Winter Wonder Along The Ring Road
This classic self-drive tour around Iceland’s “Ring Road” is one of our 10 day itineraries that offers winter nature at its very best. You’ll visit spectacular natural attractions like powerful waterfalls, hot springs in moonlike surroundings, majestic glaciers, iceberg lagoons, volcanic beaches and more. And with accommodations in rural areas with low light pollution, you will have the chance to see the northern lights.
(1) See the massive floating icebergs at the Glacier Lagoon. (2) Walk the Diamond Beach, seeing the scattered, glistening ice. (3) Explore the famous Golden Circle route. (4) Hunt for the majestic northern lights. (5) Discover the volcanic Lake Mývatn and its beautiful surroundings. (6) Walk the quaint streets of Akureyri, the unofficial capital of north Iceland. (7) Enjoy the cascading waterfalls of Seljalandsfoss & Skógafoss. (8) Photograph jagged basalt columns & sweeping black sand beaches. (9) Enjoy the striking nature of Snæfellsnes and its charming fishing villages.
Day 1 : Welcome To Reykjavík
On arrival to Keflavik Airport, you will be greeted by a driver who will take you to your accommodation in Reykjavík. If you are arriving early in the day, you can upgrade to add a visit to the Blue Lagoon (optional, not included). Once you arrive in Reykjavik and after settling in, head to the main street, Laugavegur, to enjoy its various shops and cosy cafes. Spend the night in Reykjavik.
Day 2 : Wonders Of The Golden Circle
Collect your rental car in the morning and begin your journey on the classic “Golden Circle” route, starting with Þingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where you can walk on a path in the rift valley between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. Next is the Haukadalur geothermal area, home of Geysir—the original “geyser”—and the more active Strokkur, which spouts water every few minutes. End the circle with visits to the majestic Gullfoss waterfall and the implosion crater of Kerið. Spend the night in the Selfoss area. Driving distance approx. 185 km / 114 mi.
Day 3 : Waterfalls And Black Sand Beaches
Visit Seljalandsfoss waterfall, where you can walk right behind the misty cascade, then head to the equally impressive Skógafoss waterfall just a short drive down the road. South of the village of Vík, make a stop at the volcanic black sand beach* for dramatic views of the Dyrhólaey island and Reynisdrangar rock formations rising above the crashing waves. You can even take part in a glacier hike, visit to an ice cave or snowmobile tour today. Click on our optional activities for more information. Spend the night in the Kirkjubæjarklaustur area. *Caution should always be exercised when visiting Reynisfjara beach near Vík due to powerful rogue/sneaker waves and the strong undertow current. Always stay far back from the water’s edge and read the warning sign before walking on the beach. Driving distance approx. 203 km / 126 mi.
Day 4 : Glaciers And Floating Icebergs
Spend some time exploring Skaftafell*, part of the immense Vatnajökull National Park and a place of great natural beauty. Then head to the smaller Ice lagoon, Fjallsárlón before heading to the famous Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon and enjoy the surreal scene of icebergs floating by. Afterwards you will stop by the Diamond Beach, where you will see chunks of ice glistening on the black sands. Since the town of Höfn has been nicknamed the “Lobster Capital of Iceland” we highly recommend ending the day with a delicious lobster dinner here! Spend the night in the Höfn area. *venturing onto a glacier or engaging in ice climbing should only ever be attempted with the assistance of a licensed and experienced guide. Driving distance approx. 203 km / 126 mi.
Day 5 : Roam The East Fjords & Spot Reindeers
Your drive along East Iceland today is characterised by long and narrow fjords with steep mountainsides and rugged tundra. Each fjord has its own unique qualities, with small fishing villages in postcard-perfect settings and friendly locals. If you’re lucky, you may get to see a reindeer or two as this is the part of the island they inhabit. The east is also great for northern lights viewing, if the conditions are right, since there are vast stretches just outside your accommodation with no light pollution*. Spend the night in the Egilsstaðir area. *Please note that the northern lights are a natural phenomenon, so sightings cannot be guaranteed. Driving distance approx. 256 km / 159 mi.
Day 6 : The Impressive North: Dettifoss & Lake Mývatn
If you’re up for seeing more natural wonders today, make an optional detour (weather and road conditions permitting) to Dettifoss, the most powerful waterfall in Europe, before heading to the otherworldly Lake Mývatn area. This part of North Iceland boasts an abundance of unusual natural wonders to explore, like the Krafla volcano, the mud pools and curiously-coloured terrain of the Námaskarð pass and the massive crater of Hverfell. Other highlights of the region include Dimmuborgir, a magnificent lava landscape of caves, columns, and arches, as well as the option of relaxing at Mývatn Nature Baths. Spend the night in the Lake Mývatn area. Driving distance approx. 182 km / 113 mi.
Day 7 : Natural Charms Of The North
Spend the first half of the day exploring more of Lake Mývatn and perhaps participating in an optional activity like dog-sledding or snowmobiling. We recommend visiting Goðafoss waterfall on your way to the charming town of Akureyri, where you can take a stroll through the town centre and enjoy a variety of little shops, cafes and museums. You can next make your way toward Skagafjörður, an area known for its abundance of adorably stocky Icelandic horses. if time and weather conditions allow, you may choose to take a detour around Tröllaskagi Peninsula known for beautiful scenes of mountains, cliffs and fjords. Spend the night in the Skagafjörður area. Driving distance (including Tröllaskagi) approx. 247 km / 153 mi.
Day 8 : Adventures Of The West Coast
Drive to the historical Borgarfjörður region of west Iceland today. Worthwhile natural sights in the region include the Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls that tumble over a lava field and Deildartunguhver, Europe's most powerful hot spring. You have the option of signing up for optional activities today like the manmade ice tunnel Into the Glacier and a visit to Krauma, the newly-opened baths adjacent to Deildartunguhver. For those interested in the history of Iceland, a visit to the Icelandic Settlement Centre in the town of Borgarnes is recommended. Spend the night in the Borgarnes area. Driving distance approx. 234 km / 145 mi.
Day 9 : Splendid Snæfellsnes Or Optional Activities
Today you have the option of driving the Snæfellsnes peninsula (if weather and road conditions allow). Enjoy the natural beauty of Snæfellsjökull National Park. Highlights of your driving route today include the Dritvík Cove, the dramatic bird cliffs of Lóndrangar, Hellnar and Arnarstapi as well as idyllic seaside villages.
If you prefer an active day outside, you can choose one of many optional activities, depending on your personal interests. Choices include exploring a lava cave or manmade ice tunnel, snowmobiling, or visiting the Krauma baths in the west. You can also choose to end your day at the relaxing Blue Lagoon, where you can soak in the healing milky-blue waters (pre-booking needed). Spend the night in Reykjavík.
*Please note, for those who select our optional activities, other than the Blue Lagoon, for this day will not have time to explore Snæfellsnes Peninsula. Driving distance (including Snæfellsnes Peninsula) approx. 300 km / 186 mi.
Day 10: Departure
When it’s time for your Iceland adventure to end, you will be picked up from the accommodation for your airport transfer by a shuttle bus about three hours before your flight. If you’re flying in the afternoon, you have the option to visit the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa to relax in the warm mineral waters before continuing to the airport (optional: not included).