Magical 2-Week Northern Lights Winter Road Trip in Iceland with Waterfalls & Glaciers

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Description

Summary

Starts from
Keflavík Airport (KEF), Iceland
Ends in
Keflavík Airport (KEF), Iceland
Duration
15 days & 14 nights
Difficulty
Easy
Available
Sept. - Apr.
Accommodation
14 nights included
Car rental
15 days included

Description

Join this brilliant 15-day winter self-drive tour around Iceland's Ring Road and discover the natural attractions that make this country memorable, including waterfalls, glaciers, volcanoes, and fjords. Visitors to Iceland who want to maximize their time in the country and see as much of Icelandic nature and culture as possible will love this tour.

Traveling around Iceland during the winter allows visitors to partake in countless unique tours, including dog sledding, ice caving, and glacier hiking. Driving around the Ring Road also provides plenty of opportunities to see the dazzling northern lights, one of Iceland's greatest drawcards. You'll also visit several Icelandic towns and villages and learn about the local culture.

Booking a self-drive tour means you can travel at your own pace, with the freedom and flexibility to take detours or skip sights as you wish. We'll provide a detailed itinerary to follow and organize accommodation and car rental to make your trip easier. You don't have to plan a route and worry about missing the best attractions. We'll do all the hard work so you don't have to. 

You also get access to a personal travel agent to help you with any aspect of your trip. They'll be available by phone 24 hours a day. If your plans change, you can cancel the tour for free up to 24 hours before your scheduled departure. 

Driving the whole Ring Road in winter means you'll need to deal with snow and icy conditions. We'll organize a four-wheel drive vehicle for your trip to help you stay safe while navigating the wintery conditions. You'll also be able to take it slow, with 15 days to see nearly the whole country.

During this top-rated excursion, you'll spend multiple nights in some locations, giving you time to savor the attractions and activities. Explore the highlights of North Iceland, the stunning East Fjords, and the South Coast. You'll also visit Iceland's most popular sightseeing route, the Golden Circle.

This two-week self-drive tour also takes you to magnificent sites like the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon, Vatnajokull National Park, and the Lake Myvatn geothermal area. You can also visit black-sand beaches and the Snaefellsnes Peninsula in West Iceland.

To make the trip even more exciting, you can choose from various activities and excursions, including snowmobiling, snorkeling, dog sledding, and whale watching. Spend your days enjoying unforgettable experiences and your nights watching the northern lights under the stars.

Take advantage of this magical 15-day self-drive tour in Iceland to discover everything this incredible country offers. Check availability now by choosing a date.

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Included

14 nights of accommodation
Continental breakfast on all days
New rental car for 15 days
CDW car rental insurance
Gravel protection car insurance
Unlimited mileage
Unlimited in-car Wi-Fi
Detailed itinerary & travel plan
Personal travel agent
24/7 helpline
VAT & all taxes

Destinations

Reykjavik is the northernmost capital city in the world.Reykjavík / 3 nights
West Iceland home to many magical features, such as Hraunfossar waterfalls.West Iceland / 2 nights
Deildartunguhver geothermal hot spring in West IcelandDeildartunguhver
Reykholt was home to Snorri Sturluson, a medieval writer.Reykholt
North Iceland is home to many incredible attractions, such as the Hvitserkur rock formation.North Iceland / 2 nights
Lake Myvatn is Northeast Iceland's most famous attraction.Northeast Iceland / 2 nights
East Iceland is a spectacular region.Eastfjords / 1 night
The Vatnajokull glacier in Southeast Iceland.Southeast Iceland / 2 nights
Dyrhólaey peninsula from east to westSouth Coast / 1 night
An abandoned house on the Reykjanes Peninsula presents a striking contrast against a lush green landscape.Southwest Iceland / 1 night

