14 days/ 13 nights

Enjoy the famous Ring Road with plenty opportunities for detours and leisurely experiencing lesser-known treasures in Iceland.

This exciting road trip gives you time to enjoy each attraction on your Ring Road journey and is perfect for optional activities like horse riding, glacier hiking, rafting, and hot spring bathing.

Iceland’s scenic Ring Road is more than just a highway! Some consider it a national landmark. This exciting road trip gives you time to enjoy each attraction on your Ring Road journey and is perfect for enjoying optional activities like horse riding, glacier hiking, rafting, and hot spring bathing. You’ll also have plenty time for local experiences.

Travel Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in the Land of Fire and Ice

Once you have landed at Keflavik Airport, please pick up your luggage and head through customs. Collect your rental car at the airport and proceed to your hotel. Depending on your arrival time in Iceland, we suggest that you take some time to explore the Reykjanes Peninsula (a UNESCO GeoPark site) before you head to Reykjavik. 

Reykjanes is a great introduction to Iceland’s unique geology and volcanoes and the site of eruptions between 2021 and 2024. You’ll see unusual and stunning features around the peninsula, including craters, lava cliffs, and fissures. We recommend a stroll in the surreal Gunnuhver area where you can view quirky colourful mud pools and steam vents bubbling away.

Reykjanes is also home to the renowned Blue Lagoon, and you might enjoy the chance to relax in the soothing azure waters. Important: admission to the Blue Lagoon needs to be booked in advance. We can help you with that!

Drive along the southern coast of the Reykjanes Peninsula to the charming village of Hveragerdi for your overnight stay. This village is one of the few sites in the world located directly on top of a geothermal area and, because of its many greenhouses heated by hot water from nearby springs, it is often called the “flower village.” There are plenty of outdoor and wellness activities to enjoy here, and several restaurants with a unique local focus. Overnight in Hveragerdi. (

Please note check-in for most hotels begins at 14:00 – 16:00 (2:00pm-4:00pm).

Day 2: Thingvellir – Gullfoss – Geysir

Today, you’ll visit the Golden Circle natural wonders. Start with Thingvellir National Park, site of the ancient Icelandic Viking parliament and a jewel of nature. Here you can see the meeting point between the North American and Europe continents. If you enjoy adventure, you might try snorkelling in clear waters between two continents.

Explore Gullfoss, the "Golden Waterfall", and the nearby Geysir hot spring area to see the famous Geysir and Strokkur, as well as numerous other hot springs and boiling mud pools. While in the area, take advantage of relaxing in one of the hot spring-fed pools that make Iceland so famous. The Secret Lagoon is a historical swimming pool with an all-natural feel and its own little geyser. The Laugarvatn Fontana steam baths are a local favourite; natural steam soothes away aches and pains, followed by relaxation in a series of hot spring pools.

Complete the Golden Circle with a visit to the impressive Kerid implosion crater that has a pool of brilliant blue water in the centre. Please note there is a small admission fee (about ISK500), and the money goes into protecting the landscape and the nature of the area.

Overnight in Hveragerdi.

Approximate distance: 210 km / 130 miles

Day 3: Discover the Scenic South

We’ve left today open so you can discover more of the local treasures South Iceland holds. Try activities like hiking, guided mountain biking or horseback riding in this scenic hot spring-filled area. Or you can simply spend the day relaxing in the peaceful atmosphere of the town and its galleries and cafés.

You might take the South Coast road to the charming coastal villages of Stokkseyri and Eyrarbakki, both with lovely old buildings and great seafood restaurants. You could also drive through the beautiful Thjorsardalur valley towards the Hekla volcano. This area was a filming location for the Game of Thrones series. For those up for some hiking (during the summer months), the walk up to Haifoss, the third highest waterfall in Iceland, is worth the trip!

Overnight in Hveragerdi.

Day 4: Waterfalls and Black Sand Beaches

Thundering Waterfalls Black Sand Beaches Lava Fields

Drive along the spectacular south coast and view highlights along the way such as Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss waterfalls and Myrdalsjokull glacier. Seljalandsfoss has a hiking trail that leads behind the waterfall. Skogafoss is a perfectly shaped waterfall that legends say hides buried treasure. Near Skogafoss is a fascinating folk museum with buildings and everyday items that show how locals lived in this area over the centuries.

