Spend 12 days discovering the beauty of Iceland with this guided and self-drive combo tour. Start in the city of Reykjavík to discover classic and modern Icelandic cuisine in a true foodie's paradise. Then it's off to Fagradalsfjall to walk among ethereal lava fields and see rivers of flowing lava from the active volcano. Hike the blue glacier ice of Skaftafell, see whales and other marine life in their natural habitat, and close your trip with a cliffside trek through the rocky crags of Gatklettur.


  • Hike to an active volcano and walk along the flowing rivers of lava
  • Traverse black sands and unbridged glacier rivers via Super Jeep 
  • See whales, dolphins, and playful seals on a marine wildlife tour
  • Take in the beauty of Iceland's stunning "Waterfall of the Gods" 

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Keflavík, Drive to Reykjavík, Food Walking Tour Reykjavík
Day 2 Geldingadalur Valley Volcano Tour Reykjavík
Day 3 Þingvellir National Park, Friðheimar, Geysir, Gullfoss South Coast
Day 4 Fjallabak Nature Reserve, Super Jeep Highlands Tour South Coast
Day 5 Seljalandsfoss & Skogafoss, Black-Sand Beach, Vík, Fjaðrárgljúfur  Vatnajökull National Park
Day 6 Skaftafell, Glacier Hike & Blue Ice Experience Vatnajökull National Park
Day 7 Höfn í Hornafirði Village, Vestrahorn Eastfjords
Day 8 Lake Mývatn, Möðrudalur Farm, Dettifoss, Lava Fields Lake Mývatn
Day 9 Húsavik, Asbyrgi Canyon, Dimmuborgir, Skutustadagigar  Lake Mývatn
Day 10 Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Godafoss Waterfall, Akureyri, Hvitserkur Snæfellsnes Peninsula
Day 11 Return to Reykjavík via Kirkjufellsfoss & Cliffside Walk Reykjavík
Day 12 Drive to Keflavík & Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Keflavík, Drive to Reykjavík, Food Walking Tour

Reykjavík Food Walk Tour
Sample elevated Icelandic fare on a food tour of Reykjavík 
Welcome to Iceland, the land of blue glaciers, bubbling hot springs, and mountains that meet the sky. Your journey begins with your arrival at Keflavík airport, where you'll pick up your rental car and travel to the city of Reykjavík. Once you've checked in at your hotel, head out for a gastronomical walking tour of Reykjavík's best cuisine.
Your tour includes everything from well-known "must-visit " restaurants to small family-run businesses and secret neighborhood hangouts. Your guide will take you through the downtown section of the city, exploring local cuisine by stopping at several local restaurants. Learn the stories behind certain foods, how traditional meals are prepared, and the history behind each meal as you try delicious foods like Icelandic lamb, homemade ice cream, seafood, cheese, and even a hot dog from a famous Icelandic hot dog stand! 
Later this evening, you're free to step out into the city on your own. Visit some of Reykjavík's popular landmarks, like the Sun Voyager, a metal sculpture that replicates a Viking ship, or Hallgrimskirkja church, where you can climb the tower that overlooks the whole city. Stop in at a local bar for a beverage or quick bite before resting up for tomorrow.

Day 2: Geldingadalur Valley Volcano Tour

Fagradalsfjall volcano

This morning, your guide will pick you up and transport you to Geldingadalur, home to the active volcano of Fagradalsfjall. You'll take a two-hour hike up to Geldingadalur Valley, traversing the otherworldly landscapes of old lava fields. At the summit of your hike, you'll be able to see clear views of the erupting volcano and rivers of hot lava. Hike around the volcano itself, see the flowing lava from all angles, and explore the newly created lava fields.

Afterward, you'll return to your accommodations in Reykjavík, where you can relax or head into the city center for dinner at a local restaurant. If you're looking for wildlife viewing, there are whale watching tours available from the harbor. You're likely to see humpbacks and orcas, as well as dolphins, porpoises, and various seabirds, with tour guides who provide information and education on the various species of whales and other sea life that call Iceland home.

