13 Mar Winter road trip in Iceland
by Melissa McAuliffe & Andrew Waltos from Australia
Iceland seems to be on everyone’s bucket list and it’s trending when it comes to exotic locations for a holiday, and why wouldn’t it be! This relatively small island of just 330k inhabitants packs a real punch when it comes to landscape, seascape and natural wonders – from mountains to fjords, glaciers to volcanoes and rocky lava to endless black sand, Iceland is an explorers dream.
If you’re wanting to see the classic Icelandic landscape of lush green hills, red volcanic craters and endless daylight, then winter in Iceland may not be for you, but don’t let that stop you. Winter in Iceland offers you some unique experiences you wont get in Spring, Summer or Autumn.
Our road trip around Iceland was 11 days in a Suzuki Jimny from Lagoon Car Rental – we found them to be the cheapest by far. We drove the ring road a 1,332km long road that circles around the island, but we ended up driving 2,723km with all the mini side trips we took! If you have 10 days+ this is the best way to see Iceland, you’ll have the time and freedom to explore more of the countries landscapes and costal roads. If you have less stick to the south-east and south-west.
Icelandic roads by Melissa McAuliffe & Andrew Waltos
So what can you expect from a winter road trip? Well let’s start with your car. We recommend getting a 4×4 as the roads will get icy or snowy and a 4×4 can handle so much more + weather permitting you can off road to other remote locations, but know your limits – the weather in Iceland can be unpredictable and treacherous and it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon by Melissa McAuliffe & Andrew Waltos
Be flexible, the weather can change dramatically and this can mean delaying or skipping a location you wanted to visit. We missed out on an Ice Cave tour due to a crazy snowstorm which was a real bummer, but that’s Mother Nature.
Aurora Borealis by Melissa McAuliffe & Andrew Waltos
Stay up late for the Northern Lights! We used the App Aurora Alerts Northern Lights to help with the forecast and if they’re “active” stay up and enjoy the show NB: Don’t be surprised to only see “pale or white” Northern Lights vibrant colours are best captured on your camera and are harder to see with the naked eye.
Book a winter activity like climbing a glacier or walking into an ice cave but if you’re more of a thrill seeker try snowmobiling or scuba diving between the continental crusts – it’ll be worth every cent!
Iceland, Dc-3 Plane Wreckage by Melissa McAuliffe & Andrew Waltos
Always fill up the car when you’re near a petrol station even if you don’t think you need to. There can be large distances between stations and you don’t want to be caught out.
Bring warm clothing , wet weather gear and waterproof boots, you don’t want cold or wet feet. Don’t forget your swimsuit! HOT TIP: buy or bring crampons, outside of Reykjavik the pathways can be icy and very slippery but you will need to have checked luggage for the spiked crampons.
Thermal Spa by Melissa McAuliffe & Andrew Waltos
Iceland is full of free and paid hot springs, surprisingly we skipped The Blue Lagoon and don’t regret it, it’s expensive and over crowded plus we heard reviews from some unimpressed visitors. Instead try the many free hot springs like the secret lagoon or the secluded Landbrotalaug or if you want somewhere a little more lux try Myvatn Thermal Spa in the north.
Selfoss, Iceland by Melissa McAuliffe & Andrew Waltos
Of course we couldn’t let your go without suggesting some must visit locations!
- Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
- Jökulsárlón Ice Beach
- Coastal Drive along the Eastern Fjords
- Reynisdrangar Black Beach and Basalt Columns
- Snæfellsnes Peninsula
- Myvatn Thermal Bath
Take a look at #hobohwithblanktravel to see more.