13-Day Northern Lights Winter Self-Drive Tour of the Complete Ring Road & Snaefellsnes Peninsula

Svartifoss in winter is a stunning attraction in Skaftafell nature reserve, part of a National Park in South Iceland.
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Free cancellation
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Perfect travel plan

Description

Summary

Tour starts
Keflavík Airport
Starting time
Flexible
Duration
13 days
Ending place
Keflavík Airport (KEF), Reykjanesbær, Iceland
Difficulty
Easy
Available
Sept. - Apr.
Ending time
Flexible
Minimum age
None

Description

Set off on a winter journey around Iceland, visiting breathtaking attractions while hunting for the northern lights, on this 13-day self-drive tour. Besides sightseeing, there are countless options to add exhilarating activities to your itinerary, making this winter holiday appealing to all adventurers.

Planning your winter trip to Iceland can be more challenging than other seasons due to road conditions, limited daylight hours, and lesser-known attractions that search engines have limited information about. These less-explored locations are also often inaccessible by public transportation, especially when the country is blanketed by snow.

Fortunately, you can avoid all these difficulties and concerns by opting for this 13-day self-drive tour package. With a complete itinerary and pre-arranged accommodations for 12 nights, you can enjoy a hassle-free experience from arrival to departure.

By embarking on this self-drive tour, you can reach hidden gems, including secluded fjords, lesser-known waterfalls, and charming coastal villages. This winter itinerary provides detailed information about the routes you can take and highlights the top attractions to explore while allowing for flexibility.

You'll travel clockwise around the Ring Road of Iceland after stopping at the captivating Snaefellsnes Peninsula. Many choose to visit the Ring Road in a counterclockwise direction, so this itinerary promises fewer people at the attractions you will see.

Your itinerary package traverses the famous Golden Circle and South Coast routes to see their top attractions. For example, you'll get up close and personal with the Thingvellir National Park, Gullfoss waterfall, Reynisfjara beach, and the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon.

Between these popular sites, lesser-known yet equally landscapes in North and East Iceland await you. You can explore Lake Myvatn and Godafoss waterfall in the north, while Egilsstadir and Seydisfjordur will welcome you in the east.

On top of sightseeing, you can add a range of outdoor adventures such as horse riding, snowmobiling, or hiking on a glacier every step of the way. 

Whatever you decide to do, this self-drive journey allows you to take in Iceland at your own pace, and the luxury of driving yourself presents plenty of opportunities to chase the northern lights at night. 

A team of local travel experts with years of experience have meticulously designed this package to ensure a seamless journey from start to finish. Included here are a winter-ready car rental and accommodations for 12 nights, allowing you to personalize your stay according to your preferences.

In addition, you'll have a 24/7 dedicated helpline or personal travel agent throughout your self-drive adventure. Whether you have a simple question or encounter an emergency, this helpline is ready to provide guidance and support at your fingertips.

If there are sudden adjustments to your travel plans, fret not, as you'll receive a complete refund if you decide to cancel your reservation up to 24 hours before your departure.

Wrap up warm and prepare for a road trip to remember with this 13-day self-drive tour of Iceland's winter wonderland. Check availability now by choosing a date.

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Included

12 nights of accommodation (different levels available; breakfast included for Comfort and Quality levels; more detailed information below)
New vehicle model for 13 days (Ducia Duster 4x4 SUV/Jeep or similar. Upgrades available)
CDW and GP insurance for car rental
Free Wi-Fi in vehicle
Detailed itinerary for 13 days
Personal travel agent
Taxes

Activities

Glacier Hiking
Snorkelling
Caving
Snowmobile
Horse Riding
Whale Watching
Sightseeing
Northern lights hunting
Dog sledding
Hot Spring Bathing
Cultural Activity
Helicopter
Ice Caving
Self drive

Daily itinerary

Day 1
Welcome to Iceland and the world-famous water of the luxurious Blue Lagoon spa.

Day 1 - Arrival

A very wintery welcome to Iceland! 

