8-Day Summer Self Drive Tour Around the Ring Road | Golden Circle, Glacier Lagoon, Remote East Iceland & Akureyri
Use this itinerary as an inspiration to design your own!
Travel around Iceland this summer and get in touch with nature while the Midnight Sun shines above. This 8-day self-drive tour is the perfect holiday for those looking to discover the wonders of this little island on their own terms and at their own pace.
Let us make all the arrangements and just enjoy your summer holiday in the land of glaciers, volcanoes, and endless sun. All accommodations and transportation will be booked beforehand, and you will receive a personal itinerary and 24/7 access to a travel planner once in the country.
You can also customise your experience here in Iceland by adding unique adventures to your trip. These include descending into an inactive volcano, relaxing at the Blue Lagoon Spa, visiting an authentic ice cave, and riding the famous Icelandic horse.
See the famous black sand beaches, the glittering waterfalls and the mighty glaciers that make this country so unique this summer.
Arrival in Iceland
Your plane will land at Keflavík International Airport, located in the middle of a moss-covered lava field. Pick up your bags and then your rental vehicle at the airport and make your way through this desolate landscape towards Iceland’s capital, Reykjavík.
- Reykjavík – Iceland’s quirky and colourful capital
Golden Circle and South Iceland to Vík Village
Today, you’ll leave the city behind and head out into the countryside. Your first stop will be the famous Golden Circle route where you’ll visit Þingvellir National Park, Geysir Geothermal Area, and Gullfoss Waterfall.
- Þingvellir National Park – Known for its dramatic beauty and Viking history
- Geysir Geothermal Area – Home of erupting geysers including Strokkur which goes off every 5-10 minutes.
- Gullfoss Waterfall – A gorgeous cascade which drops into an ancient canyon.
- Seljalandsfoss Waterfall – Falls over a cave which you can enter for a unique view of the waterfall.
- Skógafoss Waterfall – You can walk right up to the wall of water of this large and powerful cascade.
- Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach – A hauntingly beautiful beach of jet black sand and powerful waves.
Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
You can start today with a unique adventure: visiting an authentic ice cave. From Vík village, you’ll board a large vehicle, known as a super jeep, which will take you to a nearby glacier. The glacier, Mýrdalsjökull, is located above the volcano Katla. Don’t worry about Katla though; all Icelandic volcanoes are intensely monitored. Once there, you’ll get to step inside the dark but glittering ice cave and take amazing photos.
- Skaftafell Nature Reserve – Known for its scenic landscapes and many hiking trails.
- Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon – A serene lake where enormous icebergs float on their way to the ocean.
- Diamond Beach – A black sand beach where icebergs from the lagoon wash up on shore and glitter in the sunlight.
The Remote East Iceland to Egilsstaðir
Now it is time to explore the beautiful east fjords of Iceland. You’ll drive winding roads with the glittering ocean on one side and jagged mountains on the other. Your destination today is the East’s largest town, Egilsstaðir.
- Höfn – A fishing town in South-West Iceland, famous for its langoustine restaurants.
- Stokksnes – The black sand beach at Stokksnes with the stunning Mt. Vestrahorn is a fantastic photography stop.
- Djúpivogur – A small town in East Iceland, known for its stunning scenery and beautiful outdoor artwork.
- Hallormsstaðaskógur Forest – The largest wooded area in a mostly treeless country, great for picnics.
- Hengifoss Waterfall – Third largest cascade in Iceland. Surrounded by black, basaltic strata with thin, red layers of clay between them.
- Lake Lagarfljót – Might contain a terrible wyrm monster, similar to Scotland’s Nessie.
- Egilsstaðir – Largest settlement in the eastern region with just over 2,000 inhabitants.
Geothermal Region near Lake Mývatn
Today, you’ll explore the geothermal regions of northern Iceland. After breakfast, make your way to the Mývatn area where you’ll see smoke billowing out of steam vents, bubbling mud pools, a hot spring inside a cave, and a labyrinth of lava.
- Dettifoss Waterfall – Europe’s most powerful waterfall
- Lake Mývatn – A beautiful lake where you’ll find freestanding lava pillars and pseudocraters.
- Hveravellir Geothermal Area – The landscape here resembles more that of Mars than Earth with its bubbling mud pools and steam vents.
- Dimmuborgir Lava Field – A natural maze of giant but stunning lava rocks and hills.
- Grjótagjá Hot Spring – A bright blue hot spring inside a cave which was also a location used in the popular HBO series Game of Thrones.
- Húsavík – A small and charming town on the banks of Skjálfandi Bay.
- Goðafoss Waterfall – A breathtaking arch-shaped cascade with a rich history.
Exploring Akureyri & North Iceland
You’ll wake up in Akureyri, the largest settlement outside of the Greater Reykjavík Area. You can start the day by exploring this charismatic town by walking up to its famous Akureyrarkirkja church or explore the town’s famous (and questionable) fast-food culture.
- Akureyri – A lively and energetic town which is home to around 20,000 people.
- Siglufjörður – A small town on the Tröllaskagi Peninsula, famous for its award-winning herring-era museum.
- Hofsós – The infinity pool at this village is a highly recommended stop.
- Hvítserkur Rock – a large basalt rock protruding from the ocean.
- Hvammstangi – A charming village known for its Seal Center museum.
West Iceland to Reykjavik
It is now time to head back to Reykjavík city, but not before having a few adventures in West Iceland first. Make your way through farmlands filled with sheep and horses towards the two stunning but vastly different waterfalls; Hraunfossar and Barnafoss.
- Hraunfossar Waterfalls – A series of trickling creeks streaming out of a lava field.
- Barnafoss Waterfall – A bright blue, rapid waterfall just a short walk away from Hraunfossar.
- Deildartunguhver Hot Spring – A powerful hot spring with ferociously boiling water and rising steam pillars.
- Reykholt – A historical settlement, once home to one of the world’s greatest medieval writers.
You’ve now encircled the whole Ring Road, and so there is nothing left but to say ‘goodbye’ to Iceland and start planning your next trip to this land of Ice and Fire.
- Laugavegur Shopping Street – Where you’ll find an array of cafés, restaurants, bars and shops.
- Harpa Concert Hall – An architectural wonder located near the harbour.
- Hallgrímskirkja Church – Reykjavík’s iconic landmark building
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.