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Day 1: Arrival in the Land of Fire and Ice:

Highlights: Reykjavik Hallgrimskirkja Perlan Hveragerdi The Blue Lagoon

Once you have landed at Keflavik Airport, please pick up your luggage and head through customs. Collect your rental car at the airport and proceed to your hotel. Depending on your arrival time in Iceland, we suggest that you take some time to explore the Reykjanes Peninsula (a UNESCO GeoPark site) before you head to Reykjavik.

Reykjanes is a great introduction to Iceland’s unique geology and volcanoes. The Mid-Atlantic Ridge dividing the European and North American tectonic plates cuts through the area. You’ll see unusual and stunning craters, lava cliffs, fissures and the Mid-Atlantic ridge itself. You can even walk on a bridge that divides Europe and North America. We also recommend a stroll in the surreal Gunnuhver area where you can view quirky colorful mud pools and steam vents bubbling away. If you are a Viking history buff, we recommend the Viking World museum, famous for the Íslendingur, a Viking ship replica that sailed between Iceland and North America in 2000.

Several charming fishing villages and lighthouses dot the peninsula, and the area has a reputation for tasty seafood fresh from the ocean. Reykjanes is home to the renowned Blue Lagoon, and you might enjoy the chance to relax in the soothing azure waters. Important: admission to the Blue Lagoon needs to be booked in advance. We can help you with that.

October & April: Drive to your hotel in Reykjavik, the colorful capital of Iceland.  (Approximate distance:  ca. 50 km/30 miles)

May – September: Drive to the charming village of Hveragerdi for your overnight. Hveragerdi is perfect for getting to know typical small-town Icelandic culture, but with a unique twist. Hveragerdi 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.” (Approximate distance: 100 km/ 62 miles)

Overnight in the Hveragerdi area.

Please note check-in for most hotels begins at 14:00 – 16:00 (2:00pm-4:00pm).

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Day 2: Hveragerdi – Geysir – Thingvellir – Borgarfjordur

Highlights: Thingvellir National Park Kerid Geysir Geysir Center Gullfoss

Exploding Geysers – National Park with Geological Wonders (UNESCO) – Gullfoss Waterfall

Approximate distance: 239 km / 149 miles

Breakfast at your hotel. 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 through the scenic area of Hvalfjordur fjord to Borgarfjordur, a region known for its Viking-age history and beautiful glacier-carved landscapes. Borgarfjordur is a popular local getaway for Icelanders from the Reykjavik area. It has been gaining popularity among international visitors for its special focus on home-made local foods and handicrafts. Visitors also enjoy outdoor activities such as caving, hiking and SuperJeep/snowmobile tours on Langjokull glacier.

Travel Suggestion: The areas you’ll explore today are full of geothermal activity, and that means hot spring relaxation! We recommend taking a break during the day to relax in a hot spring pool. In the Golden Circle area, we recommend the Fontana Steam Baths in Laugarvatn or the Secret Lagoon in Fludir.

Mid-June through Mid-September: If you have a 4WD vehicle (we recommend category 5.0 or higher), you can also take the scenic highland wilderness track, Kaldidalur, alongside Langjokull glacier to Borgarfjordur. The road generally is open between mid-June and mid-September.

Overnight in the Borgarfjordur area.

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Day 3: Borgarfjordur – Blonduos – Varmahlid – Akureyri

Highlights: Hraunfossar Barnafoss Vidgelmir Paradisarlaut Glanni Waterfall Grabrok Snorrastofa – Reykholt

Picturesque Waterfalls – Europe’s Most Powerful Hot Spring – Heritage Fjord

Approximate distance: 415 km / 258 miles

Breakfast at your hotel. Spend part of the day exploring enjoyable activities In Borgarfjordur. This is one of our favorite areas to find local handicrafts and taste treats. Visit the beautiful Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls, and the enormous Deildartunguhver, the most powerful hot springs in Europe. Nearby is the lovely Krauma Natural Geothermal Spa where you can relax in a variety of hot pools and take in the beautiful views. Enjoy adventure with a visit to the multi-colored Vidgelmir cave or take a guided trip up Langjokull glacier to the fascinating, educational “Into the Glacier” ice cave. Walk in the footsteps of the Medieval chieftain and Saga author Snorri Sturluson at his home in Reykholt. Nearby is the friendly Sturlu Reykir horse farm, where you can tour the farm, meet Icelandic horses and enjoy a short introduction to the breed. (We also recommend trying the farm’s excellent steam-baked rye bread at their cafe- they bake it in their farm’s own hot spring area!). You can also try a horseback riding tour through the pretty countryside.

