Iceland’s Ring Road & Highlands: 12-Day Summer Self-Drive Tour

Duration

12 Days

Availability

May - Sep

Difficulty

Easy

Minimum Age

None

Overview

Experience the ultimate summer adventure in Iceland with the 12-Day Self-Drive Tour of Iceland’s Ring Road. This tour takes you on a journey around the entire Ring Road, as well as the Golden Circle, Snæfellsnes Peninsula, and Þórsmörk Valley. This fantastic road trip is perfect for adventurers and nature lovers who want to experience the beauty of Iceland at their own pace.

Book your adventure today and explore the stunning landscapes of Iceland’s Ring Road. Don’t miss out on this unforgettable summer experience!

Included

  • 11 nights of accommodation (different levels available; breakfast included for all levels; more detailed info in accommodation tab)
  • Vehicle for the duration of the trip with unlimited mileage (VW Golf 2WD or similar. Upgrades available)
  • Medium Protection Package for car rental: CDW, SCDW, PAI, THW and GP (More Info Click Here)
  • Mobile WIFI including 3GB total
  • Detailed Itinerary with fun and practical information on the nature, history and culture of Iceland
  • Hands-on travel agent to oversee your itinerary
  • Taxes

Not included

  • Flights to/from Iceland
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Gasoline/Petrol
  • Driving-Related Fees
  • Meals & drinks (unless otherwise stated)
  • Any services not listed as “Included”

Itinerary

Hallgrimskirkja Church in Reykjavik, Iceland on a summer's day. Tree in the foreground, blue skies.

Day 1: Arriving in Iceland

On the first day of your tour, you will touch down at Keflavík International Airport and collect your rental vehicle. From here, you will embark on a scenic drive across the Reykjavík Peninsula, where you will be greeted by stunning views of moss-covered lava fields. After a short drive, you will arrive at your accommodation in Reykjavík. Take your time to explore the city and soak up its unique atmosphere before settling in for the night.

Hightlights:

  • Reykjanes Peninsula
  • Reykjavík
  • Laugavegur Shopping Street
  • Hallgrímskirkja Church
  • Blue Lagoon Comfort Entrance: Includes entrance to the Blue Lagoon, silica mud mask, use of towel and 1st drink of your choice.
  • Blue Lagoon Premium Entrance: Includes entrance to the Blue Lagoon, silica mud mask, use of towel, 1st drink of your choice, second mask of choice, slippers, use of bathrobe, table reservation at Lava Restaurant, and sparkling wine if dining.
Eruption of the Geysir geyser. Valley Haukadalur, Iceland. Golden Ring Tourist Attraction. Sunny day with clear blue sky. Amazing nature

Day 2: Exploring the Golden Circle

On the second day of your tour, you’ll embark on a journey to the Golden Circle, a popular destination for tourists in Iceland. The Golden Circle is a route that includes three main attractions: Thingvellir National Park, Geysir geothermal area, and Gullfoss waterfall. You’ll have the opportunity to explore each of these locations and take in the breathtaking natural beauty of Iceland before retiring to your accommodation on the South Coast.

Highlights:

  • Þingvellir National Park
  • Geysir Geothermal Area
  • Gullfoss Waterfall
  • Kerið Crater Lake
  • Snorkeling in Silfra: Snorkeling between continents in crystal-clear water. Includes a tour with a certified PADI divemaster, all necessary snorkelling gear, Silfra admission fee, and hot chocolate to warm up after the dive. Minimum age 12 years.
  • Snowmobiling on Langjökull: An exhilarating tour on top of a glacier, no previous riding experience needed. Included is a one-hour snowmobile ride with a guide and use of overalls. Two people share a snowmobile and the driver needs to bring their driving licence. Age limit for passenger is 8 years.
  • 2 Hour Horse Riding Tour: Meet the friendly Icelandic Horse. Includes 1-1.5 hour guided horseback ride with a specially trained guide. Use of riding helmets, boots & rain wear. Minimum age is 8 years.
Landscape view of Thorsmork mountains canyon and river, near Skogar, Iceland

Day 3: Hiking in Thorsmörk

Today, a guide will pick you up in the morning to take you to Þórsmörk, a remote and beautiful valley deep in the Icelandic Highlands. You’ll travel in a super jeep, a large vehicle designed to cross rivers and tackle the rugged Highland terrain. From the super jeep, you’ll have spectacular views of mountains and glaciers, but once in Þórsmörk, you’ll have the opportunity to explore the area on foot. After a day of adventure, you’ll return to your accommodation in South Iceland.

