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Summer Self Drive Tours
12 Day Self Drive Tour | Circle of Iceland & National Parks

12 Day Self Drive Tour | Circle of Iceland & National Parks

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Perfect travel plan
Fully customizable
Car & accommodation
Tour starts
Keflavík Airport, Flexible
Duration
12 days
Available
May. - Oct.

Embark on a magical 12-day tour of Iceland. See all the famous attractions, and discover some secret, unspoilt treasures on this self-drive trip of a lifetime. You'll see the famous Golden Circle, the incredible Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, all three of Iceland's national parks, the Eastfjords, West-Iceland, and so much more.

The beauty of this self-drive is that you are behind the wheel, so there are no tour guides, meeting points, or other groups to worry about. You go wherever you want, decide when you arrive, and when you leave. All the accommodation is set for full comfort, you will have ensuite bathrooms and breakfast is always included.

Many people visit Iceland to experience nature at its best. That's why you will receive a custom-made itinerary, listing places not known to many others, allowing you to truly immerse yourself in Iceland's untouched landscapes. You will receive this plan, sculpted by local experts, after you book.

To add some extra adventure to your trip, you can choose to book additional activities with this self-drive at a discounted price. These include snorkelling in Silfra gorge, boating across Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, hiking on or snowmobiling across a glacier, caving, whale watching and horse-riding—and you can even take a walk inside a glacier or descend into the magma chamber of a dormant volcano. 

Venture on the holiday you have always dreamt of. Enjoy the beautiful summer doing what you love, and explore every region of Iceland with this complete trip! Check the booking availability by choosing a date.

Included

11 nights of accommodation (different levels available; breakfast included. More detailed info below)
Vehicle for 12 days (Toyota Aygo or similar. Upgrades available)
CDW insurance for super budget level vehicle; other levels also include SCDW and gravel protection insurances
GPS system
Detailed Itinerary with fun and practical information on the nature, history and culture of Iceland
Hands-on travel agent to oversee your itinerary
Taxes

Activities

Glacier Hiking
Snorkelling
Snowmobile
Horse Riding
Whale Watching
Sightseeing
Boat Trip
Hot Spring Bathing
Cultural Activity
Bird watching
Self drive

Attractions

Golden Circle
Reykjavík
Akureyri
Jökulsárlón
Vatnajökull
Mývatn
Dimmuborgir
Húsavík
Dettifoss
Snæfellsjökull
Skógafoss
Seljalandsfoss
Geysir
Gullfoss
Eyjafjallajökull
Dyrhólaey
Þingvellir
Hraunfossar
Strokkur
Skagafjörður
Snæfellsnes
Sólheimajökull
Mýrdalsjökull
Skaftafell
Eyjafjörður
Höfn
Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach
Stykkishólmur
Borgarnes
Barnafoss
Langjökull
Arnarstapi
Grjótagjá
Vík í Mýrdal
Svartifoss
Egilsstaðir
Hvolsvöllur
Siglufjörður
Blönduós
Kirkjubæjarklaustur
Reynisdrangar
Hvítserkur
Grundarfjörður
Skaftafellsjökull
Myvatn Nature Baths
Lagarfljót
Vatnshellir Cave
Djúpalónssandur
Hallormsstaðaskógur
South Coast
Diamond Beach
Ring Road
East Fjords
Diamond Circle

Daily itinerary

Day 1
Be sure to visit the beautiful Harpa Concert Hall when you sightsee around Reykjavík.

Arrival in Iceland and Exploring Reykjavik

Welcome to Iceland! Your car will be waiting for you at the airport, ready to go. If you're on an early flight, you will probably have some time to drive around the Reykjanes Peninsula, which is full of geological wonders and visit the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa. 

On your way to Iceland’s capital city of Reykjavik, you could choose to make a stop at the Blue Lagoon. This world-renowned spa is known for its healing waters, vivid azure colours and luxurious treatments. It is located in the middle of a moss-covered lava field, giving it an otherworldly atmosphere. If you add the Blue Lagoon it will be arranged according to your flights. If there is no time to visit the lagoon today it can be added to another day, your travel consultant will be able to arrange this for you. There is still plenty to see and do in Reykjavik and the Reykjanes Peninsula if you have extra free time.

