Northern Lights, glacier hikes, hot springs, and fairytale landscapes at every turn. A road trip through Iceland during winter is magical and a dream coming true! And although days are short and some attractions become inaccessible, most famous spots are still open to visitors. Based on our own Iceland route, we created the best Iceland in 7 days itinerary for a winter road trip including the best things to do, our favorite places to stay, and tips on how to get around. This Iceland itinerary covers all the highlights of Southern Iceland along the famous Route 1 Ring Road, making it perfect for anyone who wants to visit Iceland in November.
Iceland in 7 days itinerary: our winter road trip
START Keflavik | END Keflavik
DURATION 7 days
METHOD OF TRANSPORT Rental car booked via Skyscanner
BEST TIME OF YEAR June-Augustus (Long summer days) & December-February (Winter + Northern Lights)
WHEN DID WE GO We visited Iceland in November
HIGHLIGHTS Reykjavík, Blue Lagoon, Golden Circle, Seljalandsfoss, Sólheimasandur plane wreck, Skógafoss, Skaftafell National Park, Jokulsarlon Glacier + spot where we saw the Northern Lights
Iceland in 7 days itinerary: before you read on
Before you read on, we quickly want to mention that depending on which month you are going during winter, driving conditions can be quite challenging and the weather very unpredictable. We went to Iceland in November and it can turn from clear sunny skies into a freezing blizzard in only a few minutes, believe us this happened a few times. So please be careful, check for weather reports and stay well within speed limits.
- We found some very useful websites to check the road conditions in Iceland or to find the most reliable weather forecast. Be sure to save them!
Last but not least, we recommend you to book your accommodations in Iceland well in advance! During winter lot of campsites are closed and the further away you drive from Reykjavik, the fewer the number of hotels and guesthouses. Especially during the Christmas period you don’t want to end up not finding a hotel anymore.
Are you ready to explore magical Iceland? Check the best flight deals to Iceland here.
Road trip in Iceland with a camper van, a 2WD or a 4WD rental car
If you plan on driving in the Highlands like Landmannalaugar or on F-Roads, we would highly recommend you rent a 4WD especially during winter. We did this road trip in Iceland in November with a normal rental car (2WD) with snow tires and had no problems at all. But if you like to drive more off the beaten track or explore some highlights which are not located on the Ring Road in Iceland, then you better go for a 4WD.
If you want to make a road trip in Iceland with a campervan, you definitely can. The camper vans of Happy Campers are equipped with a good heating system making it possible to sleep all night comfortably in the camper. Just make sure your normal and sleeping clothes are always dry, very dry as it get freezing cold in Iceland in November. Get good Icelandic woolen socks and warm sleeping bags and be sure to keep snow out of the car as it creates moisture inside the car.
Day 1 – 2: Reykjavík
Travel distance: 49 km – 40min
We flew with WOW Air from Brussels to Keflavik Airport (KEF), where our road trip in Iceland started. From Keflavik Airport, it was a 40-minute drive to Reykjavík, which is the capital of Iceland. Along the way you pass the beautiful Blue Lagoon, which you could visit before going to Reykjavík but we decided to visit it on the last day of our trip.
Funny fact: Reykjavík is one of the smallest capital cities in the world where 2/3 of the Icelandic population lives!
Despite the fact that it is a small city, there is quite a lot things to do where you can easily spend a full day with. We loved strolling around the idyllic streets, hopping into one of the cozy coffee bars, doing some window-shopping and visiting the stunning Hallgrimskirka church. With sunset we went to the waterfront to see the Sun Voyager sculpture, which is the best place to end your day in Reykjavík.
- 1 – 2 days
Where to stay in Reykjavík
Things to do in Reykjavík
- Watch the dancing colors of the Aurora Borealis during a Northern Light tour
- Visit the Hallgrimskirkja church, which is possibly the most well-known landmark in the city
- Explore the city on foot and stroll around the idyllic streets
- Go window shopping in Reykjavik’s most famous street, Laugavegur
- Make a full tour to the Golden Circle
- Hop from coffee bar to coffee bar and try the best hot chocolates
- Enjoy sunset at the Sun Voyager sculpture
- Walk along the Harpa concert hall at night for a beautiful light show
- Hop on a Whale Watching tour
Day 2 – 4: The Golden Circle
Travel distance: 59 km – 50min
On day 2 of our road trip in Iceland, we drove from Reykjavík to our hotel near Selfoss, which is the perfect base for exploring the Golden Circle. The Golden Circle is the most popular attraction in Iceland and can be done as a day-trip from Reykjavík but we highly recommend staying in this area for at least one night.
As we stayed two nights here, we had plenty of time to visit a lot of beautiful places along the Golden Circle, like Thingvellir National Park (UNESCO World Heritage Site), the powerful Geysir geothermal area, and Gullfoss waterfall. We also stopped at the Kerid Crater and took some pictures at the beautiful Skalholt church.
