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South Iceland Self Drive  The Natural Adventure Company 3

South Iceland Drive & Hike

Overview

  • The colourful mountains of Landmannalaugar
  • Látrabjarg cliffs
  • Snæfellsnes Peninsula
  • Reykjavík –  the world’s northernmost capital

Iceland is a country that will enchant you with its fantastic landscapes. One of the best ways to explore the most magical places within a week is to rent a car and drive around. This tour combines the highlights of South Iceland, such as the geysers, waterfalls and black sandy beaches and the colourful Landmannalaugar geothermal area with the hidden gems of the Westfjords where you stop at the westernmost point of Europe at Latrabjarg cliffs. Sailing across Breidafjordur is an adventure in itself. You end the tour exploring the magical Snaefellsnes peninsula.

Click to view map

*This map is only for general reference; detailed route maps will be provided in your pre-departure package.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Reykjavík | ~50 km

Arrival in Iceland. Pick up the rental car at Keflavík international airport and drive to your accommodation in Reykjavík.

Day 2: Reykjavík  – South Shore – Hvolsvöllur | ~300 km

Drive east along the south coast of Iceland towards the towns of Hveragerði and Selfoss. Further along, the way stops at the inspiring waterfalls of Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss – two of the most iconic waterfalls in Iceland. The drive continues along the foot of the Eyjafjöll mountains where the infamous Eyjafjallajökull volcano rests under the glacier of the same name. Drive on to the village of Vík with a chance for a stop at Reynisfjara black sand beach with a view of Reynisdrangar cliffs in the sea and the Dyrhólaey promontory. Drive back west, ending the day in Selfoss/Hvolsvöllur.

Day 3: Landmannalaugar | ~270 km

Visit the colourful Landmannalaugar national park area. The drive north will bring you close to Mt Hekla, Iceland’s most active volcano, then continue by a narrow highland road through picturesque landscapes to Landmannalaugar. Once there you can hike around the fascinating, multi-coloured surroundings or take a dip in the geothermal river. From Landmannalaugar drive towards the Hrauneyjar highland post and continue west along Iceland’s longest river, Þjórsá. One of the attractions along the way is the reconstructed Stöng farm from the settlement period. Continue to Gullfoss waterfall. Overnight in the area.

Day 4: Golden Circle: Gullfoss  – Geysir – Þingvellir – Borgarfjörður | ~260 km/~330 km

From Gullfoss waterfall, the road leads to the Geysir geothermal area, where the geyser Strokkur spouts a steaming column of water into the air every 5-10 minutes. Continuing past Lake Laugarvatn drive to Þingvellir national park, the site of the first parliament, founded in 930 and a place of great geological interest. Þingvellir was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site for its cultural value. From here continue towards Borgarfjörður and end the day either at Bifröst or Sælingsdalur valley in West Iceland (depending on the hotel availability).

  • Distance: ~260 km or 330 km depending on the accommodation for the night
  • Overnight in Hotel Borgarnes or similar

Day 5: The Southern Westfjords – Látrabjarg Cliffs | ~350 km/~410 km

The travel continues along the southern coastal road of the Westfjords which winds its way along the fjords and across some of the mountain plateaus. The route offers great views of Breiðafjörður bay and its islands as well as slopes with tiny waterfalls and lush vegetation. The drive takes you all the way to the westernmost point of Europe at Látrabjarg where you can take a short hike on top of the bird cliffs with thousands of nesting sea birds, such as puffins and guillemots. Enjoy the serenity of the wild nature high above the ocean before starting to make your way back towards Patreksfjörður and the accommodation in the area.

