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10 Day Self Drive Tour | The Ultimate Ring Road - SD08

The World's Greatest Road Trip? Experience everything Iceland has to offer & see for yourself!

Drive to see the best of Iceland on Ring Road in 10 days! It allows abundant time and freedom to visit all the must-sees and experience the must-try adventures including glacier hiking in the south and whale watching in the north. The package will guide you to one of the captivating road trips in the world.

Included in your 10-day self-drive package is a rental car at your selection, accommodation with private bathroom and breakfast included, Solheimajokull glacier hiking and whale watching in Dalvik.
All at the best price available.


Duration: 10 days

Available: All year

Age limit: 10 Years (For glacier hike)

Difficulty: Easy

Tour Highlights:
  • Self Drive Experience
  • The Golden Circle (Thingvellir, Geysir, Gullfoss)
  • The Ring Road
  • South Coast (Seljalandsfoss, Skogafoss, Dyrholaey, Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach)
  • Glacier Hiking on Sólheimajökull
  • Vatnajokull National Park
  • Svartifoss waterfall
  • Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon
  • The Diamond Beach
  • Vestrahorn
  • Hallormsstadaskogur
  • Hengifoss and Litlanesfoss
  • Dettifoss waterfall
  • Hverarond and Namafjall
  • Myvatn
  • Godafoss waterfall
  • Akureyri, the Capital of The North
  • Dalvik Whale Watching
  • Kolugljufur Canyon
  • Snaefellsnes Peninsula
  • Mt. Kirkjufell
  • Stykkishólmur
  • Arnarstapi & Hellnar villages
  • Lóndrangar Sea Stacks
  • Djúpalónssandur Pebble Beach
  • Ytri-Tunga
  • Deildartunguhver the most powerful hot spring in Europe
  • Gerðuberg Basalt Columns
  • Hraunfossar and Barnafoss
  • Akranes Lighthouse
  • Reykjanes Peninsula
  • And many more you can visit using our detailed guide!

Pick-up: Choose between pickup at Keflavik international airport (KEF) or BSI bus terminal in downtown Reykjavik, at flexible times.

For the best experience we recommend that you pick the car up early on arriving day, and return it in the afternoon or evening on the departure day.

Remember to bring:

  • Warm clothes
  • Hiking shoes
  • A driver's license
  • Sunglasses
  • Bathing suits and towels

Drop-off: By default your drop-off location is always set to Keflavik international airport (KEF), no matter which pickup location you select.

You can however drop-off the car at BSI Bus Terminal in Reykjavik, on the last day. If you prefer this drop-off location, you can change the drop-off location afterwards (details can be found in the confirmation email).

Included:

  • Accommodation for 9 nights w. breakfast
  • Rental car for 10 days (with all basic insurances: Collision Damage Waiver, Personal Accident Insurance and Theft protection)
  • Glacier hike on Solheimajokull glacier
  • Whale watching tour in Dalvik
  • Detailed itinerary and information package

Accommodation: Comfort accommodation is included in the package. Good locations, breakfast included and you get a private bathroom.

Note: If you book for 2 or 4 persons you get twin / double rooms. If you book for 3 or 5 persons you get a combination of double/twin rooms and a single room.

Optional extra: If your flight schedule allows, you can stop at the famous Blue Lagoon geothermal spa on your way to the airport on day 10 for a relaxing hot bath. The admission fee is not included in the package. Since a pre-booking is required to enter Blue Lagoon, we recommend you to do so at bluelagoon.com. Please remember to bring a bathing suit and a towel, if you don’t want to rent them at the reception.

from:
165 990 per adult

If 4 persons - May vary depending on group size, season and availability.

Instant confirmation & Low Prices

Pick-up & Drop-off at Keflavik international airport. Note you can change the drop-off location to Reykjavik (see confirmation email for details).

