Highlights of Iceland - 11 day Self Drive Tour

A self-drive tour to the real Iceland

This tour gives you plenty of time to cover all the major stunning attractions that Iceland has to offer. You will explore all of the well-known attractions from Reykjavik. Gullfoss waterfall, Geysir and some other hot springs, the national parks, Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon, Dettifoss, hot springs and many more.

Durée: 11 days

Disponibilité: Summer

Description du circuit

Car Rental Drive around tour 11 days Iceland

The route for this tour (summer version)

Rent a car and drive around Iceland for 11 days with 10 nights of accommodation. You will see all the well-known attractions Iceland has to offer. This tour includes Reykjavik City, Gullfoss Waterfall, Geysir and some other hot springs, Thingvellir National Park, Skaftafell, Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, the canyon of Jokulsargljufur, Dettifoss Waterfall, Hveravellir and many more.

for more information about car prices, please click here.

Click here for information about airport transfers.

* The highland part of this tour is open in the summer only(Jul-Sep) and you will need a 4x4. Otherwise you will need to drive by the Ring Road Nr 1.

 Check out these guided minibus tours: 
The Ring Road - 7 days with northern lights hunting.
The Ring Road - 7 day summer package.

 Need activities?: 
A list of tours and activities around Iceland.

Reykjavik city sculpture Sun Voyager Car Rental Drive

Reykjavik sculpture "The Sun Voyager"

Day 1

Your car is collected at Keflavik International Airport (you will need to book this and to give us the specific details of your flight). Your tour begins with a drive to explore the Reykjanes peninsula which is the most southwesterly most point of Iceland and also the youngest part of the country. The North Atlantic ridge comes ashore here, visible signs of the volcanic activity which created the ridge can be seen all over this peninsula. Lava fields, lava tubes, rifts and hot springs can be found in a number of locations. Before you head to Reykjavik, you could enjoy a relaxing time in the Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa in unique and beautiful surroundings.

Your accommodation for the night should be arranged in the Reykjavik area.

Optional: Dining out in Reykjavik - Restaurants

Skógafoss Iceland

Skogafoss Waterfall plunges from the cliffs of the former coastline

Day 2

Today your route will take you out of Reykjavik in an easterly direction to Hellisheidi and a visit to Hellisheidarvirkjun, a geothermal power plant. The plant is situated at Hengill which is an active volcanic ridge in SW Iceland. The plant's purpose is to meet the increasing demand for electricity and hot water in the industrial and domestic sectors. Today, the geothermal power plant of Hellisheidarvirkjun produces about 303 Megawatts of electricity and up to 400 Megawatts of thermal energy, ranking Hellisheidarvirkjun Geothermal Plant as the largest geothermal power station in the world, in terms of installed capacity.

Near the power plant is the central volcano Hengill. The geothermal area around the Hengill plateau is the second most powerful geothermal area on Earth. This is an area of high temperatures due to a volcanic chamber stationed beneath it, thousands of hot springs and steaming vents can be found in the area.
After visiting Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Plant you will cross the Atlantic Ridge when you drive from the America continental plate over the Atlantic Ridge onto the Europe-Asia continental plate. Soon you will arrive at Hveragerdi village (‘Hot spring village’) where you could take a walk around the hot springs. In the valleys close to the village, hikers are able to find a number of pathways leading up to the rising plateau, here geothermal activity has enriched the scenery with colourful display of moss, lichen and sulfuric rocks. Hot springs are waiting to be found around every corner of the journey! In this area there is a small stream of rushing warm water, it is unlikely you will find a more pleasant opportunity to take a bath anywhere in the world, including the swimming pools at the five star hotels of the world!
Next your tour will take you towards Solheimajokull glacier, the southwestern outlet of the Myrdalsjokull icecap, is about 8 km long and 1-2 km wide. This water is discharged by the river Jokulsa, sometimes named “The Stinking River” because of its emission of sulphuric acid from high temperature sub-glacial areas. Extreme Iceland Travel Agency offers hiking trips onto the glacier tongue including all necessary equipment for the participants who must bring warm clothing. The small peninsula, or promontory, Dyrholaey (120 m) is located on the south coast of Iceland, not far from Vik in Myrdalur. This is a former island of volcanic origin as its name reveals, the Icelandic word ‘eyja’ means island. From here is a great view of the surrounding landscape - in the north the big glacier Myrdalsjokull, in the east, the black lava columns of Reynisdrangar appearing out of the sea, to the west the whole coastline in the direction to Selfoss can be seen. In front of the peninsula there is a gigantic black arch of lava standing in the sea which gave the peninsula its name (meaning: the island with the hill door). In the summertime, many puffins nest on the cliff faces of Dyrholaey.

