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Discover the top attractions of Iceland on this 10-day self-drive tour of the Ring Road and Snæfellsnes Peninsula!
Iceland is an amazing place for a road trip. This self-drive package is designed to help you take in the best that Iceland has to offer, all at your own pace. You’ll stay in cosy accommodation with ensuite bathrooms and breakfast included as you travel the famous Ring Road, exploring the pristine landscapes, exciting sagas, unique culture and awe-inspiring natural wonders to be found in the Land of Fire and Ice. From the Golden Circle to the South Coast and Eastfjords, all the way to Lake Mývatn in the north and back down to the windswept coastline of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula in Iceland’s west, this itinerary will map out the perfect route for you on the vacation of a lifetime.
After booking, you will receive a travel plan that combines some of the best places to visit in the country with options for additional activities, allowing you to customise your trip. You’ll have the freedom to travel according to your own schedule, spending as little or as much time as you like in each of the locations that you decide to visit. Take all the time for photo breaks that you want! Aside from taking in the breathtaking scenery of Iceland, you’ll have plenty of time to interact with the locals, enjoy the rich history and delve into the delicious cuisine of this fantastic travel destination.
Go snorkelling between two continental plates in the crystal clear glacial waters of Silfra fissure, take a snowmobiling day tour of the Langjökull glacier or descend into the depths of an ice cave beneath Europe’s largest ice cap. To really get a feel for a slower pace of life, you can bathe in the mineral-rich geothermal waters of the Blue Lagoon or jump on the back of an Icelandic horse and go horse riding in the countryside. Join a whale watching tour to spot the kings of the ocean or embark on a glacier hiking adventure. The possibilities are endless!
During this tour, you will have ample time to see the country, without being too rushed. However, if you’d like to extend your stay, then just let our travel consultants know and we can tailor an itinerary to suit your needs.
Experience the classic beauty of Iceland, as well as a few hidden gems off-the-beaten-track, on this incredible self-drive road trip. Surprise yourself with how many activities and attractions you can fit into just ten days! Check availability by choosing a date.
The adventure begins! You’ll collect your rental car from a prearranged location at Keflavík
Keflavík International Airport. From there, you will begin the drive through the rugged landscapes of the Reykjanes Peninsula, towards your accommodation in downtown Reykjavík.
If you have some time, you can make a stop at the Blue Lagoon and bathe in exquisite, mineral-rich hot springs. Stepping into the steaming geothermal pools of this world-class spa is an incredible experience after a long and tedious flight. Otherwise, explore the peninsula at your leisure, traipse across a bridge that spans between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates, roam through lava fields, visit a lighthouse, wander around a steaming geothermal area and marvel at extraordinary sea stacks rising high from the Atlantic Ocean.
Eventually, you will arrive in downtown Reykjavík, where you will check into your accommodation. Thereafter, you can spend the day at your leisure, exploring the vibrant city. Discover niche museums, galleries and wonderful restaurants delivering tasty local Icelandic fare amidst a wealth of famous sights and attractions. Go bar-hopping in the evening or visit the old harbour and enjoy the coastal walk which takes you by the spectacular architecture of the Harpa Concert Hall and Sun Voyager, before retiring for the night at your accommodation in Reykjavík.
On day two, you’ll discover the diverse scenery and history of Iceland’s famous Golden Circle route. This journey will take you through three popular and well-known landmarks, as well as a few hidden gems off-the-beaten-track.
Start at Þingvellir National Park, Iceland’s only UNESCO World Heritage Listed site on the mainland. Situated on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, this rift valley bears the evidence of thousands of years of continental drift between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. You can take a snorkelling tour of the Silfra fissure, where clear glacial water makes for a surreal underwater experience. Alternatively, spend your time wandering around the maze of geological formations within Þingvellir as you learn about the historical and cultural significance of a site which harks back to the formation of the world’s oldest parliament in the year 930 AD.
Once you have finished exploring Þingvellir, make your way to Haukadalur geothermal valley where you’ll find Geysir, a naturally occurring hot springs area. This natural phenomenon is dotted with bubbling pools, steaming mud pots, fumaroles and multicoloured sinters. The main attraction is Strokkur, a fountain geyser that erupts with hot water almost 20 metres into the air at intervals of 5 to 10 minutes!
