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Around Iceland Self Drive
Iceland Self Drive Tour
One of our most popular itineraries! Follow the Ring Road and fully explore the best of Iceland, including national parks, beautiful waterfalls, striking glaciers, and more.
Take this best-selling trip and enjoy a well-paced itinerary that lets you really enjoy the best of Icelandâ€™s natural wonders. Youâ€™ll have ample time to cover all the great â€śhot spotsâ€ť without the hassle of spending too much time driving. Enjoy visiting national parks, beautiful waterfalls, striking glaciers, magnificent volcanoes, and hot spring areas. A highlight of this trip is the extra time built in to discover the many unforgettable volcanic wonders of Lake Myvatn in North Iceland.
Recommended Car Type: May â€“ September: Category (2.0 VW Golf manual drive or similar) and higher â€˘
Arrival and Reykjanes Peninsula
(Approximate distance: 50 km / 30 miles, with Reykjanes Peninsula 95 km / 55 miles)
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 Icelandâ€™s unique geology and volcanoes and the site of two of Icelandâ€™s most recent volcanic eruptions in 2021 and 2022 in the Fagridalur area. Youâ€™ll see unusual and stunning features around the peninsula, including craters, lava cliffs, fissures, and the Mid-Atlantic ridge itself. You can even walk on a bridge that divides Europe and North America. We also recommend a stroll in the surreal Gunnuhver area where you can view quirky colorful mud pools and steam vents bubbling away.
If you are a Viking history buff, you can visit the Viking World museum, famous for the Islendingur, a Viking ship replica that sailed between Iceland and North America in 2000.
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!
October & April: Drive to your hotel in Reykjavik, the colorful capital of Iceland. Overnight in Reykjavik. (Approximate distance: 50 km / 30 miles, with Reykjanes Peninsula 95 km / 55 miles)
May â€“ September: Drive along the southern coast of the Reykjanes Peninsula to the charming village of Hveragerdi for your overnight. 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 â€śflower village.â€ť 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 â€“ 16:00 (2:00pm-4:00pm)
Blue Lagoon Entrance and Extras
Panorama ATV/Quad tour
Sky Lagoon Pass
Exploding Geysers â€“ Gullfoss Waterfall â€“ National Park with Geological Wonders (UNESCO)
Approximate Distance:240 km / 150 miles
Enjoy a day visiting the natural wonders of the Golden Circle region. Gullfoss is considered by many visitors to be Icelandâ€™s most beautiful waterfalls. Geysir is an active geothermal field with many bubbling steam vents and spouting hot springs, including the famous Strokkur geyser. Visit 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. Many important historical events happened here. Several walking trails and hiking trails take visitors to historical points of interest.
Drive through the scenic area of Hvalfjordur fjord to Borgarfjordur, a region known for its Viking-age history and beautiful glacier-carved landscapes. Borgarfjordur is a popular local getaway for Icelanders. It has been gaining popularity among international visitors for its special focus on home-made local foods and handicrafts.
Travel Suggestion: The areas youâ€™ll explore today are full of geothermal activity, and that means hot spring relaxation! We recommend taking a break during the day to relax in a hot spring pool. In the Golden Circle area, we recommend the Fontana Steam Baths in Laugarvatn or the Secret Lagoon in Fludir.
Mid-June through Mid-September: If you have a 4WD vehicle (we recommend category 5.0 or higher), you can also take the scenic highland wilderness track, Kaldidalur, alongside Langjokull glacier to Borgarfjordur. The road generally is open between mid-June and mid-September.
Overnight in the Borgarfjordur area.
Laugarvatn Fontana Geothermal Baths - Entrance fee
Secret Lagoon - Entrance fee
Silfra River snorkeling
Lava Tunnel tour
Inside a Volcano
Picturesque Waterfalls â€“ Europeâ€™s Most Powerful Hot Spring â€“ Heritage Fjord
Approximate Distance:415 km / 260 miles
Spend part of the day exploring enjoyable activities In Borgarfjordur. This is one of our favorite areas to find local handicrafts and taste treats. Visit the beautiful Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls, and the enormous Deildartunguhver, the most powerful hot springs in Europe. Nearby is the lovely Krauma Natural Geothermal Spa where you can relax in a variety of hot pools and take in the beautiful views. Enjoy adventure with a visit to the multi-colored Vidgelmir cave or take a guided trip up Langjokull glacier to the fascinating â€śInto the Glacierâ€ť ice cave. Walk in the footsteps of the Medieval chieftain and Saga author Snorri Sturluson at his home in Reykholt.