Accommodation: recommended to book at Hótel Dýrhólaey or in the Vik area.

Optional: Snowmobile tour Myrdalsjokull glacier (all year)

Seljalandsfoss waterfall Drive Tour Car rental Iceland

Seljalandsfoss Waterfall - South Iceland

Day 3

Myrdalsjokull glacier is the fourth largest glacier in Iceland with the central volcanic system of Katla beneath it. Near the village of Vik in Myrdalur there is a sandy beach which has some fantastic sights, such as aqua tubes and caves and also picturesque columnar basalt formations. The beach is eroding and the ocean is always creeping closer to the houses of the village. From the beach there is a view of the magnificent Reynisdrangar peaks, a series of black basalt columns rising out at the sea. The beach is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful beaches in Iceland.

Driving east of the village of Vik will take you over Myrdalssandur, sand plains covering 700 km² of black lava sand and ashes. This was formed by the glacial rivers and their frequent glacier runs from the Katla volcano which lies dormant in the Myrdalsjokull glacier. The crater of Katla, which is about 100 km² in size and almost 700 metres deep, is filled with ice. Katla central volcanic system has erupted around 20 times since Iceland was settled, the last eruption happened in 1918. When the eruptions occur a huge volume of glacier water is unleashed and floods in all directions. These glacial runs often destroy roads and bridges because they can be so powerful.

Next your route will take you east of Eldgjahraun lava field and over the glacier river of Kudafljot where you will find the historic lava field of Skaftareldahraun, formed in a huge eruption in the Lakagigar crater-row. The eruption, also known as the Skaftareldar ("Skafta river fires") or Sidueldur, started on June 8th 1783 and lasted until February 7th 1784 creating a lava field that is 11.656 square kilometres and 14 cubic kilometres.

Svartifoss Skaftafell Vatnajökull National Park Hike

Hiking in Skaftafell will take you to waterfall Svartifoss

A lot of farms and their farmlands were destroyed in the aftermath of the eruption because of the ash fall. Most of the livestock in the area subsequently died. The emission of sulfuric aerosols resulted in one of the most important climatic and socially repercussive events of the last millennium. In Great Britain the summer of 1783 was known as the "sand-summer" due to the ash fallout. The gases were carried by the convective eruption column to altitudes of about 15 kilometres (10 miles). The aerosols caused a cooling effect in the climate of the Northern Hemisphere.

Your tour will take you along the road to the Lakagigar crater row which follows the Fjadrargljufur river gorge. Here the river Fjadra cascades down the cliff side into the spectacular gorge beneath. Taking a hike around this area is really worthwhile.

Dverghamrar are an unusual columnar basalt rock formation, created by the surging sea when the surface of the ocean was higher around the last ice age. Dverghamrar columnar basalt formations now appear on a conservation list.

Skeidararsandur is an enormous sand plain which reaches from Skeidararjokull glacier to the sea. It is the largest sand plain in the world, covering 1300 km² and, like other sand plains in this region, it was formed from glacier runs. The glacier runs are caused by frequent eruptions under the glacier, the last one in 1996, originated in Grimsvotn central volcano system. Nearest the glacier the sand plain is really rocky, with massive boulders; however, closer to the sea the sand transforms into gravel and mud. The sand plain near the sea is important to the stem seals in the area because the mother seals use it as a nursing ground for their newborn pups. The sand plain is also the largest breeding ground for the Great Skua in Iceland. The bridge over the Skeidara river is the longest in Iceland, about 900 metres long.

