3 Day Winter Self Drive Tour | Jokulsarlon & Vatnajokull Glacier Ice Cave

Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon bathed in the soft light of a winter's afternoon.
On this 3 Day Winter Self Drive Tour you can enjoy the northern lights for as long as you want, should you be lucky enough to see them.
A breed unique to Iceland, the Icelandic horse sports a thick coat of fur during winter.
Compressed oxygen creates the shades of sapphire blue in Vatnajökull's ice caves.
Provided that the skies are clear and geomagnetic activity is high enough, you should be able to see the northern lights.
The ice caves are only accessible in winter time when the cold ensures their structural strength.
Based on 6 traveller reviews

Jump in your car and make your way down the south coast, where you’ll meet your guide to enter a rare, wondrous ice cave in Vatnajökull National Park. This tour is for those want to explore an ice cave and the wonders of the south coast at your own pace.

Enjoy the splendid waterfalls and black sand beach along the south coast, all the way to Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon and Diamond Beach.

You'll meet up with the glacier guide for the ice caving on your second day, hop in a heavy-duty Superjeep, and plow across the countryside to the ice cave. The ice here is around 1,000 years old. 

At night, go hunting for the Northern Lights. The area of the National Park is optimal due to its isolation and wide open spaces. You should be able to see the auroras, provided that the skies are clear and geomagnetic activity is high enough to cause this fascinating reaction that results in brilliant, dancing lights.

On your third day, you can explore the glacier lagoon, Jökulsárlón, before heading back to Reykjavík. It is one of the most popular spots in Iceland, so give yourself enough time to enjoy the serene beauty of the lagoon.

Iceland's pristine natural environment is its greatest treasure. These places are beautiful beyond measure, and it can be hard to appreciate among chattering sightseers and long lines. 

That's why we've included some lesser-known sites alongside the popular places in the tailor-made itinerary for this tour. You will be virtually alone in these locations so that you can enjoy the surroundings properly.

Don’t miss your chance for great value and extraordinary sights on this tour of Iceland. Check availability by choosing a date.

Quick facts

Tour information:
  • Available: Nov. - Mar.
  • Duration: 3 days
  • Activities: Glacier Hiking, Super Jeep, Sightseeing, Northern lights hunting, Ice Caving, Self drive
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Minimum age: 8 years.
  • Highlights: Jökulsárlón, Vatnajökull, Skógafoss, Seljalandsfoss, Dyrhólaey, Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach, Vík í Mýrdal, Svartifoss, Fjaðrárgljúfur, South Coast, Diamond Beach
Pickup information:
  • Pickup time : Flexible

  • Accommodation for 2 nights (different levels available; breakfast included for Comfort and Quality levels; more detailed info below)

  • Vehicle for 3 days (VW Polo or similar. Upgrades available)

  • CDW and SCDW insurance along gravel protection for car rental

  • GPS system

  • Car colleted at airport / Hotel pick up

  • Ice cave tour - Ride on a Super Jeep to the cave

  • Crampons and glacier gear

  • Detailed Itinerary with fun and practical information on the nature, history and culture of Iceland

  • Hands-on travel agent to oversee your itinerary

  • Taxes

  • Dinner

  • Lunch

What to bring:
  • Warm clothing and outerwear suited to rainy or chilly weather

  • Sturdy shoes for walking/hiking

Good to know:

Self-drive tours begin either in Reykjavík City or at Keflavik International Airport. A valid driver's license is required, along with a one-year long on-road experience. Please be aware that your itinerary may be rearranged to better fit with your arrival date and time.

The Northern Lights are a natural phenomenon, and therefore cannot be guaranteed, but this itinerary is designed to maximise your chances to see them if weather allows. Please be aware that your itinerary may have to be rearranged to fit your arrival date and time better. It can happen, in the case of extreme weather, that an activity is cancelled. If your chosen activity is cancelled, we will assist you with rearranging or booking other activities when possible, and any potential price difference will be refunded to you.

Lunch and dinner can be purchased in a number of places. Accommodation is close to the glacier lagoon Jökulsárlón. Prices are listed per person in double rooms. Please add an extra supplement if an odd number is chosen. Reserve early as there is very limited availability.

Daily itinerary

Day 1 - The South Coast of Iceland

3 Day Winter Self Drive Tour | Jokulsarlon & Vatnajokull Glacier Ice Cave

You can start either from your hotel in Reykjavik or Keflavik International Airport.

