Drive all around Iceland on the Ring Road!
You’ll begin at the famous Golden Circle and then head down Iceland’s beautiful South Coast. The journey then takes you to the Eastfjords before heading north to the Diamond Circle, Lake Myvatn, and more. You’ll stop at the whale-watching hub of Dalvik before you explore the mystical Troll Peninsula. On the last days, you’ll drive into Reykjavik. Explore Iceland's vibrant capital and cap off the adventure at the Blue Lagoon. If you want to feel the wind on your face in Iceland, this 8-day odyssey is the tour for you!
This self-drive adventure around the Ring Road is the ultimate tour for independent travelers. You’ll be free to discover the wonders of Iceland at your own pace. Along the way, explore breathtaking waterfalls, giant glaciers, steaming geysers, and hot springs, UNESCO world heritage sites, and more. You’ll see the highlights and hidden gems of the Golden Circle, the Diamond Circle, Snaefellsnes National Park, and Reykjavik.
From behind the wheel, all of Iceland is at your fingertips.
You can add optional activities to bring extra adventure to your trip. Tack on glacier hikes, whale watching expeditions, and a dip in the Blue Lagoon. Optional extras are clearly marked and can be added during or after booking.
Pack your bags, rev up your engines, and gear up for the adventure of a lifetime!
Your self-drive adventure begins as soon as you pick up your car at Keflavik International Airport.
The first stop on the Golden Circle is Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Althingi, the world’s oldest parliament, was established here in 930 C.E. In Thingvellir, a seismic rift valley marks the divide between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates.
Thingvellir is also home to the incredible Silfra Fissure. This sapphire sea canyon has the best underwater visibility in the world. We offer snorkeling and diving tours in Silfra Fissure, where you can literally swim between North America and Europe. Discover why Silfra was rated one of Trip Advisor’s top activities in 2019!
The next stop is Geysir Geothermal Area. The star of the show is Strokkur, an erupting geyser that throws jets of water 20-40 meters into the air. You’ll also see the Great Geysir, from which all geysers get their name.
The final stop on the Golden Circle is the legendary Gullfoss Waterfall (“the golden falls”). The golden cascade crashes down two lava steps into a green canyon. While at Gullfoss, we recommend signing up for one of our optional glacier snowmobile tours on nearby Langjökull Glacier. You can also explore a blue ice cave or raft through Gullfoss Canyon.
Your hotel for the evening is in Selfoss. Pay a visit to the Selfoss Public Swimming Pool and grab a quick soak in a hot tub. Then it’s time to retire to your hotel and get some rest before tomorrow’s adventures.
Day 2 takes you to Iceland’s famous South Coast. Marvel at black sand beaches, mighty glaciers, gushing waterfalls, and quaint coastal villages.
First, you’ll stop at Seljalandsfoss Waterfall. The tall cascade drops 200 ft into a small pool below. We recommend climbing the cliff path that leads behind the cascade. See the power of water from behind the falls!
From Seljalandsfoss, you can walk 10 minutes north to Gljufrabui Waterfall, located inside a narrow canyon. Gljufrabui’s cascade clings to the mossy canyon walls as it snakes its way down. We recommend bringing waterproof gear and rain boots, as you’re definitely going to get sprayed!
The final South Coast Waterfall, Skogafoss, is a 30-minute drive away. Skogafoss Waterfall tumbles 100 ft into an impressive canyon below. In summer, the mist around the falls forms magnificent double rainbows.
Next, you can meet us at the base camp near Sólheimajökull Glacier for a glacier hike (an optional extra). Sólheimajökull is nestled between Katla and Eijafjallajökkull volcanoes. The glacier is very popular thanks to its easy climbing and majestic views.
You’ll then drive to Dyrhólaey, a viewing platform perched 400 ft above the Atlantic Ocean. Many seabirds, including puffins, nest in the cliffs below. You can then stroll on nearby Reynisfjara Beach to see Iceland’s most famous black sand beach for yourself!
Your final stop of the day is the picturesque village of Vik. The village teeters on a cliff above the ocean while Mýrdalsjökull Glacier rises high above it. A red-roofed church stands on a hill overlooking the village, providing some of the most spectacular views in Iceland.
Your hotel for the evening is in Vik or the Klaustur area.
Day three takes you through the Southern Lowlands. The landscape is among the most spectacular in the land of fire and ice.