Skaftafell nature resort is part of Vatnajokull National Park. The glacier tongues of Skeidararjokull, Morsarjokull and Skaftafellsjokull glaciers create majestic scenery within the National Park, there are few places in Iceland where you could more easily get in touch with the great white heart of the country. In Skaftafell you will find many hiking paths of varying levels of difficulty.
Optional: Guided glacier hike in Skaftafell (all year)

Your accommodation for the night should be arranged in the area surrounding Skaftafell.

Ice Jökulsárlón Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon Iceland

Ice from Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon

Day 4

Perhaps you would like to enjoy a hike in Skaftafell in the morning where you could choose a route to suit you. Close to Skaftafell there are two very interesting glaciers, Skaftafellsjokull and Svinafellsjokull. Oraefajokull glacier is a central volcano with a caldera. The summit of Oraefajokull glacier is named Hvannadalshnjukur, at 2110 metres high this is the highest of all peaks in Iceland. Oraefajokull glacier has erupted twice in historic times, in 1362 and 1727.

East of Oraefajokull glacier several glacier tongues creep forward, such as Stigarjokull glacier, Holarjokull glacier, Kviarjokull glacier, Hrutarjokull glacier and Fjallsjokull glacier. Due to the retreat of the glaciers because of global warming, a glacial lake has formed in front of Kviarjokull glacier and Fjallsjokull glacier.
The Breidamerkurjokull glacier is the largest amongst Vatnajokull ice cap’s glacier tongues. Around 100 years ago the glacier tongue almost reached to the sea and at that time there was only about 200 metres separating the surf of the ocean from the tip of the glacial tongue. The glacier started to retreat in the beginning of the last century. A glacial lagoon formed in front of the glacial tongue in 1935, Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon. The lagoon was 8 km² in 1975 but today it is 20 km². The glacial lagoon is the deepest lake in Iceland, 284 metres deep with an uncountable number of icebergs floating in it. You could take a very close look at the icebergs if you took a boat trip around the lagoon. A boat tour of the lagoon, amongst the huge icebergs, is a great highlight when visiting Iceland. The icebergs are over 1000 years old. Jokullsarlon provides great sightseeing and is a very popular attraction, widely regarded as the most picturesque scenery in south Iceland. The duration of the boat trip in Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon is approximately 40 minutes.

Seal Wild life Jökulsárlón Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon Iceland

A seal in Jokulsarlon - bald is handsome

Next your tour will take you on a drive from Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon to the town of Hofn in Hornafjordur which takes about an hour. Many outlet glaciers from Vatnajokull can be seen on the way, such as Skalafellsljokull, Heinabergsjokull, Flaajokull and Hoffellsjokull, the nearby valleys all offer endless hiking opportunities in a very interesting landscape.
About an hour long drive from Hofn in Hornafjordur you will arrive at the village of Djupivogur which is a small town with a history of trading since 1589 and a long history of fishing. It is located in a region of incomparable natural beauty. Langabud, the oldest house in Djupivogur, is made of logs and was originally built in 1790. The house has been renovated and is now the cultural center of Djupivogur. It houses a museum for the sculptor Rikhardur Jonsson as well as a gallery for local crafts and a coffee shop. Bulandstindur is a towering mountain, which is 1069 metres high, dominating the landscape. The mountain is pyramid-shaped and many believe it to be the source of a cosmic power. The restaurant at Hotel Framtid is popular among the locals as well as tourists. The hotel staff also arranges all sorts of activities and walking trips, from sea angling and evening boat voyages to nature walks and sightseeing tours of the beautiful, mysterious and geologically fascinating mountains and fjords in the vicinity.

It is reccommended to book accommodation for the night in Djupivogur or its surrounding area.

Optional: Boat Tour Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon (Apr-Oct)

Optional: Ice Caves Vatnajokull National Park (Nov - Mar)

glacier hike Skaftafell Iceland

Glacier hike from Skaftafell with good shoes and crampons this will be great

Day 5

Drive from Djupivogur on the mountain pass Oxi to Lake Lagarfljot where you could take a walk to, for example, Hengifoss waterfall or follow the trails in Hallormsstadaskogur forest.

