Scenic 5-Day Road Trip Adventure Through Iceland’s South Coast, Landmannalaugar & Highlands
Grab the excellent chance to explore must-see destinations and the unique Icelandic Highlands by joining this five-day summer road trip. This self-drive tour is ideal for adventurers and thrill-seekers who want the freedom to roam without worrying about a group or tour guides.
Iceland, the land of fire and ice, is a dream destination for many travelers. To help you achieve this dream travel, a group of travel experts have crafted this inclusive tour package, which includes all your needs for an unforgettable Icelandic trip.
Forget about weeks and months of stressful planning and the hassle of creating your own itinerary. Upon booking this self-drive tour, you'll receive a comprehensive itinerary detailing all the top attractions and less-known sites in the land of fire and ice. Fortunately, you can still personalize this according to your preferences as you are behind the wheel.
The itinerary also features a five-day car rental, four-night accommodations, and contact information for a personal travel agent you can reach for queries and assistance anytime.
In addition, to make your experience more stress-free, this package offers a flexible booking. In case of changes in travel plans or emergencies, you can cancel your reservation 24 hours before departure and still get a full refund.
You'll drive your rental car to visit Iceland's most famous attractions, including the Blue Lagoon and the Golden Circle, and get to know the incredible Icelandic Highlands, all at your own pace.
On your time in the Golden Circle, you'll explore three of Iceland's most visited natural attractions. On this scenic drive lies the Thingvellir National Park, the Geysir geothermal area, and the Gullfoss waterfall.
Further in the countryside is the picturesque South Coast region, framed by the beautiful North Atlantic Ocean. Exciting stops here are at the Skogafoss waterfall, Seljalandsfoss waterfall, Reynisfjara black sand beach, and Vik village.
One of the drive's highlights is your journey into the wild Highlands of Iceland. You'll drive through Kaldidalur valley, a highland passage that has been used for centuries, and explore the Landmannalaugar area, which is renowned for its natural beauty. You'll marvel at gems like the Laugahraun lava field and the Ljotipollur crater lake away from tourist crowds.
Besides the regular sightseeing, thrilling additional activities are available for you to adapt the summer road trip to your preference.
These extras include glacier hikes in Solheimajokull, snowmobiling on Myrdalsjokull or Langjokull glaciers, Katla ice caving, snorkeling at Silfra fissure, and trips to geothermal spas such as the Blue Lagoon.
Experience the trip of a lifetime on this summer road trip in Iceland, featuring the Golden Circle, the South Coast, and the Highlands. Check availability now by choosing a date.
Day 1 - Welcome to Iceland
Welcome to your summer drive in the land of fire and ice.
This five-day adventure in Iceland will start as soon as you touch down at the Keflavik International Airport. The first order of business is to pick up the vehicle, which will take you around this beautiful country for the next five days.
Your primary destination for today is Reykjavik, Iceland’s biggest city and the northernmost capital in the world. En route, you’ll traverse the beautiful Reykjanes Peninsula, known for its unique volcanic terrain and geothermal fields.
With time permitting, you can make several stops in the peninsula, such as at the Gunnuhver hot springs, Kleifarvatn lake, and the Bridge Between Two Continents. If not, you can still enjoy the peaceful drive to Reykjavik, amongst moss-covered lava fields and rugged coasts.
On your way to Iceland's capital city of Reykjavik, you can also make a stop at the Blue Lagoon. This world-renowned spa is known for its healing waters, vivid azure colors, 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 you've had your fill of luxuriating in the Blue Lagoon, you'll head to Reykjavik city, which is a half-hour drive away. It's time to rest up for the exciting journey ahead.
If you still have the energy to explore, don’t miss your chance to stroll around downtown Reykjavik. The city center is lined with shops, restaurants, and cultural attractions.
Your accommodation for the first night will be in Reykjavik.
Day 2 - South Coast
Rise and shine! It's your first full day in Iceland and there's so much to see in the countryside. You'll be driving from your accommodation in Reykjavik city down the gorgeous South Coast of Iceland, seeing sights along the way.
Your journey starts with visits to two of Iceland's many beautiful waterfalls.
Seljalandsfoss waterfall is first on the schedule. The waterfall stands 197 feet (60 meters) tall, and behind it is a small cave, allowing those who don't mind a bit of water spray to walk around it.
The next waterfall is Skogafoss, similar to Seljalandsfoss in height but much wider at 82 feet (25 meters) and, therefore, more majestic. A rainbow can be seen in the mist the dropping water creates if the sun is out.
After you admire the two waterfalls, you will drive to the Reynisfjara black sand beach. Most of Iceland's beaches are black, and Reynisfjara is perhaps the most stunning.
On the beach sits the Reynisdrangar sea stacks, impressive rock formations which, according to folklore, are petrified trolls. Whether you believe the sea stacks to be trolls or not, they are home to many seabirds, which you'll likely be able to spot.
The village Vik i Myrdal, your next stop, is not far from the black sand beach. Vik is an adorable town with beautiful surrounding landscapes. You'll be able to stretch your legs on a walk around the village and maybe take a look inside a shop or have a bite to eat in a café.
You have the option to select exciting extra activities on this day. There are three icy adventures you can pick from.
One option is to explore the beauty of Solheimajokull glacier on foot with a glacier hike. If you prefer traveling faster than your own two feet can carry you, hopping on a snowmobile and taking a tour of Myrdalsjokull glacier is the best option.
Your third option is a Katla ice cave tour, which will take you on a guided expedition to a rare Icelandic glacier feature.
