7 Day Self Drive Tour | The Ring Road of Iceland

Make the most of just one week in Iceland on this 7-day, self-drive tour. You'll drive the complete circle around Iceland to all the highlights while having plenty of time to explore the capital.

This tour is the perfect combination of nature-loving outdoor fun and the comforts of Iceland's most beautiful historic cities: Reykjavik and Akureyri in the north. On a self-drive tour, you can control where you go and what you see. There are no tour guides or other guests to worry about on this trip - you're in the driver's seat.

You will travel the Ring Road around the whole of Iceland and visit two national parks, see some of Iceland's prettiest fishing villages, and in between, marvel over countless waterfalls, volcanoes, craters, mountains and hot springs. At the end of the day you will rest in full comfort with an ensuite bathroom and of course, breakfast is included at all accommodations.

The Ring Road will get you to the most famous of all Iceland’s attractions, but most visitors seek to escape the crowds on their travels as well. There are many secret locations which will allow you to break free of that tourist feeling and get back to nature. You will receive a special itinerary after you book, full of hidden gems and old favourites so that your holiday will be second to none.  

You can also add some extra activities to your tour during the booking process, so you don't miss out on any of the fun you were looking forward to. There are options such as snowmobiling, glacier hiking, and a boat tour around the glacier lagoon you can add onto your trip. Furthermore, the entrance to the famed Blue Lagoon is included in the price. 

The summer days in Iceland are long, so make the most of them by starting early and finishing late—you won't ever need to reach a destination 'before it gets dark' since during the season of the midnight sun it doesn't get dark; between the months of May and August. 

Pack in as much stunning scenery as you can with this 7-day self-drive tour! Check availability by choosing a date.


Quick facts

Tour information:
  • Available: May. - Oct.
  • Duration: 7 days
  • Activities: Glacier Hiking, Hiking, Horse Riding, Whale Watching, Sightseeing, Boat Trip, Hot Spring Bathing, Cultural Activity, Bird watching, Self drive
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Highlights: Blue Lagoon, Reykjavík, Akureyri, Jökulsárlón, Vatnajökull, Mývatn, Húsavík, Ásbyrgi, Dettifoss, Snæfellsjökull, Skógafoss, Seljalandsfoss, Geysir, Gullfoss, Þingvellir, Vík í Mýrdal, Fjaðrárgljúfur, Kirkjubæjarklaustur, South Coast, Ring Road
Pickup information:
  • Pickup time : Flexible

Included:
  • 6 nights of accommodation (different levels available; breakfast included. More detailed info below)

  • Vehicle for 7 days (VW Polo or similar. Upgrades available)

  • CDW, SCDW and gravel protection insurance for vehicle

  • GPS system

  • Blue Lagoon standard entrance (upgrades available)

  • Detailed Itinerary with fun and practical information on the nature, history and culture of Iceland

  • Hands-on travel agent to oversee your itinerary

  • Taxes

  • Fuel

  • Dinner

  • Lunch


What to bring:
  • Driver's License

  • Swimsuit

  • Camera

  • Hiking shoes


Good to know:

Self-drive tours begin either in Reykjavík City or at Keflavik International Airport. A valid driver's license is required, along with a one-year long on-road experience. Please be aware that your itinerary may be rearranged to better fit with your arrival date and time.

Although it is summertime, the Icelandic weather can be very unpredictable. Please bring appropriate clothing.



Daily itinerary

Day 1 - Arrival in Reykjavík


7 Day Self Drive Tour | The Ring Road of Iceland


When you land in Reykjavík, you'll likely feel energised by the endless summer sun; if so, why not make the most of your arrival by spending a few hours basking in the warm, azure waters of the Blue Lagoon? It is just twenty minutes from Keflavik Airport!

Just in case you don't, however, and suffer from some jet-lag, then you can push this experience back to your last day and spend the first day of your trip to relaxing Reykjavík. After a 45-minute drive through the otherworldly landscape of eerie lava fields of the Reykjanes peninsula, you'll reach the city. 