Map

Attractions

Borg á Mýrum is a church estate in Iceland.Borg á Mýrum
Hraunfossar is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in West Iceland.Hraunfossar
Búðakirkja Church bathed by the Northern LightsBudir
Lóndrangar under the midnight sun.Lóndrangar
Djupalonssandur has beautiful natural featuresDjupalonssandur
Snæfellsjökull glacier above the black church at Búðir village.Snæfellsjökull
Mount Kirkjufell on Snaefellsnes peninsula is one of the most iconic mountains in IcelandKirkjufell
Hvítserkur, aka; “The Troll of North-West Iceland”, is a 15-metre (49ft) high basalt rock stack protruding from Húnaflói Bay.Hvítserkur
Holar is a village in Iceland with a notably pretty church.Hólar in Hjaltadalur
Trollaskagi is well known for its high population of Icelandic horses.Tröllaskagi
Beautiful flowers can be found in the Kjarnaskogur forest in Iceland.Kjarnaskogur
Godafoss is a beautiful waterfall with ties to Iceland's religious history.Godafoss Waterfall
Lake Myvatn is surrounded by stunning natural beautyMývatn
Dettifoss waterfall in IcelandDettifoss
Krafla, in its 1984 eruption.Krafla
Borgarfjordur Eystri is a beautiful and remote corner of the East Fjords.Borgarfjörður eystri
Hallormstadaskogar surrounds lake Lagarfjlot.Hallormsstaðaskógur
Lagarfljot, in east Iceland, has a terrible monster in its depths, according to legend.Lagarfljót
Vestrahorn is a spectacular mountain, especially under the Northern Lights.Vestrahorn
Vestrahorn is on the Stokknes PeninsulaStokksnes
Jökulsárlón is one of Iceland's most popular and unique attractionsJökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
The icy diamonds of Diamond BeachDiamond Beach
Skaftafell Nature Preserve can be found in Öræfasveit, the western region of Austur-Skaftafellssýsla in Iceland.Skaftafell
Svartifoss in Skaftafell Nature Reserve in summer.Svartifoss
Reynisfjara beach and Reynisdrangar cliffs in winterReynisfjara Black Sand Beach
Arial view of Reynisdrangar and Mt. ReynisfjallReynisdrangar
The mighty Skógafoss waterfallSkógafoss
Seljalandsfoss on the South Coast of Iceland bathed in the otherworldly light of the midnight sun.Seljalandsfoss
Þingvellir National Park, the only UNESCO World Heritage Site on Iceland’s mainland, is birthplace of the country’s parliament.Kerið
Long-exposure photo of Gullfoss waterfall on a cloudy dayGullfoss
Geysir is a dormant hot spring in the geothermal area, Haukadalur Valley, found in South Iceland.Geysir
Þingvellir National Park is Iceland's only UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the major stops along the world famous Golden Circle sightseeing route.Thingvellir
Kleifarvatn is the third largest lake in Iceland.Kleifarvatn
KrýsuvíkKrýsuvík
Gunnuhver is one of the geothermal areas on the Reykjanes Peninsula.Gunnuhver

Activities

Glacier Hiking
Snorkelling
Caving
Snowmobile
Horse Riding
Whale Watching
Sightseeing
Boat Trip
Northern lights hunting
Dog sledding
Hot Spring Bathing
Cultural Activity
Helicopter
Ice Caving
Self drive

Travel details

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Day 1

Day 1 – Reykjavík

  • Reykjavík - Arrival day
  • More

Welcome to Iceland and the beginning of your 15-day self-drive adventure, discovering this magical country's sights, sounds, and experiences.

You'll arrive at Keflavik International Airport to start your trip. After collecting your luggage and four-wheel drive rental car, you can journey through the Reykjanes Peninsula toward the world's northernmost capital, Reykjavik.

Traveling through the peninsula's volcanic landscapes, you'll realize how untouched Iceland's nature remains. The coastline is cragged, worn, and constantly changing, and distant mountains and rocky hillsides line the horizon.

On your way to Reykjavik, you can stop at the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa. This world-famous spa is known for its healing waters and vivid azure colors, an ideal place to relax after a long flight. Soak in the milky-blue water and unwind with a silica-rich face pack.

If your flight arrives later in the day and you don't have time to visit the lagoon, don't worry. Your travel agent will arrange your ticket for another time, and you can spend your first day exploring the Reykjanes Peninsula or downtown Reykjavik.

Some stunning natural attractions around Reykjanes include the Krysuvik geothermal area and the Fagradalsfjall volcano eruption site. This mighty volcano erupted in 2021 and 2022, dramatically changing the peninsula's landscape.

When you arrive in Reykjavik, you can check into your accommodation and walk around the city. Depending on the time, you might be able to visit some of the city's most famous cultural landmarks, including the Hallgrimskirkja church, the Harpa Concert Hall, and the Perlan Museum's observation deck.

Spend your evening enjoying Reykjavik's excellent nightlife. The city has fantastic bars and restaurants, so you'll find plenty to keep you occupied and well-fed.

