Winter 7 Day Self Drive Tour | The Golden Circle & North Iceland

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Perfect travel plan
Fully customizable
Car & accommodation
Tour starts
Keflavík Airport, Flexible
Duration
7 days
Available
Sep. - Apr.

See Iceland’s dramatic northern coast for yourself! This car rental package offers you an easy trip to Iceland's best-known natural sights, with some hidden gems as well.

You'll start in Reykjavik and head north to the coastal city of Akureyri, and on to Húsavík and Lake Mývatn. No matter where you go, you are in control. Stop where you like and leave when you want - focus only on enjoying yourself. 

Akureyri, the capital of the north, is a frosty wonderland of mountains, pools and pretty coastline sparkling with ice. You’ll cross the epic lava fields of Lake Mývatn, as well as some magical waterfalls and charming Icelandic culture on the way back to the capital. Then, you'll explore the famous attractions of the Golden Circle.

If you want more, you can add extra tours during the booking process. In western Iceland, take time for a tour of Viðgelmir lava cave or examine the ice layers deep inside a glacier. On your day around the Golden Circle, you can go snorkelling in Silfra fissure or snowmobile across the ice cap of a glacier. 

We at Guide to Iceland know why you've chosen to spend your precious vacation days in Iceland: to savour time in the great outdoors, far from the busy city and its noisy crowds. To help you find more private places, we’ve included some of our personal favourites. There will be very few people at some of these locations, and they are even more dazzling in their pristine state. The details are part of our exclusive itinerary when you book this tour.

Enjoy Iceland's winter beauty in just a week! Check booking availability now, by choosing a date.

Included

6 nights of accommodation (different levels available; breakfast included for Comfort and Quality levels; more detailed info below)
Vehicle for 7 days (Toyota Rav4 4x4 or similar. Upgrades available)
CDW and SCDW insurance along gravel protection for car rental
GPS System
Blue Lagoon comfort entrance (upgrade to premium level available)
Detailed Itinerary with fun and practical information on the nature, history and culture of Iceland
Hands-on travel agent to oversee your itinerary
Taxes

Activities

Snorkelling
Caving
Snowmobile
Super Jeep
Horse Riding
Whale Watching
Sightseeing
Northern lights hunting
Hot Spring Bathing
Ice Caving
Self drive

Attractions

Blue Lagoon
Golden Circle
North Iceland
Reykjavík
Akureyri
Mývatn
Dimmuborgir
Húsavík
Goðafoss
Dettifoss
Geysir
Gullfoss
Þingvellir
Hraunfossar
Deildartunguhver
Strokkur
Skagafjörður
Reykjanes
Silfra
Þingvallavatn
Borgarnes
Barnafoss
Langjökull
Grjótagjá
Sauðárkrókur
Siglufjörður
Hofsós
Öxarárfoss
Haukadalur
Myvatn Nature Baths
Námaskarð
Víðgelmir
Fossatún

Daily itinerary

Day 1
The road that leads to Iceland's capital travels along the Reykjanes Peninsula.

Arrival in Iceland - Reykjanes Peninsula

Collect your car at Keflavík airport, and if you're on an early flight and have time, you can explore the Reykjanes Peninsula with its magnificent cliffs and sea stacks at Reykjanestá.

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.

After settling in, the rest of the day is free to explore one of Europe's most vibrant cities. Reykjavík's abundance of museums, galleries, restaurants and bars will be sure to entertain you, in addition to many other quirky tourist sights, is sure to give you something that thrills you!

Day 2
Akureyri, the northern capital of Iceland, is close to many waterfalls that are particularly beautiful in winter.

Akureyri in North Iceland

Day 2 marks the beginning of your journey north as you take the Ring Road and head to Akureyri.

There is plenty to do in the capital of the north. Meet up with some locals, visit the Christmas House in celebration of Christmas (or, as it is called in Iceland, Jól) or explore the northernmost botanical gardens in the world, with more than 6,500 types of flora on display.

You will spend the night in the city centre of Akureyri.

Day 3
The most powerful waterfall in Europe is Dettifoss, located in north Iceland.

Lake Myvatn - Grjotagja Cave - Dettifoss Falls

On day three, drive east to your accommodation in Mývatn, before heading out to the lava field of Dimmuborgir, or "the dark cities." Once there, you can explore the eerie, black pillars and caves that dominate the area.

Also, you can take a look at one of Iceland's beautiful hidden jewels, the spring cave Grjótagjá which is near Reykjahlíð.

The hot springs of Námaskarð are not far from Lake Mývatn, as you continue along the Ring Road and take a side road to visit Iceland's most powerful waterfall, Dettifoss, only if road conditions allow. 

