9 Day Package | With Guided Tour Around The Ring Road of Iceland
Come along on this 9-day guided tour around Iceland. You'll visit the most famous places in the country, led by experts in the easiest way possible. From landing to departure, adventure awaits you. Leave your stress at home!
You'll be picked up at the airport and delivered to Reykjavik. The trip begins by heading along the south coast, and then east, exploring the entire island at all points of the compass.
You'll visit the Golden Circle, Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon and all the incredible waterfalls in between. You‘ll even have the chance to climb the ancient ice of Skaftafellsjökull glacier with an experienced glacier guides.
In the east, you'll see mountains and valleys, visit small, idyllic towns and hike in the fresh air before heading to the Lake Mývatn with all its natural and geological wonders. In the North, you'll visit Akureyri, and take a boat ride out into the Atlantic to meet the neighborhood whales.
Later, In the west, you'll see Europe's largest glacier, visit the unique Hraunfossar falls and make a stop in the cradle of saga culture, where the mythological Eddas and great Icelandic sagas were written, before heading back to the city.
The fun doesn't end there! During your day in Reykjavik, exploration, adrenaline-packed fun and calm relaxation are all available to you, and you can choose what kind of day you'd like.
Sample the wares at a boutique coffeehouse, take an ATV tour or go horse riding just outside the city, stroll through museums and art galleries, enjoy a leisurely meal at a sunny café, or schedule a spa treatment. It's your choice!
This trip includes the most stunning attractions in all areas of the nation, so don’t miss out on Iceland’s nature, culture and history! Check availability by choosing a date.
- Available: May. - Nov.
- Duration: 9 days
- Activities: Glacier Hiking, Hiking, Whale Watching, Sightseeing, Hot Spring Bathing, Fishing
- Difficulty: Easy
- Minimum age: 10 years.
- Languages: English
- Highlights: Blue Lagoon,
The Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spa and is the single most popular attraction in Iceland.
The water is rich in silica and sulphur that helps make your skin shine like a baby. The Blue Lagoon also operates a Research and Development facility that helps find cures for skin ailments using the mineral-rich water.
The temperature in the bathing and swimming area is very comfortable, and averages 37–39 °C (98–102 °F). There´s a restaurant there and it´s a truly romantic and beautiful place one should not miss while in Iceland.Golden Circle,
The Golden Circle is a 300 km route to the 3 most popular natural attractions in Iceland. The Golden Circle consists of Geysir, Gullfoss and Thingvellir.
See this for Golden circle tours.
Geysir is a geyser that gives its name to hot springs all over the world. But although Geysir itself is not active anymore the area features spectacular hot springs such as the powerful Strokkur (spouting a vast amount of water every 10 minutes, regularly about 15-20 meters into the air), Smidur and Litli-Strokkur.
The 'Golden Waterfall', is the second part of the Golden Circle, and one of the most beautiful and powerful waterfalls in Iceland, plummeting 32 meters into the river gorge of the popular rafting river Hvita. It is Iocated about 10 km from Geysir.
Thingvellir national park
The largest attraction of the Golden Circle is Thingvellir National Park. The Icelandic parliament was founded there in 930 and remained until the year 1798.
Today it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most important places to visit in Iceland, not just for its historical and cultural values, but for also its magnificent landscape.
Thingvellir is surrounded by a beautiful mountain and volcano range and is the site of a rift valley, where the tectonic plates meet, marking the crest of the Mid-Atlantic ridge.
Of particular note at Thingvellir are the magnificent Almannagja gorge, and the beautiful lake Thingvallavatn, the largest lake in Iceland. The popular Gjabakkahellir lava cave is also in the area.
The fissure Silfra is located by Thingvallavatn, Iceland's largest lake, and is famous for its clear waters and popular for diving and snorkeling, as you can literally swim between continents.Reykjavík,
Reykjavik is the capital of Iceland and the northernmost capital of a sovereign state in the world.
Despite a small population (120.000 and more than 200.000 in the Greater Reykjavik area), it is a vibrant city that draws an ever increasing number of visitors. It is the financial, cultural and governmental centre of Iceland. It also has a reputation of being one of the cleanest and safest cities in the world.
The city of Reykjavik is located in southwest Iceland by the creek of the same name. Throughout the ages, the landscape has been shaped by glaciers, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions and the area is geothermal. Much of the current city area area was subglacial during the Ice Age, with the glacier reaching as far as the Álftanes peninsula, while other areas lay under the sea. After the end of the ice age the land rose as the glaciers drifted away, and it began to take on its present form.
The coastline of Reykjavik is set with peninsulas, coves, straights and islands, most notably the island of Videy, and seabirds and whales frequent the shores. The mountain ring as seen from the shore is particularly beautiful. Mount Esja is the highest mountain in the vicinity of Reykjavik and lends its distinct feature to the whole area. This majestic mountain is also highly popular for climbing. Other notable mountains that can be seen from the seaside are Akrafjall and Skardsheidi and on clear days one may even see as far to the legendary Snaefellsjokull glacier, at the end of the Snafellsnes peninsula.
The largest river to run through the city is Ellidaa in Ellidaardalur valley, which is also one of Iceland‘s best rivers for salmon fishing.
There are no trains or trams in Iceland, but most people travel by car. The city also operates a bus system. There are two major harbours in town, the old harbour in the centre and Sundahofn in the east. The domestic Reykjavik Airport is located at Vatnsmyrin, not far from the city centre and close to Oskjuhlid and Perlan. The international Keflavik Airport at Midnesheidi heath then lies around 50 km from the city. Cars, jeeps and bicycles can be readily rented in the city and many organized tours are also being offered.
