Unforgettable 11 Day Self Drive Tour of the Complete Ring Road of Iceland & the East Fjords
Explore all the best Iceland has to offer on this 11-day road trip! You'll drive the classic route of the Ring Road, visiting all of the major tourist attractions and natural wonders the country has to offer, with a few extra days enjoying the remote and intense beauty of the fjords in East Iceland.
The best part of this trip is that you are in full control; you choose where to go and how long to spend at each place. Don't worry about waking up in time for the tour departure or keeping strangers in a group with you happy; you can always take time for a longer hike, a few more photos, or one last cup of coffee.
To make the travel even sweeter, you will always be traveling in full comfort with an ensuite bathroom and breakfast included. You can even add excursions and activities along the way through the booking system, so you can spend your time doing exactly what you like and leave the rest.
There are many optional adventures you can choose from. For example, you can snorkel in the crystal clear waters of Silfra gorge, snowmobile on Langjökull glacier, descend into the magma chamber of a volcano, explore an ice cave in a glacier, take a boat to the icebergs of Jökulsárlon, glacier hike over Skaftafellsjökull, horse-ride through the nature of the North, and whale watch from the whale watching capital of Europe, Húsavík.
The opportunities are endless. Choose adventure now for the best value and promises of adventure!
Although you can't help running into a crowd at some of the most famous Icelandic attractions, you will be able to experience the isolated beauty for which this nation is renowned. You will receive a custom itinerary after you book, which will provide you with the perfect blend of popular sites and lesser-known, unique locations. This tour allows you to enjoy an incredibly diverse holiday that has something to suit all tastes.
So book your self-drive trip now for 11 days of fun in Iceland! Check availability by choosing a date.
Day 1 - Arrival in Iceland
Your adventure starts from the airport in Keflavík, where you'll pick up your car before driving to your accommodation in downtown Reykjavík.
On your way to Iceland's capital, 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 at your hotel in Reykjavík, make the most of your proximity to the vibrant city center, exploring the abundance of museums, galleries, restaurants, and bars.
Spend the night in Reykjavík.
Day 2 - Golden Circle with South Iceland
Spend today exploring the famous Golden Circle to see some of the best-known natural phenomena in Iceland. The first stop is Þingvellir National Park.
At Þingvellir, you can walk between the tectonic plates in the valley of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and explore an area that played a huge role in Iceland's heritage. It is Iceland's only UNESCO World Heritage Site, as it is the place where early settlers founded what would become the world's longest, ongoing representative parliament. You can take optional snorkeling here, in the crystal clear Silfra ravine.
Next up is the geothermal valley of Haukadalur, filled with hot springs, mud pools, and steam vents, where you can see the geysers Strokkur and Geysir. Geysir rarely goes off these days, but Strokkur is very active, erupting every 10 minutes or so to heights of over 66 ft (20 m).
Finally, you'll reach the mighty Gullfoss Falls. A pathway takes you right to the river's edge, where you can get a real sense of the enormous, natural power of the water. From Gullfoss waterfall, you can choose to go on an optional snowmobiling tour on Langjökull glacier. If you do not wish to snorkel or snowmobile, why not take a two-hour horse-riding tour?
Head to the south coast, and be sure to visit the majestic Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss waterfalls. Both are visible from the main road, as are several glaciers along the way. Near Vík, take a slight detour to admire the black volcanic beach and the dramatic Dyrhólaey and Reynisdrangar rock formations.
Spend the night in Vík.
Day 3 - Hiking in Skaftafell - Icebergs of Diamond Beach
After waking up in Vík, you'll have the option of taking an ice cave tour on the nearby Mýrdalsjökull glacier but if you'd like to carry straight on with your journey, continue driving the south coast to the many sights of the beautiful Skaftafell area of the Vatnajökull National Park. There is plenty to do for hiking enthusiasts, with tracks and trails suitable for all abilities, including one leading to the beautiful Svartifoss waterfall. The hexagonal basalt columns that surround these falls inspired the architecture of Hallgrímskirkja church in Reykjavík. You may take a glacier hike in this area.
Once you hit the road again, make a stop at one of Iceland's most famous attractions and top photo spots, the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, where beautiful icebergs break from a glacier and sail out to the ocean. You can enjoy an optional cruise, on an amphibious boat or a zodiac, amongst them here. Take a short walk from the lagoon to the Diamond Beach, where these bergs wash upon the black sand shore like glittering jewels.
Spend the night in Höfn.
Day 4 - Fjords of East Iceland - Egilsstaðir
Continue your drive eastward today, and begin a breathtaking, meandering route along the East Fjords, passing by tranquil fishing villages and sweeping coastal landscapes all along the way.
You'll see rugged mountains and stunning bays in a very rural, historical part of Iceland, full of unspoiled landscapes. Consider stopping at some of the delightful villages, such as the charming and partly French Fáskrúðsfjörður, or Reyðarfjörður. Keep your eye out for puffins and seals along the coast and reindeer on land.
Spend the night in the Egilsstaðir area.
