5 Day Self Drive
The Mystic Island
- Day 1 Arrival in Reykjavík and check in at Hotel
- Day 2 The Great Elfstone and Thingvellir National Park
- Day 3 Legendary waterfalls and a haunted beach
- Day 4 The Mystical Glacier Lagoon and Skaftafell National Park
- Day 5 The Hidden People of Hafnarfjörður
Iceland may be the country on earth in geological terms, but its history dating back to the 9th century is shrouded in ancient legends, myths, ghost stories and folklore of all sorts. A major factor of the rich heritage of mystic stories is that the vast majority of local people either believes – or at least refuses to rule out – the existence of beings beyond what the eyes can see.
Ghosts, hidden people, elves and even trolls make up the ample collection of Icelandic folk tales, told and preserved from generation to generation. To say Icelanders are unusually superstitious may be beside the point; sometimes, what you can not prove, you cannot disprove either. And when in Iceland, … well, you get the drift.
THING TO DO!
During the booking process, see what Iceland has in store in the mystic department of attractions during this 5-day tour in the way of activities and experiences. For some, landscapes worthy of The Lord of The Rings might suffice, but Iceland has loads more to keep you in turns elated, mesmerized and sometimes a wee bit wary. At Thingvellir the national park, diving enthusiasts might want to go snorkeling in Silfra, a deep fissure filled with water so pristine clear that even seasoned divers get a bout of vertigo once they’re in. The water is virtually invisible so you can actually see the bottom of the fissure way down below as if you were floating in the clear air. When you visit the water-filled crater Kerid, you might just second-guess yourself that you are actually still on planet Earth.
Sometimes the sheer magnificence of nature is enough to give you slight chills – and sometimes the added feeling of an ever so possible presence of someone, or something, will only galvanize the feeling. Just remember to look over your shoulder from time to time!
Book this tour for three unforgettable summer tour in the Southern part of Iceland, just 5-hour drive from Reykjavík. Along the way, you will see several other natural attractions to make the trip all the more memorable. Seize the day and use this opportunity to create the perfect 5-day stay in Iceland. You can see the booking availability in the calendar to the left.
You can rearrange days, activities and routes as you like from scheduled itinerary.
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Take walk around the midtown area and time permitting, visit Höfði House, one of the most beautiful and historically significant buildings in the Reykjavík area. Not only was the house the location for the 1986 summit meeting of presidents Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, a historical event that effectively marked the beginning of the end of the Cold War, but it is also arguably the most famous haunted house in Reykjavík. Whether the house is inhabited by the spirit of a young woman, who killed herself, of haunted by medieval spirits that regularly raid the liquor cabinet as a result of the house being built on a Viking burial site, we can not say. But either way, the legend has even gained recognition by the
Foreign Ministry in Iceland who have officially stated that; “We do not confirm or deny that the Hofdi House has a ghost.” Go there.
Attractions on the way: Harpa Concert Hall, The Sun Voyager sculpture, Reykjavík Harbour Ocean-side walk.
THE GREAT ELFSTONE AND THINGVELLIR NATIONAL PARK
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On the Eastern outskirts of Reykjavík, a gigantic boulder, split in two, sits by the side of the road. On your way to Thingvellir, the first major stop of today, you will see this halved rock and might just want to stop by and snap a photo. Originally, the road was supposed to be situated where the rock lies, back in the early 20th century, but the hidden people living in the rock disagreed; series of inexplicable accidents ensued and finally, the road plans were altered to bypass the rock. Recently, hiking and biking paths have been made next to the rock, but each of them swerves around it. Call it lessons duly learned.
Make your way to Thingvellir (Parliament Fields), the cradle of Icelandic democracy and the very place where the world’s first democratic parliament was established in 930. The national park, a place near and dear to all Icelanders, has a darker history as well.
