6 Day Summer Self-Drive | Hidden Gems under the Midnight Sun

6 Day Summer Self-Drive | Hidden Gems under the Midnight Sun
Travel the South Coast as the midnight sun shines above with a 6-day summer self-drive tour.
You might spot a puffin or two on your summer self-drive tour.
See secret spots and hidden gems with a 6-day summer self-drive tour.
See what lies hidden in the otherworldly area of the Reykjanes Peninsula on your summer self-drive tour.
Visit the beautiful Skógafoss waterfall on the South Coast with a 6-day summer self-drive tour.
See geysers erupt as you travel the Golden Circle on your 6-day summer self-drive tour.

Enjoy Iceland with this 6-day summer self-drive tour where you’ll find out what’s hidden in the lava fields of the Reykjanes Peninsula, feel the powers of the Icelandic nature on the Golden Circle route, visit a wealth of wonders on the South Coast, and encircle a mighty glacier on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula.

This tour is perfect for those wanting to set their own pace and follow their own path as they see Iceland's best features like the erupting geyser Strokkur, the serene Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, the sparkling Diamond Beach, and the picturesque Kirkjufell mountain.

Upon booking, you will be provided with a personalised itinerary guiding you to the essential sightseeing locations as well as some off-the-beaten-track spots. But nothing is set in stone, so if you are returning to this land of ice and fire and would like to see something new, you can rearrange the itinerary, skipping the attraction you have seen in favour of new and exciting adventures.

You could also spice up these classic sights with a tour where you'll go snorkelling, snowmobiling or riding the Icelandic horse. You could also go glacier hiking, ice climbing, visit an authentic ice cave, descend into a volcano or a lava tube, take a super jeep tour to the Highlands or unwind in the Blue Lagoon Spa. 

Each night on this six-day tour will be spent at the same accommodation in Reykjavík, allowing you to travel freely around the country, enjoying the comfort and lively culture of the city and eliminating the need to repack every day.

Book now to secure your place on this family-friendly summer self-drive tour. Combine nature, adventure, and city comfort with this 6-day excursion. Check availability by choosing a date.


Quick facts

Tour information:
  • Available: Apr. - Sep.
  • Duration: 6 days
  • Activities: Glacier Hiking, Snorkelling, Caving, Hiking, Snowmobile, Super Jeep, Ice Climbing, Horse Riding, Sightseeing, Climbing, Hot Spring Bathing, Cultural Activity, Bird watching, Ice Caving, Self drive
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Minimum age: 2 years.
  • Highlights: Blue Lagoon, Golden Circle, South Shore, Highlands, Reykjavík, Jökulsárlón, Vatnajökull, Landmannalaugar, Snæfellsjökull, Skógafoss, Seljalandsfoss, Geysir, Gullfoss, Eyjafjallajökull, Þingvellir, Krýsuvík, Snæfellsnes, Reykjanes, Sólheimajökull, Mýrdalsjökull, Skaftafell, Silfra, Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach, Hellnar, Langjökull, Kleifarvatn, Arnarstapi, Vík í Mýrdal, Kerið, Kirkjufell, Reynisdrangar, Lóndrangar, Djúpalónssandur, Seltún Geothermal Area, South Coast, Diamond Beach, Ice Cave Tunnel, Krýsuvíkurbjarg
Pickup information:
    Please consult your itinerary for further information.
    Included:
    • 5 nights of accommodation in Reykjavík (different levels available; breakfast included for Comfort and Quality levels; more detailed info below)

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

    • CDW insurance for super budget level vehicle; other levels also include SCDW and gravel protection insurances

    • 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 entrance (can be added during booking process)

    • Optional excursions

    • Meals

    • Flights

    • Fuel


    What to bring:
    • Warm and waterproof clothes

    • Good shoes

    • Swimsuit and towel

    • 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.

    Some optional activities might need either 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 snorkelling.

    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.



    Daily itinerary

    Day 1 - Arriving in Iceland


    Reykjavík's iconic building, Hallgrímskirkja church, bathed in the summer sun's rays.


    You’ll arrive at Keflavík International Airport which is nestled in the middle of the dark lava fields of the Reykjanes Peninsula. Pick up your car and drive through this black desert on your way to Iceland’s capital, Reykjavík.

