7 Day Northern Lights Self Drive Tour | Destination Ice Cave

Group discount
Icebergs on the smooth black sands at the Diamond Beach.
Visiting an authentic ice cave is a unique and rare experience only available to those who visit Iceland in the winter.
Self drive tours provide you with the freedom to hunt for the Northern Lights yourself.
Strokkur geyser in Geysir geothermal area erupting in an amazing display of nature's powers.
An iceberg glistening on a black sand beach at the Diamond Beach, located near the beautiful Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon.
Wintertime in Reykjavík when the snow cloaks the city in white.

Spend a week in Iceland travelling to the best attractions of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, the Golden Circle, and the South Coast with this 7-day tour designed for those who wish to visit as many beautiful locations as possible during the Northern lights season.

Upon booking, you will receive a personal itinerary guiding you to the country's highlights such as the Golden Circle, the Snæfellsnes Peninsula and Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, as well as all three national parks in Iceland, each with its own distinct beauty. Also included in this tour is a visit to the Blue Lagoon where you can unwind in the warm azure waters of the spa. 

You are behind the wheel on this self-drive tour, so you will have the freedom to create your own adventure. During the booking process, you can add on tours where you snorkel between two continents, race across the white expanse of a glacier or visit a rare and unique ice cave in Vatnajökull National Park.

Visit Iceland's most iconic attractions, and spend your nights searching for Northern Lights with this 7-day self-drive tour. Don't miss out on this winter adventure. Check availability by choosing a date.


Quick facts

Tour information:
  • Available: Sep. - Apr.
  • Duration: 7 days
  • Activities: Glacier Hiking, Snorkelling, Snowmobile, Sightseeing, Northern lights hunting, Hot Spring Bathing, Ice Caving, Self drive
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Minimum age: 2 years.
  • Highlights: Blue Lagoon, Golden Circle, Reykjavík, Jökulsárlón, Skógafoss, Seljalandsfoss, Geysir, Gullfoss, Dyrhólaey, Þingvellir, Snæfellsnes, Skaftafell, Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach, Hellnar, Arnarstapi, Vík í Mýrdal, Kirkjufell, Kirkjubæjarklaustur, Djúpalónssandur, South Coast
Pickup information:
  • Pickup time : Flexible

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

  • Vehicle for 7 days (VW Polo, Toyota Yaris or similar. Upgrades available)

  • CDW and SCDW insurance along gravel protection for car rental

  • GPS System

  • Blue Lagoon comfort entrance (upgrade to premium level available)

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

  • Hands-on travel agent to oversee your itinerary

  • Taxes

  • Lunch and dinner

  • Optional excursions

  • Ice caving tour (available between November and March)

  • Fuel

  • Flights


What to bring:
  • Warm and waterproof clothing

  • Good waterproof shoes

  • Swimwear & towel

  • Driver's license


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.

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. Please note that though the tour is available to book from September to May, the ice caves are only accessible from November to March each year.

Some optional activities might need either a valid driver's license, or you might need to send additional information to your travel planner. Please note that you might need to present medical documents should you choose to go snorkelling.

This self-drive is set to take place at wintertime. Conditions in Iceland can vary greatly during that season; snow and ice are commonplace, and Iceland has limited daylight hours. Please consider your ability to drive in winter conditions before booking this tour. If you feel insecure about driving in these conditions, we recommend a package tour instead.



Daily itinerary

Day 1 - Blue Lagoon & Reykjavik


A great cure for jet-lag is a soak in the geothermal waters of the Blue Lagoon


Welcome to Iceland!

Your car will await you at Keflavík International Airport with a user-friendly GPS system. From there, you can explore some of the Reykjanes Peninsula and go to the Blue Lagoon for a relaxing soak in the geothermal waters. If your arrival flight is late in the evening, you can choose to visit the Blue Lagoon on your final day in Iceland rather than on this day. It is your choice!

When you have rejuvenated yourself, it is only a short drive to the city of Reykjavík where you'll find your accommodation in the downtown area. 

After you've settled in you can start exploring the city with its many museums, famous landmarks, and quirky shops. 


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 - Snaefellsjokull National Park


The hauntingly beautiful black church at Búðir on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula under the dancing Northern Lights


On your second day, you will explore the Snæfellsnes Peninsula where you will find the picturesque stratovolcano Snæfellsjökull. This volcano is also a glacier and is famous for being the entryway for the subterranean journey in Jules Verne's classic novel 'Journey to the Centre of the Earth'.

It is also the centre of the surrounding national park that's full of steep ocean cliffs, beautiful rock formations, narrow canyons, small trickling waterfalls, cute fishing villages and the beautiful Djúpalónssandur black pebble beach.

