Enjoy both unspoiled countryside and wild volcanic landscapes on this epic road trip through Iceland. Arrive in the west and head north past lava fields and rugged coastline to the Westfjords, a wild and remote area known for its mountains, fjords, and waterfalls. Continue to the far north and see the geothermal highlights along the Diamond Circle before turning south to relax in hot springs and stuff yourself on food tours in Reykjavík.


  • Take a road trip to Iceland's famous waterfalls and hot springs
  • Visit the most famous geothermal areas in the country
  • Enjoy nature walks and bike rides in the country
  • Go on food tours in both northern and southern Iceland

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Iceland, Road Trip to Borgarnes Borgarnes
Day 2 Tour Snæfellsnes Peninsula Snæfellsnes Peninsula
Day 3 Melrakkaey Island Boat Tour Snæfellsnes Peninsula
Day 4 Drive to the Westfjords & Wildlife Spotting Patreksfjörður
Day 5 Scenic Drive to the Northern Westfjords Isafjordur
Day 6 Ísafjörður Day Tour, Arctic Fox Center Isafjordur
Day 7 Tour Ísafjörður & Mountain Biking, Transfer to Hólmavík Holmavik
Day 8 Northern Coast Drive, Sorcery & Witchcraft Museum Holmavik
Day 9 Tour the Vatnsnes Peninsula, Drive to Blönduós Blönduós
Day 10 Scenic Drive to Akureyri & Möðrudalur Farm Lake Mývatn
Day 11 Diamond Circle Highlights, Whale Watching in Húsavik Lake Mývatn
Day 12 Northern Iceland Food Tour & Beer Spa Laugarbakki
Day 13 Drive to the Secret Lagoon & Reykjavík Reykjavík
Day 14 Reykjavík Food Walk Reykjavík
Day 15 Depart Iceland  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Iceland, Road Trip to Borgarnes

Glymur waterfall
Welcome to Iceland! This volcanic island nation in the Arctic Circle has a rich Norse heritage dating back over 1,000 years. You'll learn all about it plus embark on adventures throughout Iceland's geothermal landscapes during this 15-day outing. You won't waste any time, either, because upon arrival at the Keflavík airport in western Iceland, you'll pick up your rental car and embark on a road trip to the north. 
Your destination is the town of Borgarnes, located on the Borgarfjörður fjord. The journey will take you up Iceland's main highway (Route 1), and on the way, you'll pass incredible volcanic landscapes like the Grabrok crater and Glanni waterfall. There are other famous waterfalls on the drive, like the multiple cascades of Hraunfossar, and thundering Barnagoss. After passing the historic village of Reykholt, you can make an optional stop at Deildartunguhver, the most powerful hot springs in Europe. Or, if you're up for it, hike to the Glymur waterfall, which plunges 650 feet (198 m) over a mountain into a canyon.
Once you arrive in Borgarnes, you can visit the Settlement Center on a tour. Located in two of the town's most historic buildings, the center recounts Icelandic history and recreates fascinating folklore. Next, you'll head over to Krauma. This geothermal spa takes boiling water from the nearby Deildartunguhver spring and mixes it with chilled glacier waters to create perfect 100-107°F (38-42°C) bathing temperatures in its five baths. Afterward, you'll transfer to your hotel in Borgarnes.

Day 2: Tour Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Mount Kirkjufell and Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall

In the morning, drive west from Borgarnes to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. This 56-mile (90 km) long peninsula is often referred to as "Iceland in miniature" as it boasts many of the country's famous wonders. The Snæfellsjökull glacier volcano dominates the region, and also here are unique rock formations, desolate lava fields, windswept beaches, and rugged sea cliffs. A major highlight is Mount Kirkjufell, which looms over the three-tiered waterfall of Kirkjufellsfoss.

To see the most incredible rock formations on the peninsula, take a stroll on the cliffs between the villages of Hellnar and Arnarstapi. The Berserkjahraun and Budahraun lava fields are worth visiting, too. After doing some sightseeing and hiking, you'll drive to a hotel on the peninsula, where you'll overnight.

