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Christmas in the Countryside

South Iceland & Northern Lights

(5 days / 4 nights)

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Spend the holidays in the cosy countryside

Winter is rarely more beautiful than in South Iceland. On this 5-day self-drive tour, you will have a chance to explore regions like the classic Golden Circle and scenic south coast, bathe in the soothing waters of the Blue Lagoon, and enjoy exciting optional activities like exploring like snowmobiling, glacier hiking and visiting a natural ice cave. You will stay at the carefully selected luxurious countryside hotel, Hótel Grímsborgir, which is close to many attractions in the south of Iceland, and is also remote, far from city lights, giving you a great chance to catch a glimpse of the majestic northern lights.

Want to stay in Iceland longer? You can easily add extra days before and after the tour during the booking steps to extend your holiday.

5 days / 4 nights

Price p.p. from

The amount will be charged in ISK

Approx 276755 ISK

See Book With Confidence terms

— 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

  • Watch the northern lights dance and flicker in the sky
  • Explore the famous Golden Circle route
  • Feel the power of the thundering waterfall Gullfoss
  • Marvel at eruptions at the Geysir geothermal region
  • Tour the scenic south coast of Iceland
  • Bathe in the world famous Blue Lagoon
  • Enjoy a festive Christmas dinner in the countryside
  • Spend your nights in a handpicked, charming countryside hotel

Travel style

Self-Drive i

Interest

Christmas i

Season

December

Departure

21,22,23 Dec

Driving distance

778/483 km/mi

Itinerary

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

Download PDF
  • Day 1: Welcome to Iceland

    Upon arrival in Iceland you will pick up your rental car and customised Nordic Visitor travel documents at the airport. If you arrive early, we recommend a leisurely drive through the capital of Iceland, Reykjavik. The downtown area offers a great variety of museums, art galleries, coffeehouses, shops, and of course sights like Hallgrímskirkja, and Harpa concert hall by the Reykjavik's old harbour where you can join optional whale watching tours. Next up is a drive over to Hellisheiði where you will see white steam rising straight from the earth. The Hellisheiði power plant is on your way driving to the small village of Hveragerði.

    Continue the drive to Hotel Grímsborgir, a beautiful hotel located along the Golden Circle, just a short drive from the UNSECO park – Þingvellir. You will spend 4 nights in a superior room which gives you the convenience of not having to repack and change locations. After checking in at the hotel, we recommend unwinding in the outdoor hot tubs.

    Spend the next four nights at Grímsborgir (Superior Double Room).

    Driving distance approx. 108 km / 68 mi.

    Attractions Optional Extras
  • Day 2: Explore the renowned Golden Circle

    Head to the geothermal area of Haukadalur to visit Geysir—the original geyser—or its ever-reliable neighbour, Strokkur, which erupts water and steam high into the air every few minutes. Here you can also see the bubbling mud pots, boiling pools and other geological phenomena before making the short drive to your next stop, the majestic Gullfoss waterfall. Considered one of Iceland’s star attractions, this mighty cascade plunges into a 70-metre deep canyon, creating a beautiful cloud of mist and, of course, a spectacular photo opportunity.

    Today you also have the opportunity to go visit the lava tunnel or go snowmobiling on the Langjökull glacier. For a relaxing end to the day, we recommend visiting either the warm pool at the Secret lagoon or the Fontana Spa at Laugarvatn (dependent on availability).

    Driving distance approx. 161 km / 100 mi.

    Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions
  • Day 3: Icy Waterfalls, Vast Black Sand Beaches & Christmas Eve Dinner

    Start the day with a visit to the Seljalandsfoss waterfall, where you can experience walking behind the misty cascade. Just a short drive brings you to yet another gorgeous waterfall, the 60-metre high Skógafoss. At the volcanic black sand beach south of Vík, we recommend a stop to enjoy the fantastic views of the Reynisdrangar and Dyrhólaey rock formations. Dyrhólaey is a 120-metre high promontory jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean. It’s a spectacular sight to behold with its natural arch and prominent hole, sculpted over millennia from the force of the waves.

    Tonight you will be enjoying a festive dinner at Hotel Grimsborgir's restaurant where traditional Christmas dinner will be served.

    Note: The dinner on Christmas Eve is set on the 24th December at Hótel Grímsborgir.

    Driving distance approx. 288 km / 179 mi.

    Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions Optional Extras
  • Day 4: Relax in Coastal Villages or explore the Þingvellir National Park

    Today you can enjoy the pristine nature and tranquillity that South Iceland has to offer during the winter. Explore the magnificent Þingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is ideal for an enchanting day out with short hiking trails and a scenic landscape. Nearby, also pop by the spectacular Kerið volcanic crater. If the weather allows, hike along the crater‘s edge.

    If you would rather relax and unwind, Grímsborgir is located in a beautiful setting for a peaceful day out. You could take some time to discover it further, walking through the neighbourhood, enjoying a delicious meal out or visiting the local hot tubs.

    Or the Icelandic capital, Reykjavík, is only a short drive away. If you didn't have time to explore it on arrival, you could go for a day trip.

    Driving distance approx. From 100 km - 288 km / 62 - 179 mi

    Attractions Optional Extras
  • Day 5: The Blue Lagoon & Departure

    Enjoy your last day in Iceland at the vast volcanic wonderland of the Reykjanes Peninsula. Here you have a chance to visit the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa, surrounded by surreal, sweeping black lava formations. The warm, soothing water is rich in silica and blue-green algae, giving the lagoon its renowned healing powers and muted milky-blue colour. For extra relaxation, take advantage of the saunas, steam baths and the Blue Lagoon waterfall or book an in-water “floating” massage (optional; not included).* Included with the comfort experience package at the Blue Lagoon is the entrance fee, a silica mud mask at the Silica bar inside the lagoon, loan of towel and one drink of your choice at the lagoon bar.

    Head to Keflavik airport in time for your flight and drop off the rental car at the car rental agency. Please note that if your flight is leaving early in the morning your travel consultant will make necessary adjustments to your itinerary for this day.

    *Skin treatments and massages can be booked at the Blue Lagoon for an additional charge. We recommend booking these services well in advance.

    Driving distance approx. 124 km / 78 mi.

    Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions

Map

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

Essential information

Everything you need to know about this tour before you book

We recommend that you read carefully through the following information before booking this winter self-drive tour in Iceland. We’ve answered the most frequently asked questions here so you know what to expect. You’ll also find more practical advice and attraction recommendations in our online Iceland Travel Guide.

On a self-drive tour, Nordic Visitor supplies you with a quality rental car and a detailed personal itinerary. You act as your own tour guide and driver, and you get to pick the road trip music!

All your services will be pre-booked by your personal travel consultant at Nordic Visitor. This includes your rental car and accommodation in Iceland, along with airport transfers and planned activities, as specified in the itinerary.

And rest assured that we’re with you every step of the way. Upon your arrival, you’ll receive personalised information, including an itinerary, map, leaflets about driving in Iceland, and our very own Iceland Travel Guide. You’ll also have in-car Wi-Fi included in your car rental, meaning you’ll be able to stay connected and check things on the go.

Plus, you’ll have access to our 24/7 helpline during your trip should you need to contact us.

Yes, when you book your Iceland tour with Nordic Visitor, you always get airport transfers to and from Keflavík Airport included. This will be a private, shared or bus transfer, depending on your itinerary. Please check the details of your tour to confirm.

If you add extra nights to your stay before or after the scheduled trip, we’ll rearrange your transfers to fit your new itinerary.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch with your travel consultant if you have any specific requests about optional activities or services.

During your self-drive tour, you’ll stay in accommodation hand-picked by our local Iceland travel experts. We’ve partnered with local businesses and selected hotels and guesthouses based on excellent ratings, comfort and our personal experience.

On our self-drive packages, you can choose from single, double and triple rooms. Please note that in Iceland room types are based on European standard sizes, which means they are smaller than in North America.

For example, a double bed often consists of 2 single beds pushed together. Twin rooms are 2 separate single beds. Triple rooms include a double bed along with an extra bed, rollaway or sofa bed. And single rooms are often smaller than the standard double.

If you have anything specific in mind, please contact us to discuss customising your accommodation options.

By booking with Nordic Visitor, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that there’s always someone there for you throughout your trip.

For support and advice during the day, you can call our office. And if anything unexpected happens outside working hours, you can reach us on our 24/7 helpline. 

During your tour, there will always be a Reykjavík-based travel expert on call to handle any unforeseen situations, such as unusual weather or events.

If you’re arriving from Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia or New Zealand, you won’t need a visa to visit Iceland. 

