Unforgettable 7-Day Self-Drive Tour of North Iceland's Arctic Coast Way

Two puffins touch their beaks together in Iceland.
Likely to sell out soon
Free cancellation
24/7 customer support
Perfect travel plan



Tour starts
Keflavík Airport
Starting time
7 days
Ending place
Keflavík Airport
May. - Sept.
Ending time
Minimum age


Explore the incredible beauty of North Iceland on this seven-day self-drive tour. Those eager to see the most breathtaking sights of the Diamond Circle sightseeing route and the Arctic Coast Way should now book this self-drive summer vacation package today.

This North Iceland itinerary is packed full of action. You will spend your first night in Iceland's capital city, Reykjavik, before going to Akureyri, the 'Capital of the North.' 

After that, it's off to visit the stunning geothermal landscapes and mystical wonders of the region, including the famous Lake Myvatn, the lush Asbyrgi canyon, the mighty Dettifoss waterfall, and more.

This self-drive tour focuses on the lesser-known road trip route, the Arctic Coast Way. This stunning coastal route takes you along the rugged fjords in North Iceland, allowing you to explore Iceland's off-the-beaten-path locations.  

On this adventure, you'll discover some of the most remote attractions on the edge of the Arctic Circle. The route is split into three sections: the coast of sagas and mythology, the coast of fishing towns and heritage, and the coast of elemental nature. 

This route is specifically designed to allow travelers to explore Iceland's more unspoiled and remote areas.

You don't have to spend weeks planning the perfect itinerary for your Iceland vacation, as this has all been done for you and is available at a great price.

To help you find these places, you will receive a custom, detailed itinerary shaped by local experts so that you don't miss anything, which is always a risk when you plan for yourself. You can arrange the perfect blend of popular sites and hidden gems.

Also, while booking this self-drive, you can add extra activities to your vacation package. 

You can whale watch in Husavik, ride horseback in Akureyri, explore a lava cave, bathe in a Beer Spa, or take a helicopter over Iceland's magnificent geothermal landscapes. 

There is even the opportunity to discover the vivid colors inside the vast magma chamber of a dormant volcano. This tour is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that not many people get to do.

You'll also get a personal travel agent when you book, who you can reach at any time, seven days a week. If your plans change, you can cancel for free up to 24 hours before departure.

If you want to experience this country at your own pace, without worrying about guides, departure times, or other group members, this is the perfect choice.

Don't miss this immersive seven-day experience seeing some of Iceland's most incredible natural sights and taking thrilling tours. Check availability now by choosing a date.

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6 nights of accommodation (different levels available, breakfast included for Comfort and Quality levels, more detailed info below)
New rental vehicle for 7 days (Toyota Yaris or similar. Upgrades available)
CDW and gravel protection insurance for vehicle
Free Wi-Fi in vehicle
Detailed itinerary
Personal travel agent


Horse Riding
Hot Spring Bathing
Cultural Activity
Bird watching
Self drive

Daily itinerary

Day 1
A rainbow is seen over the city of Reykjavik.

Day 1 - Arrival in Iceland

On the first day of your self-drive trip around North Iceland's Arctic Coast Way, you'll arrive at the Keflavik International Airport. Here, you'll collect your luggage, pick up your rental car, and you're ready to begin your adventure.

Your main destination for today's itinerary is Reykjavik, the northernmost capital city in the world. Before reaching this beautiful location, you'll drive through the otherworldly landscapes of Reykjanes Peninsula.

Reykjanes is characterized by volcanic terrain and unique landscapes. It features volcanoes, barren hills, black and moss-covered lava fields, and rugged coasts framed by the Atlantic Ocean. 

While in Reykjanes, you could stop at the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa on your way to Iceland's capital city. This world-renowned spa is known for its healing waters, vivid azure colors, and luxurious treatments. 

It is in the middle of a moss-covered lava field, giving it an otherworldly atmosphere. If you add the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa to your itinerary, your trip 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. If you have extra free time, there is still plenty to see and do in Reykjavik and the Reykjanes Peninsula.

