Every now and then you’ve got to take a good road trip, do yourself a favor and spend it on Iceland’s Ring Road. Ring Road or Route 1 is a road around the entire country. The total driving distance is 18 hours or 800 miles but you’ll be stopping often to see the amazing sites on the way.
Day 1: Right to the Road
One of Iceland’s greatest qualities is being so free and open. Tourists take advantage of this by sleeping wherever they please with camper vans. Camper vans are vans you can rent with the back seats removed and a bed and other ammonites in its place think of it as a metal tent on wheels! There are rental camper vans vendors all over KEF and Reykjavik.
- After touchdown in KEF go to one of the nearby car rental vendors and pick up a camper van
- Now that you have your car, let the decompression and vacation mode begin! Drive over to the famous Blue Lagoon and take a lot of time to relax in the hot springs before driving down to Vik
- View the Selijalandsfoss & neighboring Gljufrabui Waterfalls and bask in their glory
- Park on the side of the road and walk the paved path to the Solheimasandur plane crash. The walk is about 2 miles long each way, but totally worth it. The crash is a 1973 United States Navy DC plane that ran out of fuel and landed on Solheimasandur; everybody on the plane survived
- Spend the night in southern town of Vik
Day 2: The most South you’ll Go
Now that you’ve driven to the most southern town in Iceland, it’s all up from here; but the sites continue to be stunning.
- 8:00 – 9:00: Wake up to catch the sunrise in the famous Black Sand Reynisfjara Beach, which is a 15 minutes drive from the town of Vik. At the beach enjoy the staircase like Reynisdrangar rocks and Halsanefshellir cave. If you visit in the summer months, you’ll be sharing the beach with the puffins
- 9:00 – 12:00: There are many adventure tours that depart from Vik such as ATVing, caving, glacier walking, volcano hikes, and more. It is advised to find one that interests you and fill in up in this time frame
- 12:45: – 13:30: There are a few stops to break up this next car trip before arriving at Svartifoss. First, stop at the town of Kirkjubaejarklaustur to stretch your legs and grab a meal
- 13:50 – 14:30: Take another quick break at the grass huts of Kalfafell
- 15:00 – EOD: Get ready for some grade-A Iceland hiking in the Vatnajokull National Park. Hike the Svartifoss trail to see the incredible Svartifoss waterfall which is surrounded by dark lava column
Day3: Landscapes change
From rock and mountain to ice and sea, the east coast has a much different feeling than the west. On day 3 the action keeps coming with what will be the busiest day of the trip.
- 9:00 – 11:00: Arrive at the tranquil Jokulsarlon Iceberg Lagoon better known as Iceland’s diamond beach
- 12:00 – 13:30: Split the trip up by relaxing over a nice meal in the fishing village of Hofn. Hofn is a great place to try some Icelandic fish delicacies such a Hakarl and Harofiskur
- 13:50 – 15:00: You can’t go to Iceland without soaking in the hot springs! Relax in the Hoffell hot tubs while overlooking the surrounding mountain ranges
- 15:10 – 16:00: See the Hoffellsjokull glacier outlet which flows from the icecap of Vatnajokull. You’ll be able to hike here from the road, but if you’re unsure of where exactly to go the locals of Hofn will be able to assist with directions
- 16:50 – 18:00: Although you have your camper van, it may be nice to sleep in a hotel for a night. The Silfurberg farm and hotel is a cozy place for a nights sleep as well as a delicious meal
- 18:00 – EOD: If you have decided not to sleep in the Silfurberg farm and hotel, the town of Egilsstadir is not too far away. At this town, you can hunker down in your campervan and enjoy the sites the town has to offer such as the Hengifoss waterfall, Laugargell hot springs, and buffets at Skriduklaustur
Day 4: A Drive with a View
There’s lot’s to do and see in Northern Ireland. On Day 4 you’ll see more changing landscapes, have the opportunities to walk on fire in the Krafla lava fields and see Iceland’s second biggest city Akureyi.