With Iceland’s Reformation and the Great Edict of 1564’s harsh penalties for moral offenses, a grim era began where people were taken for their execution until penalties were softened in 1838. This is why the beautiful national park also harbors spots with macabre names like Höggstokkseyri (Beheading Block Creek), Gálgaklettar (Scaffold Cliffs), Drekkingarhylur (Drowning Pool), Kagahólmi (Whipping Islet) and Brennugjá (Burning Stake Gorge). No wonder the quiet air at Thingvellir tends to have a sinister breeze about it as well.
Next up is Kerið Crater Lake. As the implies, this is at once a volcanic crater and a lake. With the round, inside wall of the crater mate of crimson colored lava pebbles, the place is in a word “otherworldly” and visitors have been known to pinch themselves. You can wisely spend 30 minutes or so to circumnavigate Kerið, and it is also possible to walk down to the water level by manmade steps. Finish the day by checking into your hotel.
Attractions on the way: Grásteinn boulder, Gljúfrasteinn Museum, Lake Þingvallavatn, Silfra gorge.
LEGENDARY WATERFALLS AND A HAUNTED BEACH
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Today you will witness some of the more memorable waterfalls in Iceland. Incidentally, all three have a myth of sorts attached or at least an almost mystic peculiarity. And remember: what hasn’t been disproven yet just might get proven one of these days! First off, set course for Seljalandsfoss. This may not be the most powerful cascade in Iceland but the 60 meter-drop is impressive nonetheless, and it presents a rare trait: you can actually walk behind the plunging water. When you witness the rays of the setting sun, light splits wonderfully in the spraying water and is worthy of making a wish. We dare you to go ahead and make a wish.
Little further inland is Gljúfrabúi waterfall, with a 40-meter drop inside a gorge, hence the name (“Gorge-dweller”). Legend has it reclusive hermits lived here in centuries past, and if they did, they were surely drawn in by the spectacular sight of the water plunging its way inside the gorge.
Back to National Route 1, the Ring Road, and next stop is Skógafoss. Not only a massive waterfall which booming noise as the 25-meter wide river crashes 60 meters below, resulting in a lot of spray and almost perpetual rainbows in the mist. Now for the legend:
It is said that behind it you can find a chest filled with gold and other treasures. Legend has it that a Viking named Þrasi Þórólfsson, who settled at Skógar around the year 900, hid his treasure chest behind the waterfall and whoever braves the falling water and goes in behind will find this great treasure.
Next up is the spellbinding Reynisfjara beach – The Black Beach. Word of advice: You need to be extra careful here; the waves can be treacherous, to the point that several casualties have been recorded in the last few years as a result of reckless wandering too close to the waterfront.
This is a highly impressive shoreline stretch of pitch-black sand, Reynisfjara is by many believed to be one of the more intensely haunted places in Iceland; this stems both from numerous shipwrecks in the sand and also treacherous waves reaching ashore and pulling unsuspecting pedestrians into the sea, only to return them later – lifeless. Locals are less than fond of approaching the black sand after dark. In daylight you can gaze at the stunning cliff Hálsanef, reaching into the black sands with its beautiful octagonal basalt columns, and also at Reynisdrangar, three gigantic basalt columns standing in the sea just outside the beach.
According to myth, they were actually three trolls attempting to pull a ship ashore. Luckily for the seafarers, daylight broke just in time and turned the trolls to stone. In storms, when the waves crash in, you can hear their furious screams as they try to break their stony armors – so far, with no luck.
Around the bend, you will find the lovely town Vík, the southernmost township in Iceland, ideal for stocking up on necessities for the road. Drive next to Kirkjubæjarklaustur, a picturesque little town further east with approx. 120 and quite a legend to boot, dating back to medieval times.
The peculiar waterfall that dominates the village is called Systrafoss – The Sisters’ Waterfall – and the unique pillar that rises from the hill west of the waterfall is called Sisters’ Pillar, both named after nuns that were burned for heresy in the 14th century. On top of the pillar, legend has it that two mounds are visible in the ground where they are allegedly buried. One was proved innocent, and her grave is evergreen; the other wasn’t so her grave is barren, and nothing grows there but thorns. You can actually ascend the pillar and see for yourself if the legend is true.
Close the day by checking in at your hotel for the night.