You’ll pass Mt. Kalfafell on your way to Skaftafell Nature Area, one of the best hiking areas in the country. You’ll catch a glimpse of Skaftafellsjokull Glacier, surrounded by some of the most popular hiking trails in Iceland. You can book a glacier hiking or ice climbing tour (optional extra).
Close to Skaftafell is the famous Svartifoss Waterfall (“black waterfall”). At Svartifoss, incredible basalt columns dangle like stalactites around the beautiful cascade.
The next stop on the Ring Road is Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. Icebergs of all shapes and sizes glitter on the lagoon’s surface. While you’re in the area, be sure to visit the famous Diamond Beach. Icebergs from the lagoon wash up on its black sand shores.
Your hotel for the evening is in Hofn, a 65-minute drive from Jökulsárlón.
Day 4 starts with gorgeous views of Vestrahorn Mountain. Vestrahorn is one of the most photographed mountains in the world because of the trio of horns that puncture the horizon.
Vestrahorn also marks the gateway to Iceland’s Eastfjords. The fjords combine serenity with sublime beauty. You’ll cover 60 miles of the winding road until you reach the town of Djúpivogur.
Djúpivogur is a great place to hike and birdwatch. Adorable puffins nest in the area, along with other migrating seabirds. On a clear day, you may see playful seals pop their heads above the water.
Next, you’ll explore East Iceland’s two most famous waterfalls. The waters of Hengifoss, a 400-ft cascade, tumbles over colorful rocks as it journeys towards the sea. The 40-minute hike to Hengifoss also takes you past Litlanesfoss Waterfall, where epic basalt stacks rise around the rushing torrent. Hike above the waterfall to see stunning views of the basalt columns from above.
As you near Egilsstadir, you'll pass Lagarfljót Lake, known for the monster said to live in its murky depths. If you're feeling brave, a local boat operator offers tours of the lake.
Settle in for the night in Egilsstadir, the Capital of the East. You’ll spend the night in a local guesthouse or country hotel.
Day 5 takes you through Iceland's remote northeastern region. Expect to see reindeer, arctic foxes, and Icelandic horses roaming across the tundra.
Your first stop of the day is Dettifoss Waterfall, the most powerful waterfall in Europe. The 328-ft wide cascade thunders over a basalt cliff and crashes into a rugged canyon below.
Dettifoss marks the easternmost point of the Diamond Circle route. The next part of the road takes you through the surreal desert surrounding Hverarond and Námafjall. The barren landscape is dotted with mud pits and bubbling hot springs. This is as close to walking Mars as you can get!
Once you return to the road, you’ll see life again as you get closer to the Lake Myvatn area. The lake is in a deep volcanic crater that was created by volcanic activity 2300 years ago.
We recommend visiting nearby Hverfjall Crater, a 1300-ft former volcano. At the summit, you’ll be rewarded with a panoramic view of black ash and patchwork colors.
A younger crater called Viti (“hell”) is also nearby. Viti was created by a massive eruption in 1724. The eruption left behind a violent mud spring that bubbled for more than a century. Today, it’s filled with sapphire water.
Not far from Viti stand the Dimmuborgir rock formations. The rocks stand like an ancient citadel. Fans of Game of Thrones may recognize the Dimmuborgir rocks — they played a starring role in the series!
The Myvatn Nature Baths are North Iceland’s version of the Blue Lagoon. These natural hot pools are great for a relaxing soak after your long days on the road. They’re located on the very edge of Lake Myvatn and offer sublime views over the lake’s green islands.
The next stop on the Ring Road is the historic Goðafoss Waterfall (“waterfall of the gods”). The waterfall is exquisitely beautiful, thanks to its crescent-shaped cascade and gorgeous surroundings.
You’ll spend the night in Akureyri, the Capital of the North. Akureyri has a vibrant cultural scene, including excellent restaurants and trendy nightlife.
Your next destination on the North Coast is the charming village of Dalvik, Iceland’s whale watching hub. You can book an optional whale watching tour for the morning.
Whale watching tours from Dalvik have a 98% success rate. You have the chance to see humpbacks, minke whales, dolphins, and even blue whales! From Dalvik, you can also go ice climbing, alpine climbing, sailing, and heliskiing.
The road back south winds through the famous Trollaskagi Peninsula. The first point of interest is Hofos, a former trading hub. The historic log-built warehouse in Hofos is one of the oldest buildings in Iceland and now houses the National Museum. The village also has an amazing swimming pool with views over the ocean.
