Ultimate 19-Day Self-Drive Tour Around Iceland

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Description

Summary

Starts from
Keflavík International Airport (KEF), Reykjanesbær, Iceland
Ends in
Keflavík Airport (KEF), Reykjanesbær, Iceland
Duration
19 days & 18 nights
Difficulty
Easy
Available
All year
Accommodation
18 nights included
Car rental
19 days included

Description

Embark on the trip of a lifetime with this incredible 19-day tour around Iceland. If you want to immerse yourself in the spectacular landscapes of the land of ice and fire, take thrilling adventures that you can't do anywhere else on Earth, and travel on your terms, this is the vacation for you.

On this epic self-drive vacation in Iceland, you will not just traverse the Ring Road that fully encircles the country but also visit the remote Westfjords, the spectacular Snaefellsnes Peninsula, and the magnificent Highlands. 

You don't have to spend weeks planning the perfect itinerary for Iceland, as this has all been done for you and at a great price. People love this tour, and it's very highly rated.

The features that make Iceland an appealing vacation destination will be on your agenda, such as volcanoes, glaciers, hot springs, waterfalls, and fjords. You don't have to worry about missing out on anything.

As you travel leisurely, you will stay at countryside hotels scattered across the island's most beautiful corners. You will spend some evenings in towns like Akureyri and Reykjavik, immersing yourself in Iceland's history and culture. 

Getting to your accommodation and any chosen excursions are the only obligations you'll have to meet on this tour, as you will be driving yourself, and how you spend each day is entirely up to you.

After booking, you will be sent a comprehensive itinerary detailing all the famous sites and hidden gems you can reach, allowing you to tailor your trip to your group's passions and needs. 

With this package, you will get a personal travel agent that you can reach any time of the day, seven days a week. If your plans change, you can cancel for free up to 24 hours before departure.

This tour is a summer self-drive, so your sightseeing hours can extend well into the night due to the light of the midnight sun.

When booking, you can arrange additional excursions so you can pack almost every day with adventure. 

Seeing the crystal-clear waters of Silfra fissure on a snorkeling tour, witnessing humpbacks on a whale-watching tour from Husavik, descending into a magma chamber, and hiking magnificent glaciers are just a few examples of what is on offer.

You will have plenty of opportunities to bathe in the healing geothermal waters that make Iceland a famous spa destination, including some immersed in nature.

Taking 19 days to explore the wonders of Iceland allows you to truly make the most of the country's landscapes without rushing, providing you with opportunities to find spectacular features few other travelers have time to reach. 

Furthermore, it allows you to learn more about this island's fascinating folklore, which is intrinsically tied to the untouched wilderness.

Take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime, 19-day summer vacation to Iceland. Check availability now by choosing a date.

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Included

18 nights of accommodation.
Continental breakfast on all days
New rental car for 19 days
CDW car rental insurance
Gravel protection car insurance
Unlimited Mileage
Unlimited in-car Wi-Fi
Detailed itinerary & travel plan
Personal travel agent
24/7 helpline
VAT & all taxes

Destinations

Reykjavik is the northernmost capital city in the world.Reykjavík / 3 nights
West Iceland home to many magical features, such as Hraunfossar waterfalls.West Iceland / 1 night
Reykholt was home to Snorri Sturluson, a medieval writer.Reykholt
Deildartunguhver geothermal hot spring in West IcelandDeildartunguhver
Beautiful coastal geology helps to define the Snaefellsnes Peninsula.Snæfellsnes / 1 night
A river runs through the Westfjords.Westfjords / 3 nights
North Iceland is home to many incredible attractions, such as the Hvitserkur rock formation.North Iceland / 1 night
Lake Myvatn is Northeast Iceland's most famous attraction.Northeast Iceland / 2 nights
East Iceland is a spectacular region.Eastfjords / 2 nights
Vopnafjordur is a town nestled in a fjord of the same name.Vopnafjordur
The Vatnajokull glacier in Southeast Iceland.Southeast Iceland / 2 nights
Dyrhólaey peninsula from east to westSouth Coast / 1 night
An abandoned house on the Reykjanes Peninsula presents a striking contrast against a lush green landscape.Southwest Iceland / 2 nights

