Along the Ring Road at a Relaxed Pace - Self-Drive tour Iceland

The Self-Drive Tour "Along the Ring Road at a Relaxed Pace" takes you to all the highlights you can experience along the coast of Iceland, such as

Along the Ring Road at a Relaxed Pace

The Self-Drive Tour "Along the Ring Road at a Relaxed Pace" takes you to all the highlights you can experience along the coast of Iceland, such as geysers, glaciers and waterfalls, lava landscapes, and the fjords of East-Iceland as well as the Snæfellsnes peninsula with the majestic Snæfellsjökull Glacier.
Duration: 15 days / 14 nights15 Days Self-Drive Tour Along the Ring Road at a relaxed Pace
Travel Season: March-November
Highlights: National parks Þingvellir and Vatnajökulsþjóðgarður with Skaftafell. Geysers. Waterfalls Gullfoss, Seljalandsfoss, Skógafoss, Dettifoss and Goðafoss. The Glacial Lagoon Jökulsárlón. Riding, whale watching- and river-rafting-options. Snæfellsnes peninsula and Snæfellsjökull Glacier. 
- 14 nights incl. breakfast in pre-booked accommodations. 
- 14 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 flights or ferry, fuel, extra driver (€ 29 per driver/rental), meals besides breakfast, SCDW (add 14 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   

Leave the city in the morning for the UNESCO World Heritage Site and national park Þingvellir. Here you should take a walk through the Almannagjá rift and visit the site of the old parliament.

From here your journey takes you through the village of Laugarvatn to the geysers, where you can see the very active hot spring Strokkur erupt spectacularly every five minutes or so.

From Geysir it’s only a 10-minute drive to the impressive waterfall, Gullfoss.

A drive towards the south coast will take you to your accommodation. In the summer time you might have the opportunity to attend a classical concert in Skálholt cathedral.

Day 3:   Þjórsárdalur Valley & Hekla Volcano

Follow the glacial river Þjórsá to the Þjórsárdalur valley, where you come across the beautiful waterfall Hjálparfoss.  You might also want to stop at Stöng, an excavated farm that was buried under ash during a volcanic eruption in Mt. Hekla in the year 1104, before you visit the reconstruction of the farm, Þjóðveldisbær, located close to Stöng.

Then drive along the foot of Mt. Hekla through a desert-like landscape of pumice to your accommodation near the south coast.

Day 4:   Waterfalls, Activities on a Glacier & the Black South Coast

Only a short drive away from the village of Hvolsvöllur you come across the waterfall Seljalandsfoss; a walk behind the waterfall is an unforgettable experience!  Driving eastward you reach Skógar, where the beautiful waterfall Skógafoss awaits you.

There we also recommend a visit to the local folk- and transport museum and if you are up for an easy hike, you can follow the river Skógá for a while and see further waterfalls as well as the notorious glacial volcano Eyjafjallajökull. The local Folk- and transport museum in Skógar is also well worth a visit.

If you are in search of an adventure, you might find it on the glacier Sólheimajökull, where you can participate in hiking and snow scooter tours on the glacier.

Detours to the bird cliffs of Dyrhólaey and the black sandy beach of Reynisfjara are well worth it, before heading to the village of Vík.

With Vík behind you, an interesting option is to turn left towards the mountains and into the Þakgil canyon, a place surrounded by impressive mountain landscapes in the shadow of the glacier Mýrdalsjökull.

Afterwards you follow the ring road further through the desert-like black sand landscapes of Mýrdalssandur and the lava field Eldhraun to the village Kirkjubæjarklaustur.

Day 5:   Skaftafell, Svartifoss Waterfall & the Glacier Lagoon

Head to Skaftafell, located within Europe‘s largest national park Vatnajökulsþjóðgarður, where you will find hiking options of varied length and difficulty: From an easy walk to the glacier Skaftafellsjökull or a short hike to the Svartifoss waterfall to the  more challenging routes to Sjónarnípa, Kristínartindar or Bæjarstaðaskógur.

In the afternoon, drive eastward along the edge of the Vatnajökull glacier until you reach the glacial lagoon Jökulsárlón. Take a walk along the shore of the lagoon or go on a boat trip amidst the drifting icebergs. You have a good chance of spotting seals here.

Day 6:   Fjord Landscapes of the East

In the fishing village Höfn you will find an exhibition dedicated to the Vatnajökull glacier, worth visiting before you leave. East of the village you reach a tunnel that leads you to the fjord landscapes of East Iceland characterized by dramatic precipices and narrow coastlines.

Along the way you will have several opportunities for taking walks and hikes along the coast that are ideal for bird watching. A special walking route for bird watchers has been marked on the outskirts of the fishing village Djúpivogur in the Búlandsnes area – an absolute must for bird watchers!

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 would rather have more time to explore the area around Egilsstaðir (tips upon request), you can take the shorter route along the ring road through Breiðdalur valley.

Day 7:   Fjords, Waterfalls, the Monster in the Lake or Riding Tours

Spend the day in the area around Egilsstaðir. You can drive to one of the fjords, e.g. to the puffin colony in Bakkagerði fishing village, in Fjord Borgarfjörður eystri. You can also book a guided hike from here into the lovely hiking area Víknaslóðir, further details on request.

