Iceland is a land of sharp contradictions. Our jeep tour in Iceland will take you to the areas of the island that are less visited by the tourists, but are much more breathtaking and full of adventures. We will go for a trip to Europe’s largest desert and attend places that are the reason why Iceland is known as the land of fire and ice. During the trip you will visit the volcano Askja, Landmannalaugar nature reserve, Laki crater and other fascinating sites along the ring road and the center highlands which are accessible by 4WD vehicles only.
No off-road driving experience is required.
Route Length: 2,500 km. (Aprrox.)
Season: July1st – Sep15th
Day 1 – Landing at Keflavik Airport, Reykjavik.
We will pick up the rental car at the airport. A short drive of 40 minutes separates the airport located in the Reykjanes Peninsula from Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland. After settling down at the hotel, we will go for a walk in a beautiful city considered one of the greenest cities in the world and manages to retain its unique character thanks to its colorful little houses. You should have a walk to the city center, go to the main square, climb to the top of the church tower and you will get to the most beautiful observation point in the whole city. Lake Tjörnin is a good starting point for a walk in the city.
Today’s main sites: Reykjavik.
Day 2 – Southern Iceland – Skogarfoss Waterfall – Dyrhólaey Cliff.
We will leave Reykjavik behind and start our day. We will cross the mountainous plateau Hellisheiði characterized by its geothermal activity and steam clouds curling up from the ground. We will reach the greenhouses village Hveragerði, where the geothermal water are used for heating the greenhouses and growing vegetables. We will continue along the south coast, pastoral area with many horses and sheep foraging along the roadside. We will stop at the Seljalandsfoss waterfall, where you can walk behind the waterfall – a unique experience. The impressive waterfall Skógafoss is not far from there, down the road. You can visit the beautiful Skógar museum adjacent to the waterfall and see how the Icelanders lived in ancient times. The glaciers Myrdalsjokull and Eyjafjallajokull are towering above. We will make a short detour from the main road toward the glacier Sólheimajökull before we will continue to the cliff Dyrhólaey – the southernmost point in Iceland and the nesting place of many seabirds, including puffins. We will go to the Reynisdrangar cliffs with their spectacular beach and impressive rock formations. Below the cliff Dyrhólaey there is a natural arch of rock that has formed over the years by the relentless pounding of water and wind, the place is full of seabirds during the summer. We will come back to the west to reduce the distance before entering the island the next day. Estimated driving distance: 260 km.
Today’s main sites: Hveragerði – Dyrhólaey Cliff – Skogarfoss and Seljalandsfoss Waterfalls.
Accommodation: Hvolsvöllur \ Hekla
Day 3 – Fjallabak and Landmannalaugar Nature Reserve (4×4).
Today we are heading towards the center of the island to the Landmannalaugar Mountain Nature Reserve. This reserve is unique, combines some extraordinary phenomena such as geothermal valley with the hot spring ideal for bathing, and surrounded by wonderful rhyolite mountain chain colored in various shades and stained with the snow on their peaks. The landscape in this area is breathtaking. The nature painted here a masterpiece of colors, smells and shades. The mountainous dirt road passes several lakes infested with the trout fish. From one of the craters there is a trail to the “Ugly Puddle” “(Ljótipollur), but don’t be fooled by the name – clear water got dark color and the surrounding scenery is no less than amazing. There is a number of marked walking trails in the reserve. From Landmannalaugar the road crosses several rivers and continues to the back of the mountain Fjallabak southward to the “Fire Canyon” Eldgjá. It is an impressive 30-km long canyon crossing the ground in a straight line. Walking trail adjacent to the river in the center of the canyon leads to the waterfall Ófærufoss. You should stand on a rock near the waterfall, look to the both sides of the canyon and try to imagine the immense natural forces that gave birth to this spectacular place. Many people consider a road leading from the Landmannalaugar southward to the highway the most beautiful road in Iceland. Estimated driving distance: 220 km.
Today’s main sites: Landmannalaugar Nature Reserve – Eldgjá – Ófærufoss Waterfall.
