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Volcanic Iceland - Winter

(4 days / 3 nights)

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Come Experience the Power of the Earth in Iceland

This winter, let Iceland impress you with its thrilling volcanic landscapes and snowy wonderland. On this self-drive tour, you’ll get the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hike to an active volcano and see spouting magma and fresh lava. You’ll also be able to look out for the northern lights, explore the buzzing capital city and visit top Icelandic highlights on the Golden Circle. You’re sure to bring home unparalleled memories.

Please note: According to the latest updates, the volcano has gone quiet. But it's still a chance for you to experience a breathtaking hike and see a fresh lava field.

Looking for the summer version of this tour?

4 days / 3 nights

Price p.p. from

The amount will be charged in ISK

Approx 121124 ISK

See Book With Confidence terms

— Why book this tour

  • Free private transfer from airport on arrival
  • Handpicked hotels by local travel experts with breakfast included
  • Reliable rental cars from our trusted partners Enterprise & Hertz
  • Comprehensive itinerary, personalised map and travel guide
  • 24/7 helpline throughout tour
  • Local travel experts with firsthand experience

— Book With Confidence

  • Optional cancellation insurance
  • Affordable deposits from 10%

Terms and conditions apply

Tour Highlights

  • Hike the newest volcano in Iceland
  • Explore the vibrant capital city, Reykjavík
  • Get a chance to witness the dancing northern lights
  • Drive the famous Golden Circle route
  • Relax in the healing waters of the Blue Lagoon spa
  • Discover the volcanic wonderland of the Reykjanes peninsula
  • Feel the power of the thundering waterfall Gullfoss
  • Marvel at eruptions at the Geysir geothermal region
  • Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Þingvellir National Park

Travel style

Self-Drive i

Interest

Active i, Hiking i

Season

Oct - Apr

Departure

Daily

Driving distance

399/243 km/mi

Itinerary

A day-by-day plan to guide your journey.

Download PDF
  • Day 1: Welcome to Volcanic Iceland

    On arrival to Keflavík Airport, you will be greeted by a driver who will take you to your accommodation in Reykjavík. After settling in, the rest of the day is free for you to explore the vibrant city centre and its highlights.

    You could go relax at the Sky Lagoon or visit the interactive and innovative Perlan museum to walk through an an ice cave. If you're interested in experiencing the city's thriving coffee culture and exciting local food, head to the main street, Laugavegur. Here you‘ll enjoy a variety of shops, cosy cafés and award-winning restaurants.

    In the evening, you could go on a northern lights excursion to try to catch sight of these natural marvels.

    Spend the night in Reykjavík.

    Attractions Optional Extras
  • Day 2: Hike to Meradalir Eruption Site

    Start the day by picking up your rental car. You’ll then drive to the nearby volcanic peninsula of Reykjanes. Here you’ll have the chance of a lifetime to hike to an erupting volcano. This hike is self-guided and you will follow a trail up to the Meradalir eruption site, taking approximately 2.5 hours each way.* To find out about the volcano hike, difficulty level, and more, please see the Essential Information below.

    After your hike, you’ll drive the scenic route to Selfoss, a charming town along the south coast of Iceland. As you’re staying in the countryside, keep an eye out on the night sky for the magical aurora borealis.

    Spend the night in Selfoss area.

    Driving distance approx. 112 km/ 64 mi.

    *Please keep in mind that the sites around the volcano are constantly changing, due to freely flowing lava. That means that the duration of the hike can change.

    Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions Optional Extras
  • Day 3: The Golden Circle

    You have a full day to visit the Golden Circle region, a popular route to explore some of the best-known natural sites in Iceland. Visit the great Geysir area to see the bubbling mud pots and spouting Strokkur geyser. Walk along a large canyon to admire the frosted Gullfoss waterfall.

    Later, you could choose to visit the old bishopry at Skálholt and the volcanic crater Kerið, which is now partially filled with bright blue water. Then, complete the circle at Þingvellir National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its historical significance in the founding of Icelandic democracy. It’s also a place of immense natural beauty which is ideal to go for a quiet winter walk.

    Spend another night in Selfoss area.

    Driving distance approx. 175 km/ 109 mi.

    Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions Optional Extras
  • Day 4: The Blue Lagoon & Departure From Iceland

    Today you will be heading back to the volcanic wonderland of the Reykjanes peninsula. This time for a relaxation session at the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa. The waters are rich in silica and blue-green algae, giving the lagoon its reputed healing powers and characteristic milky blue colour. It’s a beautiful sight as the spa is set amidst a haunting black lava field. In-water massages are available (must be booked in advance) but you can also unwind in a sauna and steam bath or get a soothing massage under the mini waterfall.

