The Best of the Highlands and Lowlands 13 days

The Best of the Highlands and Lowlands 13 days

This tour includes many of the best highland and lowland sights and some of the most remote and rough terrain routes.

BP14 Map

BP14 Map

AVAILABLE:
July 7 to September 10

DURATION:
13 days / 12 nights

CAR RENTAL DAYS:
11 Days

DEPARTURES:
Daily

TOUR ID:
BP14

Included

Not Included

Itinerary

Day 1. Arrival


Upon your arrival at Keflavik airport a meet and greet service is provided by a TOURIS representative who will take you to your Reykjavik hotel. Depending on your time of arrival, you will be free for the rest of the day to explore Reykjavik, visit museums, landmarks etc. You may want to join an optional guided tour if you arrive early.

Highlights of the day:
ReykjavÝk

Overnight:
ReykjavÝk

Day 2. The Beautiful South Coast


Pick up the car in the morning and leave Reykjavik. After leaving the city, cross the plateau Hellishei­i, with a lot of geothermal activity and plumes of steam rising from the ground. Numerous boreholes have been drilled on Hellishei­i in the last years for hot water and steam, some of the cleanest energy available. Stop at Hellishei­i Geothermal Powerplant where natural hot water and steam pressure from the ground is used for generating electricity. Here, you can enjoy an optional tour through the power station and and learn about the eco-friendly geo thermal energy. Drive to the village Hverager­i, at the foot of the mountain, east of the plateu where geothermal water is used to heat up greenhouses. Continue along the South Shore and see the Saga Centre at Hvolsv÷llur. Stop at the waterfall Seljalandsfoss where it is possible to walk behind the waterfall in summer, a quite a unique experience. The impressive waterfall Skˇgafoss is a little further east and donĺt miss the Folk Museum at Skˇgar, close to the waterfall.
The glaciers Eyjafjallaj÷kull and Mřrdalsj÷kull are towering above.
On March 20th 2010, a volcanic eruption started on Fimmv÷r­uhßls, a mountain ridge between the glaciers, Eyjafjallaj÷kull and Mřrdalsj÷kull. The eruption on Fimmv÷r­uhßls lasted a couple of weeks. After this eruption came to an end a new and bigger eruption started underneath the nearby icecap of Eyjafjallaj÷kull Glacier. This eruption came to an end on 23. May 2010.
Underneath the icecap of Mřrdalsj÷kull is Katla, one of Icelands most dangerous volcano. Make a short detour to the glacier Sˇlheimaj÷kull (passable only during summer) before continuing to Dyrhˇlaey, a natural reserve and a nesting colony of numerous seabirds. Drive to Reynisdrangar with spectacular coast and beautiful rock formations. The promontory at Dyrhˇlaey is a massive natural arch carved by the relentless pounding of the winds and surf with rich birdlife in summer. Return to the Hvolsv÷llur area for overnight stay.

Driving distance
280 kilometers

Highlights of the day:
Hverager­i Town
Seljalandsfoss Waterfall
Skˇgafoss Waterfall
Reynisfjara beach
Dyrhˇlaey Nature Reserve
VÝk Town

Overnight:
Hvolsv÷llur area

Recommended optional activity:
Glacier Walk
Snowmobiling on Solheimajokull Glacier

Day 3. Fjallabak route & The Colourful Landmannalaugar


Head inland to visit the Landmannalaugar area. The track passes through a wide variety of canyons, valleys, over rock ridges and black lava, weird plain of lava rocks surrounded by captivating mountains. The mountain track over Landmannalei­ offers some of the finest scenic views available throughout this fascinating region. Off the track there are various trails leading to the volcano Hekla, which is in view on and off to the south of the trail. Visit Landmannahellir, a cave that runs some distance into a hillside. The scenic interest in the area is tremendous. The surrounding mountains are perhaps the most varied and colourful in Iceland. This area is highly recommended for nature lovers and those interested in geology. It offers numerous hiking trails for long and short hikes. Lake Frostasta­avatn surrounded by colourful mountains and craters. From a side road near the western end of the lake, a short drive up to the rim of Ljˇtipollur a lake-filled crater. The trail proceeds cutting across some relatively recent lava streams and through the Dˇmadalur valley.
At Landmannalugar is a warden station, mountain hut and a popular camping site. Near the hut is a warm water pool created by the confluence of natural hot water and a cold water springs which issue within a short distance of one another from underneath the edge of the obsidian lavafield. Here you can take a relaxing bath in the beautiful and almost surreal surroundings. Continue on the Fjallabak route which is one of the most scenic trails in the interior highlands of Iceland, perhaps the most colourful and diversified of the many interesting mountain tracks, rugged colourful landscape of unsurpassed beauty. One of the highlights of the route is Eldgjß, one of the most interesting sights in this part of the country. Here nature has created a unique spectacle splitting mountains and valleys in its course creating a gigantic 30 km long gash into the earth, in some places is up to 600m wide and up to 200m deep. The volcanic fissure is considered to be the greatest of its kind on earth. ËfŠrufoss, used to be one of the country┤s most beautiful waterfall, framed by a natural bridge, arching over the rivers gorge that collapsed years ago. There is marvellous scenery along this route. Proceed to the Skaftßrdalur valley.