By now you’ll be in the heart of the Troll Peninsula, famed for its fun twists and turns. The road leads to Hvitserkur, a fascinating basalt stack hanging over the peninsula. Hvitserkur looks like a giant dragon drinking from the sea.
Your hotel for the evening is near Vatnsnes, a charming town with lots of Arctic wildlife. A large seal colony lives on the peninsula, along with a variety of seabirds. Another point of interest is Borgarvirki Crater, a huge natural basalt structure that was once used as a fortress.
Day 7 on the Ring Road brings you back to Reykjavik. On the way, you’ll pass many beautiful attractions. The road hugs the Vatnsnes Peninsula and passes the gorgeous Arctic shoreline, rolling hills, and Iceland’s version of the Arctic tundra.
The first stop of the day is Grabrok Volcanic Crater, a 3400-year-old volcanic fissure just off the Ring Road. The crater is 170 meters tall and offers breathtaking views of Borgarfjordur and other volcanic craters.
Next up is Deildartunguhver, the most powerful hot spring in Europe. A series of walkways bring you thrillingly close to Deildartunguhver. The hot spring supplies surrounding towns with hot water, one reason Iceland is the most eco-friendly country on Earth.
You’ll then come to a pair of magnificent waterfalls, Hraunfossar and Barnafoss. Hraunfossar (“the lava falls”) is a series of tiny cascades that flow out of a sprawling lava field.
The frothy white water, rich vegetation, and mineral deposits create a riot of color.
Barnafoss Waterfall (“the children’s falls”) stands nearby. The name originates from a tragic folk saga about two children who perished in the cascade. Their mother destroyed the dangerous arch that crossed Barnafoss so that no child would die there again.
The road back to Reykjavik leads through Akranes, a rustic port town. Two picturesque lighthouses stand at the tip of the harbor.
You should return to Reykjavik in the late afternoon or early evening to get the most out of Iceland's vibrant capital. Reykjavik has something for everyone, including museums and art galleries, some of the best restaurants in Europe, and buzzing nightlife.
Your hotel tonight is in Reykjavik. Drop off the car and go exploring on foot!
Day 8’s itinerary is flexible. If your flight is in the morning, head straight to Keflavik International Airport. If your flight is in the afternoon or evening, explore more of Reykjavik or see the incredible Reykjanes Peninsula.
The Blue Lagoon on the Reykjanes Peninsula was rated a modern wonder of the world by National Geographic. The pool is set in a rugged lava field. The mineral-rich geothermal water is famous for its skin healing properties. No visit to the land of fire and ice is complete without a soak in the Blue Lagoon!
The volcanic landscape of the Reykjanes Peninsula was once the focal point of Icelandic tourism. Drive to the famous Bridge Between the Continents, where you can walk between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates.
You can collect your car from either Keflavik International Airport or Reykjavik. Please state your preferred pickup point during the booking process.
We offer the same choice on departure. You can drop your car back in Keflavik if you are catching a flight. Drop it back in Reykjavik if you’re planning to spend more time in Iceland.
By default your drop-off location is always set to Keflavik international airport (KEF), no matter which pickup location you select.
You can however drop-off the car at BSI Bus Terminal in Reykjavik, on the last day. If you prefer this drop-off location, you can change the drop-off location afterwards (details can be found in the confirmation email).
Comfort accommodation is included in the package. Good locations, breakfast included and you get a private bathroom.
Note: If you book for 2 or 4 persons you get twin / double rooms. If you book for 3 or 5 persons you get a combination of double/twin rooms and a single room.
It is a package tour that includes accommodation, car rental, and suggested itinerary. We provide you with all information to make sure you know where to go and what to see in Iceland along with general practical information about Iceland, as this is a self-guided tour.
Included with our tours are accommodation and car rental, as described for each tour, itinerary with suggested points of interest along the way, GPS points for each stop (accommodation, activities, points of interest), and a detailed self-drive handbook with lots of practical information.
We use a very varied mix of local accommodations.
Comfort rooms are private rooms with private bathroom in guesthouses, hotels, motels, lodges, etc. Approximately 3-star rating.
Budget rooms are private rooms with a shared bathroom at guesthouses, hostels, hotels, etc. Approximately 2-star rating.
During winter months (October-April) we recommend 4WD vehicles but it doesn’t necessarily have to be a jeep, it is safest to drive a vehicle that you are comfortable with so if you’re not used to driving large cars then a smaller, but 4WD might be a better option.