    Once in the city, settle into your accommodation which will be your home for the next five nights. By staying in the same location, you’ll be given the freedom travel lightly, as you don’t have to repack every day, allowing you to have a smooth and relaxing holiday.

    You can start your Icelandic adventure by doing a little exploring the city. Take a light stroll down the streets of Reykjavík to discover its many restaurants, bars and cafés or unwind in the warm, geothermal waters of a hot tub in one of the city’s many swimming pools.

    Be careful not to stay out too late! The bright midnight sun can make you forget what time it is, and you have a busy few days ahead of you.


    Preferred accommodation in 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 out of the city centre, with a short walk to Kringlan shopping mall and Nauthólsvík geothermal beach. Private bedrooms with a washbasin but shared bathrooms. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is not included.

    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 - Hidden Treasures on the Reykjanes Peninsula


    Discover gems hidden on the Reykjanes Peninsula with a 6-day summer self-drive tour.


    Today, you’ll return to the dark desert of the Reykjanes Peninsula to discover the hidden gems that lie nestled there amidst the moss-covered lava rocks.

    The Reykjanes Peninsula is best known for being the home of Keflavík International Airport and the world-renowned Blue Lagoon Spa, and although thousands of people visit these places each year, few take the time to stop at the peninsula’s other areas. This makes Reykjanes the perfect place for those seeking some off-the-beaten-track location.

    Start the day by heading to the geothermal lake of Kleifarvatn, which lies between steep rocks and black sand. The surrounding volcanic landscapes are in stark contrast to the calm, azure blue lake, providing you with an amazing scene for some otherworldly photographs.

    From there, you can visit the Krýsuvík area. This is a great spot for hiking enthusiast as there are many trails and tracks that lead you around this colourful geothermal region. You can see bubbling mud pools, steam vents, explosion craters and lakes in Krýsuvík, just make sure you stick to the walking path and keeping a healthy distance from anything that looks like it might be too hot.

    A short drive away are the Krýsuvíkurberg cliffs, a 15 kilometre long and 40-metre high sea cliffs that over 57 thousand seabird couples call home each summer. You might spot a few black-legged kittiwakes, common murres and razorbills, as they are the most common sight, but you should also keep an eye out for northern fulmars, European herring gulls, and Atlantic puffins.

    The Reykjanes Peninsula holds many other secret spots, such as the strange lava rocks at Brimketill, the geothermal area of Seltún and Gunnuhver, and a bridge that connect the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. You could also visit the peninsula’s many charming villages and towns for seafood dinners or to check out their quirky museums.

    Before you return to your accommodation in Reykjavík city, you can end the day by visiting the famed Blue Lagoon spa and unwind in its warm, geothermal waters. The minerals in the lagoon are said to do wonders for your skin.

    If you arrived in the country early on the previous day, you could spend your arrival day visiting the Blue Lagoon and these Reykjanes attractions, and use this day to join an exciting and unique activity - inside a volcano! On the tour, you'll descend into a vast and colourful magma chamber of a dormant volcano to see the strange formations inside and the vibrant walls.


    Day 3 - Adventures on the Golden Circle Route


    Visit the Golden Circle to see the geyser Strokkur erupt on a summer self-drive tour.


    After waking up in Reykjavík, start the day by heading out of the city to visit Iceland’s most popular sightseeing route, the Golden Circle. Aside from Þingvellir National Park, Geysir geothermal area and Gullfoss waterfall, the three famous sites that make up the Golden Circle, you can also visit some secrets spots along the way.

    During the booking process, you are invited to add on some exciting tours to spice up this day. If you opted to, you could start your journey by visiting a horse farm just outside Reykjavík city. There, you will meet the friendly Icelandic horse for a riding tour around the countryside. Icelandic horses are very gentle, so this trip is an excellent choice for both children and adults alike.

    You will then head to Þingvellir National Park, the birthplace of Iceland’s parliament. The park is located in a valley between two tectonic plates that are drifting apart. As the continents shift, they create canyons and fissures that are visible in the area.

    Some of those fissures are filled with underground meltwater from nearby glaciers, and today, you can go snorkelling in these waters. At Silfra fissure, you’ll be suited up in a drysuit and then taken to the crystal-clear waters where you’ll discover the electric blue underworld that lies just below the water’s surface.