Lake Lagarfljot (also called Logurinn) is situated in the east of Iceland near the town of Egilsstadir. Its surface is measuring 53 km² and it is 25 km long, its greatest width is 2.5 km and its greatest depth 112 m. The River Lagarfljot flows through this lake.
The biggest forest in Iceland, Hallormsstadaskogur and Hengifoss, a nice waterfall with the height of 118 m, one of the highest waterfalls in the country are both to be found near this lake. Below the lake there is another waterfall called Litlanesfoss. As in the Scottish lake of Loch Ness, a worm-monster called Lagarfljotsormurinn is believed to be living in the depths of Lake Lagarfljot. From Egilsstadir your route will take you to Lake Myvatn.

We suggest you relax in the geothermal spa, Jardbodin near Myvatn in the evening (also known as Myvatn Nature Baths).

Accommodation: book in the area surrounding Lake Myvatn.

Námaskarð hot sprigns Mývatn Myvatn Iceland

Namaskard hot springs near Myvatn - a unique landscape

Day 6

Explore the natural wonders of Lake Myvatn and the surrounding area, including the mystical lava formations at Dimmuborgir. Visit the volcanic area of Krafla along with the colourful sulphurous slopes of Namaskard pass.
There are not many places in Iceland which can boast of a mountain scene like the Myvatnssveit area and hike to enjoy the scenery from Myvatnsheidi heath is well worth doing. Most of the mountains in the neighborhood of lake Myvatn were formed in sub glacial eruptions a few thousand years ago. These mountains are all easy to reach and there is a splendid view from the top. Lake Myvatn is the sixth largest lake in Iceland, 37 km². The lake is 277 metres above sea level with many islands and islets in it. The lake is fed by nutrient-rich spring water and it has an abundance of aquatic insects (chironomidae) and cladocera that form an attractive food supply for ducks. Thirteen species of duck nest here. The duck species composition is a unique blend of Eurasian and North American elements along with boreal and arctic species. Most of the ducks are migratory, arriving in late April - early May from the north west of Europe. The most abundant is the Tufted Duck, which immigrated to Iceland at the end of the 19th century. The Greater Scaup is the second most common duck species.

A silica based algae was produced from materials in the lake and exported from 1967 but in 2004 production was stopped. Today the locals are attracting tourists to the area to experience the healing powers from their natural geothermal and silica based baths containing a unique blend of minerals, silicates and geothermal microorganisms. This area is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country, a variety of accommodation, services, restaurants and activities are offered throughout the year.

Take one of the numerous well marked paths to explore your surroundings or follow the signs along the National Road guiding you to all major places of interest. Allow yourself to lose track of time whilst admiring the beauty of the landscape, the abundant flora and birdlife. Places you must not miss include Hverfjall, Dimmuborgir, Grjotagja, Skutustadagigar, Hofdi, Lofthellir, Leirhnjukur, Krafla and the hot springs east of Namskard, and last but not least the craters of Ludent and Viti (Hell). A total of 450 inhabitants live in the district of Skutustadahreppur including around 200 in the village of Reykjahlid.

Accommoodation: book in the area surrounding Lake Myvatn.

Holmatungur hiking area Iceland

Holmatungur hiking area by glacial river Jokulsa a Fjollum

Day 7

Today your tour begins with a drive from Lake Myvatn to Dettifoss Waterfall and perhaps also to Hafragilsfoss, Rettarfoss and Vigafoss Waterfalls. You could also enjoy a hike in Holmatungur and Hljodaklettar. From Hljodaklettar you will need to drive to Asbyrgi, a magnificent horseshoe-shaped canyon, and Jokulsargljufur National Park. From Asbyrgi the route takes you to Husavik, the area where you will spend the night.

For thousands of years one of Iceland’s largest rivers, Jokulsa a Fjollum, has continued to flow from under the glacier Vatnajokull. It winds its way through a landscape of diverse aspects for a distance of about 200 km before flowing into the sea in Oxarfjordur bay. On its long journey, the river has carved numerous channels into the highland bedrock and to the west of Holsfjoll it cascades from a tall rocky ledge, forming the huge waterfall Dettifoss, plunging into magnificent canyons which extend all the way down to the bridge over the river on highway 85. The Jokulsargljufur canyons (Icelandic: gljúfur), which take their name from the river, are approximately 25 km long, half a km wide and in several locations they extend to a depth of over 100 metres.

