Circular Iceland - 13 days Self Drive Tour

The Ring Road and even the wonderful West Fjords

Explore all of the well-known attractions in south, east, north and west Iceland and spend three days in the wonderful West Fjords - one of the most amazing parts of Iceland with great scenery of steep mountains and narrow fjords.

In this tour you will see the capital city of Reykjavik, Gullfoss Waterfall, Geysir and some other hot springs, the National Park at Thingvellir, Eyjafjallajokull (the volcano) and Skaftafell nature resort in Vatnajokull National Park, Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, the East Fjords, Jokulsargljufur Canyon, Dettifoss Waterfall, the town of Akureyri, Westfjords, Snaefellsnes Peninsula and much more.

Durée: 13 days

Disponibilité: Summer

Description du circuit

Circular Iceland

Circular Iceland - rent a car and travel at your own pace

Day 1

You collect your car at Keflavik International Airport of (you need to select this option when you book and give us the specific details of your arrival). You will need to drive to Reykjavik to check in at your Hotel. You could spend an easy, relaxing day in town, or may want to try out one of the comfortable thermal swimming pools which are open all year, or you could take a walk downtown Reykjavik. You will have some relaxed time to prepare for your trip which starts tomorrow.

Depending on your flight's arrival time you could choose to visit the Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa close to the airport, before you drive to Reykjavik, or leave this for your last day.

Your accommodation for the night should be arranged in Reykjavik.

Glacier hike from Skaftafell

Glacier hike from Skaftafell - checking on a little ice cave

Day 2

Your route will take you from Reykjavik to Thingvellir National Park, site of the ancient Icelandic Parliament. From here you will need to drive to the hot spring village of Laugarvatn where it is possible to visit a spa.

Your tour continues to the famous Geysir hot-spring area... make sure you do not miss out the mighty Gullfoss Waterfall! You will then need to drive to the hot spring village of Fludir and then south to road nr. 1 again and towards the villages of Hella and Hvolsvollur. From Hvolsvollur your journey will take you into the valley of Fljotshlid.

Your accommodation should be booked in the area surrounding the valley of Fljotshlid.

Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon

Ice block by the beach near Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon

Day 3

After breakfast your tour will take you on an exciting drive towards the central volcano Eyjafjallajokull. You could take a walk behind Seljalandsfoss Waterfall before you drive east to visit the mighty Skogafoss Waterfall. From here your route will take you to Solheimajokull glacier and then to Dyrholaey, the village of Vik and on to Reynisdrangar. On a clear day you will see the Katla volcano which is under the icecap of the Myrdalsjokull glacier.

Journeying east over Myrdalssandur you will come to the Eldgjarhraun lava field, which was formed from the earth’s largest volume single eruption lava flow in historic times. This lava field was formed in one massive eruption in the year 934 in the volcanic rift of Eldgja which is almost 60 kilometres long. The lava field’s size is somewhere between 18-19 cubic kilometres. East of Eldgjahraun lava field and the glacier river of Kudafljot, you will find the historic lava field of Skaftareldahraun which was formed in a huge eruption in the Lakagigar crater-row. The eruption started June 8th 1783 and lasted until February 7th 1784. A lot of farms and their farmlands were destroyed in the aftermath of the eruption because of ash fall and most of the livestock subsequently died. Finally, you will need to head towards the village of Kirkjubaejarklaustur.

Your accommodation should be booked in the area around Kirkjubaejarklaustur.

floating icebergs iceland

Icebergs graciously floating in Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon

Day 4

We recommend you to stop at Kirkjugolf before you continue your journey to Foss a Sidu (a waterfall) and to Dverghamrar rocks. Your drive today will take you over Skeidararsandur to Skaftafell National Park where it is good to spend some time seeing the Svartifoss Waterfall and also the Skaftafellsjokull and Svinafellsjokull glaciers. Your route will then take you to Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon, where you could enjoy a boat tour sailing between the icebergs. Finally, you will need to drive towards the town of Hofn.

Accommodation: book in the area surrounding the town of Hofn.

river rafting iceland

Up to the challenge for river rafting!

Day 5

Today your route will begin with a drive through the spectacular East Fjords, with towering mountains and charming fishing villages, heading to the fertile Egilsstadir area. You will need to follow the road north to the east fjords, it is good to stop here and there and the villages of Djupivogur, Breiddalsvik, Stodvarfjordur, Faskrudsfjordur and Reydarfjordur are all good stopping places. Your drive will take you around Lake Lagarfljot, here there are stopping places both of historical interest and places with special nature, such as the Museum at Skriduklaustur and the Hengifoss Waterfall.

