Epic 7-Day Northern Lights Winter Self-Drive Tour of the Golden Circle & North Iceland

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Likely to sell out soon
Free cancellation
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Fully customizable

Description

Summary

Starts from
Keflavík Airport
Ends in
Keflavík Airport (KEF), Reykjanesbær, Iceland
Duration
7 days & 6 nights
Difficulty
Easy
Available
Sept. - Apr.
Accommodation
6 nights included
Car rental
7 days included

Description

Discover the highlights of the Golden Circle and North Iceland with this top-rated self-drive tour of Iceland, including car rental and accommodation. Travelers who want to explore Iceland's most famous sights and spectacular natural attractions around the country at their own pace will love this flexible self-guided tour.

Planning a travel route in Iceland can be tricky. There are so many things to see, and you don't want to miss any of the best attractions. By choosing a self-drive tour, we'll do the hard work for you, providing a detailed travel itinerary and a personal travel agent who can help you 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

We'll help you every step of the way, organizing car rental and accommodation for you and booking optional tours to make your trip extra special. If your plans change at the last moment, you can cancel your trip for free up to 24 hours before departure and receive a full refund.

The adventure begins when you land at Keflavik International Airport. You'll collect your hire car and drive into Reykjavik for your first night. You can stop at the world-famous Blue Lagoon geothermal spa or explore the volcanic landscapes of the Reykjanes Peninsula. Alternatively, start your trip with some city sightseeing.

You'll drive north from Reykjavik around Iceland's Ring Road to the coastal city of Akureyri, the so-called "Capital of North Iceland." A wonderland of mountains, pools, and a pretty stretch of coastline surrounds the town.

You can also visit the coastal town of Husavik and the spectacular geothermal area around Lake Myvatn. You'll be in control of your itinerary, so you can stop where you like and leave when you want without having to wait for other travelers in a tour group.

Other popular attractions in North Iceland include the mighty Dettifoss waterfall, one of the most powerful falls in Europe. There are beautiful hot springs where you can relax in geothermal waters and enjoy the spectacular views. You'll also be ideally placed to hunt for the northern lights in the skies above you each night.

As your adventure continues, you'll drive down from North Iceland back to Reykjavik for a few nights in the world's northernmost capital city. From here, you can easily reach other famous attractions like the Golden Circle sightseeing route. 

You can add more adventures during the booking process. Take an excursion of the Vidgelmir lava cave in West Iceland or go snorkeling in the Silfra fissure in Thingvellir National Park. You can also enjoy a snowmobiling tour or head into a glacier to see the layers of history frozen into the ice. 

After a magnificent seven days in Iceland, you'll take your rental car back to the airport in time for your flight home.

Enjoy a week-long adventure exploring Iceland's winter beauty with this flexible self-drive tour. Check availability now by choosing a date.

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Included

6 nights of accommodation
Continental breakfast on all days
New rental car for 7 days
CDW car rental insurance
Gravel protection car insurance
Unlimited mileage
Unlimited in-car Wi-Fi
Detailed itinerary & travel plan
Personal travel agent
24/7 helpline
VAT & all taxes

Destinations

Reykjavik is the northernmost capital city in the world.Reykjavík / 3 nights
North Iceland is home to many incredible attractions, such as the Hvitserkur rock formation.North Iceland / 1 night
Lake Myvatn is Northeast Iceland's most famous attraction.Northeast Iceland / 1 night
Hvitserkur rock stands tall just off the coast of Northwest Iceland.Northwest Iceland / 1 night
Deildartunguhver geothermal hot spring in West IcelandDeildartunguhver
Reykholt was home to Snorri Sturluson, a medieval writer.Reykholt

Map

Attractions

Hvítserkur, aka; “The Troll of North-West Iceland”, is a 15-metre (49ft) high basalt rock stack protruding from Húnaflói Bay.Hvítserkur
Holar is a village in Iceland with a notably pretty church.Hólar in Hjaltadalur
HraundrangiHraundrangi
Dettifoss waterfall in IcelandDettifoss
Krafla, in its 1984 eruption.Krafla
Lake Myvatn is surrounded by stunning natural beautyMývatn
Godafoss is a beautiful waterfall with ties to Iceland's religious history.Godafoss Waterfall
Trollaskagi is well known for its high population of Icelandic horses.Tröllaskagi
Hraunfossar is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in West Iceland.Hraunfossar
Borg á Mýrum is a church estate in Iceland.Borg á Mýrum
Þingvellir National Park is Iceland's only UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the major stops along the world famous Golden Circle sightseeing route.Thingvellir
Geysir is a dormant hot spring in the geothermal area, Haukadalur Valley, found in South Iceland.Geysir
Long-exposure photo of Gullfoss waterfall on a cloudy dayGullfoss
Þingvellir National Park, the only UNESCO World Heritage Site on Iceland’s mainland, is birthplace of the country’s parliament.Kerið
Kleifarvatn is the third largest lake in Iceland.Kleifarvatn
KrýsuvíkKrýsuvík
Gunnuhver is one of the geothermal areas on the Reykjanes Peninsula.Gunnuhver

