- 5-Day Road Trip: Golden Circle, Glacier Lagoon & South Coast
- Day 1: Arrival in Reykjavik
- Day 2: Exploring the Golden Circle
- Day 3: Black Sands and White Glaciers
- Day 4: Ice Wonderland
- Day 5: Reykjavik & Blue Lagoon
- 7-Day Road Trip: West & South Iceland with the Golden Circle
- Day 1: First Day in Iceland
- Day 2: Exploring Snaefellsnes peninsula
- Day 3: The Golden Circle
- Day 4: Waterfalls & Black Sand Beaches
- Day 5: Glacier Lagoon & Skaftafell Nature Reserve
- Day 6: Driving the South Coast
- Day 7: Sky Lagoon or Blue Lagoon
- 8-Day Ring Road Adventure Around Iceland
- Day 1: Arriving in Iceland
- Day 2: Golden Circle & South Coast
- Day 3: Skaftafell Nature Reserve & the Diamond Beach
- Day 4: Visiting the Eastfjords
- Day 5: The Diamond Circle & Lake Myvatn
- Day 6: Exploring the "Capital of the North"
- Day 7: The West of Iceland
- Day 8: Farewell to Iceland
- 10 Day Unforgettable Ring Road Trip & Snaefellsnes Peninsula
- Day 1: Arrival in Reykjavik
- Day 2: The Golden Circle
- Day 3: Exploring the Beautiful South Coast
- Day 4: Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon & Eastfjords
- Day 5: A Day at Lake Myvatn
- Day 6: Gems of North Iceland
- Day 7: The Capital of the North
- Day 8: Snaefellsnes peninsula
- Day 9: Wonders of West Iceland
- Day 10: Farewell to Iceland
- 14 Day Epic Road Trip of the Complete Ring Road & the Westfjords
- Day 1-2: Arrival in Iceland & the Golden Circle
- Day 3: Waterfalls & Black Sand Beaches
- Day 4: Ice Lagoon & Diamond Beach
- Day 5: The Charming Eastfjords
- Day 6: Lake Myvatn Mysteries
- Day 7: The Troll Peninsula
- Day 8: Westfjords Introduction
- Day 9: Deep Into the Westfjords
- Day 10: Dynjandi Waterfall & Latrabjarg Puffins
- Day 11: Ferry Ride to Snaefellsnes Peninsula
- Day 12: Exploring "Iceland in Miniature"
- Day 13: Exploring Caves & Waterfalls
- Day 14: A Day in Reykjavik
What is the best road trip you can take in Iceland? What itinerary will best suit your needs, desires, and budget? Read ahead to discover the top five road trips around Iceland.
Driving around Iceland is an awe-inspiring experience. The ever-changing landscapes mean that, just through your car window from the road, you will be able to witness glacier tongues and volcanic peaks, lava fields and waterfalls, geothermal areas, and incredible stretches of black sand beaches.
By booking a customizable self-drive tour in Iceland, accommodation around the country will have been pre-arranged for you and you have the option of booking admission to various tours and activities along the way. This will save you valuable time and money and you can simply focus on enjoying the journey.
We have put together the perfect road trip for a 5-day, 7-day, 8-day, 10-day, and 14-day itinerary in Iceland. Therefore, you should be able to find just the right tour for you depending on how long you're staying.
- Read The Ultimate Guide to Driving in Iceland before heading out on the road
Taking a planned trip to see the highlights of the country is an experience that is highly recommended to travelers in Iceland.
Not only will it expose you to its dramatic nature, but it will also give you the freedom to spend as little or as long at each location as you like, without concern for tour guides or other guests.
All you need in order to take a road trip is a member of your group who has a valid driver’s license and confidence in driving on country roads.
Regardless of when you embark upon your road trip, it is important to be aware of a few resources that will be essential for your journey.
Firstly, you will need to reference Iceland's Met Office and check the weather forecast before setting out each day to see what the conditions are likely to be on the road and at your destination.
Secondly, you should also reference The Icelandic Road Administration to ensure that all roads are open.
Without further ado, read ahead to see the top five best road trips in Iceland based on how many days you have to enjoy them.
5-Day Road Trip: Golden Circle, Glacier Lagoon & South Coast
In just five days, you will be surprised by how many places you can visit and the sheer variety of the natural wonders you can see. around the country.
This 5-day self-drive tour in Iceland is the perfect way to explore some of its most famous attractions.
You'll have the freedom to visit incredible places at your own pace, including the Blue Lagoon, Golden Circle, Reynisfjara black sand beach, Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon, and many of Iceland's most famous waterfalls.
Day 1: Arrival in Reykjavik
If you have extra time, you may choose to stop at the Blue Lagoon on your way to Reykjavik. This world-renowned spa is known for its healing waters, vivid azure colors, and luxurious treatments, all set amidst a moss-covered lava field.
If you add the Blue Lagoon to your itinerary, it will be arranged according to your flight schedule. If you don't have time to visit the lagoon today, it can simply be added to another day.
Once you arrive in Reykjavik, head to your accommodation in the city. You can spend the rest of the day exploring the northernmost capital in the world, visiting places such as the Reykjavik Settlement Exhibition or the iconic Perlan (seen above).
The city center is very walkable and using a car to get around it is not recommended. Walk along the main street, shop at boutiques, sit down at a café, or dine at one of the many great restaurants in Reykjavik.
Day 2: Exploring the Golden Circle
The first day outside Reykjavik will be spent exploring the country’s most famous sightseeing route, the Golden Circle.
The first stop on the trail is the UNESCO heritage site Thingvellir National Park.
In 930 AD, the settlers of Iceland founded a national assembly at which they could reconcile their differences and make new laws, which they attended every year since. In the 19th century, the assembly moved to Reykjavik. However, Thingvellir retains the title of the founding site of what is now the world’s longest-running parliament still in existence.
Its historical and cultural relevance, however, is not the only thing that draws people to Thingvellir. It is also beloved for its geology.
The mid-Atlantic rift runs all the way through Iceland, leading to the country’s active volcanism, yet nowhere in the world can it be seen so clearly as here.
Eruptions in millennia past have filled the area with lava rock, and earthquakes have torn open fissures.
These fissures fill with spring water traveling through the porous basalt, which leads to the largest lake in Iceland, Thingvallavatn.
Because of the clarity of the water in these fissures, and the beautiful sites beneath the surface, you can book snorkeling tours in Thingvellir for those able to swim.
The ravine open to snorkelers is called Silfra and takes about forty minutes to swim through.
- See also: Diving and Snorkelling in Iceland
Once you have immersed yourself in the history and beauty of Thingvellir, you can hit the road once more and head to Haukadalur Valley, home of the Geysir Geothermal Area.
The largest geyser in the area is called Geysir - the one that granted all others their name. While this Geysir itself is mostly inactive, Strokkur, which sits right nearby, erupts every five to ten minutes to heights of over twenty meters.
This will give you plenty of photographic opportunities to see Iceland's geothermal power in action. Around the area are many smaller hot springs and bubbling mud pots.
Less than a ten-minute drive from the Geysir Geothermal Area is Iceland’s most iconic waterfall, Gullfoss.
The ‘Golden Falls’ is mightily powerful, surging down two steps before plunging into a dramatic valley, leaving no visitor wondering why it is one of the country’s most popular destinations.
Many sites surrounding the Golden Circle are within easy driving distance from Gullfoss and are well worth visiting if you have time.
The dramatic crater lake of Kerid, for example, is under an hour's drive from Gullfoss. The contrasts here between the vivid red rock and the permanent pool of azure water barely look natural.
If you're still full of energy, you can opt for a snowmobile tour on a nearby glacier. If that doesn't appeal to you and you'd prefer to take it easy, go relax in the geothermal water of the Secret Lagoon before heading to your accommodation in the town of Selfoss.
Day 3: Black Sands and White Glaciers
You can approach this glacier tongue right to its edge, where you can marvel over the dramatic formations and the dazzling coloration of the ice blue and black veins that contrast beautifully with the white snow.
The black color comes from the ash dropped after the 2010 volcanic eruption of Eyjafjallajokull.
It is imperative that you never climb on a glacier without a guide. But you can easily pre-book a glacier hike on Solheimajokull to your itinerary.
- See also: Glaciers and Glacier Hiking in Iceland
Continuing along Route 1, you will soon see a dramatic feature curving out into the ocean from a range of cliffs: the Dyrholaey Rock Arch.
From a distance, its scale is incredible, yet it is even better up close. Throughout the year, you can see hexagonal basalt columns here, and in the summer months, thousands of nesting puffins.
The black sand coastline that stretches east of Dyrholaey is your next destination.
Make sure you heed the signs, and stay away from the edge of the water, regardless of the time of the year and weather.
From a safe distance, you will still be able to see the Reynisdrangar sea stacks towering from the ocean near the arch, all that is left of three trolls that, according to legend, turned to stone by the light of the morning sun.
From there, you will head to the Skaftafell Nature Reserve, nestled under the largest glacier in Europe, Vatnajokull. The area has a wide array of walking paths and hikes of various difficulty levels.
You have the opportunity to hike 3 miles (5 kilometers) towards the amazing Svartifoss waterfall, known for its black hexagonal basalt columns.
You will spend the night in Vatnajokull National Park.
