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7 Day - Ring Road Highlights Self Drive Tour

The Complete Iceland Road Trip Along the Ring Road

Self Drive Week Itinerary in Iceland / 7-Day Self Drive Package for Iceland

This is the ultimate self-drive tour around Iceland. Explore the magical Icelandic landscapes along the Ring Road by yourself while we take care of everything!

Around-Iceland Glacier-Hiking Geysir Sightseeing Tours waterfall Whale-Watching
Iceland-map-destinations
BEST PRICE GUARANTEE
INSTANT BOOKING CONFIRMATION
TRUSTED TOUR OPERATOR

The best of Iceland is concentrated on this trip. The 7 day Ring Road Highlights will take you all around the country, on the 1,333 kilometers (828 miles) Highway 1. Discover the diverse landscapes of Iceland by yourself while driving in magical sceneries around the island. Each turn on the road will bring a new breathtaking view and an incredible adventure awaits at every corner. Touring Iceland on your own with the guidance of experts is the best way to self-drive around Iceland. 

  • Availability

    April - October

  • Duration

    7 Days

  • Level

    Easy

  • Pickup

    No

  • Meet on location

    No

  • Min. Age

    10 years

  • Departs from

    KEF Airport and Reykjavík

  • Price from

    109.990 ISK

Tour highlights
Self Drive Experience
The Golden Circle Tour (Gullfoss Waterfall, Geysir Hot Springs & Thingvellir National Park)
Skogafoss Waterfall
Seljalandsfoss Waterfall
Gljufrabui Waterfall
Eyjafjallajokull Volcano View
Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach
Vík Village
Whale Watching in Dalvik
Skaftafell National Park
Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon
Glacier Hiking on Solheimajokull Glacier
Fjadrargljufur Canyon
Eldhraun Lava Field
Lómagnúpur Mountain Rock
Reykjavík Capital of Iceland
Akureyri - The capital of the north
And Many More You Can Visit Using Our Detailed Guide!
Included
Accommodation for 6 nights w. Breakfast Included
Rental Car for 7 Days (w. All Basic Insurances: Collision Damage Waiver, Personal Accident Insurance & Theft Protection)
Glacier Hike on Solheimajokull Glacier
Whale Watching Tour in Dalvik
Detailed Itinerary & Information Package

Let this magical odyssey take you through the wonders of Iceland. From powerful waterfalls to photogenic black sand beaches, picturesque fishing villages to mighty glaciers and so on, this tour is perfect to see all that Iceland has to offer. This is definitely the complete experience of Iceland and you will be able to visit all its highlights and its most incredible locations. You will certainly remember this once in a lifetime experience around Iceland for a long time. Many landscapes are unique and can’t be found anywhere else. For sure, you will fall in love with the incredible beauty of Iceland.

We will take care of everything from your rental car to the accommodation and of course the best itinerary to follow around the island and have the best 7 days of your life. All you have to do is enjoy your road trip and take pictures for memories.


Information for your rental car

Pick up: Choose between pick-up locations at Keflavik International airport (KEF) or Reykjavik, at flexible times. If you arrive in the morning, pick up your rental car at the airport and start your road trip right away! Alternatively, choose Reykjavík to pick up for the rental car and book a night in the capital region before the tour starts.

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), no matter which pickup location you have selected.

However, you can drop-off the car in Reykjavik on the last day of your tour. If you prefer this drop-off location you can change it afterward (details can be found in your confirmation email).


Accommodation

Comfort accommodation for 6 nights is included in this package. The local hotels and guesthouses are all on great locations, the breakfast is included and you will have a private bathroom.


Practical nformation

Remember to bring: Warm layers, waterproof clothing, headwear, scarf, gloves, hiking boots are essential, driver’s license and sunglasses.

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

Meals such as lunch and dinner are not included in this trip. You might want to either buy some groceries and rent a gas canister to heat food or try local food at restaurants along the road.

When booking for 2 or 4 persons you get twin / double rooms. When booking for 3 or 5 persons you get a combination of double/twin rooms and a single room.

