3 Day Winter Self Drive | Hot Springs and Northern Lights

Book this 3-day self-drive tour to explore Icelandic hot springs, geothermal areas, and the Northern Lights! This tour is for anyone who hears the call of the open road. 

As a self-drive tour, you and your travel companions will decide where to go, how long to stay and when to leave. There's no need to rush through an afternoon along the south coast, no clock-watching while splashing in the Blue Lagoon. 

Find a full itinerary of your days below. This tour has plenty of relaxing soaks in hot springs planned, so don't be afraid to take the time just for you. This is the perfect place to reconnect with the outdoors. You can take a hike through uncharted lands, enjoy the volcanic landscape ripped apart by eruptions and floods, and spend time doing exactly what you like. 

In three days, you can discover Iceland's most famous attractions, the Golden Circle and the Blue Lagoon, as well as other lesser-known attractions. You'll have plenty of time to enjoy the hot springs, explore the landscape and (hopefully) see the Northern Lights. 

There are plenty of museums, galleries, and shops for you to investigate, and if you find yourself with extra time, stroll down the Old Harbor by Harpa Concert Hall, where fishing tours, whale watching trips and puffin tours leave regularly from the docks in the heart of the city. 

No matter what you choose to do, we know you're coming to Iceland to bask in the flawless beauty of nature, not to be trapped by the noise and crowds of the city streets. To help you make the most of your stay, we've created a unique itinerary to show you not only the most well-known spots but also some of the spectacular features known only to the locals. You'll be able to explore Iceland in virtual solitude and really relax.

Let us take care of you, with a quick stop in Iceland! Check availability by choosing a date.


Quick facts

Tour information:
Pickup information:
  • Pickup time : Flexible

Included:
  • 2 nights of accommodation (different levels available; breakfast included for Comfort and Quality levels; more detailed info below)

  • Vehicle for 3 days (Toyota Rav4 4x4 or similar. Upgrades available)

  • CDW and SCDW insurance along gravel protection for car rental

  • GPS system

  • Blue Lagoon standard entrance (upgrades available) and entry to the Secret Lagoon

  • Detailed Itinerary with fun and practical information on the nature, history and culture of Iceland

  • Hands-on travel agent to oversee your itinerary

  • Taxes

  • Gas

  • Dinner

  • Lunch


What to bring:
  • Warm clothes

  • Swimsuit & towels

  • Hiking boots


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. Please be aware that your itinerary may have to be rearranged to fit your arrival date and time better.

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.



Daily itinerary

Day 1 - Arrival - Blue Lagoon and Reykjanes Peninsula


3 Day Winter Self Drive | Hot Springs and Northern Lights


Pick up your car at the airport and start exploring the geothermal areas at Reykjanes peninsula straight away! Unless you want to start by dropping your bags off in Reykjavík, you can take a detour on the way there by going towards Gunnuhver geothermal area. On the way you can make a stop at the Bridge between continents, a walking bridge that separates America from Europe!

Gunnuhver is an impressively colourful geothermal area, filled with bubbling muddy hot springs. After admiring the hot springs, you can head towards the Blue Lagoon, where you can enter the water and feel all your stress melt away in the nice, warm water. The Blue Lagoon stays hot all year round, and is especially nice to soak in during wintertime, even if it is snowing!

After a rejuvenated soak in the lagoon, take the scenic route through Krýsuvík, making a stop at Seltún geothermal area before reaching Reykjavík, where you will be spending the night. You'll be staying in the centre of the city, with plenty of nice restaurants, cafés, bars and shops in walking distance.

If the skies are clear, remember to look out for the Northern Lights - check the aurora forecast and drive a little out of the city to escape the city lights, for a better view.


Preferred accommodation in Reykjavík

Reykjavík budget

Capital Inn is a 2 star hotel 3 km out of the city centre, with a short walk to Kringlan shopping mall and Nauthólsvík geothermal beach. Private bedrooms with a washbasin but shared bathrooms. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is not included.

Reykjavík Comfort

The Fosshótel chain has four 3-4 star Hotels located in and around the city center of Reykjavík. There is a short walk from all of the hotels to attractions, cafés, restaurants, museums and the nightlife. All offer private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.

Reykjavík Quality

Alda Hotel is a 4 star hotel situated on Laugavegur, Reykjavík's main shopping street in the city centre. Private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free access to a fitness room with a sauna and a hot tub. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.


Day 2 - Golden Circle and the Secret Lagoon


3 Day Winter Self Drive | Hot Springs and Northern Lights


Drive the Golden Circle and end your day with a soak in the Secret Lagoon!

