Are you ready for the perfect winter road trip in Iceland? Buckle up, because I’ve created a dreamy itinerary for you to see all of Iceland’s best southern highlights and hidden gems.

Preparing for Iceland

Before you go, you’ll want to do a few things:

  1. Buy your flights to Iceland. You’ll want to fly into KEF, which is the international airport in the Reykjanes Peninsula.
  2. Rent your car and/or book your hotels. Now, I’ve done this trip in a camper van and I’ve had clients do this trip with a rental car and hotel rooms. Choose whatever you’re most comfortable with! The camper van will be a lower overall cost, while the car rental and hotel stays will be a bit more pricey.
  3. Read my Iceland Travel Tips blog post to fully prepare yourself and my Reasons to Visit Iceland blog post to get even more excited!  

5 Day Iceland Winter Itinerary

Day 1:

Most flights from the US arrive to Iceland early in the morning. If you’re traveling from another part of the world, try to land as early in the morning as possible to get the most out of your Day 1 itinerary.


Head to the beautiful Þingvellir National Park to walk the path in the rift valley between the North American & Eurasian tectonic plates. See Öxarárfoss and Silfra fissure (check parking lots here) while you’re there. Hike as much or as little as you’d like during your time here.

Brúarfoss (park in Brúarfoss Parking lot)  is considered Iceland’s bluest waterfall. It’s a hidden gem that is worth the 2.2 mile/3,5km hike to get it to! It should take you about 1 hour each way. Don’t worry, there isn’t much elevation gain!


Haukadalur Geothermal Area to see the Geysir and Strokkur geysers. There are signs that tell you when you can expect to see the eruptions. For example, Strokkur erupts every 4 – 10 minutes, so you’ll definitely see it happen! Furthermore, there’s a cafe across the street from the entry where you can grab coffees and sweets to warm up! 

Gullfoss “gold” waterfall on the Hvita River is Iceland’s iconic golden waterfall. It’s a two-tiered cascade that plunges 105 ft/32 mt into a deep canyon.

Grab a meal at Fríðheimar Tomato Farm. This family owned and operated tomato farm restaurant is open from 12-4pm daily. Make a reservation for 3:30pm if you can! The bread and soup are delicious, and the entire operation is quite impressive! They provide most of Iceland’s tomatoes, and you can dine in the geothermal greenhouse they grow in.

Fríðheimar is a popular tourist destination, and it has been featured in numerous publications, including The New York Times, The Guardian, and BBC Travel. It has also won numerous awards for its sustainable practices and its commitment to producing high-quality tomatoes.


In the winter, sunset is typically around 5:00 pm.

Visit Seljalandsfoss at nighttime (you’ll go again tomorrow) to see it all lit up. It’s worth the stop to see this 60m tall waterfall that you can walk behind!

If there is extra time tonight: Visit the Keldur village/turf house. This is the famously photographed, oldest turf house in Iceland. It’s also one of the best-preserved turf houses in the country.

Don’t forget to check the Aurora App for Northern Lights activity! 

Hotel recommendation: Hotel Selja
Camping recommendation: Hellisholar
(As of 2023, Hamragardar is not longer open to the public. Don’t let the internet fool you if you’re looking for a closer camp ground to the waterfall!)

Day 2:


Walk around and behind Seljalandsfoss. Don’t skip walking a bit further to Gljufrabui either. It’s a 40m tall waterfall located in a narrow canyon. It’s not visible from the road, so you must walk to see it.

Optional: Depending on time and interest, back track 30-minutes to Caves of Hella for their 8:00 am Whisky/Food tour

Drive to Skógafoss, a powerfall waterfall cascading 60m down a cliff face. Hike the trail (Fimmvorduhals) behind Skógafoss to find more falls if it’s open for as long as you’d like (Fosstorfufoss, Steinbogafoss, Femri-Fellsfoss, etc.) to find more waterfalls and incredible views.

Mia’s Country Van – Local Fish & Chips food truck, open from 12 – 4. Great stop for a hot meal!

Kvernufoss is a hidden gem. While only 30m tall, this fall is hidden behind a cave and accessible by a hike. It is a 5 minute drive from Skógafoss and well worth the stop. It’ll take about 10-15 minutes to walk down the path to get there.

Optional: Depending on time and interest, back track 45 minutes to Caves of Hella for the 12:00 English tour

Visit Sólheimajökull glacier in Katla Geopark. Sólheimajökull is an outlet glacier of Mýrdalsjökull in Iceland that is popular for glacier hiking and ice climbing. You can go walking around this area if you want and hike as long or little as you’d like. There are also tours available.


See the infamous downed DC-3 plane at Sólheimasandur Beach (approx 45 min. hike or a $40 rt paid shuttle ride). This is a black sand beach with stunning views of Mýrdalsjökull glacier.

Drive to Reynisfjara, the black sand beach. See the Dyrholaey and Reynisdrangar rock formations, as well as the dramatic basalt stacks. Mind the signs and warnings. If you’re lucky and the weather/water are cooperating, it’s worth walking down the beach past the basalt columns and through the caves! 

