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8 Day Budget Self Drive Tour of the Complete Ring Road of Iceland & the Golden Circle

At Seljalandsfoss waterfall, you will be privy to some magnificent views across Iceland's South Coast.
Likely to sell out soon
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Perfect travel plan
Fully customizable
Car & accommodation
Starting time
8 days
May. - Aug.
Minimum age

Save money by booking this self-drive budget package, for the chance to spend the whole of eight days exploring the wonders of Iceland. This tour is perfect for anyone looking to control their own journey and go where the wind takes them, without being worried about tour buses or stress.

On this excursion, the one and only Ring Road of Iceland is your guide as you trail along the countryside to behold a myriad of natural wonders. You'll spend time in the bustling capital city of Reykjavík, as well as the 'capital of the North' Akureyri.

In between, you'll embark on a Golden Circle exploration, behold the marvels of Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon, visit the beautiful Lake Mývatn and see countless other natural wonders, waterfalls, volcanoes and coastal villages.

During the booking process, you also have the option of adding extra activities to your trip at a discounted price. These include hiking or snowmobiling on top of glaciers, joining the renowned Jökulsárlón Lagoon boat tours, go whale watching in Húsavík or get to know the Icelandic horse on riding tours through scenic landscapes.

Other possibilities are going snorkelling in a crystal-clear lake located in a fissure between two tectonic plates, venturing into the dark on a lava caving tour, go inside a glacier or descend into a dormant volcano of an otherworldly magma chamber. This is your journey, the choices are yours and the opportunities for adventure are limitless.

So don't hesitate in making use of this wonderfully extensive and economical package to get the most out of your stay on the island of ice and fire. Create your perfect adventure now and check availability for this tour by choosing a date.


7 nights of accommodation (different levels available; breakfast not included, shared bathrooms; 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 insurance
GPS system
Detailed itinerary


Glacier Hiking
Horse Riding
Whale Watching
Boat Trip
Hot Spring Bathing
Cultural Activity
Bird watching
Ice Caving
Self drive

Daily itinerary

Day 1
Self Drive tours allow the holiday maker to keep a level of autonomy to their experience; you choose when and where you go, and in what time frame.

Reykjavík Arrival

Welcome to Iceland. Your car will be waiting for you at the Keflavík International Airport, where your first task will be to drive through the incredible landscape of the Reykjanes Peninsula to reach your first destination of Reykjavík City.

On your way to Iceland’s capital city, 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.

After arriving at your accommodation in Reykjavík, venture out and get to know the locals of this charming capital. Feel free to discover the gems of the city's centre; be it museums, galleries, cafés, bars or restaurants, before retreating for the night to gather strength for upcoming days ahead on the ring road.

Day 2
Strokkur (Icelandic for 'churn')  is classified as a fountain glacier.

Golden Circle & South Coast Attractions

Your second day begins with Iceland's number one sights; the Golden Circle route. It includes Þingvellir National Park, the geothermal valley of spouting geysers at Haukadalur and the magnificent Gullfoss Waterfall.

Þingvellir Park nests in the rift valley of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, where you have the opportunity to join a snorkelling tour in the crystal clear waters of Silfra Fissure and swim between the two continents of Eurasia and North-America.

Before you set out on your adventures today, however, you have an incredible opportunity that will forever define your impression of Iceland: a 1-hour helicopter tour over the Geldinadalur volcanic eruption. You’ll depart from Reykjavik Domestic Airport, and after admiring the colourful capital and barren Reykjanes Peninsula from above, make your way to this breathtaking phenomenon. Few adventures can compare to witnessing fire and lava rupture from the earth from such an all-encompassing perspective, and this one even includes a short landing by the site!

At Geysir geothermal area you'll find the geyser Strokkur, which erupts regularly, every 5-10 minutes. As this magnificent hot spring erupts, it creates a water column that can reach heights of 15-20 metres.

Next up is the beautiful Gullfoss waterfall. There, you can opt to embark on a snowmobile excursion of Langjökull Glacier. You can also sign up for a horse riding tour and get to know the unique and friendly Icelandic horse.

You will then continue along the South Coast, where it comes highly recommended that you stop by the waterfalls Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss; two of the most visited falls in the country. These majestic cascades lie in the shadow of the Eyjafjallajökull glacial volcano.

Your destination today will be the coastal village Vík, home to the black beach Reynisfjara; beautiful to behold but dangerous to ascend because of the powerful currents of the North Atlantic Ocean.

No matter how you plan out your day, it is sure to be memorable. After a day of adventure, you'll spend the night at an accommodation in Vík.

Day 3
Diamond Beach is named as such thanks to the glittering, jewel like icebergs that wash up against the black sand.

Nature Reserve Wonders | Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon

On your third day, you will continue south-east to the nature preservation area Skaftafell, which belongs to the greater Vatnajökull National Park. There, an array of trails, tracks, sights and activities will be waiting for you.

You can hike up to Svartifoss waterfall and behold its unique black basalt rock wall, or embark on a glacier hike to stroll on top of an ice cap amidst snowy formations and glistening crevasses.

As you continue along the road, your next sight will surely be another highlight of your journey. Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon is where majestic icebergs float before drifting off to the ocean. Here you have the option of going on two different boat trips where you can sail among these icebergs and try to spot some resident seals.

Closeby is the Diamond Beach, where ice from the lagoon has washed up on shore to sparkle like gemstones in the sun. Your final destination will be the coastal village Höfn, where you will spend the night.

Day 4
Puffins shed the colourful part of their bill once breeding season has come to an end.

The East Fjords

On day four, it is time to leave the south coast behind and venture into the wild fjords of the East. The fjords might seem endless as you trail through them one by one, but each one is unique and sure to take your breath away.

