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Day 1: Arrival in the Land of Fire and Ice

Highlights: Bridge Between Continents Krysuvik Geothermal Area Grindavik Gunnuhver Geothermal Area Viking World Hafnarfjordur The Blue Lagoon Kleifarvatn Lake

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.

Approximate distance: variable

Afterwards, head to Hveragerdi town for your overnight. Located in the Reykjavik metro area this town is surrounded by interesting lava formations. It is known for its connection to legends of elves and for Viking heritage. The charming harbor area is a nice place to visit for dinner and a stroll.

Overnight in the Reykjavik area (Hafnarfjordur).

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

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Day 2: Reykjavik area – Thingvellir – Borgarfjordur

Highlights: Thingvellir National Park Borgarnes Hraunfossar Waterfalls Barnafoss Waterfall Husafell Snorrastofa Medieval Center Grabrok Crater Deildartunguhver Hot Spring

Breakfast at your hotel. Start your adventure with a visit to 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.

Head into the charming West Iceland region Borgarfjordur, one of Iceland’s best-kept secrets. 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. Perhaps you’ll end your day with a relaxing visit to Krauma Natural Geothermal Baths.

Overnight in the Borgarfjordur area.

Approximate distance: 195 km / 122 miles

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Day 3: Snaefellsnes Peninsula – Stykkisholmur – Laugarbakki

Highlights: Arnarstapi Kirkjufell Mountain Grundarfjordur Berserkjahraun Lava Field Eldborg Crater Snaefellsjokull National Park Djupalonssandur Beach Songhellir Cave Stykkisholmur Olafsvik

Breakfast at your hotel. Today you are for a treat: a whole day to explore the countless natural wonders of the Snaefellsnes peninsula, home of Snaefellsjokull National Park. Snaefellsnes is known as “Iceland in a Nutshell” since you can see samples of most Icelandic landscapes in one area. Visit Arnarstapi sea cliffs where many types of seabirds live. If you enjoy hiking, there is a great nature trail you can hike between Arnarstapi and Hellnar villages. (About 4.3 km/2.7 miles). Crowning the area is the glacier topped Snaefellsjokull volcano, legendary home to a guardian spirit. Driving through the park gives you a chance to view the mountain from many different angles.

Visit Djupalonssandur with its mysteriously shaped rocks and black pebbled beach. Then head along the north coast through lively fishing villages. Keep an eye out for Kirkjufell, the photogenic Church Mountain. Olafsvik town is a great place for whale watching tours. In eco-friendly Stykkisholmur, you might join a boat tour in Breidafjordur Bay (approx. 2 hours) to admire the rich birdlife and sea life of the area. During the boat tour, a shellfish plough is lowered into the ocean and a wonderful selection of shellfish and sea life is caught for viewing and tasting scallops, sea urchins, crabs, starfish, sea cucumbers and much more.

Head to Laugarbakki in the Midfjordur area of North Iceland.

Overnight in Northwest Iceland.

Approximate distance: 405 km / 252 miles

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Day 4: Laugarbakki – Siglufjordur – Akureyri

Highlights: Skagafjordur Fjord The Icelandic Seal Center Drangey Island Grettislaug Geothermal Pool Saudarkrokur Siglufjordur Trollaskagi Peninsula Dalvik The Herring Era Museum Nonni House Akureyri Folk Museum Akureyri

Breakfast at your hotel. Pass by 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.

If you are interested in Medieval/Viking history and battle strategies, we suggest a visit to the 1238: Battle of Iceland exhibit in Saudarkrokur town. Innovative virtual reality transports you into the past and the fateful Battle of Orylyggsstadir, part of a devastating civil war. (The battlefield is in North Iceland.)

Drangey is the legendary hideout of the Viking saga outlaw, Grettir the Strong. Between mid-May and August, you can take a guided boat tour out to Drangey. The tour departs from Saudarkrokur town’s harbor. You’ll take a boat to Drangey Island, then hike with your guide to the top of the island on a trail with good views of seabirds, including puffins. (Puffins are generally in Iceland mid-May to early August.)

Stop in Siglufjordur, a beautiful town with an even more beautiful fjord. The town’s award-winning Herring-Era Maritime Museum takes you back to the days of the early 20th century when a herring “gold rush” changed both Siglufjordur and Iceland.

Drive through the beautiful Troll Peninsula, which has some of Iceland‘s highest mountains. You’ll see waterfalls dropping into the ocean and pass through charming fishing villages. You might take a whale watching tour in the town of Dalvik or visit the Beer Spa in Árskógasandur, for hotspring bathing with a twist!

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

Overnight in the Akureyri area.

Approximate distance: 310 km / 193 miles

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Day 5: Akureyri – Godafoss – Myvatn – Husavik

Highlights: Godafoss Waterfall Myvatn Lake Dimmuborgir Lava Pillars Hverfjall Crater Myvatn Nature Baths Husavik GeoSea Baths Whale Museum Husavik

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. You might enjoy a stop at the Myvatn Nature Baths to relax in the azure blue geothermal waters.

Head to Husavik, a charming fishing town known for its great whale-watching opportunities. In addition to whale watching, you can enjoy Husavik’s relaxing GeoSea Baths. The baths are healthy and soothing geothermal ocean water, and the view over the Arctic Circle is beautiful.

Overnight in the Husavik area.

Approximate distance: 155 km / 96 miles

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Day 6: Husavik – Asbyrgi – Dettifoss – Egilsstadir

Highlights: Vatnajokull National Park Dettifoss Waterfall Jokulsargljufur National Park Hljodaklettar Rocks Asbyrgi Canyon Egilsstadir Hallormsstadur Lagarfljot Lake

Breakfast at your hotel. 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.

A suggested evening activity might be a visit to the Vok floating geothermal pools near Egilsstadir.

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.

Overnight in the Eastfjords.

Approximate distance: 255 km /159 miles

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Day 7: Egilsstadir – Eastfjords – Hofn

Highlights: Hallormsstadur The Wilderness Center Hengifoss Waterfall Reydarfjordur Icelandic Wartime Museum Faskrudsfjordur Hofn

Breakfast at your hotel. A great way to start the day might be 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.

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.

Approximate distance: 265 km /165 miles

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Day 8: Hofn – Klaustur – Vik /Hvolsvollur

Highlights: Skaftafell National Park Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon Oraefajokull Glacier Hvannadalshnjukur Peak Vatnajokull Glacier Vatnajokull National Park Eldhraun Lava Field Reynisdrangar Cliffs

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.

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.

Approximate distance: 290 km / 181 miles

Overnight in the Vik area or in the Hvollsvollur / Hella area.

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Day 9: The Golden Circle – Reykjavik

Highlights: Myrdalsjokull Glacier Seljalandsfoss Waterfall Skogafoss Waterfall Skogar Museum Gullfoss Waterfall Geysir Hot Spring Kerid Crater Reykjavik

Breakfast at your hotel. Start your day by exploring 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.

Next, head to 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.

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: 310 km / 193 miles

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Day 10: Departure from Iceland

Highlights: Keflavik Duus Hus Cultural Center Viking World The Blue Lagoon Grindavik

Return to Keflavik International Airport**

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.

Approximate distance: 50 km / 30 miles

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