Guided 5 Day Northern Lights Winter Adventure on Iceland’s South Coast with Ice Caving
Embark on a 5-day winter adventure in Iceland. This tour is tailored to those who want to see as much as possible, in the shortest amount of time, mixing in a guided tour with the flexibility of driving yourself.
This is a journey of all the best attractions and activities that Iceland’s winter landscapes have to offer, such as bathing in the Blue Lagoon, exploring a natural ice cave inside a glacier, visiting stunning waterfalls and impressive black sand beaches, downtime in Reykjavík, spouting geyser and two national parks. And on clear nights, the Northern Lights might appear in the sky above you.
And if that isn’t enough, you can add extra activities when booking to make your Iceland getaway complete. While you make your way around the Golden Circle, give yourself an adrenaline rush on a snowmobile tour across the glacier, go horseback riding in a geothermal valley or snorkel between two continents in a national park!
If you’re keen to drive in Iceland but unsure about doing so in the icy conditions of wintertime, then this package is made for you.
First, you’ll be picked up from the airport and dropped off at a select hotel in the city centre, before embarking on a 2-day guided tour of south Iceland. After getting to know Iceland a little, and becoming accustomed to the weather and the roads in the safe hands of your driver, you’ll be provided with a rental car for your second to last day so you can explore the Golden Circle on your own.
The Golden Circle is close to Reykjavík, so you don’t have to venture too far, and the whole way is paved. There are plenty of gas stations and small towns in the area where you could get assistance should you run into any trouble.
Reserve now to guarantee your spot on this ideal tour for those who like comfort and a bit of adventure. Check the booking availability by choosing a date.
Day 1 - Arrival & Welcome
You’ll be picked up from the airport and transferred to Reykjavík, where you can check into a lovely hotel in the city centre. A visit to the Blue Lagoon spa is included in this package, and you can choose between starting your visit to Iceland by soaking in the warm, milky-blue waters on your way from the airport to Reykjavík, or leaving it to the last day before you return home. If you head there on your first day, then it’s the perfect way to relax after your flight - and if you’re there when it gets dark you might even spot the northern lights dancing above you!
Alternatively, you’ll have a free day in Reykjavík to explore this northernmost capital of the world, with all its cafés, museums, restaurants, designer shops, street art, galleries, theatres and colourful architecture! Go to the top of Hallgrímskirkja church for a view of the whole city, grab a hot cuppa in one of Reykjavík’s cafés, or visit Harpa Concert Hall and admire its architecture.
You can stroll through the old harbour area, dine in one of Reykjavík’s trendy restaurants and pop into the Tourist Information Centre to find out about any live entertainment for the evening. If it’s a clear winter night sky, then you can go on a complimentary Northern Lights tour, with the choice of going on either a bus or a boat trip. Remember to get a good night’s sleep for the next day’s adventure!
Day 2 - Tour to Jökulsárlón
Today, you’ll start a two-day guided tour of the south coast of Iceland.
For a limited time, however, it is possible to start your day with an awe-inspiring helicopter journey over the volcanic eruption at Fagradalsfjall. Those seeking to start their holiday with a life-changing experience that personifies the majesty of the Land of Ice and Fire should not miss this chance. You’ll lift off from Reykjavik’s Domestic Airport, marvel over the capital’s features and nature from above, before crossing the Reykjanes Peninsula to the beautiful, primordial eruption site. After circling it a few times, you’ll even make a landing to admire it from a new angle.
After you're back, you’ll hop on a minibus that will take you all along Iceland’s stunning south coast. You’ll be making stops at the stunning waterfalls Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss, and the awe-inspiring but dangerous black sandy beach Reynisfjara (watch out for the unpredictable waves!) You'll visit Skaftafell Nature Reserve and finally spend some time at the spectacular glacier lagoon Jökulsárlón.
The glacier lagoon is gigantic, and always expanding as more ice crumbles into it from the nearby glacier.
Please be careful around the icebergs floating in the lagoon - do not try to walk onto the icebergs for a photo, as they can easily turn over and you'll end up in the freezing cold lake! To pose next to the icebergs, you can simply walk over to the nearby Diamond Beach, where the ice is thrown onto the black sand by the waves of the Atlantic Ocean.
On this day you’ll get the chance to admire countless waterfalls, volcanoes, glaciers, beaches, mossy fields, and mountains. And if the conditions are right, your guide will tell you what to look for when spotting the Northern Lights.
You’ll spend the night in a hotel near the glacier lagoon or Skaftafell Nature Reserve.
Day 3 - One-of-a-Kind Ice Cave Tour
An ice cave visit is what today has in store for you! To get to the ice cave, you’ll be boarding a modified Superjeep that will cross the glacier to the opening of the cave. The glacier caves vary in size, shape, and location each year but they always have the same stunning blue ice forming walls and roof. You’ll be walking inside a glacier with ice that’s hundreds of years old!
You’ll be provided with crampons to get a grip on the icy surface, but remember to bring good hiking boots to put them on. You will also get a helmet, but you need to bring the warm clothes to wear yourself!
Your guide knows the area like the back of his hand and can tell you about the wonders, and the dangers, of the glacier and the ice caves.
