The Self-Drive Tour "Along the Ring Road around Iceland" takes you to the highlights of what you can experience along coast of Iceland, such as geysers, glaciers and waterfalls, lagoons, lava landscape, and the fjords of East-Iceland. This self drive tour offers both freedom and flexibility for the tourist but still makes sure that you don´t miss out on the most amazing things Iceland has to offer. Depending on what you want to see you can customize this tour to your own interests. Along the way there are numerous things on offer for example whale watching, glacier hikes, snow scooter tours, warm nature baths, museums and much much more. This travel package offers endless possibilities to experience Iceland at its best, in the most convenient way according to many, driving in your personal rental car. If you really want to experience Iceland, this self drive vacation has it all!
Duration: 11 days / 10 nights
Travel season: March-November
Highlights: National parks Þingvellir and Vatnajökulsþjóðgarður incl. Skaftafell. Hot springs at Geysir. Waterfalls Gullfoss, Skógafoss, Dettifoss and Goðafoss. The glacial lagoon Jökulsárlón. Whale Watching, River Rafting and Riding Tours possible.
- 10 nights incl. breakfast in pre-booked accommodations.
- 10 days rental car of your choice.
- Unlimited driving, CDW and two drivers.
- Pick-up/drop-off at the International Airport in Keflavík.
- Iceland Road Guide.
- Road Map 1:500 000.
- Detailed and personalised route description.
- Service telephone number while traveling in Iceland.
- VAT and lodging tax.
Esja Travel supports - the Icelandic Environment Association Landvernd with a EUR 5 donation for every traveller booked on a package tour.
Not included: International flight or ferry, fuel, extra driver (€ 29 per driver/rental), meals besides breakfast, SCDW (add 10 x € 14), road toll (Hvalfjörður Tunnel), entrance fees and activities.
Day 1: Arrival
Upon arrival at Keflavík International Airport, you pick up your pre-booked rental car. If you arrive in the morning or afternoon, you might want to stop by at the Blue Lagoon on your way into the city of Reykjavík.
If arriving late, you will find your accommodation near the airport.
Day 2: National Park Þingvellir, Geysers & Gullfoss Waterfall
The first stop of the day is the UNESCO World Heritage Site and national park Þingvellir. A walk through the rift valley is an introduction to both geology and Icelandic history, as this is where the parliament was founded in the year 930.
A drive of approximately 30 minutes, passing through the village Laugarvatn, brings you to the geysers, where the hot spring Strokkur erupts at intervals of only a few minutes. The waterfall Gullfoss is to be found nearby.
Day 3: Waterfalls, Activities on a Glacier & Black Coast of the South
Drive towards the coast and onto the eastbound ring road. We recommend a stop at the waterfall Seljalandsfoss; a walk behind the waterfall is an unforgettable experience. Head onwards to Skógar, where you will find the very photogenic waterfall Skógafoss.
We also suggest a visit to the local folk- and transport museum. At the nearby glacier of Sólheimajökull you can choose from several activities, such as glacier hikes and snow scooter tours.
A detour to the bird cliff Dyrhólaey and the black sandy beach of Reynisfjara might be of interest prior to heading onwards through the village of Vík, the desert of Mýrdalssandur and the lava field Eldhraun before finally reaching the village of Kirkjubæjarklaustur.
Day 4: Skaftafell, Svartifoss Waterfall & Glacier Lagoon
Nestled between two glacier tongues in the Vatnajökull National Park, Vatnajökulsþjóðgarður, is Skaftafell,a true paradise for hikers and nature lovers. Even if you are not the type for wearing hiking boots, you might not want to miss the short and relatively easy hike to the waterfall Svartifoss, known for its basalt columns.
The glacier tongue Skaftafellsjökull is also within walking distance from the Tourist Info Center in Skaftafell, and makes for a nice, leisurely walk.
In the afternoon you will continue your drive towards the east to the glacier lagoon Jökulsárlón. Here you should not miss the opportunity to take a boat trip amidst the drifting icebergs on the lagoon. You will find your pre-booked accommodation in the vicinity.
Day 5: Fjord Landscapes of the East
Today the fjord landscapes of East Iceland are on the agenda. After passing the fishing village of Höfn you drive through a tunnel and reach the Lón area. From there you drive onwards with the coast on one side and sheer mountain cliffs on the other.
Along the way you have several opportunities for taking walks and hikes along a coast that is ideal for bird watching. A special walking route for bird watchers has been marked on the outskirts of the fishing village of Djúpivogur.
In Breiðdalsvík village you can visit the local Geo-Centre and in Stöðvarfjörður village you should pay a visit to the private mineral collection of Mrs Petra Sveinsdóttir, one of the largest in the world.
A tunnel brings you from Fáskrúðsfjörður to Reyðarfjörður and onwards to Egilsstaðir. If you prefer to have more time in order to explore the area around Egilsstaðir (tips upon request) you can take the shorter route via the highland pass Öxi (check accessibility beforehand) or the ring road through Breiðdalur valley.
Day 6: Traditional Farm, Dettifoss Waterfall & Hot Mud Springs
Depart from Egilsstaðir through the Jökuldalur Valley and further through the desert-like lava landscapes towards your destination. If you want to experience something bit out of the ordinary, then you should visit the farm Húsey, where you can go on a horse riding and a seal watching tour.
We recommend a detour through the valley of Möðrudalur and to the old farm Sænautasel, where you can enjoy a cup of coffee at a small café in an original turf house.
After having crossed the bridge over the glacial river Jökulsá á Fjöllum another detour leads you to the tremendous Dettifoss waterfall – a sight not to be missed!
