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Christmas & New Year's in Iceland

Northern Lights & New Years Eve Fun

(11 days / 10 nights)

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PRISTINE ICELANDIC NATURE AND HOLIDAY FESTIVITIES!

Come enjoy true Icelandic festivities on an 11-day self-drive tour. With this uniquely crafted package you will experience the spectacular scenery of south and west Iceland during Christmas and New Year’s. Take the wheel from Reykjavík to famous spots like the Golden Circle, the Þingvellir National Park, and the Snæfellsnes peninsula. On top of natural wonders, enjoy local cultural traditions and events, such as a delicious Christmas feast and a New Year’s Eve celebration with gourmet dinner, sparkling wine, entertainment, bonfire and fireworks. And don’t forget to keep an eye out for the northern lights!

Explore other New Year's tours in Iceland.

Contact us for availability

— Why book this tour

  • Free private transfer from airport on arrival
  • Handpicked hotels by local travel experts with breakfast included
  • Reliable rental cars from our trusted partners Enterprise & Hertz
  • Comprehensive itinerary, personalised map and travel guide
  • 24/7 helpline throughout tour
  • Local travel experts with firsthand experience

— Book With Confidence

  • Optional cancellation insurance
  • Affordable deposits from 10%

Terms and conditions apply

Tour Highlights

  • Explore the famous Golden Circle route
  • Feel the power of the thundering waterfall Gullfoss
  • Marvel at eruptions at the Geysir geothermal region
  • Hunt for the majestic northern lights
  • Bathe in the world famous Blue Lagoon
  • Enjoy the cascading waterfalls of Seljalandsfoss & Skógafoss
  • Photograph the spectacular sights of the Snæfellsnes peninsula
  • Go on a New Year’s Eve guided tour of Reykjavík during the day
  • Visit a bonfire on New Year’s Eve, a local tradition
  • Attend an exclusive New Year’s Eve party, with a gourmet dinner, sparkling wine and entertainment
  • Enjoy a cozy Christmas dinner with fellow travellers

Travel style

Self-Drive i

Interest

Christmas i, New Year’s i, Northern Lights i

Season

December

Departure

23 Dec

Driving distance

1430/888 km/mi

Itinerary

A day-by-day plan to guide your journey.

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  • Day 1: ARRIVAL & EXPLORING REYKJAVÍK

    Welcome to Iceland! From the arrivals hall in Keflavik International Airport, a driver will meet you and take you to your accommodation in Reykjavík. After settling in, the rest of the day is free for you to explore the charming capital city. Stroll through downtown Reykjavík to visit museums and explore landmarks. You’ll also find numerous excellent restaurants, cafés, coffeehouses, and bars, for those who want to experience the renowned Reykjavík nightlife. If you are arriving early, you could choose to add an optional activity to your day, such as a Reykjavík city walk, a food tour, or winter whale watching.

    In the evening, why not add an excursion to search for the otherworldly northern lights? You could join a northern lights boat tour or a small bus tour with a knowledgeable driver who will find a great spot to view the white, green and sometimes red lights dancing and flickering in the sky.

    Spend the night in Reykjavík.

    Attractions Optional Extras
  • Day 2: MOUNTAINS, WATERFALLS & CHRISTMAS DINNER CELEBRATION

    Start the day by picking up your rental car before taking in some of the best attractions in south Iceland. Your first stop is the fairy tale-like Seljalandsfoss waterfall – the only one of its kind in Iceland – where you can walk behind the cascade on a footpath! For those who are a bit more adventurous, we recommend visiting a hidden waterfall in the canyon, known as Gljúfrabúi, located near Seljalandsfoss, depending on weather and conditions. Further along you can visit the magnificent 60-metre tall, free-falling Skógafoss waterfall in Skógar.

    On the 24th December you will celebrate Christmas Eve with fellow travellers in a festive gathering in Vík. 

    Spend the next two nights in the Vík area.

    Driving distance approx. 250 km/155 miles

    Attractions Attractions Attractions
  • Day 3: Christmas along the dramatic south coast

    Today enjoy the splendour of the countryside along the south coast. You can head in the direction of Kirkjubæjarklaustur to visit sites such as the Kirkjugolf basalt stones and the Dverghamrar cliffs. Or you could stay closer and explore the area around Vík. Don't miss the stark Reynisfjara volcanic black sand beach*. From here, you can enjoy spectacular views of the Dyrhólaey island and Reynisdrangar rock formations rising above the crashing waves.

