Stunning 2 Week Summer Road Trip in Iceland with Waterfalls, Glaciers & the Golden Circle
Immerse yourself in the Icelandic nature as you travel the Ring Road, circling the entire country as well as the Snæfellsnes Peninsula and the remote Westfjords. Soak in Iceland's many hot springs and hidden natural pools across the countryside while driving between all the best locations in Iceland on this 15-day summer self-drive tour.
You'll come across impressive sights along the Ring Road, such as Skógafoss and Dettifoss waterfalls, Eyjafjallajökull glacier, the spectacular Lake Mývatn, and Iceland's many black sand beaches. You'll enjoy both the rural and unspoiled landscapes of the Westfjords, the Golden Circle, and all three National Parks of Iceland.
You can choose to kickstart each day with a swim in the local pool, break up the trip midday for a quick dip in a natural hot spring, or end it with a relaxing soak in a tranquil spa. Each day will have different options for you to explore.
You're behind the wheel, so you can choose your own path without being bound by a guide. You can stay away from groups and make this a family-oriented or a romantic holiday, depending on your own interests. With this tour, you will have a personal planner and a 24/7 contact with your travel agent in case you need to alter your plans and perhaps add on a glacier hike all of a sudden.
Besides glacier hiking, there are other great additional activities available. You can try snowmobiling, ice climbing, ice caving, or whale watching, as well as all the hot springs, pools, and spas you will find en-route. And if you also want to explore the colder waters, then snorkeling in Silfra is not to be missed!
Take the plunge and get to know Iceland's wonders in depth during the summertime. Check availability by choosing a date.
Day 1 - Arrival in Iceland & Reykjavik Exploration
Welcome to the land of ice and fire! As soon as you land at Keflavík international airport, where you'll pick up your rental car, you'll be able to admire the otherworldly lava landscapes in the vicinity. Between Keflavík and Reykjavík is a black and green lava field, and steam rises from the ground in front of blue-looking mountains in the distance.
If you are interested in the most famous hot spring in Iceland, the Blue Lagoon is situated right between the airport and the capital city. You can book entrance tickets during the booking process and visit the spa on either your arrival or departure day.
You can also choose to spend the day visiting one of Reykjavík's many geothermal swimming pools. The city boasts 17 swimming pools, each equipped with an outdoor pool, saunas, and numerous hot tubs at an incredibly affordable price.
The day is yours, and if you'd rather wait with the soaking, then simply explore Reykjavík's city center on foot and see sights like Hallgrímskirkja church, the city pond, the old harbor, or Harpa Concert Hall.
Spend your night in Reykjavík city center.
Day 2 - Golden Circle & Geothermal Pools
Today your journey into Iceland's countryside begins by exploring the famous Golden Circle. The route consists of a stop at Þingvellir National Park and UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Geysir geothermal area where the geyser Strokkur erupts regularly, and the beautiful 'Golden Waterfall', Gullfoss. Kerið crater lake is also a popular stop along the route.
Additionally, you can spice up your day with some optional activities. You can go snorkeling in the crystal clear waters of Silfra ravine at Þingvellir National Park; you can shoot across Iceland's second-largest glacier, Langjökull, on a snowmobile; or you can relax in the warm waters of the Secret Lagoon or the Fontana Spa.
After a full day of sightseeing and excitement, within the area of the Golden Circle.
Day 3 - South Coast Views & Glacier Exploration
Iceland's South Coast is renowned for its beauty and plentiful attractions. You can start the day by exploring the stunning waterfalls Seljalandsfoss, Gljúfrabúi, and Skógafoss before continuing east towards Dyrhólaey cliff and Reynisfjara black sand beach where the iconic Rynisdrangar rocks rise out of the ocean.
Towering over you on your journey today are the glaciers Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull. If you'd wish to explore glaciers a bit today, you can opt for a glacier hike or an ice climb on Sólheimajökull, an outlet glacier of Mýrdalsjökull, or explore the black ice cave that sits on top of the volcanic Katla mountain.
