The Ring Road & Highlands of Iceland | 4-Day Assisted Trekking Tour & 10 Day Self-Drive Tour
Discover the diversity of the Icelandic nature with this 14-Day summer tour. This adventure will take you deep into the Highland region where you’ll see pitch-black lava fields, colourful mountains, and geothermal areas on a guided hiking tour. Then, you’ll take the wheel and travel the circle of Iceland, seeing places like the Golden Circle, Lake Mývatn, and Snæfellsnes Peninsula on your own terms. Those looking for isolation, untouched nature, and the freedom to explore, need to look no further.
Once you land in Iceland, you’ll be transported to Reykjavík where you’ll spend your first night in the capital. On day two, your journey begins when you’ll be taken to the unspoilt wilderness of the Highlands. There, you’ll spend the next four days hiking and exploring this remote region; spending the nights in mountain huts, far away from civilisation.
After hiking in the Highlands, your road trip begins. You’ll be provided with a rental vehicle so you can spend the next ten days circling the country. You’ll visit charming towns, sparkling waterfalls, glittering glacier lagoons, and black sand beaches.
We will take care of all accommodations and transportation before you arrive, and all meals during your 4-day hiking trip are included. You will also receive a personal itinerary for your self-drive portion which you can customise to include amazing excursions. These include hiking up glaciers, visiting ice caves, snorkelling between continents, whale watching, and relaxing at the Blue Lagoon.
Get to know Iceland in-depth this summer with this 14-day tour. Book now to secure your spot on this epic journey.
During 4 day Assisted Hike Tour
During 10 day Self-Drive
As the plane approaches the airport, you’ll see the vast lava fields of the Reykjanes Peninsula emerge before your eyes. Located in this barren terrain is Keflavík International Airport. After collecting your bags, use your voucher to board a bus heading across the moss-covered lava fields to Iceland’s capital, Reykjavík.
Those looking to begin their holiday in Iceland with a relaxing and reinvigorating experience can make a stop at the famous Blue Lagoon Spa for a dip in their geothermal waters. You’ll receive a complimentary silica mud mask and a drink of your choosing; a surefire way to rid you of any jetlag you might have.
Once in Reykjavík, you’ll check into your hotel located near the downtown area. If you wish, you can explore the capital’s vibrant nightlife in the evening. The illuminating light of the midnight sun keeps the city alive well into the night, but keep in mind that your tour tomorrow starts bright and early.
- Reykjanes Peninsula – A large stretch of land filled with moss-covered lava fields and geothermal areas
- Reykjavík – The lively capital of Iceland welcomes you
- Unwinding after your flight at the Blue Lagoon Spa
Close to your hotel is the Reykjavík Central Bus station. There you will meet your guide who will take you out of the city and into the wild countryside for today’s trekking adventure.
You will start in South Iceland where you will hike to the roots of the volcano, Hekla. This majestic mountain rises above a verdant plain and marks the entrance to the barren highland region of Iceland.
Your hike will start late in the morning and take around three hours. However, if you are visiting in August, the trek might take a little longer as there will be frequent stops to pick berries and mushrooms which will be in season.
You’ll end the day at a mountain hut near the roots of Hekla. Your guide will cook a nice dinner before you retire for the night.
- Mt. Hekla – A mighty volcano surrounded by moss-covered lava fields
- South Iceland’s farmlands – Where you’ll have a chance to see free-roaming sheep and horses.
- Time: 3-4 Hours
- Distance: approximately 10 kilometres (6 miles)
- Altitude: 135 -175 metres (443 – 574 feet)
After breakfast, you’ll head out to explore the western side of Mt. Hekla. Today will see your first river crossing as you cut across the west side of the river Rangá. You will continue past hills of palagonite rocks until you reach the base of Mt. Hekla.
The reason why Hekla was known as “Gateway to Hell” will become apparent to you here. Seemingly endless plains of black sand and dark volcanic slag will greet you; a world etched in charcoal where the vibrant colours of flowers and plants will seem like a distant dream.
Tomorrow will be a brighter day when the blackness makes ways for green pastures, but for now; you will spend the night surrounded by these lunar-like landscapes.
