5-Day South Iceland Summer Self-Drive Tour | Golden Circle, Black Sand Beach & Glacier Lagoon

Duration

5 days

Availability

May - Sep

Difficulty

Easy

Minimum Age

All Ages

Overview

Experience the wonders of South Iceland, and so much more, with an exciting self-drive tour this summer. Over 5 days, you will visit some of Iceland’s most beloved attractions, including Þingvellir National Park, Geysir Geothermal Valley, Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach and Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. Don’t hesitate to kick off this breathtaking adventure in Iceland! 

Self-drive tours allow you to craft your perfect holiday in Iceland without having to worry about the difficult practicalities. We will organise a well-suited rental car for the trip, as well as overnight accommodation. Before you depart, you will be provided with a full itinerary that takes you past the country’s favourite attractions. Would you expect anything less of your dream holiday in the land of ice and fire? 

You make all the decisions, from how long to stay at each point of interest to which detours, diversions and extra activities to include as part of your trip. Additional experiences include bathing at the world-famous Blue Lagoon, snowmobiling on Langjökull Glacier or snorkelling in the crystal clear waters of Silfra Fissure. 

Behind every corner, another majestic attraction is just waiting to be discovered. With both the Golden Circle and South Iceland sightseeing routes included, you’ll be in for an unforgettable adventure on this epic 5-day tour. 

Included

Not included

Itinerary

Arrival in Iceland
Sun Voyager Sculpture on the coastline of Reykjavik

Before landing, you might spot the dramatic lava fields of Reykjanes Peninsula from your airplane window. Keflavík International Airport is located amidst these rocky outcrops, making your very first experiences in Iceland unforgettable from the get-go. Here, you will collect your bags and rental car before making a scenic drive across this volcanic landscape to Iceland’s capital city, Reykjavík. 

Highlights:

  • Reykjanes Peninsula – An ancient lava field
  • Reykjavík – Iceland’s vibrant capital city

The Golden Circle
Erupting Strokkur geyser at sunset

Today, you will experience Iceland’s most popular sightseeing route, The Golden Circle. Composed of three major attractions—Þingvellir National Park, Geysir Geothermal Valley and Gullfoss waterfall—this dramatic trail provides brilliant insights into this land’s culture, nature and history. 

Highlights:

  • Þingvellir National Park – A historical site which marks the boundaries of two continents
  • Geysir Geothermal Area – Home of bubbling mud pools and erupting geysers
  • Strokkur – Iceland’s most dramatic erupting geyser
  • Gullfoss Waterfall – A stunning 32 m cascade
  • Kerið Crater Lake – A small lake in the heart of a crater
  • Skálholt Historical Site – Rich in history and beauty
  • Efstidalur Farm – A fantastic stop for ice cream and coffee

South Iceland
Skogafoss waterfall Iceland

On your third day in the country, you will be travelling down Iceland’s south coast. En route, you will discover beautiful promenades, fantastic waterfalls and stunning coastlines. 

Highlights:

  • Seljalandsfoss – A waterfall with a cave behind the cascade
  • Skógafoss – A wide and beautiful waterfall, viewable from above and below
  • Eyjafjallajökull Glacier – A stunning ice cap hiding a volcano beneath it
  • Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach – Iceland’s most famous shoreline
  • Vík Village – A quaint village that’s excellent for a lunch stop

Head back to Reykjavík
Diamond beach with glacier ice blocks on black sand close to Jökulsárlon in Iceland.

Start the day by visiting one of the most beautiful places in Iceland, Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. Surrounded by the mighty Vatnajökull glacier, Jökulsárlón is famed for its floating icebergs, ethereal ambience and happy seal population. Nothing beats following the icebergs on their journey from the lagoon down to the black shorelines of the Diamond Beach. 