The entry to the Blue Lagoon is not included in the quoted price for the tour, meaning that you will need to book in advance at bluelagoon.com. This is the ideal way to end your incredible Icelandic adventure.

On the tour you will receive a detailed itinerary, map and self-drive handbook. 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 - Arrival & the Golden Circle

Keflavik Airport, Iceland

Get off the plane and let the Icelandic experience begin! Our itinerary is perfect for morning arrival, so if your plane lands early in the day, pick up your rental car at Keflavík International Airport and hit the road! But if you arrive during the afternoon or later in the day, it is better to have a good pre-night of sleep in Reykjavík before your road trip. Then you will be fresh and in shape for a good start. Follow the guide for the perfect itinerary around Iceland!

The first part of the trip is the Golden Circle, one of the most popular tourist routes in Iceland. The Golden Circle consists in three essential locations in the Southwest of the country: Þingvellir National Park, the Geysir hot spring area and Gullfoss waterfall.

The first stop will be Þingvellir National Park (or Thingvellir), a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an important historical place for Iceland. Indeed, it is where the Althing, the oldest parliament in the world, used to be back in the Viking times. In addition to being full of history, Thingvellir National Park is a real treasure for the eyes. It is where the separation between the North American and the Eurasian tectonic plates can be seen. The two plates are still moving apart from approximately 2 cm (1 inch) per year. In the National Park, it is possible to snorkel in the Silfra fissure, which has one of the clearest waters on Earth.

Geysir-Golden-Circle-Iceland

After this wonderful stop, the next one is the highly active Geysir geothermal area, where powerful geysers will undoubtedly surprise you. The strong Strokkur erupts every 4 to 10 minutes, so you will have time to see it hurl jets of boiling water up to 30 meters high (100 ft) various times.

Just a few minutes away from Geysir lies the fierce Gullfoss waterfall, the “Golden Waterfall”. Gullfoss is located on Hvítá River (the White River), which is fed by the second biggest glacier in Iceland: Langjökull. This waterfall is one of Iceland’s most iconic and plummets down 32 meters (105 ft) in two stages into a canyon.

Make the most out of your days in Iceland! If you are early in your itinerary, you can book a snowmobiling tour which departs from Gullfoss Cafe. Snowmobiling on Langjökull glacier, surrounded by only snow and clouds is an unforgettable experience. The tour lasts about 4 hours so it is better to get there early in the day.

Faxi waterfall

Not far from here, you will see the beautiful Faxi waterfall, on Tungufljót River. Faxi can be described as a smaller version of Gullfoss, however, it is not as powerful. The small falls are 80 meters wide and seven meters high.

Your accommodation for the first night on the road will be located along the Golden Circle route, or in the villages of Selfoss, Hella or Hvolsvöllur, closer to the attractions of the next day.

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

The second day of your adventures will certainly take your breath away! You will drive through the entire picturesque South Coast of Iceland. This is the most visited sightseeing route along with the Golden Circle. It stretches from Reykjavík to Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon in the East. The South Coast offers varied landscapes and so many natural wonders. Amazing waterfalls, mighty glaciers, black sand beaches and many wonderful sights are waiting for you.

On the road, you will be in awe when you pass by Seljalandsfoss, a 60 meter high (200 feet) waterfall along the Ring Road. What is so special with this waterfall is that you can walk all the way around, go behind and see it from a totally different point of view. Be prepared to get a little wet as you can get really close to the flow of water. Just a 5-minute walk from Seljalandsfoss is a smaller waterfall called Gljúfrabúi, hidden behind a rock face. Because of its big and famous neighbor, Gljúfrabúi is not much known by the tourists, which makes it a beautiful hidden gem.

Waterfall at Skogafoss Waterfall

The next waterfall along the Ring Road when you are driving Eastwards is the magnificent Skógafoss, another impressive 60-meter high waterfall. Even if it is the exact same height than Seljalandsfoss, Skogafoss is much wider (25 meters/82 feet). It is possible to hike up to the top of the falls thanks to a 527 steps stairway. Skógar is the village right next to Skógafoss, with a population of only about 20 (yes, twenty) people. It has an interesting museum about a cultural heritage collection of 15,000 artifacts.

