Iceland Highlights Self-Drive tour

 Gullfoss Waterfall on the Golden Circle

Rental car for 7 days
Unlimited mileage, GPS & CDW insurance
Accommodation for 8 nights
Double room w/private facilities at 3* hotels or guesthouses

Not included:
Optional activities
Meals other than breakfast
International flights

Of course this tour can be adjusted to suit your needs and wishes, be it for a longer or shorter holiday.

Optional: Upgrade to a Super Jeep with a driver guide, get a more in-depth view of Iceland, travel on mountain tracks and go off-roading on glaciers


All Year

See the highlights of Iceland in a relaxed Self-Drive itinerary in 9 days

Price: Ask for quote

Itinerary for the Iceland Highlights Self-Drive tour

Day 1: Arrival in Keflavik Int. Airport
It's a 40 minute drive to Reykjavik, you can either take a taxi or a bus.
Accommodation: Hotel in the center of Reykjavik.

Day 2: Reykjavik - Snaefellsnes Peninsula
In the morning you pick up your rental car.  Drive to Snaefellsnes, (approx. 2 hours driving) to the little town Stykkisholmur where you will go sailing on a sightseeing tour around Breidafjordur Bay, ideal for bird watching in the middle of the nesting season. The boat leaves at 11 pm. We say here in Iceland that the islands in Breidafjordur are to many to count. When you are back ashore you can look around in the “Danish” town Stykkisholmur with its beautiful surroundings and little houses. Have lunch there and drive from Stykkisholmur around Snaefellsnes peninsula and look at all the things that it has to offer; volcanic glacier, beautiful rocky beaches full of nesting birds, rugged landscape with lava fields meeting the Atlantic Ocean. It has been said about Snaefellsnes that it is Iceland in a nutshell (approx. 2-4 hours driving).
Accommodation: Hotel by Snaefellsjokull

Day 3: Snaefellsnes - Borgarfjordur - Thingvellir - Geysir area
You drive through Borgarfjordur on the way from Snaefellsnes to Geysir. The route depends on what kind of a car you will be driving. If you have rented a 4x4 we recommend you take the mountain road Kaldidalur to Thingvellir national park. This road really shows you the barren and remote side of Iceland; rugged lava surrounded by glaciers and mountain desert. The mountain road Kaldidalur witch is the shortest route to Thingvellir and takes you close to Iceland’s second largest glacier Langjokull. If you don´t have a 4x4, you will have to stick to the main roads to look at the main attractions of Borgarfjordur;  Hraunfossar (Lava Waterfalls) where the river flows from underneath the lava field and cascades down into river. Just a few meters away there’s another great waterfall, Barnafoss. We pass through the historical site of Reykholt before visiting Iceland’s most powerful geothermal spring, Deildartunguhver. Return to Reykjavik via scenic Hvalfjordur (Whale Fjord). You drive to Thingvellir, Iceland’s ancient parliament of Althingi established in 930 AD which makes it the oldest parliament in the world. Thingvellir is also known for its natural beauty and geographical uniqueness. From Thingvellir you head on to Geysir area for a dinner and stay there in Hotel Geysir (approx. 6 hours driving).
Accommodation: Hotel by Geysir

Day 4: Geysir area - Gullfoss - Horse rental
By Hotel Geysir there is a horse rental where you can go horseback riding in the beautiful surroundings of the Geysir area or take a morning swim in the little swimming pool by Hotel Geysir. From the Geysir area there is a 10 min. drive to Gullfoss waterfall which is a must-see. We recommend that after you looked at the Gullfoss waterfall to try our national dish, the classical lamb meat soup at Gullfoss café. On the way from Thingvellir you pass; Laugarvatn there you can take a sauna on top of hot springs and you hear them rumble under your feet. Then go for dip into the semi-warm lake beside the sauna bath. This is Iceland´s oldest steam bath, all natural geothermal heat and quite the Icelandic experience.
Stay another night at Geysir hotel.
Accommodation: Hotel by Geysir