In the afternoon, explore the many vantage points at Gullfoss, a spectacular waterfall that tumbles across two tiers through a crevasse into the mighty glacial river, Hvítá. From here, you can opt to take an exhilarating snowmobile tour on Langjökull glacier or a peaceful horse ride upon an Icelandic horse through the undulating countryside.
You will spend the night in or near the quiet town of Hvolsvöllur.
You’ll head down along Iceland’s famous South Coast, enjoying your choice of sights as you make your way towards your accommodation within Vatnajökull National Park.
Along the way, you’ll pass by Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss, two of the most well-known and beloved waterfalls in all of Iceland. Both drop from a height of 60 metres over pretty cliffs and make for wonderful pictures. At Seljalandsfoss, a cavern stretches behind the cascade, allowing you to walk behind the wall of water for a unique and picturesque view.
Afterwards, you can enjoy a side-trip to Sólheimajökull glacier, where there is the option of gliding across the ice cap on an adrenaline-packed snowmobile tour. You can also traverse this rugged landscape on a glacier hike in the morning or take a super jeep tour to an ice cave which is accessible all year long, within the mighty Mýrdalsjökull glacier.
As you near the village of Vík, you’ll have the opportunity to witness some of the world’s most dramatic scenery from the sheer cliffs of Dyrhólaey. During summer, colonies of puffins return to these cliffs to nest, swooping over the beach as they fly out to hunt for fish at sea. Nearby is the hauntingly beautiful Reynisfjara black sand beach, where tall hexagonal basalt columns line the cliff face by the shoreline. Here, the tumultuous waves of the Atlantic Ocean pummel the Reynisdrangar sea stacks, making for a wild and breathtaking sight.
You’ll reach the vicinity of the Vatnajökull National Park by the afternoon, just in time to explore the many hiking trails and waterfalls in Skaftafell Nature Reserve. If you missed out on glacier hiking this morning, then there is the chance to book a glacier walk for this afternoon, upon an outlet glacier of Europe’s largest ice cap.
On your way to your accommodation in Vatnajökull, you’ll pass by the beautiful Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, where large icebergs that have calved from the nearby Breiðamerkurjökull glacier float serenely before being dragged out to the ocean by the tides.
You will spend the night at accommodation in Vatnajökull National Park.
This morning, you’ll have the chance to revisit Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon and to see it in a different light. The atmosphere here can change significantly, depending on the weather conditions, so it is always worth another look. The area is abundant with wildlife and if you have a keen eye, then you may spot seals lounging upon the icebergs as sea birds circle the sky, in search of fish beneath the depths. If you’d like to get closer to the action, there is the option of taking an amphibious boat tour or zodiac tour on the lagoon, which will have you weaving through breathtaking icebergs.
Adjacent to the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon is the Diamond Beach, a stretch of black sandy shoreline that’s not to be missed. It is here that you will find spectacular icebergs that have been deposited by the tides, glistening like jewels under the sun.
In the afternoon, you’ll leave the icy wonderland of Vatnajökull National Park and drive into the enchanting Eastfjords. This remote area is home to stunning coastal landscapes and quaint fishing villages, surrounded by immense mountains.
You will spend the night in the Egilsstaðir area.
Day five will see you heading north from the Eastfjords, towards the volcanic landscapes that surround Lake Mývatn. There is a lot to see and do around this diverse area, including birdwatching for those who are fond of wildlife. Stunning scenery abounds, from geothermal features, such as the Námaskarð hot springs, to the Skútustaðagígar pseudo craters and Krafla volcano, looming on the horizon.
At the Dimmuborgir lava fields, you’ll find large geological formations that are seemingly out of this world. Take your time wandering around the maze of structures that resemble dark castles. Similar formations may be found within Lake Mývatn itself – remnants of volcanic eruptions from long ago. In the afternoon, make a visit to Grjótagjá, a small lava cave with a thermal spring inside. The water takes on an electric blue hue as the light trickles in from outside.
After a long day of exploring, try indulging in a spot of relaxation at the Mývatn Nature Baths. These thermal pools will have you unwinding your muscles in no time.
You will spend the night in the Mývatn region.