Alternatively, drive away from the city center to search for the northern lights. The city's light pollution means they don't usually appear in Reykjavik, but you can see them on a clear night at nearby sites like the Grotta lighthouse.

Spend your first night in comfortable accommodation in downtown Reykjavik.

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Experiences

Accommodation

Day 2

Day 2 – West Iceland

  • West Iceland
  • More
  • Borg a Myrum church and farm
  • Deildartunguhver hot spring
  • Reykholt historical site
  • Hraunfossar & Barnafoss waterfalls
  • More

Explore waterfalls and enjoy a night in West Iceland.

After breakfast in Reykjavik, you'll start your tour of the Ring Road by driving northward toward Borgarnes. You'll detour on the way to see several memorable attractions, the first of which are the Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls.

Hraunfossar (translating to "Lava Falls") is a series of waterfalls seeping through rivulets originating from the Hallmundarhraun lava field. The lava field initially formed after an eruption of one of the volcanoes beneath the Langjokull glacier. Nearby, you'll visit another waterfall, Barnafoss, known for its striking blue color.

You'll have the opportunity to take part in a fantastic excursion of your choice. If you want to relax, visit the Krauma geothermal baths to soak and unwind in true Icelandic style. The water is a blend of glacial water from a nearby ice cap and geothermal water from the Deildartunguhver hot spring. This combination makes it the ideal temperature for bathing.

Alternatively, you can head into a glittering ice tunnel inside the Langjokull glacier. This manufactured ice tunnel provides a close-up look at the power and beauty of Iceland's glaciers. You'll travel in a specially modified glacier vehicle to the cave's entrance before exploring the tunnels beneath the ice's surface.

If you want to go underground differently, book a tour of the Vidgelmir lava cave. This excursion lets you visit the underground world of the longest lava tunnel in Iceland. It's an excellent opportunity to learn about volcanoes in Iceland and witness the aftermath of an eruption over 5,000 years ago.

After your tour, you'll drive west to check into your accommodation for the next two nights. You can spend the evening walking around Borgarnes town or move away from any light pollution to see if you can spot the northern lights.

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Day 3

Day 3 – West Iceland

  • West Iceland
  • More
  • Budir hamlet
  • Londrangar Basalt Cliffs
  • Djupalonssandur black pebble beach
  • Snaefellsjokull
  • Kirkjufell Mountain
  • More

Discover the natural wonders of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula on the third day of your winter self-drive tour.

Locals often call this magical peninsula "Iceland in Miniature," thanks to its diverse sites. The area contains numerous sights and attractions, including glaciers, waterfalls, mountains, and black-sand beaches.

Start your day by driving the peninsula's northern coastline. Stop off at the coastal town of Stykkisholmur for a fantastic view of the Breidafjordur Bay.

One of the most famous sights in the area is the magnificent Kirkjufell mountain, the most photographed mountain in Iceland. You might recognize it from seasons six and seven of the hit TV show Game of Thrones, where it appeared as the "arrowhead mountain."

Stop off at the nearby Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall for one of the best views of the mountain. In the depths of winter, the waterfall freezes over to make the landscape even more spectacular.

Continue west along the coast until you reach Snaefellsjokull National Park, home to a 700,000-year-old glacier-capped stratovolcano that gives this region its name. The glacier was made famous by the Jules Verne novel Journey to the Center of the Earth and has become one of the country's most alluring points of interest.

When you've finished exploring the national park, visit the nearby Ytri-Tunga beach. Its golden sands are unusual for an Icelandic beach, but this beach is one of the most reliable places to see seals in Iceland.

If you'd prefer to experience a black beach, head to the Djupalonssandur beach instead. It's a black-sand beach covered in smooth black pebbles and surrounded by dramatic lava formations and cliffs.

While here, you can add a voyage into the Vatnshellir lava cave as an extra tour activity. Descending a spiraling staircase, you'll gain a firsthand impression of this dazzling lava tube, taking time to appreciate its rustic colors and goblin-like rock structures.

Continue along the southern coastline as you return to your West Iceland accommodation. Stop off at viewpoints along the way to see if you can see the northern lights.

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Day 4

Day 4 – North Iceland

  • North Iceland
  • More
  • Hvítserkur Rock Stack
  • Holar i Hjaltadal
  • Troll Peninsula
  • More

On the fourth day of your self-drive winter tour, you'll journey around the Ring Road into North Iceland to reach Akureyri.

