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Romantic 7 Day Northern Lights Self-Drive Getaway in Iceland with Ice Caving & Waterfalls

Iceland's aurora borealis are its most famous and magnificent winter attraction.
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Perfect travel plan
Fully customizable
Car & accommodation
Starting time
Flexible
Duration
7 days
Available
Sep. - Apr.
Minimum age
None

Discover the wonders of Iceland in winter, and witness the beauty of the Northern Lights, on this seven-day romantic getaway. This slow-paced self-drive vacation is a fantastic choice for couples hoping to make lasting memories and share once-in-a-lifetime experiences in one of the world’s most beautiful countries.

On booking this holiday, you’ll be provided with an itinerary of the most exclusive sites across west and south Iceland. The joy of a self-drive tour, however, is the fact that you have the freedom to tailor every day to the desires of you and your partner, without thinking about the whims of other tourists and the strict agenda of tour guides.

You can thus choose to spend as long as you like seeking the Northern Lights over the icebergs of the Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon; go off the beaten track to find the hidden wonders around the Golden Circle, and find your own perfect picnic spot amongst the many sites of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula.

Self-drive vacations are particularly alluring in winter due to the fact that you can hunt for and marvel over the aurora borealis each night privately, at your own leisure, without having to go on a bus tour. Watching the Northern Lights as they dance and swirl over Iceland’s beautiful landscapes is an experience that will last with you for a lifetime.

This particular trip also provides you with the exclusive opportunity to witness another Icelandic seasonal phenomenon, the ice caves. These otherworldly formations are as rare as they are spectacular, and will allow you to share an intimate, unforgettable moment with your partner that you can treasure forever. 

Optional adventures you can also add onto the vacation to create even more special memories include snowmobiling, lava caving and even snorkelling.

Immerse yourself in the romantic, mystical beauty of Iceland beneath the Northern Lights on this self-drive vacation. Check availability by choosing a date.

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 also include SCDW and gravel protection insurances
GPS System
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
The Blue Lagoon remains the most popular stop when traveling in Iceland.

Blue Lagoon & Reykjavik

Your adventure begins as soon as you pick up your car, waiting for you at Keflavik International Airport. From here, you’ll head to the nearby Blue Lagoon, an ethereal spa where you can relax after your flight and enjoy the restorative powers of the azure, mineral-rich water; there is no better place to start a romantic holiday.

After that, you can make your way to Reykjavik, but as this tour is all about freedom, you are welcome to seek out the sites of the volcanic Reykjanes Peninsula first. Otherwise, you can spend the evening exploring the quirky capital, enjoying its architecture, culture, and public artworks, such as the Sun Voyager.

You’ll spend your first night in a hotel in the city.

Day 2
There is a horse farm close to Mt. Kirkjufell, providing a unique photo opportunity.

Snaefellsjokull National Park

On your second day, you’ll set out to explore a region nicknamed ‘Iceland in Miniature’ because of its unbelievable diversity: the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. As you head north towards it, you are welcome to detour to explore some sites of west Iceland, such as Faxafloi Bay and the Eldborg Crater.

For a limited time, it is possible to start your second day with an awe-inspiring helicopter journey over the volcanic eruption at Fagradalsfjall. Those seeking to start their holiday with a life-changing experience that personifies the majesty of the Land of Ice and Fire should not miss this chance. You’ll lift off from Reykjavik’s Domestic Airport, marvel over the capital’s features and nature from above, before crossing the Reykjanes Peninsula to the beautiful, primordial eruption site. After circling it a few times, you’ll even make a landing to admire it from a new angle.

You will still want plenty of time on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, however, not least to reach its most famous feature, which sits on its tip. The twin-peaked subglacial volcano of Snaefellsjokull is so spectacular that it is now a National Park, and is most renowned for being the primary setting for the Jules Verne novel ‘A Journey to the Centre of the Earth’.

The attractions leading up to this magnificent site, on both the north and south shores, are similarly beautiful, if not quite as well known.

For example, Kirkjufell mountain, which is featured in Game of Thrones, is a favourite site amongst photographers; Djupalonssandur is a stunning black sand beach with a fascinating history; and the abandoned village of Hellnar is a place of windswept serenity. At many of these sites, you’ll find plenty of romantic, private spots to unwind.

