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11-Day Self-Drive Tour - Iceland's Arctic Coast Way

Best Hits on the Ring Road & Hidden Roads in the North

Discover Iceland’s slow travel routes on the famous Ring Road and brand-new Arctic Coast Way.

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Hit lesser-known roads on this awesome self-drive tour of North Iceland and the Ring Road! You’ll hit all the regular highlights–Snaefellsnes, Golden Circle and the South Coast. The road will also take you through North Iceland’s newest tourist route, the Arctic Coast Way.

Rated one of the best destinations in Europe by Lonely Planet, Iceland’s secluded North Coast offers all the small villages and slow travel you could want, without the crowds!

West Iceland in the Winter destination of 2019

  • Availability

    All year

  • Duration

    11 days

  • Duration Overwrite

  • Level

    Easy

  • Pickup

    No

  • Meet on location

    No

  • Min. Age

    No min age

  • Departs from

    Keflavik Airport

  • Departs from Overwrite

  • Price from

    176.942 ISK

Tour highlights
The Golden Circle
The South Coast
The Arctic Coast Way Route
Snæfellsnes Peninsula
East Fjords
Blue Lagoon (optional)
Included
10 nights accommodation with private bathroom
11 days car rental (with basic insurances)
Daily breakfast
Detailed itinerary and information package

This 11-Day adventure introduces Iceland’s major attractions and North Coast on a spectacular road trip you won’t soon forget.

Snaefellsnes & North Iceland

Your adventure starts at Keflavík International Airport, where you’ll pick up your rental car. Drive up north past Reykjavik to lovely Snæfellsnes Peninsula, seabirds, seaside cliffs and epic mountains. See Mt. Kirkjufell, one of the most photographed mountains in the world. Your circle around the peninsula will introduce you to Snæfellsjökull Glacier, Reykholt historic town, and the immense Deildartunguhver geothermal area. 

North Iceland

After that, it’s time for the Arctic Coast Way, and its six peninsulas that extend to the Arctic Circle. Book a whale watching tour in Dalvik or take a photo beside Godafoss Waterfall. Dedicate one full day to lovely Lake Myvatn and its strange lava formations, volcanic craters and Dettifoss Waterfall. 

Hit the roads on Melrakkaslétta Peninsula, check out a fossil beach and the cute town of Borgarfjörður Eystri. After exploring the rural coastline of Northeast Iceland, drive out to quiet East Iceland

South Iceland & Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon

Zip down around the Ring Road to the South Coast of Iceland to see the otherworldly beauty of Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon. Tour the world-famous Golden Circle

On the last day, drive through Reykjanes Peninsula and visit some of the most striking abandoned places in the country. 

Along the way, choose from optional activities like whale watching in Dalvik, glacier hiking, or soaking in the mineral-rich waters of the Blue Lagoon. 

This self-drive tour takes you off the beaten path at your own pace! Get ready to roll! 

Please note: this itinerary is perfect for morning arrivals. If you’re arriving to Iceland in the afternoon, we suggest you arrive a day before and overnight in Reykjavik before the start of your self-drive tour. 

Optional extra

  • Blue Lagoon (optional extra)

On Day 11,  you have the option of going for a soak in the famous Blue Lagoon located in the Reykjanes Peninsula if your flight schedule allows. Blue Lagoon admission fee is not included in our self-drive package, and since a pre-booking is required to enter the Lagoon, we recommend you booking your visit the Blue Lagoon website. Please remember to bring a bathing suit and a towel if you’re not planning to rent them at the reception.


Detailed Itinerary Included

√ Detailed map of Iceland with all stops

√ Easily follow daily travel plans

√ Mobile-friendly design

√ Descriptions & photos for all major stops

√ Print your itinerary or share with friends


Information for your rental car

Pick-up: Keflavik International airport (KEF)  at flexible times.

For the best experience, we definitely recommend that you pick your car up early on the day of arrival, and return it in the afternoon or evening on your last day.

Drop-off: By default, the drop-off location for your car will be at Keflavik International Airport (KEF)


Accommodation

Comfort accommodation is included in this package. Great locations, breakfast is included and you will have a private bathroom.