The total distance you'll drive today is almost 200 miles (about 320 kilometers). The road conditions in North Iceland can be worse than in South and West Iceland, as the weather is colder, and snow and ice are more likely. The Ring Road is usually well-gritted, but take your time and go carefully because your safety is paramount.

On your way to Akureyri, the "capital of North Iceland," you can stop at any sights that capture your interest. The Hvitserkur rock formation is a popular stopping point, but you'll need to detour from the Ring Road. Ensure the road conditions are safe and you have good visibility before you come off the main road.

Often referred to as "white shirt" in Icelandic (due to the excess of bird excrement), the 50-foot (15-meter) Hvitserkur rock looks a bit like a troll. Many locals also call it "the troll of the northwest."

You'll also pass through several villages and settlements. Pause in Varmahlid to see some traditional turf houses and learn more about the early Icelandic settlers.

You can spend the rest of the day relaxing or exploring on arrival in Akureyri. The city has plenty to keep visitors busy, including a striking church and a lovely swimming pool.

Don't worry if you're tired from the drive. You'll have the whole day in Akureyri tomorrow, meaning you can visit the city's best attractions then.

If you've got the energy, drive out of the city to see if you can spot the northern lights. The likelihood of witnessing the aurora borealis is higher in North Iceland, so if weather conditions are clear, you have a good chance of seeing them.

Get ready for bed and enjoy a good night's rest in your North Iceland accommodation before another busy day of sightseeing tomorrow.

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Day 5

Day 5 – North Iceland

  • North Iceland
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  • Kjarnaskógur
  • More

Explore the sights of Akureyri and enjoy a whale-watching excursion from the unofficial capital of North Iceland.

The picturesque town of Akureyri has a population of about 18,000 and boasts a vibrant local culture complemented by truly stunning scenery. You can spend the day discovering the city's best attractions.

Get in the festive spirit with a trip to the Christmas House. This holiday-themed gift shop is a perfect place to buy souvenirs or gifts for friends and family back home.

Other popular attractions include the iconic Akureyrarkirkja church, the Hof Cultural Center, and the botanical gardens. The garden facilities are closed during winter, but you can stroll through the grounds any time of year. You could also take a walk through the Kjarnaskogur forest. Wrap up warm to ensure you don't get too cold in the winter weather!

Add a whale-watching boat trip to your booking to make your time in Akureyri extra special. The waters around Akureyri are home to about 20 whale species, including minkes and humpbacks. A boat tour from the harbor lets you see these incredible animals up close.

Summer is usually the best time to see whales in Iceland, but the waters of the Eyjafjordur fjord are rich in aquatic life, so you still have a good chance of seeing the majestic creatures. You'll also see North Iceland's gorgeous coastline from the water.

Spend your evening enjoying some traditional Icelandic food in one of the city's restaurants, or sample some local beer at a bar. If you haven't seen the northern lights yet, you can also drive out of the city to hunt them down.

When ready for bed, you'll return to your North Iceland accommodation for a good night's rest before you set off on another adventure tomorrow.

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Day 6

Day 6 – Northeast Iceland

  • Northeast Iceland
  • More
  • Godafoss Waterfall
  • Lake Myvatn Area
  • More

Day six of your two-week self-drive winter tour will see you visit the Godafoss waterfall and Lake Myvatn geothermal area.

After breakfast, you'll check out of your accommodation and make your way to Lake Myvatn. On the way, you'll pass the magnificent Godafoss waterfall, which translates to "Waterfall of the Gods." It received this name after an important moment in Icelandic history. When Icelanders converted from Norse Paganism to Christianity around the year 1,000 A.D., former religious leaders threw their pagan idols into the cascading water of this waterfall in a symbolic display.

The falls are about 40 feet (roughly 12 meters) high and almost 100 feet (around 30 meters) wide. It's a spectacular sight that's well worth a visit during your drive around the Ring Road.

You can spend the rest of the day exploring the area around Lake Myvatn. This lake, the fourth largest in Iceland, is one of the sights of the Diamond Circle (North Iceland's equivalent to the Golden Circle). You'll quickly see why it's popular when you arrive. The lake is home to a wealth of birdlife, and the whole area is a hotbed of geothermal activity.

After enjoying the lake view, head to the Namaskard Pass geothermal area. You can see hot springs, bubbling mud pools, and steaming fumaroles here. Visitors often say it looks like something from another planet.

