Iceland Aurora self drive holiday

“Eight days immersing yourself in iceland. A tailor made trip taking in the golden circle, glaciers and volcanic greatness. The Aurora is the icing on the cake.”

Highlights

Reykjavik | Golden Circle | Viewings for Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis |Gullfoss waterfall | Strokkur Geysir | Thingvellir National Park | Secret Lagoon and Little Geysir | Thorsmork (Þórsmörk ) Nature Reserve | Reynisfjara beach | Vík | Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon | Reykjanes peninsula | Blue Lagoon

Description of Iceland Aurora self drive holiday

Discover the wonders of Iceland on this 8-day fly-drive holiday adventure suitable for travel all year-round. Explore impressive pounding waterfalls and swim in secret natural lagoons. Drive between the Golden Circle and the dramatic south and west coast to marvel at immense glaciers calving chunks of ice and volcanic black sand beaches. Accommodation on this fly-drive holiday is a mix of hotels and family-run guesthouses with evenings free to enjoy fresh local produce at the excellent in-house restaurants or relaxing in outdoor hot tubs under the late night sun or the celestial northern lights. This is a wonderful independent Iceland holiday allowing you to experience the best of this fascinating land and its friendly people.

Day-by-day experiences

Day 1Arrive at Keflavik International airport. Pick up your car and drive to Reykjavik, the world’s northernmost capital. Reykjavik offers a thriving cultural scene with an abundance of first-class restaurants, stylish galleries and historic landmarks. Surrounded by the pounding Atlantic Ocean, exceptional fresh fish dishes abound in Reykjavík’s top restaurants and hotels. Situated in the fashionable 101 area, Restaurant Fish Market is a Regent favourite. Overnight in Reykjavik.
Day 2Drive to Skaftafell National Park. Stop along the way at Reynisfjara Black beach and Cape Dyrhólaey for a great view. Continue to Kirkjubaejarklaustur and, en route, visit Fjadrárgljúfur, an otherworldly shaped canyon. Once arrived in Kirkjubæjarklaustur see the small waterfall Systrafoss and Kirkjugolfid, the so-called “church floor”, a flat columnar basalt surface. Overnight in Skaftafell area. The drive today will total in the region of 320km. (B)
Day 3Enjoy the day in Skaftafell National Park. Embark upon an optional glacier walk or spend the day hiking. Discover the Svartifoss waterfall with its high black basalt column, or walk all the way up to the ice at the Svinafellsjokul glacier tongue. In the afternoon, drive eastward along the edge of the Vatnajökull glacier. Reach the smaller glacial lagoon Fjallsárlón and, a little bit further, the more famous and bigger Jokulsárlón. Overnight in Skaftafell area. The drive today will total in the region of 120km. (B)
Day 4Head back towards the Golden Circle area. En route, pass through Skógar and discover its waterfall Skógafoss and the local folk and transport museum. It is possible to hike along the river Skógá for a while and see a few more waterfalls as well as get a closer view over the Eyjafjallajokull. A few kilometres further lies the notorious volcano Eyjafjallajokull. Driving further west reach the iconic waterfall Seljalandsfoss. Overnight in Selfoss area. The drive today will total in the region of 280km. (B)
Day 5Today unearth the Golden Circle and visit some of Iceland‘s best known natural attractions. Discover the magnificent Gullfoss waterfall and explore the Geysir geothermal area, home to the famous spouting Strokkur geyser. Visit Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, not only remarkable for its geology but also an important location in Iceland’s history, as it was here the Vikings established their parliament in 930AD. In the afternoon, travel over to the west side of the island and stay 2 nights in Borgarfjordur area. The drive today will total in the region of 350km. (B)
Day 6Journey through the countryside to Snaefellsnes Peninsula and spend the day exploring this area. Discover the small fishing village of Arnarstapi, Hellnar creek, Budir black church and lava field. Admire Mt. Kirkjufell and the surrounding coastline, mountains and waterfalls. Enjoy the spectacular sea shore at Breidafjordur bay and visit Bjarnarhofn - the region’s leading producer of hakarl (shark meat). Overnight in Borgarfjordur area. The drive today will total in the region of 330km. (B)
Day 7Explore the Borgarfjordur region, famous for Deildartunguhver hot spring, Hraunfossar waterfalls and Reykholt medieval center. Embark on an optional tour on Langjokull glacier, the second largest ice cap in Iceland, after Vatnajökull. In the afternoon, reach Reykjanes peninsula, a UNESCO Global Geopark. The peninsula, with its diversity of volcanic and geothermal activity, is well suited to be a Geopark as it is the only place in the world where the Mid-Atlantic Ridge is visible above sea level. Perhaps, stop by the Blue Lagoon known for its special mineral rich water for a relaxing bath. The drive today will total in the region of 200km. (B)
Day 8Return the car at the airport and fly back to the UK. (B)

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

01273 823 700 Calling from outside the UK?

Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
Vouchers
Accepted

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

Environment
We encourage our clients to be responsible tourists and take the ‘Icelandic pledge’ promoted by Inspired by Iceland on www.visiticeland.com/pledge: 1. I pledge to be a responsible tourist; 2. When I explore new places, I will leave them as I found them; 3. I will take photos to die for, without dying for them; 4. I will follow the road into the unknown, nut never venture off road; 5. I will only park where I am supposed to; 6. When I sleep out under the stars, I’ll stay within a campsite; 7. When nature calls, I won’t answer the call on nature; 8. I will be prepared for all weathers, all possibilities and all adventures. All hotels/guesthouses seek to recycle any waste products – plastics, metals, paper and water. Due to the climate water is plentiful in Iceland, with tap-water not needing to be treated. However waste water is recycled for agriculture. All energy used is renewable – principally geothermally heated water and wind and water-generated electricity. All hot water is drawn from geothermally heated reserves for both bathrooms as well as any hot tubs. Farms use the geothermal heat for greenhouses to grow vegetables rather than gas/electricity.
Community

The Impacts of this Trip

Wherever possible locally-owned and family-run hotels/guesthouses are used and visitors are encouraged to visit locally-owned and run attractions, such as the Skogar Folk Museum or the Herring Museum in Siglufjordur. Visitors are encouraged to go on trips where the sustainability of the environment is emphasised, such as whale watching trips where the emphasis is to “meet” and not “eat” the animals. We do not recommend restaurants where eating whale is advertised and encourage clients to respect and preserve the environment. We pay our office staff a fair wage and encourage clients to stay in locally-owned and run accommodation supporting the local economy. Our trip notes include details of many locally-owned and run craft shops and museums and encourage clients to visit them. We emphasise the natural beauty and purity of the Icelandic countryside, stressing the importance of treating both the countryside and the locals with respect. Clients are told not to drive off-road which would damage the countryside and only to walk along marked trails.

Climate

8 Reviews of Iceland Aurora self drive holiday

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 23 Mar 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The most memorable experience I had in iceland was visiting the south
of Iceland. Amazing views, waterfalls, glaciers ect. Just remarkable country.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Be prepared for rough changes in weather conditions. Also buy the extra
car insurance if renting a vehicle as the roads are very tough at times and
it is a good possibility that you will damage the vehicle. I personally got a broken windshield during a wind storm on the east of Iceland. Buy the insurance it is worth it.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Definitely benefited the local economy as this is a very isolated country and tourism is one of their biggest economic influences in the country.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


This is by far one of the most spectacular country on the planet. Such a unique ecosystem that can only be found there. A truly special place. If i had to rate thia trip on a 1-10 base 1 being bad 10 being amazing I would rate it a 10!!!!! This is a place you should put on that bucket list.
Purely amazing.

Read the operator's response here:

Thank you for your comments, Justin, it's great to hear from someone who loves the unique aspects of Iceland as much as we do!

Reviewed on 27 Jun 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


There was so much that was memorable but we particularly liked the Skogafoss waterfall and the Strokkur geyser.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


If you are hiring a car in the summer months, don't bother with the sand/ash car insurance. Also, take some lightweight clothing in case you have lovely warm weather, as we did! Be prepared to travel long distances between towns and you may not see any other car or person for miles.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Certainly the hotel we stayed at in the Skaftafell area blended in incredibly well with the environment and there were 3 different types of recycling bin in our bedroom! In general, we saw no litter in Iceland and certainly no plastic on the beaches. Even the most well-known attractions were not overly commercialised.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Iceland is a fascinating country with spectacular scenery. The people are very friendly and we'd thoroughly recommend a visit.

Reviewed on 12 Feb 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Blue lagoon

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Don’t use a travel agency, book
everything yourself

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


No

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Read the operator's response here:

Dear Monica, thank you for your comments, we hope you had an enjoyable time in Iceland. Regarding your comment that travellers should make their
own arrangements, we obviously feel that there are benefits to be gained from the knowledge and expertise of professionals, which can save a lot of time
and work researching the ingredients of a successful trip, as well as having a single point of contact and protection should something go awry. We are
sorry to hear that you feel that there was no benefit to the Icelandic people, the operators we use provide local employment and there is an increasing focus
on environmental sustainability within tourism which we work to promote and encourage.

