Stunning 5-Day Northern Lights Winter Self-Drive Tour of North Iceland by Lake Myvatn

Likely to sell out soon
Likely to sell out soon
Free cancellation
24/7 customer support
Perfect travel plan
Fully customizable

Description

Summary

Starts from
Keflavík Airport (KEF), Iceland
Ends in
Keflavík Airport (KEF), Iceland
Duration
5 days & 4 nights
Difficulty
Easy
Available
Sept. - Apr.
Accommodation
4 nights included
Car rental
5 days included

Description

Avoid the crowds, hunt for the northern lights, and discover the pristine beauty of North Iceland with this five-day winter self-drive package, including flights from Reykjavík Domestic Airport to Akureyri, the Capital of the North. This exciting tour should appeal to anyone who wants to explore this quieter but no less spectacular corner of Iceland.

A self-drive tour is an ideal way to explore North Iceland. You don't have to spend weeks planning your perfect itinerary and booking accommodation - we'll do the hard work to ensure you see the best attractions. If you have any questions about the trip, you'll have 24/7 access to a personal travel agent who can help you.

You'll receive a detailed itinerary covering famous attractions and hidden gems. This top-rated tour lets you enjoy your freedom, as you'll have the flexibility to stop at extra sights or skip anything that doesn't interest you. You don't have to rush to catch up with a tour guide. Instead, take your time and enjoy yourself.

If your plans change, you cancel the trip up to 24 hours before your scheduled departure and receive a full refund. 

The adventure begins when you arrive at Akureyri's domestic airport, which can be reached by taking a 30-minute flight from Reykjavik domestic airport (flights are included in the cost). You'll pick up your rental car in Akureyri and can spend the next five days exploring the region.

North Iceland boasts beautiful towns, the incredible Lake Myvatn area, spectacular geology, countless waterfalls, and a wealth of geothermal energy. Because its population is centered in just a few places, there's little light pollution out in nature, meaning you'll have optimal conditions for northern lights hunting.

You can have plenty of adventures in North Iceland, even though fewer travelers frequent the region in winter. The tour is perfect for anyone who wants to get off the beaten path - families, solo travelers, or groups of friends - but it's particularly well suited to couples. The romantic sights of the north make it an incredible honeymoon destination or an ideal spot for a spectacular proposal.

It's also an excellent destination for travelers who have already been to Iceland and might want to explore a different part of this diverse country. Avoid the crowds of the Golden Circle and enjoy the peace and tranquility of the north.

Don't miss this opportunity to explore the beautiful region of North Iceland in winter at your own speed with a five-day self-drive tour. Check availability now by choosing a date.

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Included

4 nights of accommodation
Continental breakfast on all days
New rental car for 5 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

Destinations

North Iceland is home to many incredible attractions, such as the Hvitserkur rock formation.North Iceland / 2 nights
Lake Myvatn is Northeast Iceland's most famous attraction.Northeast Iceland / 2 nights

Map

Attractions

Trollaskagi is well known for its high population of Icelandic horses.Tröllaskagi
Godafoss is a beautiful waterfall with ties to Iceland's religious history.Godafoss Waterfall
Lake Myvatn is surrounded by stunning natural beautyMývatn
Dettifoss waterfall in IcelandDettifoss

Activities

Whale Watching
Sightseeing
Northern lights hunting
Hot Spring Bathing
Self drive

Travel details

Travel dates

Travelers

Car

Car

Small car

Small car

Category
small car
Transmission
People
Large bags
Medium car

Medium car

Category
Medium
Transmission
People
Large bags
Premium car

Premium car

Category
premium car
Transmission
People
Large bags
large car

large car

Category
Large
Transmission
People
Large bags
SUV

SUV

Category
JEEPSUV
Transmission
People
Large bags

Personalize your itinerary

Day 1

Day 1 – North Iceland

  • North Iceland - Arrival day
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  • Troll Peninsula
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Begin your North Iceland adventure with arrival and sightseeing in Akureyri.

You’ll start your trip by flying from Reykjavik domestic airport to Akureyri, the unofficial capital of North Iceland and the country’s second-largest settlement. The flight is only about 30 minutes. Therefore, after you’ve picked up your rental car, you can spend the rest of the day sightseeing and exploring at your leisure.

Akureyri is a fabulous place to spend the first day of your self-drive tour. Beautiful mountains surround the town, and you can enjoy excellent views over the plunging Eyjafjordur fjord. There’s also a wealth of attractions and things to do, including shopping streets lined with boutiques, bars, and restaurants, plus plenty of museums and galleries.

