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Ultimate Iceland

(26 days / 25 nights)

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Check Iceland off your bucket list this summer

Just as the name says, this is the ultimate road trip around Iceland for your bucket list! Enjoy plenty of time and freedom to explore nearly every corner of the country, including the hidden wonders and off-the-beaten-path areas. Experience a stunning diversity of landscapes and natural phenomena at every turn, and take advantage of the relaxed pace to get into the local culture.

Type

Self-Drive

Interest

Classic, Midnight sun, Slow Paced

Season

15 May - 15 Sep

Departure

Daily

Driving distance

3615/2252 km/mi

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Itinerary

A day-by-day plan to guide your journey.

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  • Day 1:  Welcome to Reykjavík

    On arrival to Keflavik Airport, you will be greeted by a driver who will take you to your accommodation in Reykjavík. After settling in, the rest of the day is free for you to explore the vibrant city centre and its many museums, restaurants and bars for all tastes. If you're interested in checking out Icelandic design or experiencing the city's thriving coffee culture, head to the main street, Laugavegur, to enjoy its various shops and cosy cafes.

    Spend the night in Reykjavik.

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  • Day 2:  The Golden Circle

    Collect your rental car in the morning and begin your journey on the classic “Golden Circle” route, home to some of Iceland’s most popular attractions. Start with a visit to the fascinating Þingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here, you can walk on a path in the rift valley between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. Next on the route is the Haukadalur geothermal area, where you can see Geysir—the original “geyser”—and its more active neighbour, Strokkur, which spouts water every few minutes. End the circle with visits to the majestic Gullfoss waterfall and the old implosion crater of Kerið.

    Spend the next two nights in the Selfoss area.

    Driving distance approx. 210 km / 130 mi.

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  • Day 3:  Scenic South Iceland

    Enjoy the day in the Selfoss area, where you may wish to do some optional activities including horse riding, hiking up to a natural geothermal stream at Hengill mountain, rafting on Hvítá glacier river or snorkelling between the continents at Þingvellir national park. Other good options include visiting the charming coastal villages of Stokkseyri and Eyrarbakki or—for those driving a 4x4 vehicle—a day trip to Landmannalaugar in the highlands.

    Spend the night in the Selfoss area. 

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  • Day 4:  Black Sand Beaches of the South Coast

    Start with visits to the picture-perfect Seljalandsfoss waterfall, where you can experience walking right behind the misty cascade, and the equally gorgeous Skógafoss waterfall just a short drive down the road. Further ahead at Vík, you can make a stop at the black volcanic beach south of the village to view the rock formations Dyrhólaey and Reynisdrangar. The last stop of the day is to the stunning Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon. You also have a chance today to join an exciting guided excursion by foot or snowmobile on a glacier.

    Spend the night in the Kirkjubæjarklaustur area.

    Driving distance approx. 200 km / 124 mi.

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  • Day 5:  Skaftafell and Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon

    Enjoy Skaftafell, a place of great natural beauty with many interesting hiking trails, including an easy/moderate path to the beautiful Svartifoss waterfall (4 km / 2 miles roundtrip). This area is also full of opportunities for more adventurous pursuits, such as guided glacier-walking or ice-climbing excursions. Then, head to the amazing Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, where you can join a boat ride among the maze of floating icebergs (optional).

    Spend the next two nights in the Höfn/Vatnajökull area.

    Driving distance approx. 200 km / 124 mi.

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  • Day 6:  Vatnajökull National Park and Höfn

    Enjoy the many sights and activities today at the foot of Europe’s largest glacier, Vatnajökull. First visit the glacier museum in Höfn, then enjoy some fresh air on a hike to the edge of the glacier or with a stroll along the black sandy coast. As the town of Höfn is well known in Iceland for its delicious fresh lobster, we recommend ending the day with a seafood dinner at one of the town’s restaurants.

    Spend the night in the Höfn/Vatnajökull area.

    Driving distance approx. 150 km / 93 mi.

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  • Day 7:  Unique Discoveries in the East Fjords

    Today’s drive in East Iceland takes you along tranquil fishing villages, spectacular fjords and sweeping landscapes. Anyone who enjoys offbeat attractions – particularly geology buffs or garden enthusiasts – may want to visit Petra’s Mineral Collection in Stöðvarfjörður, a small museum of found natural objects and mineral rocks started as a personal hobby by a local resident. End the day in the area of Egilsstaðir, where you will find the monster habitat Lagarfljót and Hallormsstaðaskógur forest, the largest wooded area in Iceland.

    Spend the next two nights in the Egilsstaðir/Seyðisfjörður area.

    Driving distance approx. 240 km / 150 mi.