Day 4: Ice Wonderland
You will start your fourth day exploring the crown jewel of Iceland's natural wonders, the glistening Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon.
The water is filled with floating icebergs that break off the nearby Breidarmerkurjokull glacier as the meltwater flows toward the ocean.
While there, you have the opportunity to go on a 1-hour zodiac boat tour on the glacier lagoon and see the massive icebergs up close, as well as the curious seals that swim around in the lagoon.
From there, you can drive to the alluring Diamond Beach, where icebergs of various sizes float upon a shore, creating an eye-popping contrast between the shiny ice and the black beach.
When you have explored the incredible wonders of southeast Iceland, you can start driving back to your choice of accommodation in Reykjavik.
On the way to Reykjavik, you can stop along the many attractions along Route 1 if you have time. You can stop by the beautiful Foss a Sidu waterfall or explore the mysterious Dverghamrar cliffs while enjoying the drive toward the capital.
Day 5: Reykjavik & Blue Lagoon
On your departure day, you will wake up in Reykjavik and can enjoy a nice breakfast at one of the many charming cafés in the city's downtown area.
On the way to the airport, you also have the opportunity to visit the famous hot spring spa, the Blue Lagoon, if you skipped it on your first day (or just go again!), which is located just a 30-minute drive from the airport.
The mineral-rich geothermal waters of the azure-colored lagoon will make you feel relaxed after an eventful trip to Iceland as you get ready to go to the airport and take the wonderful memories with you home.
If you want to experience the best of Iceland in just five days, make sure to book this fun 5-day road trip in Iceland right now!
7-Day Road Trip: West & South Iceland with the Golden Circle
Experience the best of Iceland's most popular destinations on this thrilling 7-day self-drive tour around Iceland. Perfect for those who prefer to travel at their own pace and have a pre-planned itinerary taking you to all the most fantastic locations around the country in just one week, including the Golden Circle, Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon, Snaefellsnes peninsula, and the Blue Lagoon.
In addition to visiting all three national parks in Iceland, you will see plenty of waterfalls, black sand beaches, glaciers, volcanoes, and hot springs along the way. For those looking for thrills, you can add activities such as exploring a volcano's magma chamber or snowmobiling on Langjokull glacier at a discounted price, making it both budget-friendly and fun.
If you're lucky enough to spend a whole week in the land of ice and fire, this is the perfect 7-day itinerary in Iceland.
Day 1: First Day in Iceland
For your first day in Iceland, you will arrive at Keflavik International Airport, where your car will be waiting for you. You have a choice of either driving straight to Reykjavik or, if you have time, go bathe in the famous Blue Lagoon, located only a 30-minute drive from the airport.
This world-renowned geothermal spa is known for its healing waters, vivid blue colors, and luxurious treatments. Its location in the middle of a moss-covered lava field gives it an otherworldly atmosphere.
If you don't have time to visit the Blue Lagoon on your first day, it can simply be added at a later date. Just contact our travel consultants, and they will happily set it up for you.
When you arrive in Reykjavik, you can take in the atmosphere of the world's northernmost capital and soak in some of the local culture.
- Read more: Top 10 Things to Do in Reykjavik
You can also do some shopping at Laugavegur street or enjoy the local cuisine at one of the many great restaurants in Reykjavik.
Day 2: Exploring Snaefellsnes peninsula
After waking up in Reykjavik, it's time to head for adventure! You'll start the day by driving to the north of Reykjavik, to explore the amazing Snaefellsnes peninsula in Western Iceland.
Before heading north, you can be part of a mind-blowing excursion down into the magma chamber of Thrihnukagigur volcano.
When you're ready to start your road trip, drive Route 1 north to the town of Borgarnes, and then continue north on Route 54, the road which encircles the peninsula.
Borgarnes is a great place to stop and get supplies or coffee before continuing. This charming town is also home to the Settlement Center, which has two exhibitions on Iceland’s early history.
Photo by Chensiyuan, from Wikimedia Creative Commons
One of the exhibitions is about the settlement era of Iceland's history when brave voyagers from Scandinavia settled on the island. The other exhibition explores ‘Egil’s Saga’ about the great warrior-poet Egill Skalla-Grímsson. This site, therefore, is not to be missed by lovers of Viking history or literature.
- See also: Icelandic Literature for Beginners
Along the peninsula's south coast, you will find Ytri-Tunga beach, a stretch of coast by a farm of the same name. This is one of Iceland’s most reliable seal-watching destinations.
Just a few meters from the shore, you will see chunks of lava rock jutting from the ocean, and basking on these as if on foam mattresses, you are likely to see a few members of the colony hauling out.
The world within is quite as magical as you will discover a mossy grotto with a stream trickling its way through.
Photo by Regína Hrönn Ragnarsdóttir
It is possible to get a little way into the ravine, but only for those with sturdy hiking shoes, waterproof clothing, and a lot of ambition. It is an impossible feat to achieve without clambering up a little waterfall and getting quite wet.
As you continue along the road, the mighty Snaefellsjokull glacier will start to materialize before you.
Near the glacier, you can go explore the lava tubes of Vatnshellir cave on a guided tour through this 650 feet (200 meters) long cave.
Both of these are quaint settlements with fascinating histories, but they are best known for their beautiful coastal scenery. As ever-growing stops for visitors, both also have restaurants you can refuel at.
Near the mighty glacier, you can make a stop at Skarðsvík beach. This beautiful inlet, surrounded by cliffs, is reached by following a short trail. With its golden sands and blue waters, it will barely feel like you are still in Iceland.
Often called ‘the most photographed mountain in Iceland,’ Kirkjufell is a beautiful stand-alone peak, made even more charming by the waterfall Kirkjufellsfoss which trickles nearby.
You can go for a midnight sun kayaking tour under the iconic mountain if you're visiting during the summer when the sun keeps shining through the evening.
As you continue east along the northern side of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, you will cross over the Berserkjahraun lava fields, a place with a dark history of trickery and cold-blooded murder.
You can finish your adventure on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula at the fishing village of Stykkishólmur.
This settlement is rich in folklore and fishing culture, so it is a great place to grab a fresh bite and learn a little more about Iceland’s past.
Day 3: The Golden Circle
On your third day, you will leave your accommodation on Snaefellsnes peninsula and head out to explore Iceland's most popular sightseeing route, the Golden Circle.
The first stop on the circle is the historic Thingvellir National Park. The world's longest-running representative parliament was founded here in the year 930 AD, by Iceland's early settlers.
In addition to its historical significance, it is located in the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, where two tectonic plates drift apart. In fact, you can walk right between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates while visiting Thingvellir.
If you're feeling bold, you can even go snorkeling in a crystal clear ravine located between the two plates, called Silfra.
From there, you will head to the Haukadalur geothermal area.
This valley of hot springs and fumaroles is home to the famous Geysir and its much more active neighbor Strokkur. While the former is largely inactive, the latter blasts water over 66 ft (20 m) high every five to ten minutes.
The final stop on the Golden Circle route is the breathtaking Gullfoss waterfall. Widely considered the most beautiful waterfall in Iceland, with a name that translates to "Golden Falls," which actually gives the Golden Circle its name.
Gullfoss waterfall drops down 105 feet (32 meters) into a narrow river gorge via two tiers. Make sure to stay within the fence of the viewing platform for safety. You'll still be very close to the powerful stream of this waterfall.
On sunny days, the waterfall gets crowned by a perpetual rainbow, which just adds to the natural beauty of this wonder.
Photo by Laila Gebhard
If you have a thirst for adventure, you can add a visit to Vidgelmir lava cave to your itinerary. This 1-hour guided tour is very beginner-friendly (even for children!), as this lava cave is not dark and compact, but has a wide space with countless icicles, and mesmerizing rock formations.
If you're the thrill-seeking type, you could go for a snowmobiling tour of Langjokull glacier, which departs directly from Gullfoss waterfall.
You also have the option of heading to the geothermal spa at Laugarvatn Fontana, which has a beautiful lake view.
Your accommodation for the night will be in the vicinity of the Golden Circle route.
Day 4: Waterfalls & Black Sand Beaches
On your fourth day, you will start exploring the incredible South Coast of Iceland.
After the Golden Circle, this is Iceland’s second-most popular sightseeing route, and as can be expected, it is lined with features.
As long as your going southward, it is recommended that you make a stop at the crater Kerid on the way to admire the spectacular fiery coloration of the mineral-rich rock surrounding the vivid blue lake resting at its bottom.
From there, you can stop at the town of Selfoss for a quick bite and then continue along Route 1 until you arrive at Seljalandsfoss waterfall, one of the country’s most beloved falls.
It is particularly unique due to the fact that it falls from a concave cliff. Also, if the conditions are safe, it is possible to take a walk fully encircling the cascade.
Seljalandsfoss is visible from the road, so many visitors divert to investigate it.
A site often overlooked, however, which is within easy walking distance, is another waterfall called Gljufrabui. Nestled in a cliff, it requires you to walk up a ravine into a grotto, where you can marvel at it tumbling from above.
Continuing east along Route 1, you will pass in the shadow of the notorious Eyjafjallajokull volcano.
This was the volcano that erupted in 2010, causing enormous problems with air travel and generating a large amount of international attention on Iceland while twisting the tongues of news anchors around the world.
The next site you will stop at, however, is another waterfall, Skogafoss.
