9-Day Northern Lights Self-Drive Tour of the Complete Ring Road with Waterfalls & Hot Springs

Free cancellation
24/7 customer support
Perfect travel plan
Fully customizable



Starts from
Keflavik International Airport, Iceland
Ends in
Keflavik International Airport, Iceland
9 days & 8 nights
Sept. - Apr.
8 nights included
Car rental
9 days included


Step into a winter wonderland on this nine-day self-drive tour around Iceland. On this seasonal road trip, you'll experience the top sights of the Ring Road during the day and hunt for the northern lights at night. This itinerary is perfect for those who want to travel at their own pace with the ease and comfort of taking the wheel themselves.

Upon landing at the Keflavik International Airport, pick up your car rental outside to begin your multi-day drive in Iceland. This new car is not only fit for the Icelandic terrain but also features free Wi-Fi and a comfortable interior.

On this top-rated winter holiday, you don't have to worry about creating your itinerary and missing out on hidden gems. Upon booking, you'll receive a comprehensive itinerary with information, maps, and routes directing you to Iceland's most popular and lesser-known destinations along the Ring Road.

In addition, your package includes comfortable accommodations for eight nights that you can upgrade according to your budget. The standard room offers a shared bathroom, while the comfort and quality options have private bathrooms and complimentary breakfast.

Your first four days on the road highlight the most famous regions in Iceland, including the capital city, the Golden Circle, and the South Coast. On these scenic routes, majestic waterfalls, snow-covered mountains, black sand beaches, and unique geological formations await you.

In particular, you'll explore the Thingvellir National Park, Geysir geothermal area, and Gullfoss waterfall in the Golden Circle. Your South Coast drive meanwhile takes you to the Skogafoss waterfall, Reynisfjara beach, and the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon.

As you continue your counterclockwise journey along the Ring Road, spend your days exploring the untouched beauty of the Eastfjords and North Iceland. These remote regions boast charming coastal villages, Lake Myvatn, and the picturesque Akureyri town.

Not only will you be in control of your journey, but you'll also have the opportunity to experience exciting adventures. Each day of this winter drive, you can join guided tours like horse riding, snorkeling, snowmobiling, visiting geothermal nature baths, and conquering a glacier.

Additionally, you can dedicate an hour or two each night to hunt for the magical northern lights. Iceland is among the best places to see the aurora borealis, so don't miss this rare opportunity.

Whatever your needs are, this self-drive vacation allows you to experience Iceland at your own pace. At your disposal is a helpline or personal travel agent that you can contact 24/7 for queries, assistance, and in case of emergency.

After a rewarding winter drive, you'll return your car rental in Reykjavik or the airport and catch your flight home with great memories of Iceland.

Rest assured that in the event of unexpected changes to your travel plans, you need not worry, as a complete reimbursement is guaranteed should you choose to cancel your reservation up to 24 hours before your departure.

Grab your warm coat and prepare for a 9-day winter escape in Iceland that you'll remember forever. Check availability now by choosing a date.

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8 nights of accommodation
Continental breakfast on all days
New rental car for 9 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


Reykjavik is the northernmost capital city in the world.Reykjavík / 2 nights
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
East Iceland is a spectacular region.Eastfjords / 1 night
Lake Myvatn is Northeast Iceland's most famous attraction.Northeast Iceland / 1 night
North Iceland is home to many incredible attractions, such as the Hvitserkur rock formation.North Iceland / 1 night
Reykholt was home to Snorri Sturluson, a medieval writer.Reykholt



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
Vestrahorn is a spectacular mountain, especially under the Northern Lights.Vestrahorn
Vestrahorn is on the Stokknes PeninsulaStokksnes
Hallormstadaskogar surrounds lake Lagarfjlot.Hallormsstaðaskógur
Borgarfjordur Eystri is a beautiful and remote corner of the East Fjords.Borgarfjörður eystri
Lake Myvatn is surrounded by stunning natural beautyMývatn
Godafoss is a beautiful waterfall with ties to Iceland's religious history.Godafoss Waterfall
Beautiful flowers can be found in the Kjarnaskogur forest in Iceland.Kjarnaskogur
Holar is a village in Iceland with a notably pretty church.Hólar in Hjaltadalur
Hvítserkur, aka; “The Troll of North-West Iceland”, is a 15-metre (49ft) high basalt rock stack protruding from Húnaflói Bay.Hvítserkur
Borgarvirki (Citadel) is both natural and man-made.Borgarvirki
Hraunfossar is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in West Iceland.Hraunfossar
Borg á Mýrum is a church estate in Iceland.Borg á Mýrum
Kleifarvatn is the third largest lake in Iceland.Kleifarvatn
Gunnuhver is one of the geothermal areas on the Reykjanes Peninsula.Gunnuhver