Nearby is also the famous Kirkjufell mountain, a favourite spot for photographers to try their hand at their craft. On a clear day, you have a view over Faxaflói bay all the way to Reykjavík from Snæfellsnes peninsula.

Remember to look out for the Northern Lights tonight as you will spend the night in a country hotel on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, an area well suitable for aurora hunting.


Preferred accommodation by Snæfellsnes

Snæfellsnes Budget

Hof Guesthouse is situated on the southern side of Snæfellsnes peninsula, just a few hundred metres from the beach. Private bedrooms with shared bathroom, living room and kitchen. Free access to a hot tub. Free Wi-Fi in public areas. Breakfast not included.

Snæfellsnes Comfort

Fosshotel Stykkishólmur is a 3 star hotel centrally located within the town Stykkishólmur. Spacious hotel with a view towards the bay. Private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.

Snæfellsnes Quality

Hotel Búðir is a 4 star hotel on the southern side of Snæfellsnes peninsula, with a view towards Snæfellsjökull glacier and to the sea. Private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.


Day 3 - Lava Cave & The Golden Circle


Hearing the thundering noises of Gullfoss as water cascades down 32-metres into a canyon is an experience you won't forget


Today it is time to visit torn landscapes, erupting geyser, and a thundering waterfall, all part of the fantastic Golden Circle. 

Start your drive heading south, but before you reach the famous attractions of the Golden Circle, you'll have the option of visiting Víðgelmir, a massive lava tube near the town of Borgarfjörður. The walls of this cave are coloured vividly with minerals from the earth, and inside you'll find strangely shaped rock formations and icicles.

You'll then make your way to Þingvellir National Park, a historic site located on the boundaries of the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. As the plates move, they tear up the landscape around, causing cracks and fissures in the region.

One of these fissures, Silfra, is filled with meltwater from Iceland's second largest glacier. You can opt for a snorkelling tour in Silfra fissure where the glacial water provides incredible visibility that can reach up to 100 metres. You don't need to worry about the cold in Silfra; you'll be given a drysuit to keep you warm.

From there, drive on out to Geysir geothermal area where you'll find the active geyser Strokkur. Strokkur erupts in a water column every 5-10 minutes which reaches heights of around 15-20 metres. You'll have plenty of opportunities to capture the perfect photo of this amazing display of nature.

A short drive from Geysir area is the magnificent Gullfoss waterfall. Spanning the entire width of the Hvítá river, this cascade features two distinct drops in succession, creating two 'steps' for the water to plunge down.

The thundering noises of glacial water hurling down 32-metres into an ancient canyon will be echoing in your ear as you make your way to your accommodation near Laugavatn lake. Be sure to look up in the sky at night for a chance to spot the dancing Northern Lights.


Preferred accommodation by the Golden Circle

Golden Circle Budget

Héraðsskólinn Boutique Hostel is centrally located within Laugarvatn village. Private rooms with private or shared bathrooms. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast not included.

Golden Circle Comfort

Hotel Litli Geysir is a 3 star hotel located right across from Geysir geothermal area. Private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.

Golden Circle Quality

Hotel Grímsborgir is a 4 star hotel in the countryside, south of Þingvellir National Park. Private bedrooms with private bathrooms and a terrace. Free access to outdoor hot tubs. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.


Day 4 - The South Coast & Glaciers


The land under Skógafoss waterfall on the South Coast is very flat, so you can walk right up to the wall of water


On your fourth day, you'll start travelling the stunning South Coast of Iceland. Today, you'll drive past mighty glaciers to visit some of the country's most beautiful attractions.

Start your day by heading to Seljalandsfoss waterfall, a high an narrow cascade that falls over a concaved cliff face. In the winter, this gorgeous waterfall is lit up by strong lights, making it seem even more magical. 

You'll travel past Eyjafjallajökull glacier on your way to the next attraction of the day, Skógafoss waterfall. This waterfall has a more classic shape than his sister site Seljalandsfoss. It is much wider, and the land under it is very flat, so you'll be able to walk right up to the wall of water.

If you'd like to get know glacier better, today is the day to do so. You can opt for a snowmobile tour on the massive Mýrdalsjökull glacier which covers the volcano Katla. You'll get your blood pumping by whizzing across the white expanse with snow-topped mountains in the distance. 

You could also opt for a glacier hike on top of Sólheimajökull, one of Mýrdalsjökull glacier tongues. Fill your lungs with the cold, crisp mountain air as you traverse past blue crevasses and snowy peaks, blackened by ash from past volcanic eruptions.

Before you make your way to your accommodations near the village of Vík, stop by the stunning Reynisfjara. This black sand beach is surrounded by cliffs of hexagonal basalt columns that are both strange and beautiful at the same time. Out in the ocean stand the massive Reynisdrangar sea stacks as the North-Atlantic waves crash upon them with full force.