Activities

Snorkelling
Caving
Snowmobile
Super Jeep
Sightseeing
Northern lights hunting
Hot Spring Bathing
Ice Caving
Self drive

Travel details

Travel dates

Travelers

Car

Car

Small car

Small car

Category
Small
Transmission
People
Large bags
Medium car

Medium car

Category
Medium
Transmission
People
Large bags
Premium car

Premium car

Category
Premium
Transmission
People
Large bags
large car

large car

Category
Large
Transmission
People
Large bags
SUV

SUV

Category
JEEPSUV
Transmission
People
Large bags

Personalize your itinerary

Day 1

Day 1 – Reykjavík

  • Reykjavík - Arrival day
  • More

Start your seven-day adventure in Iceland with a trip to the Blue Lagoon and a night in Reykjavik.

Collect your car at Keflavik International Airport after you land. If you're on an early flight and have time for sightseeing, you can explore the Reykjanes Peninsula with its magnificent cliffs and Reykjanesta sea stacks. 

On your way to Reykjavik, you can choose to stop at the Blue Lagoon, the world-famous geothermal spa. The milky-blue geothermal pools are in the middle of a moss-covered lava field, so you'll be surrounded by spectacular landscapes as you soak and unwind in the healing waters. 

If you don't have time to visit the Blue Lagoon today, don't worry — you can add it to another day. Talk to your travel agent to organize the perfect time to visit based on your travel plans. 

When you arrive in Reykjavik, you can check into your accommodation and spend the rest of the afternoon or evening sightseeing. Take a walk around the city sights and discover the city's buzz. 

Highlights of Reykjavik include the Hallgrimskirkja church, one of the country's tallest buildings. You can climb to the top of the tower to enjoy a beautiful view of the cityscape below. Alternatively, visit the Perlan museum. It's on top of a large hill and offers a fantastic city panorama. 

Other Reykjavik museums include the Einar Jonsson Museum and Sculpture Garden, the National Gallery of Iceland, and the Reykjavik Art Museum in Hafnarhus.

Head to the Old Harbor to look out to sea and admire the Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Center. You can walk through downtown Reykjavik to the Laugavegur shopping street to see the boutique stores, cafes, bars, and restaurants locals love. 

Enjoy a traditional Icelandic dinner and return to your city accommodation for a good night's sleep before you drive to North Iceland tomorrow.

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Experiences

Accommodation

Day 2

Day 2 – North Iceland

  • North Iceland
  • More
  • Hvítserkur Rock Stack
  • Holar i Hjaltadal
  • Hraundrangar (By Hraun in Oxnadalur)
  • More

Drive up to the capital of North Iceland with a trip to Akureyri on day two of this seven-day self-drive tour of Iceland.

Start your day with breakfast in Reykjavik or at your accommodation. It's included in the price if you've booked a Comfort or Quality room. Pack up your belongings and load up the car to get ready to start the drive to Akureyri.

The total distance you'll cover is about 240 miles (roughly 388 kilometers), so you have a long way to go but can make stops to see exciting sights. 

The journey takes you around a western section of the Ring Road, Iceland's most extensive road. Most of the road is paved, and councils often spread salt to prevent too much ice and snow. However, driving in Iceland in the winter means you could encounter difficult conditions, so take your time and go carefully. 

When you arrive in North Iceland, you can check into your hotel. You'll now be free to explore at your own pace.

There are plenty of fun and interesting things to do in Akureyri in winter. The Christmas House is always popular and an ideal place to buy souvenirs or gifts to take home to your friends and family.

Visit the Hof Cultural Center and the Akureyrarkirkja church to admire some unusual architecture. You can also dip in the local swimming pool, a fantastic way to refresh yourself after a long drive. Additionally, stroll through the beautiful Botanical Garden, which houses an impressive collection of native and foreign flora, showcasing the surprisingly diverse plant life that can thrive in Akureyri's climate.

Akureyri has several excellent restaurants, so take yourself and your group out for a delicious meal before bed. We also recommend driving a short way out of the city to see if you can spot the northern lights.

