Amazing 8-Day Northern Lights Self-Drive Tour & Glacier Expedition in Iceland with Ice Caving

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Description

Summary

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

Description

Take a real winter adventure with this eight-day, seven-night road trip in Iceland. This package is perfect for those who want to soak up Iceland’s winter wonders, including glaciers and ice caves while being able to take it at their own pace. 

Book this self-drive tour and receive a detailed itinerary to follow during your holiday. You won’t have to spend weeks planning the perfect trip to Iceland because your travel consultant will do the hard work for you. Plus, they’ll be available by phone or email 24/7 during your stay in Iceland. 

This highly-rated self-drive vacation will introduce you to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula in West Iceland, the South Coast, and the Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon. You’ll be able to visit the most popular attractions in Iceland without missing anything important, including the Golden Circle sightseeing route and the Eyjafjallajokull glacier. 

This flexible self-drive tour gives you plenty of chances to look for the northern lights. This spectacular natural display is only visible in the sky between September and April, with the best chances of seeing it at the height of winter. You’ll travel to remote destinations with a higher chance of spotting the lights.

The itinerary has been designed to get the most out of Iceland in winter and give you the best chance of experiencing the wonder of Iceland’s glaciers and ice caves. 

During the booking process, you can add extra activities to get more out of your stay. You could go on a glacier hike in Skaftafell nature reserve, visit the otherworldly Katla ice cave, or enjoy the thrill of snowmobiling as you take in some of the most breathtaking scenery imaginable.

Explore the vast expanses of glaciers, witness the magic of black-sand beaches, and hunt for the northern lights, all while you have the luxury of going at your own pace. You’ll also have plenty of free time in Reykjavik to soak up the culture, cuisine, and vibrant life of the world’s northernmost capital city.

Your accommodation and itinerary are taken care of before you land, so all you need to do is take the wheel and enjoy your adventure. If your plans change at the last minute, don’t worry — you can cancel for free and get a full refund up to 24 hours before the start of your self-drive tour.

Take advantage of the chance to experience the ultimate vacation in the country renowned for its glacial beauty by booking this 8-day winter self-drive tour. Check availability now by choosing a date.

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Included

Seven nights of accommodation.
Continental breakfast on all days
New rental car for eight 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
Beautiful coastal geology helps to define the Snaefellsnes Peninsula.Snæfellsnes / 1 night
An abandoned house on the Reykjanes Peninsula presents a striking contrast against a lush green landscape.Southwest Iceland / 1 night
Dyrhólaey peninsula from east to westSouth Coast / 1 night
The Vatnajokull glacier in Southeast Iceland.Southeast Iceland / 1 night

Map

Attractions

Búðakirkja Church bathed by the Northern LightsBudir
Lóndrangar under the midnight sun.Lóndrangar
Djupalonssandur has beautiful natural featuresDjupalonssandur
Snæfellsjökull glacier above the black church at Búðir village.Snæfellsjökull
Mount Kirkjufell on Snaefellsnes peninsula is one of the most iconic mountains in IcelandKirkjufell
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
Seljalandsfoss on the South Coast of Iceland bathed in the otherworldly light of the midnight sun.Seljalandsfoss
The mighty Skógafoss waterfallSkógafoss
Reynisfjara beach and Reynisdrangar cliffs in winterReynisfjara Black Sand Beach
Arial view of Reynisdrangar and Mt. ReynisfjallReynisdrangar
Skaftafell Nature Preserve can be found in Öræfasveit, the western region of Austur-Skaftafellssýsla in Iceland.Skaftafell
Svartifoss in Skaftafell Nature Reserve in summer.Svartifoss
Jökulsárlón is one of Iceland's most popular and unique attractionsJökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
The icy diamonds of Diamond BeachDiamond Beach
Fjaðrárgljúfur is a canyon in south Iceland.Fjaðrárgljúfur
Image of the town on Heimaey, Westman Island.Vestmannaeyjar (Westman Islands)
Kleifarvatn is the third largest lake in Iceland.Kleifarvatn
KrýsuvíkKrýsuvík
Gunnuhver is one of the geothermal areas on the Reykjanes Peninsula.Gunnuhver

Activities

Glacier Hiking
Snorkelling
Caving
Snowmobile
Horse Riding
Sightseeing
Boat Trip
Hot Spring Bathing
Cultural Activity
Helicopter
Ice Caving
Self drive

Travel details

Travel dates

Travelers

Car

Car

Small car

Small car

Category
small car
Transmission
People
Large bags
Medium car

Medium car

Category
Medium
Transmission
People
Large bags
Premium car

Premium car

Category
premium car
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

Your first day in Iceland will begin with a bang as you spend time in Reykjavik or stop at the Blue Lagoon spa.