    There are also various optional activities that you can book on this day including ice caving in Katla glacier and an ATV tour on the black sand beach.

    Tonight, enjoy a cozy time at your charming hotel to celebrate Christmas Day. If the conditions are good, pop outside to chase the magical northern lights. 

    Spend another night in the Vík area.

    *Caution should always be exercised when visiting Reynisfjara beach near Vík due to powerful rogue/sneaker waves and the strong undertow current. Always stay far back from the water’s edge and read the warning sign before walking on the beach.

    Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions Optional Extras
  • Day 4: Leisure day on the south coast

    You have today to spend at your leisure on the south coast. Catch a sight you might not have had time to see before now. Or book some of the optional activities available in the area such as horse riding, glacier walking, snowmobiling or an ATV tour on the beach.

    Spend the next two nights in the Golden Circle area

    Driving distance: 200 km/124 mi

    Attractions Attractions Optional Extras
  • Day 5: The Classic Golden Circle

    You have a full day to visit the Golden Circle region, a popular route for viewing some of the best-known natural sites in south Iceland. Visit the great Geysir region and explore the bubbling mud pots and spouting Strokkur geyser before arriving at the picture-perfect, two-tiered Gullfoss waterfall. After, you could choose to visit the old bishopry at Skálholt and the explosion crater Kerið, now partially filled with bright blue water. Complete the circle at Þingvellir National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its historical significance in the founding of Icelandic democracy and a place of immense natural beauty.

    Spend the night in the Golden Circle region.

    Driving distance: 190 km / 118 miles

    Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions
  • Day 6: Hot springs, Lava waterfalls & Glacier adventures

    Explore west Iceland today with a diverse array of activities. For a close up look at the island’s geothermal power, check out the largest hot spring in Europe, Deildartunguhver, as it bubbles and emits steam. Nearby, you can pay a visit to the beautiful Barnafoss and Hraunfossar waterfalls, where water thrashes, churns and spills from the vast lava field. Or for a truly unique experience, go inside a glacier! You can book an optional guided tour to Langjökull glacier, where a manmade ice cave is open to travellers. Another highlight to visit if you want to relax is Krauma, geothermal baths located right next to Deildartunguhver. 

    Spend the next two nights in the Borgarfjörður area

    Driving distance: 210 km / 130 miles

    Attractions Attractions Attractions Optional Extras
  • Day 7: Snæfellsjökull national park

    Start the day early as you have a full day ahead of you to experience spectacular views of the ocean, lava fields and snowy peaks as you visit the Snæfellsnes peninsula. The main attraction here is undoubtedly the Snæfellsjökull glacier-topped volcano, believed by some to hold mysterious spiritual powers. It is so large that it’s visible from Reykjavík on clear days. It was also the setting for Jules Verne’s famous novel “Journey to the Centre of the Earth”.

    Your drive along the coast also offers picture-perfect sights such as the Dritvík Cove, the Lóndrangar cliffs, the Arnarstapi cliffs, the hamlet of Hellnar and various other small fishing villages, including charming Stykkishólmur. For a fun photo opportunity, visit Djúpalónssandur, a pebble-filled beach with the four “lifting stones” that were used in old days to test men‘s strength for jobs on fishing boats.

    Spend the night in Borgarfjörður area.

    Driving distance: 330 km / 2015 mi

    Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions Optional Extras
  • Day 8: West coast & Reykjavik

    From beautiful Borgarfjörður, you will continue through Borgarnes to Reykjavík. If you’re interested in Iceland’s early history, visit the Icelandic Settlement Centre exhibition in Borgarnes to get a sense of the rich literary history of the sagas as well as what life was like during the days of settlement. You will then drive through Hvalfjörður and onto to Reykjavík, where you will drop off the rental car in the afternoon. The rest of the day in Reykjavík is up to you, either to be spent at leisure or by adding fun optional activities.

    Spend the next three nights in Reykjavik. 

