Best 7-Day Northern Lights Self Drive Tour Through South Iceland to Jokulsarlon Ice Cave

Northern Lights dancing over the jet-black church at Búðir in Snæfellsnes.
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Free cancellation
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Description

Summary

Tour starts
Keflavík Airport
Starting time
Flexible
Duration
7 days
Ending place
Keflavík Airport
Difficulty
Easy
Available
Sept. - Apr.
Ending time
Flexible
Minimum age
None

Description

Spend a week in Iceland traveling to the best attractions of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, the Golden Circle, and the South Coast with this 7-day tour. This tour is designed for those who wish to visit as many beautiful locations as possible. Visiting during the northern lights season is the perfect opportunity to tick this natural wonder off your bucket list.

Upon booking, you will receive a personal itinerary guiding you to the country's top locations, such as the Golden Circle, the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, and Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon, as well as all three national parks in Iceland, each with its own distinct beauty.

You'll journey through the wild terrains of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula with lava fields, mountains, and the famous Snafellsjokull glacier. Then, you'll adventure into the awe-inspiring attractions that make up the Golden Circle route, which top the list for many travelers to Iceland.

The rest of your trip will be spent exploring the beautiful natural landscapes of Iceland's South Coast, and you will even get the chance to enter the famous blue ice cave.

You are behind the wheel on this self-drive tour, so you will have the freedom to create your own adventure. You can add various experiences during the booking process to make the most of your time in Iceland.

For example, you can choose to visit the azure waters of the Blue Lagoon, snorkel between two continents, race across the white expanse of a glacier on a snowmobile, visit a rare and unique ice cave in Vatnajokull National Park, or climb inside the magma chamber of a volcano.

This is the perfect way to explore some of Iceland's best attractions, and you will have the time to take it all in at your own pace. There are plenty of stops along this tour that will leave you with countless incredible memories.

Discover Iceland hassle-free with this carefully crafted package. Enjoy great prices and experience the best attractions Iceland has to offer, from natural wonders to cultural treasures.

Receive a detailed itinerary upon booking, guiding you through each day of your adventure. Explore exciting activities and breathtaking sights, creating unforgettable memories.

A personal travel agent is available 24/7 to assist you. They'll answer your questions, offer recommendations, and provide support, ensuring a stress-free journey.

Join the satisfied customers who rave about the convenience, value, and exceptional service from knowledgeable guides and staff. For flexibility, the package offers free cancellation and a full refund up to 24 hours before departure, allowing you to adjust your plans as needed.

Visit Iceland's most iconic attractions and spend your nights searching for northern lights with this seven-day self-drive tour. Don't miss out on this winter adventure.

Check availability by choosing a date.

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Included

6 nights of accommodation (different levels available; breakfast included for Comfort and Quality levels; more detailed info below)
Vehicle for 7 days (Toyota Aygo or similar. Upgrades available)
CDW insurance for super budget level vehicle; other levels include gravel protection insurance
Free Wi-Fi in vehicle
Detailed itinerary
Personal travel agent
Taxes

Activities

Snorkelling
Caving
Snowmobile
Sightseeing
Northern lights hunting
Hot Spring Bathing
Cultural Activity
Ice Caving
Self drive

Daily itinerary

Day 1
A great cure for jet-lag is a soak in the geothermal waters of the Blue Lagoon

Day 1 - Blue Lagoon & Reykjavik

Welcome to Iceland!

Upon your arrival at Keflavik International Airport, your car will be ready and waiting for you, equipped with a user-friendly GPS to make your journey convenient and hassle-free.

As you make your way to Reykjavik, the capital city of Iceland, you have the option to include a visit to the renowned Blue Lagoon. This extraordinary geothermal spa is famous for its healing waters, vivid azure colors, and luxurious treatments. Nestled amidst a moss-covered lava field, the Blue Lagoon offers an otherworldly experience. 

If you decide to add the Blue Lagoon to your itinerary, it will be arranged based on your flight schedule. In case there isn't enough time to visit the lagoon on day one, it can be accommodated on another day of your choosing. Simply reach out to your dedicated travel consultant, who will gladly assist you with the arrangements. 

