I am planning a trip to Iceland in early December for 7 days (days 1 and 7 are arrival and departure so limited activity time). It will be my fiancée and myself. I’ve been devouring the information on this forum, as well as other internet sites in preparation, which has proven most beneficial. Initially we planned to rent a vehicle and travel on pour own, traversing the Ring Road, however the winter driving discussion has caused me to put this idea aside. Although we live in the mountains of Pennsylvania, and as much as I loathe group tours, I don’t think it’s wise to drive and put ourselves and other people at risk based on the description of the high wind and ice conditions.
This leaves me in a quandary. There are an incredible number of tour operators from which to choose, which is the basis for my post. Perhaps if I list the activities we would like to experience, recommendations may be offered for me to review and narrow my choices.
Number one on the list are the Northern Lights. I have read it is best to stay outside the city. We would also like to have multiple opportunities to see the Lights in the event the first evening is not cooperative from a weather perspective.
Other experiences we want to enjoy in this stunning country are:
Geothermal spa bathing
We have not made reservations for accommodations, so please also advise on this, as based on the activities we may want to stay in multiple cities.
Thanks you in advance for your advice.
Hot golden circle gets you waterfalls geysers and a dip in the lagoo and give how d rk it is in deceber you might see the northern lights too. You can do a northern lights tour yourr fitst evening it is a bit of a mass experience but better than staying in.
We did one day tour to the South shore to see the glacier and icebergs that float in the lake at Jökulsárlón Floating Icebergs. Maye hire a car and stay in vik wwhich has weird black sands. You could also drive slowly back to the airport by Southern Peninsula Region peninsuala which is one big lava fiield.
You will love iceland. It isatruly peaceful country and takes the influx of travellers into their stride. They did have a finance sector that was out of control and now they have tourism but there is a beauty about the half light during december. It makes it very easy to take great photographs. Buy some duty free at the airport.
Have a good time.
Mentioned in this answer:
Driving in Iceland isn't that bad. They use studded tires and the road is made with volcanic rock. Driving to the the city and Blue Lagoon.
You can check this web site and see web cams. As far as the Northern lights I would go with a commericial vendor, they will drive where the lights have been reported. We went on a tour on the glacier which was amazing. Enjoy
Iceland in the winter is an incredible wonderland, as long as you dress for the occasion and know what to expect or not expect.
When we were there in summer 2012 (May), we did a bus tour of the Golden Circle. We just turned up at the tourist information centre and booked two spots on a bus for the next day. I can't recall which company but they are all pretty much the same. However, I think it can get busy sometimes and you might need to prebook in busy times.
When we went last December for Christmas we hired a car and did theGreat Circvle again. The roads were relatively good as they clear them for busses, but once you left the Golden Circle they did get a bit scary at times. I wrote a whole blog post on it and we took video of our road trip in the snow, which you can see here:
Dadly, we didn't see the Northern Lights but our friends hired a cabin literally in the middle of nowhere via airbnb which would have been perfect if the KP index was highe r than 3 and we had a cvlear night. Note, the did het bogged trying to drive in there and had to walk in after a really large dump of snow. It was just past Selfoss andI think it was on route 318. I can't find it after a quick.look on Airbnb but I recommend somewhere out tgere away from tge city kights. Otherwis, a bus tour at night is always good and tgey reumduund you if you don't see them the first time.