Day 1: Arrival:
Highlights: Viking World The Blue Lagoon Hveragerdi Hveragerdi Hot Spring Area
Geothermal Lagoon – Flower Village – Geothermal Greenhouses
Approximate distance: 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 Kerid Skalholt Geysir Center Laugarvatn Fontana Nature Baths
National Park with Geological Wonders (UNESCO) – Exploding Geysers – Massive Waterfall
Approximate distance: 165 km (103 miles)
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: Eyjafjallajokull Thjorsardalur Vík Skogafoss Seljalandsfoss Dyrholaey
Hekla Volcano – Thundering Waterfalls – Seabird Colony – Black Sand Beaches – Lava Field
Approximate distance: 305 km (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.
*Please note that Dyrholaey is closed during nesting season in spring ( mid-May until June 23rd).
Overnight in Kirkjubaejarklaustur area
Day 4: Vatnajokull National Park - Jokulsarlon - Hofn :
Highlights: Skaftafell National Park Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon Vatnajokull Svartifoss Waterfall Hofn
Glacier-Rimmed Oasis – Glacial Lagoon with Icebergs – Europe’s Largest Glacier
Approximate distance: 209 km (130 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.
Continue on, perhaps taking a detour to the beautiful and much-photographed mountain of Vestrahorn. Head on to harbor town of Hofn, also known as the langoustine capital of northern Europe.
Overnight in the Hofn area
Day 5: Djupivogur -– Reydarfjordur – Egilsstadir:
Highlights: Reydarfjordur Faskrudsfjordur Petra’s Minerals Egilsstadir Hallormsstadur Seydisfjordur The Wilderness Center Hengifoss
Narrow Fjords – Steep Mountains – Picturesque Coastline – Mineral Collection
Approximate distance: 335 km (208 miles)
Breakfast at your accommodation. 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.
You can either drive straight through Fagridalur (the Beautiful Valley) to Egilsstadir or head along the East Fjords, 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. Some of the unique villages include Faskrudsfjordur and its interesting French connection, Reydarfjordur and its World War II heritage, and Eskifjordur with its fishing traditions.
In the Egilsstadir area, you can visit the beautiful Hallormsstadur forest and a river reputed to be the home of a friendly sea monster. Perhaps you’ll end the day at Lake Urridavatn’s Vok Baths, where you can unwind in untouched nature in distinctive floating geothermal pools.
Overnight in the Egilsstadir area
Day 6: Dettifoss –Asbyrgi – Husavik :
Highlights: Saenautasel Dettifoss Ásbyrgi Jokulsargljufur National Park Hljodaklettar Húsavík Myvatn Nature Baths
Europe’s Most Powerful Waterfall – Glacier-Carved Gorge –Whale Watching
Approximate distance: 280 km (174 miles)
Breakfast at your accommodation. Today you will be in the northern area of Vatnajokull National Park, which 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. This town is famous for whale watching, and you might enjoy a later afternoon or evening whale watching boat tour. A great way to end this exciting day is with a relaxing swim in the warm sea waters of Husavik’s GeoSea Baths.
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
Overnight in Husavik area or Lake Myvatn area
Day 7: Lake Myvatn - Akureyri – Siglufjordur:
Highlights: Dimmuborgir Myvatn Krafla Godafoss Akureyri Siglufjordur
Bizarre Lava Formations – Geothermal Activity – Waterfall of the Gods – Gorgeous Fjord Views
Approximate distance: 239 km (149 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.
Depart Myvatn and drive westward, visiting beautiful Godafoss, the Waterfall of the Gods. Take some time to visit Akureyri, Iceland’s colorful northern “capital.”
Drive to Siglufjordur along one of Iceland’s most dramatic coastlines, enjoying a unique view towards the North Atlantic. This is the region of the Troll Peninsula, where the steep Icelandic mountains drop towards the sea. The town of Siglufjordur itself has many beautifully restored, colorful buildings and excellent options for outdoor recreation, from golf to hiking to whale watching. This town was the filming location for both seasons of the popular Icelandic suspense series Trapped.
Please Note: The Ring Road route today contains a toll tunnel. More information on the tunnel and fees is here.