Accommodation: Kirkjubæjarklaustur area
Day 4 – Craters of Laki – Lakagígar (4×4).
Lakagígar Nature Reserve is located in the mountainous center of the country, near the westernmost edge of the glacier Vatnajökull, the largest glacier in Europe. A dirt road leads to the parking lot at the entrance to the nature reserve that contains unique wonders of nature that made Laki craters world-renowned. There are marked walking trails in the reserve. Laki craters are a wonderful result of enormous destruction and devastation that occurred in Iceland in the 18th century .Series of eruptions have created a thick cloud of volcanic ash causing great destruction, killing people and animals and seriously effecting many other parts of the world. Today, the area of the Laki crater in southern Iceland attracts many visitors who come to see the unique natural phenomenon almost unmatched in the recorded history of the world. The row of craters is a long scar on the ground. At the southern end of the row stands the Leaning Mountain Hnúta, where the first fissure has happened and then, in a burst, additional craters were opened and remain until today. The volcanic activity estimated as ten cycles occurred during only a year. Today there are hundred and thirty-five craters in Lakagígar! On our way back to the south before leaving the Ring Road, we will stop at the spectacular canyon Fjadrargljufur created by water erosion – sharply contrasting the views left after the violent eruptions of Laki. Estimated driving distance: 140 km.
Today’s main sites: Craters of Laki – Fjadrargljufur – Kirkjubæjarklaustur.
Accommodation: Kirkjubæjarklaustur area
Day 5 – Skaftafell National Park – Ice Lagoon.
We will dedicate this day to exploring the area located south of the glacier Vatnajökull, the largest glacier in Europe. The glacier covers some of the largest volcanoes in Iceland and is responsible for designing the surface in this area of the island. We will leave the village Kirkjubæjarklaustur and continue to the east on the Ring Road. The trip along the drifting black coast will expose us to the evidence of violent outbreaks happening repeatedly and increasingly under the glacier. Skaftafell Park is located near the western edge of the glacier – green and fertile island surrounded by the wild landscape of the glacier and land erosion. Excellent walking trails in the park bring us to the breathtaking viewpoints over the glaciers around. In the park there are several spectacular waterfalls, waterfall Svartifoss embedded with black basalt hexagons is one of the places you should see in the park. At the entrance to the park there is an excellent visitor center and you can take guided walking tour on the glacier. Further east on the Ring Road is located the Glacier Lagoon – one of the most beautiful sites in Iceland by any standard. Broken pieces of the huge glacier floating in the deep lagoon on their way into the sea. The cruise in a zodiac or in the amphibian boat is available here. We will finish the day near the village Höfn – lobster capital of Iceland and a great starting point for a day dedicated to the trip towards the East Fjords. Estimated driving distance: 200 km.
Today’s main sites: Skaftafell National Park – Ice Lagoon – Höfn village.
Optional activities: cruise in the amphibian boat in Ice Lagoon – snow scooters tour.
Accommodation: Höfn area.
Day 6 – Höfn – East Fjords – Egilsstaðir.
From Höfn we will continue through the tunnel Almannaskard to the colorful Lónsöræfi area – mountainous desert surrounded by extinct volcanoes traversed by glacier rivers. We will drive through the rising mountains to the East Fjords of Iceland. There is an interesting option to take a boat trip from the village Djúpivogur to the island Papey, where in the summer huge colonies of puffins and other seabirds are nesting. From here you can make a shortcut – instead of driving along the coast, you can turn to the Öxi pass, steep and spectacular track. In the village Stöðvarfjörður we will visit Petra’s stone and mineral museum. We will continue to the green landscapes of Egilsstaðir on the lakeshore of Lagarfljót, the main town in eastern Iceland for the night stay. Estimated driving distance: 260 km.
Today’s main sites: the village Djúpivogur – Eastern Fjords – Egilsstaðir.
Optional activities: Boat tour to Papey Island
Day 7 – Dettifoss Waterfall – National Park Jökulsárgljúfur – Husavik (4×4).
