Day 1: Arrival
Highlights: Keflavik The Blue Lagoon Hveragerdi
Arrival in the land of fire and ice!
Once you have landed at Keflavik International 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, it may be ideal to stop and visit the renowned Blue Lagoon where you can relax in its geothermal waters. Important: admission to the Blue Lagoon needs to be booked in advance. We can help you with that!
Drive along with mystical lava landscapes to the charming village of Hveragerdi for your overnight. This town is perfect for getting to know typical small-town Icelandic culture, but with a unique twist. Hveragerdi 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 a great local restaurant/coffee house culture.
If you arrive earlier in the day you can take advantage of afternoon and evening activities such as hiking, horseback riding, 4-wheel driving, caving or northern lights hunting. Or you might just relax and enjoy a visit to the town’s geothermal pool and having a nice dinner at a cozy restaurant like Skyrgerdin, a favorite get-together place for the locals.
Overnight in Hveragerdi.
Please note check-in for most hotels begins at 14:00 – 16:00 (2:00pm-4:00pm)
Approximate distance: ca 100 km / 62 miles
Day 2: The Golden Circle
Highlights: Thingvellir National Park Geysir Gullfoss Skalholt Kerid
National Park – Famous Golden Falls – Bubbling Geysers
Breakfast at your hotel. Today is open for you to explore the wonders of the Golden Circle region. 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 European continents. Several walking trails and hiking trails take visitors to historical points of interest. Continue to the amazing sites of Gullfoss waterfall and the Geysir hot spring area. Gullfoss is considered by many visitors to be Iceland’s most beautiful waterfall. Geysir is an active geothermal field with many bubbling steam vents and spouting hot springs, including the famous Strokkur geyser. If you enjoy history, visit Laugarvatnshellir, a cave cleverly converted into a home for two Icelandic families in the early 20th century.
If adventure is your style, try activities such as snowmobiling on Langjokull glacier or snorkeling in Silfra (both must be booked in advance). If you want to connect with local culture, visit Farmer‘s Bistro, where you can enjoy wholesome cuisine made with vegetables from the farm‘s greenhouse. Or visit Efstidalur dairy farm, where you can indulge in home-made ice cream. We also suggest a relaxing visit to the Secret Lagoon in Fludir, a historical natural swimming pool that is now a cozy geothermal hot spring experience. You can lie in the soothing water and watch the Secret Lagoon‘s own little geyser erupt every few minutes.
If you want to focus more on activities and less on sightseeing, Hveragerdi also offers great locally-guided activities that bring you closer to the area‘s natural beauty and local life. Take a short hike through a geothermal area followed by a dip in a natural hot pool. Enjoy winter mountain biking in scenic surroundings around town. Or get to know the friendly Icelandic horse breed on a guided riding tour. In the evening, why not take a locally-guided small-group northern lights tour?
Overnight in Hveragerdi.
Approximate distance: ca 210 km / 130 miles
Day 3: South Shore
Highlights: Hekla Seljalandsfoss Skogafoss Eyjafjallajokull Vík Myrdalsjokull Reynisdrangar Cliffs Eldhraun Lava Field
Volcanic Views – Magnificent Waterfalls – Black Sands and Thundering Waves- Massive Lava Field
Breakfast at your hotel. Did you know that much of Iceland‘s South Shore is part of Katla Geopark? This is a UNESCO site chosen for its unique geological and cultural sites. There are many things you can see and do in this area, but don‘t feel like you have to rush. You will be able to enjoy the area today and also on Day 5.
Drive along the scenic south shore, one of Iceland‘s best areas for farming. If the skies are clear you will get a great view of two famous volcanoes. Hekla is Iceland‘s most frequently erupting volcano. Eyjafjallajokull is the (in)famous volcano whose 2010 eruption impacted air traffic around the world.
This is a great day to get acquainted with Iceland‘s famous volcanic and tectonic forces with an optional visit to the interactive Lava Center in Hvollsvollur village.
The route also leads by two beautiful waterfalls. Seljalandsfoss is a ribbon-like waterfall that you can walk behind if trail conditions are good. Skogafoss is believed to contain hidden treasure from the Middle Ages. Near Skogafoss is an interesting folk museum that has examples of different buildings from different eras of Icelandic history, including a turf farm.
Admire the black sand beach, basalt columns and powerful Atlantic waves of Reynisfjara beach near Vik. Far out to sea are huge sea stacks that local tales say were once trolls. The area around Vik is great for trying out activities such as snowmobiling on Myrdalsjokull, glacier hiking or ice caving.
Vik itself has a charming old town area. The oldest building in town now houses Kotlusetur Information Center. You can learn more about the Katla Geopark and try some local specialties at Halldorskaffi Café in the same building.
Drive through an impressive and surreal lava field as you head east. This is Eldhraun, the world‘s largest known single flow of lava. It is especially beautiful when covered by winter snow. Enjoy the chance to snap some unique lava images.
The path takes you over vast black sand plains created by glacial floods and on to the town of Kirkjubaejarklaustur. You will be in a good location to spot northern lights if the weather conditions are ideal.
Overnight in Kirkjubaejarklaustur area.
