Winter in Iceland Itinerary
Planning a winter road trip around Iceland was harder than I thought. There was a lot of research involved; car/hotels/activities to book, petrol, things to do and see on the road, places to eat etc. The most difficult part was where we would stay the night. We passed a lot of random hotels in the middle of nowhere and were glad we didn’t actually book one. We were overall quite happy with our decisions and only changed minor things when we were there (cancelled 2 hotels to stay in Reykjavik longer). There are only a few changes i’d make and I will include that below. I hope this itinerary helps anyone planning a trip to Iceland and doesn’t know were to start.
Night 1: Silica Hotel (Grindavík, Southern Peninsula, 240 Iceland)
The first night was a night in luxury at the Silica Hotel in Grindavík. It’s about 20 minutes from the airport, and 40 minutes into Reykjavik. The hotel has its own private geothermal pool (in my opinion, much nicer than the blue lagoon) which has beautiful soft white silica mud throughout. The rooms are beautiful and minimal.We had room 30 twice (our last day we stayed here too) which backs onto the water so you walk out to the balcony and there’s a beautiful view of the water. The breakfast buffet was amazing, cheeses, fruits, cereals, fish, pastries, coffee, someone making fresh waffles – the best breakfast of the trip. With the hotel booking you get Premium access to the Blue Lagoon which allows you to cut the long queue of people with Standard tickets and go straight through. Even if you don’t stay at Silica hotel, I highly recommend purchasing at least the Premium ticket to the blue lagoon because the lines were extremely long for the cheaper tickets.
Night 2: City Center Hotel (Austurstræti 6, 101 Reykjavik, Iceland)
The parking for this hotel is just at a standard parking lot around the corner, you can park wherever, it’s not too expensive to park overnight. The hotel is nice, very central, and everything is within walking distance. The famous hotdog stall is about 3 minutes walk away. The only negative about this hotel is the water, I found that some places we stayed at had slimy water (feels like you have moisturised your body and then take a shower).
Night 3: Hotel Skógafoss (Skoga Heradsskoli, Skogar 861, Iceland)
The drive to Hotel Skógafoss only took about 2.5 hours from Reykjavik, stopping at Seljalandsfoss (waterfall you can walk behind) along the way. The hotel is right beside Skógafoss (waterfall) and some rooms have a nice view of it. It felt a bit like a hostel, the rooms are very basic. In hindsight, we should have gone straight through to Vík to stay 2 nights instead of stopping here.
Night 4: Icelandair Hotel (Klettsvegi 1, 870 Vík, Iceland)
Vík is about 20 minutes from the hotel in Skogar, along the way are a few roads you can take to get to a lookout with a light house, a lookout over the rough ocean and black sand beaches, horses, lit up beautiful graveyards. Icelandair Hotel is very modern and comfortable. There aren’t many restaurant options in Vík but there is a restaurant and bar at the hotel, or a cheaper roadside diner across the road. There are plenty of things to do in and around Vík.
Night 5 & 6: Hvammur Apartments (Ránarslóð 2, 780 Höfn, Iceland)
Drive to Höfn stopping for an Ice cave tour along the way. The drive to the tour was about 2.5 hours (the meeting point is across the road from Diamond beach, and just beside Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon), lots of different tours for glacier hikes and ice cave tours meet at this location. The drive to Höfn from the tour takes around an hour. The Hvammur Apartments were nice, but it kind of felt like they asked their aunty to leave their apartment for a few days whilst a few tourist stay over, there were family photographs, and their toiletries in the bathroom. The internet reception was terrible. If I were to stay in Höfn again I’d give Milk Factory a go (just around the corner, it looked nice). There isn’t much to do in Höfn , one night would have been enough.
Night 7: Icelandair Hotel (Miðvangur 5-7 700 Egilsstaðir, Iceland)
The drive to Egilsstaðir takes around 3.5 hours. A short drive from the hotel in Egilsstaðir is Seyðisfjörður, which is a cute little town that has a ferry to Europe, waterfalls and cute houses. The Hotel was nice, modern and clean.
Night 8: Center Apartment Hotel (Brekkugata 1b Akureyri)
The drive to Dettifoss waterfall takes around 2.5 hours (the GPS says it’s around 5.5 hours but it displays the long way). Next drive to Hverarond (the largest sulphur spring areas in Iceland), bubbling mud pools, steam etc. Just around the corner is the Mývatn Nature Baths (a beautiful, less-touristy than the blue lagoon, geothermal pool). The drive to Akureyri isn’t too far from Mývatn. Center Apartment hotel is very central, right in the heart of the city, but extremely small.
Night 9 & 10: Storm Hotel (Þórunnartún 4, Reykjavik, Iceland)
From Akureyri to Reykjavik it takes 5.5 hours. The towns along the way are small but pretty. There are lots of horses in this area. The Hotel is modern, clean, but a little farther out from the city (about a 10 minute walk to town). Designated parking is around the back of the hotel. I’d definitely stay here again.
Night 11 & 12: Fosshotel (1 105 Þórunnartún, Reykjavik, Iceland)
Just across the road from the previous hotel. Parking is just anywhere on the street.
From here, the golden circle takes about 3 hours round trip. The drive to Silfra snorkelling is about 50 minutes. There is also a good 2-hour Reykjavik walking tour by iheartreykjavik who take you to lots of interesting spots around town, they talk about the cafes to go to, shops to see, street art, a bit of history, and recommendations and suggestions.
Night 13: Silica Hotel (Grindavík, Southern Peninsula, 240 Iceland)
What I spent my money on:
FOOD: $1055 AUD (food is expensive)
PRESENTS/SHOPPING: $750 AUD
CAR HIRE: Approximately $1800 AUD
PETROL: $150 AUD (this was half the total petrol price. I shared with a friend and I think he may have
paid a little more than me.
TOURS: Walking tour – $65 AUD www.iheartreykjavik.net
Ice cave tour – $215 AUD (they are all crowded, I would look for a private tour next time)
Snorkelling – $216 AUD www.dive.is
The preferred payment method is card. Every transaction incurs an international purchase fee. I am with ING Direct and the fees deducted were only between 20c and $3.
Car hire: Hyundai Tucson, through Avis.