Home / Multi-Day Tours / Christmas and New Year's Eve in Iceland / Christmas & New Year’s Adventure 11-day Self-drive tour

Christmas & New Year’s Adventure 11-day Self-drive tour

December in Iceland is one of the most magical times of the year. In this extraordinary holiday package, you will visit the highlights of the West and the South, including national parks, glaciers, lava beaches, and frozen waterfalls. You will enjoy a memorable New Year’s Eve in Reykjavik which is all about fun, gourmet food, fireworks, and crispy winter air! You will find impressive bonfires and spectacular public firework shows around the city and almost every family has its own sparkling firework display to welcome the new year.

If you are interested in receiving more information about this tour, please click on the “Request a quote” widget on the left side of the page. A quick form will open up where you will provide us with more information about your travel expectations. You will then be connected with your specialized travel agent who will assist you throughout the planning a provide a fully detailed quote.

Please note that this itinerary can be adjusted and customized to meet your travel needs and preferences. The package can also be offered as a privately guided tour if a self-drive option is not what you had in mind for your Iceland experience.

Tour Code

NC-02

Season

Christmas & New Years

Travel Style

Self-Drive Tour

Duration

11 days / 10 nights

Location

West & South Iceland

Accessibility

Challenging

Included

  • 10 nights accommodation (Comfort or Quality) with breakfast
  • Transfer from Keflavik International Airport to your accommodation in Reykjavík
  • Rental car of your choice for 8 days with unlimited mileage, CDW & VAT
  • GPS unit for easier navigation
  • WiFi hotspot in your rental car for easy internet access
  • Unlimited extra drivers for the rental car
  • Buffet dinner in Haust Restaurant on New Year´s Eve
  • Bonfire tour
  • Entrance to the Blue Lagoon (premium package with use of towel/bathrobe/slippers, 1 drink of your choice and face mask included)
  • Private transfer to the Blue Lagoon from Reykjavík
  • Bus transfer from the Blue Lagoon to Reykjavík
  • Transfer with pick-up at your accommodation in Reykjavik upon departure
  • Big, handwritten, detailed map with route, recommendations and accommodations highlighted
  • Written guides of the regions you will be visiting
  • 24-hour emergency service
  • Taxes & service fee

Not Included

  • Flights to/from Iceland
  • Meals & Drinks at restaurants unless otherwise stated in the itinerary
  • Gasoline
  • Personal travel insurance
Day 1 | December, 23: Arrival and Reykjavík

Welcome to your Iceland Christmas & New Year’s Eve self-drive Holiday. Upon landing at Keflavík International Airport and passing through customs, you will be met by your private chauffeur. He will transfer you to your accommodation in Reykjavík.

Reykjavík is a lively city, especially at this time of the year where everything is in full Christmas mood. Today is the first official day of Christmas in Iceland, Þorláksmessa, named after Iceland’s patron Saint. During this day many Icelanders feast on skate, a “special” fish dish. This fish is not like your everyday fish that you can order at a restaurant, as it has a distinctive, strong smell of ammonia. To fully get into the Icelandic tradition, you should challenge your taste buds and see if you are up for this special delicacy, it is a real adventure, only for the brave!

Enjoy the sights of Reykjavík and breath in the Christmas atmosphere, the sparkling decorations, and gold lights that brighten up the darkness, typical of these winter months.

Þorláksmessa is also known to be one of the most popular shopping days in Iceland, as this is the last chance to purchase a Christmas gift. In the evening, enjoy a stroll on Laugavegur shopping street, where stores and cafés have longer opening hours.

Day 2 | December, 24: Christmas evening and Borgarfjörður

Today, a representative from our car rental company will be picking you up in the morning, taking you to their headquarters, where you will sign the rental agreement and receive your rental car.

You should then be ready to leave town and head to the mystique Borgarfjörður fjord. Borgarfjörður has many sights that are not to be missed, such as the volcanic crater Grábrók, Hraunfossar waterfalls, Deildartunguhver (the largest hot spring in Europe).

Today is also Christmas Eve, where Icelanders celebrate Christmas with festive delicacies and exchange gifts. Enjoy a festive evening at your hotel, and if you are lucky, you might see the Northern Lights, the most spectacular natural phenomenon in the Arctic region. You will stay the night in the area.

