Glacier hiking in Iceland. Photo: Host/Icelandic Mountain Guides
4.8
| 24 reviews

Winter Hiking and Northern Lights Chasing in Iceland

4 nights
Easy

Wrap up warm for a series of spectacular hikes interspersed with thunderous waterfalls, hot spring bathing and aurora gazing

What's Included?

Activities & Certified Guides

All itinerary activities with expert, English-speaking guides

Hotel & Guesthouse

3 nights in family-run 'farmstay' guesthouses, 1 night in a hotel in Reykjavik

Meals

4 breakfasts, 1 lunch and 3 dinners

Transfers

Arrival transfers from Keflavik Airport to Solheimahjaleiga

Permits

All permits and entry fees

Small Like-minded Groups

Solo-friendly by design, join our small n’ sociable groups of up to 14 like-minded, active and outdoorsy people
From

excluding flights

What's it like?

4.8
| 24 reviews
Adventures in Iceland
February 2024
Maisie A.
Great trip - could have more hiking
February 2024
Quinton G.
Great trip - could have more hiking
February 2024
Quinton G.
Great trip - could have more hiking
February 2024
Quinton G.
Great trip - could have more hiking
February 2024
Quinton G.
Jon’s an unreal guide on a great trip
February 2024
Callum C.
Jon’s an unreal guide on a great trip
February 2024
Callum C.
Jon’s an unreal guide on a great trip
February 2024
Callum C.
Jon’s an unreal guide on a great trip
February 2024
Callum C.
Jon’s an unreal guide on a great trip
February 2024
Callum C.
Jon’s an unreal guide on a great trip
February 2024
Callum C.
This trip was incredible. We felt so lucky...
February 2023
Ellie
This trip was incredible. We felt so lucky...
February 2023
Ellie
Wonderful trip which exceeded my already hi...
January 2023
Lucy
Wonderful trip which exceeded my already hi...
January 2023
Lucy
Wonderful trip which exceeded my already hi...
January 2023
Lucy
This was our first MBA trip. We had an exce...
December 2022
David
This was our first MBA trip. We had an exce...
December 2022
David
This was our first MBA trip. We had an exce...
December 2022
David
This was our first MBA trip. We had an exce...
December 2022
David
This was our first MBA trip. We had an exce...
December 2022
David
This was our first MBA trip. We had an exce...
December 2022
David
This was our first MBA trip. We had an exce...
December 2022
David
This was our first MBA trip. We had an exce...
December 2022
David
This was our first MBA trip. We had an exce...
December 2022
David
This was our first MBA trip. We had an exce...
December 2022
David
Well organised, good fun and a great way to...
November 2022
Katherine
Well organised, good fun and a great way to...
November 2022
Katherine
Well organised, good fun and a great way to...
November 2022
Katherine
I'd never been to Iceland and I think I spe...
November 2022
Annabel

Hike along tectonic plates and through steaming geothermal valleys to bathe in natural hot springs, rivers and mud pools

Clamber across the Sólheimajökull glacier, try your hand at ice climbing and explore the striking black beaches of Vík

Marvel at icy waterfalls and boiling geysers before spending the evenings spotting the northern lights in starry skies

Bunk down in authentic, family-owned farmstays for a warm Icelandic welcome and tuck into tasty organic produce

Key Information

Day 1

Welcome to Iceland!

Highway 1 in winter, Iceland. Photo: GettyImages-1134382786

Your host will meet you at the airport. Get in the van and settle in for a road trip across Iceland, taking in the beautiful winter scenery for three hours until you reach the south coast and your first base – a cosy farm guesthouse. The guesthouse is located at the foot of Mýrdalsjökull glacier, with views of the famous Eyjafjallajökull volcano and its glacier. Sit down with the group for a welcome dinner before stepping outside to try and spot the northern lights. The farm offers a great viewing base if it's a clear evening and there is aurora activity in the area.

