10 Day Self Drive Tour of the Complete Ring Road of Iceland with Top Attractions & Snaefellsnes
Make the most of your time in Iceland with this extensive 10-day self-drive tour. Throughout your adventure, you will discover all the famous natural wonders Iceland has to offer and many sights you may not even know to exist. Travel around Iceland on your own schedule and enjoy a complete adventure.
This self-drive package helps you save money without sacrificing any of the experiences. You will drive around the entire Ring Road, taking you around the country, including the Snæfellsnes Peninsula and the famous Golden Circle. Better yet, it offers full comfort - your accommodation will always have an ensuite bathroom, and breakfast is included.
Best of all, you have total freedom to choose where to drive and when to leave. There are no bus schedules or impatient tour guides to worry about. You're free to spend as much time in each spot as you'd like, taking in Iceland at your own pace.
At Guide to Iceland, we want you to experience the best of the natural beauty this country has to offer. We hope you'll leave feeling revitalized and exhilarated by the beauty of the Icelandic landscape. To help with this, we've handpicked hidden locations across the land where you can be almost entirely alone, far from noisy people or busy streets. These are included in our travel plan, which you'll receive after you book.
Customize your vacation during booking so that it's precisely what you've been dreaming of. On your way around the Golden Circle, snorkel in the space between two continental plates, go snowmobiling on Langjökull glacier, or explore the inside of a volcanic magma chamber (if you're here between May and November). You can also take a tour of an ice cave in Mýrdalsjökull glacier and visit the world-famous Blue Lagoon Spa.
Furthermore, you could hike atop a glacier or board a ship to see the giants of the deep in the whale watching capital of Europe. You can also get the lay of the land with a horse riding trek, journey into dark lava caves, or even walk inside man-made channels within Langjökull glacier.
Check out how many stunning sights and activities you can see and do in Iceland on this fantastic trip!
Check availability by choosing a date.
Day 1 - Arrival in Reykjavík
Collect your car at the international airport in Keflavik before driving to your accommodation in downtown Reykjavik.
On your way to Iceland's capital city, you could choose to make a stop at the Blue Lagoon. This world-renowned spa is known for its healing waters, vivid azure colors, and luxurious treatments. It is located in the middle of a moss-covered lava field, giving it an otherworldly atmosphere. If you add the Blue Lagoon, it will be arranged according to your flights. If there is no time to visit the lagoon today, it can be added to another day. Your travel consultant will be able to arrange this for you. There is still plenty to see and do in Reykjavik and the Reykjanes Peninsula if you have extra free time.
After settling in your hotel in Reykjavik, make the most of your proximity to one of Europe's most vibrant city centers. Explore the abundance of museums, galleries, restaurants, and bars to your heart's content.
Spend the night in the beautiful city of Reykjavik.
Day 2 - The Golden Circle
Day two sends you off to some of the best-known natural phenomena in Iceland on the Golden Circle route. The first stop on the Golden Circle tour is Thingvellir National Park. Here, you can walk between the rift valley of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and explore an area that played a huge role in Iceland's heritage. Its history as the site of the world's first representative parliament site has warranted its place on the UNESCO world heritage list. You can even opt into a snorkel in the crystal clear fissure Silfra, which runs right between the tectonic plates.
Next up is the geothermal valley of Haukadalur, where you can see the geysers Strokkur and Geysir amongst many beautiful hot springs. Only a few miles away is Iceland's most popular attraction, the powerful waterfall named Gullfoss. A pathway takes you right to the water's edge, where you can get a real sense of the enormous, natural power of the falls.
You also have the chance to go on an optional snowmobile tour on Langjokull glacier. You'll be picked up at Gullfoss waterfall. This is an excellent way to add some adrenaline to your trip - and to see some sweeping glacial vistas. You can also book a horse ride on this day if neither of these appeals to you.
Spend the night in or near the quiet Selfoss region.
Day 3 - South Coast
On day three, you will take in the sight of two majestic waterfalls, Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss. Further down the coast near the town of Vík, take a slight detour to admire the black volcanic beach, Reynisfjara, and the dramatic Dyrhólaey and Reynisdrangar rock formations. This is also a great place for puffin watching.
Today, you have the opportunity to have a glacier adventure! You can race across Sólheimajökull glacier tongue on a thrilling snowmobile tour or, if you'd like, you can visit a natural ice cave in Mýrdalsjökull glacier. Only accessible via super jeep, this is the only cave that is open to visits all year long.
