Explore the magic of winter in Iceland on this seven-day, self-drive tour. Your journey begins with a drive to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, where you'll stop in the picturesque town of Akranes and take a guided tour of Langjökull Ice Cave. Then, it's on to the Golden Circle for a visit to Þingvellir National Park and a snorkeling tour of Silfra fissure. See the wondrous phenomena of the aurora borealis, then close your trip with a soothing dip in the waters of the Blue Lagoon.


  • Immerse yourself in the healing waters and stunning views of the Guðlaug Baths
  • Tour the amazing colors and rock formations of the Víðgelmir lava tube
  • Snorkel the underwater world of the famed Silfra fissure 
  • View the towering glaciers and frozen landscapes around Skógafoss Waterfall

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Keflavík, Drive to Snæfellsnes Peninsula via Akranes Húsafell
Day 2 Snæfellsnes Peninsula: Black-Sand Beaches, Fishing Towns & Lava Cave  Snæfellsnes Peninsula
Day 3 Silfra Snorkeling & the Golden Circle Golden Circle
Day 4 Waterfalls of the South Coast, Hunt the Northern Lights Vík
Day 5 Explore Canyons & Glaciers around Vík, Crystal Blue Ice Cave Skaftafell
Day 6 Drive Back Along the South Coast, Blue Lagoon Reykjanes Peninsula
Day 7 Drive to Keflavík via the Reykjanes Peninsula & Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Keflavík, Drive to Snæfellsnes Peninsula via Akranes

The lighthouses of Akranes

Welcome to Iceland! Upon your arrival in Keflavík, you'll pick up your rental car and begin your self-driving tour. Your travels today will ultimately take you to the town of Húsafell on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, with several of Iceland's must-see landmarks to visit along the way. You'll pass through natural wonders such as Reykjanesfólkvangur Preserve, with its crater lakes and bubbling geothermic fields, as well as the capital city of Reykjavík, where you can stop for a meal or take in some of the city sights.

Approximately one hour past Reykjavík, you'll come to the town of Akranes. Here, you can visit the Akranes Folk Museum, a great place to learn about the region's history. Established in 1959, the museum is located on the grounds of the ancient manor of Gardar, and the exhibit includes several houses with examples of early life in the village. You can also check out Langisandur Beach, home to the Guðlaug Baths, a three-level hot pool area with a viewing platform that offers beautiful views of the nearby sea. Just outside of Akranes, you can hike Akrafjall Mountain for more panoramic views. 

Overnight in Húsafell, where you can enjoy activities such as hiking Mount Strútur, taking a guided tour of nearby Langjökull Ice Cave or strolling along a group of brooks called the Oddar, where you'll see diverse birdlife and waterfall views of Hundavaðsfoss. Rest up tonight, and continue your adventure in the morning! 

Day 2: Snæfellsnes Peninsula: Black-Sand Beaches, Fishing Towns & Lava Cave 

Kirkjufell overlooking the falls of Kirkjufellsfoss 

Start your day with a visit to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula's Lóndrangar lava formations, which you can view from afar, or walk 15 minutes to see up close. A little farther along the road is the peninsula's Visitor Center, where you can learn more about the volcanic system and the area.

Then, take a stroll along Djúpalónssandur, a black-sand beach with debris from a shipwreck—the rusted remains along the black sand make for a beautiful photo opportunity. While facing the water, look for a small trail along the right-side cliffs to follow for 15-20 minutes until you reach Dritvík cove, once the site of a major fishing operation. As you near the westernmost point of the peninsula, look for signs of the Saxhóll crater. It's worth a quick stop to walk up the stairs that take you to the top of the crater, which has nice views of the surrounding area.

Drive around the other side of the peninsula and end your day with a visit to the dramatic waterfalls of Kirkjufellsfoss, with Kirkjufell mountain in the background—one of Iceland's most photographed peaks. Tonight, you'll have the option of overnighting in the village of Grundarfjörður, located near the mountain and waterfall, or you can continue to the larger town of Stykkishólmur. And If you're interested in caves, take a guided tour of the Víðgelmir lava tube, with its colorful rock formations created by flowing lava. The tube is outfitted with state-of-the-art lighting and easy-access walkways, making it enjoyable for all ages. 

Day 3: Silfra Snorkeling & the Golden Circle

Silfra Snorkeling
Silfra snorkeling

Continue to Iceland's Golden Circle, where you'll see more of the region's natural wonders. Stop along the way to explore the famous Silfra fissure via a snorkeling tour. Located in Þingvellir National Park, the fissure was created by the separation of the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates cutting through Iceland. Filled with glacial water that has been filtered underground for decades through-hardened, porous lava rock, and with nearly 400 feet (120 m) of visibility, it is one of the clearest bodies of water on earth.

Later, explore more of the park and see why it is so geologically and historically significant to Iceland. Visit Law Rock, where Viking chieftains from all over the country met once a year to discuss laws and issues, then head to the Geysir geothermal area, with its bubbling mud pits and erupting geysers. After watching the eruptions, enjoy a walk through the Haukadalsskógur forest, visit the Tree Museum, or relax in the natural hot springs at Kúalaug. Later, head to Gullfoss (Golden Falls), where you can hike the falls or visit the volcanic crater of Kerið.