Tour Description

Travel at your own pace and explore Iceland with freedom. The majestic nature in Iceland presents a dramatic show, with national parks, stunning waterfalls, astonishing glaciers, magnificent volcanoes and steamy geothermal areas. This 10-day Ring Road self-drive package will bring you on a phenomenal road trip to unique sceneries and striking landscapes. You will explore the capital city Reykjavik extensively and visit the Golden Circle wonders, you will also pass the Diamond Circle in the north, then you will take a detour from the Ring Road to circle the brilliant Snaefellsnes National Park.

We have two exciting activities planned for you, glacier hiking in the south and whale watching in the north. Many other fascinating meet-on-location adventures are also available along the Ring Road when you want to add spice to your road trip.

Key Facts About the Ring Road:

  • The Ring Road is also called Highway 1, Route 1.
  • It is 1,332 kilometers (828 miles) long, connecting major towns.
  • The speed limit on most part of the Ring Road is 90 km/h (55 m/h).
  • Most part of the Ring Road is paved, only minor stretches are gravel with a sign nearby.
  • Most part has two lanes, while there are single-lane bridges on some locations.
  • Gas stations are located along the Ring Road.
  • Watch this fun and informative video from Icelandic Transport Authority about driving in Iceland.
  • Read our guide to driving in Iceland and have a safe self-drive trip.

Day 1 - Reykjavik, The Northernmost Capital In The World

After arriving in Iceland, your 10 day Ring Road Iceland self-drive begins immediately by picking up your rental car at Keflavik International Airport. Then you will head to the northernmost capital in the world by passing through endless lava field covered by subarctic moss. This is the youngest part of Iceland, Reykjanes Peninsula.

Later you will enter the Capital Region, an area encompassing Reykjavik and six bordering municipalities. Hafnarfjordur is the first municipality you will pass, and the elf garden Hellisgerdi Park is on the recommendation list. There is plenty to see, and exploring this area will initiate your Icelandic cultural awareness. When you enter Reykjavik city, there are many museums and gardens if you wish to continue the culture trail. In the city center, Reykjavik City Hall is located right next to the peaceful Tjornin Pond, a favorite spot for the residents and the seabirds. You can visit signature sites on a walk around Reykjavik Downtown with a knowledgeable guide. Reykjavik Botanical Gardens and Arbaejarsafn Open Air Museum are on the list of highly-recommends.

Many picturesque sights are within a 10 km radius from Reykjavik downtown. You can drive to the tip of Seltjarnarnes to see the beautiful white Grotta lighthouse. Later in the evening, you can visit the Perlan Museum. Standing on the observation deck, the entire city is under your eyes with Mt. Esja on the back reflecting the sunset colors.  

This extensive capital guide is perfect for morning arrivals, and it will be helpful for you to get acquainted with the nice Nordic people and to grab a feeling of the Icelandic culture and life.

You will spend the night in Reykjavik area in a pre-booked room with private bathroom and breakfast included.

Day 2 - The Golden Circle, The Heart Of The Nation

Your journey for Day 2 will start with driving to the nation’s heart Thingvellir National Park. It is a UNESCO site, and the world’s oldest parliament was established here in 930 AD. The park now has turned into a serene land. When in still weather, the lake Thingvallavatn becomes a blue mirror doubling the surroundings to create a surreal world.

Nearby, Silfra fissure is a unique point between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. You can take a snorkeling adventure in the clear water and literally touch the continent borders.

Moving on to the renowned Geyser Geothermal Field, you will see the unpredictable Geyir and dynamic Strokkur. Strokkur frequently goes up to 20 meters high every 6-10 minutes. Geysir has been less active in the recent years. But when it erupts, it can reach 70 meters high. The area is filled with bubbling hot springs, steaming mud pods and smoking fumaroles. Quite a spectacle to see.

Next, you will see the powerful Gullfoss waterfall. Hvita river flows voluminously with a huge rumbling sound and rushes into the misty gorge. The overwhelming energy is awe-inspiring. The downstream of Hvita is completely different from the turbulent waterfall. It is a clam blue waterway where you can take a jet boat to continue sightseeing in the area.

