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Iceland by 4x4: Drive & Hike

(11 days / 10 nights)

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Explore the pearls of Iceland, and the rugged highlands by 4x4

Iceland’s landscape has much to offer, from vast lava fields to towering mountains and wondrous waterfalls. This self-drive tour maps out some of the most popular sites on the island, as well as time in the rugged terrain of the highlands. Having a 4x4 jeep gives you the freedom and flexibility to chart onto roads that most tourists don´t get to experience.

11 days / 10 nights

Price p.p. from

Approx 479888 ISK

The amount will be charged in ISK

Type

Self-Drive

Interest

4x4 Highland Route, Active, Countryside and natural scenery, Highlands, Hiking, Off the Beaten Path

Season

1 Jul - 20 Aug

Departure

Daily

Driving distance

1812/1126 km/mi

Itinerary

A day-by-day plan to guide your journey.

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  • Day 1: Arrival & Reykjavik Leisure Time

    On arrival to Keflavik International Airport, you will be greeted by a driver who will take you to your accommodation in Reykjavík. After settling in, the rest of the day is free for you to explore the vibrant city centre with its abundance of museums, restaurants and bars to suit all tastes. If you're interested in checking out Icelandic design or experiencing the city's thriving coffee culture, head to the main street, Laugavegur, and enjoy its various shops and cosy cafes. 

    Spend the night in Reykjavik. 

    Highlights Optional Activity
  • Day 2: Þingvellir National Park & Into the Glacier

    Start your day by picking up your rental car and drive to Þingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site that gives you insight into Iceland’s history and geology. Here, you can walk on a path in the rift valley between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates, a uniquely Icelandic experience. The national park is also home to Iceland´s first parliament, which was established in the year 930.  

    Next, you will cross the Kaldidalur mountain road up towards Langjökull glacier where the next stop is a visit to Into the Glacier. This tour will transport you to the man-made ice cave in a specially modified monster truck that can handle the snowy and icy conditions. Once at the site of the cave, visitors will be led in by an expert guide who will relay stories about Iceland‘s glaciers, the perils of climate change and how the cave was built. It´s a fascinating look into a side of Iceland few tourists get to see—the inside of a glacier!  

    Spend the night in Húsafell/Borgarnes area.  

    Included activities: Into the Glacier  

    Driving distance approx. 175 km / 109 mi.

    Highlights Highlights Highlights
  • Day 3: Beautiful Borgarfjörður & Spectacular Snæfellsnes

    Start the day by exploring the Borgarfjörður area with a visit to Barnafoss and Hraunfossar, and Deildartunguhver hot spring before heading to Snæfellsnes National Park.  Today you drive to the magical Snæfellsnes peninsula. The highlight of the day will undoubtedly be the Snæfellsjökull glacier, believed by many to be one of Earth’s seven major energy centers. It was also used as the backdrop to Jules Verne’s famous novel “Journey to the Centre of the Earth.” Your drive along the coast here also offers such sights as Kirkjufell, Arnarstapi, Stykkishólmur, and a popular shark museum. For a fun photo opportunity and to experience a blast from the past, you can also visit Djúpalónssandur, a pebble-filled beach with four famed “lifting stones” that were used in old days to test men‘s strength for jobs on fishing boats. Do you have what it takes to lift the stones? 

    Spend the night in Snæfellsnes peninsula.  

    Driving distance approx. 289 km / 179 mi. 

    Highlights Highlights Highlights Highlights Highlights Highlights Highlights Highlights Optional Activity
  • Day 4: Northwest Nature, Hot Springs & Horses

    Start the day by crossing the gravel road to the northwest where you can circle around the Vatnsnes peninsula, known for it´s scenic nature and as a home for seals. You can see baby seals laying around the rocks by Illugastaðir. A great photo stop is at Hvítserkur, which stands off shore, and is a 15-metre high monolith and Borgarvirki fortress.  

    Continue crossing the road up Þverárfjall mountain arriving in Sauðárkrókur. In this area you will find Grettislaug Hot Spring, the ideal place to relax in the natural hot pool known for it´s viking legends. This area is known for breeding the small, stocky and friendly Icelandic horse.  

    Spend the night in Skagafjörður area.  

    Driving distance approx. 257 km / 160 mi.

    Highlights Highlights Highlights Highlights Highlights Highlights Optional Activity
  • Day 5: Akureyri, Goðafoss & Lake Mývatn

    Drive towards Akureyri, the so-called “Capital of North Iceland,” where you will find a bustling art scene and close proximity to natural pearls of the north.  On arrival in Akureyri, take a break to enjoy the cosy cafés and shops or take a walk along the historical old town centre along the streets of Hafnarstræti and Aðalstræti to view the old houses and visit the Nonni Museum, charming old home in the town centre. There's a well maintained hiking trail to Kjarnaskogur, an area with more than 1 million trees. The 7 km trail has rich bird life, a volleyball course, two playgrounds and a bird watching shelter.  