You'll pick up your vehicle at the Keflavik International Airport, your faithful steed, for the next 13 days. Get behind the wheel and begin your exploration of this captivating Nordic island.

As you head towards Reykjavik, you'll cross the mystical Reykjanes Peninsula, famous for its volcanic activity and characterized by endless lava fields covered in thick woolly moss.

On your way to Iceland's capital city, Reykjavik, you could stop at the Blue Lagoon. This world-renowned spa is known for its healing waters, vivid azure colors, and luxurious treatments. It's in the middle of a moss-covered lava field, giving it an otherworldly atmosphere.

If you add the Blue Lagoon, it will be arranged according to your flights. You can choose from a comfort or premium package, including access to facilities, mud masks, and a towel or bathrobe. 

If there's no time to visit the lagoon today, it can be added to another day. Your travel consultant will be able to arrange this for you.

If you have extra free time, there's still plenty to see and do in Reykjavik and the Reykjanes Peninsula.

Once you arrive in Reykjavik, you'll drive to your accommodation for the evening and get some rest. Alternatively, if you're not quite ready to turn in for the evening, stroll around downtown and grab a snack or drink at one of the many bars and restaurants.

Walking downtown can set the mood for your winter adventure in Iceland. You can meet friendly locals in the cafes or visit iconic landmarks in the city center. For example, one of the most popular cultural attractions here is the Hallgrimskirkja church.

The impressive structure not only stands as an architectural masterpiece but also as a testimony to Iceland's rich historical and religious tapestry. Its modernist yet distinctly Icelandic design draws inspiration from the basalt columns in the country's natural landscapes, making it symbolic of Iceland's unique blend of culture and natural beauty.

Retire to your accommodation in the city to rest before the adventures ahead.

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Day 2
The glowing auroras dancing above the dramatic black church at Budir on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula.

Day 2 - Iceland in Miniature

Get ready for an extraordinary adventure that awaits you. On day two of your self-drive tour, your journey is westward to the captivating Snaefellsnes Peninsula, renowned as "Iceland in Miniature" due to its diverse geological wonders.

As you veer off the Ring Road, a slight detour will lead you to two contrasting yet enchanting waterfalls, Hraunfossar and Barnafoss. Hraunfossar's mesmerizing display of trickling rivulets gracefully streaming down the rugged rocks will captivate you. At the same time, Barnafoss will leave you in awe with its swirling torrent of water. 

Returning to Route 1, a visit to Deildartunguhver is highly recommended. Known as Europe's most powerful hot spring, Deildartunguhver will impress you with its raw energy and immense geothermal power. 

Continuing to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, you'll encounter the striking black church in Budir. This architectural marvel exudes a dramatic allure, surrounded by snow and lava fields. Take a moment to absorb the serene ambiance and appreciate the picturesque scenery.

Make sure to explore the charming villages of Hellnar and Arnarstapi, both renowned for their peculiar rock formations. These coastal settlements provide a glimpse into Iceland's unique geological heritage. 

As you venture further towards Snaefellsjokull National Park, the majestic presence of the Snaefellsjokull stratovolcano and its magnificent ice cap will dominate the landscape. A thrilling optional expedition into the depths of Vatnshellir cave, an ancient lava tube, awaits you in this area.

If daylight still graces your journey, visiting Djupalonssandur pebble beach is a must. There, you'll discover a fascinating shipwreck, a haunting reminder of the forces of nature that have shaped this rugged coastline. Additionally, you can test your strength with the heavy-lifting stones that sailors once used to showcase their bravery and fortitude.

You'll spend the night in one of the charming accommodations on the peninsula. If the skies are clear of clouds, you'll have an excellent opportunity to hunt for the northern lights.

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Day 3
Mount Kirkjufell stands proudly in front of the stunning auroras.

Day 3 - Head North

On day three of this winter road trip on the Ring Road, you'll head for the 'Capital of the North,' Akureyri.