At the end of your day, you'll backtrack a little bit and spend the night in Southwest Iceland.
Day 3 - Landmannalaugar
Today, you will drive from Southwest Iceland to the Landmannalaugar area, a part of the Fjallabak Nature Reserve in the Highlands of Iceland. You've got quite a bit of ground to cover on this day, so we recommend getting an early start. The early bird gets the worm and more time to stop and admire the scenery.
The Highlands region in Iceland is like stepping into another world. It's a remote area in the middle of the country that's unlike anywhere else. This remote location makes its landscapes mostly intact over centuries, aside from the influence of natural events like volcanic eruptions and glacial melt.
You will have plenty of time to explore the Landmannalaugar area, a truly remarkable section of the nature reserve in the Icelandic Highlands. Otherworldly landscapes will surround you since the mountains here have a broad scope of splendid colors. For example, the rhyolite mountains, notable features of Landmannalaugar, boast red, pink, blue, yellow, and green slopes.
Aside from the towering peaks, Landmannalaugar is full of geothermal hot springs, many of which are safe for bathing in, so bring your swimsuit. Even if you don't take a dip, the steam rising from the ground and the natural puddles bubbling are a peculiar and memorable sight.
A sight that is hard to miss in the Highlands is the Laugahraun lava field, formed during an eruption some centuries ago. The contrast between the black lava and the colorful mountains is striking. They make great subjects for sightseeing and photography.
Meanwhile, specific hiking routes within the Landmannalaugar area include the Laugavegur trail, which connects Landmannalaugar to the Thorsmork valley. Although you won’t have time to complete this trail within a day, you can always explore some of its highlights.
At the end of your day, you'll drive back to Southwest Iceland, where you'll spend the night, excited to explore the Golden Circle the following day.
Day 4 - The Golden Circle and Kaldidalur
Your day will start with a staple of sightseeing in Iceland, the Golden Circle. You'll see three of the country's most famous attractions in one day. This is another day with lots to see, so remember to get an early start if you want plenty of time at each stop.
The first stop is the Geysir hot spring, the geyser from which all geysers derive their name. Even more excitingly, you'll see Geysir's next-door neighbor, Strokkur, a much more reliable hot spring that lets out a hot water fountain every few minutes.
You'll want to bring a camera to capture the jets of water shooting up in the air.
Next, you'll witness the power of Gullfoss waterfall, a 105-foot (32-meter) tall cascade on two levels with glacial water rushing forward and down in a breathtaking display of nature's potential. The waterfall has been photographed from every possible angle, but nothing beats walking close to the actual thing and hearing the thundering rush of the water.
Closing the circle is the Thingvellir National Park, which is a cultural and natural treasure. It is known as the meeting point for the Icelandic parliament, Althingi, until the 1800s. It is also known for the Almannagja gorge, which sits on the rift between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates.
After you finish the Golden Circle, you'll drive through Kaldidalur valley to Reykholt. Kaldidalur valley is an old passage across the Icelandic Highlands used to get to Althingi in Thingvellir for parliament meetings.
The village of Reykholt is a historical site once the home of Snorri Sturluson, a 12th-century writer, historian, and law speaker. For many years, the most important school in the country was situated at Reykholt.
Today, you will again have the chance to add exciting extra activities. The options available are a riding tour on the unique Icelandic horse, a thrilling snowmobile tour on Langjokull Glacier, or a fascinating snorkeling tour in Silfra Fissure.
All of the tours offer unique ways of exploring Iceland's landscapes.
Towards the end of the day, you will drive to Reykjavik. If you get there early, you can walk around the city streets and enjoy the city's vibrant life.
On your last night in Iceland, you will stay in a cozy accommodation in Reykjavik.
Day 5 - Departure
Your last day in Iceland has arrived all too soon. You'll be leaving with an abundance of good memories and perhaps a souvenir or two.
If your flight schedule allows for a later departure, seize the opportunity to immerse yourself in the vibrant tapestry of Reykjavik. The city offers many experiences, from cultural immersion to scenic exploration.
Begin your day by blending in with the locals, who often kickstart their mornings at the city's charming cafes. Alternatively, you can follow their lead and visit a local bakery to savor the delectable Icelandic treat known as "snudur."
For a spot of last-minute retail therapy, Laugavegur street invites you with its boutiques and specialty shops, catering to all budgets and tastes. You can also have your lunch in the area, which features the best local and international restaurants. They serve favorites such as lamb stew, seafood, vegetarian options, pizza, and more.
Alternatively, the city center unveils a treasure trove of iconic landmarks, perfect for sightseeing and capturing timeless photographs. This is your final chance to check off some sites from your bucket list.
The towering presence of Hallgrimskirkja, Iceland's tallest church, is a sight to behold. Its captivating facade, reminiscent of basalt columns, is a masterpiece in itself. Ascend to the church's heights to revel in panoramic vistas of the bustling streets and the tranquil bay.
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.
With all these options on your last day, just make sure to arrive at the Keflavik International Airport to return your car and have a good rest before your flight.
See you on your next trip to the enchanting land of fire and ice.
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.
Some optional activities might require you to have a valid driver's license, or you might need to send additional information to your travel planner. Please note that you might need to present medical documents should you choose to go snorkeling.
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 levels are 4-wheel-drive vehicles. The Icelandic highlands are only accessible by 4×4 jeeps, as required by the Icelandic law.
All our vehicles are new or current models, of maximum 2 years of age. Comes with standard Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) and Gravel Protection (GP) insurances. 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.
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.