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Day 1: Arrival in Iceland:

Highlights: The Blue Lagoon Keflavik Viking World The Giantess in the Mountain Hveragerdi Laugarvatn Fontana Nature Baths

Upon arrival at Keflavik International Airport, collect up your luggage and head through customs. Pick up your rental car and make sure that you receive your Iceland Travel Companion tablet, chargers and protective case. Now you are ready to start your journey: Iceland awaits!

This day is open to your inspiration with several options available, depending on your flight arrival time. We recommend a visit to the world renowned Blue Lagoon Geothermal Spa, located just 15 minutes from the airport. The Blue Lagoon has a mystical appearance, but its unique restorative powers are quite real and ideal for regaining your energy after a long flight.

For history buffs with plenty of time on arrival day, we recommend a stop at Viking World museum, located in Reykjanesbaer, the town next to the international airport.

For the adventure seekers, ATV tours, buggy tours or hiking in Reykjadalur valley is a great choice.

Families can check out Vatnaverold geothermal swimming pool or the Giantess in the cave in Reykjanesbaer, check out the Wonders of Iceland exhibition in Perlan museum in Reykjavik or go on an easy caving tour in Raufarholshellir lava tunnel.

Continue towards Lake Laugarvatn and check into your Hotel Edda hotel where you will stay for the next 3 nights.  Nearby activities include Laugarvatn Fontana Geothermal Baths (entrance included), golf, horse riding  tours, trout fishing, walking trails and river rafting.

Overnight at Hotel Edda in Laugarvatn.

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Day 2: The Golden Circle:

Highlights: Thingvellir National Park Geysir Gullfoss Kerid Skalholt Laugarvatn Fontana Nature Baths Gjabakkahellir

Start the day with breakfast at the hotel. The Golden Circle of natural wonders starts with the dramatic volcanic scenery of Thingvellir National Park (UNESCO). In a massive rift valley you see firsthand how Iceland is being pulled apart where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates converge.

After exploring the ancient site, your Golden Circle journey continues to the Gullfoss and Geysir area where you are introduced to the Queen of Icelandic waterfalls herself, Gullfoss. This majestic waterfall of sparkling mist and golden charm is situated on Hvita (White River) which is fed by Iceland‘s second largest glacier, Langjokull.  King of all geysers, the great Geysir resides nearby in a steamy geothermal field of bubbling mud and hot springs.  Geysir has not been active lately, but the nearby highly-active Strokkur geyser  shoots steaming hot water high into the air every ten minutes.

Another interesting site on the Golden Circle route for the history and culture buffs is Skalholt, a medieval cultural and religious center and the original “capital” of Iceland.  Today it is still a major cultural center with regular events, and a beautiful Lutheran Cathedral graces the site.

Culture and gourmet lovers should stop by Efstidalur farm II, Fridheimar Greenhouse or Farmers Bistro to learn about farming and cultivation in Iceland. We also highly recommend these places for lunch.

Adventure seekers can pump up this day by going river rafting or jet boating in Hvita river, snorkling in Silfra fissure or go snowmobiling in Langjokull glacier.

Families with older children can also go river rafting or jet boating in Hvita or go on a horseback riding tour. Families with younger children can visit Slakki petting zoo or visit a horse stable where the children can try sitting on a horse.

Overnight at Hotel Edda in Laugarvatn.

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Day 3: The South Shore:

Highlights: Eyjafjallajokull Skogafoss Seljalandsfoss Myrdalsjokull Katla Vík Eldhraun Lava Field Reynisdrangar Cliffs Dyrholaey

Begin your day with breakfast at the hotel. Today, you will drive along the scenic South Shore and the area near the infamous Eyjafjallajokull volcano. This is the site of the massive 2010 eruption that stopped international air traffic. We recommend a stop at the exciting interactive new Lava Center in Hvolsvollur, where you will discover the powerful volcanic and tectonic forces that shaped both Iceland and Earth. The center has interesting exhibits for all age groups.

Continue onwards, past the beautiful Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss waterfalls and Myrdalsjokull glacier, which covers powerful Katla volcano. In this area, known as Katla Geopark, is possible to go snowmobiling and glacier hiking on the glacier and hopefully get a splendid view over southern Iceland. It is also possible to join an ice cave tour that takes you into the glacier that covers Katla volcano.