If you didn't make it to the north of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula the previous day, visit the photogenic Mount Kirkjufell, casting its angular shadow over the township Grundarfjordur. Kirkjufell is one of the most photographed mountains in Iceland because of its distinctive peak that reaches 1519 feet (463 meters).

For pop culture buffs, you may recognize Kirkjufell as the "Arrowhead Mountain" in HBO's Game of Thrones.

As you travel the rest of Snaefellsnes, take in the rolling snowy hills and dramatic coastline, including the beautiful coastal town of Stykkisholmur.

Driving along the Troll Peninsula's winding coastal roads in North Iceland, you'll be treated to panoramic views of stunning fjords. Marvel at the beauty of Eyjafjordur, one of Iceland's longest fjords, as it glistens beneath the winter sun.

Along the way to Akureyri, don't miss the chance to make quick stops on the charming villages dotting the fjord's coast. For example, you can explore Hofsos, Siglufjordur, Dalvik, and Hauganes. Visiting these locations will allow you to learn more about the local culture and history of the region.

After crossing the mountains of the Trollaskagi Peninsula and the villages along the Eyjafjordur fjord, you'll arrive in Akureyri, where you'll spend the night. The benefit of being this far north is you stand a better chance of spotting the northern lights, so keep your eyes open for this winter highlight. 

If you have any energy, you can explore downtown Akureyri and its plethora of restaurants and bars. Don't miss the chance to visit the Akureyrarkirkja church, an architectural gem that offers panoramic views of the city and the surrounding snow-capped mountains.

If not, you can retire to your North Iceland accommodation as you have more time to explore tomorrow.

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Day 4
The northern lights illuminate the sky as well as Lake Myvatn, the 'Fly Lake'.

Day 4 - Lake Myvatn Area

On the fourth day of your winter self-drive tour in Iceland, you'll have ample time to explore the wonders of North Iceland, particularly Akureyri and Lake Myvatn.

Before hitting the road again, grab a hot drink from Akureyri's bakeries and cafes. There are also many shops and grocery stores where you can buy souvenirs, food, and other essentials for a long road trip. You can also have one more drive along Eyjafjordur fjord to see it in a different light.

Not long after you've said goodbye to Akureyri, you'll encounter Godafoss waterfall, one of the hidden gems of North Iceland. In winter, it freezes in places to create a twisted icicle-ridden creature, guaranteed to be unique every year.

From here, the road brings you to your day's primary destination, Myvatn. This Icelandic lake is known for its vast size but unusually shallow waters, with an average depth of only eight feet (2.5 meters).

Lake Myvatn was created more than 2,000 years ago through a volcanic eruption. As you approach the lake, you can see traces of this volcanism through the jagged lava fields, old craters, and bubbling mud pots.

One of the notable features of the lake is Skutustadagigar, a group of pseudo-craters where you can get a panoramic view of the lake and the surrounding lakes. These craters and swamplands are home to many species of ducks and birds year-round, mostly during summer.

Continue to Dimmuborgir, a fascinating lava field home to many strange rock formations that resemble a gloomy medieval fort. Meandering through this ancient volcanic wonderland, you'll find yourself surrounded by towering lava pillars, intricate arches, and hidden caves. During winter, parts of this natural attraction are covered by snow.

You can finish your day at the Myvatn Nature Baths. There, you can actively engage with the geothermal nature of the region and relax in this famous spa with breathtaking views. If it's already dark, cast your eyes on the sky. You don't want to miss the auroras in such an idyllic location.

You'll spend the night in your accommodation in North Iceland.

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Day 5
It's no wonder why Dettifoss waterfall has been used as a filming location in a number of productions.

Day 5 - More Myvatn Exploration and Optional Dog Sledding

Day five provides more opportunities to explore Myvatn lake and other notable attractions in the region.

Today, you're spoiled for choice, as Myvatn has many locations to visit. An excellent way to start the day is to head to the Namafjall geothermal area. Here, you can see steaming fumaroles and bubbling mud puddles in the frozen winter landscape.

