Iceland Winter Women's Adventure

Trip Length 7 Days
Group Size 4?14
Difficulty
Starting from
$4,599 for REI Members
$5,099 for non-members
Departures Feb 2020-Jan 2021
Mon���Fri 7am���5pm PT

Spend 7 days hiking and snowshoeing across Iceland?s stunning winter landscape of rugged coastline, snow-covered lava fields, and crystal blue glaciers.

Winter is a perfect time to discover the land of fire and ice. This dramatic North Atlantic island is fringed with volcanoes, iced with glaciers and heated by geothermal pools. From Reykjavik, we embark on an exploration of Iceland?s stunning countryside, hiking along dramatic coastline, snowshoeing through volcanic terrain, and scrambling amidst crevasse-riddled glaciers. We?ll have time to relax in geothermal pools, including the Blue Lagoon, and throughout the trip we?ll connect with local women artisans and brewmasters. When day turns to night, we set out on excursions to scan the dark skies for the multi-colored waves of the northern lights. We spend each night nestled in the comfort of a cozy hotel, enjoying delicious meals and conversation with like-minded women.

Want to visit Iceland during the summer months? Check out our Iceland Hiking trip, which has departures from June to August.

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Trip Highlights

  • Hike and snowshoe on this active winter exploration of Iceland
  • Strap on crampons for a glacier walk amidst a wonderland of natural ice sculptures
  • Search the night skies for multicolored displays of the northern lights
  • Take a soothing dip in the waters of the geothermally heated spas
  • REI Women?s Adventure?designed for women, guided by women

Activities

This trip is rated Moderate [3]. Participants should be capable of hiking up to 8 miles without major discomfort over variable terrain with some steep grades. It's not necessary to be an expert hiker or snowshoer to participate, and no prior experience is needed for the glacier walk.

Note that high winds, rain, and snow are not uncommon and can make hikes feel more strenuous. Fast-changing weather may change the daily, or even hourly, itinerary of this winter adventure.

  • Hiking

What's Included

Double-occupancy accommodations with private facilities for 6 nights; all meals as noted on the daily itinerary; English-speaking guides; one group transfer from Keflavik Airport on Day 1; one group transfer to Keflavik Airport on Day 7; transportation within Iceland; snowshoes and poles; helmets, crampons and ice axes for glacier walk; entrance fee and towel rental for Krauma & Blue Lagoon Spa.

Accommodations

Hotels or guesthouses, 6 nights

Your Adventure Itinerary

Day 1

Soak in geothermal baths and experience traditional Icelandic crafts

Arrive at Keflavik Airport in Reykjavik, Iceland by 7am today. We provide one group transfer to our meeting point in downtown Reykjavik. Following an orientation and group breakfast, we head to the Krauma spa. Fed by the most powerful hot spring in Europe, Krauma features multiple geothermal baths, saunas and a relaxation room. Following a tranquil morning at the spa, we visit the Ullarseli��� wool center to learn about the traditional Icelandic methods of dyeing and spinning wool. This afternoon we continue to our lodging on the Snaefellsnes peninsula, where we have free time to relax before gathering for dinner. All meals included.

Spa activities: 2 hours; Driving: 4 hours

Day 2

Explore the rugged coastline of Snaefellsnes National Park

Our hike on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula follows local fishermen's trails. We pass old fishing villages, lighthouses and shipwrecks that serve as a reminder of how the forces of nature impact the course of life in Iceland. Panoramic views include dramatic coves, inlets and sea cliffs, which are nesting sites for a host of bird species. We also take in the views of Mt. Snaefellsjokull (4,744'), an 800,000-year-old stratovolcano with a small glacier covering its summit. The geology of the peninsula, which includes many lava fields, is the result of 20 volcanic eruptions that occurred pre- and post-ice age. We return to our guesthouse for dinner and overnight. All meals included.

Hiking: 6.5 miles (4?5 hours), Terrain: Dirt and rock pathways, Elevation gain/loss: +150'/-150'; Van transfer: 2 hours

Note: Depending on weather conditions, we may switch Day 2 and Day 3 of the itinerary.

Day 3

Snowshoe or hike on the geologically diverse Snaefellsnes Peninsula

We strap on snowshoes to walk in the otherworldly landscape of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. If snow levels are low (which is possible for November and early December departures), our guides will lead us on a beautiful hike in Snaefellsnes National Park.

This afternoon we visit the Stykkish���lmur Volcano Museum to see works of art showing volcanic eruptions. Next, we visit with a group of local women artists who work in a variety of mediums, including ceramics, jewelry and woodcraft.