Return to your accommodation when you're ready for bed.

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Experiences

Accommodation

Day 3

Day 3 – Northeast Iceland

  • Northeast Iceland
  • More
  • Dettifoss waterfall
  • Attraction - Krafla Caldera
  • Lake Myvatn Area
  • More

Explore some of the highlights of North Iceland on day three of your seven-day self-drive winter tour. 

After breakfast, you'll check out of your hotel and drive eastward to Lake Myvatn, one of the main attractions on North Iceland's Diamond Circle tourist route. The drive is about 50 miles (roughly 83 kilometers) along the Ring Road.

The lake is the fourth largest in Iceland, but it's more famous for its beauty and geological features than its size. It's also home to birds that nest here throughout the year, so bring your binoculars if you're a keen bird watcher.

While here, we recommend visiting Dimmuborgir, the "Black Fortress." It's an area of dramatic lava sculptures, pillars, and caves formed by a volcanic eruption thousands of years ago. You can explore the area and understand more about the sheer power of Iceland's volcanoes. 

You can continue to the Grjotagja cave, home to a natural hot spring. You can't bathe in the hot spring because the water's temperature is unpredictable. However, it's still exciting to visit, especially if you're a Game of Thrones fan. It was used as a set for the hit show.

If road conditions allow and there's not too much snow or ice, you can continue along the Ring Road and take a side road to Dettifoss waterfall, one of Europe's most powerful falls. It's a majestic waterfall that's 330 feet (about 100 meters) wide and 150 feet (roughly 45 meters) tall. 

To round off your day, we recommend a trip to the Myvatn Nature Baths for a soothing soak in the geothermal waters. It's a fantastic place to sit up and watch for the northern lights, but it's magical even if they don't appear. 

You'll spend your night in accommodation in North Iceland.

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Experiences

Accommodation

Day 4

Day 4 – Northwest Iceland

  • Northwest Iceland
  • More
  • Godafoss Waterfall
  • Troll Peninsula
  • More

Discover the picturesque fishing village of Husavik and the mighty Godafoss waterfall before returning to Akureyri.

Start your day by exploring more of the area around Lake Myvatn to cover any sights you missed yesterday. From here, you can drive northward to the coastal village of Husavik. It's known for its quaint buildings and gorgeous sea views. 

Walk around the village to get a feel for the place and stop at the Husavikurkirkja church. We also recommend a trip to the Husavik Whale Museum. The village is known as the whale-watching capital of Iceland, so this is one of the best places to learn more about the aquatic life in the northern waters. 

Then, continue to the Godafoss waterfall, one of Iceland's most magnificent. At 40 feet (roughly 12 meters) high and almost 100 feet (about 30 meters) wide, the waterfall is truly spectacular and is one of the sights of the Diamond Circle.

Regarded as the waterfall of the gods, Godafoss holds a pivotal place in Iceland's conversion to Christianity around the year 1000. It's where statues of the Norse gods were reportedly thrown when the country adopted Christianity. The falls' intertwining streams and cascades, set against a rugged basalt backdrop, make it a photographer's dream.

Traveling on a self-drive tour means you can spend as long as you like at each attraction. You don't have to worry about hurrying off to keep other travelers happy, and you can stop for lunch and dinner whenever you get hungry. Spend as long as you like admiring the Godafoss waterfall before you continue your journey.

From here, you can return to Akureyri to see any sights you've missed on your sightseeing tour.

Spend the evening at your leisure before retiring to your North Iceland accommodation. Drive away from the town to see if you can spot the majestic aurora borealis dancing in the sky above you.

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Experiences

Accommodation

Day 5

Day 5 – Reykjavík

  • Reykjavík
  • More
  • Deildartunguhver hot spring
  • Reykholt historical site
  • Hraunfossar & Barnafoss waterfalls
  • Borg a Myrum church and farm
  • More

Spend day five of your seven-day tour driving back to Reykjavik, with stops at spectacular waterfalls and hot springs. 

After you've checked out of your accommodation, you'll start the drive back to the Icelandic capital. Along the way, we recommend stopping at two waterfalls for a break from driving (and to admire the fantastic views!). 

The Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls are very close to each other, so it's easy to visit both during your drive. These picturesque waterfalls are gentler than more sizable falls like Dettifoss, so it's a great way to discover the variety of Iceland's river falls. 

Nearby is the Deildartunguhver hot spring, the highest-flowing hot spring in Europe. Its rapid flow makes it a fascinating place to visit, and you can explore the walkways to get close to the geothermal waters. You can't swim here, as the water sits at over 200 F (about 97 C) all year. Make sure you don't get too close.