    You’ll then move on to the bubbling mud pools, the steaming hot springs and erupting geysers of the Geysir geothermal area. There, the geyser Strokkur erupts every 5-10 minutes, giving you plenty of chances to capture a great selfie with the 20-metre water column in the background.

    Next up is the ‘Golden Waterfall’ Gullfoss. From several viewing platforms, you’ll be able to see as the river Hvítá, dramatically plunges down 32-metres into an ancient canyon, creating a thundering noise that will shake your core and echo in your ear.

    During the booking process, you can opt for a tour that departs from Gullfoss waterfall, where you visit Langjökull glacier, the same ice cap that feeds the river Hvítá. There, you’ll hop aboard a snowmobile and race across the white expanse, filling your veins with adrenaline and your lungs with cool glacial air.

    Before you return to Reykjavík, there are a few secret spots you should check out as well, one aptly called ‘The Secret Lagoon’. Located in the village of Flúðir, the Secret Lagoon is a beautiful, geothermal pool where the surrounding hot springs, fumaroles and small geyser provide a fantastical air of mystery.

    You can check out the Friðheimar farm and learn how Icelanders harness geothermal energy to grow tomatoes and vegetables all year round, or see a rainbow of colours at Kerið crater lake. The crater’s steep walls, made of dark red volcanic rocks which are covered with bright green moss, surround the sky-blue water and give it an otherworldly appearance.


    Day 4 - Journeying the South Coast


    Travel the South Coast on a summer self-drive tour to see the magnificent Skógafoss waterfall.


    As this is a self-drive, you decide when you hit the road. However, the South Coast is filled with beautiful attractions and activities, so you might want to think about getting an early start today. You’ll be driving past glaciers that cover volcanoes on your way to see cascading waterfalls and black sand beaches.

    Head east, making your way through the geothermal town of Hveragerði and the small village of Hvolsvöllur. The first stop of the day is the stunning waterfall Seljalandsfoss. Make sure to pack waterproof clothes as you will be able to follow a footpath that leads you behind the cascading water. From Seljalandsfoss, you can take a short walk to a hidden gem, Gljúfrabúi waterfall which is partly covered by large cliffs.

    It is just a short drive to your next destination, Skógafoss, a massive cascade that will show you both Mother Nature’s strength and beauty at the same time. The waterfall lies beneath the glaciers Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull, and today on your journey, you can opt for some exciting glacier-adventures.

    You can stop at Sólheimajökull, an outlet glacier of Mýrdalsjökull, to take part in a glacier hike or an ice climbing tour. You can also head further east, to the village of Vík, where you’ll board a super jeep, a large, custom vehicle that will drive you up Mýrdalsjökull glacier to an authentic ice cave. The only one of its kind accessible all year round.

    The village of Vík is a great place to stop for lunch or snacks before returning to Reykjavík as it sits on the banks of the black sand beach of Reynisfjara. Take in the view of the crashing Atlantic Ocean waves, hitting both the beach and the massive Reynisdrangar sea stacks which rise out of the ocean like petrified trolls, before making your way back to the city.

    However, if you are an enthusiastic sightseer, you can skip the optional tours, delay your returning journey, and continue further east to see the stunning Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. At the lagoon, massive icebergs that have broken off a nearby glacier float peacefully in the water before drifting off to sea.

    Those looking to go on a different route today and want to see some hidden treasures can drive to the black sands of Sólheimasandur where they’ll find the skeleton of a crashed DC airplane, then visit Seljavallalaug pool which is hidden inside a mountain pass. You could also ditch your car for a few hours, hop aboard a super jeep and drive into the Highlands to see the rhyolitic mountains at Landmannalaugar geothermal area.

    Whatever you decide to do today, you'll be filled with great memories of a fantastic day on the South Coast as you return to your accommodation in Reykjavík city.  


    Day 5 - The Magical Snaefellsnes Peninsula


    Encircle the Snæfellsnes Peninsula on your 6-day summer self-drive tour and see the majestic mountain Kirkjufell.


