Express 6-Day Summer Self-Drive Tour of the Complete Ring Road of Iceland
Drive the whole circle around Iceland in only six days in this complete self-drive tour of the Ring Road. If you have little time but want to see as many parts of Iceland as possible, this trip around the country is your best bet.
Though this tour involves a lot of driving, you're behind the wheel. You can forget the pressures of tour guides and waiting for other group members.
By booking this tour, you'll avoid spending weeks planning that perfect Iceland itinerary. We've already covered the planning part to save you from all the hassle. Moreover, we'll offer that perfect tour for a great price.
Organizing your trip may sound exciting, but you risk missing out on some of the best attractions. Letting us handle the planning will ensure that all the essential stops you need to see and experience in your self-drive tour are included.
To make your holiday relaxing and adventurous, you'll lodge in complete comfort with an ensuite bathroom and breakfast included around Iceland, allowing you to rest well between days of adventure.
On this trip, you'll enjoy Iceland's most famous highlights, such as the Golden Circle, Reykjavik, and the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon. If you wish to avoid crowds and enjoy Iceland's peaceful, secluded places, you're in luck!
You'll receive a detailed and custom itinerary, showing you locations off the beaten path where you can genuinely get in touch with nature. Aside from having control over your flexibility and freedom during the tour, we'll also provide the necessary support you may need.
Our packages come with a personal travel agent you can contact any time of the day, seven days a week.
As you travel, you'll see many impressive waterfalls, geothermal areas, volcanoes, lakes, glaciers, and charismatic Icelandic towns. The south, east, north, and west are all dramatically different. Instead of focusing on one area, you'll get to know all regions, one after another.
Make the most of the long summer days, start early in the mornings, and finish late at night. You should feel more energetic in the constant sunshine, and even if you don't, the spectacular scenery and beautiful fresh air will jolt your senses.
You can add more exciting activities to fill the sunny days during the booking process. Options include buzzing along an ice cap on a snowmobile, descending into a stunning ice cave, hiking the glacier at Skaftafell, and unwinding in the Blue Lagoon. You can even take a tandem paragliding flight over the incredible South Coast.
Being able to insert extra stops is one of the reasons people love this self-drive Ring Road trip, earning high ratings and positive reviews for the tour. It's also one of the easiest tours, perfect for guests of all ages.
Should you wish to cancel your trip for any reason, you may do so for free and get a full refund 24 hours before departure.
Grab this opportunity to discover the wonders of Iceland on a six-day self-drive tour around the Ring Road of Iceland. Check availability now by choosing a date.
Day 1 - Arrival in Reykjavik
After arriving at the Keflavik International Airport, pick up your car and head towards Iceland's capital, Reykjavik.
On your way to the capital city, you can stop at the Blue Lagoon. This world-renowned spa is known for its healing waters, vivid azure colors, and luxurious treatments. It's in the middle of a moss-covered lava field, giving it an atmosphere like no other.
If you add the Blue Lagoon, it will be arranged according to your flights. If there's no time to visit the lagoon today, it can be added to another day. Your travel consultant will arrange this for you.
If you have extra free time, there's still plenty to see and do in Reykjavik and the Reykjanes Peninsula. The Reykjanes Peninsula is a great introduction to the nature of Iceland. You can visit Fagradalsfjall volcano, which erupted in 2021, 2022, and 2023, or geothermal areas, such as Gunnuhver and Seltun.
Otherwise, you can explore Reykjavik's museums, restaurants, and nightlife.
Start with the cultural landmarks like the Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Center. Considered Reykjavik's premier cultural center, Harpa regularly hosts exhibitions, concerts, festivals, and cultural events.
Next, head to the Perlan Museum and Observation Deck to get the best views of Reykjavik. The Perlan is known for its hemispherical rotating glass dome that doubles as a viewing deck.
Another must-see is Hallgrimskirkja, Iceland's tallest church. Standing 245 feet (74.5 meters) tall, the Hallgrimskirkja church is a sight. Walk up the church's tower to enjoy Reykjavik's landscape.
You can also spend the first day shopping at the famous Laugavegur main street. Check out the different boutiques offering great finds. Try out a few of the restaurants and cafes when you get hungry.
After an eventful day, you'll get a good night's sleep at a cozy hotel in the center of town before hitting the road early the following day.
Day 2 - Reykjavik to Lake Myvatn
Start your road trip on day two by heading north towards Akureyri, the "Capital of the North."
Although you'll be driving longer today than any other day, you can take many little side tours. For example, it's only a short detour to the impressive Hvitserkur rock, which rises 50 feet (15 meters) from the ocean in the shape of an elephant (if you're looking at the right angle).
The charming town of Akureyri has plenty of attractions, such as an impressive church, a vibrant main street, a botanical garden, and a great swimming pool.