Day 3: Melrakkaey Island Boat Tour

See puffins on Melrakkaey Island
After a hearty Icelandic breakfast, you'll hop in a traditional wooden boat called a láki for a 1.5-hour tour of Melrakkaey Island. It's home to a colony of hundreds of puffins, Iceland's most famous seabirds. As you continue around the island's nature reserve, you'll see other birds like shags, cormorants, guillemots, and more. Afterward, you'll return to Snæfellsnes Peninsula. Keep your camera ready, because the ride back offers great views of the fjord and Mount Kirkjufell.

Day 4: Drive to the Westfjords & Wildlife Spotting

Hike along the Látrabjarg cliffs

Drive north from the Snæfellsnes Peninsula this morning and head into the southern Westfjords. This untamed group of peninsulas and fjords is home to some of the nicest, sandiest beaches in Iceland. You can see for yourself when you drive along the coast to Rauðasandur, a unique beach in that its sands are red-hued and golden rather than volcanic and black. It's also home to a colony of seals, which you can visit on a photo safari.

Continue to the western end of the region, and you'll arrive at Látrabjarg, whose towering sea cliffs are home to colonies of seabirds like puffins. Feel free to stop for a brief stroll near the cliffs. There are also many golden-sand beaches in the area to visit like Breiðavík and Örlygshöfn. After enjoying the landscapes, you'll transfer to a hotel in the village of Patreksfjörður, where you'll overnight. 

Day 5: Scenic Drive to the Northern Westfjords

The powerful cascades of Dynjandi

This morning you'll leave Patreksfjörður on a drive between the northern and southern Westfjords. The route passes some of the most beautiful fjords in Iceland including Arnarfjordur and Dyrafjordur. Backed by soaring mountains known as the Westfjords Alps, Dyrafjordur offers great hiking on unfrequented trails. For example, Mount Sandafell, above the town of Thingeyri, has great views of Dyrafjordur. Thingeyri itself is interesting, as it's one of the oldest settlements in the Westfjords. Just outside it is the Haukadalur farmstead, which is the setting for Icelandic sagas from the 9th and 10th centuries.

If you're traveling during the summer months, you can drive from Thingeyri over the Hrafnseyrarheidi mountain pass. This section of road connects Dyrafjordur and Arnarfjordur and offers great views over the latter. After coming down from the pass, you'll arrive at majestic Dynjandifalls. The name translates to "thunderous," and this 330-foot (100 m) waterfall delivers on its promise. Standing near the 196-foot (60 m) base of the falls and hearing the water crash around you is truly an unforgettable experience. At the end of the day, you'll continue north to the town of Ísafjörður, where you'll overnight.

Day 6: Ísafjörður Day Tour, Arctic Fox Center

Meet Iceland's adorable Arctic foxes 
Devote today to touring more of the town and taking a scenic drive around the region. Go for a stroll through Ísafjörður's well-preserved town center, then learn about its fishing history at the Maritime Museum. Located in a renovated 18th-century home, this museum features a salt house, drying shed, crew hut, and fishing boat. For more seafaring history, take a short drive to Bolungarvík village and visit the Ósvör Museum, a replica of a 19th-century fishing station.
There are many other towns and interesting landmarks just a short drive from Ísafjörður. These include the village of Flateyri, the scenic Önundarfjörður fjord, and the golden sands at Holt Beach. Later, you'll stop in at the Arctic Fox Centre in Súðavík to learn about the only terrestrial mammal native to Iceland and meet orphaned foxes. Other options for activities include day hikes in the Westfjords Alps or kayaking around the fjord.
After spending the day driving around and enjoying some activities, you'll return to your hotel in Ísafjörður. For dinner, consider stopping in at Tjöruhúsið, one of Iceland's best fish restaurants.
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Day 7: Tour Ísafjörður & Mountain Biking, Transfer to Hólmavík

Ísafjörður town
Today you'll continue road-tripping around Ísafjörður. Start the day with some of the best waffles in Iceland at the Litlibær, a historic farmstead with a turf roof. Then drive to the nearby cape at Hvítanes to get up close and personal with curious seals. You can also hike up to waterfalls in the Valagil gorge, or stop at the Kaldalón fjord to hike around creeks, waterfalls, and Iceland's northernmost glacier, Drangajökull.