What to See & Do in Reykjavik
The local arts scene is strong in Iceland, with both annual events and single ones, many of whom have hit the international stage. For the annual ones please check our articles Best Annual Events in Iceland and the Top Ten Festivals in Iceland. Major events taking place in Reykjavik include the Iceland Airwaves, Gay Pride, RIFF (The Reykjavik International Film Festival), The Reykjavik Literature Festival, Cultural Night, the Reykjavik Arts Festival, Food & Fun, the Reykjavik Fashion Festival and the Sónar music festival.
Among famous people from Reykjavik are artists Bjork Gudmundsdottir, Sigur Ros, writers Halldor Laxness (born in Laugavegur) and Arnaldur Indridason and mayor Jon Gnarr. For more well-known and fairly-well known Icelanders, check our article on the subject.
You might also want to check our article on some of the many things to see and do in Reykjavik, such as visiting the city‘s many museums, exhibitions and galleries, checking out live music, visiting the Harpa music hall or the theatres, visiting the lighthouse at Grotta, the main shopping street of Laugavegur, visiting the old harbour and the flea market, going on a bird- and whale watching tour or visiting Videy island. We also have a top ten list of things to do.
Make sure to visit the public square of Austurvollur, one of the city‘s most popular gathering places, where you‘ll also find the national parliament, Althingi, the state church a statue of independence hero Jon Sigurdson, as well as cafés, bars and restaurants. Austurvollur was central in the 2008 protests, along with Laekjargata, home to the House of Government. You are also not likely to miss the great church of Hallgrimskirkja that towers over the city from the hill of Skolavorduholt, wherefrom you‘ll get a great view of the city.
Try a walk by the city pond, greet the many birds that frequent the area and visit the city hall, stationed by its banks. The Hljomaskalagardur is a beautiful park that lies by the pond, it ideal for a nice walk and sometimes concerts get held there. Further off is the campus of the university of Iceland, the Nordic house and the Vatnsmyri wetland, a particularly pleasant place, but be mindful of not disturbing the wildlife there and keep to the pathways.
For a nice swim on a warm day, we particularly recommend Nautholsvik beach.
Visit the Laugardalur valley, home to one of the city‘s best swimming pools, as well as the Asmundarsafn gallery, a beautiful botanical garden and a domestic zoo. A walk by the Aegissida beach, with it‘s old fishing sheds, in the west part of Reykjavik also holds a particular charm. The aforementioned Elllidaardalur valley is also a popular resort.
Another place that offers one of the city‘s best (and free) views is Perlan, up in Oskjuhlid hill. The hill itself is a popular resort, with over 176.000 trees and great opportunities for walking and cycling.
Travel to Alftanes to see the president‘s house at Bessastadir, which is also a historical site in it‘s own right, having been the educational centre of Iceland for centuries. Nearby is a beautiful lava field, Galgahraun, well worth a visit, though there is currently an environmental struggle going on as to it‘s future state.
The city is furthermore a short drive from many of Iceland‘s major attractions, most famously the Golden Circle and the Blue Lagoon. In close vicinity you‘ll also find the Heidmork preservation area, a favourite pastime resort of the people of Reykjavik, as well as the Blue Mountains, one of Iceland‘s most beloved skiing venues.
Check our Best of Reykjavik guide further for tips on the best cheap things to do in Reykjavik, some of the best restaurants in the city, happy hours, the top ten value places to eat and our two articles on the famous Reykjavik nightlife; Nightlife in Reykjavik and Nightlife and mating.
Finally, we‘d like to stress that these are only some suggestions of the many things you might check out in Reykjavik. Whatever you choose to do, we hope you‘ll be able to make the most of your visit and we wish you a pleasant stay in our capital.Akureyri,
Akureyri, ‘The Capital of the North’ is a town in the fjord Eyjafjordur in North Iceland. It lies just 100 km away from the Arctic Circle. It is Iceland’s second-largest urban area with a population of about 17,800.
Akureyri is an important fishing centre and port, but in the last few years tourism, industry, higher education and services have become the fastest growing sectors of the economy.
An international airport is located about 3 km from the center. A large number of cruisers also stop at Akureyri. One of Iceland's best skiing sites is found by Akureyri, at Hlidarfjall.
Traditionally Akureyri has survived on fisheries and some of Iceland’s largest fishing companies, like for example Samherji, have their headquarters there. Other large companies include Brim, Nordurmjolk, and Vifilfell hf, the largest brewery in Iceland.
FSA/Akureyri Hospital is a major employer in the area and is one of two major hospitals in Iceland.
Akureyri has excellent facilities for travelers and is located a short drive from many of Iceland’s top natural, cultural and historical attractions.
Nature & Landscape
Akureyri is surrounded by mountains, the highest one being Kerling (1538 m). The area around it has rich agriculture and a beautiful mountain ring.
The innermost part of the fjord, Pollurinn ('The Pool') further lends the town a special character. The climate in Akureyri is generally very pleasant.
The islands Hrisey in the middle of Eyfjordur and Grimsey, straddling the Artic Circle, both belong to the municipality of Akureyri. Hrisey is often called 'The Pearl of Eyjafjordur' and Grimsey 'The Pearl of the Artic' and these beautiful and peaceful islands are highly popular with travelers.
History & Culture
During World War II the town was an important site for the Allies and the town grew considerably after the war, as people increasingly moved to urban areas.
Akureyri has a strong cultural scene, with several bars and renowned restaurants. Folk culture in general is more prevalent there than in Reykjavik. During the summer there are several notable festivals in Akureyri and its surroundings.
