Most Popular Winter Self-Drive Tours in Iceland

Most Popular Winter Self-Drive Tours in Iceland

14.12.2022 | Kaelene Spence

The winters in Iceland may be long, but they sure are beautiful! When winter arrives in Iceland the country is transformed into a winter wonderland with snow-covered landscapes, northern lights, and partially frozen waterfalls sparkling like diamonds. Add in the stunning winter light and fewer crowds at our favorite spots, and we are always up for a winter adventure around the country. 

Walking in winter wonderland
Walking in winter wonderland 

We realize though that winter can be a bit of an intimidating time to travel to Iceland for some, and we completely understand this. With the unpredictable winter weather that can completely upend plans, road conditions that may make it uncomfortable to drive, and some locations not accessible during the winter months, the cons winter can bring may steer you away. But we are here to convince you to not let these details keep you away, instead by the end of this post we hope you are dusting off your snow boots and winter parka and on your way! 

Instead, take the stress out of your winter travel planning and opt for one of our self-driving winter tours! These carefully curated tours feature itineraries designed by us with the focus on enhancing your experience during the winter months while ensuring you get plenty of hidden gems and treasures thrown into the mix.

Seljavallalaug swimming pool in winter
Swimming in Seljavallalaug pool in winter

If the idea of a planned tour has you ready to click next hear us out, these aren’t your typical tour options. Our self-driving tours are perfect for the traveler that prefers to have the freedom to explore at your own pace but would love a bit of guidance along the way. Unlike a scheduled group tour, self-driving tours give you the flexibility to choose how long you spend at each suggested stop and give you options for other stops in the area if something sounds more your style, all you have to do is enjoy the adventure without worrying about doing all the detailed planning along the way. 

Whether you are in Iceland for a romantic getaway, a family vacation, or a fun road trip with friends, we have the self-drive tour option for you! 

Benefits of a Self-Drive Tour

If you have checked out Hey Iceland´s website before you may already know we offer a wide variety of different tours, activities, and accommodations in collaboration with our close partners around Iceland. We aim to be your local travel agents that make your trip to the country a stress-free experience. This means that when you opt for one of our self-drive tours you are going to get a package full of services that will ensure you have an authentic and memorable holiday filled with traditional Icelandic hospitality. From detailed daily itineraries to accommodations and a rental car, with the self-guided tour, we take care of it all for you so you can focus on just taking in the stunning environment all around you.

Enjoying a crisp winter day in Iceland
Enjoying a crisp winter day in Iceland

Below is a brief round-up of some of the type of amazing benefits you will get with our self-guided tours: 

  • Accommodation for the entire time of your tour (i.e. 8 nights) at budget or comfort rooms with breakfast included. These accommodation options are carefully chosen from our close network of 160 hotels, hostels, cottages, and farm stays. 

  • Rental car with two authorized drivers, unlimited mileage, CDW insurance, and pick-up/drop-off in Reykjavik for added convenience.

  • Flybus transfers to and from the airport to the city. The Flybus is the easiest way to reach Reykjavik from Keflavik International Airport! 

  • An e-itinerary featuring a tour map, location points, and images of each location so you can prepare for what next stop is ahead. 

  • Receive our Hey Guide app featuring mapping and navigation for your personalized journey with highlights of surrounding areas. The app includes a GPS Navigation system, recommendations along the way, Wi-Fi, helpful information, and a messenger system to stay in touch with us, our Hey Guide will instantly become your best travel mate.

Winter driving in Iceland
Stunning mountain views

As you can see, not only will you get an amazing trip planned out just for you, you also get tips to help you make the most of your winter adventure in Iceland using our 30 years of knowledge and travel expertise to ensure you are enjoying the country to the fullest. These tours provide the best of both worlds, the freedom of travel with the bonus of a personal travel guide! 

Five Winter Self-Drive Tours 

Now that you know more about our amazing self-drive tours let's take a look at a couple of different options that would be perfect for those looking for a winter escape to Iceland. Our tours feature daily itineraries, of which you can see further details on each of the tours’ individual pages. As you will see from just these five tours, we offer tours for a variety of trip lengths, curated around different themes such as a Northern Light tour, and even by region of the country you are looking to explore. 

Winter adventure in Iceland
Winter driving in Iceland is an adventure

Around Iceland in 9 Days - The Ultimate Winter Tour 

For the traveler who wants to see it all and do it all, this tour is the option for you. You will spend 9 days and 8 nights taking on a classic Icelandic road trip, with a winter twist. Enjoy the natural wonders of Iceland with stops at gorgeous glaciers and volcanic areas, scenic geothermal pools, and the famous Icelandic waterfalls. All of these stops will have a winter sparkle added to them thanks to the snow and ice-covered landscapes, when the sun hits it's truly a magical sight to see. While a round-the-country road trip might feel like a big undertaking to do during the winter months, this tour will give you step-by-step insider information to make sure you make the most of your winter adventure, including accommodations that have been specifically chosen for their prime Northern Light viewing locations. 

View Around Iceland in 9 days trip

A few examples of what you will see/do on this tour are:

  • See the famous mountain Kirkjufell in its winter coat. And be sure to take in the view from the three small waterfalls nearby, it is an incredible view to take in.
  • Head to the Vatnsnes Peninsula where you will hopefully get to enjoy seeing the playful seals swimming around. It may be winter but there is still wildlife to see in action! 
  • Enjoy live music and Icelandic food in Akureyri for an authentic Icelandic experience. 

