3 Day Summer Self Drive Tour | Golden Circle & South Coast to Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon
Explore Iceland's top destinations in your own time by driving along the gorgeous South Coast and the famous Golden Circle. This 3-day self-drive is the perfect stopover for those who want to steer clear of group tours and be in charge of their holiday while appreciating all the best that Iceland's nature has got to offer.
You can choose whether you start from Keflavik International Airport or the capital Reykjavik. You can make this a short stopover in its own right or a part of a longer holiday in Iceland.
The Golden Circle and the South Coast are jam-packed with beautiful attractions, both well-known ones as well as hidden secrets. How long you want to spend exploring each location is entirely up to you, and with the long summer days, you can keep going far into the evening.
Upon booking, you'll receive a personal itinerary with a suggested route made by a local travel planner, which includes both the famous sites and some lesser-known gems, tucked away from the more popular attractions.
You also have multiple options on how to tailor-make this trip for you and your party. So besides admiring the stunning waterfalls Gullfoss, Seljalandsfoss, and Skogafoss, the geothermal area of Geysir, and the breathtaking Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon, you can choose to snorkel in crystal clear waters, jet across a glacier in a snowmobile, go glacier hiking, explore an ice cave or get acquainted with Iceland's famous horses.
Other attractions you can expect to see are the pitch-black sands of Reynisfjara beach, which contrasts with the sharp white ice of Iceland's glaciers, the gleaming icebergs of the Diamond Beach, and some of Iceland's adorable inhabitants, such as the puffins and seals.
Set your own pace and add on exciting activities of your own choice with this 3-day summer self-drive tour. Check availability by choosing a date.
Day 1 - The Golden Circle
On arrival at Keflavik International Airport, you will pick up your rental car or, if you are already staying in Reykjavik, you can choose to pick your car up there.
You will be driving Iceland's famous Golden Circle, where you will stop at Thingvellir National Park for a stroll, admire the spouting geyser Strokkur at Geysir geothermal area, and stand in awe in front of the plummeting Gullfoss waterfall.
There are several other attractions in the area worth visiting before reaching your accommodation for the evening in Hvolsvollur. You can check out the small towns of Skalholt and Fludir. You also have several options for additional activities this day, including a snowmobile ride at Langjokull glacier, snorkeling at Silfra ravine at Thingvellir National Park, or going on a 2-hour horseback riding tour in the charming Icelandic countryside.
You're in charge, so it's your choice how to spend the day!
Day 2 - South Coast Attractions to Jokulsarlon
After a good night's sleep, you'll carry on exploring the wonders of what Iceland's South Coast has to offer. Numerous waterfalls, mountains, glaciers, volcanoes, and gorgeous views in all directions are what this day has in store for you, ending with the glittering and glistening icebergs floating on Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon and the nearby Diamond Beach.
Perhaps you want to explore Seljalandsfoss waterfall from behind or hike up to the top of Skogafoss waterfall. You could also take a dip in Seljavallalaug pool or admire the impressive but dangerous waves of the Atlantic crashing on the shore at Reynisfjara black sand beach. Or maybe you want to walk to the remains of an airplane that crashed in the desolate black sands on the south coast - you surely won't be lacking options today!
There are even some optional icy add-on tours for today, including glacier hiking at Solheimajokull glacier, snowmobiling across Myrdalsjokull glacier, or exploring the dark ice caves of Katla volcano.
You'll spend the night in the small town of Hofn, famous for its lobster restaurants.
Day 3 - Heading Back
It's come to the last day of your trip, and it's time to return to Reykjavik or Keflavik International Airport if you're flying back this evening.
Along the way, you can explore some of the same sights again, this time in a different light and probably in different weather conditions than the previous day. There are also a lot of attractions that you may have left out the previous day, such as the stunning Nature Reserve of Skaftafell.
If you so wish, you can choose to add on an exciting glacier hike on Iceland's largest glacier, Vatnajokull, that departs from this location. Alternatively, you can go on hikes in the lush area, for example, to the beautiful Svartifoss waterfall.
Other destinations you might want to make a stop at on the way back include Fjadrargljufur canyon and Dyrholaey promontory. Just make sure to give yourself plenty of time to drive back to Keflavik if you are catching an evening flight to return your car and check in. If you are staying in the city, you can return your vehicle at your hotel in Reykjavik or at the airport the following morning.
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.
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.
Although it is summertime, the Icelandic weather can be very unpredictable. Please bring appropriate clothing.
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. For other 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).
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.
Dormitory beds with shared bathrooms in guesthouses or hostels. Located in the region of the best attractions. Breakfast is not included.
Rooms with shared bathrooms in farmhouses, guesthouses or hostels, with good locations near the best attractions. Breakfast is not included.
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.