In Námaskarð you will come across boiling hot mud springs before you cross a mountain pass and arrive at Lake Mývatn. Make your last stop the lovely warm Nature Baths where a nice warm soak is the perfect end to your day, before heading to your accommodation for the night.
Day 7: Lake Mývatn
Spend the day around Lake Mývatn, where a variety of sights and activities are on offer. You can take a walk through the Dimmuborgir lava field, see the pseudo craters of Skútustaðir and scale the crater Hverfjall.
The privately-owned and slightly quaint bird museum by the lakeside is recommended.
If you are interested, you can take a day for a tour of the volcano Askja in the highlands, north of Vatnajökull glacier (your programme has be changed accordingly).
Day 8: Whale Watching & Akureyri
You might want to start your day by visiting the fishing village Húsavík, where whale watching boat tours depart from the harbour several times a day in the high season. The Whale Museum in Húsavík and the folk museum at Grenjaðarstaður in Aðaldalur valley are also worth a visit.
Your drive to Akureyri takes you past the waterfall Goðafoss. Both a visit to the Nonni House Museum in Akureyri and a stroll through the town center are a must.
If you are interested in taking a tour to the island of Grímsey on the arctic circle, we would d be happy to assist you with the booking. Flights leave in the afternoon from the domestic airport in Akureyri.
Day 9: Adventure in Skagafjörður & Seal Watching on Vatnsnes Peninsula
You drive through the Öxnadalur valley with the impressive peaks Hraundrangar on your right and further over the mountain pass Öxnadalsheiði to Skagafjörður. Being a well-known area for horse breeding, you can surely find a horse riding tour on offer, if you are interested.
River rafting adventure tours are also on offer here. We also recommend visits to the local folk museum in Glaumbær and the small turf church in Víðimýri.
On the Vatnsnes peninsula, you are in a good location for spotting seals. Afterwards, pay a visit to the Seal Centre in Hvammstangi, where you can find out everything about Icelandic seals.
Having passed the Holtavörðuheiði plateau, you arrive in the area of Borgarfjörður, where you find your accommodation for the night.
Day 10: Lava Waterfalls & Reykjavík
You can start the day by taking a detour into the Borgarfjörður area, where you can see the hot water spring Deildartunguhver as well as the beautiful waterfalls Hraunfossar and Barnafoss. Stop by the village of Borgarnes, where you might want to squeeze in a visit to the settlement center before heading on to Reykjavík.
In Reykjavík you should dedicate the remainder of the day and evening to exploring the city center.
Day 11: Departure
The time of departure determines your plan for the day. If you leave in the late afternoon or the evening you will have time to further explore Reykjavík and stop by at the Blue Lagoon on your way to the airport.
If your flight leaves in the early morning you‘ll have to leave Reykjavík early for the airport, where you return your rental car before departure.
Tip: Add a day for a detour to Vestmanneyjar by ferry to/from Landeyjarhöfn harbour on the south coast.
Contact us for further Information
About the accommodation categories:
Rooms with shared facilities are booked in guesthouses, higher class hostels,l Bed and Breakfasts as well as in farm-guesthouses. In many cases the rooms do have a wash basin.
Rooms with private facilities are booked in middle class hotels, country hotels, higher class guesthouses or farm-guesthouses.
Many of the accommodations do offer their guests access to open-air jacuzzis.
PLEASE NOTE THAT DRIVING IN THE HIGHLAND IS PROHIBITED, this applies to Categories A, B, C, N and M.
CDW (Collission Damage Waiver), unlimited mileage as well as pick up and drop off at the Keflavík International Airport are included in our package prices.
Self risk for the categories A, B, C, D and N is € 1.325 and for the categories FG, H, I, J and K € 2.415
Further information about the CDW is availiable on request.
The driver must be at least 20 years old and must have held a drivering licence for at least one year. A valid driving licence must be presented when picking up the rental car.
Please note that a credit card must be presented when you sign your rental car lease agreement (MasterCard, Visa oder Diners).
Liability Insurance and passenger Accident Insurance are included in all packages.
Information about driving in the interior come with your travel documents.
Additional drivers € 29 per rental (two drivers are included in the package prices).
SCDW incl. Gravel Protection - Surcharge for categories A, B, C, D and M € 15 per day – Self risk € 350/ Surcharge for categories M FG, H, I, J and K € 19 per day – Self risk € 650Self risk in case of broken windows and lights (CDW and SCDW) € 170 or € 280 depending on car category.
SADW (Sand- and Ash Damage Waiver) € 15 per day
Baby- and infant seats € 7 per day or max. € 48 per rental.
GPS Navigation System € 12 per day – Self risk for lost or damaged item € 500
One Way Fee for pick up/drop of at Keflavík International Airport € 31 (included in package prices).
One Way Fee for other rental locations outside Reykjavík for categories A, B, C, N and M € 91 and for categories G, H, I, J and K € 151
After hours Pick Up Fee in the Winter Season (19:00-6:00 Uhr) at the Keflavík International Airport € 54
Cancellation fees for rental categories E, H, I, K:
3 weeks or more prior to arrival 50% of the total rental car price.
3-2 weeks prior to arrival 75% of the total rental car price.
Less than a week prior to arrival 90% of the total rental car price.
Sail with one of the newest ships in the North Atlantic. From the deck of M/S Norröna you get an incredible view over the horizon - waves, sea and the sky.
The journey gives you a good opportunity to observe birds, and maybe you'll spot a whale or two. Indoors Norröna has much to offer its guests, and especially in terms of gastronomic experiences. Additionally, there are many different activities for you as a passenger aboard.
All information subject to change.