Seven days in winter in Iceland for adventure lovers (that don’t want to rent a car)

A while ago I posted a five-day itinerary for solo travelers that don’t want to break the bank which got a lot of positive feedback. I think many people are just overwhelmed with all the different tours on offer and have problems putting together their own itineraries because of that. I chose to focus on single travelers in that itinerary because people that travel solo often don’t feel comfortable with driving on their own in winter and they might want to join tours where they will meet like-minded people and hopefully make a friend or two. I also wanted to offer options that would allow these travelers to see all the main sights without spending too much.

Today’s itinerary is similar and with a similar focus but I decided to add more activities like snowmobiling and snorkeling for those who like to be more active and I chose tours that combine more than one activity into a single day tour to cover more ground. This is not an itinerary for those who like to travel at a leisurely pace and go out for nice meals and such. This is for those who want to hit the ground running without having to sell a kidney to be able to afford it.

I know it’s still a lot of money, especially if you don’t have a lot of it,  but you also get to see and do a lot. If this plan is a little bit out of your budget, just choose 1-2 activities that you feel like you must do and then choose cheaper options for the rest of your days.

If you feel cheated that I’m spending all my energy on more budget minded travelers and those who don’t want to rent a car, don’t worry, your time will come. I plan to do more of these in the next few weeks. Now if only I could add about 12 extra hours to each day!

7 days in Iceland in winter for adventure lovers

This 7-day itinerary is great for:

–  active solo travelers or friends that want to do more than just sit on a bus

– first-time visitors 

– those who have a little more to spend but want to make every króna count

Day 1: Exploring Reykjavík

Helicopters Reykjavik

6:30 – Arrival

I’m assuming that you are arriving from North-America because most of my guests do. If that is the case then you’ll be landing between 4 am and 7 am in the morning, depending on which airline you are flying with.

If you are flying in from Europe at a later time you can easily move things around since all of these tours are offered daily year round (except the 2 day ice cave tour which is obviously only offered in winter. In summer you can do a similar tour that includes a glacier hike instead of the ice cave tour). Or you could just skip the first day.

7:00 – Flybus from Keflavík Airport to Reykjavík

After every flight you’ll find a Flybus right outside of the arrival halls at Keflavík Airport and they leave every 20 minutes or so.

There are two types of tickets available: The normal Flybus ticket that will take you to the BSÍ bus terminal or a Flybus + ticket that takes you to your hotel or guesthouse. Which ticket is better for you depends entirely on where you are staying and at what time you are arriving.

Please keep in mind though that you will read everywhere that this transfer only takes 45 minutes but that actually just refers to the driving time between Keflavík Airport and the BSÍ bus terminal – the whole process from when you sit inside the bus until they drop you off at your hotel (if you have a Flybus + ticket) can take up to two hours.

If your flight is delayed and you are running late, you can always look into storing your luggage at the BSÍ bus terminal and walk from there to Hallgrímskirkja church where our walking tour starts.

10:00 – The I Heart Reykjavík Walking Tour

On our walking tour we will tell you all about why we heart Reykjavík and why we think you’ll heart it too. On the tour we’ll tell you a little bit about the history of Reykjavík, show you a few of our favorite places and point out restaurants and bars you might want to enjoy during your stay in Reykjavík.

Although we often have people coming straight from the airport to our tour without any problems you can still experience delays with your flight in which case we cannot refund the tour but we try our best to book you in on the next available tour that fits your schedule.

Book the Reykjavík Walking Tour here

14:00 (2 pm) – Check-in at your accommodation

Most hotels and guesthouses allow you to check in at 14:00, which is why it’s a good idea to do our tour on your first day while you wait for that. If you want to save some krónur on accommodation we, of course, recommend places like Loft hostel or Reykjavík Downtown hostel but you can also check out our other recommendations for hotels and guethouses in Reykjavík

14:30 (2:30 pm) – Free afternoon in Reykjavík

You are going to be tired after a long flight and lack of sleep so I recommend you don’t plan anything big on your first day. If you have the energy you can go and check out some of the things you learned about on the walking tour or you can simply take a little nap to have some energy for dinner and such.

If you do take a nap – remember to set an alarm so you don’t sleep too long and completely turn your body clock upside down.

20:00 (8 pm) – Northern Lights Super Jeep Tour

If you are up for it and you take a nap in the afternoon you can do a northern lights tour in the evening of your first day. Because you get to go again if you don’t see them the first time it’s good to schedule this tour early on in your trip to maximize your chances of seeing the lights.

On this super jeep northern lights tour you will travel in a convoy of modified Landrovers and go to places the buses can’t reach. Even if you don’t see any lights the guides try to make this tour fun for all.

Book the Northern Lights Super Jeep Tour here

Day 2: Golden Circle and a snowmobile on a glacier

08:30 – Golden Circle Super Truck and Snowmobile Tour

I’m sure you’ve heard about the Golden Circle since more or less everyone that visits Iceland ends up there at some point during their trip. There are about a million tours that will take you to this tourist mecca but this tour is great because it allows you to experience a super truck adventure, the Golden Circle and snowmobiling on a glacier – all in one day.  So even though this tour costs a little bit more than some of the other Golden Circle tours the value for money is great and if you did a super jeep Golden Circle tour and a snowmobile tour separately you would almost certainly pay more.

