Part 4 of Iceland travel blog series: Itinerary for Winter / Spring Road Trip in Iceland is a detailed guide which will help you plan that epic self drive road trip. Of course, this itinerary can be customised for any season and modified based on your convenience.
Part 1: 18 Breathtaking Photos of Raw Iceland is our compilation of Iceland’s incredible landscape through our eyes and lens.
Part 2: Land of Fire & Ice! First Impressions on Iceland is all about how charged and motivated to felt to do our small bit and protect planet earth. Everything in Iceland left us awestruck and this article covers some of them in detail.
Part 3: 5 Tips on Planning a Trip to Iceland is guide to begin your travel journey to Iceland. Learn more about the right season to travel, visa, tours, type of cars to rent etc.
Part 5: Accommodation Guide for Self Drive Road Trip in Iceland with tips to choose the right accommodation. Read this in combination with part 4.
Part 6: Currency Exchange and Tips to Save Money in Iceland is a guide which will help you spend your money wisely in Iceland.
Part 7: Guide to Natural Hot Springs in Iceland, covers those unseen hidden hot springs that you must definitely experience.
How can you get enough of a country that offers you everything all at once! I could have spent weeks in Iceland, if not months exploring every hidden treasure that the country has to offer. Unfortunately, we just had 8 days to fit almost everything in one trip. Let me tell you, Iceland was one of our best planned trips ever! We planned in a way that we gave enough time at each and every location and minimized our driving (read driving back and forth) to the best possible extent. In this article we are providing you a detailed 8 days itinerary for winter / spring road trip in Iceland! Of course, this can be modified for any season of the year, so read along.
Grab a cup of coffee or glass of wine, because it is our longest article ever packed with all the information you need to plan your itinerary.
8 days Itinerary for Winter / Spring Road Trip in Iceland – Summary
Here is a quick summary of all the route we followed and the spots we visited. Please keep in mind that we like to spend our sweet time in each and every location and hate rushing things. So, we planned our itinerary in a way that we explore only a few places each day. Of course these can be combined and you can decide that after reading the details on these spots in the section below.
- Day 1:
- Reach Keflavík airport, pick-up rental car.
- Spend the evening at Blue Lagoon.
- Stay in Reykjavík
- Day 2:
- Drive to Snæfellsnes peninsula
- Explore Snæfellsnes peninsula, Kirkjufell, Budhir
- Stay in Snæfellsnes peninsula
- Day 3:
- Drive to Þingvellir National Park
- Have lunch at Friðheimar (a speciality tomato restaurant)
- Explore Geysir and Gullfoss Waterfall
- Stay near Thingvellier National Park
- Day 4:
- Explore Kerid, Secret Lagoon
- Drive towards South Iceland
- Explore Seljalandsfoss & Skogafoss
- Stay near Skogafoss
- Day 5:
- Explore Reynisfjara Black sand beach and DC 3 plane wreckage
- Stay near Vik
- Day 6:
- Drive towards Vatnajökull National Park
- Explore Fjaðrárgljúfur and Scenic Green Lava Walk on the way
- Explore secret glacier lagoon
- Stay near Vatnajökull National Park
- Day 7:
- Start your day with Glacier hiking and Ice caving
- Explore Svartifoss waterfall
- Drive to Jökulsárlón and Diamond beach
- Stay near Vatnajökull National Park
- Day 8:
- Dive back to Reykjavík
- Explore anything you had missed while driving towards Jökulsárlón
- Explore Reykjavík town and try potato pizza
- Stay near Keflavík airport
- Day 9:
- Fly back home and miss Iceland like crazy.
