Arctic Iceland

Wander the spectacular landscapes and charming local culture of the new Arctic Coast Way scenic byway, Lonely Planet’s 2019 Top Destination in Europe.


Iceland Land Tours
© ITR

This region is the highlight of a circle tour that includes both Arctic Circle and Ring Road natural wonders.

Duration: 11 days
Starts: Keflavik, Iceland
Ends: Keflavik, Iceland
Language: English speaking voyage

**Please note that the package price is based on 10 x 24-hour rental days starting at the time of rental. If your flight arrives early on day 1 and departs late on day 11, an additional supplement will be charged unless you choose to return the car in Reykjavik when the 10-day rental is up and use our Airport Direct transfer.


Included
Optional


Wander the new Arctic Coast Way, the main feature of this complete Ring Road tour around Iceland. The Arctic Coast Way is Iceland’s first official scenic byway, perfectly designed for people who want to take their time getting to know this captivating part of North Iceland near the Arctic Circle. Explore this charming and timeless region, encountering spectacular landscapes with vibrant bird and sea life. Visit delightful small-towns and meet locals, discovering their peaceful and creatively vibrant way of life.

What is The Arctic Coast Way?
The Arctic Coast Way opened in June 2019 as Iceland’s first scenic byway. Lonely Planet chose the Arctic Circle Way as its Top 2019 Destination in Europe. This 900 km (559 mile) route follows the North Atlantic Ocean near the Arctic Circle and is ideal for people who enjoy taking their time while traveling. It’s a perfect opportunity for getting off the beaten track, discovering remote places and connecting with local cultures. The route includes six peninsulas reaching far out into the ocean taking you from black sandy beaches to spectacular cliffs, along glacial river deltas and fjords to high mountains. Each of the little towns along the way tells a unique story about life on the edge of the Arctic.

There is also plenty to experience along the way:
27 accessible places to spot the best views of the midnight sun
21 towns and fishing villages
Northern gateway to the largest national park in Western Europe
5 spots for whale watching
Some of Iceland‘s best seal watching places
15 hiking trails
9 reachable lighthouses
21 geothermal pools
Local food experiences
6 local micro-breweries
Many outdoor activities, including hiking, horseback riding, boating, fishing and more

Here’s What You Get
Discover flexible, stress-free travelling with pre-booked hotel nights and rental car, plus our comprehensive electronic road book.
Enjoy our newly formatted Iceland Travel Companion App with over a thousand interesting points of interest to help you plan your day.
Take advantage of our many years of experience. We plan routes that combine driving with good time to explore each area.
We focus on safety with the best cars and itineraries for road conditions in each season. We also have a 24-hour emergency line if issues arise during your visit.
Highlights

Get off the beaten track and discover some of Iceland’s most remote and beautiful places on a unique adventure
Combine the exotic and stunning wonders of the Arctic Coast Way with the Ring Road and Snaefellsnes Peninsula for a complete circle around Iceland
Discover delightful little towns with inviting restaurants and cafes and a timeless, peaceful way of life
Visit unforgettable places such as Vatnajokull National Park, Godafoss Waterfall, the Arctic Henge, Hvitserkur, Myvatn, the Golden Circle and the Glacier Lagoon

Important:
You must be 20 years of age to rent a car, and 23 years of age to rent car Categories 5.0 or higher.
The driver must present a valid driving license held for a minimum of one year at the time of rental.
A valid automobile driver’s license from the US, Canada or the European Economic Area is required to drive in Iceland. A license from other countries can be used if it: a) has a valid license number, b) the license holder’s photograph, c) is printed in Latin alphabet characters and d) is valid at the time of travel. Otherwise an international driver’s license is required.
Due to high demand, accommodation in Reykjavik for Reykjavik Culture Night cannot be guaranteed.
Please note that changes to the packages will incur a service fee.

About the accommodation:
Quality
Our Quality class self-drive accommodation allows you to stay in the most comfortable accommodation each area has to offer during your travel period. Throughout your tour you’ll stay in pleasant guesthouses and hotels where all rooms have private facilities. In Reykjavik, your accommodation will be a 4-star hotel.
-Private facilities
-Comfortable hotels, guesthouses and farmhouse accommodation
-A 4-star hotel in Reykjavik
-Breakfast included

Comfort
Comfort class accommodation offers you the chance to travel economically around Iceland. In the countryside you’ll stay in a combination of standard hotels, farmhouses and guesthouses. In Reykjavik, your accommodation will be a 3-star hotel. All rooms have private bathroom facilities.
-Private facilities
-Economical hotels, guesthouses and farmhouse accommodation
-A 3-star hotel in Reykjavik
-Breakfast included

Budget
If your goal is to lower your travel costs our Budget accommodation is a great idea. You’ll stay in accommodation with shared facilities. These are a combination of basic hotels, farmhouses and guesthouses. You’ll have your own room with made-up beds, and some rooms also have washbasins. Showers and toilets are shared facilities.
-Shared bathroom and shower facilities
-Budget hotels, guesthouses and farmhouse accommodation
-A very local way to travel
-Breakfast included

Good to know:
Our hotel bookings always include breakfast unless otherwise stated.
Room size in Icelandic hotels is often smaller compared to hotels in other countries (such as the USA or Canada).
Standard rooms usually have two twin beds or one full bed. Some higher category hotels may have queen size beds. King size beds are not common in Iceland.
Triple rooms are not common in Iceland, especially outside Reykjavik They might be a double/twin room with an extra bed and are often smaller compared to triple rooms in other countries.