When you are ready, drive to Reykjavik, settle in, and the rest of the day is yours to explore one of Europe's most vibrant cities. With its abundance of museums, galleries, restaurants, and bars, you will find something that suits your taste.

If you want to immerse yourself in a culinary journey, head out to downtown Reykjavik or Laugavegur street. These areas host the best restaurants and most charming cafes in the city. Whether you're looking for light snacks or signature dishes like lamb stew and chops, you can find them here.

You'll spend your first night in comfortable accommodation in Reykjavik.

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Day 2
Hraunfossar waterfall surrounded by autumnal leaves and foliage.

Day 2 - Head North to Akureyri

On the second day of your self-drive tour of North Iceland's Arctic Coast Way, you'll begin your journey north as you take the Ring Road and head towards the town of Akureyri.

On your way, there are plenty of beautiful spots to visit in West Iceland. These can include Deildartunguhver, home of the largest hot spring in Europe, and the beautiful Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls.

History buffs may also enjoy visiting Snorrastofa, the medieval research institute in Reykholt, where the early settler, poet, and historian Snorri Sturluson wrote the Saga Heimskringla in the 13th century.

It is also recommended that you take a short break at Fossatun, a waterfall said to be guarded by a troll woman named Drifa. 

You may also want to check out the Icelandic Settlement Center in Borgarnes. There are two entertaining and educational exhibitions at the Settlement Center. One tells the story of the first settlers, while the other reveals the story of one of Iceland's most beloved heroes, Egill.

While in the area, you can join optional visits to the Vidgelmir Cave or relax in Krauma Geothermal Baths. Vidgelmir is the largest lava tube in Iceland, measuring 5,200 feet (1,585 meters).

When you get to Akureyri, there is plenty to do. Visit the iconic church in the city center, check out the shops, swim, explore the botanical gardens, or buy some of Iceland's best ice cream in the ice cream shop, Brynja. 

There is a forest just to the town's south, and you can explore many beautiful mountains.

A great way to take in the surrounding area's nature is on a horse riding tour. Learn more about the Icelandic horse and its unique gait as you venture off the beaten path into the remote landscapes of Iceland.

You will spend the night in comfortable accommodation in North Iceland.

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Day 3
Godafoss, a north Iceland waterfall with a long history, that dates back to 1000 AD.

Day 3 - Arctic Coast Way or Diamond Circle Route

On day three of your summer self-drive tour in Iceland, you have a couple of choices. You can see more of the Arctic Coast Way or see the Diamond Circle sightseeing route. 

Depending on how far you'd like to travel, today is a great day to travel some more of the Arctic Coast Way. Set off early and enjoy exploring the remote landscapes in North Iceland.

Visit Svalbardseyri, a quiet fishing village with a black sand beach and an iconic orange lighthouse. Surrounded by snow-capped mountains and fjords, Svalbardseyri offers stunning views of the Icelandic wilderness. 

The village is known for its thriving fishing industry and traditional Icelandic culture. Visitors can explore the rugged beauty of the area through hiking trails or embark on boat tours to witness the majestic glaciers and abundant wildlife. 

Head on to Grenivik, where you can truly experience a different way of life. This small town and the accompanying pier offer beautiful views of Eyjafjordur.

These sites are lesser-known and less often visited by travelers, giving you more of an authentic experience of life in remote Iceland.

Alternatively, the Diamond Circle route is popular among travelers. Head to the northern village of Husavik, known as the whale-watching capital of Europe, where you can opt to join a traditional whale-watching tour. 

Enjoy the brisk sea air as you cruise out over the water in search of tail fins breaking the waves.

Here, you can also bathe in the Geosea Geothermal Sea Baths and enjoy the feel of the naturally warm seawater on your skin.

Visit some of Iceland's most beautiful locations, such as the Asbyrgi canyon, a woodland oasis amidst a deep ravine filled with birch and willow trees. Another gorgeous site is the Dettifoss waterfall, the most powerful waterfall in all of Europe, featuring a massive width of 330 feet (100 meters).

You will spend the night in the Lake Myvatn area.

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Day 4
Lake Myvatn with the blue and green coloured water accentuated.

