Iceland is a magical country, full of mysterious folklore, unique history and mind-blowing beauty. A 10-day Iceland itinerary in winter will allow you experience just enough of the incredible country to leave you wanting more!
For the most cost-effective and flexible 10 days in Iceland, you should consider hiring a car. As this itinerary is planned for winter, the safest vehicle to hire is a 4×4 because Iceland’s weather conditions do not make it easy to drive in.
If you’re not comfortable with driving abroad then you can easily take tours to all of the suggested activities – Iceland knows what it is doing when it comes to tourists!
One important thing to know about visiting Iceland in winter is that there is very little daylight! From around November, the sun starts to rise at about 10am and sets at about 4pm! The days start to get longer in about February, so keep this in mind if you’re planning on doing lots of activities throughout the day. It’s best to avoid driving in the dark in Iceland due to the road conditions so plan your days around the light.
The best thing about spending 10 days in Iceland in winter is that you will have a high chance of seeing the northern lights. There are apps and websites you can visit to check your chances each night, and make sure you are keeping an eye on the sky wherever you are because you might get lucky!
Here is your guide on how to spend 10 days in Iceland to see the best of the Land of Ice and Fire!
Day 1 – Visit the Blue Lagoon
Just a 20-minute drive away from Iceland’s main airport, Keflavik, lies the gorgeous Blue Lagoon. It’s a great way to spend your first day in the country as you’ll be able to relax in the mineral and nutrient rich waters after your flight.
Make sure you book your slot in advance, and choose between the Comfort, Premium or Retreat packages. All options come with a mud face mask, use of a towel and a drink from the swim up bar!
The water is warm and the silica in it makes the floor soft and squidgy – it’s definitely a unique experience.
If you want to upgrade your visit, try one of the in-water massages or the weightless feeling of a float therapy session.
Once you’re out of the water, you can buy products from the Blue Lagoon’s skincare range, find the sauna and steam room or eat at one of the gourmet restaurants onsite.
Staying at the Blue Lagoon overnight is also possible – choose from the Silica Hotel or the Retreat Hotel.
Day 2 – Explore the Snæfellsnes Peninsula
Stay on the west coast for your second day in Iceland and make your way up to the Snæfellsnes National Park, where you’ll find a range of spectacular natural features.
The peninsula is home to basalt cliffs, volcanic beaches, lava fields, craters and a huge volcano, so there is plenty to see even before you consider exploring the local towns!
Day 3 – Wander Around Reykjavik
Visiting a capital city of a country is always a great idea to get to grips with the culture and lifestyle of the local people.
Reykjavik has plenty to offer, from intriguing museums (the Iceland Phallolical museum springs to mind!) and regular happy hours to stunning archaeological designs and quirky streets to explore.
A good way to get a feel for a city is to take a guided tour. You can find plenty online with high reviews – try a foodie or a beer walk for a little bit of extra fun! Or, if you’re on a budget then there are free walking tours that you can join instead. Usually, these guides hope for a tip at the end in exchange for their knowledge, expertise and guidance on all things Reykjavik!
Don’t miss the famous Hallgrímskirkja church – it is almost 75 metres high so you’re unlikely to! You can go inside for free (remember it is active church though so check our their events calendar first) and if you want to go up the tower there is a fee of around $9.
Reykjavik has many wonderful shops, boutiques, and markets – you could spend hours just wandering along the streets without any kind of plan. Laugavegur is the main shopping street with plenty of bars and restaurants to try out too.
Day 4 – Visit the Golden Circle
This is probably what Iceland is most famous for – and for good reason. The Golden Circle comprises of three incredible sights and the best thing about them is that you can visit them all for free! There are some fantastic tours but if you have rented a car, then all you’ll need to pay for is fuel as there are no entrances fees at any of the main stops.
Þingvellir (Thingvellir) National Park is a unique location because it sits on top of where two tectonic plates meet – so you can stand in Europe and Asia at the same time! You can also snorkel or dive between the two plates which is an incredible experience in itself but just be aware that the water will be very cold!
The next stop on the Golden Circle is Geysir – the original hot spring that gave all geysers their name! It actually doesn’t erupt very often but just next to it is the more regularly bursting Strokkur – you’ll only need to wait a few minutes or so until the water bubbles out of the ground and explodes upwards!
