7 Day Budget Self Drive Tour | Snaefellsnes and the South Coast

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Perfect travel plan
Fully customizable
Car & accommodation
Tour starts
Keflavík Airport, Flexible
Duration
7 days
Available
Apr. - Aug.

Make the most of a week in Iceland without going over your budget with this affordable seven-day self-drive tour. This tour will allow you to see the incredible sights of Iceland without being bound to anyone else or breaking the bank.

Self-drive tours allow you to be in control every day; you do not need to worry about tour guides hurrying you along, or other group members slowing you down. What you do and see is entirely up to you, just make sure to reach your next accommodation each night.

Over the course of seven days, you will be able to see many of the awe-inspiring sites that make this country so famous, from the beautiful Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon to the dramatic Geysir geothermal area.

Not only will you get to see these famous locations, but the personal itinerary provided to you will direct you to the places in Iceland few get to visit, where you can immerse yourself in nature far from anyone else.

The landscapes you will see are incredibly diverse. Black sand beaches, geothermal areas, dramatic volcanoes, powerful waterfalls and beautiful valleys wait for you all across the country, interrupted with idyllic villages and stretches of rolling countryside.

This tour does not need to be just a week of sightseeing as there are a wealth of activities you can choose to partake in as you travel, and if you book them alongside this self-drive, you’ll get them at a special discounted price.

In Þingvellir National Park, you can snorkel in the crystal clear waters of Silfra, and at Langjökull glacier, you can explore an ice tunnel or go snowmobiling. There are two places you can hike on Iceland’s magnificent glaciers, two different boat tours you can take at Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, and at Þríhnúkagígur volcano, you can descend into its magma chamber.

So don't hesitate. Immerse yourself in the Icelandic landscape and do so on a budget. Check availability by choosing a date.

Included

6 nights of accommodation (different levels available; breakfast not included, shared bathrooms; more detailed info below)
Vehicle for 7 days (Toyota Aygo or similar, upgrades available)
CDW insurance for super budget level vehicle; other levels also include SCDW and gravel protection insurance
GPS system
Detailed Itinerary with fun and practical information on the nature, history and culture of Iceland
Taxes

Activities

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

Attractions

Blue Lagoon
Golden Circle
Reykjavík
Jökulsárlón
Vatnajökull
Snæfellsjökull
Skógafoss
Seljalandsfoss
Geysir
Gullfoss
Þingvellir
Strokkur
Snæfellsnes
Reykjanes
Sólheimajökull
Mýrdalsjökull
Skaftafell
Þríhnúkagígur
Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach
Hellnar
Langjökull
Arnarstapi
Vík í Mýrdal
Gljufrabui
Kirkjufell
Búðir
Kirkjubæjarklaustur
Reynisdrangar
Lóndrangar
Secret Lagoon
Víðgelmir
South Coast
Diamond Beach

Daily itinerary

Day 1
A spectacular rainbow arches across the skies above the colourful rooftops of the city of Reykjavík, as seen from the church of Hallgrímskirkja.

Arrival

You will pick up your car upon arrival at Keflavík International Airport, and start making your way to the city of Reykjavík. 

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 colours 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.

You will then settle into your accommodation and get to know the quirky capital and its many museums, galleries, shops, cafés and restaurants.

Day 2
Kirkjufell is said to be the most photographed mountain in the country, sitting in west Iceland on the northern side of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula.

Snaefellsjokull National Park

On day two, you will head to ‘Iceland in Miniature’, also known as the Snæfellsnes peninsula. This ninety-kilometre stretch has a vast array of features to see. Most famous is Snæfellsjökull, the mighty glacier and volcano that crowns the peninsula and was featured in Jules Verne’s ‘Journey to the Centre of the Earth’.

If you wish to have your own adventure in a volcano, you can start the day with a tour where you'll explore the now empty magma chamber of Þríhnúkagígur volcano, located just outside of Reykjavík city.

On Snæfellsjökull peninsula, you can head to sites such as the dramatic Lóndrangar basalt plug; the frequently photographed Kirkjufell mountain; the beautiful coastal scenery around the villages of Arnarstapi and Hellnar; the windswept Búðir church; and the seal colony at Ytri-Tunga. Your day will be packed, as you enjoy the peninsula’s geology, landscapes, and settlements.

You’ll spend the night on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. 

Day 3
Spring-water travelling through lava fields of south Iceland from Langjökull glacier emerges in the ravines that run through Þingvellir National Park.

The Golden Circle

On day three, you will take Iceland’s most popular tourist trail, the Golden Circle. This route brings you to three incredible, famous sites: Þingvellir National Park, the Geysir Geothermal Area, and Gullfoss waterfall.

Before reaching the Golden Circle, you can opt for a tour of the colourful underworld of Víðgelmir lava cave, or explore the icy tunnels of Langjökull glacier. 

The first stop on the Golden Circle route is Þingvellir, which name translates to ‘fields of Parliament’, as it was here, in 930 AD, that early Icelanders formed their first National Assembly. This assembly still continues today in Reykjavík, making it the oldest, ongoing parliament in the world.

Þingvellir is also located directly between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates; the movement of these plates has led to some incredible geology, with lava fields and ravines filled with spring water all around. If you like, you can take a snorkelling tour in one of these ravines, Silfra Fissure.