Once in Reykjavík, settle into your accommodation, and start to explore the city on foot. Check out the many boutiques, galleries, museums, restaurants and bars, and see some of the architectural sights, such as Harpa concert hall.

Spend the night in Reykjavík.

Day 2
Gullfoss waterfall is a must-see attraction that bejewels the Golden Circle sightseeing route, close to the geyser Strokkur.

The Golden Circle Attractions

Day two brings you to some of the best-known natural phenomena in Iceland on the Golden Circle route. The first stop is at the Þingvellir National Park.

This incredible location is in the rift valley between two continental plates; you can walk between Europe and North America here. The area is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its history; in 930 AD, early settlers founded what would become the world's longest-running, ongoing representative parliament here. You may opt into a snorkelling tour in the park, within the crystal clear Silfra ravine.

The next stop is the Geysir geothermal area. The famous Geysir is not too active, but amongst the many hot pools and steaming vents, you'll see Strokkur blast water 20 to 40 m (66 to 131 ft) high every few minutes.

A few kilometres away is Iceland's most popular attraction, and the final stop on the Golden Circle, the mighty waterfall Gullfoss. A pathway takes you right to the water's edge, where you can get a real sense of the enormous power of the falls. From Gullfoss waterfall, you have the option to add an adrenaline-filled snowmobile trip on Langjökull glacier. On this day, you can also book a two-hour long horse-ride.

Head south when you are ready; your accommodation for the night will be in the Hvolsvöllur area.

Day 3
Dyrhólaey peninsula is home to a large puffin colony in summer time.

South Coast Waterfalls and Black Sands

Day three is the start of your Ring Road drive, as you head to the south coast. Your first stops are two magnificent waterfalls, Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss. You can walk all the way around the former, and hike a staircase for views from the top of the latter.

Next along the way is the glacier Sólheimajökull. Here, you can stop to take a fascinating glacier hike or exhilarating snowmobiling tour; whichever you choose, you will not be disappointed. You can also head straight on to the village of Vík for an optional ice cave tour to Mýrdalsjökull glacier. 

Along the coast near Vík, take a slight detour to stop and admire the black volcanic beach Reynisfjara. Be careful, however, as the waves here are unpredictable and dangerous. From the shore, you can see the dramatic promontory of Dyrhólaey and Reynisdrangar rock formations. At the peak of summer, keep an eye out for puffins and other seabirds, which nest in the area.

More sights along the way include the Mýrdalsjökull glacier and the quaint village of Kirkjubæjarklaustur. Spend the night in the town of Kirkjubæjarklaustur or the Skaftafell area.

Day 4
The Diamond Beach is a must see attraction on Iceland's South Coast.

Skaftafell Park - Jökulsárlón and Diamond Beach

Spend the day taking in the many sights and optional activities available in the beautiful Skaftafell area of the Vatnajökull National Park, Iceland's largest national park.

If you enjoy hiking, you will find many trails here, tailored for all levels of experience and mobility, including one that leads to the beautiful Svartifoss waterfall. You can also choose to go on a guided glacier hike on the nearby Skaftafellsjokull if you like.

Soon after the national park, you'll reach one of Iceland’s most famous attractions and top photo opportunities, the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. Here you can watch icebergs break from a glacier and sail out to the ocean; their beauty is mesmerising. You can opt for a boat tour into the lagoon for a closer look, either on a little zodiac or an amphibious vessel. Be sure to check out Diamond Beach after, where these bergs wash up on the black sands.

Spend the night in Höfn.

Day 5
In East Iceland, you'll be exposed to natural marvels and stunning sceneries everywhere you go.

Eastern Fjords of Iceland - Egilsstaðir

Spend your fifth day on a zigzagging journey along the East Fjords, passing by tranquil fishing villages and sweeping coastal landscapes. The East Fjords are incredibly beautiful; keep your eye out when you are driving for puffins, seals, and reindeer.