Sites of interest in Akureyri include the brand-new Hof concert hall and Akureyri’s many museums, The Nature Museum, Nonnahus, a.k.a. Jon Sveinsson Memorial Museum, for the writer, David's house or David Stefansson Memorial Museum, for the poet, Akureyri Art Museum.
Akureyri also has several churches, Akureyrarkirkja being the most notable, as well as beautiful botanical gardens. The old town is particularly charming, ideal for a nice walk.Jökulsárlón,
Jökulsárlón is Iceland’s most famous glacier lagoon. Conveniently located in the southeast by Route 1, about halfway between the Skaftafell Nature Reserve and Höfn, it is a popular stop for those travelling along the South Coast or around the circular ring road of the country.
It stands out, however, due to the fact that it also fills with icebergs breaking from the glacier, some of which tower several stories high.
These icebergs, other than their scale, are notable for their colouration. Although they are, as expected, largely white, most are also dyed electric blue in part, with black streaks of ash from eruptions centuries past.
When the icebergs finally make it across the lagoon, they either drift out to sea or wash up on the nearby shore. Because of the way they glisten against the black sands of Breiðamerkursandur, this area has been nicknamed ‘the Diamond Beach’.
In spite of being a rather recent formation, Jökulsárlón is the deepest lake in the country, with depths reaching 248 metres. With a surface area of 18 square kilometres, it is also growing to be one of the largest.
Jökulsárlón has not been around since Iceland’s settlement; it only formed around 1935. This was due to rapidly rising temperatures in the country from the turn of the twentieth century; since 1920, Breiðamerkurjökull has been shrinking at a dramatic rate, and the lagoon has begun to fill its space.
Today, the expansion of Jökulsárlón is accelerating. As recently as 1975, it was just 8 square kilometres, and now that size has more than doubled.
In the relatively near future, it is expected that the lagoon will continue to grow until it becomes a large, deep fjord.
Though a dark omen for Iceland’s glaciers and ice caps in general, the retreat of Breiðamerkurjökull has resulted in an incredibly beautiful, if temporary, site. This has not been overlooked by Hollywood.
Jökulsárlón has been featured in the James Bond films A View to Kill in 1985 and Die Another Day in 2002, 2001’s Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, and 2005’s Batman Begins.
In 2017, Jökulsárlón was enveloped into the Vatnajökull National Park, thus it is now fully protected by Icelandic law.
Because of the wealth of herring and capelin that the tides bring into the lagoon, Jökulsárlón is somewhat of a hot-spot for Iceland’s wildlife.
In summer, it is a nesting site for Arctic Terns; stay well away from this area, as these birds are notorious for the fierceness with which they protect their eggs, dive-bombing the heads of any they see as a threat. Skuas also nest on the lake’s shores in this season.
Seals can be reliably spotted here throughout the year, swimming amongst or else hauling out on the icebergs. Jökulsárlón provides them with a safe haven to rest and socialise, especially considering the waters of southeast Iceland are renowned for their population of orcas.Vatnajökull,
Vatnajökull is the largest ice cap in Iceland and the third largest glacier in Europe, covering 8% of the island's landmass. Vatnajökull Glacier can be found in the south west of Iceland and is a popular spot for glacier hiking and ice caving tours.
Facts about Vatnajökull
- Surface: 8,100 km2
- Average thickness: 400 - 600 m
- Maximum thickness: 1,000 m
- Height: 1,400 - 1,800 m
- Highest peak: 2,200 m (Hvannadalshnjúkur)
Information about Vatnajökull
Vatnajökull Glacier belongs to the greater Vatnajökull National Park, which encompasses the former national parks Skaftafell, in the southwest, and Jökulsárgljúfur, in the north. Vatnajökull's highest summit is Hvannadalshnjúkur which rests on top of a stratovolcano known as Öræfajökull.
Underneath the glacier rests some of the most active volcanoes in the country, the most notable being Grímsvötn, Öræfajökull and Bárðabunga. Volcanic activity in the region has occurred on and off throughout the centuries, and many geologists believe that such a period is overdue for immediate future. If their calculations are correct, it would mean significant volcanic activity for Vatnajökull over the scope of the next half century.
The glacier boasts of over 30 outlet glaciers, which are channels of ice that flow out of ice caps but remain constrained on the sides of the valley. The major outlet glaciers of Vatnajökull include Dyngjujökull in the north, Breiðamerkurjökull and Skeiðarárjökull to the south. To the west, one can find the outlet glaciers Síðujökull, Skaftárjökull and Tungnaárjökull.
Glaciers are in constant motion underneath their weight; as they form over the centuries, the accession of snow exceeds its melting, creating a constant "push" on the ice cap. Each year, due to the melting ice water, new ice caves form that disappear come spring.
- Click here for a selection of Ice Cave tours
Numerous rivers run out of Vatnajökull, making up some of the greatest glacial rivers in Iceland:
- Tungnaá (west)
- Köldukvísl (west)
- Þjórsá (west)
- Jökulsá á Fjöllum (north)
- Skjálfandafljót (north)
- Jökulsá á Brú (north east)
- Jökulsá í Fljótsdal (north east)
- Jökulsá í Lóni (south)
- Hornafjarðarfljót (south)
- Jökulsá á Breiðamerkursandi (south)
- Skeiðará (south)
- Núpsvötn (south)
- Hverfisfljót (south)
- Skaftá (south)
Vatnajökull National Park
Vatnajökull National Park, in its current state, was established in June 2008. The park now covers an area of 14.141 km2, making it the second largest national park in Europe. Vatnajökull National Park has 14% coverage over the whole island of Iceland.
