Magical 6-Day Northern Lights Self-Drive Tour of Iceland with Road Trips from Reykjavik
Experience the magic and fun of Iceland with this six-day self-drive tour based in Reykjavik and see the country's most impressive sights 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. We'll do the hard work for you and organize a rental car, accommodation, and additional excursions, so the only thing you need to do is enjoy the adventure. There's no need to spend weeks planning your vacation or worrying about missing the best sights.
We'll also provide a detailed itinerary with information about the attractions you'll visit and your planned activities. You'll have 24/7 access to a personal travel agent who can help you with any aspect of your trip. Moreover, if your plans change at the last minute, you can cancel the trip for free up to 24 hours before your departure and receive a full refund.
You'll be based in Reykjavik for this top-rated tour, so you don't have to worry about changing hotels at any point. This makes the trip even more relaxing, especially if you're traveling as a family.
From your home base in Iceland's capital, you'll take day trips to some of Iceland's most incredible locations. You'll visit the Golden Circle, Iceland's most popular sightseeing route, consisting of Thingvellir National Park, the Geysir geothermal area, and the Gullfoss waterfall.
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 can also visit the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, an area of West Iceland that has inspired authors, artists, and filmmakers for centuries.
You also have free time in Reykjavik to go sightseeing and, of course, lots of time in the evenings to take your car out in search of the northern lights.
Booking a self-drive tour means you have the freedom and flexibility to take your time at each attraction. You won't need to wait for slow tour group members if you're ready to leave or rush off to the next sight if you want to stay longer.
There are also plenty of opportunities to enjoy extra adventures on your trip, which you can add during the booking process. Relax in the mineral-rich waters of the world-famous Blue Lagoon spa. Snorkel between tectonic plates in crystal-clear water at the Silfra Fissure. Zoom over a glacier on a snowmobile. You could also go whale watching, explore an ice cave, descend into the belly of a lava tunnel, and much more.
Have an Icelandic adventure this winter with this six-day self-drive tour based in Reykjavik. Check availability now by choosing a date.
Day 1 - Welcome to Iceland
Arrive in Iceland and let the adventure begin! Start your trip by exploring the Reykjanes Peninsula, walking the colorful streets of Reykjavik, or relaxing in the geothermal waters of the Blue Lagoon spa.
When your flight lands at Keflavik International Airport, you'll collect your rental car and start your journey into Reykjavik. On the way, you'll pass through the volcanic landscapes of the Reykjanes Peninsula, with views of mossy lava fields, the beautiful coastline, and distant mountains.
Before you leave the peninsula, you could stop at the Blue Lagoon spa for a relaxing soak in its geothermal waters. Your travel agent will help you book your entry ticket for the best time. If your flight lands in the evening, you can visit the spa another day instead.
The Blue Lagoon is one of Iceland's most famous sights. With healing geothermal waters and luxurious spa treatments, it's a fantastic place to start your trip to Iceland. Soak away the stresses of your flight and relax before you start sightseeing.
When you arrive in Reykjavik, you can check into your accommodation and drop off your bags. This will be your home for five nights, so you can unpack your belongings and get settled.
Now it's time to start sightseeing! Downtown Reykjavik is relatively easy to explore on foot, but there are bus routes if you prefer. Start by walking around the Old Harbor to enjoy coastal views and see the Harpa Concert Hall. You can also visit the Sun Voyager sculpture and the Einar Jonsson Sculpture Garden to see some art.
Other famous sights in Reykjavik include the iconic Hallgrimskirkja church and the Laugavegur shopping street, home to various boutique stores and excellent bars and restaurants.
If the weather is good, you can drive out of the city center to hunt for the northern lights. You don't have to go far to catch a glimpse when the aurora forecast is favorable. The nearby Grotta lighthouse is a beautiful place to wait for them.
Return to your city accommodation when ready and get a good night's sleep.
Day 2 - Reykjavik
Today is all about exploring the wonders of Reykjavik, the world's northernmost capital.
Although smaller than other national capitals, Reykjavik is a thriving hub of activity. The city is full of art, culture, cuisine, and history, and you'll have the whole day to take in as much of it as possible.