After some incredible sights, it is now time for some extreme adventures! An amazing glacier hike on Sólheimajökull glacier is awaiting. We have booked for you the awesome Glacier Experience tour at 13:30. Our expert guide will lead you through the magical landscape of the glacier and give you all the necessary gear. The tour will last for about 3 hours.

Back to your rental car, the next stop on your list is Dyrhólaey Cliffs, one of the favorite spots for many birds to nest, including the famous puffins. During the nesting season, the access to the cliffs is restricted. This year, the access was limited from the 8th of May until 25th of June between 9 am and 7 pm so that the birds could enjoy the place for themselves.

Dyrholaey Cape

Reynisfjara beach is not far away from Dyrhólaey. The most famous black sand beach in Iceland hosts beautiful caves, symmetric basalt columns and two sea stacks. The rock formations are actually believed to be trolls petrified by the daylight. Always pay attention to the fierce waves of the North Atlantic Ocean, they can be sneaky and go much more further than you could expect.

After such a long but incredible day, it is time to rest in Vík, the southernmost village on the Icelandic mainland, or in Klaustur area. The main highlight of Vík is its picturesque white and red church up on a hill, giving a panoramic view of the town and a bit of the South coast.

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

Day 3 - Skaftafell & Jökulsárlón

Waterfall inside Skaftafell

Continue along the south coast for a day in Vatnajökull National Park. On the way to the first stop Skaftafell, you will pass by Eldhraun lava field, created in a one of the biggest eruptions recorded in History in the late 1700s.

Skaftafell National Park is known for its great diversity and has a rich flora and fauna. One of the most impressive and accessible feature of the reserve is Svartifoss. The waterfall is well-known in Iceland because of its massive basalt wall surrounding the flow of water. This beautiful gorge inspired the architect of Hallgrimskirkja, the iconic church in Reykjavík. There is a wide range of hiking paths in the 4,800km² park. Skaftafell National Park is the Southern part of the larger reserve Vatnajökull.

Vatnajökull is the largest National Park in Europe, covering 12,000km². Vatnajökull glacier is the main feature of the park, it is also Europe’s biggest glacier. Some of the glacier tongues can be seen and you can get a closer look to them if you have warm clothes.

Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon

Vatnajökull National Park also includes the incredible Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. The lagoon is fed by water coming from a tongue of Vatnajökull, sometimes, the glacier let go some pieces and the icebergs are then traveling along Jokulsarlon, up to the river linked to the Atlantic ocean and finally rest on the beautiful Diamond Beach, just across the road.

The Diamond Beach is a photogenic black sand beach with hundreds of ice chunks in it, making a great contrast for perfect photographs. Jokulsarlon and the Diamond Beach are great spots to see the Northern Lights, as there is no city light pollution. Auroras can be seen from September to April if the sky is not too cloudy and the daylight is gone.

A comfortable accommodation is waiting for you in the small village of Höfn.

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

Day 4 - Eastfjords

Mountains in the East Fjords in Iceland

Explore the majestic Eastfjords, where incredible mountain views can be enjoyed. Your day will start in the fishing town of Höfn, counting 2,200 inhabitants. Near from the village is the incredibly photogenic Vestrahorn, the “West Horn” mountain. The 454-meter high mountain is made of gabbro and granophyre rocks and is located on the Stokksnes peninsula. Right next to Vestrahorn lies the “Batman mountain”, called so because of its three peaks reminding of the batman logo.

Time to head up North along the East coast, passing by the famous East fjords. Djúpivogur is the perfect place to stop for lunch. The small coastal village is located between picturesque fjords and offers a large variety of services. For centuries, fishing was the only industry there, but since tourism has been growing in Iceland, it became a significant part of the town. The pyramid-shaped mountain Búlandstindur dominates the landscape around and can be climbed, although there is no marked trail.

Stöðvarfjörður is the next town to stop during the day. You don’t want to miss that little town surrounded by spectacular mountains. Stöðvarfjörður is renowned for its natural beauty, with many waterfalls coming down from Stödvará river to the ocean. Just North of the mouth of the fjord is Saxa, a unique sea geyser. Many interesting minerals and stones are present in the surrounding mountains. Petra Sveinsdottir, a friendly Icelandic woman, began to collect all those natural wonders since her very young age. She is now exhibiting her incredibly large lifelong collection to the public, a true feast for the eyes!