Overnight in the Siglufjörður area
Day 8: Siglufjordur – Skagafjordur – Laugarbakki:
Highlights: Siglufjordur The Herring Era Museum Skagafjordur Fjord Saudarkrokur Trollaskagi – Troll Peninsula Vatnsnes Peninsula Hvítserkur Grettislaug Geothermal Pool
Viking Heritage – Historical Fjord – Icelandic Horse Heritage
Approximate distance: 306 km (190 miles)
Breakfast at your accommodation. Thread around the peninsula, heading from Eyjafjordur into Skagafjordur. Explore the fascinating area of Skagafjordur, renowned for horse breeding and medieval history.
The town of Hofsos has a unique swimming pool that seems to float into infinity. The pool looks towards Drangey, known from the famous Viking-age Saga of Grettir the Strong. If you are a history buff, we suggest a stop at Holar. This cultural center has buildings from nine centuries of Icelandic history. The new Battle of Iceland virtual reality experience in Saudarkrokur town puts you back into the 12th century to learn about one of Iceland’s most pivotal battles, which occurred close to here.
The manor farm of Glaumbaer 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 might 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.
Another interesting place to visit today is Borgarvirki, a natural rock formation that has been used as a citadel since Viking times. Head along the beautiful coastline where the sea seems to meet the sky as you drive to your evening accommodation.
Overnight stay in the Laugarbakki area
Day 9: Holmavik – Isafjordur:
Highlights: Strandir Coast Hólmavík Sorcery and Witchcraft Museum Isafjordur Isafjordur Maritime Museum
Scenic Coastline –Striking Fjords –Seal and Birdlife
Approximate distance: 360 km (224 miles)
Breakfast at your accommodation. Today you enter into a part of Iceland most visitors never experience the hauntingly beautiful, remote Westfjords.
Head across Steingrimsfjardarheidi and into the spectacular region of the Westfjords, the oldest part of Iceland.
Visit Holmavik, a village renowned for its museum of witchcraft. Ancient Icelandic tales depicted the Westfjords as an area full of sorcery, magical spells, and witchcraft.
Take your time with the drive and enjoy the amazing views it’s an amazing experience to pause during the day and just take in the sounds of the birds and wind and the smells of the sea. The place has a real timeless feel to it. This is an area rich in wildlife, so keep an eye out for seals and seabirds along the coast.
Thread around the numerous uninhabited fjords of Isafjardardjup, a beautiful coastline alive with seals and birds. Continue to Isafjordur, the largest town in the area.
Overnight in the Isafjordur area
Day 10: Isafjordur and Surroundings:
Highlights: Flateyri Bolungarvik Outdoor Maritime Museum at Osvor Sudureyri Vigur Island
Steep Mountains – Local Museums – Boat tours
Approximate distance: variable
Breakfast at your accommodation. Spend time in Isafjordur and the surrounding area including the neighboring towns of Bolungarvik and Sudureyri. In Sudureyri you might opt to take a pleasant walking tour around the town, getting acquainted with the town’s unique sustainable fishing industry. Try samples of gourmet and traditional seafood products along the way. Bolungarvik has a renovated fishing camp from the 19th century that shows you how people made their living, fishing from wooden rowboats.
The once-inhabited Hornastrandir is now a nature reserve where you can take a guided day tour to enjoy hiking or Arctic fox viewing. Or take a day tour to Vigor Island and its tiny community where you’ll learn about how the inhabitants sustainably collect eiderdown.
Isafjordur also offers several interesting guided walking tours that take you through historical back streets and up into the hills overlooking the town.
A pleasant activity to try in the area is sea kayaking in the calm, peaceful fjord waters.
Overnight in the Isafjordur area
Day 11: Thingeyri – Bildudalur – Latrabjarg – Flokalundur:
Highlights: Thingeyri Dynjandi Bildudalur The Icelandic Sea Monster Museum Talknafjordur Patreksfjordur
Small Picturesque Villages – Striking Waterfall – Red Sand Beaches – Sea Cliffs with Birdlife
Approximate distance: 330 km (205 miles)
Breakfast at your accommodation. Drive from Isafjordur through the beautiful Westfjords. This is an area whose population has been declining, but the people who still live here love this area and its peaceful way of life. The town of Thingeyri is a nice place to stop, especially its Simbahollin Café. The owners restored a beautiful old house for the café, sparking a community-wide renovation. The village is charming, and the café has legendary waffles. The café also offers guided horseback riding tours in the area.
