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.
As you can choose whether you start from Keflavík airport or the capital Reykjavík, 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 as well as 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 Skógafoss, the geothermal area of Geysir and the breathtaking Jökulsárlón 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 is in contrast with the sharp white ice of Iceland's glaciers; the gleaming icebergs of the Diamond Beach as well as 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.
On arrival at Keflavík international airport, you will pick up your rental car or, if you are already staying in Reykjavík, you can choose to pick your car up there.
Before you set out on your adventures today, you have an incredible opportunity that will forever define your impression of Iceland: a 1-hour helicopter tour over the Geldinadalur volcanic eruption. You’ll depart from Reykjavik Domestic Airport, and after admiring the colourful capital and barren Reykjanes Peninsula from above, make your way to this breathtaking phenomenon. Few adventures can compare to witnessing fire and lava rupture from the earth from such an all-encompassing perspective, and this one even includes a short landing by the site!
After this you will be driving Iceland's famous Golden Circle, where you will stop at Þingvellir 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 Hvolsvöllur. You can check out the small towns of Skálholt and Flúðir, and you also have several options for additional activities this day, including a snowmobile ride at Langjökull glacier, snorkelling at Silfra ravine at Þingvellir 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!
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 Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon and the nearby Diamond Beach.
Perhaps you want to explore Seljalandsfoss waterfall from behind or hike up to the top of Skógafoss waterfall. You could also take a dip in Seljavallalaug pool, or admire the impressive, but dangerous, waves of the Atlantic crashing on 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 shore - you surely won't be lacking options today!
There are even some optional icy add-on tours for today, including glacier hiking at Sólheimajökull glacier, snowmobiling across Mýrdalsjökull glacier or exploring the dark ice caves of Katla volcano.
You'll spend the night at the small town of Höfn, famous for its lobster restaurants.
It's come to the last day of your trip, and it's time to return to Reykjavík, or to Keflavík airport if you're flying back this evening.
Along the way, you can explore some of the same sights again, this time in different light and probably in different weather conditions than the previous day, but 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, Vatnajökull, 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 Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon and Dyrhólaey promontory. Just make sure to give yourself plenty of time to drive back to Keflavík, 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 Reykjavík or even at the airport the following day.
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 need either 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 snorkelling or diving.
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. Super budget 2WD vehicles are maximum 5 years of age, and come equipped with a GPS and standard CDW insurance. Budget 2WD, Comfort 4x4 and Luxury 4x4 level vehicles are maximum two years of age, and come equipped with a GPS, CDW, GP and SCDW insurances. You can also upgrade to an automatic model.
A small 2WD vehicle such as Toyota Aygo, Hyundai i10 or similar, fit for basic travelling in everyday conditions. Compact and comfortable for up to 2 travellers with very little luggage. No highland capabilities.
A basic 2WD vehicle such as VW Polo, Toyota Yaris or similar, suitable for travelling in everyday conditions. Comfortable for 3 travellers with light luggage. This vehicle does not have highland capabilities.
A medium sized 4WD (4x4) jeep or SUV such as Toyota Rav4 or similar. Fit for most travel, and good for snow and off-asphalt driving. This vehicle has basic highland capabilities. Recommended.
A large sized 4WD (4x4) jeep such as Toyota Land Cruiser or similar, fit for nearly all travelling. This vehicle has full highland capabilities to drive on accessible mountain roads. Note that off-road driving is illegal.
Are you looking to try some of the best dishes Iceland’s top restaurants have to offer? You can now add delicious meals to your booking without having to research where to find them. Select this option to include dinner every night as an extra, and we’ll provide you with vouchers as part of your booking confirmation. We’ll choose the top-rated restaurants that fit with your vacation itinerary and make your reservations for you. Your server will offer you a set menu of two to three courses at the restaurant, from which you can choose meat, fish, or vegetarian options. If you prefer to try a different dish, the meal voucher will act as a credit that you can redeem at the restaurant against menu items that are not part of the set menu. Save time and effort during your vacation, and let us take care of your meals for you. Choose the meal option today so you’ll be guaranteed to eat well on your forthcoming trip. Please notify the restaurant on arrival about any dietary requirements. Vouchers are non-refundable.