14 Day Budget Self Drive Tour of the Complete Ring Road of Iceland with Myvatn & the Westfjords
See the whole of Iceland and visit the Westfjords with this affordable two-week package. You'll have the chance to see all the famous sites as well as countless hidden gems while staying on budget.
After booking this self-drive, you will receive a personal itinerary telling you about all the places you'll be able to reach each day. That way, you will not miss out on the great sites you have heard so much about, such as the Golden Circle, Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, and Snaefellsnes Peninsula.
Nor will you miss the places that few know of, treasures off the beaten track, and places where you will be able to immerse yourself fully in nature without the crowds.
During the booking process, you can add a myriad of extra activities at a discounted price, so you can make the most of the many adventure opportunities this country has to offer. These include snorkeling in some of the world's most transparent waters, hiking across a magnificent glacier, spotting whales in Iceland's whale-watching capital, and riding an Icelandic horse.
Don't miss the opportunity to immerse yourself in Iceland with this affordable yet comprehensive package. Check availability by choosing a date.
Day 1 - Arrival in Iceland
On day one, you will arrive at Keflavik International Airport and pick up your rental car.
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 colors, 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 enjoying your first night in the capital, you will retire to your downtown accommodation.
Day 2 - The Golden Circle
Today, you will begin to travel around three of Iceland's most famous sites as you take the Golden Circle trail. The first location on this journey is Thingvellir National Park. This park has historical and geographical standing so unique that it is of the country's most loved destinations.
Firstly, it is the original site of the world's longest-running, ongoing parliament. Early Icelanders convened their first national assembly here over a millennium ago, in 930 AD. Secondly, it is located between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates, creating a torn and impressive landscape in the lava fields and deep crevasses filled with crystal clear spring water.
After enjoying the history and beautiful landscapes of Thingvellir, you will head over to the Geysir Geothermal Area. As the name suggests, this is home to multiple geysers. The most known of them, Geysir itself, is largely inactive, but the very active Strokkur, which sits just meters away, goes off every ten minutes to heights of over 66 ft (20 m).
The third and final stop of the circle is possibly Iceland's most iconic feature, the mighty Gullfoss waterfall. At 105 ft (32 m) tall, it is magnificent to behold, falling two steps into a beautifully carved valley. Thankfully, there are many different viewing platforms around from which you can admire and photograph.
There are three tours you can opt into on this day. If you are seeking exhilaration, you can book a snowmobiling excursion from Gullfoss, which will take you up Langjokull glacier. If you are looking for something more relaxed, you can take a horse ride instead or a snorkeling tour in Thingvellir National Park.
Around the Golden Circle are many lesser-known gems worth a visit, which you can reference your itinerary to find. One such example is Kerid Crater Lake, a vast feature with vividly colored red rocks, contrasting beautifully with the azure water within.
You will spend the night in the Selfoss region.
Day 3 - The South Coast
You will head along the beautiful South Coast of Iceland on your third day. This stretch of road boasts many features that you will no doubt want to stop at to visit. The magnificent, well-known waterfalls Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss, for example, can be found along this stretch. While both warrant many photographs, you should also seek out Gljufrabui, a waterfall hidden in a ravine that is mesmerizing to behold.
Next along the road is the glacier tongue Solheimajokull, where you can opt into two tours. You could take a glacier hike with an ice climb for an experience as exciting as it is informative, or else another snowmobiling tour.
Another fantastic option on this day is to visit the ice cave in the Myrdalsjokull glacier. This tunnel is the only ice cave accessible all year round due to its location. It is a unique opportunity for summer visitors to see this natural wonder usually only accessible in winter.
After this, you will come to the charming village of Vik, renowned for its stunning coastline. You can walk along the black sand beach Reynisfjara here and can look over incredible geological features such as the Reynisdrangar sea stacks and the Dyrholaey rock arch, one of Iceland's largest puffin colonies.
Your destination and accommodation can be found a little further down the road, either at the historic village of Kirkjubaejarklaustur (also known as simply Klaustur) or near Skaftafell.