You'll arrive at Keflavik International Airport and can collect your rental car after picking up your luggage from the baggage claim area. You're now ready to set off on the adventure of a lifetime. 

You'll spend your first night in comfortable accommodation in Reykjavik, the world's northernmost capital city. The journey to downtown Reykjavik from the airport is about 30 miles (roughly 50 kilometers), but you can make some stops on the way if you want to start enjoying yourself as quickly as possible.

Many travelers want to visit the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa soon after they arrive in Iceland. This famous attraction is known worldwide for its warm, blue waters that boast minerals said to be incredibly beneficial to the skin. 

You can spend some time here soaking and relaxing as you take in the Blue Lagoon's volcanic landscapes. It's the perfect way to shake off any post-flight tension and prepare yourself for the experiences you'll encounter on your adventure. 

If you don't have time to visit the lagoon today, you can add it to another day instead. Your travel consultant will be able to arrange this for you. You can spend time exploring the Reykjanes Peninsula or head straight to Reykjavik.

The moss-covered lava fields of the Reykjanes Peninsula provide a stunning backdrop to your drive. You could visit the Krysuvik geothermal area or go around the coastline to see some beautiful lighthouses and enjoy the ocean views. 

When you arrive in Reykjavik, you can check into your accommodation for the night and spend the rest of the day exploring the incredible sights of this vibrant city. You'll have plenty to keep you busy with fascinating museums, gorgeous sculptures and art, picturesque parks, and colorful streets. 

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Experiences

Accommodation

Day 2

Day 2 – Snæfellsnes

  • Snæfellsnes
  • More
  • Budir hamlet
  • Londrangar Basalt Cliffs
  • Djupalonssandur black pebble beach
  • Snaefellsjokull
  • Kirkjufell Mountain
  • More

Discover the highlights of West Iceland with a trip to the stunning Snaefellsnes Peninsula. 

The second day of your self-drive tour will introduce you to a magical area known to locals as “Iceland in miniature,” the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. The peninsula has a wide variety of Iceland’s natural landscapes and is a fantastic introduction to the beauty of Iceland. 

You’ll drive north out of Reykjavik and onto the peninsula. Many travelers stop at the coastal town of Stykkisholmur for a snack or a rest. You can visit the striking Stykkisholmskirkja church or walk along the coast to enjoy the views. 

From here, a nearby attraction is the Kirkjufell mountain. This cone-shaped mountain has appeared in the HBO series Game of Thrones and has a unique peak that seems to point up toward the sky. With a height of 1,519 feet (about 463 meters), it’s one of the largest mountains on the peninsula and is well worth a visit. 

Other famous sights on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula include the picturesque fishing villages of Hellnar and Arnarstapi. These small towns sit at the foot of mountains and overlook the sea, so they’re rich in natural beauty. They also provide an excellent snapshot of idyllic Icelandic life. 

A must-see is the glacier volcano the peninsula is named after. Snaefellsjokull is a glacier-capped volcano that stands over the surrounding landscape like a giant guardian. This glacier inspired the science fiction writer Jules Verne and was the starting point in his epic novel Journey to the Center of the Earth. 

You could visit a lava cave if you’d like some added adventure. Vatnshellir is an 8,000-year-old magma tunnel formed during a volcanic eruption. In this experience, you’ll descend into the tunnel’s depths and follow the path created by magma all those years ago.

After a busy day of sightseeing, you’ll check into accommodation on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula to get a good night’s sleep.

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Experiences

Accommodation

Day 3

Day 3 – Southwest Iceland

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

Explore the most sought-after attractions in Iceland with a day trip around the Golden Circle sightseeing route. 

The Golden Circle includes three major natural attractions, allowing visitors to witness spectacular beauty, geothermal wonders, and fascinating history. 

Most travelers stop at Thingvellir National Park first. This breathtaking area sits on a rift between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. Thingvellir is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was where Iceland’s first parliament was formed in 930 A.D. It’s a place of historical and cultural significance.

Thingvellir is also home to the Silfra fissure, a ridge between continental plates filled with crystal-clear glacial water filtered through lava rock for over a century. This filtration means the water is consistently at 35.6 F (2 C) all year. Snorkeling in a protective dry suit is comfortable and a fantastic way to witness the tectonic activity of Iceland. Snorkeling participants need to be comfortable in the water and be able to swim.

The next stop on the Golden Circle is the Haukadalur geothermal valley, home to the Geysir geothermal area and geyser. Geysir has given its name to all other geysers worldwide but is less active today. Luckily, the nearby Strokkur geyser erupts every few minutes, so you’ll surely see a memorable eruption during your visit. 

From here, you’ll continue your journey around the Golden Circle by going to the Gullfoss waterfall in the Hvita River, which springs from the Langjokull glacier. This massive waterfall plummets in two enormous cascades into the canyon below, its roar echoing in the surrounding cliffs.