    Next up is a visit to the roaring Goðafoss (waterfall of the Gods) on your way to Lake Mývatn, an area of surreal landscapes, hot springs and other unique geothermal features. Sights in this fascinating area include the bubbling mud pots at Námafjall, the moon-like pseudo craters at Skútustaðir, the lava maze of Dimmuborgir and the Krafla volcanic area, just to name a few. 

    We recommend ending the evening by visiting the Mývatn Nature Baths, where you can relax after a day full of sightseeing.  

    Included activities: Mývatn Nature Baths 

    Spend the night in Mývatn area.  

    Driving distance approx. 208 km / 129 mi.

    Highlights Highlights Highlights Highlights Highlights Optional Activity
  • Day 6: JÖKULSÁRGLJÚFUR CANYON, Ásbyrgi & HÚSAVIK

    As you have a 4x4 vehicle, you will have the chance to explore more than those travelling in smaller cars, on the gravel road between Ásbyrg and Dettifoss. Today is a good day to strap on your hiking boots as there are plenty of hiking trails. Ásbyrgi is an ideal area to explore by foot as it has interesting rock formations, diverse plants, and beautiful scenery. Next you will head to Hljóðaklettar where you will find a group of basaltic columns within a cluster of caves. On your route today you will also encounter beautiful waterfalls such as Hólmatungur, Dettifoss and Selfoss waterfall.   

    Spend the night in the Mývatn area.  

    Driving distance approx. 92 km / 57 mi.

    Highlights Highlights Highlights Highlights Optional Activity
  • Day 7: Explore Askja, Viti & Holuhraun

    Follow the mountain road along the Jökulsá á Fjöllum glacial river to Mount Herðubreið, The Queen of the Wilderness. Along the way, don’t miss Herðubreiðarlindir, an oasis on the edge of the Ódáðahraun lava field. The huge caldera of Askja, the home of Lake Öskjuvatn, is also just a short drive away, and there you can find the explosion crater of Víti, which is partly filled with hot water that you can bathe in. Also in the area is Holuhraun, the site of Iceland's latest eruption in 2014-2015. The eruption saw fountains of lava shoot metres into the air and crawl along the bleak landscape.  Afterwards, take the same gravel road back to the Mývatn area and head to your accommodation for the night.  

    Spend the night in the Mývatn area.  

    Driving distance approx. 235 km / 146 mi.

    Highlights Highlights Highlights Highlights Highlights Optional Activity
  • Day 8: Hike & Explore

    Spend the day exploring lake Mývatn and Goðafoss, also known as the waterfall of the gods. Explore highlights such as Dimmuborgir, Námafjall, Kröfluvirkjun. The region is perfect for hiking with numerous well-maintained trails to explore. For instance, you can hike up Mt. Hverfell for some breathtaking views of the surroundings as well as a leisurely hike through Dimmuborgir, a vast stretch of land with interesting lava rock formations.   

    Spend the evening relaxing in Akureyri where it is ideal to visit the geothermal pool. Akureyri´s pool, Sundlaug Akureyrar, is a treat for locals and tourists alike. The pool features slides, a children´s area as well as hot pots. It´s the perfect place to relax.   

    Spend the night in Akureyri area.  

    Driving distance approx. 250 km / 156 mi.

    Highlights Highlights Highlights Highlights Optional Activity
  • Day 9: Into the Highlands & the Golden Circle

    Travel to the Kjölur road – which was once notorious as a refuge for outlaws – located between the Langjökull and Höfsjökull glaciers to Hveravellir, a high-temperature geothermal area with smoking fumaroles and sky-blue boiling pools. There you can find stunning landscapes off the beaten track, as well as natural hot pools popular with bathers.  

    If time allows in the afternoon, we recommend visiting the Geysir hot spring area and Gullfoss waterfall during the latter part of the day as it is less busy during that time, otherwise you can start the day early tomorrow and head out to these beautiful sites.   

    Spend the night in the Golden Circle area.  

    Driving distance approx. 288 km / 179 mi.

    Highlights Highlights Highlights Highlights Highlights Optional Activity
  • Day 10: The Beautiful South

    Today you can explore the Geysir hot spring area and the Gullfoss waterfall before heading toward the south coast. We recommend visiting the majestic Seljalandsfoss waterfall to experience walking right behind the flowing water and feel the light drizzle. Continue to the 60-metre Skógafoss waterfall in Skógar, where you will find  many interesting artefacts on display at the folk museum. At Mýrdalsjökull, you will have the opportunity to experience a guided glacier hike (optional). Experience the stunning black volcanic sand beach south of Vík, where you can also see the gorgeous basalt rock formations of Reynisdrangar and Dyrhólaey. Head back to your accommodation for the night along the south coast.  

    Spend the night in Selfoss area.  

    Note; if your flight is departing early in the morning on day 11, we will arrange for your accommodation to be closer to Keflavik.  

    Driving distance approx. 308 km / 191 mi.

