6 Day Budget Self Drive Tour of Iceland with the Golden Circle & Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon
Embark on a real Icelandic adventure with this affordable six-day budget self-drive tour, where you visit the capital of Reykjavik before heading out to the south coast to behold Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon. This adventure is perfect for you and won't break the bank if you want to take control of the wheel instead of relying on tour guides and bus schedules.
The highlights of this tour include the majestic waterfalls Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss, the historical site and geographical wonder of Thingvellir National Park, the spouting geysers in Haukadalur, and the mystic black Reynisfjara coastal beach. You'll also see the great Vatnajokull glacier and, of course, Jokulsarlon 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 that 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, snorkeling, snowmobiling, horseback riding, and exploring the inside of a volcano, all of which provide 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.
Day 1 - Arrival in Iceland
As you arrive at Keflavik 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 Reykjavik City, Iceland's charming and quirky capital.
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 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.
After checking into your accommodation, the rest of the day belongs to you. Explore the vibrant city center 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 Reykjavik.
Day 2 - The Golden Circle: Thingvellir National Park, Geysers & Gullfoss Falls
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 most fantastic attractions. An excellent way to warm up before meeting nature head-on is a horse-riding excursion where you can personally get up close with the friendly and charming Icelandic horses.
You could also take a tour of the Thrihnukagigur volcano. Once there, you'll hop aboard an elevator and descend into the enormous and empty magma chamber to explore the volcano's vibrant colors and sheer size.
Your first stop on the Golden Circle route is Thingvellir National Par, where the tectonic plates of North America and Eurasia meet in a beautiful rift valley. The park is also the historical site of Althingi, Iceland's first parliament established in 930 AD. If you wish to experience floating in crystal clear water in the rift itself, you can add snorkeling in Silfra fissure to your booking and swim between the continents.
Another highlight is Haukadalur, a geothermal valley with Geysir and Strokkur, two world-famous geysers. The latter is fully active and provides an impressive display every few minutes as it erupts. The area also boasts 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 enjoying the beauty of the falls, you can opt for a snowmobile tour on top of Langjokull glacier.
Your final destination will be the area of Blaskogabyggd, where you will spend the night at your booked accommodation.
Day 3 - The South Coast: Waterfalls, Glaciers & Black-Sand Beaches
On day three, your drive south begins as you pass the infamous glacier volcano Eyjafjallajokull that so memorably erupted back in 2010 and stopped all European air traffic for a few days.
En route, you can stop and see two of the most visited waterfalls in Iceland, Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss, 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 Skogar and behold restored traditional turf houses. As your drive continues towards Solheimajokull 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 Vok, 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 Kirkjubaejarklaustur, where you will spend the night at an accommodation in the area.
Day 4 - Skaftafell: Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon & Diamond Beach
On your fourth day, pay a visit to the waterfall Foss a Sidu or the stunning basalt columns Dverghamrar before getting back on the ring road and crossing the black sandy plains of Skeidararsandur.
This breathtaking road of glacial wasteland will bring you to Skaftafell Nature Reserve, part of the greater Vatnajokull 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 one of Vatnajokull'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, Jokulsarlon 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 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 Kirkjubaejarklaustur, where you will spend another night.
Day 5 - Back to the Capital
On your fifth day, it is time to head back to Reykjavik. 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 exploring the capital further or 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 Reykjavik.
Day 6 - Explore Reykjavik - Car Drop Off at the Airport
This will be the last day of your Iceland adventure. 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.
The opportunities in the city are endless; you can visit the black beach at Grotta, hike through Ellidarardalur, or visit the Hallgrimskirkja 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 to top off your trip with something as memorable and unique as the rest of it. If you have an early flight back home, we wish you a pleasant journey.
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.
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.
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.
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. Budget level 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. 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.
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.
Below you can see the car rental options available for this self-drive tour.
All our vehicles are new or current models, of maximum 2 years of age. Super Budget levels come with standard CDW insurance, while all other levels also include Gravel Protection (GP) insurance. 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.
We recommend Budget 4X4 level for summer driving and Comfort 4X4 for winter driving.
A small 2WD vehicle such as Toyota Aygo or similar, fit for basic travelling in everyday conditions. Compact and comfortable for up to 2 travellers with very little luggage. No highland capabilities. The driver must be of 20 years of age or above.
A basic 2WD vehicle, such as a Toyota Yaris or similar, suitable for travelling in everyday conditions. Comfortable for 3 travellers with light luggage. This vehicle does not have highland capabilities. The driver must be of 20 years of age or above.
A basic 4WD (4X4) jeep or SUV such as a Dacia Duster or similar. Comfortably fit up to 3 travellers with 2 large pieces of luggage. Fit for most travel and decent for snow and off-asphalt driving. Has basic highland capabilities. The driver must be of 20 years of age or above.
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 (4WD manual, has highland capabilities and better suited for winter driving), 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.