Rivers divide the highland plateau to the north of the park; an area that sees massive glacial flows in the summertime. The volcanic table mountain Herðubreið towers over this particular region, along with volcanoes Askja, Snæfell and Kverkfjöll.
The canyon Jökulsárgljúfur was carved out by glacial floods centuries ago. At the upper end of the canyon, you'll find Dettifoss, the most powerful waterfall in Europe. Further north, the horseshoe-shaped canyon Ásbyrgi is believed to have formed when Óðinn's horse, Sleipnir, stepped his foot down from the heavens.
East around Snæfell, one can find wetlands and ranges, home to roaming herds of wild reindeer and abundant birdlife. Steep mountain ridges make up the south side of Vatnajökull, where outlet glaciers crawl in between the ridges onto the lowlands. The sandy plains of Skeiðarársandur also lie to the south as they reach out to sea. The glacial river Skeiðará runs through this vast desert.
One of Iceland's most visited landmarks is the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, which sits at the head of outlet glacier Breiðamerkurjökull. There, large icebergs that have broken off the glacier gather to float in the lake before ending up in the Atlantic Ocean, or on the nearby Diamond Beach.
- Click here for a selection of Jökulsárlón tours
The Future of Vatnajökull
The volume of Vatnajökull reached its peak around 1930 but has since been in a steady process of decline. Because of rising levels of global temperature, approximately over the last 15 years, Vatnajökull has on average lost about a metre of its thickness annually.
If temperature levels continue to rise, the glacier could be all but gone nearing the end of the next century, leaving only small ice caps on top of the highest mountain summits.
Vatnajökull and Jökulsárlón in Popular Culture
- HBO's Game of Thrones (season 2, 2012)
- Batman Begins (2005)
- James Bond: Die Another Day (2002)
- James Bond: A View to a Kill (1985)
Myvatn is a beautiful lake with many small islands in the north of Iceland, the fourth largest lake in the country. Along with its surrounding area, the lake is one of Iceland's most amazing natural attractions.
Some of the islands in Myvatn are pseudocraters, formed by steam explosions. The lake has rich birdlife and more species of ducks than anywhere else in the world. As for vegetation, it is one of the few places in the world that grows Marimo, also known as Cladophora ball, Lake ball, or Moss Balls in English, a species of filamentous green algae (Chlorophyta).
The Myvatn nature baths are also renowned throughout the world, a perfect place to relax, surrounded by breathtaking landscape.
Close to the lake is Dimmuborgir, a fascinating area of dramatic and chaotic lava. Norwegian symphonic metal band Dimmu Borgir takes its name from the the lava field, and it continues to inspire travellers from all over the world.
The Myvatn area is definitely one of the most beautiful places in Iceland. Don´t miss it!Goðafoss,
Goðafoss waterfall is located the river Skjálfandafljót in north Iceland, the fourth largest river in Iceland. It is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Iceland, falling from a height of 12 metres over a width of 30 metres.
The fall's name means either waterfall of the gods or of the 'goði' (i.e. priest/ chieftain). It is said that when the lawspeaker Þorgeir Ljósvetningagoði declared Christianity the official religion in Iceland, after his own conversion, he threw the statues of the old Norse gods into the waterfall.Seljalandsfoss,
Seljalandsfoss in the river Seljalandsa in South Iceland is one of the most sought waterfalls in the country.
Seljalandsfoss has a narrow cascade but is one of Iceland's highest waterfalls, at 63 meters. The waterfall is highly picturesque and has the rare distinction that one can actually walk behind it.Geysir,
Geysir is a famous hot spring in Haukadalur valley in South Iceland. Part of the ‘Golden Circle', Geysir gives its name to hot springs all over the world.
Though Geysir itself is hardly active anymore, the area features spectacular hot springs such as the powerful Strokkur, which spouts a vast amount of water every 10 minutes, around 15-20 meters into the air, Smidur and Litli-Strokkur.
North of Geysir are fumaroles, i.e. unlike the hot springs that emit hot water, only steam and gas emanate from these. You may be able to observe bright yellow stains at the fumaroles, this is native sulphur, which crystallizes from the steam. At the southern part of the geothermal area, called Thykkuhverir, you‘ll find various mud pots. Such mud pots are actually fumaroles that boil up through surface water/groundwater and may become steaming fumaroles during dry spells, rather than the usual boiling mud pots.
About 2 km from Geysir is an old preserved natural pool called Kúalaug. One can bathe in it and it has room for 3-5 people at a time, but care should be taken, as the area around the pool is very delicate. The temperature is 39-43°C, depending on how you are positioned in the pool. The water is slightly muddy, as the pool is built on soil, and the bottom is slippery due to algae, so caution is advised.
In Haukadalur there has also been tree planting in recent times and today the forest Haukadalsskógur is one of the largest in South Iceland. Aspen, various types of pine, and other plants have been tried out there and experiments and research continue. We also recommend visiting the tree museum, built in the memory of forester Gunnar Freysteinsson. There are good paths and roads in the forest and the wood is specially designed to accommodate wheelchairs.
Haukadalur has been a church site since ancient time. The current wooden church was last rebuilt in 1938 but the variety and appearance of the church dates back to 1842, making it one of the oldest of its kind in Iceland.
Haukadalur is indeed a historical place. It was settled during the age of settlement and scholar Ari “The Wise“ Thorgilsson grew up there. The first pastoral school in Iceland was also built there.