Map

Attractions

Hraunfossar is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in West Iceland.Hraunfossar
Borg á Mýrum is a church estate in Iceland.Borg á Mýrum
Seals hauling out at Ytri Tunga.Ytri Tunga Beach
Búðakirkja Church bathed by the Northern LightsBudir
Snæfellsjökull glacier above the black church at Búðir village.Snæfellsjökull
Lóndrangar under the midnight sun.Lóndrangar
Djupalonssandur has beautiful natural featuresDjupalonssandur
Mount Kirkjufell on Snaefellsnes peninsula is one of the most iconic mountains in IcelandKirkjufell
Flatey island has many traditional housesFlatey
Raudasandur is the longest beach in the Westfjords.Rauðisandur
Dynjandi (meaning "Thunderous") is a series of waterfalls in the Westfjords and the largest of its kind in the region.Dynjandi
Krossneslaug is a geothermal hot pool found in the Westfjords of Iceland.Krossneslaug
Holar is a village in Iceland with a notably pretty church.Hólar in Hjaltadalur
Trollaskagi is well known for its high population of Icelandic horses.Tröllaskagi
Puffins are residents of Eyjafjordur from May to September.Eyjafjörður
Beautiful flowers can be found in the Kjarnaskogur forest in Iceland.Kjarnaskogur
Godafoss is a beautiful waterfall with ties to Iceland's religious history.Godafoss Waterfall
Lake Myvatn is surrounded by stunning natural beautyMývatn
Dettifoss waterfall in IcelandDettifoss
Asbyrgi Canyon in north Iceland is a centre of folklore and beauty.Ásbyrgi
Borgarfjordur Eystri is a beautiful and remote corner of the East Fjords.Borgarfjörður eystri
BurstarfellBurstarfell
Lagarfljot, in east Iceland, has a terrible monster in its depths, according to legend.Lagarfljót
Hallormstadaskogar surrounds lake Lagarfjlot.Hallormsstaðaskógur
Vestrahorn is a spectacular mountain, especially under the Northern Lights.Vestrahorn
Jökulsárlón is one of Iceland's most popular and unique attractionsJökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
The icy diamonds of Diamond BeachDiamond Beach
Skaftafell Nature Preserve can be found in Öræfasveit, the western region of Austur-Skaftafellssýsla in Iceland.Skaftafell
Svartifoss in Skaftafell Nature Reserve in summer.Svartifoss
Reynisfjara beach and Reynisdrangar cliffs in winterReynisfjara Black Sand Beach
Arial view of Reynisdrangar and Mt. ReynisfjallReynisdrangar
Dyrhólaey Peninsula is a 120 metre promenade famed for its staggering views of Iceland’s South Coast, as well as its historic lighthouse and wealth of birdlife.Dyrhólaey
Sólheimajökull is the most popular glacier to hike on for those based in Reykjavík.Sólheimajökull
The mighty Skógafoss waterfallSkógafoss
Seljalandsfoss on the South Coast of Iceland bathed in the otherworldly light of the midnight sun.Seljalandsfoss
Landmannalaugar is a spectacular wilderness in Iceland.Landmannalaugar
Þingvellir National Park, the only UNESCO World Heritage Site on Iceland’s mainland, is birthplace of the country’s parliament.Kerið
Long-exposure photo of Gullfoss waterfall on a cloudy dayGullfoss
Geysir is a dormant hot spring in the geothermal area, Haukadalur Valley, found in South Iceland.Geysir
Þingvellir National Park is Iceland's only UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the major stops along the world famous Golden Circle sightseeing route.Thingvellir
Kleifarvatn is the third largest lake in Iceland.Kleifarvatn
KrýsuvíkKrýsuvík
Gunnuhver is one of the geothermal areas on the Reykjanes Peninsula.Gunnuhver

Activities

Hiking
Sightseeing
Hot Spring Bathing
Self drive

Travel details

Travel dates

Travelers

Car

Car

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small car
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Premium car

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premium car
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large car

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Day 1

Day 1 – Reykjavík

  • Reykjavík - Arrival day
  • More

On day one of your 19-day self-drive vacation in Iceland, you will land at the Keflavik International Airport and pick up your rental car as soon as you clear customs. This private car will be your trusted vehicle to bring you to the most beautiful sites of the land of fire and ice.

If you arrive later in the day or in the evening, you can take the scenic drive to Iceland's capital city, Reykjavik, across the Reykjanes Peninsula. However, those who arrive early could start their immersion into Iceland's nature.

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 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.

Alternatively, you could explore the Reykjanes Peninsula itself. A volcanic wasteland, you will travel across otherworldly lava fields, see countless cone-shaped peaks, and marvel over its seething geothermal areas.

Once you arrive in Reykjavik, if you have time, you should have a quick look around the city since you'll be spending most of your vacation away from the city, in Iceland's nature. It is a beautiful capital with a thriving cultural scene and lively nightlife.

Some of the most notable attractions of the city include the Hallgrimskirkja church, Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Center, Tjornin pond, and the Perlan museum. You can also head to the Old Harbor for a view of the picturesque Faxafloi bay surrounding Reykjavik.

You will spend the night at your accommodation in Reykjavik.

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Experiences

Accommodation

Day 2

Day 2 – West Iceland

  • West Iceland
  • More
  • Reykholt historical site
  • Hraunfossar & Barnafoss waterfalls
  • Deildartunguhver hot spring
  • Borg a Myrum church and farm
  • More

You will begin your Ring Road adventure on the second day of your Icelandic self-drive vacation, starting with West Iceland. West Iceland is a fantastic place to start your travels, as it boasts beautiful natural attractions and a wealth of culture. Furthermore, there are three options for a tour you can take today.

After you leave Reykjavik, you will either pass under the Hvalfjordur tunnel to reach the significant sites more quickly or encircle the beautiful fjord for the scenic route. 

Nestled in Hvalfjordur is Glymur waterfall, Iceland's second-tallest waterfall, which you can hike through a beautiful valley of wildflowers and birch trees.

You will then come to Borgarnes, a charming coastal town that boasts the Settlement Centre Exhibition. If you want to learn how Old Norse Vikings discovered and settled this land over a millennium ago and how they survived under harsh conditions, be sure to pay a visit.

The next significant sites in the area are two waterfalls, Hraunfossar and Barnafoss. Though just a few minutes walk away from each other, they are very different. 

Hraunfossar waterfall pours through petrified lava, more a series of tiny waterfalls than one distinct one. Barnafoss waterfall, meanwhile, is a furious waterfall that surges through a narrow valley.

Following your time here, you'll head to Deildartunghver hot spring, Europe's highest-flowing hot spring. Not only is it a beautiful site, but it fuels the nearby Krauma geothermal spa. You can bask in the therapeutic waters here to break up your day of sightseeing.

