For one week we want to enjoy the winter in the south of Iceland.
We start at the beginning of March. According to the weather app, it is even warmer in Reykjavik than in Germany. Nevertheless, we take our warm clothes with us.
Here comes the packing list for a one week trip to Iceland in Winter:
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Unfortunately, it takes quite a long time in the car rental office, until we finally get our 4X4 mid-range car. It is already pretty battered, and the credit card get charged with more than €2000 as deposit. Some customers now got problems because they have a too small limit on their credid card or the limit will be exhausted then. With the generally high prices in Iceland, you should increase the limit at home in good time or carry at least two credit cards with you. Here really everything gets paid with it. Also check whether you are allowed to use all roads with your rental car and whether damage to the glass, underbody, etc. is insured. This is very important here! …and book in advance!
Helpful tips for a trip to Iceland
As mentioned above, at least one credit card is absolutely necessary (it may have to be activated by you at your bank for using it abroad!) In Iceland, absolutely everything can be paid by credit card. At a parking lot, we had to scan a QR code to pay the parking fees. Since there is mobile phone reception almost everywhere, this is no problem.
Almost all signs are also written in English. It is important that you check every day in winter, whether the roads you want to drive on are open. We used Google Maps, but spontaneously closed roads are not necessarily displayed here. SafeTravel is a good app for this.
Thermal baths should be reserved in advance, and hotels are also well booked in winter. Since the prices for food and restaurant visits are very high, you may want to cater for yourself. Shops are not everywhere and also restaurants are often closed in winter or have only limited opening hours. In the hotels we always found a kettle, tea bags and coffee. This allowed us to always take warm tea with us in our thermoses. Water is served everywhere for free and it is drinkable everywhere. Thus, you can save yourself buying plastic bottles as filling your bottles can be done everywhere.
We arrive at the hotel around 6 pm, as it takes about 45 minutes by car from Kevlavik airport to the city.
The Hotel Klettur is quite central. It is still quite bright outside, so we walk the quarter of an hour to the famous Halgrimskirkja church. It is really very impressive…
We can’t get in anymore, as it is already closed for the night. But the photos from the outside are also nice.
Then my stomach growls. We look for a restaurant in the opposite street. There you´ll find a restaurant for every taste.
Since we already know the city from a previous visit, we set off after breakfast to our next destination.
For a while we drive along the ring road under overcast skies and then turn off to
This is a larger place with some shops. So also, for us a good idea to buy some snacks for the next few days.
Before that, however, we visit the highly interesting “The Settlement Center“, a museum that explains the settlement of Iceland. The individual stations are explained in 30 minutes by audioguide. Very informative and not instructive. We spend the next 30 minutes in the other part of the museum, where the settlement legend is presented and told very vividly.
If you like, browse through the shop afterwards with beautiful Icelandic souvenirs or settle down in the restaurant.
Our journey through the south of Iceland continues. The clouds hang quite low, but it is dry, and a lot colder than yesterday.
We go about 30 km from here in the direction of Reykholt to the
The Hraunfossar is well signposted and soon we arrive on the quite large parking lot. Only some few other cars and minibuses are already here. From here, we walk only a few meters over a gravel path to the first viewing platform. In winter, of course, there is no clearing or scattering here. Since there lays no snow now, we do not need to put on our crampons bought especially for this trip. This should definitely be done, when ice and snow cover the ground, as a sign explains. The whole tour on Komoot.
The Hraunfossar waterfalls are not high, but very interesting. They get out of countless crevices directly from the lava rock on the shore over a length of 700 meters . Particularly worth seeing is the color of the river, as the water comes directly from the nearby glacier Langjökull and is partly milky turquoise.
If you follow the footpath, you will soon come to a pedestrian bridge that spans the river. On the other side ot the river, I crawl a little over wavy lava rock and look at the falls from a different perspective.
Back I go over the bridge under which the river roars. On the left it goes to the
Here the turquoise water masses must pass through a narrow rock corridor. According to legend, there used to be a bridge here, which was torn down because two children fell into the water a long time ago and were never found again.
The temperatures has dropped quite a bit and so we stop at the small restaurant above the parking lot, to get warm with a steaming cup of coffee. The external toilets costs 100 IKR.
The afternoon is still young, and the clouds are breaking up.
We decide to just follow the F518 and then come out in a big ring at the F50.
First, we pass Húsafell. Here it is possible to walk into an ice cave. Since we have already booked this elsewhere for the end of our round trip, we drive by. Soon the road becomes a well-developed gravel road.
We enjoy the magnificent view of the glacier and the surrounding mountains. A bit further and we drive past “the Cave”. We would have liked to visit that. Going into a lava tube would be great, but the company closes at 4pm, unfortunately it´s already later.
So on we go. Past Icelandic ponies, which are not disturbed by the suddenly starting snowfall.
We are back at the Fosshotel Reykholt in time for dinner. The food is excellent!
Around 8.3O pm we get into the car, as it is too bright here and the Northern Lights app tells us, there might soon be a 30% chance of seeing a Northern Lights. Which is a really good percentage!
Again, we park in the parking lot of the waterfalls, but nothing happens and there is still a residual light of the sunset to see until about 9pm.
Disappointed, we drive back to the hotel and go to bed. Around 11 pm I look out of the window again and there the northern lights start!
Very quickly we put on the three layers of warm clothes (it´s several degrees below zero Centigrade now!), grab the cameras and tripods and run out.
For 45 minutes we can hardly get enough of the natural spectacle. Beautiful green ribbons and stripes.
Slowly our fingers freeze off, despite the gloves. The temperature still drops and so we look forward to our warm bed.
Today we`ll circle the peninsula Snæfellsnes.
The weather gets better with every kilometer we drive and we have an absolutely clear view of the mostly snow-capped mountains to the right and in front of us. Far in the distance we can already see the glacier.
At the beginning of the peninsula there is a visitor center with toilets and a gas station. Both are recommended, as toilets are only available at the tip of the peninsula in the Visitor Center of the
which names the national park.
The glacier can only be climbed with a local guide and is over 1400 meters high. At the extreme tip of the peninsula, the cliffs are populated by countless birds. Bizarre rock formations let the sea surf peak high.
I recommend the small detour to Hellnar, the bird cliffs are worth seeing and the small church offers a nice photo opportunity.
Shortly after this turnoff comes a larger parking lot on the left of the main road. The Lóndrangar viewpoint. From here we take the short hike to the towering rocky peaks. It goes over a slab of snow and lava rocks, the path is marked. In case of snow, you should definitely put crampons on.
The next exit leads to the Visitor Center and the old lighthouse.
This was the first half of the Snæfellsnes peninsula. We continue along the coast to Bærjafoss, a beautiful waterfall.
In glorious sunshine we drive on. To another small peninsula, at the end of which lies Stykkishólmur. Actually, we would like to eat here, but all restaurants are still closed. So, we decide to try dinner in the diner at Baulan, which is really good!
The sky is covered with clouds after a beautiful sunset, so unfortunately, the high probability of today’s northern lights can´t be seen from our hotel.
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