Later, you'll return to Ísafjörður. Here, leave the car and hop on a bicycle for a guided 2.5-hour ride down an easy rail with stunning views across the fjord and beyond. Ride along avalanche barriers through the forests and open trails above the town. Along the way, your guide will tell tales of life in Ísafjörður, the history of the area, and perhaps a bit of local gossip. Afterward, you'll drive south to the coastal village of Hólmavík, where you'll overnight.

Day 8: Northern Coast Drive, Sorcery & Witchcraft Museum

Northern Strandir
Northern Strandir
Today's drive takes you through the remote Strandir region of Iceland's north. Amid the unspoiled nature of this region, you can see many of the features for which the country is famous: rugged coastline, fjords, mountains, fishing villages, puffins, whales, and wild Icelandic horses. It's also a great area to glimpse the northern lights.
You can stop to see historic landmarks, like the early 20th-century Old Herring Factory in the village of Djúpavík. Another great option is Krossneslaug, one of the most popular hot springs in the Westfjords. Continue down the road past panoramic inlets, scenic waterfalls, and driftwood beaches. At the end, you can stop at the Munaðarnesm farm, which looks out over the fjords and the Drangaskörð rocky peaks on the horizon. Afterward, maybe go for a hike along Reykjaneshyrna, a mountain on the fjord whose trails also offer incredible views.
In the afternoon, you'll travel to the Museum of Icelandic Sorcery and Witchcraft for a one-hour visit. Among other exhibits, the museum tells the story of Iceland's 17th-century witch craze, which was similar to the Salem Witch Trials in America. Over two floors, you'll see exhibits featuring witches, zombies, demons, magical staves, and the infamous "necropants"—leggings made from human skin that supposedly bring good luck.

Day 9: Tour the Vatnsnes Peninsula, Drive to Blönduós

Hvítserkur, “White Shirt” Basalt troll
 The Hvítserkur sea stack
Drive up to the Vatnsnes Peninsula today. This oft-overlooked region is off the beaten path yet boasts must-visit sites like the Hvítserkur sea stack. This 50-foot (15 m) rock formation rises out of the water off the coast and, according to legend, is actually a troll that was caught in the sun and turned into stone. This area is also home to one of the largest seal colonies in Iceland.
Another highlight is the Borgarvirki fortress, an ancient ridge of columnar basalt rocks that Vikings once used as a defensive structure. Today it offers excellent views of the valleys and fjords below. You can also stop at Kolugljufur, a deep gorge with a powerful waterfall, Kolufossar. At the end of the day, continue to the nearby town of Blönduós, where you'll overnight. 

Day 10: Scenic Drive to Akureyri & Möðrudalur Farm

Views across Goðafoss
In the morning, continue driving east across northern Iceland. There's more unforgettable scenery and landmarks along this route, particularly Goðafoss. Known as the "Waterfall of the Gods," the cascades here drop 39 feet (12 m) into a river gorge. Eventually, you'll reach Akureyri, which is known as the "capital of the north." With a population of around 18,000, it's the largest metropolis on this side of Iceland. You can stop and tour the charming downtown area with its heritage buildings, museums, and the Akureyri Botanical Garden, the most northerly botanical garden in the world. 

After Akureyri, continue east, deep into the Icelandic wilderness. Within this remoteness, you'll find Möðrudalur Farm. Sitting at 1,539 feet (469 m), this is the highest farm in the country and is known for its long history dating back over 1,000 years to Iceland's first settlements. A walk along the trails here will lead you to great viewpoints offering wide panoramas of the surrounding plains. There's also a storybook white chapel with a red roof that was built in 1949.
At the end of the day continue to Lake Mývatn. This is is one of the stops on the Diamond Circle, a 155-mile (250-km) circuit that passes the most incredible geothermal sites on this side of the country. In the town here, you'll check in to a hotel, where you'll spend the night. 

Day 11: Diamond Circle Highlights, Whale Watching in Húsavik

Asbyrgi Canyon
Ásbyrgi Canyon

After a leisurely morning in Lake Mývatn, hit the road again to see even more of the Diamond Circle. One interesting place is Ásbyrgi, a horseshoe-shaped canyon that, as the story goes, was created when god Odin's eight-legged horse galloped across the land. Other places to visit include the turquoise Botnstjörn Pond, the unique rock formations in Vesturdalur Valley, and Jökulsárgljúfur, a 15-mile (25 km) glacial river canyon. It's up to 393 feet (120 m) deep in places, making it one of the deepest in Iceland. Perhaps the most famous landmark here is Dettifoss, Europe's most powerful waterfall. 