A cousin of the legendary Loch Ness monster is lurking in the milky waters of Lake Lögurinn. This monster serpent was first described in 1345 and has since entered into local legend. Keep an eye out if you stop here. You may also want to visit Iceland's largest forest, Hallormsstaðaskógur, for some hiking and bird-watching.

Spend the night in the Egilsstaðir area.

Day 6
Grjótagjá fissure by Lake Mývatn is one of North Iceland's most stunning natural attractions.

Lake Mývatn - Volcanoes, Craters & other Mysteries

Day six takes you north to Lake Mývatn, an area known for its geothermal landscapes and popular hot spring area, the Námaskarð hot springs. Make sure to visit Dimmuborgir, the Dark Fortress, named as such because of the dramatic formations the lava takes here. You'll also enjoy the volcano Krafla with its crater lake called Víti. There's another crater in Iceland with that name, so make sure you don't confuse the two!

The hot spring lava cave of Grjótagjá is also very much worth a visit, and you can test its waters if you like. The highest temperatures recorded were in 1984, when the temperature topped 50 degrees C (122 degrees F). Since then, the temperature has steadily dropped but is still incredibly warm.

If the idea of a hot soak catches your fancy, you may look forward to the nearby Mývatn Nature Baths with their more bearable temperatures and silica-rich waters instead. Spend the night in the region.

Day 7
Widely regarded as Europe's most powerful waterfall, Dettifoss stands out amongst Iceland's most stunning natural attractions.

Vatnajökull National Park & Dettifoss Falls

Use the seventh day to explore a little more of the Lake Mývatn area and its unique surroundings. A drive through the Jökulsárgljúfur part of Vatnajökull National Park and a visit to Dettifoss Falls, the most powerful waterfall in Europe, are recommended in this area.

Another great option is to join a whale watching tour at the nearby village of Húsavík, renowned as the whale watching capital of Europe. This tour can also be taken in a RIB to allow you to get close to some puffins. If not, you could enjoy a day in the Eyjafjörður fjord, exploring the beautiful valleys, and hiking to Súlur peak for some amazing views.

Spend the night in the Capital of the North, Akureyri.

Day 8
North Iceland has a plethora of natural and cultural sites.

The Troll Peninsula

Continue towards Skagafjörður, a valley known for its wealth of Icelandic horses and capable riders. You can jump on a horse-riding here too, although if you missed the whale watch yesterday, you could instead opt to stay a little longer in Akureyri to catch one. 

You will also pass through the beautiful, mountainous area of Tröllaskagi (Troll Peninsula), the old herring-fishing village of Siglufjörður, and Hofsós, where you can enjoy the wonderful scenery from the town’s thermal pool.

Nearby you can also find interesting, local, Icelandic handicrafts, in the galleries Alþýðulist or Rúnalist. Spend the night in the area around Blönduós.

Day 9
Mt. Kirkjufell is a natural oddity in West Iceland that deserves a visit.

Kirkjufell - Snæfellsnes Peninsula

On your ninth day, aim to reach the charming village of Stykkishólmur on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. On the way, you might want to make a little detour and visit the sea stack Hvítserkur, near the town of Blönduós.

The iconic mountain of Kirkjufell is near the village of Grundarfjörður and offers truly impressive photo ops that you may not want to miss; it is situated by a stunning lake and picturesque waterfall. Together, the three make a portrait of Iceland that can't be beaten.

Spend the night in the Snæfellsnes area.

Day 10
Gatklettur is a uniquely shaped rock formation off the coast of Snæfellsnes peninsula.

Snæfellsnes Peninsula in Depth

Snæfellsnes peninsula has a plethora of beautiful spots and exciting activities to discover.

The stratovolcano Snæfellsjökull in Snæfellsjökull National Park is located a the tip of the peninsula. Around here you can visit some beautiful stretches of coast, such as at Dritvík cove, and the beach of Djúpalónssandur.

