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The Ultimate Iceland Ring Road Itinerary

5-10 Day Iceland Ring Road Itinerary: Complete Guide + Map & Tips

|December 6, 2023
Anhelina is a cat mom with a passion for cycling, adventure, and writing. She spends her days inspiring and educating other travelers through her stories by going down rabbit holes of research.

The Ring Road is the sightseeing route in Iceland that you can take three or four times and still make new discoveries each time. Whether it’s a few days or even a couple of weeks, this route is worth it! We share Ring Road tips, ideas, and good-to-knows with you here.


Driving the famous Ring Road highway comes top on the bucket list for many travelers to Iceland. The Flight Network chose the Ring Road in 2019 as one of the World’s Best Once in once-in-a-lifetime journeys. This route wraps all the way around Iceland, except for the uninhabited Highlands in the middle. The main advantage of the Ring Road is that you'll visit all the famous spots everyone talks about. Gorgeous waterfalls like Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss, beaches, cliffs, glaciers - you name it. This is the kind of road trip you'll remember forever.

WHAT IS RING ROAD IN ICELAND?

Outline of the Ring Road route on the map of Iceland.

Iceland's Ring Road is a 1,332-kilometer highway encircling the island, linking numerous towns and natural landmarks.

The Ring Road is 1332 kilometers (827.66 miles). That is the basic journey that will get you around the island, leaving out the peninsula of Snæfellsnes and the peninsula-like Westfjords. Everyone who does the Ring Road travels more than this, detouring to do incredible adventure activities, see fabulous places, and crossing mountain passes to stunning and very isolated fjords. 

If you're wondering how long does it take to drive around Iceland, it's important to note that while the Ring Road itself can be driven in roughly 17 hours without stops, most travelers take at least a week to explore and enjoy the various attractions along the way. Even if you do not stray from the main highway very far or very often, you still might drive around 1800 kilometers (1118 miles) in total by the end of it.

For those looking to maximize their experience without the stress of itinerary planning, our guided tours offer a comprehensive and enjoyable way to explore the Ring Road, complete with the knowledge and expertise of local guides.

THE RING ROAD, OR HIGHWAY 1, ALSO KNOWN AS ROUTE 1 ICELAND

Either, they are exactly the same. In Iceland, the main road encircles the island is known as the Ring Road and Highway 1, often referred to as Route 1. The roads in Iceland are numbered, and while many Icelanders rarely refer to most roads by their numbers, this particular route is an exception due to its significance and popularity among both locals and tourists. It's the main artery that connects various parts of the country, making it a vital part of any Icelandic road trip.

DRIVING THE RING ROAD ICELAND TIPS

Photo by Norris Niman

  • Go with a buddy who can share the driving. You will see so much more and can rest when you want! Even if you love driving, missing out on the scenery is no fun.

  • Make a list of the things you want to do at various locations and plan enough time to do them. If you want to go rafting on the Hvítá river, snowmobiling, or even snowmobiling and ice caving on Langjökull glacier or whale watching in Dalvík – factor in enough time, and it will all be fabulous.

  • Allow the activities you want to do and your must-see places to determine where you will stay at night.

  • Pack snacks. You might drive for longer distances without seeing any restaurants or gas stations, and having a picnic in a nice location is also just a wonderful option. Just remember, leave no trace!

ICELAND RING ROAD – HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE?

To really get the best out of your Iceland road trip, you should allow at least 5 days, although a week can be better, and 4 days is very tight! If you only have 4 days, prioritize your absolutely top activities and sights – you cannot do everything. Creating a well-thought-out Iceland road trip itinerary is crucial, especially if your time is limited. This itinerary should include your must-see destinations and activities while considering driving times and rest periods. 

Driving takes longer in winter conditions, and daylight is shorter, so bear this in mind when scheduling your itinerary. If you want to fit in loads of activities and deviate a lot from the beaten path, 10 days or more is not too long. Consider our Ring Road tours for a more relaxed pace and in-depth exploration of off-the-beaten-path locations.

ICELAND RING ROAD CLOCKWISE OR COUNTER-CLOCKWISE?

Driving Iceland's Ring Road clockwise typically starts with the country's southern attractions, while counter-clockwise begins with the western and northern sights.

Which direction should you drive the Ring Road Iceland? Most people travel anti-clockwise, visiting the south before heading towards the east. Going south is best for first-time drivers in Iceland because then you will have some experience when you get to slightly more difficult roads.