Visiting from another country? You can find the complete list of countries whose nationals require a visa to enter Iceland on the website of Iceland’s Directorate of Immigration. If you do require a visa, they maintain a list of local embassies that can assist you with the process. 

Your passport must also be valid for at least 3 months from your departure from Iceland. It’s good to check your passport expiry date early in case you need to renew it. 

Read more about visas, airports and airlines in the getting to Iceland section of our travel guide.

Travelling with your kids? No problem! You'll be able to enter your children's ages during the booking process. This lets us know whether to arrange either a baby cot or roll-away bed for your trip.

If you'd like us to arrange for a car seat to be provided for your trip, please let us know ahead of time. It's also possible to book this directly with the car rental agency. This will incur a small, extra cost.

Only you can pick the best time to visit Iceland for your trip. It’ll depend on how much time you have to explore, what you want to see in Iceland and any events you might like to attend.

In summer, June to August, you’ll have milder temperatures and longer daylight hours, compared to the winter. This is ideal for outdoor excursions and sightseeing. 

If you’d like to experience the top attractions with fewer visitors around then you could book your summer trip in May or September. These shoulder season months have more tour and attraction availability.

The winter months are also popular, but generally quieter, apart from the Christmas holiday season. This is the ideal time to try to spot the northern lights.

Find out what annual Icelandic events and festivals are on in our travel guide. Or read more about the best time to visit Iceland on our blog.

While Iceland is a year-round destination, driving during the winter may be challenging as the weather can be unpredictable.

If you have never driven on snow and ice, Nordic Visitor does not recommend a long road trip in the winter. If you are going to embark on a winter self-drive in Iceland, you should be comfortable driving in winter conditions. This could include snowstorms, icy roads, strong winds and little daylight. 

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

If you do not have experience driving in such conditions, you could instead pick from our guided small groups, multi-day or private tours. 

You can find out more in this guide to winter driving in Iceland.

Because of its northerly location close to the Arctic Circle, Iceland has limited daylight in winter. 

Around Christmastime, from early December until late January, you can expect an average of 4–5 hours of daylight. These extended hours of darkness give you a higher chance of seeing the northern lights.

Find out what the daylight hours will be during the month of your visit in this guide to time and daylight in Iceland.

Yes! Wintertime is the right season to visit Iceland if you want to see the northern lights (or aurora borealis). You can experience the northern lights between October and March, with peak visibility from December through February. 

For the best chances of seeing them, a self-drive tour is ideal. It means you have the flexibility of deciding when and where to go. To enjoy the aurora at its brightest, you’ll want to head into or even stay in the countryside, away from city lights.

Please note that as the northern lights are a natural phenomenon, sightings cannot be guaranteed. Even if you go out on a specific northern lights excursion, you might not see them, depending on the conditions or cloud cover. 

Read our Iceland northern lights guide to learn more.

The winter climate in Iceland is generally mild compared to other Northern European countries. That said, the temperature can drop below freezing at times. And the Atlantic winds can make it feel colder than it is. 

You can expect average temperatures between 4°C (39°F) and -1°C (30°F). Throughout winter (October to April), the weather conditions are very changeable, so you could experience rain, snow, sun and cold winds. 

For more information on the local climate, read this guide to Iceland weather conditions

Please note that sightseeing is dependent on weather and road conditions. Your itinerary might need to be altered if these conditions are not favourable during your visit.

Iceland’s winters are chilly although not as cold as you may expect. As you’ll probably spend a lot of time outdoors, we recommend bringing plenty of layers to stay warm and dry.

Here is a recommended winter packing list for your trip to Iceland:

  • Durable insulated jacket, which should be waterproof
  • Robust walking boots with a good grip
  • Mid-layers such as a fleece or woollen jumper
  • A few pairs of warm hiking socks
  • Hat, gloves and scarf
  • Swimwear for visiting geothermal pools or spas
  • Backpack for daily adventures
  • Electronic equipment such as smartphone, external powerpack, and travel adapters
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen for exploring in the snow or glacier excursions
  • And don’t forget your camera!
     

For more information, check out this Iceland packing list.

Children must be at least 2 years old to visit the Blue Lagoon. And it’s 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.

Yes, you can. The Blue Lagoon is open year-round and popular during the festive season. 

Your dedicated travel consultant will book your entrance in advance, so you’ll have a specific arrival time and duration at the lagoon. If you’d prefer a different time, please let us know as soon as possible.

