11-Day Summer Self-Drive Tour | Explore the Ring Road of Iceland in Depth

Free pickup
No credit card fees
No booking fees
Duration
11 days
Difficulty
Easy
Language
English
Free pickup
Keflavík International
Available
Apr. - Aug.

Savour your time in Iceland with this in-depth 11-day summer self-drive tour. You’ll get to know Iceland’s Ring Road better than the average traveller, by spending more time exploring the incredible northern region and the phenomenal South Coast of Iceland. Drive the circle of Iceland in a clockwise direction and add or skip as many stops as you see fit.

This self-drive itinerary enables you to see all the essentials plus some lesser-known gems, all at a great price! Visiting Iceland in summer is an excellent choice, you’ll experience unforgettable nights in mild weather under the Midnight Sun. 

Soak in the legendary Blue Lagoon before heading on the road trip of a lifetime. You'll start with the area sometimes nicknamed ‘Iceland in Miniature’, Snæfellsnes Peninsula for a full day to discover its multitude of natural wonders, before a three-day deep dive into the north of Iceland. This beautiful part of the country is often glossed over in trips around the Ring Road, but this travel plan includes many more charming and lesser-known sights. You’ll explore Akureyri town, Trollaskagi (Troll Peninsula), the Diamond Circle consisting of Myvatn lake, Husavik village and much, much more.

Then you’ll have a day to look around the Eastfjords, the quaint villages along the shore are one of Iceland’s best-kept secrets. After driving through the winding roads of the Eastfjords, you will be greeted by the most popular attractions of Iceland that dot the South Coast: Vatnajokull national park, Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon, Skaftafell nature reserve, the town Vik, Reynisfjara black sand beach with its sea stacks, Solheimajokull glacier and of course the waterfalls Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss.

Of course, no trip to Iceland would be complete without the classic Golden Circle; Gullfoss waterfall, Geysir geothermal area, and Thingvellir National Park, which you’ll visit before heading to Reykjavik city. You’ll have a whole day to soak up the atmosphere of Iceland’s capital city before heading home.

You also have the opportunity to add exciting extras to your already fantastic schedule. Activities like whale watching, visiting an ice cave, relaxing in geothermal baths, and going inside a volcano can be added to the appropriate day during the booking process. 

This trip is for anyone who wants to explore Iceland in-depth at a comfortable pace. Check availability by choosing a date.

Included

10 nights of accommodation (different levels available; breakfast included for Comfort and Quality levels. More detailed info below)
Vehicle for 11 days (Toyota Aygo or similar. Upgrades available)
CDW insurance for super budget level vehicle; other levels also include SCDW and gravel protection insurances
GPS system
Detailed Itinerary with fun and practical information on the nature, history and culture of Iceland
Personal travel agent
Taxes

Activities

Glacier Hiking
Caving
Hiking
Whale Watching
Sightseeing
Boat Trip
Hot Spring Bathing
Cultural Activity
Self drive

Attractions

Blue Lagoon
Golden Circle
Reykjavík
Jökulsárlón
Vatnajökull
Mývatn
Húsavík
Ásbyrgi
Goðafoss
Snæfellsjökull
Skógafoss
Seljalandsfoss
Geysir
Gullfoss
Þingvellir
Snæfellsnes
Sólheimajökull
Skaftafell
Höfn
Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach
Vík í Mýrdal
Seyðisfjörður
Egilsstaðir
Kerið
Keflavik International Airport
Kirkjubæjarklaustur
Reynisdrangar
Hvítserkur
Mývatn Nature Baths
Tröllaskagi
Diamond Beach

Daily itinerary

Day 1
The Blue Lagoon

Arrival in Iceland

First things first, you’ll pick up your car at the airport in Keflavik. From there, you’ll drive through the lava fields of the Reykjanes peninsula towards Reykjavik city, where you’ll find your accommodation for the night.

During the booking process, you can add a visit to the Blue Lagoon on this day, if you want. The Blue Lagoon is located en route to the city from the airport, and a visit there is the perfect way to unwind after a flight.