You’ll spend the next three days enjoying the landscapes surrounding the city, so spend today relaxing and sightseeing in the city. Head to the Christmas House to get in the festive spirit, or go to the botanical gardens to enjoy nature.

Alternatively, you could hit the nearby ski slopes of Hlidarfjall for some outdoor fun. These pistes are considered the best in the country, so the area is worth a visit if you like winter sports.

Other places to visit near or around Akureyri include the picturesque town of Husavik, the whale-watching capital of Iceland. Walk around the pretty harbor or visit the Whale Museum. You can also take a boat tour to see if you can spot any whales in the water.

As the evening draws in, we recommend you drive out of Akureyri into the countryside to avoid the town’s light pollution. This is the best way to increase your chances of seeing the northern lights on your first night. If you’re too tired or the sky is cloudy and overcast, don’t worry - you’ll have three more nights to try and spot them.

You’ll spend the first night in comfortable accommodation in North Iceland.

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Experiences

Accommodation

Day 2

Day 2 – Northeast Iceland

  • Northeast Iceland
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  • Godafoss Waterfall
  • Lake Myvatn Area
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Spend the second day of your self-drive tour visiting one of the best-loved areas of North Iceland, Lake Myvatn.

After breakfast in Akureyri, you'll drive east along the Ring Road to reach the geothermal area of Myvatn lake. The lake itself is a large expanse of water. It's stunning in winter, often frozen and surrounded by spectacular snowscapes.

The area is also known for its incredible geology. You'll see pillars of basalt towering over the icy lava fields, bizarre yet beautiful pseudocraters lining the lake's banks, and the magnificent lava fortress of Dimmuborgir.

Aside from its scale and formations, Dimmuborgir is a great place to visit in winter due to its cultural significance. It's said that the 13 Yule Lads (the Icelandic interpretation of Santa Claus) live here throughout the year. The site was also used as a shooting location in the hit TV show Game of Thrones.

On the way to Lake Myvatn, you'll pass the Godafoss waterfall, whose name in English means "waterfall of the gods." This spectacular natural attraction is hugely powerful and has a fascinating history. More than 1,000 years ago, Iceland's Lawspeaker threw his idols of the old Norse gods into the waterfall, symbolically converting the nation to Christianity.

Another nearby destination worth a detour is Namaskard Pass, a lifeless mountain plateau seething with fumaroles and hot springs.

Aside from sightseeing, you can add something extra to your day by booking admission to the Myvatn Nature Baths. This geothermal spa is in an incredible location, with the lakes and surrounding landscapes in clear view.

The waters are naturally heated and full of healing minerals. Though great for families and solo travelers, they have particular appeal to couples due to the romantic ambiance that the site boasts.

If you plan to reach the baths late in the day, you may even see the northern lights dancing in the sky above you as you unwind. There are few experiences more typically Icelandic than marveling over the auroras from a beautiful hot pool.

After a full day of exploring, an evening of relaxation, and hopefully a magnificent show, you'll retire in your comfortable North Iceland accommodation.

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Experiences

Accommodation

Day 3

Day 3 – Northeast Iceland

  • Northeast Iceland
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  • Lake Myvatn Area
  • Dettifoss waterfall
  • More

Enjoy another day in the Lake Myvatn geothermal area and explore the winter wonderland of North Iceland at your own pace.

After a tasty breakfast at your accommodation, you're free to explore the natural attractions of North Iceland at your leisure. There are plenty of fascinating sights to discover around the lake, and you can head further afield if you choose.

You'll return to the same accommodation tonight, so you don't need to pack your belongings before you leave in the morning. Just take a day pack to ensure you have what you need close at hand.

One potential stop today is at the Grjotagja lava cave. The cave contains a natural hot spring and is a fantastic place to learn more about volcanic and geothermal energy in Iceland. The spring water temperature is too unpredictable to bathe in, but it's a fascinating place.

If you haven't visited Husavik yet, today could be an excellent day to do so. It's a picturesque settlement on Iceland's northern coast, with whale-watching opportunities and cozy cafes. 

Alternatively, you could venture further off the Ring Road with a trip to the Dettifoss waterfall, one of the most powerful in Europe. This mighty waterfall is over 131 feet (about 40 meters) tall and over 330 feet (roughly 100 meters) wide. It's a breathtaking sight. 