Waterfall in icy armour
Brúarfoss Waterfall in winter

An added plus of this option, if you have even more time to spend in Iceland you can easily extend the itinerary to additional days. And, once you have experienced the magic of the winter tour you will be all set to come back and do the summer version! 

Northern Lights 8-Day Road Trip 

If “see the northern lights” is at the top of your Iceland bucket list this tour is for you. During the day you will follow an itinerary that will take you to the incredible natural wonders of Iceland, and at night follow the local tips and locations to optimize your chances of seeing the northern lights. Each overnight stop has been chosen specifically to maximize your chances of seeing the northern lights while still taking in the cozy winter vibes of Iceland. What could make for a more epic winter Iceland adventure than ending your days watching the dancing northern lights across the sky? 

View Northern lights in 8 day road trip

Here are just a few examples of some of the locations you will be enjoying on this self-guided tour: 

  • Visit the area of Lake Mývatn where you will witness some of the most diverse landscapes in Iceland. From lava fields to geothermal areas, stunning waterfalls, and the gorgeous Mývatn Nature Baths, this part of Iceland is a gem to experience.
  • Explore the charming small towns of East Iceland such as Seyðisfjörður and the town of Höfn, known for its delicious lobster.
  • Enjoy the famous stops of the Golden Circle at your own pace before joining one of the Northern Light tours from Reykjavik.

Northern Lights in Iceland
The Northern Lights dancing in the winter sky 

One thing is for sure, on this tour you know you are going to be exploring some amazing places! And hopefully, at the end of each of these incredible days, you will get to sit back and enjoy the dancing colors of the northern lights in the sky above. 

Northern Lights Tour - Mini Verison

This tour is perfect for those who have just a few days to explore but still want to make the most of their time in Iceland. By following this tour you will get to experience the best of both worlds as you will experience city life with an equal mix of peaceful days in the Icelandic countryside. Get the most out of this four-day tour by following the staff recommendations of different activities to enjoy as you explore the city life in Reykjavik before heading off to take on the gems of the south coast. The evening accommodation options are all chosen to help optimize your chances of ending the day enjoying the Northern Lights! It wouldn’t be a Northern Light-themed tour without these special details, now would it? 

View Northern lights 4 day trip

Auroras over glacier lagoon
Aurora Borealis over glacier lagoon

A few highlights you can expect to enjoy on this tour:

  • A full day exploring the vibrant cultural scene in Reykjavik with our travel expert tips added in to help you make the most of your time in the city.
  • Additional stops on your Golden Circle tour with our specially curated Golden Circle day. 
  • Experience the highlights of the south coast in one day with our detailed itinerary and enjoy all the best places with different activity options based on the type of adventure you are up for! 

Having just a few days to fit all your bucket list items in may feel impossible and overwhelming, but this tour option will help take that stress away and leave you enjoying your short visit to the fullest! 

Gems of the West 

If you are the type of traveler who likes to take the road less traveled this option is for you! Head over to the west of Iceland where you will spend four days discovering this incredibly diverse region of the country. Known for its unique nature that has earned it the nickname “Iceland in miniature” you will be in for some fascinating stops along the way! If you are a history buff this is the region you want to go to with plenty of historic sites to stop at, each with its own interesting saga to learn about. 

View Gems of the West 4 day trip

Kirkjufell Mountain in winter
Kirkjufell Mountain in winter

A few highlights of this tour option include: 

  • Get away from the crowds and enjoy the quiet snow-covered beaches of west Iceland that range from black volcanic rock beaches to white pebbled ones.
  • Visit some of the most charming fishing villages in Iceland and fully embrace the small-town lifestyle.
  • Follow our recommendations and visit some of Iceland’s most interesting historic sites giving you a deeper understanding of the history of the Vikings. 

This tour option will take you on a short mini-adventure that will leave a lasting impression. Get ready to walk away from this tour full of fun Icelandic history facts to share with your friends and family back home. 

Cottage Holiday 

This tour is perfect for those who enjoy slowing down and discovering all the unique characteristics that make each place so special. You will fully immerse yourself in each region you visit with this cottage holiday self-drive tour as you spend 3 nights in each of the three regions of Iceland you will visit, the south, west, and north. Along the way, you will take in some spectacular natural wonders and enjoy accommodations that have been chosen to optimize your chances of seeing the northern lights. 

View Cottage holiday 8 day trip

Gullfoss Waterfall in winter
Gullfoss Waterfall in Winter

A few highlights from this tour:

  • Spend time in the capital of the north, Akureyri, and truly experience the unique atmosphere of this part of the country. 
  • Get off the well-traveled path in South Iceland and see some new sights away from the crowds
  • Dive into unique history and insight while in West Iceland, a region packed with natural wonders and Icelandic sagas. 

This tour will take you to some spectacular natural wonders you otherwise may not have time to visit with just a day or two in a certain area. From majestic glaciers and scenic waterfalls to active geothermal fields and the famous Icelandic geothermal hot tubs, this tour will have everything you need for a dream vacation leaving you rejuvenated from the slower pace of travel.  

Cottage in Iceland
A cottage in Iceland 

The above examples are just a few of the many self-drive winter tours you can choose from. And each of the tours can be made even more customized to fit your personal preferences and needs with additional recommended activities you can add on, or even full days to make the trip longer. One of the best parts, many of the winter tours have a summer tour version, so you can try your favorite tour in both seasons! Regardless of which option you chose you will be in for an incredible, and stress-free, travel experience in Iceland. We can’t wait to share all our knowledge and love for Iceland with you! 

Learn more about these unique tours and the details they include here, or reach out to us so we can help you start finding the best option for you! 

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