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

In summer, the weather should be pleasant enough to spend hours outside, admiring the beauty of Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon.
Dyrhólaey is known for its puffin colony, hexagonal columns, cliffs and rock arch.
A rainbow created by the midnight sun and the spray of Skógafoss arches up the waterfall.
Walk the jet black sands of the Diamond Beach and see icebergs glistening in the scarlet light of the midnight sun.
Iceland has beautiful flora; though lupins are not native, they only add to this.
On the tallest hill in Reykjavík is the greatest building in the city, Hallgrímskirkja.

Embark on a real Icelandic adventure with this affordable six-day self-drive budget tour, where you visit the capital of Reykjavík before heading out to the south coast to behold Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. If you are looking to take control of the wheel instead of relying on tour guides and bus schedules, this adventure is perfect for you; and all without breaking the bank.

The highlights of this tour include the majestic waterfalls Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss, the historical site and geographical wonder of Þingvellir National Park, the spouting geysers in Haukadalur and the mystic black Reynisfjara coastal beach. You'll also see the great Vatnajökull glacier, and, of course, Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon

Set your own pace and trail along the ring road of Iceland as you make the most of every moment by witnessing incredible sceneries, historical landmarks and a myriad of must-see attractions.

To aid you on your travels, you will receive a detailed itinerary which helps you to experience the real side of Iceland and see how its history intertwines with its unbelievable nature.

During the booking process, you can add an array of activities to your adventures, such as hiking, snorkelling, snowmobiling and horseback riding, all of which provide for an authentic Icelandic experience.

If you wish to save money while receiving all the provisions needed for the Icelandic excursion of your dreams, book this tour now and make those dreams come true. Check availability by choosing a date.


Quick facts

Tour information:
  • Available: May. - Oct.
  • Duration: 6 days
  • Activities: Glacier Hiking, Snorkelling, Hiking, Snowmobile, Horse Riding, Whale Watching, Sightseeing, Boat Trip, Bird watching, Self drive
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Highlights: Reykjavík, Jökulsárlón, Skógafoss, Seljalandsfoss, Geysir, Gullfoss, Þingvellir, Vík í Mýrdal, Selfoss (waterfall), Kerið, Kirkjubæjarklaustur, South Coast
Pickup information:
  • Pickup time : Flexible

Included:
  • 5 nights of accommodation (different levels available; breakfast not included, shared bathrooms; more detailed info below)

  • Vehicle for 6 days (Toyota Aygo or similar, upgrades available)

  • CDW insurance for vehicle

  • GPS system

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

  • Taxes

  • Blue Lagoon entry ticket (please book online in advance if you plan to visit the Blue Lagoon)

  • Fuel

  • Meals


What to bring:
  • Warm and waterproof clothes

  • Good hiking boots

  • Driver's license

  • Swimsuit and towel


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.



Daily itinerary

Day 1 - Arrival in Iceland


An aerial view of Reykjavík reveals the beauty of the city under the midnight sun.


As you arrive at Keflavík International Airport, your rental car will be waiting for you. Drive through the beautiful lava fields of the Reykjanes Peninsula and reach your first destination of Reykjavík City; Iceland's charming and quirky capital.

After checking into your accommodation, the rest of the day belongs to you. Explore the vibrant city centre at your leisure, where an abundance of cafés, bars, museums, sights and restaurants await.

You'll spend your first night in a chosen accommodation in Reykjavík.


Preferred accommodation by Reykjavík

Reykjavík Super Budget

Rooms or dormitory beds with shared bathrooms in guesthouses or hostels, such as HI Hostel. Located in the capital region. Access to cooking facilities on premises. Breakfast not included.

Reykjavík Budget

Capital Inn is a 2-star hotel 3 km from the city centre, a short walk to Kringlan shopping mall and Nauthólsvík geothermal beach. Private bedrooms with a washbasin but shared bathrooms. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast not included.


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


Strokkur is one of Iceland's geysers, found on the Golden Circle in a valley called Haukadalur.


On your second day, your real adventure begins. Get ready to embark on the route of the Golden Circle; home to some of Iceland's greatest attractions. A good way to warm up before meeting nature head on is a horse-riding excursion where you can get up close and personal with the friendly and charming Icelandic horses.