    Today you’ll explore a 90 kilometre stretch of land that is filled with lava fields, beaches, charming fishing villages, stunning coastline and an inspiring glacier volcano. This little piece of land is sometimes nicknamed ‘Iceland in Miniature’ due to the many diverse attractions, but most of the time it is just called the Snæfellsnes Peninsula.

    Start the day by driving past Reykjavík’s mighty mountain Esja and into the green fields of western Iceland until you reach your first stop, the cliffs of Gerðuberg. The site is made of a long belt of hexagonal basalt columns that resemble a man-made castle wall but these form naturally in Iceland’s volcanic environment.

    Icelandic beaches are usually jet-black, but your next stop is at one of few white beaches in the country. Ytri-Tunga is not only a beautiful location, filled with white dunes and small islets just off the coast, but it is a great place to spot seals as they can often be seen swimming in the ocean or lazing on the shore.

    You’ll be sure to capture some amazing photos in the peninsula’s many villages, like the black church in Búðir, the rock arch in Arnarstapi, the beautiful rock formations down by the sea at Hellnar, and the charming houses at Stykkishólmur.

    Don’t forget to stop by the coastline to see the massive Lóndrangar volcanic plugs that jut out of the ocean, and to walk to the black pebble beach of Djúpalónssandur, where remains of a ship that wrecked there in 1948 lie scattered around.

    Watching over you on your journey is the mighty glacier volcano Snæfellsjökull. The glacier served as an entryway to the subterranean adventure in Jules Verne’s 1864’s novel 'Journey to the Centre of the Earth'. Today, you can have your own adventure underground with a visit to Vatnshellir lava cave where you follow a path that was created by flowing lava thousands of years ago.

    Before you head back to Reykjavík, be sure to stop near the town of Grundarfjörður to snap a few photos of the pyramid-shaped mountain Kirkjufell and its nearby waterfall. Fans of the HBO series Game of Thrones might recognise this striking feature.


    Day 6 - Leaving Iceland


    Watch the sun hide behind the mountain Esja from Reykjavík city's Sun Voyager sculpture.


    On your last day in Iceland, you will head, once again, out to the moss-covered lava field of the Reykjanes Peninsula. Make sure you’ll be at Keflavík International Airport in good time to return your vehicle and catch your departing flight.

    If your flight leaves late, you can use the time you have left exploring the city further. A short drive away from downtown Reykjavík is the recreational area of Laugardalur. If the weather is nice, then this is a great place for a short walk or a picnic.

    You could visit Laugardalslaug, Reykjavík’s largest swimming pool, which comes equipped with lap lanes, geothermal hot tubs, steam rooms and a water slide. You could also check out the nearby Family Park and Zoo to see Icelandic wildlife animals and meet a few Icelandic horses and sheep before hopping back in your car and driving to the Airport.

    Have a nice flight and come back soon.


    Accommodation

    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 budget and 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.

    Super Budget

    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 farmhouses, guesthouses or hostels, with good locations near the best attractions. Breakfast is not included.

    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. Super budget 2WD vehicles are maximum 5 years of age, and come equipped with a GPS and standard CDW insurance. Budget 2WD, Comfort 4x4 and Luxury 4x4 level vehicles are maximum two years of age, and come equipped with a GPS, CDW, GP and SCDW insurances. You can also upgrade to an automatic model.

    Super Budget 2WD

    A small 2WD vehicle such as Toyota Aygo, Hyundai i10 or similar, fit for basic travelling in everyday conditions. Compact and comfortable for up to 2 travellers with very little luggage. No highland capabilities.

    Budget 2WD

    A basic 2WD vehicle such as VW Polo, Toyota Yaris or similar, suitable for travelling in everyday conditions. Comfortable for 3 travellers with light luggage. This vehicle does not have highland capabilities.

    Comfort 4x4

    A medium sized 4WD (4x4) jeep or SUV such as Toyota Rav4 or similar. Fit for most travel, and good for snow and off-asphalt driving. This vehicle has basic highland capabilities. Recommended.

    Luxury 4x4

    A large sized 4WD (4x4) jeep such as Toyota Land Cruiser or similar, fit for nearly all travelling. This vehicle has full highland capabilities to drive on accessible mountain roads. Note that off-road driving is illegal.


    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.


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    6 Day Summer Self-Drive | Hidden Gems under the Midnight Sun
     
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