Glacier Hiking
Horse Riding
Whale Watching
Boat Trip
Northern lights hunting
Hot Spring Bathing
Ice Caving
Self drive

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Day 1

Day 1 – Reykjavík

  • Reykjavík - Arrival day
  • More

Your winter self-drive tour in Iceland begins as you disembark from your plane. Outside the Keflavik International Airport, you will pick up the car rental you'll drive for nine days around the Ring Road.

There's no need to worry about the hassle of transfers. As soon as you land, you can start driving. From here, you'll travel across the moon-like terrain of the Reykjanes Peninsula to reach your destination for the day, Reykjavik.

On your way to Iceland's capital city, you add several stops on the peninsula. The several attractions here can serve as your introduction to the country's rich geological features and volcanic history.

For example, if you detour the Krysuvik geothermal field, you can see colorful bubbling mud pools and steam vents. Visitors can follow wooden boardwalks to explore the geothermal wonders while enjoying panoramic views of the surrounding wintry landscapes.

The most popular attraction in the area is the Blue Lagoon, a world-renowned spa known for its mineral-rich, milky blue waters and luxurious massage treatments. The lagoon lies 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's 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. 

Once you have reached Reykjavik and checked into your accommodation, you can spend the rest of the day seeing the many downtown area attractions. 

Some of these include the glass shimmer of Harpa Concert Hall, the architectural magnificence of the Hallgrimskirkja church, and the busy rhythm of Laugavegur street. You can have an early night or soak up the vibrant, diverse atmosphere of the many bars, restaurants, and cafes.

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Day 2

Day 2 – Southwest Iceland

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

On day two, you'll traverse Iceland's most explored trail, The Golden Circle. This scenic route spans 190 miles (300 kilometers) and features three of the most visited attractions in the country.

Your first stop is Thingvellir National Park, one of the most popular destinations in the country. Thingvellir is a place of stunning beauty between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. It's home to the world's oldest parliament and featured in HBO's Game Of Thrones as the Bloody Gate.

Your next stop is the Geysir geothermal area in the Haukadalur valley. Unique rock formations and geysers dot this vast geothermal field. The most popular geyser is Strokkur, which erupts every 5-10 minutes, pushing powerful jets of hot water 66 feet (20 meters) into the air.

The third attraction in the Golden Circle is the Gullfoss waterfall, one of the most beautiful and photographed waterfalls in Iceland. Its magnificent force and enormous size are nothing short of awe-inspiring.

If you want to add fun activities on this day, you can snorkel at Silfra fissure in the Thingvellir National Park. Protected by a dry suit, you can gently float between two continents in the cold yet crystal-clear water. Participants need to be comfortable in the water and be able to swim.

Alternatively, you can join a guided snowmobile trip on the Langjokull glacier. You'll be equipped with overalls and a helmet before speeding across the icy wonders of a glacier. 

If you're an animal lover, you can go horse riding in one of the valleys in the Golden Circle. Icelandic horses are well known for their small yet sturdy size and pleasant disposition. Nothing compares to a ride through the winter fields on an Icelandic horse.

The day's final optional add-on is an entrance ticket to the Laugarvatn Fontana spa. Relaxing at this idyllic lakefront spa could be the perfect relaxing finish to your day.

After a jam-packed day, you will relax at your hotel near the Golden Circle. If the sky is clear of clouds, you can go out in the evening searching for the elusive northern lights.

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Day 3

Day 3 – South Coast

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

The third day of this winter trip will begin with an introduction to the picturesque South Coast. This incredible part of Iceland has many waterfalls, long stretches of black sands, glaciers, and stunning landscapes. 