Highlights:

  • Icelandic Highlands
  • Þórsmörk Valley
  • Mt. Hekla
  • Krossá River
  • There are no optional activities for this day
Seljalandfoss waterfall. Beautiful summer sunny day. Iceland Europe

Day 4: Visiting the South Coast

On the fourth day of your tour, you’ll explore the beauty of South Iceland. You’ll visit several waterfalls, including Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss, both of which are known for their impressive height and power. From there, you’ll travel to the black-sand beach of Reynisfjara. Keep an eye out for puffins, which can often be spotted nesting in the cliffs during the summer months. As the day draws to a close, head to your accommodation in the charming seaside village of Vík.

Highlights

  • Seljalandsfoss Waterfall
  • Skógafoss Waterfall
  • Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach
  • Vík Village
  • Glacier Hiking on Sólheimajökull Glacier: A fun and easy glacier hike. No previous experience needed. Tour includes an English speaking glacier guide, use of helmet, crampons, ice axe and other necessary safety equipment. Minimum age is 8 years.
  • Snowmobiling on Sólheimajökull Glacier: Race across a glacier on a snowmobile. No prior experience needed and all you have to bring are warm clothes and good shoes. Use of overalls, helmets and balaclavas are included. Two people share a snowmobile, and the driver needs to bring their driving licence. Age limit for passengers is 5 years.
Piece of an iceberg on the Diamond Beach at Jokulsarlon lagoon during sunset.

Day 5: Discovering Vatnajökull National Park

On this day of your tour, you’ll embark on a scenic drive towards Vatnajökull National Park, where you’ll find the beautiful Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon and the Diamond Beach. On the way, you can stop at Skaftafell Nature Reserve for a hike if you’re feeling adventurous. The reserve is home to stunning hiking trails, offering views of glaciers and waterfalls. At the end of the day, you’ll retire at accommodation in the charming fishing village of Höfn.

Highlights:

  • Skaftafell Nature Reserve
  • Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
  • Diamond Beach
  • Katla Ice Cave: Visit an authentic ice cave in a glacier that covers an active volcano! Don’t worry, all volcanoes in Iceland are monitored so this is perfectly safe. Includes a tour with a certified glacier guide and use of all necessary glacier gear such as crampons and helmets. Minimum age is 6 years.
  • Glacier Hike in Skaftafell: Easy glacier hike, suitable for most people. No previous experience needed. Tour includes an English speaking glacier guide, use of helmet, crampons, ice axe and other necessary safety equipment. Minimum age is 8 years.
  • Jökulsárlón Zodiac Boat Tour: Get a front-row seat to see the giant icebergs at Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. The small Zodiac boat can get closer to the icebergs than the larger amphibian boat, providing you with a unique perspective over the bergs. Includes use of floatation overalls and lifejackets. Minimum age is 10 and children must also be taller than 130 cm (4’3”).
  • Jökulsárlón Amphibian Boat Tour: Sail amongst the enormous icebergs on Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. This tour is especially suited for families with young children as well as photographers looking for a great shot of the ice. Included is a guided tour in English and use of lifevest. No age limit.
Mt. Vestrahorn on Stokknes Cape in southeastern Icelandic coast during sunset. The epic pink sky reflected in the clear water.

Day 6: Exploring East Iceland

Exploring East Iceland will take you through many breathtaking fjords and charming fishing villages. The scenery will be stunning as you drive along the winding roads, taking in the beauty of the rugged landscape. You’ll have the opportunity to explore Hallormsstaðaskógur Forest, home to Iceland’s largest natural woodland. While there, you can keep an eye out for the legendary Lagarfljót Worm; a monster said to inhabit the nearby Lagarfljót Lake. You’ll spend the night in or near Egilsstaðir Town.

Highlights:

  • Mt. Vestrahorn
  • Djúpivogur Town
  • Lake Lagarfljót
  • Hallormsstaðaskógur Forest
  • Vök Nature Baths: Vök Nature Baths are surrounded by nothing but the untouched nature of East Iceland. Ticket includes entry to the baths and a tisane brewed from the spring water and local herbs at the infusion bar. Bring with you a swimsuit and a towel but those can also be rented onsite. No minimum age.
A man standing in front of a steaming fumarol in Hverir Geothermal Region in the Lake Myvatn Area, North Iceland.