- Western plains of Hekla – A flat plateau of dark, volcanic slag
- Rangá River – A beautiful river which originates in the Sölvahraun lava field
- Time: 6-8 Hours
- Distance: approximately 22 kilometres (14 miles)
- Altitude: 175 – 320 metres (574 – 1050 feet)
The landscapes will begin to soften as you move away from Mt. Hekla. Lava fields will make way for verdant lands with green, mossy hills, mountains and lakes. You’ve now entered the mountain range of Kerlingarfjöll in the Icelandic Highlands.
You will see flat-topped monolith, Mt. Löðmundur reflecting in the nearby lake as you make your way through this remote region. Nearby is the cave Landmannahellir where, for centuries, shepherds have sought shelter while gathering sheep.
You, however, will seek shelter in a camp near the mountain Loðmundur. In the evening, your guide will cook a delicious meal and tell you stories and legends from this mystical place.
- Kerlingarfjöll Mountains – A high mountain range nestled between two glaciers: Langjökull and Hofsjökull.
- Löðmundarvatn Lake – A beautiful mountain lake which lies by the southern end of Mt. Löðmundur
- Landmannahellir Cave – A small cavern by the foot of Mt. Hellisfjall
- Time: 6-7 Hours
- Distance: approximately 17 kilometres (11 miles)
- Altitude: 320 – 590 metres (1050 – 1940 feet)
Your trek today will take you through the geothermal region of Landmannalaugar. After passing by a glittering lake, you’ll climb the northern side of Hrafntinnusker Caldeira where the spectacular views of Landmannalaugar will greet you.
What you’ll notice first, perhaps, is the striking contrast of the vibrant, pastel colours of the slopes of the Landmannalaugar hills against the glittering obsidian lava fields you’ve just traversed.
Another thing that might catch your eyes is the white pillars of steam which rise from the ground. The area is known for its many natural pools in which weary travellers can unwind after days of trekking.
After a dip in the warm river which winds through the area, you’ll hop aboard a 4X4 vehicle which will take you back to Reykjavík where you will spend the night.
- Hrafntinnusker Caldeira – Named from the black glass rocks, obsidian, which cover the area.
- Landmannalaugar – An area known for its natural, geothermal hot springs and colourful mountains
- Time: 6-7 Hours
- Distance: approximately 17 kilometres (11 miles)
- Altitude: 590 – 700 metres (1050 – 2297 feet)
Now that you have explored the Highland Region Iceland, it is time to discover what wonders lie along the Ring Road. After breakfast, you will hop into your rental car and head out of the city. Today, Iceland’s most popular sightseeing route, the Golden Circle, is on your agenda.
Your first stop is at Þingvellir National Park, the birthplace of Iceland’s democracy. The park is not only historically significant but geologically as well; it is located on the boundary of two tectonic plates. If you wish, you can opt for a snorkelling tour here and swim between the continents in crystal-clear waters.
After Þingvellir, you’ll explore the erupting geysers at Geysir Geothermal Area before reaching the stunning waterfall, Gullfoss. From Gullfoss, you can join a snowmobiling tour on top of Langjökull, the glacier which feeds the mighty waterfall. If you are looking for a unique and thrilling experience today, then make sure to reserve your spot during the booking process.
Another option for adventure today is riding the Icelandic horses through the countryside. These creatures are both friendly and intelligent, making it the perfect choice for both experienced as well as novice riders.
You will end the day at accommodations in or near Hvolsvöllur town which lies on the south coast of Iceland.
- Þingvellir National Park – A beautiful area rich in history
- Geysir Geothermal Area – Where the geyser Strokkur erupts every 5-10 minutes
- Gullfoss Waterfall – A stunning waterfall which plummets into an ancient canyon
- Snorkelling between N-America and Europe in Silfra Fissure
- Racing across a glacier on a snowmobile tour
- A horse riding tour in the beautiful Icelandic nature
Your exploration of the Ring Road continues, and today, you’ll explore stunning waterfalls and a black sand beach found along the coast of southern Iceland.