The Akureyrarkirkja, or the Church of Akureyri, is one of the town's most distinctive landmarks. Gudjon Samuelsson, the same architect behind the Hallgrimskirkja church in Reykjavík, designed this Lutheran church. Check the church's bas-reliefs by Asmundur Sveinsson and its large pipe organ.
Meanwhile, the Akureyri Botanical Gardens are about 2,460 feet (750 meters) from the church. Established in 1957, the botanical gardens have grown to an area covering 3.6 hectares. You'll be treated to over 7,000 plant species, with over 400 considered native.
Next, you can go to the Akureyri swimming pool. It has two 25-meter outdoor pools, three water slides, and a splash pool, among other features.
After relaxing in the pool, you'll continue towards Lake Myvatn. You'll see the mighty Godafoss waterfall and some impressive geothermal areas on your way.
In Godafoss, you'll experience nature's beauty and raw power at the same time. The water in Godafoss falls from a height of 39 feet (12 meters) and has a width of 98 feet (30 meters). As you marvel at the Godafoss waterfall, you'll notice the cascading water splitting into two, resembling the shape of a horseshoe.
As you reach the Lake Myvatn area, immerse yourself in its impressive beauty. The lake covers an area of 14 square miles (36.5 square kilometers), making it the country's fourth-largest body of water. Moreover, the area is rich in flora, fauna, and impressive geological features.
If you have the opportunity, it's highly recommended you look at Dimmuborgir lava fields or the "Dark Fortress." Located east of Lake Myvatn, the Dimmuborgir area is filled with columns, ridges, and caves made of lava rocks. These exciting features are the reasons why many liken Dimmuborgir to a castle.
You can also visit the hot spring cave of Grjotagja. Considered one of Iceland's hidden gems, the cave can sometimes be hard to spot. However, finding the hot springs inside the cave is like locating a hidden treasure.
You can also soak in the Myvatn Nature Baths if you feel like doing something relaxing in the late evening. The time is no problem; they stay open until midnight in the summertime.
You'll then spend the night in North Iceland.
Day 3 - Lake Myvatn to Southeast Iceland
Spend the first part of your day exploring the gorgeous area around Lake Myvatn.
Your first stop is the Namaskard Pass, a geothermal area around 8.6 miles (14 kilometers) from Lake Myvatn. Going around Namaskard, you'll notice slopes without vegetation because of the heat and acidity affecting the soil. What makes the area notable are the colorful streaks around the springs and on the ground.
From Namaskard Pass, you'll drive 40 miles (64 kilometers) to the magnificent Dettifoss waterfall before continuing towards Egilsstadir, the capital of the East. Dettifoss is a large, powerful waterfall measuring 328 feet (100 meters) wide.
Moreover, it drops 141 feet (43 meters) and has an average flow rate of 50,985 gallons (193 cubic meters) per second. Stand next to Dettifoss and feel its magnificent raw power.
Next, continue driving until you reach the magnificent Vatnajokull National Park, with many spectacular vistas. The national park is home to the Vatnajokull glacier, Europe's largest. You'll see some of the most beautiful diverse landscapes resulting from the fascinating combination of glaciers and volcanic activity in the area.
Before reaching Egilsstadir, you'll stop at Hallormsstadaskogur, Iceland's largest national forest. The area is famous for its hiking trails, tree species, and abundant wildlife.
If you visit in June, you may join the Skogardagurinn, or "The Great Forest Day." This annual festival is a celebration of the forest, with lots of activities for guests of all ages. You can join logging competitions and mini-marathons or enjoy art exhibits and grilled lamb cooked by local farmers.
Visiting the lush and popular camping spot, Atlavik is also recommended, a must-stop location for avid birdwatchers. The campsite is located on the shores of the serene Lake Lagarfljot and is surrounded by lush trees.
Interestingly, the lake is believed to be the home of Iceland's most famous monster, the Wyrm of Lagarfljot. It's also been said that the monster is a much older cousin to Nessie in Scotland's Loch Ness.
After enjoying these areas, drive to a quaint village in Southeast Iceland, where you will spend the night.
Day 4 - Southeast Iceland to Vik
Begin day four by heading south to Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon from your accommodation.
Enjoy the views en route of the stark Mount Vestrahorn on the Stokknes Peninsula. Standing 1,490 feet (454 meters) tall, Vestrahorn mountain can be seen separated from the other mountains near the Vatnajokull National Park.
Upon reaching the mountain, you’ll notice its jagged and dark appearance. It is caused by the mountain’s gabbro rocks, rich in iron and magnesium. You’ll also see its sandy coastline, a favorite spot for seals.
Next, you’ll head to the glistening Vatnajokull glacier, the largest glacier in Europe. It has a surface area of around 3,127 square miles (8,100 square kilometers), roughly covering eight percent of the country’s landmass.
When you reach the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon nestled into the south side of Vatnajokull, you’ll see why it’s such a popular attraction. The icebergs breaking from the glacier and sailing across the water are stunning.