Once you settle in at your accommodation, make sure to take a walk and have a look around. Reykjavik is a vibrant metropolis full of cute little cafés, world-class restaurants, interesting museums, and shops full of souvenirs to bring home.

Your first night in Iceland will be spent in Reykjavik.

Day 2
Arnarstapi village on the Snaefellsnes peninsula

Snaefellsnes Peninsula

You'll spend your first full day in Iceland exploring one of the country's most fascinating regions, the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. The area is sometimes nicknamed ‘Iceland in Miniature’ because it is so rich in variety when it comes to natural wonders.

You’ll have many chances to stop and explore during your drive around Snaefellsnes. In Grundarfjordur fjord, you could take a look at Kirkjufell mountain, known for being ‘the mountain shaped like an arrowhead’ on the television show Game of Thrones.

You could also explore another natural wonder associated with foreign literature, Snaefellsjokull glacier, the glacier which the peninsula gets its name from is known for being the entrance to the centre of the earth in Jules Verne’s classic novel Journey to the Centre of the Earth.

Other attractions include Djupalonssandur, a beautiful black sand beach where you’ll see an impressive shipwreck, and the basalt columns off the shore of the small fishing village Arnarstapi. The peninsula also has plenty of charming villages for you to stop in, many of which have swimming pools you can enjoy. Among the towns worth exploring are Olafsvik and Stykkisholmur.

For those who crave even more adventure, there are optional extras to be added on this day. If you would like to explore the insides of the earth, like the characters in Journey to the Centre of the Earth, the Vatnshellir Cave Tour is the perfect addition to your day. You will descend approximately 35 metres below the surface on this hour-long tour.

If your adventurous side is more of the culinary type, then the Viking sushi boat tour in Breidafjordur is a better choice for you. You’ll embark on a voyage to experience the beauty of west Iceland by boat, and at the end of the cruise, you’ll get a chance to taste fresh scallops and roe like the Vikings would’ve enjoyed it.

After an exciting day, you’ll stay the night on the Snaefellsnes peninsula.

Day 3
Hvitserkur sea stack on a half-overcast day

Heading North

It’s time for you to head north to new adventures. On your way to Akureyri, you’ll encounter many beautiful sights. We recommend stopping along the way and choosing one of the optional extras for an extra special day.

We suggest you visit Hvitserkur sea stack in Hunafloi bay. The sea stack is home to birdlife and plants that you can see from Vatnsnes peninsula. Sometimes called ‘The Troll of Northwest Iceland’, Hvitserkur is believed to be a petrified troll.

From one troll to another, Trollaskagi peninsula or simply the Troll peninsula, as some choose to call it, is an area full of awe-inspiring mountains and a beautiful coastline.

There are two different but equally fun optional extras which can be added to this day. One is a whale watching tour departing from Akureyri. Eyjafjordur fjord, which Akureyri town is located in, is a picturesque setting to visit the giants of the ocean. You’re likely to spot Humpback Whales and White-Beaked Dolphins, and you might even be lucky enough to see Blue Whales, Orcas and fin Whales.

Another optional extra available to you on this day is the Beer Spa. The experience you’ll have at Bjorbodin Beer Spa is like no other, you’ll relax in a warm bath of beer and beer yeast, which is good for the skin, and of course, those who want can sip on a nice cold beer while in the tub.

This night you’ll stay in Iceland’s capital of the north, Akureyri.

Day 4
Godafoss waterfall in north Iceland

Godafoss and Husavik

You’ve got another packed day in the beautiful Northern Region of Iceland ahead of you.

The first stop of the day is at the impressive Godafoss waterfall in the river Skjalfandafljot. After that you’ll drive to the delightful town Husavik, sometimes called the Whale Watching Capital of Iceland. It is no surprise that among your optional extras for the day there are two whale watching tours, both departing from Husavik.