Day 5:  Hotel Geysir-Myrdalsjokull glacier – Kirkjubaejarklaustur
You can choose from several routes from Geysir through the green country side to Myrdalsjokull glacier but you will stop at the 40 m high waterfall Seljalandsfoss where you take short hike behind the waterfall (remember waterproof clothes because of the spray). Go on to the next waterfall, the 62 m high beautiful Skogarfoss waterfall and spend a little time in the little village Skogar where there is a very good history museum, and perhaps take a late lunch there. From Skogar you go on to Myrdalsjokull glacier and take an hour´s guided snowmobile tour there. It´s easy and it´s big fun. From there you head eastwards along Iceland´s south shore through the village of Vik close to Iceland’s most southern tip; Dyrholaey. In Vik you can go down to the black sanded beaches of the South coast. Drive on trough a black sand desert and by the lava fields from Mount Laki, to the small village Kirkjubaejarklaustur, close to Fjadrargljufur, (approx 5-6 hours driving)
Accommodation: Hotel in Kirkjubaejarklaustur

Day 6: Kirkjubaejarklaustur - Skaftafell - Glacier Lagoon
From Kirkjubaejarklaustur you drive on eastwards to Skaftafell national park. The road will take trough the largest black sand desert in Iceland, beautiful lava fields with spectacular Mountain View. From Skaftafell National Park it´s only a 40 min walk to Svartifoss waterfall and a half an hours drive to Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon where you will go sailing on the lagoon. The road under Europe’s largest glacier Vatnajokull is very scenic; steep colorful mountains with the white glacier in the back and the ocean on the other side, reindeer and sheep crossing the road. Drive back to Kirkjubaejaklaustur and overnight there again or stop near Skaptafell and have dinner and overnight in Hotel Skaftafell, in the shadow of the biggest glacier outside the arctic regions; Vatnajokull (3-6 hours driving)
Accommodation: Hotel in Kirkjubaejarklaustur

Day 7:  Skaftafell - Fjadrargljufur - Thorsmork – Hvolsvollur
Head back towards Reykjavik, stop at the gorge Fjadrargljufur and spend at least two hours there. If you overnight in Skaftafell there is about two hours drive Kirkjubaejarklaustur; stop there for lunch and you can give yourself time to inspect this quite little village and its surroundings. (Approximately 5 hours driving to Hvolsvollur from Skaftafell). Thorsmork is something we always recommend to all nature enthusiasts. If you are experience 4x4 driver and the conditions are good you can go on your own but we recommend you go with us in the Super-jeep. But it is your call of course. If you choose to do so, drive to Reykjavik and the next day we will take you to Thorsmork.  Drive to the village Hvolsvollur and stay in the area for the night.
Accommodation: Hotel by Hvolsvollur (or in Reykjavik)

Day 8: Smaratun – Reykjavik
Drive back to Reykjavik and when you come to the town Selfoss you turn left, to the South shore to a little fishing village called Stokkseyri. A visit the Museum of ghosts and elf’s gives you a taste of our folk story’s and tales. The coastline near Stokkseyri is an ideal place for bird watching; in the migrating season, and you can always see some birds in that coastline. From Stokkseyri there is approximately 45 min. drive to Reykjavík by the highway but you can choose an alternative route which is a little bit longer but more scenic.
Accommodation: Hotel in Reykjavik downtown

Day 9: Reykjavik - Departure from Keflavik Airport
Spend the day in Reykjavik and relax, go whale watching or visit museums.  You can return your rental car in Reykjavik or drive yourself to Keflavik airport; and inspect the Reykjanes peninsula where you can walk between continents so to speak on the tectonic plate boundaries. A visit to the Blue Lagoon is also a popular activity. It would of cost about the same to leave the rental car at the airport as the Fly bus fare. But of course you could return the car on day 8 when you arrive to Reykjavik.

FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

What is Icelandic weather like?
Weather in Iceland unpredictable, so we strongly advise our customers to check the weather report each day, especially in winter. Weather forecasts for the whole of Iceland can be found on the Icelandic Met Office website.

What are Icelandic roads like?
We also strongly recommend that you check the overview maps showing road conditions and the current situation for all main roads at a given point, provided by the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration. Attached is a representative photo of such a map, showing that some roads are closed, others icy or very icy, etc.