Those who would rather embark on an adventure than enjoy a spa visit have two enticing alternatives. 

The first of these is a classic lava-caving adventure. Vidgelmir lava cave is a fascinating underground tunnel with unexpectedly vivid colors and unusual features formed by a volcanic eruption over a thousand years ago.

Otherwise, you could take an ice tunnel tour. On this excursion, which you can't take anywhere else on earth, you'll take a super jeep up the magnificent slopes of Langjokull glacier. 

You'll find a gleaming tunnel carved into its depths at its summit, which your guide will lead you through. The chambers and corridors are mesmerizing and provide insight into the workings of the ice caps.

Reykholt, home to legendary medieval chieftain Snorri Sturluson, is worth a visit for those interested in history, whereas Eldborg Crater provides beautiful views over the landscapes of the west.

You'll finish your day at a hotel on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, ready to explore it in depth tomorrow.

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Day 3

Day 3 – Snæfellsnes

  • Snæfellsnes
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  • Ytri Tunga Beach
  • Budir hamlet
  • Snaefellsjokull Glacier
  • Londrangar Basalt Cliffs
  • Djupalonssandur black pebble beach
  • Kirkjufell Mountain
  • More

On the third day of your 19-day self-drive tour of Iceland, you'll explore the magnificent shores of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. Nicknamed 'Iceland in Miniature,' this region has a diverse range of unforgettable sites.

As you travel along the southern shore, you'll first see a strange phenomenon on the cliffs of Gerduberg. They are lined with hexagonal columns, so perfect it almost appears as if they have been carved. 

Turning to the coast a little further down the road, you will likely see plenty of seals playing and resting, part of the colony on Ytri Tunga beach. 

Next, you will find the abandoned village of Budir, of which just a beautiful black church remains.

You will then come to the highlight of the peninsula, Snaefellsjokull National Park. This area is named after the subglacial volcano of Snaefellsjokull, a monumental feature with two peaks topped with white ice.

The glacier is one of many attractions in the national park. It also has the charming fishing village of Arnarstapi, which boasts stunning coastal geology, such as the Gatklettur rock arch. Meanwhile, the deserted settlement of Hellnar has a mystical air of abandonment.

The black sand beach of Djupalonssandur is home to the four 'lifting stones,' which historically were used by fishermen to test their strength. Londrangar is an enormous basalt plug that is home to thousands of nesting seabirds in summer.

Once you leave the national park and travel along the northern shore, you'll have spectacular views over Breidafjordur bay to the Westfjords. 

You'll find plenty of opportunities to stop and admire the villages, such as Bjarnahofn, home to the Icelandic Shark Museum. Here, you can learn how Icelanders create the delicacy of hakarl or fermented shark.

The highlight of this part of the Snaefellesnes Peninsula is Kirkjufell mountain, a church-shaped mountain featured in Game of Thrones. Incredibly statuesque, you can admire the feature from all angles, including the sea, if you book a kayaking tour today. 

Kayaking around Kirkjufell mountain is not just a unique experience but also provides you with a chance to have an incredible wildlife experience with seabirds and seals.

After you have explored the magnificent Snaefellsnes Peninsula, you'll return to your hotel in the region for the night.

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Day 4

Day 4 – Westfjords

  • Westfjords
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  • Flatey Island
  • Raudisandur red sand beach
  • More

On the fourth day of your 19-day summer vacation in Iceland, you'll leave the Snaefellsnes Peninsula for one of Iceland's most remote regions, the Westfjords. It is the least visited region in Iceland, so there are fewer travelers to bump here into.

Before you head to Stykkisholmur, where your ferry is waiting, you can head to any local sites you missed the day before. The ferry that will take you from the Snaefellsnes Peninsula to the Westfjords is large enough to take your car and will provide you with beautiful views over both regions and countless islands. 

If you wish, you can stop at one of these, the beautiful Flatey island. Sleepy, picturesque, and historical, this is a wonderful place to take a serene walk and look out for the local birds. 

Cars are not allowed on the island. Yours will be parked at the harbor in the Westfjords ahead of you. Once your ferry journey is complete and you've reclaimed your vehicle, you can begin exploring one of the world's most scenic regions. 

The plunging fjords, the flat-topped mountains, the countless waterfalls, and the tiny villages all make driving here an incredible pleasure.

Though you will find plenty of viewing stops and detours to enjoy, two sites are highly recommended to visit today. 

The first is Raudasandur beach, a beautiful beach unlike most others around the country. Rather than black volcanic sands, it has a golden, pinky hue, making it a spectacular place to walk.

The second is Latrabjarg, the longest set of birdwatching cliffs in Europe. Here, you can find hundreds of thousands of nesting pairs throughout summer, including puffins. Puffins aren't scared of people, so you can get surprisingly close to them.

After an excellent day in the Westfjords, you'll head to your accommodation in the coastal village of Patreksfjordur or one its nearby settlements.

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Day 5

Day 5 – Westfjords

  • Westfjords
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  • Dynjandi
  • More

On the fifth day of your summer self-drive tour of Iceland, you will set out from Patreksfjordur and continue your journey navigating the Westfjords. 

As you drive up and down the fjords and cross mountain passes, you'll appreciate the lack of other people in this area. Few travelers reach this part of the country due to its distance from Reykjavik, allowing you to enjoy the sites and wilderness in peace.

Though most of the wonders of the Westfjords are found along its coastline, you will want to detour inland to visit the mighty Dynjandi waterfall. 