As you approach this geothermal area, you'll feel like you've stepped onto another planet. The barren and desolate terrain, colored in red, yellow, and gray hues, creates a mesmerizing and haunting atmosphere. While exploring, please adhere to designated paths only and tread carefully.

You can also visit the most powerful waterfall in Europe, Dettifoss, but you must take a super jeep tour to see this imposing giant. The path to this waterfall is rugged and icy during winter, so an all-terrain vehicle is essential.

The sheer scale of Dettifoss is impressive, standing at approximately 144 feet (44 meters) in height and stretching 330 feet (100 meters) across. This massive cascade is visible even when you're still far from its waters. 

Give yourself the day off driving and let a local guide show you this incredible attraction in a vehicle ready for all terrain and weather. Don't forget to take photos of this beautiful view, up close or from a distance.

Alternatively, you could enjoy a genuinely Arctic experience and join a dogsledding tour. Let a team of adorable Siberian Huskies pull you across the frozen countryside as you admire the surrounding beauty of the Myvatn area. You can add this optional experience during the booking process.

You'll spend another evening at your accommodation in North Iceland and relish another opportunity to spot the northern lights. If you get lucky, you can bask in the colorful lights of the aurora borealis, an unforgettable experience.

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Day 6
The many colours of the northern lights never cease to amaze.

Day 6 - Eastfjords

Embark on an exhilarating journey as you head eastward on day six, following the Ring Road again. But before continuing, don't miss the opportunity to stop at the beautiful Namafjall geothermal area if you haven't already experienced its surreal wonders.

Your next destination is Egilsstadir, the largest town in East Iceland. As you traverse the breathtaking landscapes, be prepared to be enchanted by the vast, snow-blanketed plains and the majestic mountains of the Modrudalsoraefi mountain pass. This rugged terrain is officially part of the highlands, offering an incredible panoramic view of the Sprengisandur desert.

Upon arriving in Egilsstadir, you can explore this vibrant town or continue your journey to the picturesque fishing town of Seydisfjordur. Both towns are a sight to behold, boasting their unique charm and rich historical and cultural attractions.

In Egilsstadir, you can delve into the town's fascinating heritage, visit local museums, or immerse yourself in the lively arts scene. Meanwhile, Seydisfjordur captivates with its colorful houses, nestled in a stunning fjord, and offers a tranquil ambiance perfect for unwinding.

If you want to explore Iceland's largest forest, drive from Egilsstadir to the lush Hallormsstadaskogur woods. This national forest features thousands of trees with nearly a hundred different tree species.

 

Here, you can immerse yourself in tranquil walking paths amidst towering birch and spruce trees, offering a refreshing change in scenery from the typically stark Icelandic landscapes. In the heart of the forest, you'll find a charming camping site and a crystal-clear lake, where locals and visitors gather to enjoy picnics and the harmonious song of native birds.

Nearby, you'll discover the mystical Lake Lagarfljot, shrouded in folklore that dates back centuries. According to local legends, a mythical creature resides in its depths, with tales that predate those of the famous Loch Ness monster. 

Retire to your comfortable accommodation in East Iceland as the day draws to a close. Relax and unwind, reflecting on the awe-inspiring landscapes, the fascinating towns you've explored, and the rich cultural heritage you've encountered.

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Day 7
The northern lights reflect back to the sky on the still waters of Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon.

Day 7 - Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon

On day seven of this winter drive, you could explore the region's features today if you didn't see some of the sights in the area yesterday.

Return to the Ring Road and continue your circumnavigation of the island. Take in the wild and natural beauty of the remote Eastfjords. 

Compared to other regions in Iceland, there are fewer tourists or travelers to see here due to its remote location and distance from Reykjavik. So this is the best chance to enjoy a quiet drive surrounded by untouched nature. This region is also particularly well-known for its wildlife, so keep your eyes peeled for reindeer.

Starting your journey, follow the scenic Ring Road as it winds along the coast, offering breathtaking views of the majestic fjords that carve through the rugged mountains. The Eastfjords are renowned for their peaceful and untouched beauty, and during winter, they take on an even more magical allure.