For accommodation, Hotel Gullfoss is about 7 km from the Geysir area, and closer still is the Hotel Geysir.Gullfoss,
Gullfoss (translated to ‘Golden Falls’) is one of Iceland’s most iconic and beloved waterfalls, found on the Hvítá river canyon in south Iceland. The water in Hvítá river travels from the glacier Langjökull, finally cascading 32m down Gullfoss’ two stages in a dramatic display of nature’s raw power.
Because of the waterfall’s two stages, Gullfoss should actually be thought of as two separate waterfalls. The first, shorter stage of the waterfall is 11m, whilst the second stage is 21m. The canyon walls on both sides of the waterfall reach heights of up to 70m, descending into the 2.5km long Gullfossgjúfur canyon (geologists indicate that this canyon was formed by glacial outbursts at the beginning of the last age.)
In the summer, approximately 140 cubic metres of water surges down the waterfall every second, whilst in winter that number drops to around 109 cubic metres. With such energy, visitor’s should not be surprised to find themselves drenched by the waterfall’s mighty spray-off.
In the early days of the last century, Gullfoss was at the centre of much controversy regarding foreign investors and their desire to profit off Iceland’s nature. In the year 1907, an English businessman known only as Howells sought to utilise the waterfall’s energy and harboured ambitions to use its energy to fuel a hydroelectric plant.
At the time, Gullfoss was owned by a farmer named Tómas Tómasson. Tómas declined Howell’s offer to purchase the land, stating famously “I will not sell my friend!” He would, however, go on to lease Howells the land, inadvertently beginning the first chapter of Icelandic environmentalism.
It was Tómas’ daughter, Sigríður Tómasdóttir, who would lead the charge. Having grown up on her father’s sheep farm, she sought to get the lease contract nullified, hurriedly saving her own money to hire a lawyer. The ensuing legal battle was an uphill struggle; the case continued for years, forcing Sigríður to travel many times by foot to Reykjavík if only to keep the trial moving. Circumstances became so difficult that Sigríður threatened to throw herself into the waterfall if any construction began.
Thankfully, in 1929, the waterfall fell back into the hands of the Icelandic people. Today, Sigríður is recognised for her perseverance in protecting Gullfoss and is often hailed as Iceland’s first environmentalist. Her contribution is forever marked in stone; a plaque detailing her plight sits at the top of Gullfoss.
Restaurant / Cafe
Besides Gullfoss, visitors can enjoy the views from Gullfoss Cafe, a locally run delicatessen that serves a wide variety of refreshments and meals. The menu has options to tantalise everyone’s taste buds; hot soups, sandwiches, salads and cakes. There is also a shop on site where visitors’ can browse and purchase traditional Icelandic souvenirs.Þingvellir,
Þingvellir is one of the most important sites to visit in Iceland for its landscape, history and cultural value.
The Icelandic parliament was founded in Þingvellir in 930 and remained there for centuries. Þingvellir is surrounded by a beautiful mountain range and is the site of a rift valley, marking the crest of the Mid-Atlantic range. Today it is a natural park, listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and considered a vital part of the ‘Golden triangle’ (with Geysir and Gullfoss). Of particular note is the magnificent gorge Almannagjá, which marks the eastern boundary of the North American plate and into which the beautiful waterfall Öxarárfoss falls.
Other notable attractions within the park include the beautiful lake Þingvallavatn, the largest lake in Iceland, the Silfra fissure, one of the world's top dives, Þingvallakirkja Church and Gjábakkahellir, one of Iceland's most interesting lava tubes.Skagafjörður,
Skagafjordur is a fjord in North Iceland. Saudarkrokur is its largest village. Skagafjordur district has strong agriculture and a rich history. Five of the largest battles in Icelandic history were fought there in the 13th century civil war.
Islands & Cape
There are three islands in the fjord, Drangey, Malmey and Lundey. Foremost of these is the steep Drangey island, shaped like a fort and rich with birdlife. For 19 years it was the refuge for the outlaw Grettir Asmundarsson of Grettis Saga fame.
Thordarhofdi may resemble an island when seen from afar but is actually a cape, the remnants of an old volcano. The cape has beautiful rows of columnar basalt, best seen from the sea.
History, Culture & activities
An old renovated turf farm house is to be seen at Glaumbaer museum, giving a good sense of the rural life of 18th and 19th century Iceland. Gudridur Thornbjarnardottir is said to have lived there, the first European mother on American ground.
North Iceland was a bishop’s district of its own and the bishop’s seat was at Holar in Hjaltadalur valley in the east of Skagafjordur. Holar today features an agricultural university, and is the seat for an ordaining bishop, who is a woman.
Skagafjordur district has some of the best rafting rivers in the country, so rafting there is highly popular, as well as horseriding. So is horseriding. Indeed, the culture of Skagafjordur is characterized by horse-riding, tenor singing and enjoying life.Skaftafell,
Skaftafell is a nature preserve in Oraefasveit. It used to be a national park of its own but joined the larger Vatnajokull National Park in 2008.
Skaftafell is notable for its rich flora, growing between sands and glaciers, and overall for its amazing and contrasting scenery. You can take short and easy trails to the waterfalls Svartifoss and Hundafoss, as well as Skaftafell glacier, with the mountain Kristinartindar and Morsardalur valley further off.
Skaftafell is also the perfect base camp for those seeking to climb Iceland’s highest peak, Hvannadalshnukur.Höfn,
Hofn a Hornafirdi, is a fishing town in southeast Iceland, with a population of 1641 (as of 2011). It has a strong harbour and its main industries are fishing and tourism.
