Spend a week exploring the ring road of Iceland and the Snaefellsnes Peninsula with this epic 7-day guided tour. Those eager to fill their holiday with diverse landscapes and experiences without having to worry about driving or planning the details will find this a fantastic opportunity.
On this adventure, you set out from Reykjavik to explore the country’s most spectacular wilderness, spending six nights in far-flung but welcoming hotels. You’ll travel in a spacious, comfortable vehicle with free Wifi and be led by a friendly guide with a wealth of knowledge on Iceland and your destinations.
Your journey will take you around the iconic sites of the Golden Circle, the parade of attractions along the South Coast, the magnificent fjords of the east, the volcanic landscapes of the north, and the cultural and natural wonders of the west, including along the breathtaking Snaefellsnes Peninsula.
You’ll get to see all the features that make this country so unique, such as waterfalls, glaciers, black sand beaches, and hot springs; you’ll even get to bathe in the geothermal waters of the Vok Spa and enter a lava cave!
If embarking on this tour during summer, you’ll enjoy more of your drives due to the midnight sun’s extended sightseeing hours and have a few extra attractions to see. You may also spot great whales and puffins which migrate here during this season. Meanwhile, winter travelers will have six opportunities to marvel over the aurora borealis, can witness snow-covered landscapes and frozen waterfalls, and are more likely to see wild reindeer.
Encircle Iceland’s Ring Road with a bonus visit to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula over seven days with this thrilling guided tour. Check availability by choosing a date.
Your week-long circumnavigation of Iceland begins when you are picked up from Reykjavik by your friendly guide and whisked out of the city into this country’s spectacular wilderness. The sites on your agenda today are all on the iconic sightseeing route of the Golden Circle, starting with Thingvellir National Park.
Also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, you enter this park by taking a road down the edge of a mighty cliff-face that is, in fact, the edge of the North American tectonic plate; on the opposite side of Thingvellir is the edge of Eurasia. This valley between the continents is filled with natural beauty and boasts a fascinating history your guide will describe to you before you explore.
From Thingvellir, you’ll continue to Haukadalur, an area renowned for its geysers. The Great Geysir lies dormant at the moment, though the neighboring Strokkur is famous for erupting many times an hour; it can often reach heights that exceed 20 meters. The surrounding area is marvelous to explore due to its abundance of smaller hot springs.
Close to this geothermal area is a massive waterfall named Gullfoss, or the Golden Falls. The namesake of the Golden Circle, it drops in two tiers with thunderous, awe-inspiring force, creating vivid rainbows in its spray whenever the sun is shining. If the weather is particularly clear, you’ll even be able to see up to Langjokull glacier, where the water of this feature originates.
Most operators end their Golden Circle adventure here, but your guide will take you to one more site. Kerid is a large crater lake you can walk around and within, with a dramatic contrast between its red rocks and aquamarine waters.
With these four sites explored, photographed, and enjoyed, you’ll head to your hotel in the area. If you are traveling in winter, be sure to use this opportunity to seek out the aurora borealis!
You’ll start day two of your seven-day Ring Road tour around Iceland with a hearty breakfast at your accommodation before boarding your vehicle for another day of adventure. Today’s journey will take you along the South Coast, a region packed with diverse attractions.
The first are two spectacular, 60-meter tall waterfalls that are both right by the Ring Road. Seljalandsfoss is the less powerful of the two but more unique, as it cascades before a breathtaking cavern - you can even encircle it when conditions allow. Skogafoss is very classic in its shape, though it pours with far more force than most other falls in the country, tossing off enormous clouds of spray.
You’ll next travel to Reynisfjara, one of the world’s most unusual and beautiful shorelines. It is defined by its black volcanic sands and its geological wonders, which include the hexagonal columns on the Reynisfjall cliffs and the giant basalt towers of Reynisdrangar. Enjoy your walk here, but be sure to stay well away from the enormous Atlantic waves.
You’ll stop for refreshments at the southernmost village in Iceland, Vik, before continuing along the South Coast. This part of your drive will take you through diverse landscapes of moss-coated lava fields, black sand deserts, and fascinating wetlands as you approach the glacier tongues of Vatnajokull, Europe’s largest ice cap.
