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 in the Almannagjá rift and walk through the site of the old parliament.
From here your journey takes you through the village Laugarvatn to the geysers, where you are sure to witness the very active hot spring Strokkur erupt spectacularly every five minutes or so.
From Geysir it is only a 10-minute drive to the impressive waterfall, Gullfoss.
Your accommodation lies in the vicinity. In the summer time you might have the opportunity to attend a classical concert at the Skálholt church.
Day 3: Þjórsárdalur Saga Valley & Hekla Volcano
Follow the glacial river Þjórsá to Þjórsárdalur valley, where you can see 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 go on to visit the reconstruction of the farm, Þjóðveldisbær, located close to Stöng.
Then drive along foot of the volcano Hekla through a desert-like landscape of pumice to your accommodation near the south coast.
Day 4: Waterfalls & Activities on a Glacier
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.
Day 5: Bird Cliff Dyrhólaey & Black Coast of the South
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, 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 continue along the ring road through the desert-like black sand landscapes of Mýrdalssandur and the lava field Eldhraun to the village of Kirkjubæjarklaustur.
Day 6: Skaftafell, Svartifoss Waterfall & Glacier Lagoon
Head to Skaftafell, located in Europe‘s largest national park Vatnajökulsþjóðgarður where you can choose from many hiking options of varying difficulty: From an easy walk to the glacier Skaftafellsjökull or a short hike to the Svartifoss waterfall to the more challenging hikes to Sjónarnípa, Kristínartindar or Bæjarstaðaskógur.
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 or go on a boat trip amidst the drifting icebergs. You stand a good chance of spotting seals here.
In the fishing village of Höfn you can visit an exhibition dedicated to the Vatnajökull glacier.
Day 7: Fjord Landscapes of the East
Leaving the fishing village of Höfn behind you, 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 – an absolute must for bird watchers!
In the village of Breiðdalsvík 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.
Day 8: Borgarfjörður eystri, Húsey or the Lake Monster of Lögurinn
Today you have several options. Here we offer three suggestions, with further information available upon request.
First of all, you can take a tour to the remote fjord of Borgarfjörður eystri via the route over the mountain pass Vatnsskarð, the bay of Njarðvík and along the impressively steep mountain side of Njarðvíkurskriður to the village of Bakkagerði. Near the harbour you can visit an easily accessible puffin colony, and on a walk along the coast you might be lucky enough to come across shards of minerals or beautifully polished rocks and pebbles. Icelandic specialities can be tasted at cosy cafés in the village, and should not be missed.
Secondly, we suggest a trip to the remote farm of Húsey, where you can go on a riding tour towards the coast for some seal watching, an unique experience indeed.
The third 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 Iceland's third highest waterfall, Hengifoss (118 m/387.14 ft.), and the somewhat smaller waterfall Litlanesfoss in the same river. Good hiking trails lead up to the waterfalls if you are up for it.
Furthermore, you can pay a visit to the farm Skriðuklaustur, built by the author Gunnar Gunnarsson in a German style, where you will find a nice little restaurant. A monastery of the Augustinian order was founded there in 1493 and recent archeological findings are now on display near the farm house.
From here you can drive into the highlands along a paved road (very unusual in Iceland!) to the enormous, highly controversial dam for the Kárahnjúkar hydro power plant. Think of the project what you may, this is one of the few places where you can catch a glimpse of the Icelandic highlands without a 4WD vehicle.
Day 9: 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 coffee at a small café in an original turf house.
After having crossed the bridge over the glacier 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 peek into the underworld, check out the crater Víti (literally „hell“ in Icelandic) in the nearby volcanic area of Krafla.
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 somewhat quaint bird museum by the lake side can also be recommended.
If you are interested, you can take a day for a guided tour to the volcano Askja in the highlands, north of Vatnajökull glacier (the program for days 8-10 would have to be changed accordingly).
Day 11: Whale Watching & Akureyri
You can start the day with a visit to the fishing village of Húsavík, where you might want to take the opportunity to go on a three-hour whale watching tour. Afterwards you should pay a visit to the local whale museum.
You should definitely stop to see the waterfall Goðafoss on your way to Akureyri. In Akureyri you can take a stroll through town and perhaps visit the house of the author Jón „Nonni“ Sveinsson, who lived there from 1865 to 1869, today a small museum.
Day 12: Herring & Folk Music on the "Troll Peninsula" & Warm Natural Pool in Skagafjörður
You can either take the route through the Öxnadalur valley and the mountain pass Öxnadalsheiði to the area of Skagafjörður, or you can follow the coast of the Eyjafjörður fjord through the village of Dalvík. A tunnel takes you to Ólafsfjörður fjord and the fishing village of the same name. From Ólafsfjörður you drive onwards through a tunnel leading you through Héðinsfjörður fjord to Siglufjörður; this used to be Iceland‘s main centre for herring fisheries and processing. You can also find an interesting exhibition on Icelandic folk music here. Leave Siglufjörður via the third tunnel of the day, leading to the fjord of Skagafjörður.
Near Reykir on the west coast of the fjord, you can take a dip in the natural pool of Grettislaug. If you have time and are interested, visit the local folk museum in Glaumbær and the small church built of turf in Víðimýri. Also, the splendid out-door swimming pool in Hofsós is the perfect spot for enjoying a beautiful view of the fjord. You arrive in the Miðfjörður area via the village of Blönduós.
Day 13: Seal Watching on Vatnsnes Peninsula & Sorcery and Witchcraft in Hólmavík Fishing Village
On the Vatnsnes peninsula, you can find great spots for seal watching, and at the fishing village of Hvammstangi you can visit the Seal Centre, and learn about these easy-going animals.
