Explore the incredible north of Iceland on this 7 day, self-drive tour. Incredible sites such as Lake Mývatn, Akureyri, Ásbyrgi canyon and Dettifoss falls will be all at your fingertips. If you want to experience this country at your own pace, without worrying about guides, departure times, or other group members, then this is the perfect choice for you.
This self-drive is packed full of action. You will spend a night in Reykjavik before you go to Akureyri, the 'Capital of the North'. After that, it's off to the daunting geothermal sites and eerie, mystical wonders of Lake Mývatn.
Then you'll round Skagafjörður on your return to Reykjavik and discover gushing waterfalls, fields of desolate lava and museums bursting with Icelandic history. The journey is complete with a visit to the famous locations of the Golden Circle.
That is not all that is in store for you, however. There are many lesser known locations of unimaginable beauty here, where you can be entirely alone, at one with nature. To help you find these places, you will receive a custom itinerary, shaped by local experts, after you book so that you don't miss a chance to recharge your batteries in peace. This way, you can arrange the perfect blend of popular sites and hidden gems.
Not only that, while booking this self-drive, you can add on extra activities with a special discount to spice up your holiday. You have the opportunity to whale watch in Húsavík, hop in the saddle and go horseback riding; explore a lava cave, walk the tunnels of ice dug into the Langjökull glacier or snorkel between tectonic plates at Þingvellir. There is even the opportunity to discover the vivid colours inside the vast magma chamber of a dormant volcano.
So don't hesitate to see some of Iceland's most stunning locations. Check booking availability now by choosing a date.
Collect your car at Keflavík airport, and you're ready to begin your adventure. If your flight schedule allows, you may have time to explore a bit of the Reykjanes Peninsula, or else recharge from the flight in the healing, azure waters of the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa.
When you are ready, drive to Reykjavík, 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're sure to find something that suits your taste.
Spend the night in Reykjavík.
Today, you'll begin your journey north as you take the Ring Road and head towards the town of Akureyri. You may want to do a little detour and drive to a rock called Hvítserkur, which, from the right angle, looks like an elephant stood on the surface of the ocean.
When you get to Akureyri, there is plenty to do. Visit the iconic church in the city centre, check out the shops, go for a 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 south of the town, and many beautiful mountains around that you can explore.
You will spend the night in Akureyri's centre.
On day three, you will head to the northern village of Húsavík, known as the whale watching capital of Europe, where you can take an optional whale watching tour. You can also upgrade this to include a puffin watching segment. Enjoy the brisk sea air as you cruise out over the water in search of tail fins breaking the waves!
During summer, you can visit some of Iceland's most beautiful locations, such as the Ásbyrgi Canyon, a woodland oasis amidst a deep ravine, filled with birch and willow trees. Another gorgeous site is Dettifoss waterfall, one of the many falls in the north. Dettifoss is the most powerful waterfall in all of Europe, and the force of its cascade is breathtaking.
Next, drive to Mývatn. There are many beautiful vistas to be had here, across the lake and geothermal areas. One of the most impressive sites is the lava field of Dimmuborgir, which translates to 'the dark fortress'. The lava here forms incredible shapes, which some say resembles castles, turrets, towers and walls.
Wind down with a soothing soak in the geothermal waters of the nearby Mývatn Nature Baths in the evening, before spending the night in Lake Mývatn, or heading back to Akureyri.
You have the option to start your day with a whale watch from Akureyri. Following that, continue towards Skagafjörður, a valley known for its abundance of Icelandic horses, and take a horse ride in this area if your wish. Afterwards, pass through the beautiful, mountainous area of Tröllaskagi - The Peninsula of Trolls.
On the tip of Tröllaskagi, you'll find the charming village Siglufjörður, the former herring fishing capital of Iceland. A visit to the Herring Era Museum is highly recommended to understand the importance of the fishing industry to Iceland's culture and economy. This is the only Icelandic museum that has won the European Museum Award.