You’ll spend the night at a hotel on the peninsula. If the sky is clear and dark, and you aren’t all tuckered out from a day of exploration, feel free to hunt for the auroras over some of the area’s magnificent landscapes.

Day 3
The Golden Circle route offers more than just the three main attractions. Oxarafoss is a waterfall nestled in the valley of Thingvellir National Park.

Lava Cave & The Golden Circle

On the third day of your romantic Northern Lights getaway, you’ll set off to explore the three sites of the Golden Circle, the most iconic sightseeing trail in Iceland.

Those with a taste of adventure, however, can organise a lava caving excursion first, where you will descend into Vidgelmir and witness the stunning subterranean world beneath Iceland’s landscapes.

The Golden Circle is famous for three incredible sites, all of which show a different side of Iceland’s nature. Gullfoss is a magnificent waterfall which tumbles into an ancient valley; in winter, beautiful ice armours the rocks that surround it.

The Geysir Geothermal Area, meanwhile, is a wonderland of hot springs, including the geyser of Strokkur, which erupts every ten minutes or so. Finally, Thingvellir is a National Park located between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates, filled with lava fields, forests, ravines and springs.

Those seeking a unique winter excursion can opt into a snorkelling tour in one of these springs, Silfra, to witness its crystal clear views and swim between the continents.

Just off the Golden Circle are plenty of cultural and natural sites that those on guided tours rarely get a chance to see but you are welcome to locate at your own leisure. Many of these, such as the Fontana Spa and Secret Lagoon, have a romantic ambience, making them perfect for couples.

You’ll retire for the night in south-west Iceland.

Day 4
The fishing town of Vik is a popular destination on the south coast of Iceland. You can wait for the Northern Lights at night.

The South Coast & Glaciers

The fourth day of your adventure will take you along the South Coast, where you can expect to find countless attractions inland and spectacular views out to sea. As this is a slow-paced vacation, you’ll spend three days in total getting to know this beautiful region.

The first major attraction you will come to is a Seljalandsfoss; a tall, gentle waterfall, it is famous for the vast cavern that opens behind it. The water that feeds it comes from the glacier of Eyjafjallajokull, which can be glimpsed at as you travel.

If you wish to have a more personal experience with an Icelandic ice cap, you can opt into a glacier-hiking tour on Solheimajokull, found just after Seljalandsfoss. You’ll be led by an expert guide, who will welcome you to a world of gleaming, colourful ice and spectacular views.

Another choice is to visit the ice caves on the volcano of Katla, a particularly appealing choice for those coming outside of midwinter when the crystal blue ice caves are closed. A final way to explore the ice caps is on a thrilling snowmobiling tour, where you will race across their snowy surfaces.

The next site on the South Coast is the magnificent Skogafoss waterfall, which is about sixty metres tall and produces an enormous cloud of spray. After marvelling over its power, you can move along to one of the world’s most beautiful non-tropical beaches, Reynisfjara.

This stretch is renowned for its otherworldly black sands, enormous waves, and the dramatic sea-stacks of Reynisdrangar, said to have once been trolls frozen in the sun.

By the beach is a quaint village of Vik, where you will spend the night.

Day 5
Vatnajokull National Park offers an icy world.

Jokulsarlon & Vatnajokull National Park

The fifth day of your tour will take you along the rest of the South Coast, culminating at the Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, which is often nicknamed the crown jewel of Iceland’s nature.

After leaving Vík, you will pass through some spectacular landscapes as you make your way towards Vatnajokull National Park, where most of today’s sites can be found. The first attraction you’ll reach, however, is the village of Kirkjubaejarklaustur, which is steeped in religious history. Next to it is a similarly historic farm, Foss a Sidu, which sits before a beautiful waterfall.

You’ll then have the opportunity to visit Skaftafell, a nature reserve in the National Park. This area is filled with natural wonders, including glacier tongues and lagoons, sparkling rivers, and lava formations. The most beautiful of these are the hexagonal basalt columns that surround ‘the black waterfall’, Svartifoss.

After exploring the nature reserve to your heart’s content, you can continue along to the Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon. Iceland’s deepest lake, it fills with icebergs breaking from a tongue of Vatnajokull glacier, often as tall as multi-storey buildings. They are spectacular to admire from the shores, and made all the more beautiful by the resident seals.