Reykjavík is full of galleries, cafés, museums, designer shops, restaurants, street art and some interesting architecture, such as Harpa Concert Hall or Perlan, which translates to 'the pearl' because of the shape of its huge dome. You can spend your day strolling down the main street of Laugavegur, visiting Hallgrímskirkja church tower, and popping into the charming shops and buildings of the old harbour.

Spend your first night in Reykjavík, in a central and cozy hotel.


Preferred accommodation in Reykjavík

Reykjavík Comfort

The Fosshótel chain has four 3-4 star Hotels located in and around the city center of Reykjavík. There is a short walk from all of the hotels to attractions, cafés, restaurants, museums and the nightlife. All offer private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.

Reykjavík Quality

Alda Hotel is a 4 star hotel situated on Laugavegur, Reykjavík's main shopping street in the city centre. Private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free access to a fitness room with a sauna and a hot tub. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.


Day 2 - West Iceland and Akureyri


7 Day Self Drive Tour | The Ring Road of Iceland


On day two, you will drive from Reykjavík to the capital of the North, Akureyri.

On your way, you can take an ice-cream stop in the town of Borgarnes (considered mandatory by many locals) and a short hike (approximately one hour) up Grábrók, the smallest of three craters in a short volcanic fissure. If you feel like stretching your legs, a marked trail will take you from Route 1 to the very edge of the rim. Once you get up there, you'll see beautiful landscapes across the Borgarfjordur area. 

You can also take a detour and visit the historical site Reykholt, Europe's highest hot spring Deildartunguhver, and the gorgeous waterfalls Hraunfossar, meaning 'Lava Falls'. Another option would be to drive to the 15 m (50 ft) tall Hvítserkur rock formation, near Hvammstangi.

The drive from Reykjavík to Akureyri takes about 4.5-5 hours without any stops at all, so be prepared to drive for a while today! You'll be rewarded with your first view of the charming and lively town of Akureyri, where you can rest after the long trip.


Preferred accommodation by Akureyri

Akureyri Comfort

Hotel Norðurland is a 3 star hotel centrally located in Akureyri. Spacious and bright private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.

Akureyri Quality

Icelandair Hotel Akureyri (Deluxe room) is a 3 star hotel centrally located in Akureyri, right next to the swimming pool. Private bedroom with a living room area and a private bathroom. Great views from the 5th floor. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.


Day 3 - Akureyri, Lake Mývatn and Egilsstaðir


7 Day Self Drive Tour | The Ring Road of Iceland


On day three, enjoy Akureyri, then head east towards the stunning area around Lake Mývatn.

In between Akureyri and Mývatn, you'll see the gorgeous Goðafoss waterfall. Also, make sure you check out Námaskarð geothermal area close to Mývatn, as well as the stunning area of Dimmuborgir (the Dark Fortress) and its imposing lava rock formations.

The Mývatn Nature Baths are open until midnight during the summer, so its a perfect end to the day to bask and relax here.

Just make sure you still have energy for a 2-hour drive to Egilsstaðir, the capital of the East, where you'll spend your night.

If a long soak in a hot spring is not for you, then consider a detour to Dettifoss waterfall, Iceland's most powerful waterfall, on your way to Egilsstaðir instead!


Preferred accommodation by Egilsstaðir

Egilsstaðir Comfort

Lake Hotel Egilsstaðir is a 3 star hotel located in a short walking distance from the centre of Egilsstaðir but also right by the lake. Private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Spa on site for additional price. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.

Egilsstaðir Quality

Icelandair Hotel Hérað is a 3 star hotel centrally located within Egilsstaðir town. Bright, private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included, with focus on local ingredients.


Day 4 - Egilsstaðir to Southeast Iceland


7 Day Self Drive Tour | The Ring Road of Iceland


Near Egilsstaðir is Hallormsstaðaskógur forest. As Iceland's largest forest, you may want to explore it before your drive south towards Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. Admire the spectacular beauty of the East on your way, and remember to look out for reindeer as well; they can only be found in this part of Iceland!