You’ll leave the idyllic landscapes of Lake Mývatn today, en route for the city of Akureyri. Before you do, it’s worthwhile visiting Goðafoss, a beautiful waterfall that is known in Icelandic as the ‘Waterfall of the Gods’. A short walk down some stairs will lead you to a vantage point close to the base of the falls, where you’ll be able to capture some interesting photos.
Thereafter, you can head into Jökulsárgljúfur, a lush canyon which is part of the Vatnajökull National Park. Here, you will find the enchanting horseshoe-shaped Ásbyrgi canyon. Nearby is the powerful Dettifoss waterfall, one of the biggest and most impressive waterfalls in Iceland. There are a few different viewpoints from which to see the immense volume of water plunging into the river below. On a sunny day, rainbows rise from the mist, making for a magical sight.
As you continue on your journey towards Akureyri, there is the option of taking a detour to the town of Húsavik. Located on the northern coast, it is often described as the ‘Whale Capital of Iceland’ and for good reason. Whales may often be spotted here, frolicking in the waves. You can take a whale watching tour out on the ocean if you’re keen on catching sight of these gentle giants. Otherwise, explore the town at your leisure and enjoy nature at the Húsavik GeoSea Baths, where geothermally-heated seawater will reinvigorate your skin as you gaze at a backdrop of mountains.
You will spend the night in Akureyri.
Begin the day with breakfast in the old town of Akureyri, the second-largest city outside of the greater Reykjavík area. The friendly atmosphere combined with interesting architecture and colourful boutiques makes it a wonderful meeting place for travellers. Visit the local museums, churches, restaurants and bars, or walk up to the local church for spectacular views of the port and surroundings. If you’d like, you can head out onto the water on a whale watching tour from Akureyri or even join a horse riding tour on the back of an Icelandic horse.
Thereafter, you’ll continue the drive along the fjords, passing through the enormous mountains of Tröllaskagi and into the charming fishing town of Siglufjörður. You can stop by Hofsós thermal pool for a dip or head onwards to visit the Icelandic farm animals at Stórhóll in the west. This is a great place if you have children, as they’ll have a lot of fun petting the goats, sheep, ducks, hens, horses, dogs and cats that call this place home!
You will then spend the night in Blönduós.
In the morning, continue onwards to the dramatic scenery of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. Stop at Vatnsdalshólar, where large hills cover a 5km square radius, dating back to the last Ice Age. From there, you can head on to the stunning Þingeyarkirkja stone church, which was once the site of Iceland’s first monastery in the year 1113.
As you make the drive into Snæfellsnes, consider visiting the Eiríksstaðir longhouse. This living museum was the birthplace of Leif Eiríksson, the first known European to discover the Americas. Delve into its rich history and step back into the era of Vikings as you explore this incredible archaeological site.
Once you’re on the peninsula, make a visit to Stykkishólmur village, where colourful old houses line the shores of Breiðafjörður bay. If you like, you can take a boat tour out to Súgandisey island, where you will find a scenic lighthouse with wonderful views back towards the coastline.
You’ll love the views as you continue your journey around the peninsula and into Snæfellsjökull National Park. If you have the time, embark on an adventure to the remote reaches of Snæfellsjökull volcano and glacier with a snowcat tour, where you’ll catch spectacular views of the surroundings from an elevated vantage point.
A must-see destination is the Djúpalónssandur beach, where black pebbles and gigantic rock formations dominate the shoreline. In the afternoon, visit the charming seaside villages of Hellnar and Arnarstapi, where you can and take in the peaceful sound of the waves.
You will stay overnight at cosy accommodation in Snæfellsnes.
Take an entire day to explore the west of Iceland, before making your way back to Reykjavík. You can learn all about how the Land of Fire and Ice came to be with a visit to the Icelandic settlement exhibition in Borgarnes or immerse yourself in Reykholt, an area that is steeped in history. Here, you can tour the impressive Snorrastofa museum and walk around Deildartunguhver, the most powerful hot spring in Europe. Large pipes transport the steaming geothermal water from this site to the surrounding communities, powering everything from heating to greenhouses.
Nearby is Hraunfossar, a unique waterfall that has its origins in the mighty Langjökull glacier. What sets this waterfall apart from the rest is that rather than flowing from a large source of water, it trickles through the porous rock of a lava field, making many small rivulets on its way into the Hvítá river. The turquoise water of its neighbour, Barnafoss, flows from the same lava field and is just as picturesque in its own right.
