12 Day Self Drive Grand Tour of Iceland
This is a 12 day classic circle tour around Iceland, including all the major sights of interest along the ring road with the addition of Snæfellsnes peninsula, but at a slower pace, with more time each day to explore.
It includes all the classic highlights: the Golden Circle, Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon, Lake Mývatn and Dettifoss waterfall, Snæfellsnes peninsula, the south shore and more. This tour offers an even pace to enjoy the serenity of Icelandic nature without any rush.
- Golden Circle
- The South Shore
- Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon
- Dettifoss waterfall
- Lake Mývatn
- Snæfellsnes Peninsula
Day 1 – Arrival – Keflavík – Reykjavík aprox. 50 KM
Arrival to Iceland. Pick up rental car at Keflavík international airport and drive to Reykjavík to your accommodation.
Depending on arrival time optional visit to Blue lagoon is possible.
Day 2 – The Golden Circle – Selfoss aprox. 260 KM
We start the drive around the country by visiting three of Iceland’s best-known sights:
– Þingvellir national park, the site of the first parliament, founded in 930.
– passing Lake Laugarvatn we visit the Geysir geothermal area with abundance of hot springs. We wait for the most active of the geysers, Strokkur which spouts a steaming column of water into the air every 5-10 minutes.
– the Gullfoss waterfall which drops in two cascades deep into the gorge of Hvita glacial river.
Then continue towards the southern coast and end the day in Selfoss.
Optional tours available:
Day 3 – Seljalandsfoss – Skógar – Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach – Vík aprox. 190 KM
Drive east along the south coast making stops at the inspiring Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss waterfalls, Dyrhólaey promontory and Reynisfjara, and explore the option of hiking or snowmobiling on Sólheimajökull glacier. We drive on to the village of Vík with its black sandy beach stretching as far as the eye can see, with impressive views of the Reynisdrangar cliffs rising out of the ocean.
Accommodation in the area.
- Glacier Hike on Sólheimajökull Glacier
- Snowmobiling on Sólheimajökull Glacier
- ATV ride on the beach
- Horseback riding on the beach
- Katla Ice Cave Tour from Vík
- Zipline activity from Vík
Day 4 – Vík – Kirkjubæjarklaustur – Skaftafell aprox. 160/250 KM
Continue the journey across the sands of glacier rivers and moss-covered lava fields further east. At Skaftafell – the green oasis surrounded by glacial outlets and sands of glacial rivers – we have a chance to take a walk to Svartifoss waterfall. Skaftafell also offers the best vantage point to view Hvannadalshnjúkur – highest mountain in Iceland. We drive further along the ring road with a view of Iceland’s largest glacier Vatnajökull.
Accommodation in Skaftafell area.
Optional tours available:
Day 5 – Jökulsárlón – Vatnajökull – East Fjords aprox. 250/350 KM
Continuing east we soon arrive at Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon where you can take a short amphibian boat tour among the icebergs. Just below the lagoon lies the “Diamond Beach”, where stranded icebergs litter the sands. If lucky, we might spot a seal near the shore or even in the lagoon. We drive further towards Höfn and continue to Djúpivogur and stay overnight in one of the villages of the Eastfjords.
- Amphibian Boat Tour on Jökulsárlón Lagoon
- Zodiac Boat Tour on Jökulsárlón Lagoon
- Kayaking on Jökulsárlón Lagoon
- Kayaking on Heinabergslón Glacial Lagoon
Day 6 – Egilsstaðir – Dettifoss – Húsavík aprox. 370 KM
We drive further along the Eastfjords, through Egilsstaðir and the green Jökuldalur valley with numerous waterfalls dropping from the top of the hills alongside the road. Then across the desert land of Möðrudalsöræfi towards Dettifoss, Europe’s largest waterfall, in the gorge of Jökulsárgljúfur national park. We continue north towards Ásbyrgi – a horseshoe shaped canyon created by the wild forces of glacial river in pre-historic times. Driving around the Tjörnes peninsula we reach Húsavík. Accommodation in Húsavík or Lake Mývatn.