    After relaxing at the lagoon, you’ll drive back to the airport to drop off your rental car and catch your flight home.

    Driving distance approx. 112 km/ 70 mi.

    Attractions Attractions Optional Extras

Map

Here’s a map of your travel route, to help put things in perspective.

Essential information

Everything you need to know about this tour before you book

We recommend that you read carefully through the following information before booking this winter self-drive tour in Iceland. We’ve answered the most frequently asked questions here so you know what to expect. You’ll also find more practical advice and attraction recommendations in our online Iceland Travel Guide.

On a self-drive tour, Nordic Visitor supplies you with a quality rental car and a detailed personal itinerary. You act as your own tour guide and driver, and you get to pick the road trip music!

All your services will be pre-booked by your personal travel consultant at Nordic Visitor. This includes your rental car and accommodation in Iceland, along with airport transfers and planned activities, as specified in the itinerary.

And rest assured that we’re with you every step of the way. Upon your arrival, you’ll receive personalised information, including an itinerary, map, leaflets about driving in Iceland, and our very own Iceland Travel Guide. You’ll also have in-car Wi-Fi included in your car rental, meaning you’ll be able to stay connected and check things on the go.

Plus, you’ll have access to our 24/7 helpline during your trip should you need to contact us.

Before taking on the hike at Meradalir, it is good to be aware of some important information.

At a quick glance:
Location: Reykjanes peninsula
Distance: 14-kilometre (8.7-mile) round trip
Elevation: 300 metres (984 feet)
Duration: 6-7 hours depending on your fitness level and how long you stay at the eruption site

This hike is considered medium to difficult by local standards. Even if you’re a keen hiker, volcanic landscapes can be challenging due to uneven and sharp terrain. Icelandic winter weather can also change very quickly, so you’ll want to be prepared.

For that reason, you should pack and dress appropriately before setting off. Good hiking shoes or boots as well as warm and waterproof clothing are a must. For winter hiking, we advise you bring hiking crampons as well. You should also bring plenty of water and snacks (or a lunch) with you.

You should also check public guidance on Safe Travel Iceland before starting the hike. There you’ll find a detailed packing list as well as safety notices.

Please be aware that phone signal in the area is not very good, so don’t rely on your mobile.

Other advice includes:

  • Always abide authorities’ advice about visiting the volcano.
  • Assume the journey might take longer than planned.
  • Keep an eye on gas pollution, which might change suddenly. It can be strong in valleys and dells, which makes these dangerous. For that reason, you should keep to hills and ridges.
  • Beware of steep slopes as rock fall is possible.

According to safety advice, children under 12 years old are not allowed to hike to the volcano. For this reason, this tour is only for adults and children 12 years and older.

During your self-drive tour, you’ll stay in accommodation hand-picked by our local Iceland travel experts. We’ve partnered with local businesses and selected hotels and guesthouses based on excellent ratings, comfort and our personal experience.

On our self-drive packages, you can choose from single, double and triple rooms. Please note that in Iceland room types are based on European standard sizes, which means they are smaller than in North America.

For example, a double bed often consists of 2 single beds pushed together. Twin rooms are 2 separate single beds. Triple rooms include a double bed along with an extra bed, rollaway or sofa bed. And single rooms are often smaller than the standard double.

If you have anything specific in mind, please contact us to discuss customising your accommodation options.

By booking with Nordic Visitor, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that there’s always someone there for you throughout your trip.

For support and advice during the day, you can call our office. And if anything unexpected happens outside working hours, you can reach us on our 24/7 helpline. 

During your tour, there will always be a Reykjavík-based travel expert on call to handle any unforeseen situations, such as unusual weather or events.

If you’re arriving from Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia or New Zealand, you won’t need a visa to visit Iceland. 

Visiting from another country? You can find the complete list of countries whose nationals require a visa to enter Iceland on the website of Iceland’s Directorate of Immigration. If you do require a visa, they maintain a list of local embassies that can assist you with the process. 

Your passport must also be valid for at least 3 months from your departure from Iceland. It’s good to check your passport expiry date early in case you need to renew it. 

Read more about visas, airports and airlines in the getting to Iceland section of our travel guide.

Only you can pick the best time to visit Iceland for your trip. It’ll depend on how much time you have to explore, what you want to see in Iceland and any events you might like to attend.

In summer, June to August, you’ll have milder temperatures and longer daylight hours, compared to the winter. This is ideal for outdoor excursions and sightseeing. 

If you’d like to experience the top attractions with fewer visitors around then you could book your summer trip in May or September. These shoulder season months have more tour and attraction availability.

The winter months are also popular, but generally quieter, apart from the Christmas holiday season. This is the ideal time to try to spot the northern lights.

Find out what annual Icelandic events and festivals are on in our travel guide. Or read more about the best time to visit Iceland on our blog.

