Dec 14, 2019
10 nights' accommodation
Comfort (good no-frills hotels with private bathrooms) accommodations in standard rooms
Quality (best available in each area, with private bathrooms)
Unlimited mileage, CDW, theft protection and VAT
GPS system and no charges for an additional driver. Digital map and itinerary
Iceland Travel companion app
24-hour emergency assistance
Service fee and taxes
International and domestic airfare & airfare taxes
Visa fees if applicable
Meals and beverages not mentioned
Items of a personal nature
About this Trip
This 11-day Icelandic self-drive vacation takes you around the Ring Road to experience the natural wonders of this Atlantic nation. It features your choice of comfort or quality hotels, a car rental, independent touring options, and is ideal for travellers who want to see the highlights of Iceland at their own pace.
Your Icelandic journey begins upon arrival at Keflavik Airport, where you’ll pick up your rental car and begin your drive throughout the country. As you drive along the Ring Road, you’ll have the option to stop off at highlights along the way. Follow your fancy in this beautiful landscape to discover quiet fishing villages, geothermal pools, and frozen landscapes. Right after leaving the airport, consider stopping off at the famous geothermal pool of the Blue Lagoon, where you can revitalize yourself in the silica-rich waters. Continue to Hveragerdi to stay the night in the small centre located on top of geothermal hot springs. On your first full-day, drive the Golden Circle, the most popular natural attractions in the country. First stop is Thingvellir National Park, a stunning series of rocky cliffs at the meeting point of the continent plates, followed by the exploding geysers of Geysir and Strokkur, and the Golden Waterfall of Gullfoss.
After getting these popular tourist sites out of the way, get on Route 1 and follow the Ring Road around the country. Stop off at the stunning waterfalls of Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss before reaching Vik, where you’ll find the imposing black sand beach of Reynisfjara, known for its organ-like basalt columns and rogue waves (as well as an appearance in Game of Thrones). Continue to Vatnajokull National Park, home to the largest ice cap in Europe. You can explore the glacier on an excursion or continue along to Jokulsarlon, a glacier lagoon that is considered the most beautiful site in the country. Stroll along Diamond Beach to see miniature icebergs deposited on a black sand beach, and gaze out over the waters to see transparent slabs of ice flowing along the surface.
Continue into the Eastfjords to explore some of the oldest parts of the country. You can take advantage of geothermal waters near Lake Urridavatn before driving along the Arctic Coast Way to see the trails of the Langanes Peninsula or the fishing village of Thorshofn. Continue north and stop off in Raufarhofn, the northernmost town in the country, to gaze out over the Arctic waters. Turn west and cross the plain of Melrakkasletta to reach Asbyrgi, a stunning horseshoe-shaped canyon said to be formed by the hoof-print of Odin’s magical horse. You can also stop off at Dettifoss, the most powerful waterfall in Europe, before reaching Husavik, the nation’s whale watching capital.
North Iceland is a hotbed of activity. You can explore Lake Myvatn and the lava citadels of Dimmuborgir, head to Godafoss, Waterfall of the Gods, or visit the surprisingly-cosmopolitan streets of Akureyri, Iceland’s second largest urban centre. Then drive west along the Siglufjordur and pass the Troll Peninsula. Continue west into a landscape known for medieval legends. You can visit the medieval centre of Holar, follow the footsteps of legendary hero Grettir the Strong in Grettislaugh, or stop at a local farm to get up close with Icelandic horses. Make your way to Hvammstangi and follow one of the best seal-watching routes in the country. Spot the ocean rock formations at Hvitserkur and reach West Iceland with a visit to Dalir, home to Eirik the Red and his son, Leif Eiriksson, who reached the New World centuries before Columbus.
On your final full day, drive around the Snaefellsnes Peninsula to explore a microcosm of Iceland as a whole. Pay special attention to Kirkjufell, the most photographed mountain in the country, the black sand beach of Djupalonssandur, and Snaefellsjokull, the massive ice cap that was featured in Jules Verne’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth. If you have time after exploring the peninsula, head along the Borgarfjordur to see the waterfalls of Hraunfossar and Barnafoss, before reaching Reykjavik.
On your final morning, head back to Keflavik Airport, making time for a stop at the Blue Lagoon if you haven’t already, to drop off your rental car and return home.
Day 1: Arrival
Pick up the car at the airport and start your Iceland experience. From Keflavik International Airport, drive the southern coast of the Reykjanes peninsula towards your first overnight stay in the charming village of Hveragerdi. This village is one of the few sites in the world located directly on top of a geothermal area and, because of its many greenhouses heated by hot water from nearby springs it is often called the "flower village". If your flight arrives early in the day, you might stop at the Blue Lagoon (a short distance from the airport) for a chance to relax in the soothing geothermal mineral waters. Please note that admission to the Blue Lagoon must be booked in advance and is not included in the package price.