Reviewed on 11 Nov 2018 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Blue Lagoon Iceland.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Not applicable because mine was tailored made to Dubai, Scandinavia and Russia and was done by your associate/partner.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Our spending at the various destinations benefitted the local people.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Satisfactory.

Reviewed on 16 Oct 2017 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The landscape and sea life.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Travel early on the touristy places to miss tour buses. Try not to fit too much in, give your selves time to look and go for hikes etc.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


The hotels out in countryside. But, Iceland is building so many huge hotels in Reykjavik to cater for tourists.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Good experience, would go again to different areas.

Reviewed on 28 Sep 2017 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Wow this is really hard to answer because honestly (and I do not tend to exagerate) this was the most amazing holiday we ever had. We were blown away every single day by the beauty of Iceland, the raw nature, constant changing scenery and wildlife. Our most memorable, exciting and beautiful moment would have to be the spectacular display of the Northern Lights. It was by far the most beautiful thing I've ever seen with glowing greens and even a little red dancing across the sky. Then watching the Geysir, the seals in the Ice Lagoon and the Humpback whales in Husavik. I could go on and on. It was truly magical!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Rent a good car with GPS especially for some of those gravel roads which can be quite bumpy. If you go after September and during winter, try to stay at a hotel which has 24 hour receptionists and they have a Northern Lights wake up call (if you're interested in seeing them). We got our amazing view of them because of such a wake up call and otherwise would have slept through it. Definitely budget in for expensive food anywhere you go.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Tourism is very beneficial to Iceland and supports their economy. As long as people respect and take care of the environment there should be no negative impact on it. If you go whale watching book a silent, nature friendly boat for example with North Sailing.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Incredibly awesome and amazing vacation!!!

Reviewed on 22 Sep 2017 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The outstanding scenery and unique landscapes which greet you at every turn. Whale watching was possibly the most exciting especially as it was on the last but one day of their season. The Humpbacks, Minkes and white nosed dolphins put on quite an active display for us. We were 100% pleased with the travel company's choice of accommodation and route chosen. The night stops were excellent and varied which definitely added to the holiday. Also, one of the memorable facts about this trip was the exceedingly high cost of food and drink and even postcards with stamps ( yes I do still send these!) were almost beyond purchase. Petrol prices were marginally higher but we decided that was the case, so we " boxed clever" and were selective about our purchases. It certainly didn't spoil our wonderful adventure.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Take a box of Pinot Grigio in with you from the duty free area at the airport
For peace of mind add additional insurances for hire car when offered.especially the ash and grit cover! Take your own satnav.

Bring snacks for the journey....we took a fruitcake and it certainly saved us money. Take a thermos flask and tea/ coffee! We did have the occasional coffee and sticky out cut it cost in the region of £10 each even in roadside cafes! Make use of the hotels offer to wake you up if the Aurora Borealis is active! Photographers, do take a tripod for the waterfalls and the Aurora ....might mean buying another travel sized one! Avoid establishments who offer Minke whale on their menu....meet the whales don't eat them!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


This is a hard Q to answer as there is always a compromise to be had when courting tourism and providing for them whilst desperately clinging on to preserving traditional ways and conserving the land. I visited the three main Golden Circle venues in 1999 and was astonished how "organized " each had become. No more muddy paths to the base of the falls but pleasant wooden
walkways to provide for the huge coach loads of tourists. These coaches were indeed huge....for the rather narrow roads I was somewhat surprised but realized it was economics! There are millions of acres of unspoiled landscape to be marveled at it's just a bit clogged at the popular sightseeing spots. One farm we stayed at had indeed embraced the opportunities to serve the increasing tourist trade and had done it very well.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Exceptional, and I want to return and do the northern area but I won't wait 18 years to come back!

Reviewed on 09 Jun 2017 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The Snaefellsnes Peninsula was particularly lovely as was the prolific bird life generally. Food, though expensive, was almost universally superb, especially fish.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


With hindsight I would have booked a proper 4 wheel drive vehicle as on the normal roads stopping is only generally possible at specific tourist spots. Because of the number of coach parties these get very busy and much of the surrounding area is roped off for conservation meaning that you cannot venture from the paths. From a photographer's point of view this was very restrictive and made photographs without people taking selfies in the frame difficult.

It pays to get up very early to visit attractions wherever possible for the reason above. Carry only the minimum amount of cash as cards are used everywhere and are preferred by businesses.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Local business certainly benefitted from expenditure and hopefully contributed to the cost of maintaining and preserving the countryside.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Excellent and very enjoyable but with the proviso of the point raised in question 2. All the travel and accommodation went very smoothly with the sole exception of the very, very long wait to collect the hire car. Avis had a massive queue, all
the other rental firms had no more than a handful of customers.

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