A bit farther North is the largest forest in Iceland: Hallormsstaðaskógur, though it is not that large. Iceland is known to have no or very few and small trees, but this forest will prove you the contrary. The 2,300 hectare forest counts more than 60 different varieties of trees coming from various countries around the world. There are many hiking trails leading to wonderful landscapes.

Hengifoss Waterfall

You will continue the road until Hengifoss, one of the highest waterfalls in Iceland, measuring 128 meters. The colorful rock face surrounding the falls makes it absolutely unique. There, you can see the different layers from various volcanic eruptions during the Tertiary period. The hike to the waterfall takes about 40 to 60 minutes and on the way you will see another smaller waterfall called  Litlanesfoss. This 30-meter high waterfall is not less beautiful, surrounded by a wall of symmetrical basalt columns.

Arrive at your hotel in Egilsstaðir or in the Eastfjords area, where a good bed and some rest are calling you.

Day Highlights
Höfn í Hornafirði
Vestrahorn Mountain
Djúpivogur Village
Stöðvarfjörður and Petra's Stone Collection
Hallormsstaðaskógur - largest forest in Iceland
Hengifoss and Litlanesfoss Waterfalls
Included
Accommodation with Breakfast
Rental Car

Day 5 - Dettifoss, Mývatn, Goðafoss & Akureyri

Dettifoss Waterfall North Iceland

Cross over the North-East highlands, to the wonders of the North of Iceland: Dettifoss, Lake Mývatn area, and Goðafoss.

The first highlight of your fifth day will be Dettifoss, before reaching the Mývatn region in North Iceland. Dettifoss is the most powerful waterfall in all Europe, plunging 500 cubic meters of water per second. The waterfall is 45 meters high and 100 meters wide. The falls are referred to as “The Beast”, in comparison to “The Beauty”, which is Goðafoss.

Here we are, in the Mývatn Region, where you will discover a plethora of landscapes. The Stóra-Víti crater for example will completely blow your mind. The short hiking route around the crater will take about 40 to 60 minutes. Stóra-Víti crater was formed by a massive explosion of Krafla volcano in 1724, it is now filled with a clear blue water.

Lake Myvatn North Iceland

Near from Krafla is Námaskarð, also called Hverarönd, a hot spring area with fumaroles and mud pools. It looks like you landed in an arctic desert: the ground is sterile, unfit to grow vegetation. The colorful minerals, the geological wonders and Mount Námafjall give to this place something unique. This geothermal area is quite smelly, but it is a matter of time before you get used to it.

Other wonders await around Lake Mývatn, such as Grjótagjá, a small lava cave where an important episode of the famous show Game of Thrones was shot. The water inside the cave is too hot to bathe in it, but the scenery is truly otherworldly. In itself, Lake Mývatn is worth a visit, offering incredible landscapes all around it. With about 50 islets and a rich birdlife, you will feel in total harmony with nature.

Dimmuborgir North Iceland

Your last stop in this incredible region is Dimmuborgir, the “Dark Fortress”. The lava field of Dimmuborgir is full of huge lava rock formations from two eruptions some 2,300 years ago. There are several paths, but the main attraction is Kirkjan – the “church” – the best known formation in the lava field. It is 2,4 kilometers and takes about 1 hour for the round trip.

Goðafoss, the waterfall of the Gods, is not just a stunning waterfall, it is also a historically significant one. The 30-meter wide and 12-meter high waterfall is the place where Þorgeir, the lawspeaker of the year 1000, threw his pagan god statues and established Christianity as the new national religion.  

Akureyri is the second biggest city in Iceland, the capital of the North. With 18,000 residents, there are all the elementary services, an active nightlife and great restaurants. You can stay in a hotel in Akureyri or in Eyjafjörður area.