Driving distance
230 kilometers

Highlights of the day:
Landmannalaugar
Eldgjß Canyon


Overnight:
KirkjubŠjarklaustur area

Day 4. LakagÝgar Volcanic Fissure


A rewarding, although a bumpy drive the scenery at the end of the trail to LakagÝgar makes it worth the effort as there are few wild and rugged natural wonders that equal the beauty of the Laki area.
At the end of the trail is well worth to hike in this strange but fascinating area, which must be exploited on foot.
This area has been the locality of intermittent volcanic activity in centuries past. Everywhere are vary-coloured volcanic ejecta with its scorched and multi-coloured volcanic crags, blistered with countless cone like craters, little and great colourful dunes of volcanic ash.
LakagÝgar craters, named for Mt. Laki, which the 25km long eruption fissure runs through. The craters are on a roughly south-west to a north-east trending line, the general line of fissure eruptions in Iceland. About two thirds of the more than hundred craters are west of Mt. Laki, while the remainder lies south of it. The craters were created in an eruption of five months duration and from them issued the greatest volume of lava in a single eruption within the historical times of mankind.
By now, most of the enormous surrounding lava flows are covered with a thick carpet of green moss. The whole area, scarred with colourful craters and volcanic debris has a character of grim beauty. The crater pitted surroundings show nature at its most rugged overpowering best and here is one of the most spectacular volcanic areas in the world.
From the craters issued mind-boggling masses of molten lava, flowing down to lower ground, in two broad streams, filling and levelling hollows, small valleys and the deep canyon of the river Skaftß on their way down to lowlands, where the broad lava streams spread out to destroy numerous farms. The volume of lava was estimated in excess of thirty billion tons and the area of land covered is about 565 sq km. The aftermath of the eruption caused the death of 1/5 of Iceland's population and most of the livestock. Head Back to your accommodation.

Driving distance
140 kilometers

Highlights of the day:
KirkjubŠjarklaustur town
Laki Craters

Overnight:
KirkjubŠjarklaustur area

Day 5. Skaftafell National Park & The Awe-Inspiring Glacier Lagoon


At KirkjubŠjarklaustur see Kirkjugˇlfi­ (the Church Floor), a protected natural monument just east of Klaustur. Kirkjugˇlfi­ is columnar basalt, eroded and shaped by wind and water. Drive across Skei­arßrsandur, vast tracts of black sandy desert washed down by torrential glacial rivers and to Skaftafell. Its natural beauty is a result of favourable weather conditions and the interaction of fire and ice in the past and the present. Beneath the Vatnaj÷kull ice cap, towering above Skaftafell is GrÝmsv÷tn, one of Icelandĺs most active volcano. . In the afternoon of 21. May 2011, a sub-glacial eruption started in the GrÝmsv÷tn volcanic system underneath Vatnaj÷kull Glacier. Later the same day, the eruption broke the ice cover of the glacier and started spewing volcanic ash into the air. The amount of ash fall was the greatest close to the village KirkjubŠjarklaustur. The eruption went on for about a week. It ceased on 28. May 2011. Stop at the Skaftafell National Park to see the interesting Visitors Center and for a walk. In the area are many interesting hiking trails. An interesting hiking trail takes you to the unique Svartifoss, one of Icelands most picturesque waterfall, famous for basalt columns, which surround it. A video of a volcanic eruption in the area in 1996 can also be viewed. Continue to J÷kulsßrlˇn, the Glacial Lagoon where huge icebergs float and grind together in the deep waters of the lagoon and seals are frequently seen. A cruise among the icebergs on the Lagoon is available in summer. From here, continue east towards H÷fn for an overnight stay. The Glacier Exhibition at H÷fn is a very interesting place to visit, not to be missed and snowmobiling tours are available on the Vatnaj÷kull glacier in summer.

