10-Day Winter Self Drive Tour of South & West Iceland with Highland Adventure

Use this itinerary as an inspiration to design your own!

Duration

10 Days

Availability

September - April

Difficulty

Easy

Minimum Age

No age limit

Overview

See some of the country’s most spectacular sights, including waterfalls, glaciers, geysers, hot springs, and black sand beaches during this northern lights season.

On this tour, you’ll spend 10 days driving around West and South Iceland, discovering something new around every corner. You’ll travel around the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Golden Circle, and the south coast to Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. Aside from the beauty of the West and South, you’ll also go on a guided Super Jeep Tour of Þórsmörk Valley in the remote Highland region.

This fantastic Self-Drive Tour is fully customizable, meaning you can choose the level of accommodation and vehicle for your journey. You can also add on extra adventures such as visiting the Blue Lagoon, going glacier hiking, or stepping inside a blue ice cave.

Journey through Iceland and experience its stunning landscape this winter! Book this fantastic 10-Day Self-Drive Tour today!

Included

  • 9 nights of accommodation (different levels available; breakfast included for all levels; more detailed info in accommodation tab)
  • Vehicle for the duration of the trip with unlimited mileage (VW Golf 2WD or similar. Upgrades available)
  • Medium Protection Package for car rental: CDW, SCDW, PAI, THW and GP (More Info Click Here)
  • Mobile WIFI including 3GB total
  • Super Jeep Tour to Þórsmörk Valley
  • Detailed Itinerary with fun and practical information on the nature, history and culture of Iceland
  • Hands-on travel agent to oversee your itinerary
  • Taxes

Not included

  • Flights to/from Iceland
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Gasoline/Petrol
  • Driving-Related Fees
  • Meals & drinks (unless otherwise stated)
  • Any services not listed as “Included”

Itinerary

Sun Voyager Sculpture on the coastline of Reykjavik

Day 1 – Arrival – Night in Reykjavik

On your first day in Iceland, you will pick up your rental vehicle and make your way across the lava fields of the Reykjanes Peninsula to the capital city, Reykjavík.

Reykjavík is the cultural hub of Iceland and has something for everyone. Surrounded by mountains and the North Atlantic Ocean, it is a playground for both city slickers and nature lovers.

After finding your accommodation in or near the city centre, you can explore this world’s northernmost capital. We recommend that you take a stroll in the downtown area. You can visit the beautiful Hallgrímskirkja Church, walk down Laugavegur Shopping Street, and visit some museums.

In the evening, head to Harpa Concert Hall to see this beautiful building illuminated by multi-coloured lights. If the sky is clear of clouds, you could also get out of the city in search of the northern lights.

  • Reykjavík
  • Harpa Concert Hall
  • Hallgrímskirkja Church
  • Blue Lagoon Comfort Entrance: Includes entrance to the Blue Lagoon, silica mud mask, use of towel and 1st drink of your choice.
  • Blue Lagoon Premium Entrance: Includes entrance to the Blue Lagoon, silica mud mask, use of towel, 1st drink of your choice, second mask of choice, slippers, use of bathrobe, table reservation at Lava Restaurant, and sparkling wine if dining.
Kirkjufell-under-the-snow-on-Sneafellsnes-itinerary

Day 2 – Snaefellsnes Peninsula – Night in Borgarnes

Today it is time to leave the city behind and head to the beautiful wintry countryside of West Iceland. Your destination is the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, a 90-km stretch of land filled with fantastic attractions.

The drive from Reykjavík takes you past the city mountain Esja and into the rolling farmland of the Borgarnes area, where you’ll spend the night after a day of exploring. But first, you’ll visit the Gerðuberg Cliffs, which mark the outer boundary of Snæfellsnes Peninsula.

From there, you’ll head to the church of Búðarkirkja for some fantastic photos of this famous jet-black church with the bright white Snæfellsjökull Glacier in the background. You’ll then travel under the glacier to the black pebble beach of Djúpalónssandur.

Continuing on, you’ll pass several small farming communities before reaching the majestic Kirkjufell Mountain and its namesake waterfall.

At the end of the day, you’ll head back to Borgarnes, where you’ll spend the night.

  • Búðakirkja Church
  • Djúpalónssandur Beach
  • Kirkjufell Mountain
  • There are no optional activities for this day
Hraunfossar waterfall with turquoise glacial water from Langjökull forming the Hvítá river

Day 3 – West Iceland – Night in Borgarnes

Today, you’ll explore the wonders of West Iceland. 