Approximate distance: ca 235 km / 146 miles
Day 4: Vatnajokull National Park
Highlights: Vatnajokull Skaftafell National Park Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon
Glacier National Park – Europe‘s Largest Glacier – Iceberg filled Lagoon
Breakfast at your hotel. Kirkjubaejarklaustur is a great base for exploring the wonders of southern Vatnajokull National Park. The park‘s namesake is the largest glacier in Europe, and you will see amazing views of Vatnajokull throughout the day. Take the day to enjoy the journey and the beautiful views and magnificent atmosphere of the area.
We highly recommend visiting the Skaftafell area of Vatnajokull National Park. There are some good winter hiking trails with views of glaciers. You can also take a hiking tour with an expert glacier guide. You will actually hike onto a glacier to view its distinctive features and learn about how glaciers form. Near the park is the Glacier Lagoon (Jokulsarlon), where icebergs drift and collide with each other in a lake formed by Vatnajokull glacier. It‘s a fantastic location for photographs. Ten minutes away is a smaller and more secluded lagoon, Fjallsarlon (Iceberg Lagoon). Here the icebergs sometimes get trapped in the frozen water, creating amazing natural sculptures. You can also get a good selection of food at the Iceberg Lagoon‘s Frost Restaurant. We recommend visiting both lagoons to experience the different views of Vatnajokull and icebergs.
Some icebergs have drifted up onto a nearby black sand beach that provides a dramatic setting for photos. Known as the Diamond Beach, this is a beautiful place to linger, catching views of icebergs and seals.
If you are in search of exotic adventure, a visit to one of the natural ice caves in the area is a rare, special experience. (Available mid-November – mid-March and must be booked in advance). Tours depart from the Glacier Lagoon and involve a jeep ride and some hiking to reach a beautiful ice cave.)
Overnight in Kirkjubaejarklaustur. With luck, you might catch a glimpse of the northern lights.
Approximate distance: ca 255 km / 158 miles
Day 5: South Iceland Explorations
Highlights: Vík Selfoss Hveragerdi Hellisheidi Geothermal Plant Reykjavik
A day of exploration on the South Coast
Breakfast at your hotel. Take your time and enjoy a leisurely drive to Reykjavik. You can see a place you did not see on Day 3, and we have other suggestions. The new Icelandic Lava Show in Vik has scheduled exhibitions where you can see how molten lava interacts with glacial ice, a simulation of something that has occurred in actual volcanic eruptions. Or you can take a noon-time Super Jeep tour (tour is about three hours) that involves a short hike and exploration of an ice cave. If you are curious about Icelanders’ passion for chess, you can visit the Bobby Fischer Center in Selfoss. Located in Selfoss town’s oldest house, Tryggvaskali restaurant is one of our favorite places to enjoy a great Icelandic meal in an inspiring setting before you head to Reykjavik.
Curious about geothermal energy? Stop at the geothermal exhibition in the Hellisheidi Power plant and see how this pollution-free resource is harnessed to provide power to the Reykjavik area. The center is open until 17:00 (5:00 pm) daily, so make sure to plan your visit accordingly.
The road leads to Iceland’s capital city, where you will spend the night.
Overnight in Reykjavik.
Approximate distance: ca 261 km / 162 miles
Icelandic Lava Show
The Reykjavik Beer Tour
Northern Lights Boat Tour
Sails, Lights & Winter Nights from Reykjavik
Sails, Lights & Winter Nights in Reykjavik
Day 6: Reykjavik
Highlights: Hallgrimskirkja Austurvollur Square The Sun Voyager Harpa Concert Hall Mosfellsbaer Hafnarfjordur
Enjoy your day in the world’s northernmost capital city!
Breakfast at your hotel. No trip to Iceland is complete without a visit to Iceland‘s capital city! The day is open for you to explore the vibrant culture of Reykjavik. Here are a few suggestions from our staff. Guided walking tours are a great way to fill learn about the history and daily life of the city. One of our favorite 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 new Grandi Food Hall. Browse for Icelandic products on Laugavegur, Iceland‘s main shopping street. See Reykjavik‘s oldest home and Viking origins at the 871 Museum. Enjoy the creative Icelandic art through the ages at the National Art Museum. And take the time to linger in a cafe or restaurant and enjoy the Reykjavik vibe.
It‘s also fun to explore the areas around the city in your car. The Arbaejarsafn Museum is a village-like 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. Mosfellsbaer is a pretty town where you can enjoy a walking tour and afternoon coffee with a local or take some knitting lessons. Hafnarfjordur town has an interesting connection to legends of elves and Hidden People, and a charming harbor area that is ideal for a seaside walk and a visit to a café or art shop.
Overnight in Reykjavik.
Approximate distance: variable
WAKE UP REYKJAVIK FOOD TOUR
Reykjavik Food Walking Tour
Whale Watching from Reykjavik
Reykjavik Gourmet Food & Wine walking tour
Iceland Buggy Adventure from Mosfellsbaer
Day 7: Departure from Iceland
Highlights: Keflavik The Blue Lagoon
Return to Keflavik International Airport. **
Breakfast at your hotel. 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 earlier but have some free time today, you might want to use the opportunity on your way to the airport. For this detour, please be sure to allow for at least 2-2,5 hours extra so you’ll have enough 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.
Approximate distance: ca 50 km / 30 miles