Most people that visit Iceland go in the summer, but there’s a whole other side to this place in the winter months. (It is called “Iceland,” after all.) Spend five days doing really cool things like exploring Þingvellir National Park, visiting horse farms, reflecting on life under the Northern Lights, hiking glaciers, and warming up in hot springs. See another side of this amazing country.
Arrive in Reykjavík at any time. Check into our hotel and enjoy the city. We HIGHLY recommend arriving 1-2 days early to explore this world-renowned city fully. Worthwhile visits near Reykjavík include the Blue Lagoon (40 mins from Reykjavík) and the Bargarnes Settlement Centre (1 hr from Reykjavík).
Check the notice boards or ask at reception for the exact time and location of the group meeting, typically held at 6:00 p.m. or 7:00 p.m. After the meeting, you might take the opportunity to head out for a meal in a nearby local restaurant to further get to know your tour leader and traveling companions. Please make every effort to arrive on time for this welcome meeting. If you are delayed and will arrive late, please inform us. Your tour leader will then leave you a message at the front desk informing you of where and when to meet up.
This morning, we leave Reykjavík and travel to a lava cave in the Bláfjöll Mountains. We will go beneath the earth’s surface to discover how Iceland was created. Walk and crawl through the Leiðarendi cave that was carved out by flowing volcanic lava, and marvel at the multi-colored rock formations left in its path.
Next we stop to visit Solheimar Ecovillage, a sustainable community of over 100 people, dedicated to helping people with disabilities. Nestled beautifully amongst the countryside, take in the panoramic views as you support this non-profit community by touring the village to learn about the various workshops, businesses, and programs and opting to enjoying a meal at the local coffee house. Sometimes Solheimar Ecovillage is closed for holidays. If that is the case we instead visit the Friðheimar restaurant (meal is extra expense) and have an included tour of the greenhouse.
Then we visit a horse farm. The Icelandic horse is a very unique breed. Although small and at times pony-sized, Icelandic horses are long-lived and hardy. Tour this working farm and learn all you need to know about the Icelandic horse, with a focus on its gait and unique character.
We will then drive to Álftröð where we will spend the next 2 nights. This evening we head out near the guesthouse in search of Northern Lights.
Please note: The Northern Lights are a natural phenomenon, and sightings will be dependent on weather conditions. We cannot guarantee that travelers booked on this tour will experience the Northern Lights.
Approximate travel time: 2.5 hrs in private vehicle
This morning we visit Þingvellir (or “Thingvellir”) National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, to see the faults created by North American and Eurasian tectonic plates shifting apart. The Oxara River cuts through the largest rift in the valley, Almannagja, and leads to the Oxarafoss waterfall. Iceland’s parliament was also established in the area in 930 AD, and the park was later created to protect the remains of the open-air assembly grounds. One of the most-visited sights in Iceland, the park is an excellent spot for camping, hiking, and SCUBA diving between the tectonic plates.
Afterwards, we discover one of the most impressive waterfalls in Iceland, Gullfoss, and complete the tourist circuit known as the Golden Circle. This massive waterfall cascades over three “steps” before spilling into a large crevice. Fed by a glacier lake, the water passing through the falls can be a dark grey depending on how much sediment gets pushed through the river.
Next we will see a variety of geothermal pools and the erupting hot spring Strokkur. Geysir is one of the oldest geysers recorded in the world but is most often dormant. Strokkur erupts a spray of boiling hot water straight into the air about every ten minutes.
In the evening, embrace your inner chef and prepare dinner together at the guesthouse. Afterwards, head out for another Northern Lights hunt around the guesthouse.
Approximate travel time: 3 hrs in private vehicle
This morning, we travel to Sólheimajökull Glacier and learn about the effects of climate change in Iceland. You will have time to take an easy hike in the area or you can pay extra ($114) to go on a guided glacier hike. Equipped with crampons and an ice axe, hike through the dramatic glacier valley and along the black sand flood plains to the edge of the ice. Enjoy stunning, panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, glaciers and the Eyjafjallajökull volcano. The guide will explain the volcanic history of the area and the effects of global warming.