Day 6: Breiðafjörður – Snæfellsnes  | ~300 km

In the morning, we recommend visiting Dynjandi – the largest waterfall of the Westfjords, which drops down from the hilltop like a wide curtain. Then drive back to the coastal road and Brjánslækur harbour and board the ferry which will take you across the Breiðafjörður bay. While sailing to Stykkishólmur enjoy the scenery of the distant mountains of the Westfjords as well as Snæfellsnes peninsula. You pass the island of Flatey where you get a glimpse of the old houses near the harbour. Disembark in Stykkishólmur and continue along the northern coast of the Snæfellsnes peninsula, driving through small fishing towns and villages and around the Snæfellsjokull glacier/volcano. Accommodation in the area of Hellnar.

Day 7: Snæfellsnes – Reykjavík | ~200 km

Explore the sights along the southern side of Snæfellsnes peninsula. Snæfellsnes is often referred to as “Iceland in miniature” since practically all natural phenomena that can be found around Iceland can be seen here – only on a slightly smaller scale! Snæfellsnes peninsula is also the only area in Iceland where mineral water springs can be found. Drive towards Borgarnes and further to Hvalfjörður, through the submarine tunnel and end the day in Reykjavík for the last night.

Day 8: Departure I ~50 km

Drive to Keflavik airport in time for check in for your international flight. Drop the car off at the airport.

What to Expect

Accommodation

The accommodation on this tour is in standard rooms with private facilities at 3-star hotels. All places have been carefully hand-picked by us, and their quality is regularly monitored. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour, and have a great location.

Sample hotels: Fosshotel Baron, Hotel Hvolsvöllur, Hotel Gulfoss, Hotel Borgarnes, Fosshotel Westfjords, Fosshotel Hellnar

*Hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.

Meals

Breakfast is included in the price. There are options for lunch along the way on each day or you can buy some provisions from the towns where you overnight. Dinner is available at the restaurants of the accommodation places or the overnight towns.

Difficulty

This is an easy tour, accessible to all people in good health (read more about difficulty grades).

When to go

This tour can start on any day from 20 June to 20 September. Please click the See Dates and Prices link above to check availability. The climate of Iceland’s coast is subarctic. The warm North Atlantic Current ensures generally higher annual temperatures than in most places of similar latitude in the world. The south coast is warmer, wetter, and windier than the north. The average daily temperatures in June – August are 11°C – 13°C, and in the night – 6°C – 7°C.

Driving in Iceland

Always fasten your seat belt. Before you start your day check road.is or safetravel.is for the latest updates on weather and road conditions. Observe the speed limit – 90 km/h for paved roads and 80 km/h for gravel roads! Look out for the signs that tell you when the road is about to change from tarmac to gravel – if you don’t slow down, you can lose control of the car. Most of the roads in Iceland are not designed for higher speeds, so exceeding the speed limit is very dangerous, and loose rocks can chip your windscreen. Always stay on the roads. Driving off-road can damage nature, it is illegal, and you will get a fine of up to 3500 EUR. Find a safe place to park the car before getting out to take a picture. Watch out for sheep on the roads!

Inclusions

Included

  • 7-night accommodation in private rooms with ensuite facilities
  • 7 breakfasts
  • 8-day car rental, Dacia Duster 4×4 Manual or similar, unlimited mileage, tax, CDW, TP, SCDW, pick up/drop off at Keflavík airport
  • Ferry transport Brjánslækur – Stykkishólmur for 2 passengers and 1 rental car
  • A detailed itinerary with multiple daily options based on pre-booked accommodation

Excluded

  • Airfare
  • Optional day tours and entry fees
  • Lunches and dinners; drinks and snacks
  • Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
  • Personal expenses
  • Any items not specifically mentioned as included in the programme

Options, extras & supplements

  • Single room supplement for members of a group (note that this itinerary is not available for solo travellers)
  • Car upgrade Kia Sportage 4×4 Auto or similar
  • Extra nights in Reykjavik

Travel

View country info and up-to-date travel advice

By plane

Recommended airport: Reykjavík

By train or bus

Keflavík International Airport (KEF) is located about 50 km southwest of the capital. It is a 45-minute drive to Reykjavík.

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