After a good visit to the Golden Circle, you will head to the south. You can stop at Faxi waterfall on the way. It is known as Vatnsleysufoss in Icelandic. This waterfall has a wide cascade and a quieter drop.

You can choose to stay in the Golden Circle area, or the greater Selfoss area, or the Hvolsvollur area for the night. Selfoss has many restaurants for fine dining, or a pizza joint if you look for a quick bite. You can also find several grocery stores and gas stations.

Day 3 - The South Coast

skogafoss waterfall on the south coast

Skógafoss waterfall in the south coast

After a delicious breakfast at your hotel, you will be driving through the southern lowland on Ring Road. The contrasting topography in the south rim was created by constant volcanic activities since Iceland’s creation. Looking at the north side of the Ring Road, many mountains dramatically rise up to 1000 to 1500 meters.

The first stop will be the Seljalandsfoss waterfall. The cascade plummets from 63 meters high straight into the pond. The splashing water drizzles in front of your eyes, and it creates a glistering mist against the sun when you walk in the cave behind the waterfall.

Keep walking toward the north, you will see a few streams running down from the same enormous cliff. Walk for 10 minutes, you will arrive at the entrance of Gljufrabui waterfall. The name means canyon dweller. You can see part of the cascade before you walk inside the small canyon. It’s best to have waterproof gear and rain boots with you.

After no more than 30-minute drive, you will reach Skogafoss waterfall, one of the largest waterfalls in Iceland. It has a cascade of 15 meters (49 feet) in width and 62 meters (100 ft) in height. The spectacular sight can be even more amazing when it creates a rainbow in front of the cascade in the right weather condition. Upon leaving, nearby Skogar Museum is also a good place to visit.

The morning hours of Day 3 is filled with sounds and motions that compose a natural symphony echoing in the valley. The afternoon starts with a pre-booked glacier hiking on Solheimajokull glacier. It’ll be unforgettable to hike on the ice while you listen to the unusual sound and look at the sublime view.

Next stop is Dyrholaey, a promontory standing 120 meters high over the ocean. This is a summer breeding paradise for birdlife including the Puffins. On the top, there is a white lighthouse. From there you can see an unbroken view of glaciers, black sand beach with silver tides coming and going, and an enormous lava arch rising alone in the ocean.

On the east side, it’s the famous Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach. The black sand was formed by the eroded volcanic rocks. In the countless years of process, the bigger rocks were fragmentized into tiny ones and eventually became grains. Columns of basalts dramatically stand on the beach forming a wall like a surreal gigantic sculpture.

Later, you can visit Vik. It’s a small fishing village in front of the ocean with remarkable views. You can visit the landmark red-roofed church that sits on the hill overlooking this area. After that, you will drive to your accommodation for the night in Vik or Kirkjubaejarklaustur area.

Day 4 - Skaftafell & Jökulsárlón

car rental iceberg jokulsarlon glacier lagoon iceland

Otherworldly icebergs graciously floating in Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon

On Day 4, you will continue to drive through the southern lowland where the epic sceneries and adventurous activities go on.

The first stop is Skaftafell National Park. Now as a part of Vatnajokull National Park, this place once was a manor farming area. Skaftafell is also a popular starting point for many exciting activities. If you drive here between November and March, visiting the crystal ice cave will be a stunning visual diversion. You can see what is inside the magnificent glacier.

Moving on from the ancient icy formation, you will approach the Black Waterfall Svartifoss. This unearthly waterfall best represents the Icelandic geographical feature that was formed from intense volcanic activities. The waterfall drops from 20 meters high over the basalt columns as a solemn act in the tacit wilderness. It takes a 40-minute walk one way to see the wondrous beauty.

Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon will be your next stop, and it’s the crown jewel of the day. The lagoon was created by Breidamerkurjokull glacier retreating in the last century. Now the lake is the deepest in Iceland. With huge icebergs floating on the surface and smaller ice cubes stranding on the black sand on their way out to the ocean, Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon illuminates the unimaginable shades of blue constructing an awesome vista. When the sunlight comes through the ice cubes, you can see the iridescence glowing like diamonds. That’s why many visitors call this place the Diamond Beach. Many seabirds and seals choose to stay here regardless of the cold glacier water. There are boat tours that can take you to see the giant ice up close.

