Itinerary suggestions for exploring Iceland during two weeks in January 2017

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Itinerary suggestions for exploring Iceland during two weeks in January 2017

justjenna
Hi there!

We'll be in Iceland for two weeks starting from January 13. We'd like to see as much of the country during our stay as we can, but at a relatively non-frenetic, leisurely and relaxed pace (especially since we'll only have about 4-5 hours of daylight for driving and sightseeing every day). We plan to rent our own car so that we can be somewhat flexible with our travel plans and itinerary. We'd be interested in driving the Ring Road, but it sounds like it might be an especially harrowing thing to do in the winter... We'll be traveling with our young toddler so driving safely and with minimal risk between destinations is of very high priority for us. (To be honest, this is probably our biggest concern with the trip... so we're having a hard time finalizing an itinerary that balances between seeing as much as we can but doing so safely with unnecessary risks. We do plan to check out the weather reports and road conditions every day before setting out on the road, but still... am feeling very nervous about all of the road hazards and difficult winter driving conditions that I've read about!)

Aside from traveling the Ring Road, our wish list of places/things we're hoping to see (we'd love additional suggestions!):

Reykjavik
The Golden Circle
Snaefellsnes peninsula
Vik
Jökulsárlón
Akureyri (and Myvatn)
Northern lights (fingers crossed!)

Some questions that we're currently trying to puzzle through:

1. Given our high concerns about traveling safely with a car, should we even contemplate driving the Ring Road in January? Does having a four-wheel drive rental vehicle with studded winter tires help to make the drive substantially safer? (I guess I'm asking whether others would recommend doing the Ring Road if in our position, with our concerns...?)

2. What is the drive between Jökulsárlón, Vik, Reykjavik, Snaefellsnes, Akureyri and Myvatn like during the winter? Would this be a safer itinerary to do than attempting to drive completely around the country on the Ring Road?

3. Should we consider instead just basing ourselves in Reykjavik (and possibly a few other cities along the southern and western coast between Snaefellsnes and Jökulsárlón) and doing day trips out to the nearby sights?

Any advice or insight would be so very much appreciated! If there are other itineraries or sights that we should consider, please do let us know... We're all ears!

Thanks so much in advance!
Jenna
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Re: Itinerary suggestions for exploring Iceland during two weeks in January 2017

Iceland24
Administrator
Hello justjenna,

Thank you for your message.

It is true that driving in winter can be difficult but with a 4x4 and driving caution there will be no problem since you have two weeks.

I recommend you these websites. Please check them everyday during your trip.

Weather forecast.
Road conditions.

Every location you mention except Golden Circle and Snaefellsnes peninsula are on the Ring road.
Golden Circle is a "must" and I recommend you Snaefellsnes peninsula ONLY if you have time.

I´ll answer your question below:

1. Given our high concerns about traveling safely with a car, should we even contemplate driving the Ring Road in January? Does having a four-wheel drive rental vehicle with studded winter tires help to make the drive substantially safer? (I guess I'm asking whether others would recommend doing the Ring Road if in our position, with our concerns...?)

I recommend you to drive around the Ring Road ONLY is you have a 4WD.

2. What is the drive between Jökulsárlón, Vik, Reykjavik, Snaefellsnes, Akureyri and Myvatn like during the winter? Would this be a safer itinerary to do than attempting to drive completely around the country on the Ring Road?

It depends on the weather and road conditions. Please check the links above.

3. Should we consider instead just basing ourselves in Reykjavik (and possibly a few other cities along the southern and western coast between Snaefellsnes and Jökulsárlón) and doing day trips out to the nearby sights?

Ring Road in my opinion would be the best option since you have 2 weeks.

Have a nice trip! and please share your experience.
Berglind
Iceland24