Iceland is a paradise for lovers of flora and fauna. The majority of the country is made up of protected natural spaces which allow the island’s birds to multiply and form bustling colonies everywhere… And then there are the seals! Visitors will quickly understand why Icelanders have built a reputation for being particularly fussy when it comes to protecting the environment! This self drive tour takes you along Iceland’s western and eastern coasts, and includes excursions to its most spectacular wilderness.
This trip is available from May to September.
Arrival at Keflavik international airport. Rental car pick up and drive to Reykjavík. Settle into your accommodation. The rest of your first night is at your leisure in the world’s northernmost capital. Overnight in Reykjavík.
Distance travelled: 50 km. 1h
Night in Reykjavík
In the morning, whale watching excursion out of the Reykjavik harbour, lasting about 3 hours. Then, rental car pick up and drive towards Iceland’s famous golden circle: a fantastic introduction to the country’s striking geology and history. At Thingvellir, the site of the world’s oldest parliament you’ll be able to observe the effects of oceanic rift. At Geysir, (to which the term geyser owes its name) the eruptions of the Strokkur geyser will take your breath away. Several kilometres further, you’ll arrive at the Gullfoss waterfall where the Hvítá river has created an impressive canyon. Staying overnight in the Hekla region.
Distance travelled: 160 km about 3h
Night in Hekla region
Explore the wonders of the glacial volcanoes of Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull. Black sand beaches, glacial lagoons, bird nesting cliffs, and waterfalls crashing from the cliff faces. You’ll discover Dyrhólaey, the remnants of an ancient crater. These volcanic cliffs have been eroded into arches, crags and grottos of basalt rock. Thousands of birds make them their nesting homes in the summer (access to the cliffs is closed off from the 1st of May to the 25th during the nesting season). At Vik you’ll see colonies of puffins as you walk along the black sand beaches and well as seals and great skuas. Staying overnight in the Kirkjubæjarklaustur region.
Distance travelled: 230 km about 4h
Night in Kirkjubæjarklaustur region
Once you’ve crossed the great sand expanse created by the eruptions of the Vatnajokull volcanoes, you’ll enter into the Skaftafell National Park. Hike atop impressive glaciers and more volcanic sand until you reach the Svartifoss waterfall and its surrealist basalt rock formations. Then, head off on a unique excursion on a tugboat pulled by a tractor to the Ingolfshöfdi monolith, whose only point of access is a great black sand dune. By this seaside basalt rock face you find yourself in the kingdom of the Great Skua and Atlantic Puffin. (This excursion departs at noon and is not available on Sundays). In the afternoon, you’ll leave Skaftafell National Park to head to the glacial lagoon of Jökulsarlon and its arctic atmosphere. Seals and Arctic terns play hide ‘n seek in a playground of black, blue and white icebergs, with snow capped glaciers on the horizon. Staying overnight in Jökulsarlon.
Distance travelled: 260 km about 5h
Night in Jökulsarlon
Discover the fjords of the east, a region that remains fairly isolated in Iceland and has thus preserved a strong regional character. You’ll take a magnificent coastal road that leads you from one fjord to the next. Stop wherever you are most tempted; to watch the seals of Lónsvík at play or swans in the bay of Álftafjördur. (depending on the season) There is also an exhibit about Iceland’s French fishermen in Fáskrúdsfjördur. Overnight in the Djúpivogur region.
Distance travelled: 260 km about 5h
Night in Djúpivogur region
Have the morning at your leisure in the village. In the early afternoon, you’ll take off by boat for Papey Island about 2 km away. During your guided visit you will discover one of Iceland’s largest puffin colonies, and spot grey seals lazing the day away on rocks. Next, either via the Öxi mountain pass or the bay of Breiddalsvik, you’ll come to the charming village of Egilsstadir. If you’re up for a detour: – follow the coastal road by Reydarfjördur to check out its impressive fjords. Staying overnight in the Egilsstadir region.
Distance travelled: 300 km about 5h
Night in Egilsstadir region
Your day beings with the crossing of rocky desert-like hills and expanse’s until you arrive at the turn off to Dettifoss, here you can opt to take a detour to the Detifoss waterfall, the most powerful in Europe. You will then arrive in the Mývatn region, home to some of the most surprising and interesting geological and geothermal manifestations in Iceland. Mývatn is one of Iceland’s most volcanic regions and also the largest sanctuary for nesting ducks in Europe. Here, you have the option to relax in an outdoor geothermal pool or stop by Sigurgeir’s bird museum. Staying overnight in the Mývatn region.
Distance travelled: 150 km about 3h
Night in Mývatn region
Deepen your discovery of the Mývatn region. Pseudocraters, explosion craters, recent lava flows and cauldrons of boiling mud or enjoy the hikes in this surreal apocalyptic setting. The journey then takes you north around the Tjörnes peninsula, where puffins perform aerial feats, you’ll arrive in Husavik’s port where you can choose to go whale watching. followed by a drive back to Mývatn. Staying overnight in Myvatn.
Distance travelled: 220 km about 4h
Night in Myvatn
Continue driving west, stopping at the famous Godafoss falls before entering the city of Akureyri, the «capital of the north», a pretty city nestled in the crest of the Eyjafjördur fjord. You can either return your rental car and fly to Reykjavik or you can choose to drive down the route 1 ( a 5 hour drive of ca.400 km).
Distance travelled: 100 km about 2 h
Night in Reykjavik
Return your rental car at Keflavik international airport and enjoy your fight home.
Distance travelled: 50km about 1 h
Night in Selfoss
Take your pick: hotels, mountain huts, campsites…
The vast majority of Icelandic establishments are modest, but clean and comfortable. Most of the guesthouses, farmhouses and hotels offer catering. Your accommodation will fall under whichever category of establishment you choose. There is also a camping option (all camping equipment provided). With our voucher system, you’ll be able to camp when and where you want, giving you as much freedom as you want to adapt your itinerary based on the weather as well as your own location choices.
We recommend that your book your Iceland self-drive as soon as possible in order to have to the most choice when it comes to the establishment itself and the type of accommodation you stay in.Request quote
Pricing based on two persons, double room, with a regular car
In guesthouses, farmhouses or countryside hotels, from May to mid-August
In mountain huts, or hostels from May to mid-August
Camping, from June to mid-August
*Final price varies depending on the number of people, the season, the accomodation and the category of vehicle.