Discover the picturesque towns and villages that dot the coastline, each with a unique charm. These coastal settlements include Eskifjordur, Faskrudsfjordur, and Djupivogur. Be sure to explore the local artisan shops and cafes in the villages, where you can warm up with a hot beverage and learn about the rich cultural history and maritime traditions that have shaped life in this captivating area.

As you navigate the winding coastal roads, stop at secluded viewpoints along the way. These vantage points offer awe-inspiring vistas of the fjords and the surrounding winter wonderland, inviting you to pause and appreciate the raw beauty of nature.

During your expedition through the mystical Eastfjords, you might encounter wild reindeer herds that roam this region, adding a surreal touch to your picturesque journey.

If you find yourself with time, there's no better way to experience the northern lights than at the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon. This stunning natural feature is often heralded as the "Crown Jewel of Iceland" for its mesmerizing and serene beauty. Large icebergs break away from the nearby Breidamerkurjokull glacier and slowly drift out to sea, making for a genuinely hypnotic sight.

You'll spend the evening in accommodation in Southeast Iceland.

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Day 8
The dramatic peaks of Mountain Vestrahorn loom over the Stokksnes peninsula.

Day 8 - Vestrahorn Mountain & Ice Caving

Day eight arrives, and you could use it to see the mountain Vestrahorn on the Stokknes Peninsula, referred to as the 'Batman Mountain' for its angular features that resemble a bat. This spot is a favorite amongst photographers, so have your camera (and gloves!) ready.

You can spend the morning exploring other areas of the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon. This cold lake is deep and massive, so there's more to explore here. The best features of the lagoon are its thousands of floating icebergs, with different sizes and colors.

In addition, make sure to marvel at the adjacent Diamond beach, where some ice chunks end up before melting. The stark contrast between the crystal-like ice and the black sands of the beach makes it a perfect site for photography.

After exploring these attractions, you also have the option to visit one of the mystical ice caves within the Vatnajokull glacier. As an expert guide leads you, you can enjoy this awe-inspiring experience conveniently and safely.

As you venture into the depths of the ice cave, you'll be enveloped by a captivating symphony of shades. Compressed over centuries, the ice reveals mesmerizing blues, radiant whites, and black streaks that seem to glow from within.

The constantly shifting nature of the ice caves means that each visit to Vatnajokull is a unique experience. Carved by the powerful forces of glacial meltwater, these caves take on new shapes, formations, and colors with every passing season. These ice caves are only accessible during winter.

You'll once again be staying in accommodations in Southeast Iceland. If you stay in Hofn, don't miss the chance to stroll around the coastal town to see its old houses and charming harbor.

When you're familiar with the sights here, take your pick of where to spend your evening hunting for the northern lights.

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Day 9
The idyllic town of Vik peppered in a fresh layer of snow.

Day 9 - Skaftafell

On day nine of your winter adventure in Iceland, you'll dive deeper into the southern region. Before reaching your destination in Vik, you'll have the day exploring more features of Vatnajokull, the largest glacier in Europe.

The focus of your winter adventure on this day is the diverse and dazzling Skaftafell Nature Reserve, often called a hiker's paradise. Skaftafell was a national park before becoming part of the larger Vatnajokull National Park.

As you enter the reserve, be prepared to be enchanted by a winter wonderland like no other. The views around Skaftafell are impressive and feature everything from woodland to rivers, lava fields, and mountainscapes. Skaftafell showcases the raw beauty of Iceland's icy landscapes and offers many outdoor adventures.

The landscape of Skaftafell transforms during winter as snow blankets the rugged terrain, adding a magical touch to the already captivating scenery. The towering peaks and vast stretches of pristine snow create a breathtaking ambiance that's both peaceful and refreshing.

There are many trails to follow in the nature reserve. Each offers diverse views and caters to varied physical abilities. Pick a path and plan for enough daylight to avoid getting lost in the dark.