Itinerary

© ITR
© ITR
© ITR

Day 1: Arrival and Reykjanes Peninsula
Once you have landed at Keflavik Airport, please pick up your luggage and head through customs. Collect your rental car at the airport and proceed to your hotel. Depending on your arrival time in Iceland, we suggest that you take some time to explore the Reykjanes Peninsula (a UNESCO GeoPark site) before you head to Reykjavik.

Reykjanes is a great introduction to Iceland’s unique geology and volcanoes. The Mid-Atlantic Ridge dividing the European and North American tectonic plates cuts through the area. You’ll see unusual and stunning craters, lava cliffs, fissures and the Mid-Atlantic ridge itself. You can even walk on a bridge that divides Europe and North America. We also recommend a stroll in the surreal Gunnuhver area where you can view quirky colorful mud pools and steam vents bubbling away. If you are a Viking history buff, we recommend the Viking World museum, famous for the Íslendingur, a Viking ship replica that sailed between Iceland and North America in 2000
Several charming fishing villages and lighthouses dot the peninsula, and the area has a reputation for tasty seafood fresh from the ocean. Reykjanes is home to the renowned Blue Lagoon, and you might enjoy the chance to relax in the soothing azure waters. Important: admission to the Blue Lagoon needs to be booked in advance. We can help you with that
Drive to the charming village of Hveragerdi for your overnight. Hveragerdi is perfect for getting to know typical small-town Icelandic culture, but with a unique twist. Hveragerdi is one of the few sites in the world located directly on top of a geothermal area and, because of its many greenhouses heated by hot water from nearby springs, it is often called the “flower village.”

Overnight in the Hveragerdi area.
Please note check-in for most hotels begins at 14:00 – 16:00 (2:00pm-4:00pm).

Day 2: Thingvellir – Gullfoss – Geysir – Thjorsardalur – Hella
National Park with Geological Wonders – Exploding Geysers –Massive Waterfall – Hekla Volcano

Breakfast at your accommodation. Visit Thingvellir National Park, site of the ancient Icelandic Viking parliament and a jewel of nature. Here you can see the meeting point between the North American and Europe continents. Many important historical events happened here. Several walking trails and hiking trails take visitors to historical points of interest.
Continue to the amazing sites of Gullfoss waterfall and the Geysir hot spring area. Gullfoss is considered by many visitors to be Iceland’s most beautiful waterfalls. Geysir is an active geothermal field with many bubbling steam vents and spouting hot springs, including the famous Strokkur geyser. If you enjoy history, visit Laugarvatnshellir, a cave cleverly converted into a home for two Icelandic families in the early 20th century.
Explore Thjorsardalur valley and its ever-changing landscapes of birch woods, sandy lava fields, rivers and waterfalls. During the summer you can visit the excavated site of a Viking age farm that was covered by lava from one of Hekla‘s eruptions. A replica shows you how the longhouse looked (admission not included).
Head to Hella for your overnight. If you arrive in the late afternoon you might enjoy a visit to the Caves of Hella. A local guide will bring you through a series of ancient manmade caves used as a home, possibly by Irish monks living in Iceland before the arrival of Norsemen.

Overnight in the Hella or Hvollsvollur area.

Day 3: Hella – Vik – Kirkjubaejarklaustur
South Shore – Thundering Waterfalls – Seabird Colony – Black Sand Beaches – Lava Fields

Breakfast at your accommodation. Drive along the spectacular south coast. You’ll pass by several volcanoes today, and a great place to learn more about them is the interactive LAVA Center. Our guests have enjoyed the amazing exhibits and film. We’re happy to book entrance for you. As you drive along the coast you´ll view highlights along the way such as Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss waterfalls and Myrdalsjokull glacier. If the skies are clear, you might even have a glimpse of beautiful Mt. Hekla, Iceland’s most frequently erupting volcano and Eyjafjallajokull, famous for its 2010 eruption. Myrdalsjokull glacier is a great place to quench your thirst for adventure with optional guided snowmobile or ice hiking tours.
Head to Vik, Iceland’s southernmost village. In the area you can view the seabird cliff of Dyrholaey* and the black sand beach of Reynisfjara.
Continue over Eldhraun, Iceland’s largest single lava flow, towards Kirkjubaejarklaustur, a picturesque village that is the former site of a 12th-century Catholic convent. The town is known for its excellent farm-raised arctic char trout, which you might like to try at dinner tonight.

Overnight in the Kirkjubaejarklaustur area.
*Please note that Dyrholaey is closed during nesting season in spring, from around mid-May until June 23rd.

Day 4: Southern Vatnajokull National Park – Jokulsarlon – Hofn – Djupivogur
Glacier-Ringed Oasis – Glacial Lagoon with Icebergs – Europe's Largest Glacier – Eastern Fjords

Breakfast at your accommodation. Today you’ll be in the southern area of Vatnajokull National Park, named after Europe’s largest glacier. Road 1 (The Ring Road) takes you along the side of Vatnajokull, giving you great views of the glacier through the day.
Visit the awe-inspiring Skaftafell area of the park, a lovely oasis is set between glaciers. There are several excellent hiking trails, including one to the basalt lined Svartifoss waterfall. If you are up for some glacier adventure we highly recommend taking a guided hike on one of the park’s glaciers. You’ll see amazing glacier features and learn from the guides about how glaciers are formed.
Continue to the shimmering icebergs of Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon and enjoy the amazing view. If you’re lucky you might glimpse a few sunbathing seals. Nearby is the famous Diamond Beach, a popular area to snap a picture of broken glaciers resting on black sands.
The Thorbergur Center is a great place to stop near the Glacier Lagoon, both for its unique architecture (it resembles a huge shelf of books) and the center’s Halli Restaurant with a focus on delicious area farm ingredients.
Pass through Hofn, a town located within view of the glacier. It’s a nice idea to visit the harbor and watch the fishing boats. Head onwards, enjoying the views of steep mountains and seacoast. Your next destination is Djupivogur, a charming and historical town that is the “gateway” to the rugged East Iceland coastline Be sure to check out the quirky egg sculptures in the town’s harbor.