Day 2

Glacier hiking and ice climbing

Ice climbing in Iceland. Photo: Host/Icelandic Mountain Guides

Hiking

3-4hrs · 10km · 200 up · 200 down

Ice Climbing

2-3hrs

Tuck into a homemade breakfast at the guesthouse before heading off to explore the majestic Sólheimajökull glacier. Clip on crampons to hike over the glacier – your host will expertly navigate your group across the glacier's water cauldrons, ridges and deep crevasses. You'll then reach a suitable spot to rig up the gear for a short introduction to ice climbing. Your guides are seasoned ice climbers, and will safely show you the ropes as you get to grips with using crampons, ice axes and rope harnesses to scale a wall of ice. After your glacial explorations, you'll head to the coast for a hike along the black sand beaches of Reynisfjara, before taking in the beautiful waterfall of Skógafoss on the way back to the guesthouse. Enjoy dinner after an action-packed day; you can head outside again in the evening if the aurora is on display.

Day 3

Waterfalls and the Golden Circle highlights

Gullfoss waterfall, Iceland: Image: Host/Icelandic Mountain Guides

Hiking

2hrs · 6km · 100m up · 100m down

Back on the road, skirting the Icelandic highlands, you'll visit the Seljalandsfoss and Gljúfrabúi waterfalls before continuing to the tiny village of Reykholt for a unique lunch in the Friðheimar greenhouse, where varieties of tomatoes are grown year-round despite Iceland's harsh winters. After lunch, it's a lineup of the big hitters: explore the geothermal area of Geysir, witnessing its dramatic spurts of water high into the air, before heading to the majestic Gullfoss waterfall. Settle into your next guesthouse for a delicious welcome dinner, made with their own farm produce.

Day 4

Hike to a magical hot spring valley

Friends relaxing in glacial hot spring, Iceland. Photo: GettyImages-143689808

Hiking

3-4hrs · 11km · 300m up · 300m down

Don't forget to pack your swimmers today! An epic day of winter hiking starts at Thingvellir, where you'll hike along a fault line in the earth’s crust. Continue on to a village called Hveragerði to hike up the Reykjadalur valley, climbing into the hills and arriving at a magical spot with hot springs, mud pools and even a warm river to bathe in. Spend some time here picking your favourite spot for a dip and maybe brave a plunge in one of the cold natural pools. Later, you'll drive back to Reykjavík to shower away the mud before heading into town to enjoy a few well-earned drinks and a meal in one of the city's numerous restaurants.

Day 5

Time to head home

View of Keflavik city in winter through airplane window, Iceland. Photo: GettyImages-900699846

Check out of the hotel and head back to the airport in time for your flight home. Alternatively, you might want to stay a little longer to explore some more of the land of ice and fire.

Day 1

Guesthouse · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 2

Guesthouse · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 3

Guesthouse · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 4

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 5

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

What is the food like?

Breakfasts and dinners will be served at your farm stay guesthouses, offering a variety of Icelandic dishes made from local ingredients and prepared by expert chefs, using many products from the farms themselves. You'll try classic Icelandic skyr yoghurt and award-winning organic ice cream made on the farms. On Day 3 you'll sit down for a special lunch at the greenhouses of Friðheimar, where tomato-growing is a speciality. Lunch is served amongst the countless vines, making for a rare food experience. Dinner is not included in Reykjavik on the final day, giving you the chance to explore the excellent choice of restaurants in the city.

Vegans, vegetarians and most food allergies can be catered for. Please let your host know of any dietary requirements in advance.

What is the accommodation like?

Solheimahjaleiga Guesthouse

On the south coast of Iceland, located at the foot of Mýrdalsjökull glacier and with a view of Eyjafjallajökull glacier, awaits the Solheimahjaleiga Guesthouse. This is a cosy, family-run 'farmstay' experience – expect a warm welcome from your hosts, who have been living here for three generations spanning 50 years. You'll stay here for two nights in twin-share rooms in a renovated farmhouse and a converted barn. As this is a small guesthouse bathrooms are usually shared with other rooms. Your hosts will serve breakfast and dinner each day in their restaurant.

