6 Day Self Drive Tour | The Golden Circle, Blue Lagoon & Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon

6 Day Self Drive Tour | The Golden Circle, Blue Lagoon & Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon
The icebergs on the Diamond Beach morph into strange shapes as they slowly melt into the waves that crash upon them.
Just on the cusps of midsummer, the church of Vík is surrounded by bluish purple lupins.
Hexagonal basalt columns are found in just a few places around Iceland, such as Svartifoss waterfall, the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, and Reynisfjara black sand beach (pictured).
Turf-roofed houses are historic sites, representing the ways that Icelanders lived for centuries.
By the tiny hamlet of Skógar on the South Coast is besides the mighty and impressive Skógafoss waterfall.
One of the rivers made up of the meltwater of Eyjafjallajökull leads into the beautiful Seljalandsfoss waterfall.
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Explore the best of Iceland on this affordable 6-day self-drive package. This tour takes you from the world-famous Blue Lagoon, through the vibrant capital city of Reykjavik, up the beautiful south coast, around the Golden Circle, and all the way to the incredible Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. 

You are behind the wheel on this self-drive so you can jam every minute with beautiful scenery, local hot spots, and historical landmarks, or you can choose a few must-see locations and go slowly, taking time to meet the locals and to set up gorgeous photos. 

To make sure your holiday is both relaxing and full of adventure, you will lodge in full comfort, with an ensuite bathroom and breakfast included.

On this tour, you will see incredible sights, including the waterfalls Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss, the fascinating rift valley of Þingvellir, and landmarks like Gullfoss waterfall and Reynisfjara beach. The tour is crowned, however, by an afternoon at Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, where you can watch seals rest on and frolic around beautiful icebergs, as they break from a glacier and float serenely to the ocean. 

It is important for most travellers that they experience the real Iceland, and feel its history within the stunning nature. To help you with this, you will receive a custom itinerary after who book, which will draw your attention to a few unique spots that will allow you to relax without the crowds, and take in the true desolate beauty of this country. 

Don't forget to take a look at the extra activities during booking. You can go hiking; ice caving; snorkelling; horse-riding; snowmobiling; and even descend into an empty magma chamber of a volcano. There are near endless options for those with a taste for adventure, and to top it off, they all come at a special price when included in this tour upon the time of booking. 

From spectacular mountain hikes to black sand beaches, waterfalls to the glacier lagoon, this trip has it all. Check availability by choosing a date.


Quick facts

Tour information:
  • Available: Apr. - Aug.
  • Duration: 6 days
  • Activities: Glacier Hiking, Snorkelling, Caving, Snowmobile, Horse Riding, Whale Watching, Sightseeing, Boat Trip, Hot Spring Bathing, Cultural Activity, Bird watching, Ice Caving, Self drive
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Highlights: Blue Lagoon, Golden Circle, Reykjavík, Jökulsárlón, Vatnajökull, Skógafoss, Seljalandsfoss, Geysir, Gullfoss, Eyjafjallajökull, Dyrhólaey, Þingvellir, Katla, Strokkur, Reykjanes, Sólheimajökull, Mýrdalsjökull, Skaftafell, Silfra, Sólheimasandur, Þríhnúkagígur, Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach, Langjökull, Hallgrímskirkja, Seltjarnarnes, Laugavegur (street), Vík í Mýrdal, Svartifoss, Skógar, Kerið, Keflavik International Airport, Fjaðrárgljúfur, Kirkjubæjarklaustur, Reynisdrangar, Haukadalur, Faxi, Skaftafellsjökull, Harpa – Reykjavik Concert Hall and Conference Centre, Foss a Síðu, Grótta, South Coast, Diamond Beach
Pickup information:
  • Pickup time : Flexible.

Your car will await you at Keflavík International Airport when you arrive. You will drop it off at Keflavík airport, too, when you depart from Iceland.
Included:
  • 5 nights of accommodation (different levels available; breakfast included. More detailed info below)

  • Vehicle for 6 days (VW Polo or similar. Upgrades available)

  • CDW, SCDW and gravel protection insurance for vehicle

  • GPS system

  • Detailed Itinerary with fun and practical information on the nature, history and culture of Iceland

  • Hands-on travel agent to oversee your itinerary

  • Taxes

  • Blue Lagoon entry ticket (can be added during booking process)

  • Fuel

  • Dinner

  • Lunch


What to bring:
  • Warm Clothes

  • Good hiking boots

  • Driver's license


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.

Wearing cotton or jeans as the outer layer during your trip to the Þríhnjúkagígur volcano tour is not allowed. Please wear suitable waterproof clothes and sturdy hiking shoes for this trip. It’s always the same temperature inside the crater – about 5–6°C (42–43°F). The Þríhnjúkagígur volcano tour involves a hike of approximately 3 km (2 miles) each way. The walk usually takes around 45–50 minutes (depending on the condition of people in the group). A guide will be with you at all times during the walk.