From Borgarnes, you’ll cross the snowy farmlands of West Iceland as you head to one of the most historical sites in the country, Reykholt. This was the home of Snorri Sturluson, one of the most prolific mediaeval scholars and writer of many of Iceland’s Sagas.

From there, head to the site of Hraunfossar Waterfalls. Here you can stretch your legs on a short walk between the countless Hraunfossar and the more dynamic Barnafoss Waterfall.

Continue on in your car to arrive at Deildartunguhver Hot Spring before returning to Borgarnes for the night. Remember to check the skies for signs of the northern lights before bed.

  • Deildartunguhver Hot Spring
  • Hraunfossar Waterfall
  • Barnafoss Waterfall
  • Reykholt Historical Site
  • Langjökull Ice Cave Tunnels: Step inside Iceland’s second-largest glacier. The man-made tunnels provide visitors with the unique opportunity to explore deep inside the heart of an ice cap. Included is a guided tour, transportation from the base camp up the glacier, and free wifi on the glacier shuttle so you can Instagram your photos right away! No age limit.
  • Viðgelmir Lava Cave: One of the largest caves in Iceland. Tour includes an English speaking guide and use of caving equipment such as a helmet and headlamp. No age limit.
Erupting Strokkur geyser at sunset

Day 4 – Golden Circle – Night in Hvolsvöllur

Now it is time to explore the three most famous sites in Iceland; Þingvellir National Park, Geysir Geothermal Area, and Gullfoss Waterfall, also known as the Golden Circle.

The first site of the Golden Circle is Þingvellir Park, home to Iceland’s largest natural lake, Þingvallavatn. It is also the meeting point of two tectonic plates, and you can see the North American one exposed at Almannagjá Canyon.

Following the shores of Þingvallavatn, you’ll head to your next destination, Geysir Geothermal Area. Scattered with natural hot springs, boiling mud pools and erupting geysers, the Geysir Region is a must-see when visiting this country. A short drive from there is the stunning waterfall Gullfoss, the last of the attractions that make up the Golden Circle route.

At the end of the day, you’ll head to your accommodation in or near Hvolsvöllur Town in South Iceland.

  • Þingvellir National Park
  • Geysir Geothermal Area
  • Gullfoss Waterfall
  • Snorkeling in Silfra: Snorkeling between continents in crystal-clear water. Includes a tour with a certified PADI divemaster, all necessary snorkelling gear, Silfra admission fee, and hot chocolate to warm up after the dive. Minimum age 12 years.
  • Snowmobiling on Langjökull: An exhilarating tour on top of a glacier, no previous riding experience needed. Included is a one-hour snowmobile ride with a guide and use of overalls. Two people share a snowmobile and the driver needs to bring their driving licence. Age limit for passenger is 8 years.
  • 2 Hour Horse Riding Tour: Meet the friendly Icelandic Horse. Includes 1-1.5 hour guided horseback ride with a specially trained guide. Use of riding helmets, boots & rain wear. Minimum age is 8 years.

Day 5 – Super Jeep Tour to Thorsmork Valley – Night in Hvolsvöllur

Today is a day of adventure! You will head out into the uninhabited Highland region of Iceland to hike around untouched nature.

A guide will pick you up from Hvolsvöllur Town in the morning. They will be driving a super jeep, a large 4×4 vehicle customised to drive up the rough and rugged terrain of the Highlands.

Once in Þórsmörk, you’ll explore the valley on foot, seeing the majestic Mýrdalsjökull Glacier and even hiking up to the Gígjökull ice cap. There, you’ll see the effects the 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull Volcano had on the region.

For this excursion, make sure you’ll wear warm and waterproof clothing and good hiking shoes.

At the end of the day, the guide will drop you off at your hotel in Hvolsvöllur.

  • Þórsmörk Valley
  • Mýrdalsjökull Glacier
  • Gígjökull Glacier
  • There are no optional activities for this day
Skogafoss waterfall Iceland

Day 6 – South Iceland – Night in Kirkjubaejarklaustur

On this day, you will explore the beauty of Iceland’s southern coastline.

The Ring Road hugs the shore for a few kilometres, and you’ll see majestic glaciers in the North and the wild Atlantic Ocean to the South. You’ll stop at two stunning waterfalls, Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss.

Continuing your journey, you’ll stop at the black sand beach of Reynisfjara. Nearby is the charming town of Vík, a bustling place with many cafes, restaurants, and shops. It is a great stop for a bite to eat.

You’ll then travel to another charming town, Kirkjubæjarklaustur, where you will spend the night. In the evening, check the skies for signs of the elusive northern lights.