Further south, you'll find another charming village, Hofsós, where you can enjoy the surrounding landscape as you relax in the town’s thermal Infinity Pool.
Spend the night at your accommodation in the north-west area.
On the fifth day, drive back to Reykjavík nice and casually, stopping at the sites on the way. These can include Deildartunguhver, home of the largest hot spring in Europe, and the beautiful Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls.
History buffs may also enjoy a visit to 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 Fossatún, a waterfall said to be guarded by a troll woman named Drífa. You may also want to check out the Icelandic Settlement Centre in Borgarnes. There are two entertaining and educational exhibitions at the Settlement Centre. One tells the story of the first settlers, while the other reveals the story of one of Iceland's most beloved heroes, Egíll.
On your return journey, you can opt into a lava tubing tour at Viðgelmir, or else explore the man-made ice tunnel that have been carved inside Langjökull glacier. During summer, you can even descend into the vast, stunning magma chamber of a sleeping volcano.
Spend the night in Reykjavík.
Some of Iceland's best attractions are left for your last full day, all along the famous Golden Circle route. First is the National Park of Þingvellir, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which has great historical and geological importance. You'll be able to walk the rift valley between two tectonic plates as they slowly drift apart, in the original site of the world's longest-running representative parliament. You can also opt to take a snorkelling tour here.
In the Geysir geothermal area, you will find the famous Geysir, after which all other geysers in the world take their name. Though it is not so active as it was in past years, Strokkur nearby is happy to show off for you, blasting water 20 m (66 ft) high every ten minutes or so.
The magnificent waterfall Gullfoss is the final stop. This waterfall is incredibly powerful, and a platform lets you get right to the edge in good weather. From Gullfoss, you can join an optional tour that takes you to Langjökull glacier for some snowmobiling on top of the ice cap. If neither this nor the snorkel appeal to you, you can choose to take a horse-ride instead.
Return to the capital and spend your final night back in Reykjavík.
If you have an afternoon flight and didn't go to the Blue Lagoon on your first day, you may want to stop by on your way to the airport; it'll rejuvenate you for your trip home. Alternatively, you can spend your last hours exploring more of the capital, or the Reykjanes Peninsula.
Be sure to reach the airport in time to drop off your car, and have a wonderful flight home.
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.
If you book the extra activities alongside this tour, you will get them at a lower price.
See our accommodation levels below and our preferred accommodation partners under each day in the daily itinerary. Single person bookings will be arranged in a single room, while bookings of 2 or more people will share twin/double room(s) or triple room(s). Guide to Iceland will provide you with the best available hotels and guesthouses 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. We always do our best to accommodate special requests, which may incur additional costs. The sooner you reserve the higher quality accommodation we can provide. Press choose a date at the top to find availability.
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, maximum two years of age, and come equipped with a GPS, CDW, GP, and SCDW insurances. You can also upgrade to an automatic model, free of charge.
A small 2WD vehicle fit for basic travelling in everyday conditions, such as VW Polo, Toyota Yaris or similar. This vehicle does not have highland capabilities.
A medium sized jeep or SUV with 4WD (4x4) fit for most travel, and good for snow and off-asphalt travel, such as Toyota Rav4 or similar. This vehicle has basic highland capabilities.
A large sized jeep with 4WD (4x4) such as Toyota Land Cruiser or similar, fit for nearly all traveling. This vehicle has full highland capabilities to drive on accessible mountain roads.
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.
This insurance guarantees that you can cancel tour and package bookings and receive a full refund, minus the insurance cost of 5,000 ISK per person. The cancellation must be made more than 48 hours before the listed starting time on your voucher. To cancel your booking and claim your refund, simply contact firstname.lastname@example.org and declare full cancellation. Please note that this insurance covers the cancellation of the whole tour or package. Individual services cannot be cancelled and refunded separately, but are all covered and refunded in case of a full cancellation.