Next up, head into the Dimmuborgir lava fields. Known as the "Dark Fortress" in Icelandic, legends say this was the capital of the "hidden people" — mythical Icelandic elves. Whether you believe in the hidden people or not, you can see towering rock formations and asymmetrical pillars of solid black lava.

A great way to end your day in the area is to visit the Myvatn Nature Baths, a quieter alternative to South Iceland's Blue Lagoon. The spa sits between the lake and the geothermal areas, offering a stunning vista as you relax in the warm waters.

Check into your North Iceland accommodation and watch out for the northern lights before you go to bed.

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Day 7

Day 7 – Northeast Iceland

  • Northeast Iceland
  • More
  • Lake Myvatn Area
  • Dettifoss waterfall
  • Attraction - Krafla Caldera
  • More

Round off your first week in Iceland by exploring more of North Iceland and the Lake Myvatn geothermal area.

After a comfortable night's sleep in your accommodation, you'll wake up and prepare for another day's adventure. You'll return to the same room tonight, so you don't need to pack your things.

Today, you can explore other sights around Lake Myvatn. Start by visiting the pseudocraters at Skutustadagigar to see a collection of intriguing elevations formed through the interaction of volcanism and water. These unique natural features only occur in Iceland and on Mars, so this is a unique opportunity to see them up close.

Also nearby is the Grjotagja lava cave. The cave contains a natural hot spring and is a fantastic place to learn more about volcanic and geothermal energy in Iceland. The spring water temperature is too unpredictable to bathe in, but it's a fascinating place.

If you want to add a little excitement to your day, add a dog-sledding tour as an optional extra. Take an exhilarating ride through the Icelandic countryside and meet adorable huskies on this thrilling excursion.

You'll learn the basics of dog sledding before zooming over the snowy landscapes. The dogs will take you into the heart of the countryside around Lake Myvatn, away from other travelers, meaning you can enjoy uninterrupted views of the winter wonderland before you.

You can return to your North Iceland accommodation whenever you're ready. If the weather is clear, stay up late to look at the stars and wait for the northern lights to appear. Seeing the aurora borealis above the lake's waters is an unforgettable experience, and you'll be able to take incredible photos of the natural lights dancing in the sky above.

Get a good night's sleep before another day of fun tomorrow.

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Day 8

Day 8 – Eastfjords

  • Eastfjords
  • More
  • Lake Myvatn Area
  • Borgarfjordur eystri fjord and valley
  • Hallormsstadaskogur Forest
  • More

Celebrate the start of your second week in Iceland with a trip to the majestic region of East Iceland.

Many people visiting Iceland neglect to visit the eastern region, not because it's not worth seeing, but because it's a long way from the capital. East Iceland and the East Fjords are known for their untouched wilderness, wild reindeer, and quiet isolation.

You'll drive along the Ring Road until you reach the town of Egilsstadir, the region's largest settlement. The drive is about 120 miles (roughly 190 kilometers). We recommend taking your time to ensure you stay safe on the wintery roads. The route follows the Ring Road the whole way, so it's usually well-maintained, but you must always be careful.

Drive through Egilsstadir and continue to the village of Seydisfjordur on the east coast. You can stroll through the settlement to admire the historical wooden buildings and view the Seydisfjordur fjord. It's a breathtaking place surrounded by snowy mountains. Ensure your camera has enough battery to capture it all.

Retrace your steps and return to Egilsstadir, which can be your base for the rest of the day. There are several good places to get a bite to eat or a snack, but you might prefer to pack a picnic and head into the Hallormsstaaaskogur forest, the largest in Iceland.

Iceland is a largely treeless country, so spending time in the Hallormsstaaaskogur forest is a great way to mix up the landscapes you encounter. It'll come as no surprise that the area is a favorite camping spot for Icelanders in summer.

The woodland will likely be snowy and incredibly picturesque. Strap on your ice spikes and head into the woods for an outdoor lunch. The charming Atlavik Cove is a popular lunch spot.

When ready, check into your East Iceland accommodation and enjoy a cozy night.

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Day 9

Day 9 – Southeast Iceland

  • Southeast Iceland
  • More
  • Hallormsstadaskogur Forest
  • Lake Lagarfljót
  • Vestrahorn
  • Stokksnes Peninsula & Vestrahorn Mountain
  • More

Discover more of East Iceland's natural beauty and travel to the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon on day nine of your two-week winter trip.