  • Seljalandsfoss Waterfall
  • Skógafoss Waterfall
  • Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach
  • Glacier Hiking on Sólheimajökull Glacier: A fun and easy glacier hike. No previous experience needed. Tour includes an English speaking glacier guide, use of helmet, crampons, ice axe and other necessary safety equipment. Minimum age is 8 years.
  • Snowmobiling on Sólheimajökull Glacier: Race across a glacier on a snowmobile. No prior experience needed and all you have to bring are warm clothes and good shoes. Use of overalls, helmets and balaclavas are included. Two people share a snowmobile, and the driver needs to bring their driving licence. Age limit for passengers is 5 years.
Diamond beach with glacier ice blocks on black sand close to Jökulsárlon in Iceland.

Day 7 – Vatnajokull National Park – Night in Kirkjubaejarklaustur

On today’s journey, you’ll drive through the heart of South Iceland, crossing the vast Sólheimasandur plains on your way to Vatnajökull National Park.

As you approach the park, you’ll see Vatnajökull, Europe’s largest glacier, appear on the horizon. Next, you’ll travel through Skaftafell Nature Reserve, where you can stop for a hike amongst the trees and black sands.

Follow the road to the picturesque Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. This glacier-fed lake is filled with massive icebergs that float gently on the azure water. A short walk away is Diamond Beach, where you’ll find jet-black sands peppered with small icebergs that have washed up on shore.

At the end of the day, make your way back to your accommodation in Kirkjubæjarklaustur.

  • Skaftafell Nature Reserve
  • Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
  • Diamond Beach
  • Glacier Hike in Skaftafell: Easy glacier hike, suitable for most people. No previous experience needed. Tour includes an English speaking glacier guide, use of helmet, crampons, ice axe and other necessary safety equipment. Minimum age is 8 years.
  • Ice Caving in Vatnajökull: Explore a cave in Europe’s largest glacier. Includes a tour with a certified glacier guide and all necessary glacier gear such as crampons and helmets. Minimum age is 8 years.

Day 8 – Hidden Gems – Night in Reykjavik

Return to Reykjavík along the Ring Road, passing through the wintry farmlands of South Iceland.

If you wish, you can stop at any of the sites you’ve explored in the previous days. Alternatively, you can explore some of the lesser-known spots on the south coast. These include Hjörleifshöfði Cape, also known as “Yoda Cave”, Kerið Crater Lake or the charming town of Selfoss.

Before reaching the bright city lights of Reykjavík, check if the northern lights forecast is good. The views of this celestial display are usually much better in the dark countryside.

  • Hjörleifshöfði Cape
  • Selfoss Town
  • Kerið Crater Lake
  • ATV tour on Black Beach: Drive across black sand beaches, glacial streams, and rugged hills to the DC3 Plane Crash on this thrilling Quad Bike Tour from South Iceland’s Myrdalsjokull Glacier.
  • Secret Lagoon: Unwind in the warm, geothermal waters of the Secret Lagoon. The natural hot springs are located only a short distance from Iceland’s famous Golden Circle, providing a relaxing respite for weary travellers. Swimsuit and towel can be rented onsite if you do not have your own. Snacks and drinks are also available for purchase.

Day 9 – Reykjavík – Night in Reykjavik

Today, you’ll explore the wonders of the world’s northernmost capital, Reykjavík.

Nestled on the shores of Faxaflói Bay, Reykjavík offers its visitors an abundance of historic, gastronomic, and scenic wonders.

You’ll find world-class restaurants, charming cafés, and iconic bars in the downtown area. There is also a great selection of museums and galleries, from traditional ones such as the National History Museum to more unconventional ones such as the Punk Museum or the Icelandic Phallological Museum.

For families, the Laugadalur area is the perfect place to spend a day. You’ll find Reykjavík’s largest swimming pool and Reykjavík’s Family Park & Zoo here.

Those looking for scenic nature can head to Rauðhólar or “Red Hills”, a series of red volcanic craters located on the city’s outskirts.

Spend another night in Reykjavík.

  • Reykjavík
  • Laugardalur Valley
  • Rauðhólar Hills
  • Reykjavik Summit Helicopter Tour: Get a birds-eye view of the city. Included is a helicopter ride over the city of Reykjavík and a landing on a nearby mountain. Minimum age is 12 years.
  • Whale Watching Tour: See the whales in their natural habitat. Includes professionally guided tour and warm, floatable overalls for your safety and comfort. Also included is a second try in case of no sightings. No age limit.
  • 2 Hour Horse Riding Tour: Meet the friendly Icelandic Horse. Includes 1-1.5 hour guided horseback ride with a specially trained guide. Use of riding helmets, boots & rain wear. Minimum age is 8 years.
Women in the silky blue waters of the blue lagoon in Iceland with smoke in the background

Day 10 – Departure

On your last day in Iceland, you’ll bid farewell to this extraordinary country.