Highlights:

  • Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon – An aquamarine water body filled with floating icebergs
  • Diamond Beach – A black sand beach nearby to Jökulsárlón where icebergs wash ashore
  • Skaftafell – A beautiful nature reserve beneath Vatnajökull Glacier
  • Svartifoss Waterfall – A gorgeous waterfall enclosed by black basalt columns
  • Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon – a twisted canyon of green cliff sides
  • Dyrhólaey Promenade – Famous for its lighthouse, rock arch and puffins

Departure
Women in the silky blue waters of the blue lagoon in Iceland with smoke in the background

Alas, your final day in Iceland has drawn in. Depending on the time of your flight, there may still be room for you to explore Reykjavík a little more in the morning. You could stroll through the city’s downtown parks, visit a local cafe or walk up the forested Öskjuhlíð Hill to Perlan Observation Deck for a final panoramic over the city. 

Highlights:

  • Hallgrímskirkja Church – Reykjavík’s most iconic landmark
  • Laugavegur Shopping Street – Home to Reykjavík’s shops and nightlife
  • Harpa Concert Hall – An architectural marvel in Reykjavík 
  • Perlan Museum & Observation Deck – A great place to learn about Iceland’s nature and get a panoramic view of the city

Accommodation

You’ll have a choice of three accommodations levels. See details about each one in the boxes below. All accommodations for this tour have been hand-picked by our local travel experts.

For budget-level, single rooms will be allocated to bookings for one person.  Shared twin/double or triple room(s) will be arranged for two or more people. Groups with an odd number of participants will be allotted a single room in quality-level. Children and teenagers will be arranged in the same room as their parents. Additional cost may occur if additional room(s) is needed.

Please keep in mind that hotel quality in Iceland varies between regions and that not all locations offer quality-level accommodations. At those particular locations, comfort level accommodations will be arranged, which has already been calculated in the upgraded price. We do our best to accommodate special requests, but additional costs may incur. 

Budget

Nice and comfortable rooms with shared bathroom facilities and shower located in farmhouses, guesthouses or hostels, in good locations with breakfast included. An example of this in Reykjavík would be Kex Hostel. 

Comfort

Comfortable rooms in three-star hotels or quality guesthouses, centrally located, very close to popular attractions. Private bathroom and breakfast included. An example of this in Reykjavík would be Fosshotel Rauðará. 

Quality

Rooms in four-star hotels or superior rooms in quality three-star hotels at fantastic locations near popular attractions. Private bathroom and breakfast is included. An example of this in Reykjavík would be Icelandair Hotel Marina. 

Car

You’ll have a choice of three options for your rental car. See details for each option in the boxes below. We only work with highly reputable dealerships, ensuring you a smooth ride throughout your holiday.

The vehicles for all levels are current models, no older than two years. They all come standard with a medium protection package including CDW (Collision damage waiver), GP (Gravel Protection), Super Collision Damage Waiver (SCDW), Personal Accident Insurance (PAI) and a Theft Waiver (THW). They also come equipped with free Wi-Fi with 3GB total. You will also get 24-hour roadside emergency services from the car rental agency. In the wintertime, all cars have winter tyres.

The driver must hold a valid driving licence which they have had for at least 12 months before the date of the rental. Age requirement varies for each level, and you can find more information on that in the boxes below.  

Please note that off-road driving is illegal in Iceland.

Budget 2WD

2WD vehicle such as a VW Golf, good for city driving and shorter trips. Fits up to 5 travellers & light luggage. No Highland capabilities. Driver must be at least 20 year old.

Comfort 4x4

4x4 jeep or SUV. Fits up to 5 travellers and 2 large pieces of luggage. Decent for snow and off-asphalt driving. Basic highland capabilities. Driver must be min. 20 years old.

Luxury 4x4

Large 4x4 like such as a Toyota Land Cruiser. Comfortable for up to 5 travellers with 4 large pieces of luggage. Full highland capabilities. Driver must be minimum 21 years old.

Map

Good to know

What to bring

Cancellation Insurance

Need to cancel your tour? Don’t worry, with our Cancellation Insurance you can cancel your package up to 48 hours before the tour start date and receive a full refund — minus the insurance cost, of course. 

