7 Day Self Drive Tour | South and West Coast & the Golden Circle

7 Day Self Drive Tour | South and West Coast & the Golden Circle
The famous South Coast waterfall Seljalandsfoss, pictured here in summer, is within easy walking distance of a little-known waterfall called Gljúfrabúi, which matches it in serene beauty.
Whether travelling alone, with a partner or with a group, the Blue Lagoon is a magical spa in which to while away the hours.
The central site of the ever-popular Golden Circle trail is the geyser Strokkur, pictured here just before a mighty eruption.
A pair of riders aback Icelandic horses canter before the South Coast waterfall Skógafoss.
A self-drive tour around Iceland's great sites allows you to spend as long as you like at each destination you visit; when at Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon and the Diamond Beach, you will no doubt be very grateful for this level of freedom.
From the middle of June to the start of July, the sun will reach the edge of the southern horizon at midnight before ascending the sky once more; this phenomenon is called the midnight sun, and is one of Iceland's greatest summer attractions.
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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 anyone who wants 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.

As this Self-Drive is now on a special Early Bird offer for summer 2019, it is an ideal choice for the budget conscious traveller. The discount offers a 20% off the base price of the Self-Drive itself. 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.

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 Iceland's most popular spots, and to have the holiday of a lifetime. Check availability now, by choosing a date. 


Quick facts

Tour information:
  • Available: Apr. - Aug.
  • Duration: 7 days
  • Activities: Glacier Hiking, Snorkelling, Caving, Hiking, Snowmobile, Horse Riding, Whale Watching, Sightseeing, Boat Trip, Hot Spring Bathing, Cultural Activity, Bird watching, Ice Caving, Self drive
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Highlights: Blue Lagoon, Golden Circle, Reykjavík, Jökulsárlón, Vatnajökull, Snæfellsjökull, Skógafoss, Seljalandsfoss, Geysir, Gullfoss, Dyrhólaey, Þingvellir, Strokkur, Snæfellsnes, Reykjanes, Sólheimajökull, Mýrdalsjökull, Skaftafell, Silfra, Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach, Hellnar, Langjökull, Arnarstapi, Hallgrímskirkja, Vík í Mýrdal, Keflavik International Airport, Kirkjufell, Reynisdrangar, Haukadalur, Harpa – Reykjavik Concert Hall and Conference Centre, Víðgelmir, South Coast, Diamond Beach
Pickup information:
  • Pickup time : Flexible

Included:
  • 6 nights of accommodation (different levels available; breakfast included. More detailed info below)

  • Vehicle for 7 days (VW Polo or similar. Upgrades available)

  • CDW, SCDW and gravel protection insurance for vehicle

  • GPS system

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

  • Hands-on travel agent to oversee your itinerary

  • Taxes

  • Blue Lagoon entry ticket (can be added during booking process)

  • Fuel

  • Dinner

  • Lunch


What to bring:
  • Warm clothes

  • Swimsuit

  • 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.

Please note that all optional excursions are not included in the offer, but you will see their price listed individually by each day where they can be added.

Although it is summertime, the Icelandic weather can be very unpredictable. Please bring appropriate clothing.

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.



Daily itinerary

Day 1 - Blue Lagoon & Reykjavík


Basking in naturally-occurring geothermal waters is one of the great draws of Iceland, and can be done almost immediately after arrival at Keflavík International Airport, at the the Blue Lagoon.


Your car will be waiting for you at Keflavík International Airport, with a GPS system to help you find your way. Instead of driving directly to Reykjavík, you may want to make a stop at the Blue Lagoon and arrive in the capital city revitalised after a bath in its healing, warm waters. 

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 centre to take a look at Harpa Concert Hall and the famous architecture of Hallgrímskirkja church, as well as the funky boutiques and galleries of the old harbour 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.


Preferred accommodation in Reykjavík

Reykjavík Comfort

The Fosshótel chain has four 3-4 star Hotels located in and around the city center of Reykjavík. There is a short walk from all of the hotels to attractions, cafés, restaurants, museums and the nightlife. All offer private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.

Reykjavík Quality

Alda Hotel is a 4 star hotel situated on Laugavegur, Reykjavík's main shopping street in the city centre. Private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free access to a fitness room with a sauna and a hot tub. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.


Day 2 - Snæfellsjökull National Park


On the northern shores of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, visitors can find Kirkjufell mountain, a popular spot for sightseers and experienced rock-climbers.


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.


Preferred accommodation by Snæfellsnes

Snæfellsnes Comfort

Fosshotel Stykkishólmur is a 3 star hotel centrally located within the town Stykkishólmur. Spacious hotel with a view towards the bay. Private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.