Your first stop on the Golden Circle route is Þingvellir National Park. This is where the tectonic plates of North-America and Eurasia meet in a beautiful rift valley. The park is also the historical site of Alþingi, Iceland's first Parliment established in 930 AD. If you wish to experience floating in a crystal clear water in the rift itself, you can add snorkelling in Silfra fissure to your booking and swim between the continents.

Another highlight of the route is Haukadalur, a geothermal valley which boasts of Geysir and Strokkur; two world-famous geysers of which one is fully active and provides an unforgettable display every few minutes as it erupts. The area is filled with other geysers, both big and small, hot springs and bubbling mud pools. 

Last but not least there is Gullfoss, a cascading waterfall of great unharnessed energy. After having taken in the beauty of the falls, those with a thirst for adventure can opt for a snowmobile tour on top of Langjökull glacier for a thrilling ride across the ice cap.

Your final destination will be the area of Bláskógabyggð, where you will spend the night at your booked accommodation.


Preferred accommodation by Golden Circle

Golden Circle Super Budget

Laugarvatn HI hostel is located within Laugarvatn village. Dormitory rooms with shared facilities. Access to cooking facilities on premises. Free Wifi. Breakfast not included.

Golden Circle Budget

Héraðsskólinn Boutique Hostel is centrally located within Laugarvatn village. Private rooms with private or shared bathrooms. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast not included.


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


The cliffs along the South Coast have many waterfalls along them; Seljalandsfoss is the first those travelling from Reykjavík will encounter.


On day three, your drive south begins as you pass the infamous glacier volcano Eyjafjallajökull that so memorably erupted back in 2010 and stopped all European air traffic for a few days.

En route you are also advised to stop and see two of the most visited waterfalls in Iceland; Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss, the former of which you can walk behind into a cave to feel its mist on your face.

You can also detour to the folk museum at Skógar and behold restored traditional turf houses. As your drive continues towards Sólheimajökull glacier, you have the option of adding a glacier hike or another snowmobiling tour to your package, to make the day even more thrilling.

When you arrive in the coastal village of Vík, take your time to visit the black beach of Reynisfjara, sporting unique rocky basalt cliffs just offshore by the name of Reynisdrangar. Just be careful of the beach's powerful hidden currents. If you look up at Mount Reynisfjall in the summer, you might spot some resident puffins as they dive down the cliffs to feed off the sea.

Your final destination of the day will be the quaint and quiet Kirkjubæjarklaustur, where you will spend the night at an accommodation in the area.


Preferred accommodation by Kirkjubæjarklaustur

Kirkjubæjarklaustur Super Budget

Hunkubakkar Guesthouse is located 8 km from Kirkjubæjarklaustur town. Private Rooms with shared bathrooms. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast not included.

Kirkjubæjarklaustur Budget

Klausturhof Guesthouse is centrally located within Kirkjubæjarklaustur. Private bedrooms with shared bathrooms. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast not included.


Day 4 - Skaftafell: Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon & Diamond Beach


On the south-eastern corner of Iceland is one of the country's greatest tourist destinations, the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon.


On your fourth day, pay a visit to the waterfall Foss á Síðu or the stunning basalt columns Dverghamrar, before getting back on the ring road and crossing the black sandy plains of Skeiðarársandur.

This breathtaking road of glacial wasteland will bring you to Skaftafell Nature Reserve, part of the greater Vatnajökull National Park, where endless opportunities for sightseeing and adventuring await.

You can hike up to Svartifoss Waterfall where it cascades down a black basalt column wall, or add a guided glacier hike along the edge of Svínafellsjökull; one of Vatnajökull's many outlet glaciers.

As you have explored Skaftafell to your heart's content, continue east to arrive at the very highlight of the trip; Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon.

There, glistening icebergs that have broken off Iceland's largest ice cap gather to float in a blue lagoon of incredible beauty and an ever-changing scenery. If you want to take a closer look, book one of two available boat rides in the lake itself, so that the icebergs can surround you from all angles.