Overnight in the Eastfjords.

Day 5: The Eastfjords – Egilsstadir – Arctic Coast Way
Narrow Fjords – Steep Mountains – Picturesque Views – Mysterious and Peaceful Arctic Coast

Breakfast at your accommodation. Drive through the spectacular Eastfjords with towering mountains and charming fishing villages such as Breiddalsvik and Stodvarfjordur. This is one Iceland’s oldest regions, with rugged fjords carved by glaciers during the Ice Age. This also means the Eastfjords have a huge variety of stones and minerals. Geology buffs might enjoy visiting Petra’s Stone Collection at Stodvarfjordur.
Drive through Fagridalur (the Beautiful Valley) to Egilsstadir, one of Iceland’s youngest towns. The town has a nice variety of restaurants and shops. One of the local meal specialties is reindeer, as East Iceland is home to the country’s only wild reindeer herd. You might opt to visit the new Vok Baths at nearby Lake Urridavatn, where you can unwind in untouched nature in distinctive floating geothermal pools.
Then it’s time to leave Road 1 and turn onto Road 85, the entry to the new Arctic Coast Way. Pass by Vopnafjordur village, with its spectacular coastline and natural hot springs.
Continue on to Langanes Peninsula, an outdoor paradise for birders, hikers and nature photographers. A nice place to take a break is Thorshofn, a pleasant fishing town that is a perfect spot to connect with the area’s culture. It is a really pleasant experience to walk along the harbor and enjoy the daily life. In the vicinity you can take guided sea kayak tours that are a wonderful way to view bird and marine life.
Continue on the Arctic Coast Way (Road 85). As you drive along today, keep an eye out for various cute scarecrow figures made by a local artist. If you enjoy checking out quirky and enjoyable roadside attractions, an interesting place to visit is the Leader Sheep Center (Fraedasetur um forystufe), an exhibit about the history of these sheep. Physically different from other Icelandic sheep, leader sheep have an uncanny ability to predict weather. They take the role of protector and leader of the flock when the sheep wander loose in the mountains.

Overnight in Northeast Iceland.

Day 6: Arctic Coast Way: Raufarhofn – Kopasker – Vatnajökull National Park - Husavik
Iceland’s Northernmost Point – The Arctic Henge – Driftwood Beaches – Beautiful Canyon

Breakfast at your accommodation. Raufarhofn village is Iceland’s northernmost town and home to the picturesque Arctic Henge, an enormous sun calendar, that is being constructed, based on Norse mythology. If you enjoy walking, we recommend taking one of the several easy walking trails to the beach and the Raufarhofn lighthouse. There is something so special about breathing in the ocean air, listening to the birds and viewing the timeless mystery of the Henge.
There are several options of where to go next. You can take Road 870 and drive across the exotic Melrakkasletta the “Arctic Fox plain,” Iceland’s most isolated region (please note this road is gravel). You will hear little more than the waves, birds and the wind. It’s a special way to enjoy some digital detox and to connect with nature. The naturally stacked driftwood on the shoreline and the old ruins of farmhouses are a photographer’s dream. There are several great viewing points and marked hiking trails along the way.
You can also drive directly between Raufarnhofn and Kopasker. The fishing village of Kopasker has an interesting Earthquake Center located in the town’s schoolhouse. The center focuses on the area’s big earthquake of 1976, as well as describing earthquakes in general. You can also take a beautiful walk from the village to view the uniquely shaped Kopasker lighthouse. If you’re interested in history or handicrafts, the Snartarstadir Heritage museum near the town displays area handicrafts from the 19th and 20th century.
Visit Asbyrgi, a magnificent horseshoe-shaped canyon in the northern part of Vatnajokull National Park. Local legend says this was formed by the hoofprints from Odins’s magical horse. Walking trails lead down to the canyon’s beautiful lake and observation platforms. Depending on your schedule, you can also visit the Dettifoss, the largest waterfall in Europe. (please note this route to Dettifoss is partially a gravel road)
Drive along the scenic and fossil filled Tjornes peninsula at the edge of the Arctic Circle en route to the fishing port of charming Husavik, known for its excellent whale watching tours. Most recently the town gained international attention as the filming location in the 2020 film Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga. Depending on when you arrive, you might consider a whale watching tour or a Eurovision filming locations guided town walk. A great way to end the day is a soak in the GeoSea Baths where you can relax in naturally heated sea water and enjoy views of the Arctic Circle and Husavik lighthouse.

Overnight in the Husavik area.

