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6 Day Self-Drive Tour Around the Ring Road

Express 6-Day Road Trip around Iceland

Embark on an express trip around Iceland’s Ring Road and see the greatest hits in the land of fire and ice!

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Zoom around Iceland to see the country’s greatest waterfalls, glaciers, black sand beaches, mountains and more! This Iceland 6-Day itinerary is the fastest way to experience the best of the country. Pick up your rental car, rev the engine and set out on the adventure of a lifetime. Our 6-day self-drive tour is designed for independent travelers who want to pack as much into their trip as possible.

Driving around the famous Ring Road, you’ll see each unique part of Iceland, from the South’s Atlantic beaches to the North’s Arctic landscapes.

  • Availability

    All Year

  • Duration

    6 Days

  • Duration Overwrite

  • Level

    Easy

  • Pickup

    No

  • Meet on location

    No

  • Min. Age

    No min age

  • Departs from Overwrite

  • Price from

    98.993 ISK

Tour highlights
Ring Road
Golden Circle
South Coast
Skaftafell National Park
Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon
North Iceland
Lake Myvatn
Reykjanes Peninsula
Included
5 nights accommodation with private bathroom
6 days car rental
Breakfast each morning at hotels

As soon as you arrive in Iceland, pick up your rental car at Keflavik Airport or the BSI bus terminal in downtown Reykjavik. Then set out on your self-drive odyssey. Over the next 6 days, you’ll take in Iceland’s most alluring famous attractions and hidden gems.

Golden Circle

Put your car in gear and head straight to the Golden Circle, Iceland’s most famous tour route. Not far from Reykjavik, this pocket of southwest Iceland features some of the country’s most fascinating natural and historical sites.

Your first stop on the Golden Circle is Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The  world’s first parliament, the Althingi, was founded in Thingvellir over 1000 years ago. Thingvellir is also the meeting point of the North American and Eurasian continental plates. See the plates push together and pull apart with your own two eyes!

Then head to Geysir Geothermal Area, from which all geysers get their name. Relax in the steam of geysers, hot springs and bubbling mud pots. From there, drive over to Gullfoss Waterfall, one of the most iconic waterfalls in Iceland. The name means “golden falls,” a reference to the way the cascade shines like gold on sunny days.

South Coast

Day 2 takes you to the waterfalls hidden among the cliffs and canyons of Iceland’s South Coast. Stop at Seljalandsfoss, Gljúfrabúi and Skógafoss Waterfalls, each more breathtaking and unusual than the last.

Then head to Reynisfjara Beach, the most famous of Iceland’s black sand beaches. Not far from Reynisfjara, the road takes you to the coastal village of Vík í Mýrdal, or simply Vik. The village is a convenient access point to the wonders of the South Coast, including Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon, the Klaustur Church Floor and the Dverghamrar Cliffs.

Skaftafell and Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon

On day 3, wind through the diverse scenery of the southeast. Skaftafell National Park is a green oasis of forests, mountains, waterfalls and volcanoes that’s otherwise surrounded by glaciers and deserts. While in Skaftafell, take the short hike to Svartifoss Waterfall, known for the black lava columns that frame the cascade.

Then turn north to the glittering Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon. The lagoon’s water is sourced from nearby glaciers. Icebergs break off from the glaciers and sparkle on Jokulsarlon’s waters in shades of white, blue and crystal. 

Pass by quaint lighthouses and fishing villages on your way to Egilsstaðir, the capital of the East. Here you’ll spend the night. 

North Iceland

Head north towards the Lake Myvatn area and explore the moonlike landscapes of North Iceland. Explore terrain that has been carved out by volcanoes, like Grjótagjá Lava Cave and Stóra-Víti Crater. 

Then spend time in the surreal surroundings of Lake Myvatn and walk through nearby Dimmuborgir Lava Field. You’ll also see Goðafoss Waterfall, a dramatic and historic waterfall. Then explore Akureyri, the capital of North Iceland.

After an overnight stay in Akureyri, continue along the North Coast to Dalvik, the whale-watching hub of Iceland. Here you can go on an optional whaling tour. Head along the Northwest and West Coasts towards Reykjavik, stopping at bizarre rock formations, canyons and craters on the way. 

Reykjanes Peninsula

The final stretch of your 6-day express tour is spent in the Reykjavik capital region, known as Reykjanes Peninsula. The peninsula is home to picture-perfect sights, including charming lighthouses, the expansive Kleifarvatn Lake and the Bridge Between the Continents. If you have extra time before your flight, soak in the Blue Lagoon before you head home.

Please note

This tour is perfect for morning arrivals. If you’re arriving to Iceland in the afternoon, we suggest a pre-night in Reykjavik. You can then begin the regular itinerary the next morning.

Day 1 - Arrival and Golden Circle

Your incredible 6-day road trip around Iceland begins as soon as you arrive at the airport. Grab your rental car from Keflavik International Airport or BSI bus terminal and hit the road to the Golden Circle!