Check out of your accommodation, then spend the rest of the morning exploring more of East Iceland. Remember to watch out for wild reindeer herds — this is the only area of the country where they live.

We recommend starting your day with a trip to Lagarfljot lake. This spectacular body of water is a beautiful place for walking, and you can get some gorgeous photos here. It's also said to be home to the mythical creature known as the "Lagarfljot wyrm," thought to be a distant cousin of Scotland's Loch Ness Monster.

Stroll along the water's edge and see if you can spot the wyrm yourself!

You can now start the journey south toward the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon, also known as the "crown jewel of Iceland." You'll pass through a few pretty villages as you drive. It's worth stopping at Faskrudsfjordur to learn about its French history and Reydarfjordur to visit its Second World War museum.

As the night draws in, you can stop near one of the mountains you'll cross to see the breathtaking fjord views. On a clear evening, you might also see the northern lights shining in the sky above you.

You'll end the day by crossing into South Iceland, one of the country's most popular sightseeing regions. We recommend stopping for dinner in Hofn to try a local specialty, North Atlantic langoustine.

You can drive directly to the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon from here for a nighttime look at this unique attraction. You might even be lucky to see the aurora borealis above the glacial lake. Alternatively, go straight to your Southeast Iceland accommodation to get a good night's sleep before you spend the day at the lagoon tomorrow.

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Day 10

Day 10 – Southeast Iceland

  • Southeast Iceland
  • More
  • Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon
  • Diamond Beach
  • More

Spend the day taking in the magic of the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon and the iceberg-covered Diamond Beach within Vatnajokull National Park.

Depending on the location of your accommodation, you might want to start the day by visiting the Vestrahorn mountain on the Stokksnes peninsula. This dramatic feature is a favorite among photographers and filmmakers who often journey east solely to capture its incredible peaks.

The main attraction of today will be the incomparable Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon. Icelanders refer to this glacial lake as the "crown jewel of Iceland" due to its ethereal appearance. Icebergs break off the Breidamerkurjokull glacier (an outlet glacier of the Vatnajokull ice cap) to float in the lake and drift onto Diamond Beach.

The Diamond Beach is a black-sand beach adorned with wayward icebergs of various shapes and sizes. It's a fantastic destination for nature lovers and photographers, and you'll see the magnificent icy structures up close. 

If you're visiting in September or October, you can also participate in an amphibious boat tour of the lagoon as an optional extra. A boat ride gives you a close-up view of the icebergs floating in the lagoon. Seals might also be swimming in the water, as several live here.

Another optional tour for today, available from October to March, is visiting a blue ice cave on the Breidamerkurjokull glacier. An ice cave tour allows you to enter a natural ice cave formed when the glacier ice melts and refreezes yearly. No two caves are the same, so you'll have a unique experience.

Spend your evening relaxing at the glacier lagoon to see if the northern lights appear in the sky above. It's one of the most magical places in Iceland to witness the aurora borealis.

Return to your accommodation in Southeast Iceland to enjoy a comfortable sleep after a rewarding day.

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Day 11

Day 11 – South Coast

  • South Coast
  • More
  • Skaftafell Nature Reserve
  • Svartifoss
  • More

Today, you'll visit more of Vatnajokull National Park with a trip to the Skaftafell nature reserve.

Once a national park in its own right, Skaftafell Nature Reserve is one of the most popular areas of Vatnajokull National Park. It's home to creeping outlet glaciers, dramatic hillsides, and lively wildlife, including unusual birds and Arctic foxes.

You can explore the nature reserve at your own pace, but we highly recommend taking a guided glacier hike as an optional extra.

Glacier hiking lets you get close to these sleeping giants and scope out the surrounding landscape from a high, icy plateau. It's one of Iceland's most exhilarating and educational activities, but you must do it with an expert guide and specialist equipment.

The glacier hike tour will take you into the heart of the Icelandic Highlands, onto one of the outlets of the mighty Vatnajokull glacier. Your expert local guide will provide you with all the gear you need for a safe and enjoyable hike.

Trek up onto the glacier and experience the sheer power of Iceland's frozen rivers. You'll get incomparable views and plenty of opportunities to take spectacular pictures to show friends and family back home.

After your hike (or after your day in the nature reserve), you'll need to travel further around the South Coast to the village of Vik. It's a relatively long drive at about 125 miles (roughly 200 kilometers), with some points of interest along the way. We recommend stopping at the village of Kirkjubaejarklaustur to see the Systrafoss waterfall if you have time.

