8 Days / 7 Nights Self Drive Tour | The Ring Road & Golden Circle

Free pickup
No credit card fees
No booking fees
Duration
8 days
Difficulty
Easy
Language
English
Free pickup
Keflavík International
Available
May. - Aug.

Book now and secure yourself eight days and 7 nights in the land of ice and fire. This road trip is for anyone who likes to go where the wind takes them, rather than having tour guides in control.

Using the Ring Road as your guide, you'll see as many of the country's natural wonders as can be fitted into eight days, including the capital city of Reykjavík, the world-famous Golden Circle sightseeing route, and Akureyri, 'the Capital of the North.' You'll also visit Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, the beautiful Lake Mývatn, waterfalls, volcanoes, rural towns and countless other attractions. 

During the booking process, you can also add some exciting activities to your trip at a discounted price. Daredevils can go snowmobiling on Langjökull glacier, hike on a glacier or snorkel between two continents in Þingvellir National Park.

Nature enthusiasts can join the famous Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon boat tour, go whale watching off Húsavík town, ride an Icelandic horse through the countryside, explore the dark places of the Earth on a caving tour, or venture inside the glistening white halls of a glacier.

There is even the chance to descend into the vividly coloured magma chamber of a sleeping volcano. And if you want to relax, you can book a trip to the world-famous Blue Lagoon, so you can bask in its soothing azure waters while you're here. 

Also to help you relax is the personal itinerary you'll receive upon booking. There you'll find many spots where you can be virtually alone, at incredible locations most visitors have never heard of. You'll also find in the itinerary, information of you full-comfort accommodation which will include an ensuite bathroom and breakfast.

So do not hesitate, grab the wheel and this unique opportunity to create the perfect stay in Iceland; exploring the all-time attractions of the Ring Road as well its hidden gems at your own pace. Check availability by choosing a date.

Included

7 nights of accommodation (different levels available; breakfast included. More detailed info below)
Vehicle for 8 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
Caving
Snowmobile
Horse Riding
Whale Watching
Sightseeing
Boat Trip
Hot Spring Bathing
Cultural Activity
Bird watching
Ice Caving
Self drive

Attractions

Blue Lagoon
Golden Circle
North Iceland
West Iceland
Reykjavík
Akureyri
Jökulsárlón
Vatnajökull
Mývatn
Dimmuborgir
Húsavík
Goðafoss
Dettifoss
Skógafoss
Seljalandsfoss
Geysir
Gullfoss
Eyjafjallajökull
Dyrhólaey
Þingvellir
Hraunfossar
Deildartunguhver
Strokkur
Almannagjá
Skagafjörður
Reykjanes
Mýrdalsjökull
Skaftafell
Sólheimasandur
Hveragerði
Þingvallavatn
Þríhnúkagígur
Höfn
Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach
Reykholt
Borgarnes
Barnafoss
Langjökull
Hallgrímskirkja
Skútustaðagígar
Grjótagjá
Krafla
Vík í Mýrdal
Svartifoss
Egilsstaðir
Siglufjörður
Blönduós
Kerið
Gljufrabui
Hofsós
Keflavik International Airport
Reynisdrangar
Öxarárfoss
Mývatn Nature Baths
Lagarfljót
Capital Region
Tröllaskagi
Hallormsstaðaskógur
Víðgelmir
South Coast
Diamond Beach
Ring Road
East Fjords
Fossatún
Diamond Circle

Daily itinerary

Day 1
Self-drive customers experience a great degree of freedom when travelling independently from attraction to attraction.

Arrival in Reykjavik

Pick up your car at the international airport in Keflavík before driving through the lunar landscape of the Reykjanes peninsula to your accommodation in downtown Reykjavík. If you want, you can choose to go to the Blue Lagoon on your way to the city as it is located en route from the airport.

After settling in at your hotel in Reykjavík, make the most of your proximity to the vibrant city centre, and discover the multitude of museums, galleries, restaurants, and bars on offer. Spend your first night in this beautiful, quirky city.

Day 2
The small peninsula of Dyrhólaey was once known as 'Cape Portland' by passing sailors.

Golden Circle and South Coast

Day two sends you to some of the best-known natural phenomena in Iceland via the sightseeing route known as the Golden Circle.