Day 7: Relaxing by Lake Myvatn

On your 7th day, you’ll explore the breathtaking sites near Lake Mývatn. In addition to Lake Mývatn itself, you’ll visit Dimmuborgir, a unique lava field made up of twisted rock formations created by volcanic activity thousands of years ago, and Námaskarð Pass, an otherworldly geothermal area. After a full day of exploration, you’ll spend the night in the area, allowing you to rest and recharge before your next adventure.

Highlights:

  • Lake Mývatn
  • Grjótagjá Cave
  • Námaskarð Geothermal Area
  • Dimmuborgir Lava Field
  • Mývatn Nature Baths: Unwind in geothermal water just South of the Arctic Circle. Please bring a swimsuit and a towel. However, you can also rent a towel if you don’t have one with you. Alcoholic beverages available to purchase for those over 20 years of age.
Two people standing in front of the massive Dettifoss Waterfall in North Iceland.

Day 8: Driving the Diamond Circle

On this exciting day of your tour, you’ll embark on a scenic drive along the Diamond Circle, one of Iceland’s most iconic routes. Your first stop will be at the magnificent Dettifoss Waterfall, known for its impressive power and size. Next, you’ll visit Ásbyrgi Canyon, a unique horseshoe-shaped valley steeped in mythology and legend, before heading to the charming town of Húsavík, one of the best places in the world to go whale watching. Spend another night at your Mývatn accommodations.

Highlights:

  • Dettifoss Waterfall
  • Selfoss Waterfall
  • Ásbyrgi Canyon
  • Húsavík Town
  • Whale Watching Tour: See the whales in their natural habitat. Includes professionally guided tour and warm, floatable overalls for your safety and comfort. Also included is a second try in case of no sightings. No age limit.
  • Whale and Puffin Watching RIB Boat Tour: Hop aboard a boat and explore the diverse marine life around Iceland. You’ll search for both the mighty whales and the adorable puffins on this tour. Included on this tour is a specialized guide, warm safety overalls and a little surprise from a local winemaker. Minimum age is 7 years.
  • GeoSea Geothermal Sea Baths: Unwind and enjoy the stunning view at GeoSea Geothermal Sea Baths in the town of Húsavík. GeoSea limits the number of guests, allowing for a more peaceful and relaxing experience for those who visit. Bring with you a swimsuit and a towel but those can also be rented onsite. No minimum age.
Hvitserkur Rock in North Iceland reflected in the sea water at sunset.

Day 9: Sights and Sounds of the Troll Peninsula

Begin the day with a visit to the beautiful Goðafoss Waterfall, followed by a stop at the North’s largest town, Akureyri. Then, it’s time to head to the Troll Peninsula, where you’ll drive on scenic mountain roads until you reach Siglufjörður, a charming fishing village that boasts colorful houses, a scenic harbor, and a fascinating history. Before arriving at your accommodation in northwest Iceland, stop at the iconic rock stack Hvítserkur.

Highlights:

  • Akureyri Town
  • Goðafoss Waterfall
  • Siglufjörður Town
  • Hvítserkur Rock Stack
  • Whale Watching tour from Akureyri: Head to sea to search for the gentle whales which make the waters around Akureyri their home. Included is a professionally guided tour and warm, floatable overalls for your safety and comfort. Also included is a second try in case of no sightings. No age limit
  • Beer Spa: Soak in hops and yeast at the Beer Spa! Single and double tubs available. Bathwater is undrinkable, so there is no age limit but 16 years or younger must be accompanied by adults. Beer on draught at every tub for anybody over the age of 20.
  • Horse Riding Tour: Meet the friendly Icelandic Horse. Includes 1-1.5 hour guided horseback ride with a specially trained guide. Use of riding helmets, boots & rain wear. Minimum age is 8 years.
Water flowing from a lava field and into a blue river, forming Hraunfossar Waterfall in Iceland.

Day 10: Exploring West Iceland

Begin your day with a scenic drive to West Iceland, where you’ll be immersed in the area’s rich history and natural beauty. You’ll visit two stunning waterfalls, Hraunfossar and Barnafoss, known for their unique geological formations and picturesque views. Next, you’ll stop at Deildartunguhver Hot Springs, the largest hot spring in Europe. Finally, you’ll head to your accommodation in the Borgarnes area, where you can relax and take in the beautiful surroundings.

Highlights:

  • Hraunfossar Waterfalls
  • Barnafoss Waterfall
  • Reykholt Village
  • Borgarnes Town
  • Langjökull Ice Cave Tunnels: Step inside Iceland’s second-largest glacier. The man-made tunnels provide visitors with the unique opportunity to explore deep inside the heart of an ice cap. Included is a guided tour, transportation from the base camp up the glacier, and free wifi on the glacier shuttle so you can Instagram your photos right away! No age limit.
  • Viðgelmir Lava Cave: One of the largest caves in Iceland. Tour includes an English speaking guide and use of caving equipment such as a helmet and headlamp. No age limit.
Colorful sunrise at Mt Kirkjufell on Iceland's Snæfellsnes Peninsula.