And last but not least, your hot spring choice for this day is the Seljavallalaug pool, a concrete pool built in the mountainside with natural warm water trickling into it from one side. Note that this is not a manned pool, so the changing facilities are very rustic, and there are no showers or bathrooms on the site.
After an eventful day filled with incredible sights, spend your night near the picturesque town of Vík.
Day 4 - Skaftafell Nature Reserve & Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon
Before leaving Kirkjubæjarklaustur (or Klaustur for short), be sure to check out Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon, just a short drive away. Then head further east towards Skaftafell Nature Reserve, which is within the enormous Vatnajökull National Park.
At Skaftafell, you can opt for glacier hiking or ice climbing tours on one of Vatnajökull's outlet glaciers. You could also just go for a short hike yourself and follow one of the many hiking trails Skaftafell is known for. A highly recommended path leads to the beautiful Svartifoss waterfall, which was the inspiration for Reykjavík's iconic Hallgrímskirkja church.
Hop back in your car to drive a little further east to the crown jewel of Iceland, Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon and the nearby Diamond Beach. Visitors can spend hours just gazing at the enormous ice blocks as they float on the serene water and spotting seals lounging on top of them. If you want to see the ice up close, you can choose between two boat tours that take you around the floating ice. One is a slower boat, an amphibian boat, and the other is a zodiac speedboat.
At the end of the day, you can relax in the hot tubs at Hoffell before reaching your accommodation in the town of Höfn in east Iceland. A small fee is required for the hot tubs, which you deposit in an honesty box on the site.
Day 5 - Iceland's Rural Eastfjords
Today you will travel into the rural fjords of East Iceland. Each fjord provides you with spectacular scenery, and in each fjord, you'll find a unique and charming village.
In the picturesque Djúpivogur, for example, you can enjoy the outdoor artwork in Gleðivík bay, and the town of Fáskrúðsfjörður has a deep connection with France, evident in their street signs which are both in Icelandic and French. The village of Seyðisfjörður is renowned for its exciting and flourishing art community, not to mention its stunning surroundings, colorful houses, and one of the best sushi restaurants in Europe!
You can take your time exploring these small towns or go for a drive around the Lagarfljót Lake near Egilsstaðir town. On the banks of the lake, you'll find Iceland's largest forest, Hallormsstaðaskógur, and the country's third-largest waterfall, Hengifoss.
Spend your night in the town of Egilsstaðir.
Day 6 - Lake Myvatn & Nature Baths
Today you will head towards the beautiful area around Lake Mývatn, where you will spend the next two nights. You will not run out of exciting options for spending your time here as there are a wealth of stunning attractions and activities.
If you don't mind going for a long drive on unpaved roads, you could also head inland towards the Askja calderas, where you'll find the crater Víti which is filled with warm water in which you can take a dip. Just keep in mind that the temperature varies in some places, and the nearby ground can be quite hot - and the drive will add several hours to your journey.
By Lake Mývatn, explore the geothermal area of Námaskarð, where you'll see (and smell and listen to) various colorful and bubbling hot springs, with steam rising from the ground in every direction.
Go for a hike around Dimmuborgir field, with its black lava rock formations rising from green birch woods or up to the dark, sandy crater of Hverfell.
You can also splurge on an additional spa experience and the renowned Mývatn Nature Baths, the North's answer to the Blue Lagoon. These milky blue waters are at a comfortable 100°F (38°C) temperature, and you'll also have access to steam baths and great changing and shower facilities.
Spend your night at the Lake Mývatn area.
Day 7 - Dettifoss Waterfall and Husavik Whale Watching
Just outside of Lake Mývatn, incredible sights await you. Today the plan is to visit Dettifoss waterfall, the most powerful waterfall in all of Europe. A little way south is another magnificent waterfall, Selfoss. A short drive away, you'll find a number of other delightful destinations, including Hljóðaklettar cliffs, Ásbyrgi canyon and the charming town of Húsavík.
From Húsavík, you can choose to go on an optional whale watching tour, but this town is known in Iceland as the unofficial whale watching capital. There, you can also do as the locals and bathe in a free hot tub called Ostakarið. This is a man-made hot tub made from iron and fits around 20 people at a time. There are changing facilities next to it, but note that there are no bathrooms or showers.
