Highlands and Lowlands

from £2899 excluding flights

  • 14 nights
  • Jul-Aug
01737 214 250
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16 Aurora displays marvelled at

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iceland highlands landmannalaugar view istk

Highlands and Lowlands

from £2899 excluding flights

  • 14 nights
  • Jul-Aug

Customers rate Discover the World

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Highlights

In pictures
iceland landmannalaugar view over valley rth

Experience the wild beauty of the Highlands including Askja and Landmannalaugar

iceland east fjords mjoifordur church istk

Hike in the East Fjords and Vatnajokull National Park

iceland sprengisandur route in highlands istk

Drive a 4WD vehicle on the Sprengisandur Route

iceland north east myvatn pseudocrater view rth

Discover pseudo-craters and mud pools at Lake Myvatn

east iceland laugarvalladalur geothermal river istk

Take a soak in the hot river at Laugarvalladalur

iceland jokulsarlon iceberg reflection at sunset rth

Experience the ice wonders of Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon

Why this trip...

new zealand walking boardwalk mt cook national park istk tailor made white

Tailor made

This itinerary can be tailor made to suit you and is intended to give you a guideline of what is possible in a given timeframe

canada forest trail istk well researched route white

Well-researched route

We've put our years of experience into creating this well-paced itinerary that includes the places we know you'll enjoy

iceland road to lone ingjaldsholl church istk off the beaten track white

Off-the-beaten-track

This holiday showcases places and experiences away from the usual tourist routes

Overview

Iceland’s main roads are perfect for touring in any vehicle, but get behind the wheel of a 4WD and suddenly the whole interior opens up for you. This exciting two-week self-drive combines popular spots on the Ring Road, like the South Coast and Lake Myvatn, with offbeat trails through the Highlands, including the epic Sprengisandur Route and the legendary drive to Askja.

Driving in Iceland’s Highlands

You will have plenty of time to become familiar with your high-clearance 4WD vehicle before tackling F26 – the Sprengisandur – a 244km track which traverses Iceland, crossing a barren volcanic plateau between the icecaps of Hofsjokull and Vatnajokull. After exploring the area around Lake Myvatn, you will once more head inland, passing Herdubreid (Queen of the Mountains), fording rivers and weaving through lava fields to reach the flooded caldera of Askja. Another 4WD adventure takes you from Skaftafell to spectacular Landmannalaugar – famed for its hot springs and colourful rhyolite mountains.

Taking the smooth with the rough

You won’t spend all your time bumping through volcanic deserts. This trip also includes gentle touring through the East Fjords and the South Coast, as well as plenty of opportunities for parking the car and enjoying a hike – whether it’s a gentle stroll to a puffin colony or waterfall, or a more challenging glacier hike.

Itinerary

The itinerary shown is an example of this self-drive holiday. We have many other hotels and route recommendations which can be tailored to your requirements. Please discuss with our Travel Specialists who can put together a bespoke itinerary for you.

Day 1 Keflavik - Hveragerdi

Fly to Keflavik Airport and collect your 4WD rental vehicle before setting off to explore the Reykjanes Peninsula – a hauntingly beautiful landscape of lava flows, volcanic craters, tectonic rifts, hot springs and rugged shore. Continuing east, you’ll reach the fascinating geothermal town of Hveragerdi where you will be based for the following three nights at Hotel Ork.

Fly to Keflavik Airport and collect your 4WD rental vehicle before setting off to explore the Reykjanes Peninsula – a hauntingly beautiful landscape of lava flows, volcanic craters, tectonic rifts, hot springs and rugged shore. Continuing east, you’ll reach the fascinating geothermal town of Hveragerdi where you will be based for the following three nights at Hotel Ork.

Day 2 explore the Golden Circle

Enjoy a leisurely day exploring three of Iceland’s most famous natural wonders: the twin-tiered waterfall of Gullfoss, the Geysir geothermal site and Thingvellir National Park – an extraordinary site that showcases both Iceland’s ancient parliament and the continental rift between the American and Eurasian tectonic plates. Part of this rift (the Silfra fissure) is flooded with crystal-clear glacial water, forming one of the world’s most unusual and unforgettable dive sites. Optional guided tours, either snorkelling or diving, are available, with all equipment (including drysuits) provided. At nearby Fludir, meanwhile, you can gently poach yourself in the geothermal waters of the Secret Lagoon.