You will be driving to Hofn to rest for the day of excitement and amazing views. It takes about 65 minutes to drive from Jokulsarlon. The town has become a blooming harbor over the years, and there are many recreational sites, nice restaurants, shops and swimming pools. It also hosts a lobster festival every summer. Your accommodation for the night will be either in the Skaftafell area or near the village of Höfn.

glacier hike skaftafell iceland

Glacier hike from Skaftafell with good shoes and crampons

Day 5 - Eastfjords

On day 5, your road trip will switch to the fjord mode since you are going to drive on the mountain roads in the fjord landscapes.  

The first site we recommend you to visit is the phenomenal Vestrahorn. The mountain stands above the water in a striking posture. In winter, the still water at the foot often captures the reflection of the snow-covered top with the Northern Light haloes circling near and far.

After 95 kilometers driving on Ring Road where mountains and moss fields endlessly extend, you will arrive in Djupivogur. It’s a friendly town suitable for bird watching. You may also spot a colony of seals.  

Later you will visit Stodvarfjordur to learn about the Icelandic culture and heritage. The village has 200 inhabitants and is famous for a stone museum called Petra’s Stone Mineral Collection. After seeing a diverse collection of Icelandic stones, you will pass by the largest forest in Iceland, Hallormsstaðaskógur. The subarctic climate is not friendly to most of the plants in the world, which makes this forest area so precious.

Then, you will visit Hengifoss and Litlanesfoss. These two waterfalls perfectly prove that Iceland is a geographical wonderland. Hengifoss waterfall has a 128-meter cascade plunging in front of the cliff that is made of the red clay and the black basalt strata layered on top of each other. The maroon and charcoal layers fashioned an enduring beauty that is only made by Iceland. Litlanesfoss waterfall is another stylish mix of hard volcano rocks and streams. The hexagonal cross-sections crowd each other and form a way for the water to flow.

Finally, you will arrive in Egilsstadir. This town sits at the northeast corner of the Logurinn Lake. You can relax your travel tension by exploring golf, horse riding tours, spas or hot tubs. For your mind, you can find peace in several culture centers where they present the synopsis of East Iceland heritage. There are also many dining places close to the center. Your accommodation for the night will be in the Egilsstaðir or the Eastfjords area.

dettifoss waterfall mighty iceland glacial river

Dettifoss waterfall in the canyon of a mighty glacial river

Day 6 - Myvatn Area With Almighty Spectacles

Waking up in the east part of Iceland on Day 6, you will be heading to the north through vast wilderness where the wild animals live. If lucky, you can see reindeers, arctic foxes and the hardy Icelandic horses.

The magnificent Dettifoss waterfall will be the first stop. It is the most voluminous waterfall in Europe. The cascade of Dettifoss extends over 100 meters, and it plunges from 45 meters high to the canyon. The flow generates considerable mist that mysterizes the valley as they move up from the dry cliff. The sheer force dwarfs many waterfalls in the world.

Moving from Dettifoss, you head to the most stunning part of Iceland which people often refer to as the Diamond Circle. This area has impeccable landscapes with remarkable volcanic and geothermal features.

Hverarond and Namafjall will be the first site to visit. Surrounded by immense infertile land, this area resembles the surface of Mars. The mind-blowing hot ground emits strong sulfur smells from the boiling mud pots and steaming cracks.

You will pass the Myvatn Nature Bath, also known as the “northern blue lagoon,” on your way to visit the Myvatn lake area. You can choose to dip in for a total relaxation in the middle of the natural quintessence.

Looking over to the horizon, Lake Myvatn is surrounded by the small crater group. The beautiful lake was created by the repeated intense volcanic activities from 2300 years ago. After a thorough visit around the lake, you can visit Dimmuborgir rocks, a place filled with peculiar-shaped rocks in the middle of the subarctic fauna.

