What makes us 'Much Better'?

Find out more

Winter Hiking and Northern Lights Chasing in Iceland

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

From

Trip Ref #10219

Winter Hiking and Northern Lights Chasing in Iceland

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

DURATION
4 nights
LOCATION
Iceland
ANNUAL LEAVE
3 days off work
SEASON
Oct-Mar
GROUP SIZE
Up to 14 people
MEETING POINT
Keflavik International Airport, Iceland
ACCOMMODATION
Classic

Guesthouse · Hotel

OVERALL RATING

4.9

Based on 21 reviews
DIFFICULTY
Easy

This trip is open to anyone with basic fitness levels, no previous hiking or ice climbing experience is necessary

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

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.

Included

Guides

Expert, English-speaking guides

Accommodation

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

Not Included

Flights to and from the meeting point

Travel insurance

Personal expenses

Some meals as described

Some equipment

Visas where required

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).

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 (20-35 litres)
  • Waterproof liner for day pack

Clothes

  • Hiking boots (worn-in)
  • 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
  • Sandals/jelly shoes/beach shoes, for thermal pools

Other

  • Headtorch
  • Universal travel adapter
  • Power bank or solar charger
  • Spare camera batteries
  • 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 x1 litre (2 of these if you have room)

Optional

  • Eye-mask
  • Lunchbox
  • Biodegradable wet-wipes
  • Energy bars and snacks
*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

Maisie A.
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.
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.
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

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

Ellie

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

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

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

This was our first MBA trip. We had an excellent time and got to see bits of Iceland we'd never have seen had we gone alone. Our guide Jon was amazing, with a wealth of experience - recounting sagas on the drives, explaining geological events on the walks and making sure we were safe and well fed throughout the trip. I understand he's previously been described as part-man, part-mountain goat. Following him up a hill, I can see why.

The Laugavartan hostel was comfortable and the food was excellent. It was a great base to return to after the day's adventures with a great group of people we got to share the trip with.

Lastly, the scenery was spectacular. I felt Jon made sure we got to areas at the right time of day to miss the big crowds and also showed us places other groups and tourists would never get to. His local knowledge was invaluable.

Unfortunately, it was a bit too cloudy for the Northern Lights, but we tried and had an expedition out on a clearer night where despite there being no lights, we got to experience a little bit of the magnificent serenity of Iceland at night.

We couldn't recommend this trip more and I certainly don't think this will be our last adventure with MBA.

Katherine

Well organised, good fun and a great way to visit the island with a guide full of local knowledge.

Annabel

I'd never been to Iceland and I think I spent the whole time in awe, the landscape was incredible and this trip was such a great way to experience it. Our guide Jon was super knowledgeable, he was always telling wonderful rambling stories (which seems to be a national pastime) and looked after us so well. It's really well organised and we had such a lovely group of people, I booked on my own but it doesn't make a difference as everyone was so friendly. The walks aren't too strenuous, even going on the glacier, it just took a minute to get used to the crampons. That was probably a highlight for me though it's really hard to choose, relaxing in the hot river after the hike to reach the bathing area was also pretty special. I'd definitely recommend!

We partner with the World Land Trust to ensure this trip achieves Net-Zero emissions. We also support their Buy an Acre programme, helping local communities to buy and protect natural habitats in perpetuity.

What's the number?
It works out on average at 95kg of CO2 emissions per person, including all local transport, accommodation, food, activities, guides, staff and office operations.

The only thing it doesn’t include right now is flights and travel to the destination. We do make an overall estimate across all our customers separately, but as we don’t book flights, have customers from all corners of the world, and no way of reliably knowing their travel plans, we simply can’t include an individual number in the figure on display here. We’ve got a goal to fix that, so that when you book, there is a way to measure and mitigate the carbon emitted by your flight too.

But what does the number mean?
Yep, hard to picture eh? To give you an idea:

  • Driving 1000miles/1609km would be approx. 281kg of CO2 in an average car (or 140.5kg per person if there was 2 of you in it).
  • A return economy class flight London - New York would be approx. 1,619kg (1.66 tonnes) per person.
  • 10 trees in a temperate forest are estimated to remove approx. 250kg of CO2 from the air in a period of 5-10 years.