We then drive the scenic southern coast and visit the Seljalandsfoss waterfall. Seljalandsfoss is a 60 m (196 ft) high waterfall located along the popular ring road. Behind the flow of water is a path, allowing visitors to peek behind the curtain of water cascading over the rocks above. Then we visit Skógafoss, one of the largest and most recognizable waterfalls in Iceland. The 60 m (200 ft) high falls forms a constant mist that floats in the air, which, if viewed in the sunlight, can create rainbows. The sound and view of the thundering water cutting through the green hills make the falls a must-see on any trip to Iceland.
We then head back to Reykjavík to enjoy a final night in the city.
Approximate travel time: 5 hrs by private vehicle
Our program ends in Reykjavík this morning. We recommend spending at least an extra day exploring Reykjavík before or after this trip.
Want more adventure? Book two or more GEEO trips in the same year and receive a discount! GEEO will give you 10% off of the lesser value program(s) (up to 3 programs).
If you don’t see a program that interests you that pairs with this trip but still would like to extend your time abroad, let us know. We will work with you to find a non-teacher trip from our tour operator’s much larger catalog. Even better, if you are an educator, we can still offer you a discounted price on the trip you choose!
It is very important for you to visit our Terms and Conditions page before signing up for this program.
All cancellations must be submitted to GEEO in written form by emailing your request for cancellation to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you do not receive a confirmation that we have received your written cancellation request, please call us at 1-877-600-0105. Verbal cancellation requests will not be honored.
All GEEO/G Adventures group trips are accompanied by one of G Adventures’ group leaders, which they refer to as Chief Experience Officers (CEO). The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are traveling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues, and introduce you to our local friends. Our itineraries often have plenty of free time to explore on your own.
While not being guides in the traditional sense, you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious, and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting – we think it’s the best of both worlds.
This trip includes light walking and optional moderate hiking that is suitable for most fitness levels.
Half of the people that travel with GEEO are traveling by themselves, so please don’t worry if you have no one who can join you on your trip. Our pricing is based on double occupancy or, in other words, two people to a room. You never have to pay for a single room unless you want one. GEEO can find you a roommate of the same gender. Most of our trips have a “My Own Room” option, also known as a “Single Supplement,” which is an extra fee that will allow you to have a room to yourself. If you want to room alone, please email email@example.com. To see the price for the “My Own Room” option, please click here, where you can look up your trip in the extra services spreadsheet.
Day 1 is an arrival day, and no activities have been planned. Upon arrival to the city on Day 1, or earlier if you have booked pre-accommodation with us, please make your way to the joining hotel. Please note: Check-in time will be in the afternoon. Once you arrive at the hotel, look for a note at reception from your tour leader. This note will give the details of your Welcome Meeting on Day 1, usually between 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., at which you will get a chance to meet your tour leader and other travelers, as well as learn more about how the tour will run. If you don’t see a note, please ask reception for details!
If you miss the Welcome Meeting, your tour leader will leave a note at reception for you with any information you may need and with instructions for the next morning.
Upon exiting the airport, there are shuttle bus services available. The Flybus is recommended and pricing is as follows:
Return ticket to go directly to the hotel: 6950 ISK per person
One way ticket to go directly to the hotel: 3950 ISK per person
Please note that a larger shuttle bus will drive you to the Bus Terminal first, and travelers will get split into smaller busses depending on which hotel they are going to.
Alternatively, you can get a taxi located just outside the arrivals exit. The taxi ride from the airport to the city center costs around 16,000-18,000 ISK.
Should you need to contact G Adventures during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call their local G Adventures office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.
EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures UK office (manned UK 8:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.)
+44 (0) 2072439878
If you are unable for any reason to contact the local office, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with the 24-hour Sales team, who will happily assist you.
Toll-free, from calls within North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from within UK: 0844 272 0000
Outside North America and the UK: +1 416 260 0999
For absolute emergencies after office hours please contact +44 7817 262559
If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, and your call will be returned as soon as possible.