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I think this is one of my favorite photos from Iceland. Well, actually all of them are.. 😜 . We stopped at a number of places all along the way, but just to photograph these horses. So, on our last day, Raga was determined to check this one last pending item from my list. Maybe we got lucky as we chanced up on a farm with so many beautiful houses lined up right along the road.. I had a time of my life as they kept reaching out for more petting.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . #iceland #icelandichorse #icelandhorse #iceland🇮🇸 #icelandtravel #horse #letsgoeverywhere #experience #travel #travelblogger #indiantravelblogger #adventure #adventureisoutthere #travelstories #travelgram #goldencircle #southiceland #travelandleisure #destination #wheniniceland #visiticeland #visiteurope #europe #island #wanderlust #natgeotravelpic #bbctravel #passionpassport #earthpix #thediscoverer
8 days Itinerary for Winter / Spring Road Trip in Iceland – Detailed
This section is going to be long and filled with about a million photos and loads of tips. All the spots we visited are detailed out below:
To go or not to go is the decision you have to make as Blue Lagoon is not cheap. It’s a luxury geothermal heated pool / spa where you can relax for as long as you wish, once you have paid the entry fees. The packages start from 6990 ISK i.e. approximately 60 euros per person, however you will pay at least 9990 ISK i.e. 80 euros per person as the cheapest package is for closing hour. We really enjoyed our time here and didn’t feel like getting out.
Quick tip: Take the comfort package and bring your bathrobe along! It’s really helpful when you have to run out in the cold to get into the pool.
Snæfellsnes Peninsula is beautiful, filled with some iconic spots. Within a few kilometers, you can explore varied landscape, glacier, volcano, caves, black sand beaches, white sand beaches, natural hot springs and waterfalls. Some of the places of interest are Kirkjufell, Gatklettur cliff, Vatnshellir cave, Snæfellsjökull glacier.
Vatnshellir cave is a 8000 year old lava tube created by volcanic eruption. There are a lot of lava caves in Snæfellsnes Peninsula but this is the famous one and tours are open throughout the year.
Snæfellsjökull glacier is on top of an active volcano (wow!) but the last eruption was 1800 years ago. You can take several tours to hike the glacier and different options are available based on the time of the year. We hiked the Vatnajökull glacier in the south coast of Iceland and we will provide more information below.
Mt. Kirkjufell is located in the small town of Grundarfjörður and is the iconic image of Iceland! The beautiful cascading waterfalls from across the road adds a charm to the mountain. The entire area is charming and you can go on hikes on a good day. When we reached Kirkjufell, it was pouring cats and dogs. So, we ran in and out of the car just for a few iPhone pictures.
If you have more time in hand, you can explore other waterfalls in the area like Grundarfoss and some on the way to Olafsvik (from Kirkjufell)
Quick tip 1: For that iconic shot of Kirkjufell with the waterfalls in foreground, use a wide angle lens.
Quick tip 2: In summer time, the sun rises and sets behind the mountain. You can get some amazing golden hour photos!
There is a stunning waterfall and the most famous black church in Budhir. You can hike towards the waterfall and just explore the area bit more as it’s just so pretty!
Þingvellir National Park
Þingvellir National Park will remind you that a lot goes on around us and how we can be totally oblivious to them. It’s here that you can walk and dive between America and Europe. Yes, there is a crack between the North American and Euroasian tectonic plates and you can walk or dive right in between.
Þingvellir National Park is also an active geothermal area and absolutely stunning to drive through.
It’s a green house for growing tomato and a restaurant within. Everything is made from freshly produced tomato in their green house, even the desert. It’s a bit pricey but the restaurant has become very popular over the years. Unlimited soup and bread for 20 euros! Raga tried their tomato ice-cream which was pretty nice.
Part of the golden circle, Geysir hot spring area is really fascinating. It’s really amazing to see the ground water heat and build pressure and sprout every couple of minutes. It may smell a bit like rotten eggs but every time the water sprouts you, you feel the kid within you yelling with happiness.
Quick Tip: Strokkur is the active one and erupts every 8-10 minutes. So, keep those cameras ready on burst mode to capture the Geysir erupt.
What a massive waterfall! It’s a cascading two stage waterfall on Hvítá river canyon in south Iceland. During summer, you could walk closer to the waterfall and take some of the hike routes which are closed during winter. Definitely a photographers paradise, but remember to cover-up as it can get extremely cold due to the wind and water.
Quick Tip: If you are travelling during winter, its a good idea to bring a pair of clamp-ons along. The path could get slippery and ices and clamp-ons would be very useful.