This waterfall stands at an impressive 328 feet (100 meters) tall and cascades down what appears to be a staircase descending a cliff face, widening as it does. No other waterfall in Iceland resembles this attraction, making it the favorite of many travelers.

Walking to Dynjandi waterfall is also a pleasure in itself. The easy trail has many other waterfalls along its route, and though all are small, each is beautiful and has a unique appeal.

Another fantastic attraction today is the settlement of Flateyri. Though it appears to be a typical village of the Westfjords, it has a range of unique features as well as spectacular surroundings and peaceful charm. 

It is home to both the Nonsense Museum and an International Doll Museum, it has a sandy beach, and its pool has outdoor hot tubs.

A long drive along the fjords is required to reach your final destination for today, the town of Isafjordur. Be sure to keep an eye out for wildlife on your journey, as the Westfjords boasts arctic foxes inland and seals, dolphins, and whales in its waters.

Isafjordur, the region's capital, has some of the most magnificent surroundings of any Icelandic town. It also boasts a strong identity and thriving culture that you can immerse yourself in.

You will spend another night in the Westfjords of Iceland.

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Day 6

Day 6 – Westfjords

  • Westfjords
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  • Krossneslaug
  • More

On day six of your self-drive Icelandic vacation, you will continue to explore the Westfjords. It's good to spend a few days here to appreciate the area's diversity, beauty, and remoteness.

Before starting your journey south, take a brief detour northwest to visit the picturesque fishing village of Bolungarvik. 

Stunning landscapes, including dramatic mountains and tranquil fjords, surround the town. It's known for its rich maritime heritage, as fishing has been a way of life here for centuries.

The views from the harbor here are magnificent, and the settlement has some fascinating folklore surrounding it. It is said that it was once the home of two sibling sorcerers who were at war with each other.

Once you begin your journey away from Isafjordur and Bolungarvik, the next major attraction is the Arctic Fox Center, a renowned research and exhibition facility in Sudavik. The center is dedicated to the conservation and study of the Arctic fox. 

Here, you can meet and learn about Iceland's only native land mammal and discover how it survived for thousands of years in such harsh conditions before humans even knew the land existed.

Your next major destination is the town of Holmavik, home to the fascinating Museum of Witchcraft and Sorcery. The museum has many fascinating and morbid displays, including some necropants, a pair of pants made from human skin. 

You can learn more here about how Icelanders attempted to use magic to protect their families, ward off evil, and cast curses upon their neighbors. 

Nearby, you can find the Sorcerer's Cottage. It is modeled on a medieval turf house with many hidden staves, the primary way spells were cast.

After another day enjoying the beauty and culture of the Westfjords, you'll depart the region and head to Northwest Iceland, where you can find your accommodation for the night.

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Day 7

Day 7 – North Iceland

  • North Iceland
  • More
  • Holar i Hjaltadal
  • Troll Peninsula
  • Eyjafjordur fjord
  • More

On the seventh day of your self-drive tour, you'll begin your exploration of North Iceland. This region boasts incredible diversity and plenty of hidden gems you'll get to see during this trip.

You can find the first of these on the Vatnsnes Peninsula. This coastal area is home to several seal colonies you can see from the shore and the Icelandic Seal Center, a fantastic place to learn about their biology, history, and conservation. 

It is also home to the striking rock monolith of Hvitserkur. This rock formation, 49 feet (15 meters) tall, is said to be a troll in Icelandic folklore, but it more closely resembles an elephant.

After these sites, detour a short distance to Glaumbaer, a farmstead where you can find historic turf houses. 

Icelandic turf houses are traditional dwellings constructed with stone and turf. These unique structures blend seamlessly with the natural landscape, providing excellent insulation against Iceland's harsh weather conditions. They are a testament to the ingenuity and resourcefulness of the Icelandic people throughout history.

As you continue, you can visit plenty of stunning coastal towns. Hofsos has a spectacular infinity pool, whereas Siglufjordur has stunning views of the fjord and the award-winning Herring Era Museum.

The Herring Era Museum is a captivating museum that commemorates the town's rich history during the herring fishing boom in the early 20th century. Through engaging exhibits, artifacts, and multimedia presentations, visitors can delve into the fascinating world of herring fishing and experience the vibrant atmosphere of the era.

Arskogssandur is also particularly notable, as it is home to the unique Beer Baths, a geothermal spa where you can bathe in tubs of fermenting beer. Adults are welcome to enjoy a pint as they relax during this revitalizing experience.

Your final destination of the day is Akureyri, the capital of the north. 

This town has beautiful architecture, lovely harbor views, plenty of cultural attractions, and bars, boutiques, and restaurants that you can explore.

You will spend the night in a cozy accommodation in North Iceland.

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Day 8

Day 8 – Northeast Iceland

  • Northeast Iceland
  • More
  • Kjarnaskogur
  • Godafoss Waterfall
  • Lake Myvatn Area
  • More

On the eighth day of your self-drive vacation in Iceland, you'll continue to explore the region of North Iceland by visiting some of the magnificent Diamond Circle sightseeing route sites. 

This route is often done in one day, but you will have two days to explore to spend plenty of time at each place.

Your first stop is the town of Husavik. There are two tours you can take from here. You could embark on a whale-watching excursion, as this settlement is often nicknamed the whale-watching capital of Europe. 

The waters outside Husavik boast many humpback whales throughout summer, and other species, such as orcas, blue whales, and fin whales, are occasionally seen. On this trip, there will also be plenty of chances to see puffins.

