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Around Iceland's ring road self-drive tour

13 days from $6,075pp

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Tour highlights

  • Soak in the geothermal waters of the Secret Lagoon, in the heart of the Golden Circle.

  • Marvel at intricate frozen formations on a guided visit to an ice cave.

  • Spot clownish puffins nesting along the coast.

  • Cruise among sculptural icebergs on a boat trip on Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon.

  • See the world’s largest lava field, formed by an eruption hundreds of years ago.

Price includes:

  • Fully insured vehicle rental
  • All accommodations
  • 24-hour support while you travel
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Travel that's shaped around you

We know that travel has the most meaning when it's created individually for you. Our specialists will only start designing your trip once they understand exactly what you want it to be. So, consider this idea simply as inspiration for your own experience.

Itinerary idea in detail

Private customized tour. Ask us about booking your international flights at our preferred rates.

  • Arriving at Keflavík Airport, collect your rental car and make own your way to Reykjavík, which is around an hour’s drive away. All insurances have been included for you, and a GPS navigation system can be added locally. To navigate Iceland’s more remote rugged landscape, we’ve booked a 4x4 for you. If you have time, we recommend exploring the craggy landscape of the Reykjanes Peninsula en route; we’ll provide some suggestions of what to see on your self-guided tour.

  • Venture out of Reykjavík and spend the day exploring the highlights of the Golden Circle on your self-drive tour. Don’t miss the diverging tectonic plates at Þingvellir National Park, erupting geysers at Geysir Geothermal Area, and the thundering Gullfoss Falls. End your day soaking in the geothermally heated waters of the Secret Lagoon surrounded by dramatic Icelandic landscapes.

  • Make your way to the south coast, home of some of Iceland’s most renowned waterfalls and volcanoes. Before you travel, we’ll offer some recommendations on where to go on your self-drive tour. This afternoon, join a small-group tour to a naturally formed ice cave on Kötlujökull glacier and wander through its frozen formations.

  • Continue your drive east and venture through the barren landscape around Kirkjubæjarklaustur. You’ll drive past the Eldhraun lava field — one of the biggest in the world — and close to Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon, before arriving at your hotel, close to Vatnajökull National Park and its immense ice cap.

  • Your focus today is Vatnajökull National Park and southeast Iceland. Watch bergy bits calve off the Vatnajökull ice cap and drift serenely along Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon on a guided Zodiac boat tour, and wander through huge chunks of ice that have washed up on nearby Diamond Beach. We also recommend stopping by the tourist office at Skaftafell and hiking to see the towering basalt columns at Svatifoss waterfall.

  • Begin your morning by joining a small-group, guided tour to the Ingólfshöfði promontory which is known for its thriving population of puffins who come here to nest in the towering cliffs each summer. On a clear day, expect glorious sea views and the spectacle of the vast Vatnajökull ice cap looming to the north. From here, continue your drive east through the scenic inlets and bays of the Eastfjords. Here you’ll find some of the best driving in Iceland and you can be assured of impressive views at every turn.

  • Spend a full day at leisure in the Eastfjords. You might like to visit one of Iceland’s tallest waterfalls, Hengifoss, visit the Hafnarhólmi puffin colony and search for elves near Borgafjörður Eystri, or hike the array of trails that cross the fjordland scenery.

  • Your self-drive tour takes you north away from the coast and through the barren volcanic scenery to Lake Mývatn. As you travel, you’ll see a landscape dotted with craters, bubbling mud pools and steaming fumaroles rising from the ground. Spend the afternoon exploring the lake, observing its thriving birdlife, sulfurous geothermal areas and perhaps hiking its network of trails. End the day soaking in the geothermally heated waters of Mývatn Nature Baths overlooking vast Lake Mývatn and its pseudocraters below.

  • Embark on a self-guided tour of the so-called Diamond Circle: a network of key attractions in north Iceland. Your first stop is thundering Dettifoss — Europe’s largest waterfall by volume — before reaching the gaping Ásbyrgi canyon. From here, your drive takes you to Húsavík: Iceland’s self-proclaimed whale-watching capital. Here, you’ll join a small-group boat tour into Skjálfandi Bay and observe humpback whales feeding in the Arctic waters. From here, drive to Iceland’s second city, Akureryi, stopping en route to admire Goðafoss waterfall and its Niagara-esque veil of water that plunges into the Skjálfandafljót River.

  • Continue your drive west through the rolling countryside of north Iceland. This region is well known in Iceland for its horse farms and this afternoon you’ll join a small-group tour on horseback. The hardy Icelandic horse is known for its five gaits and, if you wish, you’ll have the opportunity to try the tölt, a unique rapid ambling gait, on your tour. Nearby, we can also recommend visiting the Glaumbær Museum to see its preserved turf houses and learn more about Icelandic life in the past.

  • Today you will reach the Snæfellsnes Peninsula on your self-drive tour. Tonight, stay in the quaint fishing village of Stykkishólmur, which lies on the shoreline of Breiðafjörður Bay. Watch boats come and go from the marina and enjoy a fresh seafood dinner by the waterfront.

  • Spend the day driving around the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, which is often described as ‘Iceland in miniature'. It’s a great round-up of the last two weeks, as you drive through mossy lava fields and fjord-like scenery, past black sand beaches, and around the imposing Snæfellsjökull ice cap, which dominates the Snæfellsnes landscape.

  • As you make your own way back toward Keflavík, detour along scenic Hvalfjörður fjord in west Iceland. Hvalfjörður, meaning ‘whale fjord’ in English, is often bypassed by drivers heading toward Reykjavík, but it offers some of the best scenic driving in Iceland. From here, you’ll continue to Keflavík Airport, where you’ll drop off your car before your flight.

Accommodation options

While the itinerary price reflects the suggested accommodations, Audley trips are 100% tailor-made, and a specialist can help you select the option best suited to your tastes and budget.

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Contact an Iceland specialist

The specialist who designs your trip to Iceland will have explored the country many times and, in some cases, lived there. Their first-hand knowledge gives us the belief that no other travel company can match our expertise in helping you plan your trip.

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When to go

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Place Daily max temperature (°C) Monthly rainfall (mm)
Reykjavík
 
Lake Mývatn
 
Akureyri
 
Snæfellsnes Peninsula
 

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