7 Day Self Drive Tour | The Ring Road of Iceland

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Perfect travel plan
Fully customizable
Car & accommodation
Tour starts
Keflavík Airport at 00:00
Duration
7 days
Available
May. - Oct.

Take a 7-day self drive tour around Iceland. You'll drive the complete ring road and see all the best spots along the way. This self drive tour gives you the freedom to explore Iceland at your own pace and discover the most beautiful parts of the country.

This tour is the perfect combination of nature-loving outdoor fun and the comforts of Iceland's most beautiful historic cities: Reykjavík and Akureyri. On a self-drive tour, you have total control of 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 each day, you will rest in full comfort accommodation with an ensuite bathroom. Breakfast is also included for every night of your stay, starting each day of adventure the right way.

The Ring Road will take you to the most famous of all of 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 an individual itinerary after you book, full of hidden gems and old favourites so that your holiday will be second to none. This will allow your adventure to cover both Iceland's best-kept secrets as well as the more well-known attractions.

You can also add some extra activities to your tour during the booking process to make your holiday that extra special. There are options such as snowmobiling on top of the mighty glaciers, trekking to the top of Iceland with a glacier hike, visiting the world-famous Blue Lagoon, and a boat tour around the icebergs of Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. In a few clicks, you can add these fantastic extras to your trip to help make it a truly once in a lifetime experience.

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 between May and August is midnight sun season, when it doesn't get dark. 

Pack in as much stunning scenery as you can with this 7-day self drive tour! Check availability by choosing a date and book your Iceland adventure now.

Included

6 nights of accommodation (different levels available; breakfast included. More detailed info below)
Vehicle for 7 days (Toyota Aygo or similar. Upgrades available)
CDW insurance for super budget level vehicle; other levels also include SCDW and gravel protection insurances
GPS system
Detailed Itinerary with fun and practical information on the nature, history and culture of Iceland
Hands-on travel agent to oversee your itinerary
Taxes

Activities

Glacier Hiking
Snorkelling
Snowmobile
Horse Riding
Whale Watching
Sightseeing
Boat Trip
Hot Spring Bathing
Cultural Activity
Bird watching
Self drive

Attractions

Blue Lagoon
Golden Circle
North Iceland
West Iceland
Reykjavík
Akureyri
Jökulsárlón
Vatnajökull
Mývatn
Dimmuborgir
Húsavík
Ásbyrgi
Goðafoss
Dettifoss
Skógafoss
Seljalandsfoss
Geysir
Gullfoss
Eyjafjallajökull
Dyrhólaey
Þingvellir
Hraunfossar
Deildartunguhver
Strokkur
Mýrdalsjökull
Skaftafell
Silfra
Sólheimasandur
Borgarfjörður
Þingvallavatn
Reykholt
Borgarnes
Barnafoss
Langjökull
Hallgrímskirkja
Vík í Mýrdal
Svartifoss
Egilsstaðir
Hella
Hvolsvöllur
Laugarvatn
Kerið
Akureyrarkirkja
Gljufrabui
Keflavik International Airport
Fjaðrárgljúfur
Kirkjubæjarklaustur
Reynisdrangar
Hvítserkur
Haukadalur
Faxi
Námaskarð
Harpa – Reykjavik Concert Hall and Conference Centre
Secret Lagoon
Grábrók
Hallormsstaðaskógur
South Coast
Diamond Beach
Ring Road
East Fjords

Daily itinerary

Day 1
Reykjavík can be explored in many ways throughout summer: by foot, bicycle, segway, bus and even helicopter.

Arrival in Reykjavík

When you land in Keflavik, you'll likely feel energised by the endless summer sun.

On your way to Iceland’s capital city of Reykjavik, you could choose to make a stop at the Blue Lagoon. This world-renowned spa is known for its healing waters, vivid azure colours 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. There is still plenty to see and do in Reykjavik and the Reykjanes Peninsula if you have extra free time.

Then you will head on to the world's northernmost capital.

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.

Day 2
North Iceland has a range of cultural and natural attractions.

West Iceland and Akureyri

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.

Day 3
Travelling from Akureyri east, the first breathtaking feature you will come upon by the road is the horseshoe shaped waterfall Goðafoss.

Akureyri, Lake Mývatn and Egilsstaðir

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!

Day 4
The surf swirls around and surges against stranded icebergs on the Diamond Beach in the south-east of Iceland.

Egilsstaðir to Southeast Iceland

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.

Day 5
Around the summer solstice in June, visitors can stand behind Seljalandsfoss waterfall at midnight and see the sun balance on - and never descend beneath - the southern horizon.

Southeast Iceland to Hella/Hvolsvöllur

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.

Day 6
Meltwater from Langjökull glacier sinks into a lava field, and travels underground to ravines in Þingvellir National Park; this long filtration process means the springs here have some of the best naturally occurring visibility in the world, year-round.

Golden Circle and Reykjavík

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.

Day 7
Before taking a flight home or to another destination, the Blue Lagoon Spa on the Reykjanes Peninsula offers a great chance to recharge.

Departure Day

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.

For those who have a later flight and choose to visit the Blue Lagoon today, you will finish off your stay unwinding before you head to the airport. This is the perfect place to relax as you bathe in the warm, mineral-rich waters as you look back 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. If you have an early flight back home, we wish you a pleasant journey.

Map

What to bring

Driver's License
Swimsuit
Camera
Hiking shoes

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.

Accommodation

See our accommodation levels below and our preferred accommodation partners under each day in the daily itinerary. 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.

Comfort

Rooms with a private bathroom in three star hotels or quality guesthouses. Very close to the best attractions at each location. Breakfast is included.

Quality

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.

Meals

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.

Car

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.

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, 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.

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.

Van

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.

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