Practical information

Remember to bring: Warm layers (woolen or fleece), waterproof clothing, headwear, scarf, gloves, we highly recommend you bring hiking boots since they are essential in exploring Iceland, driver’s license, sunglasses, and please check on the road condition and weather condition online frequently if you are traveling in winter.

What if I don’t own all of these clothing items?
Don’t worry, you can always rent sturdy hiking boots, a waterproof jacket, and pants in the booking process.

Please 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.

To offer the best price possible, this self-drive package is fixed and cannot be changed or altered. The package has been optimized for the best experience.

Day 1 - Borgarfjörður & Snæfellsnes

Velkominn to your epic Icelandic road trip! 

Once you arrive at Keflavík International Airport, pick up your rental car and head towards Reykjavik. Traveling the 40 km (25 mi) drive from Keflavik to the capital city is an adventure in itself. As you follow the winding road through moss-covered lava fields, you’ll feel like you’ve landed on the moon! Next, head North towards the scenic Snæfellsnes Peninsula via Borgarfjörður. 

In the evening, arrive at your hotel in the Snæfellsnes area.

On your road to Snæfellsnes, you’ll find plenty of incredible attractions. Here is a useful list of the best sites you can see on the way.

Day Highlights
Hraunfossar & Barnafoss Waterfalls
Reykholt
Deildartunguhver Geothermal Area
Eldborg Crater (The Fire Castle)
Gerðuberg Cliffs
Ytri Tunga Beach
Included
Rental Car
Itinerary
Accommodation

Day 2 - Snaefellsnes

After breakfast, explore the unparalleled beauty of Snæfellsnes Peninsula. Nicknamed  “Iceland in Miniature,” the landscape of Snæfellsnes is like a snapshot of the whole country. Volcanic peaks, sea cliffs, black sand beaches find your own natural element! On the western tip is Snæfellsjökull, a glacier-capped volcano immortalized in Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth. 

A wonderful night with Kp 5 . Northern lights mountain Kirkjufell in Iceland.

After exploring Snaefellsnes, head northwest. Hvítserkur Sea Stack, of course, is the first highlight of the Arctic Coast Way. 

In the evening, arrive at your hotel. Rest up to hit the romantic roads of North Iceland tomorrow

Day Highlights
Arnarstapi fishing village
Hellnar fishing village
Lóndrangar Basalt Cliffs
Djúpalónssandur Beach & Dritvík Cove
Kirkjufell Mountain
Stykkishólmur Town
Erpsstaðir Dairy Farm
Hvítserkur Sea Stack
Included
Rental Car
Itinerary
Accommodation

Day 3 - Skagafjörður & Eyjafjörður

After breakfast, continue your journey through North Iceland. You’ll explore long fjords and cute villages, each with their own unique charm. 

This day, you can opt for the whale watching tour in Dalvik at 3:00 p.m. (15:00 a.m.). You can book the activity via our website. 

In the evening, arrive at your hotel in Akureyri. If you opted out of whale watching, you’ll have some extra time to explore this town.

Day Highlights
Blönduós Town
Hofsós Village
Siglufjörður
Ólafsfjörður
Dalvik
Svartifoss Waterfall
Akureyri
Dalvik whale watching tour
Included
Rental Car
Itinerary
Accommodation

Day 4 - Mývatn and its Surroundings

After breakfast, drive east of Akureyri towards Lake Mývatn, one of Iceland’s most popular tourist attractions. Marvel at bizarre lava formations, abundant birdlife, and steaming volcanic craters. 

After exploring to your heart’s content, head North towards Húsavík. En route, don’t forget to check out Dettifoss, Europe’s most powerful waterfall. 

Spend the night at your hotel in Húsavík.

Day Highlights
Goðafoss Waterfall
Dimmuborgir Lava Field
Lake Mývatn
Grjótagjá Cave
Hverarönd
Stóra-Víti Crater
Dettifoss Waterfall
Husavik
Included
Rental Car
Itinerary
Accommodation

Day 5 - Arctic Coast: Melrakkaslétta

Today is your last day on the Arctic Coast Way. Hit unhyped roads and get immersed in the beauties of two peninsulas Tjörnes and Melrakkaslétta. 