Whether or not you decide to visit the Blue Lagoon, rest assured that Reykjavik and the nearby Reykjanes Peninsula have plenty to offer. If you have some extra free time, consider exploring the city's captivating sights and activities.

Once you've enjoyed the soothing waters of the Blue Lagoon (if you choose to visit), it's just a short drive to Reykjavik, where your accommodation in the downtown area awaits, ensuring easy access to the city's attractions.

After settling into your accommodation, you can dive into an enchanting exploration of Reykjavik. The city is a treasure trove of culture, history, and countless possibilities. Discover captivating museums, iconic landmarks, and charmingly quirky shops as you immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of Reykjavik.

Your Icelandic journey begins here, in the heart of Reykjavik, where every street corner promises a new adventure and a deeper connection with this incredible country's past and present. 

So, grab your map, your camera, and your sense of wonder – there's so much to discover in this captivating city. Enjoy your stay and make the most of your time in Iceland!

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Day 2
The Snæfellsnes Peninsula in Iceland is home to the mountains Kirkjufell, photographed here in winter.

Day 2 - Snaefellsjokull National Park

Today, you will explore the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, where you will find the picturesque stratovolcano Snaefellsjokull. This volcano is also a glacier and is famous for being the entryway for the subterranean journey in Jules Verne's classic novel 'Journey to the Centre of the Earth.'

For your own chance for a subterranean journey into a volcano, you may take a tour of Thrihnukagigur. If you are traveling in September or October, you can board a tour bus in Reykjavik that will take you to this inactive volcano, where you will descend into the now-empty magma chamber.

Once you are ready to hit the road, you will make your way to the stunning Snaefellsnes Peninsula. Snaefellsjokull National Park, a treasure trove of natural beauty, awaits your discovery. Towering ocean cliffs, intricate rock formations, narrow canyons, delicate waterfalls, charming fishing villages, and the enchanting Djupalonssandur black pebble beach all beckon your exploration.

Nearby is also the famous Kirkjufell mountain, a picturesque mountain in Iceland known for its unique cone-shaped peak and stunning surroundings. It has become a popular photography and hiking destination due to its striking beauty and prominence in the Icelandic landscape. 

On a clear day, you have a view of the Faxafloi Bay all the way to the Snaefellsnes peninsula.

If you did not opt for the 'Into the Volcano' tour, you can instead participate in a horseback riding excursion or geothermal spa experience today.

The horseback ride will occur before you set out on your Snaefellsnes adventure, taking you through breathtaking landscapes near Reykjavik. 

The spa experience, meanwhile, is held in the beautiful Krauma Spa, which overlooks - and is fueled by - Europe's highest-flowing hot spring, Deildartunghver.

Remember to look out for the northern lights tonight as you will spend the night in a country hotel in Western Iceland, an area well suited for aurora hunting.

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Day 3
Hearing the thundering noises of Gullfoss as water cascades down 32-metres into a canyon is an experience you won't forget

Day 3 - Lava Cave & The Golden Circle

Today, it is time to visit torn landscapes, an erupting geyser, and a thundering waterfall, all part of the fantastic Golden Circle. 

Start your drive heading south, but before you reach the famous attractions of the Golden Circle, you'll have the option of visiting Vidgelmir, a massive lava tube near the town of Borgarfjordur. The walls of this cave are colored vividly with minerals from the earth, and inside, you'll find strangely shaped rock formations and icicles.

You'll then make your way to Thingvellir National Park, a historic site located on the boundaries of the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. As the plates move, they tear up the landscape around, causing cracks and fissures in the region.

One of these fissures, Silfra, is filled with meltwater from Iceland's second-largest glacier. You can opt for a snorkeling tour in Silfra fissure, where the glacial water provides incredible visibility that can reach up to 328 feet (100 meters). Participants need to be comfortable in the water and be able to swim.  

You don't need to worry about the cold in Silfra. You'll be given a drysuit to keep you warm.

