9 Days Self Drive New Year’s Eve & Northern Lights in Iceland
Spending New Year’s Eve in Reykjavik is an unforgettable experience as the winter skies are lit up with fireworks which everyone is free to fire into the air! But this packages offers even more, as you get to explore some of the greatest attractions in Iceland on guided tours and will have great chances to see the Northern Lights.
- New Year’s Eve in Reykjavik
- Chance to see the Northern Lights
- North Iceland Winter Wonderland
- Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon
- The Golden Circle
- The South Shore
- Snæfellsnes Peninsula
Day – 25. December: Arrival – Keflavik – Reykjavik
Coach transfer to Reykjavík
Optional : Blue Lagoon, depending upon flight arrival time. Entrance time must be pre booked.
3* Hotel RKV Standard DBL/Twin Room with private facilities, including breakfast.
Day 2 – 26. Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Lava Cave & Northern Lights 2 day escorted tour:
09:00-09:30 Pick up from hotel
When we have picked you from your hotel we will head towards the Borgarfjordur region where our first stop will be the hot spring, Deildartunguhver, which has the highest flow of any hot spring in Europe. The water temperature is 97 degrees and the flow rate is over 180 litres per second.
Our next stop is at Reykholt, a little village in the valley of Reykholtsdalur. Snorri Sturluson, author of the Edda Sagas and one of Iceland’s most significant people in historic times, lived in Reykholt. He was a famous poet and politician whose work left records of the Old Norse language and medieval Icelandic mythology which are invaluable to modern day scholars. He also left what is probably the oldest hot tub in Iceland.
One of the highlights of this day is probably Hraunfossar Falls, a stone’s throw away from Reykholt. The falls consist of a series of waterfalls formed by rivulets streaming over a distance of about 900 metres through a very porous lava field.
A few steps upstream from the Hraunfossar Falls we will find the waterfall of Barnafoss. This name means “the Waterfall of the Children”, and is derived from an accident which is said to have taken place there in ancient times. The tale says that once upon a time there was a natural bridge over the waterfall and two children from a nearby farm fell to their deaths using that bridge to cross the river. It is said that the grief stricken mother had the bridge destroyed.
We will then continue to the valley of Hnappadalur, passing the magnificent crater of Eldborg. We will see Gerduberg, an impressive wall of beautiful basalt columns forming geometric patterns in the cliffs. We will also stop at the mineral spring of Raudamelsolkelda in Hnappadalur. Driving west along the peninsula we travel through peaceful countryside with a dramatic backdrop of towering cliffs and peaks. Rhyolite from ancient volcanos colours the mountains in bluish and pastel tones.
At the end of the day we stay at a locally situated country hotel on the south coast, close to a wide sandy beach where seals can be spotted. We can enjoy magnificent views to the mighty glacier of Snaefellsnes where the well-known tale, Journey to the Center of the Earth takes place. Maybe the northern lights will show up above the accommodation.
3* Country Hotel , Snæfellsnes Standard DBL/Twin Room with private facilities, including breakfast.
Possibility to see the northern lights directly from the hotel location.
Day 3 – 27. December: Snæfellsnes Peninsula – Reykavik
Today, after breakfast, we will continue our journey around the peninsula of Snaefellsnes.
We drive to a ravine named Raudfeldsgja. There is a very beautiful brook flowing from deep within an enormous crack in the mountain wall which cleaves it all the way down to the root of the mountain. We might take a short hike into the murky depths of the ravine but in winter conditions it might be difficult.
Arnarstapi fishing village
We will see a sculpture of Bardur Snaefellsas at the beach of Arnarstapi, who was half human and half ogre. After some quite dramatic events in his life he is reputed to have vanished into Snaefellsjokull ice cap. We take a short hike along the coast at Arnarstapi to see ravines, caves, basalt columns and seabirds.
We will then travel on to Hellnar, which is another really nice little village were we will enjoy a hike to explore, seeing the cliffs, seabirds and beautiful views towards the sea and to the glacier of Snaefellsjokull. After a refreshing hike we might catch a cup of coffee at the smallest coffeeshop in Iceland at the pier at Hellnar.