The fjords Seyðisfjörður, Mjóifjörður or the drive to Reyðarfjörður and further to Eskifjörður and Norðfjörður may also be interesting to visit.

The second option for the day would be a drive around the lake Lögurinn, alleged abode of the sea monster Lagarfljótsormurinn lives, apparently a relative of the Loch Ness monster. Your drive will lead you through the largest forest in Iceland, Hallormsstaðarskógur. You will see Iceland’s third highest waterfall, Hengifoss (118 m/387ft), and the somewhat smaller waterfall Litlanesfoss in the same river.  The waterfalls can be reached by foot.

Afterwards you can pay a visit to the farm Skriðuklaustur, built by the author Gunnar Gunnarsson, where you will find a nice little restaurant. A monetary of the Augustinian order was founded there in 1493 and recent archaeological findings are now on display near the farm house.

If interested in getting acquainted with the Icelandic horse you can either go on a riding tour starting from a horse farm near Egilsstaðir. The ride takes you along lakes and through meadows. The other riding tour starts from the quite remote farm Húsey, where you go seal spotting by horse. Information about the riding tours as well as further tips for the day available on request.

Day 8:   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.
We recommend a detour through the valley of Möðrudalur to the old farm Sænautasel, where you can enjoy a cup of coffe at a small café in an original turf house.
After crossing the bridge over the glacial river Jökulsá á Fjöllum, another detour that should not be missed leads to the tremendous Dettifoss waterfall.
Afterwards you cannot miss the foul smelling hot mud springs in Námaskarð, and if you want to take a peak into the underworld, you will find the crater Víti (the name literally means hell!) in the nearby volcanic area of Krafla.
Day 9:   Whale Watching, Ásbyrgi Canyon & Dettifoss Waterfall 
You might want to start your day by visiting the fishing village of Húsavík, where whale watching boat tours depart from the harbour several times a day in the high season.
Drive further around the Tjörnes peninsula to the national park Jökulsárgljúfur, a part of Vatnajökulsþjóðgarður, to see further sights such as the Ásbyrgi canyon, Hljóðaklettar (literally „Echo cliffs“) and the waterfall Dettifoss from the east bank of the river.
Day 10:   Lake Mývatn
Spend the day around Lake Mývatn, where a variety of sights and activities is on offer. You can take a walk through the Dimmuborgir lava field, see the pseudo craters of Skútustaðir and scale the crater Hverfjall. The Nature Baths are perfect for some relaxation, and the privately-owned and slightly quaint bird museum on the lake side can also be recommended.
On the way to Akureyri you must not miss the impressive waterfall Goðafoss.
If you are interested, you can take a day for a tour of the volcano Askja in the highlands, north of Vatnajökull glacier (the programme for days 8-10 would have to be changed accordingly).
Day 11:   Akureyri & Warm Natural Pool in Skagafjörður
After a tour of Akureyri you leave for the Skagafjörður area, where you can take a river-rafting tour or go riding. The local folk museum in Glaumbær as well as the turf house church in Víðimýri are well worth visiting.
From Reykir, north of the village Sauðárkrókur, you can join an adventure tour by boat to the island of Drangey. Directly on the coast you will also find the inviting warm natural pool Grettislaug.
Drive further along the north coast of Iceland via the village Blönduós, where you might want to stop to look at the Icelandic Textile Museum, and onwards to the area of Miðfjörður.
Day 12:   Seal Watching on Vatnsnes Peninsula & Snæfellsnes
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.
Drive to the fjord Hrútafjörður and after passing the tiny village Borðeyri, you turn left to the plateau Laxárdalsheiði towards Snæfellsnes peninsula.
From mid-May to mid-September boat tours to the Breiðafjörður bay are on offer, leaving from the harbour in Stykkishólmur. On those tours you experience the area‘s abundant bird life (high season mid-May to mid-August) and can taste seafood caught just for you.
Day 13:   Shark Museum & Glacier Snæfellsjökull
At the farm of Bjarnarhöfn, just outside Stykkishólmur, a privately-owned museum dedicated to shark catching in Iceland is well worth the visit.
From the harbour in the fishing village of Grundarfjörður you can go on a boat tour during which you can try sea angling, spot puffins (May to mid-August) and, if you are lucky, see whales.
Afterwards you drive on around the glacier Snæfellsjökull towards the south coast of the peninsula. On your way, you should check out sights such as Dritvík and the coast of Djúpalónssandur, the bird cliffs of Lóndrangar and the small fishing villages of Hellnar and Arnarstapi. Your accommodation is located on the south coast.
Day 14:   South Coast of Snæfellsnes Peninsula & Reykjavík
By the farm Ytri-Tunga, you will almost certainly spot seals resting on the rocky coast. The basalt columns in Gerðuberg are also worth a stop.
We also recommend a visit to the Settlement Centre in Borgarnes before heading back to the capital. In Reykjavík you should make sure to take time for a walk through town, to the old harbour as well as to Reykjavík‘s most splendid church, Hallgrímskirkja. The glass dome of Perlan (the Pearl), situated up on the hill Öskjuhlíð near the city centre, provides a magnificent panoramic view of the city.
Day 15:   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.


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.



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.

Ferry M/S Norröna Smyril-LineSail 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.


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 All information subject to change.


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