsulas, hot springs, volcanoes, lava fields, small fishing towns, and waterfall hikes with only a fraction of the crowds. To shorten this itinerary, skip the East Fjords and fly back to Reykjavík from Akureyri.
Dark and chilly, December brightens up in the weeks leading up to Christmas and New Year's Eve, attracting visitors to Iceland's festive villages and towns. This is a great month to hit the slopes, wander a holiday market, and ring in the new year with a fireworks display over Hallgrímskirkja. Read on to learn more about visiting December in Iceland.
November is a fantastic month to visit Iceland for those who want to see the Northern Lights and experience wintry outdoor activities: ice caving, snorkeling the Silfra fissure, and soaking in a geothermal pool. It's also an ideal time to travel around the lowlands without worrying too much about the weather. Find out what to do and where to go with this monthly guide.
The summer rush is long over, and the winter festivities have yet to begin, making October a peaceful time to visit. Enjoy colorful fall scenery and shorter days, taking advantage of one of the best times of year to view the Northern Lights. Read this monthly guide to learn more.
September marks the end of the high season and is a fantastic month to explore Iceland's iconic scenery without the crowds. This is also a great month to join a Northern Lights tour. Read on to learn what to do and where to go.
August is the last full month of Iceland's busy and expensive high season. With that comes warmer weather, a sporty vibe from tourists and locals who spend as much time outdoors as possible, and loads of fun events like Commerce Day and Fireworks at Jökulsárlón. Read this monthly guide to learn more.
July is high season for Iceland where you can expect the country’s best weather, a lively vibe from locals who spend as much time outside as possible, and loads of fun events. Read this monthly guide to learn more (and how to beat the inevitable crowds).
June begins Iceland’s busiest travel season. With never-ending daylight hours and Midnight Sun tours, the country is alive with festivals and an all-access pass to hiking in the highlands. Find out what to do and where to go with this June guide.
The last month before the summer crowds, May is one of the best times to visit Iceland. Spring is well underway, trading in snowy landscapes with swathes of green land blanketed in purple lupine flowers, tourist crowds are still light, and the days are long—you can expect daylight to last until midnight.
Traveling to Iceland in April offers a lot: crowds are small, hotel and flight deals can be found, there’s still the chance to see the Northern Lights, and there’s enough daylight to do and see a lot each day. Read on to learn more.
With few crowds, low prices, and ever-increasing daylight hours, March is arguably one of the best times to visit Iceland. Enjoy all the winter tours in peace and still have plenty of opportunities to catch the Northern Lights. Find out what to do and where to go with this March guide.
Iceland in February is a perfect place to play in the outdoors with few tourists and lower prices. Enjoy traditional winter activities like skiing and snowmobiling to more unique sports like glacier hiking and ice caving and with the long nights you can view the Northern Lights with ease. Let this monthly guide help you find the best places to visit and things to do.
Take advantage of the snowy season where everything seems more calm and quiet, and when the tourist crowds are at their smallest. This is also one of the best times for viewing the Northern Lights. Read on to learn more about visiting Iceland in January.
With ten days in Iceland, many visitors opt for the classic drive along Ring Road (Route One), visiting volcanoes, glaciers, and the famous Blue Lagoon along the journey. You could also choose to get off the beaten path, enjoying remote hiking to waterfalls and horseback riding adventures in the Westfjords. Read on for three unique ten-day itineraries.
If you want to see Iceland's top natural highlights, a self-drive tour is by far the most popular option. Travel at your own pace with plenty of changes to head off the main road in search of your own adventures. This tour also includes the Snaefellsnes peninsula which many call "mini-Iceland" as almost every natural phenomenon in Iceland can be found there, albeit on a smaller scale than elsewhere.
This 5-day tour of Iceland's South Coast hits the top natural sights. Visit Thingvellir National Park and Gullfoss Waterfall, see the Reynisfjara black sand beach, and drop by the small village of Vik for coffee and local history. Stop and see the Jokulsarlon lagoon and Skaftafell National Park's many glaciers. Enjoy viewing the Northern Lights in comfort.
