Day 1: Arrival
Highlights: Hveragerdi Hveragerdi Hot Spring Area The Blue Lagoon
Geothermal Lagoon – Flower Village – Geothermal Greenhouses
Approximate distance: ca 100 km / 62 miles
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. 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.”
If your flight arrives early in the day, you might stop at the Blue Lagoon (a short distance from the airport) for a chance to relax in the soothing geothermal mineral waters.
Important: Please note that admission to the Blue Lagoon must be booked in advance.
Overnight stay in Hveragerdi.
Day 2: Thingvellir - Gullfoss – Fludir:
Highlights: Gullfoss Geysir Geysir Center Kerid Skalholt Laugarvatn Fontana Nature Baths Thingvellir National Park
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 Fludir area or similar.
Day 3: South Shore - Vik – Kirkjubaejarklaustur:
Highlights: Seljalandsfoss Skogafoss Hekla Thjorsardalur Dyrholaey Vík Eyjafjallajokull
Hekla Volcano – Thundering Waterfalls – Seabird Colony – Black Sand Beaches – Lava Fields
Approximate distance: 305km / 190 miles
Breakfast at your accommodation. Drive along the spectacular south coast and view highlights along the way such as Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss waterfalls and Myrdalsjokull glacier. If the skies are clear, you might even have a glimpse of beautiful Mt. Hekla, Iceland’s most frequently erupting volcano. The glacier offers great opportunities for a guided snowmobile or ice hiking tours.
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, towards Kirkjubaejarklaustur, a picturesque village that is the former site of a 12th-century Catholic convent. The town is known for its excellent farm-raised arctic char trout, which you might like to try tonight.
Overnight in southeast Iceland.
*Please note that Dyrholaey is closed during nesting season in spring, from around mid-May until June 23rd.
Day 4: Skaftafell - Vatnajokull National Park- Jokulsarlon – Egilsstadir:
Highlights: Skaftafell National Park Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon Hofn Vatnajokull Egilsstadir
Glacier-Rimmed Oasis – Glacial Lagoon with Icebergs – Europe’s Largest Glacier – Narrow Fjords and Steep Mountains
Approximate distance: 399km / 248 miles
Breakfast at your accommodation. Today you will be in the southern area of Vatnajokull National Park, named after Europe‘s largest glacier. You’ll certainly have this magnificent glacier in view as you follow the route.
Visit the park’s amazing Skaftafell area, a green oasis nestled between glaciers that offer many hiking possibilities.
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. You might even glimpse a few seals. Nearby is the Diamond Beach, an area of glittering bits of glass-like ice scattered across black sands.
Drive through the spectacular East Fjords with towering mountains and charming fishing villages to the fertile Egilsstadir area. On the way, you might opt to visit the quirky egg sculptures in the harbor of charming Djupivogur village or visit Petra’s famous local stone and mineral collection at Stodvarfjordur.
Drive through Fagridalur (the Beautiful Valley) to Egilsstadir. You might opt to end the day at Lake Urridavatn’s new Vok Baths, where you can unwind in untouched nature in distinctive floating geothermal pools.
Overnight in the Egilsstadir area
Day 5: Egilsstadir and Surroundings:
Highlights: Petra’s Minerals Reydarfjordur Lagarfljot The Wilderness Center Seydisfjordur Hengifoss Hallormsstadur Borgarfjordur Eystri
East Fjords – Legendary Lake Monster – Largest Forest in Iceland
Distance is variable
Breakfast at your accommodation. Explore Egilsstadir and the surrounding area, one of the oldest regions in Iceland, shaped by glaciers during the Ice Age. Although many are uninhabited, each fjord has its own grandeur. The natural harbors in the fjords led to the development of fishing villages that have still hung on to a degree of old-world charm. Each village has its own character. Faskrudsfjordur has a historical connection with France. Reydarfjordur is known for World War II history. Neskaupsstadur has a wonderful foodie and music scene to enhance its amazing views, plus great boat tours.
You can discover elf legends and local art, as well as great day hiking trails, in the Borgarfjordur Eystri area.
Explore the quaint village of Seydisfjordur, where multi-colored wooden houses are sheltered by a jaw-dropping backdrop of snow-capped mountains and tumbling waterfalls. This community has been gaining an international reputation for its excellent focus on art and art education.