Day 7: Arctic Coast Way: Husavik – Akureyri – Siglufjordur
Volcanic wonderland – Waterfall of the Gods – Northern “Capital” – Dramatic mountains and coastline

Breakfast at your accommodation. Start the day exploring highlights of Lake Myvatn such as the lava citadels at Dimmuborgir, the pseudo-craters at Skutustadir, the colorful sulphurous slopes of Namaskard and the Krafla volcano area.
Depart Myvatn and drive westward, visiting beautiful Godafoss, the Waterfall of the Gods. Take some time to visit Akureyri, Iceland’s colorful northern “capital.” We’re sure you’ll enjoy this town of beautifully preserved historical buildings. Though relatively small in size, Akureyri has a vibrant cultural scene, including a street dedicated to art galleries. It also boasts one of the best geothermal swimming pools in Iceland.
Drive to Siglufjordur fjord along one of Iceland´s most dramatic coastlines, enjoying a unique view towards the North Atlantic. This is the region of the Troll Peninsula, where the steep Icelandic mountains (known by locals as the Icelandic Alps) drop towards the sea. On the way, maybe you’ll enjoy a relaxing and unique geothermal beer bath at the Beer Spa (must be booked in advance) or dine on excellent saltfish specialties at the Baccalá Bar in Hauganes.
The town of Siglufjordur itself has many beautifully restored, colorful buildings and excellent options for outdoor recreation, from golf to hiking to whale watching. The award-winning Herring-Era Museum is an excellent place to learn about the early 20th century fish migration that turned tiny Siglufjordur into an international boom town. This town was the filming location for both seasons of the popular Icelandic suspense series, Trapped. Spend the rest of the day in the town, enjoying its friendly local restaurants, microbrewery and splendid fjord views.

Overnight in Northwest Iceland.
Please Note: The Ring Road route today contains a toll tunnel. More information on the tunnel and fees is here.

Day 8: Arctic Coast Way: Siglufjordur – Skagafjordur – Laugarbakki
Historical Peninsula – Viking Sagas and Battles – Horses and Heritage

Breakfast at your accommodation. Today is a great day to explore both beautiful landscapes and Viking legends. Thread around the peninsula, heading from the Siglufjordur region into Skagafjordur, a renowned area for horse breeding and medieval history.
The pretty town of Hofsos has a unique swimming pool that seems to float into infinity. The pool looks towards Drangey Island, known from the famous Viking-age Saga of Grettir the Strong. A great photo opportunity is to take a short walk down to the geometrically shaped basalt columns near the sea.
If you are a history buff, we suggest a stop at Holar. This cultural center has buildings and religious artifacts covering nine centuries of Icelandic history.
The 1238: Battle of Iceland virtual reality experience in Saudarkrokur town brings you back into the 12th century to learn about one of Iceland’s most pivotal battles, which occurred close to here. Between mid-May and August you can also take a guided boat tour out to Drangey Island from Saudarkrokur harbor. Hike with the guide to the top of the island on a trail bringing you into good viewing of seabirds, including puffins (Puffins best seen mid-May to early August). You’ll also learn about the story of how the Viking outlaw Grettir hid out on the island.
The manor farm of Glaumbaer is a turf home that dates back to the 18th century. Visiting here gives a sense of life in Iceland in the old days. Glaumbaer was an inspiration for Hannah Kent’s famous novel Burial Rites, now being produced as a movie. The actual events in the story occurred in the Vatnsnes area of North Iceland, which you will visit tomorrow.
Near Varmahlid town, a suggested place to visit and meet a local farm family is Lytingsstadur horse farm. Meet Icelandic horses, see the replica of a turf stable and learn about why horses are important to Icelandic history.
Head on to Laugarbakki, a peaceful area steeped in old legends of outlaws, sorcerers and Medieval battles.

Overnight stay in Northwest Iceland.

Day 9: Arctic Coast Way: Hvammstangi – Vatnsnes Peninsula – Stykkisholmur
Seal Colonies – Sea Rock Formations – Viking Citadel – Erik and Leif Eriksson’s home

Breakfast at your accommodation. Vatnsnes Peninsula, where the ocean seems to meet the sky, is one of the best sites in Iceland for seal watching. You can learn more about seals, where to see them, and even book a guided seal watching tour at the Seal Center in Hvammstangi town.
A wheel-shaped sheep round-up pen right on the seacoast is a striking image and a great photo stop. Every fall farmers in the area join together on horseback to herd free ranging sheep down from the mountains and into the pen.
Illugastadir Beach has a seal colony and a nearby viewing hut. (Note: Illugastadir is closed from the beginning of May until 20 June to protect the nesting eider ducks) Illugastadir is also the location of the farm and workshop where Agnes Magnusdottir and Fridrik Sigurdsson supposedly murdered two men, an event described in the novel Burial Rites. One of the men killed, Natan Ketilsson, was Agnes’ former lover. Agnes and Fridrik were sentenced to death and beheaded in 1830, the last execution in Iceland. You can see their gravesite at Tjorn church’s cemetery.
You’ll also have a view of the Hvitserkur arch- shaped ocean rock formation. Hvitserkur is a landmark symbol of the area and a great subject for a photo.
Visit Borgarvirki, a natural rock formation that has been used as a citadel since Viking times. A stairway leads to the top for a great view of the area. It’s interesting to imagine what life must have been like for the people who lived on this cliff.
Head from the Arctic Coast Way and into Western Iceland. Visit Dalir, the region of Eric the Red and birthplace of his son, the great explorer Leif Eiriksson at a living replica museum before driving to Snaefellsnes peninsula.
Visit Stykkisholmur, an eco-friendly town with beautiful wooden buildings, a lovely place to take an evening walk and enjoy the nice selection of cafes and restaurants available.

Overnight on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula.