Map of Icelandic Road Conditions

Be well prepared when planning to drive in Iceland:

  • Get accurate, up to date information about the area
  • Check the weather forecast - in Iceland, the weather can change suddenly
  • Always leave your travel plan with someone who can react if needed
  • Remember to bring the right equipment for the type of travel
  • Always use maps, compass, GPS when travelling outside the urban areas
  • Most of the Icelandic Highland roads are closed in wintertime

Where can I find information about driving in Iceland?

Iceland Private Tours provides you with a Self Drive Package which contains useful information about travelling safely in Iceland. The package includes a Road Atlas, Iceland's Big Map (that has your route marked out) and an Icelandic mobile phone with prepaid call credit. A list of interesting highlights that you might wish to explore on your route is also enclosed.

The Icelandic Road Traffic Directorate (Umferðarstofa) has produced a video entitled "How to Drive in Iceland", as well as a downloadable brochure in English, German and French, which can be accessed on their website.
Additionally, the Icelandic Association for Search & Rescue, ICE-SAR (Landsbjörg), provides vital information for safe travel in Iceland. It is essential to be well informed when travelling around Iceland, especially in the Highlands - the combination of unfamiliar terrain and the abrupt weather changes can prove hazardous.

What happens if I don't reach my hotel due to weather, or if I find myself in some distress on my route?
If you are unable to reach your destination due to an event of force majeure nature, then the force majeure clause, cited below, will apply.

Should you find yourself in distress, or in any uncertainty, you can call us at any time using the Icelandic mobile phone included in your Self Drive Package. If your arrival to your hotel is likely to be delayed, please give them a call and let them know. All the necessary phone numbers are included in your Self Drive Package. The 24 hour emergency phone number for ambulance, police and fire services in Iceland is 112.

If a road is closed and I can't make it to my next hotel – will that hotel still charge?
The usual minimum cancellation time for hotel bookings is 48 hours so technically they can charge, but give us a call and we will try our best to sort it out so there is little or no cost if possible. This is one of the advantages of having a local travel agency plan your Iceland tour. Most hotels are very understanding when it comes to changes due to weather.

I will then need another hotel - who pays for that?
Customers are responsible for covering any additional costs themselves but if we got the hotel cancelled without a fee, then of course that refund goes into covering the cost of the other hotel. We always try our best for our customers and it has always worked out with a few phone calls – remember, with us you will have an Icelandic mobile phone with our number that you can ring any time and the numbers of all your hotels.

Winter driving in Iceland is perhaps not for everybody and might not be everybody's idea of a carefree holiday. In wintertime, many of our customers opt to go first on a private Super-Jeep tour with us, to get a good sense of the Icelandic roads and conditions (as well as good insider tips) from our expert driver guides, before venturing on their own. Our experienced driver guides can take you anywhere you would like to go. You can have any tour as a privately guided Super-Jeep adventure.

Force Majeure
It is possible that an eruption, a flood, a storm or another form of Force Majeure might affect your tour in a way that is beyond human control. The standard Force Majeure or 'Act of God' clause applies and frees both parties from liability or obligation when an extraordinary event or circumstances beyond the control of the parties (clients / tour operator) prevent one or both parties from fulfilling their obligations under the contract.

Your plans may need to change in such circumstances. We will, of course, help in any way we can; however, it is expected that the clients understand that driving, especially in a foreign country, inherently involves a degree of personal risk.

Iceland Private Tours considers appropriate travel insurance to be essential. Please familiarise yourself with the details of your insurance policy and take it with you on holiday. It is a matter of personal responsibility to ensure that the insurance you have purchased covers you for the holiday activities in Iceland, whether they be driving tours, riding tours, snowmobiling tours, winter sports activities or other.

Iceland Private Tours disclaims responsibility for any loss, damage, accidents, sickness or changes in schedules caused by weather, strikes or any other irregularity beyond the control of Iceland Private Tours. Iceland Private Tours reserves the right to alter routes, itineraries or departure times, without prior notice, should the necessity arise.

About Iceland

Currency converter

Source: Central Bank of Iceland