Exciting 4-Day Summer Self-Drive Tour of the South Coast and the Golden Circle
Make the most of a four-day getaway to the magnificent land of ice and fire with this fun-filled self-drive holiday. Travelers who wish to see the most iconic sites of Iceland on their own terms and embark on some thrilling excursions should not hesitate to book this tour.
Iceland is famous worldwide for its glaciers, volcanoes, hot springs, and breathtaking landscapes. This adventure means you'll see all of these in just four days. The Blue Lagoon spa, the iconic sites of the Golden Circle, and the spectacular diversity of the South Coast are all on your agenda.
After booking, you'll be sent a detailed itinerary with all the fantastic locations you can visit each day. It allows you to tailor the perfect vacation for you and your group. As this is a self-drive holiday, you can spend as much or as little time at each site as you like.
You don't need to worry about following the strict timetable of a guide. You don't need to spend weeks planning your perfect itinerary for your Iceland vacation, as this has all been done for you at a fantastic price. By organizing a trip yourself, you may miss out on some of the best attractions, so this itinerary ensures you'll see some amazing highlights.
If you find the geysers of Haukadalur Valley particularly mesmerizing or the volcanic landscapes of the Reykjanes peninsula beckoning you, you have the freedom to dedicate hours to each. A self-drive adventure will let you get off the beaten track to find attractions most guests overlook.
By having the freedom to reach these hidden gems, you'll avoid the crowds that tend to gather around the most popular sites and connect with the silent, untouched wilderness that draws so many to Iceland.
The only limit on your independence is ensuring you get to the meeting place of any excursions you booked on time.
On your second day, you can choose between a serene horseback ride, a thrilling snowmobile adventure, and a breathtaking snorkeling tour. On your third day, you'll choose between glacier hiking, ice caving, or taking a super jeep to the magnificent Highlands.
You'll also have the opportunity to visit one of Iceland's most famous attractions, the Blue Lagoon, just after arrival or before departure.
All these excursions will be arranged for you immediately after you book your trip, taking all the stress out of planning your holiday. You'll also get a personal travel agent, and you can reach them at any time of the day, seven days a week.
This is one of Iceland's most popular short tours and is highly rated. If your plans change, you can cancel for free and get a full refund up to 24 hours before departure.
You'll be based in a Reykjavik hotel throughout your stay. Your hotel will be a convenient place to get to know one of the world's most unique, beautiful, and cultural capitals.
Immerse yourself in the beauty of Iceland and enjoy some thrilling adventures over four days with this fantastic summer getaway. Check availability now by choosing a date.
Day 1 - Arrival and Blue Lagoon Geothermal Spa
On the first day of your self-drive tour in Iceland, you'll arrive at the airport, collect your car, and head off to your adventure.
You'll land at the Keflavik International Airport, the main port of arrival for most travelers in Iceland. After going through customs, you'll find your rental car waiting. On your way to Iceland's capital city, Reykjavik, you could stop at the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa.
This world-renowned spa is known for its healing waters, vivid azure colors, and luxurious treatments. It's in the middle of a moss-covered lava field, giving it a unique atmosphere. It's also a great place to relax and unwind after a flight.
Adding the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa to your itinerary will be arranged according to your flights. If there's no time to visit the spa today, it can be added to another day. Your personal travel consultant will be able to arrange this for you.
If you have extra free time on your first day in the country, there's still plenty to see and do in Reykjavik and the Reykjanes Peninsula.
If you want to make the most of every moment in Iceland's nature, the Reykjanes Peninsula will be appealing. The region boasts cone-shaped volcanoes, barren expanses of moss-coated lava, dramatic coastal geology, and several steaming geothermal areas.
Meanwhile, if you want to experience Icelandic culture, you can do so in the capital. Reykjavik is home to museums and galleries, parks and nature reserves, feats of architecture, and public art. It also has an array of boutiques, restaurants, and bars, offering something for everyone.