In the eastern Iceland the road to the north passes through the arid and isolated mountainous plateau. The landscapes are slowly changing from the Earth scenery to something that looks more like the Moon. The area to the north of the Lake Myvatn is a part of Vatnajökull National Park, the largest park in Europe. The entrance to the park zone is on a hilly dirt road leading to the Dettifoss waterfall, the most powerful waterfall in Europe. When describing Iceland and its natural treasures, many superlatives would be used. The melting water from the enormous glacier is flowing intensively towards the sea and constantly changing the terrain. The valley of the “echo rocks” (Hijóöaklettar) down the road was created by the erosion of rocks by the endless flow of water. Before coming back to the road we will stop in the horseshoe-shaped park Asbyrgi. A huge soil drift as a result of a sudden flood has created a vast and imposing valley surrounded by the high natural wall. At the center of the valley there is a beautiful lake with the different kinds of ducks swimming in it. Walking trails in the nature reserve are also recommended. The end the day we will spend in the small town Husavik, where we can join the puffin and whale watching cruise in the calm water of the Skjálfandi Gulf. Estimated driving distance: 280 km.
Today’s main sites: Hljóðaklettar – Ásbyrgi canyon – Jökulsárgljúfur- Dettifoss Waterfall – Husavik
Optional activities: whale watching cruise.
Accommodation: Husavik \ Mývatn
Day 8 – The amazing landscape at Lake Mývatn.
This day will be dedicated to one of the most enchanting areas in Iceland. Around Lake Mývatn alone there are enough nature phenomena for the entire country. Just as upon request, many sites are scattered around the not particularly large lake, ideal for a day trip. The lake itself is one of the world’s best nesting places for water birds, especially species of rare ducks. If future lunar inhabitants had to open an embassy on Earth, they certainly would have chosen to do so in Myvatn, where they would feel home the most. A series of craters, some of them volcanic craters like Hverfjall and some – pseudo craters like Skútustaðagígar, form an impressive lunar landscape. Between them lies the “City of Lava” Dimmuborgir with natural structures made of rigid lava in various forms and tremendous sizes, a unique place in the world. We will be able to see the bubbling mud pools Námaskarð on our way bathing in the turquoise-colored hot springs. The volcanic eruption of Krafla in recent years shows that the underground volcanic activity in the region is still far from calming down … Estimated driving distance: 130 km.
Today’s main sites: Mývatn.
Optional activities: Mývatn geothermal baths.
Accommodation: Mývatn area.
Day 9 – Trip to another planet – Askja and mountain plateau (4×4).
This day will be devoted to one of the unique sites in Iceland, and in fact in the whole world. Many travelers and adventurers do not miss an opportunity to visit the Askja Volcano located at the heart of the Iceland’s highlands. Due to its isolated location it takes relatively a long time to reach Askja, but it is worth the effort. A powerful volcanic eruption created a crater in which a huge lake was formed as a result of the ground collapse after the eruption. Near the lake was created a small crater Viti that literally means “the gate to hell” – bubbling turquoise water probably contributed to this name. The geographic isolation of Askja is a reason why this place was chosen by the NASA leaders to be a training site of the astronauts before their missions to the moon. Not hard to imagine that Neil Armstrong and his friends were reminded of Askja as they walked on the moon itself. On our way to Askja we will stop at the green oasis Herðubreiðarlindir, a large and spectacular table-shaped mountain will escort us throughout the trip which includes crossing several streams. Before we leave Askja we will visit the Dragon Valley (Drekagil). We will turn back toward the Lake Myvatn and from there we will pass through the beautiful waterfall of the Gods (Goðafoss). We will end the day in Akureyri, the main town in the North Iceland. Estimated driving distance: 330 km.
Today’s main sites: Herðubreiðarlindir – Askja – Viti Crater – Godafoss Waterfall – Akureyri
Accommodation: Akureyri area
Day 10 – Across Iceland by Kjölur – Gullfoss Waterfall – Geysir (4×4).