Of all the waterfalls you will stop at on this day, it is by far the most classic in its form.
Over sixty meters high and twenty meters wide at its heaviest flow, it cascades off a cliff in one drop, thundering to the earth with enormous power.
By taking a short drive over to Skogar Museum, you can hike to a fourth and final waterfall, this one’s even lesser known than Gljufrabui.
Kvernufoss falls is located in a hidden gorge not far away, and though it cannot be encircled like Seljalandsfoss, it is also possible to stand behind the water flow.
- See also: Waterfalls in Iceland
The next major attraction following these waterfalls is Solheimajokull glacier, a tongue of the greater Myrdalsjokull (which, it should be noted, covers an even more explosive volcano than Eyjafjallajokull, Katla).
You can approach this glacier tongue right to its edge, where you can marvel over the dramatic formations and the coloration of the ice. With blue and black veins that contrast beautifully with the white snow.
The black color comes from the ash dropped after the 2010 volcanic eruption of Eyjafjallajökull.
It is imperative that you never climb on a glacier without a guide. There are, however, opportunities to take a guided hike upon Solheimajokull, if you wish.
The landscapes south of the glacier are of desert-like black sands due to the floods that flash through this area whenever an eruption occurs beneath Myrdalsjokull.
Continuing along Route 1, you will soon see a dramatic feature curving out into the ocean from a range of cliffs: the Dyrholaey Rock Arch.
From a distance, its scale is incredible, yet it is even better up close. Throughout the year, you can see hexagonal basalt columns here, and in the summer months, thousands of nesting puffins.
Nearby you will find Reynisfjara black sand beach, with its basalt columns, cliffs, and striking black sand. Make sure to heed all warnings about safety on the beach, as sneaker waves can be dangerous.
From a safe distance, you will still be able to see the Reynisdrangar sea stacks towering from the ocean near the arch, all that is left of three trolls, as the legend goes, that turned to stone by the light of the morning sun.
Day 5: Glacier Lagoon & Skaftafell Nature Reserve
On the fifth day of your journey, you will continue east from Vik along the south coast towards the stunning Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon.
Along the way, you'll pass stark volcanic deserts and have an incredible view of the largest glacier in Europe, Vatnajokull.
On your way to Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon, you can stop at the charming village of Kirkjubaejarklaustur for a short hike or a bite to eat.
Further ahead, you should head into the beautiful Skaftafell Nature Reserve within Vatnajokull National Park, the largest national park in Iceland. This area has many hikes, including toward the unique waterfall Svartifoss, which tumbles off a cliff of hexagonal basalt columns.
These eye-catching patterns come to be when lava cools rapidly following a volcanic eruption and have served as the inspiration for some of Iceland's architecture, such as Hallgrimskirkja church and the National Theater of Iceland.
You'll finish the day at the stunning Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon, where you'll surely want to spend some time admiring icebergs as they float slowly to the ocean.
This area is considered by many to be Iceland's most beautiful spot, and for a good reason. If you wish to get closer to the bergs in the lagoon, you can opt for a boat tour that will take you right out to them, either in an amphibious boat or a zodiac.
The icebergs on the lagoon are as varied as they are many. You have the opportunity to watch as they drift by, occasionally bumping into each other or even flipping over. Their electric blue and pure white colors are mesmerizing, as well as the crackling sound they make as they float around in the water.
From the glacier lagoon, you can take a short walk toward the so-called Diamond Beach in Iceland. This black sand beach is where icebergs of varying sizes float upon the shore, creating a stark contrast between the black volcanic sand and the sparkling white ice.
You'll stay the night at a charming countryside hotel near Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon this evening.
Day 6: Driving the South Coast
If you didn't do it previously during your trip, you have the option of going on a glacier hike before driving back to Reykjavik or taking a boat ride out onto the glacier lagoon.
Otherwise, it is a long drive back to Reykjavík, so it's best to start early.
On your return journey, you can revisit your favorite spots along the way or stop by some of the villages and towns along the south coast. Many of Iceland's locations have a completely different beauty at different times of the day or when the weather has changed.
The town of Hveragerdi has beautiful geothermal areas surrounding it, which are worth a visit. You can even go on a 3-hour hot springs horse riding tour exploring the area if you have the time.
- Read more: The Icelandic Horse - A Comprehensive Guide
There are also many detours available you can take along the way, such as to Fjadrargljufur canyon, a verdant, mossy ravine carved from the rock by a fast-moving river.
If you feel like you've done enough exploring, you can also simply drive to Reykjavik early and enjoy a day of culture and cuisine in the northernmost capital city in the world and make the most of your last night in Iceland.
Soak in the city's summer atmosphere and explore the charming downtown area. Check out Hallgrimskirkja church, Harpa Concert Hall, or the Solfarid Viking Ship sculpture. You can also simply enjoy walking around the area, which is very easy to get around.
For dinner, you will have a lot of great restaurants to choose from, whether you're looking for an exotic fusion menu or something more traditional. Since it's your last night, why not splurge on something you won't forget?
At the end of the night, you will stay in your accommodation in Reykjavik.
Day 7: Sky Lagoon or Blue Lagoon
You will wake up in a hotel in the city center of Reykjavik. What you do for your last day depends on if you have an early or a late flight.
If you have an early flight, it's wise to be at the airport at least two hours before departure, so plan accordingly.
However, if you have a late flight and want to make the most of it, we definitely recommend visiting one of Iceland's famous hot spring spas before you head off to the airport.
You have the opportunity to visit the Sky Lagoon, located in the town of Kopavogur just outside Reykjavik, within a 10-15 minute drive from the city center. We recommend booking full access to Sky Lagoon so you can enjoy all their facilities.
There you can enjoy the warm geothermal waters while enjoying the amazing views of Skerjafjordur bay from the lagoon's infinity pool. If you're up for it, you can also hit the glacial pool, steam room, sauna, and cold mist room that are located on the premises.
If you want to bathe in warm waters nearer to the airport, the perfect option is to book tickets for the Blue Lagoon.
This is a great place to relax as you bathe in the warm, mineral-rich waters while you look back on the incredible adventure you have just taken part in.
Whether you go for the Sky Lagoon or the Blue Lagoon, when you arrive at the airport, you will feel relaxed, with a mind full of memories that will stay with you for a long time.
If you have a week to spend in Iceland and want to use this itinerary, book this unforgettable 7-day road trip in Iceland now!
8-Day Ring Road Adventure Around Iceland
One of the things that make Iceland such a great travel destination is that it's easy to get around without much navigation. Route 1 is a national road that circles the entire island, giving it the nickname "The Ring Road."
Therefore, on this unforgettable 8-day self-drive tour around Iceland, you can visit the most popular destinations in Iceland by the famous Ring Road.
By booking this self-drive tour with an 8-day itinerary, you will visit every corner of Iceland, and not just the areas closest to Reykjavik, giving you a great overview of all the different things to see and do in the country.
Exploring the popular Golden Circle and South Coast, as well as the less-visited and more remote Eastfjords and Snaefellsnes peninsula, this 8-day itinerary in Iceland really gives you the best of both worlds.
Day 1: Arriving in Iceland
When you arrive at Keflavik International Airport, your rental car with be waiting for you so you can start your epic road trip in Iceland right away!
To start things off, you can either start driving through the lunar-like landscape of Reykjanes peninsula toward Reykjavik or make the first stop on your journey at the famous Blue Lagoon.
This incredible hot spring spa is known for its warm geothermal waters, vivid azure colors, and various spa treatments available for guests.
The lagoon has a swim-up bar where visitors can enjoy drinks while soaking in its healing waters, and there is also the option of eating at the restaurant located on the premises.
If you don't have time to visit the Blue Lagoon on your first day, it can simply be added to another day. As you'll drive back to the airport at the end of your journey, it's easy to finish the road trip off with a visit to the world-renowned spa if that's what you prefer.
As you arrive in Reykjavik, your accommodations will be pre-arranged for you, making everything as simple as can be. Once you're settled in at your hotel, you can head out and enjoy the rest of the day in Iceland's capital city.
We recommend taking a stroll in the walkable city center and visiting some of the local shops and cafés on Laugarvegur street.
Day 2: Golden Circle & South Coast
After waking up in Reykjavik, you can start your day with breakfast in the city center before heading out on your journey to explore Iceland's nature!
This day sends you to some of the best-known natural wonders in Iceland via the famous sightseeing route known as the Golden Circle.
Your first stop on this route is Thingvellir National Park. The world's oldest working parliament, Althingi, was founded here in 930 AD, and it is also where Iceland converted to Christianity in the year 1000 and declared its independence from Denmark in 1944.
In addition to its historical significance, Thingvellir is a geological marvel as it sits between two tectonic plates on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The ridge wraps around the entire globe for more than 40,000 miles (65,000 kilometers) underwater, like the seam of a baseball!
Iceland is only one of a few places where the ridge is above ground where you can actually stand on it, and nowhere is that more clear than at Thingvellir.
If you're feeling brave, you can opt for a snorkeling tour into the Silfra fissure, a crystal-clear ravine of incredible underwater vistas that runs between the Eurasian and North-American tectonic plates.
The geothermal valley of Haukadalur is the next stop, where you can see the erupting geysers Strokkur and Geysir, amongst many bubbling hot springs. Strokkur puts on an unforgettable display every 10 minutes or so, erupting to heights that exceed 66 ft (20 m).
