ICELAND

Essential Iceland

Seljalandsfoss summer, South West Iceland
from £925 7 nights | Year round Inc. flights See price details
  • Departs:
  • Year round

Overview

Visit some of Iceland’s best-known natural wonders on this year-round self-drive adventure to the Golden Circle and South Coast. With a whole week to explore, you’ll see majestic waterfalls, mighty glaciers and the sublime iceberg lagoon of Jokulsarlon. It’s the perfect introduction to Iceland – summer or winter – for first-time visitors and independent-minded travellers.

Highlights

  • See the natural treasures of Iceland’s iconic Golden Circle route
  • Experience the ice wonders of Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon and Myrdalsjokull icecap
  • Stroll along black-sand beaches at Vik and spot trolls in the sea stacks at Dyrholaey
  • Try exciting optional excursions, from snowmobiling to superjeep safaris
  • Enjoy long summer days or visit in winter to search for the northern lights
  • Take a dip in the Blue Lagoon or Secret Lagoon
  • Walk behind Seljalandsfoss waterfall and enjoy the views from the top of 60m-tall Skogafoss
  • See more with our exclusive digital travel guide, iDiscover

The Golden Circle’s triple whammy
Iceland’s famous trio of natural wonders – Thingvellir, Gullfoss and Geysir – are easily combined in an unforgettable day touring the Golden Circle. At Thingvellir you can stroll along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and visit Iceland’s ancient parliament. The 32m-high, twin-tiered waterfall of Gullfoss pours into a narrow gorge, while Strokkur erupts like a steaming exclamation mark at the geothermal site of Geysir.

Waterfalls, glaciers and icebergs of the South Coast
Driving to the east, two of Iceland’s most breathtaking waterfalls – bridal-veil Seljalandsfoss and thundering Skogafoss – lead a succession of natural wonders along the South Coast. From the frozen snout of the Solheimajokull glacier and Vik’s black-sand beaches to the basalt cliffs at Svartifoss and the icebergs of the Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon, this world-class drive transports you into a head-spinning realm of volcanoes, icecaps and surf-raked beaches.

iDiscover - exclusive to Discover the WorldiDiscover 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 will be pre-loaded onto an iPad air which you will get with your hire car and includes all the information you need for your trip.


Start from east or west

You can start and end this holiday at either Keflavik or Egilsstadir Airports. By starting from the east you will enjoy the benefit of being able to travel through the stunning East Fjords.

It was such a well planned trip we had a fantastic adventure. Having the iPad was so helpful and such fun, we couldn't get lost or miss any interesting sights. The route was well staged, the hotels were beautiful and food was superb.

Alan Phillips and Jan Walters, Essential Iceland

Itinerary & Accommodation

Option A below is based on arriving and departing from Keflavik in south west Iceland, whereas Option B is based on taking a domestic flight to Egilsstadir and travelling in one direction from the east to the southwest.

Option A: UK - Keflavik (South West)
Day 1: Reykjavik
Fly from the UK to Keflavik and drive to Reykjavik for an overnight stay in Reykjavik, perhaps stopping en route at the Blue Lagoon.

Day 2: Hveragerdi
Spend the day exploring Thingvellir National Park, Geysir geothermal area and two-tiered Gullfoss. Head south and check in at Hotel Ork in Hveragerdi for an overnight stay.

Day 3: Hveragerdi - Kirkjubaejarklaustur
Travel along the south coast past the impressive waterfalls of Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss. Road 1 then winds past the Myrdalsjokull icecap and over the moss clad Eldhraun lava field to Kirkjubaejarklaustur; overnight at Icelandair Hotel Klaustur. Perhaps take a walk to the 'Sister's falls' - Systrafoss and Kirkjugolfid (the church floor); a national monument of wind and sea eroded basalt columns.

Day 4: Kirkjubaejarklaustur - Smyrlabjorg
Visit the turf church of Nupsstadur then drive across the outwash plains of Iceland's largest icecap, Vatnajokull, to Skaftafell. Explore further east to the amazing iceberg lagoon at Jokulsarlon, not forgetting to walk across the road to catch sight of icebergs breaking up and heading out to sea or being washed ashore on the black sand beach. Continue to your hotel for a 2 night stay.