On your Iceland road trip, you should budget for petrol costs of around 300-400 ISK per litre.

As for meals, your breakfast is included at all your accommodation in Iceland. For the rest of your meals, your spending money will depend on the standard of restaurants you decide to go to. 

Budget between 2,000–3,000 ISK for lunch per person, each day. Dinners at casual restaurants might cost between 3,000–6,000 ISK. Meanwhile at upscale restaurants, you can expect to pay 7,000 ISK or more. This does not include the cost of alcoholic beverages.

Yes, you can customise this tour online. During the booking process, you can add extra nights to your itinerary as well as optional day trips, excursions and upgrades. 

If you have something specific in mind, get in touch with your travel consultant and they’ll create your dream trip.

It’s best to book as soon as you can to secure your preferred travel dates. Once you have picked your tour, check the availability calendar to see which months are open for booking. Then, select the date you want and complete your booking. 

Nordic Visitor offers 10–20% deposits so you can reserve your trip as early as it’s convenient for you. The remaining balance is due 30 days before you travel. 

Many tours are also open for the following year if you like to plan well ahead. And if you have any questions or need advice, you can always contact us

After booking your tour package online, you will be contacted within 2 business days by your own dedicated travel consultant. They will be your point of contact for all your travel needs before, during and even after your trip. 

At that time, they’ll confirm the availability of your tour. Then the booking process starts, which may take a few weeks. Once this is done, your travel consultant will provide you with all the details of your trip. You will also receive more information about what to expect during your trip.

You can get in touch with our Iceland travel experts ahead of your trip if you have any questions. The live chat option is useful for getting a quick reply as someone answers live every day during office opening hours.

Once you’ve booked, we’ll provide you with a travel guide packed full of local tips and top attractions for your visit. You can also check out our online Iceland Travel Guide where we’ve compiled useful information about topics, including:

After you have booked your tour, it will only take a few days to confirm its availability. But it may take a few weeks to create your itinerary and book everything. Once your trip details are finalised, we’ll email you copies of your travel documents.

When you arrive in Iceland, you’ll receive a welcome bag with hard copies of your itinerary, attraction and tour vouchers, the Nordic Visitor Iceland Travel Guide and more.

So when do you check in? And what can you expect upon landing in Keflavík?

After picking up your luggage, you will be greeted by a driver holding a sign with your name in the arrivals hall. The driver will hand over your welcome package with hard copies of your travel documents. You’ll then be driven to your hotel in Reykjavík.

Check-in times vary between hotels and guesthouses, but it normally starts between 2 PM and 4 PM. 

You are welcome to request an early check-in for an additional fee. Although this isn’t always available, you’ll be able to store your luggage at the hotel so you can start exploring before check-in. Please contact your travel consultant well in advance of your arrival if you’d like an early check-in.

When you depart may depend on the time of your return flight. Check out early if you’re heading to the airport for a morning flight. On the other hand, if you’re flying home later in the day, you might like to enjoy a leisurely day or visit one more attraction.

You will need to check out from your room, but will be able to store your luggage at the hotel reception. Simply return later to collect your bags before catching your transfer to the airport.

All bookings are billed 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. This means conversions from ISK to other currencies will fluctuate from day to day.

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.

Hotel Grimsborgir

Hotel Grimsborgir is a 5-star, luxury hotel located in the heart of the Golden Circle.

View

Rental car

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

Volkswagen Golf (Automatic)
or similar

  • x5
  • x5
  • x2
  • A

Volkswagen Golf (Automatic)
or similar

  • Description: Compact
  • Passengers: 5
  • Luggage: 2
  • Doors: 5
  • Transmission: Automatic

Toyota Corolla Sedan (Automatic)
or similar

  • x5
  • x5
  • x3
  • A

Toyota Corolla Sedan (Automatic)
or similar

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

Toyota Corolla Station (Automatic)
or similar

  • x5
  • x5
  • x4
  • A

Toyota Corolla Station (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

Land Rover Discovery 4x4 (Automatic)
or similar
limited availability

  • x5
  • x5
  • x4
  • A

Land Rover Discovery 4x4 (Automatic)
or similar
limited availability

  • Description: 4x4
  • Passengers: 5
  • Suitcases: 4
  • Doors: 5
  • Transmission: Automatic

Price per person from

The amount will be charged in ISK

Approx 276755 ISK

Book with confidence

Monthly price comparison

Our best price per person when booking for two.

2022

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