In the evening, arrive at your hotel in Þórshöfn or Vopnafjörður.

Day Highlights
Tjörnes Peninsula
Ásbyrgi Canyon
Kópasker
Melrakkaslétta Peninsula
Raufarhöfn
The Arctic Henge
Þórshöfn
Included
Rental Car
Itinerary
Accommodation

Day 6 - Borgarfjörður Eystri, East Iceland

Enjoy your breakfast before heading towards Borgarfjörður Eystri, a tiny hamlet surrounded by towering peaks. Along the way, visit Stuðlagil Canyon and its famous basalt columns.  

Borgarfjordur fishing village in East Iceland. Calm and peaceful evening sunshine with houses along the sea edge.

Tonight, spend the night at your hotel in Borgarfjörður Eystri.

Day Highlights
Vopnafjörður Village
Stuðlagil Canyon
Rjúkandi Waterfall
Borgarfjörður Eystri Village
Dyrfjöll Mountains
Hafnarhólmi Cape
Included
Rental Car
Itinerary
Accommodation

Day 7 - East Fjords

After breakfast, hop on your car and hit the road towards the South of Iceland. Expect a lot of driving through the picturesque region of the East Fjords. Along the way, discover more about village life in quaint rural towns in the fjords.

In the evening, arrive at your hotel in Höfn or Skaftafell.

Day Highlights
Lagarfljót
Hallormssaðarskógur
Saxa Cliff
Petra’s Stone & Mineral Collection
Havarí
Djúpivogur
Höfn
Included
Rental Car
Itinerary
Accommodation

Day 8 - Skaftafell & Kirkubæjarklaustur

This morning head to the iceberg-dotted Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon leaving the town of Höfn behind. Afterward, explore Skaftafell National Park, an area graced with landscapes found nowhere else on Earth. Next, continue your journey towards Kirkjubæjarklaustur.

Spend the night at your hotel in the Kirkjubæjarklaustur area.

Day Highlights
Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
Diamond Beach
Skaftafell Nature Reserve
Svartifoss Waterfall
Lómagnúpur Mountain
Dverghamrar Cliffs
Kirkjugólfið (The Church Floor)
Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon
Included
Rental Car
Itinerary
Accommodation

Day 9 - Vík í Mýrdal & Waterfalls on the South Coast

Continue your journey through the South Coast, one of the most popular sightseeing routes in Iceland. Be enchanted by the black beauty of Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach and the waterfalls Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss. 

Today you can opt for a glacier hike at 1:30 p.m. or 2:30 p.m. Strap on some crampons and embark on a guided walk atop a glacier! The tour is suitable for all levels of expertise. You can book the activity via our website. 

Beautiful town of Vik i Myrdal in Iceland in summer. The village of Vik is the southernmost village in Iceland on the ring road around 180 km southeast of Reykjavík

After an action-packed day, arrive at your hotel in the Golden Circle / Hvolsvöllur Area.

Day Highlights
Vík í Mýrdal
Reynisfjara Black Beach
Dyrhólaey
Optional Glacier Hike Activity
Skógar
Skógafoss Waterfall
Gljúfrabúi Waterfall
Seljalandsfoss Waterfall
Included
Rental Car
Itinerary
Accommodation

Day 10 - The Golden Circle

Today set out to explore the Golden Circle, the most popular sightseeing route in Iceland. En route, discover hidden attractions known to few tourists. There are three main highlights on the route: Gullfoss Waterfall, Geysir geothermal area and Thingvellir. 

Gullfoss Waterfall flows down from Langjokull Glacier to the Hvita River, dropping down about 32 m (105 ft) into Gullfoss Canyon. Falling over two tiers, it’s the undisputed Queen of Icelandic waterfalls.