Enjoy a leisurely day exploring three of Iceland’s most famous natural wonders: the twin-tiered waterfall of Gullfoss, the Geysir geothermal site and Thingvellir National Park – an extraordinary site that showcases both Iceland’s ancient parliament and the continental rift between the American and Eurasian tectonic plates. Part of this rift (the Silfra fissure) is flooded with crystal-clear glacial water, forming one of the world’s most unusual and unforgettable dive sites. Optional guided tours, either snorkelling or diving, are available, with all equipment (including drysuits) provided. At nearby Fludir, meanwhile, you can gently poach yourself in the geothermal waters of the Secret Lagoon.

iceland south west strokkur geysir blue sky istk
south west iceland thingvellir fissure summer astk
south iceland reynisdrangar sea stacks sunset

Day 3 explore the South Coast or Thorsmork

You have a couple of options for today’s adventure. A drive along the South Coast is rewarded with a procession of amazing sights, from the breathtaking waterfalls of Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss (not forgetting the far-less-visited, but absolutely stunning cascade known as Gljufrafoss) to the black-sand beach of Reynisfjara and seabird cliffs of Dyrholaey. The coast road also skirts the southern flank of Eyjafjallajokull (there’s an excellent visitor centre dedicated to the infamous eruption) and provides easy access to the Solheimajokull glacier where you can join an optional guided hike amongst its crevasses and ice caves.

Not far from the waterfall of Seljalandsfoss, a gravel road loops behind Eyjafjallajokull, probing the Highlands to reach the hidden valley of Thorsmork. We strongly recommend, however, that you join a guided superjeep tour to reach this spectacular destination, and not attempt the tricky river crossings yourself.

You have a couple of options for today’s adventure. A drive along the South Coast is rewarded with a procession of amazing sights, from the breathtaking waterfalls of Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss (not forgetting the far-less-visited, but absolutely stunning cascade known as Gljufrafoss) to the black-sand beach of Reynisfjara and seabird cliffs of Dyrholaey. The coast road also skirts the southern flank of Eyjafjallajokull (there’s an excellent visitor centre dedicated to the infamous eruption) and provides easy access to the Solheimajokull glacier where you can join an optional guided hike amongst its crevasses and ice caves.

Not far from the waterfall of Seljalandsfoss, a gravel road loops behind Eyjafjallajokull, probing the Highlands to reach the hidden valley of Thorsmork. We strongly recommend, however, that you join a guided superjeep tour to reach this spectacular destination, and not attempt the tricky river crossings yourself.

Day 4 Hvergerdi - Sprengisandur Highland route - Lake Myvatn

Originally used as a horse trail between North Iceland and the ancient midsummer assembly at Thingvellir, the Sprengisandur route is the setting for today’s adventurous drive, traversing the volcanic desert of the Highlands. Travelling through the interior of Iceland, you’ll experience the wide-open horizons and rugged scenery of this remote, uninhabited region. Reaching the north, and returning to the surfaced main road, stop to admire Godafoss waterfall before heading to the Lake Myvatn area for a three-night stay at Guesthouse Dimmuborgir.

Originally used as a horse trail between North Iceland and the ancient midsummer assembly at Thingvellir, the Sprengisandur route is the setting for today’s adventurous drive, traversing the volcanic desert of the Highlands. Travelling through the interior of Iceland, you’ll experience the wide-open horizons and rugged scenery of this remote, uninhabited region. Reaching the north, and returning to the surfaced main road, stop to admire Godafoss waterfall before heading to the Lake Myvatn area for a three-night stay at Guesthouse Dimmuborgir.

iceland south west hveragerdi geothermal springs istk
iceland thorsmork stakkholtsgja canyon istk
north iceland lava pillars at hofdi lake myvatn gt

Day 5 around Lake Myvatn

Spend the day exploring the kaleidoscope of volcanic and geothermal sites around this glorious freshwater lake (a natural wonder in itself thanks to the profusion of wildfowl, waders and divers that nest around its shores). Driving around the area, you will be able to visit Krafla volcano with its explosion crater and vast lava fields. At Namafjall you can see (and smell) fumaroles and bubbling mud pits. Pseudocraters, lava caves, basalt pillars, sulphrous hot springs and tephra cones can also be found around Lake Myvatn. After a day of volcanic shenanigans, treat yourself to an (optional) dip in the Nature Baths – an open-air geothermal lagoon with wonderful views across the lake.

