Self-Guided Walking Tours & Biking Tours


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Iceland's Scenic South Coast Drive and Hike Holiday
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Highlights

  • Explore the dramatic south coast of Iceland by car and on foot.
  • Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon, filled with huge icebergs of turquoise hues.
  • Walk through the great rifts of the earth's crust at Thingvellir National Park.
  • The thundering waterfalls of Gulfoss, Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss.
  • Getting up close to the mighty Vatnajökull, the largest glacier mass in Europe.

Explore Iceland’s dramatic south coast on an action-packed drive and hike tour starting and finishing in the capital city of Reykjavik. Taking in glaciers, thundering waterfalls, lava fields, and hot springs this tour is a great introduction to the ’Land of Fire and Ice’.

Iceland’s quiet, scenic roads are a true pleasure to drive, with plenty of time allocated to getting on those walking boots to see Iceland at it’s best!

Enjoy the charismatic café-culture of Reykjavik, before exploring the Golden Circle trio of Gulfoss waterfall, Geysir geothermal area and Thingvellir National Park. Continue to Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss waterfalls, and then on to the mighty Vatnajokull glacier and Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon, before returning to Reykjavik.

Read about journalist Fiona's experiences on the South Coast Drive & Hike tour in her blog posts Iceland: Myths, Magic & Magnificence, and 12 Must Sees in Southern Iceland.  This tour was also featured in an article in Scotland's Sunday Mail Too Cool for School.

Day 1: Arrive Reykjavik

Arriving at Keflavik International Airport,  you are immediately transported to other-worldly landscapes, as you travel by road through craters and lava fields to reach your hotel in downtown Reykjavik.


The vibrant, quirky city of Reykjavik is wonderfully cosmopolitan and easily explored on foot. Browse the many outdoor and handicraft shops, and enjoy a delicious meal from one of the many fantastic seafood restaurants — we recommend the Arctic Char in particular!


Overnight: Reykjavik


Day 2: Golden Circle—Thingvellir, Gulfoss and Geysir

Head straight out into the countryside today towards the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Thingvellir National Park. Enjoy a walk here through the great rifts of the earth's crust — an amazing experience!


Continue to the geothermal area of Geysir, where great spouts of boiling hot water shoot up from the ground every 5 minutes.


Finish your day with a visit to the beautiful two-tiered Gulfoss waterfall, where the water often catches the sunlight to throw incredible rainbows across it.


Walk: 3hrs


Total Drive: Approx 190km, 3 hours


Overnight: Hveragerdi


Day 3: Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss Waterfalls

An action-packed day today! Visit another two of Iceland’s most spectacular waterfalls today. At Seljalandsfoss take a walk behind the falls to experience the mighty power of nature up close. And walk to the top of Skogafoss falls for a different perspective.


Heading east you pass the Mýrdalsjökull glacier, where it is possible to do some snowmobiling — sure to get the adrenalin pumping and highly recommended!


Continue to Kirkjubaelarklaustur via the black sand beaches of Vik. On arrival enjoy a walk to the nearby “church floor pavement”  - a natural phenomenon formed by basalt columns.


Walk from Skogafoss Waterfall:  1.5-3 hours


Walk to Church Floor Pavement: 1.5 hours


Total Drive: Approx 205km, 3 hours


Overnight: Kirkjubaelarklaustur


Day 4: Skaftafell National Park

Today you drive through Eldhraun, a 565 km² field of lava covered in thick luxuriant moss — it's like a scene from another planet!


Continue to Skaftafell National Park, part of the Vatnajokull National Park, on the edge of the immense Vatnajokull glacier. 


We recommend several walks at Skaftafell — from a short 3 hour walk to Svartifoss Waterfall to longer full day walks which overlook the glacial valley.


Another option would be to take a hike on the glacier — accompanied by an expert guide and with crampons on! (optional extra).


Walk: 3-8hrs, 250m-1000m Ascent/Descent


Total Drive: Approx 205km, 3-4 Hours


Overnight: Höfn


Day 5: Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon

Heading west, a short drive takes you to  Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon — one of Iceland’s most photographed places! A walk along the lagoon’s shoreline which is littered with shards of ice gives you views of the giant icebergs floating in the water. The colours range from pure white to shimmering hues of blue. You may even recognise scenes from movies such as Die Another Day and Tombraider which were filmed here.