Drive north and pass Hunafloi bay, a great area for seal watching. If you’re interested in learning more about seals, we suggest a visit to the Seal Center in Hvammstangi. You can learn about these enchanting sea mammals and also book a guided seal watching excursion.

The scenery changes to towering mountains and fertile valleys as you head into Skagafjordur, an area known for horse breeding and some of Iceland’s best- preserved historical buildings. One of these is Glaumbaer (Skagafjordur Heritage Museum), where you can visit a turf manor farm dating back to the 18th century and two charming 19th century timber houses. Australian author Hannah Kent used the design of the turf manor farm as a model for her description of the farm depicted in her best-selling novel Burial Rites (now in production as a movie). Continue to Akureyri, the capital of the north.

Overnight in the Akureyri area.

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Day 4: Akureyri – Lake Myvatn

Highlights: Akureyri Godafoss Myvatn The Christmas Garden

Botanical Gardens – Quality Museums – Waterfall of the Gods

Approximate distance: 85 km / 53 miles

Breakfast at your hotel. Spend the morning exploring the town of Akureyri. The town has some of the finest timber buildings in the country, beautifully restored to their original glory. If you’re interested in culture, check out the trendy Listagil area, the “Art Canyon.” You can stroll the street here, browsing art galleries and stopping in at one of the friendly cafes or pubs for delicious, locally sourced food. Several museums are worth a visit, including the Akureyri Art Museum and Nonnahus, the childhood home of a 19th century Icelandic author who enchanted European children with his stores about growing up in Iceland. You can also visit the symbol of the town, Akureyri Church. It was designed by the same architect who designed Reykjavik’s Hallgrimskirkja Church. The botanical garden is open year-round; many visitors find it interesting that a garden so close to the Arctic Circle has such a large variety of plants. Akureyri also has one of the best swimming pools in the country. It’s a great way to enjoy both hot spring relaxation and check out the daily life in Akureyri.

In the afternoon, continue your journey along Eyjafjordur, taking in spectacular views of the sea and fjord. The road leads towards Myvatn, but first you’ll stop to view the beautiful Godafoss waterfalls, which has a unique connection to Iceland’s Viking Age.

Overnight in the Lake Myvatn area.

Please Note: The Ring Road route today contains a toll tunnel. More information on the tunnel and fees is here.

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Day 5: Lake Myvatn Area

Highlights: Myvatn Dimmuborgir Krafla Myvatn Nature Baths Hverfjall

Bizarre Lava Formations – Geothermal Activity – Rich Birdlife

Distance is variable

Today you are in for a treat: you have a wonderland of fantastical volcanic features you can explore in Myvatn nature reserve. The Mid-Atlantic Ridge you saw earlier in the Reykjanes Peninsula and in Thingvellir also runs through Myvatn, but it’s resulted in a completely different type of landscape. Stroll along footpaths circling the mystical lava formations at Dimmuborgir. Visit the surreal area surrounding Krafla, the volcano whose natural forces provide geothermal power to the area. Check out the otherworldly setting and colorful sulphurous slopes of Namaskard pass — it’s almost as though you are walking on the surface of Mars! Explore the Skutustadir “pseudo” craters and the strange lava columns rising out of the lake itself. This area was used in filming several seasons of the HBO series Game of Thrones, as well as other film productions. If you enjoy birdwatching, Myvatn is a popular resting spot for migrating birds from Europe and North America. May and June are the best months for birdwatching, but there are water birds in the lake throughout the spring, summer and fall.

Myvatn also offers outdoor adventure. You can rent out bikes and follow trails along the lake (summertime) or take a guided horseback ride through lava-lined paths. SuperJeeps can take you into the wild majesty of the highland wilderness. And, after a day of exploration and fun, why not relax with a soak in the Myvatn Nature Baths? Here you can join area locals and enjoy the pools and the natural steam baths in a spectacular setting. The area also has several great restaurants that feature a local taste treat: Lake Myvatn smoked arctic char on steam-baked rye bread.