While Iceland is a year-round destination, driving during the winter may be challenging as the weather can be unpredictable.

If you have never driven on snow and ice, Nordic Visitor does not recommend a long road trip in the winter. If you are going to embark on a winter self-drive in Iceland, you should be comfortable driving in winter conditions. This could include snowstorms, icy roads, strong winds and little daylight. 

For added safety and comfort, we highly recommend selecting a 4x4 vehicle for your winter trip.

If you do not have experience driving in such conditions, you could instead pick from our guided small groups, multi-day or private tours. 

You can find out more in this guide to winter driving in Iceland.

Because of its northerly location close to the Arctic Circle, Iceland has limited daylight in winter. 

Around Christmastime, from early December until late January, you can expect an average of 4–5 hours of daylight. These extended hours of darkness give you a higher chance of seeing the northern lights.

Find out what the daylight hours will be during the month of your visit in this guide to time and daylight in Iceland.

Yes! Wintertime is the right season to visit Iceland if you want to see the northern lights (or aurora borealis). You can experience the northern lights between October and March, with peak visibility from December through February. 

For the best chances of seeing them, a self-drive tour is ideal. It means you have the flexibility of deciding when and where to go. To enjoy the aurora at its brightest, you’ll want to head into or even stay in the countryside, away from city lights.

Please note that as the northern lights are a natural phenomenon, sightings cannot be guaranteed. Even if you go out on a specific northern lights excursion, you might not see them, depending on the conditions or cloud cover. 

Read our Iceland northern lights guide to learn more.

The winter climate in Iceland is generally mild compared to other Northern European countries. That said, the temperature can drop below freezing at times. And the Atlantic winds can make it feel colder than it is. 

You can expect average temperatures between 4°C (39°F) and -1°C (30°F). Throughout winter (October to April), the weather conditions are very changeable, so you could experience rain, snow, sun and cold winds. 

For more information on the local climate, read this guide to Iceland weather conditions

Please note that sightseeing is dependent on weather and road conditions. Your itinerary might need to be altered if these conditions are not favourable during your visit.

Iceland’s winters are chilly although not as cold as you may expect. As you’ll probably spend a lot of time outdoors, we recommend bringing plenty of layers to stay warm and dry.

Here is a recommended winter packing list for your trip to Iceland:

  • Durable insulated jacket, which should be waterproof
  • Robust walking boots with a good grip
  • Mid-layers such as a fleece or woollen jumper
  • A few pairs of warm hiking socks
  • Hat, gloves and scarf
  • Swimwear for visiting geothermal pools or spas
  • Backpack for daily adventures
  • Electronic equipment such as smartphone, external powerpack, and travel adapters
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen for exploring in the snow or glacier excursions
  • And don’t forget your camera!
     

For more information, check out this Iceland packing list.

On your Iceland road trip, you should budget for petrol costs of around 300-400 ISK per litre.

As for meals, your breakfast is included at all your accommodation in Iceland. For the rest of your meals, your spending money will depend on the standard of restaurants you decide to go to. 

Budget between 2,000–3,000 ISK for lunch per person, each day. Dinners at casual restaurants might cost between 3,000–6,000 ISK. Meanwhile at upscale restaurants, you can expect to pay 7,000 ISK or more. This does not include the cost of alcoholic beverages.

Yes, you can customise this tour online. During the booking process, you can add extra nights to your itinerary as well as optional day trips, excursions and upgrades. 

If you have something specific in mind, get in touch with your travel consultant and they’ll create your dream trip.

It’s best to book as soon as you can to secure your preferred travel dates. Once you have picked your tour, check the availability calendar to see which months are open for booking. Then, select the date you want and complete your booking. 

Nordic Visitor offers 10–20% deposits so you can reserve your trip as early as it’s convenient for you. The remaining balance is due 30 days before you travel. 

Many tours are also open for the following year if you like to plan well ahead. And if you have any questions or need advice, you can always contact us

After booking your tour package online, you will be contacted within 2 business days by your own dedicated travel consultant. They will be your point of contact for all your travel needs before, during and even after your trip. 

At that time, they’ll confirm the availability of your tour. Then the booking process starts, which may take a few weeks. Once this is done, your travel consultant will provide you with all the details of your trip. You will also receive more information about what to expect during your trip.

You can get in touch with our Iceland travel experts ahead of your trip if you have any questions. The live chat option is useful for getting a quick reply as someone answers live every day during office opening hours.

Once you’ve booked, we’ll provide you with a travel guide packed full of local tips and top attractions for your visit. You can also check out our online Iceland Travel Guide where we’ve compiled useful information about topics, including:

After you have booked your tour, it will only take a few days to confirm its availability. But it may take a few weeks to create your itinerary and book everything. Once your trip details are finalised, we’ll email you copies of your travel documents.