The village of Vik, also known as Vik i Myrdal, is one of the southernmost settlements in mainland Iceland. It boasts gorgeous views of the Atlantic Ocean and the Reynisdrangar sea stacks. It might be too dark to see them, but you can enjoy the view before you set off tomorrow.

You'll spend the night in South Iceland.

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Day 12

Day 12 – Southwest Iceland

  • Southwest Iceland
  • More
  • Reynisfjara black sand beach
  • Reynisdrangar Sea Stacks
  • Skogafoss waterfall
  • Seljalandsfoss Waterfall
  • More

Iceland's South Coast is one of the country's most popular sightseeing stretches, and today, you'll explore its highlights.

After breakfast in Vik or at your accommodation, drive to the iconic Reynisfjara black-sand beach. This stunning stretch of coast is arguably the most famous beach in Iceland. It has appeared in various films and TV shows, including Game of Thrones and Star Wars: Rogue One.

The basalt cliffs above the beach provide a visual reminder of Iceland's volcanic nature. Visiting the beach in winter offers a fantastic contrast of the jet-black sands against the white snow. It's something you'll remember for years to come.

Return to the car and drive west to two of Iceland's best-loved waterfalls, Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss. Both are about 200 feet (roughly  60 meters) high, but that's where the similarities end.

Skogafoss is 82 feet (about 25 meters) wide and demonstrates the immense power of Iceland's rivers. Seljalandsfoss is much narrower but has a cavern behind it where it's possible to stand behind the cascade. Visiting the cave in the winter is too slippery, but you can still enjoy the contrast between the two spectacular falls.

There are two optional tours that you can add to your trip today. The first is a glacier hike on the Solheimajokull glacier, which is ideal if you choose not to do this at the Skaftafell nature reserve or want to experience a different ice cap.

Alternatively, you can participate in an exhilarating snowmobiling tour on the Myrdalsjokull glacier to experience an ice cap in an exciting new way. You'll ride over the snow and ice at high speeds as you enjoy the jaw-dropping views around you.

After your excursion, you'll continue driving west to reach your accommodation in Southwest Iceland. It's a perfect starting point for tomorrow's trip around the Golden Circle sightseeing route.

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Day 13

Day 13 – Reykjavík

  • Reykjavík
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  • Kerid Crater
  • Gullfoss waterfall
  • Geysir geothermal area
  • Thingvellir National Park
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Today, you'll explore Iceland's most famous tourist route, the Golden Circle, which comprises three well-known attractions: Thingvellir National Park, the Geysir geothermal area in Haukadalur valley, and the Gullfoss waterfall.

Most people visit the Golden Circle from Reykjavik, starting at Thingvellir National Park and continuing to Geysir and the Gullfoss waterfall. You'll do the route in reverse, meaning you'll likely see fewer people and can make the most of your time at the attractions.

On your way to the Gullfoss waterfall, you can visit the Secret Lagoon hot spring as an optional add-on. This geothermal spa is a quieter alternative to the Blue Lagoon. Surrounded by countryside scenery, it's a special place to soak and relax before you start your self-guided sightseeing tour.

The Gullfoss waterfall is one of Iceland's best-loved waterfalls, and it gives its name to the Golden Circle route — "Gullfoss" means "Golden Falls." It's a two-tiered waterfall with a total height of 105 feet (about 32 meters).

If you haven't had enough excitement, you can add a snowmobiling excursion to your day before you continue on the sightseeing route. An expert guide will take you onto the Langjokull glacier for an adrenaline-packed tour of a breathtaking ice cap.

The second "official" stop on the Golden Circle is the Haukadalur Valley, better known to most as the Geysir geothermal area. Geysir is no longer active, but it's still well known for giving its name to geysers worldwide. The nearby Strokkur geyser, however, erupts every few minutes, sending jets of boiling water high into the air.

Your final stop today is Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park is where the first Icelandic parliament was formed in 930 A.D., making it one of the country's most important historical sites. It's also a place of geological importance because it's between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates, which are slowly drifting apart.

You can look more closely at the tectonic activity by purchasing a snorkeling tour in the Silfra fissure. Participants need to be comfortable in the water and able to swim. The gorge is in the middle of the two plates and is filled with crystal-clear glacial meltwater.

After sightseeing, you'll drive to Reykjavik to check into your accommodation in the Icelandic capital.