On your first day, you will drive down the south coast of Iceland to see all the famous waterfalls there and the black sand beach of Reynisfjara and the cliffs of Dyrhólaey.

The drive to the glacier lagoon is in total about 6-10 hours, depending on how long you decide to stop at each of the attractions, which is the great thing about this self-drive tour. You choose how best to spend your time!

The Golden Circle is here for you, from Þingvellir National Park to Geysir geothermal area, to Gullfoss waterfall. In addition to these famous sites, there are many waterfalls, pretty scenes and small villages for you to stop for a cup of coffee or a short rest from the car at a local museum.

Keep your eyes open for auroras during the night - you'll be in a great location in the town of Höfn.

Preferred accommodation by Jökulsárlón and Höfn

Jökulsárlón and Höfn Comfort

Hotel Höfn is a 3 star hotel centrally located within the town Höfn. Private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.

Jökulsárlón and Höfn Quality

Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon is a 4 star hotel located right between Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon and Skaftafell Nature Reserve. Private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Ocean or mountain views. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.

Day 2 - Ice Cave Tour with Super Jeep Ride

3 Day Winter Self Drive Tour | Jokulsarlon & Vatnajokull Glacier Ice Cave

You can choose between a few departure times for the ice cave tour, but we advise you to show up for the ice cave tour at least 15 minutes before your departure. You will reach the ice cave tour on a modified Superjeep, and while you're there, you will be able to enjoy the ice cave and surrounding area for more than an hour. Don't forget your hiking shoes!

The Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon and Diamond Beach are fantastic locations where to spend the rest of the day. You can admire the sunshine gleaming on the ancient ice that breaks off the glacier and makes its way to the lagoon, take pictures of the seals and gulls that play in the area or just take a stroll.

Leave some free time in the late evening for Northern Lights hunting; if there's a clear sky you may see a good display!

You will spend another night in Höfn.

Day 3 - Skaftafell Nature Reserve - South Coast Attractions

3 Day Winter Self Drive Tour | Jokulsarlon & Vatnajokull Glacier Ice Cave

Today, you have an optional extra activity in the Skaftafell Nature Reserve, where you can go on a glacier hike on the Svínafellsjökull glacier. The hike is not very demanding but rewards you with spectacular views!

Driving back along the south coast of Iceland, you're sure to discover plenty of great attractions that you didn't see on your way to Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. For example, the beautiful canyon Fjaðrárgljúfur is a short drive from the main road, near the village of Kirkjubæjarklaustur.

At night, when you're back in Reykjavík you can drop your car off at your hotel, or even at the airport in the morning.


Guide to Iceland has a wide selection of vehicles and seeks to provide you with the best available car from our preferred rental operators, who offer the highest quality vehicles and service to our guests. Our self-drive packages include a newer model, usually a maximum of 2 years old and equipped with a GPS and basic CDW insurance. See the categories of available vehicles below. We recommend a comfortable 4X4 as a minimal standard for winter traveling due to icy and challenging road conditions. In the booking process, you can also upgrade to an automatic model for free.

Comfort 4X4

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

Luxury 4x4

A large sized jeep with 4WD (4x4) such as Toyota Land Cruiser or similar, fit for nearly all traveling. This vehicle has full highland capabilities to drive on accessible mountain roads.


See our accommodation levels below and our preferred accommodation partners under each day in the daily itinerary. Single person bookings will be arranged in a single room, while bookings of 2 or more people will share twin/double room(s) or triple room(s). Guide to Iceland will provide you with the best available hotels and guesthouses 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. We always do our best to accommodate special requests, which may incur additional costs. The sooner you reserve the higher quality accommodation we can provide. Press choose a date at the top 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.

Cancellation Insurance

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



The tour was amazing. The fact that it was a self driving tour allowed us to go at our own pace and yet hit all the places that were recommended on the itinerary. Driving in Iceland was extremely easy, even in March, the road was well maintained, directions are easy to follow and we got lucky enough to see the Northern Lights while driving along the coast on our first evening. I found it important to carefully review the booking information as we had some communication challenges with our booking agent at Guide to Iceland but with everything being in writing, it was easy to rectify and everyone has been very accommodating. I would definitely recommend Guide to Iceland to anyone who wants to experience Iceland and be semi-guided in their visit of the country.

