Around Iceland Self Drive Holiday

A well-paced self drive tour itinerary that lets you really enjoy the best of Iceland’s natural wonders. Enjoy visiting national parks, beautiful waterfalls, striking glaciers, the magnificent volcanoes

Self drive 10 day holiday around Iceland

Highlights

  • Drive to the legendary waterfall Gullfoss and the hot springs at Geysir
  • From Hvalfjordur fjord to the historic and scenic Borgarfjordur region
  • Travel north through Borgarfjordur to the shores of Hunafloi bay
  • Continue to Akureyri, the capital of North Iceland
  • Experience the unique Lake Myvatn area
Self driving tour in Scandinavia Iceland to see Around Iceland
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The self drive itinerary to see Iceland

This popular road trip (self-drive tour in Scandinavia) is a well paced driving itinerary that lets you really enjoy the best of Iceland’s natural wonders. Enjoy visiting national parks, beautiful waterfalls, striking glaciers, the magnificent volcanoes of Lake Mývatn and the northern Vatnajökull National Park. 

Visit historical or cultural significance places, or bask in the midnight sun in one of Iceland’s many geothermal heated pools and springs.

 

DAY 1 REYKJAVIK / HVERAGERDI

Winter: Driving distance: approx. 50 km/30 miles
Summer: Driving distance: approx. 100 km/62 miles


Your tour commences with the collection of your rental car from the airport depot and make your way to your hotel in Hveragerdi. This village is one of the few sites in the world located directly on top of a geothermal area and, because of its many greenhouses heated by hot water from nearby springs it is often called the “flower village“. Depending on your arrival time in Iceland, we suggest that you take some time to explore the Reykjanes Peninsula (a UNESCO GeoPark site) before you head to Hveragerdi. You’ll see unusual and stunning craters, lava cliffs, the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and charming fishing villages and lighthouses along the peninsula. If time permits, you might enjoy the opportunity to relax in thermal waters of the renowned Blue Lagoon (important: admission to the Blue Lagoon needs to be booked in advance).

Winter: Overnight in Reykjavik
Summer: Overnight in Hveragerdi
Meals included: –

 


DAY 2 HVERGARDI / REYKJAVIK – GOLDEN CIRCLE – BORGARFJORDUR

Driving distance: approx. 240 km/150 miles


Enjoy the day exploring the natural wonders of the Golden Circle region. First up is a scenic drive to the legendary waterfall Gullfoss and the bubbling steam vents and spouting hot springs at Geysir. Visit Thingvellir National Park, site of the ancient Icelandic parliament, before driving through Hvalfjordur fjord to the historic and scenic Borgarfjordur region. If you have a 4WD vehicle, you can also take the scenic highland wilderness Kaldidalur track alongside Langjokull glacier to Borgarfjordur. The road generally is open between mid-June and mid-September.

We recommend taking advantage of geothermal activity in this area with a relaxing soak in the Fontana Steam Baths in Laugarvatn or the Secret Lagoon in Fludir, the oldest natural pool in Iceland.

Overnight: Borgarfjordur area
Meals included: Breakfast


DAY 3 BORGARFJORDUR – SKAGAFJORDUR – AKUREYRI/NORTHWEST ICELAND

Summer: Driving distance: approx. 299 km/186 miles


We recommend spending part of your day exploring the local area in Borgarfjordur. This area is well-known for finding authentic handicrafts and tasty local treats including steamed baked bread straight from the hot spring. You also have the opportunity for adventure with a visit to the multi-coloured Vidgelmir cave or take a guided trip up Langjokull glacier to the fascinating “Into the Glacier” ice cave. Drive north to the shores of Hunafloi Bay, a great location for seal-watching. The scenery changes as you approach the towering mountains and horse breeding valley of Skagafjordur. Some of Iceland’s best preserved historical buildings are also in this area. Perhaps visit one such as Glaumbaer (Skagafjordur Heritage Museum), where there is a turf manor farm dating back to the 18th century and two charming 19th century timber houses.

Overnight: in Northwest Iceland


DAY 4 AKUREYRI/NORTHWEST ICELAND – LAKE MYVATN

Summer: Driving distance: approx. 189 km/117 miles


Spend the morning exploring the town of Akureyri, Iceland’s second largest city at just 20,000 residents. This charming city is home to numerous museums, art galleries and friendly cafes great for a delicious, locally sourced lunch. Also, the botanical garden is open year-round if you feel like exploring the variety of plants. In the afternoon, continue your journey towards Myvatn, but first you’ll stop to view the beautiful Godafoss waterfalls, which has a unique connection to Iceland’s Viking Age.