Efstidalur

After your Golden Circle antics on Day 3, you'll bunk down in another family-run guesthouse. Run by four siblings and their families, Efstidalur is a working Icelandic farm which welcomes tourists to their guesthouse and restaurant, which serves their own beef and dairy products, including the famous Icelandic yoghurt, skyr. You'll stay in twin-share rooms with a charming countryside atmosphere.

Reykjavik

You'll spend the last night of your trip in Reykjavik at Hotel Leifur Eiríksson, an authentic heritage building set right in the centre of Reykjavík. The hotel is on Skólavörðustígur, one of the most sought-after streets in the city, dotted with various galleries and shops. Across the street from the hotel is the iconic church and Reykjavík's most famous landmark, Hallgrímskirkja. Breakfast is included here on your final day of the trip.

Upgrades

For solo travellers looking for their own space, an optional private room can be booked for an extra charge. See Optional Extras for the price. Please request this at the time of booking (this is subject to availability).

This trip has been rated as Easy

This is a light adventure trip and, while the hikes are frequently dotted throughout the itinerary, they are easy-going and easily managed by anyone with basic fitness. There's a mixture of hiking, sightseeing at some of Iceland's most epic locations, relaxing in hot springs and night-time northern lights viewing. You don't need any experience of ice climbing – this will be a beginner-friendly introduction which can be enjoyed by everyone.

What will I need to carry?

You'll only need to carry a small day rucksack (20-35 litres) during the days of activity. Your main luggage can be left at the accommodation.

Winter in Iceland is cold, but not frighteningly so. The average temperature in the non-mountainous areas and along the coasts is around freezing. Temperatures can exceed 0°C / 32°F quite often, even in winter, so rain can fall at times instead of snow. You'll likely experience both as part of Iceland's infamously fickle weather. The fringe months of September and March are warmer than October to February. Iceland can occasionally experience brief bouts of colder weather being pushed in from Greenland, which can lower the temperatures down to -15°C / 5°F, so come prepared with many layers and a good, warm winter jacket with adequate insulation which is both waterproof and windproof. Days are very short between November and February, with barely any sunlight at all, perfect for northern lights viewing and an otherworldly feel while out on the hikes.

The Area

map

Logistics

Starts

Keflavik Airport

16:00 on Day 1

Ends

Reykjavik City Centre

Depart any time on Day 5

Transfers

Your host will meet you at Keflavik Airport at 16:00 on Day 1 and transfer you over to your first farmstay guesthouse. If you are already going to be in Reykjavik you can meet up with your host at their base downtown. On Day 5 you can make your own way back to Keflavik Airport using the popular Flybus service. You can book a ticket in advance online (although it is very easy to buy in person in Reykjavík) – please ask your host for a discount code for online bookings.

Travel options

There are regular flights to Iceland from airports across the UK, Europe, and North America.

Enjoy 12.5% Off Outdoor Gear

In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 12.5% discount to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

What do I need to bring?

Bags

  • Overnight duffel bag or suitcase
  • Day pack (15-25 litres)
  • Waterproof liner for day pack

Clothes

  • Hiking boots (worn-in and waterproof)
  • Casual shoes for evenings
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Waterproof trousers
  • Warm down/synthetic filled jacket
  • Breathable wicking layers
  • Thermal base layers, woollen is best
  • Fleece jacket or similar
  • Buff or neckscarf
  • Warm thermal gloves
  • Thick woollen hat
  • Lightweight trousers
  • T-shirts, underwear
  • Thick thermal socks
  • Swimwear (for thermal pools)
  • Sunglasses
  • Something to sleep in

Other

  • Universal travel adapter
  • Passports (and visas)
  • Travel insurance documents
  • Earplugs
  • Personal first-aid kit (inc. blister treatment)
  • Personal items (biodegradable toiletries, shampoo, sanitary wear etc)
  • Quick-dry towel
  • Alcohol hand-gel
  • Reusable water bottle x 1-litre