Just a few kilometers away is the namesake of the Golden Circle, the mighty waterfall of Gullfoss, which translates to "Golden Falls." A pathway takes you to the water's edge, where you can get a real sense of the incredible power of these enormous falls.
From Gullfoss, those with a sense of adventure can hop on an optional snowmobiling tour on Langjokull glacier.
If neither a snorkeling tour nor a snowmobiling tour appeals to you, you could go for a 2-hour horse riding tour and get to know the friendly Icelandic horse while exploring southern Iceland.
Another popular sight of the area is the volcanic crater Kerid (seen above), which is well worth a visit before continuing to the South Coast. The rocks of this crater are colored rusty red and fiery orange, and the groundwater that permanently sits in its basin is an incredible, vivid blue. The contrasting colors, especially when you add green-growing moss, are a beautiful thing to witness.
As you travel further east on the Ring Road along the south coast, you will see Seljalandsfoss waterfall.
This unique waterfall looks great from afar and up close...real close! In fact, you can walk around the waterfall itself within a cave nestled behind the tumbling water.
Just a few minutes walk from Seljalandsfoss, there's another waterfall nestled in between the cliffs, making it hidden from the outside. That waterfall is called Gljufrabui, which roughly translates to "Cliff Dweller," because of its stealthy location.
As you continue on along Route 1, you will arrive at the mighty and mesmerizing Skogafoss waterfall, a behemoth of a waterfall with a 200 feet (60 meters) drop and a width nearly half its height.
Once you've taken in the majesty of Skogafoss (and plenty of pictures!), keep driving the same route east until your reach the quiet village of Vik where your accommodation is located.
Once you're settled in, you can take a walk down to the shore and admire the black sand beach of Reynisfjara, the dramatic Dyrholaey rock arch, and the eerie Reynisdrangar sea stacks.
However, be very careful of the ocean as the waves along this stretch of coast are notoriously unpredictable and dangerous. Make sure to heed all warnings at the location and never get too close to the ocean, even if it makes for a great picture, it's not worth it!
You can spend as long as you like at the beach until you're ready to hit the hay and get ready for tomorrow's journey.
Day 3: Skaftafell Nature Reserve & the Diamond Beach
Photo by Regína Hrönn Ragnarsdóttir
After waking up in the charming village of Vik, get some breakfast, refuel the car if necessary, and then head to the beautiful Skaftafell Nature Reserve, located within the greater Vatnajokull National Park.
You can choose to start your day with a visit to the natural ice cave within Myrdalsjokull glacier. These electric-blue ice caves form naturally and are usually only accessible in the winter season. This particular ice cave, however, is also accessible in the summer, so don't miss the opportunity to visit.
As the sun shines through the thick layers of ice, it illuminates the inside of the cave, creating brilliant colors and lighting up crystallized ice. There's nothing like it!
Once you're in Skaftafell, you can spend your time taking in the many stunning sights and exciting activities that are available. If you're a hiker, whether amateur or experienced, you will find countless scenic trails and tracks here, including one that leads to the beautiful Svartifoss waterfall.
The hike from the visitor center to Svartifoss waterfall is just about 1 mile (1.5 kilometers), making it highly accessible.
When hiking toward the waterfall, you will pass three smaller waterfalls along the way, making the walk up the river's east bank more enjoyable and giving you plenty of photography opportunities!
While at Skaftafell Reserve, it is also possible to snap on some crampons and opt for a glacier hike on Vatnajokull.
Approximately 11% of Iceland's land surface is covered in glaciers. Traversing these ice giants on foot is an unforgettable experience and rewarding for anyone that gives it a go.
As you continue your road trip, you'll find yourself by one of Iceland's most famous and dazzling attractions, the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon.
The glacier lagoon is called such because it's a lake that is filled with the meltwater of an outlet glacier.
These icebergs, other than their size, are notable for their coloration. Although they are, as expected, largely white, most are also electric blue in part, with black streaks of ash from eruptions centuries past.
Once you're here, you can embark on an optional boat tour on the glacier lagoon, bringing your closer to the serene floating icebergs of all shapes and sizes, either on an amphibious boat or a zippy zodiac.
However, even from the shore, the lagoon is stunning, and you have a good chance to see seals playing around in the water. After you have enjoyed the lagoon, you can take a short walk to the nearby Diamond Beach.
At this beach is where ice caps wash up on the shore and sparkle like gemstones in the sun, giving the beach its name.
When you're ready, you can start heading toward your resting spot for the night, the fishing village of Hofn in the southeast of Iceland.
Day 4: Visiting the Eastfjords
On the fourth day of your road trip, you will explore the incredible fjords of East Iceland.
This remote part of the country is little traveled, meaning your road trip here is likely to be without traffic, and the places you stop at most likely won't have large crowds.
The Eastfjords are spectacular in and of themselves. The mountains of the east are monumental, and the bays are sparkling and beautiful.
The fishing villages you will pass through are sleepy and idyllic, and the nature is spectacular.
- Read more: The Ultimate Guide to Iceland's East Fjords
In the sea, you have a better chance to spot whales and dolphins from shore than much of the rest of the country.
Along the coast, you may see seals, as well as many seabirds, including puffins, nest in the cliffs. East Iceland is also the only region of the country where wild reindeer roam.
Traveling along Route 1 will expose you to a wealth of incredible vistas and nature opportunities.
It is not just the wildlife and landscapes that are of interest, however. The first major settlement you will come to is the village of Djupivogur. Though it is home to less than five hundred people, it is renowned for its art and its ethos.
The Eggs of Merry Bay is a series of outdoor sculptures that line the coast just to the west of the town.
The artist who created them, Sigurður Guðmundsson, modeled each of the thirty-four pieces after the eggs of the different bird species that nest in the area.
Picture by Regína Hrönn Rangarsdottir
Continuing along Route 1, you will pass through the charming village of Breiddalsvik, admiring its black sand beaches and beautiful ocean views before the road curves inland.
From there, you can go to Iceland’s largest forest Hallormsstadaskogur. This verdant area has many hiking and biking routes and great spots for birdwatching.
Those interested in cryptozoology should spend time exploring this legendary lake. The waters are said to hold a terrifying wyrm creature called Lagarfljotsormurinn, or the Lagarfljot Wyrm.
Sightings of the Lagarfjot Wyrm have been reported since 1345 all the way to the 21st century, making it a long-lasting legend of the region (and even older than the Loch Ness monster!).
You will be spending the night in the Egilsstadir area, but the drive is short, giving you plenty of time to visit various places in the surrounding area.
Driving directly along the suggested route, without stops, should take less than three and a half hours. It is thus a good idea to check out some of the great places to visit in the Eastfjords.
If you'd rather take some time and relax out in the beautiful nature of East Iceland, you should visit the Vok Baths geothermal spa, which beautifully incorporates its environment into its design, making you feel like you're bathing in nature.
Opening in 2019, this hot spring spa features two floating infinity pools, a steam room, an inside pool, a swim-up bar, and a bistro that serves light courses for adults and kids.
Additionally, there is Lake Urridavatn, which guests are free to hop in, while visiting the spa. The lake has exceptionally clean water, and there's no better feeling than going from swimming in the cold lake to soaking in the warm geothermal pools.
End the day in Egilsstadir, the so-called "Capital of the East," and rest up before continuing up north the following morning.
Day 5: The Diamond Circle & Lake Myvatn
Photo by Gestur Pálsson, from Wikimedia Creative Commons.
After waking up in Egilsstadir, get ready to continue your road trip, as today is all about North Iceland and exploring the so-called Diamond Circle sightseeing route.
First off, you will take the Ring Road north towards Lake Myvatn. En route, however, you will find yourself passing by the great canyon Jokulsargljufur.
Dettifoss is a staggering 330 feet (100 meters) wide and sends an impressive 7,000 cubic feet (200 cubic meters) of water per second tumbling down a 144-foot (44-meter) cliff.
This incredible display of nature's power creates a thundering roar as the water crashes down the gorge, which is only known by those who witness it.
The waterfall's name directly translates to "Tumbling Falls" and was featured in the opening sequence of the Hollywood blockbuster Prometheus in 2012.
From there, you go to the region of Lake Myvatn, which is renowned for its diverse terrain.
The lake is surrounded by a range of geological formations, including geothermal hot springs, volcanic craters, and lava fields. Visitors to the area can enjoy hiking, bird watching, and exploring the surrounding areas, which are home to a variety of bird species, including many rare species.
An unmissable characteristic of the area is the beautiful Skutustadagigar pseudo-craters.
These craters were formed around 2300 years ago when lava flowed over the wetlands of the area, creating steam explosions that left behind these unique formations. Since their formation, they've grown over with greeneries, making them look quite unique.
The lack of vegetation on the slopes of Namaskard is caused by the heat beneath the earth, acidity in the soil, and the expulsion of poisonous fumes. Nevertheless, the site is far from dull, with its vividly colored earth streaked by elements brought up with the steam.
Shades of red, orange, yellow, and green are prominently concentrated around the springs themselves, giving Namaskard a unique and striking appearance.
You could also go visit the Dimmuborgir lava formations, directly translated to the "Black Fortress" because of the tall and menacing shapes of the hardened lava.