Day 3: Þingvellir National Park, Friðheimar, Geysir, Gullfoss

Tectonic plates meet in Thingvellir
Tectonic plates meet in Þingvellir
Travel along the South Coast today and visit Þingvellir National Park, one of the most historically significant sites in Iceland. Vikings founded the Icelandic parliament here in 930 AD, and it was made a national park in 1928 and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004. Þingvellir is also a site of incredible geological features, such as the North Atlantic Dorsal Rift. The edges of these tectonic plates are clearly visible within the park.
You can hike through Almannagjá Gorge, which marks the eastern boundary of the North American plate, and visit Öxarárfoss waterfall. The entire area is surrounded by mountain ranges and sits just north of Iceland's largest natural lake, Þingvallavatn. Later, visit the Geysir geothermal area, with its bubbling mud pits and Strokkur geyser which erupts like clockwork every 10 minutes or so, then hike to Gullfoss, one of Iceland's most impressive waterfalls.
Stop for lunch at Friðheimar Farm, a family-owned greenhouse and restaurant where you can have a meal amid the greenhouse tomato plants. This working farm harvests 370 tons (335 mt) of produce each year and maintains nearly 10,000 plants. In the summer months, guests can also see a horse show on the property, and learn about the history of Icelandic horses. This evening, overnight in the South Coast location of your choice. 

Day 4: Fjallabak Nature Reserve, Super Jeep Highlands Tour

Plan your trip to Iceland
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Beautiful waterfalls at Fjallabak Nature Reserve
Explore the beauty of Fjallabak Nature Reserve with a highland Super Jeep tour. Your guide will collect you from your accommodations and you'll hit the road, with your first stop being the massive 46-mile (75 km) volcanic fissure of Eldgjá. The area is easily accessible on foot, with a stunning waterfall that runs through ancient lava formations. After a picnic lunch, your tour continues through Álftavatnskrókur, taking you across mountain plateaus and glacier rivers, and traversing the Mælifellssandur black deserts, with views of the mountain Mælifell in the background.
As you return from the highlands, you'll drive the ancient Öldufellsleið route, a somewhat challenging roadway, but one with the reward of some of Iceland's most breathtaking and otherworldly landscapes. Weather permitting, your guide may stop at a few different photo-worthy landmarks, as well as a couple of little-trafficked, secret spots. This evening, have a relaxing dinner at your accommodations before continuing tomorrow. 

Day 5: Seljalandsfoss & Skogafoss, Black-Sand Beach, Vík, Fjaðrárgljúfur 

Views from behind Seljalandsfoss waterfall

Your tour continues along the South Coast, with several noteworthy stops along the way. Make your first stop at Seljalandsfoss, the only known waterfall of its kind that allows you to walk behind it. The falls aren't far from the parking lot, and while it's not a difficult hike, be aware that the ground is somewhat uneven in places. Behind the falls, you can see cascades of water as it roars in front of you. Next, head to Skógafoss, which is also the beginning of the Fimmvörðuháls Trail. A two-minute walk from the parking lot takes you to the bottom of the falls, or climb the nearby stairs for a wider view. 

Just before the town of Vík, you'll find the beaches of Reynisfjara, a black pebble beach that features a cliff of basalt columns, known as Gardar, and the basalt sea stacks of Reynisfdrangar, a nesting area for local birdlife. Later, head into Vík for a meal and walk around town. While small, Vík is a popular hub for visitors, and you'll find plenty of food options, as well as sights such as Vík í Myrdal Church, a small hilltop church that overlooks the town, and black-sand beaches that are often filled with soaring and nesting birds.
Before you end your day, take a visit to Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon, where you'll find rock formations that will make you think you've landed on another planet. A trail near the parking lot takes you along the canyon ridge, where you'll find views of the river as it curves around the strange rock cliffs. This evening, overnight in Vík or choose other lodgings nearby.