You will cross steep mountain ridges and rolling hills, with Vatnajökull Glacier visible to your west as you head up north. The East Fjords are a home to wonderfully diverse wildlife, including roaming wild reindeer, seals and a myriad of birds.

This day belongs to nature, so take it all in as you follow your route to your eastern destination of Egilsstaðir; a charming town nesting by the banks of Lagarfljót River; home to a mystic lake monster.

You'll spend the night at an accommodation in said town.

Day 5
The Norwegian waterfal, Sarpefossen, outmatches Dettifoss in terms of average water flow, but is only about half the size.

Lake Myvatn and the North

On day five of your ring road adventure, you will get to know the North and its incredible wonders. For a real treat en route, drive through Jökulsárgljúfur Canyon to visit the most powerful waterfall in Europe, Dettifoss.

Your next stop is at Lake Mývatn; a stunning area of geothermal activity and home to the pseudo-craters Skútustaðagígar; the pass of Námaskarð; Dimmuborgir, a citadel of mystic lava formations; and Mount Krafla, one of Iceland's most notable volcanoes.

After sightseeing in the otherworldly Mývatn area, you can relax in the geothermal waters of the Mývatn Nature Baths, to recharge before you continue on with your journey.

In the town of Húsavík, you have the option of leaving dry land to go whale watching in Skjálfandi Bay. If you upgrade to a RIB boat tour, you'll be treated to a close encounter with everybody's favourite bird; the Atlantic Puffin.

Finally, you will head on to the town of Akureyri where you will spend the night.

Day 6
If an Icelandic horse ever leaves the country, they are forbidden to return in order to keep the breed wholesome and isolated.

Capital of the North & Trollaskagi Peninsula

On your sixth day, you will wake up in Akureyri and see why it's called 'Capital of the North' by the locals. Spend your morning exploring the many charms of this town, be it shops, buildings, museums, cafés or parks.

A whale watching tour can also be added on this day, this time from Akureyri harbour. Once you are ready to leave, set out to the Tröllaskagi Peninsula and continue towards Skagafjörður. You can also opt to start the day with a riding tour in the outskirts of Akureyri and enjoy the beautiful Eyjafjörður fjord.

Your journey will then lead you out along Tröllaskagi peninsula. You will pass through the mountainous vastness, visit the old fishing village of Siglufjörður and the tiny town Hofsós; home to the 'infinity pool' that the locals love so much.

You will eventually make your way to the vicinity of the town Blöndós where you will spend the night.

Day 7
Hraunfossar is only a stone's throw away from another beautiful waterfall, Barnafoss.

Landscapes of the West & Settlement History

On day seven, explore the last corner of the island by venturing to the great West, home to such diverse attractions such as the Settlement Centre in Borgarnes and Deildartunguhver; the largest hot spring in all of Europe.

You should also be sure to pay a visit to the neighbouring waterfalls Hraunfossar and Barnafoss, uniquely different but only a stone's throw away from each other.

If history is your thing, take a detour to the medieval research facility at Snorrastofa; former home to renowned Saga writer, scholar and poet Snorri Sturluson. In the backyard nests Snorralaug; the oldest pool in Iceland.

If you feel like going underground, you have the option of going on a caving tour through the lava tubes of Víðgelmir or see the inside of a glacier in the man-made ice tunnels of Langjökull.

Then prepare to head back full circle to Reykjavík City, but not before stopping at Fossatún, a waterfall guarded by a troll woman according to ancient legends. When you reach the city, you can even choose to join some seasoned mountaineers and descend into the magma chamber of the volcanic crater Þríhnjúkagígur.

Before retiring on your final night, it is possible to go on an excursion that will truly enforce the primordial power and breathtaking beauty of Iceland upon your memory; a hiking trip to the Fagradalsfjall volcano. Under the protection of an experienced guide, you will trek through the spectacular landscapes of Reykjanes Peninsula to the eruption site, where jets of fire burst from craters and lava runs in gleaming rivers of orange. Nothing in the world compares to watching a volcanic eruption live, so be sure to grab this opportunity while it lasts.

Day 8
'The Sun Voyager' was officially unveiled on August 18th, 1990.

Departure & Farewells

All adventures must end at some point, so make sure to drop off your car at Keflavík Airport in time for your flight home. 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.

What to bring

Driver's licence
Warm and waterproof clothes
Swimsuit and towel

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.


See our accommodation levels below and our preferred accommodation partners under each day in the daily itinerary. Super budget level accommodations will be arranged in hostel dorm beds. Budget level 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. We always do our best to accommodate special requests, which may incur additional costs. Press choose a date to find availability.

Super Budget

Dormitory beds with shared bathrooms in guesthouses or hostels. Located in the region of the best attractions. Breakfast is not included.


Rooms with shared bathrooms in farmhouses, guesthouses or hostels, with good locations near the best attractions. Breakfast is not included.


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.


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.


Are you looking to try some of the best dishes Iceland’s top restaurants have to offer? You can now add delicious meals to your booking without having to research where to find them. Select this option to include dinner every night as an extra, and we’ll provide you with vouchers as part of your booking confirmation. We’ll choose the top-rated restaurants that fit with your vacation itinerary and make your reservations for you. Your server will offer you a set menu of two to three courses at the restaurant, from which you can choose meat, fish, or vegetarian options. If you prefer to try a different dish, the meal voucher will act as a credit that you can redeem at the restaurant against menu items that are not part of the set menu. Save time and effort during your vacation, and let us take care of your meals for you. Choose the meal option today so you’ll be guaranteed to eat well on your forthcoming trip. Please notify the restaurant on arrival about any dietary requirements. Vouchers are non-refundable.

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