Overnight: Lake Myvatn area
Meals included: Breakfast

 


DAY 5 LAKE MYVATN

Driving distance: variable


After breakfast, explore the natural wonders of Lake Myvatn and thesurrounding area. Stroll along the mystical lava formations at Dimmuborgir. Visit the volcanic area of Krafla along with the otherworldly setting and colourful sulphurous slopes of Namaskard Pass, it’s almost as though you are walking on the surface of Mars. Enjoy the views of the pseudo craters and the strange lava columns rising out of the lake at Skutustadir – an area used in the filming of the HBO series Game of Thrones. After a day of exploration, we recommend a relaxing soak in the spectacular Myvatn Nature Baths.

Overnight: Lake Myvatn area
Meals included: Breakfast

 


DAY 6 LAKE MYVATN – HUSAVIK – EGILSSTADIR

Driving distance: approx. 310 km/193 miles


This morning drive north to the charming fishing port of Husavik, where you might stop to enjoy a whale watching boat tour. Then head around the fossil rich Tjornes peninsula on the edge of the Arctic Circle to the northern entrance of Vatnajokull National Park where you can check out Asbyrgi, a magnificent horseshoe shaped canyon. Trails lead through peaceful forested areas to a hidden canyon lake. If travelling between May and September you can reach the mighty Dettifoss waterfall, the most powerful one in Europe. Then head across the vast highland plateau to Egilsstadir in the east.

Overnight: East Fjords area
Meals included: Breakfast

 


DAY 7 EGILSSTADIR – HOFN

Driving distance: approx. 300 km/186 miles


Today continue your drive south through the spectacular East Fjords, where towering mountains plunge vertically into the ocean. Leave plenty of time to yourself, both for safe driving and for amazing views of the coast and Vatnajokull glacier. The journey continues to the town of Hofn in Hornafjordur, also known as the lobster capital of northern Europe.

Overnight: Hofn area
Meals included: Breakfast

 


DAY 8 HOFN – KIRKJUBAEJARKLAUSTUR

Driving distance: approx. 210km/131 miles


Today you will be in the vicinity of Vatnajokull National Park, named after Europe‘s largest glacier. Visit the shimmering icebergs and the still, milky waters of Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon. If you wish to see the icebergs up close and personal take a boat tour in the lagoon – it is suggested to book in advance, so you do not miss out. Some of the icebergs from Vatnajokull glacier drift down onto the black sands at the nearby Diamond Beach, this is a fantastic area for photographs.

Continue to the Skaftafell area of the park, a beautiful green oasis surrounded by glaciers. There are many great hiking trails to explore in this area. Afterwards, head towards the picturesque village of Kirkjubaejarklaustur, once a medieval convent.

Overnight: Kirkjubaejarklaustur area
Meals included: Breakfast

 


DAY 9 KIRKJUBAEJARKLAUSTUR – VIK – REYKJAVIK

Driving distance: approx. 290 km/180 miles


Drive along the spectacular south coast, a sweeping landscape of sandy deserts, rocky shores and rolling farmlands sandwiched between snow-capped glaciers, mountains, and the ocean. Drive alongside Eldhraun, a massive and eerily beautiful lava flow covered in moss. It is the largest recorded single flow of lava in world history. Stop to admire the black sand beaches and cliffs at Dyrholaey. There are vast bird colonies here, including puffins (mid-May – 25 June, Dyrholaey is closed for the bird nesting season). Also, visit the beautiful waterfalls of Skogarfoss and Seljalandsfoss, each with its own character. You will also see the mighty Eyjafjallajokull volcano, famous for its 2010 eruption. Drive to Reykjavík in the late afternoon and discover the beauty of this unique and colourful city.

Overnight: Reykjavik
Meals included: Breakfast

 


DAY 10 REYKJAVIK

Driving distance: approx. 50km/30 miles

Your tour concludes with the return of your rental car to the Reykjavik Keflavik International Airport depot.

Meals included: Breakfast


Winter:
October – April
(No departures November to March, due to winter road and weather conditions)

Summer: May-September

Golden Circle self drive tour to see Seljalandsfoss

Tour inclusions

  • 1 night in 3 star (comfort class) or 4 star (quality class) accommodation in Reykjavik (2 nights in winter)
  • 8 nights in standard hotels, guesthouses and farmhouse accommodation (comfort class) and standard hotels and guesthouses accommodation (quality class) (7 nights in winter)
  • 9 day car hire
  • Unlimited kilometers, Collision Damage Waiver and Theft Protection
  • Additional authorised driver
  • Airport Service Charge for car pick up and drop off at Keflavik International Airport
  • Complimentary unlimited in-car wi-fi
  • Service fees and taxes
  • Emergency phone line open 24 hours
  • Customer care service during office hours; services of local representatives.
  • Access to Travel Companion App that includes;
    • Approximately 1500 star points, points of interest, tours and activities in the area.
    • 35 points of interest with an audio guide
    • Access to your travel documents, create a personalised map links to electronic versions of the Iceland Travel Road Guide in different languages which covers interesting places as well as safety tips
    • Your hotel bookings with check-in and check-out dates

What meals do you get?