The National Park was established in the area surrounding the canyons of Jokulsargljufur in 1973, in 1978 the Park was expanded to include Asbyrgi. When Vatnajokull National Park, the largest national park in Europe, was established in 2008, Jokulsargljufur became a part of that. The park includes all the canyons to the west of Jokulsa. In 1996, the area around Dettifoss, Selfoss and Hafragilsfoss to the east of Jokulsa was declared a national monument. The Natural Park Visitors’ Center, Gljufrastofa, is located in Asbyrgi, a tourist information center with great geology exhibitions.
Among renowned pearls of the park, in addition to the above mentioned waterfalls are Vesturdalur, Hljodaklettar, Holmatungur and Asbyrgi. Canyons, gullies, and rock formations of diverse shapes and sizes are all phenomena of nature, primarily formed by volcanic activity and the water flooding from Jokulsa. The Park offers numerous other points of interest, such as the huge rock pillars Karl and Kerling (Old Man and Old Woman) and the waterfalls of Selfoss and Rettarfoss in Jokulsa. The Holmatungur area is rich in diverse vegetation and the great contrasts catch the eye here. The National Park is ideal for walks and outdoor recreation, especially for those who are not in a hurry, since a number of days are needed to enjoy the richness and diverse character of the area. There is a marked footpath through the park between Dettifoss and Asbyrgi which takes nearly two days to traverse. However, many shorter routes can be selected, radiating out from the park’s main destinations. In the summer, a programme of events is offered where visitors can choose between various walking tour options.

Your accommodation for the night should be arranged in the Husavik area.

Whale watching wild life Husavik minke whale Iceland

Whale watching in Husavik - minke whale

Day 8

You may want to start the day with a whale watching tour. Husavik is a really beautiful town. As the sagas tell us the Swedish explorer Gardar Svavarsson was the first man to discover that Iceland actually was an island. He wintered in Husavik four years before the settlement of Ingolfur Arnarson. Nattfari, a companion of Gardar settled for a while in Iceland and he is considered by many to be the first permanent settler of Iceland. This region fully satisfied the demands of the settlers with regard to the quality of land and potential for sustenance. A large number of settlers are identified in Landnama, the book of settlements, and many burial mounds of the first settlers have been found in Southern Thingeyjarsysla.
The Sagas often relate to local heroes, such as Thorgeir Thorkelsson of Ljosavatn, who became renowned for his decisive role in the conversion to Christianity in the year 1000. He is also said to have thrown his images of the old heathen gods into the waterfall in Skjalfandafljot which henceforth was named Godafoss (Waterfall of the Gods).
Husavik is the largest town in Thingeyjarsysla, a prosperous community by the eastern side of Skjalfandi bay. The Swedish explorer Gardar Svavarsson spent the winter there in 870. As Gardar departed Iceland the following spring, three people stayed behind: a man called Nattfari along with an unnamed slave and a maid. Despite the sagas’ account of Nattfari’s settlement, in Nattfaravik across the bay from Husavik and later in Reykjadalur, history books usually credit Ingolfur Arnarson, who settled in Reykjavik four years later, as Iceland’s first settler.
Husavik was the first town in Iceland to offer organized whale watching tours and has remained the whale watching capital of Iceland and even Europe. Husavik is a clean and tidy town whose heart beats around the harbour with its remarkable whale museum. The church, built in 1907, stands on the main street and is regarded as an emblem of the town. Along the street you will find the museum building with its collection of museums: a regional museum, district archives, museum of natural history, maritime museum and a museum of photographs and film archives.
From Husavik you will need to drive to Adaldalur and Reykjadalur and then you take road nr. 1 to Godafoss waterfall in Skjalfandafljot river. From here your tour route will take you to Akureyri, the biggest town in the countryside of Iceland. After sightseeing in Akureyri and in the Eyjafjordur area you will enjoy the scenery on the drive to Skagafjordur and to Varmahlid by road 1. A horseback riding tour is an option in the evening or the next morning.

