6-day Northern Lights Self-drive Tour | Road Trip Around Reykjavik

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Perfect travel plan
Fully customizable
Tour starts
Keflavík International Airport (KEF), Reykjanesbær, Iceland, Flexible
Duration:
6 days
Available:
Sep. - Apr.

Experience the magic and fun of Iceland with this 6-day self drive tour, based in Reykjavik. See the most impressive sights the country has to offer on an adventure everyone can enjoy. This itinerary is perfect for individuals, couples and family groups who want to see it all while having plenty of time to hunt for the Northern Lights.

Your dream vacation will begin as soon as you arrive in Iceland. Your car, accommodation and additional tours will all be taken care of before your arrival, so the only thing you need to do when you get to the arrival lounge is enjoy the adventure.

You will be based in Reykjavik for this 6-day holiday, which means you don’t have to worry about hotel changes throughout your trip. This makes the journey even more comfortable especially if you are travelling as a family.

From your home base in Iceland’s capital, you will visit the most incredible locations the country has to offer. You will see the Golden Circle, Iceland’s most popular tourist route. In the Golden Circle, you will visit Thingvellir National Park, the Geysir Geothermal Area and Gullfoss waterfall.

You will explore the enchanting South Coast, known for its pristine coastline of volcanic black sand beaches, magical sea cliffs, glaciers and waterfalls like Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss.

You will also visit the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, a part of Western Iceland that has inspired authors, artists and filmmakers for centuries.

There are plenty of opportunities to add extra adventures to your stay during the booking process. You could spend some time relaxing in the mineral-rich waters of the world-famous Blue Lagoon Spa. You could choose to go snorkelling between tectonic plates in crystal clear water at the Silfra Fissure. You could feel the exhilaration of snowmobiling on a glacier. You could also go whale watching, explore an ice cave, descend into the belly of a lava tunnel and much more.

You will also have plenty of free time in Reykjavik to soak up the sights and sounds of this vibrant city, and of course, lots of time in the evening to take your car out in the search for the Northern Lights.

Have an adventure this winter visiting some of the most impressive places in the world. Don’t miss the chance to make your dream winter vacation a reality. Pick a date to check availability.

Included

5 nights of accommodation (different levels available; more details below)
Vehicle for 6 days (Toyota Aygo or similar. Upgrades available)
CDW insurance for super budget level vehicle; other levels also include SCDW and gravel protection insurances
GPS system
Detailed Itinerary with fun and practical information on the nature, history and culture of Iceland
Personal travel agent
Taxes

Activities

Hiking
Sightseeing
Northern lights hunting
Hot Spring Bathing
Self drive

Attractions

Blue Lagoon
Golden Circle
Reykjavík
Jökulsárlón
Snæfellsjökull
Skógafoss
Seljalandsfoss
Geysir
Gullfoss
Dyrhólaey
Þingvellir
Strokkur
Snæfellsnes
Reykjanes
Sólheimajökull
Silfra
Sólheimasandur
Þríhnúkagígur
Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach
Hellnar
Langjökull
Arnarstapi
Hallgrímskirkja
Vík í Mýrdal
Kerið
Keflavik International Airport
Kirkjufell
Reynisdrangar
Djúpalónssandur
Ytri Tunga Beach
South Coast
Diamond Beach
DC3 Plane Wreck

Daily itinerary

Day 1
The Blue Lagoon Spa photographed in winter

Welcome to Iceland

Now your adventure begins.

As soon as you walk through the doors between the baggage claim and the arrivals lounge, you will be able to pick up your car.

As you continue your journey you will take in the moon-like landscape of the Reykjanes Peninsula, filled with lava rock and precious Icelandic moss.

You will then arrive in Reykjavik where the night is yours. You could head out for dinner, check out the glowing streets against a winter backdrop, or if conditions are good, you could go for a walk with your eyes towards the sky, in a hunt for the Northern Lights.

Day 2
Hallgrimskirkja church in the middle of the city of Reykjavik.

The World’s Most Northern Capital

Today is all about exploring the many wonders of the city of Reykjavik.

