Day 1: Arrival
Highlights: The Blue Lagoon Kleifarvatn Krysuvik Hvalsneskirkja Church Hveragerdi
Geothermal Lagoon – Flower Village – Geothermal Greenhouses
Approximate distance: 100km / 62miles
Pick up the car at the airport and start your Iceland experience.
From Keflavik International Airport we recommend driving the southern coast of the Reykjanes peninsula towards your first overnight stay in the charming village of Hveragerdi. The south coast road lets you view the primordial bubbling steam and mud pots Krysuvik geothermal field and the mysterious-looking Lake Kleifarvatn. You can also view a beautiful coastal church where fishermen prayed for luck and protection from danger. Hveragerdi 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.“
If your flight is early, you might consider stopping along the way at the Blue Lagoon for a relaxing swim in the geothermal mineral waters.
Important: Please note that Blue Lagoon admission must be booked in advance.
Overnight stay in Hveragerdi area
Day 2: Thingvellir - Gullfoss - Geysir
Highlights: Gullfoss Geysir Thingvellir National Park Skalholt Kerid Laugarvatn Fontana Nature Baths
National Park with Geological Wonders (UNESCO) – Exploding Geysers – Massive Waterfall
Approximate distance: 165 km / 103miles
Breakfast at your accommodation. Visit the Golden Circle natural wonders. 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 favorite; natural steam soothes away aches and pains, followed by relaxation in a series of hot spring pools.
Overnight in the Golden Circle area
Day 3: Kjolur - Hveravellir - Skagafjordur
Highlights: Hveravellir Kjolur
Wilderness Interior – Highland Geothermal Area – Natural Bathing Pool – Glacial Rivers
Approximate distance: ca 230 km / 143 miles
Breakfast at your hotel. Today’s route leads over the historical highland track Kjolur (car category 5.0 or higher required; track open from mid-June to mid-September). As you drive this track leading between two glaciers, you’ll be seeing the same landscapes that Vikings and outlaws saw in the old days as they rode from North Iceland to Thingvellir for the annual Parliament. We recommend that you take a break here and enjoy the vast views and the serene peace in one of Europe’s last wilderness areas.
Midway on the route, Hveravellir is an active geothermal field. Hiking trails showcase colorful landscapes and steam vents. You can also visit a cave where outlaws hid over the centuries. The most famous of these was the 18th-century outlaw couple, Eyvindur-Fjalla and Halla. Hveravellir has a hot-spring fed natural pool where you can relax (required a small admission/service fee, not included). The trail emerges into the valley of Skagafjordur fjord with its flat-topped mountains and glacial rivers.
Overnight in North Iceland.
Day 4: Akureyri - Lake Myvatn
Highlights: Akureyri Godafoss Myvatn Dimmuborgir Krafla Myvatn Nature Baths
Akureyri – Waterfall “Of the Gods” – Bizarre Lava Formations – Geothermal Activity – Rich Birdlife
Approximate distance: ca 190 km / 118 miles
Breakfast at your hotel. Drive to Akureyri, the “capital of the north,” where you can take some time to enjoy this beautiful and culturally-rich town. Stop at Godafoss waterfall, famous for its beautiful and Viking history, before driving to the intriguing Lake Myvatn area. The Myvatn Nature reserve is fascinating both for its diverse birdlife (especially waterfowl) and for its geological wonders. Some of the volcanic features include the pseudocraters at Skutustadir, the Dark Lava Citadels of Dimmuborgir, the Krafla Volcano area, and the multi-colored steaming slopes of Namaskard. Myvatn also offers great outdoor opportunities, including horseback riding, hiking and mountain biking.
At the end of the day, we recommend you take a swim in the azure-blue geothermal waters of the Myvatn Nature Baths (not included).
Overnight in North Iceland
Please Note: The Ring Road route today contains a toll tunnel. More information on the tunnel and fees is here.
Day 5: Husavik - Dettifoss - Egilsstadir
Highlights: Dettifoss Jokulsargljufur National Park Húsavík Ásbyrgi
Whale Watching Village – Glacier- Carved Gorge – Europe’s Most Powerful Waterfall
Approximate distance: ca 320 km / 199 miles
Breakfast at your hotel. Today you will be visiting the northern part of Vatnajokull National Park, the largest one in Western Europe. The vast park covers 14% of Iceland’s surface. This section of the park is characterized by vast glacier river canyons, curious lava formations, and glacial waterfalls.