Optional

  • Sandals/jelly shoes/beach shoes, for the thermal pool
  • Energy bars and snacks (snacks can be bought en route in Iceland too)
*Requests for optional extras can be made after booking on your “My Bookings” page

Double room in Reykjavik

Payable Before Departure

Double room in Reykjavik

Single room in Reykjavik

Payable Before Departure

Single room in Reykjavik

Optional Private Room Upgrade

Payable Before Departure

Optional Private Room Upgrade

MATTHEW K.(March 2024)
Iceland: Winter Wonderland

Emma was a really informative guide. Loved all of the activities, particularly the ice climbing which was really fun and hike on the last day. We didn't get to see the Northern Lights but only due to the weather for the most part; the first night however was clear, and yet we did not leave the accommodation. I wonder if it's worth planning in a drive, even for half an hour, to somewhere that's secluded, as even looking at the stars was awesome. If I was being super critical, the tour name is slightly misleading; "Golden Circle and south coast adventures" would be more accurate as there is minimal hiking other than on the last day (the walk on the glacier is pretty short due to the time spent climbing). But would still totally recommend this tour and will definitely use the company again.

Joanna D.(March 2024)
Beautiful scenery but not very active

Super well organised trip and Emma was a great guide who looked after us really well. I would say it isn't an active trip so if you're looking for a challenge this isn't the one for you. Beautiful scenery makes up for it though.

marina f.(March 2024)
overall great - no regrets, but would have liked more hiking

Great trip overall! Jon was a fabulous guide - local guy with tons of historical and local knowledge. He was the only reason I could figure out how to pronounce anything! The group was amazing, and we formed such lovely bonds over our short time together. Only wish we did more active hiking. One day felt like a hop on/hop off bus tour. Hike to the natural hot spring was the the most active and refreshing activity

Maisie A.(February 2024)
Adventures in Iceland
Adventures in Iceland

An absolutely fantastic experience. We made so many amazing memories and had so much fun. Jon was a brilliant guide, so knowledgeable and friendly. We would recommend this to everyone you will not be disappointed

Quinton G.(February 2024)
Great trip - could have more hiking
Great trip - could have more hiking
Great trip - could have more hiking
Great trip - could have more hiking
Great trip - could have more hiking

What a great group of people to travel with and Jon our guide was amazing, I wish it had been longer.

My only grumble was that I wanted more hiking, the second day was mostly driving to amazing tourist locations but wasn’t very active.

Callum C.(February 2024)
Jon’s an unreal guide on a great trip
Jon’s an unreal guide on a great trip
Jon’s an unreal guide on a great trip
Jon’s an unreal guide on a great trip
Jon’s an unreal guide on a great trip
Jon’s an unreal guide on a great trip
Jon’s an unreal guide on a great trip

Loved it, the group of people was brilliant, the guide Jon couldn’t have been better, always positive with plenty of stories along the way, and definitely knew the best times to visit certain spots to avoid the crowds. Absolutely loved it. We didn’t get to see the Northern Lights but everything else was so good I really don’t mind! Thanks again Jon!

Hervé(March 2023)

Jon is an excellent guide. Perfect for that short trip.

Ellie(February 2023)
This trip was incredible. We felt so lucky...
This trip was incredible. We felt so lucky...

This trip was incredible. We felt so lucky to see everything we saw and our guide, Jon, made this a once in a lifetime experience!

James(February 2023)

Really wonderful trip, which packs in a huge amount of sights. The trek up the frozen valley to the hot springs river was absolutely unreal. And huge thanks to Jon-Yngvi for being an incredible guide and host.

Lucy(January 2023)
Wonderful trip which exceeded my already hi...
Wonderful trip which exceeded my already hi...
Wonderful trip which exceeded my already hi...

Wonderful trip which exceeded my already high expectations. Couldn't recommend our host Jon highly enough, friendly, helpful, very knowledgeable and keen for us all to enjoy ourselves.

David(December 2022)