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: Hengill Geothermal Area, National Park Þingvellir, Geysers & Gullfoss Waterfall
You leave Reykjavík and drive to the geothermal area of the volcano Hengill, where you begin with a short walk, the first walk of the day, among the volcanic landscapes of Dyradalur valley.
Afterwards you follow the coast of Lake Þingvallavatn and enter the UNESCO World Heritage Site and national park Þingvellir, where you take the second walk of the day. Walk through the Almannagjá rift, visit the site of Iceland’s ancient parliament, the Althing, and finish with the Öxarárfoss waterfall.
Drive through the small village of Laugarvatn to the Geysir geothermal area, home of the world famous geysers. Take a walk through the area and see the old Geysir, mostly inactive now, and the smaller but very active geyser Strokkur, that erupts spectacularly every five minutes or so.
The renowned waterfall Gullfoss is only a short drive away. Your accommodation lies in the vicinity.
Day 3: Hike along the numerous Waterfalls of Skógá
East of the village Hvolsvöllur, just off the ring road, you will come across the waterfall Seljalandsfoss; walking behind the waterfall is an unforgettable experience.
Further along the road, at Skógar, Skógafoss Waterfall awaits you. On the right side of the waterfall you start your hike by climbing the stairs to the top of the waterfall.
Walk along the river and enjoy the view of the many waterfalls on the way up towards Fimmvörðuháls. If the weather is nice you can catch a glimpse of the infamous glacial volcano Eyjafjallajökull. You can either walk back the way you came, or follow a jeep trail back to Skógar.
We also recommend a visit to the local folk- and transport museum, before continuing along the ring road to the village of Kirkjubæjarklaustur.
Day 4: Hiking in Skaftafell Oasis & 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 Svartifoss waterfall to the panoramic view points at Sjónarnípa and Sjónarsker, or even the more challenging hike to Kristínartindar. A lovely 1-day hike in Skaftafell to the small forest of Bæjarstaðaskógur is also recommended.
In the afternoon, drive eastward along the edge of the Vatnajökull glacier until you reach the glacial lagoon of Jökulsárlón. You can take a walk along the shore of the lagoon on the morains or go on a boat trip amidst the drifting icebergs. You have a good chance of spotting wild seals at the mouth of the lagoon.
Day 5: 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 the Berufjörður fjord you can start the moderately challenging hike to the area around the Berunestindur peak. Further information on request.
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 6: Hike to Stórurð or to Hengifoss Waterfall
Today you have several options. Here you will find two suggestions, with further information available upon request.
First of all, you can drive towards the remote fjord of Borgarfjörður eystri. Halfway along the route over the mountain pass Vatnsskarð, you will find a car park where you leave your car and begin the ca. six-hour moderately challenging hike to the enormous rock fragmentations in Stórurð on a marked route beneath the impressive mountains of Dyrfjöll.
The second option for the day would be a drive around the lake Lögurinn, the alleged abode of the sea monster Lagarfljótsormurinn, apparently a relative of the Loch Ness monster. Your drive will lead you through the largest forest in Iceland, Hallormsstaðarskógur. You will see Icelands third highest waterfall, Hengifoss (118 m/387ft), and the somewhat smaller waterfall Litlanesfoss in the same river. At the car park, next to the river, your start your hike to the waterfalls.
Furthermore, you can pay a visit to the farm Skriðuklaustur, built by the author Gunnar Gunnarsson, where you will find a nice little restaurant. A monestary of the Augustinian order was founded there in 1493 and recent archeological findings are now on display near the farm house.
Day 7: Waterfall Dettifoss, Ásbyrgi Canyon & Hike in Hljóðaklettar
Depart from Egilsstaðir through the Jökuldalur Valley and further through the desert-like lava landscapes towards your destination.
Just before you reach the bridge across the glacier river Jökulsá á Fjöllum you take a turn to the right onto a gravel road that follows the east bank of the river. Make sure you stop to see the powerful Dettifoss waterfall before heading further to the horse-shoe shaped canyon of Ásbyrgi - Iceland‘s most wondrous place in the minds of many Icelanders.
Not too far from here you come into the Hljóðaklettar area, a wonderful hiking area. The shorter circle passing Kirkja (Church) to Rauðhólar (Red hills).
If you prefer a longer hike (four hours), you take the circle through the Vesturdalur valley past the rock formations Karl and Kerling (Man and Woman) before adding the aforementioned short circle.
Afterwards you drive around the Tjörnes peninsula to the fishing village of Húsavík. Your accommodation lies in the vicinity.
