Iceland waterfall
Credit: Laurie Ellis

Last September, my husband and I embarked on a road trip in Iceland, which took us west to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula (which I wrote about here), around the Golden Circle, and east to the glacial lake of Jökulsárlón. On our last day before heading back to Reykjavik, we stopped in Hvolsvollur and surrendered the driving to Siggi, the founder of South Iceland Adventures.

It’s cold. It’s rainy. It’s windy. Siggi is taking us along the bumpy mountain roads of southeast Iceland in a monster truck specially designed to conquer anything nature throws its way, from jarring lava fields to rivers. (Our non four-wheel drive rental would never have survived, despite its nickname "Fireball.") We see towering, snow-capped peaks covered in bright green moss, like the perfect meld of winter and fall. We also get a look at Eyjafjallajokull, the volcano that erupted in 2010, disrupting travel to and from Europe for weeks. And finally, we watch the sunset, orange streaks shooting across the empty countryside.

Credit: Laurie Ellis

The trip left us wanting more of Iceland—specifically during the winter, when seeing the Northern Lights is pretty much a guarantee. Siggi happens to own a remote private hut named Midgard just southeast of the Hofsjokull glacier, where guests (accompanied by a guide) can spend one or two nights through April 15. Days are spent snowmobiling, snowkiting, ice fishing, and snowshoeing, and after the sun sets (which happens early this time of year), you’ll take part in what the company calls “the most remote party in the world”—complete with local lamb for dinner and live music. Maybe next year.

Brooke Porter Katz is an Associate Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @brookeporter1.