The price for the insurance is based on the length of your package. The base price is 5,000 ISK per person, and it applies to all packages with a duration of five days or less. An additional 1,000 ISK per person will be added to the base price for each day after the first five. 

With our Cancellation Insurance, you will be reimbursed for your package, whether you broke your ankle, got called to jury duty, or there is a global pandemic. Just let us know at [email protected] before 4 PM (GMT) to cancel your booking and claim your refund.

Other tours you might be interested in

From: kr.62.429 kr.53.065

Per person based on 4 persons travelling together
(Discounts applied in cart – Amount charged in ISK)

Have a question about this tour?
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Included in our rates and also covers you against Third Party Loss. Your Excess is ISK 195.000 for passenger cars and/or ISK 375.000 for 4×4 SUV´s and bigger cars. 

Included in our rates according to Icelandic law. PAI provides protection for injuries suffered by you or your passengers and /or a lump sum indemnity if you or your passengers are disabled or if you die as a result of the collision (or an accident). 

Included in our rates and covers you against theft of the vehicle. Does not cover loss or theft of personal belongings. 

Included in our rates and lowers the excess of the standard Collision Damage Waiver (CDW). Your Excess is reduced from ISK 195.000 to ISK 49.500 for passenger cars and/or from ISK 375.000 to ISK 90.000 for 4×4 SUV´s and bigger cars. 

Included in our rates and covers you against damages to the windshield and headlights caused by stones or gravel getting thrown at your car by another vehicle. Your Damage Liability Fee is reduced to zero amount in case of such damages. 

Terms of Service

For further information, please see our Terms and Conditions.

  • More than 24 hours before scheduled tour departure time: 100% refund. Some day tours might have a different cancellation policy, in which case it will be clearly mentioned in the “Good to know” section of the tour.
  • Less than 24 hours before scheduled tour departure time: 100% cancellation fee. Some day tours might have a different cancellation policy, in which case it will be clearly mentioned in the “Good to know” section of the tour.
  • More than 7 days before scheduled tour arrival date: 15% cancellation fee
  • Less than 7 days before scheduled tour departure date: 75% cancellation fee
  • Less than 72 hours before scheduled tour departure date: 100% cancellation fee
  • 45-30 days before scheduled tour arrival date: 50% cancellation fee
  • 29-15 days before scheduled tour arrival date: 75% cancellation fee
  • 14 days before scheduled tour arrival date: 100% cancellation fee

Scheduled international and domestic flights are non-refundable, be they a part of a package, multi-day tour, or any other service purchasable on the Traveo website, unless the Cancellation insurance is purchased. If a cancellation insurance is purchased, a full refund is given.

If flights are a part of a tour listed as a Day-Tour, standard terms of cancellations of day tours apply to a full refund. For cancelling and refunding of private flights (flights specifically arranged and scheduled for you personally or your group in specific), please contact your service agent.

If your tour is cancelled by the tour provider due to weather conditions or any other environmental circumstances you will always receive a full refund. Exempt from this are any rescheduled second tries of tours which already have been serviced as a first departure. In the case of a volcanic eruption taking place on Icelandic soil stopping you from getting to Iceland, you will also receive a full refund on all products booked on Traveo.

All booking change requests must be made via email by the person who submitted the original booking request.

Changing the number of people in a booking to a smaller number is considered cancellation for the change in number of participants.

  • Packages: 

For multi-day tours and packages, all requests for changes must be made minimum 7 days in advance. Please note that we might not be able to fulfil your changed requirements due to lack of availability, though we will always do our best, and do offer alternative options.

Depending on how far in advance a tour package has been booked and when changes to a booking are requested, an administrative fee of 5000 ISK may be charged each day/night of the itinerary that is modified. Additional supplier costs may still apply depending on the changes requested.

For bookings made within 60 days of arrival, changes can be made without incurring the administrative fee until services have been confirmed and the travel documents have been issued. However, for bookings made 30 days or less before arrival, the administrative fee and any applicable supplier fees may be charged due to the short processing time.