Take many photos of the icebergs, as some can be several stories tall. You’ll also notice their unique coloration of dyed electric blue, white, and some black ash streaks dating back several centuries.
Take your time exploring the lagoon and the nearby Diamond Beach. Here, you’ll see huge pieces of crystal clear ice floating on the black volcanic sand and sparkling in the sunlight like jewels. If you like, you can go on an optional boat tour of the lagoon before continuing your journey along the south coast of Iceland.
You can jump on a zodiac or an amphibious vessel and get closer views of the glacier lagoon. Also, stop at Skaftafell Nature Reserve and try out their numerous hiking trails.
If you feel energized, take the longer trail to the impressive waterfall Svartifoss, which rushes down unique, hexagonal basalt columns. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also take a glacier hike here.
Continue to drive to the stunning canyon Fjadrargljufur and have dinner in the charming town of Kirkjubaejarklaustur. From there, you’ll keep driving through an impressive, diverse landscape toward the village of Vik.
As you get closer to Vik, you’ll encounter the Reynisdrangar basalt sea stacks. These unique rock formations protrude out of the ocean under the cliffs of Mt. Reynisfjall, adding to the area’s appeal.
After another day of enjoying majestic sights, you’ll settle in South Iceland.
Day 5 - Vik to Reykjavik
Your last full day in Iceland will be packed with more must-see attractions as you drive from Vik to Reykjavik.
About 12 miles (19 kilometers) from Vik are the Dyrholaey peninsula and Reynisfjara beach. These two places boast an impressive view of long stretches of black sand down the coast towards the nearby glacier Myrdalsjokull. You can join an ice cave tour to Myrdalsjokull glacier that departs from Vik.
While at Reynisfjara beach, you'll be treated to many interesting geological features. It's also a popular place for watching puffins. Be cautious of the waves here, as they are unpredictable and dangerous.
After enjoying the beach, keep going west along the South Coast. Admire the beauty of Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss waterfalls before driving to Iceland's most popular tourist attractions.
The Skogafoss waterfall has an impressive width of 82 feet (25 meters) and a drop of 197 feet (60 meters). It also has flat land underneath, allowing you to walk toward its water wall.
Meanwhile, the Seljalandsfoss waterfall has a drop of 200 feet (60 meters) and offers majestic views from behind the water. Be sure to walk around the waterfall to appreciate it fully.
You'll then visit the Gullfoss waterfall, the Geysir geothermal area, and Thingvellir National Park, collectively called the Golden Circle. Each site is world-famous for a reason, and none of them should be missed.
The Gullfoss waterfall is one of the most powerful waterfalls in Iceland. It features two cascades, measuring 36 feet (11 meters) tall and about 69 feet (21 meters) tall, respectively.
You'll then drive toward the Geysir geothermal area. Here, you'll see several hot springs and fumaroles, including the explosive geyser Strokkur.
Your next stop is the Thingvellir National Park, about 34 miles (55 kilometers) from Geysir. The Thingvellir National Park is where the first parliament was formed around 930 AD, making it a UNESCO World Heritage Listed site.
You'll see views of distant mountain peaks, cliff faces, and lava rocks with Icelandic moss. It's also home to the Silfra fissure, a body of water in the middle of two tectonic plates. Interestingly, these plates separate the Eurasian and North American regions.
Another stop to consider is the Secret Lagoon in Fludir, about 40 miles (64 kilometers) from Thingvellir National Park. You can soak in a warm pool and relax your tired muscles here. Alternatively, you could bask in the warm waters of the Fontana Spa at Laugarvatn.
There are three different tours you can do on this day. Another glacier hike, a snowmobiling tour on Solheimajokull, and a tandem paragliding flight are excellent options.
After an eventful day, you'll return to Reykjavik to spend your last night in Iceland.
Day 6 - Departure Day
For your last day in Iceland, unwind in Reykjavik after a long but incredibly satisfying road trip.
If you have a later flight and choose to visit the Blue Lagoon today, you'll end your stay unwinding before heading to the airport. It's the perfect place to relax as you bathe in the warm, mineral-rich waters while looking back on your incredible adventures in the land of fire and ice.
If your flight is later, there are plenty of things to do in Reykjavik. You may go on an optional whale-watching tour and get one last glimpse of Iceland's incredible environment.
If you have an early flight back home, we wish you a pleasant journey. You can now take your car to Keflavik International Airport and have a safe flight full of memories of Iceland.
What to bring
Good to know
Self-drive tours begin either in Reykjavík City or at Keflavik International Airport. A valid driver's license is required, along with a one-year-long on-road experience. Please be aware that your itinerary may be rearranged to better fit with your arrival date and time.
Although it is summertime, the Icelandic weather can be very unpredictable. Please bring appropriate clothing.
See our accommodation levels below and our preferred accommodation partners under each day in the daily itinerary.
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 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.