Check the spectacular Northern Lights off your bucket list with this quick-hit trip to southern Iceland. In addition to nighttime expeditions in search of the Aurora Borealis, you'll tour some of the country's most dramatic natural wonders and unforgettable landscapes. Visit impressive waterfalls, vast glaciers, volcanic beaches, and more on this exciting winter adventure.
Starting in Reykjavik, this 6-day Icelandic road trip lets you visit classic highlights along the country's south coast including waterfalls, black sand beaches, basalt columns, massive glaciers, and icebergs at your own pace. You'll then join the popular Golden Circle route where you can see Gullfoss waterfall, the geothermal area of Geysir (watch Strokkur erupt like clockwork), and Thingvellir National Park where tectonic plates meet. Finish the adventure with a soak in the Blue Lagoon before your return flight home.
This unique self-drive tour travels through Iceland's beautiful west coast and Westfjords region where few travelers roam. Starting in Reykjavik, you'll drive to the volcanic Snaefellsnes Peninsula before taking a car ferry to some of the most dramatic landscapes in Iceland. Here you'll hike the jagged cliffs at Londrangar, visit black, gold, and red sand beaches, and see the powerful Dynjandi Waterfall. End the trip in Isafjordur—a great base for activities in Hornstrandir Nature Reserve, accessible only by boat and trail.
This 6-day itinerary includes three key areas of Iceland for a spectacular, fast-paced road trip. Spend your first day getting a taste of downtown Reykjavik before you head to the volcanic Snaefellsnes Peninsula with a bit of everything (and a fraction of the crowds). You'll then spend a night in one of Iceland's most-popular regions, the Golden Circle, and visit the best sites after the bus tours are long gone. Wrap it up with a day along the south coast exploring massive waterfalls and black sand beaches.
Make the most of your limited time by driving one way from Egilsstaðir to Vík to Reykjavík—without retracing your steps. On this six-day road trip, take in the dramatic landscapes of the Eastern Fjords, from Seyðisfjörður to Vatnajökull National Park, and enjoy more time seeing new places along the South Coast (Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon, Skógafoss, and Seljalandsfoss waterfalls) and Golden Circle (Gullfoss, Geysir, and Þingvellir National Park), rather than doubling back. You can embark on this route in either direction, but a domestic flight to Egilsstaðir at the beginning of your trip is more efficient, without large crowds, to explore remote areas on your own terms.
This fast-paced itinerary combines popular Icelandic highlights with off-the-beaten-path gems for a fun road-trip adventure. After a day in Reykjavik, you'll head west for hiking, lava fields, and small fishing towns along the rugged and remote Snaefellsnes Peninsula (called "Iceland in miniature"). You'll then hit the blockbuster sights of the Golden Circle before finishing with your choice of lesser-known natural attractions on your way to the airport.
In less than a week, this classic self-drive tour allows you to visit the best highlights along Iceland's south coast including waterfalls, black sand beaches, basalt columns, cliffs, canyons, glaciers, and icebergs at your own pace. Start and end the trip in Reykjavik for two nights in Europe's most northerly capital—a growing city known for buzzing restaurants and nightlife.
This epic 12-day road trip is a perfect way to absorb Iceland as you traverse all four corners of the country. You'll visit popular spots along the famous 828-mile (1,332 km) Ring Road, while also having the opportunity to escape the crowds as you detour through the Westfjords with some of Iceland's most dramatic landscapes (great for mountain biking and kayaking). The self-drive loop also includes stops in Iceland's two biggest cities, and numerous natural sites like volcanoes, waterfalls, lava fields, black sand beaches, glaciers, and blockbuster attractions in the Golden Circle.
This active 10-day itinerary highlights two major hiking areas in Iceland: the southern highlands and the Westfjords. Start off with a bus trip to Thorsmork for a plethora of trails overlooking moss-covered mountains, waterfalls, volcanoes, and glaciers. Next, you'll fly to Isafjordur—a great base for activities in Hornstrandir, accessible only by boat and trail, where you'll take a 3-day trek with a local guide. Return to Reykjavik for a night on the town and a chance to soak your muscles in the Blue Lagoon.