Day 11: Discovering the Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Today’s tour itinerary will take you on a journey to discover the wonders of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. You’ll start by visiting Arnarstapi, a small fishing village that offers breathtaking views of the rugged coastline. Next, you’ll travel to Djúpalónssandur, a black sand beach known for its unique rock formations and otherworldly atmosphere. You’ll then move on to Mt. Kirkjufell, one of Iceland’s most iconic landmarks. After a full day of exploring, you’ll return to Reykjavík.

Highlights:

  • Arnarstapi Hamlet
  • Djúpalónssandur Beach
  • Lóndrangar Cliffs
  • Mt. Kirkjufell
  • Whale Watching Tour – Ólafsvík: Two of the ocean’s top predators, sperm whales and orcas (also known as killer whales), make the waters around Snæfellsnes Peninsula their home. That means this your best chance to spot them while in Iceland. Dress warmly and bring a hat, scarf and gloves.
  • Viking Sushi Boat Tour: Head to sea on a Viking adventure! From Stykkishólmur town, you’ll board a boat which will take you around the countless islands found in Breiðafjörður Bay. Keep an eye out for birds such as fulmars and adorable puffins. The highlight of the tour is when the crew pull up the nets and allow guests to try out fresh scallops and sea urchins. Bring warm clothes. No minimum age.
back view of young woman relaxing in the Blue Lagoon, Iceland

Day 12: Departure and Goodbye to Iceland

On the final day of your tour in Iceland, you can explore Reykjavík a little if your flight doesn’t depart until later in the day. Alternatively, you take an optional tour like visiting a geothermal spa or going whale watching. When it comes time to leave for the airport, allow plenty of time to return your rental vehicle to ensure a safe and stress-free journey back home. Though your time in Iceland may have come to an end, the memories and experiences you’ve gained over the past few days will stay with you for a lifetime.

Highlights:

  • Harpa Concert Hall
  • Alþingi Parliament House
  • Tjörnin Lake
  • Blue Lagoon Comfort Entrance: Includes entrance to the Blue Lagoon, silica mud mask, use of towel and 1st drink of your choice.
  • Blue Lagoon Premium Entrance: Includes entrance to the Blue Lagoon, silica mud mask, use of towel, 1st drink of your choice, second mask of choice, slippers, use of bathrobe, table reservation at Lava Restaurant, and sparkling wine if dining.
  • Whales of Iceland: Whales of Iceland is the largest whale exhibition in Europe. The display features life-size models of 23 whale species found in Icelandic waters, as well as interactive information stands that help enhance the experience and educate visitors. Suitable for all ages.
  • Fly over Iceland: Soar over the entire island, seeing Iceland’s most spectacular sceneries with the latest in simulated flight ride technology. FlyOver Iceland will allow you to virtually soar over Iceland’s most iconic landscapes, while special effects — including wind, mist, scent and motion — help create the illusion of flight. Children need to be at least 102 cm (3’4″) to participate.

Accommodation

You’ll have a choice of three accommodation levels. See details about each one in the boxes below. All accommodations for this tour have been hand-picked by our local travel experts.

Please keep in mind that hotel quality in Iceland varies between regions and that not all locations offer quality-level accommodations

Budget

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. 

Comfort

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. 

Quality

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. 

Car

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 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 tires.

Compact 2WD

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.

Comfort 4x4

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

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.

Map

A map of Iceland showing various stops on a circle tour.

Good to know

  • Note that the itinerary may have to be rearranged to fit your arrival date and time better.
  • The itinerary is dependent upon road and weather conditions and so it may be altered if conditions are not favourable. This includes optional activities as well. If extreme weather affects your travel plans, you will be notified and we will do our best to assist you with rearranging or booking other activities when applicable.
  • Some optional activities may need a valid driving licence, or you may need to send additional information to your travel agent. For snorkeling, you will need to know how to swim and fill out an online medical document.
  • The weather in Iceland is very unpredictable, even in the summertime. Make sure to be prepared and bring both warm and waterproof clothing.

What to bring

  • Warm and waterproof clothes
  • Good walking/hiking shoes
  • Swimsuit and towel
  • Camera
  • Driving license
  • More information on what to pack HERE
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