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Highlands & Lowlands Tour
Iceland Self Drive Tour
Iceland is a clean, safe country with plenty of space to stretch out and enjoy our incredible natural landscapes. We at Iceland Travel take our responsibility as proud local hosts very seriously, and that includes making sure your trip is safe and relaxing. We always implement the latest advice from international and Icelandic health authorities in our travel offerings.
Are you ready for adventure and exploration? Take the less traveled tracks and discover the wild side of Icelandâ€™s natural beauty, from colorful geothermal highlands to fertile green coastal lowlands. Visit the countryâ€™s top Ring Road attractions as well as the ever-changing views in Icelandâ€™s beautiful interior wilderness. Explore the legendary Kjolur and Landmannalaugar routes that weave through breath-taking, exotic landscapes that will inspire you.
New for 2022
Enjoy our newly formatted Iceland Travel Companion App with over a thousand interesting places; itâ€™s a perfect tool to help you plan each day Take advantage of free unlimited in-car Wi-Fi and navigate your trip with your personal mobile phone or tablet
Upgrade your insurance protection with the new Full Coverage** option
**Full coverage includes unlimited km, Collision and Damages Waiver, Theft Protection, unlimited in-car Wi-Fi, one additional driver, Super Collision and Damages Waiver, Windshield Protection, Gravel Damage, Tires and Wheels, Sand and Ash Protection, and VAT.
* Types of Car recommended: 5.0 or higher.
Day 1 Keflavik - HveragerdiAccommodation: Ork Hotel
Approximate distance: ca100km / 62miles
Once you have landed at Keflavik Airport, please pick up your luggage and head through customs. Collect your rental car at the airport and proceed to your hotel. Depending on your arrival time in Iceland, we suggest that you take some time to explore the Reykjanes Peninsula (a UNESCO GeoPark site) before you head to Reykjavik.
Reykjanes is a great introduction to Icelandâ€™s unique geology and volcanoes. Youâ€™ll see unusual and stunning craters, lava cliffs, fissures and the Mid-Atlantic ridge itself. You can even walk on a bridge that divides Europe and North America. We also recommend a stroll in the surreal Gunnuhver area where you can view quirky colorful mud pools and steam vents bubbling away. If you are a Viking history buff, we recommend the Viking World museum, famous for the ĂŤslendingur, a Viking ship replica that sailed between Iceland and North America in 2000
Several charming fishing villages and lighthouses dot the peninsula, and the area has a reputation for tasty seafood fresh from the ocean. Reykjanes is home to the renowned Blue Lagoon, and you might enjoy the chance to relax in the soothing azure waters. Important: admission to the Blue Lagoon needs to be booked in advance. We can help you with that
Drive along mystical lava landscapes of the South Coast road to the charming village of Hveragerdi for your overnight. The road takes you past rocky beaches with thundering waves. Hveragerdi is perfect for getting to know typical small-town Icelandic culture, but with a unique twist. Hveragerdi is one of the few sites in the world located directly on top of a geothermal area and, because of its many greenhouses heated by hot water from nearby springs, it is often called the â€śflower village.â€ť
Please note check-in for most hotels begins at 14:00 â€“ 16:00 (2:00pm-4:00pm)
Overnight stay in the Hveragerdi area.
Day 2 Thingvellir - Gullfoss WaterfallMeals: Breakfast
Approximate distance: ca165km / 103miles
National Park with Geological Wonders (UNESCO) â€“ Exploding Geysers â€“ Massive Waterfall
Breakfast at your accommodation. Weâ€™ve reserved today for you to explore the incredible Golden Circle natural wonders at a leisurely pace. Start with a visit to the unforgettable Thingvellir National Park, where you can walk between two continents at the Mid-Atlantic ridge. Explore Gullfoss, the "Golden Waterfall", and the nearby Geysir hot spring area to see the famous Geysir and Strokkur, as well as numerous other hot springs and boiling mud pools. While in the area, take advantage of relaxing in one of the hot spring-fed pools that make Iceland so famous. The Secret Lagoon is a historical swimming pool with an all-natural feel and its own little geyser. The Laugarvatn Fontana steam baths are a local favorite; natural steam soothes away aches and pains, followed by relaxation in a series of hot spring pools.
Overnight in the Golden Circle area.
Optional: Laugarvatn Fontana Geothermal Baths - Entrance fee
Day 3 Langanes Peninsula - SkagafjordurMeals: Breakfast
Approximate distance: ca245km / 146miles
Wilderness Interior â€“ Highland Geothermal Area â€“ Natural Bathing Pool â€“ Viking Horses â€“ Glacial Rivers
Breakfast at your accommodation. Todayâ€™s route leads over the historical highland track Kjolur (car category 5.0 or higher required; track open from mid-June to mid-September).Expect much of the route today to be on unpaved and bumpy mountain tracks. Itâ€™s part of the adventure of Icelandâ€™s highland wilderness.
