Iceland Ring Road Trip - 9 Day Tour

Iceland Self Drive Tours Summer

Iceland Ring Road Trip – 9 Day Tour

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A mixture of our bestselling 10-day tour and the 8-day Express. In this 9-day self-drive holiday, where you will be driving clockwise around the country, you will witness pearls like Lake Mývatn, Þingvellir National Park, Gullfoss Waterfall, Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon, Geyser spouting spring and Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, to name a few. This Iceland ring road trip also takes you around the Reykjanes peninsula on your last day on the road. There you will find the world-famous Blue Lagoon where you can soak up and relax after a week-long adventure around Iceland.


SD-13 – Iceland Ring Road 9 Day Tour

 

Day 1: Arrival in Iceland and Free Time in Reykjavik

Iceland Ring Road TripWelcome to Iceland! Once you have arrived and made it through customs at Keflavik International airport, you will be either welcomed by our private chauffeur (comfort & quality) or hop on the next Flybus going to Reykjavik (budget). Transfer to your accommodation in the heart of Reykjavik. All your travel documents will be waiting for you in the driver’s car or at your accommodation.

If you arrive in the early morning or around noon, you are very welcome to visit our office for any last-minute questions regarding your tour or Iceland in general. If you arrive in the afternoon but would still like to stop by and briefly go over your itinerary and documents, you can come over tomorrow morning, after having received your rental car, just before you leave town.

For your first day in Iceland, we recommend exploring some of the major landmarks of Reykjavík, such as the Hallgrímskirkja church tower, the viewing deck of Perlan, Harpa – music and conference center and the famous sculpture Sólfarið by the sea, located close to Harpa. In the evening, you can dine at one of several gourmet restaurants to be found in Reykjavík’s city center and afterward, you will find that most cafes and bars are open till 01:00. For your first night in Iceland, you will be staying at a hotel/guesthouse in downtown Reykjavik, within walking distance from most major attractions and restaurants within the city limits.

Highlights of the day: Reykjavík City, Hallgrímskirkja church, Laugavegur shopping street, Harpa concert and conference center, and more

Day 2: West Iceland – Snaefellsnes / Into the Glacier

Iceland Ring RoadToday you will be receiving your rental car and starting your journey around Iceland. In the morning, an employee of our cooperating car rental company will be picking you up at your accommodation. He/she will drive you to their headquarters, where you will sign your rental agreement and receive your car. Now you are ready to leave town! After passing the town of Borgarnes, you have a choice between getting a glimpse of the Snæfellsnes peninsula, visiting sites such as Kirkjufell mountain, the shark museum in Bjarnarhöfn and the town of Stykkishólmur, or joining a guided glacier tour from Húsafell, visiting the man-made ice tunnel of Langjökull glacier and seeing Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls.

Even though your next accommodation is only approx. 180 km from Reykjavík, unfortunately, you would not have time to do both. The glacier tour needs to be booked in advance, so this is a decision that needs to be made beforehand. Either way, for your next night, you will be staying in the Laugarbakki/Hvammstangi area. If you still have some free time in the afternoon, you might want to visit Kolugljúfur canyon, located just a short drive from your accommodation. Other famous attractions to be found on your way are Deildartunguhver hot springs and Hraunfossar, a series of beautiful waterfalls.

Highlights of the day: Borgarnes, Snaefellsnes with Kirkjufell and Stykkisholmur or Húsafell with Hraunfossar waterfalls + optional glacier tour, and more

Day 3: North Iceland & Lake Myvatn

Iceland Ring Road TourToday you will be driving through northern Iceland, all the way to the beautiful Lake Mývatn. Along your way, there are various sights to be seen. Make sure to get an early start though, as today’s drive is pretty long. If you are up for a little detour right away, you should drive north, 40 km up road 711 to Hvítserkur, which is a large basalt stack, along the eastern shore of Vatnsnes peninsula. This is a popular attraction and photo stop, but the roads are a bit rough, so you probably won’t bump into any large tour buses on your way.

Continue to Varmahlíð where you will find the old turf church of Víðimýri. Further ahead you will reach the charming town of Akureyri, Iceland’s second largest urban area. Here you will find the northernmost botanical garden in the world, the Christmas Garden and a very nice geothermal swimming pool with hot tubs and waterslides for the kids. Finally, it’s time to drive to the Mývatn area where several tourist attractions await, such as the lava fields of Dimmuborgir, Námafjall geothermal area, Krafla powerplant and the pseudo craters of Skútustaðir. In the evening, we recommend visiting the Mývatn Nature Baths and relax under the stars or midnight sun. Stay the night in a hotel/guesthouse nearby.

Highlights of the day: Hvítserkur, turf church, Akureyri, Myvatn, Dimmuborgir, Námafjall, Krafla volcano, pseudo craters, and more

Day 4: Eastbound and Down

Ring Road Trip IcelandIf you have yet to visit any of the sights in the Mývatn area, you can start your day by doing so. Then, it is time to travel to the tranquil and beautiful East Fjords of Iceland. But first, a detour to witness the most powerful waterfall in Europe; the mesmerizing Dettifoss, with its nearly 45m fall, causing a massive sound and crashing spray all around.