Godafoss waterfall will be a perfect finale for a day of intense visual treats. This elegant waterfall with astonishing symmetrical cascade proves the formidable power of almighty nature. Although it is only 12-meter high and 30-meter wide, it’s considered as the dreamiest waterfall in Iceland.

Later, you will be driving to Akureyri. This city has a great nightlife vibe, and there are various attractions and activities for you to explore. Your accommodation for the night will be in Akureyri or in the Eyjafjordur area.

The Myvatn Nature Baths in North of Iceland

The Myvatn Nature Baths in North of Iceland

Day 7 - Akureyri And Whale Watching

Embracing your morning on Day 7 in the capital of the north, you will be smacking your lips when you see the vibrant life and lively people hugging the near-arctic weather with passion and love. Numerous festivals and cultural events are held here yearly around, including the annual Airwave Music Festival in early November.

You can grasp the tough Icelandic personality after spending some time in the town of 18,000 souls. There is plenty to see on the streets and alleys. The Akureyrarkirkja church has a different style comparing to Hallgrimskirkja in Reykjavik, although they are the children of the same father - architect Gudjon Samuelsson. The northernmost botanical garden Lystigardurinn is perfect for a pleasant walk in the floral delight in a good sunny day.

You will be driving to Dalvik for the pre-booked whale watching tour boarding at 13:00. Heading offshore with an exciting group, you will see the giant mammals thrashing in the blue ocean against the white mountains and azure sky. The harbor view is splendid too with many colorful houses and boats in the frame.

Driving along the Skagafjordur, you can see a 700,000‑year‑old volcano remnant standing alone in the ocean. It’s Drangey isle, and it has impressive steep cliffs that host rich birdlife.

After many turns and curves through the farmlands of North Iceland, you will finally arrive at Hvitserkur, a dragon-shaped 15-meter basalt stack standing on the eastern shore of Vatnsnes.

Later in the evening, you will stay in the Vatnsnes area in a comfortable room we booked for you. Vatnsnes is a beautiful town that’s also home to many wild creatures like seals and seabirds. It’s worth to take a wonderful night walk under the glow of midnight sun or northern light.

godafoss goðafoss waterfall north iceland

Godafoss waterfall, an impressive location with interesting history

Day 8 - Snaefellsnes Peninsula

Leaving north Iceland on Day 8, you will head to Snaefellsnes Peninsula. Passing by the rolling mountains and the stony shores, the first stop you will see is a secretive canyon named Kolugljufur. The Kolufossar waterfall is flowing over the rugged hill where the streams are diverted into small creeks and they continue to flow forcefully in the gorge.

Next, you can visit Grabrok crater. It’s sitting near the neck of the Snæfellsnes peninsula, and it is right on Ring Road. Standing on the rim of the crater, the view from the height of 170-meter is marvelous. The flourishing vicinity beautifully embellished the sterile volcanic crater with Icelandic fauna in some unsaturated colors.

On your way to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, you will encounter bridges and rivers that are interweaving on the wide plains. The first site we recommend for you to visit is Stykkisholmur, a town on the north side of the Peninsula with diverse birdlife. There are a lot of terrific things to experience when you are there.  

The next sight on this refreshing route is Kirkjufell, one of the most photographed mountains in Iceland. The landmark is famous for the singular posture standing 463 meters above the sea. This isolation is compensated by the nearby mild Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall. The composition of the two makes an epic scene, especially in winter when there are northern lights dancing over the mountain top, the entire land will be brightened and colored under the greenish bliss.

The climax of the day will be touring in Snaefellsnes National Park. Among all the outstanding sceneries, Snaefellsjokull glacier is standing 1446 meters high like the most precious stone on a crown. Nearby Djupalonssandur and Dritvik cove are giving out mysterious feeling at the glacier’s foot. On the south, Londrangar is a pair of rock pinnacles overlooking North Atlantic as the waves crush on the beach back and forth. Keep moving east, Hellnar and Arnarstapi are two charming towns with countless sights.

You will stay in Snaefellsnes Peninsula for the night in a cozy accommodation we prepared for you.