Kerid is a volcanic crater lake with red sand instead of the usual black. It’s said to be about 3000 years old. You can walk all along the around the lake and even hike till the bottom. In winters, the water is frozen and you can even walk on the lake. How cool is that?
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Secret Lagoon natural hot spring is part of the golden circle as well. It’s much cheaper than the blue lagoon and the prices are almost 1/5th the cost. The water stays warm through out the year and the temperature is around 38-40 degrees.
You can also walk on marked paths around the facilities to see the area’s geothermal sites.
OMG! One of my favourite waterfalls in Iceland. Infact, all of them are, but this one is super unique as you can walk behind the waterfall. It’s just an experience on a whole different level. In winters the path to go behind are closed, as it can get very slippery but we just lucked out. It was open in mid March and even though it was extremely slippery, icy, and muddy but we made it. Definitely needed that super expensive cup of coffee after the whole adventure. 🙂
Oh, if the sun is shining you will be able to see multiple rainbows and they are just so pretty.
Quick tip: Bring your waterproof jacket and trousers and you will definitely need them.
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Can we talk about the super awesome waterfalls in Iceland for a minute? OMG, they are so massive! Standing there can get a bit intimidating, tbh. I just look minuscule.. . We absolutely loved each one of them. We visited Skogafoss twice, once during sunset and the second time to check out the rainbow. That’s my kind of luxury, y’guys.. No fancy hotels, or sorts! You can climb up and walk along the river which is really cool as well but super tiring for unfit people like us. 😂😂 .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . #iceland #iceland🇮🇸 #icelandtravel #skogafoss #waterfall #icelandwaterfall #letsgoeverywhere #travellingthroughtheworld #travelanddestinations #beautifuldestinations #waterfallwednesday #life #adventure #adventureisoutthere #happiness #vacation #visiticeland #natgeotravelpic #natgeotravel #bbctravel #tlpicks #europe #island #naturephotography #naturelovers #wanderlust #travelblogger #indiantravelblogger #exploremore #visiteurope
Another stunning waterfall in the south of Iceland. Super huge and you can walk super close to the waterfall. There is a path close to the waterfall from where you can hike up and walk along the river. If not anything else, we realised how unfit we are. haha! It’s a unique waterfall as the water comes directly from two glaciers – Eyjafjallajokull (yes, the famous volcano that erupted in 2010) and Myrdalsjokull.
Again, on a sunny day you can see multiple rainbows! We went here twice, once during the sunset and the second time during day lights to check those rainbows.
Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach
It’s one of the most famous black sand beaches in Iceland. The contrast between the black sand and the white waves was just unreal. To add to this, there are a few caves all around which are formed with basalt stacks similar to the ones found in Northern Ireland. It just feels that someone has placed all these rocks so carefully to form these cave like structures.
We had the best time at this beach, photographing, walking and exploring.
Quick tip: We careful of Sneaker waves and stay away from the shore.
Very close to the Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach is the famous town of Vík. It’s not a tourist stop per say, but an important location to fuel up and replenish your groceries. The church of Vík sits on top of a hill and a beautiful photography subject.
DC 3 plane wreckage
Can’t even begin to explain the coolness of this location. This plane wreckage has gained a lot of popularity over the last few years and why shouldn’t it! It’s a photographers paradise due to unreal contrast and nothing but black sand for miles and miles!
It’s a bit tricky to find this plane crash as you have to walk about 3.5kms into the unknown to reach here. There are no proper signs but the best way to find it is to look for Sólheimasandur on google maps. As you reach this area, you will see a lot of cars parked. So, just park your car and keep walking into the unknown. Best is walk in the direction of the people who are walking back towards the parking. You can’t see the plane until the end but the site is so worth it and so freaking amazing!
Quick tip: Go a couple of hours before sunset for that eerie feeling and trust us, you will love it.
Fjaðrárgljúfur is the most stunning canyon we have ever seen. It’s about 100 meters deep and about two kilometres long. A small stream of river flows right in the middle of the canyon and makes it the most photogenic location. There are hiking routes which you can take to explore around.