Start by driving through Þingvellir national park, a UNESCO heritage site, famous for its beautiful nature and its rich history. Continue towards Geysir geothermal area, where the geyser Strokkur spouts water 20-40 meters high up in the air, every 5-10 minutes!

Nearby is the waterfall Gullfoss, the Golden Waterfall, that lends its name to the Golden Circle. This impressive waterfall is by many considered one of Iceland's most beautiful waterfalls.

After all that driving and sightseeing, what's better than to soak and float in a hot lagoon? Drive towards Flúðir, where you will find the Secret Lagoon, surrounded by natural hot springs.

The pool itself stays around 38-40°C all year round, and although the structure of the basin is man-made (it's actually the oldest pool in Iceland, from 1891!), its hot water comes straight from the ground and the nearby hot springs.

If the Northern Lights are out, then the best way to admire them would surely be from floating in a hot lagoon!

After an eventful but relaxing day, return to Reykjavík for another night in the city centre.


Preferred accommodation in Reykjavík

Reykjavík budget

Capital Inn is a 2 star hotel 3 km out of the city centre, with a short walk to Kringlan shopping mall and Nauthólsvík geothermal beach. Private bedrooms with a washbasin but shared bathrooms. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is not included.

Reykjavík Comfort

The Fosshótel chain has four 3-4 star Hotels located in and around the city center of Reykjavík. There is a short walk from all of the hotels to attractions, cafés, restaurants, museums and the nightlife. All offer private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.

Reykjavík Quality

Alda Hotel is a 4 star hotel situated on Laugavegur, Reykjavík's main shopping street in the city centre. Private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free access to a fitness room with a sauna and a hot tub. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.


Day 3 - Hike to Reykjadalur or Drive the South Coast


3 Day Winter Self Drive | Hot Springs and Northern Lights


For your last day, choose between hiking to a warm river in Reykjadalur or drive the south coast to admire more waterfalls.

The hike to Reykjadalur should only be attempted if the weather is good and roads are clear. If there is a lot of snow, you won't be able to see the path and the route can be dangerous, due to all of the hot springs along the way, which can create muddy conditions.

If there is no snow on the ground and you are dressed warmly with good hiking boots, then the route is beautiful. The warm river at the end is very much worth the and hour and a half long hike!

If there's a lot of snow and conditions aren't good for the hike, then alternatively you can drive along the south coast towards the gorgeous waterfalls Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss. Right next to Seljalandsfoss is another stunning waterfall called Gljúfrabúi, hidden inside a cave.

If you haven't had your fill of soaking in hot water, then you can drive towards Seljavallalaug, a warm pool located on the side of a mountain. From the parking lot, there's a short 10-15 minute walk to the pool.

After your last soak, drive back to the airport for your flight home.


Accommodation

See our accommodation levels below. Single person bookings will be arranged in a single room, while bookings of 2 or more people will share twin/double room(s) or triple room(s). If you are traveling in a group, but prefer a single room, please make separate bookings. We always do our best to accommodate special requests, which may incur additional costs.

Comfort

Rooms with a private bathroom at three-star hotels such as Fosshótel Barón, or quality guest houses. Located in the city center or in close vicinity. Breakfast is included.

Quality

Rooms at four-star design hotels in the city center with a private bathroom at the absolute best locations downtown such as Hotel Alda. 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, maximum two years of age, and come equipped with a GPS, CDW, GP and SCDW insurances. You can also upgrade to an automatic model, free of charge. All cars have winter tyres. For all winter driving, we highly recommend a Comfort level 4x4 vehicle or Luxury 4x4 to combat possible heavy winter conditions.

Comfort 4X4

A medium sized jeep or SUV with 4WD (4x4) fit for most travel, and good for snow and off-asphalt travel, such as Toyota Rav4 or similar.

Luxury 4x4

A large sized jeep with 4WD (4x4) such as Toyota Land Cruiser or similar, fit for nearly all traveling.


Cancellation Insurance

This insurance guarantees that you can cancel the booking of this package and receive a full refund, minus the insurance cost of 5,000 ISK per person. The cancellation must be made within a minimum of 48-hours before the listed starting time. To cancel your booking and claim your refund, simply contact our service desk by writing to info@guidetoiceland.is no later than 48-hours before departure and declare the cancellation. Please note that this insurance only covers the full cancellation of this entire package. It does not cover cancellations of individual activities and services within the package. The cost of the Cancellation Insurance is neither refundable nor transferable.


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