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

Horseback riders on Iceland's South Coast trot around the base of the mighty waterfall Skógafoss.
The verdant fields of the South Coast burst with colour in the form of wildflowers in the summertime, pictured here in front of the picturesque waterfall Seljalandsfoss.
The Blue Lagoon treats all guests with the opportunity to swim in its healing, naturally heated waters, and to use the revitalising silica masks available.
The midnight sun gleams behind an iceberg that lays on the black sands of South Iceland's beloved Diamond Beach.
In the valley of Haukadalur, an area that makes up part of the Golden Circle, visitors to south Iceland can witness the geyser Strokkur erupt.
The surf of the Atlantic swirls around one of the beached icebergs of the Diamond Beach in summer, beneath the midnight sun.
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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.

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, and there are two different boat tours you can take at Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon.

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


Quick facts

Tour information:
  • Available: May. - Sep.
  • Duration: 7 days
  • Activities: Glacier Hiking, Snorkelling, Hiking, Snowmobile, Sightseeing, Ice Caving, Self drive
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Highlights: Reykjavík, Jökulsárlón, Snæfellsjökull, Skógafoss, Seljalandsfoss, Geysir, Gullfoss, Þingvellir, Snæfellsnes, Skaftafell, Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach, Vík í Mýrdal, Kirkjufell, Reynisdrangar, South Coast
Pickup information:
  • Pickup time : Flexible

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 vehicle

  • GPS system

  • Detailed Itinerary with fun and practical information on the nature, history and culture of Iceland

  • Taxes

  • Blue Lagoon entry ticket (please book online in advance if you plan to visit the Blue Lagoon)

  • Fuel

  • Meals


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.



Daily itinerary

Day 1 - Arrival


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


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

If you want to recharge after your flight in mineral-rich waters of healing, set your course to the Blue Lagoon Spa, located en route to Reykjavík. Just be sure to book tickets to the lagoon in advance.

You could also head straight to Reykjavík, settle into your accommodations and get to know the quirky capital and its many museums, galleries, shops, cafés and restaurants.


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


Day 2 - Snaefellsjokull National Park


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


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’.

You can also 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. 


Preferred accommodation by Snæfellsnes

Snæfellsnes Super Budget

Grundafjörður Hostel is located in Grundarfjörður village. Dormitory accommodation with shared bathrooms. Access to cooking facilities on premises. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast not included.

Snæfellsnes Budget

Hof Guesthouse is situated on the southern side of Snæfellsnes peninsula, just a few hundred metres from the beach. Private bedrooms with shared bathrooms, living room and kitchen. Free access to a hot tub. Free Wi-Fi in public areas. Breakfast not included.


Day 3 - The Golden Circle


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


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. 


Preferred accommodation by Golden Circle

Golden Circle Super Budget

Laugarvatn HI hostel is located within Laugarvatn village. Dormitory rooms with shared facilities. Access to cooking facilities on premises. Free Wifi. Breakfast not included.

Golden Circle Budget

Héraðsskólinn Boutique Hostel is centrally located within Laugarvatn village. Private rooms with private or shared bathrooms. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast not included.


Day 4 - The South Coast


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.


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.


Preferred accommodation by Vík

Vík Super Budget

Puffin Hostel is centrally located in Vík. Dorm accommodation with shared bathrooms and a common lounge area. Access to cooking facilities on premises. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast not included.

Vík Budget

Puffin Hostel is centrally located in Vík. Private bedrooms with shared bathrooms and a common lounge area. Access to kitchen facilities. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast not included.


Day 5 - Jokulsarlon & Skaftafell Nature Reserve


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


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.


Preferred accommodation by Jökulsárlón and Höfn

Jökulsárlón and Höfn Super Budget

HI Hostel Höfn is located in Höfn township. Dormitory rooms with shared facilities. Access to cooking facilities on premises. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast not included.

Jökulsárlón and Höfn Budget

Gerði Guesthouse is located about 13km east of Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. Private bedrooms with shared bathrooms. Free Wi-Fi in main building. Breakfast not included.


Day 6 - Drive Back to Reykjavik


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


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.


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


Day 7 - Departure


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


Sadly, today is your final day. If you have a late flight, you have the options of better exploring Reykjavík, visiting the volcanic wonders of the Reykjanes Peninsula, or basking in the azure waters of the Blue Lagoon - just remember to book tickets to the lagoon in advance. 

Once you are ready, drop your car off at the airport, and enjoy the journey home.


Car

Below you can see the car rental options available for this self drive tour. All our vehicles are new or current models, maximum five years of age, and come equipped with a GPS and CDW insurance. You can also upgrade to an automatic model, free of charge.

Super Budget

A small 2WD vehicle fit for basic travelling in everyday conditions, such as Toyota Aygo, Hyundai i10 or similar. A simple, compact vehicle with very little luggage capacity. Comfortable for up to 2 travellers. This vehicle does not have highland capabilities.

Budget

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

Comfort 4X4

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


Accommodation

See our accommodation levels below and our preferred accommodation partners under each day in the daily itinerary. Single person bookings will be arranged with a dorm bed (super budget) or a single room (budget). Budget bookings of 2 or more people will share twin/double room(s) or triple room(s). Super budget bookings are set to twin/double or triple room(s) depending on availability, or placed in dormitories. Guide to Iceland will provide you with the best available accommodation at the time of your booking from our preferred partners. Press choose a date to find availability.

Super Budget

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


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.


Map


Reviews

This was such an amazing experience. Even before we arrived in Iceland the tour guides were more than happy to answer any of our questions without hesitation. Once we arrived at the airport we were immediately greeted by our rental car company which definitely helped to ease some of the stress. All of the coordinates for all of the locations were very convenient to plug into the GPS system making all of our destinations easily reachable. Each day had lots of activities and options for stops and they were always accompanied by an accurate and interesting caption- never a dull moment. All of our accommodations were excellent as well. I would highly recommend this tour and company to anyone I know. Flawless!

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

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