Afterward, unwind in the tranquil geothermal waters of the Myvatn Nature Baths, the perfect way to recharge after a long day of exploration. The water is rich in minerals such as silica and sulfur, which are known for their therapeutic benefits.
The complex features several outdoor pools, saunas, steam rooms, and a restaurant, all surrounded by the beautiful natural scenery of the Myvatn area. Visitors can enjoy a relaxing soak in the warm waters while taking in the breathtaking views of the surrounding volcanic landscapes.
Then, make your way to Akureyri, the charming "Capital of the North," where you'll spend the night.
Day 6: Exploring the "Capital of the North"
Day six presents the opportunity to explore Akureyri, a captivating town that boasts unique shops and museums.
Akureyri is the second-largest urban area in Iceland and is often referred to as the "Capital of North Iceland." It's surrounded by beautiful landscapes, including snow-capped mountains and the sparkling waters of the fjord of Eyjafjordur.
If you missed it the previous day, you could take a whale-watching tour in Akureyri and see the many great mammals swimming in the fjord of Eyjafjordur, which is among the best spots in Iceland to see the friendly giants of the sea.
After enjoying the town, embark on an adventure to discover the Trollaskagi peninsula, which is home to some of Iceland's tallest mountains along the coastline.
A short drive north of Akureyri, you will find the Gasir farm, where you can opt for a fun horse-riding tour and explore the nature of the Trollaskagi peninsula on foot (or hooves, to be exact).
If you haven't experienced it already, riding on the Icelandic horse is a great way to get to know the country, as horses have been a part of Iceland's history just as long as humans have.
From the time the first Norse settlers set foot on land, the Icelandic horse has been the trusty companion of Icelanders and the transportation of choice for the major part of its history.
The Icelandic horse is kid-friendly, sure-footed and is known worldwide for its fifth gait, the so-called "tolt."
On this peninsula, you can also find the unique Beer Spa, where you have the opportunity to bathe in...yes, beer!
In the spa, you can soak away the stress of modern life by relaxing in a bath of warm, young beer and live beer yeast. To add to the experience, you can do so with a cold beer in your hand that was brewed on location.
The designated driver need not worry, as the tub of warm beer will not increase the alcohol level in your blood!
Here, you can unwind in the town's geothermal infinity pool while admiring the magnificent scenery.
As the day draws to a close, you'll spend the night in a hotel close to the town of Saudarkrokur.
Day 7: The West of Iceland
On day seven, you have the opportunity to explore West Iceland, which offers a diverse range of attractions.
Its distinct shape has been compared to some kind of mythical animal or a rhinoceros having a drink of water. Once you've taken in the view and snapped off some pictures, it's time to continue, as you have plenty of driving to do today.
- Read more: The Majestic Hvitserkur Sea Stack
About a 2-hour drive from Hvitserkur, you will come upon Deildartunguhver, a geothermal area that's definitely worth a visit.
Photo by Javier Rodríguez, from Wikimedia Creative Commons.
It is known for being the most powerful hot spring in Europe, producing about 50 gallons (180 liters) of boiling water per second. The water is piped to nearby towns for heating, making it an important source of geothermal energy.
Hraunfossar, which translates to "Lava Falls," garners its name because the waterfall consists of small streams of water flowing at the edge of the Hallmundarhraun lava field into the river Hvita below.
These waterfalls can be observed from a nearby viewing platform, making it a perfect opportunity for some nature photography.
Within walking distance of Hraunfossar, you will find Barnafoss waterfall.
It is a wonderful site in and of itself, twisting, turning, foaming and churning as it races down a narrow valley, from which you can view it from above. We recommend making this stop on the way to Reykjavik, as it's an easy way to visit two beautiful waterfalls in one stop.
Photo by Pjt56, from Wikimedia Creative Commons.
Those interested in history can take a detour to Snorrastofa, a medieval research institute in Reykholt, where Snorri Sturluson, one of Iceland's most prominent historical figures, wrote the famous Edda, from which most of our knowledge about Norse mythology comes.
If time allows, opt for an exhilarating caving tour of the Vídgelmir lava tubes or venture into the awe-inspiring man-made ice tunnels of Langjokull glacier.
Langjokull is the second-largest glacier in Iceland and in it, you will find a long man-made carved-out ice tunnel with multiple rooms and pathways.
When the sunlight shines on the glacier through multiple layers of ice, it lights up the cave with a bright blue color, making the surroundings look otherworldly.
If you still want something to do before reaching Reykjavik, you can visit the Icelandic Settlement Center in Borgarnes, which chronicles the history of Iceland's settlement in the 9th and 10th centuries.
Once you reach Reykjavik, you can enjoy some of the nightlife in the city center if you don't have an early flight. There are a lot of fun bars and clubs to check out on the main street of Laugavegur and adjacent streets.
Day 8: Farewell to Iceland
This is your last day in Iceland, so you will need to head off to Keflavik airport to drop off your car.
However, those who have a later flight can use the opportunity and go visit a geothermal hot spring spa today.
Just a 10-15 minute drive from Reykjavik's city center, you can visit the Sky Lagoon. This geothermal spa opened in 2021 and features a sauna, a steam room, a cold mist room, a cold plunge pool, and an amazing hot spring infinity pool overlooking Skerjafjordur bay.
At the lagoon, there is a swim-up bar offering refreshments for visitors and inside the facilities, you can have a nice meal before heading to the airport at the Sky Café bistro.
While Sky Lagoon is the young up-and-comer, Blue Lagoon is the classic choice for hot spring spas in Iceland.
Established in 1987, it is the perfect place to relax as you bathe in the warm, mineral-rich waters as look back on your incredible adventure in the land of fire and ice.
If this Ring Road adventure is for you, make sure to book this amazing 8-day self-drive tour around Iceland now!
10 Day Unforgettable Ring Road Trip & Snaefellsnes Peninsula
The best way to explore Iceland and get the full experience is by going on a long road trip, circling the entire island. While all your accommodations will have been pre-booked at each destination around the country, a full 10-day itinerary, so all you have to worry about it is getting there.
But the best part is you can take your time, stop as long as you want at each destination and make impulse decisions on the fly while traveling around the country.
This amazing 10-day self-drive tour around Iceland takes you to both popular destinations, which are a must-see, as well as less-visited places that are hidden gems. These include the famous Golden Circle, the striking black sand beaches of the South Coast, the sheer variety of attractions on Snaefellsnes peninsula, and the remote fjords in the east of Iceland.
Read on and discover all the things you can do with this perfect 10-day itinerary in Iceland.
Day 1: Arrival in Reykjavik
Upon your arrival at Keflavik Airport, collect your rental car and drive to your accommodation in downtown Reykjavik.
While en route to Iceland's capital city, you may choose to visit the Blue Lagoon, a world-renowned spa known for its healing waters, vivid azure colors, and luxurious treatments. It is conveniently located just a half-hour drive from the airport, close to the town of Grindavik.
Adding the Blue Lagoon to your itinerary can easily be done in one click. If you don't have time to visit the lagoon today, you will have another chance to visit it during your last couple of days in Iceland.
After settling into your hotel in Reykjavik, take advantage of your proximity to one of Europe's liveliest city centers. Take a walk down the main street of Laugavegur, stop at a cozy café, shop at some of the local boutiques, and why not buy a lopapeysa (a traditional Icelandic knit sweater) to keep you warm during your upcoming road trip around the country?
Spend the night in the lovely city of Reykjavik and get ready for the journey that lies ahead.
Day 2: The Golden Circle
On day two, it's time to head out of the city and embark on the Golden Circle route to witness some of Iceland's most well-known natural wonders.
The first stop is Thingvellir National Park, where you can stroll between the Mid-Atlantic Ridge's rift valley and explore an area that played a significant role in Iceland's heritage.
Geologists from all over the world make a pilgrimage to Thingvellir because of its unique location between the North American tectonic plate and the Eurasian tectonic plate. As these two massive plates slowly drift apart, they form all kinds of rifts and cracks in the ground.
And when we say slowly, we mean very slowly, as the two tectonic plates drift apart less than 1 inch per year (about 1-2 centimeters).
Thingvellir was also the site of the world's first representative parliament, founded in the year 930, and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For a unique experience, you can even choose to snorkel in the crystal-clear fissure Silfra, which runs between the tectonic plates.
Next on the list is the geothermal valley of Haukadalur, where you can admire the stunning hot springs and geysers.
The most active geyser in the area is Strokkur, which erupts every 5-10 minutes and shoots a plume of boiling water up to 30 meters into the air.
Additionally, the area also includes the behemoth hot spring, Geysir. This hot spring goes through long periods of activity and inactivity, and these days, it is unfortunately inactive.
But this hot spring is notable for the fact that the English word "geyser" is actually derived from the name of this very geyser, Geysir!
A few miles away lies one of Iceland's most popular attractions, the awe-inspiring Gullfoss waterfall. A pathway takes you to the water's edge, allowing you to experience the tremendous natural power of the falls.
These three destinations, Thingvellir, Geysir, and Gullfoss, make up the classic sightseeing route Golden Circle. But if you're looking for more adventure for the day, there are some extra activities you can engage in.