Reykjavik is home to many museums and galleries, and you could easily spend the day traveling between them. The Reykjavik Art Museum and the National Gallery are excellent choices for art lovers, while the Maritime Museum and Whales of Iceland are great if you want to learn more about Reykjavik's coastal culture.
If cuisine 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. This is also the best chance to hang with the locals during the colder months.
If you're here before the end of October, you could also take a thrilling adventure into a volcano. In this exciting excursion, you'll descend into the belly of the Thrihnukagigur magma chamber, a lava tunnel created thousands of years ago when a volcanic eruption cooled.
Today, this magma chamber is an underground cave with a rich color palette. This is also the only place in the world to experience such a natural wonder.
You could also visit the Blue Lagoon spa today. Soak in the bright blue, mineral-rich water and take advantage of its untold benefits on the mind and body. If you're lucky enough to be there on a snowy day, you'll experience the magic of snowflakes gently tumbling to the ground as you float in the warm waters.
Enjoy a traditional Icelandic dinner in the city, then drive out of Reykjavik to hunt for the aurora borealis. Gaze up at the stars and wait for the natural light display to begin.
Return to your city-center accommodation whenever you're ready.
Day 3 - The Golden Circle
Discover the wonders of the Golden Circle, Iceland's most famous sightseeing route.
The Golden Circle has three main attractions: Thingvellir National Park, the Geysir geothermal area in Haukadalur valley, and the Gullfoss waterfall.
Your first stop today should be Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with rocky mountains, sweeping plains, beautiful rivers, and incredible waterfalls. It's also the birthplace of the world's oldest democratically elected parliament, the Althingi.
The park also sits between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates, which are drifting apart to create caverns and fissures. One of these, the Silfra fissure, provides snorkeling opportunities. You can add a fantastic excursion to your trip when booking.
Swim in the crystal-clear glacier meltwater and enjoy visibility of up to 330 feet (about 100 meters). You'll see magnificent underwater columns and impressive geological structures.
Your next stop is the Geysir geothermal area, home to the iconic Geysir, which has given its name to all other geysers. Geysir isn't active these days, but the nearby Strokkur geyser erupts every few minutes, shooting jets of water high into the air. Don't forget your camera!
The Golden Circle's final stop is the spectacular Gullfoss waterfall. Gullfoss means "Golden Falls," which gives the sightseeing route its name. It's a two-tiered waterfall cascading from 105 feet (about 32 meters). You'll hear and feel the roar of its power as you take photos and enjoy the view.
From Gullfoss, you can participate in one of two optional extras. Meet some Icelandic horses and enjoy a two-hour ride through the stunning Icelandic countryside. Alternatively, get an adrenaline rush with a snowmobiling tour on the Langjokull glacier.
If you're not done sightseeing, you can visit the Kerid crater, a 6,500-year-old volcanic crater filled with bright blue water.
From here, you can head back to your accommodation in Reykjavik. Remember to look for the northern lights on your way.
Day 4 - The South Coast
Today, you'll travel along Iceland's South Coast to encounter black-sand beaches, waterfalls, mountains, glaciers, and ocean views.
After breakfast in Reykjavik, you'll drive out of the city toward the Seljalandsfoss waterfall. This 200-foot (roughly 60-meter) waterfall transforms in the winter into an icy landscape that seems right out of a fantasy story. Take some photos before continuing to your next stop.
A little further along the coast is the Skogafoss waterfall, which is the same height as Seljalandsfoss but much broader. It's a spectacular sight and a fascinating comparison with the day's first stop.
As you continue, you'll pass the Solheimajokull glacier, an outlet of the Myrdalsjokull glacier. You have the chance to go glacier hiking here. It's an incredible opportunity to get a close-up view of one of Iceland's frozen rivers and learn more about them. You'll enjoy magical views of the ice cap as you trek.
Keep driving east along the coastal section of the Ring Road toward the Dyrholaey peninsula. You can stop for a look at the remains of a U.S. Navy plane that crashed in a barren lava field on the way.
From Dyrholaey, you can look down on the Reynisfjara black-sand beach and take photos of the sweeping Atlantic Ocean. You can head to the beach to get closer to the jet-black volcanic sands. Ensure you stay back from the water's edge, which can be dangerous.
The next stop is the seaside village of Vik, a great place to stop for something to eat. The town faces the ocean and has a picturesque church on a hilltop.
