Winter is a magical season in Iceland, with far fewer visitors, a snow-dusted landscape, and the chance to see the northern lights! Our winter adventure brims with outdoor escapades, and we've timed the journey to give us plenty of daylight hours to enjoy our activities. We'll snowshoe along lava fields with sweeping vistas across the coast, cross an icy glacier with crampons (no experience necessary), explore World Heritage-listed Thingvellir National Park, soak in thermal pools, walk down into a giant lava tube, and hike to some of Iceland's most legendary waterfalls, including Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss. As night falls, we search for the spectacular blue, green, and violet arcs shimmering across the sky above us. We've selected hotels in the best spots for seeing the aurora!
Arrive: Reykjavík, Iceland
Depart: Reykjavík, Iceland
Pricing below is per person and based on double occupancy. The earlier you book, the more choice you’ll have. WT also has the most generous cancellation and transfer policies in the industry, we make it easy if you change your mind. Have a small group of your own? Take over an existing date or choose your own. You’ll have your own private guide–and the adventure–all to yourselves!
$600 due at time of reservation
90 days prior to departure: Balance
Up to 91 days prior to departure: No Charge!
61-90 days prior to departure: 25% of trip cost
46-60 days prior to departure: 50% of trip cost
45 days or less: 100% of trip cost
Scroll through our signature accommodations for this trip below. Although it is highly unlikely, we may make substitutions when necessary.
Days 1-2 (2 nights)
Halfway between Reykjavík and Vík along the south coast, the Hotel Rangá has a wonderfully isolated setting. The Rangá offers spacious, well-appointed rooms, and a good restaurant that serves some of the freshest fish imaginable. The hot tubs have amazing views.
Days 3-4 (2 nights)
Days 5-6 (2 nights)
Set in the lovely fishing village of Stykkishólmur (pop. 1,100!), this hotel offers simple but clean, modern guest rooms with the amenities you would expect in a large city hotel. The onsite restuarant has a good breakfast buffet, and the staff is friendly and courteous.
Day 7 (1 night)
Set in Reykjavík's marina district, close to the shops and restaurants, the Berjaya Reykjavik Marina Hotel has guest rooms with colorful and “quirky” modern décor combined with maritime antiques. The common spaces that take up the entire ground floor include a restaurant and renowned cocktail...
Kristján BjörnView Profile
Sölvi Þór JónassonView Profile
Orri SigurjónssonView Profile
Jón Marinó SævarssonView Profile
This trip is rated Level 3+, Moderate to Strenuous, according to our trip grading system. It features daily hiking and snowshoeing (3-7 hours a day) and hotel accommodations throughout.
No previous experience is required for snowshoeing; it is just like hiking. Snowshoes will be provided, and they strap right onto your hiking boots. Our snowshoe-hikes can be strenuous as we will be traveling across snowfields with varying conditions, from soft powder to snow with a light crust of ice. If there is no snow, we will be hiking on varied terrain, from packed dirt to lava fields. Hiking poles are provided. There is no extreme elevation change in our daily outings, but we will be ascending up to ridges — and descending back down! The conditions will dictate our exact route each day, as we choose the best route for views and an experience of the Icelandic landscape.
For your own enjoyment, we recommend you make a special effort to be in good physical condition. Daily brisk walking and/or regular hiking (or using a stair-climbing machine at your gym) are excellent preparatory exercises.
Iceland's weather is windy, wet, and changeable: it's said that you can encounter four seasons in a day here. The conditions will dictate our exact schedule each day, as we choose the best route for views and an experience of the Icelandic landscape—you should be prepared to be flexible, as weather has the final say in determining our itinerary. Though it is located just below the Arctic Circle, Iceland is usually warmer than other places at this latitude due to the moderating influence of the Gulf Stream. These ocean currents interact with cold air from the north and often bring precipitation. Snow cover comes and goes throughout the winter months.