  • Day tours and activities: 

Day tours and activities booked on the Traveo.is that are serviced by independent operators can be changed up to 24 hours before departure.

  • Transfer of bookings: 

A booking may be transferred from one party to another, provided that the new party upholds the terms and conditions of the booking. An administrative fee of 5000 ISK will be charged for the transfer, and both parties must assume joint liability for this fee and any other costs that may be incurred by changes to the booking.

  • Parties travelling together: 

Should two parties wish to book separately but travel together, they should inform travel agents of this prior to booking. If a co-travel request is sent after the booking process has been finished, the change to a package is counted as a tailoring and is subject to a 5000 isk service fee.

  • Significant changes to packages: 

If a package is significantly changed from the original package setup/route as offered on the site, the product will be considered to be a tailored tour and might be subject to a 15% service fee of the total price of the package. This does not apply to added nights at the end or at the beginning of a package as this does not change the original package setup/route.

For budget-level, single rooms will be allocated to bookings for one person.  Shared twin/double or triple room(s) will be arranged for two or more people. Groups with an odd number of participants will be allotted a single room in quality-level. Children and teenagers will be arranged in the same room as their parents. Additional cost may occur if additional room(s) is needed.

During the booking process you will be able to choose a pickup location and starting time. If you do not show up for the scheduled pickup time and location stated on your booking, your reservation is non-refundable.

If you do not know your pickup location at the time of booking, you can choose to update your pickup location later, up to 24 hours before tour departure. Please call the number listed on your voucher if you do not receive a confirmation of your pickup location.

Traveo cannot be liable to any loss, damage, accidents, injuries, death or sickness during your tour. The same applies for any changes in tour schedule due to weather, strikes or any other force majeure. Tour operators reserve the right to change routes, schedules and itineraries if needed because of weather, road conditions or should the necessity arise because of unforeseen reasons or circumstances.

We advise all travellers to purchase a comprehensive travel insurance to minimize possible losses due to unforeseeable situations during your travel. Traveo does not offer any travel insurance, so please contact your preferred private travel insurance company.

If you have a complaint about any of our partners please contact us at [email protected] and we will protect your rights.

Sun Voyager Sculpture on the coastline of Reykjavik

Arrival in Iceland

Before landing, you might spot the dramatic lava fields of Reykjanes Peninsula from your airplane window. Keflavík International Airport is located amidst these rocky outcrops, making your very first experiences in Iceland unforgettable from the get-go. Here, you will collect your bags and rental car before making a scenic drive across this volcanic landscape to Iceland’s capital city, Reykjavík. 

Of course, there is always the option to stop at a rejuvenating geothermal spa; The Blue Lagoon. Bathing in the aquamarine waters of Iceland’ premier visitor’s attraction, you will discover relaxation and luxury like never before. Surrounded by billowing white pillars of steam, you’ll be able to shake off the stress of travel with ease. 

Once in Reykjavík, you will drop your bags off the hotel, then be free to explore the capital at your leisure. Why not visit one of Iceland’s many fine-dining establishments, or enjoy a few drinks down at one of the local bars? If you’re in a more reflective mood, you could choose to walk between some of the city’s better-known landmarks, including Hallgrímskirkja Church and Harpa Concert Hall. 

Erupting Strokkur geyser at sunset

The Golden Circle

Today, you will experience Iceland’s most popular sightseeing route, The Golden Circle. Composed of three major attractions—Þingvellir National Park, Geysir Geothermal Valley and Gullfoss waterfall—this dramatic trail provides brilliant insights into this land’s culture, nature and history. 

Þingvellir National Park is where Iceland’s parliament (Alþingi) was founded, way back in the 10th Century. It also covers a geological anomaly known as the Mid-Atlantic rift; this continental no man’s land is found between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. For the best panoramas, a viewpoint atop the Almannagjá gorge provides compelling views over this entire UNESCO World Heritage site, including Lake Þingvallavatn. 