The first stop is Seljalandsfoss, a waterfall with a 197-foot (60-meter) drop. Seljalandsfoss is an incredible photo opportunity because it looks spectacular when adorned in its snowy winter coat.

Another waterfall in the region is Skogafoss, with the same drop as Seljalandsfoss waterfall but a wider width of 82 feet (25 meters). The fast-flowing water creates a mist as it hits the flat ground of its base. Some days, sunlight flowing through this mist produces a rare double rainbow.

Next, you'll witness the marvelous vistas of the Reynisfjara coast. The landscape of this black sand beach is unlike any other place on earth. Black sand separates the mainland of Iceland from the cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean. 

The cliffs surrounding the area are home to abundant species of native wildlife, particularly birds who hunt and nest in the area as the waves crash on the shore. Most leave during winter, but the site isn't any less beautiful.

You can choose to get up close and personal with Solheimajokull glacier today. As you hike over the rugged glacier terrain, the boundless sheets of ice crunching under your feet is a thrilling experience you shouldn't miss.

The view from the top of Solheimajokull will provide incredible photo opportunities as you learn about the tectonic and volcanic activity that shaped Iceland's landscape. This is a guided tour, so an experienced tour leader can assist you regardless of whether it's your first time or not.

Your other optional add-on for today is a Caves of Hella guided tour. On this explorative journey, you'll delve deep into the underground wonders of Iceland, navigating through the intricate labyrinthine systems that snake beneath the surface.

You'll end the day at your cozy accommodation in South Iceland.

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Day 4

Day 4 – Southeast Iceland

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

Day four will bring you to the peaceful frozen landscapes of the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon. This is the deepest lake in Iceland at 660 feet (200 meters), situated inside the Vatnajokull National Park. 

This area is a popular destination due to the blue icebergs that seem to glow as they float through these frigid waters. The glacier lagoon has also been the setting of many Hollywood films, including Die Another Day, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, and Batman Begins.

Some visitors here might even be lucky enough to see seals having a snooze on an iceberg or gracefully swimming through the water. This area is also the location of the black sand coast called Diamond beach. This name comes from the many icebergs that wash ashore, creating a landscape filled with jewel-like ice.

If you're traveling here in September, you can get closer to the icy monoliths by hopping on board an amphibious vehicle or a zodiac boat. Some of the icebergs tower overhead, even bigger than two-story buildings.

If you're here between October and March, you can add the extra experience of stepping inside an ice cave. Ice caves are rare, naturally occurring phenomena found in a few places on Earth. In the Vatnajokull glacier, they melt and freeze with the changing seasons.

An expert guide leads you through the ice cave, ensuring your safety while exploring this glacier feature. Included is safety gear like a helmet and crampons.

The day's final optional add-on activity is a black beach buggy tour. This heart-pumping adventure offers a perfect blend of natural beauty and adrenaline-fueled fun, providing a unique perspective of Iceland's renowned coastal vistas.

After a day digesting the sights of this breathtaking region, you'll retire to your accommodation in Southeast Iceland. It's the perfect place to search for the northern lights if the sky is clear.

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Day 5

Day 5 – Eastfjords

  • Eastfjords
  • More
  • Vestrahorn
  • Stokksnes Peninsula & Vestrahorn Mountain
  • Hallormsstadaskogur Forest
  • More

Day five of this winter adventure is the perfect time to explore the East Fjords, the farthest region from the Icelandic capital. The drive might be long, but it is full of exciting stops in some of the most charming villages in the country.

As you drive out of Hofn, the Stokksnes Peninsula and its distinct peaks by the coasts will bid you farewell. The Vestrahorn mountain is most notable here for its impressive height of 1490 feet (454 meters), covered by snow during winter.

The East Fjords region boasts steep mountains, ocean vistas, and an abundance of wildlife. Birds, seals, and reindeer are found in this part of the country. During winter, herds of wild reindeer migrate into the valleys, allowing you to see them near the Ring Road.

The East Fjords are even more incredible because very few visitors make it to this part of the country. The abundance of natural landscapes, void of people or modern development, makes this remote region of the country an idyllic location for peace and tranquillity.

You can stop in quaint local villages and areas rich in Icelandic folklore as you travel. For example, Djupivogur, Eskifjordur, and Seydisfjordur settlements make excellent pitstops for your drive. Each stop in these villages is your chance to learn more about the local culture by strolling through the scenic streets and meeting friendly locals.