Although it is a smaller city when compared to other national capitals, Reykjavik is known for being a hub of activity. The city is thriving with art, culture, cuisine and history; and today is the perfect day to try to take as much of it in as possible.

Reykjavik is home to many museums and galleries, and you could easily spend the day travelling between them. You could begin your day with a walk around town. A great place to start is the Hallgrimskirkja Church.

This landmark in the centre of the city towers over Reykjavik at 74.5 metres. For a small fee, you can take an elevator ride to the top and get a 360-degree view of the world’s most northern capital.

If cuisine is what sparks joy for you, you could eat your way around the city. Reykjavik is home to a fantastic fusion of local and foreign dining to suit every budget. During the colder months, this is also the best chance to hang with the locals.

You could choose to visit the famous Blue Lagoon Spa. Situated on the Reykjanes peninsula, this world-class facility harnesses the power of geothermally heated water and turns it into one of the most relaxing experiences in the world.

At the Blue Lagoon, you will soak in bright blue, mineral-rich water that has untold benefits for the mind and body. If you are lucky enough to be there on a snowy day, you will experience the magic of snowflakes gently tumbling to the ground as you float comfortably in warm water.

If you are here before the end of October, you could also take a thrilling adventure into a volcano. In this experience, you will descend into the belly of the Thrihnukagigur magma chamber. This lava tunnel was created millennia ago when the lava from a volcanic eruption cooled.

Today this magma chamber is a cavernous underground cave, with an incredibly rich colour palette. This is also the only place in the world where you can experience such a natural wonder.

You can then spend the evening soaking up the warm lights of the city. Don’t forget to look to the skies for a chance to see the Auroras.

Day 3
Gullfoss Waterfall on Iceland's Golden Circle photographed in winter.

The Golden Circle

Today you will visit one of the most famous sightseeing routes in the country. The Golden Circle is on the top of almost everyone’s to-do list when visiting Iceland, and after today you will see why.

This sightseeing route is made up of three major attractions. The Golden Circle combines beauty, power and important history in a spectacular showcase.

The first stop today should be Thingvellir National Park. This UNESCO World Heritage Listed part of Iceland contains rocky cliff faces, sweeping plains, crystal clear rivers and perfect mountain vistas. Thingvellir was also the birthplace of the oldest democratically elected parliament in the world, the Althingi.

If you want some extra adventure on this day, you could opt to go snorkelling between tectonic plates.

Thingvellir sits on the point where the Eurasian and North American Tectonic Plates meet. In the middle of this meeting point is a body of water called the Silfra Fissure. Silfra is filled with water that has been filtered through lava rock for at least a hundred years. The result is a beautiful, crystal clear body of water that has become a popular spot for snorkelling. In this snorkelling tour, you will be fitted with a dry suit and all the necessary gear, then given a safety briefing. You will then enter the waters of Silfra. Because of the filtration process, the water temperature is a consistent 2 degrees Celcius all year round; your drysuit will protect you from the cold as well.

You will enjoy the underwater columns and walls as you swim through the magical waters that have visibility up to 100 metres.

The next stop will be the Gullfoss Waterfall. This giant’s name means ‘The Golden Falls,’ and cascades fast running water down 72 metres over two distinct steps. Visiting here, you will hear and feel the roar of this waterfall’s power.

You will then head to the Geysir Geothermal Area. This part of Iceland is an impressive demonstration of the volcanic activity that caused the nation to rise out of the sea millions of years ago. The landscape of this area is filled with colourful mineral deposits, cracked earth, craters and billowing fumaroles.

Geysir is also famous for its geysers; the most active of these is Strokkur. Strokkur bursts up to 20 metres in the air almost every 5 minutes. This spouting of hot water is always followed by an audible gasp of the impressed onlookers.

Today could also be a good day to hang with a different kind of local, the Icelandic Horse. These short, sturdy creatures have been isolated on this island for over 1000 years. Icelandic horses are known for being incredibly friendly and easy to ride for people of all abilities. Taking a horse riding tour will allow you to see the beautiful countryside in a completely different way.