CAN YOU DRIVE THE RING ROAD IN A REGULAR CAR?

Yes, most definitely, although, particularly in winter, a 4×4 can have advantages. Most activities and detours can be reached with a small car via paved roads, but not all. Mountain roads need a 4×4 with appropriate insurance. Some magical places, such as Borgarfjörður Eystri, can only be reached by unpaved roads. So, plan what you want to do than hire the vehicle you need.

DRIVING THE RING ROAD IN WINTER

In winter, driving Iceland's Ring Road offers a magical snowy landscape, but requires careful preparation for changing road conditions.

If you are used to driving in ice, snow, and poor visibility, then have no worries. Otherwise, consider whether a summer self-drive or a winter tour would be best for you. The Ring Road is kept as clear of ice and snow as possible, so it is rare for sections to be closed. If your detours take you onto remote roads, you are far more likely to encounter road closures.

Here is more on the debate Self Drive vs. Guided tour in Iceland.

Many visiting Iceland wish to do the Ring Road but are unsure if their driving skills are good enough. Then joining a Ring Road Tour is the perfect option! The Ring Road tour can be done in 6,7 and 8 days, and then you can just sit back and relax while your driver makes sure you don’t miss any of the highlights and tells you everything about the landscapes, flora, and fauna. This option is especially recommended for those who are not used to driving in snow but still wish to do the Ring Road in winter.

Additionally, a winter journey along the Ring Road offers the spectacular opportunity to witness the Northern Lights. These ethereal lights are often visible from various points along the route without venturing far from the main road. The winter months provide longer nights, increasing your chances of seeing this incredible natural display. So, as you traverse Iceland's stunning landscapes, keep an eye on the night sky for a chance to experience the magical aurora borealis!

RING ROAD ICELAND ITINERARY 5-10 DAYS

Now let’s dive into a unique 10-day Icelandic journey! We'll explore offbeat paths like the Tröllaskagi Peninsula and Borgarfjörður, discover the diverse Reykjanes Peninsula, and wrap up with a full day in Reykjavík, exploring its city life more deeply than most. This trip is all about mixing well-known sights with Iceland's hidden gems for a truly memorable experience.

ICELAND RING ROAD MAP

DAY 1: GOLDEN CIRCLE

Route: Reykjavík → Golden Circle → South Coast

Highlights: Þingvellir, Gullfoss, Geysir, Reynisfjara black beach, Skógar, Skógafoss, Seljalandsfoss, Sólheimajökull glacier.

Activities: Visiting Golden Circle sites and exploring the South Coast.

The Golden Circle in Iceland is a popular tourist route near Reykjavik, featuring three iconic natural attractions.

Let’s head south, but before you leave Reykjavík, you must point the car north! Follow the Ring Road north, then quickly turn right onto the road signposted to Þingvellir, the first of your famous Golden Circle sights. 

See an erupting geyser at Geysir geothermal area, then head to Gullfoss Waterfall. This is a pick-up point for snowmobile tours, or you could follow the road up to Drumoddstaðir for a river rafting tour – if you want to try these, there is no time like now! 

Returning to the Ring Road, you are traveling the south coast with its wealth of sightseeing delights – grand waterfalls, villages, and the amazing black beach at Reynisfjara are just a few. The areas near Vík, Skógar, and Skaftafell are all good overnight stopping places. 

You might not want to go too far if you have spent more time on activities. Sólheimajökull glacier is just a short detour from the Ring Road; a 15-minute walk from the car park will bring you to a great point to capture views of this majestic glacier. Why not explore it with a sensational glacier hike?

After a day of marveling at the waterfalls and black sand beaches of South Iceland, relax at the Adventure Hotel Geirland. This hotel, nestled in the heart of South Iceland, offers stunning mountain views and is conveniently located near top attractions like the Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon and Skaftafell Nature Reserve. With 40 rooms, free parking, Wi-Fi, and a breakfast buffet, it's an ideal stop to recharge.

Hidden Gem: Brúarfoss Waterfall – Known for its brilliant blue waters, this lesser-known waterfall is a serene alternative to the more crowded Golden Circle attractions.

DAY 2: SOUTH ICELAND

Route: South Coast → Skaftafell

Highlights: Skaftafell area, Svartifoss waterfall, Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, Diamond Beach, Vatnajökull glacier.