You can opt for a snowmobile tour on Langjokull glacier. You'll be picked up at Gullfoss waterfall and have the opportunity to enjoy breathtaking views of the sweeping glaciers while you zoom across it. Alternatively, you can book a volcanic horse riding tour if you want to get to know the friendly Icelandic horse.
You will spend the night in the town of Selfoss, the largest non-coastal settlement in Iceland, located in the south of Iceland.
Day 3: Exploring the Beautiful South Coast
On day three, you have the opportunity to witness the breathtaking Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss waterfalls as you drive along Route 1.
These two waterfalls are just a short drive from each other and are special in their own way. Seljalandsfoss features a cave behind the stream of water, so you can walk behind it, while Skogafoss is massive and highly picturesque.
While heading to the town of Vik, take a slight detour to appreciate the dramatic Dyrholaey rock formation, which is just a short drive from the town.
From there, you can head to the black sand beach of Reynisfjara, which also features amazing basalt columns cliffs (seen below) and the impressive Reynisdrangar rock formations, which can be seen just off the shore. While you're enjoying the scenery, please make sure to keep a safe distance from the ocean, as sneaker waves can be very dangerous and even deadly if warnings are not heeded.
This day is your opportunity to have a glacier adventure in Iceland, so make sure to check the optional tours available if you want to make the most of it! You can hike across Solheimajokull glacier or visit a natural ice cave in Myrdalsjokull glacier, which is only accessible via a massive, so-called Super Jeep.
If you want to go for a glacier hike or experience ice caving, it would be best to do it before heading to Vik, so you won't have to rush while taking in the views at the black sand beach.
Once you've gotten past Vik along the Ring Road, you can end your day with a late afternoon hike in the Skaftafell Nature Reserve. Here, you can walk on the largest glacier in Europe, Vatnajokull.
Skaftafell Nature Reserve is ideal for outdoor enthusiasts, particularly hikers. There are numerous tracks and trails, including one that leads to the magnificent Svartifoss waterfall, which cascades over a wide cliff of hexagonal basalt columns.
On your way to your accommodation in the Vatnajokull area, you'll pass the gorgeous Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon, where enormous icebergs that have broken off a nearby glacier float around peacefully. If you're too exhausted after today's adventures, don't worry, you'll have ample time tomorrow to explore this beautiful area further.
Day 4: Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon & Eastfjords
On this day, explore the magnificent Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon, one of Iceland's most exquisite locations. You may opt for a fun boat tour that takes you through the lagoon on a meandering path, allowing you to admire the stunning icebergs of all shapes and sizes as you pass by them. You have the option of choosing between an amphibious boat and a smaller zodiac.
Take a leisurely stroll down to the nearby black sand beach, lovingly known as Diamond Beach, due to the abundance of glittering icebergs scattered along it. This is where the river from the glacier lagoon flows to the ocean, and that's why it has many icebergs, big and small, that float up on its shore, making it highly picturesque!
Lastly, embark on a zigzagging journey along the Eastfjords, passing peaceful fishing villages and sweeping coastal landscapes along the way. This region of Iceland is furthest away from the capital city, making it among the least visited areas in the country.
It's known for it's jagged mountains that line up along its fjords, as well the wild reindeer that roam around freely in the untouched wilderness of East Iceland.
Definitely make a stop at the dramatic Vestrahorn mountain (seen below), which looks like something out of a Tolkien novel.
If you're an enthusiast of mystery and all things spooky, make sure to visit Lake Lagarfljot, where a legendary serpent has been spotted for hundreds of years by the locals.
If you prefer to learn about the quirky side of the charming Eastfjords, you can visit Petra's Stone and Mineral Collection. It has a mind-boggling collection of minerals hand-picked around the region by the museum's founder, Petra, who started collecting stones in 1946 and continued to do so until she passed away in 2012, but her legacy lives on in this homely museum.
There's no better way to end a long and eventful day than to bathe in the warm geothermal waters of Vok Baths. The unique infinity pools of hot spring water floating on Lake Urridavatn is something you won't experience anywhere else. There's also an in-water pool bar and a bistro at the facility that serves light courses for patrons.
You will spend the night in your accommodation in the largest town in the east, Egilsstadir.
Day 5: A Day at Lake Myvatn
After breakfast at the town of Egilsstadir, it's time to drive up north and visit the beautiful area surrounding Lake Myvatn
The lake is famous for its volcanic landscapes and an abundance of geothermal activity.
The Namaskard hot springs is a site characterized by its barren landscape, which is devoid of vegetation due to the heat beneath the earth. Despite its stark appearance, the area is anything but dull. The earth is streaked with vivid colors, ranging from red, orange, yellow, and green, created by the elements brought up with the steam.
Namaskard is home to boiling mud pools, steaming vents, and hot springs, providing a unique opportunity to witness the raw power of Iceland's geothermal activity up close. Visitors can stroll along the boardwalks and trails, taking in the otherworldly scenery and the (admittedly) pungent aroma of sulfur in the air.
Then you can explore the Skutustadagigar pseudo-craters. These unique geological formations were created by gas explosions that occurred when lava flowed over the wetlands of the area. The pseudocraters are now covered in vegetation, making for a beautiful and unique landscape.
Additionally, you can go see the foreboding Dimmuborgir lava rock formations. This natural wonder features an otherworldly terrain of lava formations, caves, and towering volcanic rock pillars. The name Dimmuborgir translates to "dark fortress," and it's easy to see why, as the area's formations resemble the ruins of ancient castles.
Visitors can explore the area on foot along well-marked trails, taking in the surreal landscape and the natural beauty of the surrounding area.
After admiring these wonders, unwind by taking a dip in the calming geothermal waters of the Myvatn Nature Baths under the lingering midnight sun.
Then spend the night in the Myvatn region and get ready for day six!
Day 6: Gems of North Iceland
On day six, you can start the day by spending some more time exploring the unique surroundings of Lake Myvatn.
Then take a drive through the Jokulsargljufur part of Vatnajokull National Park and visit the fascinating Asbyrgi canyon (seen above), a giant horseshoe-shaped indentation in the landscape. According to local legend, this canyon was formed when Sleipnir, the eight-legged horse of Odin, stepped on the ground.
Whatever its origins may be, all we know is that it's a beautiful place to visit!
You can also visit the impressive Dettifoss waterfall (seen above), the second most powerful waterfall in Europe by sheer water volume per second. Its towering size and thunderous roar make it a truly stunning sight.
The movie buffs reading this might recognize it from the 2012 sci-fi blockbuster "Prometheus," directed by Ridley Scott, as it was featured in the opening sequence of the film.
Next, head to the northern town of Husavik, unofficially known as the "Whale-Watching Capital of Europe."
From Husavik, embark on a trip to the northern waters of Skjalfandi bay to spot some of these magnificent sea creatures. If you're interested in whale watching, there are two options available. You can either take a traditional whale-watching tour on a sailboat or opt for a smaller RIB boat tour with additional puffin watching, which allows you to get even closer to these spectacular marine mammals.
If you're seeking some relaxation in Husavík, consider visiting the tranquil GeoSea Baths. This spa is a gem among Iceland's geothermal spas as it uses warm, salty waters from the ocean, which are said to have reparative qualities. You can also enjoy impressive views of the surrounding landscape across the bay, with mountains in the distance while at the GeoSea Baths.
Once you've gotten your fill of watching whales and bathing in geothermal waters, head to the town of Akureyri, where you'll be staying for the night.
Day 7: The Capital of the North
On day seven, you'll have plenty of time to explore the area surrounding Akureyri, often-called "The Capital of the North."
Take a stroll in the charming downtown area, explore the greenery at the Akureyri Botanical Gardens and visit the famous Akureyri church, which is impossible to miss, as it's located on top of a high hill in the center of town.
Before you leave the area, consider adding some activities to your day. If you haven't gone whale watching yet, you can go for a whale-watching tour from Akureyri harbor.
- Read more: 13 Best Things to Do in Akureyri
Alternatively, explore the natural sites of the surrounding area on a horseback riding tour, which is a great way to get to know one of Iceland's treasures, the friendly Icelandic horse.
Even if you're visiting in the summer and you're one of those people that love Christmas at all costs, visit the Christmas House just outside of Akureyri. It's a magical house, like straight out of a fairytale, where Christmas (or "Jól" in Icelandic) is celebrated all year round.
Then, drive through the stunning mountainous region of Trollaskagi. Stop by the old fishing village of Siglufjordur where you can visit its Herring Era Museum.
Spend the night in the nearby town of Saudarkrokur.
Day 8: Snaefellsnes peninsula
Today, you will explore the magical Snaefellsnes peninsula, which is about a 2-hour drive away from your accommodation.
On the way, you can enjoy the scenic rolling hills of Vatnsdalsholar and take a slight detour to see the impressive Hvitserkur rock formation, just off the shoreline of Hunafjordur bay.
Consider stopping at Eiriksstadir, a longhouse and the home of the great voyager Erik the Red, who was the first European to settle in Greenland and gave it its name. He's also known for being the father of Leif Erikson, the first European to sail to North America.
- Read more: Eiríksstaðir Long House in West Iceland
Take a short trip to Sugandisey, a small island that is accessible on foot from the harbor, and enjoy the panoramic views of the town, the sea, and the surrounding mountains.
While at the harbor, you can go on a fascinating boat tour in the bay of Breidafjordur which has so many islands that they are considered, as the saying goes, "uncountable." While on the boat, you can enjoy some sushi made with fresh fish from the bay.