You also have the option to join a guided glacier hike to survey the icy blues of one of the many glacial tongues in the area and experience the great, ancient ice cap up close. Provided in this optional activity is glacier gear like crampons and a helmet.

An expert guide will lead this optional glacier hike to ensure your safety and enjoyment. They'll take you to the diverse terrain of the glacier and tell you about its most exciting stories. As you traverse the ever-changing landscape of the glacier, you'll gain a profound understanding of the delicate balance of nature and the awe-inspiring forces that have shaped Iceland's unique geology over millennia.

You'll then go to your charming South Iceland accommodation for the night.

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Day 10
Waterfalls are abundant on the South Coast, and one of the most visited is the stunning Seljalandsfoss.

Day 10 - South Coast

On day 10, you'll discover the South Coast of Iceland, a well-traveled route. Fortunately, you'll have the advantage of traveling it opposite most tours because you're driving in a clockwise direction.

Before leaving Vik, where you stayed last night, you can walk around the village to see its charming shops and cafes. You can also walk toward the local church to get a panoramic view of the area.

Take a short drive from Vik to the famed Reynisfjara black beach and admire the fascinating geology. Apart from the long stretch of black volcanic sands, Reynisfjara features impressive hexagonal basalt columns and defiant sea stacks called Reynisdrangar. The Reynisdrangar stand like trolls by the beach, constantly pounded by the North Atlantic Ocean.

Keeping the sea on one side and the heady heights of the interior to the other, glaciers such as Eyjafjallajokull, Myrdalsjokull, and Solheimajokull dominate the landscape. If you want to explore one of these glaciers up close, you can add a glacier hiking experience during the booking process.

On the other hand, if you're in the mood for a more adrenaline-fueled adventure, you can also take an optional snowmobile tour on one of these glaciers. Dash across the ice and take in the serene environment of the area.

The South Coast is also known for its many waterfalls, with glacier waters plummeting down from the Southern Highlands. The two most majestic and beautiful are the Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss waterfalls, which measure 197 feet (60 meters).

Rainbows are familiar sights at Skogafoss waterfall on a sunny day due to its massive cascade. Meanwhile, Seljalandsfoss waterfall offers the best viewing experience because you can walk behind its water curtain.

Retire to your accommodation in Selfoss town for the evening and look out for the northern lights.

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Day 11
Snow and ice transform Gullfoss waterfall in the wintertime.

Day 11 - The Golden Circle

Your day will be spent exploring the famous Golden Circle, one of the most popular areas in Iceland. This route includes three main attractions, particularly the Gullfoss waterfall, the Geysir geothermal area, and the Thingvellir National Park, Iceland's first UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Gullfoss is one of Iceland's most beautiful waterfalls, and it's exceptionally alluring in the winter, with its icy tendrils stretching out as water plummets into the canyon below. While in this area, don't forget to photograph its massive and frozen two-tiered cascade.

Near Gullfoss waterfall is another highlight of the Golden Circle called the Geysir geothermal area. At Geysir, a hot spring called Strokkur blows boiling water into the air every 5-10 minutes. This is a testament to the raw power of Iceland's geothermal activities.

If you're driving from the south, the last feature of this scenic route is Thingvellir National Park, a place of rich history and geological formations.

Thingvellir is characterized by the ridge that runs through it, representing the rift valley between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. They're pulling apart at the same rate your fingernails grow and create the unique opportunity to walk between continents. Iceland is the only place on earth where this is possible.

Silfra is the name for a fissure formed by the aforementioned tectonic activity and filled with incredibly pure glacier water. This water is then further filtered by the lava rock surrounding it, rendering it some of the most transparent water in the world. You can snorkel in Silfra to enjoy this passage's 328 feet (100 meters) visibility. Participants on the optional snorkeling tour need to be comfortable in the water and be able to swim.

If you prefer warmer water, why not spend an hour or two soaking in the hot spring at the Secret Lagoon? Although it may not be so secret anymore, it's the oldest pool in Iceland, and its setting is quite picturesque.