9 x Icelandic-style Breakfasts

What sightseeing & excursions are included

This self drive route enables sightseeing at;

  • Hveragerdi village. Also known as the flower village
  • Gullfoss waterfall
  • The hot springs at Geysir
  • Thingvellir National Park
  • Hvalfjordur fjord
  • Borgarfjordur region
  • Hunafloi bay
  • Akureyri
  • Lake Myvatn
  • Godafoss waterfalls
  • Port of Husavik
  • Lava formations at Dimmuborgir
  • The sulfurous slopes of Namaskard pass
  • Vatnajokull glacier
  • Black sand beaches and cliffs at Dyrholaey

Additional information

Car Hire: The driver must present a valid driving license held for a minimum of one year at the time of rental. A valid automobile driver’s license from the US, Canada or the European Economic Area is required to drive in Iceland. A license from other countries can be used if it: a) has a valid license number, b) has the license holder’s photograph, c) is printed in Latin alphabet characters and d) is valid at the time of travel. Otherwise, an international driver’s license is required.

This self-drive itinerary is a general guideline for your travel in Iceland. Your actual route may vary according to your overnight locations and the daily road conditions. Please remember the listed kilometre/mile distance is an estimate.

Quality Class: Our quality self-drive holidays allow you to spend your days exploring rural Iceland, knowing your nights will be spent in the most comfortable accommodation each area has to offer. Throughout the tour you‘ll stay in quality guesthouses and hotels where all rooms have a private facilities. Your final night will be in a 4 star hotel in Reykjavik.

Comfort Class: Our comfort self-drives offer you the chance to travel around Iceland in a carefree spirit, staying in accommodation with private facilities without stretching your budget. During your stay you‘ll be located in a combination of standard hotels, farmhouses and guesthouses. Your final night will be in a 3 star hotel in Reykjavik.

Frequently asked questions

Iceland is a fantastic destination for a self-driving tour, offering a unique combination of factors that make it an unforgettable adventure:

  • Dramatic Landscapes: Iceland’s landscapes are unlike anywhere else on Earth. From towering glaciers and volcanic mountains to cascading waterfalls and geothermal wonders, the scenery is diverse and awe-inspiring. Driving allows you to experience this beauty at your own pace, stopping whenever you see something that takes your breath away.
 
  • Accessibility: Despite its remote location, Iceland has a well-maintained road system, particularly the Ring Road, which encircles the entire island nation. This makes it relatively easy to navigate and explore different regions without needing to rely on public transportation or guided tours.
 
  • Flexibility and Freedom: Self-driving tours offer the ultimate flexibility in planning your itinerary. You can choose which destinations to visit, how long to spend at each location, and set your own pace. This allows you to tailor the trip to your interests and preferences, whether you want to focus on specific natural wonders, explore charming towns, or simply enjoy the scenic drives.
 
  • Safety: Iceland is known for being a safe country with a low crime rate. The roads are generally well-maintained, and the infrastructure is good. As always, be sure to drive according to the conditions and be aware of potential hazards like icy roads or sudden weather changes.
 
  • Unique Stops and Hidden Gems: While Iceland has become a popular tourist destination, there are still plenty of opportunities to discover hidden gems and off-the-beaten-path locations. A self-driving tour allows you to veer off the main road and explore smaller towns, natural wonders, or historical sites that might not be easily accessible by public transportation or guided tours.
 
  • Budget-Friendly Option: Compared to guided tours, self-driving tours in Iceland can be a more budget-friendly option, especially for small groups or families. You can control your accommodation and food expenses by choosing campsites, guesthouses, or self-catering options. The cost of renting a car can be shared amongst the group, making it a more economical way to travel.
 
  • Amazing for Nature Lovers: If you’re passionate about nature and the outdoors, a self-driving tour in Iceland is the perfect way to experience its incredible natural beauty. You can stop and hike glaciers, explore volcanic craters, soak in geothermal hot springs, or simply enjoy the fresh air and breathtaking scenery.

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