- 9:30 – 10:00: Whether you stayed in the Silfurberg farm or the town of Egilsstadir, be sure to fuel up with a tasty breakfast, because today there is a decent amount of driving; After eating drive over to the town of Myvatn
- 12:10 – 14:00: In what may be one of the coolest and most ‘middle earthy’ landscape you’ll see, spend some time in the town of Myvatn, where there are pools of natural hot springs and unearthly rock structures to climb on
- 14:25 – 16:00: Not too far from Myvatn are the lava fields of Krafla. These lava fields draw in
- If your car can endure it and you make some extra time, over to Myvatn to visit the Lake Viti. Lake Viti is an amazing place to be and a more amazing place to swim, dive into the creator sized hot spring. A Parking lot to Lake Viti is right next to the crater rim
- 17:30 – EOD: Hang around the beautiful city of Akureyi and enjoy the booming nightlife. In Akureyi you may rent a place to sleep in an Airb&b, hostel, or hotel, or sleep in your campervan
Day5: Soggy North
You can’t stop now! Keep in on driving stopping on the roads wherever you desired! Stop on the roads to climb on the mountains, take pictures, and of course play with the horses!
- 10:30 – 13:00: Spend some more time in Akureyi and enjoy the sites in the day time
- 15:30 – 16:30: Driving northbound, you’ll find seals, shipwrecks, and the Hvitserkur rock formation in the Vatnsnes peninsula
- 17:10 – EOD: Hunker down in the small town of Hvammstangi. Even though it may seem remote, there’s a great chance there are many tourists driving Ring Road like you can socialize with
Day 6: Last Leg
On the final leg of your Ring Road journey, you’ll see some more amazing sites of the wild while settling in and spending the next three nights in Reykjavik
- 9:00 – 9:30: Wake up and eat breakfast
- 10:00 – 11:00: Chanel your inner hobbit in around the grass huts and grasslands of Stadur
- 13:00 – 18:00: Stretch your legs and get out of the car for the Glymur hike. At the end of this hike you’ll arrive at the Glymur waterfall, which is the highest waterfall in Iceland
- 20:00 – EOD: Get to Reykjavik and enjoy the city, followed by a much deserved deep sleep
Day7 – Golden Circle Day
Another busy day, but well worth it! In Thingviller national park just outside Reykjavik pursue the Golden Circle road to see the famous sites of the park.
- 9:30 – 10:30: Wake up and gather energy for a long day with a filling breakfast
- 10:30: Leave Reykjavik and head out to Thingvellir national park where the Golden Circle is located.
- 11:00 – EOD: The destinations below are ordered in based on driving efficiency
- 11:00 – 11:45: Flosagja Fissure/entrance of Thingvellir
- 12:00 – 15:00: Snorkeling in Silfra
- 15:05 – 15:40: Oxararfoss Waterfall
- 15:45 – 17:00: Geysir, for a quick bite, there are a few restaurants in this area
- 17:15 – 18:00: Gullfoss Waterfall
- 18:10 – 19:00: Faxi Waterfall
- 19:20 – 22:00: Go night swimming in the secret Lagoon/Gamia Laugin hot spring
- 22:00 – EOD: Drive back to Reykjavik
Day 8: Reykjavik Day
After driving all around Iceland, settle into the famous capital of Reykjavik. There are lots of tourists and fun shops all over the city. While in they city there are certain things you must do… like, try the famous Icelandic hotdogs!
- It’s all on you! Manage your time to see the famous Reykjavik sites. Some of the notable sites within the city are Hallgrimskikja, Harpa music hall, the Phallus Museum, Sun Voyager, and the National Museum of Iceland
Day 9: Departure
Return to KEF and give one last wave to the blue lagoon as you fly out on your most likely pink WOW airplane.
- On your way to the airport, you may visit the Viking World Viking Museum only 10 minutes away from the KEF airport
Estimated Cost $1,200