Please read this article on GEEO’s blog for our staff’s suggestions on the best gear to pack for your upcoming travels. You must be prepared to carry your own bags and be comfortable carrying them up and down stairs, on and off transportation, and to hotels. As a rule we try not to have to walk more than 15-20 minutes with your bags, which is why we recommend keeping the weight of your bags between 22-30 lb. Most travelers carry a backpack or rolling bag of small to medium size. No XXL bags please! A daypack is also essential for carrying everyday items. Space is limited on transportation, so there is a limit of one main piece of luggage per person plus a daypack per person.
We recommend bringing enough clothes so you don’t have to do laundry during the trip. You won’t be sweating much, so it should be pretty easy.
All GEEO trips require that the participant have a valid passport. Please see our general FAQ for information on obtaining a passport. As with all of our trips, we try to provide the most accurate information we can, but governments sometimes change visa rules. It is your responsibility to double check the information we provide below by searching here.
Americans do not need a visa for travel in Iceland. Non-American participants should check with their government or nearest Icelandic Embassy to find out if they need a visa.
Iceland uses the Icelandic Krona (ISK) as its currency. As currency exchange rates fluctuate, we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com. ATMs are also widely available that distribute the local currency and this is what we recommend as your primary source of cash while traveling. Please make sure you bring at least $200 USD in cash as emergency money, just in case you have trouble with the ATMs or lose your bank card. Major credit cards are accepted in most shops, but they may charge a 2-4% transaction fee. Visa and MasterCard are useful for cash advances in an emergency situation. Please note that, if you are carrying U.S. Dollars, they should be in good condition (i.e., not torn, wrinkled, or marked on in any way) and printed recently.
Tipping in Iceland is not customary. In many cases, a service charge is added to the bill, which means that it is not necessary to add a tip. If you wish to express your satisfaction with the service in a bar or restaurant, then a gratuity of 10% or to round up the amount of the bill is perfectly acceptable.
Tipping during the tour program is similarly not expected, but it can be a way to express satisfaction with the persons who have assisted on your tour. Recommendations for tipping local guides would range from the equivalent of $3-5 USD per day depending on the quality and length of the service. Ask your tour leader for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and culture.
At the end of each trip, if you felt your G Adventures Tour Leader did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference. As a guideline, $30-$40 USD per person can be used.
You do not need any vaccinations to travel on this program.
We often find the best prices for purchasing flights is 60 days before departure, but of course this varies greatly from route to route and year to year. You must wait until this trip is confirmed with the minimum number of required participants before you book your flights. Typically, we reach the minimum number needed at least 90 days before departure. GEEO and G Adventures bear no responsibility for any flights purchased before the trip is confirmed. You can find out whether this trip has been confirmed here.
Your trip begins and ends in Reykjavík. Please double check our itinerary for the date by which you must arrive in Reykjavík. You can arrive at any time of the day you choose, but we strongly urge you to arrive by 6:00 p.m. on Day 1 for our group meeting. You can depart from Reykjavík any time on the final day of the trip.
There are two components to provide external power to your device: adapters and transformers. The adapter is the plug, adapting the prongs on a standard U.S. two to three-pronged power cord to match the prongs required by the local outlets. The transformer changes the local voltage to that required by your device.
Iceland uses a European-style two circular prong plug. Their voltage is 220-240 Volts. U.S. outlets are 120V. Most new devices (phones and laptops) can handle the different voltage rates, but some devices only work on the U.S. standard of 120V. Check your device to see what voltage range it handles. Most transformer blocks will have an “Input” line that defines its voltage capacity. For example, “Input: 100-240V” means that it will work on voltages from 100V to 240V. If your transformer can’t handle the different voltage, you’ll need to purchase a voltage converter. You can find world regional voltage converters power packs at various vendors.
Before you decide on traveling with GEEO, it is important that you read all of the information about the program you are considering. Remember, our programs are quite adventurous.
Hopefully this is the kind of adventure you are interested in!
While it is our intention to adhere to the routes described on our website, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable, to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The information on our website is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.
December is a very special time in Iceland. Far from being dreary and cold, the cities and towns are alight with holiday lighting and festivities. Adding to this, there’s a palpable buzz from the anticipation of one of the country’s most popular times, Christmas. For those planning a trip to Iceland in December, here’s what you can expect from the weather and length of days.