After a no-doubt memorable time in Husavik, you’ll drive towards Myvatn lake. The shallow volcanic lake Myvatn is surrounded by incredible flora and fauna. The area has plenty of beautiful views and there are some pretty exciting extras you can add for the full Lake Myvatn experience.

You can choose from two Husavik whale watching tours, either a more traditional boat tour or a thrilling whale and puffin safari on a RIB boat.

You could also choose to spend your time in Husavik soaking in the Geosea Geothermal Baths if you prefer a more relaxing day. Or you could wait until later in the day and take a dip at Myvatn Nature Baths, geothermally heated pools near Myvatn lake, where you can unwind before tucking in for the night.

Your accommodation for the night will be close to Lake Myvatn.

Day 5
The pseudo craters at Lake Myvatn

Myvatn or Asbyrgi

Today you have options to choose from, you can either explore the Myvatn area further, take the trip to Asbyrgi canyon or you can choose an optional day tour to Askja caldera and Viti crater.

If you didn’t get your fill of the Myvatn region the day before you can take your time and immerse yourself in the gorgeous nature of the area today. The lake itself is, of course, beautiful, and on the south side of it, you’ll see Skutustadagigar pseudocraters. Close by the lake you’ll find Dimmuborgir, or the Dark Fortress, which has gothic-looking rock formations, within it you’ll find Grjotagja hot spring cave, which some might recognise from the Game of Thrones TV show.

On the previous day, you’ve seen three of the four attractions that make up the Diamond Circle sightseeing route; Husavik, Dettifoss and Myvatn. If you’d like to complete the Diamond Circle you could use your day to drive to the last stop Asbyrgi canyon, a beautiful horseshoe-shaped canyon.

If you choose one of the two options described above, you can add an entrance to Vok Baths as an extra on this day. Vok Baths are geothermally heated pools which extend into lake Urridavatn, allowing you to immerse yourself in Icelandic nature. The perfect addition to an active day.

The other optional extra available on this day will take up the whole day; it’s a tour to Askja caldera and Viti crater. This Askja lunar tour takes you into the rugged highlands of Iceland where astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin trained for the moon landing.

You’ll stay the night in Egilsstadir, ready to explore the East tomorrow.

Day 6
Stokksnes peninsula

Eastfjords

Today you’ll spend your time exploring the wonderful Eastfjords region of Iceland, an area with diverse and beautiful landscapes, which is less visited than many other parts of Iceland.

A great first stop of the day is the town Seydisfjordur. The atmosphere of the town is adorable, the houses are colourful and the church is one of the most Instagrammable locations in Iceland. In Seydisfjordur you can also find lots of lovely places to have lunch.

As you continue your drive along the coastline of East Iceland, there are plenty of other picturesque fishing villages you can stop in. Other places worth visiting are lake Lagarfljot which supposedly has a monster living in it, Iceland’s largest forest Hallormsstadaskogur, and the artwork The Eggs of Merry Bay in Djupivogur.

An increasingly popular East Iceland destination for travellers, especially those interested in photography, is Stokksnes peninsula. It’s slightly off the beaten track but well worth it for the beautiful views of Vestrahorn mountain.

Your accommodation tonight will be near Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon and the town Hofn.

Day 7
Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon in the twilight

Jokulsarlon and Skaftafell

Today is dedicated to the wonders of Vatnajokull National Park, a wilderness area in South Iceland. The National Park is full of beautiful sights to see, and of course, it’s home to Europe’s largest ice cap, Vatnajokull glacier.

The crown jewel of Iceland, Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon, is today’s star attraction. It’s a lagoon full of gorgeous blue and white icebergs which break from the glacier and float peacefully out to sea. Some of the ice washes ashore nearby on Breidamerkursandur beach, which has given it the nickname the Diamond Beach since the hunks of ice laying on the black sand beach look like shining diamonds.

An optional extra you can add while at Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon is a boat tour on the lake. You can choose from either the more thrilling Zodiac tour or, the more relaxed Amphibian boat tour, which is better for families. Both tours bring you closer to the beauty of the lagoon.

