9 Day Northern Lights Winter Self Drive Tour of Iceland’s Snaefellsnes Peninsula & South Coast

Frozen landscapes of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula surround Mount Kirkjufell.
Likely to sell out soon
24/7 customer support
Perfect travel plan
Fully customizable
Car & accommodation



Tour starts
Keflavík Airport
Starting time
9 days
Ending place
Keflavík Airport
Sep. - Apr.
Ending time
Minimum age


Book this incredible self-drive tour to make the most of nine days in Iceland. This tour is perfect for those who wish for the opportunity to see Iceland’s best-known sites, to marvel over its hidden gems, and who desire the freedom to explore in their own time.

On this drive, you will see the world-famous Golden Circle, the diverse landscapes of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, and the wonders of the South Coast. You will also receive a ticket to the famous Blue Lagoon, where you can relax in the warm azure waters of the spa.

You will have opportunities to do more than just sightseeing. You can add unique experiences to each day, such as snorkeling, caving, snowmobiling, and glacier hiking. You will even have the once-in-a-lifetime chance to visit an ice cave.

The beauty of self-drive is that you choose when to leave and where to go. You will only have to find your accommodation each night and the location of the tours you book. To aid you with this, you will receive a personal itinerary that will inform you of all the potential sites you can visit in a day, both famous landmarks and hidden gems, so that the journey you plan fits your desires and needs.

What is more, Iceland experiences many hours of darkness this time of year, so there is always the possibility of seeing the Northern Lights. You will spend numerous nights in country hotels, away from the bright city lights, enhancing your chances to see the beautiful Auroras. 

Do not miss this chance to explore Iceland, from its most unique corners to its most famous sites, on this incredible 9-day self-drive tour. Check availability by choosing a date.

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8 nights of accommodation (different levels available; breakfast included for Comfort and Quality levels; more detailed info below)
Vehicle for 9 days (Toyota Yaris or similar. Upgrades available)
CDW and gravel protection for car rental
Free Wi-Fi in vehicle
Detailed itinerary
Personal travel agent


Glacier Hiking
Hot Spring Bathing
Ice Caving
Self drive

Daily itinerary

Day 1
The Sun Voyager sculpture is intended to symbolise the journey into the unknown and the thrill of adventure, and is found in Reykjavík.

Day 1 - Arriving in Iceland

You will arrive at Keflavík Airport on day one, pick up your car and make your way over to your accommodation in Reykjavík.

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.

Otherwise, feel free to immerse yourself in Iceland’s quirky capital, with its many boutiques, galleries, museums, and bars. Spend the night in Reykjavík.

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Day 2
Surrounded by cracked ice and coated in snow, it is little wonder why Mount Kirkjufell was featured in Game of Thrones.

Day 2 - Snaefellsnes Peninsula

On your second day, you will make your way northwest to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. En route, you will be driving past many of West Iceland's most notable sites, so feel free to detour to destinations such as Barnafoss waterfall and Europe's highest-flowing hot-spring, Deildartunguhver.

The peninsula itself is often called 'Iceland in Miniature' due to the incredible diversity of scenery along the 56-mile (90-kilometer) stretch. You will spend all day heading from one fantastic site to another.

Notable attractions on Snæfellsnes include the most photographed mountain in Iceland, Kirkjufell; the sleeping fishing villages of Arnarstapi and Hellnar; the black-pebble beach Djúpalónssandur; and of course, the mighty glacier and volcano that crowns the peninsula, Snæfellsjökull.

You will spend the night on Snæfellsnes. If the sky is clear, look up for a chance to witness the Northern Lights dancing above.

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Day 3
Gullfoss waterfall in winter becomes surrounded in ice and snow, yet the Hvíta river continues to forcefully flow.

Day 3 - The Golden Circle

On your third day, you will leave Snæfellsnes for Iceland's most popular tourist trail: the Golden Circle. There are three main sites of the Golden Circle, although, with your custom itinerary, you will be able to find many unique and lesser-known places in the surrounding area.

The first main destination is Þingvellir National Park, the only UNESCO World Heritage Site on the Icelandic mainland. It was here where the Icelandic parliament was initially founded, back in 930 AD, and the park is surrounded by beautiful geology due to its location directly between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates.

The second point on the circle is the Geysir Geothermal Area. As its name suggests, this valley is home to several geysers, including the one that gave all others their name, Geysir itself. The hot spring Strokkur goes off every five to ten minutes, reaching heights of around 66 ft (20m). The surrounding area is dotted with other hot springs and bubbling mud pools.

The final site to reach is Gullfoss, Iceland's most famous waterfall. Gullfoss is magnificent to behold, falling in two steps into an ancient canyon from a height of over thirty meters.

On this day, you will have the option to partake in one of two tours. While in Þingvellir, you could opt to take a snorkeling tour in the crystal clear waters of Silfra ravine and discover the aqua blue underworld located between two continents. 

You could also join a caving tour in a lava tube called Víðgelmir where you walk the path the smoldering hot lava created over a thousand years ago. Both tours are fascinating, unique experiences that cannot be found in many other places worldwide.

Spend the night at your accommodation on the Golden Circle.

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Day 4
The black sands of Iceland's South Coast beaches in the depths of winter are only visible where the sea washes away the snow.

Day 4 - South Coast to Vik

On day four, you will head to the South Coast and witness the many wonders just off of the main road.

The first sites you may wish to stop at are at two of Iceland’s most iconic waterfalls. Seljalandsfoss is a stunning waterfall that tumbles in a thin stream from a concave cliff. Skógafoss, a little further east, is a similar height, at around 197 feet (sixty meters), but with a much heavier flow. A staircase beside these falls allows you to experience it from several different vantage points.