Accommodation: book in the area surrounding Egilsstadir.

The Hraunfossar Falls

The Hraunfossar Falls are beautiful as they cascade directly through the porous lava into river Hvita

Day 6

Today your route will take you across the Modrudalsoraefi Highlands to Jokulsargljufur National Park. The Jokulsargljufur canyon and its surroundings are thought to have been cut into the bedrock by a sequence of catastrophic glacial floods. Several enormous, catastrophic glacial bursts have carved out deep ravines and rocky basins, the most famous of which is Asbyrgi canyon, 3.5 km long and over 1 km wide. This is one of the wonders of nature, a wide, horseshoe-shaped canyon with sheer cliff faces up to 100 m high. When walking in Asbyrgi it is easy to imagine how this was carved out by an enormous water flow. It is good to allow your mind to visualise huge waterfalls cascading down the cliffs, then falling into the now silent ponds of Botnstjorn and Leirtjorn in their surroundings of luxuriant vegetation. You will see the unique series of waterfalls in the river Jokulsa a Fjollum - Selfoss, Dettifoss, Hafragilsfoss and Rettarfoss - they have few equals on earth. Falling 45 m with a width of 100 m, Dettifoss is reputed to be the most powerful waterfall in Europe.

whale watching dalvik iceland

Whale watching in North Iceland

You could take a hike in Hljodaklettar, the outcrops are the cores of the ancient crater row, revealed when the river swept away all the loose volcanic material. A little further to the north are the Raudholar cliffs, the original scoria cones and longest fissure row on earth. Finally, you will need to drive around Tjornes towards the town of Husavik.

Accommodation: book in Husavik or its surrounding area.

Isafjordur town westfjords

Isafjordur is the largest town in the West Fjords

Day 7

Today begins with a drive from the Husavik area to Lake Myvatn, it is good to stop for a while at the geothermal area at Hverarond and Krafla, here the boiling and spitting sulphuric mud and clay springs may make you feel like you have gone back in time to the creation of the world itself. This is an amazing experience and not just for your eyes and nose, this place also provides music for your ears as you listen to the "scream of steam" as it escapes the holes. You could enjoy a hike in this remarkable area. It is good to spend the day exploring the natural wonders of Lake Myvatn and the surrounding area. Highlights to visit include Dimmuborgir, the pseudo craters at Skutustadir, the colourful sulphurous slopes of Namaskard and the Krafla volcano area. Finally, you will need to drive to Akureyri, the capital of the North.

Accommodation: book in the Akureyri area.

puffins iceland

Puffins are a common sight from late April until mid August which is their nesting season

Day 8

Enjoy exploring the fascinating town of Akureyri, the biggest town in north Iceland. Here you could take a walk to appreciate the location beside a scenic fjord and the way the streets wind their way through the gorge. It is good to spend some time walking around the town centre, maybe seeing the impressive church and do check out Listagilið ("The Art Canyon") home to a number of very nice arts and crafts galleries and shops. The tranquil municipal botanical garden, Lystigardurinn, is worth visiting, as are the several small museums dotted around down town. When you have seen the sights you will need to drive from Akureyri in a westerly direction, through the valley of Horgardalur and over the heath of Oxnadalsheidi, to the region of Skagafjordur. This area is renowned for its fertile farmlands and horse breeding.

Accommodation: book in the area surrounding Hrutafjordur.

sea kayaking tour

Take a sea kayaking tour

Day 9

Today your route will take you on a drive to the village of Holmavik. It has often been said that the people of this area, Strandir, know a bit more about witchcraft and sorcery than most others. To underscore that claim the Museum of Sorcery & Witchcraft has been set up here. The visitor is taken on a magical tour into the mystical world of the supernatural, the museum covers magic practiced during the 17th century, as well as folktales, in a most informative and enjoyable way. From Strandir you will need to drive across Steingrimsfjordur plateau on your way to Isafjordur fjord. The road will take you along the beautiful uninhabited fjords of Mjoifjordur, Skotufjordur, Seydisfjordur, Hestfjordur and Alftafjordur... watch carefully to see if there are seals around ... as you drive all the way to the town Isafjordur.

Accommodation: book in the Isafjordur area (1st night of 2).

Dynjandi waterfall westfjords

Dynjandi Falls in the West Fjords. Now... if that is not impressive...

Day 10

We recommend you to spend time enjoying Isafjordur and the surrounding area including the neighbouring towns of Bolungarvik and Sudureyri. You could also take a boat tour to Vigur Island or Hornvik, a kayak tour in Isafjorður, or visit the natural history museum of Bolungarvik or just walk around in Isafjordur - this is one of the oldest towns in Iceland with the largest collection of old timber frame houses in Iceland. The houses were mostly constructed by foreign traders in the late 18th century.

