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4.5 day tour of Iceland

I would like help in setting up a car trip itinerary for 4.5 day stopover in Iceland mid-May.

We would like to spend one day in Rejkjavik and 3 days touring the south coast. Is it best to tour south coast and Golden circle in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction?.
I'm finding it a challenge to know how long it takes to get between sites - not sure which are worthwhile. And until I know that I am unable to find accommodations.
There will be 4 in our party with luggage (1 suitcase & 1 carry on per person) coming from a Baltic cruise. How big a car and should we ask for trailer or rooftop carrier.
How cold does it get. We are from Toronto Canada.
Any help would be much appreciate.

Posted by
6538 posts

Iceland has a really fine tuned tourism industry and lots of resources right on the web. Here are some (and you can Google others):
http://www.visiticeland.com/plan-your-trip/getting-around/driving-in-iceland/
https://www.icelandtravel.is/self-drive-tours/#/?rows=18&q=&sort=sort_i%20desc
http://www.visitreykjavik.is
http://www.mountainguides.is/blog/driving-distances-to-iceland’s-major-attractions/

There are also lots of blogs out there where you can read about people's driving experiences (just use Google and you'll find them). With only 4.5 days, you don't have time to drive very far (if you were to do the entire Circle Road, it would take over 10 days). I think Reykjavik itself is worth at least two full days, it's such a pleasant place to walk around in. For more comprehensive reading, use the Iceland Lonely Planet book.

I took day tours via Reykjavik Excursions ( https://www.re.is/day-tours/) I was in Iceland so I cannot directly help with driving tips. I think it would be helpful if you go on those tour websites and try to mimic their itinerary. At least you will know the level of effort. Some tours did require specialized cars, but it won't be necessary unless you're really going off-road.

Posted by
49 posts

Do you actually have 4.5 days, or does this include the day you fly in and out? With the time you have, and depending on the type of vehicle you rent, you really can't make a circle between South Iceland and the Golden Circle unless you take many long F roads. F roads can be very time consuming considering you can't drive very fast. You will simply drive one way down 1 and then drive back the other direction. What sites are you interested in visiting? You will have to rent a large SUV to fit that many people and that much luggage comfortably. Are you wanting to rent a four-wheel drive to venture out onto F roads?

Posted by
3 posts

thank you Agnes. Links/ Blogs very helpful especially to book car and find accommodation in smaller centers

Posted by
1390 posts

I think with just 4-5 days, you are better off spending your days in Reykjavik and doing day trips.

Some of the excursions that are worth doing require vehicles that can negotiate any terrain. If you are in a rental car on your own, you will have to skip those (Thorsmork, for instance).

As has already been mentioned, there is a well-established tourism industry in Reykjavik that can help you take group or private excursions. I did three small group tours. In two cases, there were just three of us on the tour plus the driver/guide. In the third case there were about 10 of us.

My favorite excursion was with Ymir at Magical Iceland. He is an absolute gem, as is his wife Hebba. (We are still friends on Facebook four years later.)

If you are sure you want to do your tours on your own with a rental car and you want to stay outside Reykjavik for part of the time, I would just pick a town along Route 1 (Hvolsvöllur or Vik, for instance) and find accommodations there.

When I was there (first week of June 2012), it was warm and sunny the entire time (high temps in the low 70s Fahrenheit). I've talked to other people who've been there in May and June who've had freezing cold and rain. Like a lot of places, it's hard to predict what the weather will be.

Posted by
3 posts

thanks Melissa. sorry thought I had replied. Info was helpful. We do have 4 days and will do south coast - doubling back a bit but no F roads. Have found guest houses & hotels to stay.