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  • Day 8:  Seyðisfjörður and Borgarfjörður Eystri

    Drive to Seyðisfjörður, one of the most enchanting villages in Iceland with its well-preserved wooden houses, steep mountains and picture-perfect fjord scenery. Then head to Bakkagerði, one of Iceland’s most isolated and smallest villages. But what it lacks in humans, it makes up for with other “residents” – it is rumoured to have the largest colonies of elves and fairies in the country as well as a thriving bird population. It’s a great place for hiking! Other attractions in the area include the Hengifoss waterfall, one of Iceland’s largest at 118 metres high.

    Spend the night in the Egilsstaðir/Seyðisfjörður area.

    Driving distance approx. 150 km / 93 mi.

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  • Day 9:  Lunar Landscapes of Lake Mývatn

    Today’s drive brings you to the otherworldly Lake Mývatn area, a hotbed of volcanic landscapes such as the Námaskarð Pass, the Skútustaðagígar pseudo-craters, the Dimmuborgir lava formations and Mt. Krafla, one of Iceland’s most interesting volcanoes. Later on, take a dip in the soothing geothermal waters of the Mývatn Nature Baths, the perfect way to relax after a full day of sightseeing.

    Spend the next three nights in the Lake Mývatn/Húsavík area.

    Driving distance approx. 170 km / 105 mi.

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  • Day 10:  Whale Watching in North Iceland

    Use this day to further explore the surroundings of Lake Mývatn with its many interesting hiking trails and unusual geological features. You can also join an optional whale watching tour in Húsavík, the “Whale Watching Capital of Europe”.

    Spend the night in the Lake Mývatn/Húsavík area.

    Driving distance approx. 120 km / 74 mi.

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  • Day 11:  Jökulsárgljúfur National Park

    Start the day with a scenic drive through Jökulsárgljúfur National Park (part of the massive Vatnajökull National Park system), visiting such fascinating sights as the mythical Ásbyrgi canyon, the Hljóðarklettar (“rock of echoes”) area, and Dettifoss, the most powerful waterfall in Europe. This park also offers ideal hiking conditions with its stunning lava landscapes, woodlands and glacial river.

    Spend the night in the Lake Mývatn/Húsavík area.

    Driving distance approx. 250 km / 155 mi.

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  • Day 12:  Explore North Iceland

    Spend the first half of the day around Lake Mývatn. We recommend a visit to Goðafoss (“waterfall of the gods”) on your way to the charming town of Akureyri, where you will find many interesting shops and museums as well as the world's most northerly botanical garden.

    After your break in Akureyri, you can either head straight to Skagafjörður or take a detour on the way there to Tröllaskagi (“The Peninsula of the Trolls”), where you can enjoy fantastic scenery of beautiful mountains, cliffs and fjords. Then continue through Siglufjörður, which was once the centre of Iceland’s herring fleet, and stop at Hofsós to relax in the thermal pool (optional) before arriving to Skagafjörður, an area known for its abundance of purebred Icelandic horses.

    Spend the night in the Northwest Iceland area.

    Driving distance approx. 280 km / 173 mi.  

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  • Day 13:  Wonderful West Fjords

    Today marks the beginning of your journey around the beautiful West Fjords, one of the most remote, unspoiled regions in Iceland. First visit the enchanting town of Hólmavík, famous for its witchcraft museum and supernatural heritage. Next continue along the scenic Strandir coast to Drangsnes, a tiny fishing village and haven for bird-lovers, then to Laugarhóll, a small hamlet popular for its naturally-heated hot pots. End the day in the peaceful village of Djúpavík.

    Spend the next two nights in the Drangsnes/Djúpavík area.

    Driving distance approx. 270 km / 167 mi.

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  • Day 14:  Nature Lover’s Paradise in Strandir

    You have the whole day to enjoy the Strandir area of the West Fjords, where the pristine natural environment is largely untouched by modern development. Take your time as you travel along the coastline between Djúpavík and Norðurfjörður, the point where the road actually ends, to experience the tranquil surroundings and soak up the unique history this region has to offer. This area also offers a great diversity of birdlife and a chance to bathe in some nice hot pools on a scenic shoreline.

    Spend the next night in the Drangsnes/Djúpavík area

    Driving distance approx. 200 km / 124 mi.

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  • Day 15:  Day to Explore in the Great Outdoors

    Drive from the Strandir area over the rugged Steingrímsfjarðarheiði route on your way west to Heydalur in the narrow fjord of Mjóifjörður. In Heydalur, you will have plenty of options to enjoy the great outdoors, including horse ridings, hiking with a local guide, fishing in fresh mountain lakes or relaxing in a hot pool in a truly unique natural setting.