Continue to Dyrholeay, a giant natural rock arch where puffins perch at certain times of the year.


Walk: 2-4 hours, 100m Ascent


Total Drive: Approx 280km, 4 Hours


Overnight: Vik


Day 6: Hveragerdi, Drive to Reykjavik

Continue towards Reykjavik, stopping off en-route at Hveragerdi for a long walk around visiting hot springs, bubbling mud-pots and fumaroles.


From here it is just a short drive back to Reykjavik, where you will drop off your car in the late afternoon.


Walk: 3-4 Hours.


Total Drive: 190km, 3 Hours


Overnight: Reykjavik


Day 7: Free Day in Reykjavik

Explore Reykjavik at leisure today. There are plenty of things to see and do. We recommend a whale-watching excursion from the harbour (bookable locally). Or you can also take a longer walk around the city and Seltjarnes area. One of the most popular things to do is a trip to the famous Blue Lagoon for a soothing dip in its geothermal waters. (bookable locally).


Overnight: Reykjavik


Day 8: Onward Travel

A transfer (included) will take you back to Keflavik International Airport for your flight home.

Accommodation

3 Night’s accommodation is included in a 3-star city hotel in Reykjavik. 4 Nights are in comfortable, countryside hotels and guesthouses. We have carefully chosen traditional countryside hotels which offer a warm Icelandic welcome, comfortable rooms and fantastic food! They are in spectacular locations and generally have great views of the surrounding countryside.


Alternative Accommodation

The hotels we normally use are detailed below but subject to availability we may accommodate you in alternative hotels/guesthouses of a similar standard.


Meals

7 breakfasts are included. You can pick up lunches during the day from many cafes or shops. All of the countryside hotels have a restaurant where you can have dinner as there are not usually many other options for places to eat nearby. Food is generally of a very high standard, and local specialities include Hangikjöt (a delicious smoked lamb dish), Saltifiskur (salted fish) and the delicious Arctic Char. For the more adventurous, there is also Hákarl (cured shark commonly accompanied by schnapps), only for the very brave!


Solo Walkers & Single Rooms

Single rooms are available on this trip and a supplement will apply. It is also available to solo travellers but prices are on a request basis.



 

 

 




Hotel Odinsve - Reykjavik

A stylish 50 room boutique hotel in downtown Reykjavik. They offer newly renovated rooms along with service with a smile. Their restaurant is a popular meeting place in Reykjavik and offers outstanding Icelandic cuisine..


 

 

 


 

 

 



Frost & Fire Hotel - Hveragerdi



Frost & Fire Hotel - Hveragerdi

A quiet hotel with amazing amenities and comfortable rooms. Access to their geothermal spa is included and their restaurant "Varma" offers "slow food" made with the finest local ingredients.


 

 

 


 

 

 



Hotel Klaustur - Kirkjubaejarklaustur



Hotel Klaustur - K'klaustur

57-room Icelandair Hotel Klaustur is a modern property and conveniently located for exploring the south of Iceland. You can relax on their sundeck or enjoy a swim in their neighbouring geothermal pool.


 

 

 


 

 

 



Hotel Volcano



Hotel Volcano - Vik

A small boutique hotel in beautiful surroundings of Myrdalur valley, just beneath the Katla glacier.


 

 

 

Time of Year and Availability

You can start this tour on any day of the week between the beginning of May and end of October. From June through to August is the most popular and best time to travel to Iceland due to the long hours of sunlight and the fact that the weather is at it’s driest and warmest then. This is also the best time for wild flowers. During this time,  the main tourist sights such as the most popular waterfalls will get quite busy but you shouldn’t notice it too much whilst on the walks or driving.


If you prefer a quieter experience, then we would recommend either May or September. The weather isn’t quite as reliable then but it is quieter, and the price also comes down during those months.


The accommodation in Iceland fills up extremely quickly for the summer months between June and August. For this reason, your accommodation may change according to availability and your itinerary may be adapted so that we can secure accommodation. It may also take up to 2 weeks to confirm your booking but we will try to confirm as quickly as possible for you.


Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

This trip is available to solo travellers but a supplement is applicable and is on request. Single rooms are also available on request and again a supplement will apply.


Grade & Terrain

We grade this tour as easy-moderate as the suggested walks are all optional. They are between 1—6 hours in length, and up to 500m ascent/descent (most are less than 200m ascent/descent.