If you wish, you can start the day by exploring a glacier on one of two excursions available. The former is a visit to the Katla Ice Cave. Unlike other ice caves, the Katla cave does not flood during the summer months, making it the only one accessible this time of year.
The second option is a glacier hike on top of Sólheimajökull Glacier. Accompanied by a glacier guide, you’ll trek through the frosty wilderness, past deep crevasses and blue glacier moulins, streaked with ash from past volcanic eruptions.
If you prefer to spend the mornings exploring the many attractions found on Iceland’s south coast, don’t worry; you have an option to go glacier hiking in the afternoon. At Skaftafell Nature Reserve, black sands meet green flora and white ice, and hiking up a glacier provides you with an unbelievable view of this stunning landscape.
You’ll end the day at the beautiful Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. Here, enormous icebergs float on a serene lake while seals swim between them. Those looking for a better look at the bergs can opt for a boat tour on the lagoon, it is a fantastic opportunity for photographers looking for a great shot of the blue icebergs.
You’ll end the day at accommodations under Vatnajökull, Europe’s largest glacier.
- Seljalandsfoss Waterfall – Falls over a cave in the cliffs in which you can enter
- Skógafoss Waterfall – The land underneath is very flat, allowing you to walk right up to the cascade
- Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach – A beautiful volcanic beach
- Skaftafell Nature Reserve – A verdant area with many hiking trails, one of which leads to Svartifoss Waterfall
- Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon – A lagoon filled with huge icebergs near a black sand beach known as the Diamond Beach
- Morning glacier hike on Sólheimajökull ice cap
- Visiting Katla Ice Cave
- Afternoon glacier hike in Skaftafell Nature Reserve
- Amphibian boat tour on Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
Today you’ll drive the winding roads of Iceland’s eastern fjords. However, before you leave South Iceland behind, make sure to stop at the Stokksnes Peninsula to snap a photograph of the beautiful Mt. Vestrahorn and the surrounding black sand beach.
The Eastfjords of Iceland are dotted with many small and charming villages, each one more beautiful than the next. You will end the day at Egilsstaðir, the largest settlement in the East. The town sits on the banks of the Lagarfljót River which runs through Iceland’s largest forest, Hallormsstaðaskógur.
Those looking for an adrenaline-rushing experience today can opt for an ATV tour through Hallormsstaðaskógur. Here, you’ll race through the forest, crossing streams and dirt puddles, on a muddy adventure.
If, however, you are looking to unwind after a day behind the wheel, you can stop at the Vök Nature Baths. You’ll get to relax in geothermal waters while enjoying the stunning view of the nearby Urriðavatn Lake and distant mountains.
You’ll spend the night in or near Egilsstaðir town.
- Stokksnes Peninsula – A headland on the southeastern part of Iceland where you’ll find black sand beaches and the stunning Mt. Vestrahorn
- Hallormsstaðaskógur Forrest – Iceland largest forest which the river Lagarfljót runs through
- Egilsstaðir – A charming town with all modern amenities
- Hengifoss Waterfall – A beautiful cascade which falls down cliffs of black basalt layers sandwiched between layers of red clay
- Relaxing at the Vök Nature Baths
- Racing through a forest on an ATV Tour
Start the day by heading north where you’ll stop at Europe’s most powerful waterfall, Dettifoss, before exploring the stunning horseshoe-shaped canyon, Ásbyrgi.
Then it is off to the charming town of Húsavík, known as the ‘Whale Watching Capital of Europe’. The waters just offshore are home to over 20 species of cetaceans and whale watching tours here have a very high sighting rate.
There are two tours available today; a whale watching tour in a traditional boat and a RIB boat excursion which also includes puffin spotting. These adorable birds come to Iceland in the summer to lay eggs before leaving in the autumn to spend the winter out in the ocean.
Another option of searching for the whales is at the GeoSea Geothermal Sea Baths. The baths overlook Skjálfandi Bay, and visitors have often spotted a whale or two in the distance while unwinding in the geothermal waters.
Your night will be spent in or near the town of Húsavík.
