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Day 1: Arrival in the Land of Fire and Ice

Highlights: Keflavik Gunnuhver Geothermal Area Grindavik The Blue Lagoon Bridge Between Continents Lighthouses Kleifarvatn Lake Krysuvik Geothermal Area Trolladyngja & Graenadyngja

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.

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

Overnight in the Keflavik area.

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

Approximate distance: variable

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Day 2: Borgarfjordur – Skagafjordur – Akureyri

Highlights: Akureyri The Icelandic Seal Center Hraunfossar Waterfalls Barnafoss Waterfall Deildartunguhver Hot Spring Skagafjordur Fjord

Breakfast at your hotel. Head up to North Iceland, first taking time to explore Borgarfjordur in West Iceland. 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.

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 Centre in Hvammstangi.

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. A suggested historical place you might want to visit is Glaumbaer (Skagafjordur Heritage Museum), where you can walk through a turf manor farm dating back to the 18th century and two charming 19th century timber houses. We can book admission for you upon request.

Continue to Akureyri, the colorful and friendly capital of the north.

Overnight in the Akureyri area.

Approximate distance: 515 km / 320 miles

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Day 3: Akureyri – Lake Myvatn – Neskaupsstadur

Highlights: Godafoss Waterfall Dimmuborgir Lava Pillars Hverfjall Crater Myvatn Nature Baths Myvatn Lake

Breakfast at your hotel. Travel towards the famous Lake Myvatn area with a stop at the magnificent Godafoss waterfall (“Waterfall of the Gods”).

The Myvatn region is well known for all its hidden gems between the lava, including strange pseudo craters at Skutastadir, the vibrantly colored Hverarond mud pools and the area of Dimmuborgir, which is perfect for a nice walk in the outdoors and a visit to the “Elf Church” that is hidden in the lava field. Explore the empty vastness of the highland desert plateau Modrudalsoraefi, as you head into East Iceland.

The roads lead you to the Eastfjords, known for their ruggedly beautiful scenery of and charming fishing communities: Drive to your hotel in the charming Neskaupsstadur village.

Overnight in the Eastfjords.

Approximate distance: 325 km / 202 miles

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

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Optional Tours:

Day 4: Neskaupsstadur – Egilsstadir – Eastfjords – Hofn

Highlights: Neskaupstadur Egilsstadir Borgarfjordur Eystri Hallormsstadur Gunnarsstofnun Skriduklaustur Hofn

Breakfast at your hotel. This morning spend some time exploring the area around Egilsstadir town. A road circling Lagarfljot lake is a very popular route with locals that offers beautiful stops on the way. You might even catch a glimpse of the legendary lake monster, Iceland’s version of the Scottish Nessie.

Hengifoss, the third highest waterfall in Iceland (126 meters / 413 feet high), is a beautiful place to visit. It’s a fairly easy walk up to it, and the multicolored bands of stone and clay surrounding the falls are very striking. Skriduklaustur, the stone manor home of Iceland’s popular poet Gunnar Gunnarsson, is a great photo stop and an interesting museum. You can learn about Gunnar’s life and about the Medieval monastery that once stood in this location. The museum’s Klausturkaffi restaurant is also a great stop to enjoy home-made Icelandic country cuisine, especially the lunch buffet. Near Skriduklaustur is the Snaefellsstofa Visitor Center for the eastern section of Vatnajokull National Park. The center is a wonderful place to learn about the plant life, animal life and geology of the park.

Head through the Eastfjords region, enjoying the views of mountains and sea. There are several charming villages en route, each with its own character.

Djupivogur village is the gateway between the Eastfjords region and Southeast Iceland. It is known for its great birdlife and walking areas, and it’s a treat for birdwatchers. Be sure to take a walk to the harbor area to view “The Eggs of Merry Bay (Eggin i Gledivik.)” This art installation shows sculptures of 34 eggs representing each of the local bird species.

Drive onwards to Hofn, a town in the shadow of the vast Vatnajokull Glacier. If you enjoy photography, we recommend a stop in Stokksnes to admire one of the most scenic mountains of Iceland, Vestrahorn. It’s a dramatic setting for your camera.

Approximate distance: 315 km /196 miles

Overnight in the Hofn area.

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Day 5: Hofn – Vatnajokull National Park – Kirkjubaejarklaustur – Vik

Highlights: Skaftafell National Park Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon Svartifoss Waterfall Eldhraun Lava Field Oraefajokull Glacier Vatnajokull Glacier Vatnajokull National Park

Breakfast at your hotel. Throughout the day you’ll be following alongside the mighty Vatnajokull glacier, and you’ll surely enjoy breathtaking glacial views of Europe’s largest glacier. The Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon with its majestic icebergs floating in the 180-metre (591- foot)- deep lagoon, is famous as a location for adventure and science fiction movies. It’s also full of life; seals often hunt for food here and relax on the icebergs. Many of our guests enjoy the opportunity to take a guided amphibian boat or Zodiac boat tour on the lagoon. These should be booked in advance, and we are happy to help set a tour for you.

On the other side of the road is the Diamond Beach, well known from social media bloggers. Make sure your camera is ready to catch the dramatic views of tumbling ocean waves and icebergs strewn like jewels over the black sand coastline.