From Lake, Myvatn drives to the charming fishing village of Husavik. Known as the whale-watching capital of Iceland, Húsavík offers whale-watching in traditional oak fishing boats or RIB boats. Travel around the ancient, fossil-rich Tjornes peninsula on the edge of the Arctic Circle to the northern gateway of Vatnajokull National Park. The park’s visitor center provides excellent, interactive information on the area’s wildlife and geology. Visit the impressive horseshoe-shaped Asbyrgi canyon, which has a variety of beautiful walking trails that suit different hiking levels. It is also possible to take a horseback riding tour through the canyon.
Continue on to visit the echoing rocks and troll-like formations of Hljodaklettar. The crowning highlight is the mighty Dettifoss waterfall, the largest waterfall in Europe. After the park visit, continue east to Egilsstadir.
Overnight in East Iceland.
Day 6: East Fjords - Hofn
Highlights: Egilsstadir Skriduklaustur Hallormsstadur The Wilderness Center Petra’s Minerals Seydisfjordur Hengifoss
Narrow Fjords – Steep Mountains – Picturesque Coastline – Mineral Collection
Approximate distance: ca 300 km / 186 miles
Breakfast at your hotel. Today you will be visiting East Iceland and the East Fjords. The Egilsstadir area has Iceland’s largest forest, Hallormsstadir. If you are a history enthusiast, we recommend a visit to the Wilderness Center on the edge of the Icelandic highlands. Here you can see an interactive display of how Icelanders lived in the highland frontier in the old days.
Drive south through the spectacular coastline of the East Fjords with charming fishing villages and towering mountains that plunge vertically into the sea. Each village has its own beautiful landscape and character. Reydarfjordur has sites famous for World War II history. Faskrudsfjordur has a French influence from its days as a base for French fishermen. In Stodvarfjordur you can see a unique stone collection. Remember to give yourself plenty of time to drive carefully and enjoy the amazing scenery. One of these is the Almannaskard pass, which offers a striking view of Vatnajokull glacier and the coastal area. Emerge from the East Fjords and into Southeast Iceland.
Overnight in the Hofn area.
Day 7: Jokulsarlon - Skaftafell - Kirkjubaejarklaustur
Highlights: Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon Vatnajokull Skaftafell National Park Svartifoss Waterfall
Europe’s Largest Glacier – Glacial Lagoon with Icebergs – Glacier-Ringed Green Oasis
Approximate distance: ca 220 km / 137 miles
Breakfast at your hotel. Today you will be in the vicinity of the southern section of Vatnajokull National Park, named after Europe’s largest glacier. This part of the park is characterized by ice, glacier tongues, and lava landscapes. As you drive along, the vast glacier will be in your sight from different angles. The popular Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon offers a beautiful view of the glacier, and the floating icebergs will leave a deep impression on you.
Head onwards to the park’s Skaftafell area, an ice-ringed green oasis with various hiking routes. One special place to visit in Skaftafell is the Svartifoss waterfall, with its black basalt columns. You can also get closer to the area’s beauty with an optional ice hiking tour on one of Vatnajokull‘s glacial tongues. Continue along the south coast, crossing over vast black sand plains created by glacial floods.
Overnight in South Iceland
Day 8: Landmannalaugar - Reykjavík
Highlights: Landmannalaugar Hekla Thjorsardalur Reykjavik Hallgrimskirkja The Sun Voyager
Multicolored Highland Mountains – Lava Fields – Hot Spring Bathing – Hekla Volcano
Approximate distance: ca 240 km / 149 miles
Breakfast at your hotel. Today you will be getting another view of the highlands, this time in the colorful southern wilderness! Travel along the Fjallabaksleid highland interior track, passing by wild mountains and deeply-carved green valleys. Cross several unbridged rivers to Landmannalaugar, a magnificent area surrounded by colorful rhyolite mountains.
Great hiking trails take you through a mysterious landscape of steam vents and bright colored slopes. There is also the option of bathing in a natural warm pool, so do not forget to bring a swimsuit and towel (bathing service fee not included)! You will also have different views of towering Hekla, Iceland’s most frequently erupting volcano throughout the day.
After visiting Landmannalaugar, explore the ever-changing scenery of Thjorsardalur, a valley sculpted by Hekla’s past eruptions, before heading back to Reykjavik.
Note: If you prefer not to visit Landmannalaugar, you can continue along the south shore exploring black sand beaches, bird colonies, towering waterfalls and crossing fertile farmlands towards Reykjavik.
Overnight in Reykjavik.
Day 9: Departure
Highlights: Reykjavik The Blue Lagoon Keflavik
Approximate distance: ca 52 km / 32 miles
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.