- Read more: The Viking Sushi Adventure
One of the highlights of the Snaefellsnes peninsula is the Snaefellsjokull glacier, located in a protected national park. Underneath the glacier is an active volcano, which lasted erupted more than 1800 years ago.
This glacier has long fascinated Icelanders, as it can be seen across the bay from Reykjavik on clear days. Stories of mysterious activity and even aliens have been reported near this glacier. It was also featured in the classic sci-fi novel "Journey to the Center of the Earth" by Jules Verne as the entrance to Earth's core.
Of course, a visit to this region of Iceland is not complete without visiting the iconic mountain Kirkjufell (seen above). This beautiful mountain has a gorgeous view of the bay behind it and sits right by a charming waterfall which is named after the mountain.
Some say it's the most photographed mountain in Iceland. As there is no way to measure that accurately, all we can say is that it's very beautiful to look at!
Spend the night at a charming accommodation on Snaefellsnes peninsula.
Day 9: Wonders of West Iceland
Day nine offers a range of diverse attractions in West Iceland. Start with a visit to the Icelandic Settlement Center in Borgarnes, which depicts the history of Iceland's settlement in the 9th and 10th centuries.
Borgarnes happens to be the former home of Egill Skalla-Grímsson, one of Iceland's greatest heroes of the Viking era, who was both a strong warrior and a remarkable poet.
Next, don't miss the Deildartunguhver hot spring, which boasts the highest flow rate in Europe. Further along, make sure to check out the enchanting Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls.
Photo from Inside the Volcano Thrihnukagigar Tour
For the most adventurous travelers, you can embark on an "Inside the Volcano" tour, where you can descend slowly into the colorful magma chamber of the dormant Thrihnukagigur volcano.
If you have time, go on an exhilarating caving tour of the Vidgelmir lava tubes or explore the awe-inspiring man-made ice tunnels of Langjokull glacier.
If you're a history buff, take a detour to Snorrastofa, a medieval research institute in Reykholt, where Snorri Sturluson, one of Iceland's most prominent historical figures, wrote the famous Edda, which contains most of our knowledge about Norse mythology today.
Before spending your last night in Reykjavik, you can take a short break at Fossatun, there you will find a waterfall that, according to legend, is guarded by a troll giantess named Drifa.
- Read more: The Trolls of West Iceland
Once you've visited all the sites you wanted (and maybe more), you can check in at your accommodation in Reykjavik and enjoy a nice meal downtown.
Day 10: Farewell to Iceland
Today marks the end of your Icelandic adventure, and it's time to bid farewell.
Keep in mind that you need to return your rental car at Keflavik Airport before heading home.
If you have some extra time before your flight, there are plenty of activities to do in Reykjavik, such as visiting the Whales of Iceland exhibition or experiencing the FlyOver Iceland simulation ride.
If you have some souvenir shopping left to do, you can head to Laugavegur street and buy something unique for your friends and family.
For those with later flights, you may want to consider visiting the Sky Lagoon or the Blue Lagoon before departing. These geothermal spas are perfect for relaxing and unwinding before your journey back, soaking in the warm and mineral-rich waters as you reflect on your amazing trip to the land of fire and ice.
Sky Lagoon is located about a 10-15 minute drive from Reykjavik's city center, while the Blue Lagoon is located closer to the airport and takes about 30 minutes to drive from there to Keflavik Airport.
If you want to explore the wonders of Iceland using this 10-day itinerary, book the 10-day Ring Road self-drive tour now!
14 Day Epic Road Trip of the Complete Ring Road & the Westfjords
If you want to get the full Icelandic experience and leave no stone unturned, this epic 14 day self-drive tour of the complete Ring Road & the Westfjords is the perfect road trip for you.
This 14-day itinerary takes you to all the major destinations along the Ring Road, which circles the entire island, exploring both the highly popular Golden Circle and the South Coast while also visiting the less visited Eastfjords and Lake Myvatn.
But that's not all, since the Ring Road drives right past the majestic Westfjords in the northwestern corner of Iceland, most travelers don't get to experience the rugged natural beauty of this part of the country. However, this unforgettable road trip takes you deep into this remote part of Iceland and includes a ferry ride over to the Snaefellsnes peninsula.
If you're willing to embark on a journey you'll never forget, this is the trip for you.
Day 1-2: Arrival in Iceland & the Golden Circle
Day 3: Waterfalls & Black Sand Beaches
After spending time in Reykjavik and exploring the Golden Circle during your first two days, you will wake up in the town of Selfoss to start your third day in Iceland.
These two waterfalls are among Iceland's most photographed natural wonders, and there's no wonder! They are both absolutely stunning and conveniently located close to each other.
Next, proceed towards the Solheimajokull glacier, where you can engage in some adventure sports such as glacier hiking or ice climbing. Alternatively, head to the Myrdalsjokull glacier for an exciting ice cave tour.
As you continue along the coast near Vik, be sure to take in the striking black volcanic shoreline and the dramatic Dyrholaey peninsula. Just off the coast of Reynisfjara beach, you will see the striking Reynisdrangar sea stacks, which are said to be trolls that got turned to stone when the sunlight hit them many centuries ago.
Also, don't miss out on the puffin colony on the nearby cliffs during summer, so keep an eye out for these adorable birds.
However, you must exercise caution when exploring the beach, as the waves and currents can be unpredictable and can easily sweep you off your feet (quite literally) if you're not careful.
Spend the night in the village of Vik (which simply translates to "Bay") and get ready for tomorrow's journey.
Day 4: Ice Lagoon & Diamond Beach
After exploring the Golden Circle along with the waterfalls and black sand beaches of the South Coast for the first three days. On day four, you will immerse yourself in the awe-inspiring natural beauty of Skaftafell Nature Reserve, located within Vatnajokull National Park.
If you're a hiking enthusiast, there are many trails available that suit every skill level. You can take the trail leading to the exquisite Svartifoss waterfall, translating to "Black Falls," which cascades over unique hexagonal basalt columns that have inspired architecture in Reykjavik. Additionally, you can opt for a thrilling glacier hike on Skaftafellsjokull.The next destination is the breathtaking Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon. Once you're there, you can marvel at icebergs breaking away from a glacier tongue and slowly drifting towards the ocean. For a closer view, take an optional boat ride and choose between an amphibious vessel or a 1-hour zodiac boat tour, getting up close and personal with the icebergs.
You might even catch the attention of some curious seals that occasionally can be seen swimming around in the lagoon.
Just a short walk from the lagoon, make sure to visit Diamond Beach, where ice chunks in various shapes and sizes decorate the shoreline, creating picturesque views and excellent photo opportunities.
Spend the night in a hotel of your choice near the Skaftafell Reserve.
Day 5: The Charming Eastfjords
Get ready to explore the rustic charm of rural Iceland today!
We're heading to the gorgeous Eastfjords, where idyllic villages, breathtaking fjords, and lush green fields await. Keep your eyes peeled for some of Iceland's most incredible wildlife which can be found there, including adorable puffins, majestic reindeer, sly foxes, and playful seals.
We'll be taking a ride up and down the mountains as we venture through each fjord, each with its unique and jaw-droppingly beautiful landscape. Get ready for some incredible photo opportunities with waterfalls cascading down hillsides and panoramic views that will take your breath away.
In the evening, we'll arrive at Egilsstadir, a charming town situated near Lagarfljot lake, which is said to hide an ancient monster beneath its peaceful surface.
Before hitting the hay, you can get nice and relaxed by visiting the Vok Baths, a wonderful geothermal spa that features warm infinity pools that float on Lake Urridavatn.
If you're up to it, you can have a swim in the lake itself or take it easy and enjoy the warm geothermal water with a refreshing beverage in your hand.
We'll spend the night here or in one of the nearby cozy villages. Get ready for an unforgettable day of exploring the best of Iceland's rural landscapes and fascinating wildlife.
Day 6: Lake Myvatn Mysteries
Day six takes you to the serene and stunning Lake Myvatn and its unique surroundings. There's a lot to explore, but don't miss the lava fields of Dimmuborgir, the geothermal area of Namaskard, and the Skutustadagigar pseudo craters.
At Lake Myvatn, you can opt for a visit to the Myvatn Nature Baths, a lovely geothermal pool facility with wonderful views of the lake.
- Read more: The Ultimate Guide to Lake Myvatn
Nearby the lake, you also have the opportunity to visit the Grjotagja hot spring cave, which was famously featured in a romantic scene of the HBO series Game of Thrones.
Photo by Dave Herring
You also shouldn't miss the staggering Dettifoss waterfall in the Jokulsargljufur area of Vatnajokull National Park. This is the second most powerful waterfall in Europe. Observing the sheer power of the constant water flow and the thundering sound it makes will definitely leave an impression.
If you're up for even more things to see, the mud pits at Krafla are also a sight to behold.
If you have a fascination with the gentle giants of the sea, take a whale-watching tour from the nearby village of Husavik, also known as the "whale-watching capital of Europe." The tour utilizes a traditional Icelandic oak boat which was used for fishing around the island's shores for decades.
You can upgrade your tour to include a puffin-watching segment and see these so-called "parrots of the sea" as they dive towards the ocean looking for fish.
