Join this 6-day winter self drive tour around some of the best spots in Iceland. Explore the wonders of Iceland’s spectacular South Coast as well as the famous sites of the Golden Circle. This is the perfect tour for those who want the best possible value rental car to experience Iceland’s magical South Coast during winter.
You’ll start your 6-day adventure by exploring the stunning Golden Circle. Here you’ll visit Þingvellir National Park, the Geyser geothermal area and the mighty waterfall of Gullfoss.
Next, you’ll head on through Iceland’s richly diverse South Coast towards the crown jewel of Iceland, Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. Watch the magnificent blue icebergs float out to sea from the lagoon and make sure to check out the Diamond Beach where many of these icebergs wash up on shore in this otherworldly paradise. Remember, as you'll be driving yourself, you can enjoy each location in your own way and in your own time.
Make your trip extra special by booking an optional tour in a mesmerising blue ice cave in Southeast Iceland which is open between November to March. This is a rare and unique 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 also 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, particularly Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss.
In the evenings, keep your eyes peeled to the northern skies for a stunning display of the Northern Lights. Ever unpredictable, in the dark of winter the wondrous Aurora Borealis frequently dances in ribbons of green, pink, white, blue, purple and sometimes even red over Icelandic skies. Make the most of every evening and hunt for a glimpse of the Northern Lights.
We know you're looking forward to these elements of Iceland's unique environment, like the ice caves and Northern Lights. We want to make sure that you see the most popular attractions some off-the-beaten-track spots where you can witness some of Iceland’s hidden gems away from the crowds. It's all included in the custom-made itinerary you'll receive with your tour package.
Don’t miss this 6-day self drive tour of the most popular locations on Iceland’s South Coast, along with a few special surprises!
Check availability by choosing a date and book your Iceland adventure today.
After arriving at Keflavík International Airport, pick up your car and head to Reykjavík City.
On your way to Iceland’s capital city of Reykjavik, you could choose to make a stop at the Blue Lagoon. This world-renowned spa is known for its healing waters, vivid azure colours and luxurious treatments. It is located in the middle of a moss-covered lava field, giving it an otherworldly atmosphere. If you add the Blue Lagoon it will be arranged according to your flights. If there is no time to visit the lagoon today it can be added to another day, your travel consultant will be able to arrange this for you. There is still plenty to see and do in Reykjavik and the Reykjanes Peninsula if you have extra free time.
You can then head to your accommodation in the capital city of Reykjavík.
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.
For a limited time, it is possible to start your day in Iceland 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.
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.
Before retiring on your final night, it is possible to go on an excursion that will truly enforce the primordial power and breathtaking beauty of Iceland upon your memory; a hiking trip to the Fagradalsfjall volcano. Under the protection of an experienced guide, you will trek through the spectacular landscapes of Reykjanes Peninsula to the eruption site, where jets of fire burst from craters and lava runs in gleaming rivers of orange. Nothing in the world compares to watching a volcanic eruption live, so be sure to grab this opportunity while it lasts.
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.
For those who have a later flight and choose to visit the Blue Lagoon today, you will finish off your stay unwinding before you head to the airport. This is the perfect place to relax as you bathe in the warm, mineral-rich waters as you look back on the incredible adventure you have just taken in the land of fire and ice. If your flight is later there are plenty of things to do in Reykjavik.
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.
If you have an early flight back home, we wish you a pleasant journey. 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 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), 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 (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 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.
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.