The first stop is Þingvellir National Park. Here, you can walk along the rift valley of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, all the while exploring an area which plays a huge role in Iceland's heritage; parliament was founded here in 930 AD, and it is also where Iceland converted to Christianity and declared its independence from Denmark.

In this beautiful park, you can opt for a snorkelling tour into the Silfra fissure, a crystal-clear ravine of incredible underwater vistas that runs between the Eurasian and North-American tectonic plates.

The geothermal valley of Haukadalur is the next stop, where you can see the geysers Strokkur and Geysir, amongst many bubbling hot springs. Strokkur puts on an unforgettable display every 10 minutes or so, erupting to heights that exceed 20 m (66 ft). 

Just a few kilometres away is Iceland's most popular attraction, the mighty waterfall of Gullfoss. A pathway takes you to the water's edge, where you can get a real sense of the incredible power of these enormous falls. From Gullfoss, those with a good sense of adventure can jump on an optional snowmobiling tour on Langjökull glacier.

If neither a snorkelling tour or snowmobiling tour appeal to you, you may instead opt for a horse ride in the surrounding South Iceland nature. 

Another popular sight of the area is the volcanic crater Kerið, which is well worth a visit before continuing to the South Coast. The rocks of this crater are coloured rusty red and fiery orange, and the water that permanently sits within its basin is an incredible, vivid blue. The colour contrast, especially when you add green-growing moss, is simply stunning.

As you move onto the Ring Road in the South, you will see Seljalandsfoss waterfall, which you can walk all the way around for some great photos behind its curtain of water. A little further down the road is the mesmerising and mightily powerful Skógafoss waterfall, a roaring beast with a 60 m (197 ft) drop and a width nearly half its height. 

Along the coast near the village Vík, take a slight detour to stop and admire the black volcanic beach Reynisfjara, the dramatic Dyrhólaey rock arch and the eerie Reynisdrangar sea stacks. Be very careful of the ocean, however, as the waves along this stretch of coast are notoriously unpredictable and dangerous―all part of the allure of travelling in Iceland.

At the end of your first-rate second day, you'll spend the night in Vík.

Day 3
Diamond Beach is a must-visit among nature enthusiasts and photographers alike, offering unique vistas and stunning aesthetic beauty.

Skaftafell Glaciers - Diamond Beach

On day three, get ready to head to the beautiful Skaftafell Nature Reserve within the greater Vatnajökull National Park. You can choose to start your day with a visit to the natural ice cave within Mýrdalsjökull glacier. These are the only natural ice caves accessible outside the winter season, so don't miss the opportunity to visit.

In Skaftafell, you can spend your time taking in the many stunning sights and exciting activities that are available. If you enjoy hiking, you will find countless scenic trails and tracks here suitable for all levels of mobility and experience, including one that leads to the beautiful Svartifoss waterfall. It is also possible to snap on some crampons and opt for a glacier hike.

Continuing your road trip, you'll find yourself by one of Iceland’s most famous and dazzling attractions, the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. Here, you can embark on an optional cruise on the water, bringing your closer to serene floating icebergs of all shapes and sizes, onboard either an amphibious boat or a zippy zodiac.

Even from the shore, however, the lagoon is stunning, and you have a good chance to see seals playing amongst the ice. After you have enjoyed the lagoon, take the short walk to the nearby Diamond Beach, where many ice-flows wash up on the shore and sparkle like gemstones in the sun. 

Then, drive a little further ahead, and spend the night in the charming town of Höfn.

Day 4
Puffins not only inhabit the window of souvenir shops, but also the towering cliff faces of Iceland's coastlines.

The Eastern Fjords

The driving on day four will take you on a rollercoaster ride around the rolling hills and seemingly countless fjords of Iceland's eastern coastline. Each fjord seems to have its own soul and spirit, as each promises to take your breath away.

The great Vatnajökull glacier lies to the west, visible when you cross over the high mountain ridges as you make your way north. The many idyllic fishing villages en route make for perfect little rest stops, and grant you many opportunities to get to know the locals and learn a little more about Icelandic history and culture. 

The East Fjords are also home to some of the greatest diversity of wildlife in the county. They have many incredible bird-watching sites and seal colonies, and the east is the only place in the country where you can spot herds of wild reindeer.

You'll stay overnight in the 'eastern capital', Egilsstaðir, or one of the nearby villages.