After your adventure-filled day, cross over to the fjord of Eyjafjordur and stay the night in the fun town of Akureyri.
Day 7: The Troll Peninsula
Start your day in the charming town of Akureyri, known for its picturesque church on top of a hill, as well as having the world's northernmost botanical garden showcasing over 7,000 native and non-native plant species. Take a closer look at the local flora on a horse riding tour along the coast of the fjord, or opt for a whale-watching tour if you missed it the day before.
If you want to bathe in warm geothermal waters surrounded by trees and greenery, go visit the wonderful Forest Lagoon, a hot spring spa located just outside Akureyri, which opened in 2021.
As you continue your journey towards Skagafjordur, a region famous for its abundance of Icelandic horses, make sure to stop along the way and take in the beauty of the mountainous Trollaskagi peninsula.
Along the way, stop to explore the old herring-fishing village of Siglufjordur and bathe in the stunning scenery of Hofsos' swimming pool.
When you're done enjoying your lovely day in the north of Iceland, you will end your day in the cozy town of Saudarkrokur.
Day 8: Westfjords Introduction
Get ready for an exciting adventure as day eight marks the start of your journey to the awe-inspiring and remote Westfjords of Iceland. This region of Iceland is not included in most "Ring Road" drives around the country, making it more sparse and remote than the places you've visited on your journey so far.
Along the way, you will be treated to breathtaking views of the rolling hills of Vatnsdalsholar, the natural fortress of Borgarvirki, and the striking Hvitserkur monolith.
Photo by Regína Hrönn Ragnarsdóttir
For history and folklore enthusiasts, the Icelandic Sorcery and Witchcraft Museum in Holmavik (seen above) and the Sorcerer's Cottage in Bjarnarfjordur, just 16 miles (25 km) from Holmavik, are must-visit attractions.
And if you're looking to relax, consider a dip in the natural hot springs of Drangsnes.
Your day ends in the enchanting Strandir area, where you will spend the night amidst breathtaking scenery. Get ready for more excitement and adventure in the days to come!
Day 9: Deep Into the Westfjords
Photo by Tamara Bitter
On the ninth day of your journey, you will continue along the Westfjords and head toward the town of Isafjordur, all the while driving along the zig-zagging fjords along the coast.
The mountains that line up closely along the shore are some of the oldest in Iceland, dating back to 18 million years ago. Keep an eye out for whales feeding near the shore, as this area boasts some of the best whale-spotting opportunities in Iceland.
If you're interested in learning about Iceland's rich fishing history, consider driving to nearby Bolungarvik to visit the Osvor Maritime Museum. There you can visit the traditional Icelandic turf house seen in the photo above.
Once you reach Isafjordur, take in the town's tranquil and remote atmosphere, where you will spend the night.
Day 10: Dynjandi Waterfall & Latrabjarg Puffins
Photo by Bernharður Guðmundsson
After waking up in the town of Isafjordur, begin day ten by making your way to Dyrafjordur bay, where you can explore the trail of Gisli Sursson, the Viking saga hero who became an outlaw in these parts.
You can also visit the nearby Skrudur botanical garden if you have an interest in plants and greenery.
From there, you can head to Hrafnseyri to visit the museum dedicated to Jón Sigurðsson, a prominent national hero who served as president of the Althing and led Iceland's independence movement in the 19th century. His image can be found on the Icelandic 500 krona bill.
Afterward, take in the awe-inspiring sight of Dynjandi, a magnificent waterfall that cascades down a towering cliff face.
Sometimes called "the Jewel of the Westfjords," Dynjandi is approximately 328 feet (100 meters) high, falling in a trapezoidal shape. It is 98 feet (30 meters) wide at the top and 196 feet (60 meters) at the bottom.
Its dramatic shape and size are sure to take your breath away, making it almost intimidating to see in person.
Photo by Frugal Flyer
Then, make your way to the remarkable Latrabjarg cliff (seen above), which stands at an impressive 1,457 feet (444 meters) and is often considered the westernmost point of Europe.
Here, you can observe Iceland's diverse species of nesting seabirds, including puffins and razorbills, up close.
For the night, stay in the Vesturbyggd area near the town of Patreksfjordur.
Day 11: Ferry Ride to Snaefellsnes Peninsula
Day eleven of your epic journey offers a break from driving as you board the Baldur ferry at Brjanslaekur. The ferry, which is included in your tour price, will transport you and your car across Breidafjordur Bay to the charming village of Stykkisholmur on Snaefellsnes peninsula.
Stykkisholmur is a quaint fishing town famous for its colorful houses and excellent seafood restaurants. With its rich folklore and history, it's definitely worth exploring.
After settling in, take some time to discover the many unique sights that the peninsula has to offer. These include the magnificent Snaefellsjokull glacier in Snaefellsjokull National Park, Dritvik cove, and the charming villages of Arnarstapi, Hellnar, and Budir. The area is filled with impressive lava fields and formations, stunning cliffs, scenic beaches, and diverse birdlife.
For your overnight stay, enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of the Snaefellsnes area.
Day 12: Exploring "Iceland in Miniature"
Snaefellsnes Peninsula offers a plethora of breathtaking and exhilarating locations to explore. Because of its diverse landscape, it offers many of the characteristics of the nature of Iceland, all in one peninsula! That's why it's sometimes called "Iceland in miniature".
Take a full day to thoroughly explore the area, visiting any spots you may have missed on your previous day, such as Mount Kirkjufell, seen above.
You can embark on scenic hikes through the beautiful natural surroundings or explore the intriguing rock formations and expansive sands near the Djupalonssandur black beach. With an array of hikes and activities to choose from, there's plenty to fill a day with excitement.
Photo by Regína Hrönn Ragnarsdóttir
You may also consider embarking on a tour to ascend the mighty Snaefellsjokull glacier. Departing from the charming town of Grundarfjordur, a specially-built vehicle will transport you to the base of the glacier, followed by a thrilling journey to the top in a snowcat.
Standing atop a glacier that blankets a volcano is an unforgettable experience that promises to leave you with lasting memories and exceptional photos.
There is also the possibility of exploring the mysterious Vatnshellir cave system, one of Iceland's older lava tubes that can be explored. The caves were formed in a volcanic eruption 8,000 years ago!
At the end of the day, you will spend another night in the captivating Snaefellsnes area.
Day 13: Exploring Caves & Waterfalls
On day thirteen, immerse yourself in the wonders of West Iceland, starting with a visit to Deildartunguhver, the largest hot spring in Europe, and the captivating Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls.
For those with a keen interest in history, a trip to Snorrastofa in Reykholt, the medieval research institute where Snorri Sturluson wrote Heimskringla in the 13th century, a collection of sagas about Old Norse kings. He is also known for having written the Edda, the greatest single source of knowledge about Norse mythology we have to this day.
Photo by Jabbi, from Wikimedia Creative Commons
While heading back to Reykjavik, you have the option to take an adventurous caving tour in Vidgelmir lava tubes. On the 'Inside the Volcano' tour, you can even choose to descend into a vast, beautiful magma chamber of a dormant volcano.
On the way to Reykjavik, you can visit the Hvammsvik Hot Springs, a lovely geothermal spa that opened in 2022. It has wonderful views of Hvalfjordur bay and offers multiple pools of varying temperatures, including ocean plunge pools which are partially immersed in the sea.
You will spend the night in the capital, and you can make the most of your last night in Iceland in one of the great restaurants found in the city center.
Day 14: A Day in Reykjavik
To ensure an easy departure, make sure to drop off your car at Keflavik airport on time. If you're lucky enough to have a late flight, you may want to consider enjoying one last fantastic experience in Iceland.
You can opt to visit the Blue Lagoon on their final day (if you haven't already) and take the opportunity to unwind and relax before heading to the airport.
The Blue Lagoon is the perfect place to soak in warm, mineral-rich waters while thinking back on the amazing two weeks you've had traveling around Iceland.
If you are interested in this journey of a lifetime, book this epic 14-day road trip now!
Taking a road trip around Iceland, no matter how many days you have, is an unforgettable experience.
The ever-changing landscapes, ethereal landmarks, and quaint towns make it one of the best countries in the world to see from the road.
These five options above will help you make the very most of your time here and you can tailor them to your preferences.
A road trip around Iceland is always spectacular and we hope our top 5 road trips in Iceland help you to make the most of your time on our wondrous shores. We’d love to answer any questions and hear about your experiences in the comments below.
Guide to Iceland | The Story of the Leading Travel Agency of Iceland
The Complete Guide to the Midnight Sun in Iceland
Top 20 Most Beautiful Waterfalls in Iceland
22 Photos of the Aurora in Iceland
Other interesting articles
Best Cities and Towns to Visit in IcelandLearn about the top cities and towns to visit in Iceland. Explore their most beautiful attractions on your trip to the land of fire and ice. Plan your itinerary with us and choose from our selection o...Read more
Iceland's Blue Lagoon: The Ultimate Travel GuideLearn everything you want to know about Iceland's Blue Lagoon. Find out what the Blue Lagoon is, how to get there, when it's open, the best time to visit, and other tips for planning your trip in t...Read more
The Icelandic Sheepdog - Everything You Need to KnowThe Icelandic Sheepdog has been a diligent member of Icelandic households ever since settlement. But where does this adorable friend of the Icelandic people come from? Just look at that happy little...Read more