9 Day Self Drive Tour | Circle of Iceland & Snaefellsnes Peninsula

Based on 4 traveller reviews

Embark on a grand adventure encircling Iceland on this amazing self-drive tour. You'll be sure to see all the most popular sites, such as the world-famous Blue Lagoon,  the Golden Circle, Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, and the Snæfellsnes Peninsula.

You will have the opportunity to take your time at each place, choosing when to arrive and when to leave, as there are no tour guides, departure times, or other groups to worry about on this vacation. Your travel will be in full comfort, always lodging with an ensuite bathroom and, naturally, breakfast is included.

Not only will you get to experience these incredible, popular places, but you will receive a custom itinerary after you book that will direct you to the more unique locations. For many travellers to Iceland, being alone in the untouched landscape is a huge part of this country's appeal; and by referencing this guide, you will be able to immerse yourself in the solitary landscape as much as you desire. 

If all this is not enough, you have the option to add a multitude of exciting adventures onto your trip during booking. Jump on a snowmobile tour on Langjökull glacier; glacier hike on the South Coast; descend into an ice cave, take a boat trip on the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon; whale watch while you are in Húsavík; or a horseback ride in the North. The opportunities are endless and allow for a perfect balance between sightseeing and activities.

Nine days is a great amount of time in which to explore Iceland, giving you the opportunity to fit in these experiences while still being able to reach your destinations in good time. There is no need to rush - unless, of course, you want to. As has been said, on this tour, it's all up to you. 

Should you wish to explore Iceland in a more economical way, you can book the budget-friendly self-drive package with the same itinerary by clicking here: 9 Day Budget Self Drive Tour | Circle of Iceland & Snaefellsnes Peninsula

Leave no part of Iceland undiscovered on this complete tour package. Check booking availability now, by choosing a date.


Quick facts

Tour information:
  • Available: May. - Oct.
  • Duration: 9 days
  • Activities: Hiking, Sightseeing, Bird watching, Self drive
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Highlights: Blue Lagoon, Reykjavík, Akureyri, Jökulsárlón, Húsavík, Skógafoss, Seljalandsfoss, Geysir, Gullfoss, Þingvellir, Deildartunguhver, Höfn, Black Sand Beach - Reynisfjara, Borgarnes, Vík i Mýrdal, Siglufjörður, Blönduós, Hofsós, Lake Myvatn, South Coast, Ring Road
Pickup information:
  • Starting time : Flexible

Included:
  • 8 nights of accommodation (different levels available; breakfast included. More detailed info below)

  • Vehicle for 9 days (VW Polo or similar. Upgrades available)

  • CDW, SCDW and gravel protection insurance for vehicle

  • GPS system

  • Blue Lagoon standard entrance (upgrades available)

  • Detailed Itinerary with fun and practical information on the nature, history and culture of Iceland

  • Hands-on travel agent to oversee your itinerary

  • Taxes

  • Fuel

  • Dinner

  • Lunch


What to bring:
  • Warm clothes

  • Driver's License

  • swim suit

  • 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.



Daily itinerary

Day 1 - Arrival in Iceland & Downtown Reykjavík


9 Day Self Drive Tour | Circle of Iceland & Snaefellsnes Peninsula


Pick up your car at the airport in Keflavík before driving to your accommodation in downtown Reykjavík.

If your flight arrives earlier in the day, you may want to go for a long soak in the luxurious blue waters of the Blue Lagoon, the perfect way to relax after travelling. The healing, azure waters are famous the world round. If you are looking forward to getting to the city instead, however, you may schedule a visit here on the last day.

After making yourself comfortable at your accommodation, use the rest of the day to explore the vibrant city centre. There is an abundance of museums, galleries, restaurants and bars to catch your interest.

Spend the night in quirky Reykjavík.