Sandwiched between the North Sea and the looming Mount Esja, the world's northernmost capital is alternately illuminated by the midnight sun and the eerie glow of the aurora. Dotted among its colorful houses are its unique boutique hotels—some are wonders of cutting-edge design, while others are a study in comfort and simplicity.
This self-drive itinerary includes a mix of off-the-beaten-path gems and Icelandic highlights for the ultimate family adventure. Grab your rental car and head west for hiking, lava fields, and small fishing towns along the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. Then, check out a number of blockbuster sights in the Golden Circle before one last night on the town in Reykjavik.
Drive Iceland's south coast for a memorable family adventure in just under a week. After getting to know Reykjavik, you'll check off blockbuster natural sites in the Golden Circle like Thingvellir, Geysir geothermal area, and Gullfoss waterfall. Finish the self-guided tour with two nights among glaciers and black sand beaches in Vik and the Skaftafell area.
On this spectacular self-drive itinerary, you'll hit the four cardinal points of Iceland as you loop clockwise around the famous Ring Road. Stop to explore volcanoes, waterfalls, lava fields, black sand beaches, and glaciers from Reykjavik to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula and beyond. Finish the adventure with a rewarding soak in the Blue Lagoon before you depart.
This self-drive tour covers some of Iceland's best sites and winter-themed activities with plenty of chances to search for the Northern Lights. Start in Reykjavik and head off the beathen path to the volcanic Snaefellsnes Peninsula. You'll then continue to the popular Golden Circle to snorkel between tectonic plates, finishing your trip on the black sand beaches of the South Coast.
This self-driving trip takes you to the highlights of Iceland's west coast and the remote Westfjords area. Starting in Reykjavik, you'll drive to the volcanic Snaefellsnes Peninsula before taking a car ferry to some of the most dramatic landscapes in Iceland. Here you'll hike along the jagged cliffs at Londrangar, visit black, gold, and red sand beaches, and see the powerful Dynjandi Waterfall. End the trip in Isafjordur—a great base for activities in Hornstrandir Nature Reserve, accessible only by boat and trail.
With 10 days on the road, you can discover a variety of regions and landscapes as you loop around Iceland's famous Route 1 (Ring Road). This moderately paced self-drive itinerary will take you to the best spots along the 828-mile (1,332 km) route with stops in its two biggest cities, as well as volcanoes, waterfalls, lava fields, black sand beaches, small fishing towns, and massive glaciers, as well as major attractions in the Golden Circle. This is going to be one gorgeous ride!
This off-the-beaten-path road trip is especially great during summer months when peak crowds head for Iceland's south coast and Golden Circle (and accommodations can be hard to find). Instead, you'll escape to more remote areas of the country, traveling from Reykjavik all the way to its sunnier north coast with stops in Snaefellsnes Peninsula, the Westfjords (by way of car ferry), Husavik, and Lake Myvatn. There's plenty of time to experience unique geological features along the way with lava fields, volcano hikes, massive waterfalls, and geothermal pools, not to mention cool Scandinavian culture and cuisine.
This Icelandic self-drive itinerary covers territory on both horizontal coastlines, from Snaefellsnes to Seydisfjordur, with fun detours along the southern portion of the Ring Road. With a bit more than a week, you'll experience volcanoes, lava fields, hot springs, black sand beaches, small fishing towns, and massive glaciers in protected national parks. Start and end the trip in Reykjavík for culture and nightlife in Europe's most northerly capital.
This self-drive tour takes you along Iceland's south and west coasts for those in search of unique family adventure. After a day exploring the capital city, Reykjavik, you'll head west to the volcanic Snaefellsnes Peninsula, known as "Iceland in miniature" with a bit of everything (and a fraction of the crowds). You'll then continue to the more popular Golden Circle (Thingvellir, Geysir geothermal area, Gullfoss waterfall), and finish with two nights along the south coast discovering glaciers and black sand beaches.