You can add an optional tour if you want some additional excitement today. Head deep into a large lava tunnel at the Vidgelmir lava cave. An expert guide will take you through a narrow tunnel into a vast cave where you can get up close and personal with volcanic rock structures and colors.

Alternatively, prepare for an icy adventure as you head into an ice tunnel within the Langjokull glacier. This exciting tour lets you drive onto an ice cap in a super jeep before heading deep into an artificial ice tunnel to learn more about glaciers and their formation.

You'll get a fantastic combination of adventure and education on whichever tour you choose. When you're ready to return to Reykjavik, you can continue the drive and arrive in time for dinner. Enjoy a delicious meal or walk around the wintery streets before heading to your downtown hotel. 

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Experiences

Accommodation

Day 6

Day 6 – Reykjavík

  • Reykjavík
  • More
  • Thingvellir National Park
  • Geysir geothermal area
  • Gullfoss waterfall
  • Kerid Crater
  • More

Explore some of the most famous attractions in Iceland as you travel the Golden Circle route from Reykjavik. 

Start your day with a tasty breakfast in Reykjavik before you head off on the day's adventures. Today, you'll drive to three of Iceland's most famous sights: Thingvellir National Park, the Geysir geothermal area, and the Gullfoss waterfall.

Start with a stop at Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with historical and geological importance. The park is the place where Iceland's first parliament was formed in the year 930. It's also between two tectonic plates drifting apart, allowing visitors to walk between the continents.

If you choose this add-on tour when booking, you can go snorkeling between the plates in the Silfra fissure. The waters here are crystal clear and incomparably beautiful. Participants need to be comfortable in the water and be able to swim.

Next, you'll drive into the Haukadalur valley to visit the Geysir geothermal area. Geysir doesn't often erupt these days, but the nearby Strokkur geyser is very active, shooting jets of water up into the air every few minutes. Bring your camera to try and capture the eruption yourself!

The third attraction on the Golden Circle is the Gullfoss waterfall, which gave the driving route its name. The word "Gullfoss" translates to "Golden Falls" in English. This waterfall is probably the best known in Iceland, and you'll be able to enjoy the view of its two-tiered cascade as long as you want.

Another optional tour for today is a snowmobiling tour on the nearby Langjokull glacier. You'll meet your guide near Gullfoss and will head onto the ice for a thrilling adventure on this wintery landscape. 

After a busy day of sightseeing, you can return to Reykjavik to eat dinner. Enjoy your last night in Iceland by visiting a bar or two. Reykjavik is known for its excellent nightlife, and this is your final chance to experience it. 

Return to your accommodation for a good night's sleep before your flight home tomorrow.

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Experiences

Accommodation

Day 7

Day 7 – Reykjavík

  • Reykjavík - Departure day
  • More
  • Kleifarvatn
  • Krýsuvík
  • Gunnuhver
  • More

Say goodbye to Iceland and drop your car off at the airport before you head home. 

If your flight is early, you can check out of your accommodation and travel to the airport first thing. If you've got more time, you can explore Reykjavik and buy souvenirs to help you remember your trip.

Consider soaking in the serene atmosphere at one of the city's geothermal pools, a favorite local pastime that provides relaxation and a taste of Icelandic culture.

For those keen on exploring the rich maritime history of Iceland, the Maritime Museum is an unmissable spot that narrates the tale of Iceland's deep connections with the sea.

Nature enthusiasts should make their way to the Botanical Garden, a green oasis showcasing a variety of Icelandic flora.

For a deeper dive into the nation's history, the Saga Museum recreates key moments in Icelandic history and offers a glimpse into the Viking Age.

Don't forget to check out the city's vibrant street art scene, which transforms plain walls into canvases exhibiting the creativity of local and international artists.

Alternatively, this might be the perfect day to visit the Blue Lagoon. Finish your stay unwinding and relaxing in the pale-blue geothermal waters before you fly off. 

As you soak, you can reflect on your trip and remember your incredible adventure in the land of fire and ice. 

Whenever you're ready to go, take your car back to the airport and get ready to say goodbye to Iceland. We hope to see you again!

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Experiences

What to bring

Warm, waterproof clothing
Sturdy hiking shoes
Hat, gloves, and scarf
Driver's license
Luggage
Passport
Refillable water bottle
Camera and charger
Swimsuit and towel

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.

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 for snorkeling or diving, and participants need to be comfortable in the water and be able to swim.

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.

Gravel protection is not included if you choose a Toyota Aygo or similar.

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