Unforgettable 7-Day Self-Drive Tour of West & South Iceland with the Golden Circle

A golden glow illuminates an iceberg on the South Coast of Iceland at the incredible Diamond Beach.
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Description

Summary

Tour starts
Keflavík Airport
Starting time
Flexible
Duration
7 days
Ending place
Keflavík Airport
Difficulty
Easy
Available
Apr. - Aug.
Ending time
Flexible
Minimum age
None

Description

Explore all of Iceland's most popular destinations, including the Golden Circle sightseeing route, by booking this awe-inspiring seven-day self-drive tour around the west and south of the country. Those who want to choose where to go and what to do in Iceland without worrying about tour guides or other people in a group should book this package now.

Highlights of this self-drive tour include the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon on the South Coast, the Snaefellsnes Peninsula on the west, the capital city Reykjavik, the famous Golden Circle sightseeing route, and the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa. 

All accommodations on the tour will come with an ensuite bathroom, and breakfast is included so that you will lodge in total comfort during your stay.

You will receive a detailed itinerary after you book, which will help ensure you don't miss out on any of the beautiful sights Iceland offers, which can be a risk when you plan a trip yourself. You don't need to spend weeks planning the perfect itinerary, as it's all been done for you at a great price.

You'll be visiting all three national parks in Iceland. You'll also see plenty of waterfalls, black sandy beaches, glaciers, volcanoes, and hot springs around every corner. Some of the most popular destinations on your itinerary include the Gullfoss waterfall, Reynisfjara black sand beach, Kirkjufell mountain, and the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon.

You can even add some guided tours to your itinerary. 

Before visiting the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, you can explore the magma chamber of a volcano. On your way around the

Golden Circle sightseeing route, you can snorkel in the divide between continents at Silfra Gorge or snowmobile on the ice cap of Langjokull glacier.

You can take a boat tour around Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon, strap on your crampons and go into an ice cave on Myrdalsjokull glacier, or hike across the ridges of the glaciers Solheimajokull or Skaftafellsjokull. 

On this trip, there is plenty of time to make the most of these incredible opportunities. You can be as flexible as you like as you don't need to wait for tour guides or other guests. Because of this, people love this tour and rate it very highly.

You will get a personal travel agent available at any time, seven days a week, to answer any questions or assist in emergencies. If your plans change, you can cancel and get a full refund up to 24 hours before departure.

Don't miss this immersive seven-day tour exploring some of Iceland's most famous sights and setting out on thrilling tours. Check availability now by choosing a date.

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Included

6 nights of accommodation (different levels available, breakfast included. More detailed info below)
New rental vehicle for 7 days (Toyota Aygo or similar. Upgrades available)
CDW insurance for super budget level vehicle, other levels include gravel protection insurance
Free Wi-Fi in vehicle
Detailed itinerary
Personal travel agent
Taxes

Activities

Glacier Hiking
Snorkelling
Caving
Snowmobile
Horse Riding
Whale Watching
Sightseeing
Boat Trip
Hot Spring Bathing
Cultural Activity
Bird watching
Ice Caving
Self drive

Daily itinerary

Day 1
Hallgrimskirkja in Iceland's capital city, Reykjavik.

Day 1 - Blue Lagoon & Reykjavík

Welcome to your summer adventure in the land of fire and ice.

On the first day of your seven-day road trip around Iceland, you will arrive in the country and, depending on your flight time, head to the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa or Reykjavik.

Your car will be waiting for you outside the Keflavik International Airport, with Wi-Fi to help you find your way. 

You could stop at the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa on your way to Iceland's capital city. This world-renowned spa is known for its healing waters, vivid azure colors, and luxurious treatments. 

It is in the middle of a moss-covered lava field, giving it an otherworldly atmosphere. Adding the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa trip to your itinerary 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. If you have extra free time, there is still plenty to see and do in Reykjavik and the Reykjanes Peninsula.