    Attractions Attractions Optional Extras
  • Day 9: Icelandic Traditions & New Years Eve Celebrations

    This morning your Icelandic New Year’s Eve experience begins with a local guide showing you some of the main highlights of downtown Reykjavik, allowing you to take part in local traditions. You will have a chance to taste some local food, admire the city’s Christmas decorations and have a chance to enjoy fireworks that the guide will set off. You then have the afternoon to spend at your leisure.

    Tonight you will attend a festive New Year’s Eve party at the sophisticated Grand Hotel in Reykjavík. Mix and mingle with other guests over an apéritif and then enjoy a gourmet 5-course dinner, paired with selected wines, and live entertainment during your meal.

    Afterwards, you and fellow dinner guests will be taken to a large neighbourhood bonfire to celebrate with Icelanders. You will then return to the Grand Hotel for dessert, sparkling wine and the exciting countdown to the New Year. Once the event finishes, you can head to the city centre and continue the party, like the locals, with music and dancing late into the night.

    Attractions Attractions
  • Day 10: Blue Lagoon Relaxation

    Today, you will be picked up for a visit to the famous Blue Lagoon. Relax as you bathe in the heated geothermal pool, which is rich with silica and soothing for your skin. You can also enjoy a sauna or steambath and an array of spa services (which must be booked in advance). After your time at the Blue Lagoon, you’ll return to Reykjavík, where you can spend the late afternoon, and evening, at your leisure. 

    Spend the night in Reykjavík.

    Attractions
  • Day 11: Departure from Iceland

    Your festive winter holiday to Iceland has come to an end, and you will take a shuttle bus transfer from your accommodation to Keflavik International Airport. If you are departing in the afternoon and are interested in adding an optional activity, please arrange with your travel consultant in advance, as there are a limited number of activities available due to the holiday period.

    Optional Extras

Map

Here’s a map of your travel route, to help put things in perspective.

Reviews

We don’t like to brag, so we’ll let our happy customers do it for us.

Best trip of my life!

It was the best trip of my life that I have ever been on. The Hotels and the car rental were managed for us, which took off all the stresses of traveling for us. The detailed map was perfect, loved the little details like where to find "homemade ice cream". Loved that every day there was something to see and do but still had the option to relax and/or take the day off. Our favorite moments was The whole entire New Year's Eve day! Starting out with the guided tour around Reykjavik. Learning about local folklore. Then heading over to the New Year's Eve dinner, that had us laughing and entertained! Nordic Visitor did it all correctly and can't wait to book with them again. 

Accommodation

Stay in well-located hotels and guesthouses that are highly rated by visitors and handpicked by local travel experts.

Look forward to getting a good night’s sleep after each day of driving in Iceland. All your accommodation will be conveniently located near your driving route, with ample parking. Rest assured that you’ll stay in the best possible properties, which have all received excellent reviews from previous customers.

Comfort Plus

Standard rooms in good quality and comfortable three-star hotels in combination with well-appointed guesthouses or country hotels.

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Superior

Standard rooms in four-star hotels in combination with Deluxe or Superior rooms in premium three-star hotels.

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Rental car

Enjoy the journey in the rental car of your choice, with two authorised drivers and free in-car Wi-Fi.

Toyota Auris (Automatic)
or similar

  • x5
  • x5
  • x3
  • A

Toyota Auris (Automatic)
or similar

  • Description: Compact
  • Passengers: 5
  • Luggage: 3
  • Doors: 5
  • Transmission: Automatic

Toyota Avensis (Automatic)
or similar

  • x5
  • x5
  • x3
  • A

Toyota Avensis (Automatic)
or similar

  • Description: Intermediate
  • Passengers: 5
  • Luggage: 3
  • Doors: 5
  • Transmission: Automatic

Toyota Avensis Wagon (Automatic)
or similar

  • x5
  • x5
  • x4
  • A

Toyota Avensis Wagon (Automatic)
or similar

  • Description: Intermediate Wagon
  • Passengers: 5
  • Luggage: 4
  • Doors: 5
  • Transmission: Automatic

Hyundai Tucson AWD (Automatic)
or similar

  • x5
  • x5
  • x3
  • A

Hyundai Tucson AWD (Automatic)
or similar

  • Description: Intermediate SUV
  • Passengers: 5
  • Luggage: 3
  • Doors: 5
  • Transmission: Automatic