- Dettifoss Waterfall – Some might recognise this feature from the 2012 Ridley Scott movie, Prometheus
- Ásbyrgi Canyon – A dramatic, horseshoe-shaped canyon
- Húsavík Town – Whale watching capital of Iceland
- Traditional whale watching in Húsavík
- Whale and puffin watching in a rib boat
- Relaxing at the Geosea Geothermal Sea Baths.
The area around Lake Mývatn was created in a series of volcanic eruptions some 2,300 years ago. Today, lava fields, pseudocraters, and geothermal regions dominate the landscape.
After breakfast, head out and explore this fascinating region. You can visit the lava labyrinth of Dimmuborgir — said to be home to the elves and trolls — and the hissing fumaroles and bubbling mud pools of Námaskarð Pass.
Once you’ve explored the many attractions found in the Lake Mývatn area — including the lake itself and its abundant birdlife — you can choose to unwind at Mývatn Nature Baths. The minerals in these geothermal waters are said to do wonders for your skin, and you can pair the experience with a drink or two.
Make your way to North Iceland’s largest town, Akureyri. En-route, is a stunning waterfall, Goðafoss, which falls down arch-shaped cliffs.
- Lake Mývatn – A beautiful lake with pseudocraters and lava pillars
- Grjótagjá Cave – A bright blue hot spring inside a cave
- Námaskarð Pass – A geothermal area filled with steam vents and bubbling mud pools
- Dimmuborgir – A lava field used as the Wildling camp in the HBO series Game of Thrones
- Goðafoss – A beautiful waterfall with a rich history
- Akureyri – The largest settlement outside the capital region
- Unwinding in the Mývatn Nature Baths
Akureyri is a vibrant town filled with shops, restaurants and cafés. There are also an adventure or two to be found here. For example, if you missed it yesterday, you can join a whale watching tour from Akureyri. It is quite a popular tour as humpbacks are a common sighting in these waters.
Another option is to ride the Icelandic horse through the North Iceland landscapes. Icelandic horses came here with the Viking settlers and have changed very little over the last millennium due to the fact that importation of horses has been banned since 982!
Then it is time to leave Akureyri behind to explore what else the northern part of this island has to offer. Tröllaskagi — or the Troll Peninsula — is a mountainous region known for its beautiful nature and charismatic towns. Dalvík, Siglufjörður, and Hofsós all have their unique charms and famous attractions from award-winning museums to stunning infinity pools.
If you are looking for a cold drink after days of hiking and exploring, then you can do no better than the Beer Spa. Here, you’ll relax in a bath of warm beer while the hops and yeast nourish your skin. The warm beer is undrinkable; however, each tub comes equipped with a tap where you can have a cold one while you relax.
At the end of the day, head West where you’ll find the town of Blönduós. Here, you will spend the night.
- Tröllaskagi Peninsula – A beautiful, mountainous area in North Iceland
- Dalvík – A small fishing village where you’ll find multiple hiking trek and trails
- Siglufjörður – Visiting the Herring Era Museum is a fantastic way to spend time when visiting this beautiful town
- Hofsós – We highly recommend visiting the infinity pool found in this little village
- Whale watching in Akureyri
- Horse riding around the countryside of Akureyri
- Relaxing at the Beer Spa
The Snæfellsnes Peninsula is a 90 km (55 mi) stretch of land known as ‘Iceland in miniature’ because of the diverse attractions found there. Lava fields, black pebble beaches, waterfalls, and mountains all lie under the watchful eye of Snæfellsjökull Glacier.
Today, you’ll make your way to Snæfellsnes where you can explore such places as Kirkjufell mountain, known as the ‘Mountain like an arrowhead’ from Game of Thrones, and the charming town of Arnarstapi.
The northern side of Snæfellsnes lies on Breiðafjörður Bay which has a spectacular seascape consisting of shallow seas and small fjords. The bay is also dotted with about 3,000 islands and skerries and is rich in marine and birdlife. There are two optional adventures available today; both consist of exploring Breiðafjörður Bay.
The first one is a whale watching tour from Ólafsvík village. This part of Iceland is best known for its predatory whale species; sperm whales and orcas, although many other breeds can also be found there.