As soon as you arrive in Reykjavik, you'll be able to enjoy some of its quirky culture. Despite the city's small size compared to most European capitals, Reykjavik is brimming with cultural delights and natural features.

You can walk around the city center to look at Harpa Concert Hall, the famous architecture of Hallgrimskirkja church, and the funky boutiques and galleries of the old harbor district and Laugavegur shopping street. Harpa and Hallgrimskirkja are two of the most exciting cultural landmarks in the city.

Spoil yourself by checking out some local cuisine in one of the city's many delicious restaurants, or try a craft beer at one of its local bars. Don't forget to try the Icelandic lamb, which is a hallmark of the local cuisine.

You'll spend tonight in comfortable accommodation in the city.

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Day 2
Kirkjufell mountain on the Snaefellsnes peninsula, a popular spot for sightseers and experienced rock-climbers.

Day 2 - Snaefellsjokull National Park

On the second day of your seven-day self-drive tour of West and South Iceland, you'll be spending the day exploring the stunning Snaefellsnes Peninsula and its sights, including the Snaefellsjokull glacier, the villages of Hellnar and Arnarstapi, and Djupalonssandur beach.

Your first stop is the Snaefellsjokull glacier volcano. Often referred to as the "gateway to the center of the Earth," this volcano was used as the setting for the subterranean trip in the Jules Verne novel 'Journey to the Centre of the Earth.'

Snaefellsjokull offers breathtaking views of its icy summit, rugged lava fields, and dramatic coastal scenery. Many believe it possesses powerful energy and spiritual significance. 

Visitors can hike or explore the surrounding national park, witnessing the contrasts between glacial ice and volcanic activity and immersing themselves in the awe-inspiring natural wonders of this enigmatic glacier volcano.

If you wish to learn more about volcanoes and have your underground journey, you can start the day with a tour of the magma chamber of Thrihnukagigur. 

From Reykjavik, you'll board a tour bus that will take you to this inactive volcano, where you will board a lift that takes you down inside the now-empty magma chamber. 

Once you are ready to hit the road, make your way to Snaefellsnes, where you'll find the charming villages Hellnar and Arnarstapi, peculiar rock formations, and the stunning Djupalonssandur beach, to name but a few attractions. 

You'll also see plenty of birdlife amidst the scenery.

The rest of the peninsula has more to offer, with plenty of rivers, lava fields, waterfalls, mountains, and beaches. It is also home to the most photographed peak in Iceland, Kirkjufell mountain, which towers at 1,519 feet (463 meters).

The Snaefellsnes Peninsula is one of Iceland's gems, and you'll have no shortage of things to do. You will spend your night in comfortable accommodation in the region.

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Day 3
A church in the Thingvellir National Park, one of the stops on the Golden Circle sightseeing route.

Day 3 - The Golden Circle

On your third day of this self-drive tour of Iceland, you'll leave your accommodation in Snaefellsnes and explore Iceland's most popular attraction, the Golden Circle sightseeing route. 

On your way there, you will go through the Borgarfjordur area. The fjord is a stunning sight, surrounded by picturesque mountains, cascading waterfalls, and lush valleys. 

It is home to Hraunfossar waterfall and Barnafoss waterfall, two spectacular waterfalls renowned for their unique formations. The region also boasts historical sites such as Reykholt, once the residence of renowned medieval scholar Snorri Sturluson. 

Borgarfjordur is known for its geothermal activity, with hot springs like Deildartunguhver and Krauma offering relaxing baths. 

You'll then visit the Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a central location in Icelandic heritage. The world's longest-running representative parliament was founded here. 

It is also located in the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, where the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates are slowly drifting apart. You can even snorkel between them in a crystal clear ravine, Silfra. Participants in the optional snorkeling excursion need to be comfortable in the water and be able to swim.

There are two other tours you can partake in today. Take a caving adventure in the Vidgelmir lava tube or explore the man-made ice tunnels inside Langjokull glacier.

After Thingvellir National Park, you will head to the Geysir geothermal area. This valley of hot springs and fumaroles is home to Geysir and its much more active neighbor Strokkur. 

