10 Day Summer Self Drive Tour to Iceland’s Remote Northwest with Snaefellsnes & the Westfjords
Join this fantastic 10-day summer self-drive tour where you'll discover the diverse attractions of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, visit the remote region of the Westfjords, and explore Iceland's North in-depth. This is the perfect opportunity for those independent travelers looking to take in the country on their own terms.
Self-drive customers are privy to many fantastic benefits that are, by and large, inaccessible to the average traveler in Iceland. For example, self-drive customers have access to 24/7 customer service support, adding a level of information and security to your trip that would otherwise not exist.
You can follow a prearranged itinerary over the ten days, based on the choices and customizations made by you during the easy booking process. This allows a truly personal touch to your holiday, as does the wealth of choice available regarding the level of comfort and quality in vehicles and accommodation.
This level of freedom allows you to truly appreciate the splendor of Icelandic nature. Throughout your travels, you will discover cascading waters and towering mountains, dramatic canyons, and glistening glaciers. Without the need to rush from one attraction to another, you will be able to fully take the time to sit back and absorb these stunning features.
So don't delay any further! Hurry now, and you too can master your own holiday in Iceland with this brilliant 10-day summer self-drive tour exploring Snaefellsnes, the Westfjords, Akureyri, Lake Myvatn, and so much more. Check availability by choosing a date.
Day 1 - Arrival and Reykjavik
Welcome to your very first day in Iceland! Landing at Keflavik International Airport, on the Reykjanes Peninsula, you will immediately pick up your vehicle for the next ten days and set out towards Iceland's capital city (and the northernmost capital in the world) Reykjavik.
On your way to Reykjavik, 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.
Driving to your accommodation in the city, you will immediately be privy to Iceland's incredible natural vistas. The Reykjanes Peninsula, in the country's southwest, is characterized by its rugged coastlines, dried volcanic fields, and distant mountains. As the countryside begins to dissipate in favor of Reykjavik's infrastructure, you'll find yourself in the urban hub of the country.
After settling into your accommodation, you are free to go out and discover this charming capital city, Reykjavik. Given the glorious Midnight Sun, there will still be plenty of light to go sightseeing—why not visit the architecturally inspired Harpa Concert Hall? Perhaps the Lutheran Church. Hallgrimskirkja?
If you have the time, you could even check out some of the city's exciting bars, cultural exhibitions or parks, before turning in for the night to get some rest for the next day.
Day 2 - The Snaefellsnes Pensinsula
The Snaefellsnes Peninsula is often called "Iceland in miniature." It holds this nickname thanks to the sheer eclecticism of the region's natural attractions. Visitors are usually left in awe of the area's dramatic landscape, diverse animal life, and magical atmosphere. As you traverse this incredible environment, you will forever be in the shadow of the glacial stratovolcano, Snaefellsjokull, that gives the peninsula its name.
Start by paying a visit to the sandy beach, Ytri-Tunga, famed for its resident seal colony. Here, you'll be able to walk right down to the shoreline to get a closer look at some of this country's most beloved finned inhabitants.
You can then move on to the charming hamlets of Arnarstapi and Hellnar and enjoy the spectacular coastal scenery from these little towns before moving on to such diverse attractions as Djupalonssandur black pebble beach, and Kirkjufell mountain.
It is possible to upgrade your day with a visit to Vatnshellir Cave. Descending a spiral staircase, a trip into Iceland's subterranean universe will provide you with a fantastic insight into this country's geological history. The Snaefellsnes Peninsula is, of course, the setting of Jules Verne's famous novel, "Journey to The Centre of the Earth."
At the end of the day, you will be staying in accommodation on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula.
Day 3 - Baldur Ferry to the Westfjords
There's a lot of possibilities for you today, so you should plan your day according to what you are the most excited about.
If you would like to take in the spectacular sights of the Westfjords, you should make an early start and take the 9 am ferry from Stykkisholmur. If you choose to take this early ferry, you can also make a stop on the small island of Flatey.
Flatey gets its name from the fact the island itself is quite flat. It is thought to have formed during the last ice age. People only inhabit it during the summer months, and the surroundings there are lush, green, and picturesque. Flatey is an idyllic representation of isolated, quaint fishing life that has survived to the modern day. It's an incredibly peaceful place that is also home to the oldest library in Iceland.