Activities: Hiking, glacier tours, visiting Jökulsárlón.

Give yourself plenty of time and enjoy the majesty of the huge, crazily shaped icebergs floating on the ice lagoon!

If you missed any south coast attractions close to Skógar and Vík yesterday, fit in your must-sees before you continue to Skaftafell, the Visitor Centre is the hub of hikes and activities. 

A short hike will bring you to one of the most incredible waterfalls in Iceland, Svartifoss, the black waterfall; its white shimmering cascade is framed by massive hexagonal black basalt columns. If you missed out on a glacier hike yesterday, you get a 2nd chance at Skaftafell today – easy or more challenging – your choice! 

Depending on how much time you spend enjoying activities and sights, you could visit the stunning Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon today or leave that wonder for tomorrow. The tip is to give yourself plenty of time and enjoy the majesty of the huge, crazily shaped icebergs floating on the ice lagoon beneath Vatnajökull glacier, the amazing Diamond Beach. Some once-in-a-lifetime tours include glacier hiking, ice caving, ice lagoon kayaking, and boat tours from Jökulsárlón. 

Ideally, your accommodation for the night must be between Skaftafell and Höfn, the lobster capital of Iceland. If you have left Jökulsárlón for tomorrow, you would need to back-track around 80 km from Höfn – so bear your likely itinerary in mind when planning accommodation.

As you journey through the scenic South Coast, consider a stay at Adventure Hotel Hof. nestled in Iceland's Öræfi region, is an ideal stop for travelers exploring the South Coast and East Fjords. It offers a strategic base for your adventures just a stone's throw from Hofskirkja church and a short drive to Vatnajökull National Park and Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon. 

Hidden Gem: Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon – A stunning and often overlooked canyon with dramatic landscapes, perfect for photography enthusiasts.

DAY 3: EASTFJORDS

Route: Skaftafell → Eastfjords

Highlights: Jökulsárlón (if not visited the previous day), Egilsstaðir, Seyðisfjörður, Reyðarfjörður, Eskifjörður.

Activities: Exploring fjords, enjoying scenic drives, and local hikes.

The Eastfjords of Iceland are a serene, less-visited region known for dramatic fjords, fishing villages, and wildlife, including puffins and reindeer.

Today is all about the beautiful coast of East Iceland. Start with Jökulsárlón if you didn’t see it yesterday, you want one last mesmerizing look, or you have booked a great activity. Then, drive towards the amazing East Fjords. The scenery is fantastic as the road wends in and out, gray ribbon threading its way between the ocean and the mountains. Sharp fjords cut deeply into ragged-toothed mountains – there are many safe stopping places to admire insane views. 

The distance from Höfn to Egilsstaðir is 187 km. The largest forests in Iceland are in the area around Egilsstaðir. This town has good services and supermarkets, so it is a great place to stock up on provisions. Lake Lagarfljót, a picturesque lake, is home to Lagarfljótsormurinn, the fabled and famous giant water worm, which is said to reside in the shadowy depths of the lake.

For a rejuvenating experience, make a stop at Vök Baths near Egilsstaðir. These unique floating geothermal pools on Lake Urriðavatn offer a serene and scenic spot to relax and enjoy the area's natural beauty.

There are lovely hikes and waterfalls in this area. Some people like to stay around Egilsstaðir, but you can cross the mountains to stay at either Seyðisfjörður or Reyðarfjörður. Whether you stay there overnight or not, the tip is to visit Seyðisfjörður! Eskifjörður, or Reyðarfjörður – there are just too many really great fjords. If you want a magic moment in Iceland, try Seyðisfjörður walk under the midnight sun. But you are welcome to find your own favorite things to do in East Iceland.

Hidden Gem: Hengifoss and Litlanesfoss Waterfalls – While visiting the Eastfjords, these waterfalls offer breathtaking views with fewer tourists.

DAY 4: NORTH ICELAND

Route: Eastfjords → Lake Mývatn → Akureyri

Highlights: Dettifoss waterfall, Mývatn Nature Baths, Námafjall, Dimmuborgir, Goðafoss waterfall, Akureyri.

Activities: Visiting waterfalls, relaxing in nature baths, exploring geological formations.

Rushing waters of waterfall cascade down cliffs under a sky streaked with pink and blue hues at sunset in Iceland.

North Iceland is known for its volcanic landscapes, geothermal hotspots, and prime viewing spots for the Northern Lights.