If traveling in summer, you’ll detour to Fjadrargljufur Canyon, a breathtaking place of 100-meter tall cliffs, verdant greenery, and countless waterfalls and streams. Photographers, in particular, will love the compositions that they can make here. In winter, you’ll instead keep your eyes peeled to the skies as you travel, hoping for a display of the Northern Lights.
You’ll retire for the night at another lovely, rural hotel near the Skaftafell Nature Reserve.
You’ll start day three of your week-long holiday with another locally sourced breakfast before setting off to what many call ‘the Crown Jewel of Iceland’s Nature’, the Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon. There are few better ways to start the day than marveling over the beauty here; you could be forgiven for thinking you were yet to wake up.
Azure, crystalline icebergs of gargantuan size and seemingly infinite numbers fill its waters, cluttering the enormous lake. In the distance, you may be able to see the glacier that they are breaking free from. As they make their way through the currents, they slowly break apart - a process you can often see them doing.
When they are small enough, they eventually pass through a narrow channel leading to the ocean, where they almost immediately wash upon the black shores. Called ‘the Diamond Beach’ for the way they glisten and contrast with sands, you’ll have time to marvel over their beauty during your stop.
Animal lovers will appreciate that both these locations are excellent for spotting seals.
You’ll next move into the Eastfjords, one of the least explored and most magnificent parts of the country, for one of the most beautiful drives of your journey. You’ll travel down winding roads around the bays and over the mountains, with every turn presenting you with fantastic panoramas.
Several stops await in this region, starting with Mount Vestrahorn. The jagged peaks and dark coloration make it somewhat unique for Iceland, and it stands out dramatically from the surrounding landscapes. Following this, you’ll head to Djupivogur, a charming coastal village that perfectly reflects the authentic, vibrant culture of the region.
Summer travelers will also visit the basalt columns and aquamarine waters of Studlagil Canyon, a little-known oasis in the region.
In the evening, you’ll come to the Vok Baths, admission for which is included in this tour. A geothermal spa that floats in the waters of a breathtaking lake, you’ll find your dip here the perfect way to recharge after three intense days of sightseeing!
Finally, your guide will drop you off at your accommodation in the area.
After another warming breakfast, you’ll set out for your fourth day of adventure by traveling to the volcanic landscapes of north Iceland. You’ll embark on the Diamond Circle sightseeing route upon arrival, but take it in reverse to avoid the flow of the major tourist crowds.
If traveling in summer, your first site will be the most powerful waterfall in all of Europe, the mighty Dettifoss. It is an imposing spectacle, a hundred meters wide and over 40 meters tall, particularly considering the barren canyon it thunders into. If traveling in winter, you’ll instead head straight to the second attraction of the day, the Lake Myvatn Area.
Myvatn is one of the country’s most densely packed attractions, with so much to see within its boundaries. The beautiful lakes are stunning in and of themselves, with basalt columns that rise from their surface and craters that line their edges. There is also a dramatic lava fortress named Dimmuborgir, steeped in folklore regarding child-eating trolls; a hot spring cave called Grjotagja, featured in Game of Thrones; and several geothermal areas, such as the fumaroles of Hverir and the powerplant of Krafla.
Next, you’ll come to another magnificent falls, Godafoss, which translates to the Waterfall of the Gods. Not only is it gorgeous, with rapid rushing waters and scenic surroundings, but it has a fascinating history; in 1000 AD, the Lawspeaker of Iceland tossed his icons of Odin, Loki, Thor, and Freya here to mark the country’s conversion to Christianity.
Tonight, you’ll retire at a hotel in or near the town of Akureyri rather than the countryside, allowing you to enjoy the architectural sites and cultural appeal of the region’s largest settlement.
Day five of your trip will take you exploring some lesser-known sites off the beaten trail that many guests rushing around the Ring Road do not get to see.
First, you will travel up the Trollaskagi Peninsula, an area renowned for its mountains, sea views, and abundance of magical Icelandic horses, to the village of Dalvik. This is a beautiful settlement, perfect for getting in touch with local culture, with a particularly charming harbor. It is often possible to see dolphins from here throughout the year, and in summer, it is not at all rare to catch sight of Humpback whales feeding and breaching.
Your following site is Hvitserkur, a striking rock monolith that is said in folklore to be a troll frozen by the sun as it attacked a clan of settlers. To most, however, it looks like an elephant or dinosaur drinking from the shallow seas, standing out beautifully amongst the scenery. This feature is found on the Vatnsnes Peninsula, a place renowned for having many seal colonies that gather on its shores; be sure to keep an eye out as you travel.