Your accommodation for the night should be arranged in the area around Varmahlid in Skagafjordur.
Optional: Whale watching from Husavik (Apr - Oct)

Godafoss Goðafoss waterfall north Iceland

Godafoss Waterfall, an impressive and atmospheric location with an interesting history

Day 9

Take a horse back riding tour in the morning or an exciting river rafting tour.
Close to Varmahlid in Skagafjordur is the folk museum of Glaumbaer. This museum’s first exhibition was opened in 1952 at the Glaumbaer Farm, which had served as a dwelling until 1947. The old turf farmhouse forms the backdrop for exhibitions focusing on rural life in the 18th and 19th century. On the museum grounds at Glaumbaer, there are two 19th century timber houses, Ashus and Gilsstofa, good examples of the first timber houses built in the region. Ashus contains exhibitions and Tea Room Askaffi serves traditional Icelandic fare. Full meals are available if booked in advance. Gilsstofa, at present, contains the Museum´s administrative offices.
Not far from Varmahlid, the Kjolur highland road (F35) goes to south of Iceland, between the glaciers Myrdalsjokull and Langjokull. This is a highland road and only accessible for 4WD cars. On the journey it is good to take a break at Hveravellir highland service station where you can see one of the most beautiful hot spring areas in Iceland.

* NOTE ! The Kjolur road is CLOSED from October to June.
Kjolur road is about 200 km long. The distance from Gullfoss to Hveravellir is about 90 km and the distance from Hveravellir to Blondudalur about 110 km. About halfway between Reykjavik and Akureyri, you get to Hveravellir, a unique nature reserve situated on Kjolur mountain route in the middle of the west highlands between the glaciers Langjokull and Hofsjokull. Hveravellir is one of the most beautiful geothermal areas in the world with smoking fumaroles.
Hveravellir has two houses providing accommodation. Both made-up beds and sleeping bag accommodations are offered. One has space for 33 people in sleeping bags and the other has beds for 20 people, and is split into 3 separate rooms. During the summer months a small restaurant, seating 25 people, is operated. During the winter the restaurant is only open for groups with advance reservations.

The geothermal pool at Hveravellir is unique with both hot and cold water flowing into the pool, which makes it easy to regulate the temperature of the water. The water is clean and suitable for bathing. Over 20 people can comfortably bathe in the pool at the same time. The pool and its entire surroundings are magnificent, offering a beautiful view of the geothermal area, Kjalhraun lava field and Langjokull. Book your accommodation at Hveravellir hot spring area in the highlands.
Optional: Horse Riding along the Black River (all year)
Optional: River Rafting in North Iceland (May - Sep)

River rafting Drive Tour Car rental Iceland

White Water Rafting is a very popular and exhilarating sport - are you up for this challenge?

Day 10

Today your tour route will take you on a drive south from Hveravellir hot spring are to Hvitarvatn glacier lake. Lake Hvitarvatn covers an area of about 30 km². Its greatest depth is 84 m and it is situated 421 m above sea level at the eastern edge of the country’s second largest glacier, Langjokull glacier, in the central highlands. Its discharge is the glacial river Hvita, which contains the famous Golden Waterfall. On lake Hvitarvatn you can expect to see the most spectacular scenery on a fine day.

From Hvitarvatn glacier lake you will need to drive to Blafellshals; snowmobile tours are possible from here when weather and conditions on Langjokull glacier are good. From Langjokull glacier your route takes you to Gullfoss (the Golden Waterfall) this waterfall is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country. The River Hvita rushes southward but about a kilometre above the falls it turns sharply to the left and flows down into a wide curved three-step "staircase" and then abruptly plunges in two stages (11 metres and 21 metres) into a crevice 32 metres deep.

From Gullfoss Waterfall it takes about 10 minutes to drive to Geysir geothermal field. The field includes the Great Geysir and Strokkur which is the most active geyser in Iceland today.
Geysir in Haukadalur is one of the most famous spouting springs on earth. The English term ‘geyser’ is derived from its name. However, Geysir is neither the largest nor the most impressive of the world's hot springs. It probably secured its eminence by being known to Europeans at an early date, i.e. before the springs in the new world. As soon as the Yellowstone springs were discovered in the 19th century, that area was immediately preserved with national park status.