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Day 14

Day 14 – Reykjavík

  • Reykjavík
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Spend your last full day in Iceland exploring the best attractions in Reykjavik.

After a busy day on the Golden Circle yesterday, you can take today at a more relaxed pace and discover the city on foot at your leisure. Alternatively, you can enjoy more excitement with a final optional tour to end your trip in style!

There's so much to see and do in Reykjavik, including museums, art galleries, exhibitions, and excellent shopping. Walk along the Laugavegur shopping street, the main cultural street in downtown Reykjavik. It's the perfect place to pick up souvenirs or grab a bite.

Reykjavik boasts excellent restaurants and is ideal for trying some traditional Icelandic food. Stop at a cafe to try some skyr, an Icelandic dairy product a bit like Greek yogurt. Other local delicacies include seafood and lamb, plus a few more unusual offerings, such as fermented shark or skate.

Many options are available for vegetarians or vegans, so don't worry if you have dietary restrictions.

Optional tours for your final full day in Iceland include an exciting helicopter ride. You'll fly over the city from Reykjavik Domestic Airport and take in the bird's-eye view of the nearby geothermal valleys and plateaus.

Alternatively, you can take a horseback riding tour to make a new furry friend. Icelandic horses are one of the country's most iconic animals, known for their muscular bodies, friendly demeanors, and distinctive gaits.

Your third tour option for the day is an exhilarating journey to the heart of Thrihnukagigur volcano. Descend into a dormant magma chamber, a vibrant and colorful spectacle that is truly one-of-a-kind in the world. This adventure, often described as a surreal and once-in-a-lifetime experience, allows visitors to witness the raw, untamed beauty of Iceland's geological wonders up close.

You can spend the evening bar hopping and making the most of the city's excellent nightlife. Many Reykjavik bars offer great deals at happy hour, and you can try local craft beers. If you prefer, you could drive out of the city to the surrounding countryside and see if you can spot the northern lights one last time.

After a brilliant day, you'll return to your accommodation in downtown Reykjavik for a final night in the land of fire and ice.

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Day 15

Day 15 – Reykjavík

  • Reykjavík - Departure day
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  • Kleifarvatn
  • Krýsuvík
  • Gunnuhver
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Enjoy your last few hours in Iceland by exploring more of Reykjavik or relaxing in the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa.

After two action-packed weeks, it's time to say goodbye to Iceland. Depending on your flight's departure time, you can spend the morning visiting any final sights in Reykjavik or head straight to the airport.

In Reykjavik's vibrant heart, many unique experiences await you. Feel the pulse of Icelandic culture at the weekend Kolaportid Flea Market, where you can hunt for local gems and artisan products.

For a serene escape in the city, visit the idyllic Grotta Island Lighthouse, a popular spot for witnessing a mesmerizing sunset and possibly catching the northern lights.

Or, engage with Iceland's rich literary history at the Culture House, where a stunning display of medieval manuscripts is housed. 

If you didn't visit the Blue Lagoon on your first day, you can organize your ticket for today. Soaking in the geothermal waters and reflecting on your time in the land of fire and ice is an excellent way to round off your adventure.

When ready, return the rental car to the airport and go to the departure gate. We wish you a safe journey home and hope to see you again in Iceland soon!

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What to bring

Warm, waterproof clothing
Sturdy hiking shoes
Hat, gloves, and scarf
Driver's license
Luggage
Passport
Refillable water bottle
Camera and charger
Swimsuit and towel

Good to know

Self-drive tours begin either in Reykjavik City or at Keflavik International Airport. A valid driver's license is required, along with at least one year of on-road experience. Please be aware that your itinerary may be rearranged to better suit your arrival date and time. Gravel protection is not included if you choose a Toyota Aygo or similar.

The northern lights are a natural phenomenon and, therefore, cannot be guaranteed, but this itinerary is designed to maximize your chances of seeing them if weather conditions allow.

Those who opt to go snorkeling must be comfortable in the water and able to swim, and must present medical documents before snorkeling or diving.

In cases of extreme weather, certain activities can be canceled at short notice. If this happens, we'll assist you with rearranging or replacing the activity. Any potential price difference will be refunded to you. Please note that this tour is available to book from September to May, but the ice caves are only accessible between November and March.

Icelandic roads and pavements can be slippery in the winter. We recommend bringing shoes with slip-resistant soles or ice-grip shoe covers, which you can purchase in many supermarkets and gas stations around Iceland.

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