10-Day Ring Road Road Trip | Self-Drive Tour of Golden Circle, South Iceland, Lake Myvatn & Snæfellsnes Peninsula
Use this itinerary as an inspiration to design your own!
Grab the wheel and explore the best Iceland has to offer this summer. On this 10-day self-drive tour, you’ll circle the whole island, including Snæfellsnes Peninsula. You’ll stop at stunning locations such as Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach, Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, Dettifoss Waterfall, and Akureyri town. Those looking for the ultimate road trip in the land of ice and fire need to look no further.
A self-drive tour provides you with the freedom to explore on your own terms. There will be no impatient tour guides, and you can easily avoid all crowds. All accommodations, a rental car and optional activities will be booked for you beforehand, and you’ll receive a personal itinerary guiding you to the most remarkable spots.
During the booking process, you can add a few adventures to make this trip even more memorable. These include unwinding at the Blue Lagoon, stepping inside an ice cave, descending into a volcano, glacier hiking, and riding the Icelandic horse.
Take your time as you circle the whole island, visiting all of Iceland’s national parks, and enjoy the unparalleled natural scenery for which this country is known.
As your plane gets ready to land, you can see the vast lava fields of the Reykjanes Peninsula out of the window. Here is where Keflavík International Airport is located and where your holiday in Iceland begins.
- Reykjanes Peninsula – a vast field of moss-covered lava
- Reykjavík City – Iceland’s lively capital
- Laugavegur Shopping Street – filled with shops, restaurants, bars, and cafes
Now your adventure on the road begins. After breakfast, hop in your car and leave the city behind. Make your way to the first stop on the Golden Circle route, Þingvellir National Park, where Viking settlers gathered to lay the law of the land over a thousand years ago.
- Þingvellir National Park – A historical site which marks the boundaries of two continents.
- Geysir Geothermal Area – Home of bubbling mud pools and erupting geysers.
- Strokkur – A geyser that erupts every 5-10 minutes, reaching a height of 15-20 metres.
- Gullfoss Waterfall – Iceland’s most beloved cascade.
- Kerið Crater Lake – A stunning body of water inside a red crater.
- Skálholt Historical Site – Steeped in religious history
- Efstidalur Farm – A great place to stop for delicious ice cream
On today’s journey, you’ll see glittering glaciers, silvery waterfalls and a black sand beach.
- Seljalandsfoss Waterfall – A high but narrow cascade which falls over a cave in which you can enter.
- Skógafoss Waterfall – Much wider and more powerful than its cousin Seljalandsfoss but equally as beautiful.
- Eyjafjallajökull Glacier – One of Iceland’s smaller ice caps but it covers an active volcano
- Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach – A gorgeous volcanic beach
- Vík Village – Located by Reynisfjara beach, a great place to stop for lunch
- Skaftafell Nature Reserve – A luscious area, nestled under Vatnajökull, Europe’s largest glacier.
- Svartifoss Waterfall – A stunning cascade surrounded by cliffs of black basalt columns.
- Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon – A stunning, blue water filled with enormous icebergs which have broken off a nearby glacier.
- Diamond Beach – A black sand beach where icebergs that have washed up on shore glisten like precious stones.
Start your day by visiting the beautiful Stokksnes Peninsula where the mighty Mt. Vestrahorn watches over the surrounding black sand beaches.
- Stokksnes Peninsula where black sand beaches make for a perfect photography subject along with Mt. Vestrahorn
- Djúpivogur – A charming village in East Iceland over which the majestic Mt. Búlandstindur looms.
- Hallormsstaðaskógur Forrest – Sits on the banks of Lake Lagarfljót
- Egilsstaðir – East Iceland’s largest settlement and the area’s nerve centre
- Hengifoss Waterfall – One of Iceland’s tallest waterfalls at 128 metres high
Today, you’ll head North, and visit three of the attractions that make up the Diamond Circle, North-Iceland’s answer to the Golden Circle. You will start by visiting the stunning Dettifoss Waterfall, made famous in the opening shot of the Ridley Scott movie, Prometheus. Then it is off to the beautiful canyon Ásbyrgi, believed by Vikings to have been created by Odin’s horse, Sleipnir.
- Dettifoss Waterfall – Europe’s most powerful waterfall
- Selfoss Waterfall – Smaller than its neighbour Dettifoss but surrounded by beautiful basalt columns
- Ásbyrgi Canyon – A dramatic, horseshoe-shaped canyon
- Húsavík Town – Whale watching capital of Iceland
After breakfast, you will explore the otherworldly area of Lake Mývatn. Here, you’ll find a stunning hot spring inside a cave, a natural maze of lava pillars, a geothermal region filled with steam vents and bubbling mud pools, and Lake Mývatn itself.
- Lake Mývatn – A beautiful lake with pseudocraters, lava pillars, and rich birdlife
- Grjótagjá Cave – A bright blue hot spring inside a cave that was used as the love nest of Jon Snow and Ygritte in Game of Thrones
- Námaskarð Pass – A geothermal area filled with steam vents and bubbling mud pools.
- Dimmuborgir – A natural labyrinth of lava pillars
- Goðafoss – A beautiful waterfall which falls down arch-shaped cliffs.
Today, you’ll explore the wonders of North Iceland in-depth by driving the mountainous Tröllaskagi peninsula. Here, you’ll find charming fishing villages with an award-winning museum and a stunning infinity pool.
