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Day 1 International outbound flight
Today you begin your journey by boarding your international outbound flight to Keflavík. Arriving at Keflavík airport, collect your rental car and make own your way to Reykjavík, which is around an hour’s drive away. All insurances have been included for you, and a GPS navigation system can be added locally. To navigate Iceland’s more remote rugged landscape, we’ve booked a 4x4 for you. If you have time, we recommend exploring the craggy landscape of the Reykjanes Peninsula en route; we’ll provide some suggestions of what to see on your self-guided tour.
Day 2 Hella
Venture out of Reykjavík and spend the day exploring the highlights of the Golden Circle on your self-drive tour. Don’t miss the diverging tectonic plates at Þingvellir National Park, erupting geysers at Geysir Geothermal Area, and the thundering Gullfoss waterfall. End your day soaking in the geothermally heated waters of the Secret Lagoon surrounded by dramatic Icelandic landscapes.
Day 3 Vik
Make your way to the south coast, home of some of Iceland’s most renowned waterfalls and volcanoes. Before you travel, we’ll offer some recommendations on where to go on your self-drive tour. This afternoon, join a small-group tour to a naturally formed ice cave on Kötlujökull glacier and wander through its frozen formations.
Day 4 Hof
Continue your drive east and venture through the barren landscape around Kirkjubæjarklaustur. You’ll drive past the Eldhraun lava field – one of the biggest in the world – and close to Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon, before arriving at your hotel, close to Vatnajökull National Park and its immense ice cap.
Day 5 Hof
Your focus today is Vatnajökull National Park and southeast Iceland. Watch bergy bits calve off the Vatnajökull ice cap and drift serenely along Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon on a guided Zodiac boat tour, and wander through huge chunks of ice that have washed up on nearby Diamond Beach. We also recommend stopping by the tourist office at Skaftafell and hiking to see the towering basalt columns at Svatifoss waterfall.
Day 6 Egilsstaoir
Begin your morning by joining a small-group, guided tour to the Ingólfshöfði promontory which is known for its thriving population of puffins who come here to nest in the towering cliffs each summer. On a clear day, expect glorious sea views and the spectacle of the vast Vatnajökull ice cap looming to the north. From here, continue your drive east through the scenic inlets and bays of the Eastfjords. Here you’ll find some of the best driving in Iceland and you can be assured of impressive views at every turn.
Day 7 Egilsstaoir
Spend a full day at leisure in the Eastfjords. You might like to visit one of Iceland’s tallest waterfalls, Hengifoss, visit the Hafnarhólmi puffin colony and search for elves near Borgafjörður Eystri, or hike the array of trails that cross the fjordland scenery.
Day 8 Lake Myvatn
Your self-drive tour takes you north away from the coast and through the barren volcanic scenery to Lake Mývatn. As you travel, you’ll see a landscape dotted with craters, bubbling mud pools and steaming fumaroles rising from the ground. Spend the afternoon exploring the lake, observing its thriving birdlife, sulphurous geothermal areas and perhaps hiking its network of trails. End the day soaking in the geothermally heated waters of Mývatn Nature Baths overlooking vast Lake Mývatn and its pseudocraters below.
Day 9 Akureyri
Embark on a self-guided tour of the so-called Diamond Circle: a network of key attractions in north Iceland. Your first stop is thundering Dettifoss – Europe’s largest waterfall by volume – before reaching the gaping Ásbyrgi canyon. From here, your drive takes you to Húsavík: Iceland’s self-proclaimed whale-watching capital. Here, you’ll join a small-group boat tour into Skjálfandi Bay and observe humpback whales feeding in the Arctic waters. From here, drive to Iceland’s second city, Akureryi, stopping en route to admire Goðafoss waterfall and its Niagara-esque veil of water that plunges into the Skjálfandafljót River.
Day 10 Varmahlio
Continue your drive west through the rolling countryside of north Iceland. This region is well known in Iceland for its horse farms and this afternoon you’ll join a small-group tour on horseback. The hardy Icelandic horse is known for its five gaits and, if you wish, you’ll have the opportunity to try the tölt, a unique rapid ambling gait, on your tour. Nearby, we can also recommend visiting the Glaumbær Museum to see its preserved turf houses and learn more about Icelandic life in the past.
Day 11 Stykkisholmur
Today you will reach the Snæfellsnes Peninsula on your self-drive tour. Tonight, stay in the quaint fishing village of Stykkishólmur, which lies on the shoreline of Breiðafjörður Bay. Watch boats come and go from the marina and enjoy a fresh seafood dinner by the waterfront.
Day 12 Stykkisholmur
Spend the day driving around the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, which is often described as ‘Iceland in miniature. It’s a great round-up of the last two weeks, as you drive through mossy lava fields and fjord-like scenery, past black sand beaches, and around the imposing Snæfellsjökull ice cap, which dominates the Snæfellsnes landscape.
Day 13 International return flight
As you make your own way back towards Keflavík, detour along scenic Hvalfjörður fjord in west Iceland. Hvalfjörður, meaning ‘whale fjord’ in English, is often bypassed by drivers heading towards Reykjavík, but it offers some of the best scenic driving in Iceland. From, here, you’ll continue to Keflavík airport, where you’ll drop off your car before your flight. Your return flight will arrive the same day.
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