Day 4 - Myvatn Geothermal Area

On the fourth day of your summer road trip in North Iceland, you will enjoy exploring the Lake Myvatn area. 

The Lake Myvatn area is a captivating region of unparalleled natural beauty. Nestled in the country's north, it is renowned for its stunning volcanic landscapes and diverse ecosystems. 

The area takes its name from the picturesque Lake Myvatn, which is surrounded by geologically fascinating formations, including pseudocraters, lava fields, and hot springs. 

The region is a haven for birdwatchers, with numerous species flocking to its wetlands. Adventure enthusiasts can indulge in hiking or bathing in the soothing geothermal waters. 

There are many beautiful views to be enjoyed here, across the lake and the geothermal areas. 

One of the most impressive sites is the lava field of Dimmuborgir, which translates to 'the dark fortress.' The lava forms incredible shapes, which some say resemble castles, turrets, towers, and walls.

Otherwise, you can take a day tour to Askja to discover the lunar landscapes of Iceland. Askja is a captivating volcanic caldera located in the remote highlands of Iceland. 

Situated in the vast expanse of the Dyngjufjoll mountains, Askja showcases a mesmerizing and otherworldly landscape. Its caldera is home to a deep, pristine lake called Oskjuvatn, surrounded by rugged volcanic formations and ash fields. 

The area gained fame in the early 20th century when astronauts trained there due to its lunar-like appearance. Visitors can embark on an adventurous journey to reach Askja, crossing vast lava fields and traversing rough terrain. 

Once there, they can marvel at the caldera's sheer grandeur and even dip in the warm, milky-blue waters of the Víti crater, a geothermal lake nestled within Askja's rugged beauty. 

At the end of an action-packed day, wind down with a soothing soak in the geothermal waters of the nearby Myvatn Nature Baths.

You will spend the night in one of the accommodations in Northeast Iceland.

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Day 5
The infinity pool and children's pool in Hofsos village.

Day 5 - Troll Peninsula and Arctic Coast Way Route

On the fifth day of your self-drive tour of Iceland's Arctic Coast Way, you'll visit the Trollaskagi Peninsula and the stunning sites here.

A great way to start the day is with a visit to the Beer Spa. The Beer Spa is a unique and indulgent experience. Situated amidst the stunning landscapes of the North Atlantic coast, this spa combines relaxation and beer therapy.

Visitors can soak in wooden tubs filled with warm water, hops, yeast, and essential oils, creating a beer-infused bath. 

The therapeutic properties of the ingredients are said to nourish the skin, relax the body, and enhance overall well-being. Guests can sip craft beer while enjoying the soothing ambiance and panoramic views of the mountains and fjords. 

The Beer Spa on the Trollaskagi peninsula offers a perfect blend of rejuvenation, relaxation, and beer indulgence, making it a truly memorable experience for beer enthusiasts and wellness seekers.

Nearby sits Hauganes, where you can take a whale-watching tour out into Eyjafjordur fjord. The fjord is known for its rich biodiversity, offering the opportunity to spot several whale species, including humpback whales, minke whales, and even the occasional blue whale. 

Additionally, you might encounter playful dolphins and porpoises swimming alongside the boat. The area is also home to diverse seabirds, such as puffins, guillemots, and arctic terns, which add to the picturesque scenery. 

With luck and the guidance of experienced crew members, you'll have a remarkable chance to witness these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat.

On the tip of the Trollaskagi Peninsula, you'll find the charming village of Siglufjordur, Iceland's former herring fishing capital. 

A visit to the Herring Era Museum is highly recommended to understand the importance of the fishing industry to Iceland's culture and economy. The Herring Era Museum is the only Icelandic museum that has won the European Museum Award.

As you travel around the peninsula, enjoy stunning views of unspoiled nature.

Further south, you'll find another charming village, Hofsos, where you can enjoy the surrounding landscape while relaxing in the town's thermal Infinity Pool.

Spend the night in Northwest Iceland.