You will keep driving on, but keep your eyes peeled as you do. In clear weather, you will be able to see the notorious volcano and glacier Eyjafjallajökull. In the other direction, across the ocean, you may be able to spot the Westman Islands.

More ice caps will soon appear, and if you wish, you may take a tour on one of them. It is possible to opt for a hike on the glacial tongue Sólheimajökull, or else a snowmobiling excursion on the greater glacier Mýrdalsjökull. Both of these will take you to an incredible, otherworldly landscape and allow you to explore it in a unique way.

After enjoying one of these experiences, you will continue east. Before reaching the village of Vík, you could make a stop at Reynisfjara black-sand beach and admire the beautiful surrounding geology, such as the arch of Dyrhólaey and the basalt sea stacks of Reynisdrangar.

You will spend the night in Vík.

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Day 5
The Diamond Beach is named as such for the diamond-like chunks of ice that wash upon its black sands throughout the year.

Day 5 - South Coast to Hofn

On day five, you will drive the rest of the South Coast. The south-easterly corner of the country is renowned for two incredible places: Skaftafell Nature Reserve and the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon.

Skaftafell was once a National Park in its own right because of its incredible beauty before the greater Vatnajökull National Park enveloped it. Sat in the shadow of Europe's largest glacier, it has a wealth of scenery, from forests to lava fields, with many hiking trails going through it. One of the most highly recommended will take you to Svartifoss waterfall, the unusual surroundings of which inspired the architecture of Reykjavík's Hallgrímskirkja church.

If you missed the glacier hike the day before, it is possible to opt for one here.

Following your time in Skaftafell, you will continue onto Jökulsárlón, which many consider the crown jewel of Iceland's nature. Here, you can watch enormous icebergs fill a serene lagoon as they break away from a glacier and make their way slowly towards the ocean. The sight is mesmerizing. This area is also home to many seals, so as you marvel over the bergs, keep an eye out for these playful creatures.

The coast beside Jökulsárlon is littered in the ice that washed out to sea, giving it its name, the Diamond Beach. It is worth having a walk along here before continuing to the tiny settlement of Höfn.

You will spend the night in this beautiful area.

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Day 6
Ice caves under Vatnajökull glacier can be incredibly vast, with channels reaching deep into the ice cap.

Day 6 - The Ice Cave and Southeast

Stay in the southeast of Iceland on this sixth day of your journey. If you selected to do so while booking, today is the day you'll visit an authentic ice cave. 

The ice caves are incredibly rare and unique phenomena that only appear during the winter. Thus opportunities to enter them are hard to come by. Make sure you don't forget your camera, as after being guided to this otherworldly space, you will no doubt want to enshrine your memories here forever.

You could otherwise return to the glacier lagoon to better appreciate it or visit Skaftafell and try another hiking trail. A short trail leads to Skaftafellsjökull glacier, which changes from a pearly white color to an unbelievable shade of blue in the winter.

If you wish, you could also head up north to snap pictures of the jagged mountains Vestrahorn and Eystrahorn and visit the sleeping fishing villages of the Eastfjords. 

Stay another night in Höfn or the surrounding area.

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Day 7
The South Coast is beautiful to drive in winter, and the place in the country where you have the longest hours of sunlight.

Day 7 - Hofn to Reykjavik

You will return to Reykjavík on your seventh day, driving back along the South Coast. On this day, you can reference your itinerary and visit places you could not fit into your earlier journey. There are many unique sites just a little off the road so that the long journey can be broken up with many rewarding stops.

Just off the main road is Fjaðrárgljúfur, a majestic 328 ft (100m) deep and 1.2 miles (2km) long canyon located a short drive from the village of Kirkjubæjarklaustur in south-east Iceland. This stunning gorge is the perfect place to stop and snap some amazing photos. 

You could also take another look at the black sand beach Reynisfjara or stop at the village of Vík for some local handmade souvenirs.  As the Icelandic weather is fickle, you might want to view the waterfalls Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss in different conditions today. 

You could also head on out to Iceland's oldest swimming pool, Seljavallalaug, hidden in a mountain crevasse. 

Once you get back to Reykjavík, find your accommodation and enjoy the night in the city.

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Day 8
Reykjavík, even in winter, is a hub of culture, with dozens of sites travellers should do their best to explore.

Day 8 - Day in Reykjavik

Your eighth day can be spent enjoying Reykjavík's vibrant culture. There is a wealth of things to do, with walking tours, museums, galleries, restaurants, and many shops.

Visiting a swimming pool in Iceland is an activity not exclusive to summer. Do as the locals and check out the warm waters of a geothermal pool, even if it is snowing. Some say that the best time to visit these pools is when it is freezing outside. 

Try some delicious Icelandic cuisine at one of Reykjavík's many restaurants and cafés. Freshly caught fish and free-roaming lamb are served every day at most places, and there is usually also a vegan or a vegetarian option. 

Another activity not exclusive to summer is eating ice cream. Dotted around the city are numerous ice cream parlors offering the usual vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry flavors and more exotic ones such as licorice, mango, and baked apples. 

Spend your last night in Reykjavík.

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Day 9
Frost wraps itself around every twig in midwinter in Reykjavík.

Day 9 - Departure

On day nine, you will need to return to Keflavík International Airport to drop off your vehicle. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time to return your car and make your departing flight. 

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.

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What to bring

Warm and waterproof clothes
Winter hiking shoes
Valid driver's license
Swimsuit and towel

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.


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.

Budget 2WD

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.

Budget 4x4

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.

Comfort 4X4

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.

Luxury 4x4

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.


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