Day 1: Arrival in the Land of Fire and Ice
Highlights: Reykjavik National Museum Parliament House Harpa Concert Hall Hallgrimskirkja
Keflavik international airport – Reykjavik
Approximate distance: 50 km / 30 miles
Once you have landed at Keflavik Airport in Iceland, please pick up your luggage and head through customs. Collect your rental car at the airport, make sure you receive a tablet with a protective case and chargers, and proceed to your hotel in Reykjavik. The rest of the day is yours to rest and use at your own leisure.
You might consider a visit to the National Museum, which focuses on the cultural history of Iceland. The axe and the block used at Agnes Magnusdottir’s execution is on display here as well as the jawbones of Agnes and Fridrik. Another history-themed experience we recommend is the Arbaejar Open Air Museum, a short drive from the center of Reykjavik. The museum is a “village” of over 20 buildings from Reykjavik’s history brought together. You can stroll from house to house and see how people lived in the olden days, and how Reykjavik changed from a collection of turf farmhouses to a modern city. Sometimes you might see events such as living history demonstrations and craft days.
Please note check-in for most hotels begins at 14:00 – 16:00 (2:00pm-4:00pm)
Day 2: Reykjavik to Laugarbakki
Highlights: Glanni Waterfall Paradisarlaut Borgarnes
Approximate distance: 190 km /118 miles
Breakfast at your hotel. Drive through the Whale Fjord towards Laugarbakki in northwest Iceland. Pass through an undersea tunnel and into West Iceland. Drive through Borgarfjordur, a pretty area and popular vacation destination for locals. An interesting detour is a visit to the local farm Bjarteyjarsandur, where you can meet animals such as sheep, hens, rabbits, horses, and pigs. You can book a guided visit around the farm or enjoy home-made treats at the restaurant. Another interesting detour is to visit Hraunfoss, the beautiful Lava Falls, where blue glacial water flows through natural lava formations.
Visit Glanni Waterfall, said to be the dwelling place of elves and trolls. Nearby is the Paradise Hollow, a beautiful oasis in the middle of a lava field. Park your car by the golf course and from there is a walking path that will lead to the waterfall and the hollow. The viewing deck offers a great view of Glanni. You can buy provisions at the coffee shop by the car park and enjoy a wonderful picnic by the waterfall or in Paradise Hollow.
Afterward, drive onwards to North Iceland and your hotel in Laugarbakki.
Overnight in Laugarbakki.
Day 3: Burial Rites and Vatnsnes Peninsula
Highlights: Vatnsnes Peninsula Hvítserkur
Vatnsnes Peninsula – Burial Rites Historical locations – North Iceland nature and history
Approximate driving distance: 138 km / 86 miles
Breakfast at your hotel. Today you will explore Vatnsnes Peninsula in the Hunavatnssysla district, the place where Agnes Magnusdottir lived and where she was executed. Give yourself plenty of time to explore the sites connected with Agnes Magnusdottir’s deeply moving story.
Visit Illugastadir, where the murders took place. The ruined remains of Natan Ketilsson’s workshop can still be seen here. This is also home to a seal colony, and there is a shelter visitors can use to view the seals. Visit the cemetery of Efra-Nupi in Nupsdalur in Midfjordur and see the burial site of the Icelandic poetess Rosa Gudmundsdottir who was Natan’s lover and who wrote the moving lyrics to the traditional lullaby Visur Vatnsenda Rosu. Also visit Thristapar, where Agnes and was executed, and Tjorn church cemetery, where Agnes Magnusdottir and Fridrik Sigurdsson are buried. You can find the details of each location in your Iceland Travel Companion app.
Visit a Viking-era rock fortress, Borgarvirki, where you can climb a set of stairs to the top for an amazing view. Stop to view the magnificent Hvitserkur sea stacks, the symbol of the area. Along the beach, you can view Hamarsrett, a traditional sheep round-up pen. Every September farmers head into the mountains on horseback to herd the flocks of sheep down to this pen, a tradition that goes back to Viking times.
Alternatively, relax with a picnic in Blönduós or try seal watching while sipping on hot cocoa and nibbling on cinnamon buns from the nearby town of Hvammstangi.
Overnight in Laugarbakki.
Day 4: The Gems of the Troll Peninsula
Highlights: Siglufjordur Dalvik Trollaskagi – Troll Peninsula The Herring Era Museum Hofsos
Siglufjordur – Dalvik – Herring Era Museum – Troll Peninsula
Approximate driving distance: 246 km / 152 miles
Breakfast at your hotel. One of the most hidden Icelandic gems is Trollaskagi (the Troll Peninsula), a truly astonishing and fascinating kingdom a bit separated from the rest of the country because of the high and dense mountains covering it. The highest point is Kerlingarfjoll (1.538 meters / 5.046 feet), and two fjords flank the peninsula.
Driving the Troll Peninsula is like driving through the landscape of an epic fairytale. Along with the spectacular coastline, enjoy driving through small fishing communities like Dalvik, Olafsfjordur, and Siglufjordur, where you will stay overnight. On your way to Siglufjordur, we recommend making a stop at the old turf manor house Glaumbær. There you can see two 19th century timber houses and the historical church called Vidimyri. The turf manor house dates back to the 18th century. Hannah Kent used the building’s design as the setting for the farmhouse where Agnes Magnusdottir spent her final days. Located in one of the timber houses, the Askaffi café is a great place to enjoy a cup of coffee and traditional Icelandic bread and cakes.
Visit the historically significant bishopric of Hólar with buildings and artifacts dating back to the Middle Ages, or take a dip on Hofsós’s famous Infinity Pool, and explore Siglufjordur’s award-winning Herring Era Maritime Museum. Siglufjordur is also home to several cozy cafes, art galleries, and an artfully curated folk music museum where you can listen to and try traditional Icelandic instruments.
Overnight in Siglufjordur.
Day 5: Akureyri and Lake Myvatn
Highlights: Akureyri Myvatn Dimmuborgir Krafla Hverfjall Myvatn Nature Baths Godafoss
Approximate driving distance: ca 300 km / 186 miles
Breakfast at your hotel. Drive onwards to Akureyri, the “capital of the north.” Today you can choose to explore the charming town of Akureyri in detail or to travel on and explore the diverse landscapes of northeast Iceland. Stop at the lovely Godafoss waterfall before driving to the intriguing Lake Myvatn area. The natural wonders of Lake Myvatn area include the unique lava formations of Dimmuborgir, the Krafla volcanic area, the colorful steaming fumaroles of Namaskard, and the pseudocraters at Skutustadir. If you’re up for some outdoor fun, you can try excursions like horseback riding or mountain biking or even a ride in a dog-cart pulled by Siberian huskies. Myvatn is also home to Myvatn Nature Baths. It’s a lovely place to take a swim in the warm azure waters and relax in the natural steam baths and sauna.
Overnight in Akureyri.
Please Note: The Ring Road route today contains a toll tunnel. More information on the tunnel and fees is here.
Day 6: Return to Reykjavik
Highlights: Reykjavik Perlan Hallgrimskirkja Harpa Concert Hall Tjornin Reykjavik City Hall
Approximate driving distance: 386 km / 239 miles
Breakfast at your hotel. Drive back to Reykjavik. The drive is around 4.5 hours without stops, so plan your day accordingly and stop for great photo opportunities along the way!
Once in Reykjavik, explore the great bars, restaurants, and theaters.
Overnight in Reykjavik.
Day 7: Departure
Approximate distance: 50 km / 30 miles
Breakfast at your accommodation 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 way to the city 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.