The Skaftafell area of southern Vatnajokull National Park is next on your agenda. This is a beautiful green oasis surrounded by glaciers and volcanoes, a true fire and ice destination. There are several interesting hiking trails in the park, including one that leads to a basalt framed waterfall, Svartifoss. Skaftafell is also a great place to take a guided hike onto a glacier, an amazing way to discover how ice has shaped Iceland. Next head over Skeidararsandur, a wide plain of black sand crossed by glacial rivers.

Drive through Kirkjubaejarklaustur, a former site of a 12th-century Catholic convent (the town’s restaurants are famous for locally farmed, delicious arctic trout), before crossing the surreal Eldhraun, the largest single mass of lava ever to flow on the face of the earth. The 18th century eruption was so strong that the climate of Europe was affected by the volcanic ash. Head to Vik, Iceland’s southernmost town.

Overnight in the Vik area.

Approximate distance: 290 km / 181 miles

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Day 6: South Coast Highlights

Highlights: Dyrholaey Promontory Reynisdrangar Cliffs Vik i Myrdal Skogafoss Waterfall Seljalandsfoss Waterfall Skogar Museum Hekla Volcano Eyjafjallajokull Glacier Myrdalsjokull Glacier

Breakfast at your hotel. Start your day by exploring the area around the little town of Vik. The scenery here has become famous all over the world. Take a walk on the Reynisfjara black sand beach and view the powerful waves and spectacular basalt columns. Far out to sea you can view rock formations that legends say were once giant trolls. Vik is also a great base for unique day tours such as canyon ziplining and horseback riding on a black sand beach. You can also take guided SuperJeep tours into the wild backcountry surrounding Katla volcano or to view a natural ice cave.

Drive onwards to Dyrholaey* promontory, viewing the extraordinary rock formations and thundering waves of the Atlantic Ocean. This area is also the nesting place of thousands of seabirds including puffins. (Pufffins are generally seen in Iceland between mid-May and mid-August). Drive the road along the coast; if the day is clear you can get amazing views of the towering Eyjafjallajokull and Hekla volcano volcanoes. You’ll also view two spectacular waterfalls, Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss. Skogafoss is one of the country’s most photographed waterfalls, and it has a series of steps that nearby that lead up to a beautiful view of South Iceland. Seljalandsfoss is a ribbon-like waterfall; a walking trail leads behind the waterfall itself.

If you are interested in knowing more about fascinating volcanoes, then we recommend a stop at the LAVA Centre, an excellent interactive exhibition. You’ll discover fascinating facts about how volcanic activity and earthquakes led to the creation of Iceland.

Now head off Road 1, driving on scenic roads taking you past Icelandic farms and into Hveragerdi, a village set amid one of Iceland’s most active hot spring areas. This charming village has harnessed the geothermal energy in many clever ways, including growing flowers in greenhouses year-round.

Overnight in the Hveragerdi area.

*Dyrholaey is closed during bird nesting season between mid-May and 25 June.

Approximate distance: 175 km / 109 miles

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Day 7: The Golden Circle – Reykjavik

Highlights: Geysir Hot Spring Gullfoss Waterfall Thingvellir National Park Laugarvatn Fontana Geothermal Baths Reykjavik

Breakfast at your hotel. Today you’ll be visiting the beloved and famous Golden Circle wonders. Travel through peaceful farmland areas to the geothermal fields of Geysir. Footpaths lead around interesting bubbling mud pools and spouting hot springs. The most famous of these is the reliably erupting Strokkur geyser. We’re sure you will really enjoy photographing the various stages of the Strokkur as it erupts from the ground. The Gullfoss waterfall is a short drive away. Many Icelanders believe Gullfoss is the most beautiful waterfall in the country. The sight of glacial water thundering down two ledges into an enormous canyon is spectacular. A series of footpaths lead around the falls and give views of the cascades from different angles. While you are in the area, you might enjoy the chance to relax in a geothermal hot pool at the enchanting Secret Lagoon or the lovely natural steam baths and pools at Laugarvatn Fontana Spa.

The final stop today is at the UNESCO-listed Thingvellir National Park. This beautiful area of lava fields, lakes and canyons is the heart and soul of Icelanders. Thingvellir is the spot where Vikings formed a parliament and met annually to discuss important issues affecting the nation. Today, the Icelandic parliament is the oldest continuous parliament in the world. Thingvellir is also a geological paradise. The park lies in a rift valley that marks the Mid-Atlantic Ridge where the North American and European tectonic plates meet. Scenic trails around the park lead to historical sites, old ruins and beautiful views of the area, including a view of a waterfall.

After a day of wonders, head to the colorful capital of Iceland, Reykjavik. The rest of the day is open to explore the city’s vibrant culture.

Overnight in Reykjavik.

Approximate distance: 195 km / 121 miles

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Day 8: Departure from Iceland

Highlights: Keflavik Duus Hus Cultural Center 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 7 x 24-hour rental days starting at the time of rental. If your flight arrives early on day 1 and departs late on day 8, an additional supplement will be charged unless you choose to return the car in Reykjavik when the 7-day rental is up and use our Airport Direct departure transfer.

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