You can take your time in the small, charming hamlets of Arnarstapi, Hellnar, and Búðir and hike along the cliffs. You might also want to visit the 8000-year-old lava tube cave, Vatnshellir, as an added activity for the day.

If you are here in the summer season, you could also choose to take a tour of Snæfellsjökull glacier. In this added activity, You will board a vehicle that has been specially built to handle the rough glacial landscapes of Iceland from the quint town of Grundarfjörður. You will travel to the foot of Snæafellsjökull and then take the journey to the top in a snowcat. The experience of standing on the top of a glacier that covers a volcano is second to none. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity that will provide you with lasting memories and exceptional photos.

Spend another night in Snæfellsnes.

Day 11
Icelandic horses lazing while Hekla, one of the world's deadliest volcanoes, rests in the background.

History and Cascades of Hraunfossar

On day eleven, explore West Iceland with its diverse attractions. These include the Icelandic Settlement Centre in Borgarnes, which explores the history of the beginning of this nation, and Deildartunguhver, the largest hot spring in Europe. Further along, be sure to visit the captivating Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls.

History buffs may also enjoy a visit to Snorrastofa, the medieval research institute in Reykholt, where the early settler Snorri Sturluson wrote Saga Heimskringla in the 13th century. He also wrote the bible of old Norse mythology, Edda.

On this day, you can take one of two radically different cave tours. You can go down the more traditional route, and opt into the exploration of the lava tube Viðgelmir; otherwise, you can travel to Langjökull and explore the glacier from the inside, down some incredible man-made channels.

A third option on this day is to take an Into the Volcano tour. On this trip, you descend into a sleeping volcano's spectacular magma chamber.

On the way back to Reykjavik, you could choose to drive along the very scenic Hvalfjörður fjord instead of taking the toll tunnel. At the bottom of the fjord, you can stretch your legs on a 2-hour hike to Iceland's tallest waterfall, Glymur.

Spend the night in the capital.

Day 12
End your Iceland adventure perfectly with a dip in the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa.

Departure and Farewell to Iceland

Drop off your car at Keflavík airport in time for your departure flight. 

For those who have a later flight and choose to visit the Blue Lagoon today, you will finish off your stay unwinding before you head to the airport. This is the perfect place to relax as you bathe in the warm, mineral-rich waters as you look back on the incredible adventure you have just taken in the land of fire and ice. If your flight is later there are plenty of things to do in Reykjavik. If you have an early flight back home, we wish you a pleasant journey.

Map

What to bring

Warm Clothes
Camera
Swimsuit
Driver's license

Good to know

Self-drive tours begin either in Reykjavík City or at Keflavik International Airport. A valid driver's license is required, along with a one-year long on-road experience. Please be aware that your itinerary may be rearranged to better fit with your arrival date and time.

Although it is summertime, the Icelandic weather can be very unpredictable. Please bring appropriate clothing.

Accommodation

See our accommodation levels below and our preferred accommodation partners under each day in the daily itinerary. Bookings for one person will be arranged in single rooms, and bookings for two or more people will share a twin/double or triple room(s). Teenagers and children will be arranged in the same room with parents. If additional room(s) is needed, additional costs will incur. Guide to Iceland will provide you with the best available accommodation at the time of your booking from our preferred partners. Please keep in mind that hotel quality in Iceland varies among locations and availability is highly limited. If our preferred partners are fully booked at the time of your booking, we will find another suitable accommodation for you of similar level. Please note that not all locations offer quality level accommodation. Comfort level accommodation will be arranged at those particular locations, which is reflected in the quality level upgrade price. We always do our best to accommodate special requests, which may incur additional costs. Press choose a date to find availability.

Comfort

Rooms with a private bathroom in three star hotels or quality guesthouses. Very close to the best attractions at each location. Breakfast is included.

Quality

Rooms with a private bathroom in a four star hotel or superior rooms in a quality three star hotel at the best locations in Iceland. Breakfast is included.