Days 5: Skaftafell area
Spend the day exporing the area day hiking in the national park.

Day 6: Skaftafell - Hveragerdi
On the drive back along the south coast stop off at the stunning cliffs and beaches of Vik where the summer wildflowers are wonderful. Continue west to Myrdalsjokull Glacier (optional snowmobile tours on the glacier are available; please contact our team to book in advance) and visit Njal’s Saga country at Hvolsvollur en route to Hveragerdi. Spend another night at Hotel Ork.

Day 7: Hveragerdi - Reykjavik
Drive along the craggy coast to the volcanic Reykjanes Peninsula. Visit the hot springs and fumaroles in Krisuvik, the cliffs at Grindavik. Return to Reykjavik for an overnight stay.

Day 8: depart Keflavik
Head to Keflavik, drop off rental vehicle and catch the flight home.
Option B: UK - Egilsstadir (East Fjords) - May - Sep only
Day 1: UK - Reykjavik
Fly from the UK to Keflavik and drive to Reykjavik for an overnight stay, perhaps stopping en route at the Blue Lagoon (optional, but pre-booking is required).

Day 2: Reykjavik - Egilsstadir
Transfer by taxi to Reykjavik domestic airport for your morning flight to Egilsstadir. Drive around the fjords and visit Reydarfjordur, Eskifjordur and Neskaupsstadur and continue to the lovely coastal town of Faskrudsfjordur, also know as the French town. Overnight in Egilsstadir.

Day 3: Egilsstadir - Hoffell
Continue 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 4: Hoffell - Skaftafell
Take a hike to the impressive Svartifoss, the dark falls, so named because of it's black lava columns surrounding the cascade of water. Discover further magnificent waterfalls, glaciers and impressive mountain scenery at your leisure. Overnight in the Skaftafell area.

Day 5: Skaftafell - Kirkjubaerklaustur
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. Overnight in the Kirkjubaerklaustur area.

Day 6: Kirkjubaerklaustur - Hveragerdi
Visit Dyrholaey, where the unique rock arch can be found and a nature reserve home to some incredible birdlife including puffins during the summer. 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. Following 2 nights in the Hveragerdi area.

Day 7: Explore the Golden Circle
Take the day to visit 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 8: depart Iceland
Head to Keflavik Airport, drop off rental vehicle and fly back to UK.
Notes
  • 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 partners 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 Options

This itinerary is based on the hotels shown below. We offer a wide range of accommodation from farms to self catering cottages, budget hotels to luxury properties, ask our Iceland experts for recommendations.

Hotel Ork, Hveragerdi

  • Grade: Standard
  • Type: Hotel

Found 45km east of Reykjavik in the 'greenhouse village'…

Hotel Skaftafell

  • Grade: Standard
  • Type: Hotel

Found only 5km from the Vatnajökull National Park, thes…

Icelandair Hotel Klaustur

  • Grade: Standard
  • Type: Hotel

A modern hotel found in the southern Icelandic village o…

Hotel Smyrlabjorg

  • Grade: Standard
  • Type: Hotel

A traditional farm hotel west of Hofn, Hotel Smyrlabjorg…

Hali Country Hotel, nr Jokulsarlon

  • Grade: Standard
  • Type: Hotel

A newly updated property near Jokulsarlon.

Hotel Eyvindara, nr Egilsstadir

  • Grade: Standard
  • Type: Guesthouse / B&B

This attractive property occupies a pretty and peaceful …

Hotel Cabin, Reykjavik

  • Grade: Standard
  • Type: Hotel

Superb value for your money, this 252-room hotel is for …

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.

Excursions

Excursions

From 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.