Day 10: Snaefellsnes Peninsula – Reykjavik
Quaint Fishing Villages – Famous Mountain – Scenic Coastline – Glacier-capped volcano

Breakfast at your accommodation. Today you will explore the ever-changing beauty of Snaefellsnes peninsula and the Snaefellsjokull National Park.
Continue around the Snaefellsnes peninsula, passing the small fishing villages of Grundarfjordur and Hellissandur. Keep an eye out for Kirkjufell, Iceland’s most photographed mountain. Make a stop at the rocky beach of Djupalonssandur as well as the magnificent columnar basalt rock formations at Arnarstapi
The crown jewel of the region is Snaefellsjokull, a glacier-topped volcano that is said to be the home of a benevolent troll spirit.
You can enjoy guided activities in the region such as glacier hiking on Snaefellsjokull, visiting Vatnshellir lava cave, whale watching near Olafsvik, and sea kayaking in the vicinity of Kirkjufell.
After a beautiful day on Snaefellsnes Peninsula, head through scenic Borgarfjordur and Hvalfjordur fjord to Reykjavik.

Overnight in Reykjavik

Day 11: Departure
Drive back to Keflavik International Airport.** We recommend departing your hotel in Reykjavik no later than at least 3 hours before your flight departure. It takes approximately 1 hour to drive to the airport, and check-in will start 2 hours before your departure.

If you did not visit the Blue Lagoon on your way to the city on your first day but have some free time today, you might want to use the opportunity en route to the airport. For this detour, please be sure to allow for at least 2-2,5 hours extra so you’ll have ample time at the lagoon. Your rental car should be returned to the airport service area, which is located only 2 minutes from the airport building. A shuttle will then transport you to the departure hall.

**Please note that the package price is based on 10 x 24-hour rental days starting at the time of rental. If your flight arrives early on day 1 and departs late on day 11 an additional supplement will be necessary unless you choose to return the car in Reykjavik when the 10-day rental is up and use our Airport Direct departure transfer.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival and Reykjanes Peninsula
Once you have landed at Keflavik Airport, please pick up your luggage and head through customs. Collect your rental car at the airport and proceed to your hotel. Depending on your arrival time in Iceland, we suggest that you take some time to explore the Reykjanes Peninsula (a UNESCO GeoPark site) before you head to Reykjavik.

Reykjanes is a great introduction to Iceland’s unique geology and volcanoes. The Mid-Atlantic Ridge dividing the European and North American tectonic plates cuts through the area. You’ll see unusual and stunning craters, lava cliffs, fissures and the Mid-Atlantic ridge itself. You can even walk on a bridge that divides Europe and North America. We also recommend a stroll in the surreal Gunnuhver area where you can view quirky colorful mud pools and steam vents bubbling away. If you are a Viking history buff, we recommend the Viking World museum, famous for the Íslendingur, a Viking ship replica that sailed between Iceland and North America in 2000
Several charming fishing villages and lighthouses dot the peninsula, and the area has a reputation for tasty seafood fresh from the ocean. Reykjanes is home to the renowned Blue Lagoon, and you might enjoy the chance to relax in the soothing azure waters. Important: admission to the Blue Lagoon needs to be booked in advance. We can help you with that
Drive to the charming village of Hveragerdi for your overnight. Hveragerdi is perfect for getting to know typical small-town Icelandic culture, but with a unique twist. Hveragerdi is one of the few sites in the world located directly on top of a geothermal area and, because of its many greenhouses heated by hot water from nearby springs, it is often called the “flower village.”

Overnight in the Hveragerdi area.
Please note check-in for most hotels begins at 14:00 – 16:00 (2:00pm-4:00pm).

Day 2: Thingvellir – Gullfoss – Geysir – Thjorsardalur – Hella
National Park with Geological Wonders – Exploding Geysers –Massive Waterfall – Hekla Volcano

Breakfast at your accommodation. Visit Thingvellir National Park, site of the ancient Icelandic Viking parliament and a jewel of nature. Here you can see the meeting point between the North American and Europe continents. Many important historical events happened here. Several walking trails and hiking trails take visitors to historical points of interest.
Continue to the amazing sites of Gullfoss waterfall and the Geysir hot spring area. Gullfoss is considered by many visitors to be Iceland’s most beautiful waterfalls. Geysir is an active geothermal field with many bubbling steam vents and spouting hot springs, including the famous Strokkur geyser. If you enjoy history, visit Laugarvatnshellir, a cave cleverly converted into a home for two Icelandic families in the early 20th century.
Explore Thjorsardalur valley and its ever-changing landscapes of birch woods, sandy lava fields, rivers and waterfalls. During the summer you can visit the excavated site of a Viking age farm that was covered by lava from one of Hekla‘s eruptions. A replica shows you how the longhouse looked (admission not included).
Head to Hella for your overnight. If you arrive in the late afternoon you might enjoy a visit to the Caves of Hella. A local guide will bring you through a series of ancient manmade caves used as a home, possibly by Irish monks living in Iceland before the arrival of Norsemen.

Overnight in the Hella or Hvollsvollur area.