Travel Tip: Many visitors find it helpful to bring a fly head net during the summer months because of midges around Lake Myvatn. (The midges are harmless, but having a face net can make your visit more comfortable.)

Overnight in the Lake Myvatn area.

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Day 6: Myvatn – Husavik – Tjornes* – Dettifoss* – Egilsstadir

Highlights: Húsavík Ásbyrgi Jokulsargljufur National Park Dettifoss

Whale watching center – Vatnajokull National Park – Vast Eastern Highlands

Approximate distance: 310 km / 193 miles

Breakfast at your accommodation. Remember to make sure you have a full tank of gas and some snacks to eat, as travel services are more limited on today’s route. Drive north to the charming fishing port of Husavik, where we suggest you stop to enjoy a whale watching boat tour (available Mar. – Nov.). The Whale Museum should be on your list. Husavik was featured in the 2020 Netflix movie Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga. You can take guided walking tours of filming locations in the town. If you want to indulge in some hot spring relaxation, we definitely recommend the unique geothermal sea bathing at the new GeoSea Natural Baths.

Head around the fossil rich Tjornes peninsula on the edge of the Arctic Circle to the northern entrance of Vatnajokull National Park. The visitor’s center has helpful information on the wildlife and geology and trail conditions. Check out Asbyrgi, a magnificent horseshoe shaped canyon in the park. Trails lead through peaceful forested areas to a hidden canyon lake. The national park roads take you through dramatic canyonlands created by a river flowing from Vatnajokull glacier. The crown jewel of the area is surely Dettifoss waterfall, the most powerful one in Europe.* Continue across the vast highland plateau to Egilsstadir in the east.

*If you are traveling between May and September, roads should be open for visiting Dettifoss.

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.)
  • Please note that Roads 864 and 862 are gravel roads, and you must heed warning signs in the area if road conditions are not good for driving.

October and April: Please note that it is not possible to visit Dettifoss between October and April, as the roads to the waterfall are not safe for winter travel. We recommend following Ring Road 1 from Myvatn to Egilsstadir.

Overnight in the Eastfjords.

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Day 7: Reydarfjordur– Stodvarfjordur – Djupivogur – Hofn

Highlights: Egilsstadir Reydarfjordur Petra’s Minerals Seydisfjordur Hengifoss The Wilderness Center

Narrow Fjords – Steep Mountains – Picturesque Coastline – Unique Mineral Collection

Approximate distance: 300 km / 186 miles

Breakfast at your hotel. A great way to start the day is a refreshing swim in the Vok geothermal baths, where you can relax in unique floating pools set in a beautiful lake. Afterwards, you might enjoy a visit to Hallormsstadur, Iceland’s first reforestation project and its largest woodland. It’s so peaceful to spend some moments here enjoying the sound of the wind in the trees and that special sense of nature unique to East Iceland.

Drive alongside Lake Lagarfljot, home to a legendary monster. We also recommend a side trip to visit the award-winning Wilderness Center located at the edge of the hauntingly beautiful eastern highlands. The Wilderness Center has picked up quite a following on social media for its unique experiences. You can discover Iceland’s pioneer history and highland nature in a clever interactive way. Wilderness Center guides can take you on a hiking trip around beautiful Hengifoss falls or on a horseback riding trip to the scenic ruins of an old farmhouse. The Center is also famous for its excellent cafe. You can chat with the hosts as they prepare a meal made from historical recipes and with ingredients gathered from the highlands and area farms.

Drive south through the spectacular Eastfjords, where towering mountains plunge vertically into the ocean. Each fjord has its own charm and history. Leave yourself plenty time, both for safe driving and for amazing views of the coast and Vatnajokull glacier. The journey continues to the town of Hofn in Hornafjordur, also known as the lobster capital of northern Europe. Several restaurants offer you the chance to try some of the famous langoustines for yourself.

Overnight in the Hofn area.

