Ring Road Itinerary
Sample Ring Road Iceland Itinerary (14 days)
This is a popular clockwise plan starting in southwest Iceland and following the ring road north from Reykjavík. This plan can be altered but we do not recommend attempting to manage the ring road in less than 10 days. The best ring road plans include two overnights in Snæfellsnes, in the Mývatn region, at Skaftafell National Park and in Southwest Iceland.You may wish to add a day in Reykjavík at the front end of the trip and consider the last overnight at one of the accommodations at the Blue Lagoon. In both cases an additional overnight or two are recommended.
Depart US to Keflavík on Icelandair.
Day 1 – Reykjavík
Arrive Keflavík, Iceland the next morning or on a late evening flight. Take FlyBus to accommodations in Reykjavík – Stay at accommodations ranging from 4-star hotels to charming guesthouses located in downtown Reykjavík. Private facilities and breakfast included. Free day to explore Reykjavík and visit museums, galleries, shops and the geothermal pools.
Day 2 – Reykjavík – Golden Circle - Reykjavík
Take the most popular day tour in Iceland: The Golden Circle Super Jeep tour – the best way to get to know Iceland’s history, culture and geology before heading off on your own on day 3. Includes visits to hot springs, waterfalls, geysers and the mid-Atlantic ridge at Iceland’s famous Thingvellir National Park. Same overnight location in Reykjavík.
Day 3 – Snæfellsnes
After breakfast, pickup rental car from your accommodations and checkout. Head north and west to Hellnar on south coast of Snæfellsnes peninsula (3-hour drive) and spend two overnights at Hótel Hellnar or Búðir situated on the southwest coast of the peninsula overlooking the ocean to the south and the mystical glacier to the north. Spend the afternoon getting acquainted with the region with a hike along the coast or a visit to the glacier.
Day 4 – Snæfellsnes
Today is a free day for touring Snæfellsnes on your own. Options include a whale watching trip from Ólafsvík, a boat trip from Arnarstapi, a visit to the famous lava stone beach of Djúpalónssandur or a horse trek from a local horse farm. Same overnight location as previous night. As an alternative for the following day (#5), travel by ferry to the remote Western Fjords of Iceland and spend 2 to 3 overnights there. Then continue with the itinerary as below.
Day 5 – Skagafjörður - Sauðárkrókur
Today you will drive east to the ring road and head north to the Skagafjörður region rich in history and the heart of Iceland’s horse country (6-hour drive). Overnight at Iceland’s oldest accommodations Hótel Tindastóll or Hótel Mikligarður or the local guesthouse of the same name in the town of Sauðárkrókur or Guesthouse Gauksmýri or Brekkulækur an active horse farms near Hvammstangi. Visit turf covered farms and quaint country churches from the 18th and 19th centuries.
Day 6 – Akureyri
Heading east along the ring road, you will visit Akureyri the charming “capital” of north Iceland nestled at the southern end of the beautiful Eyjafjörður (2-hour drive). Today is an opportunity to relax in town for lunch and a walking tour of town and its beautiful botanical gardens. Or drive through the region visiting nearby settlements and taking an optional ferry ride to the quaint island of Hrísey. Enjoy dinner at one of Akureyri’s restaurants and spend this overnight at one of Akureyri’s four downtown hotels or at a nearby country hotel or guesthouse overlooking the fjord. Take an optional afternoon flying tour to the island of Grímsey, straddling the Arctic Circle - note only available 08 June - 17 August each summer.
Day 7- Mývatn
In the morning head east to Iceland’s bird and geology paradise of Mývatn (1.5-hour drive). Settle in at one of the four lakeside country hotels for two overnights. Spend the afternoon and evening hiking in the lava jungle at Dimmuborgir or walking along the lake shore.
Day 8 – Mývatn
Today is a free day to explore the region – hot springs (visit the new Jarböðin Natural Baths for a dip), waterfalls, bubbling sulfur pits, and the village of Húsavík (1.5-hour drive) north of the lake and Iceland’s whale watching capital. IST will pre-book cruises, if desired. Same overnight location.
Day 9 – Eastern Fjords - Seyðisfjörður/Egilsstaðir
Today you will head east along the ring road to Iceland’s Eastern Fjords and an overnight at one of the guesthouses in Egilsstaðir, the commercial center of the region (3-hour drive), or to Hótel Aldan in the quaint fjord village of Seyðisfjörður (4-hour drive). Explore Iceland’s rugged eastern fjords as you step back a hundred years in time.
Day 10 – South East Iceland - Jökulsárlón - Skaftafell
Drive south and west through the fjords of the East with a possible lunchtime stop at the fishing port of Höfn on the southeast coast. Here an additional overnight can be added with a stop at the beautiful seaside town of Djúpivogur and Hótel Framtíð. In the early afternoon head west along the ring road to Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon for an optional boat ride amongst the beautiful icebergs afloat in the lagoon. Drive east to Skaftafell National Park nestled under Europe’s largest glacier Vatnajökull in southeast Iceland (5/6-hour drive from previous night’s accommodations). Spend the next two overnights at a country hotel or guesthouse near the park.
Day 11 – Skaftafell National Park
Today is a free day to explore the national park on foot with visits to a nearby glacial tongue and the beautiful Svartifoss waterfall. Also consider a tractor ride to a coastal promontory and bird sanctuary near Skaftafell.(check at front desk at accommodations for schedule and availability).
Day 12 – Southwest Iceland
Today you will head west along the ring road to southwest Iceland for an opportunity to explore Iceland’s fertile farm region and lava beaches along the south coast over the next two days. Spend the next two nights at a deluxe 4-star hotel or a country farm hotel or a charming and romantic small guesthouse.
Day 13 – Southwest Iceland
Today you can explore river valleys and interior destinations(driving into the interior requires a 4WD SUV rental vehicle or arranging a private tour at your accommodations) or take a short trip to the Westman Islands by ferry from the new south coast harbor opened in 2010. As an alternative plan, consider spending 24 hours in the Westman Islands. Visit Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss waterfalls along the ring road. Consider dinner at an eclectic seashore lobster restaurant or an upscale seafood restaurant called Hafið Bláa (The Blue Sea) offering dramatic views of the north Atlantic. Consider adding an overnight and spending the final night in Iceland at the Blue Lagoon - either the Lagoon Clinic Hotel on the premises or at the nearby Northern Light Inn.
Day 14 – Blue Lagoon - Home
After breakfast, check out and drive west to the Blue Lagoon (1 to 2 hours) for a late morning dip in the world famous lagoon. Consider lunch at the site or travel the rugged coast of the Reykjanes Peninsula before heading to Keflavík airport for return flight to US. The Blue Lagoon is located within a 15-minute drive of the airport. Drop off rental car at the rental car return lot next to the arrivals side of the main terminal. Check-in is recommended two hours before the flight departure time. If taking a morning return flight to North America, be sure to take a dip at the Blue Lagoon the night before. There will not be enough time to do so this morning as check-in time at the airport for the early flights is no later than 8:00 AM - before the lagoon opens.
Feel free to add a day or two or more to this itinerary. Adding the a 2 to 3 day visit to the rugged and scenic Western Fjords would make this travel plan a comprehensive Iceland trip. For flight departures to Europe, the final day in Iceland may require adjustments. Check with IST for options and costs.
Iceland Saga Travel (IST) prepays all Iceland-based service providers. Client and service providers will have prepaid vouchers for each service (rental car, accommodations, tours, ferries, etc.). All accommodations include breakfast. IST provides airport FlyBus tickets, maps, driving directions and regional information brochures. IST is happy to recommend and pre-book Reykjavík restaurant reservations.