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: Hot Spring, Sagas in Reykholt, Waterfalls & Lava Cave
Leave Reykjavík driving northward along the ring road and follow the coast of the Hvalfjörður fjord. On the north coast of the fjord you take a right turn and drive through the valleys of Svínadalur and Skorradalur into the area of Borgarfjörður.
Around Borgarfjörður you shouldn’t miss visiting the hot spring Deildartunguhver, the Saga Center of Reykholt and the waterfalls Hraunfossar and Barnafoss. You might also be interested in taking a peek at the lava cave Víðgelmir.
Day 3: Highland Route Kaldidalur, National Park Þingvellir & Geysers
Drive through the area of Húsafell towards the highland route across Kaldidalur, which lies between the glaciers Ok and Langjökull. Driving through the lava field of Skjaldbreiðarhraun, created in an eruption of the shield volcano Skjaldbreiður, you come into the national park and UNESCO World Heritage Site Þingvellir.
Here you should take a walk through the canyon of Almannagjá and visit the site of Iceland‘s ancient parliament before you continue your journey through the village Laugarvatn to the geysers, where you can see the very active hot spring Strokkur erupting spectacularly every five minutes or so.
Day 4: Gullfoss Waterfall, Kjölur Highland Route with Geothermal Activity in Kerlingarfjöll & Natural Pool in Hveravellir
Make sure your fuel tank is full before you head for the interior. After stopping to see the Gullfoss waterfall, you ascend to the Kjölur route, one of the highland routes cutting across the country, this time between the glaciers Langjökull and Hofsjökull.
A little less than halfway across Kjölur, you might want to take a detour to the geothermal and rhyolite mountain area of Kerlingarfjöll, where you can experience boiling hot springs and steam rising from the ground.
Afterwards you drive onwards along Kjölur to the mountain cabin at Hveravellir. Here you can go on a hike and take a bath in a natural pool. Today‘s destination can be reached by following the Kjölur route to the ring road or driving through the valleys Haukadalur and Mælifellsdalur – a somewhat slower option.
Day 5: Herring & Folk Music on the "Troll Peninsula" & Akureyri
Driving along the east coast of the Skagafjörður fjord, you come to Tröllaskagi peninsula (literally “the Troll Peninsula” in Icelandic) and to the fishing village of Siglufjörður, a former center of herring processing. You can learn about the “herring years” in Siglufjörður and Iceland at the local Herring Era Museum and about Icelandic folk music at the Folk Music Centre.
Leave Siglufjörður via the newly built tunnel Héðinsfjarðargöng into the Ólafsfjörður Fjord, and another tunnel, Ólafsfjarðargöng, brings you onwards to Eyjafjörður Fjord and Akureyri town.
You arrive late in the afternoon in Akureyri, where you should take a stroll through town and if you are early enough you can visit the small museum in Nonnahús, dedicated to the author Jón „Nonni“ Sveinsson.
Day 6: Lake Mývatn
On your way to Lake Mývatn, you can take a detour through the Bárðardalur valley to the picturesque waterfall of Aldeyjarfoss, surrounded by majestic basalt columns. Back at the ring road you should not miss Goðafoss waterfall.
Many acticities are on offer in the area around Lake Mývatn, such as walks along the pseudo craters of Skútustaðir and in the lava field of Dimmuborgir and you might want to scale the rim of Hverfjall crater as well. Visit the Nature Baths for a wellness experience, and then take a look at the interesting privately owned bird museum on the north side of the lake.
Day 7: Whale Watching, Ásbyrgi Canyon, Dettifoss Waterfall & Hot Sulphur Mud Springs of Námaskarð
In the morning you visit the fishing village of Húsavík, where you can hop on a 3-hours long whale watching tour leaving from the harbour. Afterwards you continue your journey around the peninsula of Tjörnes into Jökulsárgljúfur, a sub-section of Europe‘s largest national park, Vatnajökulsþjóðgarður.
Visit the canyon Ásbyrgi and the area of Hljóðaklettar. You can decide whether you take the road on the east side of the glacial river Jökulsá á Fjöllum to Dettifoss waterfall, or follow the 4WD-only road on the west side to the waterfall.
Afterwards, get back on the ring road toward Lake Mývatn and your accommodation. Don‘t miss the boiling hot mud springs of Námaskarð.
Day 8: Askja Volcano
You will need an early start is as it will be a long day. Drive eastward along the ring road. Just before you cross the glacial river Jökulsá á Fjöllum, you might want to take a left turn for a detour to see Dettifoss waterfall.
Returning to the ring road, you cross the river and head for the interior. Pass Mt. Herðubreið to the volcano Askja and Víti crater.
Afterwards you reach the ring road in Jökuldalur and drive onwards to your accommodation near Egilsstaðir.
Day 9: Fjord Landscapes of the East & Glacier Lagoon
Driving over the mountain pass Öxi to Berufjörður fjord, you come into the fjord landscapes of East Iceland, with its characteristic sheer precipices and narrow coastline.
Again on the ring road you follow the coast to the village of Höfn and in the afternoon you reach Jökulárlón glacial lagoon, where you might be tempted to take a boat tour on the lagoon amidst the drifting icebergs. You are highly likely to catch a glimpse of seals when walking along the river or along the shore of the lagoon.
Day 10: Skaftafell & Svartifoss Waterfall
The interesting tour to the bird cliffs of Ingólfshöfði runs daily (except Sundays) from Fagurhólsmýri. You can see Puffins and the Great Skua on this tour, which does require some hiking skills.
The rest of the day can be spent in Skaftafell in the Vatnajökulsþjóðgarður national park, where you can choose from several hiking routes, e.g. to the Svartifoss waterfall, sightseeing point Sjónarnípa or futher to the mountains of Kristínartindar. Afterwards you continue your drive to the next village, Kirkjubæjarklaustur
Day 11: Laki Craters
Take an excursion to the 25 km long row of craters at Lakagígar, also called Laki for short. The devastating volcanic eruption that took place here in 1783 left an area of 565 km²/351 mi² covered in lava fields.
On the way back from Laki, you might want to stop for a break in the beautiful Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon.
Day 12: Nature Reserve Fjallabak & Landmannalaugar
From the lava field of Eldhraun, created in the Laki volcanic eruption you turn right on to the mountain road over the Fjallabak area.
You drive via the Eldgjá canyon to the colorful rhyolite mountains of Landmannalaugar, where you can take a dip in the warm natural pool and opt for one of the many hiking routes on offer.
Day 13: Þjórsárdalur Saga Valley
Spend the morning visiting the volcanic lake district of Veiðivötn before you drive to Þjórsárdalur valley. Spend the rest of the day exploring the area, where you will find the beautiful waterfall Hjálparfoss.
You might also want to stop at Stöng, an excavated farm that was buried under ash in the Hekla volcanic eruption in the year 1104, and then visit the reconstruction of the farm, Þjóðveldisbær, located close to Stöng. If you feel like an easy hike you can take the accessible route from the saga-farm Stöng to the waterfall Gjáfoss.
It is also worth your while to stop for a break at the waterfall Hjálparfoss. Your accommodation is located in the vicinity of Flúðir, Laugarvatn or Selfoss.
Day 14: Reykjavík
You can either drive directly to Reykjavík via the high plateau Hellisheiði or take the longer route along the coast of Reykjanes peninsula. If you decide to take the longer route, you should stop to see the mud springs of Krísuvík and the old embarkation point in Selatangar.
You might also be interested in bird watching at the bird cliffs of Reykjanestá. The Blue Lagoon is nearby if you want to use this opportunity to go for a dip.
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 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.