Of note are several interesting museums and the annual Humarhatid (lobster festival). The area is also rich and varied birdlife and migratory birds from Scotland land here around April and leave around August/September.Egilsstaðir,
Egilsstadir is the largest town in East Iceland, with a population of 2257 people as of 2011. It is located on the banks of the river Lagarfljot in the wide valley of the fertile Fljotsdalsherad district.
Egilsstadir is the main center for service, transportation and administration in East Iceland.
The town provides all basic services and features an airport, a college and a health center. Egilsstadir also has an annual jazz festival that we can recommend. The town is furthermore close to many of East Iceland's and indeed Iceland's main attractions and as a center of the area, many East Iceland tours are directed from there.
The area of Fljotsdalsherad has many notable points of interest, whether natural, historical or cultural. Click here for further information about those.Skógar,
Skogar, in South Iceland, is a popular destination for travelers. It has a population of about 20 people, features a regional museum and and is close to the beautiful Skogafoss waterfall. The area had a region school until 1949, now run as a hotel.
The regional museum site
The museum features several buildings. The main building has many interesting artefacts but its main attraction is the eight-oar fishing ship Petursey, the best-known Icelandic ship of its kind.
There is an electicity station in the area, built in 1929. There’s also charming little schoolhouse there, built in 1901 and serving until 1907. Furthermore, there is a beautiful church there, Skogakirkja, built in the 19th century style, using material from decomissioned churches.
A transport museum at the site has a collection of vehicles, along with am exhibition on the history of transport and its development.
The timberhouse of Holt has its earliest origins in 1878 but has since been restored, with the latest restoration ocurring around 1950. The house has domestic artifacts ranging from 1870-1930. Another building, the reconstructed ‘Skalarbaer’ dates back to 1919-20 and last, but not least, is the old reconstructed turf farm of seven houses, dating back to the 19th century and with old artifacts, showcasing the farm life of the time.
There are several spectacular waterfalls in the area. The most famous, about 5 km from Skogar. is the Skogafoss waterfall, one of the highest and most beautiful waterfalls in Iceland. You can walk to the top of the waterfall and on sunny days it may produce a rainbow. You can also travel by jeep to Fimmvorduhals, one of Iceland’s most popular hiking routes. The volcanic glaciers Myrdalsjokull (home to Katla volcano) and Eyjafjallajokull are not far off, the latter famous for its 2010 eruption. Further north is Thorsmork, one of Iceland’s most popular sites.Námafjall Geothermal Area,
The Namafjall geothermal field is located in Northeast Iceland, on the east side of Lake Myvatn.
At this area, also known as Hverir, you may see many solfataras and boiling mud pots, surrounded by sulfur crystals of many different colours. The area is quite smelly but something one gets used to after a while. The soil in the area has little growth and is sour due to erosion and the sulfur from the atmosphere. Indeed, the old rock-covered boreholes in the area give off a lot of hot steam, so we advise caution.
Around the area is a small hiking trail up to Namaskard pass and Namafjall mountain, returning to the highway and the parking lot.
Historically sulfur would be much sought after in the area. The same is true of the geothermal power. In 1969 a power plant was built west of the mountain, at Bjarnarflag, by the Laxa Power Company. This company later merged with Landsvirkjun. The plant currently produces 3MW of geothermal energy.
Concerns have raised over current plans to expand the plant to 90 MW. In particular there have been worries as regards the effect of the plant on the ecosystem of Lake Myvatn. The head of the environmental NGO Landvernd has recently called for a new environmental impact assesment. The matter continues to be debated.Reynisdrangar,
Reynisdrangar are rock formations situated near the shore of Reynisfjara beach by the coastal village Vík í Mýrdalur on the South Coast of Iceland.
The formations are large and impending sea cliffs, made up of the rock type basalt, that serve as a vital part of the area’s allure as they shoot dramatically out of the ocean under the looming cliffs of Mt. Reynisfjall.
- Visit Reynisfjara and Reynisdrangar on these South Coast Tours
The village of Vík only houses around 300 permanent inhabitants, but on a daily basis, travellers scouting the South Coast make their way there to visit what has been voted as one of the most beautiful non-tropical beaches in the world. The beach of Reynisfjara, however, can be highly dangerous if proper caution is not taken. As is evident from how the waves of the Atlantic Ocean crash upon Reynisdrangar, the currents here are strong, and sneak waves can easily carry anyone that’s standing too close out to sea. The beach is not for wading, but for admiring, and especially the mighty surf bursting on the base of these rocky cliffs.
There is an Icelandic folk tale that explains the origin of the pillars’ eerie appearance. According to legend, a couple of trolls were busy dragging a stranded three-masted ship to shore when the sunlight hit them and turned them into pillars of rock for all eternity. In fact, numerous rock formations in Iceland carry with them tales of trolls or elves, and one has only to look at them to fathom why.
Surroundings & Wildlife
An alternative view of the bewitching cliffs and their surrounding sea can be enjoyed by venturing up Mt. Reynisfjall, by a road to the west of the village. The mountain furthermore functions as a puffin colony every summer, from April to September, meaning guests can enjoy the view in good company. Other birds can be seen gliding around the cliffs such as Arctic terns, fulmars and seagulls.
- See also: Puffin Watching Tours
Iceland has one main ring road: Route 1. This ring road goes all around the island and is 1332 km long (828 miles). The road connects the capital, Reykjavík, to the second biggest city in Iceland, Akureyri, in the north of the country. Other notable towns that are connected via the ring road are Borgarnes, Blönduós, Egilsstaðir, Höfn, Kirkjubæjarklaustur, Vík, Hella, Hvolsvöllur, Selfoss and Hveragerði.