Book the Golden Circle Super Truck and Snowmobile Tour here

Day 3: Day one of an exciting overnight adventure of the south coast

8:00 – Check out of your accommodation

You don’t need to book accommodation for the next night because it’s included in the 2-day tour and you’ll be staying out in the countryside.

8:45 – South Coast adventure including the main sights, an ice cave, Skaftafell and Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon.

On this 2-day tour you will explore the south coast on a smaller bus (max 16 people + guide) and you will be picked up at your hotel or guesthouse.

On day one you will catch a glimpse of Eyjafjallajökull (that volcano that nobody can pronounce that caused all the havoc in 2010), you’ll get some time to get up close and personal with Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss waterfalls, visit Reynisfjara beach and make a short stop at Vík village.

After a great day of exploring you’ll head to your accommodation (which varies depending on departures) to chill and post all your gorgeous photos to Instagram.

Food is not included on the tour but you’ll get some chance to buy lunch on the way and you can buy dinner where you spend the night.

Book the 2-day South Coast adventure here

Day 4: The Second day of your south coast adventure  – including a visit to an ice cave (eeek!)

After getting up and eating breakfast you will head to Jökulsárlón Glacier lagoon to marvel at the icebergs and maybe some seals. Next, you will do an ice cave tour with certified guides who will ensure your safety and enjoyment.

After the ice cave tour you will start to make your way back to Reykjavík but first you’ll enjoy a stop at the beautiful Skaftafell national park. On the way back you will also be on the lookout for the northern lights and other natural beauties.

21:00 – 23:00 (9 pm – 11 pm) – Drop off in Reykjavík and checking in at your accommodation

The arrival time back in Reykjavík depends on the weather and how long you will have stopped at each place during your day driving around the south coast.

Day 5: Floating between the continents and lava cave exploring

snorkle

09:00 – Snorkeling in Silfra and caving tour

This tour is another great combo tour that packs more than one activity into the same day. On this tour, you will both get to snorkel in the marvelous blue water in Silfra and explore a lava cave with an experienced guide. The tour will start with the caving expedition, then you’ll hae some time to grab lunch before you head on to the next adventure of the day.

I know that people often worry that it is going to be too cold to snorkel in winter but the water is actually always the same temperature. I’m not going to lie to you and tell you it’s warm though but once you are in the water you will forget everything except the amazing clear view.

Book the Snorkeling and Lava Cave tour here.

Day 6: Buffer day

I know that not everyone will agree with me on this but I think it’s smart when you visit Iceland for 7 days in winter to leave one day free without any activities. The weather in winter is super unpredictable and it’s almost certain that one of your tours will be canceled and you’ll need to reschedule it due to the weather. Then it’s good to have a free day in your schedule to move things around.

If you are lucky and none of your tours need to be canceled or rescheduled you can either use this day to explore more of Reykjavík or you can have a backup tour ready which you can book last minute. Like a nice horse riding tour or ATV. 

Day 7: Last day in Paradise

Image via The Blue Lagoon

08:00 – Check-out from your accommodation in Reykjavík

09:00 – The Blue Lagoon (with transfer)

There are many different packages you can book at the Blue Lagoon but I often recommend the comfort package which includes a towel so you don’t have to travel with your wet towel. For a departure at 09:00 you would book your Blue Lagoon ticket at 10:00.

The bus will pick you up from your and take you to the Lagoon where you can store your luggage for a small fee while you enjoy the lagoon. Then when you are ready you take the next transfer to the airport. Just make sure you are at the airport at least 2 hours before departure.

If you are flying out at 17:00 you can leave Reykjavík a little later or you could splurge on one last nice meal at the Lava Restaurant at the Blue Lagoon. .

17:00 (5 pm) – Leave Iceland

Most North-American flights leave between 15:00 and 17:00. If you are flying to Europe at a different time you might need to rethink this last day.

You need to be at the airport at least 2 hours before departure and I recommend you take advantage of checking in online in advance or that you uses the self-service kiosks at the airport. That way you can just drop off your luggage and head straight to security.

Download this 7-day itinerary with prices as a PDF here.

If you enjoy this sample itinerary (or the blog in general) I hope you will consider booking these tours through us. We make a small commission of everything you book through us but you don’t pay anything extra. This small commission allows us to carry on providing excellent, relevant and free travel advice for you and everyone else traveling to Iceland.

If you want us to help you book these activities (which is super easy and convenient for you because we take care of everything) you can also send us an e-mail and we’ll get to it ASAP.

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4 thoughts on “Seven days in winter in Iceland for adventure lovers (that don’t want to rent a car)”

  1. Bea Doyle says:

    What a great post for those of us who enjoy “solo travel” and don’t want to rent a car. I love this 7 day itinerary, will be back as soon as I can to visit Iceland. It was too short last year! Love your blog, you’re the greatest!

    1. Auður says:

      Takk 🙂

  2. Matt Paluch says:

    this is fantastic, thanks!

    1. Auður says:

      Glad you like it 🙂

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