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

8 Days / 7 Nights Self Drive Tour | The Ring Road & Golden Circle
Around every corner in Iceland, visitors will find new and fantastic sights, including that of mountain ranges and luscious valleys.
Diamond Beach, named after the jewel-like icebergs that decorate this strip of coastline.
Reynisfjara black sand beach is as infamous for its dark, basalt sea stacks and the strong undercurrents that flow offshore.
The icebergs at both Jökulsárlón and Diamond Beach come in various shapes and sizes, but all are beautiful in equal measure.
The Vestrahorn Mountain Range is colloquially referred to as 'The Batman Mountain' or 'The Horny Mountains'.
The Blue Lagoon Spa is one of Iceland's most popular attractions. Make sure to book tickets in advance to avoid disappointment.
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Based on 53 traveller reviews

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.


Quick facts

Tour information:
  • Available: May. - Oct.
  • Duration: 8 days
  • Activities: Glacier Hiking, Snorkelling, Caving, Snowmobile, Horse Riding, Whale Watching, Sightseeing, Boat Trip, Hot Spring Bathing, Cultural Activity, Bird watching, Ice Caving, Self drive
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Languages: English
  • Highlights: Blue Lagoon, Golden Circle, East Iceland, 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, Fossatún, Diamond Circle
Pickup information:
  • Pickup time : Flexible.

Your car will await you at Keflavík International Airport when you arrive. You will drop it off at Keflavík airport, too, when you depart from Iceland.
Included:
  • 7 nights of accommodation (different levels available; breakfast included. More detailed info below)

  • Vehicle for 8 days (VW Polo or similar. Upgrades available)

  • CDW, SCDW and gravel protection insurance for vehicle

  • 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

  • Blue Lagoon entry ticket (can be added during booking process)

  • Fuel

  • Lunch / Dinner


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.

If you book the extra activities alongside this tour, you will get them at a lower price.



Daily itinerary

Day 1 - Arrival in Reykjavik


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


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.


Preferred accommodation in Reykjavík

Reykjavík Comfort

The Fosshótel chain has four 3-4 star Hotels located in and around the city center of Reykjavík. There is a short walk from all of the hotels to attractions, cafés, restaurants, museums and the nightlife. All offer private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.

Reykjavík Quality

Alda Hotel is a 4 star hotel situated on Laugavegur, Reykjavík's main shopping street in the city centre. Private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free access to a fitness room with a sauna and a hot tub. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.


Day 2 - Golden Circle and South Coast


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


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.


Preferred accommodation by Vík

Vík Comfort

Hotel Katla is a 3 star country hotel that's situated 5km to the east of Vík. Comfortable private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free access to a hot tub and a sauna. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.

Vík Quality

Icelandair Hotel Vík is a 3 star hotel centrally located in Vík. Stylish private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Ocean or cliff views from each room. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.


Day 3 - Skaftafell Glaciers - Diamond Beach


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


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.


Preferred accommodation by Jökulsárlón and Höfn

Jökulsárlón and Höfn Comfort

Hotel Höfn is a 3-star hotel centrally located in the town Höfn. Private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.

Jökulsárlón and Höfn Quality

Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon is a 4-star hotel located right between Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon and Skaftafell Nature Reserve. Private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Ocean or mountain views. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.


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, maximum two years of age, and come equipped with a GPS, CDW, GP, and SCDW insurances. You can also upgrade to an automatic model.

Budget

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.

Comfort 4X4

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.

Luxury 4x4

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.