Drive north and pass Hunafloi bay, a great area for seal watching. If youâ€™re interested in learning more about seals, we suggest a visit to the Seal Center in Hvammstangi. You can learn about these enchanting sea mammals and also book a guided seal watching excursion.
The scenery changes to towering mountains and fertile valleys as you head into Skagafjordur, an area known for horse breeding and some of Icelandâ€™s best- preserved historical buildings. One of these is Glaumbaer (Skagafjordur Heritage Museum), where you can visit a turf manor farm dating back to the 18th century and two charming 19th century timber houses.
Overnight in the Akureyri area.
Into the Glacier
Krauma Nature Baths
Botanical Gardens â€“ Quality Museums â€“ Waterfall of the Gods
Approximate Distance:85 km / 53 miles
Spend the morning exploring the town of Akureyri. The town has some of the finest timber buildings in the country, beautifully restored to their original glory. If youâ€™re interested in culture, check out the trendy Listagil area, the â€śArt Canyon.â€ť You can stroll the street here, browsing art galleries and stopping in at one of the friendly cafes or pubs for delicious, locally sourced food. Several museums are worth a visit, including the Akureyri Art Museum and Nonnahus, the childhood home of a 19th century Icelandic author who enchanted European children with his stores about growing up in Iceland. The botanical garden is open year-round; many visitors find it interesting that a garden so close to the Arctic Circle has such a large variety of plants. Akureyri also is home to the new Skogabod geothermal baths. Here you can relax in soothing warm water while enjoying the views of the nearby woodlands and fjord.
In the afternoon, continue your journey along Eyjafjordur, taking in spectacular views of the sea and fjord. The road leads towards Myvatn, but first youâ€™ll stop to view the beautiful Godafoss waterfalls, which has a unique connection to Icelandâ€™s Viking Age.
Overnight in the Lake Myvatn area.
Please Note: The Ring Road route today contains a toll tunnel. More information will be provided.
Whale Watching from Dalvik
Day 5 Lake MyvatnMeals: Breakfast
Bizarre Lava Formations â€“ Geothermal Activity â€“ Rich Birdlife
Today you are in for a treat: you have a wonderland of fantastical volcanic features you can explore in Myvatn nature reserve. Stroll along footpaths circling the mystical lava formations at Dimmuborgir. Visit the surreal area surrounding Krafla, the volcano whose natural forces provide geothermal power to the area. Check out the otherworldly setting and colorful sulphurous slopes of Namaskard pass â€” itâ€™s almost as though you are walking on the surface of Mars! Explore the Skutustadir â€śpseudoâ€ť craters and the strange lava columns rising out of the lake itself. This area was used in filming several seasons of the HBO series Game of Thrones, as well as other film productions. If you enjoy birdwatching, Myvatn is a popular resting spot for migrating birds from Europe and North America. May and June are the best months for birdwatching, but there are water birds in the lake throughout the spring, summer and fall.
After a day of exploration and fun, why not relax with a soak in the Myvatn Nature Baths? Here you can join area locals and enjoy the pools and the natural steam baths in a spectacular setting.
Overnight in the Lake Myvatn area.
Myvatn Nature Baths
Whale watching center â€“ Vatnajokull National Park â€“ Vast Eastern Highlands
Approximate Distance:310 km / 193 miles
Drive north to the charming fishing port of Husavik, where we suggest you stop to enjoy a whale watching boat tour (available Mar. â€“ Nov.). The Whale Museum should also be on your list. You can take guided walking tours of filming locations in the town. 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 the northern entrance of Vatnajokull National Park. Check out Asbyrgi, a magnificent horseshoe shaped canyon in the park. Trails lead 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.* Continue across the vast highland plateau to Egilsstadir in the east.