On this scenic road trip, you'll skip Iceland's busier south coast in order to explore the lesser-known Snaefellsnes Peninsula and northern beauties of Akureyri, Husavik, and Lake Myvatn. This all-season itinerary is especially ideal for anyone interested in the unique geological features of Iceland, with lava fields, volcano hikes, massive waterfalls, and geothermal pools—all there for the taking.
Experience the best sites along Iceland's west coast and remote Westfjords region with this 8-day tour. Starting in Reykjavik, you'll drive to the volcanic Snaefellsnes Peninsula before taking a car ferry to some of the most dramatic landscapes in Iceland. Here you'll hike along the jagged cliffs at Londrangar, visit black, gold, and red sand beaches, and see the powerful Dynjandi Waterfall. End the trip in Isafjordur—a great base for activities in Hornstrandir Nature Reserve, accessible only by boat and trail.
This photogenic self-drive adventure along the Ring Road travels from Iceland's capital to its 2nd largest city on the sunnier north coast, with stops in lesser-known Snaefellsnes Peninsula, Husavik, and Lake Myvatn. This all-season itinerary is especially ideal for anyone interested in the unique geological features of Iceland, with lava fields, volcano hikes, massive waterfalls, and geothermal pools, not to mention cool cultural sites and Scandinavian cuisine.
This scenic road trip traverses highlights along Iceland's west and north regions at a more relaxed pace. Starting from Reykjavik, you'll explore the Golden Circle, the lesser-known Snaefellsnes Peninsula, and continue northwest to Akureyri (Iceland's 2nd biggest hub), Husavik and Lake Myvatn for lava fields, volcano hikes, massive waterfalls, and natural hot springs.
This fun self-drive itinerary provides a mix of popular highlights (south coast, Golden Circle) with off-the-beaten-path gems (Snaefellsnes Peninsula, Reykjanes Peninsula) for a real Icelandic adventure. After a day in Reykjavik, you'll head west for hiking, lava fields and small fishing towns along the Snaefellsnes Peninsula (called "Iceland in miniature"). You'll then hit the blockbuster sights of the Golden Circle before finishing on the south coast with black sand beaches, waterfalls, and massive glaciers.
For road trip enthusiasts, it doesn't get much better than encircling Iceland along its infamous Route 1 (Ring Road). This quick-paced, self-drive itinerary will take you to the best spots along the 828-mile (1,332 km) route with plenty of detours to work the leg muscles and camera batteries. With a bit more than a week, you'll experience a variety of landscapes, like geysers, hot springs, black sand beaches, volcanoes, lava fields, small fishing towns, and massive glaciers in protected national parks.
Glaciers, waterfalls, and wildlife like you've never seen: fourteen days is plenty of time to experience Iceland beyond what you'll find in any guidebook—both on and off the beaten path. Here are two itineraries that make the most of two weeks in the Land of Fire and Ice.
Keith Fentress and his family were on a mission to see the Northern Lights, and enlisted kimkim to plan their winter trip to Iceland. They were lucky enough to catch the auroras on their week-long adventure, and had lots of wintry fun along the way. From lava caves to glacier snowmobiling and a memorable surprise on their last day, Keith shares more about their experience.
Planning a trip to Iceland in the high season? Skip the most crowded sights on Iceland's South Coast and along the Golden Circle, and visit these equally breathtaking spots throughout the country instead.
If you only have a week in Iceland, consider this compact and well-timed tour. Bookended by two days in Reykjavik — one to get ready and one to relax and recover — the tour takes the best advantage of a limited schedule, while also showing you plenty of unforgettable natural wonders, including glaciers, mountains, valleys and an iconic waterfall.
Experience the powerful and incredible beauty of Iceland's raw and remote landscapes on this full-day Super Jeep tour. You'll drive past smoldering volcanoes, into breathtaking highlands, and past orange and cream colored rhyolite stone. You'll cross rivers and explore thunderous coastal waterfalls, walk on black sand beaches, and find secluded hot springs among the highlands.