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VISITING: Iceland BROCHURE CODE: 5302
All prices include: accommodation, meals and car hire; all as listed.
During this 5-night self-drive tour, you’ll discover a spectacular region of Iceland. As well as being famed the ‘land of fire and ice’ with its active volcanoes and glittering glaciers, the south shore also shows off incredible mountain views, dazzling waterfalls, dramatic black beaches and traditional villages.

What's included?

  • Car hire: 5 nights/6 days hire is included including Sat Nav, collision waiver and unlimited miles (from October to April a compact 4x4 (Suzuki Vitara or similar)) is included in the price. From May to September we include a compact 2-wheel drive car (VW Golf or similar) with the option to upgrade if clients wish - see ‘Personalise’ tab for details
  • Accommodation: 2 nights Frost and Fire, 2 nights Hotel Ranga and 1-night Reykjavik Centrum Hotel
  • Meals: 5 breakfasts
  • A comprehensive guidebook, detailed map of Iceland and driving instructions are provided
  • A note on flights: flights are not included in the holiday price so that the best possible fares and schedule can be found at the time of booking. There are low cost and scheduled flights operating this route and our travel experts will happily provide a quotation and arrange the flights as part of the package

Known as ‘The Land of Fire and Ice’ the island of Iceland offers its visitors natural wonders in abundance. This Iceland self-drive itinerary has been designed by our experts to take in some of the most exceptional sights and some of our favourite accommodation.

Iceland’s natural attractions are available to be enjoyed at any time of the year and so whether you want to go in the depths of winter when the Northern Lights may shine or during the summer when the days are never-ending – this Iceland holiday will provide unforgettable experiences.

As this is a self-drive holiday we have outlined what we would recommend as the ideal itinerary, based on our expertise and that of our local partners, but you can travel at your own pace and pick your own priorities for your holiday. The opportunities to witness the power of nature within this holiday are plentiful and so you can take your pick.

Many people choose to visit the world-famous Blue Lagoon (payable locally) on their way from the airport to the first hotel. Here you can unwind in the misty waters and enjoy one of Iceland’s most unique attractions. You can also choose to include this visit on the last day depending on the most convenient flight times. From your initial base in the beautiful Hveragerdi, you can watch the steaming hillsides in this geothermal hotspot before setting out to complete The Golden Circle of Thingvellir National Park, Gullfoss waterfall and the explosive hot springs at Geyser.

Along the south shore, you can take in the striking black sandy beaches, the mountains and the glaciers which create some of the most dramatic scenery in Europe before retreating to your base at the world-famous Hotel Ranga.

A visit to the glacier lagoon is also a must-do item on any Iceland holiday in our opinion, getting up close to such vast chunks of glacial ice as they float in the water is a wonderful experience.

By the time you board the flight home, you will have had the opportunity to appreciate this incredible landscape and a fantastic variety of its natural wonders up close and completely at your own pace.


Image credits: Iceland Pro Travel & Visit Iceland
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Key facts

Duration: 5 nights
Pace: Set your own
Midnight Sun Dates: 16 - 29 June
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  • Upon arrival at Keflavik Airport, your car will be waiting to be collected.

    Our carefully planned route begins at Keflavik Airport in the south-west corner of Iceland. Aside from the main airport, Keflavik is also renowned for the world famous Blue Lagoon where many people enjoy a dip in the soothing and mineral-rich hot springs; an ideal way to relax into your holiday. We recommend to book this activity in advance, please contact our Travel Experts for a quote.  Due to its proximity to the airport it is normally either a wonderful welcome or farewell activity and a real highlight of your time in Iceland.

    At your leisure, you can then continue to Hotel Frost and Fire in Hveragerdi your base for the next two nights. It’s only around an hour and a half drive to the hotel from the airport but you will feel like you have arrived on another planet.

