Unforgettable 7 Day Self Drive Tour of West & South Iceland with the Golden Circle
Hit the road and see all of Iceland's most popular destinations on this awe-inspiring 7-day self-drive tour. This tour is perfect for those who want to make their own choices about where to go and what to do in Iceland without worrying about tour guides or other people in a group.
Highlights include Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon on the south coast, Snæfellsnes peninsula in the west, the capital city Reykjavík, the famous Golden Circle, and the Blue Lagoon. All accommodation will come with an ensuite bathroom, and, of course, breakfast is included so that you will lodge in full comfort during your stay.
Although these sites are the most well-renowned, Guide to Iceland wants to help you find those unusual places where you can withdraw from the masses and get back to nature. The unique itinerary you will receive after booking, therefore, with attractions hand-picked by local experts, will help you find beauty and solitude within this country and have an experience like no one else's.
You'll be visiting all three national parks in Iceland. You'll also get to see plenty of waterfalls, black sandy beaches, glaciers, volcanoes, and hot springs around every curve of the road.
You can even add more activities to make a fabulous combination of sightseeing and adventures. Before visiting Snæfellsnes Peninsula, you can explore a magma chamber of a volcano, and on your way around the Golden Circle, you can snorkel in the divide between continents at Silfra gorge, or snowmobile on the ice cap of Langjökull.
To top it off, all these fantastic adventures can be added to your holiday. To sweeten the deal, we also offer those who add these excursions to their Self Drive upon the time of booking a special, discounted price, making it budget-friendly, and adding some thrill to your travels.
You can take a boat tour around Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, strap on your crampons and go into an ice cave on Mýrdalsjökull glacier, or hike across the ridges of the glaciers Sólheimajökull or Skáftafellsjökull. On this trip, there is plenty of time to make the most of these incredible opportunities.
Book now to see all of Iceland's most popular spots and to have the holiday of a lifetime. Check availability now by choosing a date.
Day 1 - Blue Lagoon & Reykjavík
Your car will be waiting for you at Keflavík International Airport, with Wi-Fi to help you find your way. 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.
As soon as you arrive in Reykjavík, you'll be able to soak in some of its quirky culture. You can walk around the city center to take a look at Harpa Concert Hall and the famous architecture of Hallgrímskirkja church, and the funky boutiques and galleries of the old harbor district and Laugavegur shopping street. 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.
Day 2 - Snæfellsjökull National Park
Today, you'll be spending the day exploring the stunning Snæfellsnes peninsula, where you'll find Snæfellsjökull glacier volcano. This volcano was used as the setting for the subterranean trip in the Jules Verne novel 'Journey to the Centre of the Earth'.
If you wish to learn more about volcanoes and have your own subterranean journey, you can start the day with a tour of the magma chamber of Þríhnúkagígur. From Reykjavík, you'll board a tour bus that will take you to this inactive volcano where you will board a lift that takes you inside the now empty magma chamber.
Once you are ready to hit the road, make your way to Snæfellsnes, where you'll find the charming villages Hellnar and Arnarstapi, peculiar rock formations, and the stunning Djúpalónssandur beach, to name but a few attractions. You'll also see plenty of birdlife amidst the scenery.
The rest of the peninsula has even 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.
Snæfellsnes peninsula is one of Iceland's gems, and you'll have no shortage of things to do. You will spend your night here.
Day 3 - The Golden Circle
On your third day, you'll leave your accommodation in Snæfellsnes and explore Iceland's most popular attraction: the Golden Circle. On your way there, you will go through the Borgarfjörður area.
You'll visit Þingvellir 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. You can walk right between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates here. The bold can even snorkel between them in a crystal clear ravine, Silfra.
There are two other tours you can partake in today: a caving adventure in Viðgelmir lava tube or an exploration of the man-made ice tunnels inside Langjökull glacier.
After Þingvellir, you will head to the Geysir geothermal area. This valley of hot springs and fumaroles is aptly home to Geysir and its much more active neighbour Strokkur. While the former is largely inactive, the latter blasts water over 66 ft (20 m) 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 appreciate its mighty power truly.
After seeing the Golden Circle, you can head to one of the many spas in the area. The Secret Lagoon, close to the town of Flúðir, is historical and serene. At the same time, the geothermal spas at Laugarvatn will be just as refreshing and are close to your accommodation.
Day 4 - The South Coast of Iceland
Continue driving the south coast of Iceland from Lake Laugavatn on day four.
It is recommended that you make a stop at the crater Kerið to 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 Skógafoss; you can walk all the way around the former for a unique perspective, and the latter will awe you with its power. A little further down, you will come across Sólheimajökull glacier and can walk up to its tongue; you can even opt into a glacier hiking tour here to climb upon it. Or take the other option to get up and close on a glacier by taking a snowmobiling tour.
Further east along the coast, you should venture out to the cliff Dyrhólaey, 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. The geology of this area is quite spectacular.
Your accommodation for tonight will be nearby in the charming village of Vík.
Day 5 - Jökulsárlón & Vatnajökull National Park
Continue from Vík along the south coast towards the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. Along the way, you'll be passing stunning volcanic deserts and have an incredible view of the impressive Vatnajökull glacier, the largest glacier in Europe. If you prefer, you can start this day by taking an exciting ice cave tour to Mýrdalsjökull, a glacier that covers an active volcano.
On your way to Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, you might want to make a stop at the charming, historic village of Kirkjubæjarklaustur for a short hike or bite to eat. Further ahead, you should head into Skaftafell Nature Reserve, within Vatanjökull 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 here today or save it for tomorrow.
You'll end your day's journey at the stunning Jökulsárlon glacier lagoon, where you'll surely want to spend some time admiring icebergs as they float to the ocean or wash up on the Diamond Beach. This area is considered by many to be Iceland's most beautiful spot, and for a good reason. If you wish to get closer to the bergs 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 be staying in a countryside hotel near Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon this evening.
Day 6 - Drive Back to Reykjavík
If you decide to save some adventure for today, you have the option of going on a glacier hike before your drive back to Reykjavík or taking that boat ride out onto the glacier lagoon. Otherwise, it is a long drive back to Reykjavík, so it is best to start early.
On your return journey, 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 to Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon, a verdant, mossy ravine carved from the rock by a fast-moving river.
Make the most of your last night in Reykjavík. Soak in the city's summer atmosphere and explore the colorful culture.
Day 7 - Car Drop-off at Keflavik International Airport
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. If you have an early flight back home, we wish you a pleasant journey.
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.
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.
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 (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.