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 three-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 of Iceland's nature.
Don't spend weeks planning and organizing your trip. Let someone else take care of the essential details to ensure you don't miss out on any of the best attractions. You'll save precious time and get a fantastic price for your holiday.
You can choose whether you start from the Keflavik International Airport or the capital Reykjavik. You can make this a short stopover in its own right or a part of a more extended holiday in Iceland.
Upon booking, you'll receive a personal itinerary with a suggested route by a local travel planner, including famous sites and some lesser-known gems tucked away from the more popular attractions.
This self-drive tour begins when you pick up your modern rental car from the airport or Reykjavik. Your vehicle and accommodation have been organized and included in the package. Now, all you need to do is head out and enjoy your trip!
The Golden Circle and the South Coast are jam-packed with beautiful attractions, both well-known and 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.
You also have multiple options to tailor 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 Diamond Beach, and some of Iceland's adorable inhabitants, such as the puffins and seals.
After three exciting days, you'll drop your rental car back in Reykjavik or at the airport.
Other travelers love this highly-rated tour, and we know you will too! It includes free cancellation up to 24 hours before your trip, and you can contact us 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with any questions.
Set your own pace and add exciting activities of your choice with this three-day summer self-drive tour, including the Golden Circle, South Coast, and Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon. Check availability now by choosing a date.
Day 1 - The Golden Circle
On arrival at the Keflavik International Airport, you'll pick up your rental car, or if you're already staying in Reykjavik, you can choose to pick your car up there.
Iceland's famous Golden Circle is on today's agenda.
You'll stop at Thingvellir National Park for a stroll and marvel at the separation of the tectonic plates. The North American and Eurasian plates are gradually being forced apart here, allowing you to walk between continents. Thingvelllir is also known for its historical significance, being the site where the Althingi parliament was founded in 930 AD.
Admire the spouting geyser Strokkur at the Geysir geothermal area, another of the much-loved Golden Circle attractions. Geysir's otherworldly landscape also features steaming fumaroles and boiling mud pits.
You'll also stand in awe in front of the plummeting Gullfoss waterfall. Some say it's Iceland's most beautiful waterfall, and that's saying a lot in a country full of pristine waterfalls. Gullfoss is also called the "Golden Falls" and often boasts a rainbow in front on sunny days.
There are several other attractions worth visiting in the area. You can check out the small towns of Skalholt and Fludir. Don't miss a soak in the Secret Lagoon geothermal bathing area in Fludir. It's one of the country's oldest bathing sites, loved for its rustic and natural appeal.
You also have two options for additional activities today, including a snowmobile ride at Langjokull glacier or snorkeling at the Silfra ravine in the Thingvellir National Park. Snowmobiling is an exciting way to discover the vast white expanse of the glacier while your snorkeling adventure takes you through water so crystal clear and clean that you can drink it.
You're in charge, so it's your choice how to spend the day. After an excellent day of discovering some of the country's top attractions, you'll relax at your accommodation in Southwest Iceland for the evening.
Day 2 - South Coast Attractions to Jokulsarlon
After a good night's sleep, you'll carry on exploring the wonders of Iceland's South Coast on day two of your summer self-drive tour.
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. These waterfalls are unique yet equally beautiful and two of the most-loved attractions on the South Coast. Both have a cascade of 200 feet (60 meters).
You could also relax in the Seljavallalaug pool or admire the impressive but dangerous waves of the Atlantic crashing on the shore at Reynisfjara black sand beach. Reynisfjara beach is considered one of the most beautiful non-tropical beaches globally. It features striking basalt columns on its shoreline and impressive sea stacks in the ocean.
Maybe you want to walk to the remains of an airplane that crashed in the desolate black sands on the South Coast. Its remains contrast dramatically against the jet-black sands and stark surroundings, an excellent photo opportunity.
Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon is also called the "Crown Jewel of Iceland." It features towering icebergs in a fairytale-like lagoon. The nearby Diamond Beach should not be missed. Here, you'll see large ice chunks wash up on the shore, a beautiful site.
Don't worry if you don't have time for everything you want to see today. You can visit any attractions you missed tomorrow.
There are some optional icy add-on tours for today. You can go glacier hiking on the Solheimajokull glacier, snowmobiling across the Myrdalsjokull glacier, or explore the dark ice caves of the Katla volcano.
You'll spend the night in one of the towns or accommodations in Southeast Iceland.
Day 3 - Heading Back
It's the last day of your trip and time to return to Reykjavik or the Keflavik International Airport.
If you missed the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon yesterday, you could visit it this morning. You can add on one of two boat trips around the lagoon, a superb way to admire the giant icebergs up close.
You may have left out many attractions the previous day, such as the stunning Nature Reserve of Skaftafell. Skaftafell has several spectacular hiking routes, such as the much-loved trail to the Svartifoss waterfall, framed by dramatic basalt columns. You can also add an exciting glacier hike to your Skaftafell itinerary.
As you drive back along the South Coast, you may wish to visit the Fjadrargljufur canyon. It's approximately 330 feet (100 meters) deep and 1.2 miles (2 kilometers) long, with the Fjadra river flowing through it. The canyon boasts dramatic and steep walls, with cliffs sculpted by thousands of years of erosion caused by glacial meltwaters from the last Ice Age.
The scenic Dyrholaey peninsula is another highly-rated stop on your drive back. Its name translates to "door-hole" in English, referring to the massive rock arch that forms a door-like structure out at sea. This landmark is a paradise for bird enthusiasts, notably known as a nesting site for puffins. The area also offers breathtaking views of black sand beaches, rugged cliffs, and the vast Atlantic Ocean.
Whatever you choose to do, give yourself plenty of time to drive back to Keflavik, return your car, and check in if you're catching an evening flight. If you're staying in the city, you can return your vehicle to your hotel in Reykjavik or the airport the following morning.
We wish you a pleasant journey home and hope to see you again soon.
What to bring
Good to know
Self-drive tours begin either in Reykjavik city or at Keflavik International Airport. A valid driver's license and a one-year-long on-road experience are required. Please be aware that your itinerary may be rearranged to fit your arrival date and time better.
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 for snorkeling.
Although it's 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.