11 Day Self Drive Tour on a Budget | East Fjords & Myvatn

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Car & accommodation
Tour starts
Keflavík Airport, Flexible
Duration:
11 days
Available:
May. - Sep.

Trail all around the island of ice and fire on this eleven-day budget self-drive tour. This wallet-friendly tour is the ideal adventure for all of those who wish to experience the versatile wonders of the ring road on their own.

Forget bus schedules and take control of the wheel, as you are in charge of your adventures and the time spent at each site. A personal itinerary will guide you to all the top attractions, such as volcanoes, glaciers and waterfalls.

During the booking process, you can add an array of extra activities. These include snorkelling between two continents in the crystal clear waters of Silfra, whizzing across the ice cap of a glacier on a snowmobile, venturing into a volcanic magma chamber, and riding the friendly Icelandic horse through the countryside. 

The personal itinerary you'll receive includes the perfect balance of highlights and hidden gems, allowing you to enjoy a diverse holiday that will last you a lifetime.

So don't wait any longer. Book your self-drive tour now for eleven action-packed days of fun that won't break the bank. Check availability by choosing a date.

Included

10 nights of accommodation (different levels available; breakfast not included, shared bathrooms; 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 insurance
GPS system
Detailed Itinerary with fun and practical information on the nature, history and culture of Iceland
Taxes

Activities

Glacier Hiking
Snorkelling
Caving
Snowmobile
Horse Riding
Whale Watching
Sightseeing
Boat Trip
Hot Spring Bathing
Cultural Activity
Bird watching
Ice Caving
Self drive

Attractions

Blue Lagoon
Golden Circle
West Iceland
Reykjavík
Akureyri
Jökulsárlón
Hvítá River
Vatnajökull
Mývatn
Dimmuborgir
Húsavík
Ásbyrgi
Dettifoss
Skógafoss
Seljalandsfoss
Geysir
Gullfoss
Eyjafjallajökull
Glymur
Þingvellir
Hraunfossar
Strokkur
Reykjanes
Mýrdalsjökull
Skaftafell
Þríhnúkagígur
Höfn
Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach
Borgarnes
Barnafoss
Langjökull
Grjótagjá
Vík í Mýrdal
Svartifoss
Seyðisfjörður
Egilsstaðir
Borgarfjörður eystri
Siglufjörður
Hrísey
Hofsós
Keflavik International Airport
Haukadalur
Myvatn Nature Baths
Lagarfljót
Tröllaskagi
Víðgelmir
South Coast
Diamond Beach
Ring Road
East Fjords

Daily itinerary

Day 1
Soak the travel strain away in the mineral rich waters of the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa.

Arriving in Iceland

Pick up your car at Keflavík International Airport and make your way to the capital city where you will spend your first night in Iceland. On your way, you'll drive past the dark lava fields of the Reykjanes Peninsula. 

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 colours 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.

This day is fully yours, so feel free to explore the friendly city of Reykjavík. It is bustling with restaurants, quirky cafés, museums, galleries, shops and sights.

Day 2
See the mighty Strokkur erupt in the Geysir geothermal area.

Golden Circle & the South Coast

On your second day, your ring road adventure begins with Iceland's most popular sights, the Golden Circle. First up is Þingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site nesting on the boundary of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, where two continents meet.

If you're up for getting wet, you can opt to swim between two worlds in the crystal clear waters of Silfra Fissure, one of the top diving sites in the world.

Next up is Haukadalur, a valley stock-full of hot springs, steam vents, mud pools, and last but not least, active geysers. Watch as Strokkur hot spring erupts, spouting boiling water 20 metres into the air every 5-10 minutes.

You'll finally reach the world-renowned Gullfoss Falls where you can marvel at the unharnessed power of this cascade. A river, originating in Langjökull glacier rushes southwards before plummeting down into a 32-metre gorge, creating this beautiful waterfall.

At Gullfoss, you can add a snowmobile excursion on top of that very Glacier where you will race across the pearly-white ice cap. You can also get to know the amazing Icelandic horse on a horse riding tour through the countryside.

As you continue along the south coast, make sure to stop and visit the waterfalls Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss, both located just off the ring road. Your final destination of the day is the coastal village Vík, home to the black beach Reynisfjara and its eerie sea stacks Reynisdrangar.

