8-Day Winter Self-Drive Tour of West and South Iceland
Use this itinerary as an inspiration to design your own!
Discover Iceland in the wintertime on an 8-day winter self-drive tour. Hunt for the magical Northern Lights on your journey towards a glacier lagoon and ice caves.
Visit the mystical Snæfellsnes Peninsula and the famous sightseeing trail, the Golden Circle, before travelling along the southern shores of this island, seeing silvery waterfalls and black sand beaches. Before returning to Reykjavík, where you’ll have a free day to explore the city, you’ll see the magical Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon and the nearby Diamond Beach.
With this package, your accommodations, rental cars and activity will be taken care of for you prior to your arrival. You will also receive a personal itinerary created by local experts so all you have to do is explore this ancient land of Vikings and volcanoes.
If you wish to spice up your journey with an adventure or two, you could add extra trips such as entering ice caves, relaxing at the Blue Lagoon, racing across a glacier on a snowmobile, and even taking a helicopter ride over the city of Reykjavík.
Welcome to Iceland
You’ll land at Keflavík International Airport which is located in the south-west corner of the country. After collecting your bags and checking out the duty-free, pick up your rental car and head towards Iceland’s capital, Reykjavík.
- Reykjavík City — Iceland’s dynamic capital.
Now it is time to leave the city behind and explore the wild nature of Iceland. Today, you’ll be visiting the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. This relatively small area is packed with diverse attractions such as black pebble beaches, charming towns, and photogenic mountains. We recommend that you start your day early to get the most out of this magical area.
- Gerðuberg Cliffs — A large, natural wall comprised of geometric columns.
- Búðakirkja Church — A jet-black church often photographed with the mighty Snæfellsjökull Glacier in the background.
- Djúpalónssandur Black Pebble Beach — A secluded bay of dark cliffs and black sand.
- Kirkjufell Mountain — A stunning mountain used in HBO’s Game of Thrones.
Now it is time to head South and visit the three famed sites that make up Iceland’s Golden Circle route: Þingvellir National Park, Gullfoss Waterfall and Geysir geothermal area.
- Þingvellir National Park — Where Viking settlers would gather to lay the laws of the land. Located in a rift valley between the N-American and Eurasian tectonic plates.
- Þingvallavatn Lake — Iceland’s largest natural lake and home of Silfra fissure.
- Geysir Geothermal Area — A region filled with steam vents, bubbling mud pools and erupting geysers.
- Strokkur Geyser — Erupts every 5-10 minutes to heights of around 15-20 metres (49-66 ft).
- Gullfoss Waterfall — A stunning cascade which falls down in two steps into an ancient canyon.
After a hearty breakfast, head out to explore some of the wonders found on Iceland’s south coast. Today, you’ll drive be driving in the shadows of two mighty glaciers which cover active volcanoes. You don’t have to worry about the volcanoes, they are very well monitored and everybody in the area will know in advance if they are up to something.
- Seljalandsfoss Waterfall — A high and narrow cascade which falls over a concave cliff.
- Skógafoss Waterfall — A wider and much more powerful cousin of Seljalandsfoss.
- Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach — Dark and beautiful beach surrounded by geometric cliffs.
- Vík Village — A charming and picturesque village with great ocean views.
Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
Now it is time to head further East. From Vík, drive away from the two glaciers, Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull, and head towards Iceland’s largest ice cap, Vatnajökull. Your destination today is the glittering glacier lagoon, Jökulsárlón.
- Skaftafell Nature Reserve — Encompasses a beautiful scenery of mountain peaks, birchwood forests, thundering waterfalls, and sandy plains.
- Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon — A calm lake where enormous blue and white icebergs drift slowly towards the ocean.
- Diamond Beach — A black sand beach where icebergs wash up on shore and glisten in the low sunlight.
Now it is time to head back to Reykjavík but not before having a few adventures first.
- Kirkjubæjarklaustur Village — A quaint settlement of just under 200 people.
- Eldhraun Lava Field — Created in one of the biggest eruptions in recorded history.
- Eyjafallajökull Glacier — A volcano covered by a glacier.
Free day in Reykjavík
Today, you’ll have a free day to explore the vibrant and wonderful Reykjavík.
- Hallgrímskirkja Church — Iceland’s largest church and a landmark building for Reykjavík
- Harpa Concert Hall — A beautiful building which is illuminated in a spectacular light display in the evening.
Today is your last day but if your flight leaves in the afternoon or at night, you’ll have some time for a few last adventures before you go.
- Tjörnin Lake — A small, scenic lake in the middle of downtown Reykjavík.
- Laugavegur Shopping Street — A short stretch of road where you’ll find shops, cafés, bars and restaurants.
You’ll have a choice of three accommodations levels. See details about each one in the boxes below. Accommodations in Reykjavík 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.
For this tour, the levels reflect the choice of accommodations in Reykjavík. Accommodations outside of the capital cannot be upgraded and therefore the levels below do not apply. The accommodations outside of Reykjavík all include a private bathroom and breakfast. We do our best to accommodate special requests, but additional costs may incur.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Good to know
What to bring
Need to cancel your tour? Don’t worry, with our Cancellation Insurance you can cancel your package up to 48 hours before the tour start date and receive a full refund — minus the insurance cost, of course.
The price for the insurance is based on the length of your package. The base price is 5,000 ISK per person, and it applies to all packages with a duration of five days or less. An additional 1,000 ISK per person will be added to the base price for each day after the first five.
With our Cancellation Insurance, you will be reimbursed for your package, whether you broke your ankle, got called to jury duty, or there is a global pandemic. Just let us know at [email protected] before 4 PM (GMT) to cancel your booking and claim your refund.