The main highlight of day four is the glacier lagoon Jökulsárlón and the nearby Diamond Beach. Take your time to explore the intense beauty of the lagoon.

You will find yourself captivated by the huge chunks of ice floating down from the glacial tongue. Ensure you keep your eye out for seals, however; they like to play on the ice and may be curious enough to come closer. They often want to see you just as much as you want to see them.

From the lagoon, it is a short stroll down to the black beach nearby, called Diamond beach due to the many icebergs scattered along it. With the Atlantic Ocean's waves crashing on them, you can expect an incredible view.

Spend your night near the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon.


Preferred accommodation by Jökulsárlón and Höfn

Jökulsárlón and Höfn Comfort

Hotel Höfn is a 3 star hotel centrally located within the town Höfn. Private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.

Jökulsárlón and Höfn Quality

Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon is a 4 star hotel located right between Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon and Skaftafell Nature Reserve. Private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Ocean or mountain views. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.


Day 5 - Southeast Iceland to Hella/Hvolsvöllur


7 Day Self Drive Tour | The Ring Road of Iceland


On day five, you can return to the glacier lagoon for an optional boat ride out to the ice flows. These can be taken on either a zodiac or amphibious vessel. Continue your road trip towards Skaftafell Nature Reserve.

It is recommended that you enjoy the optional glacier hike in Skaftafell today, taking in the magnificent Vatnajökull glacier and giving you a spectacular view.

After enjoying the beauty of this reserve, continue driving along the south coast of Iceland. Interesting stops along the way include the wreckage of a bridge destroyed in a glacier flood; if you take a moment to rest here, you'll have a great view of Vatnajökull glacier. The charming town Kirkjubæjarklaustur is also well worth a visit, as is the stunning Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon.

At Vík, you'll have a view of Reynisdrangar rocks from the town's black beach, and nearby you can explore the gorgeous Dyrhólaey cliff, with a view towards the glacier, the sea, and the nearby black sands of Reynisfjara. Be extra careful if you go down to the beach here, because the waves can be very dangerous and unpredictable.

Finally, explore the gorgeous waterfalls Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss. The astonishing power of nature cannot be denied as you watch the water crash down from craggy cliffs above into the waiting waters of the river below. You can even walk all the way around Seljalandsfoss.

Spend the night at either the small town of Hella or the quaint village of Hvolsvöllur.


Preferred accommodation by Hvolsvöllur

Hvolsvöllur Comfort

Hotel Hvolsvöllur is a 3 star hotel centrally located in Hvolsvöllur. Private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free access to outdoor hot tubs. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.

Hvolsvöllur Quality

Hotel Rangá is a 4 star hotel situated between the towns of Hella and Hvolsvöllur. Private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Views towards Rangá river or Hekla volcano. Free access to outdoor hot tubs. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.


Day 6 - Golden Circle and Reykjavík


7 Day Self Drive Tour | The Ring Road of Iceland


After waking up in Hvolsvöllur or Hella, you'll continue your journey west and head to the famous Golden Circle and take in three of the most popular and well-known sites in Iceland in one go. 

On your way to the first stop, Gullfoss, or the Golden Waterfall, you might want to make a stop by the town of Flúðir and soak in the Secret Lagoon. The pool’s natural surroundings and steam rising into the air give the place a mystical ambience. The water stays at a luxurious 38-40° C all year. There, you can also join a snowmobiling tour to the Langjökull glacier and experience the endlessness of the Icelandic highlands. 

Gullfoss waterfall is an incredible sight, cascading down two drops over 32 m (105 ft). In good weather, you can reach a viewing platform right at its edge, to truly appreciate its awesome power. If you wish, you can opt for a snowmobiling tour from here.

After a short drive, you'll get to see Geysir, or 'the Great Geysir', a world-famous hot spring in the Haukadalur valley. Though it does not often erupt these days, its brother, Strokkur, erupts every 10 minutes or so, hurling water up to 30 m (98 ft) into the air.