While in Djupivogur, don't forget to visit its harbor to see the local artwork called Eggs of Merry Bay, featuring 34 egg sculptures in honor of the nesting birds in the vicinity of the village.

Your destination for the day is Egilsstadir. Upon arriving in Egilsstadir, you'll be greeted by a picturesque setting nestled by the banks of the Lagarfljot river, where verdant landscapes meet modern amenities, offering a serene yet vibrant atmosphere. This hub of East Iceland serves as a gateway to numerous scenic trails and historic sites, inviting travelers to delve into the region's rich culture, folklore, and stunning natural beauty.

During the booking process, you can add an entrance ticket to the Vok Baths, a rejuvenating lakeside spa. It could be the perfect finish to your day before you retire to your East Iceland accommodation.

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Day 6

Day 6 – Northeast Iceland

  • Northeast Iceland
  • More
  • Borgarfjordur eystri fjord and valley
  • Lake Myvatn Area
  • More

On day six of your winter holiday, you'll travel to North Iceland to explore one of its most notable features, Lake Myvatn. This area is a hotbed of geological and geothermal activity, and the sightseeing opportunities are incredibly diverse.

Lake Myvatn is one of the largest lakes in Iceland and is nestled in a volcanic landscape known as the Myvatn region. The lake has serene waters, which reflect the surrounding volcanic peaks, dramatic lava formations, and snowy landscapes during winter.

Lake Myvatn during winter offers a different but equally mesmerizing experience compared to other seasons. For example, the pseudo-craters in the lake become more prominent when snow covers them. They make an excellent backdrop for photography and short hikes.

Another site to witness in the Myvatn area is the Dimmuborgir lava field, sometimes nicknamed 'The Dark Fortress' because of the lava rocks' color and composition. A volcanic eruption some 2300 years ago created this unique formation in North Iceland. 

Nearby, you can also explore the geothermal Namaskard Pass, where natural hot springs and fumaroles dot the landscape. As you approach Namaskard Pass, you'll be greeted by a striking panorama of steaming fumaroles, bubbling mud pools, and colorful mineral deposits. 

The landscape is dominated by shades of white, with patches of steam rising from the ground, creating an ethereal atmosphere.

After a satisfying day of sightseeing, you can enjoy a visit to the Myvatn Nature Baths. Often referred to as the Blue Lagoon of the North, these mineral-rich, warm waters are the perfect place to unwind at the end of the day. Amidst the scenic backdrop, soak in the rejuvenating waters as the sky transitions into a canvas of pastel hues, offering a tranquil retreat and possibly granting you a glimpse of the elusive northern lights dancing in the evening sky.

Your accommodation for the evening will be in comfortable accommodation in Noth Iceland. 

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Day 7

Day 7 – North Iceland

  • North Iceland
  • More
  • Godafoss Waterfall
  • Kjarnaskógur
  • More

On the seventh day of this winter package, you'll drive to the capital of Iceland's northern region, Akureyri. The drive for today can be short or long, depending on how many stops you want to make or add to your itinerary.

On the way to the town, you can visit Godafoss, a magnificent waterfall with a rich history. Godafoss waterfall's name means 'waterfall of the gods' because of an incident centuries ago when a chieftain threw statues of Norse gods into its cascade.

Apart from a significant history, Godafoss waterfall is known for its beautiful flow of 39 feet (12 meters) with a width of 98 feet (30 meters) in an arch-shaped cliff.

Before reaching Akureyri, you can spend some time in the woodland area of Kjarnaskogur. At 800 hectares (1977 acres), it's one of Iceland's most extensive forest covers, with over one million trees. Kjarnaskogur is also the most significant recreational area in town, offering many outdoor activities even during winter.

Once in Akureyri, you can spend a relaxing day with the locals downtown. The town is filled with boutiques, cafes, and bars. Akureyri also has a vibrant arts and music scene, with many events occurring throughout the year.

While in Akureyri, you can enjoy some added adventures by booking a whale-watching tour. Eyjafjordur fjord, where Akureyri nestles, is well known for its abundance of humpback whales. Experienced guides know the best places to search for whales, dolphins, and porpoises, and tours in the area have high success rates for seeing these gentle giants.

