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Iceland Full Circle at Leisure - Winter

(14 days / 13 nights)

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Enjoy the ring road in winter at your own pace

Autumn and winter are wonderful times to visit Iceland as the country has fewer travellers than in the high season, and this is the time to see the otherworldly northern lights. Travellers will circle Iceland to relax, soak in the scenery and enjoy unrivaled nature like geysers, waterfalls, black sand beaches and icebergs in the glacier lagoon. This self-drive is set for a leisurely pace, allowing you more time to roam the sights and explore, and to sign up for optional activities.

Looking for the summer version of this tour?

14 days / 13 nights

Price p.p. from

The amount will be charged in ISK

Approx 332255 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
  • Explore the famous Golden Circle route
  • Walk the Diamond Beach, seeing the scattered, glistening ice
  • Discover the volcanic Lake Mývatn and its beautiful surroundings
  • Enjoy the cascading waterfalls of Seljalandsfoss Skógafoss
  • Photograph jagged basalt columns & sweeping black sand beaches
  • Traverse Iceland‘s beautiful national parks – VatnajökullÞingvellir and Snæfellsnes
  • Walk the quaint streets of Akureyri, the unofficial capital of north Iceland
  • Explore the Sun Voyager, Hallgrímskirkja and the old harbour in Reykjavík
  • Enjoy the tranquility of the winter season and hunt for northern lights

Travel style

Self-Drive i

Interest

Northern Lights i, Slow Paced i

Season

Oct - Apr

Departure

Daily

Driving distance

2309/1434 km/mi

Itinerary

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

Download PDF
  • Day 1: ARRIVAL & WELCOME TO REYKJAVíK

    On arrival to Keflavik International Airport, you will be greeted by a driver who will drive you to your accommodation in Reykjavík. If you are arriving early in the day, you can add a visit to the Blue Lagoon. Once you arrive in Reykjavik and after settling in, the rest of the day is free for you to explore the vibrant city centre and its many museums, restaurants and bars. Head to the main street, Laugavegur, to enjoy its various shops and cosy cafes.

    Spend the night in Reykjavík.

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

    Collect your rental car in the morning and start your journey to the beautiful and historical Þingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Þingvellir plains are located on the North Atlantic rift that splits the island between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. Next, visit Geysir—the original geyser—or its ever-reliable counterpart, Strokkur, which erupts every few minutes. Next make your way to the majestic Gullfoss. From Gullfoss, you can visit the nearby volcanic crater of Kerið before continuing to your accommodation.

    Spend the next two nights in Selfoss area.

    Driving distance approx. 96 km / 59 mi

    Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions
  • Day 3: Further Exploration and Optional Activities

    Today you can explore the area around the Golden Circle, stopping by places you missed yesterday, or visit other attractions like the Faxi waterfall and the charming Friðheimar farm. At Friðheimar you can tour the tomato greenhouses, buy local products at their market and even enjoy a tomato-based lunch (meal must be booked in advance). You can also choose an optional activity like snorkelling in Þingvellir National Park.

    Spend another night in Selfoss.

    Driving distance approx. 143 km / 88 mi

    Optional Extras
  • Day 4: Wintry Waterfalls & 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 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 next two nights 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 5: Hiking, Waterfalls, & National Park

    Spend time exploring Skaftafell, which is a part of the vast Vatnajökull National Park, and a place of great natural beauty. Here you will find many interesting hiking trails*, including a short path leading to the Svartifoss waterfall and its unique basalt columns that resemble organ pipes (please note that hiking conditions depend on the season). This is a great day to sign up for optional activities based on your interests like a guided glacier walk or a tour to an ice cave.

    Spend another night in the Kirkjubæjarklaustur 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. 144 km / 89 mi

    Attractions Attractions Optional Extras
  • Day 6: Glacier Lagoon & Diamond Beach

    Start the day by heading to the famous Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon and enjoy the view of floating icebergs, before continuing to the smaller lagoon, Fjallsárlón and the Diamond Beach where you see glistening chunks of ice 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 Höfn area.

    Driving distance approx. 203 km / 126 mi

    Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions Optional Extras
  • Day 7: East Iceland Gems & Scenic Towns

    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. Other notable sights on the route today include spotting reindeer and the Lagarfljót River, which according to folklore is inhabited by a Loch Ness-like monster. If the conditions are right, you might get a glimpse of the northern lights in the beautiful east.

    Spend the night in Egilsstaðir area.

