Stunning 9-Day Self-Drive Tour of the Complete Ring Road of Iceland & Snaefellsnes Peninsula
Explore Iceland's Ring Road and its incredible natural attractions by booking this fantastic nine-day self-drive tour. Those eager to see every region of Iceland and embark on various adventures should book this tour now.
You don't have to spend weeks planning the perfect itinerary in Iceland, as it has all been done for you with this tour, available at a great price.
When you try to organize a trip yourself, there's always the danger that you will miss some of the best attractions, but you won't miss anything with this itinerary.
Embark on a grand adventure encircling Iceland on this amazing self-drive tour. You'll see all the most popular sites, such as the world-famous Blue Lagoon geothermal spa, the Golden Circle attractions, the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon, and the Snaefellsnes Peninsula.
You can 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. People love this tour, and it is highly rated.
You will travel comfortably and stay in quality accommodation each night with an en-suite bathroom. Breakfast is included on each morning of the tour.
You will experience these incredible places and receive a custom itinerary after you book that will direct you to more unique locations.
You will also have access to a personal travel agent, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If your plans change, you can cancel your tour up to 24 hours before departure.
For many travelers to Iceland, being alone in the untouched landscape is a massive part of this country's appeal, and by referencing this guide, you can immerse yourself in the solitary landscape as much as you desire.
If all this is not enough, you can add many exciting adventures to your trip during booking at a discounted price.
Ride a snowmobile on Langjokull glacier, hike a glacier on the South Coast, descend into an ice cave, take a boat trip on the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon, go whale watching in Husavík town, or go horse riding in North Iceland. The endless opportunities allow for a perfect balance between sightseeing and activities.
Nine days is a great amount of time to explore Iceland, allowing you to fit in these experiences while reaching your destinations in good time. There is no need to rush as you'll have plenty of time to explore each destination.
Take advantage of this immersive nine-day experience encircling Iceland's ring road and enjoying thrilling tours. Check availability now by choosing a date.
Day 1 - Arrival in Iceland & Downtown Reykjavík
On the first day of your self-drive tour of Iceland's Ring Road and the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, you'll arrive in Iceland.
Pick up your rental car at the airport in Keflavik before driving to your accommodation in downtown Reykjavik. If you have a later flight, you can check in immediately, and you may want to spend the rest of the day relaxing in your room.
If your flight is earlier in the day, you can explore some of Iceland before heading to your accommodation.
You can stop at the world-renowned Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa on the Reykjanes Peninsula. Its vivid blue waters, healing minerals, and many therapy treatments make this site recognizable.
It is surrounded by mossy lava fields and cone-shaped volcanoes, providing the perfect introduction to Iceland's unique and beautiful landscapes. It's a great place to relax after traveling.
If you have a late arrival, other plans for day one, or would prefer to get straight to the city, your travel agent can book you into the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa another day. Your trip has to be organized in advance, but your agent will ensure it is arranged around your flight.
After making yourself comfortable at your accommodation, spend the rest of the day exploring the vibrant city center. There are many museums, galleries, restaurants, cafes, and bars to catch your interest.
If you want to check off some iconic landmarks and cultural attractions from your bucket list, you can stroll around the city center of Reykjavik. For example, the Hallgrimskirkja church, Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Center, and Perlan museum are all in the area.
Spend the night at your accommodation in the quirky city of Reykjavik. All accommodation has an en-suite bathroom. Tomorrow, your summer adventure in the Icelandic countryside will begin.
Day 2 - The Golden Circle & Waterfalls
Day two of your self-drive tour of Iceland's Ring Road sees you travel to some of the best-known natural phenomena in Iceland on the Golden Circle route.
The Thingvellir National Park is the first stop on the Golden Circle sightseeing route. Here, you can walk between the rift valley of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, snorkel in the Silfra fissure, and explore an area that played a massive role in Iceland's heritage.
The Thingvellir National Park was the original site of the world's longest-running representative parliament. Iceland's parliament was established here in 930 AD.
You can opt for a snorkeling tour here in the Silfra ravine, which has some of the most transparent waters in the world.