Day 6: Skaftafell, Glacier Hike & Blue Ice Experience

Skaftafell glacier

Much of southeast Iceland is dominated by Vatnajökull, Europe's largest glacier. Nestled between its glacier tongues is the beautiful Skaftafell Nature Reserve, which offers a variety of hiking options including the easy walk to the Skaftafellsjokull glacier tongue and a short hike to the picturesque Svartifoss waterfall. You'll have the opportunity to get up close and personal with the glacier on a guided glacier walk.

Your tour starts in Skaftafell, where you'll meet up with your certified guide and get outfitted with the required equipment. From there, you'll head out to walk an outlet glacier of Skaftafell, a breathtaking giant that extends from  Vatnajökull. Trek across turquoise blue ice fields and see glacial ice sculptures, ridges, and deep crevasses, with stunning views of this wintry landscape all around you. Your guide will share information on the glaciers, how they are formed, and the history behind this stunning frozen landscape. 

Day 7: Höfn í Hornafirði Village, Vestrahorn

Vestrahorn and the surrounding beaches

Spend some time getting to know local Icelandic history and culture in the town of Höfn today. With a population of just over 2,000 people, this fishing village is the largest settlement on Route 1 between the villages of Kirkjubæjarklaustur and Egilsstaðir. Höfn means "harbor," as it is located in one of the few natural harbors of Iceland's South Coast. The town sits right at the tip of its own peninsula and is surrounded on three sides by the ocean.

Like many of Iceland's small, coastal towns, Höfn has a surprising amount of culture. The cuisine is particularly notable, with the celebration of it coming to a head at the annual Lobster Festival, held every July. There are also several museums worth visiting, including the Thorbergur Center, a museum and cultural center dedicated to Icelandic writer Thórbergur Thórdarson, and Listasafn Svavars Guðnasonar, a gallery and museum that promotes both local and national artists. 
Later, visit Vestrahorn, also known as Stokksnes. A 10-minute drive from Höfn, this is an interesting geological site and home to the mountain of Vestrahorn. The shore here features crashing waves, lava dunes, and an outcrop called Brunnhorn that stretches out to sea. It's a popular spot for photographers and tourists, and you might also see a few lazy seals sunning themselves on the beach! 

Day 8: Lake Mývatn, Möðrudalur Farm, Dettifoss, Lava Fields

The church at  Möðrudalur Farm

Continue your Ring Road drive today with a visit to Möðrudalur Farm. Located in what looks like the middle of nowhere, this farm has an altitude of more than 1,500 feet (469 m), a higher elevation than any other farm in the country. There has been a farmstead in this location since the original settlement of Iceland, and ancient farm ruins were discovered just north of here. Walk the nearby trails while enjoying views of Mount Herðubreið, known as the "Queen of Icelandic Mountains," and visit the farm's tiny church, which was built by the farm owner in 1949. 

After you leave the farm, head to Dettifoss, Europe's most powerful waterfall, then make the 15-min hike upstream to the equally impressive Selfoss. You'll also want to stop in at the Leirhnjúkur lava fields, where you can walk around the area and through the lava fields to see where oozing lava cooled and hardened. If you don't want to hike too far out into the lava fields, there is also a wooden path for easy walking. 

Your drive concludes at Lake Mývatn. The lake, which encompasses just over 14 square miles (36.5 sq km), is Iceland's fourth-largest body of water, and it has the highest concentration of volcanic and geothermal sights in the entire country. You can hike to nearby lava fields and volcanic craters, see natural thermal pools or relax in the mineral waters of the Mývatn Nature Baths. Overnight here, or at another accommodation in the area. 