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Day 6
Hvitserkur, a rock formation in North Iceland than many say looks like a drinking elephant

Day 6 - Return to Reykjavik

On the sixth day of your self-drive adventure in North Iceland, you'll return to Reykjavik. Before driving back to the capital, you can visit more attractions along the Arctic Coast Way and West Iceland.

Take a detour and drive to a rock on the northern coast near the Vatnsnes peninsula called Hvitserkur. Rising from the sea like a petrified creature, Hvitserkur resembles a gigantic troll, elephant, or dinosaur drinking from the water. 

This basalt sea stack stands tall against the crashing waves and dramatic coastal backdrop, creating a truly captivating sight. Wind and sea weathering effects have carved unique shapes into the rock, adding to its allure. 

Hvitserkur is a visual spectacle and a nesting site for seabirds, including fulmars and kittiwakes. Walk along the beach here, and you may see some seals swimming in the water or resting on the rocks.

After returning to Reykjavik, make the most of the long daylight hours and take a helicopter tour over Iceland's beautiful geothermal areas. 

Taking a helicopter tour from Reykjavik is an exhilarating and unforgettable experience that offers a unique perspective of Iceland's natural wonders. As you soar above the city, you'll witness the stunning landscapes unfold beneath you. 

The helicopter provides panoramic views of majestic volcanoes, cascading waterfalls, expansive glaciers, and rugged coastlines. The thrill of flying in a helicopter, coupled with the awe-inspiring beauty of Iceland, creates a sense of wonder and excitement. 

It's a remarkable opportunity to create lifelong memories and appreciate the breathtaking beauty of this country from a whole new vantage point.

Expert pilots guide you through this aerial adventure, sharing fascinating insights about the landmarks and geological formations you encounter. 

Alternatively, take a tour inside the magma chambers of a dormant volcano.

After a day of adventure, spend your final night back in Reykjavik.

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Day 7
Reykjavík beneath the retiring midnight sun.

Day 7 - Final Day in Reykjavik

The seventh day of your self-drive tour around North Iceland and the Arctic Coast Way is your last day in the country, and it’s time to head home.

If you have an early flight, enjoy breakfast at your accommodation before leaving for the airport. Leave plenty of time to return your rental vehicle and drop your baggage before checking in for your flight.

At the Keflavik International Airport, you can enjoy shopping or a meal at one of the bars or restaurants. Once you’re ready, head to the gate to board. 

For those who have a later flight and choose to visit the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa today, you will finish your stay unwinding before heading to the airport. 

The Blue Lagoon geothermal spa is the perfect place to relax as you bathe in the warm, mineral-rich waters and reflect on the incredible adventure you have just taken in the land of fire and ice. 

If your flight is later, there are plenty of things to do in Reykjavik. Visit one of the museums or art galleries to soak up some Icelandic culture.

On your way home, you can remember your great experience and start planning your next trip to Iceland.

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What to bring

Warm, waterproof clothing
Driver's license
Good hiking shoes
Reusable water bottle

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.

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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.

Super Budget

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.

Super Budget 2WD

A small 2WD vehicle such as Toyota Aygo or similar, fit for basic travelling in everyday conditions. Compact and comfortable for up to 2 travellers with very little luggage. No highland capabilities. The driver must be of 20 years of age or above.

Budget 2WD

A basic 2WD vehicle, such as a Toyota Yaris or similar, suitable for travelling in everyday conditions. Comfortable for 3 travellers with light luggage. This vehicle does not have highland capabilities. The driver must be of 20 years of age or above.

Budget 4x4

A basic 4WD (4X4) jeep or SUV such as a Dacia Duster or similar. Comfortably fit up to 3 travellers with 2 large pieces of luggage. Fit for most travel and decent for snow and off-asphalt driving. Has basic highland capabilities. The driver must be of 20 years of age or above.

Comfort 4x4

A medium-sized 4WD (4x4) jeep or SUV such as a Toyota Rav4 (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.

Luxury 4x4

A large 4WD jeep such as a Toyota Land Cruiser or similar. Comfortable for up to 4 travellers with 4 large pieces of luggage. Fit for nearly all travelling. Has full highland capabilities to drive on accessible mountain roads. The driver must be of 21 years of age or above.


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.

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