11 December 2016
By day on this fabulous self drive tour you can enjoy Southern Iceland’s unique cocktail of sights . . . the falling water curtains that are Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss waterfalls, the glacial snowmobiling rink that is Mýrdalsjökull glacier, the foam pounding white on Dyrholaey’s black sand beaches and the Golden Circle's famed attractions of Gullfoss, Geysir and Pingviller. And by night you can enjoy food to die for in the hotel Ranga's renowned dining room and afterwards soak in a hot tub outside your bedroom while waiting for the Northern Lights to appear in the sky above you.
On arrival at Iceland's capital Reykjavik you collect your hire car and drive to the Hotel Ranga. Set in lush meadowland against a backdrop of Mount Hekla, the Ranga, which started life as a private fishing lodge, has over the years spawned deluxe rooms, a restaurant with a Surf a Turf signature dish, outdoor hot tubs, suites themed and furnished around the six continents, and a Royal Suite and Lounge Bar. The Ranga has managed to do all this while keeping its very personal owner driven style and ambience.
You will be staying at the Ranga at Hella for two more nights so today you should begin your exploration of the area. Hella is just 80 miles from Reykjavik and makes a great base from which to visit all the attractions in the area. From here you can easily reach the Golden Circle, Geysir, Gullfoss, Hekla, Porsmork and the southern coast. The interesting town of Vik is also nearby.
Another day which is free for you to drive off and visit the places you missed yesterday. The Golden Circle is the most popular tourist route from Reykjavik. It covers around 250 miles from the capital to central Iceland and back. The three main stops are the national park Thingvellir, the waterfall Gullfoss (golden falls) and the geothermally active valley of Haukadalur, which contains the geysers Geysir and Strokkur. Thingvellir is a national park containing both historical and natural beauties. Other stops include Kerid volcanic crater, Hveragerdi greenhouse village, waterfall Faxi and the Nesjavellir geothermal power plant.
Today you drive back to Reykjavik via Gulfoss and Geysir and alongside Pingvellir. Gullfoss is a spectacular waterfall that is a must see along with the two grand geysers, Strokkur and Geysir. Dyrholaey, on the southernmost tip of Iceland, has a rock arch that the sea has eroded from the headland. Puffins and eider ducks are prolific here and on the cliffs fulmars, guillemots and kittiwakes are all vying for space with each other. Back in the city you will stay for your last night at the Hotel Centrum.
You have a morning at leisure in Reykjavik so make the most of it. The world’s most northerly capital combines colourful buildings and quirky people. Most visitors fall helplessly in love, returning home already saving to come back. The city’s charm lies in its many peculiar contrasts, which create an earthquake of energy. Reykjavík offers a bewitching combination of village innocence and big-city zeal. After exploring you return your hire car in time to catch your flight home.
Standard Room fr £768pp
Rates based on twinshare
International flights not included unless otherwise stated