If you have an afternoon or an evening flight, you can explore the city a little before you journey across the lava fields of Reykjanes Peninsula to the airport. In good weather, we recommend taking a stroll around Tjörnin Lake and seeing the ducks and swans. You could also explore the restaurants near the Old Harbour.

  • Reykjavík
  • Old Harbour
  • Tjörnin Lake
  • Blue Lagoon Comfort Entrance: Includes entrance to the Blue Lagoon, silica mud mask, use of towel and 1st drink of your choice.
  • Blue Lagoon Premium Entrance: Includes entrance to the Blue Lagoon, silica mud mask, use of towel, 1st drink of your choice, second mask of choice, slippers, use of bathrobe, table reservation at Lava Restaurant, and sparkling wine if dining.

Accommodation

You’ll have a choice of three accommodations levels. See details about each one in the boxes below. All accommodations for this tour have been hand-picked by our local travel experts.

For budget-level, single rooms will be allocated to bookings for one person.  Shared twin/double or triple room(s) will be arranged for two or more people. Groups with an odd number of participants will be allotted a single room in quality-level. Children and teenagers will be arranged in the same room as their parents. Additional cost may occur if additional room(s) is needed.

Please keep in mind that hotel quality in Iceland varies between regions and that not all locations offer quality-level accommodations. At those particular locations, comfort level accommodations will be arranged, which has already been calculated in the upgraded price. We do our best to accommodate special requests, but additional costs may incur. 

Budget

Nice and comfortable rooms with shared bathroom facilities and shower located in farmhouses, guesthouses or hostels, in good locations with breakfast included. An example of this in Reykjavík would be Kex Hostel. 

Comfort

Comfortable rooms in three-star hotels or quality guesthouses, centrally located, very close to popular attractions. Private bathroom and breakfast included. An example of this in Reykjavík would be Fosshotel Rauðará. 

Quality

Rooms in four-star hotels or superior rooms in quality three-star hotels at fantastic locations near popular attractions. Private bathroom and breakfast is included. An example of this in Reykjavík would be Icelandair Hotel Marina. 

Car

You’ll have a choice of three options for your rental car. See details for each option in the boxes below. We only work with highly reputable dealerships, ensuring you a smooth ride throughout your holiday.

The vehicles for all levels are current models, no older than two years. They all come standard with a medium protection package including CDW (Collision damage waiver), GP (Gravel Protection), Super Collision Damage Waiver (SCDW), Personal Accident Insurance (PAI) and a Theft Waiver (THW). They also come equipped with free Wi-Fi with 3GB total. You will also get 24-hour roadside emergency services from the car rental agency. In the wintertime, all cars have winter tyres.

The driver must hold a valid driving licence which they have had for at least 12 months before the date of the rental. Age requirement varies for each level, and you can find more information on that in the boxes below.  

Please note that off-road driving is illegal in Iceland.

Budget 2WD

2WD vehicle such as a VW Golf, good for city driving and shorter trips. Fits up to 5 travellers & light luggage. No Highland capabilities. Driver must be at least 20 year old.

Comfort 4x4

4x4 jeep or SUV. Fits up to 5 travellers and 2 large pieces of luggage. Decent for snow and off-asphalt driving. Basic highland capabilities. Driver must be min. 20 years old.

Luxury 4x4

Large 4x4 like a Toyota Land Cruiser. Comfortable up to 5 travellers with 4 large pieces of luggage. Full highland capabilities. Driver must be min. 21 years old.

Map

Good to know

  • Please note that the Northern Lights are a natural phenomenon, so sightings cannot be guaranteed. However, outside of Reykjavík, you will be staying at rural hotels which increases your chances of seeing them when the weather allows.
  • Note that the itinerary may have to be rearranged to fit your arrival date and time better.
  • The itinerary is dependent upon road and weather conditions and so it may be altered if conditions are not favourable. This includes optional activities as well. If extreme weather affects your travel plans, you will be notified and we will be our best to assist you with rearranging or booking other activities when applicable.
  • Some optional activities may need a valid driving licence, or you may need to send additional information to your travel agent. For snorkelling, you will need to know how to swim and fill out an online medical document.

What to bring

  • Warm and waterproof clothes
  • Good winter shoes that have soles with a good grip, or crampons
  • Swimsuit and towel
  • Camera
  • Driving licence

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From: 183.935 kr. /pp.

Per person based on 4 persons travelling together
(Discounts applied in cart – Amount charged in ISK)

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Terms of Service

For further information, please see our Terms and Conditions.