Preferred accommodation by Vík

Vík Budget

Puffin Hostel is centrally located in Vík. Private bedrooms with shared bathrooms and a common lounge area. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast not included.

Vík Comfort

Hotel Katla is a 3 star country hotel that's situated 5km to the east of Vík. Comfortable private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free access to a hot tub and a sauna. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.

Vík Quality

Icelandair Hotel Vík is a 3 star hotel centrally located in Vík. Stylish private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Ocean or cliff views from each room. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.


Day 5 - Jokulsarlon & Vatnajokull National Park


The green, pink and purple colours of the Northern Lights as they dance above Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon


From Vík, the journey continues eastward towards the beautiful Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon in Vatnajökull National Park. 

While journeying towards the massive Vatnajökull glacier, you will drive past the charming village of Kirkjubæjarklaustur and the waterfall Foss á Síðu before reaching Skaftafell Nature Reserve where beautiful glacier tongues crawl down narrow valleys.

If you missed the glacier hike yesterday, you could opt for another one today from Skaftafell, where you'll trek across the ancient ice of the glacier tongue, discovering icy canyons and intricate ice sculptures.

From there, you'll drive to the crown jewel of Iceland, Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. Here, massive icebergs that have broken off a nearby glacier float on the serene waters of the lagoon before they drift off to the ocean.

At the end of the day, you will spend the night at countryside accommodations near Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, surrounded by stunning vistas and, hopefully, the Northern Lights.


Preferred accommodation by Jökulsárlón and Höfn

Jökulsárlón and Höfn Comfort

Hotel Höfn is a 3 star hotel centrally located within the town Höfn. Private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.

Jökulsárlón and Höfn Quality

Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon is a 4 star hotel located right between Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon and Skaftafell Nature Reserve. Private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Ocean or mountain views. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.


Day 6 - Ice Caving & Reykjavik


The sun adds more colours to the beautiful blue ice cave in Vatnajökull National Park


You'll start your day in the gorgeous Vatnajökull National Park. 

If you are travelling between November and March, you will have the rare opportunity to visit an authentic ice cave. Seize the chance; these caves are only accessible for a short period as they flood with the rising sun. You can plan a visit during the booking process and start the day immersing yourself in the infinite shades of blue of the ice cave.

Head back to Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon as it looks completely different in the midday sun. You'll get a better view of the amazing colours of the bergs, the crystalline blue and pearly white, as they float by in the daylight. You might even spot a seal or two lazing about on the icebergs or the shore.

Close to the lagoon is a black sand beach where smaller icebergs have washed up on shore. As they glisten in the sunlight, they might remind you of diamonds on a satin blanket, which is why the beach has earned the nickname 'The Diamond Beach'.

In the afternoon, you'll start making your way back to Reykjavík city. On your journey, you can stop at your favourite places along the South Coast. You can also refer to your personal itinerary and discover new places along the way.

You'll then spend a night at accommodations in Reykjavík. If you arrive early, you could check out the city's vibrant nightlife scene.


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 7 - Farewell


When the snow falls on Reykjavík, the city turns into a winter wonderland


Now it is time to bid farewell to Iceland. If your flight leaves late, you might have some time to squeeze in a few last adventures. Just remember to give yourself enough time to drive to Keflavík International Airport, return your car, and catch your departing flight.

If you didn't go to the Blue Lagoon on your first day, then a visit can be arranged for today. Soaking in the warm waters of the spa is the perfect way to unwind after days of travelling. 

You could also do some last minute shopping in Reykjavík and bring back home a souvenir or two to remember your fantastic trip to this land of ice and fire. 

Enjoy your flight and come back soon!


Accommodation

See our accommodation levels below and our preferred accommodation partners under each day in the daily itinerary. 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). Guide to Iceland will provide you with the best available hotels and guesthouses at the time of your booking from our preferred partners. Please keep in mind that hotel quality in Iceland varies among locations and availability is highly limited. We always do our best to accommodate special requests, which may incur additional costs. The sooner you reserve the higher quality accommodation we can provide. Press choose a date at the top to find availability.

Budget

Rooms with shared bathrooms in farmhouses, guesthouses or hostels, with good locations near the best attractions. Breakfast is not included.

Comfort

Rooms with a private bathroom in three star hotels or quality guesthouses. Very close to the best attractions at each location. Breakfast is included.

Quality

Rooms with a private bathroom in a four star hotel or superior rooms in a quality three star hotel at the best locations in Iceland. 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.

Budget

A small 2WD vehicle fit for basic travelling in everyday conditions, such as VW Polo, Toyota Yaris or similar.

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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