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Frequently Asked Questions

About Winter Self Drive Tours in Iceland

Winter self drive tours exist for drivers confident on icy roads, allowing them to travel Iceland by themselves, following an itinerary prepared for them by local experts at Guide to Iceland. Your accommodation, vehicle and any tours you want to join will be booked for you prior to arrival.

1. Do I need a 4x4 to drive the ring road or to drive to North Iceland?

Yes, we recommend 4x4 cars in winter. For short and easy routes, we offer the option of booking a 2WD, although it is always best to use a 4WD for winter travel in Iceland.

2. Is the car fitted with winter tires?

Yes, between November and March, Icelandic law requires all cars to be fitted with winter tires.

3. Will the car's winter tires be studded?

That cannot be guaranteed because Icelandic car rentals are not required to fit their vehicles with studded tires.

4. Can I rent tire-chains to aid me in driving through ice and snow?

No, tire-chains are illegal in Iceland.

5. Will I be safe if I have no previous winter driving experience and have never driven in snowy or icy conditions?

Icy roads can be tricky to navigate, and we only recommend winter self drive tours for those with winter-driving experience. If you want to try nonetheless, we recommend that you limit your travels to Iceland's South Coast. Please note that we also offer guided packages in mini-buses with English guidance. Many of these guided packages take you through the most popular self-drive routes.

6. What happens if I arrive late to a tour or cannot make it to a meeting point due to road closures or extremely bad weather?

We will, of course, assist you with all the necessary arrangements, but our capabilities depend on the availability of hotels and tours. If we need to book new accommodation or tours, there might be additional charges, although we always do our very best to rebook without any extra costs to our customers.

7. What do the winter self drive tours include?

Please see the "Quick Facts" tab under the tour description as each package is unique.

8. What insurances are included?

CDW (Collision Damage Waiver), SCDW (Super Collision Damage Waiver) and GP (Gravel Protection).

9. Should I purchase the sand and ash protection insurance in winter?

We always recommend this insurance as there is no way of predicting whether or not a sandstorm will occur on a specific date.

10. Does the car have a GPS?

Yes.

11. How do I find the sightseeing locations, my hotels and the meeting points for the tours?

Your itinerary includes all addresses and GPS coordinates.

12. There are fewer daylight hours during winter than during summer. Will I be able to see and experience all the points of interest?

We always take this into account when we plan your trip. When we customise your itinerary, we make sure that you can see and experience the very best Iceland has to offer in the given conditions.

Customer reviews

Read reviews by travellers from across the world

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6 Day Winter Self Drive Tour | Jokulsarlon, Ice Cave & Diamond Beach

4.8 average rating | 23 reviews

6 Day Winter Self Drive Tour | Jokulsarlon, Ice Cave & Diamond Beach

Choosing a self-drive tour of Iceland may seem a bit too adventurous for some people - but really it's the best and only way to explore this amazing country. We had an unforgettable time driving around the south coast and seeing all the sights. The car (we went for a comfort 4x4) was fantastic, pickup and drop off from the rental company was smooth, the accommodation along the route was well placed and had everything we could have asked for. The Guide to Iceland team - especially Francisco - were quick to respond to any questions that we had and were very helpful during the booking process. The feeling of ongoing support was really nice to have once we arrived, and the itinerary was perfect for how many days we were in Iceland. It's great to have their local expertise, but obviously with a self drive tour you can go where you want, when you want to. It was the perfect balance. The only problem: We didn't book a long enough trip! There is so much to see and do, so we will have to return very soon and will definitely book with Guide to Iceland again.

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10 Day Winter Self Drive Tour | The Circle of Iceland

5 average rating | 2 reviews

10 Day Winter Self Drive Tour | The Circle of Iceland

The entire tour was incredible. The accommodations, although budget, were excellent and adequate. Breakfast was included at nearly every stop and the food available was great. The car, a 4x4 comfort automatic, felt safe to drive over gravel roads and through some patches of snow and ice and was nice for the two of us to share around the country. But the tour itself was just amazing. It was our first time to Iceland and to have the accommodations and a flexible itinerary planned for us, was super helpful. We did find whale watching in Husavik, which we added on ourselves, and it was really worthwhile, something maybe guide to Iceland could add as an option. We did get the opportunity to see the Northern Lights one night in our two day stay in Lake Myvatn. The weather was also very nice, very little rain, mostly sunny, and warmer (30-50 degrees fahrenheit), so we lucked out there (early-mid April 2018). Also our flight was delayed a day due to weather, but GTI allowed us to continue on the second day and even rescheduled our Blue Lagoon booking for a different day (so we only missed out on one hotel). Would highly recommend using Guide to Iceland!