  • More than 24 hours before scheduled tour departure time: 100% refund. Some day tours might have a different cancellation policy, in which case it will be clearly mentioned in the “Good to know” section of the tour.
  • Less than 24 hours before scheduled tour departure time: 100% cancellation fee. Some day tours might have a different cancellation policy, in which case it will be clearly mentioned in the “Good to know” section of the tour.
  • More than 7 days before scheduled tour arrival date: 15% cancellation fee
  • Less than 7 days before scheduled tour departure date: 75% cancellation fee
  • Less than 72 hours before scheduled tour departure date: 100% cancellation fee
  • 45-30 days before scheduled tour arrival date: 50% cancellation fee
  • 29-15 days before scheduled tour arrival date: 75% cancellation fee
  • 14 days before scheduled tour arrival date: 100% cancellation fee

Scheduled international and domestic flights are non-refundable, be they a part of a package, multi-day tour, or any other service purchasable on the Traveo website, unless the Cancellation insurance is purchased. If a cancellation insurance is purchased, a full refund is given.

If flights are a part of a tour listed as a Day-Tour, standard terms of cancellations of day tours apply to a full refund. For cancelling and refunding of private flights (flights specifically arranged and scheduled for you personally or your group in specific), please contact your service agent.

If your tour is cancelled by the tour provider due to weather conditions or any other environmental circumstances you will always receive a full refund. Exempt from this are any rescheduled second tries of tours which already have been serviced as a first departure. In the case of a volcanic eruption taking place on Icelandic soil stopping you from getting to Iceland, you will also receive a full refund on all products booked on Traveo.

All booking change requests must be made via email by the person who submitted the original booking request.

Changing the number of people in a booking to a smaller number is considered cancellation for the change in number of participants.

  • Packages: 

For multi-day tours and packages, all requests for changes must be made minimum 7 days in advance. Please note that we might not be able to fulfil your changed requirements due to lack of availability, though we will always do our best, and do offer alternative options.

Depending on how far in advance a tour package has been booked and when changes to a booking are requested, an administrative fee of 5000 ISK may be charged each day/night of the itinerary that is modified. Additional supplier costs may still apply depending on the changes requested.

For bookings made within 60 days of arrival, changes can be made without incurring the administrative fee until services have been confirmed and the travel documents have been issued. However, for bookings made 30 days or less before arrival, the administrative fee and any applicable supplier fees may be charged due to the short processing time.

  • Day tours and activities: 

Day tours and activities booked on the Traveo.is that are serviced by independent operators can be changed up to 24 hours before departure.

  • Transfer of bookings: 

A booking may be transferred from one party to another, provided that the new party upholds the terms and conditions of the booking. An administrative fee of 5000 ISK will be charged for the transfer, and both parties must assume joint liability for this fee and any other costs that may be incurred by changes to the booking.

  • Parties travelling together: 

Should two parties wish to book separately but travel together, they should inform travel agents of this prior to booking. If a co-travel request is sent after the booking process has been finished, the change to a package is counted as a tailoring and is subject to a 5000 isk service fee.

  • Significant changes to packages: 

If a package is significantly changed from the original package setup/route as offered on the site, the product will be considered to be a tailored tour and might be subject to a 15% service fee of the total price of the package. This does not apply to added nights at the end or at the beginning of a package as this does not change the original package setup/route.

For budget-level, single rooms will be allocated to bookings for one person.  Shared twin/double or triple room(s) will be arranged for two or more people. Groups with an odd number of participants will be allotted a single room in quality-level. Children and teenagers will be arranged in the same room as their parents. Additional cost may occur if additional room(s) is needed.

During the booking process you will be able to choose a pickup location and starting time. If you do not show up for the scheduled pickup time and location stated on your booking, your reservation is non-refundable.

If you do not know your pickup location at the time of booking, you can choose to update your pickup location later, up to 24 hours before tour departure. Please call the number listed on your voucher if you do not receive a confirmation of your pickup location.

Traveo cannot be liable to any loss, damage, accidents, injuries, death or sickness during your tour. The same applies for any changes in tour schedule due to weather, strikes or any other force majeure. Tour operators reserve the right to change routes, schedules and itineraries if needed because of weather, road conditions or should the necessity arise because of unforeseen reasons or circumstances.

We advise all travellers to purchase a comprehensive travel insurance to minimize possible losses due to unforeseeable situations during your travel. Traveo does not offer any travel insurance, so please contact your preferred private travel insurance company.

If you have a complaint about any of our partners please contact us at [email protected] and we will protect your rights.