Day 9: Húsavik, Asbyrgi Canyon, Dimmuborgir, Skutustadagigar 

Húsavik harbor
Travel north to the village of Húsavik today, Iceland's whale watching capital. Unlike other regions where you may have to sail far out into the sea to see marine life, Húsavik often has whales, porpoises, and seabirds within minutes of the harbor. Tours depart from the main harbor regularly, and there are more than 23 species of whales in and around the bay. Húsavík also has multiple museums and galleries, and you can grab lunch at a local restaurant. 
After leaving Húsavik, head to Ásbyrgi Canyon, located approximately one hour away. This massive landmark curves into a U-shape, taking up about 2 miles (3 km) from north to south. Stop by the on-site visitor's center for maps and information on the area. You could spend a full day hiking the many trails in the canyon, but if you're short on time, follow the route from the visitor's center that takes you up the side of the canyon. From the top, you can enjoy great views as you continue on a flat path to the furthest point of the canyon.
Before you return to your accommodations for the evening, stop at Dimmuborgir, where you can walk a small loop and see various lava formations, including Kirkja (the Church), a natural lava formation that resembles a vaulted church arch. And if you have time when you return to the Lake Mývatn area, visit Skútustaðir pseudocraters, which were formed when hot lava flowed over the wet marsh area. It's an easy, one-hour walk among many pseudocraters on the shores of the lake, and you can also loop around the smaller lake of Stakhólstjörn.

Day 10: Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Godafoss Waterfall, Akureyri, Hvitserkur

Stunning views of Godafoss Waterfall,

Just a short distance off the Ring Road along the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, you'll find Godafoss, otherwise known as the "Waterfall of the Gods." It's just a couple of minute's hike to the falls, and you can walk down to the water's edge via a small footpath. Legend has it, when a local chieftain decided to convert the country from the old Nordic gods to Christianity, he threw the old gods into the falls to symbolize the new era

Your next stop is Akureyri, North Iceland's second-largest city. Here, you can learn about the history of the area with a visit to the Akureyri Art Museum, or the historic 1940s Church of Akureyri. Stroll through the local botanical garden, or rest and rejuvenate at the Akureyri town pool—an outdoor facility with two large pools, hot tubs, a steam room, and a sauna—all filled with geothermally heated water. 

Later, take a side trip along the Vatnsnes Peninsula to see the monolithic rock formations of Hvitserkur. Rising from the sea like an oceanic monster, this nearly 50-foot (15 m) rock is an incredible sight, and in the summer you'll find many nesting seabirds on and around it. Legend has it that Hvítserkur was once a troll, turned to stone when he was caught in the rays of the sun. 

Day 11: Return to Reykjavík via Kirkjufellsfoss & Cliffside Walk

The Hraunfossar waterfalls

Circle back to Reykjavík today, closing your Ring Road tour with a few final stops. Start at the waterfall of Kirkjufellsfoss, where you'll see Mount Kirkjufell in the background—one of Iceland's most photographed peaks. Then, head to Djupalonsandur's black-sand beach, where you can walk the beach and see debris from an old shipwreck, another amazing photo op! While there, look for a small trail to the right of the cliffs, which takes you to a cove that was once the site of major fishing operations. 

Your next stop will be Arnarstapi, a small fishing village that sits at the foot of Mount Stapafell. Walk the trail that takes you from here to Hellnar, a 1.9-mile (3 km) boardwalk that cuts through the rock formations of Gatklettur and skirts the coast. Have lunch at a nearby café, then continue to the Hraunfossar waterfalls, which flow from the lava fields of Hallmundarhraun, and nearby Barnafoss (Children's Waterfall), whose name comes from a legend about two children who drowned in the falls. Tonight, enjoy your last evening in Reykjavík with a meal at a local restaurant and a walk around the city center. 

Day 12: Drive to Keflavík & Depart

Goodbye to Iceland! 

Sadly, your Iceland tour ends today. You'll drive from Reykjavík to Keflavík airport, where you'll return your car and catch your flight home or to your next destination. Safe travels!

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Map of Untouched Iceland: Ring Road & Off-the-Beaten-Path Adventure - 12 Days
Map of Untouched Iceland: Ring Road & Off-the-Beaten-Path Adventure - 12 Days