5 Day Winter Adventure | Guided South Coast Tour and Golden Circle Self-Drive

Embark on a 5-day winter adventure in Iceland. This tour is tailored to those who want to see as much as possible, in the shortest amount of time, mixing in a guided tour with the flexibility of driving yourself.

This is a journey of all the best attractions and activities that Iceland’s winter landscapes have to offer, such as bathing in the Blue Lagoon, exploring a natural ice cave inside a glacier, visiting stunning waterfalls and impressive black sand beaches, downtime in Reykjavík, spouting geyser and two national parks. And on clear nights, the Northern Lights might appear in the sky above you.

And if that isn’t enough, you can add extra activities when booking to make your Iceland getaway complete. While you make your way around the Golden Circle, give yourself an adrenaline rush on a snowmobile tour across the glacier, go horseback riding in a geothermal valley or snorkel between two continents in a national park!

If you’re keen to drive in Iceland but unsure about doing so in the icy conditions of wintertime, then this package is made for you.

First, you’ll be picked up from the airport and dropped off at a select hotel in the city centre, before embarking on a 2-day guided tour of south Iceland. After getting to know Iceland a little, and becoming accustomed to the weather and the roads in the safe hands of your driver, you’ll be provided with a rental car for your second to last day so you can explore the Golden Circle on your own.

The Golden Circle is close to Reykjavík, so you don’t have to venture too far, and the whole way is paved. There are plenty of gas stations and small towns in the area where you could get assistance should you run into any trouble.

Reserve now to guarantee your spot on this ideal tour for those who like comfort and a bit of adventure. Check the booking availability by choosing a date.


Quick facts

Tour information:
Pickup information:
  • Pickup time : Flexible

Included:
  • Airport transfer on arrival

  • 3 nights of accommodation in Reykjavik (different levels available; breakfast included for Comfort and Quality levels; more detailed info below)

  • Blue Lagoon standard entrance (upgrades available) and return transfer

  • South Coast 2-day minibus tour with ice caving

  • 1 night of accommodation in a country hotel in Vatnajokull National Park during the 2-day south coast tour (breakfast included, private bathroom depending on availability)

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

  • Hands-on travel agent to oversee your itinerary

  • A 4WD vehicle for one day - Toyota Rav4 4x4 or similar

  • CDW Insurance

  • GPS System

  • Lunch

  • Dinner


What to bring:
  • Camera

  • Swimsuit

  • Warm clothes

  • Good hiking shoes

  • Good waterproof outer layers

  • Driver's license


Good to know:

Please be aware that your itinerary may be rearranged to better fit with your arrival date and time. A valid driver's license is required



Daily itinerary

Day 1 - Arrival & Welcome


5 Day Winter Adventure | Guided South Coast Tour and Golden Circle Self-Drive


You’ll be picked up from the airport and transferred to Reykjavík, where you can check into a lovely hotel in the city centre. A visit to the Blue Lagoon spa is included in this package, and you can choose between starting your visit to Iceland by soaking in the warm, milky-blue waters on your way from the airport to Reykjavík, or leaving it to the last day before you return home. If you head there on your first day, then it’s the perfect way to relax after your flight - and if you’re there when it gets dark you might even spot the northern lights dancing above you!

Alternatively, you’ll have a free day in Reykjavík to explore this northernmost capital of the world, with all its cafés, museums, restaurants, designer shops, street art, galleries, theatres and colourful architecture! Go to the top of Hallgrímskirkja church for a view of the whole city, grab a hot cuppa in one of Reykjavík’s cafés, or visit Harpa Concert Hall and admire its architecture.

You can stroll through the old harbour area, dine in one of Reykjavík’s trendy restaurants and pop into the Tourist Information Centre to find out about any live entertainment for the evening. If it’s a clear winter night sky, then you can go on a complimentary Northern Lights tour, with the choice of going on either a bus or a boat trip. Remember to get a good night’s sleep for the next day’s adventure!


Day 2 - Tour to Jökulsárlón


5 Day Winter Adventure | Guided South Coast Tour and Golden Circle Self-Drive


Today, you’ll start a two-day guided tour of the south coast of Iceland. You’ll hop on a minibus that will take you all along Iceland’s stunning south coast. You’ll be making stops at the stunning waterfalls Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss, and the awe-inspiring but dangerous black sandy beach Reynisfjara (watch out for the unpredictable waves!) You'll visit Skaftafell Nature Reserve and finally spend some time at the spectacular glacier lagoon Jökulsárlón.

The glacier lagoon is gigantic, and always expanding as more ice crumbles into it from the nearby glacier.