When you arrive in Iceland, you’ll receive a welcome bag with hard copies of your itinerary, attraction and tour vouchers, the Nordic Visitor Iceland Travel Guide and more.

So when do you check in? And what can you expect upon landing in Keflavík?

After picking up your luggage, you will be greeted by a driver holding a sign with your name in the arrivals hall. The driver will hand over your welcome package with hard copies of your travel documents. You’ll then be driven to your hotel in Reykjavík.

Check-in times vary between hotels and guesthouses, but it normally starts between 2 PM and 4 PM. 

You are welcome to request an early check-in for an additional fee. Although this isn’t always available, you’ll be able to store your luggage at the hotel so you can start exploring before check-in. Please contact your travel consultant well in advance of your arrival if you’d like an early check-in.

When you depart may depend on the time of your return flight. Check out early if you’re heading to the airport for a morning flight. On the other hand, if you’re flying home later in the day, you might like to enjoy a leisurely day or visit one more attraction.

You will need to check out from your room, but will be able to store your luggage at the hotel reception. Simply return later to collect your bags before catching your transfer to the airport.

All bookings are billed in Icelandic Króna (ISK), the official currency of Iceland. 

Prices displayed in other currencies are indicative only and based on the daily exchange rate as issued by the Central Bank of Iceland. This means conversions from ISK to other currencies will fluctuate from day to day.

Accommodation

Stay in well-located hotels and guesthouses that are highly rated by visitors and handpicked by local travel experts.

Look forward to getting a good night’s sleep after each day of driving in Iceland. All your accommodation will be conveniently located near your driving route, with ample parking. Rest assured that you’ll stay in the best possible properties, which have all received excellent reviews from previous customers.

Economy

Rooms with shared bathroom facilities in farmhouses, cosy guesthouses or well-appointed hostels.

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Comfort Plus

Standard rooms in good quality and comfortable three-star hotels in combination with well-appointed guesthouses or country hotels.

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Superior

Standard rooms in four-star hotels in combination with Deluxe or Superior rooms in premium three-star hotels.

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Rental car

Enjoy the journey in the rental car of your choice, with two authorised drivers and free in-car Wi-Fi.

Toyota Auris (Automatic)
or similar

  • x5
  • x5
  • x3
  • A

Toyota Auris (Automatic)
or similar

  • Description: Compact
  • Passengers: 5
  • Luggage: 3
  • Doors: 5
  • Transmission: Automatic

Toyota Avensis (Automatic)
or similar
limited availability

  • x5
  • x5
  • x3
  • A

Toyota Avensis (Automatic)
or similar
limited availability

  • Description: Intermediate
  • Passengers: 5
  • Luggage: 3
  • Doors: 5
  • Transmission: Automatic

  • Limited availability summer 2022

Toyota Avensis Wagon (Automatic)
or similar
limited availability

  • x5
  • x5
  • x4
  • A

Toyota Avensis Wagon (Automatic)
or similar
limited availability

  • Description: Intermediate Wagon
  • Passengers: 5
  • Luggage: 4
  • Doors: 5
  • Transmission: Automatic

  • Limited availability summer 2022

Hyundai Tucson AWD (Automatic)
or similar

  • x5
  • x5
  • x3
  • A

Hyundai Tucson AWD (Automatic)
or similar

  • Description: Intermediate SUV
  • Passengers: 5
  • Luggage: 3
  • Doors: 5
  • Transmission: Automatic

Mitsubishi Outlander AWD (Automatic)
or similar

  • x5
  • x5
  • x3
  • A

Mitsubishi Outlander AWD (Automatic)
or similar

  • Description: Standard SUV, AWD
  • Passengers: 5
  • Suitcases: 3
  • Doors: 5
  • Transmission: Automatic

Toyota Land Cruiser 4x4 (Automatic)
or similar

  • x5
  • x5
  • x5
  • A

Toyota Land Cruiser 4x4 (Automatic)
or similar

  • Description: Premium SUV, 4WD
  • Passengers: 5
  • Suitcases: 5
  • Doors: 5
  • Transmission: Automatic

Volkswagen Touareg AWD (Automatic)
or similar

  • x5
  • x5
  • x4
  • A

Volkswagen Touareg AWD (Automatic)
or similar

  • Description: Luxury SUV, AWD
  • Passengers: 5
  • Suitcases: 4
  • Doors: 5
  • Transmission: Automatic

Price per person from

The amount will be charged in ISK

Approx 121124 ISK

Book with confidence

Monthly price comparison

Our best price per person when booking for two.

2022
2023

Optional extras

Customise your adventure with these Optional Extras.

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