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

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Perfect travel plan
Fully customizable
Car & accommodation
Tour starts
Keflavík Airport, Flexible
Duration
9 days
Available
May. - Oct.

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 at a discounted price. Ride a snowmobile on Langjökull glacier, hike a glacier on the South Coast, descend into an ice cave, take a boat trip on the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, go whale watching in Húsavík town, 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. 

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

Included

8 nights of accommodation (different levels available; breakfast included. More detailed info below)
Vehicle for 9 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
Dettifoss
Snæfellsjökull
Skógafoss
Seljalandsfoss
Geysir
Gullfoss
Eyjafjallajökull
Dyrhólaey
Þingvellir
Hraunfossar
Deildartunguhver
Strokkur
Skagafjörður
Snæfellsnes
Reykjanes
Hvannadalshnúkur
Mýrdalsjökull
Skaftafell
Eyjafjörður
Hveragerði
Þingvallavatn
Þríhnúkagígur
Höfn
Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach
Jökulsárgljúfur
Stykkishólmur
Hellnar
Reykholt
Borgarnes
Barnafoss
Langjökull
Öræfajökull
Arnarstapi
Hallgrímskirkja
Grjótagjá
Vík í Mýrdal
Svartifoss
Egilsstaðir
Siglufjörður
Blönduós
Hrísey
Námafjall Geothermal Area
Kerið
Gljufrabui
Hofsós
Keflavik International Airport
Kirkjufell
Búðir
Kirkjubæjarklaustur
Reynisdrangar
Öxarárfoss
Haukadalur
Faxi
Myvatn Nature Baths
Námaskarð
Lagarfljót
Lóndrangar
Djúpalónssandur
Hallormsstaðaskógur
Víðgelmir
South Coast
Diamond Beach
Ring Road
East Fjords
Fossatún
Diamond Circle

Daily itinerary

Day 1
Iceland has more churches per capita than any other country.

Arrival in Iceland & Downtown Reykjavík

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

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 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.

Day 2
The iconic Gullfoss waterfall is on the Golden Circle route.

The Golden Circle & Wondrous Waterfalls

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. Another sight along the way is the magnificent Mýrdalsjökull glacier. Spend the night in the village of Vík.

Day 3
Vatnajökull glacier has many outlets; the most popular for hiking throughout the year is Svínafellsjökull.

Hiking Day in Skaftafell Nature Reserve

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, you will get the chance to see the quint village of Kirkjubæjarklaustur. You will then 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.

Day 4
A horse silhouetted against the morning mist in summer in Iceland.

Into the East

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.

Day 5
At Dettifoss waterfall, you will see a mixture of pure power and sheer beauty.

Lake Mývatn and Akureyri

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 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.

Day 6
Pictured here beneath the midnight sun, all visitors should stop at Goðafoss waterfall as they follow the ring road through north Iceland.

Explore the Arctic Coast of Iceland

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.

Day 7
A road on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula leads to Buðir Church, and, further afield, Snæfellsjökull glacier.

Sightseeing in the Snæfellsnes 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.

Day 8
Hraunfossar is a waterfall in west Iceland, located near historic sites such as Reykholt and Borgarnes.

Waterfalls and History

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.

Day 9
Before a long flight and after a long holiday, the Blue Lagoon is an ideal place to relieve away any stress.

Blue Lagoon and Airport

Drop off your car at Keflavík airport in time for your departure flight. 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.

Map

What to bring

Warm clothes
Driver's License
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. 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. 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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