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Day 4: Waterfalls of the South Coast, Hunt the Northern Lights

The aurora borealis over Iceland

As you travel along the South Coast, take a closer look at the numerous waterfalls in this region. Stop at Urriðafoss, located on the Þjórsá River—an excellent place to take photos. From there, continue to Seljarlandsfoss. This is the only known waterfall of its kind that allows you to walk behind it, making for a very picturesque view. Farther down the highway is Skógafoss, a nearly 200-foot high (60 m) cascade alongside towering glaciers and frozen landscapes. According to local legend, there's a buried chest of gold under the waterfall, so keep an eye out for possible treasure!

Not far from the city of Vík, take a short diversion via Route 218 to the Dyrhólaey Peninsula, a nearly 400-foot (120 m) promenade that showcases breathtaking views of the coast. After leaving Dyrhólaey, your last stop before Vík will be Reynisfjara Beach. Ranked among the world's best beaches, this stretch of black sand is home to Reynisdrangar, offshore rocky basalt sea stacks that are the nesting grounds of various seabirds. From here, you'll be right next door to Vík, and you can head to your hotel and get settled.

Later tonight, you'll have the opportunity to see one of Iceland's most amazing phenomena: the aurora borealis (northern lights). Your private guide will take you on an expedition via Jeep to find the best views of these dancing veils of light in green, white, or red. Created by tiny particles, protons, and electrons that escape into the earth's atmosphere and hit molecules (causing them to glow), this is a magical spectacle to behold! 

Day 5: Explore Canyons & Glaciers Around Vík, Crystal Blue Ice Cave

Ice washed up on Diamond Beach

This morning, you'll leave Vík and continue east along the Ring Road, making the 2.5-hour drive to Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon and Skaftafell. Your first stopping point will be Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon. View the otherworldly rock formations, or take a hike from the nearby trailhead for views of the river. Then, continue to Skaftafell nature reserve. Located about 86 miles (139 km) from Vík, the park is home to the magnificent falls of Svartifoss. You can hike around the park or make the quick, 3-mile (5-km) hike to the waterfall, which takes you past scenic views of the river and glacier.

Once you're back on the road, take a quick diversion to the town of Hof and visit the Hof Turf Church, a 700-year-old church that boasts a turf-covered roof. Upon your arrival at Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, you'll see the unusual sight of icebergs floating in the sea and beached on the black sand shores of Diamond Beach. You'll also get a chance to see seals, porpoises, or small whales in the lagoon's waters.

Breiðamerkurjökull, or Breidó to the locals, is a glacial tongue that flows down the mountains from Vatnajökull and is what created the glacier lagoon, Diamond Beach, and the nearby crystal ice caves. For closer views of glacier ice, you can take a guided tour of the caves. The tour takes about three hours and includes a fairly easy walk to the edge of the glacier and into the caves. See the different colors of the ice, take photos, and marvel at the beauty of this natural wonder. 

Day 6: Drive Back Along the South Coast, Blue Lagoon

Iceland's Blue Lagoon

Today, you'll head back along the coast toward Reykjavík, catching up on any sights you might have previously missed. Film buffs will want to visit Hjörleifshöfði Cave, nicknamed the "Yoda Cave" due to the Yoda-shaped silhouette you can see inside and the fact that the movie "Star Wars Rogue One" was filmed in the area. And if you're after more waterfalls, don't miss Urriðafoss and Gljúfrabúi.

For more education on Iceland's history, stop in at Skógar and visit the museum there. Afterward, you can take a nearby hiking path to Kvernufoss, a small canyon with incredible views. You may also want to visit the lava field at Eldhraun, which was created by an eruption in 1783. A huge lava flow streamed from Lakagígar in what became known as "the Skaftá Fires." Molten lava filled the gorges through which the Skaftá and Hverfisfljót rivers flowed and swept into inhabited areas, spreading over the lowlands and destroying homes and farms in its wake.

Of course, no trip to Iceland would be complete without a visit to the Blue Lagoon! Warm up at the end of the day with a relaxing soak in a blend of seawater and geothermally heated water, rich in silica, minerals, and algae, all while surrounded by a lunar lava landscape. Take a dip under the man-made waterfall, or enjoy an iconic white silica mud face mask. The lagoon is said to cure/improve numerous physical ailments and is even internationally recognized as a psoriasis treatment facility. 

Day 7: Explore the Reykjanes Peninsula, Drive to Keflavík & Depart 

Bid Iceland farewell

It's time to leave Iceland today, but if you have time before your flight, visit some of the highlights around the Reykjanes Peninsula during your drive back to Keflavík Airport. Stop at the Krýsuvík geothermal area for a short stroll with views of the steam vents and hot pools, or visit Gunnuhver Hot Springs, where you'll find some bubbling mud pools. You'll find the temperatures to be extremely hot, so stick to the walkways and viewing areas. While here, continue about five minutes to the cliffs and stop at Reykjanesviti Lighthouse for more views of the countryside. 

Walk the Bridge Between Continents (Europe Miðlína), an area that really showcases Icelandic geology. The Reykjanes Peninsula is on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, which pulls apart a few centimeters every year. You can cross the bridge between the continental plates and look down at the gap below. And just before you reach Keflavík, make your final stop at Garður Lighthouse—the perfect spot to stretch your legs before dropping off your car and boarding your departing flight. Safe travels! 

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Map of Iceland's Winter Wonders: Snæfellsnes, Golden Circle & Reykjanes Peninsula - 7 Days
Map of Iceland's Winter Wonders: Snæfellsnes, Golden Circle & Reykjanes Peninsula - 7 Days