As you drive this track leading between two glaciers, youâ€™ll be seeing the same landscapes that Vikings and outlaws saw in the old days as they rode from North Iceland to Thingvellir for the annual Parliament. We recommend that you take your time here and enjoy the vast views and the serene peace in one of Europeâ€™s last wilderness areas. Keep a look out for Kjalfell (Keel Mountain), the mountain resembling an overturned boat. This is the mountain that lent its name to the trail.
Midway on the route, stop to visit Hveravellir, an active geothermal field. Easy hiking paths can bring you through multicolored landscapes and steam vents. You can also visit a cave where outlaws hid over the centuries. The most famous of these was the 18th century outlaw couple, Eyvindur-Fjalla and Halla. (Check out â€śPrisoners of Freedomâ€ť, the touching monument to them in the area). Hveravellir has a hot spring fed natural pool where you can relax (requires a small admission/service fee, not included).
Continue on Kjolur, enjoying vast views of the northern mountains ahead of you. The trail emerges into the valley of Skagafjordur fjord with its flat-topped mountains and glacial rivers.
Overnight in Northwest Iceland.
Day 4 Akureyri - Lake MyvatnMeals: Breakfast
Approximate distance: ca300km / 186miles
Akureyri â€“ Waterfall "Of the Gods" â€“ Bizarre Lava Formations â€“ Geothermal Activity â€“ Rich Birdlife
Breakfast at your accommodation. Drive through dramatic mountainous valleys to Akureyri, the "capital of the north,â€ť where you can take some time to enjoy this beautiful and culturally rich town. The town has several great museums, as well as amazing botanical gardens that are surprisingly lush considered how close Akureyri is to the Arctic Circle.
Stop at Godafoss waterfall, famous for its beautiful and Viking history, before driving to the intriguing Lake Myvatn area. The Myvatn Nature reserve is fascinating both for its diverse birdlife (especially waterfowl) and for its geological wonders. Some of the volcanic features include the pseudo craters at Skutustadir, the Dark Lava Citadels of Dimmuborgir, the Krafla Volcano area, and the multi-colored steaming slopes of Namaskard. Myvatn also offers great outdoor opportunities, including horseback riding, hiking and mountain biking.
At the end of the day, we recommend you take a swim in the azure-blue geothermal waters of the Myvatn Nature Baths (not included). This hot spring area with its natural steam baths is a favorite with both visitors and locals.
Overnight in the Lake Myvatn area.
Day 5 Husavik - EgilsstadirMeals: Breakfast
Approximate distance: ca335km / 208miles
Whale Watching Village â€“ Glacier- Carved Gorge â€“ Europe's Most Powerful Waterfall
Breakfast at your accommodation. Today you will be visiting the northern part of Vatnajokull National Park, the largest of its kind in Western Europe. The vast park covers 14% of Icelandâ€™s surface. This section of the park is characterized by vast glacier river canyons, curious lava formations and glacial waterfalls.
From Lake Myvatn, drive to the charming fishing village of Husavik. Known as the whale-watching capital of Iceland, Husavik offers whale-watching in traditional oak fishing boats or RIB boats. Recently Husavik gained international fame for its portrayal in the Netflix movie Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga. Husavik town is home to the new GeoSea Baths, where you can soak in naturally heated ocean water as you look towards the Arctic Circle.
Travel around the ancient, fossil rich Tjornes peninsula on the edge of the Arctic Circle to the northern gateway of Vatnajokull National Park.
The parkâ€™s visitor center provides excellent, interactive information on the areaâ€™s wildlife and geology. Visit the impressive horseshoe shaped Asbyrgi canyon, which has a variety of beautiful walking trails that suit different hiking levels.
Continue on to visit the echoing rocks and troll-like formations of Hljodaklettar. The crowning highlight is and the mighty Dettifoss waterfall, the largest waterfall in Europe. After the park visit, continue east to Egilsstadir.
In the Egilsstadir area, you can visit the beautiful Hallormsstadur forest and a river reputed to be the home of a friendly sea monster. Perhaps youâ€™ll end the day at Lake Urridavatnâ€™s Vok Baths, where you can unwind in untouched nature in distinctive floating geothermal pools.
Please note that Roads 862 and 864 are gravel roads, and you must heed warning signs in the area if road conditions are not good for driving.
Overnight in the Eastfjords.
Day 6 Egilsstadir - Vatnajokull GlacierMeals: Breakfast
Approximate distance: ca295km / 183miles
Narrow Fjords â€“ Steep Mountains â€“ Picturesque Coastline â€“ Mineral Collection
Breakfast at your accommodation. Today you will be visiting East Iceland and the gorgeous Eastfjords.
If you are a history enthusiast, we recommend a visit to the award-winning Wilderness Center on the edge of the Icelandic highlands. At this living history center, you can see an interactive display of how Icelanders lived in the highland frontier in the old days. The center also serves excellent lunches that use ingredients sourced from the nearby highland wilderness and area farms.