Drive along the coast of the Hrútafjörður fjord until you reach the village of Hólmavík, where we recommend a visit to the Museum of Icelandic Sorcery and Witchcraft. Afterwards you continue your journey into the Strandir area.
In the village of Drangsnes you should not miss the opportunity to take a bath in the pools, located just by the roadside. Interesting nature observation tours by boat (seals, birds, whales and puffins) are on offer at Drangsnes, further information upon request.
Day 14: Remote Strandir
Take a day tour as far as the road takes you into the desolate, and very sparsely populated Strandir area. Drive along the coast of the fjord Bjarnarfjörður, along the mountains of Balafjöll and into the fjord Reykjarfjörður. There you should stop by the deserted herring processing station in Djúpavík, where you can visit an exhibition about the herring era at the station. In recent years, artists, musicians such as Sigur rós, and theater groups have used this peculiar location for their art and performances.
Almost at the end of the road, in Krossnes in the fjord Norðurfjörður, you come across a gem, the very basic outdoor swimming pool of Krossneslaug, located right on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. Return to your accommodation.
Day 15: Coast of the Great Fjord Ísafjarðardjúp
Again your journey takes you through the village of Hólmavík but now you head for the high plateau of Steingrímsfjarðarheiði into the area of Ísafjarðardjúp. Follow the winding coastline of the many side fjords. In Skötufjörður fjord, you might want to stop by at the old farm Litlibær, where a small café is operated in the summer time.
Just a few minutes drive away from the farm you might want to stop again and watch the seals that can normally be found lazing around on the rocks between the road and the sea. You might be interested in taking a tour from the harbour in the town of Ísafjörður to the island Vigur, where you can experience eider duck farming and see how the down is harnessed.
Drive further up north to visit the village of Bolungarvík and the Maritime museum in Ósvör. In the town of Ísafjörður, you have a choice of several good restaurants.
Day 16: Dýrafjörður
Halfway along the tunnel from Ísafjörður, the tunnel forks, here you might want to take a detour to the fishing village of Suðureyri in the fjord of Súgandafjörður before heading further south to the fjord Önundarfjörður, where you can visit the fishing village of Flateyri.
Then drive over the Gemlufallsheiði plateau to the fjord of Dýrafjörður. In the village of Þingeyri, you should stop by at the old blacksmith‘s shop by the harbour for a visit and the Belgian waffles at the Café Simbahöllin are extremely tasty.
Day 17: Magnificent Dynjandi Waterfall in the Arnarfjörður Fjord
Today's journey starts by crossing the Hrafnseyrarheiði plateau into the beautiful fjord of Arnarfjörður. An absolute must-see is the picturesque waterfall Dynjandi, just next to the road at the bottom of the fjord.
From there the road lies over the Dynjandisheiði plateau but midway you will be taking a turn to the right and start descending into the fjord of Trostansfjörður, one of the sidefjords of Arnarfjörður.
Don‘t miss the outdoor swimming pool just by the roadside in Reykjarfjörður. You will find your accommodation in the fishing village of Bíldudalur.
You can spend the afternoon driving to the Selárdalur valley, where farmer and artist Samúel Jónsson decorated his home with his sculptures.
On the way back you can find many good places for a walk along the coast. Drive again through Bíldudalur and over the mountain Hálfdán, through the fjord of Tálknafjörður to Patreksfjörður fjord.
Day 18: Coast of Arnarfjörður & Bird Cliff Látrabjarg
Follow the coast to Örlygshöfn, where you will find the folk- and transport museum Hnjótur to be worth a visit before continuing over the mountain Hafnarfjall and the Breiðavík bay to the bird cliff Látrabjarg.
Iceland‘s (and therefore Europe‘s) westernmost point, Látrabjarg is home to a vast number of birds that nest in this 14 km stretch of cliffs that reach a height of over 400 m in places. Amongst the many bird species to be found here are the easy going puffins (May to Mid-August).
Day 19: Breiðafjörður Bay & Shark Museum
You catch the car ferry Baldur at 12:15 pm at the harbour in Brjánslækur. On the way over Breiðafjörður bay, the ferry stops on the island of Flatey.
If the weather is nice you can enjoy a magnificent view of the bay’s countless islands as well as the glacier Snæfellsjökull.
After your arrival in Stykkishólmur we recommend you proceed to the farm Bjarnarhöfn for a visit at a privately-owned museum dedicated to the tradition of shark catching in Iceland. Tonight’s accommodation is in the vicinity.
Day 20: Snæfellsjökull Glacier & the South Coast of Snæfellsnes Peninsula
Today you explore Snæfellsnes peninsula and either drive around Snæfellsjökull glacier or cross the peninsula east of the glacier via the overland gravel road (check accessibility beforehand).
On your way you might want to explore sites such as the embarkation point on the coast of Dritvík and Djúpalónssandur, the bird cliffs of Lóndrangar as well as the tiny fishing villages of Hellnar and Arnarstapi.
On the rocky coast below the farm Ytri-Tunga you can spot seals resting before you hit the road south into the Borgarfjörður area.
Day 21: Waterfalls, Hot Spring & Reykjavík
See the hot water spring in Deildartunga and learn about Snorri Sturluson, the writer of the Eddas in the Reykholt Saga-Centre, Snorrastofa.
The charming waterfalls Hraunfossar and Barnafoss are also well worth stopping by before making your way to Reykjavík.
In Reykjavík you can stop by Perlan (the Pearl), a glass-domed building at the top of Öskjuhlíð hill, where you have a marvelous view of the city. Afterwards you should definitely take a stroll through the city center.
Day 22: 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 will have to leave Reykjavík early for the airport, where you return your rental car before departure.