If you want to add some extra thrill, you can also choose to go on a snowmobiling excursion to an ice tunnel. In this experience, you’ll meet your guides at Gullfoss waterfall and travel in a super jeep to Iceland’s second-largest glacier, Langjokull. You’ll then zip off along the winter expanse to an ice tunnel. 

You’ll have plenty of time to take in the magical colors these frigid walls project before you head back along the glacier to pick up your car.

You’ll spend the night in the Golden Circle area.

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Experiences

Accommodation

Day 4

Day 4 – South Coast

  • South Coast
  • More
  • Seljalandsfoss Waterfall
  • Skogafoss waterfall
  • Reynisfjara black sand beach
  • Reynisdrangar Sea Stacks
  • More

You will travel along Iceland's South Coast the next day of your ultimate glacier adventure.

This part of the country is known for some of the most breathtaking waterfalls Iceland offers, including the iconic Seljandsfoss and Skogafoss waterfalls.

The Seljalandsfoss waterfall is known for dropping its cascade from a height of 196 feet (about 60 meters) over the opening of a cave. You can visit the cave behind the waterfall for a unique view of this beautiful natural sight. Although the path is closed during the height of winter, you can still enjoy the fairytale-like setting.

The Skogafoss waterfall is close to Seljalandsfoss and is about the same height, but that's where the similarities end. Measuring 80 feet (about 25 meters) in width, it's one of the biggest waterfalls in Iceland. Some parts of this waterfall can freeze during winter, giving it a truly stunning aesthetic. 

As you continue your journey, you'll pass the infamous Eyjafjallajokull glacier volcano that erupted in 2010. Don't worry, though, there's no imminent warning of this geological wonder erupting soon.

You'll also see the spectacular Myrdalsjokull glacier. Myrdalsjokull is Iceland's fourth-largest ice cap and sits atop a giant volcano called Katla. Add a glacier hike expedition to your day if you'd like to get closer to this natural wonder. Your expert guide will give you all the gear you need to traverse this ice giant, and you'll ascend the glacier to admire the views from the top. 

Alternatively, you can book a snowmobiling excursion on Myrdalsjokull to pump more adrenaline into your day.

Your journey will continue from Myrdalsjokull to the quaint coastal village of Vik. This picturesque settlement sits on the shores and provides stunning views over the Atlantic Ocean and the nearby Reynisfjara black-sand beach. This beach is probably the most famous in Iceland and has appeared in several films and TV shows, including Game of Thrones and Star Wars: Rogue One.

Visiting the Reynisfjara beach in winter allows you to see the fantastic contrast of the jet-black volcanic sands with the pale white snow and ice surrounding the coast. Remember to bring your camera to capture this unmatched beauty. 

After a fantastic day of adventuring, you'll spend the night in South Iceland. 

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Experiences

Accommodation

Day 5

Day 5 – Southeast Iceland

  • Southeast Iceland
  • More
  • Skaftafell Nature Reserve
  • Svartifoss
  • Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon
  • Diamond Beach
  • More

Today, you’ll head further through the glacial landscapes of South Iceland as you make your way toward the Eastern region, visiting Skaftafell nature reserve and the fishing village of Hofn.

After breakfast, you’ll start the journey to the Skaftafell nature reserve, encompassed by one of Europe’s largest glaciers, Vatnajokull. 

Skaftafell is a popular destination for hikers, with beautiful walking trails suitable for people of all skill levels. Unsurprisingly, this is also a great place to come for glacier hiking. You can add one of two glacier excursions to your tour to make it really memorable. 

The first option is a three-hour glacier hike in Skaftafell, which you can do in the morning or afternoon. On this excursion, you’ll meet your friendly guide at the base camp before traveling to the foot of a mighty glacier outlet. You’ll ascend it and have time to take in the marvelous views surrounding you.

Nothing compares to standing on top of centuries-old ice while taking in the incredible vistas of the almost untouched nature of the south coast of Iceland.

Alternatively, you can visit an ice cave on the mighty Katla volcano. This glacial excursion lets you travel in a super jeep across the lava fields at the foot of Katla before heading up the volcano glacier to see the interior of a majestic ice cave.

Ice caves form at the edge of glaciers. They’re underground river tunnels formed during the regular melt-and-freeze cycles of the glacier. Each year, experienced and dedicated guides search for and maintain them to ensure they’re safe for visitors. 

Entering an ice cave is an unforgettable experience many people only dream of. No two caves are ever the same because they constantly evolve, making them as unique as fingerprints.

Once inside the ice cave, your guide will teach you everything you need to know about how these caves form and why they’re so special. You’ll have plenty of time to take in the crystal-like caverns as they twist and turn, and you’ll see the blue walls that almost seem to glow.

After your glacier excursion, you’ll continue driving east to your Southeast Iceland accommodation for the night.