    Spend the night in the Mjóifjörður area.

    Driving distance approx. 130 km / 80 mi.

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  • Day 16:  Ísafjörður – Capital of the West Fjords

    Today’s journey is characterized by endless but dramatic fjords and towering mountains. In Ísafjörður, the biggest settlement in the region, you‘ll find some of the most historic houses in Iceland, dating back to the mid-18th century. In the afternoon, we suggest a drive to Bolungarvík for a visit to the Ósvör Maritime Museum and a visit to the radar station on top of Bolafjall where, on a clear day, you can have amazing views over the uninhabited Hornstrandir Nature Reserve.

    Spend the next two nights in the Ísafjörður area.

    Driving distance approx. 100 km / 62 mi.

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  • Day 17:  Vigur - Harmony with Nature

    Today you will join a guided boat tour from Ísafjördur to the small, charming island of Vigur, where you can see an abundance of birds in their natural environment such as eider ducks, arctic terns, puffins, black guillemot, and more (when in season). The only windmill in Iceland is also located on this island. During the tour, enjoy light refreshments at a local farmer’s mid-19th century house and a unique dining experience later at Tjöruhúsið restaurant, serving fresh fish from the local harbour.

    Spend the night in the Ísafjörður area.

  • Day 18:  Waterfalls and Viking Sagas

    Leaving the Ísafjörður area today, highlights include the village of Flateyri and Dýrafjörður, where you will find the trail of the Viking Saga Gisli Súrsson and “Skrúður”, the oldest botanical garden in Iceland and one of the northernmost in the world. Continuing onwards to Hrafnseyri, you can visit a museum dedicated to Jón Sigurðsson, hero of Iceland’s battle for independence. Next, stop at the impressive Dynjandi waterfall situated in the Arnarfjörður fjord before heading to the charming fishing village of Bíludalur.

    Spend the night in the Bíldudalur area.

    Driving distance approx. 205 km / 127 mi.

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  • Day 19:  Europe's Westernmost Point

    Start the day by visiting the remote outpost of Selárdalur to view the offbeat, colourful sculptures and buildings created by the naiveté artist Samúel Jónsson. Next visit the small village of Tálknafjörður before stopping to see the ghost ship in Patreksfjörður. Your final sightseeing opportunity of the day is at the spectacular 14 km-long, 444 metre-high cliff of Látrabjarg, the westernmost point of Europe.

    Spend the next two nights in the Patreksfjörður area.

    Driving distance approx. 200 km / 124 mi.

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  • Day 20:  Látrabjarg Cliffs and Rauðisandur Beach

    This is a great day for hiking, bird watching and photography as you have plenty of time for exploring more of Iceland’s westernmost reaches. Take a walk out on the cliffs at Látrabjarg, where you might may be able to get a good look at some of the nesting birds such as puffins and razorbills (when in season). Then drive to the sand mounds of Sauðlauksdalur, the “home of the Icelandic potato”, and to Rauðisandur to view the breath-taking sand beach.

    Spend the night in the Patreksfjörður area.

    Driving distance approx. 150 km / 93 mi.

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  • Day 21:  Simple Island Life on Flatey

    Drive from Látrabjarg to Brjánslækur to catch the Baldur ferry that sails through the Breiðafjörður fjord to Flatey, a tranquil island with its well-preserved wooden houses, amazing birdlife and pristine natural beauty. Cars are not allowed on this small island so the ferry will transport your car to the port at Stykkishólmur where you will pick it up the next day. Note that in the case that the hotel in Flatey Island is fully booked the accommodation will be moved to Snæfellsnes peninsula.

    Spend the night on Flatey Island (note: only rooms with shared WC are available here).

    Driving distance approx. 60 km / 37 mi. 

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  • Day 22:  Mountains of Snæfellsnes Peninsula

    Spend the morning in Flatey and then board the ferry to Stykkishólmur on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. Take a little time to explore this charming port town with its lovely harbour and ocean view.  From there you can drive to Helgafell, where legend has it that you will be granted one wish if you walk up the mountain. And make sure not to miss the beautiful mountain of Kirkjufell in Grundarfjörður.

    Spend the next two nights on Snæfellsnes Peninsula.

    Driving distance approx. 100 km / 62 mi. 

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  • Day 23:  Snæfellsjökull National Park

    Explore the magical Snæfellsjökull National Park with its amazing birdlife, lush valleys, rugged lava fields and towering glacier-capped volcano. Driving along the coast of this scenic peninsula you can stop to visit such sights as Dritvík Cove, the Lóndrangar Cliffs, Hellnar, the Arnarstapi Cliffs and small fishing villages on the coast.