We recommend ending your day with a soothing soak in the geothermal waters of the Mývatn Nature Baths, before spending the night in the area. Keep your eyes open for Northern Lights.

Day 4
An Icelandic passenger ship, the MS Goðafoss (named after the waterfall) was sunk by a German U-boat during the Second World War.

Husavik & Godafoss Falls

Today, after exploring a little more in the Mývatn area, you'll head to the nearby village of Húsavík, known for its quaint buildings, such as Húsavíkurkirkja church. This fishing village is also known for the wealth of marine life that dwells in the ocean around, and a trip to Húsavík's Whale Museum is highly recommended.

After that, you'll head back west for a stop at the mighty Goðafoss waterfall before reaching Akureyri again.

Continue towards Skagafjörður, the only county in Iceland where horses outnumber people, and head back the same way you drove from Reykjavík towards your accommodation.

You can take this time to linger at your favourite spots or visit any that you may have missed on your way out of the city. The choice is yours, and you can do what you feel!

Spend the night in the northwest area of Iceland and hunt again for the Northern Lights.

Day 5
Hraunfossar looks even more majestic than normal when surrounded by Autumnal colours.

Hot Springs & Cascades of Hraunfossar

On the fifth day, make a stop at the beautiful Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls, where the water gently cascades into the river below. Nearby is Deildartunguhver, home of the largest hot spring in Europe.

History buffs may also enjoy a visit to Snorrastofa, the medieval research institute in Reykholt, where the early settler Snorri Sturluson wrote saga Heimskringla in the 13th century.

Another recommended stop on the way back to Reykjavík is at the Icelandic settlement exhibition in Borgarnes, and at Fossatún, a waterfall said to be guarded by a troll woman named Drifa.

Or you can always choose to enter man-made ice tunnels at Langjökull glacier, or explore the natural, large Víðgelmir lava cave.

You'll spend the night in Reykjavík.

Day 6
Gullfoss is the prize and joy of south west Iceland, a staggering natural features that drops a mighty 32 metres.

The Golden Circle

From Reykjavík, you can easily access the classic Golden Circle route. It comprises three of Iceland's greatest highlights, unmissable stops during your visit to Iceland.

First up is the National Park of Thingvellir, a historical site with great geological importance, being a valley situated between two tectonic plates. Here you have the option to go snorkeling, in Silfra, Iceland's most famous diving site with crystal clear waters.

The geothermal area at Haukadalur valley will be your next stop, where the geyser Strokkur erupts every 5-8 minutes, so you'll have a few chances to try to catch it on camera.

Finally, you'll arrive at the magnificent Gullfoss Falls, which will probably take your breath away. Here, you can choose to go on an optional snowmobile tour at the nearby Langjökull glacier.

After a full day sightseeing, return to Reykjavík where you can have dinner in one of its fine restaurants downtown.

Day 7
Reykjavík is brimming with opportunities, from exciting nighttime bars to sophisticated museums and art galleries.

Departure: Car Drop Off at Keflavik International Airport

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.

Come again soon! There's still so much to see!

Map

What to bring

Warm Clothes
Driver's license
Winter hiking shoes

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.

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.

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.

If you book the extra activities alongside this tour, you will get them at a lower price.

Accommodation

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.

Super Budget

Dormitory beds with shared bathrooms in guesthouses or hostels. Located in the region of the best attractions. Breakfast is not included.

Budget

Rooms with shared bathrooms in farmhouses, guesthouses or hostels, with good locations near the best attractions. Breakfast is not included.

Comfort

Rooms with a private bathroom in three star hotels or quality guesthouses. Very close to the best attractions at each location. Breakfast is included.

Quality

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.

Car

The vehicles offered for our winter self drive tours are 4WD jeeps or SUVs to counter Icelandic winter conditions. They are new or current models, maximum two years of age, and come equipped with a GPS, CDW, SCDW, and GP insurances. You can upgrade to an automatic model. All cars have winter tyres.

Comfort 4X4

A medium sized jeep or SUV with 4WD (4x4) fit for most travel, and good for snow and off-asphalt travel, such as Toyota Rav4 or similar.

Luxury 4x4

A large sized jeep with 4WD (4x4) such as Toyota Land Cruiser or similar, fit for nearly all traveling.

Meals

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.

Cancellation Insurance

This insurance guarantees that you can cancel the booking of this package and receive a full refund, minus the insurance cost of 5,000 ISK per person. The cancellation must be made within a minimum of 48-hours before the listed starting time. To cancel your booking and claim your refund, simply contact our service desk by writing to info@guidetoiceland.is no later than 48-hours before departure and declare the cancellation. Please note that this insurance only covers the full cancellation of this entire package. It does not cover cancellations of individual activities and services within the package. The cost of the Cancellation Insurance is neither refundable nor transferable.

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