Iceland Circle Self-Drive

Botnsulur at Thingvellir

For those who have plenty of time the Ring Road is the perfect route for seeing Iceland.  The Ring Road circles Iceland and you'll find some of Iceland's most beautiful sites just off the main road.  On the Iceland Private Tours summer version we improve the route a bit by taking the Kjolur mountain track so that you will get to explore the barren wilderness of the Icelandic highlands. On our Ring Road itinerary you will experience the diversity of Icelandic nature to the fullest.  You'll visit hot spring fields, soak in a natural geothermal pool, hike on volcanoes, see some amazing waterfalls, take a boat cruise on a glacier lagoon and visit a national park. The drive itself is very scenic, be it through vast lava fields or by fjords and mountains.

Rental car for 7 days with CDW insurance, GPS and unlimited mileage
Accommodation for 8 nights in 2-3* hotels and guesthouses
A detailed Road Atlas and a map with your route marked out
An Icelandic cell phone with ISK 1000 credit for calls

If you have any questions, comments or requests, please don't hesitate to contact us


All Year

Drive around the Ring Road and experience all the classic sights that Iceland has to offer included Thingvellir, Geysir, Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, Lake Myvatn and many more

Price: Ask for quote

Iceland's Ring Road Self-Drive Vacation

Day 1 - Arrival in Iceland
Depending on your arrival time you may want to stop at the Blue Lagoon for a relaxing soak.  The afternoon is then spent exploring Reykjavík downtown.  You can also choose to pick up the rental car at the airport.  Your self-drive package will be in the reception.
Accommodation: A centrally located hotel in Reykjavík.

Day 2 - The Golden Circle
After picking up your rental car you head to Thingvellir national park, where the Icelandic parliament was founded and you can clearly see where the tectonic plates are slowly drifting apart.  You then drive east to visit Gullfoss, the golden waterfall, and Geysir hot spring area where you'll watch the geyser Strokkur spout boiling water into the air.
Optional: An hour long horseback riding tour from Geysir, where you get to enjoy the benefits of the Icelandic horse and its five types of gaits.
Optional: An ATV tour from Geysir to explore the natural wonders of the area.
Accommodation: Hotel by Geysir area

Day 3 - Kjolur mountain road
In the morning you'll head off the main road and into the wilderness of the highlands.  Traveling across Kjolur mountain track, which lies between the two glaciers of Langjokull and Hofsjokull, you take a photo stop at Kerlingarfjoll Mountain.  Midway across the track is Hveravellir where there's enormous geothermal heat in the ground and you'll find colourful hot springs such as Blaihver and Graenihver as well as a natural outdoor geothermal pool where you can have a relaxing soak.  You then go north through the town of Akureyri and stop at Godafoss waterfall before heading to Lake Myvatn.
Accommodation: Hotel by Lake Myvatn

Day 4 - Lake Myvatn and its Surroundings
Today you have the benefit of staying at the same hotel for two nights, so you don't have to spend time packing and unpacking.  The day is spent exploring the Lake Myvatn area, seeing sites such as Dimmuborgir lava formations,
Krafla caldera and Namaskard hot spring area.  This area is also the home of over 2.000 birds in the summer.  There has been a lot of volcanic activity by Myvatn and there's a lot of geothermal heat in the ground.  In the afternoon it's perfect to go for a relaxing soak in the Myvatn Baths.
Optional: Whale watching tour from Husavik, which has the highest success rate of spotting whales in Iceland.
Accommodation: Hotel by Lake Myvatn

Day 5 - Jokulsargljufur national park
Driving east, you go to Jokulsargljufur national park and spend the morning and early afternoon hiking there and exploring the area.  The national park is home to Dettifoss waterfall and Hljodaklettar where you'll find Karl and Kerling, two large rocks formations that resemble a man and a woman.  Other sights include the three waterfalls of Selfoss, Hafragilsfoss and Rettarfoss. From Jokulsargljufur you drive through Modrudalsoraefi, the most remote area of the Icelandic Ring Road which is quite barren with wonderful big vistas.
Accommodation: Hotel in Egilsstadir

Day 6 - Eastern Iceland Svartifoss in Skaftafell National Park
From Egilsstadir you drive south along the magnificent fjords of the rugged coastline and enjoy the vista of majestic mountains.  This part of the country is rather rural, with small fishing villages nestling by the Ocean.  On the way you can stop at Stodvarfjordur and see Petra's Stone Museum.
Optional: In summer it’s possible to take a boat trip to Papey Island, where hundreds of puffins and other birds make their nest in the summer.
Accommodation: Hotel by Hofn in Hornafjordur

Day 7 - The Vatnajokull Region
From Hofn you travel towards Vatnajokull, Europe's largest glacier.  You'll stop at Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon for a boat ride among the majestic icebergs.  You then continue to Skaftafell national park where you spend the rest of the day hiking, taking photo stops at places like Svartifoss waterfall.
Accommodation: Hotel by Skaftafell or Kirkjubaejarklaustur

Day 8 - South Iceland
Traveling along the south coast you'll visit Dyrholaey peninsula which is shaped like an arc that stands out to sea.  From the peninsula you have a breathtaking view on a sunny day of Reynisdrangar, lava formations that stand out from the ocean as well as Myrdalsjokull glacier and the surrounding countryside. Further west you stop at the two waterfalls of Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss.  At Seljalandsfoss you can take a short path that leads behind the free falling waterfall and feel the spray and drizzle on your face. You return to Reykjavik in the afternoon and drop off your rental car.
Optional: Snowmobile tour on Myrdalsjokull glacier.
Accommodation: Hotel in Reykjavik

Day 9 - Departure from Iceland
If your flight is early in the morning, you take a taxi or the Flybus to the airport. However, if your flight is in the afternoon it's ideal to visit the Blue Lagoon on the way to the airport.