Driving distance
200 kilometers

Highlights of the day:
KirkjubŠjarklaustur town
Skaftafell National Park
Svartifoss waterfall
J÷kulsßrlˇn Glacial Lagoon
H÷fn.

Overnight:
H÷fn area

Recommended optional activity:
Amphibian boat Tour on J÷kulsßrlˇn Glacier Lagoon

Day 6. The Tranquil East Fjords


From H÷fn, drive past the colorful Lˇns÷rŠfi district, a mountainous wilderness ringed by extinct volcanoes and traversed by glacial rivers. Drive past towering mountains, and to the magnificent East Fjords, some now deserted. An interesting option is taking a boat tour to Papey Island from Dj˙pivogur where thousands of puffins and other seabirds nest in summer. Enroute stop at the small fishing town Dj˙pivogur and at St÷­varfj÷r­ur the Stone Collection of Petra is an interesting place to visit.

Driving distance
260 kilometers

Highlights of the day:
Egilssta­ir town
Hallormssta­askˇgur Forest

Overnight:
Egilssta­ir area

Day 7. The Remarkable North East & The Whale Watching Capital


Drive to Dettifoss the most magnificent waterfall in Europe. From Dettifoss to ┴sbyrgi canyon a strange and spectacular horseshoe shaped canyon. Continue to Vesturdalur Valley and Hljˇ­aklettar, the Echo Rocks, an extremely beautiful canyon carved by the river J÷kulsß ß Fj÷llum. This area offers many interesting hiking trails to explore the many wonders of the J÷kulsßrglj˙fur National Park. Continue to H˙savÝk. H˙savÝk was the first place in the country to offer very successful Whale Watching cruises and of course we suggest a Whale watching tour. During summer Whale Watching cruises are available daily from morning until late evening. The Whale Museum in H˙savÝk is an educational centre on marine wildlife. Visit the H˙savÝk Natural and Maritime Museum, one of the best museums of its kind in the country.

Driving distance
280 kilometers

Highlights of the day:
Dettifoss Waterfall
┴sbyrgi Canyon
Hljˇ­aklettar rock formations
H˙savÝk Town

Overnight:
H˙savÝk / Íxarfj÷r­ur area

Recommended optional activity:
Whale Watching From H˙savÝk

Day 8. The Stunning Landscape of Lake Mřvatn


Drive to the magnificent Lake Mřvatn area. Spend the day at Lake Myvatn and surroundings to explore the numerous wonders of the area. Stop at the Nßmaskar­ pass where boiling mud pools and flashing colours of the pass merge with lava and ash from the Krafla volcanic system. The Lake Mřvatn area is known world wide for the abundance of birdlife and its exceptionally many breeding duck species. The lake's surroundings show great variety in stunning landscapes and amazing geological formations. Stop at Dimmuborgir, the "Dark Castles" and see the pseudocraters near Sk˙tusta­ir and many other scenic spots in the area surrounding the lake. The Nature Baths at Mřvatn are a great attraction where one can take a bath in geothermal water under the open sky.

Driving distance
130 kilometers

Highlights of the day:
Lake Mřvatn
Nature Baths
Dimmuborgir

Overnight:
Mřvatn area

Recommended optional activity:
Nature Baths

Day 9. A Highland Adventure


Leave early in the morning as this will be a long day. Head through the deserted lava fields towards the Her­ubrei­arlindir springs. Her­ubrei­arlindir, at an altitude of 484 m is a green oasis in a near desert landscape. Green-clothed with grass, it verges supporting flourishing growth of flowers, the area is laced with springs of crystal clear water, unexpected and gratifying in these surroundings of desolate sands and lava beds. Here is found a mountain hut, warden station and a campground. After a break at the beautiful Her­ubrei­arlindir continue to the great Dyngjufj÷ll chain of mountains and the magnificent Askja Caldera. Leaving Her­ubrei­arlindir, the track continues bumping and jolting through the lava, winding around the gravely slopes of Her­ubrei­art÷gl mountain range. To the south, two pyramid shaped peaks of Upptyppingar rising from a level plain are landmark in this area. On the southern horizon the edge of the Vatnaj÷kull ice field. Below the track on the left and a short walk from it, the J÷kulsß River flows fast between low, sheer rock walls. There are unusual water sculptured rocks along the banks. The track runs now fairly straight and smooth over vast tracts covered by light brown pumice, which blankets the ground. The pumice and ash, which spread far and wide, came mostly from a powerful eruption in Askja in 1875. Up ahead to the west, the volcanic massif Dyngjufj÷ll, rise abruptly above the highland plateau. The massif covers an area of about 300 sq. km., the largest group of mountains in these parts, rising up to 800 m above the surrounding plateau. In their centre lies the Askja Caldera. A thirty-minute hike takes you to the Askja Lake, where you find the explosion crater VÝti, a lovely spot for a dip in natural geothermal warmth and comfort of the water in the crater lake. From Askja take the same route back to the Mřvatn area and further towards the Akureyri area for overnight. Stop enroute at the beautiful waterfall Go­afoss.

