- 11 Days / 10 Nights
- Vehicle – All types are suitable
- Season – All year round
Main areas of this itinerary:
Ring Road, Golden Circle, Reykjadalur Hike Iceberg Lagoons, East Fjords, Stórurð Hike, Dettifoss, Eyjan Hike in Asbyrgi, Myvatn.
An exceptional journey around Iceland with our carefully planned Classic Itinerary, encircling the island along the renowned Ring Road. Specifically designed for avid hikers, this distinctive route introduces some of Iceland’s most stunning trails, including the Reykjadalur Hike, Stórurð Hike, and the Eyjan Hike in Asbyrgi. Explore every point of interest and natural wonder at a leisurely pace over the course of seven days. Tailored to be adaptable throughout the seasons, the itinerary showcases seasonal highlights, providing a year-round adventure for hiking enthusiasts keen on discovering the extraordinary landscapes of Iceland.
Day 1 – Arrival and Reykjavik Exploration
Collect your rental car conveniently at Keflavík Airport, a brief 45-minute drive from Reykjavik. Swiftly check in at your Reykjavik accommodation before embarking on your exploration of Iceland’s cultural nucleus.
Wander leisurely through the city, making a point to visit the Harpa opera house—an architectural marvel that transforms hues with the sun’s dance. Serving as a cultural and social hub, Harpa hosts diverse events throughout the year. For a panoramic Reykjavik experience, venture to Perlan (“The Pearl”), perched atop a hill and boasting a revolving restaurant. This iconic landmark features a 360-degree observation deck, offering stunning vistas of the city and its surrounding landscapes.
Optional Activities: FlyOver Iceland, Perlan, Sky Lagoon
Day 2 – Golden Circle Highlights
Leave Reykjavik behind as you journey northeast towards Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where tectonic plates converge. Immerse yourself in the breathtaking Almannagjá gorge, a striking rift between the North American and Eurasian plates. Witness the dynamic eruptions of the Strokkur Geyser at the Geysir geothermal area, showcasing the captivating forces of nature.
Continue your awe-inspiring adventure at the powerful Gullfoss Waterfall, where the Hvítá River plunges into a rugged canyon. Discover additional natural wonders, including the volcanic crater Kerið, a mesmerizing caldera featuring a vivid blue lake, and the picturesque Faxi Waterfall. As the day draws to a close, unwind in the delightful town of Hella for an overnight stay.
Optional Activities: Snorkeling in Silfra, Secret Lagoon
Day 3 – Reykjadalur Hike – South Coast Wonders
This delightful day begins with an easy to moderate six-kilometer hiking trail through the enchanting Reykjadalur Valley, also known as the Smoky Valley. Along the route, you’ll be accompanied by warm springs and hot pools (don’t forget your swimsuit and towel). To reach the parking lot for the Smoky Valley, pass through the town of Hveragerði, enter the main street, and continue straight after passing the golf course on your right. There, you’ll spot signs directing you to the parking lot for the hot river.
The second half of the day will be dedicated to the southern coast of Iceland, where you’ll encounter the breathtaking Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss waterfalls. Seljalandsfoss, with its impressive 60-meter drop, allows you to walk behind the cascading water, providing a unique and immersive perspective. Skógafoss, a majestic 25-meter-wide waterfall, offers hiking trails with panoramic views. Take in the beauty of the black sand beaches of Vik, known for their striking allure and powerful waves. Explore the iconic Dyrhólaey Cliff, a promontory featuring stunning arches and cliffs. Rest for the night in Vík.
Optional Activities: Reykjadalur Hike, Ice Cave
Day 4 – Skaftafell and Glacier Lagoons
Drive along Route 1, flanked by the stunning Vatnajökull glacier on one side and meandering delta rivers on the other. Explore Skaftafell National Park, known for its diverse landscapes, hiking trails, and views of Vatnajökull. Visit the serene Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon, where massive icebergs float peacefully, creating a captivating scene. Consider a summer cruise among the icebergs for a closer look. End the day with an overnight stay in Höfn, a charming fishing town known for its delicious seafood.
Optional Activities: Glacier Walk, Zodiac in the Glacier Lagoon
Day 7 – Dettifoss – Eyjan Hike in Asbyrgi
Continuing north towards the most powerful waterfall in Iceland, often claimed as the mightiest in all of Europe, Dettifoss stands at a height of 44 meters and spans approximately 100 meters in width. Fed by the glacial river Jökulsá á Fjöllum, originating from the Vatnajökull glacier, the largest glacier in Europe, Dettifoss cascades with immense force into the Jökulsárgljúfur Canyon. Standing near, you can feel the ground tremble beneath your feet.