Visit Hallormsstadur the largest forest in Iceland set along Lake Lagarfljot, which according to legend contains a monster.
Visit the award-winning Wilderness Center located at the edge of the hauntingly beautiful eastern highlands. Here you can discover Iceland’s pioneer history and highland nature in a clever interactive way. Take a guided horseback tour to an abandoned farm or relax in the Wilderness Spa. Or enjoy a chat with the center’s hosts as they prepare you a meal made from wilderness sourced ingredients.
Overnight in the Egilsstadir area.
Day 6: Dettifoss - Asbyrgi - Husavik :
Highlights: Jokulsargljufur National Park Dettifoss Ásbyrgi Húsavík Whale Museum Saenautasel
Europe’s Most Powerful Waterfall – Glacier-Carved Gorge – Whale Watching
Approximate distance: 280km / 174 miles
Breakfast at your accommodation. Today you will be in the northern area of Vatnajokull National Park, which actually covers 14% of Iceland’s landscape. This region of the park has its own distinctive character. Less visited than the southern area, this area shows Iceland’s wild side to its fullest
Travel across the vast Modrudalsoraefi highlands and into the wilderness. The route takes you to the mighty Dettifoss waterfall. A few moments here listening to the heavy thundering water against a surreal landscape is one of Iceland’s most amazing experiences.
Head through the park and its amazing canyon areas carved by the Jokulsar river. Explore the impressive horseshoe-shaped Asbyrgi canyon, said to be formed by the god Odin’s stallion. Several walking trails lead to beautiful viewing areas. You can enjoy hiking here and even guided horseback riding tours in the summer.
Drive around the fossil-rich Tjornes Peninsula to the Husavik area. A great way to end this exciting day is with a relaxing swim in the warm sea waters of Husavik’s GeoSea Baths.
Overnight in northeast Iceland
Important: Please note Roads 864, 862 and therefore, Road 85 is usually closed during the fall, winter and spring until the end of May (Road opening dates are dependent on the weather conditions). Until these roads are open, please take the scenic Ring Road 1 to Road 87 and on to Husavik.
Please also note that Roads 864 and 862 are gravel roads, and you must heed warning signs in the area if road conditions are not good for driving
Day 7: Lake Myvatn - Akureyri :
Highlights: Myvatn Dimmuborgir Krafla Myvatn Nature Baths Lofthellir Cave Godafoss
Bizarre Lava Formations – Geothermal Activity – Waterfall of the Gods
Approximate distance: 165km / 103 miles
Breakfast at your accommodation. Spend the day exploring the natural wonders of Lake Myvatn and the surrounding area. Visit highlights such as the lava citadels at Dimmuborgir, the pseudo craters at Skutustadir, the colorful sulfurous slopes of Namaskard and the Krafla volcano area.
If you want to add some activities, you can enjoy guided bike tours or horseback riding around the lake. Afterward, relax in the azure blue waters of the charming Myvatn Nature Baths.
It’s great to have lunch in the Myvatn area, and we suggest trying the local specialty of smoked arctic trout served on geothermally baked rye bread.
Depart Myvatn and drive westward, visiting beautiful Godafoss, the Waterfall of the Gods. Head on to Akureyri, a vibrantly colorful town set against the dramatic Eyjafjordur fjord.
Overnight in the Akureyri area
Day 8: Akureyri and Eyjafjordur region:
Highlights: Akureyri Kjarnaskógur The Christmas Garden Akureyri Folk Museum Nonni House
Iceland’s “Capital of the North” – Botanical Gardens – Local Museums – Arctic Circle
Distance is variable
Breakfast at your accommodation. Spend the day exploring Akureyri the “capital of the North” and its surrounding area. This charming town is small in size but has a vibrant cultural scene. Wander through a street dedicated to art galleries. Visit museums and historical wooden homes. Swim in the magnificent geothermal pool. Enjoy a guided food walk and town tour. And take a walk through a beautiful botanical garden on the edge of the Arctic Circle.
If you enjoy outdoor recreation, Akureyri is great for whale watching, fishing, horseback riding or hiking in the trails around the fjord.