Spend the day exploring the kaleidoscope of volcanic and geothermal sites around this glorious freshwater lake (a natural wonder in itself thanks to the profusion of wildfowl, waders and divers that nest around its shores). Driving around the area, you will be able to visit Krafla volcano with its explosion crater and vast lava fields. At Namafjall you can see (and smell) fumaroles and bubbling mud pits. Pseudocraters, lava caves, basalt pillars, sulphrous hot springs and tephra cones can also be found around Lake Myvatn. After a day of volcanic shenanigans, treat yourself to an (optional) dip in the Nature Baths – an open-air geothermal lagoon with wonderful views across the lake.

Day 6 visit Dettifoss and Husavik

A short drive from Lake Myvatn leads to Dettifoss, Europe’s most powerful waterfall. Fed by glacial meltwater from the Vatnajokull icecap, this thundering cataract hurls 200 cubic metres of water 45m into the Jokulsa canyon every second. Further north, the Asbyrgi canyon provides a more tranquil setting for a hike beneath birch woodland carpeted in cranesbill. In the evening, consider joining an optional whale watching trip from Husavik, sailing into Skjalfandi bay to search for humpback and blue whales under the glow of the midnight sun.

A short drive from Lake Myvatn leads to Dettifoss, Europe’s most powerful waterfall. Fed by glacial meltwater from the Vatnajokull icecap, this thundering cataract hurls 200 cubic metres of water 45m into the Jokulsa canyon every second. Further north, the Asbyrgi canyon provides a more tranquil setting for a hike beneath birch woodland carpeted in cranesbill. In the evening, consider joining an optional whale watching trip from Husavik, sailing into Skjalfandi bay to search for humpback and blue whales under the glow of the midnight sun.

north iceland adaldalur valley near myvatn rth
iceland north east dettifoss rth
north iceland whale watching boat under midnight sun ns

Day 7 Myvatn - Askja - Laugarfell

An early start today is required for the incredible drive to the heart of the Highlands where the vast caldera of Askja broods among desolate plains of ash and lava. To describe the scenery as lunar-like is not an overstatement – this is where NASA trained its Apollo astronauts. Enroute to Askja you will skirt the muffin-shaped volcano of Herdubreid (Queen of the Mountains), ford several shallow rivers and discover where outlaws hid out in centuries past. You will also be able to walk into Dragon Canyon and hike across ochre-coloured volcanic gravel fields, studded with hardy mosses, lichens and saxifrages, to reach the explosion crater of Viti. The warm, milky-blue waters inside the crater are perfect for a relaxing soak. Overnight at Laugarfell Accommodation and Hot Springs.

An early start today is required for the incredible drive to the heart of the Highlands where the vast caldera of Askja broods among desolate plains of ash and lava. To describe the scenery as lunar-like is not an overstatement – this is where NASA trained its Apollo astronauts. Enroute to Askja you will skirt the muffin-shaped volcano of Herdubreid (Queen of the Mountains), ford several shallow rivers and discover where outlaws hid out in centuries past. You will also be able to walk into Dragon Canyon and hike across ochre-coloured volcanic gravel fields, studded with hardy mosses, lichens and saxifrages, to reach the explosion crater of Viti. The warm, milky-blue waters inside the crater are perfect for a relaxing soak. Overnight at Laugarfell Accommodation and Hot Springs.

Day 8 Laugarfell - Egilsstadir

Lying at an intriguing crossroads, with the Highlands to the west, the fjords to the east and equally spectacular drives north and south, the small town of Egilsstadir is a perfect base for exploring off-the-beaten-track – particularly with your 4WD vehicle. Your iDiscover digital travel guide will provide plenty of suggestions for places to visit, from remote Mjoifjordur (reached on a gravel track that snakes past tumbling waterfalls and secret ravines) to Mt Snaefell, Iceland’s highest freestanding mountain at 1833m, located near the Laugerfell hot springs. Overnight at Lake Hotel.