Every ice cave melts and collapses each summer, meaning that each cave is unique, adding to its wonder!
You’ll have about 45 minutes inside the cave before returning to the glacier lagoon to admire it in the afternoon daylight. Afterwards, you’ll make your way back to Reykjavík along the south coast, pausing on the way if the Aurora shows up.
You’ll spend your night in Reykjavík.
Day 4 - The Golden Circle
Today, you’ll be driving Iceland’s most famous route, the Golden Circle. It’s a short route, only around 230 km, and the drive itself takes about 3 hours. However, you’ll be wanting to make plenty of stops along the way, and you can easily turn this into a full day tour, especially if you choose to add an extra optional activity.
You’ll pick up your car at your hotel in the early morning, and then have the whole day to explore!
The first place you’ll want to stop at is Þingvellir National Park. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is rich with history, culture, and beauty - but it's mostly famous for its geological location. This is where two tectonic plates meet on land (something that usually happens underneath the sea), and you’ll be able to see how the land is formed with your own eyes.
This is also where Iceland’s largest lake is situated, its crystal clear waters making it one of the world’s most desirable scuba diving and snorkelling sites. You have the option to go snorkelling here if you like!
Secondly, you’ll want to stop at Geysir geothermal area, where you’ll find some bubbling hot pots and one spouting geyser called Strokkur. The original geyser, the Great Geysir, no longer erupts but Strokkur keeps up the excitement by erupting 20-30 m (65-100 ft) up in the air every few minutes!
The third stop is at Gullfoss waterfall, or the "Golden Falls," which the circle draws its name from. This mighty waterfall tumbles down in two tiers into an impressive gorge. On sunny days, it’s always accompanied by a rainbow or two and in wintertime, it’s surrounded by blocks of glittering ice.
From Gullfoss, you may add an optional snowmobile tour on the nearby glacier Langjökull. You’d be picked up from the Gullfoss parking lot where you'd leave your car, as the drive up to the glacier needs to be in a modified Superjeep! After an hour of whizzing over the snowy glacier, you’re returned to the Gullfoss parking lot.
Before you set out on your adventures today, you have an incredible opportunity that will forever define your impression of Iceland: a 1-hour helicopter tour over the Geldinadalur volcanic eruption. You’ll depart from Reykjavik Domestic Airport, and after admiring the colourful capital and barren Reykjanes Peninsula from above, make your way to this breathtaking phenomenon. Few adventures can compare to witnessing fire and lava rupture from the earth from such an all-encompassing perspective, and this one even includes a short landing by the site!
Finally, on your way back you can make a stop by the crater Kerið, a maroon crater with a gorgeous blue lake in its bottom. There’s a small entrance fee to the crater, which is used to maintain its surrounding walking paths, so make the most of it and go for a walk around the whole crater.
If snorkelling or snowmobiling don’t take your fancy, then it’s also possible to book a short horseback riding tour on this day.
Day 5 - Departure & Goodbye to Iceland!
On your last day, you still have the car, and will use it to drive to the airport where you’ll drop it off before your flight. If you have an afternoon or evening flight, you can spend the first part of the day leisurely taking in the sights of Reykjavík or doing some shopping.
If you didn’t go to the Blue Lagoon on your first day, you could drive there on your way to the airport.
You'd be well-advised to make the most of it and explore the Blue Lagoon’s vicinity by driving around the Reykjanes peninsula, making a stop in the geothermal areas of Krýsuvík, or visiting the small towns of Grindavík and Keflavík.
Just make sure you have enough time to return the car and check in - we wouldn’t want you to miss your flight!
We hope you had a wonderful time! Come back soon!
What to bring
Good to know
Please be aware that your itinerary may be rearranged to better fit with your arrival date and time. A valid driver's license is required
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.
Accommodation in Reykjavik
See our accommodation levels below. Single person bookings will be arranged in a single room, while bookings of 2 or more people will share twin/double room(s) or triple room(s). If you are traveling in a group, but prefer a single room, please make separate bookings. For multi-day guided tours, accommodation cannot be upgraded and the levels below do not apply. We always do our best to accommodate special requests, which may incur additional costs.
Rooms with a private bathroom at three-star hotels such as Fosshótel Barón, or quality guesthouses. Located in the city center or in close vicinity. Breakfast is included.
Rooms at four-star design hotels in the city center with a private bathroom at the absolute best locations downtown such as Hotel Alda. Breakfast is included.
Are you looking to try some of the best dishes Iceland’s top restaurants have to offer? You can now add delicious meals to your booking without having to research where to find them.
Select this option to include dinner every night as an extra, and we’ll provide you with vouchers as part of your booking confirmation. We’ll choose the top-rated restaurants that fit with your vacation itinerary and make your reservations for you.
Your server will offer you a set menu of two to three courses at the restaurant, from which you can choose meat, fish, or vegetarian options. If you prefer to try a different dish, the meal voucher will act as a credit that you can redeem at the restaurant against menu items that are not part of the set menu.
Save time and effort during your vacation, and let us take care of your meals for you. Choose the meal option today so you’ll be guaranteed to eat well on your forthcoming trip.
Please notify the restaurant on arrival about any dietary requirements. Vouchers are non-refundable.
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 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.