- Tröllaskagi Peninsula – A beautiful area filled with mountains and fjords
- Siglufjörður – A charming town known for the award-winning Herring Era Museum
- Hofsós – Small fishing village where you’ll find a stunning, infinity swimming pool with an amazing view
Now it is time to explore the magical Snæfellsnes Peninsula. Watching over your journey today is the mighty Snæfellsjökull, a glacier topped volcano which is believed by many to be a great source of mystical energy.
- Stykkishólmur – A charming town and a great stop for lunch breaks
- Kirkjufell Mountain – A pyramid-shaped mountain, used as a backdrop in the popular TV show Game of Thrones.
- Djúpalónssandur Black Pebble Beach – To get to this hauntingly beautiful beach, you have to walk through a natural maze of lava rocks.
- Lóndrangar – A pair of rock stacks which protrude from the ocean, a great place to go birdwatching.
- Arnarstapi – A tiny village with a stunning pier and coastline. A path from there leads to another town, Hellnar, and the route makes for a great hiking trip.
- Búðarkirkja Church – This jet-black church makes for a fantastic photographic stop with the Snæfellsjökull Glacier in the background.
- Ytri Tunga – A white sand beach (a rarity in Iceland) known for its massive seal colony.
Now it is time to head back to Reykjavík. However, you will first explore the wonders of West Iceland before you reach the capital. You’ll see geometric cliffs, stunning waterfalls, and the most powerful hot spring in Europe.
- Gerðuberg Cliffs – A large, natural wall made of hexagonal basalt cliffs
- Reykholt Village – Perfect for those wanting to learn about Norse mythology and Icelandic history.
- Hraunfossar & Barnafoss – Two stunning but vastly different waterfalls
- Deildartunguhver – Europe’s most powerful hot spring
Now it is time to pack your bags and return to Keflavík Airport.
If your flight leaves in the afternoon or evening, you will have some time to explore Reykjavík before you go. On top of Skólavörðuhæð hill stands the Reykjavík landmark, Hallgrímskirkja Church. After snapping a few photos of the beautiful building — and perhaps even going to the top — you can walk across the street to the Einar Jónsson sculpture garden. There, you can explore (for free) the works of this famous artist.
- Hallgrímskirkja Church – A beautiful church whose design was inspired by Svartifoss Waterfall.
- Einar Jónsson Museum & Garden – Many of Einar’s sculptures can be found in the garden, and the entrance to that is free. However, there is a fee for the museum which is located inside Iceland’s first art museum.
- Laugavegur Shopping Street – Filled with boutiques, restaurants, cafes, and bars.
- Harpa Concert Hall – A stunning glass building which sits by the ocean
You’ll have a choice of three accommodations levels. See details about each one in the boxes below. All accommodations for this tour have been hand-picked by our local travel experts.
For budget-level, single rooms will be allocated to bookings for one person. Shared twin/double or triple room(s) will be arranged for two or more people. Groups with an odd number of participants will be allotted a single room in quality-level. Children and teenagers will be arranged in the same room as their parents. Additional cost may occur if additional room(s) is needed.
Please keep in mind that hotel quality in Iceland varies between regions and that not all locations offer quality-level accommodations. At those particular locations, comfort level accommodations will be arranged, which has already been calculated in the upgraded price. We do our best to accommodate special requests, but additional costs may incur.
Nice and comfortable rooms with shared bathroom facilities and shower located in farmhouses, guesthouses or hostels, in good locations with breakfast included. An example of this in Reykjavík would be Kex Hostel.
Comfortable rooms in three-star hotels or quality guesthouses, centrally located, very close to popular attractions. Private bathroom and breakfast included. An example of this in Reykjavík would be Fosshotel Rauðará.
Rooms in four-star hotels or superior rooms in quality three-star hotels at fantastic locations near popular attractions. Private bathroom and breakfast is included. An example of this in Reykjavík would be Icelandair Hotel Marina.
You’ll have a choice of three options for your rental car. See details for each option in the boxes below. We only work with highly reputable dealerships, ensuring you a smooth ride throughout your holiday.
The vehicles for all levels are current models, no older than two years. They all come standard with a medium protection package including CDW (Collision damage waiver), GP (Gravel Protection), Super Collision Damage Waiver (SCDW), Personal Accident Insurance (PAI) and a Theft Waiver (THW). They also come equipped with free Wi-Fi with 3GB total. You will also get 24-hour roadside emergency services from the car rental agency. In the wintertime, all cars have winter tyres.
The driver must hold a valid driving licence which they have had for at least 12 months before the date of the rental. Age requirement varies for each level, and you can find more information on that in the boxes below.
Please note that off-road driving is illegal in Iceland.
2WD vehicle such as a VW Golf, good for city driving and shorter trips. Fits up to 5 travellers & light luggage. No Highland capabilities. Driver must be at least 20 year old.
4x4 jeep or SUV. Fits up to 5 travellers and 2 large pieces of luggage. Decent for snow and off-asphalt driving. Basic highland capabilities. Driver must be min. 20 years old.
Large 4x4 like a Toyota Land Cruiser. Comfortable up to 5 travellers with 4 large pieces of luggage. Full highland capabilities. Driver must be min. 21 years old.
Good to know
What to bring
Need to cancel your tour? Don’t worry, with our Cancellation Insurance you can cancel your package up to 48 hours before the tour start date and receive a full refund — minus the insurance cost, of course.
The price for the insurance is based on the length of your package. The base price is 5,000 ISK per person, and it applies to all packages with a duration of five days or less. An additional 1,000 ISK per person will be added to the base price for each day after the first five.
With our Cancellation Insurance, you will be reimbursed for your package, whether you broke your ankle, got called to jury duty, or there is a global pandemic. Just let us know at [email protected] before 4 PM (GMT) to cancel your booking and claim your refund.