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5 Day Budget Summer Self Drive Tour of the Golden Circle, South Coast & Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon

Dyrhólaey is an enormous stone arch that extends into the sea off South Iceland's coast.
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Perfect travel plan
Fully customizable
Car & accommodation
Starting time
5 days
Apr. - Aug.
Minimum age

Grab this budget opportunity to partake in this action-packed self-drive tour, spending five summer days exploring the best sights and activities the South Coast has to offer, all without breaking the bank.

You will begin your holiday by spending time in Reykjavík, exploring the Nordic culture, cuisine and attractions. Afterwards, you will partake in the popular Golden Circle tour, visiting the mighty waterfall, Gullfoss, the geothermal valley of Haukadalur and the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Þingvellir National Park.

The remainder of your trip will be equally full of adventure. Not only will you see the majestic waterfalls, Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss, but also the crown jewel of the South Coast; Jökulsárlon Glacier Lagoon. Here, you can view the incredible floating icebergs and even walk along the glittering Diamond Beach, all illuminated by the stunning rays of the Midnight Sun. No one can put on a price on nature like this!

By choosing an affordable self-drive tour such as this, you can skip the hassle associated with larger tour groups, ensuring you will have a more personal and budgeted summer holiday. You will also have the time to engage with many other extra activities, including horse riding, snowmobiling, glacier hiking, and visiting the Blue Lagoon, all at a discounted price if you add them in during the booking process.

So don't delay! Hurry now so as not to miss this budget opportunity to see some of Iceland's best attractions in just five days. Check availability by choosing a date.


4 nights of accommodation (different levels available; breakfast not included, shared bathrooms; more detailed info below)
Vehicle for 5 days (Toyota Aygo or similar, upgrades available)
CDW insurance for super budget level vehicle; other levels also include SCDW and gravel protection insurance
GPS system
Detailed itinerary


Glacier Hiking
Horse Riding
Boat Trip
Hot Spring Bathing
Cultural Activity
Bird watching
Ice Caving
Self drive

Daily itinerary

Day 1
Welcome to Reykjavík, the world's northernmost capital.

Arrival Day - Welcome to Iceland

Welcome to Iceland! First things first after landing, you need to pick up your car at Keflavík International Airport. From there, you will drive through the craggy, volcanic landscapes of the Reykjanes Peninsula, leaving you in immediate awe at the country’s untouched and undeveloped environment.

On your way to Iceland’s capital city, 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.

It's then time to head to Iceland’s capital. Despite its diminutive population, Reykjavík is an exciting city, boasting a unique nightlife, modern shopping and some of the best seafood this side of the Arctic circle.

It’s entirely down to you whether or not you spend the evening recuperating in the hotel or, alternatively, getting a taste of this unique and vibrant city.

Day 2
Strokkur geyser erupts every few minutes, sometimes reaching heights of 60 m (197 ft).

Golden Circle Trails and South Coast Waterfalls

Today, you will experience Iceland’s most popular tour; The Golden Circle, boasting some of the country’s most famous sights.

Your first stop on the Golden Circle route is the UNESCO World Heritage site, Þingvellir National Park. Historically, culturally and geologically important, Þingvellir not only saw the 930 AD founding of the first democratically elected parliament but also boasts the American and Eurasian tectonic plates, exposed from the earth.

During your time at Þingvellir, you can partake in a snorkelling tour at Silfra Fissure, one of the Top 10 dive sites in the world, though this will have to be booked in advance. The glacial water is so clear in Silfra that visibility can sometimes reach 100 m.

Next up is Haukadalur, home to the country’s world-famous hot springs, the largest of which has lent its name to all geysers in the English language. Though that one now lies dormant, the nearby Strokkur erupts every few minutes, sometimes reaching heights of 60m!

Finally, only a short distance away, you will visit the incredibly photogenic waterfall, Gullfoss. A part of the glacial river Hvítá, Gullfoss literally translates to “Golden Falls”, dropping 30m down two tiers. From this stop, you could also opt for a snowmobile tour across the nearby Langjökull glacier, alternatively, gallop away on a horse riding tour through the region. You will spend the night near the village of  Hvolsvöllur.