Solheimajokull and Myrdalsjokull glaciers offer great opportunities for guided snowmobile or ice hiking tours. You can even try kayaking in the small glacier lake near Solheimajokull.

Head to Vik, Iceland’s southernmost village. In the area you can view the seabird cliff of Dyrholaey*and the black sand beach of Reynisfjara.

Continue over Eldhraun, Iceland’s largest single lava flow, the result of a devastating 18th century eruption.

If you are visiting Iceland between May and September, a final stop of the day might be the stunning Fjadrargljufur canyon, which is a treat to photograph and roam.

Overnight in the Kirkjubaejarklaustur area.

*Please note that Dyrholaey is closed during nesting season in spring, from around mid-May until June 23rd.

Day 5: Glaciers and Icebergs

Today you will be in the southern area of Vatnajokull National Park, named after Europe’s largest glacier. Visit the park’s amazing Skaftafell area, a green oasis nestled between glaciers that offers many hiking possibilities. A popular trail leads to the basalt lined Svartifoss Waterfall (possible during summer months). Skaftafell is also a beautiful area to enjoy guided hiking on one of the glaciers.

Continue to the shimmering icebergs of Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon, where you should take time to admire the views of the icebergs floating in the cool waters. An interesting experience you might enjoy is an amphibian or Zodiac boat tour that sails between the ice bergs (summer only). Nearby is the Diamond Beach, an area of glittering bits of glass-like ice scattered across black sands.

Continue onwards, perhaps taking a detour to the beautiful and much photographed mountain of Vestrahorn. Head on to harbour town of Hofn, also known as the langoustine capital of northern Europe.

Overnight in the Hofn area.

Day 6: The Enchanting Eastfjords

Drive through the spectacular Eastfjords region with towering mountains and charming fishing villages to the fertile Egilsstadir area. On the way, you might visit the quirky egg sculptures in the harbour of charming Djupivogur village. Anyone who enjoys offbeat attractions – particularly geology buffs or garden enthusiasts –will want to visit Petra’s Mineral Collection, a museum of natural stones and mineral rocks created by a local resident (open during the summer).

You can either drive straight to Egilsstadir or, during the summer, head along the East Fjords, one of the oldest regions in Iceland, shaped by glaciers during the Ice Age. Although many are uninhabited, each fjord has its own grandeur. Some of the unique villages include Faskrudsfjordur and its interesting French connection, Reydarfjordur and its World War II heritage, and Eskifjordur with its fishing traditions.

In the Egilsstadir area, you can visit the beautiful Hallormsstadur forest, and a river reputed to be the home of a friendly sea monster. Perhaps you’ll end the day at Lake Urridavatn’s Vok Baths, where you can unwind in untouched nature in distinctive floating geothermal pools.

Overnight in the Eastfjords area.

Day 7: Explore More of the Eastfjords

Drive to enchanting Seydisfjordur village with its well-preserved wooden houses, steep mountains, and picture-perfect fjord scenery. The town has become a residency for artists, and you’ll see interesting artistic works around the area.

Then head to Bakkagerdi (Borgarfjordur Eystri), one of Iceland’s smallest villages. What it lacks in human population, it makes up for with other “residents.” Local legends say it contains the largest colonies of elves and fairies in the country. There also is a bird viewing platform where you can glimpse many seabirds, including colourful puffins, up close. (Puffins are generally in Iceland between mid-May and mid-August.)

Other places you could visit in East Iceland include the ribbon-like Hengifoss waterfall or the serene Hallormsstadir National Forest.

Another unique – and highly reviewed – place to visit is the Wilderness Center. This old farm turned into a living history exhibition sits at the edge of the wild eastern highlands. You’ll enjoy the interactive exhibit about the area’s history and wildlife. The Center also offers guided horseback riding and hiking trips. The farmhouse café serves tasty treats with locally sourced ingredients from farms and the wilderness.

Overnight in the Eastfjords area.