The second tour in Husavik is a trip to the GeoSea Geothermal Baths. This seaside spa is fantastic for admiring the sea from its geothermally heated waters. You will bathe in saltwater here, which is said to have many healing properties for the mind, body, and soul.

You can book both a whale-watching tour and entry to the GeoSea Baths today, but travelers who take this option may not have time to drive to the following two attractions today comfortably.

The next sights today are the Dettifoss waterfall and the Asybyrgi canyon. The former is Europe's most powerful waterfall, which thunders into the canyon below. Two more impressive falls, Selfoss Waterfall and Hafragilsfoss waterfall, are just downriver from this magnificent sight.

Asybyrgi is a dramatic canyon shaped like a horseshoe, which is said to be the imprint of the hoof of the steed of Odin. Within it is an enormous forest of birch trees and a spectacular island of rock, making it a magnificent place to hike.

After you have enjoyed these sites, you'll head to the Lake Myvatn area, where you will spend the next day exploring. 

Your day ends with a relaxing time in your accommodation in Northeast Iceland.

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Day 9

Day 9 – Northeast Iceland

  • Northeast Iceland
  • More
  • Lake Myvatn Area
  • More

On day nine of your self-drive tour of Iceland, you have two options for how to spend your day. 

You could explore the incredible Lake Myvatn area in-depth, alongside some other northern attractions, or you could embark on a super jeep and hiking tour in the untouched Icelandic Highlands.

The Lake Myvatn area is packed with attractions. As its name suggests, it has a series of beautiful lakes teeming with fauna and flora in summer, including an abundance of birds. 

The geology is fascinating here, with basalt lava columns towering from the waters and pseudocraters lining the shores.

The Dimmuborgir lava fortress sits adjacent to the lakes, a marvelous place used as a filming location in Game of Thrones. It is also steeped in folklore and is said to be the home of the Icelandic Christmas trolls or Yule Lads.

It is not just geological wonders that the area holds. There are also geothermal marvels. 

Namaskard Pass is a prime example. Contrasting dramatically with the bursting life around the lakes, this barren stretch is lined with steaming fumaroles and hissing vents. The earth is dyed different colors by the rising elements.

A more relaxing place to enjoy North Iceland's geothermal phenomena is the Myvatn Nature Baths, a spa immersed in the beautiful landscapes. You can arrange your trip here when booking.

If you choose to visit the Highlands instead, you will be picked up early in the morning by an experienced guide who will take you on a thrilling adventure to the Askja caldera. 

This tour begins with an epic super jeep ride into the spectacular interior of the caldera, where you'll get views of mountains, glaciers, craters, and volcanoes far from any crowds.

When you begin to hike, you'll see even more incredible landscapes. The Askja caldera is part of the rugged Dyngjufjoll mountain range and is renowned for its crater lakes. The most impressive of these is the Viti explosion crater, the waters of which are geothermally heated, so make sure you bring your swimsuit for a hot spring bath like no other.

However you spend your day, it will be filled with adventure. You'll return to your accommodation in Northeast Iceland for the night.

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Day 10

Day 10 – Eastfjords

  • Eastfjords
  • More
  • Dettifoss waterfall
  • Asbyrgi canyon
  • More

On the tenth day of your summer vacation in Iceland, you'll leave North Iceland for the spectacular east. 

Before you head east, you will have time to visit the sights of North Iceland that you had yet to get to over the past two days, such as Lake Myvatn, Dettifoss waterfall, and Asbyrgi Canyon.

The drive from Myvatn to Egilsstadir, the capital of East Iceland, takes you along the Ring Road and through some incredible mountain landscapes with views of volcanoes, lava fields, and Vatnajokull glacier, Europe's most significant ice cap. 

If you managed to visit all the sites you wished to in the Myvatn area, you could take detours to sights in the Highlands that few others visit.

Egilsstadir itself is a lovely town with a wealth of surrounding sights. It sits on Lake Lagarfljot, a mysterious place that is said to hold a beast similar to the Loch Ness Monster. 

Just to the south is the country's largest forest, Hallormsstadaskogar, which boasts many hiking and biking routes and birdwatching hot spots.

Half an hour south of the town are the twin waterfalls of Hengifoss and Litlanesfoss. 

Standing at an impressive height of 420 feet (128 meters), the Hengifoss waterfall is known for its striking beauty and unique geological features. The waterfall cascades down a magnificent cliff face adorned with vibrant layers of red and black basalt columns, creating a mesmerizing visual spectacle. 

Hengifoss waterfall is a natural wonder and a testament to Iceland's geological history, making it a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts and photographers alike.

As visitors hike towards Hengifoss waterfall, they are treated to stunning panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, including the nearby Litlanesfoss waterfall. 

To unwind after a day of stunning sightseeing, dip in the Vok Baths, immersed in a serene lake surrounded by peaks.

There are no other geothermal spas in this part of the country, meaning you will want to take advantage of this.

When you're ready, you'll head to your accommodation in East Iceland.

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Day 11

Day 11 – Eastfjords

  • Eastfjords
  • More
  • Borgarfjordur eystri fjord and valley
  • Vopnafjordur
  • Burstarfell Farm and Museum
  • More

On day 11 of your 19-day self-drive tour of Iceland, you'll have an opportunity to explore the Eastfjords of Iceland in-depth, visiting incredible places far off the beaten track for most travelers. 

While you can make your own plans, spending the day at either Borgarfjordur Eystri or Seydisfjordur village is the most highly recommended option.