The other option is Viking Sushi Boat Tour where you’ll sail between the islands of Breiðafjörður, exploring the abundant birdlife, which includes puffins, fulmars, and kittiwakes. Before you reach shore again, the crew will haul in a net they’ve been dragging, allowing you to try fresh scallops and sea urchins straight out of the ocean.
The days are long under the midnight sun so you can use the time to explore the many attractions found on the beautiful Snæfellsnes Peninsula. You will then retire to your accommodation located in the area.
- Kirkjufell Mountain – A pyramid-shaped mountain where, nearby, you’ll find the beautiful Kirkjufellsfoss Waterfall
- Djúpalónssandur – A stunning black pebble beach
- Arnarstapi – A small town with a stunning pier and coastline. A path from there leads to another village, Hellnar, and the route makes for a great hiking trip
- Búðarkirkja Church – An unusual black church with white doors
- Birdwatching and sightseeing on a Viking Sushi Boat Tour
- Whale Watching from the town of Ólafsvík
Now it is time to head back to the city, but not without discovering what wonders West Iceland has in store for you. This region has many hidden gems, such as Gerðuberg Cliffs, the historical Reykholt village, and the stunning waterfalls Hraunfossar and Barnafoss.
There is also the massive Hallmundarhraun lava field where inside you’ll find one of the largest lava caves in the world, Víðgelmir. During the booking process, you can add a tour of Víðgelmir to your itinerary, and travel the path hot magma created thousands of years ago.
A short drive from Europe’s largest hot spring, Deildartunguhver, is the town of Húsafell. There you will join a tour of the Ice Cave Tunnels of Langjökull Glacier if you opted to do so during booking. The tunnels are man-made and provide a unique insight into the world of glaciers, from how they are formed to the dangers they face with the warming climate.
Once in Reykjavík, you can return to your accommodations or have one last adventure where you’ll descend into a dormant volcano. From Reykjavík, you’ll board a bus which will take you to Þríhnúkagígur volcano. There, you’ll be lowered into the caldera in a massive lift where you can walk around at the bottom and explore before being hoisted back up.
- Gerðuberg Cliffs – A large, natural wall made of geometric basalt cliffs
- Reykholt Village – The perfect place for those looking to learn about Icelandic history and Norse Mythology
- Hraunfossar – A series of trickling waterfalls which come from under a lava field, located near the bright blue Barnafoss Waterfall
- Deildartunguhver – Europe’s most powerful hot spring
- Descending into Víðgelmir Lava Cave
- Visiting the Ice Cave Tunnels
- Exploring Inside The Volcano
Sadly, it is time to bid farewell to this land of ice and fire. You’ve had quite an adventure these past two weeks, and we hope you’ve had a fantastic time.
If your flight leaves in the afternoon or evening, you can squeeze in a few more activities before you head to Keflavík International Airport. We recommend parking the car and taking a walk down Laugavegur Shopping Street. The iconic Hallgrímskirkja Church can easily be reached from there, as well as Harpa Concert Hall and Tjörnin Lake.
When it is time to leave, you’ll head back out on the lava fields of the Reykjanes Peninsula to the airport where you will drop off the car before you check-in. If you wish, you can schedule a visit to the Blue Lagoon on this day and stop there on your way to the airport. That way, you’ll arrive relaxed and revitalised for your flight.
Have a great flight home and come back soon!
- Hallgrímskirkja Church – The landmark building of Reykjavík city
- Laugavegur Shopping Street – Filled with boutiques, restaurants, cafes, and bars.
- Harpa Concert Hall – A stunning glass building which sits by the ocean
- Taking a dip in the Blue Lagoon
You’ll have a choice of two accommodations levels. See details about each one in the boxes below. All accommodations for this tour have been hand-picked by our local travel experts.
For comfort-level, single rooms will be allocated to bookings for one person. Shared twin/double or triple room(s) will be arranged for two or more people. Groups with an odd number of participants will be allotted a single room in quality-level. Children and teenagers will be arranged in the same room as their parents. Additional cost may occur if additional room(s) is needed.
Please keep in mind that hotel quality in Iceland varies between regions and that not all locations offer quality-level accommodations. At those particular locations, comfort level accommodations will be arranged, which has already been calculated in the upgraded price. We do our best to accommodate special requests, but additional costs may incur.