The road to Egilsstaðir, capital of the East, is a straight drive past the black sand desert. However, those who are feeling adventurous will find plenty of other detours to enjoy. On the coastline, there are many small, coastal villages that are worthy of a visit. Enjoy off-the-beaten-path villages such as Vopnafjörður, where you can visit Bustarfell, a folk museum in a well-preserved turf building originally from 1770. You can also make your way to the town of Seyðisfjörður, considered to be one of Iceland’s most picturesque towns – because of its historic wooden buildings and natural scenery. You will also find plenty of hiking trails in this area for you to enjoy at your own leisure. In Egilsstaðir, you can visit Lagarfljót and try to spot Iceland’s version of the Loch Ness monster; Lagarfljótsormurinn. Stay the night in or around Egilsstaðir.

Highlights of the day: Dettifoss, East Fjords, tiny fishing villages, hiking, and more

Day 5: The Coastal Spiral

Ring Road Tour IcelandDrive south from Egilstaðir through the rugged East Fjords of Iceland. On your way to Höfn, you will be visiting a handful of small coastal villages. One of them is Fáskrúðsfjörður, which once served as the main station for French fishermen off East Iceland. To this day you can still spot the French heritage by e.g. road signs and their well-manicured French Quarter.

The town of Stöðvarfjörður is famous for its scenery and spectacular mountain peaks. This is also where you’ll find Petra’s Stone Collection – a lifetime collection/display of rocks and minerals, which has become internationally known over time. From Djúpivogur, there are daily boat tours to Papey island, home of approx. 60,000 puffins and other birds during summer. This is a 4-hour tour all in all, which includes a guided hike on the island itself. In this territory, between Egilstaðir and Höfn, there are often reindeer herders in the area. So, if you’re lucky, you might spot a few along your way.

In the charming town of Höfn in Hornafjörður, you will find great lobster restaurants, and because of the reputation and quality of lobster and other seafood around these corners, Höfn is often called the “Lobster capital of Iceland”. In or around Höfn, you will find your accommodation for this evening.

Highlights of the day: East Fjords, French heritage. fjords, and more

Day 6: The Crown Jewels

Iceland road tripLet´s hope you’re up for an early start because today will be filled with many of Iceland’s biggest highlights. After breakfast, start driving west to your first stop of the day – Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. During summer, you can take a guided amphibian boat ride between the beautiful icebergs rising from the cold waters. For a little more action, you might choose the zodiac boat tour instead. They travel faster and get you a little closer to the icebergs.

Next up, 60 km further west, is Skaftafell National Park. This green oasis, located next to the black Skeiðarársandur desert, and below the white glacier make the contrasts of this area simply breathtaking. We recommend hiking up to Svartifoss, a beautiful waterfall surrounded by dark lava columns. The path there is quite steep, but well worth it, and takes around 40 minutes each way. Now, let’s hope you’re not exhausted already because it’s time to make your way to Kirkjubæjarklaustur village for some more sightseeing.

Just a few minutes west of the village you will find Fjaðrárgljúfur, a massive canyon, 100 meters deep and nearly two km long. There are new walking paths beside the canyon and a couple of excellent viewpoints for taking the perfect photo. Next up is the last stretch of the day, the drive to the beautiful Vík area. Take an evening walk on the black volcanic beach of Reynisfjara and from there, witness the mighty Reynisdrangar ocean cliffs. Stay the night in/around Vík.

Highlights of the day: Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, Skaftafell National Park, Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon, black volcanic beach of Reynisfjara, Vík, and more

Day 7: Waterfalls and the Golden Circle

Iceland south coast tourToday you will feast your eyes on three of Iceland’s most famous waterfalls and drive around the classic Golden Circle area. If you still have spots to see around Vík, start the day by doing so, and then keep traveling west.

First up is Skógafoss, a picture-perfect waterfall with a 60-meter vertical drop, and next to it, the Skógar folk museum which displays interesting artefacts and turf houses from olden times. A half an hour further, the next waterfall awaits. This one is named Seljalandsfoss, surrounded by cliffs and green slopes, and even has a footpath behind the waterfall for a nice 360° view. You can expect to get a little wet though, when walking around/behind it.

The Famous Golden Circle – an area not to be missed on your Iceland Ring Road Trip

Iceland Ring Road ItineraryNow, drive up to the town of Selfoss for a nice lunch before starting the Golden Circle route. The first stop of the circle is Kerið, a volcanic crater partially filled with water. Some choose to take a little detour to the village of Flúðir, where you will find the Secret Lagoon, Iceland’s oldest thermal swimming pool. Next up is Gullfoss waterfall, which are in fact two separate waterfalls, with a combined drop of 32 meters. Close by is the Geysir area, a geothermal field with hot springs and bubbling mud pools. Watch a “performance” by Strokkur geyser, as it spouts water and steam up to 30 meters into the air.