While the former is largely inactive, the latter blasts water over 66 feet (20 meters) high every five to ten minutes.

The final stop on the circle is the golden waterfall, Gullfoss. This magnificent attraction is breathtaking to behold, and walkways let you get right up to the water's edge in good weather, close enough to truly appreciate its mighty power. 

After seeing the sights of the Golden Circle, you can head to one of the many spas in the area. The Secret Lagoon geothermal spa, close to the town of Fludir, is historical and serene. 

At the same time, the geothermal spas at Laugarvatn will be just as refreshing and are close to your accommodation in Southwest Iceland.

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Day 4
Seljalandsfoss waterfall, here you can see the path which goes behind the falling water.

Day 4 - The South Coast of Iceland

On day four of your self-drive vacation around Iceland, you'll continue driving the South Coast of Iceland from Lake Laugavatn. You'll see craters, rock formations, and black sand beaches along the way.

Your first stop of the day should be the Kerid crater. Here, you can admire the spectacular fiery coloration of the mineral-rich rock surrounding the vivid blue lake resting at its bottom. 

Next, head to two of Iceland's most incredible waterfalls, Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss. 

Standing at approximately 197 feet (60 meters) tall, Seljalandsfoss waterfall captivates visitors with its sheer beauty and the unique feature that it is known for. It offers the rare opportunity to walk behind the cascading water as it has a path around it. 

The breathtaking sight of water gracefully plummeting from the cliffs creates a magical atmosphere. Seljalandsfoss waterfall is fed by the melting waters of the Eyjafjallajokull glacier, and its surrounding lush greenery adds to the picturesque scene.

A little further down, you will come across Solheimajokull glacier and can walk up to its tongue. As an outlet glacier of the larger Myrdalsjokull ice cap, it showcases a breathtaking blend of rugged ice formations, deep crevasses, and mesmerizing blue ice caves. 

Solheimajokull glacier offers a captivating glimpse into the ever-changing world of glaciers, with its stark contrasts and surreal beauty. 

You can even take a glacier hiking tour here to climb it. Or take the other option to get up and close on a glacier by taking a snowmobiling tour. Guided tours also provide an opportunity to witness the impact of climate change as the glacier recedes over time. 

Further east along the coast, venture out to the Dyrholaey cliff, famous for its enormous sea arch and the nearby black sands of Reynisfjara beach, where the impressive Reynisdrangar basalt sea stacks rise from the water. 

Your accommodation for tonight will be nearby in a charming village in South Iceland.

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Day 5
The midnight sun over the Diamond Beach in summer in Iceland.

Day 5 - Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon & Vatnajokull National Park

On the fifth day of your self-drive tour around West and South Iceland, you will explore two of Iceland's most beautiful attractions, the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon and the Vatnajokull National Park.

After breakfast at your accommodation, it's time to set off. Drive from Vik along the South Coast towards the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon. 

Along the way, you'll pass stunning volcanic deserts and have an incredible view of the impressive Vatnajokull glacier, the largest glacier in Europe. It covers an area of over 4970 miles (8,000 square kilometers), encompassing mesmerizing ice caves, glacial lagoons, and stunning ice formations.

If you prefer, you can start this day by taking an exciting ice cave tour to Myrdalsjokull, a glacier that covers an active volcano. The Katla cave is the only ice cave you can explore during the summer months. 

On your way to Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon, stop at the charming, historic village of Kirkjubaejarklaustur for a short hike or a bite. 

Further ahead, you should head into the Skaftafell Nature Reserve, within the Vatanjokull National Park, for some incredible landscapes. 

This area has many hikes, including the beautiful waterfall Svartifoss, which tumbles off a cliff of unique, hexagonal basalt columns. You can also opt for another glacier hike today or save it for tomorrow.

You'll end your day's journey at the stunning Jokulsárlon glacier lagoon, where you'll surely want to admire icebergs as they float to the ocean or wash up on Diamond Beach. 