The black-sand beaches
Our next stop will be the black sand beaches of Djupalonssandur and Dritvik, where there were fishing operations in the olden days. The debris of two shipwrecks from some decades ago is still spread along the beach. These beaches are stunning and extremely interesting places to see with unusual cliff formations and black pebbles.
If time allows, we will take a short 30 minute hike along the coastline connecting the two beaches to see the amazing scenery in this area.
Cave Vatnshellir – cave tour/entrance included/pre paid.
One of the tour highlights is this easy cave exploration in the National Park of Snaefellsnes. ** There’s no need to be in any particular physical condition to explore Cave Vatnshellir. Helmets, gloves and torches are provided to all travellers during this guided visit **
Inside the lava tube there are two main sections. The upper section has gre at features and unique formations of lava statues curved on the sides of the lava tube. The lower part of the lava cave which can be reached by a long and narrow staircase takes us deep down underground to a place which was hidden from the outside world for thousands of years. Vatnshellir was created in an volcanic eruption some 7,000 years ago.
Visiting this beautiful cave offers a unique experience. In the total darkness of the lava cave most sense shut down and the sense of smell becomes dominant, deep underground there is absolutely no sound.
Next we visit small fishing villages on the north side of the peninsula. First the long wave radio mast at Hellissandur is a 412 metre high guyed radio mast for long wave transmissions at Gufuskálar in the vicinity of Hellissandur plains. This mast was once the highest structure in Europe. We will make a quick stop here mainly to look at some peculiar rock shelters that might be the oldest man-made structures in Iceland.
We make a stop at the waterfall with the iconic mountain Kirkjufell in the backdrop, on our way from Olafsvik. At the foot of the mountain is the peaceful little village of Grundarfjordur. We may buy some lunch pack there.
From Grundarfjordur we proceed through the small fjords of Hraunsfjordur and Kolgrafafjordur and drive through Berserkjahraun lava field. We will hear interesting legends about the Swedish berserks that laid the road in exchange for the farmers daughter but paid with their life. We will then turn south and drive across the mountains at Vatnaleid and head for Reykjavik.
We estimate that we will be back to Reykjavik city around 19:00 – 20:00 on day two, depending on weather and road conditions.
3* Hotel RKV , Standard DBL/Twin Room with private facilities, including breakfast.
Day 4: The Golden Circle – Borgarnes
Depart Vik and head back west, now towards the famous Golden Circle, visiting the Geysir geothermal area, Gullfoss waterfall and Thingvellir National Park before arriving in Reykjavik in the late afternoon.
Driving towards Hvalfjordur continue towards Borgarnes. Accommodation in the area.
Day 5: Borgarnes – Snaefellsnes – Reykjavik
A full daytour to one of the most beautiful parts of Iceland, the Snaefellsnes peninsula, which is often playfully called „Little Iceland“, as you can find all natural phenomena in Iceland there: lava fields, volcanic craters, glacier, waterfalls, sandy beaches, charming fishing towns, bird cliffs and more. On Snaefellsnes peninsula you will also find one of the most photographed Icelandic mountains – Mr.Kirkjufell. Driving back through the town of Borgarnes continue further south to Reykjavik for the last overnight.
Day 6: Reykjavik – Keflavik – Departure
Drive to Keflavik airport in time for check in for your international flight.
If your flight departs late afternoon, then you have the possibility to add an optional whale watching boat tour in the morning, drive around the Reykjanes peninsula or visit the Blue Lagoon before dropping of the rental car at Keflavik airport.
Dates & prices
Daily departures from 15. September – 30. April
Single supplement: ISK 67.400 per person
Single supplement: ISK 44.800 per person
Included in the package price:
- 5 days car rental with unlimited mileage, GP, TP, CDW, SCDW, tax; pick up/drop off at Keflavik airport
- 5 nights accommodation in double/twin rooms with private facilities, breakfast included
- Detailed itinerary with multiple daily options based on pre-booked accommodation
- Service and VAT
Good to know:
- The Northern Lights are a naturally occurring phenomenon that no-one can control. Seeing them is always dependent on weather conditions, Northern Light activity on any given date, but also some planning! You can see the aurora forecast every day here.