After enjoying the National Park, you will drive on to Haukadalur Valley. Here, you can find two geysers; Geysir and Strokkur. The former is not active at the moment, but the latter erupts every ten minutes or so, creating a water column that reaches over twenty metres in the air. The surrounding area is dotted with hot springs and boiling mud pots. 

The final stop on the Golden Circle is Gullfoss Waterfall, a majestic feature of enormous power. You can witness it from many viewing platforms, including one right beside the lip of the falls. From Gullfoss, you can opt for a snowmobiling tour on the very glacier that feeds the waterfall's river.

You will end your day near Laugarvatn, and are recommended to enjoy the geothermal spa there before retiring; you could also bask in the Secret Lagoon in Flúðir. 

Day 4
Behind the waterfall Seljalandsfoss, one of the most popular features along the South Coast, is a wide cavern that allows visitors to fully encircle it.

The South Coast

Today, you will head to the South Coast. If you'd like to start your day with an icy adventure you can opt for a thrilling snowmobile ride on Langjökull glacier, just head on back to Gullfoss waterfall where you will find your ride.

Your next stops will be at three waterfalls. The first of these, Seljalandsfoss, falls off a concave cliff, meaning you can walk all the way around it for some spectacular views. Nearby, and often overlooked, is Gljúfrabúi, nestled in a magical grotto within a cliff. Finally, you will see Skógafoss waterfall, which thunders to the earth from a height of over sixty metres.

The next site along the route is Sólheimajökull glacier. It is possible to take a tour to explore this ice cap’s otherworldly surface on an informative glacier hike. 

A little further along the coast is the Reynisfjara black sand beach where you can see the impressive Reynisdrangar sea stacks out in the ocean.

You will spend the night in the village of Vík.

Day 5
The two most dramatic and popular features of south east Iceland are in Vatnajökull National Park, Skaftafell Nature Reserve and Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon (pictured).

Jokulsarlon & Skaftafell Nature Reserve

The fifth day will take you across the rest of the South Coast to what many describe as ‘the crown jewel of Iceland’s nature’, the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. There is no need to rush there, however, as there are some great places to visit on the way.

You can start this day by taking a tour to Mýrdalsjökull glacier, where you can visit an ice cave. The cave is the only one of its kind in Iceland accessible the whole year round. If you prefer to continue with your journey, you could stop at the village of Kirkjubæjarklaustur, which is steeped in Icelandic historical value. 

From there you can visit Skaftafell Nature Reserve in the Vatnajökull National Park. The reserve is a hiker's paradise, and you can opt for a glacier hiking tour and get an incredible view of the national park. 

Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon will no doubt take your breath away when you reach it. The enormous lagoon is filled with icebergs, which have broken from the glacier and are slowly making their way to the ocean. 

If watching the icebergs from the shore is not satisfying enough, you can opt for one of two boat tours that will take you right amongst the bergs, one on an amphibious vessel, and another on a zodiac boat.

Before heading to your accommodation around Jökulsárlón, make a stop at the nearby Diamond Beach, where these bergs wash up on the black sand shore and glisten in the sun.

Day 6
Within the Skaftafell Nature Reserve, part of Vatnajökull National Park, are many glacier tongues, such as Svínafellsjökull.

Drive Back to Reykjavik

On day six, you will head back to Reykjavík. Before departing, you could opt for another glacier hike or a boat ride if you missed it the day before.

As you travel, reference your personal itinerary to see what unique places you missed on the way, as there are plenty along the South Coast. 

When you reach the city, you can unwind at your accommodation after a long journey of travelling, or if you have some energy left, check out Reykjavík's many restaurants, cafés and bars.

Day 7
Floating through the Blue Lagoon is an ideal way to unwind after a thrilling week travelling around Iceland.

Departure

Sadly, today is your final day. 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.

Map

What to bring

Warm and waterproof clothes
Swimsuit and towel
Good hiking boots for the glacier hike
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.

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.

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. 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.

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.

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), and Super Collision Damage Waiver (SCDW) insurances. Please note that off-road driving is illegal for all types of cars. All levels come equipped with a GPS and 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, or similar. Comfortably fit up to 4 travellers 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 Renault Trafic (2WD manual), Mercedes Benz Vito (4WD automatic, has highland capabilities and better suited for winter driving), or similar. Comfortable for 5 to 7 travellers. If seated full, luggage space is limited. The driver must be of 23 years of age or above.

Meals

You can now add meals to your booking. Select to include dinner on every night as an optional extra, and we will provide you with vouchers as part of your booking confirmation. We will choose from top-rated restaurants that fit with your vacation itinerary and make your reservations for you. At the restaurant, you will be offered a set menu, from which you can choose from meat, fish or vegetarian options. If you would prefer something else, the voucher will act as a credit that you can redeem at the restaurant against menu items that are not part of the set menu. Please notify the restaurant on arrival about any dietary requirements. Vouchers are non-refundable.

Cancellation Insurance

This insurance guarantees that you can cancel tour and package bookings and receive a full refund, minus the insurance cost. The cost of your cancellation insurance depends on the duration of your tour or package. A base cost of 5,000 ISK per person is applied to all tours and packages with a duration of 5 days or less. An additional 1,000 ISK per person will be added to the insurance cost for each day after. The cancellation must be made more than 48 hours before the listed starting time on your voucher. To cancel your booking and claim your refund, simply contact info@guidetoiceland.is and declare full cancellation. Please note that this insurance covers the cancellation of the whole tour or package. Individual services cannot be cancelled and refunded separately, but are all covered and refunded in case of a full cancellation.

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