If you book the extra activities alongside this tour, you will get them at a lower price.



Daily itinerary

Day 1 - Arrival in Iceland - Optional Horseback Riding or Whale Watching


Reykjavík is a colourful, cultural and quirky capital city.


Collect your car from the airport upon arrival in Keflavík, before driving to your accommodation in the downtown area of the capital.

After getting settled at your hotel, the rest of the day is yours to explore the vibrant city centre with its abundance of cultural attractions, restaurants, and bars.

If you're interested in checking out Icelandic design or experiencing the city's thriving coffee culture, head to the main street, Laugavegur, and enjoy its various shops and cozy cafés. You'll spend your first night in a great location in downtown Reykjavík.


Preferred accommodation in Reykjavík

Reykjavík Comfort

The Fosshótel chain has four 3-4 star Hotels located in and around the city center of Reykjavík. There is a short walk from all of the hotels to attractions, cafés, restaurants, museums and the nightlife. All offer private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.

Reykjavík Quality

Alda Hotel is a 4 star hotel situated on Laugavegur, Reykjavík's main shopping street in the city centre. Private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free access to a fitness room with a sauna and a hot tub. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.


Day 2 - The Golden Circle: Thingvellir National Park - Geysers - Gullfoss Falls


Þingvellir National Park is popular for its geology and history, but scuba divers and snorkellers know it better for Silfra ravine.


On day two, you'll go on a trip around the famous Golden Circle of Iceland. Before you hit the road, however, you can choose to start your day with a subterranean adventure where you'll descend into the empty magma chamber of a volcano.

Your first stop on the Golden Circle route is Þingvellir National Park. Here, you can see the incredible Almannagjá gorge, where the national assembly, founded in 930 AD, used to gather. A natural wonder of Iceland, the gorge also marks the divide between two tectonic plates, and a walk along the easy path is literally a stroll between the continents of Europe and America. You can opt into an exhilarating snorkel tour through the Silfra fissure here too.

Next on the Golden Circle tour is the mighty Geysir in the Haukadalur geothermal valley. There are many steaming hot pools and fumaroles here, as well as the geyser Strokkur, which erupts every 10 minutes or so. Its spray reaches a height of around 20 m (66 ft), but it has been known to blast water at heights of almost double that.

Last but not least on the traditional Golden Circle route is the magnificent Gullfoss waterfall, Iceland's most popular tourist attraction. It is possible to walk close to the edge of these falls in decent weather, where you get a beautiful view of the cascading water and can really feel nature's incredible power.

After Gullfoss, you can add an exciting snowmobiling tour on Langjökull glacier. If neither this nor the snorkel appeal to you, you can instead opt for a horse-riding tour. Otherwise head straight to the main road and make a stop at the volcanic crater lake Kerið. The volcanic rock here is painted in colours of fiery orange and rust red, while the lake within is a cool azure oasis. The contrast is a breathtaking sight.

You'll spend the night in the Bláskógabyggð area.


Preferred accommodation by the Golden Circle

Golden Circle Comfort

Hotel Litli Geysir is a 3-star hotel located right across from Geysir geothermal area. Private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.

Golden Circle Quality

ION Adventure Hotel is a 4-star hotel which is located a short distance from Þingvellir National Park. It has private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free access to outdoor hot tubs. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.


Day 3 - The South Coast: Waterfalls, Glaciers and Black-Sand Beaches


Glacier hiking on Sólheimajökull is an exhilarating, educational and sightseeing experience.


As you continue your journey on day three, you will drive towards Eyjafjallajokull, the volcano under a glacier that made world headlines during 2010 when it brought European air traffic to a standstill.

You will then visit the beautiful waterfalls of Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss. After admiring them, a detour to the Skógar folk museum is highly recommended, where you can explore life in the old days of Iceland through the restored turf house, church, and other buildings.

Drive on towards Sólheimajökull glacier, where you can go on an optional glacier hike or snowmobiling tour, both of which promise excitement and incredibly beauty. You can also opt for an exciting ice cave tour that departs from the village Vík, where you're picked up by a super jeep and driven up the volcano Katla before you descend into the cave in Mýrdalsjökull glacier.

After that, take a moment to walk Reynisfjara beach, with a short stop at the village of Vík. Reynisfjara is one of Iceland’s most spectacular beaches because of its amazing black basalt cliffs, Garðar, and the Reynisdrangar sea stacks. It is also a great puffin watching location.

This beach, however, is one of Iceland's most dangerous places, so be careful not to get too close to the pounding surf; currents hidden in the swirling water can sweep you out to sea in no time. 