Day 8: Whale Watching, Hot Mud Springs & Nature Baths
Today you might want to take a day to relax a bit and start the day by hopping on a whale whatching tour from Húsavík harbour. Afterwards you might be interested in visiting the local whale museum. If you like you can also join a horse riding tour departing from Húsavík or Lake Mývatn.
In the Afternoon you can take a short trip to Lake Mývatn and see the foul smelling hot mud springs of Námaskarð and perhaps the small, privately-owned Bird Museum. The Nature Baths are also well worth a visit and make for a perfect end to your day.
Day 9: Lake Mývatn
Return to Lake Mývatn, where you have several hiking options for the day. Either you see most of the sites on foot on a approximately seven hours long hike. You can either opt for a seven-hour hike taking in all the sites, or choose one or more of the shorter hikes where you will see sights such as Hverfjall explosive crater, Dimmuborgir lava field and the pseudo craters of Skútustaðir. If you are up to it, you might even add the hike to the Lúdentsborgir craters.
On your way to the town of Akureyri, you shouldn’t miss the waterfall Goðafoss, an important place in Icelandic history, as it is linked to the conversion of the Icelandic nation to Christianity in the year 1000. Your accommodation is located in Akureyri.
Day 10: Akureyri
Today we suggest the somewhat challenging hike to the landmark mountain of Akureyri, Súlur.
If you like we can also provide further suggestions about activities in and around Akureyri, such as a tour by airplane to the island of Grímsey on the arctic circle, or a super jeep tour to the deserted Flateyjardalur valley or even to the great volcano Askja.
Day 11: Skagafjörður, Bath in a Warm Natural Pool or a Boat Trip
You come into the Skagafjörður area via the Öxnadalur valley and the mountain pass Öxnadalsheiði. Here you can go river rafting or riding. The local folk museum in Glaumbær as well as the turf house church in Víðimýri are also recommended.
From Reykir, north of the village Sauðárkrókur, you can take an adventurous boat tour to the island Drangey. Directly on the coast you will also find the inviting warm natural pool Grettislaug. The outdoor swimming pool in the small village of Hofsós is also a favorite stop for many Icelanders.
Drive into the valley of Skagafjörður to the striking Mount Mælifell. The four-hour hike to the summit (1147 m/3763 ft) and back is worthwhile, as you have a magnificent view over both the coast and the interior of Iceland. Please note that this hike is highly dependant on weather conditions. Suggestions for other hiking options are available.
Day 12: Seal Watching on Vatnsnes Peninsula & Hike on a Crater
On the Vatnsnes peninsula you will find good locations for seal watching as well as the Seal Centre in Hvammstangi, where you can learn about seals in Iceland.
Having passed the Holtavörðuheiði plateau, you arrive in the area of Borgarfjörður. Stop at the car park by the Grábrók crater, where you start your ascent to the top of the crater. You might even want to add the easy hike to the Glanni waterfall.
If you prefer, you might even want to hike along the more challenging route through the Grábrók lava field, route description upon request. You will find your accommodation in the vicinity.
Day 13: Waterfalls, Hot Spring, Waterfall Glymur & Reykjavík
In the Borgarfjörður area you should stop by the charming waterfalls Hraunfossar and Barnafoss, learn about the sagas and Snorri Sturluson at the Saga Centre in Reykholt and see the powerful hot water spring Deildartunguhver.
At the bottom of the Hvalfjörður fjord, you turn onto a gravel trail taking you to the Botnsdalur valley. Leaving your car at the car park, you begin your hike to Iceland‘s highest waterfall, Glymur (198 m).
If you are feeling up for a challenge, you can proceed to a further six-hour hike around the Hvalvatn lake. Afterwards you follow the coast of the Hvalfjöður fjord towards Reykjavík, where you check into your accommodation for the next two nights.
Day 14: Reykjanes Peninsula with Hot Mud Springs & Black Lava Coast
Leave Reykjavík and drive through the town of Hafnarfjöður towards the boiling hot sulphur mud springs in Krísuvík. There you can hike through the lunar landscapes of the geologically young lava fields of the Reykjanes peninsula.
Afterwards you follow the road further along the coast where we recommend a detour to the coast of Selatangar, an old embarkation point.
Drive through the fishing village of Grindavík to the Blue Lagoon, the famous geothermal Spa, where you can relax in the warm, mineral rich water, before heading to your accommodation in Reykjavík.
Day 15: Departure
The time of departure will determine your plans for the day. If you leave in the late afternoon or the evening, you will have time to explore Reykjavík and stop by at the Blue Lagoon on your way to the airport.
If your flight leaves in the early morning you will have to leave Reykjavík early for the airport, where you return your rental car before departure.