Day 3 | December, 25: Cozy Christmas Day

In Iceland, Christmas day is usually quiet, since this is the day where extended families gather together and enjoy a nice lunch in the company of their dear ones. Today is all about family and quality time.

You have a free day today and you can choose how you would like to spend it.  You can, for example, relax in your cozy countryside hotel, under a blanket with a warm cup of hot chocolate and cookies and explore the surrounding area!

Another option for you is to have a little road trip to the majestic Snæfellsnes Peninsula! Snæfellsnes Peninsula is often known as “Iceland in Miniature” since this region truly has it all! Towering mountains, waterfalls, black beaches and even a black church with white sandy beaches next to it! On your way to the peninsula, you will see the rising crater of Eldborg in a far distance.

On the South side of the peninsula, you will find several stunning natural attractions, such as Arnarstapi with its interesting rock formations, the Black wooden church at Búðir, Lóndrangar rock pinnacles and Djúpisandur beach with black pebbles. From this area, you will also see the noble and imperial glacier Snæfellsjökull, which was featured in Jules Verne novel The Journey to the Centre of the Earth.

After your day on the road, return to your country hotel in Borgarfjörður for a second night.

Day 4 | December, 26: The Golden Circle

The Golden Circle is next on your schedule! Drive South towards Mosfellssveit, and then off to the amazing Þingvellir National Park, UNESCO World Heritage Site, rich with its incredible natural beauty, history and where you can see how the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates are diverging. Continue to the famous Geyser geothermal fields and witness the great erupting spring that gives the name to every other spouting spring in the world. Close-by you’ll find Gullfoss (Golden Falls), recently voted one of the 10 most beautiful waterfalls in the world. During winter time, you should expect the waterfall to be partially frozen, so please be careful when enjoying this famous destination.

In the area, you will find popular lunch stops where we recommend stopping for a traditional Icelandic meal. One of our favourite picks is our beloved Icelandic lamb soup. You will find your accommodation for the night in this area.

Day 5 | December, 27: Day at Leisure in the Golden Circle

Today you have another day to explore the area of the popular Golden Circle. One of the most unique sights in Iceland is the beautiful Friðheimar: a local farm that produces tomatoes all year round. A beautiful location, surrounded by nature – you can visit the premises, walk around the greenhouse and learn more about the power of our geothermal energy. Escape the cold and enter this cozy space, take a tour and have a nice warm meal in the beautiful indoor restaurant. In the Golden Circle area, you will also find many great geothermal pools and hot pots. Near Friðheimar Tomato farm is Flúðir, the home of the Secret Lagoon, a natural pool with hot water and rising steam, that only adds magic to an already breathtaking location.

If you are looking for a more luxurious experience, we highly recommend visiting Fontana Spa, its hot pots and saunas.

A natural sight well worth visiting is also Kerið, a volcanic crater displaying its frozen crystal-clear water. Stay another night in the same accommodation as the night before.

Day 6 | December, 28: Road down South

Today you are continuing towards the beautiful South coast of Iceland. Drive east towards the picturesque waterfalls Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss. As previously mentioned, during the wintertime, waterfalls tend to be partially frozen, admire and explore with caution.

Close to Skógafoss you will find Skógar museum, where you can get a glimpse of how Icelanders used to live in the old days. Next stop is Mýrdalsjökull glacier where you can join a guided glacier hike or a snowmobiling tour if you wish to add some adrenaline to your day. Drive further along the south shore to the village of Vík. Once there, visit the black volcanic beach of Reynisfjara with a view of the Reynisdrangar ocean cliffs. This is the perfect opportunity for a nice afternoon/evening walk. Take extra care though, as the waves are especially strong in this point and have caused serious and fatal accidents. You will be staying the night in the Vík/Kirkjubæjarklaustur area.

