3 Day Winter Self Drive Tour of Iceland
Book this 3-day self-drive tour to explore Icelandic hot springs, geothermal areas, and the Northern Lights! This tour is for anyone who hears the call of the open road.
As a self-drive tour, you and your travel companions will decide where to go, how long to stay, and when to leave. There's no need to rush through an afternoon along the south coast, no clock-watching while splashing in the Blue Lagoon.
Find a full itinerary of your days below. This tour has plenty of relaxing soaks in hot springs planned, so don't be afraid to take the time just for you. This is the perfect place to reconnect with the outdoors. You can take a hike through uncharted lands, enjoy the volcanic landscape ripped apart by eruptions and floods, and spend time doing exactly what you like.
In three days, you can discover Iceland's most famous attractions, the Golden Circle and the Blue Lagoon, as well as other lesser-known attractions. You'll have plenty of time to enjoy the hot springs, explore the landscape and (hopefully) see the Northern Lights.
There are plenty of museums, galleries, and shops for you to investigate. If you find yourself with extra time, stroll down the Old Harbor by Harpa Concert Hall, where fishing tours, whale watching trips, and puffin tours regularly leave from the docks in the heart of the city.
No matter what you choose to do, we know you're coming to Iceland to bask in the flawless beauty of nature, not to be trapped by the noise and crowds of the city streets. To help you make the most of your stay, we've created a unique itinerary to show you not only the most well-known spots but also some of the spectacular features known only to the locals. You'll be able to explore Iceland in virtual solitude and really relax.
Let us take care of you with a quick stop in Iceland! Check availability by choosing a date.
Day 1 - Arrival - Blue Lagoon and Reykjanes Peninsula
Pick up your car at the airport and start exploring the geothermal areas at Reykjanes peninsula straight away! Unless you want to start by dropping your bags off in Reykjavík, you can take a detour on the way there by going towards Gunnuhver geothermal area. On the way, you can make a stop at the Bridge between continents, a walking bridge that separates America from Europe!
Gunnuhver is an impressively colorful geothermal area filled with bubbling muddy hot springs. After admiring the hot springs, you can head towards the Blue Lagoon, where you can enter the water and feel all your stress melt away in the nice, warm water. The Blue Lagoon stays hot all year round and is especially lovely to soak in during wintertime, even if it is snowing!
After a rejuvenating soak in the lagoon, take the scenic route through Krýsuvík, making a stop at Seltún geothermal area before reaching Reykjavík, where you will be spending the night. You'll be staying in the center of the city, with plenty of nice restaurants, cafés, bars, and shops within walking distance.
If the skies are clear, remember to look out for the Northern Lights - check the aurora forecast and drive a little out of the city to escape the city lights for a better view.
Day 2 - Golden Circle and the Secret Lagoon
Drive the Golden Circle and end your day with a soak in the Secret Lagoon!
Start by driving through Þingvellir national park, a UNESCO heritage site famous for its beautiful nature and rich history. Continue towards Geysir geothermal area, where the geyser Strokkur spouts water 66 ft (20m) high up in the air, every 5-10 minutes!
Nearby is the waterfall Gullfoss, the Golden Waterfall, that lends its name to the Golden Circle. This impressive waterfall is by many considered one of Iceland's most beautiful waterfalls.
After all that driving and sightseeing, what's better than to soak and float in a hot lagoon? Drive towards Flúðir, where you will find the Secret Lagoon, surrounded by natural hot springs.
The pool itself stays around 38-40°C all year round, and although the basin structure is man-made (it's actually the oldest pool in Iceland, from 1891!), its hot water comes straight from the ground and the nearby hot springs.
The best way to admire the Northern Lights would surely be from floating in a hot lagoon!
After an eventful but relaxing day, return to Reykjavík for another night in the city center.
Day 3 - Hike to Reykjadalur or Drive the South Coast
Choose between hiking to a warm river in Reykjadalur or driving the south coast to admire more waterfalls for your last day.
The hike to Reykjadalur should only be attempted if the weather is good and the roads are clear. If there is a lot of snow, you won't be able to see the path, and the route can be dangerous due to all of the hot springs along the way, which can create muddy conditions.
If there is no snow on the ground and you are dressed warmly with good hiking boots, the route is beautiful. The warm river at the end is very much worth the 1.5-hour long hike!
If there's a lot of snow and conditions aren't good for the hike, then alternatively, you can drive along the south coast towards the gorgeous waterfalls Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss. Right next to Seljalandsfoss is another stunning waterfall called Gljúfrabúi, hidden inside a cave.
If you haven't had your fill of soaking in hot water, then you can drive towards Seljavallalaug, a warm pool located on the side of a mountain. From the parking lot, there's a short 10-15 minute walk to the pool.
After your last soak, drive back to the airport for your flight home.