What are we doing about it?
Our trips are relatively low-carbon by design, and we're working with all our hosts to develop long term carbon reduction plans. We partner with the World Land Trust to ensure this trip achieves Net-Zero emissions. We also support their Buy an Acre programme, helping local communities to buy and protect natural habitats in perpetuity, ensuring the protection of the reserve and its wildlife.

Want to know more?
Amazingly, no international travel company has ever publicly published their carbon measurements before, as far as we know. We believe that must change, quickly. So we’re openly sharing the method we used in the hope that other companies will be able to more easily follow suit and build on what we've done so far. You'll find it all here.

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.

The northern lights are a natural phenomenon, with fluctuations in the strength and visibility of the displays. As with all things that depend on Mother Nature, sightings can never be guaranteed. If there is a thick cloud, the lights will be obscured. That said, winter in this part of Iceland is very dark with long nights and barely any light pollution, so your chances here are up there with anywhere in the world.

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 elements can be unpredictable and occasionally your guide/host may need to revert to 'Plan B' if it is not safe to follow the planned itinerary. An alternative excursion will be offered in place of any missed activities and will be chosen based on the specific conditions encountered and the availability of services. For instance, the ice climbing cannot be undertaken in high winds: Plan B could involve an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) ride on Black Beach (if available) or if outdoor activities are off the cards entirely then you might visit the Lava Centre. Your guide will discuss the options with you if necessary.

Sure can! Over 70% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

Each day, you can leave your main bag in your room at the accommodation; you'll only take a daypack out with you each day. If you are arriving early and wish to store luggage in Reykjavik before the trip starts, there are four centrally located places in Reykjavik where you can store luggage. Speak to your host about the options, or you can pre-book here.

Our recommended travel insurance provider is Campbell Irvine.

Travel insurance is compulsory for all of our adventures and you are required to provide your policy information before departing.

Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure. We also strongly recommend it includes cancellation and curtailment insurance, should you be unable to join your trip for specific reasons such as illness.

We fully endorse Campbell Irvine as their insurance offers all of the above, so get in touch with them or call on 020 7938 1734 to get your insurance sorted. We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book your adventure, just to cover you for any last-minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!

We automatically convert prices from the local currency that a host receives to your chosen currency. We update our exchange rates on a daily basis so this does mean that prices displayed on the site are subject to currency fluctuations, which is why you may see them change over time.

If you wish to change the currency you pay in, head to the bottom of the page.

All of our group adventures are specially designed for adults to enjoy (18+) as we want these adventures to bring together outdoorsy people who are truly like-minded. Children can be accommodated on some private departures.

You're always in good company on one of our adventures.

Our trips are typically made up of a mixture of solo travellers and small groups of 2 or 3 friends, with most in their 30s-50s.

Our sociable adventures are solo-friendly by design and naturally attract outdoorsy people with a shared mindset; a love for adventure, a desire to push themselves and meet awesome, like-minded people along the way.

It’s this camaraderie that has so often turned a great adventure into a life-changing one.

Don't just take our word for it:

  • 95% of people rate the group dynamics on our trips 5/5
  • 90% of people recommend joining a trip to make new friends
  • 75% of people have met people on our trips that they would now consider friends

See here for more info about the Much Better Adventures tribe.

Interested in a more exclusive experience? Opt for a 'Private Group' through the dates and prices tab to book this adventure for just you and your chosen companions.

Your trip is led by carefully curated local hosts and expert guides. See here for more info about the guides we work with.

TRIP DEPARTURE DATES

March 2024

Wednesday • 13th March 2024

to Sunday • 17th March 2024
10 Booked • 4 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Wednesday • 30th October 2024

to Sunday • 3rd November 2024
6 Booked • 8 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Wednesday • 13th November 2024

to Sunday • 17th November 2024
1 Booked • 13 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Wednesday • 11th December 2024

to Sunday • 15th December 2024
14 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Wednesday • 8th January 2025

to Sunday • 12th January 2025
14 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Wednesday • 5th February 2025

to Sunday • 9th February 2025
14 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Wednesday • 19th February 2025

to Sunday • 23rd February 2025
14 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Wednesday • 5th March 2025

to Sunday • 9th March 2025
14 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Wednesday • 26th March 2025

to Sunday • 30th March 2025
14 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Pay In Installments

You can choose to pay for this trip in as many installments as you like, with no interest or fees.

Full Financial Protection

Your money is safe. Every booking is fully financially protected.

Similar Trips

From