    Hveragerdi is known as one of the most active geothermal areas on the planet and so you’ll witness steaming mountain sides and streams as you travel but will also be able to gaze at them from the comfort of this riverside hotel.

    This evening you may wish to take advantage of the outdoor hot tubs. If you are travelling between September and March then you should also keep an eye on the skies in case the Northern Lights are visible.

    Included Meals:  None
  • Whilst we do not dictate a set itinerary for this element of the holiday, this agenda outlines the highlights that our travel experts feel you simply must not miss out on!

    Today you will enjoy a hearty breakfast (including homemade bread that is cooked in the nearby geothermal oven every morning!) before setting off to explore.

    Our recommendation is that you set out on a route that encompasses three of Iceland's most spectacular natural and historical wonders – Þingvellir, Gullfoss and Geysir which are known collectively as The Golden Circle.

    The UNESCO World Heritage site at Þingvellir National Park is of great historical, geological and cultural significance. It is the site of the first Icelandic parliament which was formed in 930AD and was the centre of all culture on the island.

    Here, you will also find the geological wonder of the rift valley that marks the crest of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The continental drift between the North American and Eurasian plates can be clearly seen here in the cracks of the faults which traverse the region. If you wish, we can arrange for you to snorkel between these tectonic plates for a truly memorable experience - see the 'personalise' section for details.

    Gullfoss is known colloquially as The Golden Falls as, on a sunny day, the water plunging down the three step staircase, and then tumbling down two steps into the 32-metre crevice can truly look golden. In the winter, the waterfall is exceptionally dramatic as ice surrounds its edges and it takes on a very dramatic character.

    Geysir, is one of the most spectacular destinations in Iceland as the erupting hot springs have fired water many metres into the air for the last 10000 years. The Strokkur Geyser is the most active currently and fires water to heights of around 30 metres every 15 minutes or so.

    There is little wonder that this combination of sights is one of Iceland's most popular attractions and with the flexibility of your car you can determine how long you would like to spend in each destination without any restraints.

    Included Meals:  Breakfast
  • After checking out of your hotel we recommend heading eastwards along the South Shore as you drive towards the famous Hotel Ranga. The hotel is only around 50 minutes away and there is much to do en-route.

    This route from Hveragerði offers wonderful scenery from the start. As your journey takes you from the wide coastal plains, home to the famous Icelandic horses, then mountains, glaciers and volcanoes begin to appear. The scenery is dramatic.

    There is also a delightful geothermal valley called Reykjadalur which has a hot bathing river (Nature's unchanged version of the Blue Lagoon) if you fancy a dip en-route.

    Whilst you can check into Ranga from 3pm onwards we recommend continuing past the hotel to keep exploring before returning later to check in.

    The south coast offers incredible waterfalls, lava fields, black beaches and incredible mountainous backdrops. If you wish you can also enjoy a glacier hike on the Solheimajökull glacier, which is a favourite spot on the island for such things. Please see the 'personalise' section for full details.

    The renowned Hotel Ranga, famed for its countryside location, hot tubs and a wonderfully tempting menu (meals payable locally) is your base for the next two nights.

    Included Meals:  Breakfast
  • Today we suggest you venture further east along the south coast and explore the incredible glacier Myradalsjökull. This is Iceland's fourth largest ice cap and covers over 700 square kilometres, reaching a thickness of up to 750m in places.

    If you wish you can head further east and we would suggest driving up to Vatnajökull glacier, the biggest glacier in Europe, which covers approximately 13% of the island's surface. Vatnajökull National Park offers an incredible array of scenery created by the combination of natural forces – glacial ice, rivers and geothermal and volcanic activity.

    One highlight of the Vatnajökull area is the beautiful glacier lagoon ‘Jökulsarlon’ where you can gaze upon luminous blue icebergs as they drift past. The icebergs can spend up to five years floating in the lagoon before making their way to the sea.

    From May to September, there is also an optional boat tour that you can enjoy around the lagoon (payable locally).