Borgarfjordur Eystri is a spectacular coastal wilderness with black sand beaches, dramatic fjords, and abundant wildlife. Reindeer, foxes, seals, dolphins, and whales are occasionally seen. 

There are also several hiking routes in the area, the most picturesque of which is Storund. This moderate-level hike offers outdoor enthusiasts a unique opportunity to explore the rugged beauty of the remote Icelandic wilderness. 

The trail winds through picturesque valleys, traverses moss-covered lava fields, and meanders alongside babbling streams. Hikers are rewarded with awe-inspiring views of majestic mountains, cascading waterfalls, and expansive fjords along the way. 

Those interested in folklore will find several points on this route, particularly of note due to the area's association with the Hidden People, or elves, who are said to inhabit Iceland's landscapes.

Seydisfjordur, meanwhile, is a tiny village nestled in the crook of a narrow, steep-sloped fjord of the same name, allowing for some of the region's most picturesque vistas. 

This is a wonderfully relaxing place to spend a few hours connecting with the authentic local culture.

You can visit both sites within a day, although doing so would be a little rushed. In the region, alternative sights you could head to include Iceland's tallest freestanding mountain, Snaefell, and the Holmanes Nature Reserve.

This coastal reserve boasts diverse ecosystems, including sandy beaches, grassy meadows, and rocky cliffs. 

Visitors can enjoy scenic hikes, birdwatching, and the opportunity to spot seals basking on the shores. The reserve offers a peaceful retreat amidst Iceland's natural beauty.

You'll return to your accommodation in East Iceland for the night.

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Day 12

Day 12 – Southeast Iceland

  • Southeast Iceland
  • More
  • Lake Lagarfljot
  • Hallormsstadaskogur Forest
  • Vestrahorn
  • More

On day 12 of your self-drive tour around Iceland, you will travel along the coast as you explore the rest of the magnificent Eastfjords on one of the most incredible road trips imaginable. 

This region is less well-traveled than other spots in Iceland, so you can enjoy the mountains and fjords in peace without hordes of tourists.

As you travel, you will visit countless fishing villages in the most beautiful spots along the coastline. Eskifjordur, Reydarfjordur, and Djupivogur are all examples of stunning settlements, each with its unique character. 

Djupivogur is particularly of note for its coastal hot pools and famous public artwork, the Eggs of Merry Bay. This captivating installation, created by renowned artist Sigurdur Gudmundsson, features thirty-four colossal granite eggs scattered across the picturesque bay. 

Each egg replicates the egg of a different bird species in the area, celebrating the region's rich biodiversity. The meticulously carved and polished eggs glisten under the Icelandic sun, creating a stunning visual spectacle. 

You will likely see a wealth of wildlife as you travel the Eastfjords. The region is home to various seabirds nesting along the shore. Seal colonies relax on the beach, whales and dolphins feed in the waters, and reindeer roam inland. 

East Iceland is the only part of the country where herds of these beautiful creatures can be found in the wild. Reindeers are known for their antlers and sturdy hooves and have the adaptability to survive in these Arctic conditions.

The last significant sites of the Eastfjords are the dramatic mountains of Eystrahorn and Vestrahorn, which are unique for their dark composition of gabbro rock. Photographers often find these a favorite subject due to their distinct contours.

Once you've finished your exploration of the Eastfjords, you'll head to your accommodation for the night in Southeast Iceland.

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Day 13

Day 13 – Southeast Iceland

  • Southeast Iceland
  • More
  • Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon
  • Diamond Beach
  • More

On the 13th day of your self-drive vacation, you will explore what has been dubbed the 'Crown Jewel of Iceland's Nature,' the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon. 

You can spend a few hours at this magical sight, and with a self-drive tour, there's no need to rush.

Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon is Iceland's deepest lake, separated from the ocean by a narrow channel. It connects with a retreating glacier on its far side, which, as it crumbles, fills the water with enormous icebergs. 

Many of these ice chunks emerge many feet above the surface, and all are strikingly beautiful, colored vivid shades of blue and white, with streaks of ash from historical volcanic eruptions.

If you're lucky, you might spot some wildlife here. You can often see seals relaxing on the icebergs or swimming around them, making this experience even more special.

While admiring the lagoon from shore is a lovely experience, those who want something even more memorable should book a boat tour on the water. Depending on your preference, you can navigate the icebergs on an amphibious vessel or a zodiac boat.

The first is a more serene option, and the second is a quick, adrenaline-fuelled ride around the lagoon.

Though Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon is the most famous attraction in the area, two others nearby are also must-visits. 

Diamond Beach is a stunning stretch of shore that becomes the icebergs' resting place when they finally become small enough to escape the lake, their blue and white forms contrasting spectacularly with the black sands, hence the beach's name. 

Fjallsarlon glacier lagoon, meanwhile, is a neighboring lagoon just off the beaten track, with far fewer guests admiring it. Here, you'll be able to watch icebergs fall away from the nearby glacier and listen to the cracking and splashing sounds they make.

After touring these stunning attractions, you'll head to your accommodation in Southeast Iceland.

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Day 14

Day 14 – South Coast

  • South Coast
  • More
  • Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon
  • Diamond Beach
  • Skaftafell Nature Reserve
  • Svartifoss
  • More

To mark the end of your second week in Iceland, you will explore the stunning Skaftafell Nature Reserve on the 14th day of your self-drive road trip. 

This area is part of the great Vatnajokull National Park and is shaped by the forces of ice and fire. Glacier tongues pour from the mountains, lava fields spill through the valley, and birch forests bloom throughout the summer.

