Iceland Classic Circle Tour, Self-Drive

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Availability : Daily, May-September

Iceland Classic Circle Tour, Self-Drive

Highlights Include:

  • Traversing the length of Iceland’s Ring Road
  • Searching for whales by boat
  • Visits to multiple awe-inspiring waterfalls
  • Hiking on a glacier with a professional guide
  • Freedom to explore by car at your own pace, with your accommodations booked in advance

Photo: Betina Kohler/Borton Overseas

Tour Details

From: $2,735 per person | Single supplement – from $1130

Price includes transatlantic airfare from New York (please inquire for pricing from your US departure city)

9 days

2023 Departures:  Daily, May – September

Driving along Iceland’s Ring Road, or Route 1 as it is known locally, is a truly amazing way to experience all of Iceland’s surprising beauty. With this suggested self-drive itinerary you have the freedom to explore the farthest corners of Iceland at your own pace, with a comfortable bed waiting for you after each day’s discovery. Included as well are activities that are better experienced with a local guide who can share in-depth and personal stories and facts about the area.


This is a sample self-drive itinerary. Our Destination Specialists will work with you to create an itinerary to meet your preferences.

Day 1Departure from US

Day 2Arrive Reykjavík, Iceland

Arrive at Iceland’s Keflavik Airport and take your included transfer about 50 minutes into the Reykjavík City Center. You will have the rest of the day free to see the city. There is also the option to visit the Blue Lagoon upon arrival, taking the 10 minute transfer from the airport and enjoying your morning relaxing in the naturally heated waters. During your time in Reykjavík it is recommended to walk along the harbor from the Harpa Concert Hall, past the Sun Voyager Sculpture, and down to Hallgrímskirkja Church. For more suggested tours today, check out our Reykjavík Day Tours Blog . Overnight in Reykjavík

Day 3West Iceland | Meals: B

This morning you will pick up your rental car and begin your drive heading northwest out of Reykjavík. Your drive will take you through the tunnel under the Hvalfjörður (Whale fjord) and through the saga valley Borgarfjörður (Borgarfjordur). Visit the impressive Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls, as well as the powerful Deildaratunghver hot spring and the nearby Krauma Pool and Spa that is heated by it. Overnight in Reykholt

Day 4Northeast Iceland | Meals: B

Continue north this morning, passing through Akureyri, the capital of the North. Perhaps enjoy some time in this quaint city before heading out of town. Stop at Goðafoss (Godafoss), the waterfall of the gods, before arriving in Húsavik. Late this afternoon, you will join a whale watching excursion, traveling out into the northern waters to hopefully spy Humpback or Minke whales. You may also have the chance to see some of the native birdlife such as puffins or guillemots. Overnight in Húsavik

Day 5Tjörnes Peninsula, East Iceland | Meals: B

Depart this morning, stopping at the lava formations at Dimmuborgir on your way or exploring the other-worldly landscape of the Lake Mývatn area. A relaxing visit to the Lake Mývatn Nature Baths may be of interest as well. If you have time, perhaps include a stop at the amazing Dettifoss Waterfall, Europe’s most powerful waterfall. Today’s destination is Fáskrúðsfjörður (Faskrkudsfjordur), a small fishing town set along one of the many stunning fjords in the East Fjords. Overnight in Fáskrúðsfjörður

Day 6Going Southeast | Meals: B

Drive through the East Fjords today, heading south along the scenic coast. You will soon see the massive Vatnajökull Glacier, the largest glacier in Europe. Vatnajökull National Park encompasses all of the glacier and some of the natural landscapes around it. Definitely include a visit to the town of Höfn and enjoy the cozy atmosphere in this old fishing town before continuing along the southern part of the glacier, arriving at Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. It is possible to join a boat ride on the lagoon today, or just walk along the beaches and admire the icebergs from land. This afternoon or evening, you may wish to visit the Skaftafell Nature Area within the National Park and do some independent hiking and exploring in this beautiful area. Overnight in the Southeast

