Make the most of just one week in Iceland on this 7-day, self-drive tour. You'll drive the complete circle around Iceland to all the highlights while having plenty of time to explore the capital.
This tour is the perfect combination of nature-loving outdoor fun and the comforts of Iceland's most beautiful historic cities: Reykjavík and Akureyri in the north. On a self-drive tour, you can control where you go and what you see. There are no tour guides or other guests to worry about on this trip - you're in the driver's seat.
You will travel the Ring Road around the whole of Iceland and visit two national parks, see some of Iceland's prettiest fishing villages, and in between, marvel over countless waterfalls, volcanoes, craters, mountains and hot springs. At the end of the day you will rest in full comfort with an ensuite bathroom and of course, breakfast is included at all accommodations.
The Ring Road will get you to the most famous of all Iceland’s attractions, but most visitors seek to escape the crowds on their travels as well. There are many secret locations which will allow you to break free of that tourist feeling and get back to nature. You will receive a special itinerary after you book, full of hidden gems and old favourites so that your holiday will be second to none.
You can also add some extra activities to your tour during the booking process at a discounted price. There are options such as snowmobiling, glacier hiking, visiting the Blue Lagoon, and a boat tour around Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon you can add onto your trip.
The summer days in Iceland are long, so make the most of them by starting early and finishing late—you won't ever need to reach a destination 'before it gets dark' since during the season of the midnight sun it doesn't get dark; between the months of May and August.
Pack in as much stunning scenery as you can with this 7-day self-drive tour! Check availability by choosing a date.
When you land in Reykjavík, you'll likely feel energised by the endless summer sun; if so, why not make the most of your arrival by spending a few hours basking in the warm, azure waters of the Blue Lagoon? It is just a short drive away from Keflavík Airport!
In case you don't, however, you can spend the first day of your trip to relaxing Reykjavík. After a drive through the otherworldly landscape of the eerie lava fields of the Reykjanes peninsula, you'll reach the city.
Reykjavík is full of galleries, cafés, museums, designer shops, restaurants, street art and some interesting architecture, such as Harpa Concert Hall or Perlan, which translates to 'the pearl' because of the shape of its huge dome. You can spend your day strolling down the main street of Laugavegur, visiting Hallgrímskirkja church tower, and popping into the charming shops and buildings of the old harbour.
Spend your first night in Reykjavík, in a central and cozy hotel.
On day two, you will drive from Reykjavík to the capital of the North, Akureyri.
On your way, you can take an ice-cream stop in the town of Borgarnes (considered mandatory by many locals) and a short hike (approximately one hour) up Grábrók, the smallest of three craters in a short volcanic fissure. If you feel like stretching your legs, a marked trail will take you from Route 1 to the very edge of the rim. Once you get up there, you'll see beautiful landscapes across the Borgarfjordur area.
You can also take a detour and visit the historical site Reykholt, Europe's highest hot spring Deildartunguhver, and the gorgeous waterfalls Hraunfossar, meaning 'Lava Falls'. Another option would be to drive to the 15 m (50 ft) tall Hvítserkur rock formation, near Hvammstangi.
The drive from Reykjavík to Akureyri takes about 4.5-5 hours without any stops at all, so be prepared to drive for a while today! You'll be rewarded with your first view of the charming and lively town of Akureyri, where you can rest after the long trip.
On day three, enjoy Akureyri, then head east towards the stunning area around Lake Mývatn.
In between Akureyri and Mývatn, you'll see the gorgeous Goðafoss waterfall. Also, make sure you check out Námaskarð geothermal area close to Mývatn, as well as the stunning area of Dimmuborgir (the Dark Fortress) and its imposing lava rock formations.
The Mývatn Nature Baths are open until midnight during the summer, so its a perfect end to the day to bask and relax here.
Just make sure you still have energy for a 2-hour drive to Egilsstaðir, the capital of the East, where you'll spend your night.
If a long soak in a hot spring is not for you, then consider a detour to Dettifoss waterfall, Iceland's most powerful waterfall, on your way to Egilsstaðir instead!
Near Egilsstaðir is Hallormsstaðaskógur forest. As Iceland's largest forest, you may want to explore it before your drive south towards Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. Admire the spectacular beauty of the East on your way, and remember to look out for reindeer as well; they can only be found in this part of Iceland!
The main highlight of day four is the glacier lagoon Jökulsárlón and the nearby Diamond Beach. Take your time to explore the intense beauty of the lagoon.
You will find yourself captivated by the huge chunks of ice floating down from the glacial tongue. Ensure you keep your eye out for seals, however; they like to play on the ice and may be curious enough to come closer. They often want to see you just as much as you want to see them.
From the lagoon, it is a short stroll down to the black beach nearby, called Diamond beach due to the many icebergs scattered along it. With the Atlantic Ocean's waves crashing on them, you can expect an incredible view.
Spend your night near the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon.
On day five, you can return to the glacier lagoon for an optional boat ride out to the ice flows. These can be taken on either a zodiac or amphibious vessel. Continue your road trip towards Skaftafell Nature Reserve.
It is recommended that you enjoy the optional glacier hike in Skaftafell today, taking in the magnificent Vatnajökull glacier and giving you a spectacular view.