Because of these natural features, hiking is incredibly popular in the area. There are plenty of trails, but the most renowned leads to the Svartifoss waterfall. This stunning feature is surrounded by hexagonal basalt columns, contrasting with the foaming white water.

Glacier hiking on the ice cap of Svinafellsjokull glacier is another popular activity. Svinafellsjokull glacier is famous for its fang-like ridges. 

Today, you have two optional excursions, exploring the surrounding area further. One is three hours long, whereas the more adventurous can embark on one over five hours long.

After enjoying the many sites of the Skaftafell Nature Reserve, you will begin your journey along the South Coast of Iceland. 

Along the way, you’ll see a beautiful black sand shoreline that hugs the road to the left while a constantly changing scenery of glaciers, mountains, and lava fields passes to your right.

During the journey, take a detour to Fjadrargjufur canyon, a stunning ravine around 1.2 miles (2 kilometers) long and approximately 328 feet (100 meters) deep. 

Hiking here is a beautiful way to break up the journey, and it is possible to do so both above and within the canyon. Those taking the latter route should bring sandals or waterproof shoes, as a shallow river flows through the valley.

As you continue towards Vik, you will find plenty of other sightseeing stops to enjoy. The beautiful village is surrounded by stunning coastal views and inland attractions you can explore tomorrow.

You will spend your night in a charming accommodation in South Iceland.

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Day 15

Day 15 – Southwest Iceland

  • Southwest Iceland
  • More
  • Reynisfjara black sand beach
  • Reynisdrangar Sea Stacks
  • Dyrholaey
  • Solheimajokull Glacier
  • Skogafoss waterfall
  • Seljalandsfoss Waterfall
  • More

On day 15 of your 19-day self-drive tour of Iceland, you will explore the sights of the South Coast, including ice caves, beaches, and glaciers.

Begin your day with a thrilling tour of the Katla ice cave. From Vik, you'll travel by super jeep to the summit of Myrdalsjokull glacier, the third largest glacier in the country, famous for sitting above the notorious volcano of Katla. 

Once dressed in your safety gear, you'll have the rare opportunity to explore a magical ice cave and its glacial features.

After being escorted back to Vik, visit Reynisfjara beach. This black sand stretch of the coast is renowned for its incredible geology, boasting the sea stacks of Reynisfjara, which tower above the sea offshore. 

According to folklore, these were once two fighting trolls caught in the sunlight and turned to stone.

By the beach is the incredible rock arch of Dyrholaey, which is so vast that ships can easily sail through. The cliffs here are a fantastic puffin-watching spot, with thousands of nesting pairs seen throughout summer.

As you continue along the South Coast, you will see glimpses of Myrdalsjokull and Eyjafjallajokull glaciers through the mountains. You can explore the surface of Myrdalsjokull glacier with an alternate tour today by glacier hiking on the tongue of Solheimajokull glacier. 

The final significant attractions of this afternoon are all beautiful waterfalls. Skogafoss waterfall is the most well-known. It is around 197 feet (60 meters) tall and thunderously powerful, casting spray as it collides with the rocks below. 

Seljalandsfoss waterfall shares its great height but is much more gentle and tumbles before a dramatic canyon.

Gljufrabui waterfall, meanwhile, pours into a hidden grotto that requires you to wade through a stream to reach, creating a mystical ambiance.

At the end of your day of sightseeing, you'll spend the night in one of the countryside towns of Southwest Iceland

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Day 16

Day 16 – Southwest Iceland

  • Southwest Iceland
  • More
  • Landmannalaugar
  • More

Day 16 of your self-drive summer vacation to Iceland can be spent in one of six equally exciting ways, allowing you to visit parts of Iceland many Ring Road travelers do not get the time to see.

Firstly, you could drive to the highland reserve of Landmannalaugar, a spectacular wilderness of colorful rhyolite mountains and geothermal activity. You can spend the day here basking in the natural hot springs surrounded by unbelievable nature, hiking to craters and crater lakes, or both.

Secondly, you could take a super jeep tour to this region, meaning you don't need to worry about driving the highland roads. Taking a super jeep tour also means you will have a friendly guide who can tell you about the area's folklore, geology, and best sights.

Your next choice is to drive to the Thorsmork valley. Another highland area, this forested valley is sheltered by spectacular glacier tongues and has features shaped by the 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajokull volcano. 

This area was named after the Old Norse God of Thunder, Thor. Again, you have the choice of experiencing this region as part of a guided super jeep tour.

Your fifth option for today is entirely different. Rather than visit the Highlands, you can organize a ferry to the Westman Islands. This stunning archipelago has a fascinating history of pirate attacks and volcanic eruptions. 

You can learn about it at local museums and visit some amazing natural sights like the Eldborg crater.

The Westman Islands boasts the largest colony of Atlantic Puffins in the world, and you can see them in their hundreds of thousands from the shores and cliffs.

Your sixth and final choice today is to check your itinerary and plan a day for yourself. Of course, if you'd like to relax and recharge for the final leg of your holiday, that's an option too.

In the evening, you'll return to your comfortable accommodation in Southwest Iceland, where you'll spend the night.

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Day 17

Day 17 – Reykjavík

  • Reykjavík
  • More
  • Kerid Crater
  • Gullfoss waterfall
  • Geysir geothermal area
  • Thingvellir National Park
  • More

On day 17 of your 19-day summer self-drive vacation in Iceland, you will tour the incredible sites of the Golden Circle sightseeing route. This sightseeing route boasts three famous attractions and plenty of lesser-known ones just off the beaten track.