A number of popular tourist attractions are also found by the ring road, such as Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, Lake Mývatn and the waterfalls Seljalandsfoss, Skógafoss and Goðafoss.
The ring road consists mainly of paved two lanes road (one each direction). Some parts of the ring road are still unpaved however. In various places the road contains single lane bridges, especially in the east part of the country. The speed limit is 90km per hour on the paved section of the road (lower when it passes through towns), but 80km per hour on gravel.
The road was only completed in 1974, with the opening of Iceland's longest bridge, that crosses Skeiðará river in southeast Iceland. In 1998 a tunnel below the fjord Hvalfjörður shortened the drive around Iceland by about one hour (or 45km along a winding fjord). Hvalfjörður tunnels are the biggest tunnels in Iceland, 5,8 km and 165m below sea level. The ring road has another tunnel called Almannaskarð in the southeast by Höfn and by 2017 the Vaðlaheiðar tunnels should be open in north Iceland, shortening the distance between Akureyri and Mývatn.
Some sections of the ring road are original 1940's country roads, and a number of sharp curves, blind curves, blind summits as well as single lane bridges mean that people need to drive cautiously. In wintertime most of the ring road is kept open, with the exception of a short passage in the east part of the country that may be closed due to heavy snow (a detour is needed to travel from the north to the east during wintertime).
Guide to Iceland would advise people to drive cautiously on the ring road both in summer and wintertime, but also to explore other roads leading from it to multiple attractions.
Pickup time : Flexible
3 nights of accommodation in Reykjavik (different levels available; breakfast not included for Super Budget level; breakfast included for Comfort and Quality levels; more detailed info below)
5 nights of accommodation in the countryside (double rooms in hostels with private bathrooms and continental breakfast)
Airport transfer on arrival/departure
Blue Lagoon standard entrance (upgrades available) and return transfer
6 full days touring Iceland's Ring Road in a minibus with English guidance
Glacier Hike with a certified glacier guide
Whale watching and sea angling
Hands-on travel agent to oversee your itinerary
What to bring:
Warm outdoor clothing (including waterproof jacket and pants, headwear and gloves)
Good hiking shoes are recommended
Swimsuits and towels
Good to know:
Although it is summertime, the Icelandic weather can be very unpredictable. Please bring appropriate clothing.
The departures of the Ring Road tour are always set on a Monday, so travellers are asked to keep in mind that their arrival should be set on a Saturday or a Sunday. Depending on arrival day, the Free Day in the city will be placed on either the 2nd or 8th day of your stay, with the guided tour around Iceland starting on Day 3 in the former case and Day 2 in the latter.
Day 1 - Arrival Day - Welcome to Iceland!
Welcome to Iceland, the home of hot springs, volcanoes, waterfalls and lava fields! At the airport we will be waiting for you, ready to spirit you away to the strange landscape of the Reykjanes peninsula, where the black lava makes a stark contrast with the dark blue and foaming white of the North Atlantic Ocean. An even greater contrast of colors is your first stop, the world-famous Blue Lagoon.
This azure lake in the middle of the ebony lava field is known for its healing properties, but the silica mud at the bottom has wonderful soothing (and smoothing!) qualities for the skin. The geothermal warmth of the pool soothes and relaxes both muscles and mind.
This is the perfect way to relax after a flight, at the start of your adventure. If your flight arrives late, you can always move this visit to your departure day and treat yourself one final time before returning home.
After your soothing soak, you will be transported to your hotel in Reykjavik, the northernmost capital on the planet. The city is sure to entice you with its wide selection of restaurants and cafés, boutiques, bars and music locales: There's something here for everyone! Your first evening will be spent in this lovely place that is both intimate as a small town and exciting as a big city.
Day 2 - On the Ring Road
You will be picked up at your hotel by your guide and head east out of the city, but your first brush with Iceland's magnificent nature happens today. Your first stop is the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Þingvellir National Park, where the tectonic plates of Europe and America push and pull at each other, creating a landscape of deep clefts and hardened lava rock.
Other amazing sights include the Silfra fissure and Öxaárfoss waterfall. In this place, Icelanders founded the first democratic parliament in the world more than a thousand years ago.
Your next stop is the Haukadalur valley where the Geysir hot springs reside, spewing boiling water skywards in a great display of geothermal power. The king of them all, Gamli Geysir, sits fat and silent in the middle, surrounded by mud and rocks in reddish and purple colours.
Not far away, the great river Hvítá rushes down into a deep canyon in the form of the waterfall Gullfoss, the Golden One. This bulk of glacier water plummets down more than 30 m (98 ft) into the canyon below with such force that those on the bank are drenched by the drops swirled back up by the power.
After that, you'll head out along the south coast, past other glorious waterfalls, such as Seljalandsfoss and Skógarfoss, to the village Vík, where you will spend the night. There lies the famous Reynisfjara black beach, with its basalt column caves and dark rock stacks, where the Atlantic crashes upon the shore.
Day 3 - Glacier Adventure
You'll hit the road and follow the coastline under the great glacier Vatnajökull, on your way to the Skaftafell National Park. There, you will lace up your hiking boots and don't forget your mittens, for it is time to get adventurous and take a hike onto the Skaftafellsjökull glacier.
There, atop of the age-old ice, your guides will instruct you in glacier hiking basics and ice climbing - a skill surely everyone should have. Now's your chance!
When you reach the lowlands again, you'll continue to travel under this massive ice cap to the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. The gargantuan icebergs crumble from the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier tongue and into the dark waters, and gather at the lagoon, then break apart and scatter on the black coast below, giving it the illusion of being scattered with diamonds in the evening sun.