After this day of witnessing many incredible sights, you can rest for the night in the quiet Kirkjubæjarklaustur area.


Preferred accommodation by Kirkjubæjarklaustur

Kirkjubæjarklaustur Comfort

Fosshótel Núpar is a 3-star hotel with panoramic views of lava fields, mountains, and the glacier tongues of Vatnajökull glacier. Private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.

Kirkjubæjarklaustur Quality

Icelandair Hotel Klaustur is a 3-star hotel centrally located in the Kirkjubæjarklaustur town. Modern private rooms with private bathrooms. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.


Day 4 - Skaftafell - Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon and Diamond Beach


The Diamond Beach varies day to day on how many icebergs it has washed upon it, based on tides, the wind and other conditions.


On your fourth day, set out for the waterfall Foss a Síðu and the nearby Dverghamrar basalt columns, before taking the road over the vast glacial sands of Skeidararsandur.

Next on your route is the Skaftafell Nature Reserve, part of Vatnajokull National Park. Once there, you can hike to yet another impressive waterfall, Svartifoss, whose basalt columns served as an inspiration to architect Guðjón Samúelsson when he designed Hallgrimskirkja church and the roof of the National Theatre in Reykjavík.

There are plenty more options for hiking in the Skaftafell. One popular choice is a guided glacier walk along the edge of the Skaftafellsjökull glacier, a breathtaking trip that offers fantastic views over the surrounding area. You just need to make sure to opt into this while booking.

Once you are finished with Skaftafell, drive about 40 minutes further east to reach the magnificent Jökulsárlon glacier lagoon, the highlight of this trip. The lagoon is famous for its glistening icebergs; you have the option of taking a boat out for a closer look at them, either in a zodiac or amphibious vessel. Whether from a boat or from the shore, however, keep your eyes peeled in this area for the resident seals. 

From Jökulsárlon, walk down to the Diamond Beach, upon which many ice flows strand upon the shore like glittering jewels. Jökulsárlón and Diamond Beach are considered by many to be the most beautiful locations in Iceland.

After you have made the most of these incredible sights, spend another night in the peaceful Kirkjubæjarklaustur area.


Day 5 - Reykjavik City & Blue Lagoon


The Reykjanes Peninsula boasts the Blue Lagoon Spa near its tip.


At the start of your fifth day, head back towards Reykjavík. In the afternoon, you can check into your hotel and explore the city. Dotted around the downtown area are numerous cafés, bars, and restaurants. 

You can also find a slew of interesting museums. You can learn about the Viking settlers at the Settlement Exhibition or about the history of Iceland at the National Museum. You can also explore some alternative culture at the Icelandic Punk Museum and Freddi Arcade & Toy Museum.

If you are in the mood for relaxation after your days on the road, you can take a trip to the mystical Blue Lagoon Spa for a soak in its mineral-rich waters. After the long drive along the South Coast, it is well worth it to soothe those tense muscles and do nothing but bask in peace. 


Preferred accommodation in Reykjavík

Reykjavík Comfort

The Fosshótel chain has four 3-4 star Hotels located in and around the city center of Reykjavík. There is a short walk from all of the hotels to attractions, cafés, restaurants, museums and the nightlife. All offer private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.

Reykjavík Quality

Alda Hotel is a 4 star hotel situated on Laugavegur, Reykjavík's main shopping street in the city centre. Private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free access to a fitness room with a sauna and a hot tub. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.


Day 6 - Explore Reykjavik - Car Drop Off at the Airport


At the very end of the Reykjanes Peninsula is the Reykjanesvíti Lighthouse.


On your departure day, you can drop off your car at the airport. If your flight is in the late afternoon or evening, consider exploring some more of the city attractions in nearby downtown Reykjavík. Have you stopped by Perlan, a wonderful landmark with special shops and a viewing deck that allows you to see for miles around? Or climbed the church tower at Hallskrímskirkja for a panorama across the city? Both are definitely worth the trip.

A stop by Elliðarárdalur might be nice to. This is a lovely green park in the middle of the Reykjavik area, with plenty of walking paths for a sedate stroll, and biking trails beside charming waterways.

You could also seek out the Grótta lighthouse in nearby Seltjanarnes. The lighthouse is usually not open to visitors, but even so, it provides fine views on a clear day across Faxafloi bay, by which Reykjavík sits.

If you like, take a look at some of the Reykjanes Peninsula on your way to the airport, or go on a whale watching or horseback riding tour to put the cherry on top of your stay with us.


Accommodation

See our accommodation levels below and our preferred accommodation partners under each day in the daily itinerary. Comfort 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). For quality level, odd number groups will always be allocated a single room. 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.