Day 3: Hella – Vik – Kirkjubaejarklaustur
South Shore – Thundering Waterfalls – Seabird Colony – Black Sand Beaches – Lava Fields

Breakfast at your accommodation. Drive along the spectacular south coast. You’ll pass by several volcanoes today, and a great place to learn more about them is the interactive LAVA Center. Our guests have enjoyed the amazing exhibits and film. We’re happy to book entrance for you. As you drive along the coast you´ll view highlights along the way such as Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss waterfalls and Myrdalsjokull glacier. If the skies are clear, you might even have a glimpse of beautiful Mt. Hekla, Iceland’s most frequently erupting volcano and Eyjafjallajokull, famous for its 2010 eruption. Myrdalsjokull glacier is a great place to quench your thirst for adventure with optional guided snowmobile or ice hiking tours.
Head to Vik, Iceland’s southernmost village. In the area you can view the seabird cliff of Dyrholaey* and the black sand beach of Reynisfjara.
Continue over Eldhraun, Iceland’s largest single lava flow, towards Kirkjubaejarklaustur, a picturesque village that is the former site of a 12th-century Catholic convent. The town is known for its excellent farm-raised arctic char trout, which you might like to try at dinner tonight.

Overnight in the Kirkjubaejarklaustur area.
*Please note that Dyrholaey is closed during nesting season in spring, from around mid-May until June 23rd.

Day 4: Southern Vatnajokull National Park – Jokulsarlon – Hofn – Djupivogur
Glacier-Ringed Oasis – Glacial Lagoon with Icebergs – Europe's Largest Glacier – Eastern Fjords

Breakfast at your accommodation. Today you’ll be in the southern area of Vatnajokull National Park, named after Europe’s largest glacier. Road 1 (The Ring Road) takes you along the side of Vatnajokull, giving you great views of the glacier through the day.
Visit the awe-inspiring Skaftafell area of the park, a lovely oasis is set between glaciers. There are several excellent hiking trails, including one to the basalt lined Svartifoss waterfall. If you are up for some glacier adventure we highly recommend taking a guided hike on one of the park’s glaciers. You’ll see amazing glacier features and learn from the guides about how glaciers are formed.
Continue to the shimmering icebergs of Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon and enjoy the amazing view. If you’re lucky you might glimpse a few sunbathing seals. Nearby is the famous Diamond Beach, a popular area to snap a picture of broken glaciers resting on black sands.
The Thorbergur Center is a great place to stop near the Glacier Lagoon, both for its unique architecture (it resembles a huge shelf of books) and the center’s Halli Restaurant with a focus on delicious area farm ingredients.
Pass through Hofn, a town located within view of the glacier. It’s a nice idea to visit the harbor and watch the fishing boats. Head onwards, enjoying the views of steep mountains and seacoast. Your next destination is Djupivogur, a charming and historical town that is the “gateway” to the rugged East Iceland coastline Be sure to check out the quirky egg sculptures in the town’s harbor.

Overnight in the Eastfjords.

Day 5: The Eastfjords – Egilsstadir – Arctic Coast Way
Narrow Fjords – Steep Mountains – Picturesque Views – Mysterious and Peaceful Arctic Coast

Breakfast at your accommodation. Drive through the spectacular Eastfjords with towering mountains and charming fishing villages such as Breiddalsvik and Stodvarfjordur. This is one Iceland’s oldest regions, with rugged fjords carved by glaciers during the Ice Age. This also means the Eastfjords have a huge variety of stones and minerals. Geology buffs might enjoy visiting Petra’s Stone Collection at Stodvarfjordur.
Drive through Fagridalur (the Beautiful Valley) to Egilsstadir, one of Iceland’s youngest towns. The town has a nice variety of restaurants and shops. One of the local meal specialties is reindeer, as East Iceland is home to the country’s only wild reindeer herd. You might opt to visit the new Vok Baths at nearby Lake Urridavatn, where you can unwind in untouched nature in distinctive floating geothermal pools.
Then it’s time to leave Road 1 and turn onto Road 85, the entry to the new Arctic Coast Way. Pass by Vopnafjordur village, with its spectacular coastline and natural hot springs.
Continue on to Langanes Peninsula, an outdoor paradise for birders, hikers and nature photographers. A nice place to take a break is Thorshofn, a pleasant fishing town that is a perfect spot to connect with the area’s culture. It is a really pleasant experience to walk along the harbor and enjoy the daily life. In the vicinity you can take guided sea kayak tours that are a wonderful way to view bird and marine life.
Continue on the Arctic Coast Way (Road 85). As you drive along today, keep an eye out for various cute scarecrow figures made by a local artist. If you enjoy checking out quirky and enjoyable roadside attractions, an interesting place to visit is the Leader Sheep Center (Fraedasetur um forystufe), an exhibit about the history of these sheep. Physically different from other Icelandic sheep, leader sheep have an uncanny ability to predict weather. They take the role of protector and leader of the flock when the sheep wander loose in the mountains.

Overnight in Northeast Iceland.

Day 6: Arctic Coast Way: Raufarhofn – Kopasker – Vatnajökull National Park - Husavik
Iceland’s Northernmost Point – The Arctic Henge – Driftwood Beaches – Beautiful Canyon