You'll also have the choice of two glacier hikes today. You can either start early and breathe in the fresh mountain air on top of Sólheimajökull glacier; nothing will wake you up and get your adrenaline pumping like a morning visit to a glacier. Or you can end your day with a late afternoon hike at Skaftafell Nature Reserve, where you can walk through the white expanse of an outlet glacier in the beautiful Vatnajökull National Park.
Skaftafell Nature Reserve is great for any outdoor enthusiast, particularly if you enjoy hiking. There are many excellent tracks and trails, including one that leads to the stunning Svartifoss waterfall, which plunges over a wide cliff of hexagonal basalt columns.
On your way to your accommodations in the Vatnajökull area, you'll pass the beautiful Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon where enormous icebergs that have broken off a nearby glacier float peacefully on the serene lagoon. Don't worry; you will have plenty of time tomorrow to explore this area further if you are too knackered after today's adventures.
Day 4 - Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon & Eastfjords
Explore the stunning Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon today, one of Iceland's most beautiful spots. If you so desire, you can hop on an optional boat tour, which takes you on a meandering path through the lagoon, amongst stunning icebergs of all shapes and sizes. You can choose between an amphibious boat and a smaller zodiac.
Make sure you stroll down to the black sandy beach nearby, affectionately named Diamond Beach due to the number of sparkling icebergs scattered along it.
Finally, you'll start on a zigzagging journey along the Eastfjords, passing tranquil fishing villages and sweeping coastal landscapes along the way.
Spend the night in the secluded Egilsstaðir area.
Day 5 - Mývatn Area
The driving on day five brings you north to Lake Mývatn, which is known for its geothermal landscapes, including the Námaskarð hot springs, the Skútustaðagígar pseudo-craters, the Dimmuborgir lava formations, and Volcano Krafla, one of Iceland’s most visited volcanoes.
After exploring these many wonders, relax by taking a dip in the soothing geothermal waters of the Mývatn Nature Baths. You will spend the night in the Myvatn region.
Day 6 - Dettifoss Falls - Ásbyrgi Canyon - Húsavík
Use the sixth day to explore a little more of Lake Mývatn and its unique surroundings. A drive through the Jökulsárgljúfur part of Vatnajökull National Park, with a visit to the Ásbyrgi canyon. This is a fascinating horseshoe-shaped indentation in the landscape. Local legends say that this was caused by the Norse god Odin’s eight-legged horse ‘Sleipnir’ planting a giant hoof on the ground.
You could also visit the mighty Dettifoss waterfall. Detiffoss is believed to be the most powerful waterfall in Europe. Its giant towering size and mighty rumble make it an impressive stop. Dettifoss was also featured at the beginning of the 2012 Ridley Scott sci-fi film Prometheus.
You could then head to the Northern town of Húsavik. This seaside village is unofficially referred to as the whale watching capital of Europe. From Húsavík, you can take a trip out into the northern waters to spot some of these gentle giants of the sea. If you would like to go whale watching, there are two options. You could take a traditional whale watching tour or opt for a smaller Rib Boat tour, which will allow you to get even closer to these spectacular sea mammals.
If you would love a bit of relaxation in Húsavík, you could choose to visit the Húsavík GeoSea Baths. This spa experience is a little different from other geothermal spas in Iceland. The waters of GeoSea are from the ocean. The warm salty waters have been said to contain reparative qualities, and you will enjoy them with some impressive views of the surrounding landscape.
You will then spend the night in Akureyri.
Day 7 - More of Akureyri - Fishing Villages and Historical Settlements
On day seven, you'll have more time to explore the area around Akureyri.
Before you move on from the area, you could choose to add some activities to your day. If you haven't had the chance yet to go whale watching, you can take a whale watching tour from Akureyri. You could also choose to see some of the natural sites of the area while riding an Icelandic horse on a horseriding tour.
You will then pass through the beautiful, mountainous area of Tröllaskagi, to the old herring-fishing village of Siglufjörður, and then to Hofsós, where you can enjoy the incredible scenery while relaxing in the town's thermal pool.
If you like local Icelandic handicrafts or traveling with children, we recommend a stop at Stórhóll farm, where the gallery Rúnalist is located. Children can play with and pet some sheep, goats, horses, ducks, chickens, rabbits, dogs, and cats while you browse the crafts showroom, filled with handmade items of natural wool, salmon leather, or cod skin.
Spend the night in nearby Sauðárkrókur.