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7 Day Northern Lights Self Drive Tour | Destination Ice Cave

4.8 average rating | 92 reviews

7 Day Northern Lights Self Drive Tour | Destination Ice Cave

Just came back from the tour and everything was great. The whole trip was well organised and we were also very lucky with the weather .... I'm sorry to say it is of great importance. We started early and I strongly recommend to do that to beat the biggest crowds. Do double check the roads while you have Wifi as the GPS took us on a closed road and we ended up doing a little 100 km detour... We had the comfort package and all hotels were great except the last one. First five nights were all at nice clean hotels but the last one in Reykjavik was at the Fosshotel Baron, great location but not very updated or clean. Definitely not a comfort hotel but more of a budget. As many others noted food is expensive, even if you eat hamburgers and pizza. I would absolutely recommend to book with Guid to Iceland as this tour really gets yo to see the major attractions. We drove 1600 km in 5 days so get ready to drive :-)

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perfect tour to (re)discover Southern Iceland through its beautiful winter colors, with enough time to go off the beaten tracks and to avoid the crowd.

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It was an amazing experience during the iceland tour, we also saw the spectacular northernlight. The itinerary was well organized, very clear and accordance with what we expected, especially for us that lived in tropical country. Thanks to *guide to iceland*

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6 Day Winter Self Drive Tour | Jokulsarlon, Ice Cave & Diamond Beach

4.8 average rating | 23 reviews

6 Day Winter Self Drive Tour | Jokulsarlon, Ice Cave & Diamond Beach

Our trip to Iceland was fantastic and I could not have been more pleased with the service Guide to Iceland provided. The whole process was effortless. Within 24 hours of my booking the tour, Natan emailed me with a few questions--once I had answered them he sent the itinerary and vouchers within another couple of days. Picking up the car, checking in and out of the hotels, etc. was smooth and hassle-free. The information provided in the itinerary about all of the attractions and locations was helpful and added to our enjoyment of the places we visited. I loved that the coordinates for each location were included, as the car's GPS wasn't always able to locate our destination by name alone. Also, the itinerary was well organized in general--driving time and sightseeing time were well spaced out so there was never a day with too much time in the car, or not enough to do, etc. For reference, we went with the middle option (comfort) for both hotels and the car. I was especially glad we got an SUV, as we did have snow/ice on occasion and were on unpaved roads at times as well. We had a fantastic time and it could not have been easier, thanks to Guide to Iceland!

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6 Day Winter Self Drive Tour | Jokulsarlon, Ice Cave & Diamond Beach

4.8 average rating | 23 reviews

6 Day Winter Self Drive Tour | Jokulsarlon, Ice Cave & Diamond Beach

We had an amazing and unforgettable trip in Iceland! Everything, including the weather, went very smoothly and we felt very lucky for that! The location of our ice cave tour had to change due to glacial flooding at the original cave which was very disappointing. GuideToIceland was quick to notify us the day before to urgently advise the new location to ensure that we’re on track with our trip. All the comfort accommodation arranged for us were splendid, properly equipped with Wi-Fi and a kettle (which we were very reliant on throughout the trip) and easy to get to. I was very impressed with the itinerary created by GuideToIceland as it had everything we needed including destination coordinates! Embla, our tour guide, was very helpful and responsive to our endless stream of questions. She provided us with the assurance and answers we needed and wasn’t too pushy with anything. She was very accommodating to all of our requests and changes to our tour as well. I was very happy with her service! One thing that I would suggest as a room for improvement with the overall experience, is perhaps someone could check up on us when we were in Iceland during our trip to ensure that we were OK and on track with the tour. All in all, We’ll be back for the Northern Region of Iceland and will definitely engage Embla or GuideToIceland to arrange our trip!

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7 Day Northern Lights Self Drive Tour | Destination Ice Cave

4.8 average rating | 92 reviews

7 Day Northern Lights Self Drive Tour | Destination Ice Cave

Guide to Iceland was excellent to work with. The tour was very well arranged, all reservations went off without a hitch. David was prompt to reschedule a tour when requested. The hotels were all top-notch, and at the IcelandAir Hotel in Vik, we clearly had the best room in the whole place. The itinerary summaries were really helpful and all of the tips and tricks were great. I highly recommend reading up on driving habits in Iceland (how to pass on 2 lane highways, right of ways for traffic circles, etc), as it is a bit different from US and other parts of Europe. The 4x4 Toyota from MyCar was nearly brand-new, had winter studded tires, and served us very well. Guide to Iceland was a great way to make a well-organized visit to Iceland. It was especially nice though to go off the list to some less crowded hikes and sites as well. Thanks!

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6 Day Winter Self Drive Tour | Jokulsarlon, Ice Cave & Diamond Beach

4.8 average rating | 23 reviews

6 Day Winter Self Drive Tour | Jokulsarlon, Ice Cave & Diamond Beach

We just got back from an amazing trip with Guide to Iceland! We upgraded to the Comfort package and were very satisfied with our accommodations. Guide to Iceland was really flexible and helped us change some of the details of our itinerary to match our interests with no problems! It was great knowing that we had a contact person to call if we needed assistance while we were there. Everything went smoothly from the airport pick-up to the excursions, to the awesome rental car. We had a blast and I would definitely travel with them again. We ran into some bad weather and Guide to Iceland was great about emailing us to update us on possible excursion cancellations and our options. It was the perfect balance to have a company take care of all the details for us, but still have the freedom to drive where we wanted to and see what we wanted to see without being stuck on a tour bus. Highly recommended!

