Iceland One Week Ring Road Trip

  A couple visited Iceland in September 2017

“Hi! My boyfriend, Jacob, and I are planning a Ring Road trip around Iceland towards the end of summer. We have about 10 days total for this trip (including travel to and from the US) but we would like to see as much of the Ring Road as possible in a 7 day road trip (and hopefully have a day or two to explore Reykjavik at the beginning and end, as well).

I would like to start in Reykjavik and head South first before completing the full circle. So far this is what my itinerary looks like:
Day 1- Arrive in Reykjavik early morning; explore the city, gather supplies for road trip and stay the night
Day 2- Golden Circle- haven't decided if we prefer to do a guided tour yet, but we're interested in snorkling at the national park and/or glacier snowmobiling
Day 3- Southern Iceland- Vik beaches, Skogafoss, Seljalandsfoss, Solheimansandor beach (really want to see the airplane crash site)
Day 4- Skaftafell / Jokulsarlon (perhaps split into two days?)
Days 5-10- This is where I need guidance/suggestions to help complete the rest of the circle in the Eastern/Northern/Western areas

I also need guidance on places to stay. We're considering going the camper van route and staying at campsites for some nights, but do not want to do this the entire road trip. Also open for any activity/tour suggestions, as well.
-Christine & Jacob”

Chris McCarty, a local specialist from Iceland, helped this traveler put together a customized itinerary.

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Trip planning highlights

89 messages exchanged
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Travelers completed their trip!

Ring Road, including Snaefellsnes Peninsula

Day 1: Arrival and Downtown Reykjavik
Day 2: North to Snaefellsnes Peninsula
Day 3: Scenic Drive to Akureyri
Day 4: The North: Godafoss and Lake Myvatn
Day 5: Geological Wonders of Lake Myvatn
Day 6: Scenic Eastern Fjords
Day 7: Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, Diamond Beach, Skaftafell
Day 8: Waterfalls, Black Sand Beaches, and start of Golden Circle
Day 9: Golden Circle and back to Reykjavik / KEF
Day 10: Departure

Summary of the trip planning conversation

Below are some useful excerpts from the trip planning conversation
It looks like you have done a good amount of research so far, I can definitely help fill in the gaps as well as make reservations for you for the nights where you prefer not to camp, and arrange for other tours/activities you may want to do.

July/August is definitely peak season, so the south will be the most crowded at that time. Mid to late August (even early september) should be better if you are flexible, and the days will still be quite long that time of year. If you want to go with a mixture of the the camper van / guesthouses, then I think camping along the south makes the most sense, since the availability is very limited there for this time of year.

Here is an idea for an 8-day itinerary (it's going in the opposite direction, but you can do it CCW, it's just to show you some more things to do in the East Fjords, Myvatn area, and the Snaefellsnes Peninsula). With 5 days, you could spend about 1 exploring the east fjords, 2 around Myvatn, Husavik, and Akureyri, and then about 2 more along the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. Here is some more information on those 3 areas.

The Northern Lights season doesn't really start until late September / early October, so you most likely won't see anything even in late August. That said, the days are very long which means more daylight for exploring and hiking.

Christine A:
We're interested in all of those activities, but just to note, we're not very advanced hikers and I'm currently recovering from a knee injury so would be helpful to know how advanced some of these volcano/waterfall hikes are before we plan to do them

Ok I can list distances and difficulty levels for some of the hikes. For the accommodations yes I can send prices first. I can also make the reservations with free cancellations and make changes if you like.

If you plan to travel from Aug 17-27 you will have more time than I originally planned for. In that case I would recommend the Ring Road, and I will look into some options for you for hotels around there.

If you prefer to spend more time around Lake Myvatn than the East Fjords, I can make the following changes: 
- Add additional night around Lake Myvatn 
- Push the night in Seydisfjordur back 1 day 
- Remove the night in Djupivogur 
- Move the night from around Skaftafell area closer to Hofn so that the driving is a bit more even each of the days.

Christine A:
This looks great, thanks for putting this together. We have a few changes we'd like to make though. Although we technically have 11 days for this trip, we'd like to leave early Sunday morning, so doing the golden circle on the last day before the flight out would not be feasible. We'd like to condense the trip by one day so we end up back in Golden Circle/Reykjavik on Saturday and spend one last night in the city. We'd also like to spend more time around the southern part of Iceland- i.e. Skaftafell, Jokulsarlon, etc.

Let me know if you think these changes would be possible, and once we finalized the days we will let you know our preferences on accommodations.

I made your requested changes. There are a few areas in particular (like Hofn) where availability is very limited, so it would be best to start reserving some of those options quite soon if they look alright to you!

Christine A:
Thanks for accommodating, this looks great!
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