Þingvellir is also where Silfra Fissure is located. Snorkelling in this cold, crystal clear canyon is one of Iceland’s most popular and exhilarating activities. It is sure to provide you with incredible underwater views while keeping you warm inside a thermal drysuit. Snorkelers will experience what it’s like to swim between two tectonic plates which only adds to the novelty. 

Next up, you will visit a geothermal valley most famous for the geyser, Strokkur. This mighty natural feature erupts every five to ten minutes, shooting a frothy stream of water up to twenty-five metres in the air. After witnessing this spectacle firsthand, you will then pay a trip to the nearby Gullfoss waterfall. This cascading giant can be viewed from two different platforms, both of which show off the raw and beautiful drama of Icelandic nature magnificently. 

If you’re looking to spruce your itinerary up with a little more adventure, you are free to participate in additional activities today. These include riding a purebred Icelandic horse through the stunning countryside of the west, or snowmobiling on the gargantuan glacier, Langjökull. Both of these add-ons reveal different sides of Iceland’s culture and landscapes, all while providing memories that are sure to last a lifetime. 

Given that this is a self-drive tour, you are also free to make a detour to other nearby attractions like Kerið Crater Lake, Efstidalur farm or the Skálholt historical site. At the end of your day, you will retire to your accommodation in the area. 

2 snorkelers holding hands in Silfra

Snorkeling in Silfra

Snorkeling between continents in crystal-clear water. Includes a tour with a certified PADI divemaster, all necessary snorkelling gear, Silfra admission fee, and hot chocolate to warm up after the dive. Minimum age 12 years. 

snowmobiles under the sun on Langjokull glacier in Iceland

Snowmobiling on Langjökull

An exhilarating tour on top of a glacier, no previous riding experience needed. Included is a one-hour snowmobile ride with a guide and use of overalls. Two people share a snowmobile and the driver needs to bring their driving licence. Age limit for passenger is 8 years.

Horse riding in Iceland

2 Hour Horse Riding Tour

Meet the friendly Icelandic Horse. Includes 1-1.5 hour guided horseback ride with a specially trained guide. Use of riding helmets, boots & rain wear. Minimum age is 8 years. 

Skogafoss waterfall Iceland

South Iceland

On your third day in the country, you will be travelling down Iceland’s south coast. En route, you will discover beautiful promenades, fantastic waterfalls and stunning coastlines. 

The more adventurous among you can begin your day with an invigorating hike on one of the country’s prettiest ice caps, Sólheimajökull Glacier. Hiking across the vast ice gives you time to appreciate the exquisite moulins and crevasses that dot the glacier.

Another way to get your adrenaline pumping today is with an ATV ride across the black sand beaches of South Iceland. You’ll speed across rivers towards your destination; a wreck of a navy plane which crashed on the beach in 1973 (don’t worry, nobody was hurt). 

You will be paying a visit to two of South Iceland’s most famous natural features, the waterfalls Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss. Afterwards, you will make a stop at the sublime Reynisfjara black sand beach, where the dramatic rock stacks Reynisdranagar poke up out of the ocean. 

While you’re in the Vík village area, you could choose to partake in a tour of the nearby Katla Ice Caves. Under the leadership of a professional guide, you will explore these vivid and glassy cave networks by climbing through narrow crevasses and tunnels, ever on the lookout for intricate and naturally-formed ice sculptures. 

After a hard day’s adventuring, you will spend the night at a country hotel in the Vatnajökull area. 

The Katla Ice Cave with a departure from the town of Vik is available all year around

Katla Ice Cave

Visit an authentic ice cave in a glacier that covers an active volcano! Don’t worry, all volcanoes in Iceland are monitored so this is perfectly safe. Includes a tour with a certified glacier guide and use of all necessary glacier gear such as crampons and helmets. Minimum age is 6 years.