Your night will be spent nearby, in the town of Höfn.
Day 4 - Southeast and Heading North
Your day will start at Stokknes headland, where the great mountain Vestrahorn looms over the impressive landscape before your journey turns northbound and you'll head up the eastern fjords. This area of Iceland is characterized by its smooth mountains and deep valleys, and you will zigzag along the scenic coastline until you reach the town of Egilstaðir, sometimes known as the East Capital.
On the way to Egilstaðir, you will make a stop to hike up to the lovely Hengifoss, "the hanging waterfall," one of Iceland's tallest waterfalls. Surrounded by basaltic strata from times long gone, this waterfall is more than 120 m (394 ft) high. In the area, there are remains of fossilized trees which add to the feeling of walking through a bygone world.
Your evening and night will be spent near the town of Egilstaðir.
Day 5 - A Diamond Day
The brother of the Golden Circle is the Diamond Circle, the area around the famous Lake Mývatn, and that is where you will spend this day. First, you will visit one of the most powerful waterfalls in Europe, Dettifoss in Jökulsárglúfur canyon, before heading to the moss-covered lava field that surrounds Lake Mývatn.
The area has high geothermal activity, and the locals have learned to use that to their advantage, by baking bread in metal containers buried in the hot earth, for example.
You will visit the Námaskarð geothermal area, get a chance to climb the Hverfjall (or Hverfell, depending on where you come from) tephra cone and explore the Dimmuborgir lava fields, where myths say the Hidden People hold court.
Later, you'll head further west towards the town of Akureyri, passing the lovely Goðafoss waterfall, and drive to the Eyjafjörður fjord, where your night will be spent at a lovely country hotel overlooking the fjord.
Day 6 - The Town of Akureyri and the Lovely North
You'll start the day by exploring the capital town of the North. Sometimes nicknamed The Danish Town, Akureyri is a place nestled on the shore of the fjord in the shadow of the Súlur peak.
Known for its culinary peculiarities and great skiing in winter, you'll be sure to find at least one tasty treat there. Also, count the church steps that lead up to the lovely hilltop church, and then take a peek inside. You won't be disappointed.
Then you'll head out along the coastline to the fishing village of Dalvík, in the opening of the Svarfaðardalur valley, known as "The Foremost of Icelandic Valleys."
There, you will leave terra firma behind and board a boat for a three-hour whale watching tour where you have the opportunity meet the gentle giants of the North Atlantic.
Afterward, you'll continue along the Tröllaskagi peninsula and visit the lovely village of Siglufjörður (made famous by the Icelandic TV series "Trapped," popular on the BBC) before turning back inland southwest. Your night will be spent in a charming place in the middle of a lava field in West Iceland.
Day 7 - The Wonders of West Iceland
On your last day on the road, you'll get to see some of the best sights that the West has to offer: Deildartunguhver, the largest hot spring in Europe, the Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls and the wide lava fields of Borgarfjörður.
On the way to these places, you'll pass Húsafell, under the ice cap of Ok mountain, and the hamlet Kleppjárnsreykir, where local farmers sell their organic produce by the roadside in summer.
For history buffs, this is a great day, as you'll visit Snorrastofa at Reykholt, where the famous medieval writer Snorri Sturluson wrote his mangum opus, Heimskringa, and recorded the Prose Edda and many of the sagas that still live within Icelandic culture and form a large part of its identity. These manuscripts are preserved in the Árni Magnússon institution at the University of Iceland.
Afterward, you'll have gone full circle as you return to the city of Reykjavík in the late afternoon and check into your hotel. You'll have the evening free and at your leisure in this spirited city.
Day 8 - Free Day in Reykjavík
After a long trip, you deserve a day off. Enjoy yourself and get to know the city. Take a walk down by the pond, visit the cafés and boutiques, visit museums and drink in the colourful atmosphere of downtown Reykjavík.
The day doesn't have to be all rest and relaxation, though. There's so much to choose from. Whales frequent the Faxaflói bay and would love to have you drop by. Or you could enjoy a sightseeing self-guided trip, visiting museums and historic places.
If you'd like some excitement, the Þríhnjúkagígur volcanic chamber, now safely empty of magma, is a true cathedral of this earth. You'll be lowered down into this deep dome, with coloured rock walls all around, and stand on the football-field-sized bottom, with the narrow opening high above. This is the only magma chamber in the world you may venture inside!
If you'd rather go up than down, there's always the option of a helicopter tour where you could see the city from high above and take a small trip to nearby mountains for some beautiful sights from high above!
Day 9 - Departure Day & Fond Farewell
And now the end is near, and it is time to go home. You'll be picked up at your hotel and taken through the black lava fields once again to Keflavik International Airport.
As stated above, your visit to the Blue Lagoon can also be placed on this day, if you'd prefer, and if your flight times allow.
Your adventure in Iceland might be over for now, but we hope you'll visit again!
Accommodation in Reykjavik
See our accommodation levels below. Super Budget booking will be arranged in hostel dormitory bed accommodation. For Comfort and Quality bookings, 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). If you are travelling in a group, but prefer a single room, please make separate bookings. For multi-day guided tours, accommodation cannot be upgraded and the levels below do not apply. We always do our best to accommodate special requests, which may incur additional costs.
Rooms or dormitory beds with shared bathrooms in guesthouses or hostels, such as HI Hostels. Located in the capital region. Breakfast is not included.
Rooms with a private bathroom at three-star hotels such as Fosshótel Barón, or quality guesthouses. Located in the city center or in close vicinity. Breakfast is included.
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 email@example.com 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.