This area is considered by many to be Iceland's most beautiful spot and for good reason. If you wish to get closer to the icebergs in the lagoon, you can opt for a boat tour that will take you right out to them, either in an amphibious boat or a zodiac.

You'll stay in a countryside hotel in Southeast Iceland near Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon this evening.

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Day 6
The white church in the charming village of Vik in South Iceland looks over the sea and its rock formations.

Day 6 - Drive Back to Reykjavík

The sixth day of your self-drive tour is your final full day in Iceland. Today, you'll head back to Reykjavik.

If you decide to save some adventure for today, you can go on a glacier hike before your drive back to Reykjavik or take a boat ride out onto the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon. 

A glacier hike in Iceland promises an exhilarating and unforgettable adventure. Equipped with crampons and ice axes and guided by experienced glacier guides, you'll traverse the icy landscape of a breathtaking glacier. 

The journey takes you through towering ice formations, deep crevasses, and stunning blue ice. As you navigate the glacier's ever-changing surface, you'll witness awe-inspiring views of the mountains, icefalls, and glacial rivers. 

Your guides will share fascinating insights into the glacier's formation, movement, and impact of climate change. It's a physically demanding but gratifying experience, immersing you in Iceland's glacial landscapes' raw power and beauty.

On your return drive to Reykjavik, you can revisit your favorite spots. Many of Iceland's locations have a completely different beauty at different times of the day or when the weather has changed. 

There are also many detours to some unique locations you can take, such as Fjadrargljufur canyon. Fjadrargljufur canyon is a mesmerizing natural wonder tucked away in the southern region of Iceland. 

Carved by the Fjadra river over thousands of years, this narrow, steep canyon offers a stunning display of towering cliffs, winding curves, and cascading waterfalls. 

Fjadrargljufur canyon is breathtaking, with its dramatic rock formations and vibrant green vegetation. Visitors can explore the canyon by walking along its edge or trekking along the riverbed, taking in the panoramic views.

When you're ready, it's time to head to the capital. Make the most of your last night in Reykjavik. Enjoy the city's summer atmosphere and explore the colorful culture.

Tonight, you'll stay in comfortable accommodation in Reykjavik, where you can get plenty of rest, ready for your journey home tomorrow.

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Day 7
The view over the rooftops of Reykjavik and the towering Hallgrimskirkja church during summer in Iceland.

Day 7 - Departure from Iceland

The seventh day of your self-drive tour of Iceland is the final day of your vacation, and it’s time to head home. 

If you have an early flight, enjoy breakfast at your accommodation before heading to the Keflavik International Airport. Be sure to leave plenty of time to drop off your rental car and check in your baggage. 

Once you’re through security, you can browse the shops or have a meal at one of the airport’s restaurants before you board your flight home. 

For those who have a later flight and choose to visit the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa today, you will finish your stay unwinding before heading to the airport. 

The Blue Lagoon geothermal spa is the perfect place to relax as you bathe in the warm, mineral-rich waters and reflect on the incredible adventure you have just taken in the land of fire and ice. 

The Blue Lagoon geothermal spa is on the way from Reykjavik to Keflavik Airport, so it’s an excellent choice for your last stop in Iceland.

If your flight is later, there are plenty of things to do in Reykjavik. Check out some museums or art galleries to learn more about Icelandic culture.

Spend your return flight reminiscing about your incredible trip to Iceland.

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What to bring

Warm, waterproof clothing
Swimsuit and towel
Good hiking boots for the glacier hike
Driver's license
Reusable water bottle
Snacks
Camera

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 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 should you choose to go snorkeling or diving, and participants need to be comfortable in the water and be able to swim.

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.

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Accommodation

See our accommodation levels below and our preferred accommodation partners under each day in the daily itinerary.

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.

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, 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.

Super Budget 2WD

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.

Budget 2WD

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.

Budget 4x4

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.

Comfort 4x4

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.

Luxury 4x4

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.

Van

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.

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