Glacier Hiking on Sólheimajökull Glacier

A fun and easy glacier hike. No previous experience needed. Tour includes an English speaking glacier guide, use of helmet, crampons, ice axe and other necessary safety equipment. Minimum age is 8 years.

two ATV's on a black sand beach in the south of Iceland

Black Sand Beach & Plane Wreck ATV Tour

Hop aboard an ATV and explore the black sand beaches of South Iceland and stop at the hauntingly beautiful DC plane. En route, you’ll cross rivers and get magnificent views of the nearby glaciers. An English-speaking guide will provide you with a helmet, insulated coveralls, and baklavas, but bring with you good shoes. The minimum age for passengers is 8, but drivers need to be at least 17 and hold a valid driver’s license.

Diamond beach with glacier ice blocks on black sand close to Jökulsárlon in Iceland.

Head back to Reykjavík

Start the day by visiting one of the most beautiful places in Iceland, Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. Surrounded by the mighty Vatnajökull glacier, Jökulsárlón is famed for its floating icebergs, ethereal ambience and happy seal population. Nothing beats following the icebergs on their journey from the lagoon down to the black shorelines of the Diamond Beach. 

Before heading back west, you will have an opportunity to take a boat tour on Jökulsárlón. Aboard an amphibious vessel, you will be taken right up next to the icebergs, allowing for fantastic photography opportunities. Alternatively, you could choose to go hiking in Skaftafell Nature Reserve. With its steep cliff sides, lush vegetation and panoramic views over South Iceland, Skaftafell has the well-deserved reputation as one of the country’s prettiest locations.  

You will now be making the return journey back to Reykjavík, though there’s still plenty of time left en route to see more of Iceland’s natural wonders such as Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon and Dyrhólaey Promenade.

Finally, you will arrive back to Iceland’s capital city where you are free to enjoy the rest of your evening. Tonight is a wonderful opportunity to visit one of Iceland’s many downtown pools, or instead, catch a live show at one of the many venues found across the city.

A fun way to visit the famous jokulsarlon is by doing a boat in the middle of the floating icebergs

Jökulsárlón Amphibian Boat Tour

Sail amongst the enormous icebergs on Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. This tour is especially suited for families with young children as well as photographers looking for a great shot of the ice. Included is a guided tour in English and use of lifevest. No age limit.

If you want to experience the true size of those glaciers then a zodiac boat tour on Jokulsarlon is what you need to do

Jökulsárlón Zodiac Boat Tour

Get a front-row seat to see the giant icebergs at Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. The small Zodiac boat can get closer to the icebergs than the larger amphibian boat, providing you with a unique perspective over the bergs. Includes use of floatation overalls and lifejackets. Minimum age is 10 and children must also be taller than 130 cm (4’3”).

Glacier hiking in Skaftafell national park is a must do when visiting the area

Glacier Hike in Skaftafell

Easy glacier hike, suitable for most people. No previous experience needed. Tour includes an English speaking glacier guide, use of helmet, crampons, ice axe and other necessary safety equipment. Minimum age is 8 years. 

Women in the silky blue waters of the blue lagoon in Iceland with smoke in the background

Departure

Alas, your final day in Iceland has drawn in. Depending on the time of your flight, there may still be room for you to explore Reykjavík a little more in the morning. You could stroll through the city’s downtown parks, visit a local cafe or walk up the forested Öskjuhlíð Hill to Perlan Observation Deck for a final panoramic over the city. 

Alternatively, you still have time to visit the Blue Lagoon if you chose not to do so on your arrival day. Making the Blue Lagoon your last stop has several advantages; it leaves with you an incredible last experience in the country, and also makes you nice and relaxed for your travels ahead. 

Until next time, we hope you’ve had a fantastic trip to the land of ice and fire.. 

Women in the silky blue waters of the blue lagoon in Iceland with smoke in the background

Blue Lagoon Comfort Entrance

Includes entrance to the Blue Lagoon, silica mud mask, use of towel and 1st drink of your choice.

Women in the silky blue waters of the blue lagoon in Iceland with smoke in the background

Blue Lagoon Premium Entrance

Includes entrance to the Blue Lagoon, silica mud mask, use of towel, 1st drink of your choice, second mask of choice, slippers, use of bathrobe, table reservation at Lava Restaurant, and sparkling wine if dining.

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