Travel through a kaleidoscope of Icelandic gems on this summer self drive travelling from the East Fjords and along the south shore to the south west. From alluring fjords to rugged highland plateaus, tantalising glaciers to dramatic black sand beaches and from an array of impressive waterfalls to steaming vents and bubbling mudpools. 'Iceland never fails to impress' is pretty much the theme throughout this holiday and each day has something different to offer.
- explore stunning fjords, mountains and hot springs
- witness an array of spectacular waterfalls; Hengifoss, Svartifoss, Skogafoss, Seljalandsfoss and Gullfoss
- contrast glaciers, icebergs and bubbling mudpools
- visit well-known sites including Dyrholaey, Jokulsarlon and the Golden Circle
- use of exclusive digital travel guide, iDiscover, throughout
On this 2-week itinerary, journey from the stupendous East Fjords to the foot of the largest glacier in Europe – Vatnajokull, visit the famous Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon, Skaftafell, the dramatic south coast to Gullfoss, Geysir and Thingvellir National Park.
Each day uncover the natural beauty of a different area and whilst travelling at a leisurely pace, you have time to explore as well as relax. From the east of Iceland, it's easy to access the beautiful and dramatic Vatnajokull National Park and if you wish to travel deeper into the Highlands, a high clearance 4WD vehicle is required, but even in a standard car you can reach the controversial Karahnjukur dam and the drained gorge. Visit the Laugarfell Highland Hostel, an excellent base for walking; here you can also join a guided hike to the mighty Mt Snaefell (advance booking required) – followed, of course, with a rewarding dip in a natural hot pool (additional cost).
Along the east coast, there are many opportunities to take a scenic hike along the jagged shoreline with the chance of seeing an abundance of birdlife, black sandy beaches and staggered cliff rocks. If you wish to change to horsepower, there is a selection of riding trips available in the area, suitable for all. Each of the fjords have their own unique identity; picturesque Seydisfjordur has a vibrant art scene, steep and narrow Mjoifjordur is the most spectacular while Faskrudsfjordur has an interesting French connection. The East Fjords are truly amazing!
Skirting around the base of Vatnajokull Glacier, your view is framed by a giant icecap on one side and the sea on the other. At Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon, the scene merges together; calving icebergs are slowly flowing from the lagoon to the open sea, only to be washed back on to the beach, creating a picture-perfect setting. Seals are often found playing in the mouth of the lagoon and to get a closer look at the icebergs there are boat and Zodiac trips available (advance booking required).
The Skaftafell National Park is one of Iceland's national treasures; the rugged landscapes, mountains and glaciers, the lush flora and fauna all add to the magic of the area. A popular hike is to reach Svartifoss, a 20-metre high waterfall with hanging hexagonal basalt columns. Drive through the massive glacial outwash plain, Skeidararsandur, and continue to Vik and the dramatic Dyrholaey bird cliffs for a walk along the black sand beach.
The scenic coastal road has a multitude of natural wonders; two most famous waterfalls, Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss, and not forgetting the little-known, yet impressive, Gljufrafoss; the neighbouring glaciers of Myrdalsjokull and the infamous Eyjafjallajokull, which overlook the wooded valley of Thorsmork.
The Golden Circle is probably one of the most popular routes visited in Iceland with good reason; the golden trio of Gullfoss, Geysir and Thingvellir National Park need no introduction. Besides these mighty giants, there are many hidden gems en route, all introduced on iDiscover – your personal travel companion throughout the journey.
Before heading to the capital, take a tour around Reykjanes Peninsula, where there are many hot springs and other geothermal features, the most famous being the Blue Lagoon.
Itinerary & Accommodation
- Day 1: Keflavik / Reykjavik - Egilsstadir
- Fly to Keflavik, transfer to Reykjavik for your domestic flight to Egilsstadir. Upon arrival, collect your rental vehicle and stay overnight here.
- Day 2: Egilsstadir - Hallormsstadur
- Spend the morning exploring the Egilsstadir area, perhaps visiting the beautiful fjord town of Seydisfjordur and the neighbouring steep and narrow fjord of Mjoifjordur. Continue along the shores of Lake Lagarfljot and take a hike up to Hengifoss. Wander through the Hallormsstadur forest or take an exhilarating ATV ride through the dense woodlands. The following 2 nights will be spent at Hotel Hallormsstadur.
