The Magical Highlands - 8 days Self Drive Tour

The rugged highlands of Iceland in detail

The rugged highlands of Iceland in detail Explore the highlands of Iceland in detail. This tour has everything: volcanoes, hot springs, geysers, natural bathing pools, national parks, glaciers and other natural wonders. You can go whale watching and snowmobiling on a glacier plus many other exciting activities.

Durée: 8 days

Disponibilité: Summer

Description du circuit

self drive tour 8 days iceland

The route for this highland rental 4*4 jeep tour - summer only

Don't miss out on Iceland’s bountiful nature, including national parks, beautiful waterfalls, striking glaciers, magnificent volcanoes, hot springs and thermal bathing ... and even whale watching, glacier hiking, river rafting and horse riding as options.

for more information about car rentals, please click here.

You can pick-up a car in Reykjavik or at Keflavik airport. Click here for information about airport transfers.

landmannalaugar highlands summer iceland car rental

Landmannalaugar is a world of its own

Day 1

You collect your rental car and follow the route in an easterly direction from Reykjavik to the most famous volcano of Iceland, Mount Hekla. From there your tour will take you to the highland geothermal oasis of Landmannalaugar.

This area displays a number of unusual geological elements, with its multicoloured rhyolite mountains and expansive lava fields. The mountains in the surrounding area display a wide spectrum of colours including pink, brown, green, yellow, blue, purple, black, and white. You will have the chance to take a hike in these beautiful surroundings and enjoy bathing in the natural hot pool.

On this first night your accommodation should be arranged in the area surrounding the Central Highland Tourist Station near Hrauneyjar dam.

horse riding varmahlíð iceland

The most beautiful horses in the world

Day 2

Today the tour will take you north along the Sprengisandur highland road which passes between the glaciers Hofsjokull and Vatnajokull. Enjoy the splendid view of mountains and glaciers whilst driving over the Sprengisandur wasteland. The name "Sprengisandur" references back to the olden days when people had to cross this desert fast on their horses, i.e. they had to "spring" over it, to get themselves and their horses to fresh grass and water on the other side.

You could take a break at Nyidalur before driving further north to the valley of Bardardalur. Hrafnabjargafoss waterfall, Isholsvatn lake, Ingvararfoss waterfall and Aldeyjarfoss waterfall are all good examples of places to stop along your journey before heading to the Lake Myvatn area.

We recommend arranging accommodation in the area surrounding Lake Myvatn.

river crossing jeep car rental iceland

Crossing some rivers while driving in the highlands

Day 3

Explore the highlights of Lake Myvatn and surrounding areawith its unique attractions such as Dimmuborgir, the pseudo craters at Skutustadir, the colourful sulphurous slopes of Namaskard and Krafla volcanic area. You could enjoy bathing in Grjotagja, which is a lava cave with a thermal spring, or maybe give the geothermal spa at Jardbodin a try.

We recommend arranging accommodation in the area surrounding Lake Myvatn.

gullfoss waterfall iceland

Gullfoss is one of the primary Icelandic waterfalls

Day 4

From the Lake Myvatn area the route will take you on the highland road F88 to Herdurbreidarlindir, Herdubreid, Dyngjufjoll and Askja-caldera and Viti. There are numerous hiking trails in the Herdubreidarlindir area and the nature is unique.

It's possible to take a walk to Lake Oskjuvatn and anjoy bathing at Viti if you feel up for this. Lake Oskjuvatn was the deepest lake in Iceland, formed when an immensely powerful eruption occurred in the southern corner of Askja during Easter of 1875, the present site of Oskjuvatn lake. After the eruption, the magma chamber ceiling began to subside, eventually stopping at 250 metres below its former level. The depression filled with ground water and formed the 220 metre deep lake.

Viti crater is a popular bathing site, however, those intending to bathe should be warned that the sloping path is very slippery in wet weather and the mud at the bottom is quite hot, especially at the eastern bank.

You will need to drive back to the area surrounding Lake Myvatn where your accommodation will be arranged for the night .

iceland dettifoss highlands summer

Dettifoss waterfall in the canyon of a mighty glacial river

Day 5

Today the tour will take you from the Lake Myvatn area to the geothermal area at Hverarond and Krafla and then to Iceland’s major waterfalls in Jokulsargljufur national park: Dettifoss waterfall, Hafragilsfoss waterfall, Rettarfoss waterfall, Vigabjargsfoss waterfall. It is good to spend some time at Holmatungur, Hljodaklettar and Asbyrgi, which has been nicknamed "Sleipnir's Footprint", it is said that this canyon was formed when the God Odin's eight-legged horse, Sleipnir, placed one of its feet upon the ground here. Take the time to enjoy this fascinating world!

Next the route will take you on a beautiful drive around Tjornes to the coastal town of Husavik –"The whale-watching capital of the world". Your accommodation will be arranged in the area surrounding Husavik.

blue whale watching húsavík iceland

A Blue Whale spouting - enjoying the wildlife

Day 6

Whale-watching at Husavik by boat is available for those who wish to experience this. Today the route will take you past many beautiful places as you drive west to Godafoss waterfall (the Waterfall of the Gods).

Next your route will take you along the ring road to the town of Akureyri, the "capital" of Northern Iceland. Akureyri is a friendly little town with many interesting recreation areas, hiking paths, nice old houses and museums, there are a lot of places worth visiting here.

Your accommodation is recommended to be arranged in the area surrounding Akureyri.

Optional: Whale watching from Husavik

thermal pool in hveravellir

Thermal pool by the hut in Hveravellir in the highlands enjoying some cold beers

Day 7

Today your route will take you west from Akureyri to the Skagafjordur region and south along the highland road, Kjolur, which lies between the glaciers Langjokull and Hofsjokul. Tonight your accommodation will be arranged close to the unique geothermal area of Hveravellir in the centre of the highlands. Here it is possible to take a walk and see the wonders outside in this the hot spring area where hot springs in their various forms compete for your attention .

You could enjoy bathing in a natural hot water pool here, either in the evening or in the morning – or both.

Accommodation recommended in the area around Hveravellir geothermal area.

Optional: Horse Riding along the Black River

Optional: River Rafting in North Iceland

car rental hot springs iceland

The hot spring area at Hveravellir

Day 8

On your final day you will need to drive south from Hveravellir along the Kjolur highland road. Take the trail to the lake Hvitarvatn where you can enjoy a beautiful view over the lake and up to the glacier.

You will find a particular mountain range named Kerlingarfjoll (1,477 m high) here in the Kjolur highlands. The volcanic origin of these mountains is evidenced by the numerous hot springs and rivulets in the area, they are indeed a part of a very large volcano system. The volcanoes in this range are tuyas.

We strongly recommend you to take a short hike here to explore this area where you will see the earth shimmering red. The colour palette of these mountains is due to the volcanic rhyolite stone they are composed of. Minerals that have emerged from the hot springs also colour the ground yellow, red and green.

From here you will need to drive south where you will have the chance to stop to explore the magnificent waterfall, Gullfoss. From Gullfoss the route takes you to the remarkable geothermal area of Geysir with its world famous hot springs.

Your route will then take you on road to Laugarvatn and from there in a westerly direction through Thingvellir National Park on your way back to Reykjavik.

car rental national park thingvellir

The National Park at Thingvellir is of great geological and historical importance