Next is the geothermal valley of Haukadalur, where you can see the geysers Strokkur and Geysir. Geysir is inactive now, but Strokkur erupts every five to 10 minutes to heights of around 66 feet (20 meters).
Finally, one of Iceland's most popular attractions is a few miles away, the mighty Gullfoss waterfall. 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 the Gullfoss waterfall, you could take a snowmobiling tour on the fantastic Langjokull glacier. You can opt for a horse-riding tour if this isn't for you.
A sight often missed in this area is the crater of Kerid, 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 Skogafoss waterfall.
Along the coast near Vik, take a slight detour to stop and admire the black volcanic sand beach and the dramatic Dyrholaey and Reynisdrangar rock formations. Another sight along the way is the magnificent Myrdalsjokull glacier.
You'll spend the night at your accommodation in South Iceland.
Day 3 - Hiking Day in Skaftafell Nature Reserve
Spend the third day of your nine-day self-drive tour of Iceland's Ring Road, taking in the many sights and optional activities available in the beautiful Skaftafell nature reserve area of the Vatnajokull National Park.
Spanning over 2982 square miles (4800 square kilometers), this breathtaking reserve boasts diverse landscapes and natural wonders. Towering glaciers, majestic ice-capped peaks, lush valleys, and cascading waterfalls create a surreal and awe-inspiring environment.
You'll find many hiking trails tailored for all abilities, including one leading to the beautiful Svartifoss waterfall. Svartifoss is a stunning waterfall framed by basalt columns.
Before you head to Skaftafell nature reserve, you can opt for an exciting ice cave tour from Vik, where you'll visit a unique cave in Myrdalsjokull glacier. You'll see beautiful ice formations and deep crevasses.
Doing a glacier hike in the Skaftafell area is highly recommended. It is an exhilarating and unforgettable experience. Equipped with crampons and ice axes, visitors can explore awe-inspiring features like ice caves, deep crevasses, and crystal-clear blue ice.
Experienced guides lead the way, sharing their knowledge about the glacier's formation, history, and unique characteristics.
When you're back on the road, you will get the chance to see the quaint village of Kirkjubaejarklaustur, home to serene landscapes and rich history.
You will then head to one of Iceland's top attractions, the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon, where icebergs break from a glacier and sail serenely towards the ocean.
You can enjoy a cruise alongside the massive icebergs on a zodiac or amphibious boat if you would like. If you decide not to join a boat tour, you can enjoy some spectacular views.
After absorbing the sights here, meander to the nearby Diamond Beach, where pieces of ice wash ashore and lie glittering on black sands.
You'll spend the night in one of the countryside accommodations in Southeast Iceland.
Day 4 - Exploring the East Fjords
On the fourth day of your self-drive tour of Iceland's Ring Road, you'll leave the smooth, black sands of South Iceland 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 an authentic taste of old Iceland. You can take your time today and stop where you'd like.
The area is known for its wildlife. It is home to puffins on the coast 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, Hallormsstadaskogur. Encompassing approximately 460 square miles (740 square kilometers), it is the country's largest forest and a true haven for nature enthusiasts. The woodland's diverse ecosystem comprises birch, spruce, and pine trees, interspersed with picturesque walking trails and tranquil lakes.
This enchanting landscape offers many recreational activities, including hiking, camping, and birdwatching. Hallormsstadaskogur is also home to several species of birds, making it a birdwatcher's paradise.
You'll also have the opportunity to stop at Lagarfljot lake. Spanning around 33 square miles (53 square kilometers), it captivates visitors with its tranquil beauty and enigmatic legends.
One of the most famous tales revolves around the Lagarfljot worm, a mythical creature believed to dwell in the lake's depths. According to local folklore, sightings of the serpent-like creature date back centuries, adding an air of intrigue and wonder to the lake's allure.
Surrounded by picturesque landscapes and dense forests, Lagarfljot offers stunning views and ample opportunities for fishing and boating.
Next, you'll go to Egilstadir, where you'll explore before heading to your comfortable accommodation here or in one of the villages nearby in East Iceland.