- Day 3: Hallormsstadur
- Visit the Skriduklaustur Centre of Culture and History before continuing on to the highlands, Vatnajokull National Park, and visit the dam at Karahnjukur. A 4WD vehicle is required if you wish to drive beyond the dam. Visit the Laugarfjall Highland Hostel and take a dip in their natural hot pool (additional cost). In the afternoon take a walk around the milky glacier-fed Lake Lagarfljot.
- Day 4: Hallormsstadur - Djupivogur
- Drive around the fjords and visit Reydarfjordur, Eskifjordur and Neskaupsstadur, then continue to the lovely coastal town of Faskrudsfjordur, also known as 'the French town', due to its history with resident French fishermen. Visit Stodvarfjordur, Breiddalsvik and the pretty town of Djupivogur. The following 2 nights are spent at hotel Blafell.
- Day 5: Djupivogur
- Spend your day hiking in the southernmost district in the east. Birdwatching is extremely popular around Djupivogur, so a visit to the Bulandsnes bird sanctuary and also the outdoor sculpture, Eggin i Gledivik, made up of 34 giant bird eggs, is a must do when in the area. Alternatively join the popular bird and seal watching tour to Papey Island (pre-booking required).
- Day 6: Breiddalsvik - Hoffell
- Drive further south and visit the fishing town Hofn nearby the named fjord, Hornafjordur. This harbour town, the second largest in the south-eastern part of Iceland, gives scenic views of the shadowing Vatnajokull Glacier. Take a visit to the Glacier Exhibition which shows an amazing film of the 1996 eruption. Continue to Hoffell for an overnight stay.
- Day 7: Hoffell - Skaftafell
- Take time in the morning to explore Hoffell at the foot of the glacier then continue to Jokulsarlon, the incredible glacial lagoon. Enjoy the area by boat and by foot for the ultimate experience. Take a speedy Zodiac boat (pre-bookable) designed to take you close up to the dramatic icebergs in the lagoon. A short walk from the lagoon will lead you to the black sand beaches where the icebergs have rocked up from the sea. Spend the next 2 nights at Hotel Skaftafell.
- Day 8: Skaftafell
- Take a hike to the impressive Svartifoss, the dark falls, so named because of its black lava columns surrounding the cascade of water. Discover further magnificent waterfalls, glaciers and impressive mountain scenery at your leisure.
- Day 9: Skaftafell-Vik
- Head west to the town of Kirkubaejarklaustur where there are the following attractions to visit; the eerie, moss-clad lava field Eldhraun, the biggest lava field in Iceland formed in 1783 after the Laki eruption. The craters of Laki, Lakagigar, which were formed in one of the world's largest mixed eruptions in recorded history. Also take a walk up to the delightful waterfall Systrafoss where the river Fossa falls from the lake Systravatn into the gorge Fossargil.
- Day 10: Vik
- Explore Vik, Iceland's most southerly village. Stroll the well-known black sand beaches and marvel at the troll-like rock stacks and basalt columns. The area is dominated by Myrdalsjokull, the glacier which is home to Katla, one of Iceland's fiercest volcanoes. Visit Dyrholaey, where the unique rock arch can be found and a nature reserve home to some incredible birdlife including puffins during the summer.
- Day 11: Vik - Fludir
- Head further west to see Skogafoss one of Iceland's biggest waterfalls situated on the Skogar River and then the mysterious Seljalandsfoss, the waterfall you can walk behind. The infamous Eyafjallajokull volcano which last erupted in 2010 are all in the vicinity.
- Day 12: Golden Circle
- Spend the day visiting the spectacular two-tiered waterfall, Gullfoss, the mesmerising Geysir geothermal area – where you can watch Strokkur erupting every few minutes, and Thingvellir National Park – where the European and North American tectonic plates meet. In the afternoon, perhaps visit the secret lagoon for a dip in the hot soothing waters.
- Day 13: Reykjadalur
- Located close to Hveragerdi, Reykjadalur Valley is arguably one of the most beautiful hiking places in and around the area, covered in trails, hot springs and colourful areas full of geothermal activity. Take a hike on one of the marked routes or alternatively take a tour through the area on horseback.
- Day 14: Fludir- Reykjanes- Reykjavik
- As you depart from the Golden Circle area towards Reykjavik, detour via the volcanic Reykjanes Peninsula which has several high temperature geothermal areas, the hot springs and fumaroles in Krisuvik, the cliffs at Grindavik and perhaps opt for a dip in the famous Blue Lagoon (must be pre-booked). Overnight at Hotel Cabin in Reykjavik.