Conditions permitting, tonight we scan the skies for the colorful northern lights. Iceland is one of the world's premier destinations for viewing these dancing, multicolored waves of light caused by the collision of charged particles in the upper atmosphere, and we take advantage of our nights to search for them. All meals included.

Snowshoeing or Hiking: 6?8 miles (4?5 hours); Van transfer: 2 hours

Day 4

Visit the Golden Circle and search the night skies for the northern lights

This morning we head to Thingvellir National Park. Thingvellir became Iceland's first national park in 1928 due to its historical significance and haunting natural beauty. Here we witness the divergent drift of the American and Eurasian plates. A five-kilometer-wide strip of land between the plates has sunk more than 180 feet in the past 10,000 years and a rift valley has formed. Conditions permitting, we take a short walk in the rift valley. Mid-day, we drive to Fri���heimar to visit a greenhouse that uses geothermal heating to grow tomatoes. Following a tour of the greenhouse, we enjoy a lunch of freshly made tomato soup, surrounded by fragrant tomato plants. This afternoon we visit Great Geysir, which is only active a few times each week, and Strokkur which erupts every 10 minutes, spouting water almost 70 feet in the air. We end our day with a stop at Gullfoss (Golden Falls), a magnificent double waterfall, which is partly frozen in wintertime. All meals included.

Hiking: 3 hours, Terrain: Dirt and rock pathways; Van transfer: 5 hours

Day 5

Solheimajokull glacier walk and Icelandic microbrewery tour

Our day begins with a stop at Solheimajokull, an outlet glacier extending from the great Myrdalsjokull glacier. This is a wonderland of ice sculptures, crevasses, and long, narrow ridges. Accompanied by an experienced mountain guide, we strap on crampons and grab ice axes, then make our way up the icy ridges. We witness firsthand some of the powerful forces that have shaped Iceland's unique geography over the millennia. Some of the crystal blue ice visible in the glacier is more than 1,000 years old. Its remarkable color is the result of hundreds of thousands of tons of compression squeezing all oxygen out of the ice. Next, we visit Skogarfoss and Seljalandsfoss, two particularly photogenic waterfalls. En route to our hotel, we stop at the ���lvisholt Brewery to sample some of the beers crafted by head brewer ���sta ���sk Hl������versd���ttir. If atmospheric conditions are favorable, we head out in search of the aurora borealis tonight. All meals included.

Glacier walk: 5?6 miles (4?5 hours), Terrain: Snow, ice and scree, Elevation gain/loss: +350'/-350'; Van transfer: 3.5 hours

Day 6

Snowshoe in the remote Blue Mountains and visit women?s artist collective

Our adventure continues in the Blue Mountains, where we snowshoe over snow-covered lava fields. During our walk, we explore ancient volcanic craters including Thrihnjukar, a dormant volcano which last erupted more than 4,000 years ago. All of Thrihnjukar's magma has drained away as though a plug were pulled at the bottom of the magma chamber, making it the only hollow volcano in the world.

If snow levels are low, we will instead head to Reykjadalur, a beautiful valley teeming with geothermal activity. Here we will hike among steamy fumaroles and boiling mud pots. For those willing to brave the cold air, there may be an opportunity to soak in the hot springs.

In the late afternoon we return to Reykjavik, where we take a short tour of the city?s notable sights and visit a women?s artist collective. Tonight we?ll enjoy a final Icelandic dinner to celebrate newfound friends. All meals included.

Snowshoeing: 5?6 miles (4 hours), Terrain: Snow and possible ice, Elevation gain/loss: +300'/-300'; Hiking (if snow levels are low): 5 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +1,152'/-1,152'; City walking: 1 hour

Day 7

Explore Reykjavik and soak in the Blue Lagoon before departing

After breakfast, we have a few hours for independent exploration of Reykjavik before driving to the Blue Lagoon for a final soak. The Blue Lagoon is a large, man-made pool heated by the mineral-rich waters of the nearby geothermal plant and has been endorsed by the Icelandic surgeon-general for its curative properties. Most Icelandair flights returning to the US depart in late afternoon, so we make sure to arrive at Keflavik Airport with ample time to check in for flights. Breakfast included.

Gear List

The key to staying comfortable while on an active trip is layering. To get maximum comfort with minimum weight, you need versatile layers that mix and match to create the right amount of insulation, ventilation and weather protection. Try to bring only what is necessary?this will help you and the field staff.

What to pack

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Travel documents

  • Airline Tickets (Confirmation and Itinerary)
  • Final Bulletin (Emailed Prior to Departure Date)
  • Valid Passport

Contact Us

Feel free to give us a call at 800-622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales (800-426-4840) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out REI Expert Advice , which has great information to help you prepare for your trip.