Explore the wildlife of Iceland at your own pace on this 5-day self-drive tour! This tour is sure to thrill any animal or nature lover, allowing you to experience the Icelandic horses that fill Reykjadalur Valley, the whales and dolphins swimming off the coasts, and the popular puffins of the Westman Islands.
On a self-drive tour, you control how much you want to see on each day. You can make the most of every minute and visit all the attractions in the area that you can, or just choose a few special places where you can linger and really drink in the moment.
In one short holiday, you’ll see all this and take a spin around the famous Golden Circle; there’s even enough time to take a dip in the healing waters of the famous Blue Lagoon geothermal spa.
The long summer days give you plenty of time to explore each location, meaning you can rise early and turn in late. The ongoing sunshine and pure, fresh air mean that you never feel too tired during Icelandic summer.
Most travellers to Iceland are excited about the must-see locations, but also seek secluded places where they can rest their mind and body amongst the peaceful Icelandic landscape. That is why you will be provided with a unique itinerary of hidden gems and lesser-seen places after you book, which will allow you to get back to nature without all the crowds.
Book this tour to immerse yourself in the vibrant wildlife of Iceland! Check availability by choosing a date.
After landing at the airport in Keflavík, collect your vehicle and drive to your accommodation in downtown Reykjavík.
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.
After settling in, the rest of the day is free for you to explore the capital city. There are a huge range of museums, galleries, theatres, restaurants, and bars to suit all tastes. Consider sampling some of the capital's exciting nightlife, before bringing an end to day one.
Aim for an early start, and head for the town of Hveragerði, where you will have a half-day horse-riding tour waiting for you. You will meet the Icelandic horses for the first time here, and quickly see that there is a lot more to them than their best known quality, which is having a sixth gait when it comes to dressage. They are also intelligent, sociable, curious and sweet, and you are almost guaranteed to fall straight in love with them.
You will then ride to the geothermal valley of Reykjadalur, over a mountainous pass dotted with steaming vents and twisting lava formations. Your destination is a naturally heated river, surrounded by high peaks and bubbling hot springs, where you can dismount and bask. This setting is so mystical and ideal, it feels more fantasy than real-world. When you are fully refreshed, you can mount back up and ride through the mountains back to town.
From there, you will drive along the south coast until you reach the Hvlosvöllur area, where your accommodation awaits.
On day three, head to Landeyjahöfn harbour and take an hour-long sailing trip to the Westman Islands, known locally as Vestmannaeyjar. The volcanic island is also referred to as the Pompeii of the North, after a massive eruption in 1973, and has fascinating museums regarding the volcanism and history of the area.
When you reach the Westman Islands, you can take a boat trip to see its puffin breeding colony. Prepare to be blown away, as it is the largest in the world; there are though to be around 1.1 million birds nesting in the cliffs. These puffins, elusive in much of the rest of the world, cannot be seen better anywhere else.
After the voyage, you will have the rest of the day to wander around the island, with the option to take a small hike to the volcanic crater. At the end of the day, head back to the mainland and spend another night in the Hvolsvöllur area.
Drive back to the capital, but don't miss the world-famous Golden Circle en route. Witness the mighty power of Gullfoss waterfall, as it cascades from a height of 32 m (105 ft), and marvel over Strokkur geyser in the Geysir geothermal area, as it blasts water over 20m (66 ft) high. The third and final stop is Þingvellir National Park, where you can walk between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates, while immersing yourself in Iceland's heritage; it was here, after all, that the world's longest running representative parliament was started in 930 AD, Iceland converted to Christianity in 1000 AD, and the nation declared independence from Denmark in 1944.
After a fantastic sightseeing adventure, end the day with a whale watching tour out of Reykjavík harbour. Faxafloi bay is home to minke and humpback whales, white-beaked dolphins and harbour porpoises, and is sometimes frequented by orcas, beaked whales, and even fin and blue whales.
After a hopefully very successful whale watch, you can spend your last night in the capital city.
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.
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, 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.
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.
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.
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.