Breakfast at your accommodation. Raufarhofn village is Iceland’s northernmost town and home to the picturesque Arctic Henge, an enormous sun calendar, that is being constructed, based on Norse mythology. If you enjoy walking, we recommend taking one of the several easy walking trails to the beach and the Raufarhofn lighthouse. There is something so special about breathing in the ocean air, listening to the birds and viewing the timeless mystery of the Henge.
There are several options of where to go next. You can take Road 870 and drive across the exotic Melrakkasletta the “Arctic Fox plain,” Iceland’s most isolated region (please note this road is gravel). You will hear little more than the waves, birds and the wind. It’s a special way to enjoy some digital detox and to connect with nature. The naturally stacked driftwood on the shoreline and the old ruins of farmhouses are a photographer’s dream. There are several great viewing points and marked hiking trails along the way.
You can also drive directly between Raufarnhofn and Kopasker. The fishing village of Kopasker has an interesting Earthquake Center located in the town’s schoolhouse. The center focuses on the area’s big earthquake of 1976, as well as describing earthquakes in general. You can also take a beautiful walk from the village to view the uniquely shaped Kopasker lighthouse. If you’re interested in history or handicrafts, the Snartarstadir Heritage museum near the town displays area handicrafts from the 19th and 20th century.
Visit Asbyrgi, a magnificent horseshoe-shaped canyon in the northern part of Vatnajokull National Park. Local legend says this was formed by the hoofprints from Odins’s magical horse. Walking trails lead down to the canyon’s beautiful lake and observation platforms. Depending on your schedule, you can also visit the Dettifoss, the largest waterfall in Europe. (please note this route to Dettifoss is partially a gravel road)
Drive along the scenic and fossil filled Tjornes peninsula at the edge of the Arctic Circle en route to the fishing port of charming Husavik, known for its excellent whale watching tours. Most recently the town gained international attention as the filming location in the 2020 film Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga. Depending on when you arrive, you might consider a whale watching tour or a Eurovision filming locations guided town walk. A great way to end the day is a soak in the GeoSea Baths where you can relax in naturally heated sea water and enjoy views of the Arctic Circle and Husavik lighthouse.

Overnight in the Husavik area.

Day 7: Arctic Coast Way: Husavik – Akureyri – Siglufjordur
Volcanic wonderland – Waterfall of the Gods – Northern “Capital” – Dramatic mountains and coastline

Breakfast at your accommodation. Start the day exploring highlights of Lake Myvatn such as the lava citadels at Dimmuborgir, the pseudo-craters at Skutustadir, the colorful sulphurous slopes of Namaskard and the Krafla volcano area.
Depart Myvatn and drive westward, visiting beautiful Godafoss, the Waterfall of the Gods. Take some time to visit Akureyri, Iceland’s colorful northern “capital.” We’re sure you’ll enjoy this town of beautifully preserved historical buildings. Though relatively small in size, Akureyri has a vibrant cultural scene, including a street dedicated to art galleries. It also boasts one of the best geothermal swimming pools in Iceland.
Drive to Siglufjordur fjord along one of Iceland´s most dramatic coastlines, enjoying a unique view towards the North Atlantic. This is the region of the Troll Peninsula, where the steep Icelandic mountains (known by locals as the Icelandic Alps) drop towards the sea. On the way, maybe you’ll enjoy a relaxing and unique geothermal beer bath at the Beer Spa (must be booked in advance) or dine on excellent saltfish specialties at the Baccalá Bar in Hauganes.
The town of Siglufjordur itself has many beautifully restored, colorful buildings and excellent options for outdoor recreation, from golf to hiking to whale watching. The award-winning Herring-Era Museum is an excellent place to learn about the early 20th century fish migration that turned tiny Siglufjordur into an international boom town. This town was the filming location for both seasons of the popular Icelandic suspense series, Trapped. Spend the rest of the day in the town, enjoying its friendly local restaurants, microbrewery and splendid fjord views.

Overnight in Northwest Iceland.
Please Note: The Ring Road route today contains a toll tunnel. More information on the tunnel and fees is here.

Day 8: Arctic Coast Way: Siglufjordur – Skagafjordur – Laugarbakki
Historical Peninsula – Viking Sagas and Battles – Horses and Heritage

Breakfast at your accommodation. Today is a great day to explore both beautiful landscapes and Viking legends. Thread around the peninsula, heading from the Siglufjordur region into Skagafjordur, a renowned area for horse breeding and medieval history.
The pretty town of Hofsos has a unique swimming pool that seems to float into infinity. The pool looks towards Drangey Island, known from the famous Viking-age Saga of Grettir the Strong. A great photo opportunity is to take a short walk down to the geometrically shaped basalt columns near the sea.
If you are a history buff, we suggest a stop at Holar. This cultural center has buildings and religious artifacts covering nine centuries of Icelandic history.
The 1238: Battle of Iceland virtual reality experience in Saudarkrokur town brings you back into the 12th century to learn about one of Iceland’s most pivotal battles, which occurred close to here. Between mid-May and August you can also take a guided boat tour out to Drangey Island from Saudarkrokur harbor. Hike with the guide to the top of the island on a trail bringing you into good viewing of seabirds, including puffins (Puffins best seen mid-May to early August). You’ll also learn about the story of how the Viking outlaw Grettir hid out on the island.
The manor farm of Glaumbaer is a turf home that dates back to the 18th century. Visiting here gives a sense of life in Iceland in the old days. Glaumbaer was an inspiration for Hannah Kent’s famous novel Burial Rites, now being produced as a movie. The actual events in the story occurred in the Vatnsnes area of North Iceland, which you will visit tomorrow.
Near Varmahlid town, a suggested place to visit and meet a local farm family is Lytingsstadur horse farm. Meet Icelandic horses, see the replica of a turf stable and learn about why horses are important to Icelandic history.
Head on to Laugarbakki, a peaceful area steeped in old legends of outlaws, sorcerers and Medieval battles.

Overnight stay in Northwest Iceland.