If you add Flatey as a stop, you will leave your car on the ferry as the island has a strict 'no outside cars allowed policy.' Not to worry though, if you do visit Flatey, the ferry will continue on, and your car will be waiting for you in the Westfjords parking lot so you can pick it up later in the day.
If you would like a culinary adventure before you head to the Westfjords, you could choose to go on a Viking Sushi boat tour. In this unique experience, you will head out into the fjords of the west in a comfortable fishing vessel. As you see the sights, experienced fishermen will scour the depths of the ocean for the day's catch. The haul will be served to you fresh on the boat with wasabi and soy sauce. When the Viking Sushi adventure is done, you will drive to Stykkisholmur and catch the afternoon ferry to the Westfjords.
Please note that the ferry to the Westfjords has a more limited schedule outside of the summer season. This can mean that there are fewer services running and limited services on some days. Some options might not be suitable if you are here outside of summer, and your itinerary will be arranged according to your travel date.
The Westfjords is one of Iceland's most dramatic and isolated regions, seeing only a handful of travelers a year in comparison to the more popular South Coast and southwest regions. This allows for some genuinely off-the-beaten-path adventures.
One of the stops of the day is at Latrabjarg, a towering bird cliff that is home to an immeasurable number of birds. This is the westernmost point of Iceland, stretching along for a whopping 8.7 miles (14 km) along the Denmark Strait. Wildlife photographers and nature enthusiasts will find a wealth of bird species here, such as Skuas, Guillemots, and, of course, the famous Puffin.
You will also pay a visit to Raudasandur, otherwise known as Red Sands, a golden beach found nestled in the Westfjords. Unlike the black sand beaches found across Iceland, the beaches in the Westfjords are almost exclusively golden or pink. You may also want to visit Birkimelur, a gorgeous outside swimming pool surrounded by some truly stunning nature; you can't get more Icelandic than that!
On the evening of your third day, you will be staying in the small town of Patreksfjordur.
Day 4 - The Westfjords
One of your first stops of the day is the impressive Dynjandi, otherwise known as Fjallfoss, a series of magnificent waterfalls that many argue is the region’s star attraction. The waterfall’s total height is 328 ft (100 m), making it a dramatic subject for photography enthusiasts.
You could also make a stop at Reykjafjardarlaug hot pool, measuring out at 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius), found in the southwest of the Westfjords beside Road 63. There are, in fact, several hot pools in the immediate area, though they are different temperatures and require short hikes to reach. Icelandic hot pools are fantastic for many reasons—they are, after all, incredibly romantic, luxurious, and smack bang in the middle of some stunning natural scenery.
You will also be paying a visit to the small coastal village of Flateyri, home to approximately 180 people. Historically, this town was an important fishing and whaling center, though an avalanche in October 1995 caused serious damage and loss of life.
Since then, a protective dam has been built to protect the village’s residents. A visit here will provide invaluable insight into the culture and lifestyles of smaller Icelandic settlements.
You will also visit the larger towns, Isafjordur, famed for its traditional wooden buildings and the Westfjords Heritage Museum, and Bolungarvík, the only built-up area in the Bolungarvikurkaupstadur municipality.
Day 4 will see you staying in accommodation in the Isafjordur region.
Day 5 - The Westfjords II
Your fifth day of adventure in Iceland sees you discovering the many beautiful attractions found on the drive from Isafjordur to Holmavik, the largest town in the Strandir region.
One of the possible stops of the day is Vigur, the second largest island found within Isafjardardjup fjord, roughly half an hour by boat journey. Approximately 1312 ft (400 m) in width and 1.2 miles (2 km) in length, Vigur is an excellent spot for a leisurely stroll in nature. It presents a great opportunity to see birdlife in their natural environment.
Traveling along the fjord, Alftafjordur, you will be passing through the coastal village of Sudavik, where nearby one can find the Arctic Fox Center. This is a fantastic facility in the Westfjords dedicated to Iceland's only native mammal, the adorable little Arctic Fox. Here, you will be able to see two resident foxes up close, as well as learn more about the biology and history of these fascinating animals.
Once in Holmavik, you could choose to visit the Museum of Icelandic Sorcery and Witchcraft. Here, you can learn about this town's haunting history of magic—three men accused of witchcraft were burnt at the stake here in 1654, setting off Iceland's hysterical craze of witch-burning that occurred until 1690.
Tonight you will be staying in accommodation near Holmavik.