Navigation, Route Notes & Maps

We provide detailed route notes and maps to allow you to navigate the recommend walks without any problems. Footpaths are not always clearly marked but with the above you should not have any issues navigating. Paths can be slippy and rocky underfoot, so a good pair of walking boots is essential.


Equipment

Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, lightweight clothes, waterproofs and a day pack.


Car Hire

We include Group B Car Hire from the morning of Day 2 up to the afternoon of Day 6. Group B Car Hire would be based on a Volkswagen Golf or similar and is suitable for 2-3 people with luggage. For parties of 4, we will automatically include an upgrade to a CAT N Car Hire (similar to a Skoda Octavia) and this is already included in the cost. For parties of 5-8 people, we will provide 2x CAT B for 5-6 people, and 2x CAT N for 7-8 people. If you choose, you can also upgrade to a CAT FG Car Hire which is similar to a Suzuki Grand Vitara 4WD.  Select this option when making your booking. Car hire includes unlimited mileage, VAT, CDW insurance, 1 additional driver, Pick up and Drop off fees. No insurance in Iceland covers the underside of vehichles and excesses can be expensive. For this reason we suggest you take out an excess reimbursement policy in advance of your arrival, or upgrade your insurance locally.  Fuel and oil are not included in the rental of your vehicle.


Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity, emergency evacuation and hospital care.


General Information:

The distances and ascent/descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, (for example, proper rain gear jacket and pants, sun hat, sunscreen). Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes or the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer, and a day pack.


Getting to/from Iceland:

Reykjavik is Iceland’s capital city and located in the south west of the country.


Air - Fly into Keflavik International Airport, which is served by numerous airlines from UK, European and International destinations. Keflavik is just a 3 hour flight from the UK and just a 5 hour flight from Boston, with Icelandair and Wowair offering many direct flights from various US airports.


An included transfer will collect you from Keflavik Airport and take you to your hotel in Reykjavik, and you will also be collected and transferred back to Keflavik at the end of your holiday.

Included

  • 3 Nights at a 3* Hotel in Reykjavik
  • 4 Nights in countryside hotels and guesthouses
  • 7 Breakfasts
  • 5 Days Group B car hire (from Day 2 to Day 6)
  • Return transfers betweeen Keflavik Airport and Reykjavik accommodation
  • Road Map
  • Detailed pre-departure information pack
  • Route notes, maps and driving instructions
  • 24/7 support from our local partners and UK office

Excluded

  • Travel to and from Iceland
  • Lunches and evening meals
  • Drinks and snacks
  • Fuel and oil
  • Personal equipment
  • Mountain rescue
  • Optional activities
  • Travel Insurance

Extras

  • Additional nights before, during or after the tour
  • Single room supplement if required
  • Glacier Hike
  • Car Hire Upgrades

How far in advance do I need to book?

We recommend booking as far in advance as possible for this trip as Iceland is extremely popular, especially over the summer months of June, July and August. The accommodations fill up extremely quickly. However, we will always try our very best to accommodate your plans.

How fit do I need to be?

We grade this tour as easy-moderate as the suggested walks are all optional. They are between 1—6 hours in length, and up to 500m ascent/descent (most are less than 200m ascent/descent.

What personal equipment do I need?

You will need good walking shoes/boots, comfortable walking clothes, waterproof jacket and trousers, a daypack and warm clothing. We supply a detailed packing list with your information pack. 

When is the best time of year?

From June through to August is the most popular and best time to travel to Iceland due to the long hours of sunlight and the fact that the weather is at it’s driest and warmest then. This is also the best time for wild flowers. During this time,  the main tourist sights such as the most popular waterfalls will get quite busy but you shouldn’t notice it too much whilst on the walks or driving.
If you prefer a quieter experience, then we would recommend either May or September. The weather isn’t quite as reliable then but it is quieter, and the price also comes down during those months.

If you would like to do some whale-watching you will need to travel between May and September.

What is driving like in Iceland?

For most visitors driving in Iceland is sheer pleasure with miles and miles of open and traffic free roads, along with stunning scenery. At times, gravel roads,  high winds, dust and rain can make driving more challenging than at home but we provide comprehensive advice on driving conditions in our pre-departure information packs. Your rental vehichle will be left hand drive and driving in Iceland is on the right hand side of the road.


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Macs Adventure - US Office: 3200 Carbon Place Suite 102, Boulder, CO 80301

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