Thursday, 27 September 2018

Iceland in Winter: 5-day Itinerary - Day 5

Sadly, we've reached the last day of our five-day winter itinerary for Iceland. But you can't be too unhappy, because your final day in Iceland will feature some of the coolest activities yet. I know what you're thinking; how is it possible to top hiking on a glacier and visiting plane crashes on black sand beaches? Well, how about soaking in the miraculous waters of Iceland’s Blue Lagoon or visiting the beautiful natural attractions like Mt. Kirkjufell on the Snæfellsnes peninsula? We've seen and done a lot in the last four days along the Ring Road, and it's time to head back towards Reykjavik from Vik to enjoy everything that West and  Southwest Iceland have to offer.

Kirkjufell mountain covered in snow and with the Northern Lights dancing in the background

If you’d like to check out any previous posts, here are all of the sections of the 5-day winter itinerary for Iceland:

Part One: Reykjavik and the Golden Circle 
Part Two: The South Coast of Iceland 
Part Three: Vatnajökull National Park, Ice Caves and Glacier Hike 
Part Four: Snaefellsnes Peninsula and Blue Lagoon


Drive Back to Reykjavik 


You’ll start the morning by making the three-hour drive back to Reykjavik. Be sure to stop by Skógafoss waterfall or Seljalandsfoss waterfall if you missed either of them on the first leg of your journey. Once you start getting close to Reykjavik, you can either head south toward the Blue Lagoon spa or keep going towards the Snaefellsness peninsula, which lies a couple of hours north of Reykjavik. The option you choose will depend upon your priorities as well as the time of your return flight the following day.

It's possible to fit in both the Blue Lagoon and Snaefellsnes peninsula into the same day, but it will definitely be a long one. And remember, there is limited daylight in Iceland during the winter months. If you're looking to do things when there is light outside, your window of opportunity lasts from about 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. The hour of sunrise and sunset varies in December, January and February, so check the exact times of the month you're planning your visit here.

If you have a return flight late in the day, you can do what many tourists opt to do, which is stop at the Blue Lagoon on their way to Keflavik airport. This technically spills over into the sixth day of your itinerary, but if you have the time it's definitely the better option. Otherwise, you can choose to either focus on the Blue Lagoon or Snaefellsnes peninsula or take it to the extreme by trying to see both places and spending less time at each.

Iceland's Blue Lagoon spa makes a great stop on your 5-day winter itinerary

Soak in the Healing Waters of the Blue Lagoon Geothermal Spa 


This is one of the most famous sites in Iceland and is the country's most visited attraction. A few hours soaking in the healing, silica-infused waters of the Blue Lagoon will rejuvenate you. Relaxing amid the turquoise blue and volcanic black scenery of this man-made geothermal spa will be just what you need after nearly a week of traveling. Get a massage or another body treatment or simply chill out as you watch the steam rise from the warm water into the frosty winter air.

Don't worry; you can enter the lagoon from indoors. I don't know about you, but being outdoors in a swimsuit in the middle of winter on a Nordic island that borders the Arctic Circle isn't exactly my idea of a good time. But if you do choose to embrace your inner polar bear, feel free to go full Icelander and walk out to the pool. Don't say that I didn't warn you though; bathing etiquette requires that you shower before entering. You could turn into a shivering Icelandic popsicle before you reach the water.

Explore Snaefellsnes Peninsula and Kirkjufell Mountain


About two hours north of Reykjavik is Snaefellsnes peninsula. This is the one you've seen in that iconic photo of Iceland that has the mighty pointy-yet-rounded mountain in the background with cascades flowing into the waters below. In the colder months, these waters freeze, and you are left with a snow-covered landscape that evokes something out of a wintery dream.

Game of Thrones fans will no doubt recognize the majestic Kirkjufell mountain from seasons six and seven of the popular HBO series. If you recall, the Hound had a vision of the White Walkers making their ghostly march past a “mountain shaped like an arrowhead”. Jon Snow & Co spot this famous Icelandic mountain while traveling north of the Wall on their quest to find the army of the dead. Pretty spooky (and cool), right? Fear not, dear readers. We promise that you won’t run into the Night King in Iceland. Although according to urban legend, there are some rogue polar bears running around our little island.


Iceland in Winter: 5-day Itinerary - Day 5


You’ve seen and done a lot during these last 5 days (including dodging White Walkers, which as Samwell Tarly can tell you is no small feat). While you haven't seen everything that Iceland has to offer, you've certainly covered many of the highlights and have visited almost everything there is to see in the south. Maybe next time you visit, you can spend some time in the North and explore the Diamond Circle. There's also the possibility of visiting during the summer, when the Midnight Sun, warmer temperatures, and outdoor festivals completely transform the country. Planning a vacation to Iceland in June, July, or August is a completely different experience than visiting during the months of December, January, or February. Who knows, maybe we'll be seeing you again sooner than you thought.

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