The Magical Highlands - 8 days Self Drive

SELF04 - The rugged highlands of Iceland in detail

We can help you set up a self drive tours that suits your wishes. 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. Everything already organized for your convenience.

Here you have a description for an eight day highland tour. In this tour you get to the real interior of Iceland and travel the well known highland roads that will take you to places such Askja volcano caldera, Landmannalaugar nature paradise, and Hveravellir hot springs.

Check out the selection of self drive tours at Extreme Iceland.



July, August, September


8 days / 7 nights


Quality 4WD vehicle

Unlimited mileage

Accommodation with breakfast

A detailed itinerary




International flights


Day 1

You get your rental car and drive east from Reykjavik to the most famous volcano of Iceland, mountain Hekla. From there you drive to the highland geothermal oasis of Landmannalaugar. The area displays a number of unusual geological elements, like the multicolored rhyolite mountains and expansive lava fields. The mountains in the surrounding area display a wide spectrum of colors including pink, brown, green, yellow, blue, purple, black, and white. There you can take a hike in beautiful surroundings and a bath in the hot natural pool. From there you drive to the central highland tourist station by Hrauneyjar dam where you spend the night.

Day 2

You set the course north on Sprengisandur highland-road lying between the glaciers Hofsjokull and Vatnajokull. Enjoy the specific view to mountains and glaciers while driving over the Sprengisandur wasteland. Concider the meaning of the name which references to old time when people had to cross the desert fast with their horses, i.e. they had to "spring" over it, so as to get new grass and water for themselves and the animals at the other side. You can take a break at Nyidalur and from there you drive on north to the valley of Bardardalur. You can stop for example at Hrafnabjargafoss waterfall, Isholsvatn lake, Ingvararfoss waterfall and Aldeyjarfoss waterfall. You drive to Myvatn where you spend the night.

Day 3

Explore the highlights of Lake Myvatn and surrounding area with unique attractions such as Dimmuborgir, the pseudo craters at Skutustadir, the colorful sulfurous slopes of Namaskard and Krafla volcanic area. You can take a bath in Grjotagja or even in the spa at Jardbodin.

Accommodation is offered at Myvatn.

Day 4

From Myvatn you drive 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.Take a walk to Lake Oskjuvatn and a bath at Viti if you feel for it. Lake Oskjuvatn is the deepest lake in Iceland, formed during Easter of 1875 when an immensely powerful eruption occurred in the southern corner of Askja, 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 is a popular bathing site, but those intending to bathe there 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 drive back to Myvatn for accommodation.

Day 5

From Myvatn you drive 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. Spend time at Holmatungur, Hljodaklettar and Asbyrgi which has been nicknamed as Sleipnir's footprint, it is said that the canyon was formed when the god Odin's eight-legged horse, Sleipnir, touched one of its feet to the ground here. Enjoy this fascinating world. From there you drive around Tjornes to the costal town of Husavik –"The whale-watching capital of the world"– and sleep there.

Day 6

Whale-watching at Husavik by boat is offered for those who wish to experience that. Then you drive west to Godafoss waterfall (the waterfall of gods). From there you take 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, old nice houses and museums and a lot of places worth visiting.

Optional: Whale watching from Husavik

Day 7

You drive west from Akureyri to the Skagafjordur region and down south the highland-road Kjolur that lies between the glaciers Langjokull and Hofsjokul. You spend the night at the unique geothermal area Hveravellir in the middle of the highlands. Take a walk and see the wonders outside the hut in the hot spring area where hot springs compete for your attention in their various forms. Take a bath in the natural hot-water-pool there, either in the evening or in the morning – or both.

Optional: Horse Riding along the Black River

Optional: River Rafting in North Iceland

Day 8

You drive south from Hveravellir down the highland-road Kjolur. Take the trail to the lake Hvitarvatn where you can enjoy a beautiful view over the lake and up to the glacier.

There's a very 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. And indeed, they are part of a very large volcano system. The volcanoes of the range are tuyas.

The earth is shimmering red in this area, and we highly recommend a little hike here. The color palette of the mountains is due to the volcanic rhyolite stone they are composed of. Minerals that have emerged from the hot springs also color the ground yellow, red and green.

From there you drive south and explore the magnificent waterfall Gullfoss. Then you drive on to the remarkable geothermal area of Geysir with its world famous hot springs. You take the road to Laugarvatn and from there drive west and get through Thingvellir national park on the way back to Reykjavik.

Glacier hike on Langjokull and boat tour on lake Hvitarvatn


Meet on location - Activities around Iceland
Why not add a little adventure to your road trip? Our trusted travel partner Extreme Iceland offers diverse activities all around Iceland.

See the selection of activities around Iceland, at Extreme Iceland

The route for this tour
A most impressive waterfall, Godafoss
Bathing in a warm natural pool in Landmannalaugar
Landmannalaugar area in the summertime
Jardbodin geothermal spa at Myvatn
Namaskard and Hverarond geothermal area in Myvatn lake area
Dettifoss waterfall
Blahver hotspring in Hveravellir, Highlands of Iceland


The Magical Highlands - 8 day self drive tour

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