When we travelled, the canyon was closed for the protection of flora as the ice was still thawing. So, we could just walk till the lower bridge and see the opening. It was huge and I can’t even imagine how pretty it must have been to hike there.
Oh, did I tell you that Fjaðrárgljúfur was formed at the end of last ice age around 9000 years ago. How cool is that?
Quick tip: You can explore the area better during summer and if you have a 4×4, you can even drive around.
Scenic Green Lava Walk
As you drive around the country, you will see numerous lava fields but the one on the way to Vatnajökull National Park is the biggest we have ever seen. Miles and miles of lava fields filled with green moss. They look absolutely stunning and shiny after a rain shower.
We walked on the 4×4 track and just explored the area bit more. It was so vast and so amazing. Nothing like anything we have seen before.
Quick tip: Please be careful and don’t step on these sensitive moss as they take years to grow back after damage.
Fjallsárlón Glacier Lagoon
Not everyday you get a chance to enjoy floating icebergs, frozen lakes and a stunning glacier all to yourself. Not as famous as it should be, but this lagoon was the highlight of our trip! Of course we want to share all our secrets and tips with you. 🙂
We were driving towards the Jökulsárlón when I asked Raga to pull over for some photos. In Iceland it’s illegal to stop on the road, so Raga took a random left turn into what was a glacier lagoon. There were a couple of cars parked and it looked like a hotel until I saw people walking back from somewhere. Curiosity stuck me and I went exploring only to find this most stunning lagoon with huge icebergs on the shore. OMG! It was the most stunning thing ever.
This lagoon is about 10 minutes before Jökulsárlón, so keep an eye for that sign and make that turn. It will change your life!
Glacier hiking and Ice caving
Skaftafell National Park is one of the most famous locations in Iceland to go for Glacier hiking and ice caving adventure. The tour happens on Europe’s largest glacier – Vatnajökull glacier and departs from Skaftafell National Park. It was an experience of a lifetime!
This is one activity for which we recommend taking a tour as they provide you all the necessary gear like axe and clamp-ons, take you though a well definitely paths so that you can avoid those sink holes and give you the best experience ever.
Ice caves are all natural and every winter these beauties are formed under the glacier. They are blue and extremely unique to look as you can see how the purest water solidifies to form these caves.
Some of these tours are only in winter but you can find others that are open through out the year.
Skaftafell National Park has a lot of hiking trails. We chose to hike to Svartifoss waterfall which was supposed to be an easy one. Again, made us realise how unfit we are but probably its difficult on an empty stomach. The cliff around the waterfall is made of black basalt columns similar to the one we saw in at Giant’s causeway.
The waterfall water is the sweetest and the purest we have ever tasted, directly from a glacier.
Quick tip: Carry your water bottle and fill some of the tastiest water for takeaway. 🙂
The world famous glacier lagoon is best explored during sunset! Floating icebergs, frozen lake and the stunning glacier. If you observe carefully, you can also see seals swimming and basking the sun all year round. Just walk along the lagoon, away from the crowd and enjoy the beauty that is nature.
Oh, by the way, the icebergs keeps floating and the number of these keeps changing. No two days are similar and your experience would be different to that of others.
Quick tip: It’s going to the super cold due to the wind, so make sure you are properly covered.
Diamond beach is right across Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. Huge pieces of ice break off from the glacier, float in the lagoon and meet the sea. They are washed off to the shore by the waves. These beautiful sparkly crystals of ice are just like diamonds on this stunning black sand beach.
Quick tip: It can get very crowded near the area where the lagoon meets the sea, so walk along the beach for some private time and stunning photographs. You will find diamonds all along, as far as you can walk. 🙂
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We honestly didn’t spend a lot of time in the city as we wanted to explore the nature and all the things mentioned above which makes Iceland so famous. But there is no harm to plan one additional day just for Reykjavík as its a charming little city.
We would recommend checking out the famous cathedral Hallgrímskirkja. You can get on the top of this and enjoy the view of the city.
If you are in the city though, don’t forget to go to the restaurant called Pizza with no name and try their potato pizza! Mind blowing and so amazing. It was at par with the amazing pizza we had in Naples.