5 Day Winter Adventure | Guided South Coast Tour and Golden Circle Self-Drive

5 Day Winter Adventure | Guided South Coast Tour and Golden Circle Self-Drive
On this 5-day winter excursion you will see not only the Golden Circle but also all of the winders along the South Coast including Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon and an ice cave.
Vividly coloured aurora borealis make the winter landscapes of Iceland all the more beautiful in summer.
Ice caving is a thrilling winter activity that groups can partake in if travelling to south-east Iceland in winter.
The winter sky behind Strokkur becomes is beautiful throughout the short daylight hours.
Even at the start of winter, Þingvellir National Park is verdent due to the moss and shrubs over its lava fields.
The geological wonders of the South Coast, such as the Reynisdrangar seastacks, are frosted with snow in the winter.
Based on 1 traveller reviews

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.

Quick facts

Tour information:
  • Available: Nov. - Mar.
  • Duration: 5 days
  • Activities: Snorkelling, Whale Watching, Sightseeing, Northern lights hunting, Ice Caving, Self drive
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Minimum age: 8 years.
  • Languages: English
  • Attractions: Blue Lagoon, Golden Circle, West Iceland , Reykjavík, Jökulsárlón, Hvítá River, Skógafoss, Seljalandsfoss, Geysir, Gullfoss, Eyjafjallajökull, Dyrhólaey, Þingvellir, Katla, Strokkur, Reykjanes, Sólheimajökull, Mýrdalsjökull, Skaftafell, Silfra, Sólheimasandur, Þingvallavatn, Höfn, Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach, Langjökull, Kleifarvatn, Hallgrímskirkja, Vík í Mýrdal, Hvolsvöllur, Kerið, Keflavik International Airport, Fjaðrárgljúfur, Kirkjubæjarklaustur, Reynisdrangar, Öxarárfoss, Skaftafellsjökull, Fjallsárlón, Seljavallalaug, South Coast, Diamond Beach
Pickup information:
  • Pickup time : Flexible.

  • Airport transfer on arrival

  • 3 nights of accommodation in Reykjavik (different levels available; breakfast included for Comfort and Quality levels; more detailed info below)

  • Blue Lagoon comfort entrance (upgrade to premium level available)

  • South Coast 2-day minibus tour with ice caving

  • 1 night of accommodation in a country hotel in Vatnajokull National Park during the 2-day south coast tour (breakfast included, private bathroom depending on availability)

  • Detailed Itinerary with fun and practical information on the nature, history and culture of Iceland

  • Hands-on travel agent to oversee your itinerary

  • A 4WD vehicle for one day - Toyota Rav4 4x4 or similar

  • CDW, SCDW and gravel protection insurance for vehicle

  • GPS System

  • Lunch

  • Dinner

What to bring:
  • Camera

  • Swimsuit

  • Warm clothes

  • Winter hiking shoes

  • Good waterproof outer layers

  • Driver's license

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.

Daily itinerary

Day 1 - Arrival & Welcome

The Reykjanes Peninsula joins Iceland's international airport and capital, and is a great introduction to Iceland.

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!

Preferred accommodation in Reykjavík

Reykjavík Comfort

The Fosshótel chain has four 3-4 star Hotels located in and around the city center of Reykjavík. There is a short walk from all of the hotels to attractions, cafés, restaurants, museums and the nightlife. All offer private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.

Reykjavík Quality

Alda Hotel is a 4 star hotel situated on Laugavegur, Reykjavík's main shopping street in the city centre. Private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free access to a fitness room with a sauna and a hot tub. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.

Day 2 - Tour to Jökulsárlón

This 5 Day Winter Adventure takes you to Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon.

Today, you’ll start a two-day guided tour of the south coast of Iceland. 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.

Preferred accommodation by Skaftafell

Skaftafell Comfort

Hotel Geirland is a 3 star hotel located in the countryside 2 kilometres away from Kirkjubæjarklaustur. Private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.

