Day 1: REYKYAVIK
Approximate driving distance: 100 km
Pick up the car at the airport, make sure you receive the travel companion app with your rental car and you will be ready to start your Iceland experience. If your flight arrives early in the day, you may wish to stop at the Blue Lagoon (a short distance from the airport) for a chance to relax in the soothing geothermal mineral waters (this has to be requested and pre-booked as admission is limited). From Keflavik International Airport it is recommended one drives along the southern coast of the Reykjanes peninsula, a colourful area filled with interesting geological sites and perfect for photo opportunities. This route takes you along dramatic coastlines and 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.”
Day 2: THINGVELLIR – GULLFOSS – GEYSIR – SOUTH SHORE
National Park with Geological Wonders (UNESCO) – Exploding Geysers – Puffin Colony – Black Sand Beaches of the South Shore
Approximate distance: 392km
After breakfast complete check out procedures. Enjoy a day visiting the natural wonders of the Golden Circle region. Gullfoss is considered by many visitors to be Iceland’s most beautiful waterfalls. Geysir is an active geothermal field with many bubbling steam vents and spouting hot springs, including the famous Strokkur geyser. Visit Thingvellir National Park, site of the ancient Icelandic Viking parliament and a jewel of nature. Here you can see the meeting point between the North American and Europe continents. Many important historical events happened here. Several walking trails and hiking trails take visitors to historical points of interest. Drive along the south shore, viewing Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss, two amazing waterfalls that each have a special charm. Visit the black sand beaches around Vik and the area’s Myrdalsjokull glacier. Depending on your schedule, you can take a snowmobiling or ATV tour in the area. In the area is also Dyrholaey*, a former island that is known for its excellent birdwatching, including puffins (puffins generally seen in Iceland between mid-May and early August).
Important: Please note that Dyrholaey is closed during nesting season, from about the middle of May until late June.
Overnight: Vik (B)
Day 3: KIRKJUBAEJARKLAUSTUR – SKAFTAFELL – JOKULSARLON – HOFN
Lava Fields – Europe’s Largest National Park – Glacial Lagoon with Icebergs – Europe’s Largest Glacier
Approximate distance: 285km
After breakfast complete check out procedures. Head through Eldraun, the lava field created by one of Iceland’s most devastating volcanic eruptions. Drive through the village of Kirkjubaejarklaustur, site of a medieval convent. Explore Skaftafell, a green oasis nestled below the great Vatnajokull glacier. Skaftafell is part of Vatnajokull National Park, the largest of its type in Western Europe. Continue across black sand plains created by glacial activity. Stop at the incredible Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon, a filming location for many Hollywood blockbusters. Diamond Beach is also in this area and is a popular spot for photographers. Then head onwards to the charming harbour town of Hofn, also known as the lobster capital of northern Europe.
Overnight: Hofn (B)
Day 4: HOFN – DJUPIVOGUR – REYDARFJORDUR – EGILSSTADIR
Narrow Fjords – Steep Mountains – Picturesque Coastline – Intriguing Stone Collection
Approximate distance: 265km
After breakfast you will complete check out procedures. Drive along the coastline of the East Fjords. Perhaps you’ll visit Djupivogur village harbour and its unique egg sculptures or Petra‘s famous stone collection at Stodvarfjordur Fjord. You can then either drive straight through Fagridalur to Egilsstadir or head along the East Fjords, one of the oldest regions in Iceland, shaped by glaciers during the Ice Age. Although many are uninhabited, each fjord has its own grandeur. The natural harbours in the fjords led to the development of fishing villages that have still hung on to a degree of old-world charm.
Depending on your schedule, you might enjoy the opportunity to swim in a genuine hot spring lake at the new Vok geothermal area near Egilsstadir.
Overnight: Egilsstadir (B)
Day 5: EGILSSTADIR – DETTIFOSS – HUSAVIK – MYVATN
Highland Desert – Europe’s Most Powerful Waterfall – Glacier Carved Gorge – Whale Watching
Approximate distance: 275km
After breakfast complete check out procedures. Travel across the Modrudalsoraefi highlands renowned for their stark, untouched beauty towards Dettifoss, Europe’s mightiest waterfall. Travel through the canyon landscapes of northern Vatnajokull National Park. Enjoy the walking trails and viewing points around the magnificent horseshoe-shaped canyon Asbyrgi. Continue onwards to Tjornes peninsula and the friendly Husavik fishing port. Tonight, you might enjoy the opportunity to relax in the soothing warm ocean waters of the GeoSea Geothermal Spa as you look out towards the Arctic Circle.
Important: Please note Roads 864, 862 and therefore, Road 85 are usually closed during the fall, winter and spring until the end of May (Road opening dates are dependent on the weather conditions).
Until these roads are open, please take the scenic Ring Road 1 to Road 87 and on to Husavik.
Very Important- Please note that Roads 864 and 862 are gravel roads, and you need to pay attention to warning signs in the area if road conditions are not good for driving.
Overnight: Husavik (B)
Day 6: MYVATN – AKUREYRI/SKAGAFJORDUR
Bizarre Lava Formations – Geothermal & Volcanic Activity – Rich Birdlife – Waterfall “Of the Gods”- The Capital of North Iceland
Approximate distance: 165km
After breakfast complete check out procedures. Explore the highlights of the Lake Myvatn area, including the mystical volcanic formations at Dimmuborgir, the pseudo craters at Skutustadir, the colourful sulphurous slopes of Namaskard, and the Krafla volcanic area. Perhaps you might relax with a visit to the azure blue Myvatn Nature Baths, where you can enjoy the soothing waters and the natural steam baths and sauna.
Drive on to Godafoss waterfall en route to Akureyri, the charming “capital” of North Iceland.
Overnight in the Akureyri area or Northwest Iceland (Saudakrokur and Varmahlid area)
Overnight: Siglufjorður (BD)
Day 7: AKUREYRI – REYKHOLT – BORGARNES – HVALFJORDUR – REYKJAVIK
Fertile Farmlands – Glacial Rivers – Folk Museum – Scenic Fjord
Approximate distance: 490km
After breakfast complete check out procedures. Drive through the historical region of Skagafjordur renowned for horse breeding. You have an option of visiting the old farms tead at Glaumbaer a great example of traditional Icelandic architecture. Continue to the bay of Hunafloi, where you might visit the Seal Centre and perhaps take a seal watching tour.
Then head across Holtavorduheidi plateau, entering Borgarfjordur area. Visit the beautiful Hraunfossar lava falls and Deildartunguhver, Europe’s most powerful hot springs. Near Deildartunguhver is Krauma, the intriguing “fire and ice” geothermal spa that uses water from the springs.
Drive to Reykjavik in the evening.
Alternative Route for Today: Another option if you are traveling between mid-June and August and have a 4WD vehicle is to travel across the barren wasteland on the Kjolur highland road to the geothermal wilderness oasis at Hveravellir before driving to Reykjavik. This historical route heads through a landscape of black sands, high mountains, and two magnificent glaciers. (If you take the Kjolur option, alternative distance would be 410 km, 255 miles and about 6 hours)
Important information about Kjolur- Please note that a 4WD vehicle is needed for this unpaved mountain track- Car Category 5.0 or higher) The Kjolur track is generally open mid-June through August, openings subject to weather and road conditions.
Overnight: Reykjavik (B)
Day 8: DEPARTURE
Approximate distance: 52km
After breakfast complete check out procedures Drive back to Keflavik International Airport