Car

Below you can see the car rental options available for this self-drive tour. All our vehicles are new or current models, of maximum 2 years of age. Super Budget levels come with standard CDW insurance, while all other levels also include Gravel Protection (GP), and Super Collision Damage Waiver (SCDW) insurances. Please note that off-road driving is illegal for all types of cars. All levels come equipped with a GPS and free Wi-fi. You can enjoy unlimited data with the Wi-Fi device, which can be connected to up to 10 devices at once. The car rental will provide 24-hour roadside emergency services. Age requirement for each level can be found below. For all levels, the driver must possess a valid driving license for at least one year before the date of the rental. We recommend Budget 4X4 level for summer driving and Comfort 4X4 for winter driving.

Super Budget 2WD

A small 2WD vehicle such as Toyota Aygo or similar, fit for basic travelling in everyday conditions. Compact and comfortable for up to 2 travellers with very little luggage. No highland capabilities. The driver must be of 20 years of age or above.

Budget 2WD

A basic 2WD vehicle, such as a Toyota Yaris or similar, suitable for travelling in everyday conditions. Comfortable for 3 travellers with light luggage. This vehicle does not have highland capabilities. The driver must be of 20 years of age or above.

Budget 4x4

A basic 4WD (4X4) jeep or SUV such as a Dacia Duster or similar. Comfortably fit up to 3 travellers with 2 large pieces of luggage. Fit for most travel and decent for snow and off-asphalt driving. Has basic highland capabilities. The driver must be of 20 years of age or above.

Comfort 4x4

A medium sized 4WD (4x4) jeep or SUV such as a Toyota Rav4, or similar. Comfortably fit up to 4 travellers with 3 large pieces of luggage. Fit for most travel and good for snow and off-asphalt driving. Has basic highland capabilities. The driver must be of 21 years of age or above.

Luxury 4x4

A large 4WD jeep such as a Toyota Land Cruiser or similar. Comfortable for up to 4 travellers with 4 large pieces of luggage. Fit for nearly all travelling. Has full highland capabilities to drive on accessible mountain roads. The driver must be of 21 years of age or above.

Van

A large 9-seater van such as a Renault Trafic (2WD manual), Mercedes Benz Vito (4WD automatic, has highland capabilities and better suited for winter driving), or similar. Comfortable for 5 to 7 travellers. If seated full, luggage space is limited. The driver must be of 23 years of age or above.

Meals

You can now add meals to your booking. Select to include dinner on every night as an optional extra, and we will provide you with vouchers as part of your booking confirmation. We will choose from top-rated restaurants that fit with your vacation itinerary and make your reservations for you. At the restaurant, you will be offered a set menu, from which you can choose from meat, fish or vegetarian options. If you would prefer something else, the voucher will act as a credit that you can redeem at the restaurant against menu items that are not part of the set menu. Please notify the restaurant on arrival about any dietary requirements. Vouchers are non-refundable.

Cancellation Insurance

This insurance guarantees that you can cancel tour and package bookings and receive a full refund, minus the insurance cost. The cost of your cancellation insurance depends on the duration of your tour or package. A base cost of 5,000 ISK per person is applied to all tours and packages with a duration of 5 days or less. An additional 1,000 ISK per person will be added to the insurance cost for each day after. The cancellation must be made more than 48 hours before the listed starting time on your voucher. To cancel your booking and claim your refund, simply contact info@guidetoiceland.is and declare full cancellation. COVID-19 Related Cancellations If you need to cancel your booking due to COVID-19 related reasons, the cancellation insurance provides further protection for your booking. If you purchase a self-drive tour or guided tour package along with the cancellation insurance, you will also get a full refund. If you test positive on arrival, to get the full refund after arrival, please email us at info@guidetoiceland.is with your booking details and your test result within 4 hours after you receive the test result. If your flight gets cancelled due to COVID, to get the full refund, please email us at info@guidetoiceland.is with your booking details and your flight cancellation confirmation prior to your scheduled flight departure time. Please note that this insurance covers the cancellation of the whole tour or package. Individual services cannot be cancelled and refunded separately, but are all covered and refunded in case of a full cancellation.

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