Complete Iceland: Full Road Trip

15-Day Complete Island Itinerary - Iceland

Prices from £1,675 pp

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View day-by-day

Duration14 days / 13 nights (flexible)

ItineraryReykjavik - Golden Circle - Vik - Skaftafell - Eastfjords - Akureyri - Hvammstangi - Keflavik

Suitable for families

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Overview

A complete tour of Iceland with waterfalls that plunge over soaring cliffs and geysers that use geothermic activity to spew water even higher. You will travel the island also in search of volcanoes, glaciers, bubbling sulphur springs, steam holes and whale tails – and that’s just what you’ll find in Akureyri! This 2-week adventure will make sure you experience everything this island has to offer. If you have more time, you can easily adjust your tour by adding extra nights and adventures.

What's included

  • Accommodation – price based on 2 people sharing
  • Breakfast
  • Transport as described
  • Car hire
  • Excursions as described

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Location map

Your day-by-day itinerary

Welcome to Reykjavik!

Spot snow-capped peaks and volcanic craters from the plane window as you fly into Keflavik airport. Pick up your rental car from the airport and head into the city. Reykjavik is a compact and trendy city that is home to over half of the Icelandic population. The modern architecture, shops, young people and boutique restaurants give the city a quirky Nordic touch. You’ll stay in a hotel that is centrally located with authentic Scandinavian design.

A view of a city with the sea

Summer: Whale-watching boat trip

If you’re travelling in the summer months, then after breakfast today you will head out from the harbour on a traditional fishing boat for your whale-watching trip. You’ll spend around three hours on the boat, seeking out these gentle giants. Gaze in awe at the sight of powerful fins splashing in the sea and if you’re lucky, you’ll see a full breach!

A large whale tail coming out of the sea

Winter: Walking city tour and Northern Lights boat trip

In the winter months, you’ll head out to explore the city today. During breakfast you can already research the route you’ll be taking for your city tour. You’ll zigzag through streets full of brightly coloured houses to Hallgrimskirkja, Reykjavik’s famous church that rises 75 meters above the surrounding houses. Take the elevator to the viewpoint at the top of the tower and grab yourself a photo with the whole city as your background. Continue onwards to the old harbour, where you can learn about the first Viking settlers at the Vikin-Maritime museum.

lighthouse punctuating the night sky being adorned by the northern lights

Spouting Geysers & Crashing Falls

Today you’ll head off to the Golden Circle. We recommend a stop at Thingvellir en route, where you’ll find a gap between the European and American continental plates in a national park that’s well worth checking out. From Thingvellir, you’ll then continue to the Golden Circle, where you will find Iceland’s highest spouting geyser, Strokkur. Be sure to have your camera ready, as you can take spectacular pictures here. In the evening, check into your countryside hotel and after such an exciting day seeing the sights, it’s time to relax in the Secret Lagoon, one of the oldest thermal baths in Iceland. We’ll reserve entrance tickets for you in advance, so all you have to do is get there. Between the different baths you walk through a world of moss and steam, giving you a magical feeling.

Geyser erupting with people watching

It’s worth getting up early today, so that you have enough time to visit the spectacular Gullfoss waterfall before all the day trippers arrive. This way you have all the peace and space to grab yourself some beautiful photos. The water begins at the glacial river Hvítá and plunges here like a perpendicular water curtain into a 70 meter deep gorge. There are also fantastic views over the Gullfoss from all sides and when the sun shines, you almost always see a rainbow here. After your visit to Gullfoss, you will leave the Golden Circle region and continue your journey through Iceland. Depending on your chosen route, you will now travel along Seljalandsfoss to Vík and the south coast or visit Pompeii in the Westman Islands.

People bathing in a lagoon

Vikings & Volcanoes

Leaving Reykjavik or the geyser area behind you, you’ll be on your way to the coastal village of Vik. On the way, stop off at Iceland’s most active volcano, Hekla. Here you can view the ruins of an old Viking farm that was only excavated in 1900 and also see its replica. Make sure to also stop at Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss, two incredibly photogenic waterfalls. Drive further down the ring road for a visit to the film exhibition of the mighty Eyjafjallajökul volcano, which shut down all European air traffic in 2010. In the evening you will arrive at the coastal village of Vík, where you will sleep in a cosy guesthouse.

View of black sanded beach

Get ready for an active day today as you venture to the Sólheimajökull glacier. At the meeting point you will meet your experienced guide and fellow adventurers for a good run through about how things work and then the irons go down. Hike along caverns meters deep and search for ice sculptures. You will see a thousand shades of grey, white, blue and of course transparent ice and if you look closely at the different layers in the ice, chances are you’re even looking at the ash from the 2010 Eyjafjallajökul volcanic eruption. Back in the car, turn on the heating and warm yourself up for your next Iceland experience. Make a final stop at the black lava beaches of Vik, where the basalt rocks protrude high into the sky from the sea and look almost handmade due to their symmetrical shapes.