Turning to the north today to the wonderful area around Lake Mývatn and Akureyri, the crazily beautiful ‘Capital of the North.’ Along the way, you have got to stop to stand in awe at the power of the Dettifoss waterfall as the torrent crashes through the incredibly rugged canyon. Not far away, you will find Myvatn Nature Baths. An hour or two spent relaxing in these mineral-rich waters, surrounded by lunar-like views, is a marvelous treat for mind, body, and soul. Alternatively, consider visiting the GeoSea Geothermal Baths in Húsavík. These unique sea baths provide a different kind of relaxation with stunning ocean views and healing waters.

From the otherworldly Dimmuborgir lava formations, known as ‘the Dark Castles,’ to the extraordinary boiling mud pots and steam-exuding fumaroles at Námafjall, the sights in this area will get your camera working overtime! As you edge closer to Akureyri, you will come across Goðafoss waterfall. Its glorious crescent shape will probably be familiar to you; this iconic image has adorned so many photographs and paintings.

A drive alongside Eyjafjörður, Iceland’s longest fjord, will bring you to Akureyri, sitting like a precious jewel, almost at the apex of the Fjord. Take some time to explore this town because it is a total stunner. Spending the night in or around Akureyri will place you in pole position for tomorrow. 

Consider the Forest Lagoon Spa near Akureyri for a more secluded and intimate experience. Nestled in a serene forest setting, it's a perfect spot to relax and soak in the tranquil surroundings. 

One tip – book yourself a whale-watching tour from Dalvík, ready for tomorrow! Fast RIB boat or standard boat – for you to choose!

Hidden Gem: Aldeyjarfoss Waterfall – Situated in the highlands near Lake Mývatn, this waterfall is known for its unique basalt column formations.

DAY 5: WEST ICELAND

Route: Akureyri → Tröllaskagi Peninsula → Siglufjörður → Skagafjörður

Highlights: Dalvík, Siglufjörður, Hofsós, Skagafjörður.

Activities: Whale watching, exploring the Tröllaskagi peninsula, swimming in Hofsós.

Photo by Norris Niman

Today's journey takes you from the vibrant Akureyri to the serene landscapes of the Tröllaskagi Peninsula in North West Iceland. Kick off your day in Dalvík, a cozy little fishing village right in the heart of Iceland's ski territory. It's a spot where the mountains kiss the sea, offering views that will last you a lifetime. This place shows off the best of Iceland's natural beauty and quaint, traditional vibes.

Next up, take a leisurely drive around the Tröllaskagi Peninsula. Trust me, the journey is as good as the destination here. Siglufjörður is a treat for your eyes with its stunning fjord views – it's like stepping into a postcard. You'll want to keep your camera handy for this part of the trip!

Don't miss out on a dip in the outside swimming pool at Hofsós. Imagine relaxing in warm waters with an epic ocean view – it's as amazing as it sounds.

The East Glacial River Gorge offers a thrilling white-water rafting tour if you're up for an adventure. Or, for a family-friendly option, there's a gentler rafting experience at Hafgrímsstaðir Rafting Base.

Make a point to swing by Sauðárkrókur, a quaint town in North West Iceland. It's a bit off the beaten path but totally worth it for a taste of local life.

Hidden Gem: Hvitserkur – A striking rock formation off the Vatnsnes peninsula, resembling a dragon drinking from the sea.

EXTENDING TO 7 DAYS

DAY 6: SNÆFELLSNES PENINSULA

Route: Skagafjörður → Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Highlights: Snæfellsjökull National Park, Kirkjufell Mountain, Arnarstapi village.

Activities: Hiking, sightseeing, exploring fishing villages.

Solitary white house with a dark roof stands out against the mossy green cliffs and rough waters of Iceland's Snaefellsnes Peninsula, with a majestic mountain backdrop.

The Snaefellsness Peninsula is home to the Snaefellsjokull glacier, dramatic sea cliffs, lava fields, and historic fishing villages.

Today, get ready to explore the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, a place so diverse and full of wonders it's often called 'Iceland in Miniature.' Your first stop is the unmissable Snæfellsjökull National Park. Here, the star attraction is the glacier-capped volcano, a sight so majestic it seems to be straight out of a fantasy novel. The park is a hiker's paradise, offering trails leading you through lava fields, past roaring waterfalls, and viewpoints where the vistas are nothing short of breathtaking.