From there, drive on out to the Geysir geothermal area, where you'll find the active geyser Strokkur. Strokkur erupts in a water column every 5-10 minutes, reaching heights of around 49 - 66 ft (15-20 meters). You'll have plenty of opportunities to capture the perfect photo of this amazing display of nature.

A short drive from the Geysir area is the magnificent Gullfoss waterfall. Spanning the entire width of the Hvita river, this cascade features two distinct drops in succession, creating two 'steps' for the water to plunge down.

The thundering noises of glacial water hurling down 105 feet (32 meters) into an ancient canyon will echo in your ears for long after your departure.

If you want a different kind of tour today, you can join a thrilling monster truck adventure up the glacial slopes of Langjokull glacier. This trip will expose you to amazing views and beautiful surroundings. 

Alternatively, you could explore the world under Iceland's landscapes by booking a Vidgelmir lava caving tour. A final option is a revitalizing dip in the healing waters of the Fontana Spa, which is nestled in a lake.

Be sure to look up in the sky at night for a chance to spot the dancing northern lights.

You will spend the night near the Golden Circle.

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Day 4
The land under Skógafoss waterfall on the South Coast is very flat, so you can walk right up to the wall of water

Day 4 - The South Coast & Glaciers

On your fourth day, you'll start traveling the stunning South Coast of Iceland. Today, you'll drive past mighty glaciers to visit some of the country's most beautiful attractions.

Start your day by heading to Seljalandsfoss waterfall, a high, narrow cascade that falls over a concaved cliff face. This gorgeous waterfall is lit up by strong lights in the winter, making it seem even more magical. 

You'll travel past Eyjafjallajokull glacier on your way to the next attraction of the day, Skogafoss waterfall. This waterfall has a more classic shape than his sister site, Seljalandsfoss. It is much wider, and the land under it is very flat, so you'll be able to walk right up to the wall of water.

If you'd like to get to know glaciers better, today is the day to do so. You can opt for a snowmobile tour on the massive Myrdalsjokull glacier, which covers the volcano Katla. You'll get your blood pumping by whizzing across the white expanse with snow-topped mountains in the distance. 

You could also opt for a glacier hike on top of Solheimajokull, one of Myrdalsjokull's glacier tongues. Fill your lungs with the cold, crisp mountain air as you traverse past blue crevasses and snowy peaks blackened by ash from past volcanic eruptions.

Other options today include a horseback riding tour through the beautiful landscapes of South Iceland or a shorter visit to the stables to get to know Icelandic horses, complete with hot drinks. Finally, you can start the day with a visit to the Caves of Hella, artificial caves with a wealth of history and folklore.

Make your way to the village of Vik and stop by the stunning Reynisfjara. This black sand beach is surrounded by cliffs of hexagonal basalt columns that are both strange and beautiful at the same time. The massive Reynisdrangar sea stacks are out in the ocean as the North Atlantic waves crash upon them with full force.

You will spend the night in your chosen accommodation in South Iceland.

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Day 5
The green, pink and purple colours of the Northern Lights as they dance above Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon

Day 5 - Jokulsarlon & Vatnajokull National Park

From Vik, the journey continues eastward towards the beautiful Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon in Vatnajokull National Park. The drive itself offers breathtaking views as you pass by dramatic landscapes and rugged coastlines, adding to the sense of adventure.

Before departure, however, you can embark on a black-sand buggy tour across the beautiful landscapes around Reynisfjara beach. Feel the thrill of speeding across the unique volcanic terrain, taking in the striking contrasts between the dark sand, crashing waves, and distant cliffs.

While journeying towards the massive Vatnajokull glacier, you will drive past the charming village of Kirkjubaejarklaustur, known for its historical and cultural significance, and the majestic waterfall Foss a Sidu. Take a moment to marvel at the cascading water as it plunges into the river below.

Continuing your adventure, you'll reach Skaftafell Nature Reserve, a haven of natural beauty. Here, beautiful glacier tongues crawl down narrow valleys, creating a stunning spectacle. Consider exploring the reserve on a guided glacier hike, immersing yourself in the icy wonderland, and discovering hidden canyons and intricate ice sculptures.