Continue your journey and stop by the seafront village of Vik where you can grab a meal, buy souvenirs, stock up on drinks and snacks or fill the tank. Drive further east through the black sand desert of Myrdalssandur and the massive Eldhraun lava field, the largest mass of lava ever to flow on Earth.

Arrive at Fjadrargljufur, a magnificent and massice canyon that is about 100 metres deep and 2 kilometers long. The canyon has a river called Fjadra running through it. The canyon offers a short walking path up to the edge of the canyon where you can enjoy a spectacular view above the canyon. For hikers, longer hiking trails are also available.

Drive back to the Vik area and check out the famous Reynisfjara black beach with its impressive rock formations, Reynisdrangar cliffs and Dyrholaey promontory. Dyrholaey* is a rocky headland characterised by a black lava arch.  During the summer, thousands of sea birds and puffins nest here. An ideal stop for families and bird lovers.

Overnight at Hotel Edda in Laugarvatn.

*Important: Please note that Dyrholaey is closed during nesting season, from about the middle of May until late June.

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Day 4: North Iceland via Kjolur mountain track or Borgarfjordur valley:

Highlights: Kjolur Hveravellir Borgarnes Grabrok Glanni Waterfall Skagafjordur Fjord Akureyri

Start your day with breakfast at your hotel. Today you will travel up to North Iceland, either via Borgarfjordur valley or via Kjolur mountain track* (possible if you upgrade your rental car to a 4×4 jeep).

If you choose to drive via Kjolur mountain track, be prepared to discover the undiscovered! The Kjolur 4×4 mountain track  is open during the summer (from mid-June) and is a straight north and south track through Iceland‘s uninhabited interior highlands. This unique trek through vibrant thermal areas between Langjokull and Hofsjokull glaciers reveals Iceland‘s true remoteness and nature at its rawest. Don’t miss Hveravellir, one of the most beautiful geothermal areas in the world with a natural pool under open sky perfect for relaxing after an invigorating hike on one of the trails in the area.

Upon arriving on the other side of the Kjolur highland route, you will find yourself in North Iceland‘s Skagafjordur region, famous for its horse breeding. This area is also well-known for a wide variety of river rafting and kayaking adventures.

Your alternative, safer option is to drive via Road no.1 through Borgarfjordur valley in the west, up north through Vatnsdalur and Skagafjordur valley until you reach Akureyri. On the way, there are possible sightseeing stops at Glanni waterfall and Grabrok crater in Borgarfjordur. Continue over Holtavorduheidi heath and arrive in North Iceland at the other end. A possible detour to see the unique Hvitserkur rock formation can be taken after passing the village of Laugarbakki. Continue through Skagafjordur valley and towards Akureyri, the second largest town in Iceland often called the „capital of the North.“

There is abundance of things to do in Akureyri such as museums, shopping, hiking trails, golfing, a botanical garden and one of the best geothermal swimming pools in Iceland. Akureyri also has a great selection of restaurants.

Overnight at Hotel Edda in Akureyri or Hotel Edda in Storu Tjarnir.

*Please note that taking Kjolur mountain track is a bumpier drive than going through the regular Road no.1 due to the unpaved mountain track.

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Day 5: Lake Myvatn and Dettifoss :

Highlights: Godafoss Myvatn Dimmuborgir Hverfjall Krafla Dettifoss Lofthellir Cave Myvatn Nature Baths

After breakfast at the hotel, the day begins with the picturesque ‘Waterfall of the Gods’, Godafoss. Your journey continues onwards to explore the Lake Myvatn Nature Reserve, a geological wonderland of wildly contrasting nature with a number of easy walking paths the whole family can enjoy. Summertime during peak birding season is a good reason to have the binoculars ready for the diverse species and rare sightings like the barrow’s goldeneye. Bird lovers should not miss out on Sigurgeir’s bird museum that includes a fantastic bird exhibition as well as bird viewing facilities over the lake.

You can take a light hike in the “dark castles” of Dimmuborgir with its rugged crags and towering rocks.  Another good hiking option is to walk to the top of Hverfjall crater. Afterwards, relax those muscles in the soothing geothermal waters at the Myvatn Nature Spa with views over the lake and its tranquil surroundings.