    Included Meals:  Breakfast
  • After two nights deep in the countryside, it is time for you to head to Reykjavik – the modern-day cultural centre of Iceland and a vibrant capital city.

    Reykjavik is a small city in comparison to some and many highlights can be enjoyed on foot. There are restaurants, museums and shops galore.

    Iceland’s reputation as a whale watching destination is well-known and so we can arrange for you to enjoy a boat trip in search of these magnificent mammals (depending on the time of year).

    The day is entirely yours and so you may want to enjoy the countryside for longer before you head to town. Just make sure you get there in plenty of time to try one of the many exceptional restaurants on offer.

    Included Meals:  Breakfast
  • Today you can return to the airport in time for your flights home. Alternatively, we can, of course, arrange for you to extend your stay on the island and explore in greater depth, we have itineraries which cover many different regions and our travel experts will happily help you combine the trips. Simply contact us for a quotation.

    Included Meals:  Breakfast

Please note: From October until April, Hotel Oðinsve will replace Hotel Holt.

Included in price

Frost and Fire (Frost og Funi)

Nights: 1-2

Hotel Frost and Fire (Frost og Funi) is located on the banks of the River Varmá in the town of Hveragerði. This is one of the most active geothermal locations in the world and the hotel is surrounded by natural hot springs and steaming hillsides.

This quaint guesthouse definitely makes the most of what nature has provided; it offers breathtaking views across the River Varmá, the steaming springs and Mt. Reykjafjall.

Hotel facilities

  • The hotel is small and has just 22 rooms in total meaning that this is a relaxing place in which to spend time in Iceland. Upon arrival, you immediately sense the feeling of exclusivity
  • The rooms are situated on the riverside and afford countryside views. The rooms are situated a very short walk from the main restaurant and reception area
  • The well-regarded restaurant serves an à la carte menu in the evenings, with a variety of delicious Icelandic dishes. Sourcing local produce (including organic tea, coffee, free-range eggs and vegetables) is something that the hotel takes pride in. Be sure to try the traditional delicacy of smoked trout and take the chance to boil your own breakfast eggs in an ancient hot spring!
  • The hotel offers guests a 12-metre outdoor swimming pool which is a favourite during the summer months
  • Guests can relax in the hotel's sauna, natural steam room and outdoor hot tub. Ideal for relaxation and pampering after a day in the countryside. Bathrobes and slippers are provided for all guests

Double or twin bedroom 

All the en suite rooms are very well designed with comfort and style in mind and feature Icelandic art. They are modern in style and come well equipped with a TV, wireless internet and tea and coffee making facilities.

Hotel Ranga

Nights: 3-4

As a charming four star hotel, the Hotel Ranga is one of Iceland's most sought after accommodation options, predominantly due to its perfect location. Located away from light pollution, the hotel has an Aurora alert system and has earned an enviable reputation for being a remarkable spot to witness a potential Aurora.

Not counting its Northern Lights potential, the hotel is equally renowned for its wonderful food and charming hospitality. In addition to its comfortable rooms, the hotel also has a range of delightfully themed suites that are always popular with guests. New for this season the hotel had constructed a roll-off roof observatory has room for up to 30 people and is equipped with two high quality 11-inch computerized telescopes perfect for star gazing or Northern Lights viewing. 

Hotel facilities

  • Breakfast and evening meals are served in the main restaurant, which offers lovely views over the surrounding countryside. When it comes to food you are in splendid culinary hands. The restaurant uses a 'farmers' market' concept to really capture the flavours of the region. They try to make the most of local produce by taking advantage of traditional cooking methods and recipes.
  • In the hotel there is also a lounge and bar area which is a great spot for relaxing in the evenings.
  • The hotel also has three very popular outdoor hot tubs, which are not only perfect for relaxing in but also provide the ideal vantage point should the Northern Lights make an appearance.