Next up, go to Kirkjufell, Iceland's most photographed mountain. Standing tall near Grundarfjörður, a charming fishing village, Kirkjufell is a sight to behold. Whether you're a 'Game of Thrones' fan or just love capturing nature's beauty, this mountain is a must-see. The surrounding area is equally stunning with its waterfalls and coastal views.

But that's not all the peninsula has to offer. Villages like Arnarstapi and Hellnar are sprinkled along the coast, each with its own unique character. In Arnarstapi, take a stroll along the harbor, watch the waves crash against the dramatic cliffs, and maybe even spot some seabirds going about their day. Hellnar, with its quaint houses and peaceful atmosphere, is the perfect spot to grab a coffee and just soak in the views. 

If you feel like staying here longer, there are many more exciting things to do in Snaefellsnes.

Cozy hotel room with a double bed, flanked by gold and grey curtains, showcasing a bright window view and a wall-mounted TV.

Room at the Hotel Hellissandur

As the day winds down, consider staying at Adventure Hotel Hellissandur right on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. This hotel offers easy access to the Snæfellsjökull National Park, Skarðsvík beach, and other local attractions. Here, you can unwind, plan your upcoming day, and immerse yourself in the tranquil beauty of Iceland's west coast.

Additional Options for the Day:

  • Ytri Tunga Beach: Known for its golden sands and seal sightings, Ytri Tunga Beach is a serene spot for wildlife enthusiasts and beach lovers alike.
  • Vatnshellir Cave: Delve into the depths of Vatnshellir Cave, a fascinating lava tube offering a glimpse into Iceland's volcanic underworld.
  • Lóndrangar Cliffs: Witness the raw power of nature at Lóndrangar, where towering basalt cliffs rise dramatically from the ocean, a haven for birdwatching.
  • Djúpalónssandur Beach: Explore the haunting beauty of Djúpalónssandur, a pebble beach famous for its historic shipwreck remains and dramatic ocean views.

Hidden Gem: Rauðfeldsgjá Gorge – A dramatic rift in the cliffs near Arnarstapi, offering a unique hiking experience.

DAY 7: BORGARFJÖRÐUR

Route: Snæfellsnes Peninsula → Borgarfjörður

Highlights: Hraunfossar and Bjarnarfoss waterfalls, Deildartunguhver hot spring, Reykholt, Víðgelmir lava cave.

Activities: Visiting waterfalls and hot springs, exploring lava caves.

Ethereal view inside Víðgelmir Cave with a radiant light revealing icy formations and rugged rock textures, creating a mystical underground landscape.

Víðgelmir is a lava tube cave in West Iceland, formed during a 930 CE volcanic eruption.

Day 7 takes you back towards Reykjavík, but not before you dive into the wonders of Borgarfjörður. Start your day at the Hraunfossar and Bjarnarfoss waterfalls. Hraunfossar isn't your typical waterfall; it's a series of streams seeping through a lava field, creating a magical, almost surreal scene. A short walk away, Bjarnarfoss churns with energy and local legends, adding a bit of mystery to your visit.

Next, feel Iceland's raw power at Deildartunguhver, Europe's mightiest hot spring. The steam and bubbling water here showcase the geothermal forces at play under Iceland's surface. It's a spot where you can't help but feel the earth's energy.

For a touch of history, swing by Reykholt. This village is a window into Iceland's past, once home to Snorri Sturluson, a big name in medieval Icelandic sagas. Walking around Reykholt is like stepping back in history.

If you're up for an adventure, don't miss the Víðgelmir lava cave. It's one of Iceland's biggest lava caves, and exploring it feels like you're on a different planet. The cave's massive chambers and unique rock formations are something you won't forget.

Hidden Gem: Húsafell – A picturesque area near the Langjökull glacier, offering a serene escape into Iceland's glacial beauty. Don't miss the unique Into the Glacier experience, where you can explore the heart of a glacier and marvel at its icy wonders.

EXTENDING TO 10 DAYS

Want to make your Iceland adventure last a bit longer? Easy! You've got choices: stick with our plan that dives into the famous spots in Reykjanes and Reykjavik, or mix it up earlier in your trip by adding a day in the peaceful Eastfjords or the stunning Snæfellsnes Peninsula. Whatever you pick, it's all about making those 10 days unforgettable.

Diver explores the crystal-clear waters of the Silfra fissure in Iceland, floating between rocky formations with light filtering through the surface above.