You can also choose to enter the mysterious world of the ice caves from Vik. Ice caves form during the regular melt and freeze cycles of glaciers. Each ice cave is different, meaning every visit is unique. You can enter an ice cave and witness its exquisite beauty. The interior walls twist and turn like marbled crystal.
Depending on the time, you might be able to continue along the South Coast to the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon, the "crown jewel" of Iceland. It's an incredible glacial lake with floating icebergs broken off from the glacier's tongue.
If you come this far, ensure you give yourself enough time to return to your Reykjavik accommodation. You'll drive back the same way you came, looking for the northern lights as you go.
Day 5 - Iceland in Miniature
Explore the highlights of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula in West Iceland on the penultimate day of this self-drive tour.
Icelanders often refer to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula as "Iceland in miniature," thanks to the wide variety of natural attractions and landscapes found in this area.
You'll start the day driving north out of Reykjavik on the Ring Road, then heading west onto the peninsula. Follow the road along the northern coastline and stop at any sights along the way.
A popular stop is the majestic Kirkjufell mountain, one of Iceland's most photographed places. The peak's shape is unusual, like a pointed cone, making it quite distinctive. It appeared in the HBO show Game of Thrones as the "arrowhead mountain."
Keep driving west until you reach Snaefellsjokull National Park, one of three national parks in Iceland. The park is home to the 700,000-year-old Snaefellsjokull, a glacier-capped stratovolcano. This volcano was the entrance to the underworld in Jules Verne's classic novel Journey to the Center of the Earth.
You can explore the park at your leisure before continuing your peninsula tour. Various small villages are nearby, each with charm, character, and history. Arnarstapi and Hellnar are two examples that offer scenic coastal views.
The Djupalonssandur black-sand beach is also worth visiting. Visitors walk through a labyrinth of lava structures and dramatic cliffs to reach it. When you arrive, you'll be rewarded with beautiful coastal views and a close-up look at the black sands Iceland is known for.
This beach is also covered in smooth, black pebbles. You might feel tempted to take one with you, but local laws forbid this for conservation reasons.
Another nearby beach is the Ytri-Tunga beach, which is unusual in Iceland for its golden sands. It's a popular resting place for seals, so bring your camera and see if you can spot any of these majestic sea creatures.
Once you've taken in the mesmerizing sights of Snaefellsnes, it'll be time to head to your accommodation in Reykjavik for one final night. Be sure to check the aurora forecast and keep your eye out for the northern lights.
Day 6 - Farewell to Iceland
It's your last day in Iceland, and it's time to say goodbye.
If you have an early flight, you can head straight to the airport in your rental car and get ready to go. If you have a later flight, you'll have time to enjoy a few more stops before you go.
Today is a perfect opportunity to take one final walk around downtown Reykjavik. You could eat at your favorite place, pick up more souvenirs, or take pictures of the many buildings and monuments.
Add to your city experience by purchasing tickets to the FlyOver Iceland 4D cinema and the Whales of Iceland museum. These are both splendid attractions that promise an immersive experience.
The FlyOver Iceland gives you a bird's-eye view of the country's stunning landscapes, making you feel like you're soaring over mountains and glaciers. On the other hand, the Whales of Iceland museum offers an up-close look at life-sized models of various whale species, helping you appreciate the magnificence of these gentle giants of the sea.
Before heading back, you might also consider a relaxing stroll along the seafront promenade, where you can witness the sun setting against the beautiful backdrop of the ocean, adding a serene conclusion to your Icelandic adventure.
If you visit in October, you can participate in a volcano tour today. Explore a magma chamber and learn more about Iceland's volcanic activity.
Anyone who wants a cherry on top of their Icelandic adventure can book a helicopter ride over the city's skyline. Fly out from Reykjavik Domestic Airport and see the colorful rooftops from above.
You can also organize your Blue Lagoon ticket for today. Relaxing in the geothermal spa waters is an incredible way to say goodbye to Iceland. You'll soak in the milky-blue hot spring and reflect on the trip of a lifetime.
When ready, head to the airport to drop off your car and check in for your flight. We wish you a safe journey home and hope to see you again in Iceland one day.
What to bring
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.
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.
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.
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.