Blue Lagoon

The award-winning Blue Lagoon is one of Iceland’s premier…

Boat Trip on the Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon

This popular trip takes you out into the spectacular glacia…

Diving Silfra Day Tour

Possibly one of the most unique dives that guests will ever…

Eyjafjallajokull Volcano by Superjeep and Lava Hike 

This unique superjeep and hiking tour explores the other-wo…

Horse Riding in the South West 

Choose from a range of durations to explore on horseback

Hot Springs and Lava Cave Tour

The tour begins at the famous Hengill Volcano where you wil…

Ice and Fire Sightseeing Flight

A journey by plane, this tour examines Iceland's breathtaki…

Kayaking in the South West 

Explore the sheltered waters near Stokkseyri on a fun kayak…

Quad Biking in Reykjanes Peninsula 

Drive through lava fields and black sands of the Reykanes P…

Snowmobiling on Langjokull

An exhilarating snowmobile trip on Iceland's second largest…

Snowmobiling on Myrdalsjokull Glacier

Take an exhilirating snowmobile ride on Myrdalsjokull glaci…

Solheimajokull Glacier Walk & Ice Climbing

An excursion that takes you out onto the frozen glacial ton…

Prices & Dates

Prices from, in £ per person based on 2 sharing a room with private facilities, unless otherwise stated.

Pricing for additional passengers sharing the vehicles is available on request. Please advise if you wish to share accommodation or require additional rooms (triple and single rooms are available at most establishments).

Winter 2016/17 - Itinerary Option A

CategoryNov - Mar
Oct & Apr
D - Skoda Octavia (4WD) £925 £967
H - Kia Sorrento £1,039 £1,081
I - Mitsubishi Pajero £1,114 £1,156

Summer 2017 - Itinerary Option A

CategoryMay & Sep
Jun - Aug
B - VW Golf £1,105 £1,440
D - Skoda Octavia (4WD) £1,181 £1,549
F - Suzuki Grand Vitara £1,233 £1,681


Prices include flight credit of £150* from 1 October - 30 April or £250* from 1 May - 30 September; 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; Northern Lights Bradt Guide (for departures from 1 September - 15 April only). The price is FULLY GUARANTEED against any surcharges or increases.

Prices excludes travel insurance, fuel, personal expenses, tips and gratuities

* Flight credit is based on a typical airfare with checked in luggage and is for budgeting purposes only. The actual cost of the flight with taxes will be advised to you when enquiring about the holiday. We will always state the lowest fare available for your route and travel dates which may mean that the price of this element may be more or less than the credit. Booking early usually means the lowest price.


Summer 2017 - Itinerary Option B

Flights to Egilsstadir (via Keflavik / Reykjavik) / return Keflavik

Category May & Sep
Jun-Aug
B - VW Golf £1,303 £1,608
D - Skoda Octavia (4WD) £1,374 £1,717
F - Suzuki Grand Vitara £1,426 £1,849

Prices include flight credit of £250*; accommodation in rooms with private facilities on a breakfast basis; transfer from Keflavik to Reykjavik Airport; flight from Reykjavik to Egilsstadir; 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. The price is FULLY GUARANTEED against any surcharges or increases.

Prices excludes travel insurance, fuel, personal expenses, tips and gratuities

* Flight credit is based on a typical airfare with checked in luggage and is for budgeting purposes only. The actual cost of the flight with taxes will be advised to you when enquiring about the holiday. We will always state the lowest fare available for your route and travel dates which may mean that the price of this element may be more or less than £250. Booking early usually means the lowest price.

Other Information

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.

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 exclusive 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, pre-loaded with your personalised itinerary. With 4G connectivity, the app allows you access to a vast travel directory featuring scenic wonders, 'must-visit' sites as well as hidden gems and activities.

iceland birdlife arctic tern rth

Tailor Made


If you can't find exactly what you are looking for, let us find it for you.

iDiscover iPad

iDiscover

All Iceland self drive clients will have free use of our exclusive digital travel guide. Your personalised itinerary will be pre-loaded onto an iPad air, which hosts a comprehensive database of places to visit throughout Iceland.

OFFERS

SAVE on Canopy Hotel Reykjavik City Centre

Limited availability
Stay at this stylish 4-star hotel in the heart of…

How to book

Book this trip

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.

travel guaranteeWe will always offer the best price available at the time of booking and guarantee no surcharges - see our 100% Guarantee for full details.

View booking conditions

Speak to a specialist: 01737 214 250

Book this trip
iceland birdlife arctic tern rth

Tailor Made


If you can't find exactly what you are looking for, let us find it for you.

Our team of Travel Specialists have extensive first-hand knowledge of our destinations and are passionate about travel.

Meet the team

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