Silfra Fissure, a unique rift in Iceland, offers crystal-clear waters for snorkeling and diving.

Option 1: Extra Day in the Eastfjords

When: Consider adding this extra day before Day 4.

Highlights: More time to explore the dramatic fjords, quaint fishing villages, and hidden waterfalls.

Activities: Hiking in remote trails, visiting Petra's Stone Collection in Stöðvarfjörður, exploring the artsy town of Seyðisfjörður.

Why: This extension allows for a deeper dive into the serene and less-traveled landscapes of the Eastfjords, offering a more relaxed pace to enjoy the natural beauty.

Option 2: Extra Day in the Snæfellsnes Peninsula

When: Consider adding this extra day before Day 7.

Highlights: Vatnshellir Cave, additional hiking trails, exploring more of the rugged coastline.

Activities: Caving, visiting the charming villages of Ólafsvík and Grundarfjörður, and birdwatching at Lóndrangar cliffs.

Why: An extra day in Snæfellsnes allows for a comprehensive exploration of this diverse region, often called “Iceland in Miniature” due to its varied landscapes.

DAY 8: BORGARFJÖRÐUR TO REYKJAVÍK

Route: Borgarfjörður → Reykjavík

Highlights: Glymur Waterfall, Settlement Exhibition in Borgarnes.

Activities: Hiking to Glymur, exploring historical sites.

Seabirds fly around moss-covered cliffs of Glymur Waterfall cascading in the background.

Glymur Waterfall, Iceland's second-highest waterfall, is known for its scenic hiking trail leading to stunning views of its cascading waters.

Today's journey brings you closer to Reykjavík, but you will also immerse yourself in the natural and historical wonders along the way. Your first destination is Glymur, Iceland's second-highest waterfall. Here, you can go on a hike through a verdant valley that leads you to stunning views at the summit. 

It's a bit of a challenge but totally doable for anyone with a reasonable fitness level. The reward at the end is more than worth it: a spectacular view of the waterfall plunging into the deep canyon below. The entire hike takes about 3 to 4 hours round trip, so it's a great way to immerse yourself in Iceland's natural beauty without taking up your whole day.

After the exhilarating hike, take a step back in time at the Settlement Exhibition in Borgarnes. This museum is a treasure trove of Icelandic history, offering insights into the lives of the early settlers of this rugged land. It's an excellent opportunity to understand the resilience and ingenuity of the Icelandic people and how they shaped the culture and traditions that you see today.

Alternatively, visit the newly opened Hvammsvík Hot Springs. These natural hot springs, set in a beautiful coastal environment, offer a unique and relaxing experience, blending perfectly with the day's theme of natural beauty and relaxation.

Hidden Gem: Grábrók Volcanic Crater – Grábrók is part of a trio of craters formed over 3,000 years ago and is easily accessible via a short hike. The walk to the top of the crater is relatively easy and offers panoramic views of the Borgarfjörður region and its lush landscapes.

DAY 9: REYKJANES PENINSULA

Route: Reykjavík → Reykjanes Peninsula → Reykjavík

Highlights: Sky Lagoon, Krýsuvík geothermal area, Bridge between Continents.

Activities: Relaxing in the Sky Lagoon, exploring geothermal areas.

Couple enjoys a serene dip in the geothermal waters of Sky Lagoon, with mist rising around them and a rugged cliff backdrop, under a soft sunset sky.

Sky Lagoon in Reykjavik, Iceland, is a geothermal spa famous for its ocean views and unique infinity-edge design.

Get ready to explore the Reykjanes Peninsula, where the earth's raw power is fully displayed. Kick off the day with a soak in the Sky Lagoon geothermal spa (or save it for the end of the day). With its stunning ocean views, this tranquil geothermal spa offers a unique and serene way to unwind with the views of the Atlantic Ocean.

Next up, the Krýsuvík geothermal area awaits. Here, you'll wander among hissing steam vents, boiling mud pots, and vibrant mineral deposits. It's like walking on the surface of another planet. Make sure to check out the Seltún geothermal area within Krýsuvík, where wooden walkways lead you safely around this steaming wonderland.

Don't leave without visiting the Bridge between Continents. This small footbridge over a major geological fault marks where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates meet. It's a literal and symbolic bridge between worlds and a great spot for a memorable photo.

Wrap up your day with a return to Reykjavík, ready for a relaxing evening.