People looking at a view of black sandy beach

Glacier hikes in Skaftafell

Today you’ll most likely be heading to Skaftafell from Vik, driving past the moss-lined lava fields of Eldhraun and beautiful panoramic views at the Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon. You are now on your way to the largest glacier in Europe: Vatnajökull. You’ll spend your first night here in a comfortable hotel just outside of the national park. After a good night’s sleep and with your hiking boots on, you will drive today from Skaftafell to the starting point of the glacier walk. During the hike you will use your pickaxe to keep your balance on steep sections, as you walk over crevices and bumpy pieces of ice. Your guide knows where to find a number of ice caves where you can see into the deep blue ice well.

People looking through an ice hole

Having conquered the glacier hike, the afternoon the choice is yours: relax and take in the views from the hotel or venture out and explore the area further. The glacial lake is a magnificent sight, where you can see ice blocks crumble and spot swimming seals up close. This special location has been used as a film set several times, for example the James bond film “Die another day” was filmed here. The following day will be your last day at Skaftafell and after breakfast it is time for the next adventure.

Lady smiling in front of glacier

Over to the East Fjords

With the shrinking ice cap in the rear-view mirror of your car, you’ll head back onto the ring roadand northbound towards fjord coast. After the fishing village of Höfn, the road along the rugged coast becomes increasingly winding and you drive along deep ravines close to the sea. Once you get to the East Fjords you will find more puffins than tourists. Instead of the well-known and often busy hot spots, you will find peace and space here. Check into your attractive hotel and ask reception for their local knowledge of the most beautiful hiking trails in the area.

Cliffs with the sea and hills in the background

After breakfast it is time to get your walking boots on and head out into nature. There are brilliant hikes in the vicinity of your accommodation, or you can also drive to the Borgarfjörður Eystri region. Due to its remoteness and long, dark winters, legends ofelves and trolls still play a major role in the local culture. If you’re here for the wildlife, drive to the small rock in the harbor of Hafnarhólmi, near the village of Bakkagerði. Here you will find wild puffins, gulls and ducks that nest on this rock from late May to early August. You can get up close to the animals here via stairs and an observation deck. The following day it’s time to leave this quiet part of Iceland behind you and head towards the next highlight.

Lady looking out to view of mountains

Whales & Tails!

Today you will jump in the car and drive to the second biggest city of Iceland: Akureyri. Check into your cosy guesthouse. The following day you’ll want to dress warm and bring an extra jumper or coat, as you will be heading out to sea on your whale watching tour and it can get chilly. You’ll first drive over to fishing village of Husavik, about an hour away. Here you will board a traditional Icelandic oak boat and hit the waves to look for whales, porpoises and dolphins. Occasionally you can also spot rare blue whales, the largest of all whales. On the way back to the quay, the rod often goes out for a fresher than fresh snack on board. When back on dry land, the rest of the day is free for you to do as you please. After a good night’s sleep and a hearty breakfast, you will continue your Iceland road trip.

A small dingy with people looking at a whale in the sea

Spotting seals at Hvammstangi

If you’re coming from the West Fjords today and you feel like warming up on the way, it’s worth making a small detour via Drangsnes, with its beautiful hot pots by the sea. From the north, take the famous drive via the Arctic Coast Road. When you reach Hvammstangi, you’ll check into your hotel, surrounded by rolling fields. Waking up in the morning to views over the wide landscape and enjoying the midsummer night in the evening are the ingredients for the next few days. This afternoon, plan a visit to the Icelandic Seal Center, where you’ll learn about the different types of seals and the role seals play in the lives of the Vatnses people.

A small seal sitting on a rock by the sea

Hvammstangi is known for its seals and you can even spot them from your car when driving along the coast. This morning you will head out by boat to see them up close and personal, swimming around in the water and lazing on the shore. In the afternoon, you have time to explore Hvammstangi and the surrounding area at your own pace. Take a trip to Hvítserkur, a 15 meter high rock, which resembles a drinking dragon. And if haven’t you seen enough waterfalls yet, visit the Kolugljúfur gorge and the Kolufossar waterfalls. After breakfast the following morning, it is time to continue your tour of Iceland.

A seal lying down in the water

Secrets of the Blue Lagoon

Drive over the Reykjanes peninsula towards Keflavík to end your trip completely zen at the Blue Lagoon. You can arrange an entrance ticket with specific access time in advance. On the way to the natural baths you will see lava fields and hot springs with large plumes of smoke in the background. The lagoons are artificially constructed but heated by natural sources. On the sides there are large containers with purified clay for you to rub over your body. This has been scientifically proven that the mineral salts and algae of this geothermal seawater have a healing effect on the skin. After a short drive the next day, you’ll return the rental car at the airport and check in for your flight back home with a head full of special memories that will last a lifetime.

a pool with steaming water and a small bridge
David on a rickshaw

Speak to our Iceland specialist, David

"Iceland offers so much variety. Whether it's bathing in one of many natural lagoons, heading out to see the wildlife or witnessing the amazing northern lights, you won't run out of things to do! I ticked off a lot of things from my bucket list here."


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