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Experiences

Accommodation

Day 6

Day 6 – Reykjavík

  • Reykjavík
  • More
  • Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon
  • Fjadrargljufur
  • Vestmannaeyjar / Heimaey
  • More

Day six of your self-drive tour includes a trip to the crown jewel of Iceland, the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon.

You'll leave your accommodation and journey westbound toward the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon, Iceland's deepest glacial lake and one of its most beautiful natural sights.

The water in the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon comes from the Vatnajokull glacier. Icebergs that have broken off from the glacier's tongue float in the lagoon waters, shifting and melting constantly to reveal shades of blue and white that seem to make the ice glow. It's an unbelievable sight that you can't afford to miss. 

The lagoon is also home to several seals who playfully swim in its waters or nap on the icebergs. 

If you're here in September or October, you can add a boat tour of the lagoon to your day. In this experience, you'll hop onboard an amphibious boat and glide into the calm, icy waters to get a closer view of the giant icebergs and seals.

Those who want to get even closer should opt for a Zodiac boat tour. This smaller, more agile vessel lets you get within meters of these icy blue wonders.

Next to Jokulsarlon is the iconic Diamond Beach. This black-sand beach gets its name from its jewel-like appearance. When icebergs from the glacier lagoon drift onto land, they rest on the shore and look like large diamonds dotted around the beach.

Visiting the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon on a self-drive tour means you can spend as much time as you want admiring the views. Traveling here on an organized excursion or day trip from Reykjavik often leaves visitors wishing they had more time here, but you can take your time and soak it all in.

When you're ready to leave, it'll be time to start the drive back to Reykjavik. You'll follow the Ring Road along the South Coast and have time to stop at sights you might have missed on your journey east. 

Your accommodation for tonight is in downtown Reykjavik. Make the most of the city's nightlife with a delicious Icelandic dinner and a pub crawl, or get an early night before another busy day tomorrow.

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Experiences

Accommodation

Day 7

Day 7 – Reykjavík

  • Reykjavík
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Spend your last full day in Iceland exploring the colorful streets of Reykjavik.

You'll wake up in the city center after a good night's sleep, ready to make the most of the city's best museums and cultural attractions. Reykjavik is a city unlike any other. Its heart beats with culture, cuisine, and history, and its streets are filled with cozy cafes, fascinating architecture, and street art. 

The world's northernmost capital city is also a hub of culinary experiences. You'll find numerous incredible restaurants just waiting to be discovered, and these are the perfect places to fuel up as you take in the city one last time.

Take a walk down the Laugavegur shopping street and find boutique stores. You can find some souvenirs to take home after your vacation. 

There are also many museums and art galleries in Reykjavik. You could spend the day learning more about Iceland's Viking settlers and notable figures from Icelandic history or see some of Einar Jonsson's most famous statues at the Einar Jonsson Museum and Sculpture Garden. 

You might have decided to book a horseback-riding tour in the Icelandic countryside today. Icelandic horses are known for their friendly temperaments and unique gait called the tolt. A riding tour is a beautiful way to meet these gentle animals and get a different view of the countryside around Reykjavik. 

The day's other activity option is a helicopter flight over Reykjavik with a stop at a nearby summit. Taking to the skies offers an excellent birdseye view of the city and surroundings, and unbeatable panoramic vistas.

If weather conditions are favorable and the skies look clear, you could book a northern lights hunt in the evening. These excursions take you out of the city to stunning remote locations to avoid light pollution and increase your chances of seeing the aurora borealis. There are even northern lights boat tours that let you watch the natural phenomena from the water.

Whatever you choose to do, the day is yours, so make the most of it. Before your flight home tomorrow, you'll spend the final night at comfortable accommodation in downtown Reykjavik.

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Experiences

Accommodation

Day 8

Day 8 – Reykjavík

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

All good things come to an end, and today marks the end of your Icelandic adventure.

Those with a later flight time might visit the Blue Lagoon today. Visiting these famous geothermal waters is a fantastic way to unwind after a busy trip. You can bathe and relax in the mineral-rich waters as you reflect on your experience in the land of ice and fire. 

You may also have time to visit other attractions around the Reykjanes Peninsula, such as the bridge between continents. This is a symbolic bridge between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates — a perfect place for a photo. 

Other sights in the area include the Fagradalsfjall volcano eruption site. The volcano erupted in 2021 and 2022 after 6,000 years of lying dormant. It’s now dormant again and is a popular destination for hikers who want to get closer to recently cooled lava. 

When it’s time to leave, you can return the car to the airport and head to the check-in desk to drop off your luggage. We wish you a pleasant journey home and hope you’ll return to Iceland soon!

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Experiences

What to bring

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

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.

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 you might need to present medical documents should you choose to go snorkeling. Snorkeling participants need to be comfortable in the water and be able to swim.

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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