Day 5 - Lake Myvatn and Akureyri
Day five of your road trip along Iceland's Ring Road brings you north to the Lake Myvatn area.
This location is known for its impressive geothermal landscapes, including the Namaskard Pass, the Skutustadagigar pseudo-craters, and Krafla mountain, one of Iceland's most visited volcanoes.
The hot spring lava cave of Grjotagja is one of the remarkable beauties of this area.
Inside the cave, you will find a thermal spring with crystal-clear, azure waters that maintain a constant temperature throughout the year. The cave became famous for its appearance in the popular television series "Game of Thrones."
It is also highly recommended that you visit the dramatic lava formations at Dimmuborgir lava field, otherwise known as 'the Dark Fortress.'
The area is dotted with towering lava rock formations, caves, and arches, creating a mystical atmosphere that feels like stepping into a mythical realm.
Exploring Dimmuborgir offers a unique opportunity to wander through maze-like trails and marvel at the intricate and eerie formations. Dimmuborgir has also inspired many legends and folklore tales with its haunting beauty and dramatic scenery.
You should also consider visiting the silica waters of the Myvatn Nature Baths, the perfect way to relax after a full day of sightseeing before heading to Akureyri.
The warm, mineral-rich waters provide a soothing retreat amidst the stunning volcanic landscapes, making it a popular destination for visitors seeking wellness and tranquility.
As you head onto Akureyri, drive through the Jokulsargljufur part of the Vatnajokull National Park to visit Dettifoss, the most powerful waterfall in Europe.
If you wish to opt for a whale watch, detour to Husavik, the whale-watching capital of Europe, to enjoy this incredible treat. You can also add puffin-watching to your excursion.
You'll spend the night in Akureyri, one of the largest towns in Iceland, also known as the capital of the north. Your accommodation will be in the town or in a nearby village in North Iceland.
Day 6 - Explore the Arctic Coast of Iceland
On the sixth day of your Ring Road tour of Iceland, you will explore the country's Arctic coastline.
After breakfast at your accommodation, you'll have time to explore Akureyri. Akureyri, known as the "Capital of the North," is a vibrant town nestled in the fjords of North Iceland.
Although smaller than Reykjavik, Akureyri offers a rich cultural and recreational experience. Its charming streets contain colorful houses, boutique shops, and enticing cafes. The town boasts a thriving arts scene, hosting festivals, galleries, and a renowned botanical garden.
While in Akureyri, you can add a whale-watching tour to your itinerary. Akureyri is a prime destination for seeing these incredible animals.
Embarking on a boat tour from the picturesque town, visitors can witness majestic creatures such as humpback whales, minke whales, and dolphins in their natural habitat.
The surrounding fjords provide a stunning backdrop for an unforgettable wildlife encounter.
After enjoying the pleasant town of Akureyri and your whale-watching tour, you'll head out to the Trollaskagi Peninsula, noted for its deep valleys and high mountains.
Continue your drive towards Skagafjordur, a valley known for its abundance of Icelandic horses. You can opt for an hour-long horse ride on this day in the Eyjafjordur area and ride along the seaside overlooking the fjord and Hrisey Island.
Icelandic horses are well known for their friendly, easy-going nature, and because of this, horse riding tours are suitable for beginners. Icelandic horses also have a unique gait called tolt, which helps them to ride smoothly over the rugged Icelandic terrain.
As you continue, you will pass through the old herring-fishing village sof Siglufjordur and Hofsos, 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, surrounded by beautiful views and a peaceful environment.
Day 7 - Sightseeing on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula
On day seven of your tour of the Ring Road, you'll head to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula to enjoy the sights on offer there. The Snaefellsnes Peninsula is home to diverse landscapes of lava fields, black sand beaches, and glaciers.
After enjoying breakfast at your accommodation, you'll set out for the village of Stykkisholmur on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. Known for its picturesque setting and rich cultural heritage, Stykkisholmur offers a delightful blend of natural beauty and small-town charm.