Attractions on the way: Seljalandsfoss, Gljúfrabúi, Skógafoss, Reynisfjara beach, Vík í Mýrdal, Dyrhólaey, Kirkjubæjarklaustur.
THE MYSTICAL GLACIER LAGOON AND SKAFTAFELL NATIONAL PARK
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A 30-minute drive gets you to Skaftafell National Park, a place considered by many to be one of the more majestic vistas in all of Iceland. Options are too many to count, both sights and hiking trails, but we recommend walking to Svartifoss (The Black Waterfall), a river plunging from an imposing wall of black, basalt columns almost resembling a dark throne of some black-hearted overlord.
Once you’ve absorbed sufficient cosmic powers from Skaftafell, it’s time to drive towards Jökulsárlón – The Glacier Lagoon. The creation of this natural wonder can best be described like this: Breiðamerkurjökull glacier, a section of the great Vatnajökull, is slowly melting. Subsequently, giant icebergs keep breaking off and go floating through a lagoon. On their way towards the sea. Some of the ice collects on the shores of the lagoon while the majority of the pieces drift slowly out to sea. Here you can get tickets to a slow sightseeing cruise around the iceberg lagoon and rest assured; even if time seems to stand still, it actually flies because you’ve never seen a place like this before. Just remember to see the beaches on the other side of the highway, too, as they’re strewn with crystal-like chunks of glacier ice, like gigantic pearls in the sand.
By now it’s time to drive back towards Reykjavík. If you manage to make an early start back, you can easily revisit some of your favorite spots, as they are seldom far off the Ring Road.
Attractions on the way: Skaftafell national park, Svartifoss, Jökulsárlón.
THE HIDDEN PEOPLE OF HAFNARFJÖRÐUR
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On your way to the airport, make one last stop in the lovely town of Hafnarfjörður, just south of Reykjavík. There you will find a small public park called Hellisgerði, where seers say scores of the hidden people – huldufólk – reside in harmony with the human dwellers of the houses all around. Are you among the privileged few with the powers to actually see them? You probably won’t know before your visit, will you?
Attractions on the way: Strandgata shopping street, Hellisgerði, Fjörukráin Viking Village and Hotel, Hafnarfjörður harbor.
- Standard Entrance Ticket to the Blue Lagoon
- Detailed Travel Plan with a map of the area and information package
- Access to Go Personal Travel Assistant, GPTA – Go Icelandic Travel Service
- Car of Choice (4X4 in winter)
- Fuel Discount Card
- Studded Winter Tires
- Unlimited Mileage
- SCDW insurance – Additional Insurance available upon request
- Optional to add a hotspot WIFI to your vehicle GPS Navigation System
- Available: April – September
- Total Duration of the Tour: 5 days – 4 nights
- Easy and Relaxed
PLACES YOU WILL SEE
- Harpa Concert Hall
- The Sun Voyager sculpture
- Reykjavík Harbour Ocean-side walk
- Grásteinn boulder
- Gljúfrasteinn Museum
- Lake Þingvallavatn
- Silfra gorge
- Reynisfjara beach
- Vík í Mýrdal
- Skaftafell national park
- Strandgata shopping street
- Fjörukráin Viking Village and Hotel
- Hafnarfjörður harbour
- Hot springs
- Big waterfalls
- Blue Lagoon
CAR PICKUP INFORMATION
- Keflavík Airport 24/7 service – Very important to choose a correct pick-up time and flight number
- Car rental shuttle bus outside the arrival terminal will shuttle you to the car rental company, it’s only 2-3 min away
- Pick up options at Keflavik Airport, address in Keflavík and greater Reykjavik area
- Pick up and drop off fee may apply for delivery in Reykjavik
- Starting time is Flexible
CAR RENTAL RETURN
- Keflavik Airport – 24/7 service
- Reykjavik by request – Drop off fee may apply
WHAT TO BRING AND DON’T FORGET
- Warm Clothes and walking boots for all weathers – Wool and Cotton is essential and dress in layers – even in summertime
- Mobile Phone, Camera, and Batteries
- Valid Driver’s license with photo ID and Passport
- Swimsuit and towels
GOOD FOR YOU TO KNOW
- Monitor weather forecasts well before the trip starts – even in summertime
- Check road conditions on www.road.is in advance
- Give someone (hotel staff) your travel plans (look for info about SAR app in you Travel Package)
- Download many great mobile Apps to use throughout your journey – Information Included in Travel Package
EMERGENCY NUMBERS FOR ACCIDENTS
- The official number for emergencies: 112
IMPORTANT: ICELANDIC WEATHER – ROADS – SPEED LIMITS
Weather in Iceland is notoriously unpredictable, hence the local saying: if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes! This holds true for all seasons so regardless of the time of your visit, prepare well before start driving and make sure you are able to find your way back home safely. Never hesitate to ask the locals for advice when needed. They know how to deal with difficult situations and are a friendly bunch to boot.