Please note: It's no problem to extend your stay in Iceland, either by spending additional nights in Reykjavik or in the countryside.

FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

What is Icelandic weather like?
Weather in Iceland unpredictable, so we strongly advise our customers to check the weather report each day, especially in winter. Weather forecasts for the whole of Iceland can be found on the Icelandic Met Office website.

What are Icelandic roads like?
We also strongly recommend that you check the overview maps showing road conditions and the current situation for all main roads at a given point, provided by the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration. Attached is a representative photo of such a map, showing that some roads are closed, others icy or very icy, etc.

Map of Icelandic road conditions

Be well prepared when planning to drive in Iceland:

  • Get accurate, up to date information about the area
  • Check the weather forecast - in Iceland, the weather can change suddenly
  • Always leave your travel plan with someone who can react if needed
  • Remember to bring the right equipment for the type of travel
  • Always use maps, compass, GPS when travelling outside the urban areas
  • Most of the Icelandic Highland roads are closed in wintertime

Where can I find information about driving in Iceland?

Iceland Private Tours provides you with a Self Drive Package which contains useful information about travelling safely in Iceland. The package includes a Road Atlas, Iceland's Big Map (that has your route marked out) and an Icelandic mobile phone with prepaid call credit. A list of interesting highlights that you might wish to explore on your route is also enclosed.

The Icelandic Road Traffic Directorate (Umferðarstofa) has produced a video entitled "How to Drive in Iceland", as well as a downloadable brochure in English, German and French, which can be accessed on their website.
Additionally, the Icelandic Association for Search & Rescue, ICE-SAR (Landsbjörg), provides vital information for safe travel in Iceland. It is essential to be well informed when travelling around Iceland, especially in the Highlands - the combination of unfamiliar terrain and the abrupt weather changes can prove hazardous.

What happens if I don't reach my hotel due to weather, or if I find myself in some distress on my route?
If you are unable to reach your destination due to an event of force majeure nature, then the force majeure clause, cited below, will apply.

Should you find yourself in distress, or in any uncertainty, you can call us at any time using the Icelandic mobile phone included in your Self Drive Package. If your arrival to your hotel is likely to be delayed, please give them a call and let them know. All the necessary phone numbers are included in your Self Drive Package. The 24 hour emergency phone number for ambulance, police and fire services in Iceland is 112.

If a road is closed and I can't make it to my next hotel – will that hotel still charge?
The usual minimum cancellation time for hotel bookings is 48 hours so technically they can charge, but give us a call and we will try our best to sort it out so there is little or no cost if possible. This is one of the advantages of having a local travel agency plan your Iceland tour. Most hotels are very understanding when it comes to changes due to weather.

I will then need another hotel - who pays for that?
Customers are responsible for covering any additional costs themselves but if we got the hotel cancelled without a fee, then of course that refund goes into covering the cost of the other hotel. We always try our best for our customers and it has always worked out with a few phone calls – remember, with us you will have an Icelandic mobile phone with our number that you can ring any time and the numbers of all your hotels.

Winter driving in Iceland is perhaps not for everybody and might not be everybody's idea of a carefree holiday. In wintertime, many of our customers opt to go first on a private Super-Jeep tour with us, to get a good sense of the Icelandic roads and conditions (as well as good insider tips) from our expert driver guides, before venturing on their own. Our experienced driver guides can take you anywhere you would like to go. You can have any tour as a privately guided Super-Jeep adventure.

Force Majeure
It is possible that an eruption, a flood, a storm or another form of Force Majeure might affect your tour in a way that is beyond human control. The standard Force Majeure or 'Act of God' clause applies and frees both parties from liability or obligation when an extraordinary event or circumstances beyond the control of the parties (clients / tour operator) prevent one or both parties from fulfilling their obligations under the contract.

Your plans may need to change in such circumstances. We will, of course, help in any way we can; however, it is expected that the clients understand that driving, especially in a foreign country, inherently involves a degree of personal risk.

Iceland Private Tours considers appropriate travel insurance to be essential. Please familiarise yourself with the details of your insurance policy and take it with you on holiday. It is a matter of personal responsibility to ensure that the insurance you have purchased covers you for the holiday activities in Iceland, whether they be driving tours, riding tours, snowmobiling tours, winter sports activities or other.

Iceland Private Tours disclaims responsibility for any loss, damage, accidents, sickness or changes in schedules caused by weather, strikes or any other irregularity beyond the control of Iceland Private Tours. Iceland Private Tours reserves the right to alter routes, itineraries or departure times, without prior notice, should the necessity arise.

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Source: Central Bank of Iceland