 

Day 8: Magical Lake Myvatn

Drive to the volcanic wonderland of Lake Myvatn and the surrounding area. Visit volcanic highlights such as the lava citadels at Dimmuborgir, the pseudo craters at Skutustadir, the colourful sulphurous slopes of Namaskard, and the Krafla volcano area. Some spots in the region look otherworldly; it’s no surprise that several famous movies and television shows have been filmed in Myvatn.

After a day of amazing sights, it is a wonderful option to take a dip in the soothing azure waters of the Myvatn Nature Baths.

Overnight in the Lake Myvatn area.

Day 9: Northern Vatnajokull National Park (Iceland’s “Canyonlands”)

Drive north to the charming fishing port of Husavik, where we suggest you stop to enjoy a whale-watching boat tour. The internationally famous Whale Museum should also be on your list. If you want to indulge in some hot spring relaxation, we definitely recommend the unique geothermal sea bathing at the new GeoSea Natural Baths.

Head around the fossil rich Tjornes peninsula on the edge of the Arctic Circle to Jokulsargljufur, the northern part of Vatnajokull National Park. Check out Asbyrgi, a magnificent horseshoe shaped canyon in the park. Trails wind through peaceful forested areas to a hidden canyon lake. The national park roads take you through dramatic canyonlands created by a river flowing from Vatnajokull glacier. The crown jewel of the area is surely Dettifoss waterfall, the most powerful one in Europe.* Return to the Myvatn area for your overnight.

*Possible between late May and September. It is not possible to visit Dettifoss between October and April, as the roads to the waterfall are closed.

Overnight in the Lake Myvatn area.

Day 10: Akureyri and North Iceland

Drive westward, visiting beautiful Godafoss, the Waterfall of the Gods. Take some time to visit Akureyri, Iceland’s colourful northern “capital.” This pretty town is full of interesting shops and museums, as well as a well-kept botanical garden.

Drive to Siglufjordur along one of Iceland’s most dramatic coastlines, enjoying a unique view towards the North Atlantic. This is the region of the Troll Peninsula, where the steep Icelandic mountains drop towards the sea. The town of Siglufjordur itself has many beautifully restored, colourful buildings. One of the most interesting (and unique) places to visit is the Herring Era Maritime Museum, where you’ll step back into the early 20th century when this small town became an international fishing boom town.

Once leaving Siglufjordur, you’ll enter Skagafjordur, an area known for its historical heritage and an abundance of purebred Icelandic horses.

Overnight in Northwest Iceland.

Please Note: The Ring Road route today contains a toll tunnel. More information on the tunnel and fees is here.

Day 11: Experience West Iceland

Drive along the northern coast of Iceland on the way to the beautiful western part of the country.

Explore the gem of Borgarfjordur, a charming area of volcanic landscapes and Viking history. This is one of our favourite areas to find beautiful handicrafts and taste local farm products. West Iceland was one of the country’s areas to be settled by Viking pioneers. If you’re interested in Viking history, we suggest a stop at the interactive Icelandic Settlement Centre in Borgarnes town.

Visit the brilliantly blue waters of Hraunfossar and Barnafoss falls, and the powerful hot spring Deildartunguhver. Near the hot springs is Krauma, the relaxing “fire and ice” geothermal spa that uses a soothing blend of hot springs and glacier water.

There are several optional activities you can enjoy such as the lava tunnel Vidgelmir, venturing inside a glacier, or taking a guided hike to a hidden canyon hot spring pool.

Overnight in the Borgarfjordur area.

Day 12: Snaefellsnes Peninsula and Snaefellsjokull National Park

Today, you will explore the ever-changing beauty of Snaefellsnes peninsula and Snaefellsjokull National Park. Snaefellsnes is known as “Iceland in a Nutshell” since you can see samples of most Icelandic landscapes in one area.

Visit Arnarstapi sea cliffs where many types of seabirds live. If you enjoy hiking, there is a great nature trail you can hike between Arnarstapi and Hellnar villages. (4.3 km/2.7 miles). Crowning the area is the glacier topped Snaefellsjokull volcano, legendary home to a guardian spirit.

Visit Djupalonssandur with its mysteriously shaped rocks and black pebbled beach. Then head along the north coast through lively fishing villages. Keep an eye out for Kirkjufell, the photogenic Church Mountain.