Adjacent to the lake is the ethereal, romantic Diamond Beach, the black sand stretch of coastline where these icebergs wash up after finally reaching the ocean.

Both Jokulsarlon and the Diamond Beach are fantastic places to remain after the sun sets in hope of seeing the auroras dancing above. Your accommodation will be in this area.

Day 6
Visiting a blue ice cave is a must-do when traveling in Iceland in winter.

Ice Caving & Back to Reykjavik

If travelling between October and March, your sixth day will begin with a winter adventure like no other: an exploration of the crystal blue ice caves under Vatnajokull glacier.

These incredible formations are very rare around the world. A visit to one will envelop you into a world of vivid blue colours and beautiful lighting effects, and allow you to experience first hand the inner workings of Iceland’s beautiful glaciers.

After your guided tour into this spectacular place, the rest of your day is free; though you have to get back to the capital in the evening, where you will be retiring, what you do before your get there is entirely up to you.

Most guests want more time marvelling over the Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon because of its sheer, unreal beauty, but you have the opportunity to return to any South Coast sites you want to admire again.

Of course, as this is a self-drive vacation, you can also address your itinerary and seek out the hidden gems just off the main road that most visitors overlook. If you are looking to find a private, romantic spot out in the remote nature, now is a great time to do so.

As your day comes to a close, you will likely still be on the road, so be sure to look for dark corners en route where you can hunt for the Northern Lights.

Day 7
Reykjavik in winter is particularly quiet and charming.

Farewell

Sadly, your seventh day is your final one in Iceland. You will have to return your car to Keflavik International Airport in time for your flight.

If, however, you have a late departure, you have several options for how to spend your last day. While you could simply enjoy the city of Reykjavik, making the most of its shops, restaurants, galleries, museums and art, the adventurous can squeeze in a final excursion.

From the domestic airport, you can opt into a helicopter or plane tour, to witness Iceland’s magnificent winter landscapes from the sky. If travelling before the end of October, you could even take the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to descend into the vast, colourful magma chamber of a dormant volcano.

You could also use your last hours to explore the volcanic, geothermal wonders of the Reykjanes Peninsula, before dropping off your vehicle and saying farewell to your exclusive, romantic time in Iceland.

Enjoy your flight and come back soon!

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.

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.

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. Please note that though the tour is available to book from September to May, the ice caves are only accessible from October to March each year.

Some optional activities might need either 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 snorkelling.

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.

This self-drive is set to take place at 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.

Wearing cotton or jeans as the outer layer during your trip to the Þríhnjúkagígur volcano tour is not allowed. Please wear suitable waterproof clothes and sturdy hiking shoes for this trip. It’s always the same temperature inside the crater – about 5–6°C (42–43°F). The Þríhnjúkagígur volcano tour involves a hike of approximately 3 km (2 miles) each way. The walk usually takes around 45–50 minutes (depending on the condition of people in the group). A guide will be with you at all times during the walk. Please note that the volcano is only accessible from May to October each year.

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), and Super Collision Damage Waiver (SCDW) insurances. Please note that off-road driving is illegal for all types of cars. All levels come equipped with a GPS and 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. In wintertime, all cars have winter tyres.

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, or similar. Comfortably fit up to 4 travellers 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 Renault Trafic (2WD manual), Mercedes Benz Vito (4WD automatic, has highland capabilities and better suited for winter driving), or similar. Comfortable for 5 to 7 travellers. If seated full, luggage space is limited. The driver must be of 23 years of age or above.

Meals

Are you looking to try some of the best dishes Iceland’s top restaurants have to offer? You can now add delicious meals to your booking without having to research where to find them. Select this option to include dinner every night as an extra, and we’ll provide you with vouchers as part of your booking confirmation. We’ll choose the top-rated restaurants that fit with your vacation itinerary and make your reservations for you. Your server will offer you a set menu of two to three courses at the restaurant, from which you can choose meat, fish, or vegetarian options. If you prefer to try a different dish, the meal voucher will act as a credit that you can redeem at the restaurant against menu items that are not part of the set menu. Save time and effort during your vacation, and let us take care of your meals for you. Choose the meal option today so you’ll be guaranteed to eat well on your forthcoming trip. Please notify the restaurant on arrival about any dietary requirements. Vouchers are non-refundable.

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