Day 8 - The Snæfellsnes Peninsula
Head to Snæfellsnes peninsula today. On the way, you will pass the rolling hills of Vatnsdalshólar and the beautiful Þingeyarkirkja church.
You might also want to stop at a longhouse at Eiríksstaðir, home of the infamous Viking Erik the Red, father to Leif the Lucky, the first European to sail to North America. You can also pay a visit to Stykkishólmur, a picture-perfect fishing village overlooking Breiðafjörður Bay.
Here, you can travel out to a small island, accessible from the harbor. This is Súgandisey, and you'll see a wonderful panorama of the town, the sea, and the surrounding mountains from here.
The crown jewel of the Snæfellsnes peninsula is the Snæfellsjökull glacier and volcano, nestled in the heart of a national park. If you would like to add some more adventure, you can choose to add a snowcat tour of this glacier as an extra activity. You will be taken to the foot of the mountain before you ascend the snowy slopes and eventually reach the top, ready to take some incredible snapshots.
Nearby are many beautiful attractions, such as Djúpalónssandur beach and the picturesque towns of Hellnar and Arnarstapi.
Spend the night at charming accommodation on Snæfellsnes Peninsula.
Day 9 - West Iceland
On day nine, you can explore West Iceland with its diverse attractions, including the Icelandic settlement exhibition in Borgarnes, and Deildartunguhver, the largest hot spring in Europe.
Further along, be sure to visit the captivating Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls.
History buffs may also enjoy visiting Snorrastofa, the medieval research institute in Reykholt, where the politician, poet, and historian Snorri Sturluson wrote the Norwegian kings' saga Heimskringla in the 13th century. He is also famous for writing the bible of old Norse mythology, Edda.
On this day, you can opt for one of two exciting caving tours. You can explore the incredible man-made ice caves at Langjökull, or take a lava tube adventure into Viðgelmir cave. You can also explore the inside of a magma chamber on the incredible 'Into the Volcano' tour.
On the way back to Reykjavik, take a short break at Fossatún, a waterfall said to be guarded by a troll woman named Drifa, before spending another night in the capital.
Day 10 - Farewell to Iceland
It's time to say goodbye. Today you will drop your car off at Keflavik Airport and head home. For those who have a later flight and choose to visit the Blue Lagoon today, you will finish off your stay unwinding before you head to the airport. This is the perfect place to relax as you bathe in the warm, mineral-rich waters as you look back on the incredible adventure you have just taken in the land of fire and ice. If your flight is later, there are plenty of things to do in Reykjavik; the Whales of Iceland and FlyOver Iceland experience are particularly recommended.
If you have an early flight back home, we wish you a pleasant journey.
What to bring
Good to know
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.
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.
Rooms with a private bathroom in three star hotels or quality guesthouses. Very close to the best attractions at each location. Breakfast is included.
Rooms with a private bathroom in a four star hotel or superior rooms in a quality three star hotel at the best locations in Iceland. Breakfast is included.
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.
A small 2WD vehicle such as Toyota Aygo or similar, fit for basic travelling in everyday conditions. Compact and comfortable for up to 2 travellers with very little luggage. No highland capabilities. The driver must be of 20 years of age or above.
A basic 2WD vehicle, such as a Toyota Yaris or similar, suitable for travelling in everyday conditions. Comfortable for 3 travellers with light luggage. This vehicle does not have highland capabilities. The driver must be of 20 years of age or above.
A basic 4WD (4X4) jeep or SUV such as a Dacia Duster or similar. Comfortably fit up to 3 travellers with 2 large pieces of luggage. Fit for most travel and decent for snow and off-asphalt driving. Has basic highland capabilities. The driver must be of 20 years of age or above.
A medium-sized 4WD (4x4) jeep or SUV such as a Toyota Rav4 (automatic) and Suzuki Vitara (manual), or similar. Comfortably fit up to 4 travelers with 3 large pieces of luggage. Fit for most travel and good for snow and off-asphalt driving. Has basic highland capabilities. The driver must be of 21 years of age or above.
A large 4WD jeep such as a Toyota Land Cruiser or similar. Comfortable for up to 4 travellers with 4 large pieces of luggage. Fit for nearly all travelling. Has full highland capabilities to drive on accessible mountain roads. The driver must be of 21 years of age or above.
A large 9-seater van such as a Mercedes Benz Vito (4WD manual, has highland capabilities and better suited for winter driving), or similar. Comfortable for 5 to 7 travelers. If seated full, luggage space is limited. The driver must be of 23 years of age or above.