Enjoy Iceland's premier natural wonders, all easily accessible in this compact self-drive tour which explores the south and south-west areas. Follow the dramatic coastline through an active volcano zone, past black sandy beaches, snow-capped mountains, picturesque waterfalls and spouting geysers. If you're lucky, you'll also witness a spectacular showing of the famous Northern Lights - in the countryside, away from light pollution, all you have to do is go outside and look up into the night skies, to start your search for the Aurora!
Day 1 Reykjavik Arrival 50km
On arrival at Keflavik International Airport collect your rental car and drive to your hotel in Reykjavik. The city centre is a small area characterised by eclectic and colourful houses, good shopping and dining. Having recently established itself as a haven for food lovers, numerous restaurants are taking advantage of the abundance of local seafood, meat and game. Reykjavik has many wonderful museums including the National Museum displaying artefacts from the first settlement to the modern age, giving an excellent overview of Iceland's history and culture, the Reykjavik 871+2 Settlement Museum, an archaeological museum based around a 10th century Viking longhouse unearthed in 2001, the Reykjavik Art Museum and the National Gallery. Overnight in Reykjavik.
Day 2 Reykjavik - Hella/Hvolsvollur: Golden Circle Thingvellir, Geysir and Gullfoss 200km
Today, head out of Reykjavik to Thingvellir National Park, on the shores of Iceland's largest lake. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is where the Althing, the oldest legislative assembly in the world, was first convened, and a place of great significance and national importance. The National Park also lies in a rift valley that marks the crest of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and the boundary between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates - this is one of Iceland's most fascinating and visually stunning geological places. Drive on to the village of Laugarvatn and continue through farmland areas to the Geysir geothermal fields, with bubbling mud pools and the regularly erupting Strokkur geyser. Then visit the beautiful and dramatic two-tiered Gullfoss Waterfall, a spectacular sight in winter when frozen mid-cascade. Overnight in the Hella/Hvolsvollur area.
Day 3 Hella/Hvolsvollur - South Shore: Eyjafjallajokull Volcano, Waterfalls & Black Sand Beaches 185km
Today you’ll explore the iconic South Shore, a region lined with volcanic mountains and glacier views. We suggest a visit to the LAVA Centre in Hvollsvollur town. Here you’ll enjoy interactive exhibits about the volcanoes and earthquakes that helped create Iceland. Driving along the south shore you can also visit the spectacular waterfalls, Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss. Drive by Myrdalsjokull glacier. Continue to Reynisfjara beach and its striking black sands, to view the extraordinary rock formations and thundering waves of the Atlantic Ocean. Continue onwards, passing Eldhraun, the largest known single lava flow, as you head to your overnight accommodation. Two nights in the Kirkjubæjarklaustur area.
Day 4 Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon - Vatnajokull National Park 250km
Today you will be in the southern area of Vatnajokull National Park, the largest of its kind in Western Europe. It’s dominated by Vatnajokull glacier, Europe’s largest ice cap. Start with a visit to the photogenic Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon, where you can watch the breathtaking sight of floating, blue-tinted icebergs on this 180m deep glacial lagoon. Nearby is Diamond Beach, where silvery icebergs rest on black sands. Both the lagoon and the beach are great areas to spend some time catching perfect photographs. You also might glimpse seals lounging near the icebergs. Another glacial wonder in the area is the quiet, mystical Fjallsarlon Iceberg Lagoon. Vatnajokull National Park’s glacier ringed Skaftafell is an outstanding area of natural beauty. Second overnight in the Kirkjubaejarklaustur area.
Day 5 Kirkjubaejarklaustur- Reykjavik: Blue Lagoon & Greenhouse Village 370km
Head towards Hveragerdi village, one of the few communities in the world located directly on top of an active geothermal area. This is often called ‘the flower village' because of its many greenhouses, heated by hot water from nearby springs. Continue snaking along the coast, with its breathtaking sea waves, and on to the Reykjanes peninsula, a UNESCO Geopark with many intriguing geological wonders, including the bubbling Krysuvik geothermal area and the lunar landscapes of Lake Kleifarvatn. Or perhaps enjoy an optional visit and a relaxing soak at the famous Blue Lagoon - a unique wonder of nature with pleasantly warm and mineral rich geothermal water, located in a middle of a black lava field. Continue on to Reykjavik for an overnight stay.
Day 6: Reykjavik Departure
Arrangements end with the return of your rental car to Keflavik Airport.
2023-2024 departures: daily 1 October - 30 April
Choose from 2 different levels of accommodation:
Comfort: accommodation with private facilities in a combination of standard hotels, farmhouses and guesthouses, with first and last night in a 3 star hotel in Reykjavik.
Quality: accommodation with private facilities in quality hotels and guesthouses, with first and last night in a 4 star hotel in Reykjavik.
Additional nights can be added in Reykjavik at the beginning or end, or anywhere else already on the itinerary along the way.
The names for individual accommodations are not available prior to booking, as the tour package is based on specific hotel/price categories and not on specific hotels/accommodations and the exact location of your hotel will vary according to availability. The itinerary indicates the region only for each overnight stay (with the exception of the first and last nights which are always in Reykjavik itself).
For other car types and accommodation prices please enquire. Rental car must be a 4WD.
If you would like to have dinner in the hotel restaurant, we recommend making a reservation with the hotel reception desk at the time of check-in at each hotel en-route.