Day 7Southern Coast | Meals: B

Today you will travel along Iceland’s amazing south coast, crossing the largest lava field in recorded history before arriving at the quaint village of Vík. From there visit the black sand beaches of Reynisfjara and the basalt columns of Reynisdrangar. This afternoon make your way to Sólheimajökull, a glacier tongue off of the larger Myrdalsjökull glacier. Enjoy a one-hour guided hike on the glacier with a professional guide leading you safely across the ice and talking about glaciers in Iceland and their unique place in the culture and lore. After your hike, but before you arrive at your hotel this evening, you will want to stop at Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss. Overnight in Southwest area

Day 8Golden Circle | Meals: B

Today you will traverse the famous tourist route, the Golden Circle. The sites to visit include Gullfoss Waterfall, Strokkur and Geysir hot spring and geyser geothermal area, and Þingvellir (Thingvellir) National Park, known best for being the meeting place of the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. Head back to Reykjavík at your leisure, returning your rental car this evening. Overnight in Reykjavík

Day 9Depart Reykjavik, Iceland | Meals: B

Transfer to the airport this morning. If you did not visit the Blue Lagoon on arrival day, it would be possible to include that before heading to the airport as well if you have an afternoon flight. Fly back to the US – or extend your stay in Scandinavia!

  • Transatlantic airfare from New York including government taxes & fuel surcharges
    (please inquire for pricing from your US departure city) 
  • Seven nights’ accommodation 
  • Transfers as indicated
  • Meals as indicated (B-Breakfast, L-Lunch, D-Dinner)
  • Six-day compact automatic car rental – including insurance, unlimited miles, taxes 
  • Whale Watching Tour
  • Glacier Hike on Sólheimajökull  
Not Included
  • Airline fees including meals, seat reservations, luggage costs
  • Travel insurance, recommended
  • Fees for passports
  • Park Fees
  • Transfers, sightseeing, activities, meals, and beverages not specified
  • Luggage handling at airports and hotels
  • Gratuities
  • Items of a personal nature such as laundry, spa services, internet, phone, etc.
Optional Excursions
At additional cost, subject to availability
  • Optional excursions can be included, which may affect package cost
  • Visit our Reykjavík Day Tours Blog to learn about the many options available from Iceland’s capital and South Iceland. Some of these types of tours are also available in other areas of Iceland.
  • Blue Lagoon – Soak in the naturally occurring milky blue waters of the Blue Lagoon, and perhaps even add a relaxing in-water massage
  • From the Northeast-
    • Lofthellir Ice Cave – Visit the amazing Lofthellir cave and the natural ice formations
    • Myvatn Nature Baths – Relax in the healing geothermal waters
    • Askja by Super Jeep – Visit the lunar landscape of Askja Highland by super jeep
  • From the Southeast-
    • Snowmobiling – Cover more ground on a snowmobiling tour over Vatnajökull Glacier
    • Glacier Hike – This guided tour is from Skaftafell National Park, part of Vatnajökull
    • Kayak a Glacier Lagoon – Head out onto the small Heinaberg Lagoon in your own kayak to see the icebergs up close (summer only).
  • From the South and Golden Circle area-
    • Snorkeling at Thingvellir National Park – See the wonders of the Silfra Fissure yourself by snorkeling through the cool, clear waters.
    • Katla Ice Cave (Under the Volcano) tour – From Vik, a tour that combines a super jeep ride, short glacier hike and visit to an ice cave!
    • Horseback Riding– Enjoy riding the famous Icelandic horses with their own special gait
  • Iceland accommodations fill up early for summer/high season. It is recommended to book early to ensure availability in your desired locations
  • Upgraded accommodations available for supplemental cost
  • Option to pick up and/or return rental car from/to the airport for supplemental cost
  • This itinerary is an example of the shortest self-drive around Iceland that we recommend. It is possible to add nights to this itinerary, allowing for more exploration and focus on the best areas
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