Northern and Western Iceland
This is the trip for those who want to explore the magical western and northern parts of Iceland by car. For 8 days you travel between the wonders that this part of the island has to offer. On the way you drive through the Snæfellsnes peninsula with its mighty glacier, the Myvatn area with its bubbling crannies, waterfalls, volcanoes, prickly greenery, and much more.
Departures 2020: 15 May - 15 September; daily.
Direct flights from Belfast (BHD), Bristol (BRS), Edinburgh (EDI), London Gatwick (LGW), London Heathrow (LHR), London Luton (LTN), Glasgow (GLA) and Manchester (MAN). Connecting flights from other airports in the UK also available.
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Arrive in Iceland
Welcome to Iceland! After a 3 hour long flight, you and your group land at Keflavík Airport. There you pick up the rental car, and drive through Iceland's sparse and rocky landscape to Reykjavík, which you will explore for the rest of the day or evening. This evening, sleep and rest well in the capital before your road trip tomorrow.
Explore natural wonders on the Snæfellsnes-peninsula
Today you drive from Reykjavík to Stykkishólmur. Drive north towards Borgarfjörður through the western western region of Iceland, which despite its proximity to Reykjavík feels almost like another world. Here you will find a microcosm of what the country has to offer. The area also has an exciting cultural and historical heritage.
When you arrive at Hvalfjörður you have two options: the tunnel under the fjord, or the road around the fjord. We recommend the latter option, which takes 45 minutes longer, but offers beautiful views as compensation. Follow the road to Borgarnes.
Borgarnes has a rich and vibrant history. Here you can experience the small-town vibes, or maybe visit one of Iceland's best museums, before driving on to the Snæfellsnes peninsula. Snæfellsnes is a true natural wonder with glittering fjords, volcanoes, golden beaches and lava fields - and in the midst of it all, a majestic glacier rises above. Explore the southern coast of the peninsula until you reach Búdir with its beautiful wooden church surrounded by a lava field. Further out on the peninsula you will find Arnastapi, a fishing village with a unique natural harbor where you can see basalt columns of all sizes and shapes.
At the far end of the southern part of the peninsula we recommend that you make a stop in Djúpalónssandur, an old fishing station overlooking a black sandy beach. Continue around the island and if you have time, we recommend a stop in Bjarnarhöfn where you can learn about shark fishing and also taste the catch. Then drive to your accommodation for the night, located in the charming city of Stykkishólmur.
Today you drive from Stykkishólmur to Akureyri. On the trip north we recommend a stop at the Eiriksstaðir museum which is on the way to Búðardalur. The museum is (probably) the place where Leifur Eriksson was born, who was (probably) the first European to set foot in America. If you want safer cards to play with, we suggest that you drive on to Skagafjörður which is an area known for horse breeding and adrenaline-pumping activities.
Then drive towards the village of Varmahlíð. Just outside the village, you can make a stop at Vídimýri, a small traditional square church. Another stop on the road to Akureyri is one of Iceland's best preserved peat farms: Glaumbaer museum.
In Akureyri, which is the capital of northern Iceland and the country's second largest city, you can then enjoy many beautiful views and interesting sights. The city has a botanical garden, swimming pools, a cozy forest and, despite its mere eighteen thousand inhabitants, some excellent restaurants and cafes. Here you will sleep tonight.
Wander in the Myvatn area
Today's drive takes you from Akureyri to Mývatn. Today, there is less driving and more exploration on foot. The day is designed to give you time to discover the nature reserve at Mývatn. On the way there are no excuses for not stopping to admire the Godafoss: the waterfall of the gods. As the name indicates, Godafoss is a truly legendary sight.
When you arrive to the Mývatn area, which feels taken from another, far more interesting world, you discover one of the main attractions directly: the geothermal area of the mining park with its bubbling clay pools and steamy holes in the ground. Here you will want to take your time, and look at the formations that volcanic eruptions have created, the geothermal activity and the lake with its active bird life. After experiencing Mývatn you continue to Skútustadir where you can get lost in the lava formations at Dimmuborgir - where it is also said that the gate to Hell is located. Please close it, should you happen to find it.