It is of imperative importance to keep in mind that Icelandic roads are quite narrow. You are not driving on anything like US freeways or European autobahns. Due to constantly changing weather conditions, roads can be slippery in summers and icy in the winter or just might be loose gravel alongside the asphalt and single-lane bridges can be particularly treacherous. You might find the tarmac cut off, continuing with a gravel road which commands special precaution. Drivers need to be alert at all times, adhere to speed limits and take care whenever traveling on Icelandic roads. There is also good reason to warn drivers about the animals. Icelandic sheep can roam the open countryside and on the roads during the summer season. They can be quite unpredictable and drivers are advised to keep a watchful eye on them along with other animals as well.
Remember to take your own, sweet time; if you don’t, you’re bound to pass something and miss out. Now that you’re finally in Iceland, you wouldn’t want that, would you?
GO ICELANDIC – ACCOMMODATION
See our sample of our accommodation options below. Single person bookings will be in a single room and bookings of 2 or more people will be booked in twin/double room(s) (or triple rooms). Please let us know if you have special requests and we do our utmost to make your stay enjoyable. Please note, any changes to the original plan may incur additional costs to the booking.
Comfort Rooms – 3 stars
All rooms are with a private bathroom at three star hotels or similar at quality guest houses. Located in the city center or in close vicinity. Breakfast is included.
Luxury Rooms – 4 stars
This category features rooms at a design hotel in the city center with a private bathroom at the absolute best locations downtown or seaside locations such as the Fosshótel Reykjavík. Breakfast is included.
For those who are in for the very best and prefer to stay at high-end luxury accommodation, please email us to firstname.lastname@example.org directly after booking. We will suggest a specially customized upgrade for your stay. Please note that special requests are subject to additional cost.
GO ICELANDIC EXCLUSIVE – VEHICLES
Go Icelandic offer just the right selection of vehicles to suit your wishes. Just book the one that fits your needs and travel plans. Our rental partners offer only highest quality vehicles and service to our guests and customers with care.
Our self-drive packages include only newest models of cars in each category or maximum 2 years old. Most of the fleet is equipped with a GPS for your safety and comfort. Please see the categories of available vehicles and select the car you need for a magical vacation in Iceland. Based on weather conditions we do recommend a comfortable 4X4 as a minimal standard for winter traveling due to the high probability of snow, and subsequently the possibility of icy and challenging road conditions.
Budget Option – 5 Persons Max
Great 2WD vehicle for your comfort. Great for regular road conditions and traveling enjoyment. We offer a selection of cars like KIA, VW, and Toyota or similar in all our tours. Does not fit for offroad driving.
Comfort 4X4 Option – 5 Persons Max
A medium sized SUV with 4 Wheel Drive (4×4), fit for most travel, and capable of snow and off-asphalt travel, such as Toyota, KIA or similar. This vehicle has basic highland capabilities.
Luxury 4×4 Option – 5 Persons Max
A large sized SUV with 4 Wheel Drive (4×4) such as Toyota Land Cruiser 150 or similar, capable of nearly all traveling routes. This vehicle has full highland capabilities to drive on accessible mountain roads.