For an alternative perspective, you can also book a short or long flight over Vatnajokull National Park from Skaftafell. Soar above the vast expanse of glaciers, snow-covered peaks, and rugged landscapes, enjoying some of the most awe-inspiring views in the country.

Finally, you'll arrive at the crown jewel of Iceland, the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon. Witness massive icebergs that have broken off a nearby glacier floating serenely on the shimmering waters of the lagoon. The ever-changing ice formations and hues create a captivating sight that is truly unforgettable.

At the end of the day, you will find yourself in countryside accommodations in Southeast Iceland, offering a peaceful retreat surrounded by stunning vistas. With a bit of luck, you may even be treated to a dazzling display of the northern lights, adding a touch of magic to your night in this enchanting part of Iceland.

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Day 6
The sun adds more colours to the beautiful blue ice cave in Vatnajökull National Park

Day 6 - Ice Caving & Reykjavik

You'll start your day in the gorgeous Vatnajokull National Park, known for its stunning landscapes and icy wonders.

If you are traveling between October and March, you will have the rare opportunity to visit an authentic ice cave. Seize the chance! These caves are only accessible for a short period as they flood with the rising sun. 

Plan a visit during the booking process and start the day immersing yourself in the infinite shades of blue within the ice cave, a truly mesmerizing experience.

Afterward, head back to the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon, where the midday sun illuminates the surroundings in a different light. The amazing colors of the icebergs, with their crystalline blue and pearly white hues, become even more vibrant in the daylight. Keep an eye out for seals lounging on the icebergs or along the shore, adding to the charm of the lagoon.

Close to the lagoon is a black sand beach where smaller icebergs have washed up onshore. As they glisten in the sunlight, the beach earns the nickname "The Diamond Beach," reminiscent of diamonds scattered on a satin blanket. Take some time to appreciate the beauty of this unique coastal gem.

In the afternoon, you'll start making your way back to Reykjavik city. Along the journey, you have the flexibility to stop at your favorite places along the South Coast or explore new ones, adding unexpected discoveries to your adventure.

Finally, you'll spend the night at accommodations in Reykjavik. 

If you arrive in the city early, make the most of your time by exploring its vibrant nightlife scene. Reykjavik is known for its lively atmosphere, with several cozy bars, live music venues, and cultural experiences awaiting you. 

Whether you choose to unwind with a drink, dance to Icelandic tunes, or simply soak in the local culture, your evening in Reykjavik promises an exciting end to a day filled with natural wonders.

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Day 7
When the snow falls on Reykjavík, the city turns into a winter wonderland

Day 7 - Farewell

Now, it is time to bid farewell to Iceland. If your flight leaves late, you might have some time to squeeze in a few last adventures. Just remember to give yourself enough time to drive to Keflavik International Airport, return your car, and catch 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 world-famous geothermal spa is the perfect place to relax and rejuvenate. 

Immerse yourself in the warm, mineral-rich waters as you reflect on the incredible adventure you have just taken in the land of fire and ice. Indulge in spa treatments, enjoy a silica mud mask, or simply float in the tranquil blue waters, savoring the last moments of your Icelandic journey.

If your flight is later, there are plenty of things to do in Reykjavik. Explore the city's vibrant streets, visit the iconic Hallgrimskirkja Church, browse through boutique shops, or sample delicious Icelandic cuisine at local restaurants. Stroll along the harbor and soak up the lively atmosphere, capturing the essence of this charming capital city.

If you have an early flight back home, we wish you a pleasant journey. 

Take with you the memories of Iceland's breathtaking landscapes, captivating natural wonders, and warm hospitality. As you depart, may you carry the spirit of adventure and the beauty of Iceland in your heart until the day you return to this extraordinary country.

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What to bring

Warm and waterproof clothing
Winter hiking shoes
Swimwear & towel
Driver's license

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, 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 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.

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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

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.

Super Budget 2WD

A small 2WD vehicle such as Toyota Aygo or similar, fit for basic travelling in everyday conditions. Compact and comfortable for up to 2 travellers with very little luggage. No highland capabilities. The driver must be of 20 years of age or above.

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.

Van

A large 9-seater van such as a Mercedes Benz Vito 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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