Lying at an intriguing crossroads, with the Highlands to the west, the fjords to the east and equally spectacular drives north and south, the small town of Egilsstadir is a perfect base for exploring off-the-beaten-track – particularly with your 4WD vehicle. Your iDiscover digital travel guide will provide plenty of suggestions for places to visit, from remote Mjoifjordur (reached on a gravel track that snakes past tumbling waterfalls and secret ravines) to Mt Snaefell, Iceland’s highest freestanding mountain at 1833m, located near the Laugerfell hot springs. Overnight at Lake Hotel.

iceland east fjords mjoifordur church istk
iceland north lake lagarfljot near egilsstadir istk
iceland east fjords borgarfjordur eystri scenic drive rth

Day 9 Egilsstadir - Breiddalsvik

Travelling south from Egilsstadir, the road scales a pass to reach Breiddalur – a broad valley in the East Fjords hemmed in by striking mountains and basalt cliffs, and the perfect spot for hiking or horse riding. At the mouth of the valley, the small fishing hamlet of Breiddalsvik (your base for the following two nights) has a black-sand beach and quirky geology museum. The nearby waterfall of Flogufoss is well worth tracking down. Spend two nights at Hotel Blafell.

Travelling south from Egilsstadir, the road scales a pass to reach Breiddalur – a broad valley in the East Fjords hemmed in by striking mountains and basalt cliffs, and the perfect spot for hiking or horse riding. At the mouth of the valley, the small fishing hamlet of Breiddalsvik (your base for the following two nights) has a black-sand beach and quirky geology museum. The nearby waterfall of Flogufoss is well worth tracking down. Spend two nights at Hotel Blafell.

Day 10 exploring the East Fjords

The coastal road that hugs the East Fjords offers one of the finest scenic drives in Europe, tracing a crinkle-cut shore through a realm of waterfall-doused cliffs and sheltered inlets. Driving through the East Fjords, you will pass through numerous villages, each with their own unique appeal. One of the most interesting is Djupivogur, south of Breiddalsvik, where you can take an optional boat trip to the ancient Celtic outpost of Papey island – now a breeding site for puffins.

The coastal road that hugs the East Fjords offers one of the finest scenic drives in Europe, tracing a crinkle-cut shore through a realm of waterfall-doused cliffs and sheltered inlets. Driving through the East Fjords, you will pass through numerous villages, each with their own unique appeal. One of the most interesting is Djupivogur, south of Breiddalsvik, where you can take an optional boat trip to the ancient Celtic outpost of Papey island – now a breeding site for puffins.

iceland east fjords coastal road borgarfjordur eystri rth
iceland east fjords gufufoss near seydisfjordur rth
iceland east fjords borgarfjordur eystri rhyolite mountains reflection rth

Day 11 Breiddalsvik - Skaftafell

Leaving the East Fjords, today’s drive follows the coast to Skaftafell – gateway to the Vatnajokull National Park. One of the star attractions here is Jokulsarlon where you can see hundreds of icebergs drifting in a glacial lagoon or scattered, in crystal-like fragments, across a nearby black-sand beach. Optional boat trips are available on the lagoon. Spend two nights at Hotel Skaftafell, allowing plenty of time to fully appreciate Jokulsarlon and explore various hiking trails.

Leaving the East Fjords, today’s drive follows the coast to Skaftafell – gateway to the Vatnajokull National Park. One of the star attractions here is Jokulsarlon where you can see hundreds of icebergs drifting in a glacial lagoon or scattered, in crystal-like fragments, across a nearby black-sand beach. Optional boat trips are available on the lagoon. Spend two nights at Hotel Skaftafell, allowing plenty of time to fully appreciate Jokulsarlon and explore various hiking trails.

Day 12 explore Skaftafell and Vatnjokull National Park

One of the most popular hikes in the national park leads to Svartifoss, a waterfall plunging over hanging cliffs of basalt columns. It is also possible to arrange a guided glacier walk from Skaftafell, hiking into a head-spinning landscape of mountain peaks and blue ice.