There is another bathing option just outside of Húsavík's town center, a large thermal lake that's naturally warm can be found just southwest of the town. The temperature is only around 20°C, so it is only suitable on warm days, but you might encounter some goldfish in the lake. Note that there are no changing facilities, bathrooms, or showers by this lake.
Return to your accommodations by Lake Mývatn, where you will spend another night.
Day 8 - Akureyri: The Capital of the North
Start the day by making your way towards the town of Akureyri, but make sure you don't miss the beautiful Goðafoss waterfall, also known as 'The Waterfall of the Gods', which is en route.
Akureyri itself is an exciting place to explore and the largest town in Iceland outside the greater capital area of Reykjavík. It is thus often dubbed as 'The capital of the North'.
Akureyri is famous for its iconic church, beautiful botanical gardens, and charming center with a vibrant nightlife. It also has a great art museum, a busy local theatre, and sweeping mountain and fjord views.
Its central swimming pool is also a great option to spend a part of the day, with its multiple hot tubs, saunas, and fun slides for the kids (and those who are kids at heart). Afterward, make sure you try the local ice cream, as well as check out some great restaurants and bars.
Spend your night in this lovely town.
Day 9 - Head to the Westfjords
Today you'll start making your way towards the Westfjords, aiming to reach Hólmavík village by the end of the day. A suggested drive is to go around Tröllaskagi or 'Troll Peninsula', with a stop at Siglufjörður village. The Herring Museum at Siglufjörður is an absolute must-do. It's an incredible, award-winning museum that will give you a great insight into Iceland's maritime culture.
You'll be rewarded with stunning views as you drive this peninsula, and you'll get an even better view from the infinity swimming pool in the small town of Hofsós. The pool is built into the hillside above the sea, providing unbelievable views of the fjord and Drangey island.
If you fancy a short detour, you can visit a great, little bathing spot called Grettislaug, located across the bay from Hofsós, or you can check out the animal-shaped rock of Hvítserkur. On low tide, you can walk all the way up to this 49-foot (15-meter) high rock, but it's equally as impressive on high tide as it resembles an elephant or a dragon drinking from the surrounding sea.
At the end of the day, you'll reach Hólmavík village, renowned for its sorcery and witchcraft museum. You will spend your next two nights here.
Day 10 - The East of the Westfjords
Today is a very relaxing day in the eastern part of the Westfjords. Start the day by exploring the lovely Hólmavík village, and visit the local witchcraft museum before embarking on a scenic hot spring hunt.
You'll have three great hot spring choices for today. The closest hot tub action can be found right by the sea, in the center of the small but charming village of Drangsnes, a short drive from Hólmavík. Locals from both Drangsnes and Hólmavík flock to these hot tubs in the evenings, bringing drinks and urging each other to take cold dips in the sea when the hot water gets a little too hot. There are changing facilities across the road, and the hot tubs are accessible 24/7.
The second option is Gvendarlaug, by Hotel Laugarhóll. You'll have to pay a small fee at the reception of the hotel, but you'll have access to a natural hot pool, a natural hot creek that fills a stone-made footbath pool, and a swimming pool.
Your third option is the remote Krossneslaug pool at the end of the road. En route, you'll pass the tiny, historical but now abandoned settlement of Djúpavík, which is framed by a beautiful waterfall. Krossneslaug pool is right by the sea and offers breathtaking views. The drive to get there is also stunning but on slow, unpaved roads.
Return to Hólmavík, where you'll spend another night.
Day 11 - Head to Isafjordur
Today you'll be heading towards the biggest town in the Westfjords, Ísafjörður. You'll drive over mountain passes and along scenic fjords, some of which have hidden hot springs waiting for you to discover. You might, for example, want to visit Heydalur, a great farm to stop for a cup of coffee and to visit their variety of pools, a total of three hot pools, including an indoor one in a greenhouse, an outside man-made one as well as a small natural one.
But make sure you have enough time to enjoy the views on the way to Ísafjörður and in the town itself. You could also venture even further and enjoy the views of Bolafjall mountain near the small town of Bolungarvík.