- Day 15: depart Reykjavik
- The final day of the trip. Depart Reykjavik and after dropping off your rental vehicle, head to Keflavik International Airport in preparation for your homeward flight.
- This itinerary may be booked in reverse ie. starting with a flight from Keflavik, then driving to Egilsstadir.
- The weather in Iceland can be unpredictable and therefore can cause substantial delays which can result in the need to re-arrange or extend your holiday itinerary. Whilst we and our contacts in Iceland will do everything possible to minimise any disruption, it is important that you check the details of your travel insurance and allow for some flexibility in your plans.
Accommodation OptionsThis itinerary is based on the hotels shown below in rooms with private facilities. We offer a wide range of accommodation from farms to self catering cottages, budget hotels to luxury properties, ask our Iceland experts for recommendations.
Icelandair Hotel Herad
- Grade: Standard
- Type: Hotel
Located in the heart of East Iceland's thriving capital …
Hotel Hallormsstadur, Hallormsstadur
- Grade: Superior
- Type: Hotel
Located around 25km south of Egilsstadir, the hotel’s …
Hotel Blafell, Breiddalsvik
- Grade: Standard
- Type: Hotel
Hotel Blafell is a cosy hotel situated in the charming v…
- Grade: Standard
- Type: Hotel
Found only 5km from the Vatnajökull National Park, thes…
Icelandair Hotel Vik
- Grade: Superior
- Type: Hotel
An elegant new hotel with a stunning glass building maki…
Icelandair Hotel Fludir
- Grade: Standard
- Type: Hotel
Perfectly situated with great views, this bright and air…
Upgrade to Hotel Ranga
This luxury ranch-style is in an ideal location for exploring the south coast and Golden Circle. Enjoy fine dining in the gourmet restaurant and relax in the outdoor hot tubs.
ExcursionsFrom glacier hikes to horse riding, river rafting to mountain biking, there are a wide range of optional activities available. These are just a selection of the optional activities you can choose to include on this holiday.
Set sail and visit colonies of playful puffins* and curious…
This popular trip takes you out into the spectacular glacia…
An excursion that takes you out onto the frozen glacial ton…
Prices & Dates
These are starting prices in £ per person based on rooms with private facilities, unless otherwise stated.
Flights are quoted separately to the holiday price. When enquiring, our experts are able to provide the best fare possible from your preferred airline / airport.
|May & Sep
|B - (CDMN) - VW Golf||£2,565|
|D - (IWCD) - Skoda Octavia (4WD)||£2,716|
|G - (IFNN) - Toyota Rav4||£2,883|
|B - (CDMN) - VW Golf||£2,890|
|D - (IWCD) - Skoda Octavia (4WD)||£3,098|
|G - (IFNN) - Toyota Rav4||£3,444|
Prices include accommodation in rooms with private facilities on a breakfast basis; car rental for the agreed period on an unlimited mileage basis (includes semi-comprehensive insurance and no charge for additional driver); use of iDiscover iPad for the duration of the holiday with free WiFi; all airport taxes.
Prices excludes flights, travel insurance, fuel, personal expenses, tips and gratuities
Choice of Vehicles
We offer a wide range of rental vehicles for this holiday provided by the local Europcar franchise. Our long-standing relationship with them means that our clients enjoy many exclusive benefits including priority on the newest and best appointed vehicles available on the day.
Alternatively, consider renting a motorhome and use this itinerary as a route outline. You'll have complete flexibility on where you overnight, yet with the support of our excusive digital travel guide, iDiscover.
iDiscover digital guide
If you book any self drive in Iceland with us you will also get free use of our exclusive digital travel guide, iDiscover. Your personalised itinerary is pre-loaded onto an iPad air which you will receive when you collect your hire car. The app allows you access to a vast travel directory featuring scenic wonders, 'must-visit' sites as well as hidden gems and activities available. With 4G connectivity and built in links to weather updates and road conditions, you have all the information you need for your entire trip in one handy device.
How to book
So that we may send you a personalised quote and confirmation of availability, please click on the link below and complete our Enquiry form. One of our Travel Specialists will then be in touch to complete your booking or answer any further questions you might have.
We will always offer the best price available at the time of booking and guarantee no surcharges - see our 100% Guarantee for full details.
Speak to a specialist: 01737 214 250Book this trip
Our team of Travel Specialists have extensive first-hand knowledge of our destinations and are passionate about travel.