6-Day Midnight Sun Summer Self-Drive Tour of Iceland’s Hidden Gems & Black Sand Beaches
Enjoy the best of Iceland with this six-day summer self-drive tour. On this itinerary, you'll find out what's hidden in the lava fields of the Reykjanes Peninsula, feel the powers of Icelandic nature on the Golden Circle route, visit a wealth of wonders on the South Coast, and encircle a mighty glacier on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula.
This tour is perfect for those wanting to set their own pace as they see Iceland's best features, like the erupting geyser Strokkur, the serene Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon, the sparkling Diamond Beach, and the picturesque Kirkjufell mountain.
Don't spend weeks planning the perfect adventure and risk leaving out some of the best sites. Your expert travel agent will ensure the significant aspects of your trip are sorted, saving you time and money.
This six-day self-drive tour begins when you pick up your modern rental car from Reykjavik or the Keflavik International Airport. An expert travel planner has organized your rental car and accommodation, which are included in the price.
Upon booking, you'll receive a personalized itinerary with the essential sightseeing locations and some off-the-beaten-track spots. But nothing is set in stone, so if you're returning to this land of ice and fire and would like to see something new, you can rearrange the itinerary, skipping the attractions you've seen in favor of new and exciting adventures.
You could also spice up these classic sights with a tour where you'll go snorkeling, snowmobiling, or riding an Icelandic horse. You can go glacier hiking, ice climbing, ice caving, descend into a volcano or a lava tube, or unwind in the Blue Lagoon Spa.
Each night on this six-day tour will be spent at the same accommodation in Reykjavik, 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.
After an epic six-day adventure, you'll drop your rental car back in Reykjavik or at the Keflavik International Airport in time for your flight home.
This self-drive tour offers you the ultimate freedom and flexibility to travel on your terms, visiting the attractions that most appeal to you. You can also contact us 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with any questions about your tour.
There's no risk because you can cancel your tour for free up to 24 hours before departure. So what are you waiting for?
Book now to secure your place on this family-friendly summer self-drive tour combining nature, adventure, and city comfort. Check availability now by choosing a date.
Day 1 - Arrive in Iceland and Explore Reykjavik
You'll arrive at the Keflavik 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 to Iceland's capital, Reykjavik.
Once in the city, settle into your accommodation for the next five nights. By staying in the same location, you can travel lightly, as you don't have to repack every day, ensuring a smooth and relaxing holiday.
You can start your Icelandic adventure by doing a little exploring around the city. Take a light stroll down the streets of Reykjavik to discover its many restaurants, bars, and cafes, or unwind in the warm, geothermal waters of a hot tub in one of the city's many swimming pools.
Reykjavik is a city steeped in history and culture, vividly reflected in its abundance of museums and art galleries. The National Museum of Iceland is an essential stop for anyone interested in Icelandic history, featuring an extensive collection that covers the nation's story from the Viking settlement to the present day.
Art enthusiasts will find a wealth of contemporary and traditional works at the Reykjavik Art Museum, spread across three locations, each offering unique exhibitions. The Einar Jonsson Museum, dedicated to the works of Iceland's most famous sculptor, provides an intriguing look into his creative process and inspirations.
Towering over the cityscape is Hallgrimskirkja, a grand Lutheran church and one of the city's most iconic buildings, offering stunning views from its observation tower. Down by the waterfront, the Harpa Concert Hall dazzles visitors with its geometric glass facade, reflecting the city and the surrounding landscapes.
Stroll along to the Sun Voyager, a steel sculpture by Jon Gunnar Arnason representing a dream of hope, progress, and freedom. The nearby historic Hofdi House, known for hosting the 1986 Reykjavik Summit meeting of presidents Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, is also a point of interest.
The striking modern building of Perlan sits atop hot water storage tanks. It has a museum and a rotating observation deck providing a 360-degree city view. Discover Perlan's fascinating interactive exhibitions and shows, such as the ice cave and glaciers exhibition, the Arora northern lights show, and the lava show highlighting the Geldingadalir volcanic eruption.