Check out the Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Center, the city's premier cultural hub. It also boasts a wonderful facade, showcasing 714 glass panels with LED lighting.
You can also visit the Hallgrimskirkja church, Iceland's tallest church, standing 245 feet (74.5 meters) tall. Another is the Perlan, an interactive museum with a hemispherical rotating glass dome that serves as a viewing deck.
After experiencing the freedom of a self-drive tour and making the most of your day, you'll retire for the night at your accommodation in Reykjavik.
Day 2 - Golden Circle Sightseeing
On the second day of your trip, you'll experience the magnificent, diverse sites of the Golden Circle, Iceland's premier sightseeing route.
Thingvellir National Park, the Geysir geothermal area, and the Gullfoss waterfall are the main attractions on your itinerary. However, you can add to your day by including a thrilling excursion and seeking hidden gems.
Thingvellir National Park is a geological marvel. It is framed by two sheer cliff faces marking the edges of the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. It means the entire location is between the two continents.
It's a breathtaking place to explore, filled with birch woodland and lava fields, surrounded by volcanoes and a great lake, and littered with ravines and springs.
Meanwhile, the appeal of the Geysir geothermal area should be instantly apparent. It is home to geysers, bubbling mud pools, and steaming fumaroles. The most impressive of these exploding hot springs is Strokkur, which erupts at least every ten minutes, often reaching over 66 feet (20 meters).
The Gullfoss waterfall is a classic Icelandic waterfall that's powerful, mesmerizing, and unforgettable. Formed by a glacier river pouring from the nearby ice cap of Langjokull, it surges down two steps into a dramatic, beautiful valley.
As it hits the bottom, the waterfall throws spray blooms into the air. Traveling between these sites, you can choose between three tours to break up your sightseeing.
At Thingvellir, you can join a snorkeling excursion into the ravine of Silfra. The visibility in this magnificent place often exceeds 328 feet (100 meters). The vividness of the underwater blues is astounding, and it's consistently hailed as one of the best snorkeling sites in the world.
Alternatively, you can board a super jeep from Gullfoss waterfall to be whisked up Langjokull glacier for a snowmobiling tour. Only a few activities are more thrilling than rushing across gleaming plains of pristine snow. Zooming across the glacier, you'll get incredible south, west, and Highlands views.
Thirdly, you can embark on a horse-riding tour through the beautiful countryside surrounding the Golden Circle sites. Icelandic horses are famously friendly, and witnessing the landscapes from their backs is a great way to experience the country. Whether you've experienced riding or if it's your first time, this tour will be tailored to you.
Though you're welcome to see the major attractions and add on an adventure, you can also make the most of having a vehicle. You can detour to one of the dozens of hidden gems within easy driving distance. The crater lake of Kerid and the serene Secret Lagoon are examples of these exciting stops.
After a tiring day of exploring, you'll return to your hotel in Reykjavik.
Day 3 - Waterfalls and Black Sand Beaches on the South Coast
On the third day of your four-day summer vacation to Iceland, you'll explore the magnificent sights of the South Coast.
Today will truly show you how much freedom you have on a self-drive holiday, as you can tailor what you see and do to your group's desires.
Setting out from Reykjavik, you'll likely want to spend some time at the waterfalls in the region. Seljalandsfoss waterfall is one of the country's most iconic, around 80 miles (129 kilometers) from Reykjavik. It's visible from the Ring Road and is famous for the enormous cavern that opens behind it. In turn, the cavern lets you walk around the falls.
Its neighbor, Gljufrabui waterfall, is lesser-known. It's only 3,000 feet (900 meters) away, though hidden in a magical grotto that requires a little wading through a stream.
Meanwhile, Skogafoss waterfall, 18 miles (29 kilometers) from Seljalandsfoss, is unmissable. At around 197 feet (60 meters) tall, at least 33 feet (10 meters) wide, and mesmerizingly powerful, this waterfall is a fantastic example of the power of Iceland's nature.