Mitsubishi Outlander AWD (Automatic)
or similar

  • x5
  • x5
  • x3
  • A

Mitsubishi Outlander AWD (Automatic)
or similar

  • Description: Standard SUV, AWD
  • Passengers: 5
  • Suitcases: 3
  • Doors: 5
  • Transmission: Automatic

Toyota Land Cruiser 4x4 (Automatic)
or similar

  • x5
  • x5
  • x5
  • A

Toyota Land Cruiser 4x4 (Automatic)
or similar

  • Description: Premium SUV, 4WD
  • Passengers: 5
  • Suitcases: 5
  • Doors: 5
  • Transmission: Automatic

Volkswagen Touareg AWD (Automatic)
or similar

  • x5
  • x5
  • x4
  • A

Volkswagen Touareg AWD (Automatic)
or similar

  • Description: Luxury SUV, AWD
  • Passengers: 5
  • Suitcases: 4
  • Doors: 5
  • Transmission: Automatic

Optional extras

Customise your adventure with these Optional Extras.

Tour Information

We recommend that all our travellers read through the following information about what the tour includes, what to pack for your holiday and useful information about the activities that are included during the tour.  

WINTER DRIVING IN ICELAND

For added safety and comfort, we highly recommend selecting a 4x4 vehicle for a winter trip.

Please note that driving during the winter in Iceland can be challenging as the weather can be unpredictable. If you do not have experience driving in winter conditions, with snow, icy roads and high winds, a self-drive tour during winter is not recommended. However, we offer a number of guided small group tours as well as multi-day tours and privately guided packages.

Learn more about winter driving in Iceland here.

NEW YEAR'S EVE EXCLUSIVE PARTY

The New Year´s Eve Party has a minimum age of 12 years old for attendance. If travelling with younger children, please contact us and we will be happy to offer you an alternative option for dinner on New Year’s Eve. 

The New Year’s Eve Party includes alcoholic beverages. In Iceland, the legal drinking age is 20 years old so you may need to present an ID at the event. For those younger and those who prefer not to drink alcoholic beverages, non-alcoholic beverages will be offered.

Please note that a transfer is not included to/from the venue, but it is located centrally, within walking distance from most hotels in the city centre. It’s also easily accessible by taxis.

THE BLUE LAGOON

Please note that the Blue Lagoon is busier than usual during the holiday season. We will be booking your entrance at a specific time with a specific duration at the lagoon. If you would prefer a different departure time, please inform your travel consultant as soon as possible.

The minimum age requirement for children at the Blue Lagoon is 2 years old. It is mandatory for children aged 2 to 8 to wear inflatable armbands while in the lagoon. These are provided free of charge. Please note that only 2 children under the age of 10 can be admitted into the lagoon per guardian.

THE NORTHERN LIGHTS, DAYLIGHT HOURS & WEATHER CONDITIONS 
The best months to experience the northern lights are October through April, with peak visibility from December through February. Please note that as the northern lights are a natural phenomenon, we cannot guarantee sightings even if the tour is operated.

Please be advised that daylight is limited in Iceland during the winter months, with 4-5 hours of daylight from December to January. However, fresh snowfall often gives the appearance of more light, and it is common that houses, streets and businesses are lit up with Christmas lights, so don't fear that you will be travelling in complete darkness.

Although the winter climate in Iceland is generally mild compared to other Northern European countries, the temperature can drop below freezing at times. Please bring windproof and waterproof outerwear and plenty of warm layers. Please note that the programme is dependent upon weather and road conditions, and may be altered if conditions are not favourable. For information on weather conditions and daylight hours we recommend visiting our extensive Online Travel Guide

CURRENCY RATE
All bookings are charged in Icelandic Króna (ISK), the official currency of Iceland. Prices displayed in other currencies are indicative only and based on the daily exchange rate as issued by the Central bank of Iceland. Therefore, conversions from ISK to other currencies will fluctuate from day to day.

AFTER BOOKING WITH NORDIC VISITOR
After booking your package with Nordic Visitor, you will be contacted within two working days by one of our travel consultants, who will serve as your dedicated contact person for all of your travel needs before, during and even after your holiday. Your travel consultant will provide you with details about your booking and your remaining payment (if not paid in full). You will also receive more information about what to expect during your holiday.

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