If you want a bit of an adrenaline boost, you could choose to take a snowmobiling tour of Langjokull Glacier. In this experience, you will meet at a base camp where you’ll be fitted with safety gear, and briefed. Then you will take off along the crisp white expanse of the glacier.

If you would like to see some off-the-beaten-path areas, you could visit the Kerid Crater, a 6500-year-old volcanic crater. You could also grab your swimsuit and head to the secret lagoon in Fludir.

After a full day, you could rest at your accommodation, or you could take your car a little bit out of the city to hunt the Northern Lights if the conditions are right.

Day 4
The Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach photographed in winter.

The South Coast

Today you will explore the many attractions of Iceland’s South Coast. This is a part of the country that has become popular with visitors because of its black sand beaches, waterfalls, mountains, glaciers and ocean views.

An excellent first stop is Seljalandsfoss Waterfall. Seljalandsfoss falls a steep 60 metres over the mouth of a rocky enclave. During winter, some parts of the waterfall freeze completely transforming this location into a winter landscape that could be the setting of a fantasy novel.

A little bit further down the coast is Skogafoss. This waterfall is as tall as Seljalandsfoss but has an entirely different look to it. Skogafoss falls on to the almost flat ground. The waters rushing from Skogafoss are so mighty they rarely stop running in winter. There’s nearly always a magnificent spray produced, which with enough sunlight can create glorious rainbows.

As you continue, you will eventually pass Solheimajokull Glacier. If you would like to feel like an arctic explorer, you can choose to hike on this outlet glacier. For this extraordinary experience, you will meet your guide at their basecamp. Once you have gone through the safety procedures and geared up, you will then ascend the ice.

Once you are on top of the glacier, you will have plenty of time to take in the impressive views and capture photos of this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Another detour you could take is to visit a human-made attraction on the South Coast. In 1973 a US Navy plane crashed into the barren lava fields of Solheimasandur. All the passengers survived, and the aircraft was abandoned. Today the remains of this DC3 plane are still sitting there. You can choose to take a shuttle out to the plane wreck. This is a relatively new service and cuts the time to get to the wreck dramatically. It used to be an almost 3-hour round trip to walk, but now it takes just 15 minutes there and back with the shuttle service from the car park.

The next place worth checking out is the Dyrholaey Sea Arch. This area is known for is cliff faces that overlook the ocean and black sand shores. Not far from here is the Reynisfjara Black Sand beach with it’s crashing waves, unusual sea stacks and naturally formed hexagonal basalt rock columns.

The next hub is the seaside village of Vik. This is a great place to stop for a bite to eat and stretch your legs. The town faces the sea and has its own small black sand beach and a cute church that sits on a hill.

From Vik, you can also choose to enter the mysterious world of the ice caves. Ice caves form during the regular melt and freeze cycles of glaciers. Each ice cave is different; they are as unique as fingerprints. In this adventure, you will be able to step inside one and see for yourself how exquisitely beautiful they are. The walls twist and turn like marbled crystal in blues and whites.

If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you could continue along the South Coast, all the way to Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon. This is the deepest glacier lake in Iceland. Jokulsarlon is filled with icebergs that have been born from a massive glacier. The icebergs float through the frigid waters of Jokulsarlon to the sea where some of them are washed ashore, resting on the black sand giving the beach a jewelled appearance and the affectionate name ‘The Diamond Beach.’

If you do choose to come to the far end of the south, make sure you give yourself enough time to get back to Reykjavik. There is less daylight in the winter months, but the countryside is a great place to go hunting for the Northern Lights.

You will retire again to your accommodation in Reykjavik.

Day 5
Kirkjufell Mountain in the west of Iceland, photographed in winter.

Iceland in Miniature

Today you will visit a place that has inspired people for centuries, the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. This part of Iceland has been nicknamed ‘Iceland in Miniature’ because so many of the varied landscapes of the country can be found here in a relatively small space.

A notable landmark in the area is Snaefellsjokull, a glacier that caps a volcano. This was the setting for the beginning of the Jules Verne novel ‘Journey to the Centre of the Earth.’