Thingvellir National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the birthplace of the Althingi, the oldest parliament founded by Vikings more than one thousand years ago. Thingvellir also lies smack-dab in a geological rift between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates.

Geysir geothermal area is an active region with steam vents, bubbling pools and spouting geysers. The star of the show, Strokkur, erupts every 6-10 minutes, shooting 15-20 meters (49-66 ft) up into the air.

In the evening, arrive at your hotel in the Reykjavík Capital Area.

Day Highlights
Kerið
Friðheimar Greenhouse
Faxi Waterfall
Geysir Geothermal Area
Þingvellir National Park
Gullfoss Waterfall
Included
Rental Car
Itinerary
Accommodation

Day 11 - Return Home

Today is your last day on the road. Explore the soul-stirring landscapes of the Reykjanes Peninsula before you return your car. Lying directly on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, Reykjanes enchants visitors with lunar-like lava fields and geothermal activity.  

Add a visit to the praised Blue Lagoon (entrance fee is not included), if you wish.

Day Highlights
Kleifarvatn Lake
Hópsnesviti Lighthouse
Blue Lagoon
Reykjanesviti Lighthouse
Bridge Between Continents
Included
Rental Car
Itinerary
What is a self-drive tour?

Self-drive tour is a package tour that includes accommodation, car rental and suggested itinerary. The tours are self-guided but we provide you with information to make sure you know where to go and what to see, as well as general practical information about Iceland.

Included with our tours are accommodation and car rental, as described for each tour, itinerary with suggested points of interest along the way, GPS points for each stop (accommodation, activities, points of interest), and a detailed self-drive handbook with lots of practical information.

Which hotels will we be staying in? What category are they?

We use a very varied mix of local accommodations.

Comfort rooms are private rooms with private bathroom in guesthouses, hotels, motels, lodges, etc. Approximately 3-star rating.

Budget rooms are private rooms with shared bathroom at guesthouses, hostels, hotels, etc. Approximately 2-star rating.

Which type of vehicle do you recommend?

4WD vehicles are recommended during winter months (October – April) but it doesn’t need to be a jeep, it is safest to drive a vehicle that you are comfortable with so if you’re not used to driving large cars then a smaller, but 4WD, might be a better option. In summer any vehicle is good, depending on how many are traveling together, how much luggage you carry along and how much you’re willing to pay.

How much time will we spend in the car every day?

This depends on the itinerary, some are faster paced while others are more relaxed. Days can range from 200-400 km, though very few days exceed 350 km. Of course you are your own driver and guide while on a self drive tour so you are free to make detours as you wish.

What kind of insurance do I need?

It is always a good idea to make sure you have good travel insurance, as you never know what might happen while in a foreign country. Sure it costs a bit extra, but it can take a load off the mind and end up being totally worth it in case something should happen.

Take a look at what type of insurance is provided with your credit card, alternatively buy special travel insurance from an insurance provider.

As for the car rental, you can opt to buy extra insurance at the time of collecting the car. It may be wise to buy extra insurance such as windshield protection, as a cracked windshield from a stone being thrown off another car is among the most common incidents on Icelandic roads.

Other extra car insurances would be for example sand and ash protection, or additional insurance to lower the self-risk in case of an incident.

Can the itinerary be changed?

Our self drive adventures have been optimized for the best value experience, which includes doing some thrilling activities in the amazing Icelandic nature. As the packages are offered at the best possible price no partial refunds or modifications to the itinerary can be permitted. That includes opting out of an included activity and getting a refund for that activity. You can, of course, choose not to do the activity but as mentioned there would be no partial refunds of the package price.

What do I do when I have a problem while traveling?

You should contact the service provider in question: If there is a problem with the car, contact the car rental. If you have troubles finding the hotel (which shouldn’t happen as you will be provided with the address and GPS coordinates), you should call the hotel.

If you have questions about an activity, contact the activity provider. You will receive all the necessary contact information from us.

Can I add twin bed for my accommodation?

We cannot guarantee twin beds but a large majority of our hotels can accommodate twin bed arrangements and clients can contact the hotels directly after purchase to request a twin bed arrangement.

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