Though most individuals go to Iceland in the course of the summer time when the panorama is lush and inexperienced, our most important aim was to see the Northern Lights there.
We had a tough listing of spots that we needed to see. A number of it was based mostly on images we’ve seen on-line or from associates’ earlier journeys. What we didn’t notice till we arrived was how various things would look within the winter versus summer time. Due to this, some spots weren’t as accessible and different landscapes had been fully lined in snow and ice. Alternatively, there have been additionally superb issues you could possibly solely do within the winter!!
We rented our automotive at Go Iceland. It was a Dacia Duster which was the proper measurement for the 4 of us, and actually helped having the four×four too! We primarily stayed alongside the 1 when highway tripping from Reykavik to the South Facet after which took some sketchier roads to the West. Beneath, we’ve put collectively a information that can assist you plan your highway journey!
ICELAND WINTER ROAD TRIP (BEST STOPS + PLACES TO AVOID)
We listed them within the order of our favourite stops, however see the map and pattern itinerary under.
This lovely sequence of falls has a backdrop of a mountain that appears like a wizard hat. In the course of the winter, a whole lot of it’s frozen over so you’ll be able to really stand in spots you usually wouldn’t in the summertime. It was far sufficient from main excursions, so it was much less crowded and was nonetheless lovely even lined in ice and snow.
2. Silfra and Thingvellir Nationwide Park
Thingvellir Nationwide Park is a well-liked spot on the Golden Circle. In the event you determine to not dive or snorkel between two continental plates, you’ll be able to nonetheless see it from land, however one in all our favourite excursions was attending to snorkel Silfra. In the event you’re frightened about it being too chilly within the winter, they stated the temperature of the water stays the identical all 12 months spherical and it might even really feel higher as a result of the temperature distinction isn’t so huge. We bought dive licensed after our journey, so perhaps we’ll have to return and dive right here too!
three. Crystal Collapse Vatnajokull Nationwide Park
It is advisable to go to with a information, however it makes for spectacular images. The situations are continuously altering so that you need to go together with the professionals who know what they’re doing.
four. Svinafellsjokull (Blue Glacier)
Driving the highway down right here was somewhat extra sketchy, so there have been additionally fewer folks.
That is in all probability one of the photographed waterfalls in Iceland. It’s simply accessible from the parking zone. Along with getting a very good view from the underside, you can too climb the 300+ stairs to the highest. Warning: it will probably get crowded.
That is additionally a well-liked cease that may get fairly crowded. This was the second most crowded waterfall after Gulfoss. Nonetheless, it’s price a cease because it’s simple and proper off the highway. You will get your photographs (photoshop out the folks later) and head off to your subsequent vacation spot. If it’s not too icy, you’ll be able to even get behind the falls. We suggest crampons within the winter, although!
7. Bjarnafoss og Hraunfossar
Right here you get two falls in a single cease. It’s additionally a bit off the extra touristy spots throughout this time of 12 months so it’s a lot much less crowded.
eight. Solheimasandur Aircraft Wreck On the Seashore
Beforehand you could possibly take a four×four to get right here, however now no autos are allowed. It’s important to park subsequent to the highway and stroll, which takes roughly 45 minutes.
The falls itself was lined in snow and ice, however the hike takes you thru a fantastically snow lined canyon. It was additionally the primary time we felt alone in nature.
10. Reynisdrangar Black Seashore and Basalt Columns
These had been a few of the strongest waves we’ve seen! There was an indication close to the entrance that stated to “beware the sneaker waves,” which we laughed off. Shortly afterward, Jacob bought his foot soaked. The waves are severely sneaker! There are additionally basalt columns that make for a fantastic backdrop.
11. Jökulsárlón Ice Seashore (Diamond Seashore)
It is a tremendous distinctive seaside as a result of there are glacial items washed up on shore. It’s continuously altering and positively appears like diamonds on a seaside!
12. Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
This lagoon fills with glacial items relying on when the tide is available in. Professional-tip: when the tide is out, so is many of the fairly ice!
13. Langjökull Glacier
That is the place you’ll be able to go snowmobiling on a glacier!
14. Haukadalur Geysers
That is one other in style cease on the Golden Circle, however when you’re within the space, it’s best to cease by. Strokkur geyser erupts each 2-5 minutes. You may also see the unique geyser that each one geysers are named after.
Watch the ocean crashing in opposition to the cliffs from a excessive vantage level. There may be additionally a sea arch right here!
That is the largest and simply the preferred waterfall in Iceland (it’s the Niagara of Iceland). Most excursions will make this cease so there’s no avoiding the crowds. It’s nonetheless price seeing and listening to the sheer energy of the falls!
17. Blue Lagoon
This one is a toss-up. That is an iconic spot that’s overpriced, crowded, and positively made for vacationers, however there actually isn’t something prefer it on this planet. If you wish to go, ensure that to e book a reservation means forward of time! We tried to e book per week earlier than and didn’t make the cutoff. We bought to take few images, however that is nonetheless on my bucket listing (Jacob, then again, was not impressed).