After you admire the loose icebergs of Jokulsarlon and the Diamond Beach it’s time to head to Skaftafell Nature Reserve. There you can find a selection of scenic hiking trails to walk and take in the stunning views. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can start the day early to have enough time to hike to Svartifoss waterfall in Skaftafell.

You could also add an optional extra at Skaftafell, in case you fancy a glacier hike in the afternoon. There’s nothing quite like stepping foot on a real-life glacier. A glacier hike is a worthy addition to your adventure and Skaftafell is a beautiful location for a walk.

You’ll be staying in the village Kirkjubaejarklaustur for the night.

Day 8
Vik village in summer bloom

South Coast

There is a lot to see today as you make your way down the South Coast of Iceland. There are many exciting stops you can make along the way, including waterfalls and black sand beaches. There are also some exciting extras which you can add to this day.

You could start your day by visiting lesser-known attractions like the waterfall Foss a Sidu and Fjadrargljufur canyon before heading to the must-see attractions around the village Vik. The village itself is worth a visit, but the main draw is the gorgeous views at Reynisfjara black sand beach. There you can see Reynisdrangar sea stacks and Dyrholaey, the peninsula with an arch-shaped hole.

Next up on the South Coast are the two legendary waterfalls Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss. The powerful Skogafoss waterfall is up first, make sure you have time to stop here and walk up to the waterfall to feel the mist on your face. Seljalandsfoss waterfall is also impressive, and you can walk behind it due to a small alcove in the cliff wall.

If you’d like a more unusual experience in South Iceland, you could hike up to Seljavallalaug pool. This is the oldest swimming pool in Iceland. It is outside under the open skies, and it takes a bit of walking to get there, but the views are well worth it.

You can choose from three options to add extra activity to this day. The first is a visit to the Katla ice cave, a spectacular frozen cave in Kotlujokull glacier. You could also choose a shuttle ride to Solheimasandur beach where the iconic looking DC Plane Wreck where a great photo-opportunity awaits you. The third option is a glacier hike on Solheimajökull glacier, an unforgettable experience.

You’ll stay the night in the area of neighbouring towns Hella and Hvolsvollur.

Day 9
A hot spring erupts in Geysir geothermal area

Golden Circle

Day nine will bring you on Iceland’s classic sightseeing route: The Golden Circle. A three-part circle with plenty of other stops available along the way. This is an essential day for anyone visiting Iceland.

The first stop on your Golden Circle is Gullfoss waterfall, a powerful and beautiful waterfall which you can admire from the conveniently situated viewing platforms, or you can walk down some steps and up to the actual waterfall to hear and feel its power.

Next up is the geothermal area around Geysir hot spring. The main attraction there is Geysir’s neighbouring hot spring Strokkur which erupts every 8-10 minutes, to the delight of onlookers.

To add more geological wonders to your Golden Circle, you can stop at Kerid crater lake or Reykjadalur valley. In Reykjadalur you can even take a dip in a river which is hot thanks to the surrounding hot springs.

To finish up the Golden Circle, you’ll stop at Thingvellir National Park, the most geographically and historically significant place in Iceland. For hundreds of years, the Icelandic parliament gathered in Thingvellir each summer and many significant moments in the country’s history happened there. Thingvellir is also where you can see the rift in the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates.

On this day you can also choose to snorkel in Silfra fissure at Thingvellir, Snowmobile on Langjokull glacier or go horse riding. Three adventurous extra activities, it’s up to you to choose which appeals most to your wild side.

You’ll be staying in Reykjavik City this night.

Day 10
Skolavorduholt in Reykjavik

Reykjavik City

On your last full day in Iceland, you’ll spend the day in the country’s capital, Reykjavík. The city is bustling with life, and you’ll have no problem finding things to do. You can visit some of the city’s museums, go shopping, or simply take in the atmosphere on a walk in the city centre.