Comfort

Rooms with a private bathroom in three star hotels or quality guesthouses. Very close to the best attractions at each location. Breakfast is included.

Quality

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.


Car

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.

Budget

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.

Comfort 4X4

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.

Luxury 4x4

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.


Cancellation Insurance

This insurance guarantees that you can cancel tour and package bookings and receive a full refund, minus the insurance cost of 5,000 ISK per person.

The cancellation must be made more than 48 hours before the listed starting time on your voucher. To cancel your booking and claim your refund, simply contact info@guidetoiceland.is and declare full cancellation.

Please note that this insurance covers the cancellation of the whole tour or package. Individual services cannot be cancelled and refunded separately, but are all covered and refunded in case of a full cancellation.


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Verified reviews

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Overall, a fantastic, flawless trip! The only downside is that I do wish there was accurate information available about estimated fuel costs for the trip!
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Guides were all great! GPS coordinates were accurate and tours were excellent! I liked how we started with the tours and were able to customize, or snap on, different adventures, detours, or activities. It was certainly a vacation to remember and I thank all the GuidToIceland staff for the support and curation of the adventures! I highly recommend!
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We booked our tour of Iceland through GtI after researching through various travel guides. Our family of four (two adults/two teens) followed the 6-day self driving tour of southern Iceland. GtI gave us an itinerary, booked our hotels, rented our car, and arranged for a couple of excursions along the way — Glacier hiking and puffin tour. Everything went very smoothly and GtI was available with any questions we had along the way: where to buy power converter in old port neighborhood of Reykjavik, etc. The hotels were (mostly) as promised — a couple of the hotels had rooms that were more “quaint” than “three-star” but the customer service at all hotels was excellent. We would recommend Guide to Iceland to anyone who wants to explore Iceland on their own rather than roll with a tour bus. It allowed us to decide when and where to stop, and for how long. We will use Guide to Iceland when we return to Iceland.
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We had a wonderful time in Iceland. The tour was very well planned and the timing of the itinerary was not too rushed. We think it is the best way to discover the country for the first time. We hope to come back to Iceland and visit other areas.
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We had an amazing time and Embla (our travel advisor) did a fantastic job arranging a wonderful tour and exactly what we wanted. We added an extra day in Reykjavik on the front end to decompress a bit, and I highly recommend this. We only picked the car up once ready to start touring. The highlights are too many, but we stuck to the itinerary precisely except for the final day returning to Reykjavik. The weather was rain, windy, and cold that day, so we chose to make a few detours and then basically get back to the city. Highly recommend Litli Geyser hotel in particular. It is a great location and has a very nice "lodge" vibe to it. I definitely recommend this style trip (self-driving) as opposed to the tour buses. It gives you much more flexibility and the ability to get away from the crowds if you want. I went with my 20-year old daughter and 18-year old son. A very memorable trip!
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This was a great way to visit Iceland. The Guide to Iceland agents were very helpful. Everything ran very smoothly once we arrived, from the car rental, to the hotel reservations to the excursions. The vouchers made it easy and the itinerary was perfect and easy to follow. Would definitely recommend this tour to first time visitors to Iceland.
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Our tour of Iceland was easy to book, Victoria was very helpful, and helped us make several alterations to our schedule. Sverrir at Guide to Iceland was extremely helpful after we arrived in Reykjavik, and needed to adjust our itinerary due to weather conditions, and our better understanding of the terrain. The office is centrally located in the City Hall, which was helpful. Our car was a new Toyota Rave 4, easy to familiarize ourselves; the hotels we were booked into were excellent, we particularly liked the Ion Adventure Hotel; the tours were fantastic, particularly the Glacier Ice Cave. We would definitely recommend Guide to Iceland.
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We had a wonderful time. The itinerary worked well and it was nice to set our own pace and spend time where we wanted. The hotel selections were outstanding. Hotel Ranga was amazing. The car rental worked well and delivery to our hotel saved us hours. A well planned trip!
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We had a wonderful time in Iceland. This was our first time in Iceland and having your itinerary was extremely helpful. The itinerary was very detailed and informative, the co-ordinates/directions were perfect and we found all the sites without any difficulty. The car was great with a very quick and easy pick up and drop off. We loved the Blue Lagoon which was very relaxing and a great way to start the trip. We also explored the baths at Fontana spa which was very relaxing too and not as crowded as Blue Lagoon. We ended up sticking to the itinerary for most of the days and managed to see most of the beautiful sites with enough time to spare and relax too. The hotels were all lovely with included breakfast; we loved the Foss hotel glacier Lagoon and the Little Geysir Hotel. The tours we signed up for (Zodiac boat tour and Ice cave tour) were both fantastic. I hope to visit Iceland again!
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6 Day Self Drive Tour | The Golden Circle, Blue Lagoon & Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon