South Iceland Whistlestop with Highlands

6 days / 5 nights
Seljalandsfoss waterfall in Iceland from above
Water coming out of colorful rocks at Deildartunguhver hot spring
A man standing in front of mountains at Landmannalaugar
Seljalandsfoss waterfall in Iceland from above
Water coming out of colorful rocks at Deildartunguhver hot spring

See the Golden Circle, south coast, and rugged highlands

Combine time exploring must-see sights with a journey into the country’s remote volcanic heart. On this trip, you could be luxuriating in a hot spring at Landmannalaugar one day and visiting a glacier lagoon the next.

Begin your tour in the Icelandic capital, Reykjavík. But it won’t be long until you’re gazing out at unforgettable scenes. Driving through Iceland’s highlands is a proper adventure with river crossings and roads over lava fields. You’ll also have time to see ‘cool’ spots along the south coast. Think vast glaciers and iceberg-strewn beaches. And of course, let’s not forget the famous Golden Circle.

Travel styleSelf-drive
Trip length6 days / 5 nights
(25 Jun–31 Aug)
TransportRental car
Starts fromReykjavík
Tour codeSD20

On this tour you will...

  • Journey into the remote highlands, where volcanic craters and colorful mountains await

  • See active geysers shooting water into the sky on the Golden Circle

  • Glimpse stunning waterfalls, such as Gullfoss, Skógafoss, and Seljalandsfoss

  • Delve into Viking history and see geological wonders in Þingvellir National Park

  • Soak up the sights in Reykjavík, and make the most of the top-notch food scene

  • Visit Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon and marvel at the country’s largest ice cap

Top attractions

A man standing in front of mountains at Landmannalaugar


Þingvellir National Park, Iceland, in autumn colors

Þingvellir National Park

Mountains in the Skaftafell Nature Reserve on a cloudy day

Skaftafell Nature Reserve

The Gullfoss waterfall in summertime


The Strokkur geyser erupting in winter against a sunset

Geysir and Strokkur

The edge of the Vatnajökull glacier

Vatnajökull Glacier & National Park

Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon at sunrise with a pink sky

Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon

Vik Church with Reynisdrangar sea stacks in the distance

Vík í Mýrdal

A rainbow over the Skógafoss waterfall on a sunny day


The Seljalandsfoss waterfall covered in icicles


The Tjörnin pond in Reykjavík in summer

Downtown Reykjavík

Why book a self-drive trip with Iceland Tours?

  • Start your tour on the date that suits you

  • 24/7 emergency helpline in Iceland

  • Secure your booking with just a 5% deposit

  • New rental cars with 2 drivers as standard

  • Handpicked local accommodation options

  • Best Price Guarantee

Your 6-day self-drive itinerary

Your 6-day self-drive itinerary
Staying inReykjavík
Driving distance50 km (31 mi)

Your memorable Iceland adventure begins the very moment you arrive at Keflavík Airport. Once you pick up your rental vehicle, you’ll head directly for Reykjavík and your exciting, first night in “the land of fire and ice.”


The Tjörnin pond in Reykjavík in summer

Downtown Reykjavík

Extra activities

Riders on FlyOver Iceland above a virtual waterfallExtra

FlyOver Iceland

The Sky Lagoon at sunsetExtra

Sky Lagoon Pure Pass

An Atlantic puffin perched on a cliff in IcelandExtra

Puffin Watching

whale breaching in front of orange and yellow sunsetExtra

Classic Whale Watching from Reykjavík

Close up of a hand holding a hot dogExtra

The Reykjavík Food Walk

Group on a horse riding tourExtra

Horse Riding from Reykjavík

A group of people being lowered into a lava cave © Inside the VolcanoExtra

Inside the Volcano tour from Bláfjöll

Staying inLaugarvatn/ Geysir area
Driving distance285 km (177 mi)

Today you will see some of the most famous sights in Iceland. You will start by exploring Borgarnes region. You can make a stop at Deildartunguhver hot spring (the biggest in Iceland in terms of water production per second), Reykholt where the famous medieval writer Snorri Sturluson lived and the Hraunfossar waterfalls where the water flows out from beneath a lava field into the river below. The Barnafoss waterfall is just a short walk away from Hraunfossar.

From there you continue your journey along the Kaldidalur highland road until you reach Þingvellir National Park, consider a geological wonder of the world. This is a highly interesting area both from the geological and the historical point of view. At Þingvellir you can see the effects of the tectonic plate movements which have opened various cracks and fissures in the earth’s crust, and it was here that the Icelandic Parliament was founded in the 10th century. You continue to the famous Geysir area where the Strokkur hot spring ejects its water column high into the air every 5 – 10 minutes and where numerous small springs boil and bubble. Afterwards you only have a short drive to reach Gullfoss, surely one of the country’s most beautiful waterfalls.

Staying inVík / Kirkjubæjarklaustur area
Driving distance315 km (196 mi)

From Geysir you drive to Landmannalaugar, a highlight of every trip to Iceland an unforgettable journey over lava fields and moon- like landscape. To reach this colourful rhyolite mountains of Landmannlaugar you will be crossing rivers and passing over mountain passes.

Here you can walk between colourful mountains, black obsidian lava and hot springs. Get comprehensive information about all hiking tracks in the mountain hut. Some of the hot springs are located at the bottom of a river, creating a wonderful temperature for a relaxing bath! Afterwards you continue your journey over lava fields and a moon-like landscape along the highland road “behind the mountains” to the South Coast.

Staying inVík / Kirkjubæjarklaustur area
Driving distance330 km (205 mi)

Your next stop is Iceland’s scenic southeast. After passing various, outlet glaciers belonging to Vatnajökull, Europe’s largest ice cap, you’ll arrive at the stunningly surreal beauty of Jökulsárlón, a glacial lagoon. This exceptional sight sits at the foot of Iceland’s highest mountain, Hvannadalshnúkur. Skaftafell National Park is another area definitely worth a visit. This oasis, surrounded by glaciers and black sand plains, offers a broad range of options for great hiking. Continue through Kirkjubæjarklaustur village, the Eldhraun lava field and the Mýrdalssandur plain, before you arrive in the Vík area.

Staying inReykjavík
Driving distance270 km (168 mi)

Today you will spend the day along the south coast of Iceland. Drive through the black sands of Mýrdalur before arriving to the village of Vík. A walk is recommended on the huge black sand beach and discover the great puffin colony by Reynisfjall mount. A stop can be made as well at Dyrhólaey*, then drive along Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull glaciers to Skógar, known for its waterfall and folk museum. A visit to the museum recommended. Continue to Seljalandsfoss waterfall a stop you must not miss.
*Please note that the Dyrhólaey cliff is closed during the breeding season (until late June) and that the puffins leave the land around mid August!

Driving distance50 km (31 mi)

It seems as if your journey to fabulous Iceland only began a moment ago, but now it is time to head back home, driving back to Keflavík Airport for your flight. Depending on your flight’s time, you may be able to squeeze in a last day in Reykjavík or an extra night in there to experience all the amazing things that the city has to offer.

What’s included?

Detailed itinerary

Budget, Comfort, or Quality accommodation every night

Continental breakfast every day

Rental car of your choice for 5 days

2 authorized drivers as standard

Unlimited mileage

Unlimited in-car Wi-Fi

Collision damage waiver

24/7 emergency helpline when you’re in Iceland

VAT, taxes & service fees

Flights to Iceland

Fuel & parking charges

Food & drink, unless otherwise stated

Attraction entrance fees, unless otherwise stated

Personal travel insurance

Don’t take our word for it

See what hundreds of fellow travelers have to say about their trips with Iceland Tours.

Read customer reviews

FAQs about our self-drive trips

On a self-drive trip with Iceland Tours, you’ll be at the wheel of the rental car of your choice and free to go pretty much where you want, whenever you want.

We provide a detailed itinerary to help you plan your route and where you want to stop along the way. But it’s up to you whether you want to stick to it or go your own way. If you do take detours, make sure that you aren’t too far from your accommodation on any given night.

That said, it’s a good idea to stick to the suggested itinerary if you’ve never visited Iceland before. Created by our Reykjavík-based travel experts, it contains plenty of things for you to and see and do on each leg of your trip. One thing’s for sure: you won’t be short on ideas!

You also get unlimited in-car Wi-Fi, so you can stay connected and use maps on your phone for navigation.

You have to be at least 20 years old to rent a car in Iceland, or 23 years old for larger vehicles like jeeps and vans. You’ll need to have held a valid driver’s license for at least 1 year and present a credit card when you collect your car.

You don’t need an International Driving Permit unless your license is not in Latin script (for example, Arabic or Chinese).

Find out more about car rental in Iceland.

Yes! It’s possible to add extra activities or extend your trip with additional nights in Reykjavík or the countryside. Check the itinerary above to see what activities are available on what day.

Once you’ve paid your deposit for your trip, we’ll finalize bookings for your accommodation, rental car, and any activities. As soon as we receive confirmation of everything, we’ll email your travel documents to you.

We aim to finalize everything within a few weeks of receiving your booking request, but in busy periods this might take longer. That said, you’ll always receive all of your documents before your departure date.

You’ll be able to pick up your rental car at Keflavík International Airport from the arrivals hall. Before your trip, we’ll send you information about where to go in the terminal to collect your keys.

Make sure you have your driver’s license and credit card ready when you collect your vehicle.

If you land late at night, you can use the out-of-hours phone at the pick-up desk to contact someone who will be able to help you.

You also have the option to collect your rental car in Reykjavík, if you’re planning to spend some extra days in the city before your trip starts. If you’d like to do this, please let us know in the ‘Special requests’ box at checkout.

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