Driving distance
400 kilometers

Highlights of the day:
Her­ubrei­arlindir
Askja
VÝti Crater
Go­afoss waterfall
Akureyri

Overnight:
Akureyri area

Day 10. Kjalvegur highland trail & The Majestic Gullfoss & Geysir


Drive past Akureyri and to Skagafjordur, renowned for horse breeding. Popular horse riding tours for beginners and experienced riders are available here. In the upper reaches of Skagafjordur, you will also be able to join some of the best white water rafting in Iceland. We recommend that you see GlaumbŠr Folk Museum where you can learn how Icelanders used to live in the past. A tiny old church at VÝ­imřri, situated close to VarmahlÝ­ is also worth a visit. Leave the valleys of Skagafj÷r­ur and take to the south towards the Kjalvegur (Kj÷lur) highland route. Drive past the man made Bl÷ndulˇn Lake, a lake reservoir for the Bl÷nduvirkjun Hydro Electrical Power Station and then south across the center of the highlands between the glaciers Langj÷kull and Hofsj÷kull. On a fine day, - an unforgettable drive of breathtaking magnificence and beauty. The route travelled is an ancient south and north horse trail artery. You will be coming to the colorful geothermal area Hveravellir between the glaciers Langj÷kull and Hofsj÷kull, a picturesque hot-spring area on the northern fringe of the Kjalhraun lava field, in a shallow valley-like depression. The springs are surrounded by multi coloured sinter terraces and display different colours and a variety of forms. There is a mountain hut and a warden station at Hveravellir open during the summer.
Next to the mountain hut there is a small pool, ideal for a relaxing bath in the thermal water. Along the uninhabited highland route there are extensive views of mountains of all sizes and shapes, the two ice fields Langj÷kull and Hofsj÷kull, a black desert and to Kerlingarfj÷ll a colourful range of rhyloite mountains. There is a short detour to Kerlingarfj÷ll. This is a true mountain wilderness of spectacular peaks, canyons and hidden here are strange and colourful thermal areas. Proceed south and past Mt. Blßfell and after that you will be descending towards the edge of the highland plateu. Come to the majestic waterfall Gullfoss one of Icelands most beautiful waterfalls. From Gullfoss drive a short distance to the Great Geysir area. Explore the great Geysir hot spring area on foot and see the famous Great Geysir and Strokkur, a geyser that spouts every few minutes. The Geysir Service Center offers a restaurant, hotel, swimming pool, souvenir shop, snack bar, gas station, horse riding tours, quad bike tours, and more.

Driving distance
300 kilometers

Highlights of the day:
Akureyri
GlaumbŠr Folk Museum
Hveravellir Geothermal Area
Langj÷kull Glacier
Gullfoss Waterfall and Geysir Hot Springs

Overnight:
Geysir area

Day 11. Ůingvellir National Park & West Iceland


Start the day by driving to the National Park Thingvellir, (Ůingvellir) a unique place from a geological point of view. Research has shown that Thingvellir is a natural wonder on an international scale where evidence of continental drift and the rifting of the earth's crust can clearly be seen. Thingvellir is also the most historical place in the country and a place of exceptional beauty. After exploring the many interesting sights at the National Park, take the Kaldidalur route to H˙safell. The route passes Mt. Skjaldbrei­ur a beautiful shield volcano and later, Icelands second largest glacier, Langj÷kull where snowmobiling trips are available during summer. Descend to H˙safell, a small birch forest at the edge of the highland plateau and a little further come to the beautiful waterfalls Hraunfossar and Barnafossar. From the waterfalls, proceed to the historic Reykholt. Stop to see the Snorrastofa Museum and Snorralaug hot pool. A short distance further down the road come to Deildartunguhver, the largest hot spring in Europe. At Borgarnes town you will find the interesting Settlement Centre where the prime objective is to dramatically recreate the fascinating sagas surrounding the birth of this island nation. Multi-media and theatrical techniques are employed to help the visitor experience first hand the trepidation and excitement of setting off over the open ocean for lands unknown.