Please be careful around the icebergs floating in the lagoon - do not try to walk onto the icebergs for a photo, as they can easily turn over and you'll end up in the freezing cold lake! To pose next to the icebergs, you can simply walk over to the nearby Diamond Beach, where the ice is thrown onto the black sand by the waves of the Atlantic Ocean.

On this day you’ll get the chance to admire countless waterfalls, volcanoes, glaciers, beaches, mossy fields, and mountains. And if the conditions are right, your guide will tell you what to look for when spotting the Northern Lights.

You’ll spend the night in a hotel near the glacier lagoon or Skaftafell Nature Reserve.


Day 3 - One-of-a-Kind Ice Cave Tour


5 Day Winter Adventure | Guided South Coast Tour and Golden Circle Self-Drive


An ice cave visit is what today has in store for you! To get to the ice cave, you’ll be boarding a modified Superjeep that will cross the glacier to the opening of the cave. The glacier caves vary in size, shape, and location each year but they always have the same stunning blue ice forming walls and roof. You’ll be walking inside a glacier with ice that’s hundreds of years old!

You’ll be provided with crampons to get a grip on the icy surface, but remember to bring good hiking boots to put them on. You will also get a helmet, but you need to bring the warm clothes to wear yourself!

Your guide knows the area like the back of his hand and can tell you about the wonders, and the dangers, of the glacier and the ice caves.

Every ice cave melts and collapses each summer, meaning that each cave is unique, adding to its wonder!

You’ll have about 45 minutes inside the cave before returning to the glacier lagoon to admire it in the afternoon daylight. Afterwards, you’ll make your way back to Reykjavík along the south coast, pausing on the way if the Aurora shows up.

You’ll spend your night in Reykjavík.


Day 4 - The Golden Circle


5 Day Winter Adventure | Guided South Coast Tour and Golden Circle Self-Drive


Today, you’ll be driving Iceland’s most famous route, the Golden Circle. It’s a short route, only around 230 km, and the drive itself takes about 3 hours. However, you’ll be wanting to make plenty of stops along the way, and you can easily turn this into a full day tour, especially if you choose to add an extra optional activity.

You’ll pick up your car at your hotel in the early morning, and then have the whole day to explore!

The first place you’ll want to stop at is Þingvellir National Park. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is rich with history, culture, and beauty - but it's mostly famous for its geological location. This is where two tectonic plates meet on land (something that usually happens underneath the sea), and you’ll be able to see how the land is formed with your own eyes.

This is also where Iceland’s largest lake is situated, its crystal clear waters making it one of the world’s most desirable scuba diving and snorkelling sites. You have the option to go snorkelling here if you like!

Secondly, you’ll want to stop at Geysir geothermal area, where you’ll find some bubbling hot pots and one spouting geyser called Strokkur. The original geyser, the Great Geysir, no longer erupts but Strokkur keeps up the excitement by erupting 20-30 m (65-100 ft) up in the air every few minutes!

The third stop is at Gullfoss waterfall, or the "Golden Falls," which the circle draws its name from. This mighty waterfall tumbles down in two tiers into an impressive gorge. On sunny days, it’s always accompanied by a rainbow or two and in wintertime, it’s surrounded by blocks of glittering ice.

From Gullfoss, you may add an optional snowmobile tour on the nearby glacier Langjökull. You’d be picked up from the Gullfoss parking lot where you'd leave your car, as the drive up to the glacier needs to be in a modified Superjeep! After an hour of whizzing over the snowy glacier, you’re returned to the Gullfoss parking lot.

Finally, on your way back you can make a stop by the crater Kerið, a maroon crater with a gorgeous blue lake in its bottom. There’s a small entrance fee to the crater, which is used to maintain its surrounding walking paths, so make the most of it and go for a walk around the whole crater.

If snorkelling or snowmobiling don’t take your fancy, then it’s also possible to book a short horseback riding tour on this day.


Day 5 - Departure & Goodbye to Iceland!


5 Day Winter Adventure | Guided South Coast Tour and Golden Circle Self-Drive


On your last day, you still have the car, and will use it to drive to the airport where you’ll drop it off before your flight. If you have an afternoon or evening flight, you can spend the first part of the day leisurely taking in the sights of Reykjavík or doing some shopping.

If you didn’t go to the Blue Lagoon on your first day, you could drive there on your way to the airport.

You'd be well-advised to make the most of it and explore the Blue Lagoon’s vicinity by driving around the Reykjanes peninsula, making a stop in the geothermal areas of Krýsuvík, or visiting the small towns of Grindavík and Keflavík.

Just make sure you have enough time to return the car and check in - we wouldn’t want you to miss your flight!

We hope you had a wonderful time! Come back soon!


Accommodation in Reykjavik

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. For multi-day guided tours, accommodation cannot be upgraded and the levels below do not apply. 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 guesthouses. 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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