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. When you're ready to retire for the night, head to your comfortable city-center accommodation.
Day 2 - Hidden Treasures on the Reykjanes Peninsula
Day 3 - Adventures on the Golden Circle Route
After waking up in Reykjavik, start the day by heading out of the city to visit Iceland's most popular sightseeing route, the Golden Circle. Aside from the Thingvellir National Park, Geysir geothermal area, and Gullfoss waterfall, the three famous sites that make up the Golden Circle, you can also visit some secret spots along the way.
You're invited to add exciting tours during the booking process to spice up this day. You could start your journey by visiting a horse farm just outside Reykjavik city if you opt to. You'll meet friendly Icelandic horses there for a riding tour around the countryside. Icelandic horses are very gentle, so this trip is an excellent choice for children and adults alike.
Today, you'll visit Thingvellir National Park, the birthplace of Iceland's parliament. The park is in a valley between two tectonic plates 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 snorkeling in these waters. At Silfra fissure, you'll be given a drysuit and then taken to the crystal-clear waters, where you'll discover the electric blue underworld just below the water's surface.
You'll then move on to the bubbling mud pools, steaming hot springs, and erupting geysers of the Geysir geothermal area. The geyser Strokkur erupts every 5-10 minutes, giving you plenty of chances to capture a great selfie with the 66-foot (20-meter) 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 Hvita dramatically plunges 105 feet (32 meters) 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 Langjokull glacier, the same ice cap that feeds the river Hvita. 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 Reykjavik, there are a few secret spots you should check out as well, one aptly called 'The Secret Lagoon.' Located in the village of Fludir, the Secret Lagoon is a beautiful geothermal pool where the surrounding hot springs, fumaroles, and a small geyser provide a fantastical air of mystery.
You can check out the Fridheimar farm and learn how Icelanders harness geothermal energy to grow tomatoes and vegetables all year round or see a rainbow of colors at Kerid crater lake. The crater's steep walls, made of dark red volcanic rocks covered with bright green moss, surround the sky-blue water and give it an otherworldly appearance.
After another excellent day, head to your Reykjavik accommodation for a good night's sleep.
Day 4 - Journeying the South Coast
As this is a self-drive, you decide when you hit the road. However, the South Coast has beautiful attractions and activities, so you might want to start early today. You'll drive past glaciers that cover volcanoes on your way to see cascading waterfalls and black-sand beaches.
Head east, going through the geothermal town of Hveragerdi and the small village of Hvolsvollur. The first stop of the day is the stunning waterfall Seljalandsfoss. Wear waterproof clothes so you can follow the path behind the cascading water.
From Seljalandsfoss, you can take a short walk to a hidden gem, Gljufrabui waterfall, partly covered by large cliffs.
It's just a short drive to your next destination, Skogafoss, a massive cascade that will simultaneously show you Mother Nature's strength and beauty. The waterfall lies beneath the glaciers Eyjafjallajokull and Myrdalsjokull.
You can stop at Solheimajokull, an outlet glacier of Myrdalsjokull, for a glacier hike or an ice climbing tour. Or you could head further east to the village of Vik, where you'll board a super jeep to drive you up Myrdalsjokull glacier to an authentic ice cave. It's the only one of its kind accessible all year round.
Vik village is a great place to stop for lunch or snacks before returning to Reykjavik, as it sits on the banks of the black sand beach of Reynisfjara. Enjoy the views 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 returning 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 Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon. You can add on an optional boat tour at the lagoon during booking, a fantastic way to immerse yourself in this surreal landscape.
At the lagoon, massive icebergs break off the glacier and float peacefully in the water before drifting off to sea. You can see them wash up on shore and sparkle in the sun at the nearby Diamond beach.
Those looking to go on a different route today for hidden treasures can drive to the black sands of Solheimasandur, where they'll find the skeleton of a crashed DC airplane, then visit Seljavallalaug pool, hidden inside a mountain pass.
