Jump into this camping adventure of a lifetime. This grand self-drive tour delivers you to some of the most remarkable Highland locations of Iceland. From the geothermal baths and hot springs of Landmannalaugar to the sheltered woodland paradise of Þórsmörk, you will get to see some of the rawest, most untouched parts of this incredible country.
It is not only the Highlands that will captivate you on this adventure, however; the tour also includes the South Coast. You'll have plenty of time to visit the plane wreckage of a 1973 crash, see puffins nesting in the seaside cliffs, and take photos of the magnificent waterfalls Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss. When you are the driver, where you go and how long you spend in each place is entirely up to you.
Within the booking process for this trip, you can also add some extra excursions to create the vacation you've always wanted. Along the Golden Circle, you can snorkel in Silfra fissure, shoot across the ice cap of Langjökull on a snowmobile or take a ride on one of Iceland's beautiful horses. You can either hike across the surface of a magnificent glacier at Sólheimajökull or descend into a unique and stunning ice cave in Mýrdalsjökull. The choice is yours.
You’ve got a lot of ground to cover for your stay in Iceland, and this tour takes you to many of the most popular sites. You will also receive a personal itinerary after you book, however, which will show you to more secluded locations. Here, you can avoid the crowds, stand in the desolate, beautiful landscapes, and truly reconnect with nature.
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After landing at Keflavík International Airport, pick up your rental car and head to the city of 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.
Make your way to the City Hall, found in downtown Reykjavík. There, you will receive your camping card so you can start your exploration of Iceland. If you wish, you can begin by exploring the vibrant capital which is packed with cultural sights, restaurants, bars and boutiques.
Remember that this vacation is all about doing what you want to, so just relax and enjoy your first day. The team at City Hall will be more than happy to recommend some top spots and activities to help you fully experience Iceland.
At the end of the day, make your way to the village of Þorlákshöfn, just south of Reykjavík. There, you'll find the first campsite of your journey.
Your journey begins properly on day two, and encompasses the magical Golden Circle, featuring some of Iceland’s most popular natural sights. Begin with a visit to the cultural and geological hotspot, Þingvellir National Park. Within this UNESCO World Heritage Site, you can literally walk between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates, and see where the world's longest running representative parliament was founded. You can also opt into a snorkel tour within the world-famous Silfra fissure, which is regularly voted as one of the world's top five dive sites.
Next on your route is the geothermal valley where you can see Geysir - the original “geyser” after which all others in the world are named - and its more active neighbour, Strokkur. This geyser spouts boiling water up to 20 m (66 ft) high every ten minutes or so. End the circle with a visit to the dramatic and powerful Gullfoss Falls; you can approach it right up to the water's edge, and really get a taste for the power of Iceland's nature.
From Gullfoss, it is possible to take a snowmobiling tour up on the glacier Langjökull, an activity not to be missed by thrill-seekers. You can also use this free time to take a two-hour long horse-riding tour nearby.
A site that is often missed by those on the Golden Circle is the volcanic crater lake of Kerið. It is a stunning location, the crater coloured with rust-red and fire-orange rocks, contrasting against the azure blue of the permanent lake within it.
After a long day of exploring, you'll make your way to a campsite in the Hvolsvöllur area where you will spend the next three nights.
On your third day, start with a drive to Iceland's most celebrated geothermal Highlands, Landmannalaugar. This incredibly beautiful region sports many fine options for hikes, and you will spend all day finding new wondrous paths. There are natural hot springs here, perfect for taking a long, relaxing bath while revelling in the rustic, untouched beauty that surrounds you.
After walking amongst steaming rivers and rhyolitic mountains, you'll make your way back to the campsite in the Hvolsvöllur area.
Day four will start with a drive along part of the south coast. On the way, you can stop at the Seljalandsfoss waterfall, which you can walk all the way around. Don't forget to stop at its lesser-known neighbour, however, the waterfall Gljúfrabúi. Gljúfrabúi falls from heights of 40 m (130 ft) and is partially hidden behind a large cliff; it is breathtaking and otherworldly. Keep an eye out as you drive on, since the infamous volcano beneath a glacier, Eyjafjallajökull, is in sight.
You can take the walking track that leads to the main area of Þórsmörk. Þórsmörk means 'Thor's land', and its incredible beauty will leave you in no doubt as to why it took the name of the most powerful of the old Norse gods. This incredible forested valley is sheltered by three mighty glaciers, meaning it is usually very temperate, perfect for hiking.
Spend the day exploring and drinking in some of the purest mountain air in the world, before heading back to the campsite at Hvolsvöllur.
On day five, you will start to properly explore the South Coast. First along the way, you will find Reynisfjara, the black sand beach in South Iceland, considered the country's most beautiful stretch of coastline by many. Here you can see a wall of basalt rocks and the sea stacks of Reynisfjara in the distance. These impressive features are rumoured to be the remains of a pair of trolls who waded out into the water to catch a passing ship, and turned to stone when they were caught by the light of the rising sun.
This area is also a very good location to see puffins, especially around the promontory Dyrhólaey, which is easily accessible from the small, charming village of Vík.
Further west is the plane wreck of Sólheimasandur, which has become a very popular attraction. It has been there since the winter of 1973, exposed to the elements and yet, like so many things in Iceland, has endured them steadfastly. A quick stop here allows for an excellent photo opportunity.
One of the most popular features on this stretch is the magnificent waterfall Skógafoss. It is 60 m (197 ft) in height, and after a heavy rain, can be a third of that in width. It releases so much spray that on a sunny day, the foot of the falls throws off many rainbows.
While travelling the south coast you can opt for several icy-tours such as a snowmobile tour or a glacier hike on Sólheimjökull glacier. You can also go for an ice cave tour near Katla volcano on the glacier Mýrdalsjökull. Whatever you choose, you'll be sure to leave these glacier adventures with memories that will last forever.
You'll spend your last night in Iceland at a campsite in the town of Þorlákshöfn.
Depart from Iceland feeling truly satisfied, having seen some of the main and most beautiful attractions of this island up close and personal.
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.
Off-road driving is illegal in Iceland. It is a highly fined offence. Avoid legal problems and make sure to stay on marked highland roads and paths. Believe us, this will already be adventure enough! Also note that highland roads are closed during wintertime, which normally open in mid-June and close in September.
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.
The vehicles offered for our self drive camping tours are highland capable and equipped with a roof top tent and necessary camping equipment suitable for two people. They come with a GPS and CDW insurance.