You can enjoy guided activities in the region such as visiting Vatnshellir lava cave, whale watching near Olafsvik, and sea kayaking in the vicinity of Kirkjufell.

Drive through scenic Hvalfjordur (a fjord named after a legendary red-headed whale) on the way to Reykjavik, Iceland’s vibrant capital.  As you head to the city, you might enjoy the rustic and relaxing Hvammsvik seawater baths. You’ll feel close to nature as you relax in a series of stone-lined pools with scenic views.

Overnight in Reykjavik.

Day 13: Reykjavik

No trip to Iceland is complete without a visit to Iceland‘s capital city! Your day is open to explore the vibrant culture of Reykjavik. Guided walking tours are a great way to learn about the history and daily life of the city. One of our favourite tours is the Reykjavik Food Walk, a small-group tour that includes stops to sample Icelandic taste treats. Stroll the Old Harbor area, known for its artistic shops and unique eateries, including the Grandi Food Hall. Browse for Icelandic products on Laugavegur, Iceland’s main shopping street.

It’s also fun to explore the areas around the city with your car. The Arbaejarsafn Museum is an Open-Air Museum with a collection of houses from two hundred years of Reykjavik’s history. You can stroll around the “village” and see how people lived in the past. Hafnarfjordur town has an interesting connection to legends of elves and Hidden People, and a charming harbour area that is ideal for a seaside walk and a visit to a café or art shop.

Do you like hiking? During the summertime, a very local activity you might enjoy on your own is a hike up the beautiful Mount Esja outside the city, followed up with waffles and coffee at a Reykjavik café and a dip in a geothermal swimming pool.

The Sky Lagoon near Reykjavik is another highly recommended experience.  Step into a new type of wellness and relaxation with the Sky Lagoon’s The Ritual, a truly unique seven-step spa journey that’s at the heart of Iceland’s newest geothermal experience.

You can also enjoy year-round outdoor activities in the area, including horseback riding through lava fields, a visit to a multicolored lava cave, guided ATV tours up a nearby mountain, and whale watching from the Old Harbor area.

Overnight in Reykjavik.

Day 14: Departure from Iceland

Drive back to Keflavik International Airport. We recommend departing your hotel in Reykjavik no later than at least 3 hours before your flight departure. It takes approximately 1 hour to drive to the airport, and check-in will start 2 hours before your departure.

If you did not visit the Blue Lagoon on your first day but have some free time today, you might want to use the opportunity en route to the airport. For this detour, please be sure to allow for at least 2-2,5 hours extra so you’ll have ample time at the lagoon. Your rental car should be returned to the airport service area, which is located only 2 minutes from the airport building. A shuttle will then transport you to the departure hall.

Included

  • Accommodation in a standard room for 13 nights
  • Icelandic-style breakfast (except arrival day)
  • Rental car for 13 days with unlimited mileage, CDW, theft protection and VAT
  • Free in-car unlimited Wi-Fi to help you navigate with your personal mobile device
  • Car pick-up/drop off at Keflavik International Airport
  • Authorization for two people to drive the rental car during your trip
  • Our Iceland Travel App
  • Kolviður carbon offsetting
  • Customer care service during office hours
  • 24-hour Iceland Travel emergency line assistance while you are in Iceland
  • Service fee and taxes

Not Included

  • Breakfast on arrival day
  • International airfare
  • Personal travel insurance (highly recommended)
  • Petrol/Gasoline
  • Tolls (tunnels, roads, and other route tolls), unless specified. More information
  • Admissions and activities other than those noted in itinerary
  • Beverages, snacks, lunches, dinners unless otherwise noted in itinerary
  • Guaranteed early check-in (check-in time for most hotels in Iceland starts between 14:00 (2:00pm) and 16:00 (4:00pm)
  • Guaranteed late check-out
  • Any service not specifically listed under "Included"

Recommended travel periods: Package is available all year.

  1. Recommended summer periods to see places with fewer visitors: May-mid-June and late August - September
  2. Recommended travel for northern lights: September – April.
  3.  

We support Iceland’s nature and local communities! All our self-drive tours include carbon offsetting through Kolvidur, the Iceland Carbon Fund (ICF).

Iceland Travel
+354 585 4300
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