We absolutely loved this self-driving tour! Every single bit of the tour was amazing! Our vehicle (Nissan Qashqai) was great: 4x4, studded winter tires, provided by a very friendly local rental company in Keflavik. Rental rep delivered vehicle right to our hotel with an external GPS (built-in one did not allow to punch in coordinates from the itinerary provided), gave us all sorts of useful information on top of the itinerary provided by the Guide to Iceland. And off on our way we were. South coast is phenomenal to explore! Worth the drive and every single penny. We stayed in Smyrlabjörg - amazing hotel that had buffer-breakfast with lots of options included in the tour. Its restaurant offered a ton great options for dinner as well. We fell in love with Iceland :) thank you for everything!

We choose the self-driving tour becouse we wanted to organize the south coast tour ourself and not to be dependent on the schedule of a guided trip. Everything worked just perfect with Guide to Iceland. Before we booked we had some questions which were answered always immediatelly. The booking and the following communication was easy and we were even addressed in our language. You get all the vouchers you need via Mail and additionally an itinerary which is specially tailored according to what you have booked in detail. Although it contained all the major information (important sights along the route, hotel information...) the itinerary could be a bit in more detail concerning the informations about the sights. The organization worked perfect. The car rental company delivered the car directly to our accomodation in Reykjavik and picked it up again 3 days later exactly at the mentioned time. The selected hotels enroute were nice and the activities (ice cave tour, glacier hike) were very impressive although we had very bad luck with the weather, but of course that`s nobodys fault. I definetely recommend the self-driving tour when you are just a small group or a couple because are on your own and you can decide what and how long you want to do the things. Guide to Iceland provides a well organized frame and you can fill it or even add more things you want to do. With your own car you are totally free. Thanks for everything!

Guide to Iceland was an excellent choice for my group of 4. We did the winter 3 day self guided tour which included the ice cave, and accommodations in Höfn. The booking agents where really helpful and were flexible to add additional car rental dates and were almost always available. The self drive experience was good four our group since, some of us had already been to Iceland and we wanted to selectively pick the locations we pleased, which are also recommended on our 10 page itinerary. As for the experience, we were able to see the northern lights on our way to Höfn, which was amazing, and visited the Crystal Ice cave. I definitely recommend the self drive tour for a group of 2-4 or more. It is very flexible, and the staff will take care of the car booking, hotel booking, and ice cave visit. This south coast tour is suggested to visit the major attractions such as the golden tour, Vik, Jökulsárlón lagoon, Höfn, to name a few. The best thing about this is that your group is in charge of tour schedule, apart from the ice cave appointed activity. We would definitely do this again in a different route. Driving in Iceland is very easy, and you will be tempted to stop in almost any direction on rout 1. The scenery is very majestic, and the beauty of it all, is that you control your own schedule. Note, if you are hunting for the northern lights, we recommend extending your Iceland vacation for 5 or more days, including this 3-day tour, or you can select from guide to Iceland's duration package or customize it to fit in your own 5 day schedule like we did. Thank you Guide to Iceland!

Overall, We had a great trip! The car rental company met us right at the airport. Our questions were answered promptly and a lot of detail was given. The hotels were arranged by Guide to Iceland all great, very clean and comfortable (especially Fosshotel, love it !) , and the car were nice and comfortable as well but GPS are not really help and we lack of addressed on some hotel and location, it bring us to the wrong direction. The ice cave tour was also a lot of fun. Tour guide are really friendly, but the cave are too small and crowded only can fit 2 groups of people but it is a good experience to go into the cave, probably Once in a Lifetime. The sights were all magnificent, unfortunately we could not see the northern lights due to weather condition. I would definitely recommend this service to anyone thinking of exploring Iceland.

guide to iceland was not really available during our tour, and the fixed itinerary provided was not really accurate, we had to pickup and drop off the car at the rental's office, not directly at our accomodation, hotel was over 1 hour from the glacier lagoon, not precisely close to it, and our glacier hike got canceled the very same morning of our scheduled date... guide to iceland was really a no show during our time in Iceland... i personally had to make the calls and align with the service provider when our tour was canceled, and I was actually told Guide to Iceland shouldn't have offered that tour at this time of the year. I would recommend to save your money and tour around Iceland on your own.

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3 Day Winter Self Drive Tour | Jokulsarlon & Vatnajokull Glacier Ice Cave

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