- 1 – 2 days
Where to stay along the Golden Circle
Things to do
- Watch the sunrise at Thingvellir National Park and enjoy the amazing panoramic views
- Go for a walk in Thingvellir National Park and discover the hidden waterfall Öxarárfoss
- Snorkel between the tectonic plates of North America and Europe at the Silfra Fissure in Thingvellir National Park
- Visit the Geysir geothermal area
- Stop at the mighty Gullfoss waterfall
- Discover the impressive Kerid crater
- Make a stop at the beautiful Skalholt church
- Relax at the geothermal Secret Lagoon – entrance fee ISK 2800 ($19) per person
Day 4 – 5: Skaftafell
Travel distance: 224 km – 2h 55min
From the Golden Circle, we made our way to Skaftafell Nature Reserve. Be sure to leave early as you’ll pass lots of popular highlights. We first stopped at the beautiful Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss waterfalls and visited afterward the abandoned Sólheimasandur plane wreck. (the hike from the parking lot to the plane wreck takes about 1 hour one way)
In the late afternoon we arrived in our next hotel called Fosshotel Nupar, which is located a 35-minute drive from Skaftafell. We booked this hotel because of the great reviews about its remote location where you have lot of chance to see the Northern Lights. And we can only agree with this… We got a wake-up call around 11 pm and witnessed the amazing Northern Lights right from our room! So unforgettable!
- 1 – 2 days
Where to stay
- Fosshotel Nupar – the place where we saw the Northern Lights!
Things to do
From Selfoss (the Golden Circle) to Skaftafell
- Visit the Seljalandsfoss waterfall and walk up the stairs to go behind it
- After visiting Seljalandsfoss, walk to the left for 10 minutes until you reach the hidden waterfall called Gljufrabui (right at the campsite)
- Stop at Skógafoss, one of the biggest waterfalls in Iceland
- See the abandoned Sólheimasandur plane wreck
At Skaftafell and Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon
- Enjoy a short hike to the beautiful Svartifoss waterfall, located 1.5 kilometers from the Skaftafell Visitor Center
- Go on a glacier walk in Skaftafell National Park
- Take a scenic flight over Landmannalaugar
- Hop on a zodiac boat to sail among the floating icebergs at Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
- Walk on the black volcanic Diamond Beach
Day 5 – 6: Vík
Travel distance: 290 km – 3h 41min
After a good breakfast, we first went to Skaftafell Nature Reserve where we did a short hike to the beautiful Svartifoss waterfall, located about 1.5 kilometers or 45 minutes (one way) from the Skaftafell Visitor Center. Skaftafell is also the place where you can experience the ice blue caves, do lots of glacier walks, try ice climbing and take a scenic flight over Landmannalaugar. Check all Skaftafell experiences and tours here.
Afterward we continued our road trip in Iceland to the stunning Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, which is one of Iceland’s most beautiful spots. Across the road you’ll find the black volcanic Diamond Beach, which you definitely need to see to!
In the late afternoon we returned our way to Vik, a small charming fishing village surrounded by impressive mountain landscapes. Here you’ll find a big supermarket, some shops, a few restaurants and the black volcanic beach of Reynisfjara. When we arrived in Vík we first went to the Dyrholaey Lighthouse to enjoy an amazing sunset and had a cozy warm dinner afterward at Sudur Vik restaurant, which has a lovely atmosphere and great food. Perfect spot to end the day with.
- 1 – 2 days
Where to stay
Things to do
Day 6 – 7: Blue Lagoon
Travel distance: 219 km – 2h 49min
Our Iceland in 7 days itinerary ends with a visit to the Blue Lagoon, we drove from Vik to the amazing Blue Lagoon, which is only a 20-minute drive away from Keflavik International Aiport. The Blue Lagoon is the perfect place to relax in the warm, mineral-rich waters and look back on the incredible adventure we just have experienced. We booked our tickets to visit the Blue Lagoon in the late afternoon, went for a pizza in Keflavik town and delivered our rental car the next morning in the airport before our flight back home.
Tip: you can also deliver your camper van or rental car the day before your flight, and book this Blue Lagoon entry ticket including round-trip transfers to your hotel in Reykjavik or Keflavik Airport.
- 1 day
Where to stay
Things to do
- Relax in the icy-blue steaming waters of the Blue Lagoon (bucket list!) – be sure to book your tickets for Blue Lagoon in advance!
Plan your Iceland in 7 days itinerary with our travel resources
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Thank you so much for your support! x Valerie & Mik
- Skyscanner – to book the best and cheapest flights
- Airbnb – to stay at incredible homes & apartments
- Booking.com – to book your accommodation
- Lonely Planet – to purchase a detailed travel guide
- TourRadar – to join one of the amazing group tours
- TripAdvisor – to read the best reviews and find amazing tours
- HostelWorld – to book the most amazing hostels
- GetYourGuide – to book awesome tours and activities
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