The next stop is Námaskarð which is a powerful geothermal area near the volcano Krafla, whose crater Viti could be the next stop. From there you can make a 1.5 to 2 hours walk to the Leirhnjuk area where a series of volcanic eruptions took place from 1975-1984. If you want to finish the day with a bath, we recommend the nature bath a few kilometers outside Reykjahlid, reminiscent of the Blue Lagoon and well worth a visit. Then drive back to Myvatn where you spend the night.
Go whale spotting in Husavik
Today you follow a route that takes you back to Myvatn for another night. First, make sure to visit the charming fishing village Húsavík. Húsavík is Iceland's whale-watching capital and probably one of Iceland's most beautiful fishing villages with colorful houses, museums and snow-capped mountains. Here we recommend that you stay for an excursion with whale watching, as Húavavik is considered the best place in Iceland to see blue whales.
Then drive along the Tarn peninsula coastline. The landscape offers high cliffs, green hills, lava and fossils. One tip is to make a stop at the far end of the peninsula and look for seabirds.
The next stop is Ásbyrgi, a horseshoe-shaped crater, which is said to be the print of Odden's eight-footed horse Sleipner. Take a walk or have a picnic between the mighty cliff faces in the abundant vegetation. The next stop is the waterfall Dettifoss, which demonstrates the raw power of melted glacier water. Then drive back to Lake Mývatn for another night.
Bathe in the famous Hofsós pools
Today you drive from Mývatn to Varmahlíð. Start today's journey by driving through Akureyri and, among others, the delightful fishing villages Dalvík, Ólafsfjörður and Siglufjörður. Stop in Hofsós, from where many Icelanders emigrated into the world in the 19th century in pursuit of a better life. Hear their stories at the Emigration Center at the old harbor. In Hofsós you should also take a dip in the well-known swimming pool with stunning views of the sea and snow-covered mountains. Then drive through the scenic Skagafjörður region until you reach Varmahlíð, where you spend the night.
Varmahlíð can hardly be called a town, because it is only a service center on Ring Road 1. This site is best known as a a base for rafting and horse riding.
From Varmahlid to Reykjavik
Today you drive from Varmahlíð to Reykjavík. The first recommended stop is in Borgarvirki with its interesting rock formations that look like a fortress. Then drive over Holtavardurheidi and into southwest Iceland. Perhaps you will pause at the Grábrók crater, just before Bifröst, where a short walk takes you to the top of the crater, which offers a powerful view of the Borgarfjördur region.
The next stop is Iceland's biggest hot spring: Deildartunguhver. On your way there you can play the "how to spell Deildartunguhver game" in the car, a game that is presumably more fun when you are on a road trip in Iceland. Then drive to Reykholt village where the famous writer Snorri Sturluson lived in the 13th century. Here is a permanent exhibition on Snorri's life and work.
After an insight into Snorri's life you can stop at Hraunfossar, the waterfall where the water flows from a lava bed to a river. Another waterfall worth a visit nearby is Barnafoss. Then drive to Borgarnes, and take care to do any activities that you did not have time for at the beginning of your trip. On the way home to Reykjavík you can choose again whether you want to go the tunnel under the fjord or along the fjord. You spend the night in Reykjavík.
Return flights either early in the morning or in the afternoon. Drive from Reykjavík to Keflavík airport (approx. 45 mins) and leave the car there in connection with your return flight. Welcome back to Iceland for your next trip!
Toyota Yaris Sedan
Skoda Octavia Sedan
Skoda Octavia Station Wagon
Dacia Duster 4WD
Toyota Land Cruiser GX 4WD
You can choose between two different types of accommodation on this trip. If you book two or more rooms then they will all need to be of the same type.