The waterfall perfectly demonstrates the force of Iceland's nature and the marriage of ice and fire. The water comes from the country's largest glacier, and the cliffs surrounding it are formed of ancient lava.

Driving to Dettifoss in the winter can be challenging, as you'll need to follow an unpaved road to reach it. If the weather is bad, it can be very hazardous, so check road conditions before you set off. Your car will be a four-wheel drive to help you navigate the icy roads, but always be careful and drive slowly.

After a busy day of sightseeing, you can return to your accommodation or stay up late looking for the northern lights.

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Experiences

Accommodation

Day 4

Day 4 – North Iceland

  • North Iceland
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On day four of your self-drive winter tour of North Iceland, you'll return to Akureyri. You can visit any attractions you've missed along the way, such as the Dimmuborgir lava fortress or the Godafoss waterfall.

After breakfast at your accommodation, explore more of North Iceland as you see fit. You'll need to return to your accommodation in Akureyri tonight, but it's not far - about 50 miles (roughly 80 kilometers). Take your time and explore other sights before you go.

Anyone keen to learn more about Iceland's early settlers can drive to the Laufas turf houses. This site is part of the National Museum of Iceland and gives visitors a clear idea of how early Icelanders would have lived.

Keen skiers could make the most of the winter landscape by heading to the mountains near Akureyri for fun on the slopes. Alternatively, you can drive to Husavik and organize a whale-watching tour. Your travel agent can provide tips for the best things to do in North Iceland, so you'll have a fantastic final day in the region.

If you go straight back to Akureyri, there are some fun things to do in the city to keep you busy. Enjoy a dip at the local swimming pool for an authentic Icelandic experience. Icelanders love swimming, and you'll find a pool in nearly every town, village, or settlement.

Akureyri is also home to the striking Akureyrarkirkja church. If you've previously spent time in Reykjavik, this church is an interesting point of comparison to the capital's Hallgrimskirkja church.

The city is also home to several museums. If you're traveling with children, a trip to the Akureyri Toy Museum could be a good choice. It's housed in the Fridbjarnarhus, one of the town's oldest buildings.

After a final day of sightseeing, you can drive out of the city to spend one more night looking for the northern lights. When ready, return to your guesthouse or hotel in North Iceland and enjoy a good night's sleep before your flight to Reykjavik tomorrow.

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Experiences

Accommodation

Day 5

Day 5 – North Iceland

  • North Iceland - Departure day
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Enjoy a final few hours in Akureyri before your flight back to Reykjavik.

If you have time in the morning, you can visit any sights or attractions you've missed in Akureyri.

A stop at the Akureyri Art Museum is a must for art enthusiasts. This prominent venue showcases a dynamic array of contemporary artworks from both Icelandic and international artists.

When the winter chill begins to nip, find solace and warmth in one of the local cafes like Blaa Kannan cafe, a popular spot known for its delightful hot drinks and delicious pastries.

Book enthusiasts should seize the opportunity to explore Eymundsson, the main bookstore in the town, where a vast selection of Icelandic literature, translated into various languages, awaits.

Ensure you take your rental car to the airport with plenty of time to check in before departure.

We wish you a safe flight back to Reykjavik and a pleasant onward journey. We hope to see you in North Iceland again soon!

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Experiences

What to bring

Warm, waterproof clothing
Sturdy hiking shoes
Hat, gloves, and scarf
Driver's license
Luggage
Passport
Refillable water bottle
Camera and charger
Swimsuit and towel

Good to know

It is strongly recommended that you book your international flight into Iceland to arrive at least a day before your tour begins. This is because you will take a domestic flight from Reykjavik to Akureyri on the first day. You should also book your international flight out of Iceland at least a day after the tour finishes to allow for the flight back to Reykjavik.

A valid driver's license is required, along with at least one year of on-road experience. Please be aware that your itinerary may be rearranged to better suit your arrival date and time.

The northern lights are a natural phenomenon and, therefore, cannot be guaranteed, but this itinerary is designed to maximize your chances of seeing them if weather conditions allow. In cases of extreme weather, certain activities can be canceled at short notice. If this happens, we'll assist you with rearranging or replacing the activity. Any potential price difference will be refunded to you.

We recommend bringing shoes with slip-resistant soles or ice-grip shoe covers, which you can purchase in many supermarkets and gas stations around Iceland.

Gravel protection is not included if you choose a Toyota Aygo or similar.

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