Minke Whale Watching Dalvik Iceland

A curious minke whale in the waters of Dalvik

Day 9 - Through West Iceland To Reykjavik

Getting back on Ring Road on Day 9, your journey will take you first to Ytri Tunga, a beautiful beach where colonies of seal choose to reside. Following this route, you will be driving to explore the west part of Iceland. Next, you can stop to visit the Gerduberg Cliff. It is a huge wall of geometric patterns formed by basalt columns standing straight 14 meters from the earth. The size and the style create a solemn ceremonial tone that proves the mighty power of nature.

After observing the sheer beauty of the volcanic creation, you will be heading to Deildartunguhver, the most powerful hot spring in Europe. On the site, you will see a lot of mist floating out of the ground, underneath is the scalding hot water that can produce 180 liters (50 gallons) per second at a piping hot 97°C (200°F). The household hot water supply within 65 km radius is from this source.

Moving a little bit toward the east, you will see Hraunfossar (Lava Waterfall) and Barnafoss (Children’s Falls) nearby each other. On the observation deck near the parking place, you can see the myriad streams of Hraunfossar flow out of the ground, then find their way to the river in the middle of the luxuriant lava field. Especially when you visit here during autumn, the plant coloration reflected in the blue water is extraordinary. Barnafoss is very close  and its name is derived from a folklore. The scene is very different, the water flows rapidly in a middle of a small rocky valley with captivating views from the surroundings.

Driving toward the direction of Reykjavik, you will pass Akranes. We recommend you to stop here to see the one of the oldest lighthouses standing at the tip of the harbor telling stories of the old-time marine life. The Ring Road stretches on the east part of the town. If you drive via the east, you will have a good view of Hvalfjordur.

Once you drive through the Hvalfjordur Tunnel, you will sense Reykjavik is beckoning with its buzzy urban life. You will stay in the Capital Region for the night.

thingvellir national park iceland

At the National Park of Thingvellir, a place of great geological and historical importance

Day 10 - Through Reykjanes Peninsula to Keflavik

It’s the departure day. You will be heading to Keflavik International Airport. But before you say so long to Iceland, you will drive through Reykjanes Peninsula where endless lava fields are stretching near and far with the mountain ranges visible in distance.

There is plenty to see in the exotic Reykjanes Peninsula. The amazing Blue Lagoon welcomes you you with a milky blue hot bath on your way to the airport. This acclaimed 8th wonder of the world is a must-experience and perfect for you to rinse off the driving fatigue. It allows you to relish the past 10 amazing days in Iceland while you are surrounded by tranquil warmness in a natural setting. Please keep in mind that the entry fee is not included in the self-drive package, and we recommend to book your visit in advance via bluelagoon.is.

The port town Grindavik is located nearby on the spit that was formed 2800 years ago. You can drive to Hopsnesviti and Reykjanesviti to see the lighthouses and cliffs where the seabirds hover above. You can also drive through the Bridge Between Continents where you will place yourself between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. These sites will make a small loop of a short day tour on the Reykjanes Peninsula before you drop off your rental car in the airport.

When your departure flight takes off, you will miss the land of fire and ice. Iceland will no longer sound like a distant island near the Arctic Circle. It’s the land where you have established an emotional bond in the period of 10 days. You have been to the mountains and the seas, you have seen the volcanos and the beaches, you have even stepped on the glacier and said hi to the whales. When you look through the airplane window, you will think of Iceland with a new perspective.

The 10-day self-drive will be an once-in-a-lifetime experience in which you will see the best of Iceland. With the Golden Circle and Snaefellsnes Peninsula included, the 10 day Ring Road self-drive package gives you abundant time to explore Iceland extensively. It’s designed for those who want a lingering taste of the Nordic metropolis and an adventure in the Icelandic wilderness. The dramatic landscapes, incredible waterfalls and vivid wildlife will set the stage for your personal adventurous tale near the Arctic Circle.

Dommiborgir Lava Park in North Iceland

Dommiborgir Lava Park in North Iceland

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