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Day 8: Hofn – Southern Vatnajokull National Park – Kirkjubaejarklaustur

Highlights: Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon Skaftafell National Park Hofn

Europe’s Largest Glacier – Glacial Lagoon with Icebergs – Glacier-Ringed Oasis

Approximate distance: 210 km / 131 miles

Breakfast at your hotel. You’ve already visited the northern part of Vatnajokull National Park; today you visit will the southern area. You’ll get great views of Vatnajokull glacier from different angles as you drive along the Ring Road. View the shimmering icebergs and the still, milky waters of Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon. Many people enjoy the chance to take a boat tour in the lagoon. If you want a different sort of sailing experience you can take the Zodiac boat tours offered on the nearby Iceberg Lagoon. Some icebergs from Vatnajokull glacier have drifted down onto the black sands at the nearby Diamond Beach, a fantastic area for photographs.

Continue to the Vatnajokull National Park’s Skaftafell area, a beautiful nature area surrounded by glaciers. There are many great hiking trails here, the most famous one leading to the basalt rimmed Svartifoss“The Black Waterfall.” We only recommend taking this trail during the summer months. We suggest stopping at the park’s Visitor Center to check out which trails are open and recommended for the time of year you are visiting. You can also get closer to the park’s glaciers with a guided ice hike. You’ll see amazing ice formations and learn interesting facts about how glaciers are formed.

Head onwards to the picturesque village of Kirkjubaejarklaustur, once the site of a medieval convent.

Overnight in the Kirkjubaejarklaustur area.

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Day 9: Vik – Skogar – Reykjavik

Highlights: Vík Seljalandsfoss Skogafoss Dyrholaey

Lava Fields – Black Sand Beaches – Seabird Colony – Thundering Waterfalls

Approximate distance: 290 km / 181 miles

Breakfast at your hotel. Drive along the spectacular south coast and Katla Geopark, a sweeping landscape of sandy deserts, rocky shores and rolling farmlands sandwiched between snow-capped glaciers, mountains and the ocean. First you will cross over vast black sand plains created by the outwash from glacial floods Drive alongside Eldhraun, a massive and eerily beautiful lava flow covered in moss. It is the largest recorded single flow of lava in world history. Stop to admire the black sand beaches and cliffs at Dyrholaey*. There are also vast bird colonies here, including puffins (generally seen mid-May to early August). If you’re interested in volcanoes, the Icelandic Lava Show in Vik demonstration safely lets you see the impacts when molten lava erupts underneath a glacier-capped volcano, something that has happened frequently in this part of Iceland.

You’ll also visit the beautiful waterfalls of Skogafoss and Seljalandafoss, each with its own character. Skogafoss is one of Iceland’s most photographed waterfalls and has stairs that take you to the top for an amazing view. Seljalandsfoss has trails that take you behind the waterfall. (Always check the trail conditions to make sure they are safe). If the skies are clear, you can also get a glimpse of the mighty Eyjafjallajokull volcano, famous for its 2010 eruption, and Hekla, Iceland’s most frequently erupting volcano. The interactive LAVA Centre in the town of Hvollsvollur shows how powerful volcanoes and earthquakes have created Iceland. A stop here will give you a great (and fun) insight into Icelandic geology. We also recommend checking out the LAVA Centre’s beautiful film.

Drive to Reykjavik in the late afternoon. The rest of the day is open to explore the colorful capital city.

*Dyrholaey is closed for the bird nesting season between mid-May and 25 June

Overnight in Reykjavik.

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Day 10: Departure from Iceland

Highlights: Reykjavik The Blue Lagoon Viking World

Return to Keflavik International Airport**

Approximate distance: 50 km / 30 miles

Breakfast at your hotel. Drive back to Keflavik International Airport. ** We recommend departing your hotel in Reykjavik no later than at least 3 hours before your flight departure. It takes approximately 1 hour to drive to the airport, and check-in will start 2 hours before your departure.

If you did not visit the Blue Lagoon on your way to the city on your first day but have some free time today, you might want to use the opportunity en route to the airport. For this detour, please be sure to allow for at least 2-2,5 hours extra so you’ll have ample time at the Lagoon. Your rental car should be returned to the airport service area, which is located only 2 minutes from the airport building. A shuttle will then transport you to the departure hall.

**Please note that the package price is based on 9 x 24-hour rental days starting at the time of rental. If your flight arrives early on day 1 and departs late on day 10, an additional supplement will be charged unless you choose to return the car in Reykjavik when the 9-day rental is up and use our Airport Direct departure transfer.

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