Day 5
In the Lake Mývatn area, visitors can find such natural attractions as: Skútustaðagígar pseudo-craters, the Dimmuborgir lava formations and Námaskarð Pass.

A Day at Lake Myvatn

On day five, you will head north to the renowned Lake Mývatn. It is highly recommended to take a drive through the Jökulsárgljúfur part of Vatnajökull National Park on the way, visiting  Dettifoss, the most powerful waterfall in Europe.

The Lake Mývatn area is simply stunning. It is known for its geothermal landscapes, including the Námaskarð Pass, the Skútustaðagígar pseudo-craters, the Dimmuborgir lava formations and Mt. Krafla, one of Iceland’s most iconic volcanoes.

You can join a whale watching tour at the nearby village of Húsavík, known as the whale-watching capital of Europe, and even upgrade it to a rib boat tour to fit in some puffin watching as well. Skjálfandi bay is a very reliable place to observe the magnificent humpback whale feeding in the shallows.

Later on, take a dip in the soothing geothermal waters of the Mývatn Nature Baths―the perfect way to relax after a full day of sightseeing. Afterwards, continue to the charming 'capital of the north', Akureyri, where you will spend the night.

Day 6
North Iceland is a great location for whale watching and has one of the highest success rates.

Trollaskagi Peninsula

On day six, spend the morning enjoying Akureyri, a charismatic town hosting plenty of unique shops and museums. It also has one of the world's northernmost botanical gardens, which is well worth a stroll through.

Once you have made the most of the town, set out to explore the Tröllaskagi peninsula, home to Iceland's tallest mountains outside the central Highlands. You can also opt into a whale watch if you skipped it the day before.

Continuing towards Skagafjörður, a valley known for its abundance of Icelandic horses (where you can take another horse-ride), you will pass through the beautiful mountainous area of Tröllaskagi, the old herring-fishing village of Siglufjörður, and Hofsós, where you can enjoy the gorgeous scenery while you relax in the town’s geothermal infinity pool.

Spend the night in the vicinity of Blönduós.

Day 7
Sizable populations of Icelandic Horses live outside of the country, especially in Mainland Europe and the United States.

Landscapes of the Ring Road

On day seven, explore West Iceland with its diverse attractions, including the Icelandic Settlement Centre in Borgarnes, which details the history of the settlement of our land, and Deildartunguhver, the hot spring with the highest flow in Europe. Further along, be sure to visit the captivating Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls.

History buffs may also enjoy a detour to Snorrastofa, the medieval research institute in Reykholt, where Iceland´s most famous Viking poet, politician, and historian, Snorri Sturluson, wrote the saga Heimskringla in the 13th century. He is also the author of the bible of old Norse mythology, the Edda.

If you have the time, you can also opt for an exciting caving tour at the Víðgelmir lava tubes, or adventure into the incredible, man-made Langjökull ice tunnels. You can even take an 'into the volcano' tour, where you descend into the colourful magma chamber of Þríhnúkagígur.

On your way back to Reykjavík, take a short break at Fossatún, a waterfall said to be guarded by a troll woman named Drífa, before spending your last night in the capital.

Day 8
The Blue Lagoon Spa not only offers a luxury bathing experience, but also fine dining, massage and even retail.

Farewell to Iceland & Departure

Drop off your car at Keflavík airport in time for your departure. If you are lucky enough to be taking an afternoon or evening flight, you can fit in one last fantastic Icelandic experience―a revitalising visit to the world-famous Blue Lagoon geothermal spa. It is a great way to end your Icelandic adventure. The geothermal water is rich in minerals, giving it a turquoise glow, as well as many reputed health properties for your skin and soul. 

Alternatively, you can explore the many geological wonders of the Reykjanes peninsula, or simply indulge in some last-minute shopping in Reykjavík.

Have a safe journey home.

Map

What to bring

Driver's licence
Warm Clothes
Swimsuit
Camera

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. 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.

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.

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.

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.

Cancellation Insurance

This insurance guarantees that you can cancel tour and package bookings and receive a full refund, minus the insurance cost. The cost of your cancellation insurance depends on the duration of your tour or package. A base cost of 5,000 ISK per person is applied to all tours and packages with a duration of 5 days or less. An additional 1,000 ISK per person will be added to the insurance cost for each day after. 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 info@guidetoiceland.is 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.

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