Drive south through the spectacular coastline of the East Fjords with charming fishing villages and towering mountains that plunge vertically into the sea. Each village has its own beautiful landscapes and character. Eskifjordur has an interesting fishing history. Reydarfjordur has sites famous to World War II history. Faskrudsfjordur has a French influence from its days as a base for French fishermen. In Stodvarfjordur you can see a unique stone collection. Remember to give yourself plenty of time to drive carefully and enjoy the amazing scenery. Youâ€™ll also get great views of Europeâ€™s largest glacier, Vatnajokull, as you head from the Eastfjords into Southeast Iceland. Drive to Hofn, a fishing town known for its delicious cuisine featuring langoustines (Norway lobsters).
Overnight in the Hofn area.
Day 7 Jokulsarlon - Skaftafell National Park - KirkjubaejarklausturMeals: Breakfast
Approximate distance: ca215km / 134miles
Europe's Largest Glacier â€“ Glacial Lagoon with Icebergs â€“ Glacier-Ringed Green Oasis
Breakfast at your accommodation. Today you will be in the vicinity of the southern section of Vatnajokull National Park. This part of the park is characterized by ice, glacier tongues and lava landscapes. As you drive along, the vast glacier will be in your sight from different angles. The popular Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon rewards you with a beautiful view of the glacier, and the floating icebergs will leave certainly impress you. Nearby is the Diamond Beach, an area that has become a favorite spot to snap an Iceland photo.
Head onwards to the parkâ€™s Skaftafell area, an ice-ringed green oasis with various hiking routes. One special place to visit in Skaftafell is Svartifoss waterfall with its black basalt columns. You can also get closer to the areaâ€™s beauty with an optional ice hiking tour on one of Vatnajokullâ€™s glacial tongues. Continue along the south coast, crossing over vast black sand plains created by glacial floods.
Overnight in the Kirkjubaejarklaustur area.
Day 8 Kirkjubaejarklaustur - Hekla - ReykjavikMeals: Breakfast
Approximate distance: ca315km / 196miles
Multi-colored Highland Mountains â€“ Lava Fields â€“- Hot Spring Bathing â€“ Hekla Volcano
Breakfast at your accommodation. Today you will be getting another view of the highlands, this time in the colorful southern wilderness. Travel along the Fjallabaksleid highland interior track, passing by wild mountains and deeply carved green valleys. Cross several unbridged rivers to Landmannalaugar, a magnificent area surrounded by brilliantly colored rhyolite mountains. Great hiking trails take you through a mysterious landscape of steam vents and bright colored slopes. There is also the option of bathing in a natural warm pool, so donâ€™t forget to bring a swimsuit and towel (bathing service fee not included). You will also have different views of towering Hekla, IcelandÂ´s most frequently erupting volcano through the day.
After visiting Landmannalaugar, explore the ever-changing scenery of Thjorsardalur, a valley sculpted by Heklaâ€™s past eruptions, before heading to Reykjavik. This area was a filming location for the popular HBO series Game of Thrones. You can also visit Stong, site of a Viking-age longhouse that was buried by Heklaâ€™s ash during the Middle Ages. A replica of the longhouse has been constructed. (Admission not included).
Note: If you prefer not to visit Landmannalaugar, you can continue along the south shore exploring black sand beaches, bird colonies, towering waterfalls and crossing fertile farmlands towards Reykjavik.
Overnight in Reykjavik.
Optional: Snowmobiling on Myrdalsjokull Glacier (from Basecamp)
Day 9 ReykjavikMeals: Breakfast
Arrangements end after breakfast.
Drive back to Keflavik International Airport and even stop at Blue Lagoon as it is on your way to the airport, if you did not have time to do it on you arrival day.*
*Please note that the package price is based on 8x24 hour rental days starting at the time of rental. If your flight arrives early on day 1 and departs late on day 9 an additional supplement will be necessary unless you choose to return the car in Reykjavik when the 8 day rental is up and use a Flybus Plus departure transfer.
Price in USD per person in double room with private facilities with recommended Compact Car (cat 5): Inquire for rates on other car categories.
LATE ARRIVAL SUPPLEMENT FOR PASSENGERS ARRIVING LATE EVENING/NIGHT. YOU STAY THE FIRST NIGHT AT AIRPORT HOTEL SMARI AT KEFLAVIK INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT INSTEAD OF HOTEL IN HVERAGERDI.
Please note that the package price is based on 8 x 24-hour rental days starting at the time of rental. If your flight arrives early on day 1 and departs late on day 9 an additional supplement will be necessary unless you choose to return the car in Reykjavik when the 8 day rental is up and use our flybus departure transfer.
Prices quoted include a recommended Category 5. If you take an highland track a 4WD drive is necessary.
Grp 5.0 Medium 4wd Toyota RAV4 4wd or similar
Grp 5.1 Medium 4wd Automatic Toyota RAV4 4wd AUTOMATIC or similar
Grp 6.0 Medium Station Volkswagen Sharan 7 seater or similar
Grp 7.1 Large 4wd Automatic Toyota Land Cruiser GX 4WD Automatic or similar
Price IncludesDaily Breakfast
Hotel Accommodation As in Itinerary With Daily Breakfast
Use of a Tablet With Detailed Itinerary, and Road Maps
Rental Car, Cat. 2, Unlimited Miles, Cdw, Tp & 2 Drivers
Price Does Not IncludeOptional Excursions
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