After enjoying the beauty of this reserve, continue driving along the south coast of Iceland. Interesting stops along the way include the wreckage of a bridge destroyed in a glacier flood; if you take a moment to rest here, you'll have a great view of Vatnajökull glacier. The charming town Kirkjubæjarklaustur is also well worth a visit, as is the stunning Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon.
At Vík, you'll have a view of Reynisdrangar rocks from the town's black beach, and nearby you can explore the gorgeous Dyrhólaey cliff, with a view towards the glacier, the sea, and the nearby black sands of Reynisfjara. Be extra careful if you go down to the beach here, because the waves can be very dangerous and unpredictable.
Finally, explore the gorgeous waterfalls Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss. The astonishing power of nature cannot be denied as you watch the water crash down from craggy cliffs above into the waiting waters of the river below. You can even walk all the way around Seljalandsfoss.
Spend the night at either the small town of Hella or the quaint village of Hvolsvöllur.
After waking up in Hvolsvöllur or Hella, you'll continue your journey west and head to the famous Golden Circle and take in three of the most popular and well-known sites in Iceland in one go.
On your way to the first stop, Gullfoss, or the Golden Waterfall, you might want to make a stop by the town of Flúðir and soak in the Secret Lagoon. The pool’s natural surroundings and steam rising into the air give the place a mystical ambience. The water stays at a luxurious 38-40° C all year. There, you can also join a snowmobiling tour to the Langjökull glacier and experience the endlessness of the Icelandic highlands.
Gullfoss waterfall is an incredible sight, cascading down two drops over 32 m (105 ft). In good weather, you can reach a viewing platform right at its edge, to truly appreciate its awesome power. If you wish, you can opt for a snowmobiling tour from here.
After a short drive, you'll get to see Geysir, or 'the Great Geysir', a world-famous hot spring in the Haukadalur valley. Though it does not often erupt these days, its brother, Strokkur, erupts every 10 minutes or so, hurling water up to 30 m (98 ft) into the air.
Finally, finish your Golden Circle experience with a visit to Þingvellir National Park. Þingvellir is a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to the parliament that was founded there in 930 AD. It is surrounded by a beautiful mountain range and is the site of a rift valley, marking the crest of the Mid-Atlantic range. You can walk through the magnificent gorge Almannagja, which marks the eastern boundary of the North American tectonic plate, and into which the beautiful waterfall Oxararfoss falls. Popular HBO series Game of Thrones has filmed here to take advantage of these beautiful surroundings.
For a more intimate experience at Þingvellir, you could go for a snorkel in the SIlfra fissure. The crystal clear water fills an underwater gorge where the two tectonic plates meet, so you will literally be swimming between the continents in one of the most celebrated diving and snorkelling spots on the planet.
From the national park, there's a short 45-minute drive back to Reykjavík. Spend your last night relaxing in Reykjavík.
It's your last day in Iceland, so do what feels right. You can simply relax in Reykjavík or cram in some last-minute shopping.
You may also choose to visit the Blue Lagoon to enjoy its warm waters, enhanced by skin-softening silica and nourishing blue-green algae. Relaxing in the Blue Lagoon may be the best way to say goodbye to Iceland; you'll feel calm yet rejuvenated for your flight back home.
After you have enjoyed your last hours in our beautiful country, drop your car off at the airport and enjoy your flight.
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. Comfort 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). For quality level, odd number groups will always be allocated a single room. 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.
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.
You can now add meals to your booking. Select to include dinner on every night as an optional extra, and we will provide you with vouchers as part of your booking confirmation. We will choose from top-rated restaurants that fit with your vacation itinerary and make your reservations for you. At the restaurant, you will be offered a set menu, from which you can choose from meat, fish or vegetarian options. If you would prefer something else, the voucher will act as a credit that you can redeem at the restaurant against menu items that are not part of the set menu. Please notify the restaurant on arrival about any dietary requirements. Vouchers are non-refundable.
Below you can see the car rental options available for this self-drive tour. All our vehicles are new or current models, of maximum 2 years of age. Super Budget levels come with standard CDW insurance, while all other levels also include Gravel Protection (GP), and Super Collision Damage Waiver (SCDW) insurances. Please note that off-road driving is illegal for all types of cars. All levels come equipped with a GPS and free Wi-fi. You can enjoy unlimited data with the Wi-Fi device, which can be connected to up to 10 devices at once. The car rental will provide 24-hour roadside emergency services. Age requirement for each level can be found below. For all levels, the driver must possess a valid driving license for at least one year before the date of the rental. We recommend Budget 4X4 level for summer driving and Comfort 4X4 for winter driving.
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, or similar. Comfortably fit up to 4 travellers with 3 large pieces of luggage. Fit for most travel and good for snow and off-asphalt driving. Has basic highland capabilities. The driver must be of 21 years of age or above.
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 Renault Trafic (2WD manual), Mercedes Benz Vito (4WD automatic, has highland capabilities and better suited for winter driving), or similar. Comfortable for 5 to 7 travellers. If seated full, luggage space is limited. The driver must be of 23 years of age or above.