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 - The Golden Circle & Wondrous Waterfalls


9 Day Self Drive Tour | Circle of Iceland & Snaefellsnes Peninsula


Day two sees you travel to some of the best-known natural phenomena in Iceland on the Golden Circle route. The first stop is Þingvellir National Park. Here, you can walk between the rift valley of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, snorkel in the Silfra fissure, and explore an area which played a huge role in Iceland's heritage; it was, after all, the original site of the world's longest running representative parliament. You can opt for a snorkelling tour here.

Next is the geothermal valley of Haukadalur, where you can see the geysers Strokkur and Geysir. Geysir is largely inactive now, but Strokkur erupts every ten minutes or so to heights of 20 m (66 ft). Finally, a few kilometres away is Iceland's most popular attraction, the mighty waterfall of Gullfoss. A pathway takes you right to the water's edge, where you can get a real sense of the enormous, natural power of the falls. 

After seeing Gullfoss, you could take a snowmobiling tour on the amazing Langjökull glacier. If this isn't for you, you can opt for a horse-riding tour instead.

A sight often missed in this area is the crater of Kerið, which has a beautiful azure pool at its bottom. After taking some photos here, head to the south coast, visiting the majestic Seljalandsfoss waterfall, and the equally breathtaking Skógafoss waterfall.

Along the coast near Vík, take a slight detour to stop and admire the black volcanic beach and the dramatic Dyrhólaey and Reynisdrangar rock formations. Other sights along the way include the Mýrdalsjökull glacier and the quaint village of Kirkjubæjarklaustur. Spend the night in the village of 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 - Hiking Day in Skaftafell Nature Reserve


9 Day Self Drive Tour | Circle of Iceland & Snaefellsnes Peninsula


Spend the third day taking in the many sights and optional activities available in the beautiful Skaftafell area of the Vatnajökull National Park. You'll find many trails there tailored for all abilities, including one that leads to the beautiful Svartifoss waterfall. Before you head on out to Skaftafell, you can opt for an exciting ice cave tour that departs from Vík, where you'll visit a unique cave in Mýrdalsjökull glacier. 

Doing a glacier hike in Skaftafell area is highly recommended, where you could pace the glacier tongue in the hillsides of the Iceland's tallest mountain: Hvannadalshnjúkur in Öræfajökull glacier.

Once you've hit the road, head over to one of Iceland's top attractions, the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, where icebergs break from a glacier and sail serenely towards the ocean. You can enjoy a cruise right alongside the massive icebergs if you would like, on a zodiac or amphibious boat.

After absorbing the sights here, meander to the nearby Diamond Beach, where pieces of ice wash ashore and lie glittering on black sands. Spend the night in Höfn.


Preferred accommodation by Jökulsárlón and Höfn

Jökulsárlón and Höfn Comfort

Hotel Höfn is a 3 star hotel centrally located within 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.


Day 4 - Into the East


9 Day Self Drive Tour | Circle of Iceland & Snaefellsnes Peninsula


Leave the smooth, black sands of the south and head into the mountains and fjords of the east coast. Trailing the roads up and down, you can enjoy idyllic fishing villages and scattered farms, providing you with an authentic taste of old Iceland.

The area is known for both puffins by the seaside and reindeer in the mountains, so regardless of if you're on a mountaintop or in a fjord, there is always something to look for. You'll pass through Iceland's largest forest, Hallormsstaðaskógur, and Lagarfljót lake, where legends say a monster hides, to reach Egilstaðir town. You'll stay there, or in one of the nearby villages, for the night.


Preferred accommodation by Egilsstaðir

Egilsstaðir Comfort

Lake Hotel Egilsstaðir is a 3 star hotel located in a short walking distance from the centre of Egilsstaðir but also right by the lake. Private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Spa on site for additional price. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.

Egilsstaðir Quality

Icelandair Hotel Hérað is a 3 star hotel centrally located within Egilsstaðir town. Bright, private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included, with focus on local ingredients.


Day 5 - Lake Mývatn and Akureyri


9 Day Self Drive Tour | Circle of Iceland & Snaefellsnes Peninsula


Day five brings you north to the Lake Mývatn area, known for its geothermal landscapes, including the Námaskarð Pass, the Skútustaðagígar pseudo-craters, and Mt. Krafla, one of Iceland’s most visited volcanoes.