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This was truly a trip of a life time!!! We spent 13 days (12 + 1 extra) driving around this wonderful country visiting most of the recommended places, without any boring moment. The temperature was about right, from -3 to +7 degree celcius. But the wind...oh how string! Once the maximum speed reached 70 kph. But it was fun!!! I had only little previous winter driving experience, but the conditions of the roads were good enough, and there were not many cars out of Reykjavik. One only needs to be very careful and makes decent decisions. The days were long enough to visit places and the nights were great for Northern Lights. We saw this amazing phenomena 6 out of 12 nights. One night, it was so strong that we were able to take pictures with Samsung Note 8 in automatic mode, with clear picture of our faces too!!! We visited national parks, volcanos, geothermal areas, glaciers, waterfalls, geysir, lava fields, black sand beaches, etc... We also take many optional tours, which make our schedule to be rather full. But they proved to be worthwhile. Where else can you snorkelling between two continents, hiking on a glacier, visiting ice cave, lava tube cave and watching whales? What one needs to do is a lot of homework beforehand and rearranges places and time of how to visit. The places in the itinerary are not always in the order where you can go. And you do not have the time to see them all, especially with optional tours previously mentioned. We upgraded to the luxury car and quality accommodations. All were OK. A few comments are that the room at Foss Hotel Glacier Lagoon was very small. And at Seydisfjodur, where there are four different locations of the hotel Aldan buildings, we should have been informed before arriving. Actually, we knocked on one of the buildings door without any answer, so we needed to give the hotel a ring for their instruction. In Iceland, there is no bell boy. So you'd better pack a few small bags rather than a big one. The food tastes great. The portion is large in most places. The price was on high side. A lot of fish, seafood and meat, little vegetable. My favourites were smoked lamb and horse meat. The water tastes great, in fact, the best ever. Overall, our experiences during the 13 days were beyond expectations. We have been travelling to several countries, including the part of North Pole. Iceland is so unique that this trip will be a favourite in our fond memories.

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i had contacted guide to iceland tours about 3 months before travel ,i needed them to put together a tour using a private tour guide for four woman that could show us as much as possible within 3 days . i communcated back and forth with johnathan , he was wonderful always responding to all my questions right away , when we arrived we met our private driver solvi, we could not say enough wonderful things about our guide , he was fabulous ,so knowledgeable and patient ,worked on our schedule, nothing was ever a problem even if we made last min changes he was flexible and made everything work , we could not have had a better experience with this company ,trust me you will be in excellent hands ,i speak from experience as have traveled around the world

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6 Day Winter Self Drive Tour | Jokulsarlon, Ice Cave & Diamond Beach

4.8 average rating | 23 reviews

6 Day Winter Self Drive Tour | Jokulsarlon, Ice Cave & Diamond Beach

4.8, incredible trip and beautiful country. The whole process was smooth transitioning between hotels and excursions, never had any issues. Each hotel. All hotels were for the most part clean, semi-comfortable but a little tight sharing a single room with three full grown adults. The tour guides were all very knowledgeable and welcoming. Hotel staff were very professional and accommodating and we had the comfort level trip

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7 Day Northern Lights Self Drive Tour | Destination Ice Cave

4.8 average rating | 92 reviews

7 Day Northern Lights Self Drive Tour | Destination Ice Cave

My experience with Guide to Iceland was amazing. They were very quick to respond when my flight was delayed a day, they quickly shuffled the trip to be sure that I wouldnt miss anything. We had a great rental car provided by Acarrental, who was also very accommodating with delivering the car a day later for us at the airport. The gps coordinates worked out perfectly and we managed to see almost everything. We had great hotel stays and appreciate Guide to Iceland setting everything up. It was very easy to follow the guide, and I would recommend this trip to anyone.

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7 Day Northern Lights Self Drive Tour | Destination Ice Cave

4.8 average rating | 92 reviews

7 Day Northern Lights Self Drive Tour | Destination Ice Cave

The itinerary planned by Guide to Iceland was great. It was packed with places and information to enhance our trip, and all destinations - including hotels - had the GPS co-ordinates provided to ensure that we didn't get lost. The accommodation was comfortable and the inclusion of breakfast was a great help with budgeting, as Iceland is very expensive. Our hire car was delivered to our hotel, as we had arrived before our tour start date, and was trouble free. Guide to Iceland also arranged our pre-tour accommodation and airport transfer for us. From our initial enquiry though to the end of our trip, the Guide to Iceland customer service experience was excellent, and I would recommend them to anyone looking for the freedom of a self-drive trip, but with the confidence and support of a knowledgeable, helpful and approachable local contact. The 'welcome pack' was also great, especially the local SIM card and maps.

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Simply amazing, best holiday of my life

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