Gullfoss Waterfall is next, and it’s worth the wait! The water gushes down over 30 metres, and the power is just incredible to witness. You can stand at the top near the car park (this is where most of the local tours begin from so if you arrive early to one, pop down to get a glimpse of Gullfoss!) or make your way down the steps to get a bit closer. Be careful because the spray reaches the steps making them very icy and slippery in the winter.
If you’ve got time, you could also take a detour and visit the Secret Lagoon, which is the oldest natural swimming pool in Iceland. The waters are warm due to the hot springs and rich in minerals. The Secret Lagoon is similar to the Blue Lagoon but cheaper as it’s it more basic.
You could also stop by the Kerid Crater which is a lake that geologists believe was formed by a collapsed volcano. The water is an incredible blue and is in stark contrast to the rich red of the rock around it.
Day 5 – Take a Snowmobiling/Glacier Bus Tour
If you’re a bit of a thrill seeker, then spend an afternoon zooming along a magnificent glacier on your very own snowmobile!
You’ll be driven out onto the ice in a huge 4×4 vehicle and then be given a safety briefing by the team. Once you know what you’re doing, you’ll go full steam ahead, following the guide across a vast glacier. You’ll usually get around 10 minutes to stop and marvel at the beauty of where you are, before jumping back on again and cruising along, watching an incredible sunset.
For those of you who rather not drive, you can either stay on the back or take a different tour altogether. A great way to explore the massive ice plains is to take a glacier truck tour. You can ride on the world’s biggest truck and watch from the windows as it bumps along the terrain, and then you’ll stop off at a few locations to take photos and drink in the remarkable landscape.
Day 6 – Explore Vik
From the Golden Circle area, make your way along the south coast and stop off at the famous waterfalls such as Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss.
For a bit more of a chilled day, explore the coastal town of Vik. There are a few highlights you shouldn’t miss when visiting, including the plane wreck (don’t worry, all passengers walked away unharmed in 1973!) and Reynisfjara which is a gorgeous black sand beach.
There are plenty of guesthouses and hotels to stay in, so you might want to settle here for a few nights and keep the town as your base whilst you visit the nearby attractions.
Day 7 – Experience a Glacier Hike
Spend today getting even more up close and personal with the glaciers and hike the spectacular Sólheimajökull glacier. You’ll need to join a tour for safety reasons, but the guides are all very knowledgeable the local area and it’s a great way to learn about the landscape that has been around for millions of years!
Choose a tour company who provide you with the necessary safety equipment such as crampons and helmets and enjoy picking your way across the ice surrounded by peace and nature.
Day 9 – Visit Diamond Beach and Jökulsárlón Lagoon
These are two more beautiful natural areas that are completely free to visit if you’re self-driving this 10-day itinerary in Iceland. They’re also very popular on any south coast tour, so don’t feel like you’re missing out if you don’t drive.
Diamond Beach is a gorgeous black sand beach, dotted with huge blocks of ice that glitter like diamonds in the sun. If you’re really lucky, you might be able to spot some seals lazing around on the bigger rocks along the beach and in the water too.
Just opposite is another famous landmark – Jökulsárlón Lagoon. It is at the base of the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier, and the meltwater sits in a bay creating the deepest lake in Iceland. The water is a fantastic azure colour, due to the mix of sea and freshwater. You can take boat and kayak tours here too.
Day 10 – Experience the Inside of an Ice Cave
Finish your 10 days in Iceland with an epic ice cave experience! The ice caves reform every year so they’re always unique.
Most cave tours offer a ride in a 4×4 jeep to the start of your adventure, and then you’ll be guided in the cave – usually the tours are under the Vatnajökull glacier if you are staying in this area. You could begin to drive back towards Reykjavik as there are plenty of ice cave tours along the way.
This 10-day Iceland itinerary is jam-packed full of both adventures and relaxation, showing off Iceland’s friendly towns and phenomenal natural beauty. You can easily enjoy all of the stops on this itinerary but adapt it to your trip and choose the best parts if you wanted a day or two extra in a place you really loved!