Walking the Reynisfjall Cliffs is a must do for beautiful views of the beach and Vik. These cliffs are actually towering basalt formations.

Check out the Vik i Myrdal church on the way into town and its great view over Vik. Also known about Reyniskirkja, its a picturesque white church with a bright red roof located on a hill overlooking the village of Vík í Mýrdal in Iceland. It is one of the most photographed churches in the country. You’ll see why when you get there!


Go to Vik town. It’s very small seaside village, but they’re a good base for Ice Cave tours and they have a great burger place (Smiðjan Brugghús) you should check out for dinner.

Treat yourself to the Icelandic Lava Show. This is a unique and immersive experience that allows visitors to see and feel the heat of real lava. The show recreates a volcanic eruption by melting real lava to temperatures of up to 1100°C (2000°F) and then pouring it into a showroom in front of the audience.

Go grab a drink at a local bar!

Don’t forget to check the Aurora App for Northern Lights activity!

Hotel recommendation: Hotel Vík í Mýrdal
Camping recommendations: Vik Camping is open from May – October. If you’re there when it’s closed, I highly recommend back tracking to go camp in the Skógafoss, at Skógar Campsite.

Day 3:


Take an Ice Cave tour today! I recommend Katla Ice Cave. This is a year round excursion and honestly a MUST do! The naturally formed caves literally change everyday, so you’ll never see it as it was again. It’s located witin the Mýrdalsjökull glacier. Katla Fast Track is a great company to go with. Their meeting point in Vík is next to the OB gas station. The address is Austurvegur 16, 870 Vík.


Laufskálavarða is a lava ridge just off the main Ring Road #1. Stop to take a quick peak as the thousands of stone cairns that surround it.  

Visit Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon which is 9,000 years old, This is a top natural site in Iceland! It’s truly amazing how this canyon was carved by the Fjaðrá river over millions of years. It is up to 100 meters deep and 2 kilometers long, with towering basalt walls and lush green vegetation at the bottom.

Gönguleið um Eldhraun is a hiking trail that passes through the Eldhraun lava field. These famous moss fields can be just a quick roadside pull over if you don’t feel like hiking!

Drífandi is a beautiful waterfall that cascades down a steep mountainside into the Fljótshlíð river. It is about 70 m high and is particularly stunning on a calm day, when the water falls in a soft slide down the mountainside.


Skyr Land Museum is open until 6pm and has admissions with tastings! They offer an immersive experience that takes you on a journey through the history and culture of Skyr, Iceland’s beloved superfood.

Thingvallavatn is a rift valley lake that would be pretty for sunset or Northern Lights viewing. It is the largest natural lake in Iceland and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Don’t forget to check the Aurora App for Northern Lights activity!

Hotel recommendation: Brú Country Estate
Camping recommendations: Check out Gesthus Selfoss, Hraunborgir Campsite or Þrastaskógur Campsite.

Day 4:


Kerið implosion crater is a volcanic crater lake. It takes about 45 minutes to walk around the edge of the stunning crater. You can also take the stairs to the shore of the lake (400 ISK). No hiking is needed to just view the crater from above!


Spend time on Reykjanes Peninsula. This is located on a fissure zone created by separation of the mid-Atlantic ridge running across Iceland lies the large geothermal area of Krýsuvík. Within the same area is the stunning Seltún geothermal field, where volcanic fumaroles, mud pots and hot springs have formed over millennia.

  • Take a guided tour to Iceland’s most recent volcano site. Or hike there on your own. 
  • Look at this website for ideas: GetYourGuide 

Visit the Bridge Between Continents in Sandvik. This iconic landmark offers you the unique opportunity to stand on two continents simultaneously and experience the power of nature firsthand. Here, you’ll also find Brimketill, a natural pool formed by the pounding of waves against the lava rock.

Go to a hot spring, such as Sky Lagoon. You could always do this after the volcano (or in lieu). They have reservations as late as 7:30 pm.


Go into downtown Reykjavik. This is Iceland’s capital city. It’s home to a thriving cultural scene, with world-class museums, galleries, and restaurants.

Visit Hallgrimskirkja Church, see the Sun Voyager sculpture, walk the main streets of Laugavegur and Skólavörðustígur. Fun to do at night, super lively! 

Must get a hot dog here – the famous Bæjarins Beztu! But also, get another hot dog near the church (facing the church, it’s a street kiosk off to the left. There is also a waffle stand that was great too.) 

Late night: Grótta Island Lighthouse to watch for Northern Lights. It is accessible by foot at low tide and offers stunning views of the city and surrounding coastline. Use the Aurora app to monitor. Typically, they’ll come out after midnight!

Hotel recommendation: Hotel Leifur Eiriksson
Camping recommendations: Reykjavík Eco Campsite

Day 5:


Spending your final morning at the famous Blue Lagoon. This geothermal spa is renowned for its milky blue waters and otherworldly landscape.

Reservations are highly recommendation. Get there early and stay for as long as you can before heading back to the airport! We loved their fine dining restaurant, which also required reservations in advance.

The Blue Lagoon is 20 minutes from Keflavík Airport and 50 minutes from Reykjavík. Bring sandals! 


Take your flight back home!