The last official stop of the day will be Þingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, since 2004. Several crucial events in Icelandic history took place at Þingvellir and its geology is just remarkable. Stay the night in the area.

Highlights of the day: Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss waterfalls, volcanic crater Kerið, geothermal geyser area, Gullfoss waterfall, Þingvellir National Park, and more

Day 8: The Reykjanes Peninsula and Blue Lagoon

Iceland Holidays Ring RoadIt’s time for the last leg of your Iceland round tour. Drive south from Selfoss in the direction Eyrarbakki and Stokkseyri, two charming little villages worth visiting. In Stokkseyri you’ll find an excellent seafood restaurant. So, if you’re hungry and craving an early lunch, this is the spot.

Drive along the coast and visit the geothermal areas of Seltún and Krýsuvík and the beautiful lake Kleifarvatn. In this are you will also find Gunnuhver mud pools and steam vents right next to the first lighthouse built in Iceland. If museums are your thing, there are plenty to be found in the area. To name a few, there is the Saltfish museum in Grindavík, the Reykjanes Maritime Center and Icelandic Museum of Rock ’n’ Roll, both located in Reykjanesbær.

In the afternoon, drive towards the Blue Lagoon and have a dip in its milky blue waters. After a week on the road, you deserve a relaxing soak and perhaps a nice cool beverage while you’re at it. Finally, head back to Reykjavík, return your rental car and check into your hotel in downtown Reykjavík. Go out with a bang, and dine at one of Reykjavík’s finest restaurants.

Highlights of the day: geothermal areas, Kleifarvatn lake, Blue Lagoon (optional), and more

Day 9: Departure

Iceland round tourYour day of departure has arrived. If you have an afternoon flight, you still have some time for last minute shopping in town, or perhaps a nice lunch somewhere close to your hotel. You will be transferred to Keflavík International Airport in good time for your scheduled flight either by bus (budget & comfort) or a private chauffeur (quality). We thank you for travelling with Iceland Unlimited and wish you a safe and enjoyable flight back home.

 

Detailed Information about our Iceland Ring Road Trip for 9 Days

Detailed information

This tour is rated as Moderate for disabled travelers.

This tour can be modified to be a private fully guided tour.

Season: April to October (all year when going on the tour with a private guide)

Accommodation:

We offer three different accommodation categories for this Iceland ring road trip:

iceland tours, iceland holidays, iceland travel, iceland tourism, iceland vacationBudget
Budget accommodation includes shared facilities in guest houses, country hotels, farmhouses, etc. In some you might find a TV and a washbasin in your room. All offer breakfast that’s included in the price. In some places in the countryside you can order an evening  meal as long as you give at least a couple of hours of advance notice.

 

iceland tours, iceland holidays, iceland travel, iceland tourism, iceland vacationComfort
In Comfort accommodation you will have access to private facilities (shower and WC). These would be 3 star hotels and better guest houses many of whom have their own restaurant. All offer a continental breakfast that is included in the price.

 

iceland tours, iceland holidays, iceland travel, iceland tourism, iceland vacationQuality
Rooms with private shower/bath and WC. These are the best available rooms in 4 star hotels or the best hotels in each  region.  Suites and Jr. Suites are available upon request within the Quality category

 

Car rental:

Rental Cars available for this tour are:

A: Toyota Aygo (or similar) – Manual
B: Toyota Yaris (or similar) – Automatic
C: VW Golf (or similar) – Manual
D: VW Golf (or similar) – Automatic
E: Skoda Octavia Station – 4×4 (or similar) – Manual
F: Skoda Octavia Station (or similar) – Automatic
G: Dacia Duster – 4×4 (or similar) – Manual
H: Skoda Yeti – 4×4 (or similar) – Automatic
I: Toyota RAV4 – 4×4 (or similar) – Manual
J: Kia Sportage – 4×4 (or similar) – Automatic
K: Toyota Land Cruiser – 4×4 (or similar) – Automatic
L: Land Rover Defender – 4×4 (or similar) – Manual

Included:

    • 9 nights accommodation (budget/comfort/quality) with breakfast
    • Rental car of your choice for 8 days with unlimited mileage, CDW & VAT
    • GPS Unit in your rental car for easier navigation
    • Unlimited drivers for the rental car
    • WiFi hotspot in your rental car for easy internet access
    • Private pick-up at Keflavík Airport and transport to your hotel in Reykjavik
    • Private information meeting with our travel consultant in Reykjavik before your tour starts
    • Big, handwritten, detailed map with route, recommendations and accommodations highlighted
    • Shuttle bus transfer with pickup at your accommodation in Reykjavik upon departure
    • Use of an Icelandic mobile phone with 1000 ISK worth of calls
    • 24-hour emergency service
    • Taxes and service fee

Not Included:

    • Flights to/from Iceland
    • Meals and drinks at restaurants and entrance fees (unless otherwise agreed upon)
    • Personal travel insurance
    • Gasoline

Please contact us and get a price quote for this Iceland ring road trip. Note that this tour is fully customizable and we can add days and activities upon request. This tour is also available as a fully guided private tour.

Our terms and conditions can be found here