Skaftafell Quality

Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon is a 4 star hotel located right between Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon and Skaftafell Nature Reserve. Private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Ocean or mountain views. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.

Day 3 - One-of-a-Kind Ice Cave Tour

In winter, you can explore the interior of an ice cave on Iceland's South Coast.

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.

Preferred accommodation in Reykjavík

Reykjavík Comfort

The Fosshótel chain has four 3-4 star Hotels located in and around the city center of Reykjavík. There is a short walk from all of the hotels to attractions, cafés, restaurants, museums and the nightlife. All offer private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.

Reykjavík Quality

Alda Hotel is a 4 star hotel situated on Laugavegur, Reykjavík's main shopping street in the city centre. Private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free access to a fitness room with a sauna and a hot tub. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.

Day 4 - The Golden Circle

Visit Gullfoss waterfall during winter and see this mighty force of nature cascade through the frozen landscapes of southwest Iceland.

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.

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!

Reykjavík, the northernmost capital of the world, turns into a true winter wonderland during the year's coldest months.

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!

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.


Below you can see the car rental options available for this self-drive tour. All our vehicles are new or current models, maximum two years of age, and come equipped with a GPS, CDW, GP and SCDW insurances. You can also upgrade to an automatic model. All cars have winter tyres. For all winter driving, we highly recommend a Comfort level 4x4 vehicle or Luxury 4x4 to combat possible heavy winter conditions.


A small 2WD vehicle fit for basic travelling in everyday conditions, such as VW Polo, Toyota Yaris or similar.

Comfort 4X4

A medium sized jeep or SUV with 4WD (4x4) fit for most travel, and good for snow and off-asphalt travel, such as Toyota Rav4 or similar.

Luxury 4x4

A large sized jeep with 4WD (4x4) such as Toyota Land Cruiser or similar, fit for nearly all traveling.


You can now add meals to your booking.
Select to include dinner on every night as an optional extra, and we will provide you with vouchers as part of your booking confirmation. We will choose from top-rated restaurants that fit with your vacation itinerary and make your reservations for you.
At the restaurant, you will be offered a set menu, from which you can choose from meat, fish or vegetarian options. If you would prefer something else, the voucher will act as a credit that you can redeem at the restaurant against menu items that are not part of the set menu.
Please notify the restaurant on arrival about any dietary requirements.
Vouchers are non-refundable.

Cancellation Insurance

This insurance guarantees that you can cancel tour and package bookings and receive a full refund, minus the insurance cost of 5,000 ISK per person.

The cancellation must be made more than 48 hours before the listed starting time on your voucher. To cancel your booking and claim your refund, simply contact info@guidetoiceland.is and declare full cancellation.

Please note that this insurance covers the cancellation of the whole tour or package. Individual services cannot be cancelled and refunded separately, but are all covered and refunded in case of a full cancellation.


Verified reviews

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We had a great time on our 5 day tour. The places we visited were all the "hot spots" in Iceland and the itinerary was sure to hit them all. There were a few logistical issues with the car rental place both on the pick-up and drop off. Our guide for the 2 day drive south was great. He gave the history of the places while also allowing for you to take in the sights in silence. The bus was comfortable for this long journey. Make sure to note that the drive south is approximately 7 hours without stopping so the way out with stops and weather takes about 12 hours. The driver stopped for sightseeing and food/bathroom breaks often to break up the trip. The weather changes quickly and drastically with road closures happening with short notice so it was nice to have a guide who was familiar with the roads, the weather, and the people of Iceland. The ice cave tour was very cool, as were the waterfalls, the lagoon, the black sand beach, and diamond beach. The accommodations were nice hotels with only one being quite a ways outside of downtown which made it difficult to get into town without taking a cab which was expensive for a short trip. Overall the experience was a great one in Iceland, and we are looking forward to coming back to explore in the summer months!
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