Just like everywhere in the Northern Hemisphere, the shortest day of the year is in December. In 2020, the Winter solstice is on December 21st. However, because of Iceland’s high latitude, its shortest day is only 4h07m long! At the beginning of December, the length of day is 5 hours. So from December 1st to the Winter Solstice, almost an entire hour of daylight is lost. Compare this change with a lower latitude city like Los Angeles, which has almost 10 hours of daylight all month long, only losing around 15 minutes from December 1st to the Solstice. The length of day is probably the biggest thing you’ll notice in Iceland during this time of year.
As for the temperatures, you can expect average low to be approximately 28 F and the average high temperatures to be 40 F – probably not as cold as you thought. Iceland’s temperatures are mitigated by the gulf stream, which brings relatively warm water up from lower latitudes. Without this, Iceland would be much colder. Many people who visit Iceland, experience much colder temperatures back home.
The average rainfall in Reykjavík is approximately 32 mm (1.25 inches) in December. This precipitation can come in all forms, depending on temperatures. You may get snow, rain, or sleet. Or, given Iceland’s famously capricious weather, you could get rain, snow, sleet, and blue skies all in one day! These averages aside, you can expect fairly windy conditions, persistent cloud cover and light precipitation in some form.
There you have it. And, as Sir Ranulph Fiennes said, “There is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.” So, bring lots of warm clothing and enjoy this most special time in Iceland.
Please keep in mind this trip offers some free time to pursue activities that interest you. Make sure you look over all of the optional activities and note these additional costs when deciding whether you can afford this program. The prices below are in U.S. Dollars, unless otherwise noted, and are rough estimates so you can budget your trip.
See our price in the top right corner
Roughly $600-$1,100 USD
If you require assistance in booking your international airfare, we would be happy to help you.
Please note: It is mandatory for all of our travelers to have Emergency Medical insurance that covers both emergency evacuation and repatriation to the sum of $200,000 USD. We also strongly recommend purchasing cancellation insurance as well.
We recommend $30-$40 USD for your G Adventures tour leader. Budget another $10 for tipping local guides and your driver.
Make sure you budget for these types of expenses
Variable. At your personal discretion.
$100 USD (Suggested donation)
This is only for non-educator guests traveling with an educator on a GEEO trip. Educators and retired educators should not make this donation.
Most optional activities are booked and paid for locally in the local currency, however we can book the glacier hike listed below in advance. You do not have to decide in advance for which activities you would like to sign up. The prices listed are based on the latest information we have received from our participants and G Adventures. They are not guaranteed to be accurate. Please feel free to use them as a guide for budgeting your trip.
Whale Watching From Reykjavik Harbour: 10990 ISK per person
Take a boat ride into Faxaflói bay to try and spot minke and humpback whales, dolphins, and porpoises. Each tour has an expert guide to maintain safety at sea and answer any questions you may have.
Blue Lagoon Ticket: 5,800 ISK (depends on type of ticket purchased)
Hallgrímskirkja Tower: 700 ISK (line can be long) – entrance to the ground (main) level of the church is free
Saga Museum: 2,000 ISK
National Museum: 1,500 ISK
Reykjavík 871±2: The Settlement Exhibition: 1,300 ISK
Horseback riding in Hveragerði: 7900 ISK for 1 hour, 11500 ISK for 2 hours
Saddle up and head for the hills at the foot of Hengill volcano, located just above the village Hveragerði. Ride in to the magnificent geothermal valley of Reykjadalur seeing beautiful waterfalls and hot springs along the way. Helmets and warm overalls are provided.
Secret Lagoon Hot Spring in Fludir: 3000 ISK per person
The Secret Lagoon natural hot springs are the Golden Circle’s best kept secret. The pool’s natural surroundings and steam rising into the air gives the place a magical feeling. Warm water stays at 38-40 celsius all year. There are several geothermal spots and a little Geysir which erupts every 5 minutes. Swimsuit and towel rentals are available.
Glacier Hiking on Sólheimajökull: $114
Equipped with crampons and an ice axe, hike through the dramatic glacier valley and along the black sand flood plains to the edge of the ice. Enjoy stunning, panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, glaciers and the Eyjafjallajökull volcano. The guide will explain the volcanic history of the area and the effects of global warming.