What to bring
Good to know
Self-drive tours begin either in Reykjavík City or at Keflavik International Airport. A valid driver's license is required, along with a one-year-long on-road experience. Please be aware that your itinerary may be rearranged to better fit with your arrival date and time.
Some optional activities might require you to have a valid driver's license, or you might need to send additional information to your travel planner. Please note that you might need to present medical documents should you choose to go snorkeling or diving.
The Northern Lights are a natural phenomenon, and therefore cannot be guaranteed, but this itinerary is designed to maximize your chances to see them if the weather allows.
It can happen, in the case of extreme weather, that an activity is canceled. If your chosen activity is canceled, we will assist you with rearranging or booking other activities when possible, and any potential price difference will be refunded to you. Please note that the ice caves are only accessible from October to March each year.
This self-drive is set to take place in wintertime. Conditions in Iceland can vary greatly during that season. Snow and ice are commonplace, and Iceland has limited daylight hours. Please consider your ability to drive in winter conditions before booking this tour. If you feel insecure about driving in these conditions, we recommend a package tour instead.
Note that Icelandic roads and pavements can be slippery in the wintertime. We recommend you bring shoes with slip-resistant soles or ice-grip shoe covers. The covers can be purchased in most supermarkets and gas stations around the country.
See our accommodation levels below and our preferred accommodation partners under each day in the daily itinerary.
Super budget level accommodations will be arranged in hostel dorm beds. For other levels, bookings for one person will be arranged in single rooms, and bookings for two or more people will share a twin/double or triple room(s).
Teenagers and children will be arranged in the same room with parents. If additional room(s) is needed, additional costs will incur.
Guide to Iceland will provide you with the best available accommodation at the time of your booking from our preferred partners. Please keep in mind that hotel quality in Iceland varies among locations and availability is highly limited. If our preferred partners are fully booked at the time of your booking, we will find another suitable accommodation for you of similar level.
Please note that not all locations offer quality level accommodation. Comfort level accommodation will be arranged at those particular locations, which is reflected in the quality level upgrade price.
We always do our best to accommodate special requests, which may incur additional costs. Press choose a date to find availability.
Dormitory beds with shared bathrooms in guesthouses or hostels. Located in the region of the best attractions. Breakfast is not included.
Rooms with shared bathrooms in farmhouses, guesthouses or hostels, with good locations near the best attractions. Breakfast is not included.
Rooms with a private bathroom in three star hotels or quality guesthouses. Very close to the best attractions at each location. Breakfast is included.
Rooms with a private bathroom in a four star hotel or superior rooms in a quality three star hotel at the best locations in Iceland. Breakfast is included.
Below you can see the car rental options available for this self-drive tour.
All our vehicles are new or current models, of maximum 2 years of age. Super Budget levels come with standard CDW insurance, while all other levels also include Gravel Protection (GP) insurance. Please note that off-road driving is illegal for all types of cars.
All levels come equipped with free Wi-fi. You can enjoy unlimited data with the Wi-Fi device, which can be connected to up to 10 devices at once. The car rental will provide 24-hour roadside emergency services.
Age requirement for each level can be found below. For all levels, the driver must possess a valid driving license for at least one year before the date of the rental.
We recommend Budget 4X4 level for summer driving and Comfort 4X4 for winter driving.
A small 2WD vehicle such as Toyota Aygo or similar, fit for basic travelling in everyday conditions. Compact and comfortable for up to 2 travellers with very little luggage. No highland capabilities. The driver must be of 20 years of age or above.
A basic 2WD vehicle, such as a Toyota Yaris or similar, suitable for travelling in everyday conditions. Comfortable for 3 travellers with light luggage. This vehicle does not have highland capabilities. The driver must be of 20 years of age or above.
A basic 4WD (4X4) jeep or SUV such as a Dacia Duster or similar. Comfortably fit up to 3 travellers with 2 large pieces of luggage. Fit for most travel and decent for snow and off-asphalt driving. Has basic highland capabilities. The driver must be of 20 years of age or above.
A medium-sized 4WD (4x4) jeep or SUV such as a Toyota Rav4 (automatic) and Suzuki Vitara (manual), or similar. Comfortably fit up to 4 travelers with 3 large pieces of luggage. Fit for most travel and good for snow and off-asphalt driving. Has basic highland capabilities. The driver must be of 21 years of age or above.
A large 4WD jeep such as a Toyota Land Cruiser or similar. Comfortable for up to 4 travellers with 4 large pieces of luggage. Fit for nearly all travelling. Has full highland capabilities to drive on accessible mountain roads. The driver must be of 21 years of age or above.
A large 9-seater van such as a Mercedes Benz Vito or similar. Comfortable for 5 to 7 travelers. If seated full, luggage space is limited. The driver must be of 23 years of age or above.