Day 9: Arctic Coast Way: Hvammstangi – Vatnsnes Peninsula – Stykkisholmur
Seal Colonies – Sea Rock Formations – Viking Citadel – Erik and Leif Eriksson’s home

Breakfast at your accommodation. Vatnsnes Peninsula, where the ocean seems to meet the sky, is one of the best sites in Iceland for seal watching. You can learn more about seals, where to see them, and even book a guided seal watching tour at the Seal Center in Hvammstangi town.
A wheel-shaped sheep round-up pen right on the seacoast is a striking image and a great photo stop. Every fall farmers in the area join together on horseback to herd free ranging sheep down from the mountains and into the pen.
Illugastadir Beach has a seal colony and a nearby viewing hut. (Note: Illugastadir is closed from the beginning of May until 20 June to protect the nesting eider ducks) Illugastadir is also the location of the farm and workshop where Agnes Magnusdottir and Fridrik Sigurdsson supposedly murdered two men, an event described in the novel Burial Rites. One of the men killed, Natan Ketilsson, was Agnes’ former lover. Agnes and Fridrik were sentenced to death and beheaded in 1830, the last execution in Iceland. You can see their gravesite at Tjorn church’s cemetery.
You’ll also have a view of the Hvitserkur arch- shaped ocean rock formation. Hvitserkur is a landmark symbol of the area and a great subject for a photo.
Visit Borgarvirki, a natural rock formation that has been used as a citadel since Viking times. A stairway leads to the top for a great view of the area. It’s interesting to imagine what life must have been like for the people who lived on this cliff.
Head from the Arctic Coast Way and into Western Iceland. Visit Dalir, the region of Eric the Red and birthplace of his son, the great explorer Leif Eiriksson at a living replica museum before driving to Snaefellsnes peninsula.
Visit Stykkisholmur, an eco-friendly town with beautiful wooden buildings, a lovely place to take an evening walk and enjoy the nice selection of cafes and restaurants available.

Overnight on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula.

Day 10: Snaefellsnes Peninsula – Reykjavik
Quaint Fishing Villages – Famous Mountain – Scenic Coastline – Glacier-capped volcano

Breakfast at your accommodation. Today you will explore the ever-changing beauty of Snaefellsnes peninsula and the Snaefellsjokull National Park.
Continue around the Snaefellsnes peninsula, passing the small fishing villages of Grundarfjordur and Hellissandur. Keep an eye out for Kirkjufell, Iceland’s most photographed mountain. Make a stop at the rocky beach of Djupalonssandur as well as the magnificent columnar basalt rock formations at Arnarstapi
The crown jewel of the region is Snaefellsjokull, a glacier-topped volcano that is said to be the home of a benevolent troll spirit.
You can enjoy guided activities in the region such as glacier hiking on Snaefellsjokull, visiting Vatnshellir lava cave, whale watching near Olafsvik, and sea kayaking in the vicinity of Kirkjufell.
After a beautiful day on Snaefellsnes Peninsula, head through scenic Borgarfjordur and Hvalfjordur fjord to Reykjavik.

Overnight in Reykjavik

Day 11: Departure
Drive back to Keflavik International Airport.** We recommend departing your hotel in Reykjavik no later than at least 3 hours before your flight departure. It takes approximately 1 hour to drive to the airport, and check-in will start 2 hours before your departure.

If you did not visit the Blue Lagoon on your way to the city on your first day but have some free time today, you might want to use the opportunity en route to the airport. For this detour, please be sure to allow for at least 2-2,5 hours extra so you’ll have ample time at the lagoon. Your rental car should be returned to the airport service area, which is located only 2 minutes from the airport building. A shuttle will then transport you to the departure hall.

**Please note that the package price is based on 10 x 24-hour rental days starting at the time of rental. If your flight arrives early on day 1 and departs late on day 11 an additional supplement will be necessary unless you choose to return the car in Reykjavik when the 10-day rental is up and use our Airport Direct departure transfer.


© ITR
© ITR
© ITR


INCLUSIONS

Accommodation in a standard room for 10 nights
Icelandic-style breakfast (except arrival day)
Rental car for 10 days with unlimited mileage, CDW, theft protection and VAT**
Free in-car unlimited Wi-Fi to help you navigate with your personal mobile device
Car pick up/drop off at Keflavik International Airport
Authorization for two people to drive the rental car during your trip
The Travel Companion App. This mobile-based app provides:
Approximately 1500 star points all over Iceland, plus 35 points of interest with an audio guide! The star points include a selection of tours and activities in their area.
Easy use with your personal phone, tablet or computer.
Links to electronic versions of our Iceland Travel Roadbook in English, French, Italian, Spanish and Dutch. The roadbook covers interesting places to visit, in addition to safety information and driving tips.
Customer care service during office hours
24-hour Iceland Travel emergency line assistance while you are in Iceland
Service fee and taxes

EXCLUSIONS

Breakfast on arrival day
International airfare
Personal travel insurance (highly recommended)
Petrol/Gasoline
Tolls (tunnels, roads and other route tolls), unless specified. More information here.
Admissions and activities other than those noted in itinerary
Beverages, snacks, lunches, dinners unless otherwise noted in itinerary
Guaranteed early check-in (check-in time for most hotels in Iceland starts 14:00 (2:00pm) – 16:00 (4:00pm)
Guaranteed late check-out
Any service not specifically listed under "Included"


* The prices are per person expressed in US Dollars.
** All prices will be re-confirmed by email at the time of booking.
NOTE: Embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy—and excitement—of expedition travel. When traveling in extremely remote regions, your expedition staff must allow the sea, the ice and the weather to guide route and itinerary details. This itinerary is a tentative outline of what you’ll experience on this voyage; please be aware that no specific itinerary can be guaranteed.

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