The town of Bildudalur has a curious and entertaining Sea Monster Museum where you can discover local legends of mysterious ocean creatures.
View the stunning multi-tiered Dynjandi waterfall, one of the symbols of the region. As you walk to Dynjandi from the parking lot, you’ll actually walk by a series of six smaller waterfalls. It is a very enjoyable experience.
Visit Latrabjarg cliffs, the westernmost point in Europe. In the summer, these high sea cliffs are teeming with millions of puffins, gannets, guillemots, and razorbills. This is one of Iceland’s best areas for bird watching, as well as an amazing area to capture views of the sea cliffs. Remember to be careful while you are here since the cliff is very high. Do not approach the end of the cliff unless you are on all fours or sitting.
Head onwards to the southern coast of the Westfjords. Raudasandur is a gorgeous stretch of beach where you can see different colors of sand ranging from white to yellow to red to black. Definitely take your time here and enjoy the different moods of the sea and sands.
Depending on your schedule, maybe you’ll stop to take a dip in the Hellulaug natural geothermal pool in Vatnsfjordur fjord. This is a simple little natural pool with a lovely view of the ocean. There are no changing facilities. There is no admission fee, but we encourage you to leave some money in the donation box since this is how the locals ensure the pool is regularly cleaned and safe to use.
This part of the Westfjords was home to one of Iceland’s first settlers, a Viking named Raven -Floki. He is the one who first called the island “Iceland.”
Overnight in the Southern Westfjords
Day 12: Southern Westfjords – Breidafjordur – Stykkisholmur:
Highlights: Raudisandur Breidafjordur Flatey Island Stykkisholmur Library of water
Picturesque Islands with Birdlife – Coastal Scenic Views – Charming Village
Approximate distance: 290 km (180 miles)
Breakfast at your accommodation. Today you have two options: you can either drive the coastal road to Stykkisholmur town or take the ferry across Breidafjordur to the town.
Driving: Drive along the coast of Bardarstrond and into West Iceland. You can 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.
Ferry option: Head to Brjanslaekur ferry dock. Sail with the ferry Baldur across Breidafjordur bay with its countless islands and rich birdlife. (Please note ferry trip is not included in the price). You will pass by the island of Flatey, a beloved summer holiday area for Icelanders. Enjoy the ride and the views of islands and birds. Approximate distance: 64 km (40 miles; the ferry ride is about 2,5 hours)
Please note: After Sept. 1 the ferry Baldur departs once per day and does not sail on Saturdays. If you are planning this trip in late August or September, please make sure Day 12 is not on a Saturday.
From Brjanslaekur: 18:00 (6:00pm)*
From Stykkisholmur: 15:00 (3:00pm)*
*This schedule is subject to change
The final destination today is the charming village of Stykkisholmur. This eco-friendly town has 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.
Overnight in the Stykkisholmur area (Northern Snaefellsnes)
Day 13: Snaefellsnes Peninsula – Borgarfjordur – Reykjavik : Snaefellsnes Peninsula - Borgarfjordur - Reykjavik
Highlights: Snaefellsjokull National Park Shark Museum Kirkjufell Ólafsvík Songhellir Arnarstapi Budahraun Lava Field Barnafoss Hraunfossar Borgarnes
Quaint Fishing Villages – Picturesque Waterfalls – Europe’s Most Powerful Hot Spring – Scenic Fjord
Approximate distance: 360km (223 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.
Explore the gem of Borgarfjordur, a charming area of volcanic landscapes and Viking history. This is one of our favorite areas to find beautiful handicrafts and taste local farm products. Visit the brilliantly blue waters of Hraunfossar and Barnafoss falls, and the hot spring Deildartunguhver. Near the hot springs is Krauma, the relaxing “fire and ice” geothermal spa that uses a soothing blend of hot springs and glacier water. Continue via Hvalfjordur fjord to Reykjavik.
Overnight in Reykjavik
Day 14: Departure:
Highlights: Reykjavik Keflavik
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.