You'll spend the night at an accommodation in Vík.

Day 3
The Diamond Beach by Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon is one of Iceland's most beautiful beaches.

Glaciers & Icebergs

On your third day, allow the fresh icy air to fill your lungs. You will have the option of adding an adventure in Mýrdalsjökull glacier where you descend into a natural ice cave.

Then, you'll continue down the south coast to explore the many sights of Vatnajökull National Park. Hiking enthusiasts will find an array of trails and tracks at Skaftafell Nature Reserve. One such trail leads to the natural gem Svartifoss Waterfall and its hexagonal black basalt columns. You can opt for a glacier hike at Skaftafell where you'll trek across the ice cap of a glacier.

Once you are back on the road, make sure to stop at Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon to marvel at the icebergs that have broken off one of Vatnajökull's outlet glaciers. There, the bergs float and glisten on the lagoon in an ever-changing scenery of serene and natural beauty.

If you want to venture a bit closer, you can add on a boat tour of the lagoon. Remember also to check out the nearby Diamond Beach, where chunks of ice wash up on shore and sparkle like gemstones on a blanket of black sand.

Your final destination will be the fishing village Höfn, where you will spend the night.

Day 4
Southeast Iceland's Vestrahorn is one of the country's most photographed mountains.

The Eastern Fjords

Your fourth day will see you traversing the breathtaking route of the East Fjords; a rural and unspoilt part of Iceland dotted with rugged mountains, coastal landscapes, roaming reindeer and sleeping fishing villages.

The road at hand is spectacular all the way through, and you can decide where to stop along the way. The village Fáskrúðsfjörður has a fascinating history of relating to France, while the town of Reyðarfjörður boasts of a World War II museum. 

A seafaring museum can be found in an old 1816 trade house in Eskifjörður town, and two summer-music festivals are held annually in the village of Neskaupstaður.

Your final destination will be Egilsstaðir, the largest settlement of the Eastern region with just over 2,000 inhabitants. You'll spend the night at a local accommodation in the area.

Day 5
According to legend, East Iceland's Lake Lagarfljót is home to a giant serpent.

Deep into the East Fjords

Today you'll get to explore the Eastern Fjords further. A visit to Lake Lagarfljót is recommended where, according to legend, a giant worm-like creature is said to live. 

You could also pack a picnic basket and head to Atlavík Cove, home to lush greenery and a beautiful country river. The Cove is located in Hallormsstaðaskógur, Iceland's first national forest.

In the woods, you'll find numerous hiking trails. Two of them lead up to the stunning waterfalls Litlanesfoss and Hengifoss.

If you've upgraded your vehicle to a 4x4, you could drive further inland all the way to Mount Snæfell or the great dam at Kárahnjúkar. Nearby are the two spectacular canyons Dimmugljúfur and Hafrahvammagljúfur, the latter of which is 10 kilometres in length.

You could also drive to the town of Seyðisfjörður, see its charming old wooden houses and visit the Technical Museum of East Iceland and Seyðisfjörður local history heritage museum.

You'll spend another night in your Eastfjords-accommodation.

Day 6
Stórurð is a popular hiking trail in the mountains by Borgarfjörður eystri.

Borgarfjörður Eystri

On your sixth day, you'll make your way to the village of Borgarfjörður Eystri and spend the day exploring its mountainous surroundings.

Here you'll have a myriad of hiking trails to choose from, each varying in length and will lead you to different attractions. One trail will take you along the coastline near Húsey farm, where seals are often spotted as they search for food in the waters.

Another trail takes you to the giant boulders Stórurð. There, the stark contrast of the azure waters, the dark green moss and the rocky terrain will surely amaze you. 

Depending on the season, you can also go bird-watching at the village's bird watching site. You could spot the adorable Atlantic puffin as they make the site their home in June and July.

After a full day of connecting with nature, you'll spend another night in Egilsstaðir or its surrounding areas.

Day 7
See the otherworldly shades and colours of Námaskarð Pass by Lake Mývatn.

Lake Mývatn

On day seven, it is time to say farewell to the wonders of the East and head up North to your next destination; Lake Mývatn. 