The grand finale of this eventful day is a visit to Europe’s mightiest waterfall, Dettifoss, a thundering cascade of glacial water and mist among shattered cliffs in Jokulsargljufur National Park.

Overnight at Hotel Edda in Akureyri or Hotel Edda in Storu Tjarnir.

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Day 6: Husavik and the Diamond Circle :

Highlights: Húsavík Ásbyrgi Whale Museum Hljodaklettar

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel. Today you will explore the many wonders of northern Vatnajokull National Park, such as the strange formations of Hljodaklettar (Echo Rocks) and the impressive horseshoe-shaped Asbyrgi canyon. A stop at the lovely coastal town of Husavik is also highly recommended.

If coming from Akureyri, start the day by driving towards Husavik. A possible detour to see the old turfhouse manor of Laufas is highly recommended for the history and culture buffs. Families should consider stopping by at the farm Brunastadir in Fnjoskadalur valley where it is possible to pet some of the animals and jump in the hay.

Onwards to Husavik which is known as the capital of whale watching thanks to its excellent sightings rate. Perhaps you will enjoy a whale watching tour on a beautifully-restored oaken boat.

From Husavik, continue along the Tjornes peninsula, at the edge of the Arctic Circle to Asbyrgi canyon. According to Viking legends, the canyon was formed when Sleipnir, Odin‘s eight-legged horse from Norse mythology, put his foot down in the ground, creating the hoof-printed canyon. Inside the canyon is a beautiful forest and a tranquil pond.

From Asbyrgi, continue your journey to Hljodaklettar or Echo Rocks a bizarre looking group of crater plugs, the remains of ancient volcanoes. Here it is possible to take hikes and try out the unusual acoustic effect that are created by the rocks. Afterwards, drive back to your hotel.

Overnight at Hotel Edda in Akureyri or Hotel Edda in Storu Tjarnir.

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 7: Borgarfjordur valley, Hafnarfjordur & capital city area :

Highlights: Skagafjordur Fjord The Icelandic Seal Center Glanni Waterfall Grabrok Borgarnes Reykjavik Hafnarfjordur

After exploring the North, drive south to the capital city area via Road no.1 for your overnight stay in the beautiful harbor town of Hafnarfjordur. From your hotel, drive through Skagafjordur fjord and northwest Iceland, cross the Holtavorduheidi heath and continue through Borgarfjordur valley in West Iceland before arriving in the capital city area. The drive between Akureyri and Hafnarfjordur takes approximately 4.5 – 5 hours without stops.

Adventure seekers might want to check out the morning river rafting departure for the thrilling “Beast of the East” tour in Austari Jokulsa, a world class rafting river in Skagafjordur.

The lovely town of Hafnarfjordur almost became the capital of Iceland due to its excellent port location but ultimately lost to nearby Reykjavik.

The greater capital city area includes the capital of Reykjavik and the surrounding towns of Hafnarfjordur, Gardabaer, Kopavogur, Mosfellsbaer and Seltjarnarnes. Throughout the years, these towns have all grown together, making it difficult for visitors to tell them apart. It is very easy to get between places due to the short distances.

Some highlights in the capital city area include the downtown area of Reykjavik with its landmark Hallgrimskirkja church, Parliament, Harpa concert hall and Laugavegur shopping street. The town of Hafnarfjordur boasts a pretty downtown area with shops and restaurants, harbor view and Fjorukrain, a unique restaurant that serves traditional Icelandic food, Viking style!

Overnight at Hotel Vellir in Hafnarfjordur, capital city area.

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Day 8: Departure:

Highlights: Hafnarfjordur Keflavik Viking World The Blue Lagoon Kleifarvatn Gunnuhver Bridge Between Continents Lighthouses

Breakfast at your hotel.  Depart with plenty of memories and an adventure that will certainly impress and entertain your friends and family for years to come!  We recommend you depart your hotel no later than three hours before your flight.  The 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.

If your flight departs late in the afternoon, we recommend spending the morning either exploring Hafnarfjordur, Reykjavik or the Reykjanes Peninsula. Several natural wonders such as Gunnuhver hot spring, the Bridge Between Continents, Reykjanesta cliffs and Reykjanesviti lighthouse can be found in close proximity to Keflavik International Airport. You could also use the time to visit the famous Blue Lagoon or Viking World Museum before heading to the airport.

 

**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 our FlyBus departure transfer.

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