Snaefellsnes is also home to Mount Kirkjufell. This landmark is one of the most photographed places in Iceland and was also featured in the HBO television series ‘Game of Thrones’ as ‘The Mountain Shaped like an Arrow’s Head.’

There are many small villages in Snaefellsnes, each with their own unique charm, character and history. Be sure to check out places like Arnarstapi and Hellnar for some incredibly scenic views. There’s also the Ytri-Tunga beach which is known to be a popular resting place for local seals.

Another beach that’s a great stop in the area is Djupalonssandur. This black beach sits in an arch-shaped bay and was the final resting place of an English trawler in 1978. The remains of the ship are still scattered on the shore today.

Today could also give you the chance to get closer to sea life. From Snaefellsnes, you can choose to take a whale watching tour. You will board a boat and head out into the northern waters in search of these giant, friendly sea mammals.

Once you have taken in the mesmerising sights of Snaefellsnes, it will be time to head to your accommodation in Reykjavik for one final night. Be sure to check the Aurora forecast.

Day 6
An overhead image of Hallgrimskirja Church in downtown Reykjavik.

Farewell, see you soon

It’s your last day in Iceland. If you have an earlier flight, you can head straight to the airport in your car at your own pace. If you have a later flight, there’s still a lot of things you can do before you say goodbye.

This is the perfect opportunity to take one last trip around downtown Reykjavik. You could have a bite at your favourite place one last time. You could grab those last souvenirs or get some final pictures of the many buildings and monuments.

If you didn’t get a chance to earlier in your trip, you could choose to go into a volcano today. Exploring a magma chamber is a great final activity that is sure to leave you with incredible final memories of your stay.

For those who want the cherry on top experience, you could take a helicopter ride over the city. In this experience, you will leave from Reykjavik Domestic Airport and take flight over the nation’s capital. You will witness the colourful rooftops from above as you grasp the true scale and look of this fascinating city.

If you would love the experience of flight but aren’t too keen on leaving the ground, there’s another experience you could enjoy. FlyOver Iceland is an interactive ride that simulates flight to take you on a trip around Iceland. This new addition to the city is in the Grandi area, near Reykjavik Harbour, and combines incredible video with state of the art technology to give an unforgettable experience.

When you are ready, you will head to the airport and check-in. You will have experienced many things few could ever dream of, and we hope you had a pleasant stay, and that we see you again.

As they say in Icelandic Goða Ferð.

Map

What to bring

Warm Clothes
Camera
Swimsuit
Driver's license

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 need either 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 snorkelling. Although it is summertime, the Icelandic weather can be very unpredictable. Please bring appropriate clothing.

Accommodation

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.

Super Budget

Dormitory beds with shared bathrooms in guesthouses or hostels. Located in the region of the best attractions. Breakfast is not included.

Budget

Rooms with shared bathrooms in farmhouses, guesthouses or hostels, with good locations near the best attractions. Breakfast is not included.

Comfort

Rooms with a private bathroom in three star hotels or quality guesthouses. Very close to the best attractions at each location. Breakfast is included.

Quality

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.

Car

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), and Super Collision Damage Waiver (SCDW) insurances. Please note that off-road driving is illegal for all types of cars. All levels come equipped with a GPS and 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. In wintertime, all cars have winter tyres.

Super Budget 2WD

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.

Budget 2WD

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.

Budget 4x4

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.

Comfort 4x4

A medium sized 4WD (4x4) jeep or SUV such as a Toyota Rav4, or similar. Comfortably fit up to 4 travellers 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.

Luxury 4x4

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.

Van

A large 9-seater van such as a Renault Trafic (2WD manual), Mercedes Benz Vito (4WD automatic, has highland capabilities and better suited for winter driving), or similar. Comfortable for 5 to 7 travellers. If seated full, luggage space is limited. The driver must be of 23 years of age or above.

Cancellation Insurance

This insurance guarantees that you can cancel tour and package bookings and receive a full refund, minus the insurance cost. The cost of your cancellation insurance depends on the duration of your tour or package. A base cost of 5,000 ISK per person is applied to all tours and packages with a duration of 5 days or less. An additional 1,000 ISK per person will be added to the insurance cost for each day after. 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.

Meals

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.

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