After making the most of these sites, you can leave the Ring Road to get a close-up view of two of the South Coast's most incredible glaciers. Myrdalsjokull glacier is the third-largest in the country and conceals the notorious volcano of Katla. Eyjafjallajokull glacier is smaller but much more famous after its 2010 eruption that caused massive air travel disruptions in Europe.
You can take one of the three tours today onto the outlet glacier of Myrdalsjokull, Solheimajokull. Glacier hiking is a fantastic way to see beautiful ice formations and experience breathtaking views.
The two other tours leave from the village of Vik, your next destination. The first is an ice-caving tour closer to Myrdalsjokull glacier's summit. Rather than hiking across the glacier's surface, you'll descend into its hidden crevasses to explore it from within.
The second is a super jeep tour to Landmannalaugar. Landmannalaugar is a spectacular Highland reserve best known for its abundant natural hot springs you can bathe in.
This area also has dramatic rhyolite mountains in vibrant yellow, green, and pink shades and many hiking trails. Many of these trails lead to magnificent crater lakes, providing stunning panoramic views.
Regardless of your tour, you'll want to spend some time at Reynisfjara, the beach beside Vik. Reynisfjara is a black sand beach rich in folklore. Offshore, you'll be able to see the rock formations of Reynisdrangar, said to have once been a pair of trolls turned to stone by sunlight.
Very close to this beach is the incredible rock arch of Dyrholaey. It's one of the best places to marvel over nesting Atlantic puffins in summer.
After immersing yourself in the stunning South Coast of Iceland, you'll head back to your hotel in Reykjavik.
Day 4 - Reykjanes Peninsula and Departure
On the final day of your four-day immersive summer getaway to Iceland, you can explore the stunning Reykjanes Peninsula if you have time before heading home.
You must take your car back to the airport before your departure. If you're not in a hurry, take your time on this journey and check out the incredible volcanic and geothermal sites of the Reykjanes peninsula.
The Reykjanes Peninsula in Southwest Iceland is a captivating landmass known for its unique geological features and rich history. With its rugged lava fields, volcanic craters, and geothermal activity, the peninsula showcases Iceland's natural wonders.
Reykjanesviti, Iceland's oldest lighthouse, stands proudly on the peninsula's westernmost point, providing breathtaking coastline views. Additionally, the peninsula is home to Reykjanesvirkjun, Iceland's largest geothermal power station, harnessing renewable energy from the Earth's heat.
With stunning landscapes, cultural heritage, and renewable energy initiatives, the Reykjanes peninsula embodies Iceland's natural and technological marvels. It's worth a visit if you have time on your last day in Iceland.
If you have a later flight and choose to visit the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa today, you'll end your stay unwinding before heading to the airport. The famous Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa with milky blue waters, attracts visitors worldwide.
The waters of the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa are rich in minerals like silica and sulfur and are believed to have healing properties. Moreover, a striking volcanic landscape surrounds the spa, so you can enjoy the views while you bathe.
If you have an early flight back home, you'll want to head to the airport after enjoying breakfast in your hotel.
What to bring
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.
See our accommodation levels below and our preferred accommodation partners under each day in the daily itinerary.
Super budget level accommodations will be arranged in hostel dorm beds. For other levels, 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.
Dormitory beds with shared bathrooms in guesthouses or hostels. Located in the region of the best attractions. Breakfast is not included.
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, of maximum 2 years of age. Super Budget levels come with standard CDW insurance, while all other levels also include Gravel Protection (GP) insurance. Please note that off-road driving is illegal for all types of cars.
All levels come equipped with 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.
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.
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.
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.
A medium-sized 4WD (4x4) jeep or SUV such as a Toyota Rav4 (automatic) and Suzuki Vitara (manual), or similar. Comfortably fit up to 4 travelers 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.
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.
A large 9-seater van such as a Mercedes Benz Vito or similar. Comfortable for 5 to 7 travelers. If seated full, luggage space is limited. The driver must be of 23 years of age or above.