Day 4 - Skaftafell Nature Reserve and Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon
On day four, you have two spectacular destinations to enjoy. The first of these is Skaftafell Nature Reserve, a place so beautiful it was once a National Park in its own right, before the greater Vatnajokull National Park was established, which enveloped it. Skaftafell is sheltered by mighty glaciers and mountains and filled with lava fields, forests, and rivers. Be sure to visit Svartifoss waterfall, as the geology surrounding it is fascinating.
If you missed the glacier hike the day before (or are eager for another), you can elect to do one today, up Skaftafellsjokull.
As tempting as it may be to stay all day, you will want to reserve your afternoon and evening to enjoy the unbelievable glacier lagoon, Jokulsarlon. Here, massive icebergs fill an enormous lake and cruise slowly over to the ocean. Watching from the shore is breathtaking, but even better is taking a boat tour to immerse yourself among them. There are two options for this: a more affordable amphibious vessel or a more personal zodiac.
Keep an eye out for seals in the lagoon and at the nearby Diamond Beach. This stretch of coast got its name from the fact that the icebergs wash onshore here, and glisten beautifully in the sun, something amplified by the black sands beneath them.
You will spend the night a bit further northeast, in Hofn.
Day 5 - The East Coast
On day five, you will enjoy the rural beauty and remote villages of the East. Renowned for its beautiful, little-visited fjords, you will get spectacular views of the coast and mountains as you wind your way north.
This part of Iceland has more wildlife than anywhere else in the country. You can hope to see puffins and seal colonies on the shore and Arctic Foxes or reindeer inland.
After a beautiful drive, you will pass Lagarfljot lake, which is said to hold a terrifying monster. Nearby is the charming town in Egilsstadir, where you will be spending the night.
Day 6 - Lake Myvatn
On day six, you will head to Lake Myvatn, driving past the Jokulsargljufur part of the Vatnajokull National Park. En route, you can stop at Dettifoss waterfall, a mightily impressive feature with a greater water flow than any other falls in Europe.
Once you reach the Myvatn area, there are a wealth of things to see and do. The lake itself is beautiful and a bird-watching hotspot. The Dimmuborgir lava fields are known as 'the Dark Fortress' due to how dramatic they are, the Krafla mud pits display the geological forces of this area, and the hot-spring cave Grjotagja is a must for fans of Game of Thrones. The Myvatn Nature Baths are also well worth a visit.
If you wish, you can also head to Husavik for a whale-watching tour in what is considered the whale-watching capital of Europe and add a puffin-watching segment for a longer experience. Otherwise, you can enjoy Myvatn until you are ready to retire, then head to your accommodation in Akureyri.
Day 7 - The Troll Peninsula
On day seven, you can start by enjoying the 'Capital of the North,' Akureyri, with its many boutiques, museums, and the world's northernmost botanical gardens. You can also take a whale watch this morning. Once you are ready, you will head across the beautiful fjord of Skagafjordur and through the mountains of the Trollskagi peninsula, admiring the many Icelandic horses as you travel.
You can opt to see the old fishing town of Siglufjordur, with its award-winning Herring Era Museum. Otherwise, you can go to the beautiful, sparsely populated village of Hofsos, where you can bathe in a beautiful geothermal pool with magnificent views over the coastal scenery.
You will spend the night in the town of Saudarkrokur.
Day 8 - Westfjords Introduction
On day eight, you will head towards the incredible Westfjords, a place of breathtaking beauty that few visitors have enough time to visit. En route, you will find many locations worth a stop. The Borgarvirki fortress is a natural, geological marvel used as a castle in the early years of Iceland's history. You will also see the Hvitserkur monolith, which stands from the ocean's surface and looks somewhat like an elephant.
In Holmavik, you can visit the Icelandic Sorcery and Witchcraft Museum and Sorcerer's College to learn about magic in Iceland throughout history. In Dragsnes, you can bathe in some revitalizing hot springs. You will retire in the Strandir area.