    You may also wish to test your strength at Djúpalónssandur, a black volcanic beach with “lifting stones” that sailors in old days used to determine their roles on the fishing boats. A variety of optional activities are also available such as horse riding, hiking, or whale watching.

    Spend the night on Snæfellsnes Peninsula.

    Driving distance approx. 190 km / 118 mi.

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  • Day 24:  Settlement History in West Iceland

    Today is all about exploring western Iceland’s diverse attractions such as the Icelandic Settlement Centre exhibition in Borgarnes, the seething hot springs at Deildartunguhver and the beautiful Hraunfossar and Barnafoss lava-waterfalls. If you’re interested in the Icelandic Sagas, you can also visit Snorrastofa, the medieval research institute at Reykholt. On your way back to Reykjavik another interesting sight is Fossatún, where legend has it that a troll-woman overlooks the waterfall.

    Spend the next two nights in Reykjavik. 

    Driving distance approx. 270 km / 167 mi.

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  • Day 25:  Reykjavik and the Blue Lagoon

    The entire day is free for enjoying the capital area as you wish. Spend some time sightseeing or visiting some of the museums in Reykjavik, or explore the volcanic terrain of the nearby Reykjanes peninsula, where you will find the famous Blue Lagoon*, a geothermal spa surrounded by a moonlike lava field. Other worthwhile attractions on this peninsula include the cliffs at Krýsuvík and the steaming geothermal field around Kleifarvatn.

    Spend the night in Reykjavik.

    *Reservations are required for the Blue Lagoon. Contact your travel consultant for details.

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  • Day 26: Departure

    If your flight is in the afternoon, use the morning to relax or enjoy one last stroll through the city centre. Transfer by shuttle bus to Keflavík Airport in time for your departure flight. 

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Map

Here’s a map of Iceland, to help put things in perspective.

Reviews

We don’t like to brag, so we’ll let our happy customers do it for us.

Jo Ann, United States

Iceland Grand Tour, August 2014

Thoroughly enjoyed our travels

...Although we had to cut our trip short, we thoroughly enjoyed our travels and we immersed ourselves in the many natural beauties of Iceland. We have already praised your company and the services you provide and we will continue to promote Nordic Visitor as we share photos and travel stories with friends. THANK YOU ALL!

Stephani, United States

, May 2014

Nordic Visitor will help you plan a trip of a lifetime

Nordic Visitor put together the exact trip I hoped to take. I explained what I was looking for, what I wanted to see and do, and the general area I wanted to explore, and they came up with an itinerary that exceeded my expectations. They made everything seamless too. Once we were in Iceland, we didn't have to worry about a thing - it was all taken care of by Nordic Visitor. We stayed in excellent hotels and visited attractions we may have otherwise missed had they not suggested them. All of my correspondence with them was timely, professional and friendly. We made a few last minute changes (we upgraded our rental car, etc.), and they handled it without issue. I would definitely use them again - for Iceland or any other of the destinations they cover. 
 
I had been to Iceland before and used a different company, and everything with that other company was much more difficult.

Accommodation

Sleep soundly, in the accommodation type of your choice, and wake up ready to enjoy another day of exploration.

Budget

Rooms with shared WC and shower (or bath) in farmhouses, guesthouses or well-appointed hostels. All provide breakfast (i..

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Comfort

Rooms with private WC and shower (or bath) in a three-star hotel or well-appointed guesthouse. All provide breakfast (in..

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Quality

Rooms with private WC and shower (or bath) in a three- or four-star hotel or the best accommodation available in the are..

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Rental car

Enjoy the journey, with authorization for two drivers and free GPS in the rental car of your choice.

Ford Fiesta
or similar

  • x5
  • x5
  • x2
  • M

Ford Fiesta
or similar

  • Type: A
  • Description: Economy sub-compact hatchback
  • Passengers: 5
  • Luggage: 2
  • Doors: 5
  • Transmission: Manual*
  • *upgrade to automatic available upon request

Ford Focus
or similar

  • x5
  • x5
  • x3
  • M

Ford Focus
or similar

  • Type: B
  • Description: Compact hatchback
  • Passengers: 5
  • Luggage: 3
  • Doors: 5
  • Transmission: Manual*
  • *upgrade to automatic available upon request

Ford Focus Wagon
or similar

  • x5
  • x5
  • x4
  • M

Ford Focus Wagon
or similar

  • Type: C
  • Description: Compact wagon
  • Passengers: 5
  • Luggage: 4
  • Doors: 5
  • Transmission: Manual*
  • *upgrade to automatic available upon request