Take the wheel on this winter self-drive tour, that's frosted with ice and snow for the season! This tour is for those who want the best possible value rental car to experience Iceland's magical south coast during wintertime.
You’ll start your 6-day adventure with the classic Golden Circle tour, before heading on to the glacier lagoon, Jökulsárlón, and Diamond Beach to behold some of the finest sights of Iceland’s natural world. As you'll be driving yourself, you can enjoy each location in your own way, and in your own time.
Book an optional tour in an ice cave in southeast Iceland from November to March. This is a rare and special experience, as the caves are only available for a few months per year. Each cave is investigated by specialists to ensure safe passage through the crystalline wonders inside, from beautiful frost-licked rock formations to entire walls of deep sapphire blue ice.
You can take a stroll on the black-sand beaches of Reynisfjara, admiring the black basalt cliffs, and the towers standing offshore against the endless waves. Find your favourite waterfall, as you'll get to stand next to some of Iceland's most impressive ones.
In the evenings, keep your eyes open for a fabulous display of the Northern Lights! Though it is never certain when they will emerge, they are an unforgettable sight dancing overhead in stripes of green, pink and white.
We know you're looking forward to these elements of Iceland's unique environment, like the ice caves and Northern Lights, and we want to make sure that you see the most popular attractions and a few out-of-the-way spots where you can be practically alone, far from the crowds. It's all included in the custom-made itinerary you'll receive with your tour package.
Don’t miss this self-drive tour of the most popular locations on the south coast, along with a few special surprises! Check availability by choosing a date.
After arriving at Keflavík International Airport, pick up your car and head to Reykjavík City. En route, you can stop at the Blue Lagoon spa on the Reykjanes Peninsula, if you added tickets during the booking process. There is no better way to start your holiday than relaxing in this unique spa, basking in the warm water and refreshing your skin with silica masks.
When you feel fully charged by this serene experience, you can head to your accommodation in the capital city of Reykjavík. It may also be worth having an explore around the beautiful and desolate Reykjanes peninsula too. Do not worry if you cannot fit it in, however, as you will have another opportunity to do so at the end of the week.
Spend the rest of the day exploring the vibrant, culture-filled metropolis on your doorstep. Whether you are interested in food, Viking history, art or nightlife, you are bound to find something that suits your taste here.
Spend your first night in downtown Reykjavík, and remember to search the skies for the Northern Lights.
Start off on your trip by visiting the famous Golden Circle, beginning with Thingvellir National Park. Here you can walk along the fault line created by two tectonic plates splitting, you can embrace your sporty side with snorkeling or diving in the Silfra fissure, and you can learn more about Iceland's political history.
Your next destination is the geothermal area of the famous Geysir, with its fumaroles and hot springs, alongside the more active Strokkur geyser, which erupts as high as 40 m (131 ft) every few minutes.
Last but not least, you will stop off at the magnificent Gullfoss Falls. Its name fittingly means “The Golden Waterfall”, and a walk down to its edge offers a view of nature's spectacular combination of power and beauty.
From there you head to the main road, stopping at the old explosion crater Kerið, which is home to a vivid blue lake.
Spend the night in the beautiful village of Hvolsvöllur, and again, remember to gaze at the night sky in search of the auroras.
As you continue your journey, you will drive towards Eyjafjallajökull, the volcano that made world headlines during its 2010 eruption, when enormous ash clouds brought European air traffic to a standstill.
You will then visit the beautiful waterfalls Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss, before taking a highly recommend trip to the nearby Skógar Folk Museum.
Drive on towards the Sólheimajökull glacier before taking a slight detour to witness the black sands of Reynisfjara beach, where you can discover wind-chiseled basalt cliffs and witness the full force of the North Atlantic Ocean.
Consider a short stop in the village of Vik, before reaching your final destination of the day, Kirkjubæjarklaustur, also called simply Klaustur. There is hardly any light pollution in the area, making Northern Light viewing optimal on clear nights.
On your fourth day, you will pass the picturesque waterfall Foss á Síðu, as well as driving by the nearby Dverghamrar basalt columns, before taking the road over the vast glacier sands of Skeiðarársandur.
Further down the road, visit the Skaftafell Nature Reserve, which is found within the Vatnajökull National Park. Once there, you can go on a short hike to another impressive waterfall, Svartifoss, as well as having plenty of other hiking opportunities in the area, including the chance to go on a guided glacier hike.
About 40 minutes further east is the truly magnificent Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon and Diamond Beach. Jökulsárlón is widely considered to be the most beautiful place in Iceland, and you will probably want to spend as much time there as possible.
Today, you have the chance to visit the ice cave in this area as well. This extra activity is available from November through March and needs to be booked well in advance due to its popularity.
Once you're done enjoying the blue ice and its magic, spend another night in Kirkjubæjarklaustur. Keep a lookout for the Aurora!
If you set out in the early morning of Day 5, you can aim to reach Reykjavík by the afternoon. This drive, along Route 1, is incredibly scenic, going past the black sand beaches, waterfalls, and glaciers that you witnessed on day 3. You can take your time to enjoy anything you missed, or return to any places that you wanted to spend more time at.
Once back in Reykjavik, you can explore the museums, galleries and cultural sites you may have missed on your first day. This is also a great time to return to the Reykjanes peninsula and see its sights; it has large geothermal areas, bird-watching cliffs, fascinating geological formations, and many places of stark, untouched beauty.
Spend your last night in Reykjavík, and perhaps make the most of it by dining in one of the city's delicious restaurants.
On your departure day, you can drop off your car at the airport in Keflavik. If your flight is in the evening and you have a few hours to spend wandering, consider exploring some of the highlights of downtown Reykjavík, such as the City Hall, Perlan, Elliðaárdalur, Harpa Concert Hall, Hallgrímskirkja church or the Grótta Lighthouse. You can also visit spots of interest nearby, such as the Reykjanes geothermal area if you didn't do so the previous day.
Come back soon! Sjáumst seinna!
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.
The Northern Lights are a natural phenomenon, and therefore cannot be guaranteed, but this itinerary is designed to maximise your chances to see them if weather allows. Please be aware that your itinerary may have to be rearranged to fit your arrival date and time better.
It can happen, in the case of extreme weather, that an activity is cancelled. If your chosen activity is cancelled, 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 though the tour is available to book from September to May, the ice caves are only accessible from November to March each year.
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 budget and comfort 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). For quality level, odd number groups will always be allocated a single room. 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), 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.
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, 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.
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 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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.