We have designed the trip to include either hiking or snowshoeing, depending on whether there is snow cover. Your Trip Leaders have the group's safety as their highest priority, and will alter the itinerary as needed depending on weather conditions. They will make every effort to do all of the activities described in the itinerary, however you may be on snowshoes or in hiking boots, and the order of the trip may be changed in order to make the best of the weather conditions.
Sturdy, warm, and well-broken-in hiking boots are essential, and they must be full hiking boots that support your ankles (no running shoes or below-ankle hiking shoes). Gaiters are great for protecting your pant legs from getting wet, and hiking poles are highly recommended. A Gore-Tex jacket (with a hood) and rain pants are essential, as well as fleece and Capilene layers to keep you warm. A full packing list will be sent with your sign-up packet.
We drive to a starting point for our hiking and snowshoeing, and our vehicle picks us up at the end of the hike to drive us to our night's lodging. Some days combine sightseeing at waterfalls and cultural sites with hiking/snowshoeing. Our longest drive will be to Húsafell on Day 5 and back on Day 7, approximately 3 hours each way, but road conditions can change that timing. The weather has the final say in Iceland! On other days we have as little as 10 minutes to our trailhead, and even hike right out from our hotel on Day 4.
Our nights will be spent at comfortable hotels and inns. Please keep in mind that on this trip we are crossing rural Iceland. The rooms in our hotels and inns will not always conform to international hotel standards and sizes, and décor can be 'Scandinavian spare'. Our lunches will most often be packed lunches that we bring along with us on the trail, with one lunch inside a greenhouse as we head to Nesvellir. Please note that in Europe, the dinner hour is considerably later than what it is in the U.S. We do our best to secure early reservations for our groups, but most often the evening meal will be at 7:30 pm.
The aurora borealis appear intermittently in the night skies from October through March. Seeing the aurora is contingent on many factors including solar storms, Earth's shifting magnetic field, cloud cover, and precipitation. We have timed the trip carefully, and designed it to get you to the places in the country with the very best possibility of seeing the northern lights. Our final base at Hotel Húsafell, in particular, is considered one of the best spots in Iceland for watching the northern lights. It is important to remember that the northern lights are a natural phenomenon dependent on natural forces outside of our control and are not guaranteed. We are, however, pleased to say that the majority of our groups have managed to see the aurora in some form. Additionally, we have packed the trip with great winter activities -- this trip is much more than a northern lights trip!
"We had an amazing time in this starkly beautiful country. Our guides and group got along so well."
"Certainly a trip for the memory books. Great fellow travelers and first class leadership."
"I can't say enough about how much fun this trip was. The food was outstanding, as were the hotels."
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Our Area Specialists know every detail about our tours. They will be happy to answer any questions and help you choose the journey that’s right for you. Contact us to learn more or book your trip today!
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With more than 200 different adventures to choose from, we want to help you find the trip that’s right for you. Our Trip Level system ranks each trip in two ways: a number rating from 1 to 6 according to the activity, and general travel rigors. 1 is the easiest and 6+ the most difficult—see descriptions below for explanations of each number. A plus (+) sign means the trip is a bit more strenuous than other trips of that level. The detailed explanation of each trip—below the bar with the number rating—is perhaps more important, specifying activities, altitudes, hiking, and travel conditions. The Detailed Itinerary, available by download or mail, gives further information. Our Area Managers can also answer questions and guide you to the trip that best suits your interests.
Level 1 – Easiest
Non-camping journeys, optional walks, little elevation gain or loss.
Level 3 – Moderate
Half- to full-day hikes (3-6 hours) over rolling countryside on most days, occasional steep trails. Many of our hotel-based walking tours are in this category, as are our snorkeling adventures.
Level 5 – Strenuous
Full-day hikes (4-8 hours), mountainous, steep terrain (hiking up or down as much as 3,500 feet) on many days. Trips with hiking at average altitudes of 10,000 to 12,000 feet are in this category.