Exciting 6 Day Northern Lights Winter Self Drive Tour of Iceland's Golden Circle & Snaefellsnes
Choose this self-drive tour of the beautiful Snæfellsnes peninsula in winter, when all is clean and bright, the dramatic coastline and mighty volcanoes topped with a blanket of snow.
As soon as you collect your rental car, you'll be off to see beautiful fjords, a lava tube cave, a volcanic crater, and several waterfalls. You'll also visit two of the three national parks in Iceland. The country's most famous attraction, the Blue Lagoon spa, and the Golden Circle sightseeing route are included in the price.
Iceland is at your feet, and your time is your own. There are no buses to meet nor tour guides to obey on a self-drive tour.
As your days are filled with the wonder and beauty of Iceland's history, culture, and scenery, so are your nights. The darkness, so pervasive in the long nights, lets you easily search the skies for the gleam of the Northern Lights.
During the booking process, choose from exciting extras to add to this tour. If you like, explore the lava cave at Vatnshellir, schedule a 1-hour horseback ride in the country, zoom across Langjökull glacier on a snowmobile or go snorkeling in Silfra fissure at Þingvellir National Park.
You're on vacation, so get away from crowds and busy city streets to fully appreciate the unspoiled environment on the coasts, highlands, and forests. We've chosen a few select locales you won't find on a Top 10 list of Most Popular Places in Iceland so that you can revive your flagging spirit in peace. It's all part of the custom itinerary that's yours when you choose this tour.
Don't miss this specially created tour! Check availability by choosing a date.
Day 1 - Arrival in Iceland & Reykjanes Peninsula
Pick up your car at Keflavík International Airport before driving to your accommodation in downtown Reykjavík. On the way, you'll have time to explore the Reykjanes Peninsula with its striking coastline and bubbling geothermal areas.
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 colors, 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.
After settling in at your centrally-located hotel in Reykjavík, the rest of the day is free for you to explore one of Europe's most exciting cities. Take advantage of the abundance of museums, galleries, restaurants, and cafés right on your doorstep before spending your first night in the capital of Iceland.
Day 2 - Volcano Crater & Waterfalls
Your second day begins with a drive north through the Hvalfjarðargöng undersea tunnel, which will take you to your first stop in the town of Borgarnes, home to one of the most influential Vikings in the Icelandic sagas, Skallagrimur of Egils saga.
Be sure to visit the Icelandic Settlement Centre before you continue your journey north to learn more about the area's fascinating history.
Then you'll view the cascades of Hraunfossar, which appear in the landscape seemingly out of nowhere. If you want to see some hot springs, the remarkable Deildartunguhver hot spring is en route.
Optional tours today are a visit to Víðgelmir cave or to go to the man-made ice cave tunnels inside Langjökull glacier.
Stay overnight in the Snæfellsnes peninsula. Keep your eyes open for the Northern Lights!
Day 3 - National Park of Snæfellsjökull
Today, you will explore the Snæfellsnes Peninsula and discover picturesque mountains, hiking trails, and small villages. From the small village of Stykkishólmur, you can go on an optional Viking Sushi boat ride and taste some fresh seafood as you sail between the many islands of the wide fjord Breiðafjörður, enjoying the sights and sounds of the sea.
Mount Kirkjufell is another scenic spot near the village of Grundarfjörður, and it has become one of Iceland's most iconic locations.
Spend the day exploring the area and meeting the locals before heading to the National Park at Snæfellsjökull. It's dominated by a fantastic stratovolcano that gives its name to the park. This is the volcano in Jules Verne's 1864 novel Journey to the Center of the Earth which marks the entrance to the earth's shadowy underworld.
Overnight again in the Snæfellsnes peninsula.
Day 4 - Mesmerizing Coastline - Lava Cave Vatnshellir
You'll have the day in Snæfellsnes to explore and experience the area. You can take a hiking trip on the black sands at Djúpalón and enjoy the sight of the Lóndrangar rock formation. Who knows, you might see Greenland in the distance, far across the ocean. If you want to do some underground exploring, you can visit the mysterious Vatnshellir Lava Tube Cave with a guided tour.
Enjoy a hike between Hellnar and the fishing village of Arnarstapi, with its rugged coastline and dramatic basalt rock formations. If you'd like to go on a longer hike, you can even choose to hike to the top of Snæfellsjökull glacier!
Spend another night in the quiet winter realm of the Snæfellsnes peninsula.
Day 5 - The Golden Circle
Some of Iceland's most remarkable attractions are located on the classic route called the Golden Circle. Departing from Reykjavik, you reach the National Park of Thingvellir, where Christianity was established in Iceland more than 1000 years ago. The geological and historical importance of Thingvellir is immense for Icelanders. This area also holds the best dive site in Iceland, Silfra, where you can choose to snorkel between continents, with visibility of more than 328 ft (100m) in the crystal clear waters.
The geyser area is your next stop, and you'll get a few chances to see the geyser Strokkur erupting to the delight of travelers. The last of the three attractions of the Golden Circle is Gullfoss Falls, probably Iceland's best known.
You can join a snowmobiling tour at Langjökull glacier from here if you're interested.
Head back to Reykjavík for the last night of your trip.
Day 6 - Departure
Make the most of your final day in Iceland.
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. If you have an early flight back home, we wish you a pleasant journey.
Have a comfortable flight and come back soon!
What to bring
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 require you to have 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 snorkeling or diving.
The Northern Lights are a natural phenomenon, and therefore cannot be guaranteed, but this itinerary is designed to maximize your chances to see them if the weather allows.
It can happen, in the case of extreme weather, that an activity is canceled. If your chosen activity is canceled, 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 the ice caves are only accessible from October to March each year.
This self-drive is set to take place in wintertime. Conditions in Iceland can vary greatly during that season. Snow and ice are commonplace, and Iceland has limited daylight hours. Please consider your ability to drive in winter conditions before booking this tour. If you feel insecure about driving in these conditions, we recommend a package tour instead.
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) 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 (4WD manual, has highland capabilities and better suited for winter driving), 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.