The first stop on the Golden Circle is Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park was the founding site of the Althingi, Iceland’s national parliament, in 930 CE. That makes the Althingi the oldest surviving parliament in the world! Stand at the Law Rock where Viking nobles spoke and argued centuries ago. 

Thingvellir is also the meeting point of the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. See where the plates push together and pull apart, forming an enormous rift valley. This is one of the only places on Earth where you can witness the plates with your own eyes. 

Then continue on the Golden Circle route to Geysir Geothermal Area. The geothermal field is home to geysers, hot springs, fumaroles and more. In fact, the English word “geyser” derives from the Great Geysir in the park. 

The Great Geysir used to be incredibly active, but it’s currently going through a period of hibernation. Luckily, you can walk the short distance to Strokkur geyser, which treats visitors to explosive jets of water every 5-10 minutes. 

The third major stop on the Golden Circle is Gullfoss Waterfall, or “the golden falls.” In fact, the Golden Circle is named after this golden waterfall along the tour route. As you follow the path towards the storming falls, you’ll feel the ground tremble beneath your feet. 

You’ll also have time to fit in lesser-known but equally interesting stops on the Golden Circle. See the elusive Faxi Waterfall and taste fresh organic produce at Friðheimar Greenhouse. 

Spend the night at your hotel in the Golden Circle/Hvolsvöllur Area.

Day Highlights
Þingvellir National Park
Geysir Hot Spring Area
Gullfoss Waterfall
Faxi Waterfall
Other Great Stops in the Area
Included
Accommodation with Breakfast
Rental Car

Day 2 - South Coast

Seljalandsfoss waterfall

Day 2 is centered around the South Coast’s incredible waterfalls. Your first stop is Seljalandsfoss Waterfall, one of the tallest waterfalls in Iceland at a height of 60 m (197 ft). But Seljalandsfoss Waterfall is best known for the hidden walking paths that lead directly behind the cascade. Look out at the green sea cliffs from behind the torrents of water! 

Not far from Seljalandsfoss, the lesser-known Gljúfrabúi Waterfall is nestled into a nearby canyon. Gljúfrabúi doesn’t get as much attention from tourists, allowing for peaceful views of the secret cascade.

The third major waterfall of the day is the enormous Skógafoss Waterfall, which also stands at 60 m (197 ft). The sheer size of Skogafoss will sweep you off your feet.

After your tour of the waterfalls, head to the most iconic black sand beach in Iceland Reynisfjara Beach. The strip of black sand stretches along the Atlantic coastline and contrasts against the stark white ocean waves. 

The rest of the day is spent in the village of Vik and surrounding natural sites. Although Vik has only 300 residents, its rustic charm has made it a top culture spot in Iceland. Take a snack break at one of its excellent restaurants and soak in views of the scenic coastline.

From Vik, you can drive to several natural wonders of the Southern Lowlands. Check out the snaking emerald walls of Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon, or the natural basalt tiles of the Klaustur Church Floor. Then hit the hay at your hotel in the Kirkjubæjarklaustur Area.

Day Highlights
Seljalandsfoss Waterfall
Gljúfrabúi Waterfall
Skógafoss Waterfall
Skógar
Glacier hike on Sólheimajökull glacier (optional extra)
Dyrhólaey Cliffs
Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach
Vík í Mýrdal
Included
Accommodation with Breakfast
Rental Car

Day 3 - Skaftafell Nature Area and Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon

Waterfall inside Skaftafell

Pass by Lómagnúpur Mountain on your way to Skaftafell Nature Area on day 3. The stone mountain comprises many layers of volcanic rock and sticks into the air like a giant’s thumb. Driving along the Ring Road, you can’t miss it.

You’ll spend much of today driving through Skaftafell Nature Area. Skaftafell was its own national park until it joined Vatnajokull National Park in 2008 to form the largest national park in Europe. Cruise past waterfalls, forests, mountains and hiking trails. Be sure to stop at the black lava columns of Svartifoss Waterfall, which inspired the design of Hallgrímskirkja Church in Reykjavik. 

Heading northeast from Skaftafell, you’ll come to the enchanting Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon. The lagoon’s crystal waters are sourced from Breiðamerkurjökull Glacier. Icebergs break off from the surrounding glaciers and float on top of the lagoon, where they glitter like diamonds.

From Jokulsarlon, continue your drive up the East Coast to the town of Egilsstaðir, where you’ll spend the night. On the way, keep an eye out for the orange-topped Stokksnesviti Lighthouse. Make a pitstop in Djúpivogur, one of the oldest coastal villages in Iceland. 

Day Highlights
Skaftafell National Park
Vatnajökull Glacier
Svartifoss Waterfall
Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
Included
Accommodation with Breakfast
Rental Car

Day 4 - Lake Myvatn Area and Akureyri

Lake Myvatn, one of the most geologically active and stunningly beautiful areas in Iceland with volcanic craters

On day 4, drive farther into the otherworldly terrain of North Iceland. From Egilsstaðir, you’ll pass right by Rjúkandi Waterfall as you drive up the Ring Road. The eerie white cascade is one of the few waterfalls that can be spotted from the main road. 