Day 5 - Deep into the East Fjords
Today, you can explore the area around Egilsstaðir, the capital of the East. We recommend a drive along Lagarfljót lake, where the much older cousin of the Loch Ness Monster, the Lagarfljót Wyrm, is said to live. Stop for a picnic in the beautiful and lush green bay Atlavík, beside a beautiful river.
Nearby, you can go for a hike up to Litlanesfoss and Hengifoss waterfalls. Hengifoss is Iceland's third tallest waterfall and is characterized by red clay stripes in the black rocks. Litlanesfoss has stunning basalt columns surrounding it. This is a 2-hour return hike from the parking lot (excluding stops for photographs) and is well worth the effort.
If you've upgraded to a 4WD, you'll be able to drive further inland, towards the Snæfell mountain or Kárahnjúkar dam. Near Kárahnjúkar are two stunning canyons, Dimmugljúfur and Hafrahvammagljúfur (6.2-mile/10 km long), which are great hiking locations.
Drive back to Egilsstaðir and from there head to the charming town of Seyðisfjörður, where you'll find plenty of attractions to admire.
Spend your night either in Seyðisfjörður or back in Egilsstaðir.
Day 6 - Borgarfjörður Eystri
Make your way to Borgarfjörður Eystri, a village nestled between a pair of beautiful mountains. Spend the day exploring its surroundings.
There are plenty of exciting hiking trails to choose from, perhaps the most impressive of which leads to Stórurð (sometimes called Hrafnabjargaurð), where soft green moss and big boulders rise from tranquil turquoise waters. You can also choose to take a delightful walk along the beach near Húsey, where you'll find plenty of seals - and often some reindeer.
If you don't want to go for a full hike but would enjoy a stroll, then you can have a short walk to the village's bird-watching site. The puffins here are unafraid of people and may even approach you, setting up beautiful photo opportunities. However, access is limited in June and July, and the puffins leave in mid-August.
You will spend another night in Egilsstaðir or surrounding areas.
Day 7 - Lake Mývatn - Volcanoes
The driving on day seven brings you north to Lake Mývatn, known for its incredible geothermal landscapes, including the Námaskarð Pass, the Dimmuborgir lava formations, and Mt. Krafla, one of Iceland's most visited volcanoes. Don't miss the hot spring lava tube cave of Grjótagjá, where you can take a refreshing dip in an incredibly special and unique location.
Later on, bask in the blue geothermal waters of the Mývatn Nature Baths, with their healing powers and silica minerals. It's the perfect way to relax after a full day of sightseeing, soaking in the warm waters while taking in the sweeping vistas of mountains, lava cliffs, and the lake just beside the pool. Afterward, spend the night in the Myvatn region.
Day 8 - A Day in the North
Today you have the option to explore a little more of the Myvatn area and its unique surroundings. You may enjoy a drive through the Jökulsárgljúfur part of Vatnajökull National Park, visiting the Ásbyrgi canyon and Dettifoss, the most powerful waterfall in Europe. Alternatively, you could have a more quiet morning exploring the beautiful town of Akureyri.
You could also join a whale watching tour at the nearby village of Húsavík, renowned as the whale watching capital of Europe. You can add a puffin watching segment to this. Another great option is to visit the idyllic Hrísey island in Eyjafjörður.
You'll stay the night in the capital of the north.
Day 9 - North Iceland
Today, you can start the day by taking a serene horseback ride through this incredible region if you wish. Then, you will continue towards Skagafjörður, a valley known for its large number of horses and loudly singing men. You will also pass through the beautiful, mountainous area of Tröllaskagi.
If you missed the whale watch yesterday, you could also opt into one today.
It is recommended that you visit the award-winning Herring Era Museum in the old herring-fishing village of Siglufjörður to learn about the importance of the fishing industry to this nation historically. After this, make your way to Hofsós, where you can enjoy the wonderful scenery from the town’s thermal pool.
Spend the night in Sauðárkrókur.
Day 10 - The Sagas of Iceland
Day ten is reserved for exploring West Iceland with its diverse attractions, including the Icelandic settlement exhibition in Borgarnes. 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 early settler Snorri Sturluson wrote Saga Heimskringla in the 13th century. He is also the one who documented the main manuscript of old Norse mythology, the Poetic Edda.
On the way back to Reykjavik, take a short break at Fossatún, a waterfall said to be guarded by a troll woman named Drífa. If you'd like to hike, then skip driving the tunnel (which will go under the fjord and cut your driving time by about an hour) and take the scenic route around Hvalfjörður. Here, you can spend a couple of hours hiking to Glymur, Iceland's tallest waterfall.
There are several incredible tours that you can end your day with here. The first is a traditional lava caving tour into Víðgelmir. The second allows you to explore the inside of Langjökull glacier through recently opened man-made tunnels. The third is a once-in-a-lifetime descent into the magnificent magma chamber of a dormant volcano.
Spend your last night in the vibrant capital city.
Day 11 - Blue Lagoon Spa - Airport
Drop off your car at Keflavík International Airport in time for your departure flight. 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.
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) 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.