The thirteenth warrior movie has a section where the thirteen warriors travel and one of them is learning the Norse language. While maybe not realistic⸮ it shows what can be done to show time passing: short burst of activity in utterly different circumstances.
Prepare a set of scenes that show different aspects at different times: evening dinner time is a perfect opportunity for role play. Travelling through tricky terrain is an opportunity to use those survival skills. An ambush (oh so cliche!) is a nice high adrenaline encounter although not necessarily a combat one. Weather changes are perfect to get those resist disease rolls and find shelter. I would continue but there's a superb question and answers on just that topic. Another scene would be to explore the ruins they just stumbled upon.
Now, between those high octane scenes, there are lots of tedious things happening. Those take as long as they take but take minimal time around the table.
Since you say that day/night cycles are important: I would have a slider with 24 numbers -- or better yet, whatever your game world crazy time system is. Things take time: you advance the slider based of how long the current scene took: They travel for X unit of time. That's easy and gets resolved in about five minutes of descriptions. The slider moves X slots. They fight a long and hard combat taking four hours in real time. But in game time, this took but a few minutes so the sliders does not move.
Note that "slider" is used loosely: it could be a set of pictures of an hour glass with sand. It could be a sun and/or a moon moving across a star-full night sky. It could be a sun dial with a string for the shadow. Use your imagination and make the "slider" fit within your game-lore.
Now, unless your players have a good sense of keeping the time (which is none-trivial in a medieval setting) they will not know exactly where they are on that slider. This allows you to say things like "You thought you had time to get to the next ridge. You were wrong. Night is falling and you have maybe a 15 minutes before it gets dark. What do you do?"