The hot spring lava cave of Grjótagjá is one of the remarkable beauties of this area. It is also highly recommended that you visit the dramatic lava formations at Dimmuborgir, otherwise known as 'the Dark Fortress'.

You might want to take a dip in the silica waters of the Mývatn Nature Baths, the perfect modern way to relax after a full day of sightseeing, before heading to Akureyri. As you head onto there, it's highly recommended to take a drive through the Jökulsárgljúfur part of Vatnajökull National Park, visiting the Ásbyrgi canyon and Dettifoss, the most powerful waterfall in Europe.

If you wish to opt into a whale watch, detour to Husavík, the whale watching capital of Europe, to enjoy this incredible treat. You can also add a puffin-watching segment to this.

You'll spend the night in Akureyri, the capital of the north.


Preferred accommodation by Akureyri

Akureyri Comfort

Hotel Norðurland is a 3 star hotel centrally located in Akureyri. Spacious and bright private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.

Akureyri Quality

Icelandair Hotel Akureyri (Deluxe room) is a 3 star hotel centrally located in Akureyri, right next to the swimming pool. Private bedroom with a living room area and a private bathroom. Great views from the 5th floor. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.


Day 6 - Explore the Arctic Coast of Iceland


9 Day Self Drive Tour | Circle of Iceland & Snaefellsnes Peninsula


After enjoying the pleasant town of Akureyri, taking an optional whale watch if you wish, you'll head out to the Tröllaskagi peninsula, noted for its deep valleys and high mountains. Continue your drive towards Skagafjörður, a valley known for its abundance of Icelandic horses. You can opt for an hour long horse ride on this day in the Eyjafjörður area, and ride along the seaside overlooking the fjord and Hrísey island. 

As you travel on, you will pass through the old herring-fishing village of Siglufjörður and Hofsós, where you can enjoy the fantastic scenery while soaking in the town’s thermal pool. You'll then spend the night in the Northwest area, near the village of Blönduós.


Preferred accommodation by Blönduós

Blönduós Comfort

Hotel Blanda is centrally located within Blönduós town in north Iceland with a view towards Blanda river and the sea. Private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free Wi-Fi in public areas. Breakfast is included.

Blönduós Quality

Hotel Laugarbakki (Superior room) is a 3 star hotel situated in the countryside south of the town Hvammstangi with a view over nearby river. Spacious private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free access to outside hot tubs and an indoor gym. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.


Day 7 - Sightseeing in the Snæfellsnes Peninsula


9 Day Self Drive Tour | Circle of Iceland & Snaefellsnes Peninsula


At the start of Day 7, set out for the village of Stykkishólmur on the Snæfellsnes peninsula. 

From there, you can explore the area’s unique sights, including the Snæfellsjökull glacier within Snæfellsjökull National Park, the Dritvík cove and the small, charming hamlets of Arnarstapi, Hellnar, and Búðir. There is a wealth of beautiful locations to see, whether you are fascinated by geology, history, or bird-watching, so set out early to make the most of them.

Spend the night in the Snæfellsnes area.


Preferred accommodation by Snæfellsnes

Snæfellsnes Comfort

Fosshotel Stykkishólmur is a 3 star hotel centrally located within the town Stykkishólmur. Spacious hotel with a view towards the bay. Private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.

Snæfellsnes Quality

Hotel Búðir is a 4 star hotel on the southern side of Snæfellsnes peninsula, with a view towards Snæfellsjökull glacier and to the sea. Private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.


Day 8 - Waterfalls and History


9 Day Self Drive Tour | Circle of Iceland & Snaefellsnes Peninsula


Explore West Iceland with its diverse attractions, including the Icelandic Settlement Centre in Borgarnes, and Deildartunguhver, the largest hot spring in Europe. Further along, be sure to visit the captivating Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls. 