    Driving distance approx. 256 km / 159 mi

    Attractions Optional Extras
  • Day 8: Thunderous Waterfall & Luminous Northern Lights

    Continue north towards today’s destination: the otherworldly Lake Mývatn area. Your first stop will be at the mighty Dettifoss, the most powerful waterfall in all of Europe, before continuing to Mývatn.  This part of North Iceland boasts an abundance of unusual natural wonders to explore, like the Krafla volcano and the curiously-coloured Námaskarð pass. Later in the evening, if the skies are clear, you may even see another natural wonder—the majestic northern lights.*

    Spend the next two nights in Lake Mývatn area.

    Driving distance approx. 223 km / 138 mi

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

    Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions Optional Extras
  • Day 9: Lava Landscapes & Mývatn

    Today is ideal to drive the circle around Mývatn including Dimmuborgir, a region of strewn lava rocks, small caves, volcanic rocks and cliffs. Mývatn is a shallow eutrophic lake situated in an area of active volcanism in the north of Iceland, not far from Krafla volcano. Nearby, explore the Skútustaðagígar pseudo-craters. There are plenty of optional activities in the region such as husky tours and cave exploration. We recommend ending the day with a relaxing soak at the milky Mývatn Nature Baths, a pool of warm geothermal water drawn from depths of 2,500 metres (not included).

    Spend another night in Lake Mývatn area.

    Driving distance approx. 35 km / 21 mi

    Attractions Attractions Attractions Optional Extras
  • Day 10: Charming Akureyri & Goðafoss

    Start the day by visiting Goðafoss waterfall on your way to the charming northern town of Akureyri, where you can take a stroll through the town centre and enjoy the variety of little shops, cafes and museums. On your way towards Skagafjörður, an area known for its abundance of Icelandic horses, you may choose to take a detour around Tröllaskagi (Peninsula of the Trolls) for beautiful scenery of mountains, cliffs and fjords. Other interesting stops along the way include the village of Siglufjörður, which was once the centre of Iceland’s bustling herring fleet.

    Spend the night in Skagafjörður.

    Driving distance approx. 256 km / 159 mi

    Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions Optional Extras
  • Day 11: Explore The Unique Nature of the North and West

    Enjoy a leisurely drive from the north to the west today. First up is Vatnsdalshólar, a cluster of hills across the landscape of Vatnsdalur valley that are believed to have been formed by a catastrophic landslide.  Making your way south, you can stop at Grábrók volcanic crater for a short hike.  After some time at the crater, you can head to the town of Borgarnes and visit the Icelandic Settlement Centre.

    Spend the next two nights in Borgarnes area.

    Driving distance approx. 234 km / 145 mi

    Attractions Attractions Attractions
  • Day 12: The Splendid Snæfellsnes Peninsula

    Today you have the option of driving the Snæfellsnes peninsula. Enjoy the natural beauty of Snæfellsjökull National Park—named after the glacier-topped volcano that stands prominently at the end of the peninsula. 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. And if you think you have what it takes to be an Icelandic fisherman, you can test your strength with the “lifting stones” on the beach at Djúpalónssandur like in the old days.

    Spend another night in Borgarnes area.

    Driving distance approx. 320 km / 198 mi

    Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions Optional Extras
  • Day 13: Explore Beautiful Borgarfjörður

    Drive to the historical Borgarfjörður area of west Iceland today. Other worthwhile natural sights in the area include the Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls that tumble over a lava field and Deildartunguhver, Europe's most powerful hot spring. Today, you also have the option to enjoy a visit to the ice tunnel or Krauma geothermal baths before heading back to Reykjavík for the evening.

    Spend the night in Reykjavík.

    Driving distance approx. 196 km / 121 mi

    Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions Optional Extras
  • Day 14: Departure

    When it’s time for your Iceland adventure to end, you will be picked up from your 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.

    Attractions 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.

Helpful and very responsive!

We are very happy with Nordic Visitor and the service we were provided.  Everyone was very helpful and very responsive!

Very happy with the service

We were very happy with Nordic Visitor and the service we were provided with.  Everyone was very helpful and very responsive!

 

Exceptional

The organisation of our trip was exceptional  Kristen was very friendly and competent and we were very happy with her Thank you for a wonderful trip

Pleasantly surprised

We chose Iceland for our honeymoon, and were NOT disappointed!  It was all fabulous! You expect a few hiccups when traveling out of the country and this is the first time I hadn't made all the arrangements myself.. but I was so pleasantly surprised by how well everything went!  Great Job Helga!! 

Had an amazing time

Thank you for always being available and communicating. We had an amazing time.

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 332255 ISK

Book with confidence

Monthly price comparison

Our best price per person when booking for two.

2022
2023

Optional extras

Customise your adventure with these Optional Extras.

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