Rooms in three-star hotels or quality guesthouses, very close to popular attractions. Private bathroom and breakfast included.
Accommodations are shared; bunk beds in various mountain huts. Please bring your own sleeping bag, but those can also be rented. All huts have running water but not all have hot showers. Tents can be made available for those who want more privacy. Please let us know during the booking process if you require one.
You’ll have a choice of three options for your rental car. See details for each option in the boxes below.
The vehicles for all levels are current models, no older than two years. They all come with standard CDW insurance, Gravel Protection (GP), and Super Collision Damage Waiver (SCDW) insurances. They also come equipped with a GPS and free Wi-Fi with unlimited data, to which you can connect up to 10 devices. You will also get 24-hour roadside emergency services from the car rental agency. In the wintertime, all cars have winter tyres.
The driver must hold a valid driving licence which they have had for at least 12 months before the date of the rental. Age requirement varies for each level, and you can find more information on that in the boxes below.
Please note that off-road driving is illegal in Iceland.
Basic 2WD vehicle such as a Toyota Yaris, good for city driving and shorter trips. Fits 2 travellers & light luggage. No Highland capabilities. Driver must be at least 20 year old.
Blue Lagoon Comfort Entrance
Blue Lagoon Premium Entrance
Snorkeling in Silfra
Snowmobiling on Langjökull
Katla Ice Cave
Jökulsárlón Amphibian Boat Tour
Jökulsárlón Zodiac Boat Tour
Vök Nature Baths
Vök Nature Baths are surrounded by nothing but the untouched nature of East Iceland. Ticket includes entry to the baths and a tisane brewed from the spring water and local herbs at the infusion bar. Bring with you a swimsuit and a towel but those can also be rented onsite. No minimum age.
ATV Tour in East Iceland
Race through Hallormsstaðaskógur Forest on a 4×4 ATV. Traverse on rugged tracks while taking in the exceptional views of East Iceland. Warm overalls, helmets, balaclavas and gloves are provided, but please wear warm base layers as well as good shoes. Minimum age is 17 for riders, and they must hold a valid driving licence. However, children over the age of 8 can ride as passengers.
Whale Watching Tour
Whale & Puffin watching RIB boat tour
Unwind and enjoy the stunning view at GeoSea Geothermal Sea Baths in the town of Húsavík. GeoSea limits the number of guests, allowing for a more peaceful and relaxing experience for those who visit. Bring with you a swimsuit and a towel but those can also be rented onsite. No minimum age.
Whale Watching tour from Akureyri
Head to sea to search for the gentle whales which make the waters around Akureyri their home. Included is a professionally guided tour and warm, floatable overalls for your safety and comfort. Also included is a second try in case of no sightings. No age limit
Whale Watching Tour – Ólafsvík
Two of the ocean’s top predators, sperm whales and orcas (also known as killer whales), make the waters around Snæfellsnes Peninsula their home. That means this your best chance to spot them while in Iceland. Dress warmly and bring a hat, scarf and gloves.
Viking Sushi Boat Tour
Head to sea on a Viking adventure! From Stykkishólmur town, you’ll board a boat which will take you around the countless islands found in Breiðafjörður Bay. Keep an eye out for birds such as fulmars and adorable puffins. The highlight of the tour is when the crew pull up the nets and allow guests to try out fresh scallops and sea urchins. Bring warm clothes. No minimum age.
Langjökull Ice Cave Tunnels
Viðgelmir Lava Cave
Inside the Volcano
Whales of Iceland
Whales of Iceland is the largest whale exhibition in Europe. The display features life-size models of 23 whale species found in Icelandic waters, as well as interactive information stands that help enhance the experience and educate visitors. Suitable for all ages.
Fly over Iceland
Soar over the entire island, seeing Iceland’s most spectacular sceneries with the latest in simulated flight ride technology. FlyOver Iceland will allow you to virtually soar over Iceland’s most iconic landscapes, while special effects — including wind, mist, scent and motion — help create the illusion of flight. Children need to be at least 102 cm (3’4″) to participate.