- Whale Watching from Húsavík
- Whale Watching and Puffins from Húsavík
- RIB Express Whale Watching from Húsavík
Day 7 – Húsavík / Lake Mývatn aprox. 100/180 KM
Start the day by visiting the Whale centre or the Exploration museum. Then drive to Lake Mývatn and spend the day exploring the numerous natural wonders of the Mývatn volcanic area with several possibilities for short hikes and a chance for a relaxing bath in the Nature Baths geothermal lagoon.
Accommodation in Húsavík or at Lake Mývatn.
Day 8 – Akureyri – Siglufjörður
Visit Goðafoss waterfall in the late afternoon and then continue directly to Akureyri, via the recently opened tunnel (tunnel toll!), or by crossing the Víkurskard mountain pass. Spend some time to get acquainted with this charming town, explore its surroundings, visit the botanical garden or check out some of the interesting museums. Drive north along western coastal road of Eyjafjörður with panoramas of the alpine landscape with high mountains, glacial valleys and Hrísey Island, passing through Dalvík, Ólafsfjörður and three tunnels we reach the charming fishing village of Siglufjörður. Accommodation in Akureyri or Siglufjörður.
- Horseback Riding
- Whale Watching from Akureyri
- RIB Boat Express Whale Watching from Akureyri
- Whale Watching and Sea Angling from Hauganes
- Whale Watching from Hjalteyri
Day 9 – Siglufjörður – Skagafjörður – Vatnsnes Peninsula aprox. 330 KM
Continue to Skagafjörður where you can visit Glaumbær museum and drive further towards Blönduós. Drive around Vatnsnes peninsula and stop at Hvítserk, a solitary rock – monster emerging out of the sea near the shore. Driving around on the western side of the peninsula you might be able to spot seals bathing on the rocks in the sea not far from the coast. Continue towards Hvammstangi and accommodation at Laugarbakki or in the area.
Day 10 – Snæfellsnes Peninsula – Borgarfjörður aprox. 420 KM
A full daytour to one of the most beautiful parts of Iceland, the Snæfellsnes peninsula. It is often playfully called „Little Iceland“, as you can find all natural phenomena in Iceland there: lava fields, volcanic craters, glacier, waterfalls, sandy beaches, charming fishing towns, bird cliffs and more. On the Snæfellsnes peninsula you will also find one of the most photographed Icelandic mountains – Mr.Kirkjufell. Departing Snæfellsnes we continue to the Borgarfjörður area for overnight.
Day 11 – Borgarfjörður – Hraunfossar – Reykjavík aprox. 200 KM
Today we explore the gems of Borgarfjörður area. Visit the historical Reykholt and learn about Icelandic sagas. Enjoy the nature surrounding the beautiful Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls; check out Europe´s most productive hot spring – Deildartunguhver – and perhaps take a relaxing bath at Krauma Spa next to the hot spring. There is also the option of doing the Into the Glacier excursion on Langjökull glacier or a visit to a lava cave before continuing the drive south towards the capital.
Accommodation in Reykjavík.
Day 12 – Departure day
Drive to Keflavík airport in time for check in for your international flight.
If your flight departs late afternoon, then you have the possibility to add an optional whale watching boat tour in the morning, drive around the Reykjanes peninsula or visit the Blue Lagoon before dropping of the rental car at Keflavík airport.
Dates & prices
From May to October
Included in the package price:
- 11 days car rental with unlimited mileage, GP, TP, CDW, SCDW, tax; pick up/drop off at Keflavík airport
- 11 nights accommodation in double/twin rooms with private facilities, breakfast included
- Detailed itinerary with multiple daily options based on pre-booked accommodation
- Service and VAT
Not included in the package price:
- Optional tours
- Admissions fees
- Meals other than breakfast