Additionally, you can drive 30 minutes further north to visit the Bjorbodin Beer Spa in Arskogssandur. This facility offers a unique experience of bathing in beer and enjoying a drink simultaneously!

You'll retire to your North Iceland accommodation after another fantastic day.

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Day 8

Day 8 – Reykjavík

  • Reykjavík
  • More
  • Hraundrangar (By Hraun in Oxnadalur)
  • Holar i Hjaltadal
  • Hvítserkur Rock Stack
  • Borgarvirki basalt strata and ruins
  • Reykholt historical site
  • Hraunfossar & Barnafoss waterfalls
  • Borg a Myrum church and farm
  • More

On day eight, you'll fully encircle Iceland via the Ring Road or Route 1 as you drive back to Reykjavik. Before returning to the Icelandic capital, you'll have chances to explore some of the hidden gems of Northwest and West Iceland.

After you've soaked up the sights and sounds of the North, it's time to leave Akureyri and hit the road again. 

The road trip south will show you even more untold beauty. You'll likely want to make many stops to enjoy the breathtaking scenery. Watch as the enigmatic landscape of Iceland twists and transforms over the horizon from the comfort of your car.

In Northwest Iceland, you can sneak quick stops in Blonduous town and the Hvitserkur rock formation. While Blonduous offers a serene environment surrounded by snowcapped peaks, Hvitserkur is an awe-inspiring feature standing at 49 feet (15 meters).

As you leave North Iceland and approach the western region, you'll drive through more busy towns like Reykholt and Borgarnes. Both locales lie near the scenic Borgarfjordur fjord and some beautiful natural attractions in West Iceland.

Like the rest of Iceland, this area has plenty of waterfalls. Two of the most prominent here are Barnafoss and Hraunfossar, known for their dramatic cascades and unique cliffs. 

The gentle cascade of Hraunfossar and the mighty plunge of Barnafoss, surrounded by lava fields, are picturesque scenes that nature lovers and photographers will enjoy.

Once you reach Reykjavik and check into your accommodation, you can tick off some exclusive city sites from your bucket list. Find a cozy bar to have a drink as you reflect on the past days of your adventure. If not, grab an authentic Icelandic dish from one of the many incredible restaurants in the city.

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Day 9

Day 9 – Reykjavík

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

The end of your winter self-drive tour in Iceland happens today. Grab those final souvenirs, get those last selfies, and pack your things.

We wish you a pleasant journey if you have an early flight back home. You must drive to the Keflavik International Airport and return your car rental before boarding the plane.

If you have a later flight, you can spend the remaining hours exploring Reykjavik and the Reykjanes Peninsula. 

If you haven't explored downtown Reykjavik, now is your last chance to do so. Laugavegur street has all the shops, souvenir stores, and local boutiques for cheap and premium items, depending on your budget.

Not far from Laugavegur are Hallgrimskirkja church and Harpa Concert Hall, two of the most notable landmarks in Reykjavik. Hallgrimskirkja church towers over the city and features a unique design inspired by the basalt rocks surrounding a waterfall in the Vatnajokull National Park.

Meanwhile, Harpa Concert Hall is a center for cultural events in the city, hosting events like theater plays, concerts, and corporate events. It features award-winning architecture of over 700 glass panels inspired by Ithe aurora borealis and Icelandic nature.

If you have a later flight and choose to visit the Blue Lagoon today, you'll finish your stay unwinding before heading to the airport. The Blue Lagoon is Iceland's most visited and explored attraction outside the capital city.

This is the perfect place to relax as you bathe in the warm, mineral-rich waters of the Blue Lagoon. Take time here to reflect on the incredible adventure you've just taken in the land of fire and ice.

After a relaxing geothermal bath, you can head to the airport to catch your flight home. See you on your next trip to Iceland.

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What to bring

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

Good to know

Self-drive tours begin either in Reykjavik city or at Keflavik International Airport. A valid driver's license and a one-year-long on-road experience are required. Please be aware that your itinerary may be rearranged to better fit your arrival date and time. Gravel protection is not included if you choose a Toyota Aygo or similar.

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.

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 yearly.

This self-drive is set to take place in wintertime. Conditions in Iceland can vary significantly 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 nationwide.

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