Accommodation: book in Isafjordur town.

Snorkeling Thingvellir National Park

Snorkeling between tectonic plates in Thingvellir National Park

Day 11

The Westfjords region has sometimes been dubbed "the most famous unknown place in Iceland". You will enjoy driving the road alongside the scenic fjords of Sugandafjordur, Onundarfjordur, Dyrafjordur and Arnarfjordur. See the Dynjandi Waterfall, one of the highlights of the Westfjords. It is a must to visit this and see it with your own eyes. To get to Dynjandi you will need to drive over the Dynjandi Pass at the bottom of Arnarfjordur. This region boasts a unique nature which attracts visitors, it is untouched and almost uninhabited. The cliffs and valleys are packed with birds, the fjords offer a moment of silence and tranquility, and the Arctic fox proudly roams the mountains and inlets. The waterfalls are high and the streams pure. The distances are long and the fjords are deep and there are also those places where there are no roads at all!

almannagja canyon

The continental drift between the North American and Eurasian Plates can be clearly seen in Thingvellir

You will come to the villages of Bildudalur, Talknafjordur and Patreksfjordur before driving on to Latrabjarg, the western-most part of Europe. It hosts millions of birds and is vital for the survival of some species, it hosts up to 40% of the world population of some species such as the Razorbill. This is Europe's largest bird cliff, 14km long and up to 440m high.

Accommodation: book in this area.

geyser Strokkur

The geyser Strokkur erupts every 4 - 8 minutes

Day 12

Today your route will take you on a drive to Brjanslaekur village from where you should take the ferry across Breidafjordur Bay to the town of Stykkisholmur. Because of its location, Stykkisholmur became a centre for trade, transportation and services on Breidafjordur early in Iceland’s history. The town is still an ideal destination for those who wish to experience a diversity of nature and attractions. Stykkisholmur is in fact a museum of old houses which have recently been renovated, giving the town a charming look, such as Kuld‘s House, Norwegian House, Egill's House, Clause's House, Tag and Rig and of course the Old Church. The oldest building, the Norwegian House (Norska Husid), is home to the Snaefellsnes Folk Museum.

Snaefellsnes Peninsula kirkjufell

In the Snaefellsnes peninsula there's a whole photo album

You will then need to drive to Grundarfjordur and Olafsvik and then into the Snaefellsjokull glacier National Park. Snaefellsjokull National Park – Iceland's only National Park to extend to the seashore – covers an area of 170 sq. kilometres. The coast is varied and alive with bird life during the breeding season. The omnipresent Snaefellsjokull glacier towers majestically over the Park, trails of lava and other signs of volcanic activity are clearly visible on its flanks. There are a wealth of places to stop, such as Djupalon, Dritvik, Londrangar, Hellnar, Arnarstapi and Budir.

Accommodation: book in the Snaefellsnes area.

Waterfall Dettifoss

Waterfall Dettifoss will probably leave you speachless

Day 13

Today your tour includes a visit to Reykholt, one of Iceland's major historic sites, a cultural centre of both past and present. The cultural heritage of this place is mainly based around the residence of the saga writer and historian, Snorri Sturluson, who lived in Reykholt between 1206 and 1241. You will see famous antiquities such as the pool, passageway, old farmstead together with hot water and steam channels dating from Snorri's time.

Namaskard hot springs

Namaskard hot springs, also called Hverarond, are situated not far from lake Myvatn

Your route will take you to the waterfalls of Hraunfossar and Barnafoss which are beautiful and unusual natural phenomena. The Hraunfossar falls are clear, cold springs which well up through the lava and run in falls and rapids into the Hvita River. Barnafoss has been evolving through recorded history, as the river has dug itself down through the lava and runs in a deep and narrow ravine. There used to be a stone arch spanning the river, forming a bridge between the districts at each side of the river. The name "Barnafoss" (Children's Falls) is related to the local folk story that two boys from nearby lost their lives when they fell into the falls from the stone bridge. It is said the mournful mother had the bridge destroyed to prevent similar tragedies; but actually the stone bridge was destroyed in an earthquake.

Your route will then take you on a drive to Husafell, a beautiful area with a great view of the glaciers and mountains, you can visit a very nice swimming pool here. Then you drive towards Reykjavik and on to the Blue lagoon, which is located on the Reykjanes peninsula. After you have relaxed in the Blue lagoon for some time you will need to drive to Keflavik in time for dinner.

Accommodation: book in the Keflavik area.