3-Day Northern Lights Winter Self-Drive Tour of Iceland to Ice Cave & Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon

The ice caves in Vatnajokull glacier are composed of ice that is over 1,000 years old.
Likely to sell out soon
Free cancellation
24/7 customer support
Perfect travel plan



Tour starts
Keflavík Airport (KEF), Iceland
Starting time
3 days
Ending place
Keflavík Airport (KEF), Iceland
Sept. - Mar.
Ending time
Minimum age
8 years old


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 the Vatnajokull National Park. This three-day winter road trip is perfect for those who want to explore an ice cave, a glacier lagoon, and the highlights of the South Coast at their own pace.

Your adventure begins on day one at the Keflavik International Airport or Reykjavik, where you can pick up your car rental. For the next three days, you'll drive this spacious new vehicle with free Wi-Fi to see some of the most popular attractions of Iceland.

Day one of your drive brings you to the top sites of the South Coast, from majestic waterfalls to charming villages and black sand beaches. You'll stop by the Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss waterfalls, Reynisfjara black sand beach, Vik village, and more attractions before calling it a night in your cozy Southeast Iceland accommodation.

Day two is the highlight of this journey, which takes you to the spectacular Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon and an ice cave in Vatnajokull, the largest glacier in Europe. You'll meet up with the glacier guide for the ice caving, hop in a heavy-duty super jeep, and plow across the snowy plains to reach the beautiful highlight of winter.

On your third day, you can explore more of the glacier lagoon and the other features of Vatnajokull before returning to Reykjavik. For example, you can stroll along Diamond beach, a hike to the Svartifoss waterfall, or an optional guided glacier hike in the Skaftafell nature reserve.

Each night on this trip, you have the best opportunity to hunt 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 the skies are clear and geomagnetic activity is high enough to cause brilliant, dancing lights.

For added convenience, this winter package includes two nights of accommodation with complimentary breakfast that you can upgrade depending on your budget. You'll also get a comprehensive itinerary providing complete descriptions and routes to your destinations. All the planning has been done so you can focus on enjoying your holiday.

This winter itinerary highlights famous attractions, hidden gems, and extra activities you can do. A team of local travel experts crafted this self-drive tour for you, considering winter conditions and daylight hours, so you can get the best Icelandic holiday possible.

Additionally, throughout your expedition, you'll have the convenience of a helpline or personal travel agent available at any time. Don't hesitate to contact them for any questions or emergency support.

If there are any unexpected changes to your travel plans, you can cancel your booking up to 24 hours before departure and receive a full refund.

After a breathtaking drive along the South Coast, you'll return your car to Reykjavik or the airport, marking the end of this unforgettable winter tour in Iceland.

Don't miss your chance for great value and extraordinary sights on this 3-day winter self-drive tour of Iceland's South Coast. Check availability now by choosing a date.

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Accommodation for 2 nights (breakfast included; upgrade available; more detailed info below)
New vehicle model for 3 days (Dacia Duster or similar. Upgrades available)
CDW insurance for super budget level vehicle; other levels include gravel protection insurance
Free Wi-Fi in vehicle
Ice cave tour
Crampons and glacier gear for ice cave tour
Detailed itinerary for three days
Personal travel agent


Glacier Hiking
Super Jeep
Northern lights hunting
Ice Caving
Self drive

Daily itinerary

Day 1
Drive the South Coast to Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon on your winter self-drive tour, where you can see the northern lights dance in the evening sky.

Day 1 - The South Coast of Iceland

The first day of your winter drive in Iceland begins either in Reykjavik or the Keflavik International Airport. You can pick up your vehicle in these locations, serving as your mode of transport for the next three days.

You'll drive down the South Coast of Iceland to see its most beautiful attractions. This Icelandic region is one of the most visited areas in Iceland because of its wealth of natural features and proximity to the Icelandic capital. On this specific trip, you'll visit majestic waterfalls, the black sand beach of Reynisfjara, and the cliffs of Dyrholaey.

The Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss waterfalls are the most notable features of this region, both cascading 200 feet (60 meters) down. While Skogafoss is known for its rainbows on a sunny day, Seljalandsfoss is famous for its cascade that you can fully encircle. You'll also have the chance to see the lesser-known, yet equally beautiful Gljufrabui and Kvernufoss falls.