Driving distance
200 kilometers

Highlights of the day:
Ůingvellir
Reykholt town
Hraunfossar
Deildartunguhver
Borgarnes town

Overnight: Borgarfj÷r­ur area

Day 12. A Relaxing Bath at The Blue Lagoon


From Borgarnes head for the Hvalfjordur fjord. Drive along the scenic shores of Hvalfjordur and after driving around the fjord take continue to ReykjavÝk. From ReykjavÝk, head for the Blue Lagoon. Enjoy a relaxing bath at the Blue Lagoon in an otherworldly setting. In this unique area, lava and thermal water complement each other to prepare you for your journey home. Stop to soak in the refreshing waters of the Blue Lagoon, and have a wonderful last unforgettable taste of Iceland, that ensures that you are fully relaxed when you leave Iceland. If you plan to take a bath at the Blue Lagoon, we strongly recommend that you book your ticket in advance. It can be booked at www.bluelagoon.com Return to ReykjavÝk and drop off the car.

Driving distance
170 kilometers

Highlights of the day:
ReykjavÝk
The Blue Lagoon

Overnight:
ReykjavÝk

Recommended optional activity:
The Settlement Exhibition and The Egil Saga Exhibition

Day 13. ReykjavÝk - KeflavÝk airport


Flybus transfer to KeflavÝk airport.

ACCOMMODATION

Cat 1

Cat 1

Rooms in guesthouses with shared facilities but sometimes with washbasins in the rooms. Breakfast is included.
Double rooms at most Icelandic hotels are twin rooms with two single beds. In most cases the two single beds can be put together to make a double bed. However this varies from one hotel / guesthouse to another.
Triple rooms are in most cases double rooms with an extra bed and therefore floor space may be limited when an extra bed has been added.

Cat 2

Cat 2

Rooms in guesthouses or hotels with private shower or bath and WC. Breakfast is included.

Cat 3

Cat 3

Rooms in the best quality accommodation available with private shower or bath and WC. Breakfast is included.
Double rooms at most Icelandic hotels are twin rooms with two single beds. In most cases the two single beds can be put together to make a double bed. However this varies from one hotel / guesthouse to another.
Triple rooms are in most cases double rooms with an extra bed and therefore floor space may be limited when an extra bed has been added.

CARS

13.K - Toyota Landcruiser 4WD or similar - Automatic -

13.K - Toyota Landcruiser 4WD or similar - Automatic -

Transmission: Automatic
Seats: 5
Suitcases: 4
Doors: 5

Optional Extra: Would you like to do some extra activities? Below activities can be added to this tour.

Useful Information: Here you will find other information for this tour.


Pick up of rental car is the morning of day 2.

Drop off is in ReykjavÝk the day prior to your departure ľ day 13.

An extra day will be charged if the car is returned later.

Due to road conditions routes may have to be altered without prior notice Types of car recommended: 4x4 is required


Accommodation is according to your choice in farmhouses, guesthouses or hotels, cat. 1, 2 or 3. including breakfast. Due to limited availability of accommodation in the Icelandic countryside and a great demand for summer, we are only able to confirm specific category but not a specific hotel in each locality until booking has been made and confirmed.


Early morning arrival: Check in time at hotels is usually between 14:00 - 16:00. If you arrive early morning, you may not be able to check in immediately on arrival.
A credit card imprint will be taken at the start of all rentals for security reasons, even when a voucher covers the cost of the rental. Cash and debit card deposits will not be accepted. This credit card imprint may be used to pay all extra charges, including extra driven kilometres if applicable, extra insurance, parking fines, damages or any costs due to the car rental company as a result of the hirer's use of the car.

Self Drive tours can often be modified according to the clientĺs wishes. If you want to change or extend the tour, add days etc, please contact our office.

Please note that some activities described may only be available during summer.

Travel Insurance: To avoid dispute in case of cancellation, we strongly recommend that our clients purchase a comprehensive travel insurance in their home country, that covers your cost should you have to cancel your tour. This kind of travel insurance is usually not expensive and it frequently covers other risks too.

Price Calculator: There are several factors that determine the price of self drive packages:

1. Time of the year.

2. Number of people traveling together

3. Type of car (we offer more than 15 different types of cars)

4. Type of accommodation (we offer 3 different categories of accommodation)

There is a special Price Calculator button at our website with every self drive tour package where you can enter your choice of type of accommodation and car, number of people and when you want to begin the tour (arrival date) and the Price Calculator will calculate and display the price of different options.

Note: Day(s) can be added before and / or after if your arrival and departure does not fit the itinerary of this tour. Additional day tours can be added for the additional day/s. If you have any questions please don┤t hesitate to contact us by email to tour@tour.is and we will be more than happy to advice.

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