The whole area surrounding the lake was formed by a volcanic eruption some 2,500 years ago. Evidence of this explosion can be seen in the free standing lava pillars which dominate the lake’s landscape.

The highlights of the Mývatn area include the geothermal area of Námaskarð Pass, the active volcano Krafla, and the haunting lava formations of Dimmuborgir field.

Visitors should also pay a visit to Grjótagjá, a lava tube cave with a hidden treasure inside: a volcanic hot spring.

Another highlight of the area is the Mývatn Nature Baths. There you can let the silica minerals in the water work their magic on your body and soul after a long day of sightseeing.

Afterwards, make your way to the town of Akureyri and get settled into your accommodation.

Day 8
Dettifoss is Europe's most powerful waterfall.

North Iceland

After waking up in Akureyri, you can start the day by exploring this charming town further. Visit its many cafés, restaurants and shops, and don't forget to take a trip to Brynjuís, the most famous ice-cream shop in Iceland.

Then get ready to explore the North further. You could head back out to Lake Mývatn for a better look at the area's many sights, or you could drive through Jökulsárgljúfur Gorge and visit the forest-clad canyon Ásbyrgi and the powerful waterfall Dettifoss.

Today you also have the option of embarking on a whale watching tour from Húsavík by Skjálfandi bay. The town is known as the 'Whale Watching Capital of Iceland' as there are around 24 species of whales in the bay. If you opt for a RIB boat, you'll add puffin segment to that authentic wildlife experience.

If you feel like heading further, another option is to visit the picturesque island Hrísey located in Eyjafjörður Fjord.

You'll spend another night in Akureyri.

Day 9
Icelandic horses lazing under the midsummer night sky.

Trollaskagi Peninsula

On day nine, you could start your day by going horseback riding in the incredible landscapes of the North. You can also go whale-watching if you missed it yesterday.

Then it is time to head for Skagafjörður, the valley of the roaming horses. After passing through the majestic mountains of Tröllaskagi, you'll reach the herring-fishing village Siglufjörður. We recommend a stop at the award-winning Herring Era Museum to quench your thirst for history and ancient Icelandic culture.

Then you'll continue on to the tiny village Hofsós. It is the home of a unique geothermal 'infinity pool' where visitors are treated to an incredible ocean view that seems to join the waters of the pool seamlessly.

Close by lies the village Blönduós, where you will spend the night.

Day 10
The arctic lupin bestows a beautiful shade of purple upon Iceland's landscapes.

West-Iceland

Day ten belongs to the West, an area especially rich in Icelandic settlement history. If that sparks your interest, be sure to visit the Settlement Centre in Borgarnes or the medieval research institute Snorrastofa in Reykholt.

Snorrastofa is where some of the greatest Icelandic Sagas were born. Many of them were written by the institute's former resident Snorri Sturluson, probably the most important scholar of medieval Europe.

Close to Reykholt, you'll find the waterfalls Hraunfossar and Barnafoss, both captivating in their own unique way. You can also visit the waterfall Fossatún, which is said to be guarded by the troll woman Drífa.

While travelling the West, you can opt for two exciting tours. The first one takes you to the colourful underworld of the lava cave Víðgelmir, and the second one leads you through the hallways of a man-made tunnel inside Langjökull glacier.

Then it is time to make your way back to Reykjavík City, but feel free to take a detour of Hvalfjörður and hike to Iceland's second tallest waterfall, Glymur. You can also opt for the fjord tunnel to cut down on your driving time if you are in a hurry to get back to the city.

Once back in Reykjavík you can spend the rest of the day exploring the city. However, if you are up for one last adventure, you can take a tour where you descent into the magma chamber of a dormant volcano.

You'll spend your last night in Reykjavík.

Day 11
The Sun Voyager sculpture is a popular photo stop by central Reykjavík's shoreline.

Departure

All adventures must end, so be sure to drop off your car at Keflavík International Airport in due time before your flight 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. If you have an early flight back home, we wish you a pleasant journey.

Map

What to bring

Warm and waterproof clothes
Driver's license
Swimsuit and towel
Camera

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.

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. Budget level 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. 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.

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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