Guest bedroom types

Standard double/twin

The hotel has 24 standard bedrooms. All guest bedrooms are well equipped with TV, telephone, Wi-Fi, bath, shower, hairdryer and mini bar. There are bathrobes and slippers available for guests, ensuring easy visits to the hot tub. The rooms either have a view over the Hekla Volcano or the River Ranga.

Deluxe rooms

The hotel has 20 deluxe rooms which have the same facilities as the standard rooms but are larger in size. The majority of the deluxe rooms have a king size bed.

Suites

Hotel Ranga has four junior suites (decorated with the themes of Asia, Australia, North America and South America) and three master suites which are slightly larger (decorated with the themes of Africa, Antarctica and the Royal Suite). These are all fully equipped with TV, telephone, en-suite bathroom, mini bar, coffee machine and bathrobe and slippers.

Image credits: Hotel Ranga

Hotel Reykjavik Centrum

Nights: 5

Located in the historic part of Reykjavik, the Centrum Hotel is ideally situated to give you easy access to some independent exploration of the vibrant city.

After spending some time in Reykjavik, you can unwind in the hotel’s private swimming pool as well as the onsite restaurant, Uppsalir, renowned for its first-class cuisine. Nearby, you will find plenty of eateries serving a range of traditional Scandivanian food and international dishes.

HOTEL FACILITIES:

  • Stay in touch with loved ones with the use of the hotel’s WiFi
  • Relax in the leisure and TV room
  • Try the local cuisine in the hotel’s restaurant
  • Enjoy the views from your room’s terrace - some overlook the river others will look out to the city

ROOM FACILITIES:

Double/twin room: These comfortable and modern rooms are equipped with ensuite bathroom with bathtub, shower and hairdryer. All rooms also come with air conditioning, tea and coffee facilities, sitting area, terrace and safe.

Personalise this tour


Our pick

Reykjavik

Reykjavik is a city which offers both small town friendliness and cool urban cosmopolitanism. Visitors to the most northerly capital in the world can enjoy a wide range of distinctive architecture, a vibrant café culture and some five-star dining experiences.

Attractions such as art galleries are also worth visiting and the city's long and rich history means there is a variety of museums to enjoy, detailing its Viking past up to its integral use as a base during WWII. The city is also well known internationally for its thriving nightlife, particularly during the long nights of the Midnight Sun. An extended stay in Reykjavik can be added to any of our Iceland trips, and our sales team would be happy to discuss your accommodation and flight option with you, simply contact us for a quote.

Image credit: Visit Iceland

Other options

Activities

Glacier hiking

Iceland is famed for its glaciers and on day two you can meet a tour which will allow you to get up close to a glacier during a hike on the spectacular ice field. The experienced and enthusiastic guides will teach you the correct techniques to tackle the glacier and provide you with the crampons. You will also get to try your hand at ice climbing during this activity.

Read more about this activity

This is always an activity that will leave you with a great sense of accomplishment and a better understanding of the power of the glaciers.

Please ask one of our Travel Experts for a quote.


Image Credits: Arctic Adventures 

Snorkelling Between Continents

Snorkelling at the Silfra Fissure in Thingvellir National Park is an unforgettable experience as you gaze down through some of the world’s clearest water and find your eyes drawn down to the bottom of this crack in the Earth’s crust.

This fissure has been created by the tectonic plates that underpin Eurasia and America drifting apart. It is a place where you can literally snorkel between continents.

Read more about this activity

The water’s purity stems from the fact that it started life as glacial melt some 50 kilometres away and has made its way, over numerous decades, through volcanic lava to rest in the fissure.

The price includes all equipment including a dry suit, flippers and snorkel and you will be in the water for around 30 minutes. 

If you would prefer not to use your hire car to visit Silfra and Thingvellir then we can arrange the transfers from Reykjavik (around 1-hour drive away); please add £45 per person. 

Please ask one of our Travel Experts for a quote.