Finally, finish your Golden Circle experience with a visit to Þingvellir National Park. Þingvellir is a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to the parliament that was founded there in 930 AD. It is surrounded by a beautiful mountain range and is the site of a rift valley, marking the crest of the Mid-Atlantic range. You can walk through the magnificent gorge Almannagja, which marks the eastern boundary of the North American tectonic plate, and into which the beautiful waterfall Oxararfoss falls. Popular HBO series Game of Thrones has filmed here to take advantage of these beautiful surroundings.

For a more intimate experience at Þingvellir, you could go for a snorkel in the SIlfra fissure. The crystal clear water fills an underwater gorge where the two tectonic plates meet, so you will literally be swimming between the continents in one of the most celebrated diving and snorkelling spots on the planet.

From the national park, there's a short 45-minute drive back to Reykjavík. Spend your last night relaxing in Reykjavík.


Preferred accommodation in Reykjavík

Reykjavík Comfort

The Fosshótel chain has four 3-4 star Hotels located in and around the city center of Reykjavík. There is a short walk from all of the hotels to attractions, cafés, restaurants, museums and the nightlife. All offer private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.

Reykjavík Quality

Alda Hotel is a 4 star hotel situated on Laugavegur, Reykjavík's main shopping street in the city centre. Private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Free access to a fitness room with a sauna and a hot tub. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included.


Day 7 - Departure Day


7 Day Self Drive Tour | The Ring Road of Iceland


It's your last day in Iceland, so do what feels right. You can simply relax in Reykjavík or cram in some last-minute shopping.

If you already went to the Blue Lagoon, you may choose to go whale watching today, or explore the wonders of the Reykjanes peninsula.

If you didn't go to the Blue Lagoon on your first day, now is your chance to enjoy its warm waters, enhanced by skin-softening silica and nourishing blue-green algae.

Relaxing in the Blue Lagoon may be the best way to say goodbye to Iceland; you'll feel calm yet rejuvenated for your flight back home.

After you have enjoyed your last hours in our beautiful country, drop your car off at the airport and enjoy your flight.


Accommodation

See our accommodation levels below and our preferred accommodation partners under each day in the daily itinerary. Single person bookings will be arranged in a single room, while bookings of 2 or more people will share twin/double room(s) or triple room(s). Guide to Iceland will provide you with the best available hotels and guesthouses at the time of your booking from our preferred partners. Please keep in mind that hotel quality in Iceland varies among locations and availability is highly limited. We always do our best to accommodate special requests, which may incur additional costs. The sooner you reserve the higher quality accommodation we can provide. Press choose a date at the top to find availability.

Comfort

Rooms with a private bathroom in three star hotels or quality guesthouses. Very close to the best attractions at each location. Breakfast is included.

Quality

Rooms with a private bathroom in a four star hotel or superior rooms in a quality three star hotel at the best locations in Iceland. Breakfast is included.


Car

Below you can see the car rental options available for this self drive tour. All our vehicles are new or current models, maximum two years of age, and come equipped with a GPS, CDW, GP, and SCDW insurances. You can also upgrade to an automatic model, free of charge.

Budget

A small 2WD vehicle fit for basic travelling in everyday conditions, such as VW Polo, Toyota Yaris or similar. This vehicle does not have highland capabilities.

Comfort 4X4

A medium sized jeep or SUV with 4WD (4x4) fit for most travel, and good for snow and off-asphalt travel, such as Toyota Rav4 or similar. This vehicle has basic highland capabilities.

Luxury 4x4

A large sized jeep with 4WD (4x4) such as Toyota Land Cruiser or similar, fit for nearly all traveling. This vehicle has full highland capabilities to drive on accessible mountain roads.


Cancellation Insurance

This insurance guarantees that you can cancel the booking of this package and receive a full refund, minus the insurance cost of 5,000 ISK per person. The cancellation must be made within a minimum of 48-hours before the listed starting time. To cancel your booking and claim your refund, simply contact our service desk by writing to info@guidetoiceland.is no later than 48-hours before departure and declare the cancellation. Please note that this insurance only covers the full cancellation of this entire package. It does not cover cancellations of individual activities and services within the package. The cost of the Cancellation Insurance is neither refundable nor transferable.


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