The town is characterized by its colorful wooden houses, quaint streets, and stunning views of the surrounding fjords and mountains. Visitors can explore the local museums, enjoy fresh seafood at charming restaurants, and enjoy the breathtaking scenery from the nearby hills.
From there, you can explore the area's unique sights, including the Snaefellsjokull glacier in the Snaefellsjokull National Park. This magnificent glacier and stratovolcano is often called the "Jewel of West Iceland," as it captivates visitors with its mystical aura and dramatic beauty.
Snaefellsjokull gained fame through Jules Verne's novel "Journey to the Center of the Earth," where it appeared as the entrance to an underground world.
The glacier is a prominent landmark, visible from miles away, and is surrounded by stunning landscapes, including lava fields, black sand beaches, and rugged cliffs. Its icy peak offers breathtaking panoramic views.
You can also visit Dritvik cove. Known for its rugged beauty, Dritvik cove features dramatic cliffs, black pebble beaches, and crashing waves. The remnants of a historic fishing village add a sense of history and charm to this remote and picturesque spot.
You can also stop at the small, charming hamlets of Arnarstapi, Hellnar, and Budir. There are many beautiful locations to see, whether you are fascinated by geology, history, or bird-watching, so set out early to make the most of them.
You'll spend the night in comfortable accommodation in the Snaefellsnes area.
Day 8 - Waterfalls and History
On the eighth day of your summer self-drive Ring Road tour, you'll visit West Iceland to explore more remarkable attractions.
Explore West Iceland with its diverse attractions, including the Icelandic Settlement Centre in Borgarnes, and Deildartunguhver, the largest hot spring in Europe. It pumps 50 gallons (180 liters) of boiling water per second.
The water from Deildartunguhver is used for heating nearby towns, including Borgarnes and Akranes. Visitors can witness the raw power of nature as steam rises from the bubbling hot spring, creating an impressive display.
There are also walking paths and observation platforms for visitors to safely explore and admire this natural wonder.
Further along, be sure to visit the captivating Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls.
Hraunfossar, which translates to "Lava Falls," is a unique natural wonder where crystal-clear water cascades out from the lava fields, creating a stunning and picturesque sight.
In contrast, Barnafoss, or "Children's Falls," is known for its turbulent and mighty flow, surrounded by dramatic rock formations. Both waterfalls offer a mesmerizing blend of natural beauty and geological intrigue.
Visitors can explore the walking paths that wind along the rivers, providing breathtaking views of the waterfalls and the surrounding scenic landscapes.
History buffs may also enjoy visiting 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.
You can take a lava tubing tour in Vidgelmir cave or travel down the artificial channels inside the magnificent Langjokull glacier. If neither appeals, you can take a tour where you descend into a dormant volcano's vast, beautiful magma chamber.
All three excursions are fascinating and exhilarating.
On the way back to Reykjavik, take a short break at Fossatun, a waterfall said to be guarded by a troll woman named Drifa.
Day 9 - Blue Lagoon and Airport
The ninth day of your Ring Road and Snaefellsnes peninsula tour is the last, and it’s time to head home.
Head to the Keflavik International Airport in plenty of time to drop off your rental car and check in your bags. If you have an early flight, you’ll head to the airport after breakfast at your accommodation.
For those who have a later flight and choose to visit the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa 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 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, including shopping, sightseeing, and enjoying one of the cafes, restaurants, or bars.
What to bring
Good to know
Self-drive tours begin either in Reykjavík 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.
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.
Rooms with a private bathroom in three star hotels or quality guesthouses. Very close to the best attractions at each location. Breakfast is included.
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.
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) insurance. Please note that off-road driving is illegal for all types of cars.
All levels come equipped with 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.
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.
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.
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.
A medium-sized 4WD (4x4) jeep or SUV such as a Toyota Rav4 (automatic) and Suzuki Vitara (manual), or similar. Comfortably fit up to 4 travelers 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.
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 Mercedes Benz Vito or similar. Comfortable for 5 to 7 travelers. If seated full, luggage space is limited. The driver must be of 23 years of age or above.