Day 7 | December, 29: The world of Glaciers

When ready to leave Vík behind, continue to Skaftafell, a part of the Vatnajökull National Park. On your way, make sure not to miss the amazing Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon, just outside the village of Kirkjubæjarklaustur. The canyon reaches down to 100m in depth, and has the striking length of 2km, with the Fjaðrá river flowing through it. Skaftafell is a site of immense beauty and diverse landscapes. There you’ll find many different hiking routes. We recommend a light hike to Svartifoss waterfall, that features pitch black hexagonal basalt columns and a rugged canyon. Continue east to the amazing Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon and enjoy the floating icebergs in this crown jewel of Icelandic nature. If you are a lobster fan, we recommend you continue to the village of Höfn – the lobster capital of Iceland, where you can enjoy a nice lobster dinner, maybe the best you will ever have! This night you will be staying in the area of Höfn/Jökulsárlón.

Day 8 | December, 30: A Full-day to grasp the beauty of the South

Here will be your turning back point.  After breakfast, you will head back South towards the capital. Drive via the beautiful South coast towards Hella. Heading to Vik you will drive through the great lava field Eldhraun. Once in Vík, you can visit sights that you missed on day 6 or simply spend more time visiting your favorite sites in the area. You will stay the night in the area of Hella.

If you are interested, we can organize some activities for you, such as a horseback riding tour in the countryside, Ice cave tour or other glacier activities.

Day 9 | December, 31: New Year’s Celebratory

Here comes the last day of the year and you are in the perfect place to celebrate: a small, lively island close to the arctic circle. But as the night comes, you will see that the atmosphere will get brighter and more colorful than you could ever imagine. Start making your way to the capital, where you will celebrate the last day of the year!

Upon arrival in Reykjavík and included in your package is a holiday feast at Haust Restaurant. After dinner, you will visit a bonfire, which is an Icelandic custom which dates to the 18th century. The locals gather to celebrate the beginning of the new year, by burning away the old one and making space for the new! After visiting the bonfire, you will be dropped off back at your hotel. Later in the evening, you will see the sky light up with colorful sparks of the fireworks.

After the fireworks show, you can celebrate the new year in one of Reykjavik’s night clubs where you can toast the New Year and show your skills on the dance floor before returning to your hotel late into the night. Overnight in Reykjavik.

Day 10 | January, 1: New Year’s Day relaxation

Today is all about pampering yourself and taking it easy after yesterday’s festivities! Around noon, you will be picked up by a private chauffeur who will transfer you to the Blue Lagoon, where we have reserved a Premium Entrance for you. Included in your admission are the entrance to the Blue Lagoon, a silica mud mask, use of towel, one drink of your choice, slippers, and use of a bathrobe.

Enjoy the lagoon and its world-famous milky blue water: we can´t think of a better way to start the New Year!

Once ready to return to Reykjavík, you will take the next shuttle to the city. You will stay at the same hotel as the night before this last night in Iceland.

Day 11 | January, 2: All good things come to an end

Today it is time to say goodbye to Iceland! We hope that you have enjoyed your Christmas and New Year’s Eve holiday in Iceland with Iceland Unlimited.

You will be transferred to Keflavík International Airport by either a shuttle bus (Budget & Comfort) or by a private chauffeur (Quality) in time for your departing flight back home!

We wish you all the best for 2020 and hope to see you again in Iceland in the future

Highlights:

Comfort

Comfort accommodations offer access to private facilities (shower and toilet). This type of lodges belongs to the 3-star hotel category. Most of these properties have an in-house restaurant. This section offers an upgrade in comfort and service compared to the budget category. Breakfast is included.

Quality

Quality accommodations offer private rooms with en-suite shower/bath and toilet. These rooms are the best available accommodations in 4-star hotels or the highest quality lodges in each region. Luxury accommodations - the highest class of lodges, suites, and penthouses - are available upon request. Breakfast is included.

4×4 Hyundai Kona


or similiar

Type: SUV Economy
Passenger: 5
Luggage: 3
Doors: 5
Transmission: Automatic
(Manual option available)

4×4 Kia Sportage


or similiar

Type: SUV Full Size Intermediate
Passenger: 5
Luggage: 4
Doors: 5
Transmission: Automatic
(Manual option available)

4×4 Toyota Land Cruiser


or similiar

Type: SUV Full Size
Passenger: 5
Luggage: 4
Doors: 5
Transmission: Automatic
(Manual option available)

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