Day 6 - Drive to Akureyri
Today, you'll leave the beautiful Westfjords. If you wish, you can start the day by driving to Djupavik, a deserted town north of Holmavik. The desolate and decaying houses provide some hauntingly beautiful photographs. A bit further is the hot spring Krossneslaug, known as the 'pool at the end of the world' due to its remote location.
If you are here between June and September, you could choose to go whale watching from Holmavik. In this experience, you will board a boat and head into the waters of the north in search of the gentle sea mammals that frequently travel through here as they migrate.
Leaving the Westfjords, you will make your way across the northern stretch of the country towards Akureyri town, enjoying the fantastic sights and scenes en route. For example, you could choose to stop at the 49 ft (15 m) high basalt rock stack, Hvitserkur, said to resemble petrified trolls, an elephant, or even a dragon. You could also stop at the waterfall, Reykjafoss, and the lakes, Hop and Blondulon, the latter of which is one of Iceland's biggest lakes.
On the Troll Peninsula, you'll find the charming villages of Siglufjordur and Hofsos. The former is Iceland's northernmost town and boasts incredible natural beauty and the award-winning Herring Era Museum. Hofsos, on the other hand, is one of the country's oldest trading posts, dating back to the 1500s. Today, it is most known for its 'infinity pool,' a geothermal swimming pool overlooking the fjord that integrates beautifully into the landscape.
Akureyri, a town of approximately 12,000 people, is widely considered Iceland's unofficial "capital of the north," famed for its vibrant local culture, fantastic surrounding scenery, and the sheer number of available activities nearby such as hiking and sightseeing.
From Akureyri, there are a few other activities you could add to your day. You could choose to go horse riding in the local surroundings. The Icelandic horse is known for its small size and friendly nature. They are also seen as perfect horses for riders of all abilities. This breed has been isolated here for over 1000 years. Over that time, they have evolved to be perfectly suited to the terrain of this fascinating land. A ride in the countryside on the back of an Icelandic horse is something you won't soon forget.
If you're in the mood for some relaxation, you could choose to visit the Bjorbodin Beer Spa. This relatively new attraction combines the ancient art of brewing beer with a spa concept for a one-of-a-kind experience.
If you have some time to spare in the evening, Akureyri is filled with numerous points of interest. You could see the church, Akureyrarkirkja (arguably more impressive than its cousin in the capital), the Akureyri Botanical Gardens, or explore some of the city's exciting local nightlife.
Day 7 - Diamond Circle
Day 7 takes you to the majestic sites on the Diamond Circle.
The Diamond Circle is the northern equivalent of the more famous Golden Circle sightseeing route, comprising of four stops: Husavik, Asbyrgi Canyon, Lake Myvatn, and Dettifoss Waterfall.
Dettifoss Waterfall is found within Vatnajokull National Park, the second largest National Park in Europe. This stunning feature is Iceland's most powerful waterfall, pouring 96,500 gallons of cascading water over its lip every second into the dark and cragged canyon below.
Asbyrgi is a dramatic canyon, said to be the hoofprint of Odin's eight-legged horse, Sleipnir, when he pressed his feet onto the earth. On the other hand, scientists have concluded that the canyon was formed after glacial flooding during the last Ice Age. Asbyrgi is a particularly beautiful hiking spot, sporting fantastic views over the area and lush vegetation.
Husavik is home to a little over 2000 inhabitants and is most famous for its wooden church, Husavikurkirkja, built in 1907.
Husavik is considered Iceland's whale-watching capital, thanks to the abundance of life found off its coast. Here, visitors can see one or more of the twenty different cetacean species that call Icelandic coastal waters home, including the Minke, Humpback, Orcas, and Harbor Porpoises.
If you want to take advantage of the abundance of whale watching opportunities, you can take a whale watching tour from Husavik. There are two types of whale watching tours to choose from. You could opt for a traditional whale watching tour, where you will board a boat and head into the sea to spot these calming creatures. Another option is to take a rib boat tour. In this variation, you will travel through the northern waters in a smaller and more agile rib boat, meaning you will be able to get even closer to these giants of the sea.
If you would like some relaxation, there are two other options you could add to your day.
Husavik is home to the GeoSea Spa. This luxury facility is a bit different from the other geothermal spas in Iceland. The heated water of GeoSea is seawater. The heated saltwater has multiple benefits to the mind and body as you relax in the open with an incredible view of the ocean.