Cancellation Insurance

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 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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Spectacular – yes, that one word keeps coming up every time I describe my trip to family and friends. From our work to customize the trip with Francisco at Guide to Iceland in the months before the trip, to the ease and flow of our time in country, I was awed beyond expectations. The weather was sunny and warm during our late May trip, allowing us the joy of seeing rainbows at most of the waterfalls. The hotels (quality) were centrally located, comfortable, welcoming and had tasty breakfasts. Beyond our self-drive itinerary, we loved each excursion: the Blue Lagoon, snowmobiling on a glacier and visiting an ice cave, boating on the glacier lagoon, whale watching in Husavik (we saw four humpback whales and a blue whale!), soaking at Lake Myvatn, and horseback riding. We stumbled across breathtaking vistas, sang and laughed in the car each day between stops, and had an all-around exceptional experience. Iceland should be a “must see” on everyone’s list. If you love nature, love food, love welcoming people, love unique museums, love exploring, and love having a “daily dose of once in a life,” Iceland is for you. What I might suggest to other travelers includes adjusting the last day of the drive to include the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. It is well worth the drive to see the Vatneshellir Lava Cave, rugged coastline, and the mountain that inspired Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth. Also, be ready for serendipity to take over and enhance your trip in ways you never imagined.
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The Country was beautiful and the people very friendly. Our contact at Guide, Constance, was very responsive and helpful when there was a need to cancel several excursions. The hotels were modern and clean and the breakfasts good. There is quite a bit of driving if one wants to visit many of the sites listed on the itinerary. I would suggest obtaining some detailed local maps as the GPS will take you on some rough gravel roads in some cases. Overall, a great trip.
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We would like to see more destinations have self guided tours like yours! It would have been helpful to know that not every place is open this early in May-we arrived for our week excursion in Keflavik on May 13. We were disappointed on a few occasions to find a facility not open for the season. The Ice Cave excursion at Sveitarfelagid Hornfjordur should have a listing for physical ability. David was very patient, kind and helpful with a gentleman who was clearly at a physical disadvantage for this excursion. The weather was also quite bad that day and even though we were dressed for rain, wind and cold, we would have loved to finished our day in Vik at the hotels hot tub, rather than begin it. :-) We though Holar should be listed-the turf house is unbelievable! Finally, the lava cave at Vidgelmir Cave Explorer was a highlight because of our tour guide, Johannes. His love and enthusiasm for geology is contagious! We had a child about 8 years old on our trip. Johannes bent down (he's about 6'6" tall!) to talk with this child more than once. We had some big geology fans in our group. Johannes asked if he could give us a tour that would last about 20 minutes longer than the norm. We enthusiastically said "Yes!" The office dog was helpful for those of us missing our pets at home. Our accommodations and food were wonderful. We've already been discussing our next trip to Iceland and what we would do differently.
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Highly recommend booking a tour through Guide to Iceland. We had never been before, so it was extremely helpful following the itinerary and recommendations. Easy to rent a car, navigate throughout Iceland and find small stops along the way.
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Great trip, everyone was extremely nice and helpful. Made a self-guided tour very easy and enjoyable.
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Our guide, Melkorka, was absolutely amazing. Took care of everything for us on our 8 day/7 night ring road tour that we selected. Which included switching a tour to a different date and she even got us an upgrade for one of our hotels! We also had an issue with the rental car company and didn't receive the GPS/WiFi we booked but we received a prompt refund for it in just a couple of hours. We will definitely be choosing Guide to Iceland again for a different tour when we come back!
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We visited Iceland April 31-May8. It was a fantastic adventure and wonderful trip over all. We chose to go earlier in the year to avoid the peak Summer tourist crunch. We're VERY glad we did so. Even early in the season, there were tour buses and several tourists. Not enough to spoil each site, but enough that we can imagine who much more crowded things would get when the weather is warmer. I think the sites would have been much less enjoyable when packed with tour buses and lines of tourists. The weather varied day to day with a mix of rain and sun, but we expected that. We were geared up for wet weather and our gear came in handy when walking to and through the many waterfalls. We wanted to take a few of the off-beat F-roads, but because it was still a bit snowy/icy in the mountains many of those roads were still closed. The itinerary guide was great and informative. We really appreciated all the GPS coordinates as we were able to just plug the coordinates in to Google Maps and navigate the entire country. What would have helped was a little more information on how long (on average) each hike would be. Some of the sites were accessible only after one has hiked in and it would have been nice to be able estimate how long it would have taken to help deciding whether to see the site or pass on it. There was so much to see we had to pick and choose. The one complaint we had was about our vehicle. This