Asbyrgi Canyon is the next enchanting spot on the route, considered one of Iceland’s graceful wonders. This horseshoe-shaped canyon boasts a relatively high temperature and shelter from the wind, fostering lush vegetation and flora within its confines. Take advantage of the time in Asbyrgi for a captivating hike along the beautiful Eyjan trail. The trail commences in the southwest corner of the campsite, passing beneath the towering cliffs where various shapes of basalt columns can be observed. You might even catch a glimpse of the nest of the black raven (Corvus corax), where the bold falcon uses for its chicks. As the path progresses to the southern cliff of Eyjan, it turns westward. The trail concludes at the old playground in Asbyrgi. You can also combine this trail with the Á-3 trail for a circular route.
Wrap up the day with a visit to the spectacular GEOSEA geothermal sea baths in the renowned town of Husavik, known for its whale-watching excursions. Opt for accommodation in the area or slightly south in the Myvatn region.
Accommodation: Myvatn area
Optional Activities: Eyjan Hike in Asbyrgi, GeoSea
Day 8 – Lake Mývatn area
Explore the diverse volcanic landscapes of Krafla, characterized by its expansive calderas and colorful geological features. Wander through the Namafjall geothermal field, where bubbling mud pots and fumaroles showcase the natural geothermal wonders in a more subtle manner. Take in the peaceful beauty of Lake Mývatn, a haven for various bird species and home to unique geological formations. Experience the intriguing formations of the “dark castles” at Dimmuborgir, a lava field with distinctive rock structures. Enjoy a relaxed overnight stay in the serene surroundings of the Myvatn area.
Accommodation: Myvatn area
Optional Activities: Myvatn Bath
Day 9 – Akureyri – Trollaskagi Peninsula and Skagafjörður
Akureyri, the second-largest city in Iceland, is home to 18,000 residents and nestled in a stunning fjord surrounded by mountains – a picturesque departure from the typical Icelandic landscape. Wander through the charming old town center adorned with small houses, gardens, and cozy cafes. Akureyri’s cathedral boasts adorned windows and impressive murals depicting chapters in Iceland’s history, while the panoramic view from the church steps is breathtaking.
The city center offers a variety of restaurants, cafes, elegant shops, galleries, and entertainment venues. As we continue our journey through Trollaskagi Peninsula (Troll Peninsula), revel in the dramatic landscapes and snow-capped peaks. Small islands scattered in the beautiful fjord resemble tiny fortresses, a sanctuary for thousands of birds.
Proceed through the fertile valleys of Skagafjörður, the heartland of Iceland’s horse breeding. Icelandic horses are a unique breed known for their endurance and rare beauty. These horses are raised and cared for on farms scattered across Skagafjörður. These horse farms have a long tradition of breeding and nurturing Icelandic horses, earning the region the title of the “cradle of Icelandic horses.
Optional Activities: Whale Watching Akureyri, Beer Spa
Day 10 – The Lava Falls on the West
Take a westward journey to explore some interesting spots. Visit the Deildartunguhver hot springs, known as Europe’s most powerful hot spring. Check out the Hvítserkur rock formation, a 15-meter-tall basalt stack resembling a creature by the sea. Enjoy the calm setting of Lava Waterfall (Hraunfossar), where water flows from the Hallmundarhraun lava field. Discover the quaint Borgarnes village and, if you feel adventurous, consider the Kjölur dirt road for a unique route through Iceland’s landscapes. Finish your trip with a laid-back overnight stay in Reykjavik.
Optional Activities: Into The Glacier, Husafell
Day 9 – Reykjavik – Car drop-off – Flight
Spend your final day exploring the charms of Reykjavik. Return your car at the airport before departure and take a moment to reflect on the incredible journey through Iceland’s diverse landscapes and cultural treasures.
Among our collection of 50+ itineraries, the ‘Complete Circle For Hikers – 11 Days Itinerary’ stands out as a perennial favorite, securing its place on the ‘Top Itineraries’ list of ‘Take Me There Iceland’. Explore the beauty of Iceland at your own pace, guided by our app for an unforgettable road trip experience.