For those looking for something a bit bolder, a high-speed ride along Iceland's second-largest glacier on a snowmobile is the perfect thrill for the day.

Whatever you get up to, you're guaranteed to return to Reykjavik in the evening with even more unforgettable memories.

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Day 12
Tjornin pond in Reykjavik regularly freezes over in the winter providing locals with a scenic spot to ice skate.

Day 12 - Free Day in Reykjavik

Welcome back to Reykjavik, the northernmost capital city in the world. This compact yet beautiful city of around 140,000 people boasts the perfect blend of excellent amenities and breathtaking natural views.

You have several options for how you can spend your day today. If you're feeling a little tired after your trip, you can choose to stroll around the city. Be sure to check out Hallgrimskirkja church and Harpa Concert Hall, which are architecturally fascinating buildings, or swim in one of the city's many geothermally heated public pools.

Meanwhile, exploring downtown Reykjavik is another option. This area is the vibrant heart of Iceland's capital city, with a captivating blend of modern sophistication, rich cultural heritage, and artistic charm. As you explore its streets, you'll be immersed in a unique atmosphere combining a small-town feel and a cosmopolitan vibe.

From there, make your way to the bustling Laugavegur, the city's main shopping street. Stroll along its lively sidewalks lined with shops, boutiques, cafes, and restaurants. Explore local boutiques offering Icelandic design, fashion, souvenirs, and other local products.

If you feel like something more exhilarating, you can opt for a geothermal helicopter tour. Watch Reykjavik grow even smaller as you fly further inland to observe the earth's formative processes bubbling to the surface. This is the best opportunity to observe the city and its surroundings from a unique perspective without the demands of driving and hiking.

If you prefer to stay closer to the ground, you can spend the day on a horse riding tour. The Icelandic horse is famed for its intelligent and friendly demeanor, making this tour perfect for amateurs and more experienced equestrians.

Regardless of what you choose, the day is sure to be exciting. You'll spend your last night in Reykjavik in one of its cozy accommodations.

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Day 13
The lights of cosy capital Reykjavik brighten the cold, dark winter night.

Day 13 - Departure

Today marks the end of your stay in Iceland.

If your flight is later, there are plenty of things to do in Reykjavik. We wish you a pleasant journey if you have an early flight back home. Regardless of your flight schedule, you'll drive back to the Keflavik International Airport and return your car rental before boarding the plane.

If you have some hours to spare, don't miss your chance to photograph the city's colorful streets and historical landmarks. Capturing these local sites can be the best way to commemorate your unforgettable self-drive journey in the land of fire and ice.

Today is your last chance to try local snacks and dishes to complete your Icelandic holiday. For example, a must-try snack you should order is the Icelandic hot dog or pylsur. Many hot dog stands are located downtown, but the most popular option is the Baejarins Beztu.

For those who have a later flight and choose to visit the Blue Lagoon today, you'll finish your stay unwinding before heading to the airport. This is the perfect place to relax as you bathe in the warm, mineral-rich waters while looking back on the incredible adventure you've just taken in the land of fire and ice.

If you visited the Blue Lagoon on your first day, you can instead explore the otherworldly sites of the Reykjanes Peninsula. This area in Southwest Iceland is notable for its barren and rugged landscapes, where you can see geothermal fields, mountains, volcanoes, and lava fields.

In particular, you can make quick stops at Kleifarvatn lake, Krysuvik hot springs, and Gunnuhver geothermal field.

After an excellent time driving around Iceland, you'll head to Keflavik International Airport. Follow the signs for 'Car Rental Returns,' return the keys to the appropriate sales agent, and board your flight. 

As you fly away, digest your journey and contemplate revisiting Iceland in the summertime.

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What to bring

Warm and waterproof clothing
Good waterproof shoes
Swimsuit and towel
Camera
Driver's license

Good to know

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.

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 for 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 yearly.

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. 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 nationwide.

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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.

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.

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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