*Possible between late May and September.
Please note Roads 864, 862 and therefore Road 85 are usually closed during the fall, winter and spring until the end of May. (Road opening dates are dependent on the weather conditions.)
Roads 864 and 862 are gravel roads, and you must heed warning signs in the area if road conditions are not good for driving.
It is not possible to visit Dettifoss between October and April, as the roads to the waterfall are not safe for winter travel. We recommend following Ring Road 1 from Myvatn to Egilsstadir.
Overnight in the Eastfjords.
Whale Watching (from Husavik)
GeoSea Baths in Husavik
Big Whale Safari and Puffins in RIB boats (from Husavik)
VĂ¶k Geothermal Baths
Approximate Distance:300 km / 186 miles
Narrow Fjords â€“ Steep Mountains â€“ Picturesque Coastline â€“ Unique Mineral Collection
A great way to start the day is a refreshing swim in the Vok geothermal baths, where you can relax in unique floating pools set in a beautiful lake. Afterwards, you might enjoy a visit to Hallormsstadur, Icelandâ€™s first reforestation project and its largest woodland. Itâ€™s so peaceful to spend some moments here enjoying the sound of the wind in the trees and that special sense of nature unique to East Iceland.
Drive alongside Lake Lagarfljot, home to a legendary monster. We also recommend a side trip to visit the award-winning Wilderness Center located at the edge of the hauntingly beautiful eastern highlands. You can discover Icelandâ€™s pioneer history and highland nature in a clever interactive way. The Center is also famous for its excellent cafe. You can chat with the hosts as they prepare a meal made from historical recipes and with ingredients gathered from the highlands and area farms.
Drive south through the spectacular Eastfjords, where towering mountains plunge vertically into the ocean. Each fjord has its own charm and history. Leave yourself plenty time, both for safe driving and for amazing views of the coast and Vatnajokull glacier. The journey continues to the town of Hofn in Hornafjordur, also known as the lobster capital of northern Europe. Several restaurants offer you the chance to try some of the famous langoustines for yourself.
Overnight in the Hofn area.
Vok Geothermal Bath
Petra's Icelandic Minerals Museum
Local Village Walk in Bakkagerdi (East Iceland)
Europeâ€™s Largest Glacier â€“ Glacial Lagoon with Icebergs â€“ Glacier-Ringed Oasis
Approximate Distance:210 km / 131 miles
Youâ€™ve already visited the northern part of Vatnajokull National Park; today you will visit the southern area. Youâ€™ll get great views of Vatnajokull glacier from different angles as you drive along the Ring Road. View the shimmering icebergs and the still, milky waters of Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon. Some icebergs from Vatnajokull glacier have drifted down onto the black sands at the nearby Diamond Beach, a fantastic area for photographs. Many people enjoy the chance to take a boat tour in the lagoon. If you want a different sort of sailing experience, you can take the Zodiac boat tours offered on the nearby Fjallsarlon Lagoon.
Continue to the Vatnajokull National Parkâ€™s Skaftafell area, a beautiful nature area surrounded by glaciers. There are many great hiking trails here, the most famous one leading to the basalt rimmed Svartifossâ€śThe Black Waterfall.â€ť We only recommend taking this trail during the summer months. We suggest stopping at the parkâ€™s Visitor Center to check out which trails are open and recommended for the time of year you are visiting. You can also get closer to the parkâ€™s glaciers with a guided ice hike. Youâ€™ll see amazing ice formations and learn interesting facts about how glaciers are formed.
Head onwards to the picturesque village of Kirkjubaejarklaustur, once the site of a medieval convent.
Overnight in the Kirkjubaejarklaustur area.
