3 Day Self Drive Tour | The Golden Circle & Hraunfossar Falls

3 Day Self Drive Tour | The Golden Circle & Hraunfossar Falls
On this 3 Day Self Drive Tour of The Golden Circle & Hraunfossar Falls, you control your own time and you can marvel at the northern lights for as long as you want, should you be lucky enough to see them.
The Icelandic horse is a friendly creature that usually takes quite well to photo requests.
The stunning Hraunfossar waterfalls, whispering in autumn's embrace.
A summer view over lake Tjörnin in central Reykjavík.
The stunning Öxarárfoss waterfall in Þingvellir National Park blanketed in snow.
Self Drive Tours allow you to travel in Iceland at your own pace, in your own time.
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See Iceland's finest sights and most popular attractions in only 3 days on this self-drive tour! This tour is perfect for those that don't have much time, but want to see as much as possible, including the most popular sites in Iceland, the Golden Circle, the Blue Lagoon and more! 

From the international airport, a short drive takes you directly to Iceland’s famous Golden Circle. The Golden Circle includes Geysir geothermal area and the mighty waterfall Gullfoss. Finally, take your time at Þingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The next day, you’ll have a choice: You can explore stunning lava waterfalls, Europe's highest flowing hot spring, and the mountainous fjords of the west coast. Or, if you like, drive along Snæfellsnes peninsula instead, to admire one of Iceland's most picturesque glaciers, Snæfellsjökull. Finally, dig into Reykjavík and have a dip in the milky waters of the Blue Lagoon.

The days are yours to enjoy however you like. You are the driver, so you can spend longer at the attractions you like and leave other ones behind. During the long and bright summernights you can listen to the birds chirping in the calm nature, or if you're here in wintertime you may be able to admire the Northern Lights dancing across the starry sky. It's ok to fall in love with this country! 

We know what brings you to Iceland: a chance to revitalize your spirit after too long spent at the daily grind. A quiet space to reflect is even more important on a short holiday! It's hard to take in the beauty of the ocean cliffs while blinded by camera flashes. 

That's why we've included a special selection of little-known locations within the custom itinerary you'll receive as part of your vacation package. We promise you’ll be one of the few at some of these spots so that you can take joy in the moment.

Make the most of a fleeting visit to Iceland! Check availability by choosing a date.

Quick facts

Tour information:
Pickup information:
  • Pickup time : Flexible.

Your car will await you at Keflavík International Airport when you arrive. You will drop it off at Keflavík airport, too, when you depart from Iceland.
  • 2 nights of accommodation (different levels available; breakfast included for Comfort and Quality levels; more detailed info below)

  • Vehicle for 3 days (VW Polo or similar. Upgrades available)

  • CDW, SCDW and gravel protection insurance for vehicle

  • GPS System

  • Blue Lagoon comfort entrance (upgrade to premium level available)

  • Detailed Itinerary with fun and practical information on the nature, history and culture of Iceland

  • Hands-on travel agent to oversee your itinerary

  • Taxes

  • Fuel

  • Dinner

  • Lunch

What to bring:
  • Warm clothes

  • Driver's license

  • Hiking shoes (with a slip resistant sole in the winter)

Good to know:

Make sure you arrive in Iceland before noon to do this trip. 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.

The Northern Lights are a natural phenomenon, and therefore cannot be guaranteed. They are only visible during the winter. This itinerary is designed to maximise your chances to see them if weather allows. Please be aware that your itinerary may have to be rearranged to fit your arrival date and time better.

Note that Icelandic roads and pavements can be slippery in the wintertime. We recommend you bring shoes with slip-resistant soles or ice-grip shoe covers when visiting the country in the winter. The covers can be purchased in most supermarkets and gas stations around the country.

It can happen, in the case of extreme weather, that an activity is cancelled. If your chosen activity is cancelled, we will assist you with rearranging or booking other activities when possible, and any potential price difference will be refunded to you.

Please note that this tour is available all year. If you are arriving in winter, we recommend that you opt for an upgrade to a 4x4 vehicle.

Daily itinerary

Day 1 - The Golden Circle

Even during winter the geothermal landscape at Haukadalur valley keeps the air steaming and warm.

After landing, collect your car at the airport in Keflavik and begin a drive through the lunar landscape towards Reykjavík. Pass through the capital and go on towards the Nesjavellir Geothermal Plant. From there, you can see the hot steam rise from the ground while picturesque mountain scenery surrounds you.

The road inland passes by the spectacular crater Kerið, which holds a beautiful lake inside. There, you can stop for a short stroll before heading towards Geysir.

The next stop is the geothermal valley of Haukadalur, where you can see the geysers Strokkur and Geysir. Geysir no longer erupts, but Strokkur keeps busy, spouting hot water 20-40 meters (up to 130 feet) into the air every few minutes.

A short distance away is Iceland's most popular attraction, the mighty waterfall of Gullfoss. A pathway takes you right to the water's edge, where you can get a real sense of the enormous, natural power of the falls.

The final stop on the Golden Circle tour is the Þingvellir National Park. Here, you can walk between the rift valley of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and explore an area which plays a huge role in Iceland's history. From there, you'll head back to the west coast, spending the night either at Akranes or the town of Borgarnes.

Preferred accommodation in Borgarfjörður

Borgarfjörður Budget

Hotel Eldborg is located between Borgarnes and Stykkishólmur. All rooms are private bedrooms with shared facilities. Free Wi-Fi in public area. Breakfast not included.