History buffs may also enjoy a visit to Snorrastofa Cultural and Medieval Centre, the medieval research institute in Reykholt, where the early settler Snorri Sturluson wrote the beloved saga Heimskringla in the 13th century.

On this day, you can take a lava tubing tour in Viðgelmir cave, or else travel down the man-made channels inside the magnificent Langjökull glacier. If neither of these appeal, you can instead take a tour in which you descend into the vast, beautiful magma chamber of a dormant volcano. All three excursions are fascinating and exhilarating.

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


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 9 - Blue Lagoon and Airport


9 Day Self Drive Tour | Circle of Iceland & Snaefellsnes Peninsula


Drop off your car at Keflavík airport in time for your departure flight. If you are taking an afternoon or evening flight, consider fitting in one last authentic Icelandic experience:

A revitalising visit to the world-famous Blue Lagoon spa is a great way to end your Icelandic adventure. The water is rich in silica, and blue-green algae, which gives the lagoon its turquoise tint and reputed healing powers. If you did this on your first day, then explore the Reykjanes peninsula, or spend some more time in Reykjavík! Come back soon!


Accommodation

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.

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, free of charge.

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.


Map


Reviews

Awesome!!! Everything was perfect.

Wonderful vacation, Iceland's beauty becomes at times almost overwhelming. However, we had no detailed from itinerary from Guide to Iceland. I don't know if I missed an email, or what happened, but we winged it on or own. They did have a rental car ready for us (when we got in close to midnight) and the hotel selection throughout the week was very good. I suppose we could have called and gotten an itinerary, but we're the types who tend to keep to ourselves so we didn't do that. In the morning I'd punch in that evening's hotel coordinates into the GPS and we'd haul out our Lonely Planet book and have at it, which is something we're not unaccustomed to doing anyway. So aside from the lack of an itinerary, the experience was fabulous. Visiting Iceland is an unforgettable experience, as long as you're prepared for the fact that most things in the country are very expensive (tank of fuel, $100+, dinner $100+, light lunch $50, etc. ).

The good: The trip was amazing. So many waterfalls, geysers, springs, lava fields, etc. that we were becoming desensitized to the beauty of the country. Even during the highest tourist season, we were able to find solitude at several attractions off the beaten path. Working through the Guide to Iceland removed much of the planning concerns dealing with an unfamiliar country. They booked the car and all of the hotels for us. As a novice trip planner, I really appreciated that service. The bad: Iceland was very expensive. We passed on all the additional paid tours, but there was still plenty to do. We discovered that we relied on the Guide to Iceland itinerary too much and did not do our own adequate planning - we wanted to be surprised by seeing some of the attractions in the moment as opposed to looking up pictures in advance. We learned we needed to pre-select the attractions we wanted to see and look up appropriate GPS Way Points. The coordinates in the itinerary were often for city centers and not the specific attractions. Also, we discovered that because we requested comfort rooms, the itinerary had us backtracking a couple of hours for our hotel - making it that much more difficult to stay on schedule. Unfortunately, those nights also corresponded with the days with the most stops. I would have liked to be presented with the choice in those instances to forego the comfort room to avoid backtracking. Once we were in the mode of plotting out our travel each night, we were able to catch that the itinerary had us going out of our way for the same town twice - both during the day and then for the hotel. We were able to eliminate the first instance and save some driving time. And of course, there was just not enough time to see everything. Some of what the Guide would recommend would require a half a day or more to hike to and back. We had to pass on those attractions.

Guide to Iceland has wrongly booked the date of car rental. In the voucher it stated we can get the car at 22:00 30/6/2017. But when I arrived airport, I cannot see the representative even after I have waited for 1 hour till 23:00. Then I made expensive international call to the car rental company. The car rental company said guide to Iceland has made the booking to 1/7/2017 22:00. I was desperate and furious of this serious mistake. Fortunately, the car rental company tried their best and arranged a car to us on the next day morning. Our trip to Iceland could be completely ruined by this mistake if the car company has not helped us. Disappointed that guide to Iceland made this simple yet serious mistake.

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