As you cruise along the northern part of the Ring Road, you’ll feel as if you’ve passed into an alternate dimension. Stop at Stóra-Víti, a volcanic crater that means “big hell” and stares up from the earth like a giant turquoise eye. Then see the Hverarönd Geothermal Fields, an area rich with hot springs, bubbling mud pots and fumaroles. 

The biggest highlight of the day is Lake Myvatn, the crown jewel of the North Coast. Myvatn is the fourth-largest lake in Iceland. The surrounding landscape is an epic mix of volcanoes, craters and lava fields. If you have spare time, take a dip in the Myvatn Nature Baths, North Iceland’s version of the Blue Lagoon. 

Next up, Dimmuborgir Lava Field is a bizarre flatland dotted with unusual, craggy lava formations. The lava rocks on the field resemble a collapsed citadel. Dimmuborgir Lava Field was prominently featured on the “Game of Thrones” TV series. 

Finally, the last major attraction of the day is the enormous Godafoss Waterfall. The wide, thundering cascade plays a major role in Icelandic legend. According to the ancient sagas, the law speaker of the Iceland parliament threw his pagan statues into the waterfall when Iceland converted to Christianity hence the name, which means “gods’ falls.”

End the day in Akureyri, the capital of the North and the second-largest city in Iceland. The northern town is known for its bustling culture and high-quality eateries. Grab a bite of something delicious and scope out the nightlife before crashing for the night at your hotel. 

Day Highlights
Rjúkandi Waterfall
Stóra-Víti,
Hverarönd Geothermal Fields
Lake Myvatn
Dimmuborgir Lava Field
Godafoss Waterfall
Included
Accommodation with Breakfast
Rental Car

Day 5 - West Iceland and Reykjavik

 

Today begins the homestretch back to Reykjavik. On the way, stop at prime spots in Northwest and West Iceland. 

In the morning, head to Dalvik at 9 a.m. for an optional whale watching tour. Dalvik is the whale watching hub of Iceland. Tours from the town offer a 98% chance of spotting humpback whales, minke whales, dolphins, porpoises or even blue whales. 

From Dalvik, bend around the Northwest Coast. Stick to the coastline to see the Hvítserkur Sea Stack, a rock formation that juts out of the ocean on stubby stone legs. Some people say the sea stack looks like a troll, while others think it looks more like a rhino or elephant. Decide for yourself! 

Along the way back to the city, stop at Kolugljúfur Canyon, a dramatic rocky cliffside that bursts with explosive white waterfalls. Also be sure to climb to the summit of Grábrók Crater for stunning views of West Iceland.

Arrive back in Reykjavik at the end of the day. Drop the rental car off at your hotel and stroll around Iceland’s capital city on foot. 

Day Highlights
Dalvik
Northwest Coast
West Iceland
Whale watching (optional extra)
Hvítserkur Sea Stack
Kolugljúfur Canyon
Grábrók Crater
Reykjavik
Included
Accommodation with Breakfast
Rental Car

Day 6 - Reykjanes Peninsula

Colorful orange lighthouse on the brown field on the background of the cloudy sky on Reykjanes Peninsula in Iceland.

 

Spend the final day of your 6-day adventure in the rich peninsula surrounding Reykjavik. Reykjanes Peninsula is home to rolling green fields and fascinating geological formations.

Head to Kleifarvatn Lake, a large body of bright blue water. There are excellent nature trails that loop around the lake. Not far from the lake, neon orange Hópsnesviti Lighthouse and stark white Reykjanesviti Lighthouse (the oldest lighthouse in Iceland) stand guard over the Atlantic coastline. 

Conclude your tour through Iceland’s powerful nature at the Bridge Between the Continents on Reykjanes Peninsula. The narrow footbridge stretches across a fissure between the North American and Eurasian continental plates. Walking the short distance across the bridge is a powerful moment. 

If you have extra time before your flight, take a relaxing soak in the cloudy turquoise water of the Blue Lagoon. Admission to the Blue Lagoon is an optional extra. That being said, no trip to Iceland is complete without dipping your toe in the geothermal waters!

Day Highlights
Reykjanes Peninsula
Hópsnesviti Lighthouse
Reykjanesviti Lighthouse
Blue Lagoon (optional extra)
Reykjavik
Included
Accommodation with Breakfast
Rental Car
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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Price from: 98.993 ISK

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Pick-up & Drop-off at Keflavik international airport. Note you can change the drop-off location to Reykjavik (see confirmation email for details, extra fee may apply).

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Instant confirmation & Low Prices

Pick-up at BSI Bus Terminal in Reykjavik. Drop-off at KEF airport. Note you can change the drop-off location to Reykjavik (see confirmation email for details, extra fee may apply).

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