Hidden Gem: Kerið Crater Lake – Not far off your path, this stunning volcanic crater lake, with its deep blue water contrasted against the red volcanic rock, offers a serene and picturesque stop, perfect for a peaceful moment away from the more popular spots.

DAY 10: REYKJAVIK & DEPATURE

Route: Explore Reykjavík

Highlights: Hallgrímskirkja, Harpa Concert Hall, Old Harbour, Laugavegur shopping street.

Activities: City exploration, cultural experiences, last-minute shopping.

Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavik stands out with its geometric glass facade reflecting the early morning sky, adjacent to a calm waterfront.

Harpa Concert Hall is a distinctive cultural venue in Reykjavik, celebrated for its unique glass architecture.

Spend your final day exploring the vibrant city of Reykjavík. Visit the iconic Hallgrímskirkja church, marvel at the architectural wonder of Harpa Concert Hall, stroll along the Old Harbour, and indulge in some last-minute shopping on Laugavegur Street.

Also, take the chance to dive deeper into Reykjavik's rich culture with its array of tours and museums. Whether it's a guided walking tour, a visit to a unique museum, or an interactive experience, you'll find plenty of options to enjoy this vibrant city. Check out Reykjavik tours and museums for some exciting ideas.

Reykjavík combines modern urban life with rich cultural heritage, making it the perfect finale to your Icelandic journey.

Hidden Gem: Grótta Lighthouse – A perfect spot for a scenic walk and birdwatching, especially during sunset, located at the edge of Reykjavík.

ICELAND RING ROAD TOUR ON A BUDGET

Group of travelers preparing gear beside their car on a gravel road with the rugged Icelandic terrain and distant mountains as a backdrop.

Exploring Iceland's Ring Road on a budget is possible with camping, staying in hostels, self-catering, and renting cheaper vehicles.

Look around and rent the cheapest suitable vehicle. Next, think about accommodation. In summer, camping is the cheapest way to go, and hostels are a good and reasonably cheap option anytime; check out booking.com for bargains and Airbnb, too. 

Cooking your own food most of the time will save you mega bucks. Stock up on provisions whenever you are in a larger town. My tip is to prioritize at least one amazing activity – if standing on a glacier would be your moment of crowning glory, go for that. If diving is your thing, explore the depths of Silfra Fissure. Whatever would be the glittering prize for you – just do it!

THE RING ROAD ICELAND - FAQ

Three Icelandic Horses in Iceland

How many days do you need on Iceland Ring Road?

To really soak in the beauty of Iceland along the Ring Road, aim for 10 to 14 days. This gives you enough time to venture off the main path, enjoy leisurely photo ops, and take those all-important snacks and stretch breaks.

Can you drive the Ring Road in 7 days?

Absolutely! A 6 or 7-day trip is a fantastic way to see Iceland's highlights. It's a perfect fit for a round trip from Reykjavík, with stops at gems like Vík, Höfn, Mývatn, and Skagafjörður.

Which is better, Golden Circle or Ring Road?

It really boils down to what you want to see and how much time you have. The Golden Circle is great for a shorter trip, hitting up famous spots like Þingvellir National Park, Geysir, and Gullfoss. The Ring Road, meanwhile, takes you on a grander tour of Iceland, showcasing diverse landscapes and numerous attractions.

Do you need a 4x4 in Iceland Ring Road?

For summer trips sticking mainly to the Ring Road, a 2WD will do just fine. But if you're visiting in winter or planning to explore the highlands, then a 4WD becomes essential.

How long does it take to drive the Ring Road in Iceland?

Driving the entire Ring Road non-stop takes around 17 hours. But remember, that's without counting in all the scenic stops, breaks, and any unexpected delays.

Can you do the Ring Road in 6 days?

Yes, a 6-day itinerary is totally doable for a quick yet fulfilling tour of Iceland's main Ring Road attractions.

Is 8 days enough for Iceland Ring Road?

Eight days is a sweet spot for the Ring Road, balancing sightseeing and travel time nicely.

Is it safe to drive the Ring Road in Iceland?

Driving the Ring Road is generally safe, but it's crucial to stay alert for changing weather, single-lane bridges, and the occasional animal crossing in more rural areas.

How much does it cost to drive Ring Road Iceland?

The cost can vary, depending on your choices for car rental, accommodation, food, and activities. To keep on top of your budget, it's wise to plan and book ahead, especially during peak seasons.

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