Snæfellsnes Quality

Hotel Búðir is a 4 star hotel on the southern side of Snæfellsnes peninsula, with a view towards Snæfellsjökull glacier and to the sea. Private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.


Day 3 - The Golden Circle


Taking a self-drive tour around the Golden Circle allows you to spend as much time at each of its three destinations as you like; those fascinated by history and geology, for example, will want more time at Þingvellir National Park.


On your third day, you'll leave your accommodation in Snæfellsnes and go on exploring around 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, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to the fact it is where the world's longest running representative parliament was founded; it is a central location in Icelandic heritage. It is also located in the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, and it is possible to walk right between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates here; the bold can even snorkel between them, in a crystal clear ravine, Silfa.

There are two other tours you can partake in today: a caving adventure in Viðgelmir lava tube, or else 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 two geysers: Geysir itself, and its much more active neighbour Strokkur. While the former is largely inactive, the latter blasts water over 20 m (66 ft) 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 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, while the geothermal spas at Laugarvatn will be just as refreshing, and are closer to your accommodation for the evening near lake Laugarvatn.


Preferred accommodation by the Golden Circle

Golden Circle Comfort

Hotel Litli Geysir is a 3-star hotel located right across from Geysir geothermal area. Private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.

Golden Circle Quality

ION Adventure Hotel is a 4-star hotel which is located a short distance from Þingvellir National Park. It has private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free access to outdoor hot tubs. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.


Day 4 - The South Coast of Iceland


Travelling along the South Coast of Iceland in summer exposes you to countless awe-inspiring sites; the first one of these that most stop at is the serene Seljalandsfoss waterfall.


Continue driving the south coast of Iceland from Lake Laugavatn on day four. If you elected to do so while booking, you will head to Gullfoss first for your snowmobiling adventure.

It is recommended that you take 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.

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.


Preferred accommodation by Vík

Vík Comfort

Hotel Katla is a 3 star country hotel that's situated 5km to the east of Vík. Comfortable private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free access to a hot tub and a sauna. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.

Vík Quality

Icelandair Hotel Vík is a 3 star hotel centrally located in Vík. Stylish private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Ocean or cliff views from each room. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.


Day 5 - Jökulsárlón & Vatnajökull National Park


By staying at a hotel near the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon when on a summer self-drive tour, you can spend the night marvelling at the midnight sun over the Diamond Beach.


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. There are many hikes in this area, including to 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 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.


Preferred accommodation by Jökulsárlón and Höfn

Jökulsárlón and Höfn Comfort

Hotel Höfn is a 3-star hotel centrally located in the town Höfn. Private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.

Jökulsárlón and Höfn Quality

Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon is a 4-star hotel located right between Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon and Skaftafell Nature Reserve. Private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Ocean or mountain views. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.


Day 6 - Drive Back to Reykjavík


While in the south-east of Iceland, those on a self-drive tour should not miss a visit to the Skaftafell Nature Reserve, to marvel over sites such as the glacier lagoon Svínafellsjökull.


If you decided 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, its a long drive back to Reykjavík so best start early. 

On your return journey, revisit your favourite 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 colourful culture.


Preferred accommodation in Reykjavík

Reykjavík Comfort

The Fosshótel chain has four 3-4 star Hotels located in and around the city center of Reykjavík. There is a short walk from all of the hotels to attractions, cafés, restaurants, museums and the nightlife. All offer private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.

Reykjavík Quality

Alda Hotel is a 4 star hotel situated on Laugavegur, Reykjavík's main shopping street in the city centre. Private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free access to a fitness room with a sauna and a hot tub. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.


Day 7 - Car Drop-off at Keflavik International Airport


The tin roofs of Icelandic houses are all different colours, allowing for some beautiful views when at a high enough vantage point in summer.


If you didn't go to the Blue Lagoon on your arrival date and you have an afternoon flight, then it's the perfect way to bid Iceland a fond farewell and relax before your return home. Alternately, you can take some time for last-minute shopping before returning your car to Keflavík airport, or go exploring along the Reykjanes Peninsula.

Fly home knowing you've seen all the greatest spots Iceland has to offer!


Accommodation

See our accommodation levels below and our preferred accommodation partners under each day in the daily itinerary. Comfort 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). For quality level, odd number groups will always be allocated a single room. 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, maximum two years of age, and come equipped with a GPS, CDW, GP, and SCDW insurances. You can also upgrade to an automatic model.

Budget

A small 2WD vehicle fit for basic travelling in everyday conditions, such as VW Polo, Toyota Yaris or similar. 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.

Luxury 4x4

A large sized jeep with 4WD (4x4) such as Toyota Land Cruiser or similar, fit for nearly all traveling. This vehicle has full highland capabilities to drive on accessible mountain roads.


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.


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7 Day Self Drive Tour | South and West Coast & the Golden Circle
 
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