Amphibian Boat Tour on Glacial Lagoon (from the lagoon)
Zodiac Tour on FjallsĂˇrlĂłn- Iceberg Lagoon
Glacier Wonders-Glacier hike in Skaftafell
Lava Fields â€“ Black Sand Beaches â€“ Seabird Colony â€“ Thundering Waterfalls
Approximate Distance:290 km / 180 miles
Drive along the spectacular south coast and Katla Geopark, a sweeping landscape of sandy deserts, rocky shores and rolling farmlands sandwiched between snow-capped glaciers, mountains and the ocean. First you will cross over vast black sand plains created by the outwash from glacial floods Drive alongside Eldhraun, a massive and eerily beautiful lava flow covered in moss. Stop to admire the black sand beaches and cliffs at Dyrholaey*. There are also vast bird colonies here, including puffins (generally seen mid-May to early August).
Youâ€™ll also visit the beautiful waterfalls of Skogafoss and Seljalandafoss, each with its own character. Skogafoss is one of Icelandâ€™s most photographed waterfalls and has stairs that take you to the top for an amazing view. Seljalandsfoss has trails that take you behind the waterfall. (Always check the trail conditions to make sure they are safe). If the skies are clear, you can also get a glimpse of the mighty Eyjafjallajokull volcano, famous for its 2010 eruption, and Hekla, Icelandâ€™s most frequently erupting volcano. The interactive LAVA Centre in the town of Hvolsvollur shows how powerful volcanoes and earthquakes have created Iceland. A stop here will give you a great (and fun) insight into Icelandic geology.
Drive to Reykjavik in the late afternoon. The rest of the day is open to explore the colorful capital city.
*Dyrholaey is closed for the bird nesting season between mid-May and 25 June
Overnight in Reykjavik.
Snowmobiling on Myrdalsjokull Glacier
Zipline in Vik
Solheimajokull Glacier Walk
Kayaking by Solheimajokull
Black Sand Beach ATV tour
Arrangements end after breakfast.
Drive back to Keflavik International Airport and even stop at Blue Lagoon as it is on your way to the airport, if you did not have time to do it on your arrival day.*
*Please note that the package price is based on 9 x 24-hour rental days starting at the time of rental. If your flight arrives early on day 1 and departs late on day 10 an additional supplement will be necessary unless you choose to return the car in Reykjavik when the 9 day rental is up and use the Flybus departure transfer.
LATE ARRIVAL SUPPLEMENT FOR PASSENGERS ARRIVING LATE EVENING/NIGHT. YOU STAY THE FIRST NIGHT AT AIRPORT HOTEL INSTEAD OF HOTEL IN HVERAGERDI.
Please note that the package price is based on 9 x 24-hour rental days starting at the time of rental. If your flight arrives early on day 1 and departs late on day 9 an additional supplement will be necessary unless you choose to return the car in Reykjavik when the 9 day rental is up and use our Flybus departure transfer.
Prices quoted include recommended Category 2 car for summer season and Category 1.3 for winter season.
Grp 1.0 Economy 2wd Toyota Yaris or similar
Grp 1.1 Economy 2wd Toyota Yaris Automatic or similar
Grp 2.0 Compact 2wd Vw Golf Or Similar
Grp 2.6 Compact 2wd VW Golf Automatic or similar
Grp 3.0 Intermediate 2wd Toyota Corolla Sedan or similar
Grp 3.1 Intermediate 2wd Toyota Corolla Sedan Automatic or similar
Grp 5.0 Medium 4wd KIA Sportage, 4wd or similar
Grp 5.1 Medium 4wd KIA Sportage, 4wd Automatic or similar
Grp 5.2 Medium 4wd Dacia Duster or similar
Grp 5.3 Green Collection Medium 4WD, Hybrid, Automatic, Mitsubichi Outlander or similar
Grp 5.6 Medium 4wd Kia Sorento Automatic or similar
Grp 7.1 Large 4wd Toyota Land Cruiser GX 4WD Automatic or similar
Grp 9.4 Full size 4wd passenger van VW Caravelle 9 seater or similar
Price IncludesAuthorization for Two People to Drive the Rental Car During Your Trip
Accommodation in a Standard Room for 9 Nights
Icelandic Breakfast (except Arrival Day
Rental Car for 5 Days With Unlimited Mileage, Cdw, Theft Protection and Vat
The Iceland Travel Companion App
24-Hour Iceland Travel Emergency Line Assistance While You Are in Iceland
Price Does Not IncludeAir
Breakfast on Arrival Day
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