Continue north to Húsavík, a lovely harbor town and the whale watching capital of Iceland. The reason it's so popular is that you don't need to venture far out to sea to view these animals—you can see them right in the harbor. You'll have the option to take a two-to-three-hour boat cruise to spot humpback whales, sperm whales, dolphins, and harbor porpoises. Afterward, you can visit the Whale Museum and then have a bite to eat at a restaurant on the harbor before returning to your hotel at Lake Mývatn.

Day 12: Northern Iceland Food Tour & Beer Spa

Sample northern Iceland's best brews 
Today you'll embark on a foodie tour to sample northern Iceland's exciting gastronomy. That's right, besides its gorgeous scenery and quaint villages, northern Iceland has a burgeoning food and drink scene. Most of the beverages and dishes you'll find here are representative of this part of the country. The climate, soil, water, and environment have all shaped the culinary culture here over the centuries. 
During the tour, you'll taste a wide array of local delicacies, whether it's fish caught straight from the ocean that day, or free-range lamb raised on a nearby farm. You'll also try items recently foraged from nearby mountains and valleys like fresh herbs, berries, mushrooms—even Arctic moss. A real treat is trying bread that's been baked underground using geothermal heat. 
After the food portion of the tour, you'll learn about northern Iceland's colorful beer history, one sip at a time. You'll visit several breweries, from Skagafjörður to Húsavík, all of which are famed for their excellent beer made from pure Icelandic water. And if drinking it isn't enough, later you'll bathe in it when you stop in the village of Árskógssandur, home to the Bjórböðin Beer Spa. During a one-hour visit, you'll soak in an actual beer bath followed by some time in the on-site relaxation room. At the end of the day, you'll transfer south to the tiny town of Laugarbakki (pop. 57), where you'll overnight. 

Day 13: Drive to the Secret Lagoon & Reykjavík

The Secret Lagoon
The Secret Lagoon
Leave early in the morning for the 3.5-hour drive back to the southern end of the island. Your destination is the Secret Lagoon, which is located in Hverahólmi, a geothermal area near the village of Flúðir. Known locally as Gamla Laugin, it was constructed in 1891, making it the oldest public pool in the country.
What makes it special is the constant flow of warm water coming from various nearby hot springs, including Vaðmálahver and Litli Geysir. The latter is actually a spouting geyser that erupts every few minutes, putting on quite the aquatic spectacle. You'll get to unwind after the long drive on a three-hour visit to soak in these waters, which remain at 100°F (38°C)-104°F (40°C) year-round. Afterward, you'll drive to Reykjavík and check into your hotel. 

Day 14: Reykjavík Food Walk

Reykjavík Food Walk Tour
Enjoy traditional Icelandic food
If you thought northern Iceland would be the extent of your foodie adventures in Iceland, think again. Today, you'll embark on a three-hour food walk around Reykjavík. Led by a small but enthusiastic group of local foodies, you'll travel around the downtown area, stopping in at five to six eateries. As you go, you'll learn the history behind the restaurants and food culture in Iceland.
Throughout the walk, you'll taste various dishes and tidbits specific to this part of the world. And while the famous fermented shark is not on the menu, you will get to try seasonal dishes that celebrate the best of this country, including Icelandic lamb, artisanal ice cream, fresh seafood, and local cheeses. You'll even grab a bite at Iceland's most famous hot dog stand. At each stop, you'll meet the chefs, owners, families, and purveyors responsible for delivering these delicious dishes to the table. This tour does accommodate dietary restrictions. 

Day 15: Depart Iceland

Farewell, Iceland

Bags packed? Ready to go? Then enjoy one last leisurely breakfast in your hotel before heading to the airport and bidding a fond farewell to this volcanic wonderland of a country. Bless!

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Map of Iceland's Wild West & Arctic North - 15 Days
Map of Iceland's Wild West & Arctic North - 15 Days