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Iceland Full Circle Classic - Winter

(10 days / 9 nights)

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Winter Wonder Along the Ring Road

This classic self-drive tour around Iceland’s “Ring Road” is one of our 10 day itineraries that offers winter nature at its very best. You’ll visit spectacular natural attractions like powerful waterfalls, hot springs in moonlike surroundings, majestic glaciers, iceberg lagoons, volcanic beaches and more. And with accommodations in rural areas with low light pollution, you will have the chance to see the northern lights.

Looking for the summer version of this tour?

10 days / 9 nights

Price p.p. from

The amount will be charged in ISK

Approx 240015 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

  • See the massive floating icebergs at the Glacier Lagoon
  • Walk the Diamond Beach, seeing the scattered, glistening ice
  • Explore the famous Golden Circle route
  • Hunt for the majestic northern lights
  • Discover the volcanic Lake Mývatn and its beautiful surroundings
  • Walk the quaint streets of Akureyri, the unofficial capital of north Iceland
  • Enjoy the cascading waterfalls of Seljalandsfoss Skógafoss
  • Photograph jagged basalt columns & sweeping black sand beaches
  • Enjoy the striking nature of Snæfellsnes and its charming fishing villages

Travel style

Self-Drive i

Interest

Best Seller i, Classic i, Northern Lights i

Season

Oct - Apr

Departure

Daily

Driving distance

1810/1124 km/mi

Itinerary

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

Download PDF
  • Day 1: Welcome to Reykjavík

    On arrival to Keflavik Airport, you will be greeted by a driver who will take you to your accommodation in Reykjavík. If you are arriving early in the day, you can upgrade to add a visit to the Blue Lagoon (optional, not included). Once you arrive in Reykjavik and after settling in, head to the main street, Laugavegur, to enjoy its various shops and cosy cafes.

    Spend the night in Reykjavik.

    Attractions Optional Extras
  • Day 2: Wonders of the Golden Circle

    Collect your rental car in the morning and begin your journey on the classic “Golden Circle” route, starting with Þingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where you can walk on a path in the rift valley between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. Next is the Haukadalur geothermal area, home of Geysir—the original “geyser”—and the more active Strokkur, which spouts water every few minutes. End the circle with visits to the majestic Gullfoss waterfall and the implosion crater of Kerið.

    Spend the night in the Selfoss area.

    Driving distance approx. 185 km / 114 mi.

    Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions
  • Day 3: WATERFALLS AND BLACK SAND BEACHES

    Visit Seljalandsfoss waterfall, where you can walk right behind the misty cascade, then head to the equally impressive Skógafoss waterfall just a short drive down the road. South of the village of Vík, make a stop at the volcanic black sand beach* for dramatic views of the Dyrhólaey island and Reynisdrangar rock formations rising above the crashing waves. You can even take part in a glacier hike, visit to an ice cave or snowmobile tour today. Click on our optional activities for more information.

    Spend the night in the Kirkjubæjarklaustur 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.

    Driving distance approx. 203 km / 126 mi.

    Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions Optional Extras
  • Day 4: Glaciers and Floating Icebergs

    Spend some time exploring Skaftafell*, part of the immense Vatnajökull National Park and a place of great natural beauty. Then head to the smaller Ice lagoon, Fjallsárlón before heading to the famous Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon and enjoy the surreal scene of icebergs floating by. Afterwards you will stop by the Diamond Beach, where you will see chunks of ice glistening on the black sands. Since the town of Höfn has been nicknamed the “Lobster Capital of Iceland” we highly recommend ending the day with a delicious lobster dinner here!

    Spend the night in the Höfn area.

    *venturing onto a glacier or engaging in ice climbing should only ever be attempted with the assistance of a licensed and experienced guide.

    Driving distance approx. 203 km / 126 mi.

    Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions Optional Extras
  • Day 5: ROAM THE EAST FJORDS & SPOT REINDEERS

    Your drive along East Iceland today is characterised by long and narrow fjords with steep mountainsides and rugged tundra. Each fjord has its own unique qualities, with small fishing villages in postcard-perfect settings and friendly locals. If you’re lucky, you may get to see a reindeer or two as this is the part of the island they inhabit. The east is also great for northern lights viewing, if the conditions are right, since there are vast stretches just outside your accommodation with no light pollution*.

    Spend the night in the Egilsstaðir area.

    *Please note that the northern lights are a natural phenomenon, so sightings cannot be guaranteed.

    Driving distance approx. 256 km / 159 mi.

    Attractions Attractions Optional Extras
  • Day 6: THE IMPRESSIVE NORTH: DETTIFOSS & LAKE MÝVATN

    If you’re up for seeing more natural wonders today, make an optional detour (weather and road conditions permitting) to Dettifoss, the most powerful waterfall in Europe, before heading to the

    otherworldly Lake Mývatn area. This part of North Iceland boasts an abundance of unusual natural wonders to explore, like the Krafla volcano, the mud pools and curiously-coloured terrain of the Námaskarð pass and the massive crater of Hverfell. Other highlights of the region include Dimmuborgir, a magnificent lava landscape of caves, columns, and arches, as well as the option of relaxing at Mývatn Nature Baths.