The first of the main features on the Golden Circle sightseeing route is the two-tier waterfall of Gullfoss, which you can see tumbling into a valley with enormous force. In summer, you can stand on a platform to watch the waterfall and feel its spray on your face. 

The second stop today is the Geysir geothermal area, a valley where you can watch the Strokkur geyser erupt over 66 feet (20 meters) every five minutes.

Finally, you will visit the Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site between two visible tectonic plates. 

The Thingvellir National Park is filled with forests, lava fields, and springs leading to an enormous lake. It is steeped in fascinating history that dates back over a millennium.

You can take an optional tour from the Gullfoss waterfall or the Thingvellir National Park. 

From Gullfoss waterfall, you can take a snowmobiling excursion that whisks you across the slopes of Langjokull glacier, giving you unbelievable views on an adrenaline-pumping adventure. 

Within the Silfra ravine, one of the springs at the Thingvellir National Park, you can snorkel between the continents, with visibility up to 328 feet (100 meters). Participants on the optional snorkeling excursion need to be comfortable in the water and be able to swim.

After enjoying the sights of the Golden Circle, you can visit some of the lesser-known sights in the area. These include the red-rocked crater lake of Kerid, the Secret Lagoon at Fludir, and the Fontana Spa at Laugavatn. 

You will end your day in Iceland’s capital city, Reykjavik, where you can find a restaurant or bar and toast to the end of your thrilling road trip around all of Iceland’s most fantastic attractions. You’ll spend tonight at your accommodation in the city.

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Day 18

Day 18 – Reykjavík

  • Reykjavík
  • More

On the penultimate day of your self-drive vacation in Iceland, you will be based in Reykjavik. 

Today, you'll explore Iceland's capital city. You can shop for souvenirs on Laugavegur Street, find the museums and galleries downtown, or relax in a local geothermal pool. 

The most prominent among Reykjavik's geothermal pools is Laugardalslaug, a complex featuring numerous hot tubs, steam baths, and swimming pools. The warm, mineral-rich waters provide a perfect respite from the city's chilly climate, inviting locals and visitors to relax and unwind. 

Nautholsvik is a beautiful sandy beach where a hot tub and a geothermal seawater pool blend, offering a blissful contrast of warmth against the cool ocean breeze.

Alternatively, there are three optional tours you can take today.

If you want to add one more experience in the capital, you could enjoy the incredible FlyOver Iceland ride. You will be suspended over a concave screen and shown a spectacular aerial show of Iceland's landscapes. 

Wind and scent effects make it even more authentic as you dangle mesmerized from your simulated hand glider.

For a tour out in nature, you can embark on a horseback ride, allowing you to meet a friendly Icelandic horse and witness the beautiful wilderness around the capital like an early settler. 

Icelandic horses are known for their friendly nature and unique gait, the tolt, which allows them to easily navigate Iceland's challenging terrain, providing a smooth ride for the rider. Horse riding tours are suitable for all levels, from beginners to those more experienced.

Alternatively, you could book the once-in-a-lifetime Into the Volcano tour, which you can only do in Iceland. You'll board a mining lift in a far-flung lava field and be lowered into the magma chamber of an extinct volcano.

Considering the unbelievable scale, coloration, and beauty of this space, as well as the uniqueness of this experience, this is undoubtedly the best way to finish such an epic vacation in Iceland.

On your last night in Iceland, you'll stay in comfortable accommodation in Reykjavik.

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Day 19

Day 19 – Reykjavík

  • Reykjavík - Departure day
  • More
  • Kleifarvatn
  • Krysuvik
  • Gunnuhver
  • More

Day 19 marks the end of your epic self-drive vacation in Iceland. 

If you have an early flight time, leave after enjoying breakfast at your accommodation. Leave plenty of time to return your rental vehicle and drop off your baggage before heading to the departure gate to catch your flight home. 

Those leaving later, however, can create a few last memories of Iceland.

Sightseeing around the capital or the Reykjanes Peninsula are great options for those eager to soak up a little more culture or nature. 

This geologically active region is home to breathtaking landscapes shaped by volcanic activity and powerful forces of nature. 

The Reykjanes peninsula also boasts dramatic cliffs, rugged coastlines, and expansive lava fields like Krysuvik. 

Considering you'll still have your rental car, you could visit other attractions around Reykjavik, such as Mount Esjan, the Blue Mountains, or the Reykjadalur Hot Spring Valley.

Translating to "Steam Valley," Reykjadalur offers a unique and enchanting experience. A picturesque hiking trail winds through a scenic landscape of bubbling hot springs, steaming vents, and colorful geothermal pools. 

As visitors trek along the trail, they can witness the power and beauty of nature up close. At the trail's end, a warm river awaits, inviting travelers to indulge in a natural hot bath surrounded by breathtaking valley views. 

Alternatively, you can organize your Blue Lagoon geothermal spa visit on this day. Taking a dip in its healing azure waters is a perfect way to rejuvenate and end a week of adventure.

Once you've finished the day's activities, return your rental car to the airport before heading home.

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What to bring

Warm, waterproof clothing
Camera
Swimsuit and towel
Driver's license
Sunglasses
Good hiking shoes
Reusable water bottle
Snacks

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 you to have 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, and participants need to be comfortable in the water and be able to swim.

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.

Gravel protection is not included if you choose a Toyota Aygo or similar.

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