wasn't completely the fault of Guide to Iceland, but rather a miscommunication or misrepresentation by their subcontractor company/partner company MyCar. Through Guide to Iceland, we booked a manual 4X4. What we received from MyCar was an automatic CVT hybrid all-wheel drive that one can "down shift" (which with a CVT, one cannot truly do). It was not a real 4X4 and would not have made some of the more rigorous F-roads had they been open. For a car-enthusiast like my husband the capabilities of an automatic CVT hybrid all-wheel drive vs a real 4X4 is a bone of contention. All the extra "activities" we booked through Guide to Iceland proceeded smoothly and without issue. Again, I'm VERY glad we went in May when the weather was still colder (vs full Summer). According to our snow-mobile guide and our glacier-walk guide, during the warmer months, because the glaciers recede, there's a lot more time spent on driving (via tour guide's off-road vehicle) to the glacier, than time spent on the glacier. We did miss seeing any aurora lights. That was a bummer. Apparently there was one night where they occurred (around 2-3am when we were already fast asleep), but we didn't find out until the day after. We both want to go back to Iceland in the winter to see the aurora lights, see the country covered in snow and ice, and have more winter adventures! Thanks Guide to Iceland for a fabulous vacation!
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My wife and I did the self drive tour with the basic FWD car and the "comfort" hotel option. Our trip was in late September, which in retrospect is probably the ideal time to visit the island. Any later in the year and snowstorms will become more and more of a problem. We hit one snowstorm on our journey and it almost stopped us in our tracks for the day. We had a couple of good hotels on our journey, but most are what I would describe as "basic accommodation". A couple hotels more closely resembled college dorm rooms than actual hotels. Likewise, the food on a whole in Iceland is subpar and extremely expensive (which is not a fault to Guide to Iceland). Breakfast was included every morning for us, but we had to pay for lunch and dinner. We averaged about $115 USD per day for food for two people eating two modest meals. Food is literally two times as expensive in Iceland as it is in the US. Plan on this. None of that mattered though. We didn't go for the hotels or fancy food. The island itself is GORGEOUS and the trip was extremely well planned. We didn't have any trouble with any of our reservations and the daily itineraries were accurate and well laid out. This part is critical and could have ruined our trip if something wasn’t right. Everything was planned perfectly and Guide to Iceland did an amazing job here. As far as travel accommodations go, I would demand that your vehicle have mud/snow tires on them. Consider it a necessity. Our FWD vehicle did not have snow tires and we found ourselves in moderately dangerous situations at several points on the trip. Everything wound up fine, but having proper tires on the car would have helped a great deal. Overall we loved our trip. It wasn’t as much as relaxing vacation (we went to bed exhausted every night), but more so an “adventure trip”. You will absolutely stay busy and if you like outdoors adventure with beautiful landscapes; you’ll have the time of your life here.
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We did the self-drive tour with luxury 4WD and quality hotels in September. the weather was excellent, there was some rain but it didn't stop us from most of the attractions. the hotels were absolutely wonderful. in every question or problem, we contacted guide to Iceland and we received help. When we arrived at the airport the agent of "go car rental" was waiting for us, all the stuff that we ordered like the baby chair was in the car. The first day was awesome, with the blue lagoon comfort entrance, just a good time to relax before starting the tour. On the second day "the golden circle" it is just wonderful, the day is full of sights to see so I think there is no place for another attraction to add. in day 3 we had the zodiac tour in the glacier lagoon, I think this attraction is a must!! just amazing to get close to the glacier and hear an expert explanation, also the diamond beach is outstanding!! the only problem in this day is that we traveled to "hofn" (last destination) approximately 1 and a half hour drive and then came back to the glacier lagoon to sleep there (so there were about 3 hours of driving just to see hofn and back), but that is due to the fact that we asked for luxury hotels and there was none around hofn- and we must say the hotel was worth the drive back to the glacier lagoon. another unforgettable attraction was the lava cave tour. overall our experience was epic! and our registered guide in the guide to Iceland (Berenika) was always available in case we needed assistance and planned a wonderful plan to circle the country and have the best of Iceland.
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We did the self drive tour with the comfort option The hotels were all great and having breakfast inluded was good we ate well each morning ,got snacks for lunch and had good dinners so that helped as food(everything) is expensive Guide to Iceland were great ,our flight out was early in the morning so when we arrived we asked if we could change our last night booking to be closer to Keflavik, they changed our booking without any hassle At the Glacial lagoon we decided to do the zodiac tour after we arrived and Guide to Iceland actually refunded the cost of the amphibious tour.It was a highlight and well worth the extra I would suggest that the zodiac tour be the preferred option A couple of days poor weather meant we missed doing a couple of waterfalls but we had a great time The Lake Myvatn baths were great,we didnt do the blue lagoon but I think the smaller and less commercialised Lake Myvatn a better option Go to the office and get the welcome pack with a sim card.Josef our guide even out it in for me
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