Day 9 - Deep into the Westfjords
You will spend today winding through the remote, spectacular Westfjords. The mountains that tower beside you are incredible, and the coastal scenery dramatic. Keep your eyes on the water, as you may see both seals and whales.
When you have reached the town of Isafjordur, you may wish to make a slight detour and visit the charming village of Bolungarvik, where you will find the Osvor Maritime Museum, which encapsulates the history of this area.
You will spend the night in the Isafjardardjup area.
Day 10 - Dynjandi and Latrabjarg
Today you will head to two of the Westfjords greatest wonders: Dynjandi waterfall and the Latrabjarg bird cliffs. En route, the Dyrafjordur fjord and Skrudur botanical gardens are worth visiting.
Dynjandi is an incredible, inspiring location. The water surges down a magnificent cliff face, and the path up to it is dotted with other beautiful falls. Latrabjarg, meanwhile, is one of the best birdwatching locations in the world. Hundreds of thousands of seabirds nest along the 8.7 miles (14 km) of cliff throughout summers, including many puffins. They have little fear of people, meaning you will be able to get incredibly close to them.
After enjoying these sites, head to Patreksfjordur, where you will spend the night.
Day 11 - Westfjords to Snaefellsnes Peninsula
Today you will leave the Westfjords for the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, taking the Baldur ferry over to the historic village of Stykkisholmur. The ferry price is included in the tour price, and taking the car is no additional cost.
Snaefellsnes is a 56-mile (90 km) stretch of peninsula often called "Iceland in Miniature.' There are a wealth of sites to see here, so you will spend two days exploring them. Notable points include the Snaefellsjokull National Park, Kirkjufell Mountain, the coastal towns of Arnarstapi and Hellnar, and the black sand beach Djupalonssandur.
You will spend the night in the Snaefellsnes Peninsula.
Day 12 - Snaefellsnes Peninsula
You will spend day twelve seeing the sites you missed the day before. You could seek out the seals on Ytri Tunga beach, the lava tube of Vatnshellir, the windswept church of Budir, and the dramatic basalt plug Londrangar. Another beautiful sites are the Bardarlaug lake near Hellnar, where legends say that the Jotunn protector of the area used to bathe.
Spend a second night on the Snaefellsnes.
Day 13 - West Iceland
On your penultimate day, you will head back towards Reykjavik, enjoying the many sites of West Iceland as you do.
Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls sit right beside each other, and though both are incredibly beautiful, they are dramatically different. Hraunfossar trickles out of a wide stretch of lava fields while Barnafoss thunders through a canyon. Not far from here is the highest flowing hot spring in Europe, Deildartunguhver.
Fans of history will enjoy the village of Reykholt, which has the Snorrastofa museum dedicated to Snorri Sturluson, Europe's most important medieval writer, and Borganes, with its Settlement Era Museum.
Before reaching Reykjavik, you have the option of three final adventures. You could go for a lava tubing tour and explore the hidden world Vidgelmir or take a walk through Langjokull glacier tunnels, which you cannot do anywhere else in the world.
When you reach the city, you'll have time to explore before retiring.
Day 14 - Departure
Sadly, day fourteen is your last. You will head back to Keflavik airport in time to drop off your car and to take your 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.
What to bring
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.
Wearing cotton or jeans as the outer layer during your trip to the Þríhnjúkagígur volcano tour is not allowed. Please wear suitable waterproof clothes and sturdy hiking shoes for this trip. It's always the same temperature inside the crater – about 5–6°C (42–43°F). The Þríhnjúkagígur volcano tour involves a hike of approximately 3 km (2 miles) each way. The walk usually takes around 45–50 minutes (depending on the condition of people in the group). A guide will be with you at all times during the walk.
Due to limited availability in the remote Westfjords region, accommodation for Super Budget and Budget levels will be arranged with the same preferred partners.
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.
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) 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 (4WD manual, has highland capabilities and better suited for winter driving), 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.