One of the most popular hikes in the national park leads to Svartifoss, a waterfall plunging over hanging cliffs of basalt columns. It is also possible to arrange a guided glacier walk from Skaftafell, hiking into a head-spinning landscape of mountain peaks and blue ice.

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Day 13 Skaftafell - Landmannalaugar - Hrauneyjar

Venturing deeper into the mountains and valleys, you will reach Landmannalaugar. This is without doubt one of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring places in Iceland. The hiking possibilities are endless, while the colourful rhyolite mountains are a photographer’s dream. Reaching Landmannalaugar involves many exciting river crossings – a great way to put your 4WD experience to the test. Bathing in the geothermal river is the perfect way to relax before heading further north to Hrauneyjar where you will spend the night at Highland Centre Hrauneyjar.

Venturing deeper into the mountains and valleys, you will reach Landmannalaugar. This is without doubt one of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring places in Iceland. The hiking possibilities are endless, while the colourful rhyolite mountains are a photographer’s dream. Reaching Landmannalaugar involves many exciting river crossings – a great way to put your 4WD experience to the test. Bathing in the geothermal river is the perfect way to relax before heading further north to Hrauneyjar where you will spend the night at Highland Centre Hrauneyjar.

Day 14 Hrauneyjar - Reykjavik

Take a leisurely drive to Reykjavik for your final night. Explore Iceland’s vibrant capital with its museums, art galleries, restaurants and shops. Overnight at Hotel Cabin.

Take a leisurely drive to Reykjavik for your final night. Explore Iceland’s vibrant capital with its museums, art galleries, restaurants and shops. Overnight at Hotel Cabin.

Day 15 depart Iceland

Drive to Keflavik and perhaps visit the famous Blue Lagoon (pre-booking required) on the way before dropping off your vehicle prior to flying home.

Drive to Keflavik and perhaps visit the famous Blue Lagoon (pre-booking required) on the way before dropping off your vehicle prior to flying home.

Accommodation Options

We have selected properties for this holiday as referenced in the itinerary. However, with a wide choice of accommodation in Iceland we can adapt to your preference and mix and match different grades and styles where available from hotels, farmstays and self-catering apartments to private villas and countryside properties.

Discuss your options with our Travel Specialists.

Excursions

Enhance your holiday by pre-booking a selection of excursions and activities. View or download the pdf and then talk to our Travel Specialists about how best to fit these into your holiday.

Open Excursions PDF

Prices and Departures

Price from £2899 excluding flights

Airfares are quoted separately to the holiday price and start from around £250 per person with Icelandair (with higher fares during peak times). When enquiring, our Travel Specialists will provide the best fare possible from your preferred airline / airport.

What's Included

  • Accommodation in rooms with private bathroom
  • Daily breakfast
  • Car rental throughout with unlimited mileage
  • No charge for additional driver
  • Exclusive use of iDiscover App
  • 24 hour emergency assistance from our team during your holiday
  • No surcharge guarantee
  • Full financial protection

From prices per person

Based on 2 sharing a room with private bathroom, including car hire. Prices for other combinations of passengers and rooms available on request. Other vehicle types also available.

Departure Duration Car Category Twin Price
Jul - Aug 2020 14 nights F - Suzuki Vitara £2,899
Jul - Aug 2020 14 nights G - Toyota Rav4 £3,467

Choice of Vehicles

We offer a range of rental vehicles for this holiday provided by the local Europcar franchise. Our long-standing relationship with them means that our clients enjoy many exclusive benefits including priority on the newest and best appointed vehicles available on the day.

Meet our expert

nordic team mark champagne bw
One of our specialists
Meet Mark

16 Aurora displays marvelled at

1 Inuit dance in Greenland

17 Visits to Scandinavia

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Tailor made trips

As independent destination specialists, we are able to tailor make holidays to suit you, be that customising the itineraries shown on this website or creating something bespoke.

Travelling sustainably

We believe travel is about finding the right balance between minimising our impact on the environment and broadening minds through new experiences and cultural interaction.

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