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CHOOSING A GUIDED TOUR VS. A SELF-DRIVE RING ROAD TOUR

When it comes to traveling on the Ring Road, you have the option to either join a guided tour or choose a self-drive tour. Of course, there is no right decision here and you must simply make your choice depending on what type of experience you want to have.

Tourist standing under the giant Skogafoss Waterfall in Iceland

WHY SHOULD I CHOOSE A GUIDED RING ROAD TOUR?

On a guided tour, you’ll be traveling in a small group and with a licensed tour guide. Having a guide is a big advantage if you want to learn more about the attractions than the standard guidebook can offer. Our guides know the Ring Road like the back of their hand and have plenty of fun stories to share.

A man in a helmet walking underneath a sheet of ice in an ice cave

During guided tours, you don’t have to worry about driving. This is one of the main reasons travelers opt for them. Driving in Iceland can be challenging, especially in winter. Tour drivers are trained to drive under various weather conditions and have the necessary tools to deal with challenging situations.

Our drivers always communicate with each other and share information about road conditions and closures. By having this information in advance, the guides can alter the plans. They make sure no time is wasted waiting around while there’s so much to see along the way!

WHY SHOULD I CHOOSE A SELF-DRIVE RING ROAD TOUR?

The giant spray of water from a geyser

Self-drive tours allow you to explore the Ring Road at your own pace. You can skip stops or add new ones. If you’re particularly interested in specific attractions, the self-drive tour is a good option as you can plan all the stops on your road trip.

If you are concerned about driving conditions, it is worth considering that driving in Iceland in summer is similar to driving anywhere else. Route 1 is mostly paved (98%) and has two lanes (except for some bridges).

People swimming in the Blue Lagoon, Iceland

Some of the self-drive tours don’t have a minimum age, which makes them perfect for a family trip with younger children.

Which Guided Ring Road Tour Should I Choose?

Tailored to meet every need and duration, our guided road trips around the R1 are ideal. Each trip is meticulously organized, allowing you to sit back and relax. However, how do you know which one to pick? We've broken down our most popular tours and their durations so you can decide.

6-Day Guided Tour

The six-day Ring Road tour is the ultimate road trip adventure around Iceland. TourRadar named this tour the best tour of 2019 in Iceland! The six-day trip from Reykjavík is available all year round to anyone over eight years old. The tour covers the Golden Circle, Mývatn, natural springs, waterfalls, and a glacier lagoon, among other famous attractions. This tour is recommended to anyone who is looking to see most of Iceland in less than a week.

A hiker looking out at the glacier in Skaftafell National Park

8-Day Guided Tour

If you have more time, the road trip can be extended to an eight-day Ring Road tour. This tour covers the same attractions as the six-day option but with two additional days in Reykjavík. The capital of Iceland is a modern and vibrant city with plenty of entertainment and attractions. Two days is the perfect amount of time to explore this charming city and immerse yourself in Icelandic culture.

7-Day Guided Tour

Another popular option is the seven-day guided Ring Road tour which takes you around the Ring Road in six days and to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula on the last day. The West Coast features a black pebble beach, charming fishing villages, and Snæfellsjökull Glacier, mentioned in Jules Verne’s novel as the gate to the center of the Earth! You can also explore the underground world on a tour of an ancient lava cave. Visiting the West is a must; Luxury Travel Guide nominated West Iceland as the Winter Destination of the Year 2019!

A view of Kirkjufell, Iceland’s most photographed mountain and its nearby waterfall

Which Self-Drive Ring Road Tour Should I Choose?

Self-drive tours begin at Keflavik airport, where a rental car is waiting for you. You also have the option to pick up the car from the BSI bus terminal in Reykjavík. All of our self-drive Ring Road tours include car rental, hotel accommodation, and breakfast. 

You also receive a self-drive handbook and a carefully crafted itinerary with the best tips and recommendations from our professional guides. The itinerary includes a detailed map of Iceland with all stops, easy-to-follow travel plans, descriptions, and pictures of all major attractions.

A 4x4 driving on a paved road with high snow banks on either side

For winter road trips it’s best to travel in a 4×4 car since weather conditions are often unpredictable. If you travel in summer, you can choose a smaller car depending on how much luggage you bring. During the trip, you’ll cover a distance of 125-250 mi (200-400 km) every day, so be prepared for a lot of driving and road trip music!

8-9-Day Self-Drive Tours

The black and blue icebergs at a glacier lagoon in Iceland

The shortest tour is an eight-day Ring Road with the Golden Circle self-drive package but if you’d like to squeeze in an additional day, our nine-day road trip itinerary offers a trip to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula.

10-day Self-drive Tour

Icelandic coastal town of Vik with a view of the stormy seas

If you’re planning to travel around Iceland for 10 days, we have a self-drive Ring Road tour that you simply won’t want to miss! Travel around the Golden Circle, South Coast, Eastfjords, North Iceland and the Snæfellsnes Peninsula visiting all the wonderful attractions you pass along the way. Please note that this tour is specifically tailored for the summer season and is only available from April to October.

13-Day Self-drive Tours

The newest addition to the Ring Road experience is the Arctic Coast Way. The new route invites travelers to visit remote locations along the North Coast and explore lesser-known paths. The 11-day self-drive tour covers both the Ring Road and the Arctic Coast Way, offering adventurers to step off the usual tourist route and explore a different side of Iceland.

A couple standing in front of Dynjandi Waterfall Iceland

Our longest self-drive package is the thirteen-day road trip to the Ring Road and the Westfjords of Iceland. If you’re looking to travel around Iceland and don’t want to miss anything, this tour is for you! The road trip covers Route 1, the Golden Circle, Snæfellsnes and Reykjanes peninsulas, and the Westfjords, turning this trip into the ultimate Icelandic self-drive tour! There’s no minimum age for this tour which means you can travel with the whole family.