Overnight stay in Akureyri
Day 9: Akureyri - Laugarbakki - Stykkisholmur:
Highlights: Saudarkrokur Drangey Island Hvítserkur Vatnsnes Peninsula Grettislaug Geothermal Pool Eiriksstadir Viking Home
Fertile Farmlands – Folk Museum – Viking Horses
Approximate distance: 395 km / 245miles
Breakfast at your accommodation. Travel to the horse-breeding valley of Skagafjordur fjord. If you are a history buff, we suggest a stop at the manor farm of Glaumbaer. This is a turf home that dates back to the 18th century. Visiting here gives a sense of life in Iceland in the old days. Glauber was an inspiration for Hannah Kent’s famous novel Burial Rites, now being produced as a movie. The actual events in the story occurred in the Vatnsnes area of North Iceland.
Near Varmahlid town, you can visit Lytingsstadur family horse farm. Meet Icelandic horses, see the replica of a turf stable and learn about why horses are important to Icelandic history. You can also arrange guided riding tours here. If you prefer a boat paddle to a saddle, you can also enjoy white-water rafting in glacier rivers flowing through the area. Rafting trips are available to suit different skill levels.
Continue to the shores of Hunafloi bay, an area rich in Icelandic history. An interesting place to visit is Borgarvirki, a natural rock formation that has been used as a citadel since Viking times. Explore Dalir, the region of Eric the Red and birthplace of his son, the great explorer Leif Eiriksson at a living replica museum before driving to the Snaefellsnes peninsula.
Overnight stay in Stykkisholmur, an eco-friendly town with beautiful wooden buildings originally brought over from Norway in the 1800s. Stykkisholmur is a lovely place to take an evening walk, and you will surely enjoy the nice selection of cafes and restaurants available.
Day 10: Stykkisholmur - Arnarstapi - Borgarfjordur:
Highlights: Stykkisholmur Ólafsvík Songhellir Shark Museum Kirkjufell Arnarstapi Snaefellsjokull National Park
Magical Glacier Volcano– Sea Cliffs with Birdlife – Volcanic Crater
Approximate distance: 234 km / 135 miles
Breakfast at your accommodation. Today you will explore the ever-changing beauty of the Snaefellsnes peninsula and the Snaefellsjokull National Park.
Continue around the Snaefellsnes peninsula, passing the small fishing villages of Grundarfjordur and Hellissandur. Keep an eye out for Kirkjufell, Iceland’s most photographed mountain. Make a stop at the rocky beach of Djupalonssandur. as well as the magnificent columnar basalt rock formations at Arnarstapi
The crown jewel of the region is Snaefellsjokull, a glacier-topped volcano that is said to be the home of a benevolent troll spirit.
You can enjoy guided activities in the region such as glacier hiking on Snaefellsjokull, visiting Vatnshellir lava cave, whale watching near Olafsvik, and sea kayaking in the vicinity of Kirkjufell.
Overnight stay in the Borgarfjordur area
Day 11: Borgarfjordur - Reykholt - Hvalfjordur - Reykjavik:
Highlights: Hraunfossar Barnafoss Deildartunguhver Borgarnes Settlement Center of Iceland Husafell Snorrastofa – Reykholt
Picturesque Waterfalls – Europe’s Most Powerful Hot Spring – Blue Lagoon
Approximate distance: 205km / 127miles
Head through Borgarfjordur, one of Iceland’s best-kept secrets. This is a beloved vacation spot for Icelanders from Reykjavik. It contains a charming mix of miniature forests, waterfalls, caves, and views of Langjokull Glacier. If you want to add some adventure to your day, a visit to the colorful Vidgelmir caverns or the unique Into the Glacier ice cave is an unforgettable experience. The charming Husafell area has a mix of hiking trails that suit all skill levels, including a history-themed trail. Scattered around Husafell are rock paintings created by a local artist.
Visit the Hraunfoss waterfall where the water seems to burst from lava formations into the cerulean blue river below. The nearby Barnafoss Falls has a mysterious secret to reveal. Be sure to stop at Deildartunguhver, Europe’s most powerful hot spring, where you can buy organic tomatoes grown using geothermal heat. Deildartunguhver you can also enjoy the Krauma natural geothermal spa, which uses a blend of the hot spring’s water and glacier cold springs. The spa’s restaurant specializes in dishes made with ingredients from area farms and greenhouses.
Continue via Hvalfjordur (the Whale Fjord) to Reykjavik.
Overnight stay in Reykjavik
Day 12: Departure:
Highlights: Reykjavik The Blue Lagoon
Approximate distance: 52 km / 32 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.