From Akureyri we will continue to Skagafjörður district known for its many horse-breeders. We will continue south toward the “cross Iceland” mountain road Kjölur. We will drive on the mountain road for the off-road vehicles through the artificial lake Blöndulón built along with the power plant. We will continue on the mountain road to the south between the glaciers Hofsjökull and Langjökull – an unforgettable ride along the wild and spectacular landscape. The route passes an ancient path used by the horse riders who came from the North Iceland each spring to the gatherings of the Icelandic Parliament. We will go by the colorful area of the Geysers Park Hveravellir between the glaciers Langjökull and Hofsjökull, an area on the northern edge of the lava field Kjalhraun. The springs are surrounded by the colorful terraces in a variety of forms. There is a travelers hut here open during the summer. Near the hut there is a small pool ideal for relaxing bath in a warm thermal water. The mountain range Kerlingarfjöll located near the road Kjölur is a natural jewel of Central Iceland, which offers unique views of the volcanic activity, glaciers, bubbling pools, ice caves and the multi-colored ground. We will go on south, take the paved road toward the Gullfoss Waterfall (Golden Waterfall) – one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Iceland and undoubtedly the most famous of them. From Gullfoss a short drive will take us to the Geysers Park, where we will visit the famous erupting geyser. Prepare the cameras! Estimated driving distance: 280 km.
Today’s main sites: Kjölur mountain road – Hveravellir – Gullfoss Waterfall – Geysir
Accommodation: Geysir area
Day 11 – Park Thingvellir – Kaldidalur highland track – Reykholt (4×4).
The last stop of the “Golden Circle” route is a national park Thingvellir (Þingvellir). This park is best known in Iceland due to its historical and geological importance on the one hand and because of its proximity to Reykjavik – a 40-minutes’ drive, on the other. During the first days of Iceland a thousand years ago, the heads of farmers from all over the country were gathering once a year in Althing from all corners of Iceland in the spring. Some by horse and some by foot were coming to Thingvellir for the annual council to establish laws, give punishments and maintain order and justice in the country. It is the first basic Parliament in the world! At the entrance to the park there are two tectonic plates, which lifted off the ground, in an amazing view, forming a huge natural land bridge surrounded by the high wall, where you can walk between the continents: one foot on the European continent and the other on the American. At the exit from the park the highest in Iceland mountain road Kaldidalur connects between Thingvellir to the West Iceland. After the ride between two glaciers, the road descends into the green valley and charming resort village adjacent to the two well-known waterfalls. The Lava Waterfall (Hraunfossar) is the better known one and its length is more than one kilometer! Along the rock layer the water is falling in a cascade of spectacular appearance. On our way west to Reyholt we must stop in the spring of boiling water Deildartunguhver to capture on the camera the biggest thermal spring in Europe. Estimated driving distance: 200 km.
Today’s main sites: Park Thingvellir – Kaldidalur highland road – Hraunfossar Waterfall
Day 12 – Reykjanes Peninsula – Blue Lagoon – Reykjavik.
The landscape of the Reykjanes Peninsula reminds the landscape of the Moon. It is hard to find even a single tree on the horizon. The symbol of the peninsula is a pyramid-shaped volcano called Keilir, which is easy to spot when driving from Reykjavík into the peninsula. The tectonic plates fracture crosses the region and creates a “hotspot” of geothermal activity. This is one of the geologically least stable places in Iceland and the site Krýsuvík is a good example of the activity taking place below the ground. On our way from Krýsuvík we will visit the intercontinental bridge that connects the two tectonic plates of America and Eurasia. The most famous site in Reykjanes is the Blue Lagoon, a geothermal pool built close to the power plant. Due to the turquoise color of the water and the natural landscape of the place, Blue Lagoon has become the mandatory stop for all visitors in Iceland. At the end of the trip in Reykjanes Peninsula we will return to Reykjavik for a tour along its beautiful streets. Estimated driving distance: 170 km.
Today’s main sites: Reykjanes Peninsula – Krýsuvík – Blue Lagoon – Reykjavik.
Day 13 – Reykjavik – Keflavik (flight).
The rest of the day before your flight, we can spend walking in Reykjavik. The car will be returned back at the airport before the flight.