    Highlights Highlights Highlights Highlights Optional Activity
  • Day 11: The Famous Blue Lagoon & Reykjanes Peninsula

    Continue your journey to the volcanic wonderland of the Reykjanes Peninsula. Visit the famous Blue Lagoon geothermal spa, set amidst a vast black lava field. The waters are rich in silica and blue-green algae, giving the lagoon its reputed healing powers and characteristic bright blue colour. In-water massages are available (must book in advance) but you can also unwind in the saunas and steam baths or get a natural massage under the mini waterfall. * 

    Drop the rental car off at the Keflavik airport car rental office in time for your flight back home.  

    Included activities: Entrance to the Blue Lagoon  

    * Skin treatments and massages can be booked at the Blue Lagoon for an additional charge. We recommend booking these services well in advance. 

    Driving distance approx. 109 km / 67 mi. 

    Important notice: 
    It is a unique experience to visit Iceland’s remote highland areas that are accessible only with a 4x4 rental vehicle. However, it does require a skilled driver with knowledge about how to cross un-bridged rivers and drive on very rough roads. 

    Please keep in mind that conditions in the highlands can change quickly due to rain and snow, and it is possible that roads may be closed and rivers can become too big to cross. Therefore, all travellers MUST check road conditions before each leg of the journey and assess whether the route is passable. Please note that rental car insurance does NOT cover water damage to vehicles, so when crossing rivers you need to be sure how to cross or wait for the next car to assist you through the water.

    Highlights Optional Activity

Map

Here’s a map of Iceland, to help put things in perspective.

Reviews

We don’t like to brag, so we’ll let our happy customers do it for us.

A flawless experience

We had a wonderful trip. Nordic Visitor organized a flawless experience. I would highly recommend them to anyone considering a trip to Iceland.

We had an amazing time and loved Iceland very much

Dear Maria We both just wanted to write to thank you so much for your efforts in organizing our honeymoon to Iceland. We had an amazing time and loved Iceland very much. We have recommended you and Iceland to a lot of people. You were very friendly and made us feel very welcome. And booked us into some beautiful hotels. Thank you again. Love from Jen & Matt
 

Accommodation

Sleep soundly, in the accommodation type of your choice, and wake up ready to enjoy another day of exploration.

Budget

Rooms with shared WC and shower (or bath) in farmhouses, guesthouses or well-appointed hostels. All provide breakfast (included in..

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Comfort

Rooms with private WC and shower (or bath) in a three-star hotel or well-appointed guesthouse. All provide breakfast (included in ..

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Quality

Rooms with private WC and shower (or bath) in a three- or four-star hotel or the best accommodation available in the area at the t..

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Rental car

Enjoy the journey, with authorization for two drivers and free GPS in the rental car of your choice.

Toyota Land Cruiser 4x4 (Automatic)
or similar

  • x5
  • x5
  • x5
  • A

Toyota Land Cruiser 4x4 (Automatic)
or similar

  • Type: G
  • Description: Full-size SUV, four-wheel drive
  • Passengers: 5
  • Suitcases: 5
  • Doors: 5
  • Operation: Automatic

Land Rover Defender 4x4 (Manual)

  • x6
  • x5
  • x2
  • M

Land Rover Defender 4x4 (Manual)

  • Type: J
  • Description: Highland SUV, four-wheel drive
  • Passengers: 5/6
  • Luggage: 4/2
  • Doors: 2/4 to 6
  • Transmission: Manual

Price per person from

Approx 479888 ISK

The amount will be charged in ISK

Monthly price comparison Our best price per person when booking for two.

2018

Optional activities

This is your trip, what are you interested in doing?

Day One

Tour Information

Extra nights can be added to this package on request; contact us for details. 
This package can be customized to meet your needs; contact us for details. 
Optional activities can be added during the online booking process or by contacting your travel consultant. 
 
Important notice 
It is a unique experience to visit Iceland’s remote highland areas that are accessible only with a 4x4 rental vehicle. However, it does require a skilled driver with knowledge about how to cross un-bridged rivers and drive on very rough roads. 
  
Please keep in mind that conditions in the highlands can change quickly due to rain and snow, and it is possible that roads may be closed and rivers can become too big to cross. Therefore, all travellers MUST check road conditions before each leg of the journey and assess whether the route is passable. Please note that rental car insurance does NOT cover water damage to vehicles, so when crossing rivers you need to be sure how to cross it or wait for the next car to assist you over the water. 
 
For the Blue Lagoon:
The minimum age requirement for children at the Blue Lagoon is 2-years-old. It is mandatory for children ages 2- to 8-years-old to wear inflatable armbands in the lagoon. These are provided free of charge. Please note that only two (2) children under the age of 10 can be admitted into the lagoon per guardian. 
 
Currency rate
All bookings are charged in Icelandic Króna (ISK), the official currency of Iceland. Prices displayed in other currencies are indicative only and based on the daily exchange rate as issued by the Central bank of Iceland. Therefore, conversions from ISK to other currencies will fluctuate from day to day.
 
After booking with Nordic Visitor
After booking your package with Nordic Visitor, you will be contacted within two working days by one of our travel consultants, who will serve as your dedicated contact person for all of your travel needs before, during and even after your holiday. Your travel consultant will provide you with details about your booking and your remaining payment (if not paid in full). You will also receive more information about what to expect during your holiday.

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