There's also another geothermal spa in the Myvatn region. The Myvatn nature baths are often referred to as 'The Blue Lagoon of the North.' The blue waters of Myvatn are a great place to unwind and take in the spectacular landscapes of the geothermal north.
You will be spending your night in the Myvatn region.
Day 8 - Lake Myvatn/Day Trip to Askja in the Highlands
Lake Myvatn and its surrounding area make for a fantastic day of sightseeing. The Lake itself is a spectacular wonder, a large pool of aquamarine water surrounded by green pseudocraters formed some 2,000 years ago.
Among the attractions in this area are Dimmuborgir, an area of fascinating volcanic rock formations that have gnarled and twisted over the centuries, appearing as a dark fortress or castle, straight out of the pages of fantasy. This area is of particular interest to geologists and nature enthusiasts.
Nearby, you will also be able to visit the Martian-like landscapes of Namaskard Pass, an area of rampant geothermal activity complete with bubbling mud cauldrons and steaming fumaroles. Visiting Namaskard is one of the best ways to see firsthand the hot, molten underbelly that continues to sculpt and form the island to this day.
The perfect way to get the most out of this fascinating region is to take a day tour covering the must-see sights from Askja through to Myvatn. This 12-hour experience is the most comprehensive way to see all the sights and not miss a thing. In this day tour, you will have a break from driving and navigating because you will be picked up and guided throughout the day. You will also have plenty of time to take in the natural wonders of this region with the added benefit of extra special activities like the chance to bathe in the warm waters of a volcanic crater. You will also visit the otherworldly areas used to train the Apollo missions to the moon in the 60s, which have also been a training ground for the NASA 2020 mission to Mars.
Tonight, you will be spending your final night at the accommodation at Akureyri.
Day 9 - Back to Reykjavik
Today you will take a journey from Akureyri back to the capital of Reykjavik.
On the way, you can drive through the beautiful west coast of Iceland, where you'll find waterfalls, hot springs, and historic settlements.
You will head through the Eyjafjordur fjord and might like to make a stop in the quaint town of Hauganes. This town is a perfect example of quiet country life, and it's an excellent place to stretch your legs and take in the surroundings.
Then you will head west through the sweeping vistas and fjords. You should make a stop at the Hvitserkur Rock Formation. This large jagged rock juts out from the sea, pointing towards the sky. Hvitserkur is one of the most photographed natural attractions in Iceland due to its fascinating and unusual appearance. Depending on the angle you look at it, Hvitserker seems to take on a multitude of shapes. Local legends say it was once a troll who met his end in the rays of the early morning sun.
You will continue through the west, eventually coming to Husafell. From here, you can opt to go on a lava cave tour. In this experience, you will venture into one of the largest lava caves in the world. You will see a cavernous world of lava rock resulting from an eruption over a thousand years ago.
Then you will continue back towards the south, where you can make a stop at the Krauma Nature Baths. Here you can rest in the warm waters or even have a bite to eat at their restaurant, which boasts delicious meals made from local ingredients.
Before you get back to the city, you might like to go on an excursion into the Thrihnukagigur volcano. This magma chamber is known for its incredible color palette and impressive size. In this tour, you will be lowered into the heart of this lava cave to take in the remarkable sights resulting from a volcanic eruption long ago.
If there's still time when you get to Reykjavik, this would be the perfect time to experience FlyOver Iceland. This new attraction combines incredible HD filming, storytelling, projection, and the thrill of theme parks to create a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The most exciting part of FlyOver Iceland is a simulated flight over the top sights in the country without having to leave the ground.
For your last night in Iceland, you will be staying in accommodation in the capital city, providing another opportunity to get to grips with Reykjavik. This is the last chance to tick off any of the attractions you still want to see in the capital region, as well as to explore the city's exciting nightlife.
Day 10 - Departure Day
Today is the day that you will head home. Although it might be sad to leave Iceland, you can still do some things before you go.
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. 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.
Super budget level accommodations will be arranged in hostel dorm beds. For other levels, 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 shared bathrooms in farmhouses, guesthouses or hostels, with good locations near the best attractions. Breakfast is not included.
Rooms with a private bathroom in three star hotels or quality guesthouses. Very close to the best attractions at each location. 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) insurance. Please note that off-road driving is illegal for all types of cars.
All levels come equipped with 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.