Day Highlights
Dettifoss waterfall
Stóra-Víti Crater
Hverarönd and Námafjall
Grjótagjá Hot Spring Cave
Lake Mývatn
Dimmuborgir Lava Park
Goðafoss Waterfall
Akureyri Town
Included
Accommodation with Breakfast
Rental Car

Day 6 - Whale watching and back to Reykjavík

Whale Watching North Iceland

The first part of your day will wake you up in a good mood without any doubt. Drive until Dalvík where you will have the incredible opportunity to see some whales. Dalvík has a 99% success rate regarding whale-watching. There, it is possible to spot humpback whales, fin whales, minke whales and a lot of other species. On the speedy rib boat, you will have more chances to spot the whales who love hanging around Eyjafjörður. The giants of the sea are just waiting for you.

Back on dry land, discover the wonders of North Iceland while driving back to Reykjavík. You will pass by Skagafjörður fjord, a district full of history and culture. There are three islands in the fjord, and the most notable one is Drangey, as it is shaped like a fort and has a rich birdlife. The bird species that found home in Drangey are guillemot, puffins and auk for the majority.

Grabrok Volcanic Crater

On the way back to the Icelandic capital, you will find many horses, which you can pet. However, never stop in the middle of the road or in a non-authorized place jut on the side of the road. Always find the best and safest place to stop before breaking. From the Ring Road, you will see Grábrók crater in Borgarfjordur, West Iceland. It can be ascended by following a marked trail. The crater was formed about 3,400 years ago.

The last step of this long drive is Reykjavík, where you can enjoy the return to civilization, go to a good restaurant and experience the crazy nightlife here. Your hotel is located in the capital region (Reykjavík, Kópavogur or Hafnarfjörður).

Day Highlights
Whale watching rib boat tour in Dalvík
Skagafjörður (Drangey and horses)
Grábrók crater
Reykjavík
Included
Accommodation with Breakfast
Rental Car

Day 7 - Departure

Enjoying the Blue Lagoon in Iceland

This is the last day of your trip, so you have to enjoy every single minute of it. We have here the perfect formula to make the best out of your trip until the end.

To go to the world known Blue Lagoon, it is better to have booked in advance of several days or even weeks, depending on the season. Chose preferably the early morning to have the iconic lagoon less crowded, as it is one of the most visited locations in Iceland. In the middle of a 800 year-old lava field, the Blue lagoon will transport you into another world. The milky white-blueish water is heated at a perfect 38°C (100°F), with 70% of seawater and 30% of fresh water. Despite what many people think, the Blue Lagoon is not located close to Reykjavík but it is next to Keflavík International Airport, making it the perfect stop just after your arrival in Iceland, or the relaxing stop before taking the plane back home.

Reykjanes Light House

To enjoy your trip until the last minute, it is better to have your flight in the afternoon or evening. In case you still have time to visit some places not too far from the airport, Hópsnes peninsula is definitely where you want to go. Located in Grindavik, one of the main fishing centers in Iceland, Hópsnes was formed during an eruption about 2,800 years ago. Not far from here, a lighthouse called Reykjanesviti is a must see, towering up 69 meters above the sea level. The seashore on the peninsula and the walk up to the lighthouse are stunning and you will be surrounded only by nature.

Last but not least, the bridge between the continents is a true gem. Going from Eurasia to North America and vice versa in only 15 meters is something you can only do here in Iceland. Let me explain a bit: the bridge at Sandvík lies right in the middle of the Mid Atlantic Ridge, where the continental plates are continually moving apart. You can cross the ridge on Leif the Lucky’s Bridge and take a certificate home at the Reykjanes information center and Reykjanes Geopark visitor center. What a great way to end your trip!

Day Highlights
Blue Lagoon (entry not included)
Hópsnes Peninsula
Reykjanesviti Lighthouse
Bridge between the continents
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.

Is there a refund if we don’t want to join an activity? // I want to change something about my itinerary.

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.

Disclaimer
All our tours are undertaken on the responsibility of its participants. Arctic Adventures does not assume any responsibility for accidents that are caused by its customers or can be traced to their own actions. Participants have to sign a waiver before undertaking all trips stating that they realize that all outdoor activities carry an inherent risk.

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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).

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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).

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