Another recommended swimming pool is the one in Suðureyri village, where you can help yourself to some coffee by the hot tub before returning to Ísafjörður, where you'll find your accommodation for the night.
Day 12 - The Jewels of the Westfjords
Make your way south from Ísafjörður to the town of Patreksfjörður, cruising along numerous stunning fjords with gorgeous scenery. If you'd like to start your day with an optional tour, you can venture out to the calm waters of Ísafjörður fjord and take an optional kayaking tour to witness the spectacular Westfjords from the sea.
From Ísafjörður, head to the spectacular Dynjandi. This waterfall is called 'the jewel of the Westfjords', and it's not hard to see why as it cascades down 328-foot (100-meter) tall cliffs in a series of beautiful falls.
Your hot spring choice for this day is the charming Reykjafjarðarlaug, where you'll find both a pool and a natural hot spring. Another hot tub popular with the locals is Pollurinn, a man-made pool located near the small town of Tálknafjörður.
If you have some time, you can drive to the red sands of Rauðasandur beach or the stunning bird cliffs at Látrabjarg, the westernmost point of Europe. You can also leave this sightseeing until the morning if you prefer.
Spend your night in the charming Patreksfjörður town.
Day 13 - Baldur Ferry to Stykkisholmur
Today you will be crossing the Breiðafjörður fjord on a ferry to reach Snæfellsnes peninsula. You have an optional stop at Flatey island along the way, but you will need to catch the earlier ferry in the day and take the evening ferry over to Stykkishólmur.
Flatey Island is very tranquil, with only two farmers spending the whole year there. It's the perfect location to do absolutely nothing and just enjoy looking at puffins by the coast or perhaps going for a little stroll around the island.
Otherwise, you can spend your day in the Westfjords, exploring Rauðasandur beach, Látrabjarg cliffs, Birkimelur swimming pool or the hot spring Hellulaug by Hótel Flókalundur, and then catch the evening ferry from Flókalundur over to Stykkishólmur, skipping Flatey island.
Spend your night at Stykkishólmur, the largest town on the Snæfellsnes peninsula.
Day 14 - Snaefellsnes to Reykjavik
At the end of the day, you'll be in Reykjavík, but before you make your way south, you have time to explore all of Snæfellsnes peninsula. That includes seeing the cone-shaped Kirkjufell mountain, exploring the beauties found within Snæfellsjökull National Park, such as Djúpalónssandur black sand beach, or going on an optional tour down to Vatnshellir cave. Other picturesque locations include the small hamlets of Hellnar and Arnarstapi, with their peculiar rock formations and former trolls.
On Iceland's West Coast, you can also choose to relax in the Krauma Spa, found not far from the historical site of Reykholt, the beautiful Hraunfossar waterfalls, and the powerful Deildartunguhver hot spring.
If you still have some energy at the end of the day, you could hike for 2-3 hours to Iceland's second-tallest waterfall, Glymur, found at the bottom of Hvalfjörður fjord. It is just a short drive from Reykjavík. You can also visit the ice cave tunnels, a series of intricate tunnels that have been carved inside of Langjökull glacier.
Day 15 - Departure
This is your last day in Iceland, and you have a free day to explore all that Reykjavík has to offer. Perhaps you want to have one last dip in one of the city's pools, or you may have booked your entry to the Blue Lagoon. Otherwise, you can browse the shops, have a nice cup of coffee or a bite to eat in one of the city's charming cafés or visit some museums.
Just make sure you leave enough time to get back to the airport on time to return your car and catch your returning flight home. Have a great flight and come back soon.
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.
Some optional activities might require 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 snorkeling.
Although it is summertime, the Icelandic weather can be very unpredictable. Please bring appropriate clothing.
Please note that the Westfjords area does not offer quality-level accommodation. Visitors will thus be placed in the best comfort level accommodation possible in the area during their stay in the Westfjords.
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.
Dormitory beds with shared bathrooms in guesthouses or hostels. Located in the region of the best attractions. Breakfast is not included.
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.
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.