Day 2: Thingvellir - Gullfoss Geysir - Thjorsardalur - Hella
Day 3: Hella - Vik - Kirkjubaejarklaustur
Day 4: Vatnajokull National Park- Jokulsarlon - Hofn - Djupivogur
Enjoy breakfast at your accommodation, then get set to experience the southern area of Vatnajokull National Park, named after Europe's largest glacier. Road 1 (The Ring Road) takes you along the side of Vatnajokull, giving you great views of the glacier through the day. Visit the awe-inspiring Skaftafell area of the park, a lovely oasis is set between glaciers. There are several excellent hiking trails including one to the basalt-lined Svartifoss Falls. Here you may choose to partake in a glacier adventure it is highly recommended to take a guided hike on one of the parks glaciers. You'll see amazing glacier features and learn from the guides about how glaciers are formed. Continue to the shimmering icebergs of Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon and enjoy the amazing view. If you’re lucky you might glimpse a few sunbathing seals. Nearby is the famous Diamond Beach, a popular area to snap a picture of broken glaciers resting on black sands. The Thorbergur Center is a great place to stop near the Glacier Lagoon, both for its unique architecture (it resembles a huge shelf of books) and its restaurant using local farm produce. Pass through Hofn, a town located within view of the glacier. It's a nice idea to visit the harbor and watch the fishing boats. Head onwards, enjoying the views of steep mountains and seacoast. Your destination is Djupivogur, a charming and historical town that is the "gateway" to the rugged East Iceland coastline. Be sure to check out the quirky egg sculptures in the town's harbor.
Day 5: The Eastfjords - Egilsstadir - Arctic Coast Way
Day 6: Arctic Coast Way: Raufarhofn - Kopasker - Vatnajökull National Park - Husavik
Day 7: Arctic Coast Way: Husavik - Akureyri - Siglufjordur
Day 8: Arctic Coast Way: Siglufjordur to Laugarbakki
Settle in for breakfast at your accommodation, then get ready for a great day exploring both beautiful landscapes and Viking legends. Thread around the peninsula, heading from Eyjafjordur in to Skagafjordur, a renowned area for horse breeding and medieval history. The pretty town of Hofsos has a unique swimming pool that seems to float into infinity. The pool looks towards Drangey Island, known from the famous Viking-age Saga of Grettir the Strong. A great photo opportunity is to take a short walk down to the geometrically shaped basalt columns near the sea. If you are a history buff, we suggest a stop at Holar. This cultural center has buildings and religious artifacts covering nine centuries of Icelandic history. The new Battle of Iceland virtual reality experience in Saudarkrokur town brings you back into the 12th century to learn about one of Iceland's most pivotal battles, which occurred close to here. Between mid-May and August you can also take a guided boat tour out to Drangey Island from Saudarkrokur harbor. Hike with the guide to the top of the island on a trail bringing you into good viewing of seabirds, including puffins (Puffins are best seen between mid-May and early August). You'll also learn about the story of how the Viking outlaw Grettir hid out on the island. Another suggestion is to drive out to Grettislaug, the coastal hot spring pool Grettir used. The manor farm of Glaumbaer is a turf home that dates back to the 18th century. Visiting here gives a sense of life in Iceland in the old days. Glaumbaer was an inspiration for Hannah Kent's famous novel Burial Rites, now being produced as a movie. The actual events in the story occurred in the Vatnsnes area of North Iceland, which you will visit tomorrow. Near Varmahlid town, a great place to visit and meet a local farm family is at Lytingsstadur horse farm. Meet Icelandic horses, see the replica of a turf stable and learn about why horses are important to Icelandic history. Head on to Laugarbakki, a peaceful area steeped in old legends of outlaws, sorcerers and medieval battles.
Day 9: Arctic Coast Way: Hvammstangi -Vatnes Peninsula - Stykkisholmur
Day 10: Snaefellsnes Peninsula - Borgarfjordur - Reykjavik
Following breakfast at your accommodation, you will today explore the ever-changing beauty of the Snaefellsnes peninsula and Snaefellsjokull National Park. Continue around the Snaefellsnes peninsula, passing the small fishing villages of Grundarfjordur and Hellissandur. Keep an eye out for Kirkjufell, Iceland's most photographed mountain. Make a stop at the rocky beach of Djupalonssandur as well as the magnificent columnar basalt rock formations at Arnarstapi. The crown jewel of the region is Snaefellsjokull, a glacier-topped volcano that is said to be the home of a benevolent troll spirit. You can enjoy guided activities in the region such as glacier hiking on Snaefellsjokull, visiting Vatnshellir lava cave, whale watching near Olafsvik, and sea kayaking in the vicinity of Kirkjufell. Explore the gem of Borgarfjordur, a charming area of volcanic landscapes and Viking history. This is one of our favorite areas to find beautiful handicrafts and taste local farm products. Visit the brilliantly blue waters of Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls, and the hot spring Deildartunguhver. Near the hot springs is Krauma, the relaxing "fire and ice" geothermal spa that uses a soothing blend of hot springs and glacier water. Continue via Hvalfjordur fjord to Reykjavik.
Day 11: Departure
Drive back to Keflavik International Airport. We recommend departing your hotel in Reykjavik no later than at least 3 hours before your flight departure. It takes approximately 1 hour to drive to the airport, and check-in will start 2 hours before your departure. If you did not visit the Blue Lagoon on your way to the city on your first day but have some free time today, you might want to use the opportunity en route to the airport. For this detour, please be sure to allow for at least 2-2.5 hours extra so you'll have ample time at the lagoon. Your rental car should be returned to the airport service area, which is located only 2 minutes from the airport building. A shuttle will then transport you to the departure hall.
Inquire about this Trip
TERMS AND CONDITIONS:
"Prices are "from" per person based on twin/double share accommodation and for travel in low season. Hotels are not guaranteed and are subject to change until 3 weeks prior to departure. Seasonal surcharges and blackout dates may apply. Limited seat/spaces and all pricing is subject to change and availability. Rates for single or triple travellers are available on request - please inquire."