Not far from these waterfalls are Vik village and Reynisfjara, the most famous black sand beach in Iceland. While Reynisfjara is a sight to behold with its long stretch of volcanic sands and basalt columns, explore it cautiously because powerful Atlantic waves constantly pound it.

You'll also pass the black sands of Solheimar in the dark shadow of the great Eyjafjallajokull glacier volcano and its big brother, Myrdalsjokull glacier. If the weather is clear, you can see these massive glaciers towering in the distance as you drive on the coast.

The drive to the glacier lagoon is about six to 10 hours, depending on how long you decide to stop at each attraction. But this is the appealing aspect of this self-drive tour because you choose how best to spend your time.

Keep your eyes open for aurora borealis during the night, as you'll be in a great location in Southeast Iceland.

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Day 2
On a winter self-drive tour, you can travel the South Coast to Vantajokull National Park where you can take a tour to an authentic ice cave.

Day 2 - Ice Cave Tour with Super Jeep Ride

The highlight of this multi-day winter trip on the South Coast happens on day two. Today, you'll explore a fascinating ice cave in the Vatnajokull National Park.

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'll reach the ice cave in a modified super jeep, driving through the remote glacier's snowy plains and rugged terrain. This experience is thrilling and exciting, as you'll be surrounded by the features of the biggest glacier in Europe, covering at least 10 percent of Iceland's landmass.

Upon reaching the ice cave, you'll be treated to a breathtaking world of ice that natural forces and seasons have shaped. The cave walls are made of compacted ice that sparkles when sunlight filters through its ceiling.

The air inside the ice cave feels cool and fresh. Inside the cave, you'll see ice formations with intricate patterns and layers. There can be streaks of transparent, blue, and black color on the ice, depending on the cave you explore.

This guided ice caving includes safety equipment like a helmet, crampons, and other glacier gear to ensure your safety while exploring. However, you need to bring your own hiking boots.

After a satisfying ice-caving experience, you can spend the rest of the day exploring the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon and Diamond beach. Jokulsarlon is the crown jewel of Iceland because of the thousands of icebergs floating in its deep waters.

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 playing in the area, or enjoy 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'll spend another night in Southeast Iceland.

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Day 3
Discover the many hiking trails and tracks at Skaftafell nature reserve on your winter self-drive tour.

Day 3 - Skaftafell Nature Reserve - South Coast Attractions

On the third and last day of your self-drive tour in Iceland, you can explore more attractions in the Vatnajokull National Park. There are more sites to visit in this vast area, so don't miss this rare opportunity to see some of them.

One of the most notable locations here is Skaftafell, a nature reserve that was a national park before being included in the Vatnajokull National Park. Skaftafell has a beautiful landscape where glaciers, icy waterfalls, and snow-capped mountains are familiar sights.

As you venture into Skaftafell, the surroundings transform into a winter wonderland. You'll witness the mesmerizing sight of frozen waterfalls cascading down rocky cliffs. One such prominent feature is Svartifoss, known for its striking basalt columns that create a captivating backdrop against the snowy landscape.

You also have an optional extra activity in the Skaftafell nature reserve, where you can go on a glacier hike on an outlet glacier of the Vatnajokull ice cap. The walk isn't overly demanding but rewards you with spectacular views and an incredible chance to experience the ice up close in the company of seasoned glacier guides.

Driving back along the South Coast of Iceland, you'll discover plenty of great attractions you didn't previously see. You can take a slight detour and visit the geothermal areas to the north or one of the little fishing villages down by the coast, where small seafood restaurants offer the catch of the day. 

At night, when you're back in Reykjavik, you can drop your car off at your hotel or even at the airport in the morning. If you have more time, you can explore the city to see its most iconic landmarks or get a feel of the local culture through its restaurants.

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What to bring

Warm clothing and outerwear suited to rainy or chilly weather
Winter hiking shoes

Good to know

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. If you feel insecure about driving in winter conditions, we recommend a package tour instead.

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 fit your arrival date and time better.

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.

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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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 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 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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