Iceland is a destination that captures the imagination with its stunning landscapes, rugged coastlines, and otherworldly beauty. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a photography buff, or simply seeking adventure, Iceland offers an unforgettable experience. With its compact size and well-developed tourist infrastructure, Iceland is perfect for a 10-day itinerary packed with exploration and discovery.
Tips for Driving in Iceland
Driving in Iceland is the best way to explore the country, but it’s important to be prepared, especially if you’re not accustomed to the unique conditions you may encounter.
- Rent a suitable vehicle: If you plan to explore beyond paved roads, consider renting a 4WD vehicle, especially if you’re visiting during winter or venturing into the highlands.
- Be mindful of weather conditions: Iceland’s weather can be unpredictable, with strong winds, snowstorms, and rapidly changing conditions. Check the weather forecast and road conditions regularly, especially if you’re planning to drive in remote areas.
- Stay on designated roads: Off-road driving is strictly prohibited in Iceland to protect the fragile ecosystem. Stick to marked roads and trails at all times.
- Drive cautiously on gravel roads: Many roads in Iceland, especially in rural areas, are unpaved gravel roads. Reduce your speed, especially on winding or narrow sections, to avoid skidding or kicking up rocks.
- Watch out for sheep: Sheep roam freely in many parts of Iceland, even along roadsides. Be alert for sheep crossing the road unexpectedly, especially in rural areas.
- Use pull-offs for photography: Iceland’s scenery is breathtaking, but stopping in the middle of the road to take photos can be dangerous. Use designated pull-offs or parking areas to stop safely and admire the view.
- Fuel up regularly: Gas stations can be sparse in remote areas, so it’s wise to keep your tank topped up whenever you have the chance, especially if you’re heading into the countryside.
- Be prepared for single-lane bridges: Many bridges in rural areas are single-lane, meaning you may need to yield to oncoming traffic. Follow the signs and use caution when crossing these bridges.
10-Day Iceland Itinerary
Day 1: Arrival in Reykjavik and Exploration
Welcome to Iceland! Upon arrival in Reykjavik, check into your hotel and spend the day exploring the city. Reykjavik is known for its vibrant cultural scene, with plenty of museums, galleries, and shops to visit. Take a stroll around the city center to see the famous Hallgrimskirkja church, the National Museum of Iceland, and the Harpa Concert Hall. In the evening, head to one of the city’s many restaurants to try some traditional Icelandic cuisine, such as lamb stew or seafood dishes.
Day 2: The Golden Circle
Today, set off on a tour of the Golden Circle, a popular route that takes you to some of Iceland’s most famous sights. Start with a visit to Þingvellir National Park, where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates are slowly moving apart. Next, stop at the Geysir geothermal area to see the famous geyser, Strokkur, erupting every few minutes. Finally, visit the magnificent Gullfoss waterfall, where the Hvítá river cascades into a deep canyon.
Day 3: South Coast and Vatnajökull National Park
Today, head to the south coast of Iceland to explore the rugged landscapes and black sand beaches. Stop at the Skaftafell National Park, where you can take a guided hike to the Vatnajökull glacier. In the evening, drive to the charming town of Vík and spend the night there.
Day 4: Vatnajökull National Park and Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
Continuing on the south coast, make your way to the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, one of Iceland’s most popular attractions. Here, you can take a boat tour to see the floating ice chunks and seals that inhabit the lagoon. In the evening, drive to the nearby town of Höfn for dinner and a good night’s sleep.
Day 5: East Fjords and Egilsstaðir
Today, drive through the stunning east fjords of Iceland to the town of Egilsstaðir. Along the way, stop to admire the rugged landscapes, pristine lakes, and towering mountains. In Egilsstaðir, you can visit the local museum to learn about the history and culture of the region.
Day 6: Mývatn and Dimmuborgir
Today, head to the Mývatn region, known for its geothermal activity and unique landscapes. Here, visit the Námaskarð geothermal area, the Hverir geothermal area, and the Mývatn Nature Baths. In the evening, hike to the nearby Dimmuborgir lava formations and watch the Northern Lights.
Day 7: Akureyri
Today, drive to the town of Akureyri, located in the heart of Iceland’s northern region. Here, you can explore the charming streets, visit the local museums and art galleries, and enjoy the local cuisine. In the evening, relax in the town’s natural hot springs and enjoy the views of the surrounding landscape.
Day 8: Westfjords and Ísafjörður
Today, head to the remote and rugged westfjords of Iceland, where you can explore the scenic fjords and pristine beaches. Stop in the town of Ísafjörður, where you can visit the local museum and try some fresh seafood. In the evening, drive to a nearby fjord for a chance to see the Northern Lights.
Day 9: Snæfellsnes Peninsula
Today, drive to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, a peninsula located on the west coast of Iceland. Here, you can visit the Snæfellsjökull National Park, where you can hike to the top of the Snæfellsjökull glacier, admire the black sand beaches, and explore the nearby lava formations. In the evening, drive to the town of Stykkishólmur for dinner and a good night’s sleep.
Day 10: Return to Reykjavik
Today, return to Reykjavik, where you can spend your final day shopping, visiting museums, or simply relaxing. Before departing, be sure to try some of the famous local seafood, such as lobster or arctic char. And with that, your 10-day Iceland Ring Road itinerary has come to an end. We hope you had a memorable and unforgettable experience in Iceland!