Image Credits: Arctic Adventures 

Little Extras

Upgrade your car hire

Guests can choose to upgrade their inclusive car hire to a larger 4 x 4 (if travelling during Sept-April) or a larger vehicle or 4 x 4 (May-August).

Our Travel Experts will be happy to provide you with a quotation based on the most appropriate vehicle for your party.

 

Thank you for your interest in this Artisan Travel experience.

We have found that this holiday is better tailored exactly to your requirements, so please email our Travel Experts at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or contact us on 01670 785 085 to discuss the various options available to you.

Our Travel Experts have been to all the destinations we feature and love to share their experiences and insight. We want to match you with your perfect trip, so if you have any questions please get in touch; we will be happy to talk through the destinations and itineraries with you.

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Traveller Reviews

Every aspect of our holiday in Iceland was superb 26 March 2018 by Susan & David Holmes

Every aspect of our holiday in Iceland was superb thanks to the first class service provided by Artisan Travel. The hotels and car hire were perfect in every way

The aurora was on show again on our last night in Iceland - magic! 07 February 2016 by Alan Middleton

Having travelled last year to Lapland to view the Northern Lights and experienced the wilderness at Nellim I was keen to seek an experience to equal or surpass that trip. Wow, this trip to Iceland has done that for us from the moment we left. A trouble-free flight out of Bristol which was more conveninent for us than travelling to Gatwick from our home in Cornwall. Landed in Keflavik and within
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15 minutes we had our bags and were picking up the hire car, a Toyota Rav4 AWD - a must have in the winter conditions, a normal car is just not up to the job for touring. The sat-nav was a bit hit and miss but this didn't phase us as we'd mapped our route in advance and knew the general location along route-1. The route over the mountains leaving Reykjavik was "interesting" on the ice and snow covered roads - glad we had the AWD vehicle. Stunning sights along the way to Hella for our first night, about 1.5 hours drive from Keflavik. Hotel Stracta (the substitute for Hotel Ranga that was booked out) was easy to find and proved to be a great location. Friendly and helpful staff, good food and comfortable rooms. There was a slight showing of the aurora on our first night but it was so faint (not helped by the light pollution from around the village - if they could only arrange to put lights out when an aurora shows like they did in Lapland) that it was not really worth the inconvenience at 1:30am in the freezing cold. We enjoyed our first sauna and hot tub in the snow - pretty cold getting back to the room in flimsy bathrobes! Over the next two days we travelled around the south shore - with some stunning waterfalls, black beaches, pounding surf, glaciers, icebergs, seals, Icelandic ponies and arctic landscapes. A photographer's paradise! The only negative for us at Hella was the hotel is geared up for coach loads of people - which did not present a problem for us - however, we enjoy smaller hotels with less people around. We left Hella for Hveragerthi to stay at the Frost and Fire Hotel. Wow - what a magic place this is set in alongside the river, thermal springs and vents (smell the sulphur), hot tubs and Northern Lights from your own balcony!! The food was simply sensational, we cannot recommend it highly enough. The next day was spent at Geysir and Gullfoss - awesome! Later we headed over to Blue Lagoon to see if we could swim/soak in the thermal pools - as we hadn't booked in advance (yes needed even in winter) we were going to have to wait for about 3 hours, so we decided to return to the hotel and use their hot tubs alongside the river instead - very relaxing. The aurora was on show again on our last night in Iceland - magic! The drive to the airport next morning in the blizzard was interesting but we had plenty of time to drop the car, check-in and relax in the airport before a trouble-free (although slightly delayed due to spraying the aircraft for ice) flight back to Bristol. We are now thinking of a return trip to Iceland in the Spring or Summer next year - it is the type of location you could return to over and over again seeing something new every visit. Best suggestion from a friend who had been working there was to take slip on crampons for your footwear in winter as all the paths to any attraction are covered in ice (not snow unless freshly fallen) - we walked everywhere without a hitch whilst others risked life and limb sliding everywhere.
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