Once you have explored the lagoon, make the short walk to the one and only Diamond Beach, where pieces of ice have washed up on shore to sparkle in the sun like icy diamonds.

After this incredible day, you will make your way back to the area of Kirkjubæjarklaustur where you will spend another night.


Day 5 - Back to the Capital


The Blue Lagoon Spa is about forty minute's drive west of Reykjavík.


On your fifth day, it is time to head back to Reykjavík City. Feel free to take your time since this is your adventure and you are the driver. This is the opportunity to visit all the sights you missed on your way south.

You can check into your accommodation in the afternoon and spend the rest of the day either exploring the capital further or by visiting the Reykjanes Peninsula and its incredible landscapes.

You are sure to be tired after your travels, which is why it is recommended to take a short drive out of the city and visit the world-famous Blue Lagoon Spa. The mineral-rich waters of this healing wonder are sure to rejuvenate your body and spirit.

Just remember that the spa is in high demand, so book your vouchers in advance. You'll spend the night in Reykjavík.


Preferred accommodation by Reykjavík

Reykjavík Super Budget

Rooms or dormitory beds with shared bathrooms in guesthouses or hostels, such as HI Hostel. Located in the capital region. Access to cooking facilities on premises. Breakfast not included.

Reykjavík Budget

Capital Inn is a 2-star hotel 3 km from the city centre, a short walk to Kringlan shopping mall and Nauthólsvík geothermal beach. Private bedrooms with a washbasin but shared bathrooms. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast not included.


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


The Reykjanes Peninsula has many attractions, including the Reykjanesvíti Lighthouse, the oldest of its kind in the country.


This will be the last day of your Iceland adventure. Depending on your flight schedule, you can fit in some last-minute sightseeing or shopping in the capital.

The opportunities in the city are endless; you can visit the black beach at Grótta, hike through Elliðarárdalur, or visit the Hallgrímskirkja Church and the landmark building Perlan for panoramic views of the city.

Provided you have the energy, you might even have the time for a whale watching or horse-riding tour, as to top off your trip with something as memorable and unique as the rest of it.

Just remember to drop off your car at the airport in due time before your flight. Have a safe journey home and make sure to hold onto these memories forever.


Car

Below you can see the car rental options available for this self drive tour. All our vehicles are new or current models, maximum five years of age, and come equipped with a GPS and CDW insurance. You can also upgrade to an automatic model, free of charge.

Super Budget

A small 2WD vehicle fit for basic travelling in everyday conditions, such as Toyota Aygo, Hyundai i10 or similar. A simple, compact vehicle with very little luggage capacity. Comfortable for up to 2 travellers. This vehicle does not have highland capabilities.

Budget

A basic 2WD vehicle suitable for basic travelling in everyday conditions, such as VW Polo, Toyota Yaris or similar. Comfortable for 3 travellers with light luggage. 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.


Accommodation

See our accommodation levels below and our preferred accommodation partners under each day in the daily itinerary. Single person bookings will be arranged with a dorm bed (super budget) or a single room (budget). Budget bookings of 2 or more people will share twin/double room(s) or triple room(s). Super budget bookings are set to twin/double or triple room(s) depending on availability, or placed in dormitories. Guide to Iceland will provide you with the best available accommodation at the time of your booking from our preferred partners. Press choose a date to find availability.

Super Budget

Rooms or dormitory beds with shared bathrooms in guesthouses or hostels. Located in the region of the best attractions. Breakfast is not included.

Budget

Rooms with shared bathrooms in guesthouses, with good locations near the best attractions. Breakfast is not included.


Cancellation Insurance

This insurance guarantees that you can cancel the booking of this package and receive a full refund, minus the insurance cost of 5,000 ISK per person. The cancellation must be made within a minimum of 48-hours before the listed starting time. To cancel your booking and claim your refund, simply contact our service desk by writing to info@guidetoiceland.is no later than 48-hours before departure and declare the cancellation. Please note that this insurance only covers the full cancellation of this entire package. It does not cover cancellations of individual activities and services within the package. The cost of the Cancellation Insurance is neither refundable nor transferable.


Map


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

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