My girlfriend and I are planning a slow-paced December trip and have already booked our hotels in Reykjavik for the first and last few days of our trip, but have about a week in the middle that we plan to use to explore the Golden Circle & South Coast. We're renting a car and want to keep our travel plans semi-flexible to account for weather changes on the roads, and wondering about the logistics of booking hotels for that middle week. Right now we're thinking of spending a couple nights each in Haukadalur, Vik, and Hofn before driving all the way back to Reykjavik, but we're worried the last drive is too long to save for one day. Should we split it? Are there different/better "hub" cities in the Golden Circle and South Coast to look into? Thanks!!
I think that the first question that should be asked is, how skilled are you driving in the dead of winter, on narrow roads with ice, snow, and high winds?
Winter driving conditions should not be taken lightly.
I have driven the south road at the tail end of winter and it is NO JOKE. Only do this if you are truly comfortable with icy conditions, blowing snow, and wind that can sandblast paint off of the car...quite literally. Doors get ripped off by the wind down there in even the "mild" seasons of the year. Double or triple the estimated driving times that you will get on your map app. The roads are narrow, there are one-way bridges, and occasional livestock on the road. A good "half-way" town for driving BACK to Reykjavik from Vik is Hella. By then you'll be ready to stop and it's a sizeable place, by Iceland standards, that has quite a few lodging options. We stayed at a horse farm called Fagrabrekka and it was fantastic!
I love Iceland - the two week Ring Road trip we did in September of 2017 was the best trip I have ever taken. I would not want to drive in winter given all that could go wrong. You also will be dealing with very, very little daylight for site seeing.
Are your flights booked? If not, is there any option of going at a different time of year?
This is today's hazardous driving conditions -- https://icelandmonitor.mbl.is/news/news/2019/10/21/hazardous_driving_conditions_today/