If you want more action on this day we have a few suggestions for activities which you can add as extras to make your day in Reykjavik special. If you’d like to visit lots of different places we recommend adding the 24-hour City Card, which grants you access to pools in the capital, the zoo and all sorts of museums in Reykjavík, this lets you customise the perfect day out in Reykjavík.

If you’d prefer a more specific museum experience you can add an entrance to Whales of Iceland instead. There you’ll get to know the gentle giants of the sea through extraordinary displays. You can also enjoy some refreshments at their cafe.

You can also choose to take flight on this day, by adding an extra helicopter tour. This Geothermal helicopter tour is a great way to learn more about Iceland’s nature and get a unique perspective on the beautiful views near Reykjavík.

If you’d like to get even more immersed in the geology of Iceland, you could opt for the Inside the Volcano tour, where you literally go inside a volcano’s empty magma chamber. You’ll be brought to Thrihnjukagigur volcano, just outside of the city, and there you’ll descend into a cave which once was filled with hot, molten lava. An unforgettable experience.

You’ll stay another night in Reykjavik, rest up for departure day.

Day 11
Hallgrimskirkja church in the evening sun

Departure

All good things come to an end, and this tour is no different, the last day of your Iceland tour has arrived. It might feel like it’s come too soon, but you’re always welcome to return to Iceland for more adventures.

If you’ve got time before your flight, you can squeeze in some extra sightseeing in Reykjavik. But then it’s time to head to Keflavik International Airport to catch your flight back home, with plenty of fond memories to take with you.

Map

What to bring

Warm Clothes
Camera
Swimsuit
Driver's license
Sunglasses

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.

Some optional activities might need either a valid driver's license, or you might need to send additional information to your travel planner. Please note that you might need to present medical documents should you choose to go snorkelling.

Although it is summertime, the Icelandic weather can be very unpredictable. Please bring appropriate clothing.

Accommodation

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.

Super Budget

Dormitory beds with shared bathrooms in guesthouses or hostels. Located in the region of the best attractions. Breakfast is not included.

Budget

Rooms with shared bathrooms in farmhouses, guesthouses or hostels, with good locations near the best attractions. Breakfast is not included.

Comfort

Rooms with a private bathroom in three star hotels or quality guesthouses. Very close to the best attractions at each location. Breakfast is included.

Quality

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.

Car

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.

Super Budget 2WD

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.

Budget 2WD

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.

Budget 4x4

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.

Comfort 4x4

A medium sized 4WD (4x4) jeep or SUV such as a Toyota Rav4, or similar. Comfortably fit up to 4 travellers 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.

Luxury 4x4

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.

Van

A large 9-seater van such as a Renault Trafic (2WD manual), Mercedes Benz Vito (4WD automatic, has highland capabilities and better suited for winter driving), or similar. Comfortable for 5 to 7 travellers. If seated full, luggage space is limited. The driver must be of 23 years of age or above.

Meals

You can now add meals to your booking. Select to include dinner on every night as an optional extra, and we will provide you with vouchers as part of your booking confirmation. We will choose from top-rated restaurants that fit with your vacation itinerary and make your reservations for you. At the restaurant, you will be offered a set menu, from which you can choose from meat, fish or vegetarian options. If you would prefer something else, the voucher will act as a credit that you can redeem at the restaurant against menu items that are not part of the set menu. Please notify the restaurant on arrival about any dietary requirements. Vouchers are non-refundable.

Cancellation Insurance

This insurance guarantees that you can cancel tour and package bookings and receive a full refund, minus the insurance cost. The cost of your cancellation insurance depends on the duration of your tour or package. A base cost of 5,000 ISK per person is applied to all tours and packages with a duration of 5 days or less. An additional 1,000 ISK per person will be added to the insurance cost for each day after. The cancellation must be made more than 48 hours before the listed starting time on your voucher. To cancel your booking and claim your refund, simply contact info@guidetoiceland.is and declare full cancellation. Please note that this insurance covers the cancellation of the whole tour or package. Individual services cannot be cancelled and refunded separately, but are all covered and refunded in case of a full cancellation.

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