    Spend the night in the Lake Mývatn area.

    Driving distance approx. 182 km / 113 mi.

    Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions Optional Extras
  • Day 7: Natural Charms of the North

    Spend the first half of the day exploring more of Lake Mývatn and perhaps participating in an optional activity like dog-sledding or snowmobiling. We recommend visiting Goðafoss waterfall on your way to the charming town of Akureyri, where you can take a stroll through the town centre and enjoy a variety of little shops, cafes and museums. You can next make your way toward Skagafjörður, an area known for its abundance of adorably stocky Icelandic horses. if time and weather conditions allow, you may choose to take a detour around Tröllaskagi Peninsula known for beautiful scenes of mountains, cliffs and fjords.

    Spend the night in the Skagafjörður area

    Driving distance (including Tröllaskagi) approx. 247 km / 153 mi.

    Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions Optional Extras
  • Day 8: ADVENTURES OF THE WEST COAST

    Drive to the historical Borgarfjörður region of west Iceland today. Worthwhile natural sights in the region include the Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls that tumble over a lava field and Deildartunguhver, Europe's most powerful hot spring.  You have the option of signing up for optional activities today like the manmade ice tunnel Into the Glacier and a visit to Krauma, the newly-opened baths adjacent to Deildartunguhver. For those interested in the history of Iceland, a visit to the Icelandic Settlement Centre in the town of Borgarnes is recommended.

    Spend the night in the Borgarnes area

    Driving distance approx. 234 km / 145 mi

    Attractions Attractions Attractions Optional Extras
  • Day 9: SPLENDID SNÆFELLSNES OR OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES

    Today you have the option of driving the Snæfellsnes peninsula (if weather and road conditions allow). Enjoy the natural beauty of Snæfellsjökull National Park. Highlights of your driving route today include the Dritvík Cove, the dramatic bird cliffs of Lóndrangar, Hellnar and Arnarstapi as well as idyllic seaside villages.

    If you prefer an active day outside, you can choose one of many optional activities, depending on your personal interests. Choices include exploring a lava cave or manmade ice tunnel, snowmobiling, or visiting the Krauma baths in the west. You can also choose to end your day at the relaxing Blue Lagoon, where you can soak in the healing milky-blue waters (pre-booking needed).

    Spend the night in Reykjavík.

    *Please note, for those who select our optional activities, other than the Blue Lagoon, for this day will not have time to explore Snæfellsnes Peninsula

    Driving distance (including Snæfellsnes Peninsula) approx. 300 km / 186 mi.

    Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions Optional Extras
  • Day 10: Departure

    When it’s time for your Iceland adventure to end, you will be picked up from the accommodation for your airport transfer by a shuttle bus about three hours before your flight. If you’re flying in the afternoon, you have the option to visit the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa to relax in the warm mineral waters before continuing to the airport (optional: not included).

    Optional Extras

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.

There are limited laundry facilities along the Ring Road and in Iceland’s countryside. Some hotels do offer dry cleaning for an additional cost. 

If you would prefer not to use this service, we recommend bringing or buying a small pack of detergent. This way you can hand wash your items in your hotel bathroom.

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.

Reviews

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

Fantastic from start to finish

Would highly recommend Nordic Visitor to anyone wishing to visit Iceland. The itinerary, and information provided before the start of our tour was excellent and took care of all our concerns. Despite travelling in some of the worst weather conditions Iceland could throw at us we were only a phone call away from Nordic Visitor and the in car WiFi was a real bonus. All our concerns-snowed in, in the south, at Saeluhus I Landbroti with breakfast 4 km away and again snowbound at Gauksmýri in the north and unable to travel on- were dealt with rapidly and became part of the adventure rather than a worry.  Thank you Nordic Visitor for a memorable visit to your stunning country. Thank you for keeping us updated with the Coronavirus news and how it may have impacted on our travels. A big thank you to all the accommodation owners who went out of their way to make sure we were kept as safe as possible given the exceptional circumstances.  

Fantastic experience

Overall it was a fantastic experience and we were able to enjoy a brilliant holiday without the added stress of booking accommodation, cars etc. What we really appreciated were the little touches from Nordic Visitor, such as the welcome bag with useful items, the really nice accommodation that was booked, and all the tips/suggestions of what to do during our time in Iceland. It was a fantastic experience and tour.

Exceptional service

The tour we took was phenomenal. The preparation and service we received from Nordic Visitor was exceptional. We would definitely recommend Nordic Visitor to any and all of our friends and family.

Everything was perfect!

You are the best tour operator. You did an excellent trip. Everything was perfect. Thank you so much

Everything was very well planned out!

Everything was very well planned out. We did not run into time constraints, so a very worry free trip. Was wonderful to pick and choose activities based on our progress through the day.

Wonderful experience

It was a wonderful experience and we'll definitely book our next nordic tour with you again. Keep going!

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.

Economy

Rooms with shared bathroom facilities in farmhouses, cosy guesthouses or well-appointed hostels.

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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.

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 240015 ISK

Book with confidence

Monthly price comparison

Our best price per person when booking for two.

2023

Optional extras

Customise your adventure with these Optional Extras.

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