The rest of the day is free for you to enjoy your choice of activities in west Iceland. Ascend Langjökull glacier where you may venture into magnificent man made ice caves or descend underground into lava tubes at Viðgelmir cave. You can even head into a volcano, on a tour that will take you inside a magma chamber.
Eventually, you’ll arrive back into the heart of Reykjavík, where you will spend the night accommodation located downtown.
This will be your final day in Iceland. When you are ready, you will drive back to Keflavík International Airport, where you will drop off your rental car and check in for your flight home or onwards to your next destination.
If you have some time before your flight, then you may opt to visit the Blue Lagoon today during your drive from the city to the airport. There’s no better way to relax your muscles before a long journey ahead! You can sink your limbs into the warm, mineral-rich geothermal waters with a silica facial mask, indulge in spa treatments or dine at the world-class restaurant onsite.
Otherwise, enjoy your time exploring downtown Reykjavík, walking the historical streets and soaking in the charm as you fit in some last-minute souvenir shopping. Just be sure to leave enough time to drive back to the airport and to check in for your flight.
We hope you’ll have had a wonderful stay in Iceland and wish you a safe journey ahead!
Self-drive tours begin either in Reykjavík City or at Keflavik International Airport. A valid driver's license is required, along with a one-year long on-road experience. Please be aware that your itinerary may be rearranged to better fit with your arrival date and time.
Although it is summertime, the Icelandic weather can be very unpredictable. Please bring appropriate clothing.
Please note that this is not a photography workshop.
See our accommodation levels below and our preferred accommodation partners under each day in the daily itinerary. Bookings for one person will be arranged in single rooms, and bookings for two or more people will share a twin/double or triple room(s). Teenagers and children will be arranged in the same room with parents. If additional room(s) is needed, additional costs will incur. Guide to Iceland will provide you with the best available accommodation at the time of your booking from our preferred partners. Please keep in mind that hotel quality in Iceland varies among locations and availability is highly limited. If our preferred partners are fully booked at the time of your booking, we will find another suitable accommodation for you of similar level. Please note that not all locations offer quality level accommodation. Comfort level accommodation will be arranged at those particular locations, which is reflected in the quality level upgrade price. We always do our best to accommodate special requests, which may incur additional costs. Press choose a date to find availability.
You can now add meals to your booking. Select to include dinner on every night as an optional extra, and we will provide you with vouchers as part of your booking confirmation. We will choose from top-rated restaurants that fit with your vacation itinerary and make your reservations for you. At the restaurant, you will be offered a set menu, from which you can choose from meat, fish or vegetarian options. If you would prefer something else, the voucher will act as a credit that you can redeem at the restaurant against menu items that are not part of the set menu. Please notify the restaurant on arrival about any dietary requirements. Vouchers are non-refundable.
Below you can see the car rental options available for this self-drive tour. All our vehicles are new or current models, of maximum 2 years of age. Super Budget levels come with standard CDW insurance, while all other levels also include Gravel Protection (GP), and Super Collision Damage Waiver (SCDW) insurances. Please note that off-road driving is illegal for all types of cars. All levels come equipped with a GPS and free Wi-fi. You can enjoy unlimited data with the Wi-Fi device, which can be connected to up to 10 devices at once. The car rental will provide 24-hour roadside emergency services. Age requirement for each level can be found below. For all levels, the driver must possess a valid driving license for at least one year before the date of the rental. We recommend Budget 4X4 level for summer driving and Comfort 4X4 for winter driving.
This insurance guarantees that you can cancel tour and package bookings and receive a full refund, minus the insurance cost. The cost of your cancellation insurance depends on the duration of your tour or package. A base cost of 5,000 ISK per person is applied to all tours and packages with a duration of 5 days or less. An additional 1,000 ISK per person will be added to the insurance cost for each day after. The cancellation must be made more than 48 hours before the listed starting time on your voucher. To cancel your booking and claim your refund, simply contact firstname.lastname@example.org and declare full cancellation. Please note that this insurance covers the cancellation of the whole tour or package. Individual services cannot be cancelled and refunded separately, but are all covered and refunded in case of a full cancellation.