In summertime any vehicle is good, depending on how many are traveling together, how much luggage you carry along and how much you’re willing to pay.
You never know what might happen while in a foreign country so we highly recommend you to have good travel insurance. Sure it costs a bit extra, but it can take a load off the mind and end up being a totally worth it in case something sudden could happen.
Take a look at what type of insurance is provided with your credit card, alternatively buy special travel insurance from an insurance provider.
As for the car rental, you can opt to buy extra insurance at the time of collecting the car. It may be wise to buy extra insurance such as windshield protection, as a cracked windshield from a stone being thrown off another car is among the most common incidents on Icelandic roads.
Other extra car insurances would be for example sand and ash protection, or additional insurance to lower the self-risk in case of an incident.
That depends mostly on the itinerary, some are faster paced while others are more relaxed. Days can range from 200-400 km, though very few days exceed 350 km. You are of course your own driver and guide while on a self-drive tour so you are free to make detours as you wish.
Our self-drive adventures have been optimized for the best value experience, which includes doing some thrilling activities in the amazing Icelandic nature. As the packages are offered at the best possible price no partial refunds or modifications to the itinerary can be permitted. That includes opting out of an included activity and getting a refund for that activity. You can, of course, choose not to do the activity but as mentioned there would be no partial refunds of the package price.
You should contact the service provider in question: If there is a problem with the car, contact the car rental. If you have troubles finding the hotel (which shouldn’t happen as you will be provided with the address and GPS coordinates), you should call the hotel.
If you have questions about an activity, contact the activity provider. You will receive all the necessary contact information from us.
Iceland is known for unforeseeable weather. It is likely that you can see all 4 seasons in one day.
Dressing for that kind of weather can always be demanding, so we suggest dressing in layers. 3 or 4 upper layers are highly recommended, for example, a light t-shirt (preferably wool) next to the skin, then a fleece or heavy wool garment topped off with a waterproof windbreaker.
Jeans are not recommended for our trips as they are not suitable for the weather conditions, they become very heavy, cold and uncomfortable to wear when they get wet.
Lightweight hiking pants, track pants or long cotton pants are convenient and wear wind/waterproof pants over them. There is high UV and sunlight reflecting off on the glacier so we highly recommend using sunglasses and sunscreen even if it is cloudy.
You will need sturdy hiking boots that fit crampons for the glacier hiking tours. If you do not own a pair then we rent out suitable hiking boots as well as a waterproof raincoat and trousers.
It is good to bring your own backpack on our full day or half day tours. It’s the best carry-on for a small lunch, extra clothes and other necessary items.
The scenery on the tour is full of stunning, scenic views that are photographable so you should definitely bring your camera along.
This is surely a personal choice, we do not deny pregnant women on our glacier trips but we highly recommend you to take a closer look at our trip description and difficulty ratings, they will hopefully give you a better idea. We also recommend you to contact your physician, as pregnant women’s health can be quite different. If you have any further questions or concerns then feel free to contact us.
Lunch is not provided on any of our trips, therefore we recommend you to bring your own lunch especially for the longer trips, snacks and a bottle of water (you can refill it on the trip).
Crampons make you enable to walk on the glacier ice without slipping. They are metal spikes that we attach to the soles of your hiking shoes.
Yes, we have specially trained and certified glacier guide on every glacier tour that we offer. And for our 3rd party tours we only partner with operators that meet our quality and safety standards.
Yes, we provide you with all the necessary glacier gear for our glacier hiking tours. Ice axe, crampons, harness, and helmets are provided. This will help you to complete the tour safely. The minimum shoe size to attach crampons is EU 35.
Iceland is known to have a lot of snow and when the snow stays long enough in one place than it turns to ice. Over long periods of time, the ice layers up becoming huge blocks called glaciers. It forms to create ginormous glaciers that sweep across huge masses of land. Iceland is home of the largest glacier in Europe that is called Vatnajökull. The Glacier Guides can tell you more about and everything you need to know about the Glaciers.
Rain is common in Iceland but we never let the rain be in our way to go forward with our tours.
That’s why we highly recommend appropriate clothing so you can be warm and dry on the tours.
Nature is out of our control and therefore we need to adapt to the weather. Your safety is our first priority so if your safety is compromised by going on the tour then we will cancel it and you will get full reimbursement.
The guide on your Glacier Hiking tour will provide you with all the information you might need when preparing for a glacier hike.