You’ll travel through some stunning landscapes until you reach your final site of the day, Grabrok Volcano. There are three craters here, the tallest of which you can hike to the top of for a bit of adventure and some unbelievable views over the surrounding lava field.
Your hotel for the evening will be in the dramatic landscapes of west Iceland, close to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, where you’ll explore tomorrow.
On day six of your week-long journey around Iceland, you will depart the Ring Road to adventure around Snaefellsnes Peninsula. After enjoying breakfast, you will set out for this magnificent region, known as ‘Iceland in Miniature’ locally due to its countless sites.
Your first attraction is a spectacular lava field named Berserkjahraun, coated in moss and stretching as far as the eye can see. Your guide will tell you the twisted tale of how the road across it was built and how it got its name, involving berserkers from a distant land.
You’ll then drive across the northern shore towards Mount Kirkjufell, admiring the spectacular mountains to your left and gorgeous views over Breidafjordur Bay to your right as you do. In terms of the latter, you’ll be able to see countless islands and even up to the mountains of the Westfjords if the weather is clear.
When you reach your next destination, you’ll have no wonder as to why it is called Iceland’s most photographed mountain, nor why producers chose to feature it in Game of Thrones. Kirkjufell is a pyramid-shaped peak that stands alone by the shore, surrounded by seas and with an adjacent waterfall; from all angles, it commands the attention of those who pass it.
After your exploration here, you will come to Snaefellsjokull National Park, which covers the tip of the peninsula and includes an awe-inspiring subglacial volcano of the same name. This towering feature will be in view throughout your travels in the reserve as you visit three of its beautiful sites.
First, you’ll discover Saxholl Crater and ascend the staircase to its 100-meter tall rim. The views from the top are magnificent, granting you an unmatched panorama of the park. Next, you’ll head to Djupalonssandur, a beautiful beach with four historic lifting stones once used by fishermen to see if they were strong enough to face Iceland’s stormy seas.
You’ll then reach the village of Arnarstapi, renowned for its fascinating history, beautiful buildings, and spectacular coastal geology, for a pleasant walk and to pick up some refreshments.
Your guide will start to drive you along the south coast of the peninsula once you’re ready, pointing out sites such as the Londrangar basalt stacks and the Raudfeldsgja mountain gorge. However, your next stop will be at Budir, a hamlet abandoned long ago but for its beautiful black church. This is a particularly mystical spot, especially if you can see the gleaming peaks of Snaefellsjokull towering in the background.
Finally, you’ll come to Ytri Tunga, a beach unlike any others you’ll have seen all your journey due to its golden sands. It is most notable for its resident seal colony, which can almost unconditionally be seen lounging on the rocks and splashing in the seas just offshore.
After a delightful wildlife experience, you’ll head to your final countryside hotel for the trip; if traveling in winter, this is your last chance to catch the Northern Lights on your travels, so be sure to have a look if the skies are clear!
You’ll have the final hearty breakfast of this seven-day trip around Iceland before setting out for your last day of adventure, this time to see the many wonders that the Borgarfjordur region of west Iceland holds. First up is the highest flowing hot spring in all of Europe, Deildartunghver; the waters here are magnificent, with 180 liters rising every second, billowing an abundance of steam.
Next, you’ll visit the twin waterfalls of Barnafoss and Hraunfossar, which are mere steps from each other but could not appear more contrasting. The former is more of a whitewater rapid, surging down a narrow canyon with impressive power. The latter, meanwhile, is incredibly gentle, pouring over a broad, forested plateau of lava in many rivulets.
With these sites enjoyed, you’ll head to the final major attraction of your holiday, where a fantastic caving adventure awaits. Vidgelmir is a beautiful lava tunnel that twists for 1,600 meters beneath the dramatic landscapes and is filled with geological formations. Unless you are visiting at the height of summer, there will also be plenty of naturally created ice sculptures to marvel over.
Worry not if you are claustrophobic, as this cave is more spacious than most and has paths running throughout the majority of it.
Once you’ve enjoyed your excursion, your guide will return you to Reykjavik. Be sure to head out for a drink or meal in celebration of your wonderful week before retiring.