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 Reykjavik.
Day 5 - The Magical Snaefellsnes Peninsula
Today, you'll explore a 56-mile (90-kilometer) stretch of land filled with lava fields, beaches, charming fishing villages, a stunning coastline, and an inspiring glacier volcano. This little piece of land is sometimes nicknamed 'Iceland in Miniature' due to its many diverse attractions, but it's mainly called the Snaefellsnes Peninsula.
Start the day by driving past Reykjavik's mighty mountain Esja and into the green fields of West Iceland until you reach your first stop, the cliffs of Gerduberg. The site comprises a long belt of hexagonal basalt columns resembling an artificial 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 the few golden beaches in the country. Ytri-Tunga is a beautiful location filled with white dunes and small islets just off the coast and a great place to spot seals as they often swim in the ocean or laze on the shore.
You'll surely capture some fantastic photos in the peninsula's many villages, like the black church in Budir, the rock arch in Arnarstapi, the beautiful rock formations down by the sea at Hellnar, and the charming houses at Stykkisholmur.
Don't forget to stop by the coastline to see the massive Londrangar volcanic plugs that jut out of the ocean. You can also walk to the black pebble beach of Djupalonssandur, where remains of a ship that wrecked there in 1948 lie scattered around.
Watching over you on your journey is the mighty glacier volcano Snaefellsjokull. The glacier was an entryway to the underground adventure in Jules Verne's 1864 novel 'Journey to the Centre of the Earth.'
Today, you can have your own adventure with a visit to Vatnshellir lava cave, where you follow a path created by flowing lava thousands of years ago.
Before returning to Reykjavik, snap photos of the pyramid-shaped mountain Kirkjufell and its nearby waterfall. Fans of the HBO series Game of Thrones might recognize this striking feature.
After another fun-filled day, you'll return to Reykjavik and relax at your accommodation.
Day 6 - Leaving Iceland
On your last day in Iceland, you'll head out again to the moss-covered lava field of the Reykjanes Peninsula. Ensure you're at Keflavik International Airport in good time to return your vehicle and catch your departing flight.
If your flight leaves late, you can use your remaining time to explore the city further. A short drive away from downtown Reykjavik is the recreational area of Laugardalur. If the weather is nice, this is an excellent place for a short walk or a picnic.
You could visit Laugardalslaug, Reykjavik's largest swimming pool, 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.
Or, you could discover some of the city-center attractions you missed earlier in your trip. Hljomskala park is on the southern shore of Tjornin pond in the city center. This beautiful green space is adorned with statues of Iceland's most respected artists and musicians and is a popular spot for locals and visitors for picnics, walks, and relaxation.
Tjornin is a charming small lake in the heart of Reykjavík. Its surrounding parkland attracts city dwellers and visitors alike, who enjoy feeding the numerous ducks, swans, and geese that inhabit the area. Its serene atmosphere and proximity to key city institutions like the Reykjavik City Hall make it a key point of interest in the city's landscape.
You could also visit one of Reykjavik's museums if you have time. Perhaps you saw one of the city's well-known museums earlier in your trip? If so, you might want to check out something quirkier today, such as the Icelandic Phallological Museum or the Icelandic Punk Museum.
When it's time to depart Reykjavik, you'll drop your car back at the airport before checking in for your flight. Have a pleasant journey home, and we hope you return soon.
What to bring
Good to know
Self-drive tours begin either in Reykjavik city or at Keflavik International Airport. A valid driver's license and a one-year-long on-road experience are required. Please be aware that your itinerary may be rearranged to fit your arrival date and time better.
Some optional activities might require you to have 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 for snorkeling.
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 Thrihnjukagigur 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 42–43F (5-6 C). The Thrihnjukagigur volcano tour involves a hike of approximately 2 miles (3 kilometers) 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. For other 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).
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.
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.
Rooms with a private bathroom in three star hotels or quality guesthouses. Very close to the best attractions at each location. Breakfast is included.
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.
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 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.