More often than not, the earthquakes in southern Iceland have stimulated Geysir, as has been pointed out above. Nevertheless, ver time its aquifers have been become incrusted, the flow has diminished and the spouting interval has increased. In 1871 William Morris wrote in his diary that Geysir usually only spouts once every five or six days, from which we may infer that its activity had already diminished, and in 1895 Geysir was most unwilling to spout at all. Sometimes three weeks would elapse between each jet. Major earthquakes on 10th of September 1896, gave Geysir a new lease of life and for a while it spouted once or even twice a day, to greater heights than previously. However, two or three years following the tremors, it grew sluggish again!

Snorkeling Silfra Thingvellir Þingvellir National Park Iceland

Snorkeling in Thingvellir National Park - just wonderful

Geysir's capricious ways have always fascinated its admirers for it never ceases to take them by surprise. Shortly after the middle of the 20th century, a group of people waited 8 hours after soap had been administered, but the spring never stirred, so finally the people left. As soon as they were out of sight Geysir produced one of its most spectacular eruptions. A few weeks later, a group of congress delegates, determined to linger for days if needed, arrived to witness the spouting of Geysir at any cost. Soap was administered while they were on their way, so that they would be spared at least some of the delay. When they arrived, Geysir had just relieved itself and all they found was an empty, fuming vent. Strokkur (the churn) is currently the most energetic spouting spring in Iceland. It spouts every few minutes, sometimes to a height of 40 m but generally to less than 10-20 m.

From Geysir geothermal field you drive to Thingvellir National Park. Thingvellir means a lot to the Icelandic people and the park is often mentioned in the history of the country. Shortly after the year 900, people decided to create a general assembly for the settlers of Iceland. The foundation of the Icelandic parliament is said to be the founding of the nation of Iceland. The first parliamentary proceedings in the summer of 930 laid ground for a common cultural heritage and national identity. The Althing (or Althingi) at Thingvellir was Iceland’s supreme legislative and judicial authority from its establishment in 930 until 1262.

Thingvellir was the center of Icelandic culture. Every year during the Commonwealth period, people would flock to Thingvellir from all over the country, sometimes numbering in thousands. They set up dwellings with walls of turf and rock and temporary roofing and stayed in them for the two weeks of the assembly. Although the duties of the assembly were the real reason for going there, ordinary people gathered at Thingvellir for a wide variety of reasons. Merchants, sword-sharpeners and tanners would sell their goods and services, clowns performed and ale-makers brewed drinks for the assembly of guests. News from from distant parts would be shared; games and feasts were held; Itinerant farmhands looked for work and vagrants begged. Thingvellir was a meeting place for everyone in Iceland, laying the foundation for the language and literature that have been a prominent part of people’s lives right up to the present day.

In the year 999 or 1000, Iceland's legislative assembly was debating which religion they should practice: Norse paganism, or Christianity. The Law Speaker Thorgeir Ljosvetningagodi, a Pagan Priest and a Chieftain (a Godi), after a day and a night of silent meditation under a fur blanket, decided in favour of Christianity but with Pagans still allowed to practice their religion in private. After his decision, Thorgeir himself became a Christian and threw the idols of his gods into Godafoss Waterfall. The Oxara River has been a prominent feature of Thingvellir ever since the assemblies began there. The river was diverted into the Almannagja rift to give people at the assembly easy access to fresh water. Flooding in Oxara, combined with land subsidence, made it necessary to move the Law Council from its original location. When you have explored Thingvellir National Park you will need to head back to Reykjavik.

Your accommodation for the night should be arranged in the Reykjavik area.

Optional: Snorkeling under the midnight sun (May - Aug)

geyser Strokkur Iceland hot springs

The Strokkur Geyser erupts every 4 - 8 minutes

Day 11

If your flight schedule allows, you could use this day to visit the famous Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa, where you could relax for some time. The airport is very close to the Blue Lagoon. If you enjoyed the Blue Lagoon on Day 1, you could explore Reykjavik with its many attractions and possibilities before driving to Keflavik International Airport where you return your car.

Ice cave Drive Tour Car rental Iceland

Ice cave in Langjokull Glacier