NOT WORTH IT OR NOT ACCESSIBLE IN WINTER
1. Kerið Crater
Not solely is there a price to get in (400 ISK per particular person and after we visited), however the lake is iced up and sometimes lined in snow too, so that you miss out on that good blue coloration. Positively ask for the situations earlier than shopping for a ticket.
2. Gerduberg Cliffs
Equally, we had been actually excited to shoot images of the basalt columns at Gerduberg Cliffs, however snow lined up most of them.
three. Nauthólsvík Seashore and Scorching Springs
We noticed a publish that talked about that this was a fantastic secret spot. Sadly, within the winter, the seaside is closed, and it’s only a small strip of scorching tub additional in from the seaside that was fully packed. I suppose it’s not so secret anymore! We noticed it and instantly left.
four. Hveragerdi Scorching Springs
We actually needed to go to this scorching springs, however we had been suggested to not hike there as a result of it’s slippery, harmful, and you may’t see the path when it’s lined in snow. We’re not precisely skilled for ice climbing. Everybody I talked to has gone in the summertime, however when you went within the winter or know somebody who has and suppose it’s okay, please tell us!
5. Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon / Kirkjubaejarklaustur
This one simply will depend on the highway situations. It’s a smaller highway that doesn’t get serviced except a farmer close by plows it. If the highway is snowed in, you won’t have the ability to undergo. Verify the situations of the roads right here.
TIPS FOR YOUR ICELAND WINTER ROAD TRIP
- We rented a four×four from Go Iceland. Simply have in mind four×four’s can deal with rather more, however not the whole lot. Know your limits! One in every of our guides was telling us he’s needed to rescue loads of overconfident vacationers in 4x4s. In the event you really feel uncomfortable driving in inclement climate or end up on a highway you’re uncertain of, flip round. It’s at all times higher to be secure than sorry!
- Verify your wipers earlier than leaving the automotive rental place. You’ll use them typically.
- At all times replenish your gasoline. Fuel wasn’t as arduous to seek out as we thought. It’s nonetheless secure to replenish if you see a station, however when you plan rigorously, you shouldn’t have any points. There was just one time we bought actually near operating out of gasoline.
- At all times be versatile along with your plans. Climate can change actually rapidly in Iceland. They aren’t kidding once they say there are 4 seasons in sooner or later.
- At all times examine highway situations. Just like the climate, it will probably rapidly change. Don’t blindly belief google maps – it doesn’t consider highway closures within the winter.
- Northern Lights: If you wish to see the northern lights, plan to exit each evening the climate is agreeable. You possibly can see them from many of those places, learn find out how to catch the Northern Lights! It’s not as simple because it appears.
- Deliver crampons! In the event you’ll be exploring by yourself, crampons will show you how to stroll across the icy and slippery areas. These are okay to hold on (not as spikey but additionally not as efficient) and these it’s essential examine your bag.
- Allot 50% extra time in every location than you anticipate if it’s winter. If it’s slippery, it takes longer to stroll round.
- Icelandic Horses: We didn’t go to any particular places with Icelandic Horses, however they’re all around the island. We pulled over twice after we noticed them close to a fence. The house owners didn’t appear to thoughts, however that will not be true in all places.
- For planning functions, you probably received’t have the ability to drive your self to the far east or north aspect of the island. The roads are normally closed off.
Day 01: Arrive, Blue Lagoon within the morning, Choose Up Provides in Reykjavik, Drive to Vik (see Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss on the best way), Hunt for Northern Lights.
Day 02: Drive to Jokusarlon, Crystal Cave Tour, Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon and Ice Seashore, Svinafellsjokull, Svartifoss if roads are open, Drive Again to Vik, Hunt for Northern Lights.
Day 03: Reynisdrangar, Dyrholaey, Solheimassandur Aircraft Wreck, Drive to Selfoss, Hunt for Northern Lights.
Day 04: Snorkel Silfra at Thingvellir Nationwide Park, Discover Random Roads, Scout Northern Lights Spot and Hunt for Northern Lights.
Day 05: Drive to Glymur, Hraunfossar & Barnafoss, Head to Kirkjufellfoss for Sundown, Hunt for Northern Lights.
Day 06: Drive the Golden Circle or take the Golden Circle Tour (contains Thingvellir, Gulfoss, Haukadalur Geysers), Snowmobiling on a Langjokull Glacier, Hunt for Northern Lights.
Day 07: Drive again to Reykjavik, Discover Reykjavik, Evening out in town or Pack Up / Relaxation.
Whatever the season, there are restricted locations to remain if you depart Reykjavik. It’s at all times finest to e book your lodges early. 2016 was predicted to have four to 1 vacationers to locals, so despite the fact that Reykjavik has extra choices, it’s crowded in all places.
FOR OUR NEXT TRIP
If you understand how these following spots are within the winter, please tell us!
- Seljavallalaug Thermal Pool
- Landmannalaugar + Landmannalaugar Thermal Pure Pool
MORE ARTICLES ON ICELAND
Are you extra more likely to go to Iceland in the summertime or winter? Which of those could be on the high of your listing? If in case you have another questions, please depart them within the feedback, so that everybody else can profit. 🙂