Borgarfjörður Comfort

Hotel Húsafell is a 3-star hotel located in Husafell. Hotel húsafell is surrounded by lush landscape. All bedrooms have private bathrooms that include shower or bath, hairdryer, and free toiletries. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.

Borgarfjörður Quality

Icelandair Hotel Hamar is located in Borgarnes. The rooms feature minimalist modern design and some have a private patio. All bedrooms have private bathrooms with showers. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.

Day 2 - The West Coast

Hraunfossar falls looking stunning as they tumble down lava cliffs dotted with autumn coloured trees.

You have two options on the second day to explore the stunning sights of West Iceland.

Option 1 -

Begin with a drive towards the lava waterfalls of Barnafoss and Hraunfoss, and on to the geothermal area of Deildartunguhver. From there, you can drive back to the main road and head for the Hvalfjörður fjord. This mountainous fjord was used by the British and American armies during WWII and arguably has some of the most striking landscapes on the west coast.

At the bottom of the fjord, you can choose to go on a scenic and undemanding 2-hour hike towards Iceland's highest waterfall, Glymur. The waterfall is surrounded by lush greenery, but don't worry - the path is marked and easily found!

Option 2 -

Begin with a drive along the Snæfellsnes peninsula, towards Snæfellsjökull glacier/volcano. You'll be driving along the seaside past beautiful mountains, and lava fields with a few trickling waterfalls as well, until you reach Snæfellsjökull National Park. Go for a short hike along the bird cliffs and admire the nearby and towering glacier!

Make a stop at the picturesque villages Arnarstapi or Hellnar before circling the peninsula and stop at Djúpalónssandur black, pebbly beach. Stop for some nice seafood soup at Café Rif before heading back to Reykjavík.

The choice is yours!

If you are going to Snæfellsnes, a tour may be difficult to fit in due to time. Otherwise, there are three that you can opt into. You can go on a fascinating lava caving excursion into Viðgelmir cave; you can explore the man-made tunnels carved into Langjökull glacier; or you can descend into the beautiful magma chamber of Þríhnjúkagígur volcano.

When back in Reykjavík, you can also visit our popular restaurants and bistros, take in a show, or have fun at a pub quiz show with the locals. It is up to you!

Preferred accommodation in Reykjavík

Reykjavík Budget

Capital Inn is a 2 star hotel 3 km out of the city centre, with a short walk to Kringlan shopping mall and Nauthólsvík geothermal beach. Private bedrooms with a washbasin but shared bathrooms. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is not included.

Reykjavík Comfort

The Fosshótel chain has four 3-4 star Hotels located in and around the city center of Reykjavík. There is a short walk from all of the hotels to attractions, cafés, restaurants, museums and the nightlife. All offer private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.

Reykjavík Quality

Alda Hotel is a 4 star hotel situated on Laugavegur, Reykjavík's main shopping street in the city centre. Private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free access to a fitness room with a sauna and a hot tub. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.

Day 3 - Reykjavik Sightseeing and the Blue Lagoon

The city of Reykjavík by night can be particularly serene and peaceful.

Make the most of any time you have in Reykjavík before getting to the airport in time for your flight. Reykjavík is full of quirky cafés, designer shops, restaurants serving delicious delicacies, museums, galleries and a charming old harbour and town centre.

You can also pay a visit to the world-famous Blue Lagoon, whether it is for the first time or for one last indulgence, to recharge your batteries before you return home. The lagoon is warm all year round and its silica mud does wonders for your skin, making you feel relaxed but rejuvenated at the same time.

Just make sure you get to the airport in time for your return flight!


See our accommodation levels below and our preferred accommodation partners under each day in the daily itinerary. Single person bookings will be arranged in a single room, while bookings of 2 or more people will share twin/double room(s) or triple room(s). Guide to Iceland will provide you with the best available hotels and guesthouses 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. We always do our best to accommodate special requests, which may incur additional costs. The sooner you reserve the higher quality accommodation we can provide. Press choose a date at the top to find availability.


Rooms with shared bathrooms in farmhouses, guesthouses or hostels, with good locations near the best attractions. Breakfast is not included.


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


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.


Below you can see the car rental options available for this self drive tour. All our vehicles are new or current models, maximum two years of age, and come equipped with a GPS, CDW, GP, and SCDW insurances. You can also upgrade to an automatic model, free of charge.


A small 2WD vehicle fit for basic travelling in everyday conditions, such as VW Polo, Toyota Yaris or similar. This vehicle does not have highland capabilities.

Comfort 4X4

A medium sized jeep or SUV with 4WD (4x4) fit for most travel, and good for snow and off-asphalt travel, such as Toyota Rav4 or similar. This vehicle has basic highland capabilities.

Luxury 4x4

A large sized jeep with 4WD (4x4) such as Toyota Land Cruiser or similar, fit for nearly all traveling. This vehicle has full highland capabilities to drive on accessible mountain roads.

Cancellation Insurance

This insurance guarantees that you can cancel the booking of this package and receive a full refund, minus the insurance cost of 5,000 ISK per person. The cancellation must be made within a minimum of 48-hours before the listed starting time. To cancel your booking and claim your refund, simply contact our service desk by writing to info@guidetoiceland.is no later than 48-hours before departure and declare the cancellation. Please note that this insurance only covers the full cancellation of this entire package. It does not cover cancellations of individual activities and services within the package. The cost of the Cancellation Insurance is neither refundable nor transferable.


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3 Day Self Drive Tour | The Golden Circle & Hraunfossar Falls
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