For a limited time, it is possible to start your second day in Iceland with an awe-inspiring helicopter journey over the volcanic eruption at Fagradalsfjall. Those seeking to start their holiday with a life-changing experience that personifies the majesty of the Land of Ice and Fire should not miss this chance. You’ll lift off from Reykjavik’s Domestic Airport, marvel over the capital’s features and nature from above, before crossing the Reykjanes Peninsula to the beautiful, primordial eruption site. After circling it a few times, you’ll even make a landing to admire it from a new angle.

Day 3
Glacier hiking tours make for adrenaline-fuelled adventures that are brimming with incredible sightseeing opportunities.

Black Sands and White Glaciers

The third day will see you travelling eastward, passing over the black sands of Sólheimajökull glacier. At the glacier, you will have the option to either go snowmobiling or glacier hiking, both of which will offer the perfect blend of adrenaline-fuelled adventure and incredible sightseeing.

Eventually, you will reach the small fishing of Vík where you can choose to partake in an ice caving tour at  Mýrdalsjökull glacier. This is the only ice cave tour of its kind that is available in the summer. Whilst in town, you could also choose to amble down to the black sand beach Reynisfjara, where you can check out the distinctive basalt columns that have formed into the cliffsides. Beware, waves can be unpredictable here so always keep at least 20 metres from the shoreline.

You will next head toward Vatnajökull National Park where you will be able to hike numerous trails through the sublime and beautiful and Skaftafell Nature Reserve. Of particular recommendation is the 5 km trail toward Svartifoss waterfall. Ask at the Visitor’s Centre and the staff will be eager to point you in the right direction.

After some hiking, you will make your final stop of the day at the crown jewel of the Southern Peninsula, the gorgeous Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. For nature lovers and photography enthusiasts, this is truly a paradise, with enormous icebergs floating in the pale blue water, the stillness of the scene interrupted only by the playful splashing of nearby seals. From the lagoon, it is also possible to walk a short distance to Diamond Beach, the shoreline where icebergs make their way out to the ocean.

For accommodation, you will spend the night in the area around Vatnajökull National Park.

Day 4
The Diamond Beach is a shoreline in South Iceland where icebergs make their way out to the ocean.

Ice Wonderland

Today, you will be heading back to the capital, Reykjavík, but why not first revisit some of the spots that have thus far made your holiday so exciting? Jökulsárlón in particular changes every day, always displaying a full and transient natural beauty. This morning is also the perfect opportunity to take a boat trip across the lagoon in order to get an as of yet unseen perspective of the icebergs and glacier.

During your journey back to the city, there are still numerous stops for you to explore. Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon, for example, boasts an oasis of luscious flora whilst Dyrhólaey mountain might be your chance of seeing one of Iceland’s most famous residents, the puffin! You could also make a stop in the Skaftafell nature reserve for a glacier hike in the shadow of Iceland's tallest peak; Hvannadalshnjúkur.

When you arrive back in the city, you will have one final chance yo indulge in Icelandic culture. You could check out some of Reykjavík’s most famous landmarks, including the shining Harpa Concert Hall, Reykjavík City Hall and Hallgrímskirkja church. If you’re looking to relax, you could always hit one of the city’s many jazz nights or even stroll through a late night museum. You will spend the night in the city.

Day 5
Top off your adventure in Iceland with a visit to the Blue Lagoon Geothermal Spa.

Departure Day

Today is your last day and, unless you’re planning on extending your trip (which can happily be arranged), you will have to fill your last hours here with something memorable. 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.

What to bring

Warm and waterproof clothes
Swimsuit & towel
Driver's License
Hiking shoes

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.

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.


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. Budget level 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. We always do our best to accommodate special requests, which may incur additional costs. Press choose a date to find availability.

Super Budget

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.


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.


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.


Are you looking to try some of the best dishes Iceland’s top restaurants have to offer? You can now add delicious meals to your booking without having to research where to find them. Select this option to include dinner every night as an extra, and we’ll provide you with vouchers as part of your booking confirmation. We’ll choose the top-rated restaurants that fit with your vacation itinerary and make your reservations for you. Your server will offer you a set menu of two to three courses at the restaurant, from which you can choose meat, fish, or vegetarian options. If you prefer to try a different dish, the meal voucher will act as a credit that you can redeem at the restaurant against menu items that are not part of the set menu. Save time and effort during your vacation, and let us take care of your meals for you. Choose the meal option today so you’ll be guaranteed to eat well on your forthcoming trip. Please notify the restaurant on arrival about any dietary requirements. Vouchers are non-refundable.

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