A 9 day Iceland Itinerary Around the Ring Road

Need an Iceland itinerary?

Look no further.

Hot pots, lagoons, mountains, waterfalls, black sand beaches, glaciers, horses- this itinerary has them all.

My husband, Harrison, and I recently spent 9 days in Iceland driving around the Ring Road.

I planned meticulously for months ahead of time, and came up with a Google map and the ultimate Iceland itinerary that we followed each day!

We followed it step by step and our trip was honestly amazing.

After our nine days were up, we felt like we had really gotten to experience Iceland in all its beauty- it was incredible!

So here you go- a nine day Iceland itinerary around the Ring Road. You’ll go all around the circle on Highway 1, catching all of the most beautiful sights along the way!

I hope this helps you plan your trip whether you’re in Iceland for a week or a month! Modify it to suit exactly what you want to get out of your trip!

Map of Places

Iceland Itinerary

Iceland Itinerary Day 1

Total driving time: 1 hour

Location: Reykjavik

TimePlaceDescription
9:15amKlafavik Int’l AirportLand at 9:15AM. Pick up your portable WiFi at Dunkin Donuts (we got ours through TraWire) and  get your rental car by the airport (we used 4×4 Icerentals through Guide to Iceland).
10:30amBlue Lagoon**Advanced reservation required** Enjoy the Blue Lagoon right after the airport since it’s right next to it! It’s also a great way to decompress.
2pmLava RestaurantSplurge a little and have lunch at the Lava Restaurant at the Blue Lagoon.
4pmHotelCheck into your hotel in Reykjavik. We stayed at the CenterHotel Plaza and loved it. I highly recommend upgrading your room to the top floor! It’s not too much extra (I think it’s around $30 USD) and the view is worth it!
5pmReykjavikExplore the city! Be sure to check out Hallgrímskirkja, the famous Icelandic church.
7pmDinnerGrab some dinner in Reykjavik. The options are endless, so I’ll let you choose whichever one sounds best!
Relaxing at the Blue Lagoon in Reykjavik, Iceland
Plan for at least 3 hours at the Blue Lagoon. It’s so relaxing- the perfect way to decompress after a long flight!
dinner at Lava Restaurant at the Blue Lagoon in Reykjavik, Iceland
Food at Lava Restaurant may be pricey, but heads up! Pretty much all restaurant food is pricey in Iceland! Expect to spend at least $20 USD per plate for lunch and $30-45 per plate for dinner!
Blue skies reflecting on a mirror lake in Reykjavik, Iceland
We arrived to gorgeous blue skies in Reykjavik!
Top floor view from the CenterHotel Plaza in Reykjavik, Iceland
This is why I recommend upgrading at the CenterHotel Plaza- the view is unbelievable! It’s also in a great location and very walkable area.

Iceland Itinerary Day 2

Total driving time: 3 hours, 19 minutes

Location: Driving around the Golden Circle, from Reykjavik making a circle to end up in the Selfoss area.

**Note that “Driving Time” column is the amount of time it takes to drive to the next location. Ex: it takes 48 minutes to drive from Reykjavik to Þingvellir National Park.**

PlaceDescriptionDriving time
HotelEnjoy breakfast at your hotel. (The CenterPlaza Hotel has a fantastic breakfast!)48 minutes
Þingvellir National ParkThis is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, known for the Alþing, the oldest parliament in the world. On the site are the Þingvellir Church and the ruins of old stone shelters. The park is also notoriously between two tectonic plates (North America and Eurasia)!1 hour
Haukadalur Hot SpringsThere is an active geysir, Strokkur, which goes 30 meters (98 ft) high every five to ten minutes.10 minutes
Gulfoss (and lunch)This is the famous “V” shaped waterfall in Iceland. While you’re there, grab some lunch at the cafe- it has great soups, sandwiches, salads, and cakes.15 minutes
BrúarhlöðBrúarhlöð is a narrow gorge in the Hvitá River about three kilometers south of the Gullfoss. When we went, no one was there, except for a group rafting on the river!17 minutes
Secret Lagoon Hot Spring**Reservation recommended but not required** This lagoon is much smaller than the Blue Lagoon but is just as fun. It’s only 3300 ISK per person with a towel.4 minutes
HrunalaugA tiny hot pot, there might be a line to get in! It’s located in Hruni, tucked away over a hill, so secluded that you can’t see it from the parking lot. It’s on private land but the owners don’t charge a fee! There’s a tiny changing room as well.2 minutes
Minilik Ethiopian RestaurantThis place has great reviews! If you’re up for a new cuisine while in a new country, try it out! Note that it is closed on Sundays.31 minutes
KeridThis is a famous crater lake with gorgeous turquoise waters. There is a small entrance fee of 400 ISK to preserve and protect the crater.15 minutes
Akurgerdi Guesthouse This guesthouse is basically a perfectly decorated tiny home set on a horse farm! You have your own private hot tub and a kitchen!
An Iceland itinerary stop at Pingvellir National Park
The view at Þingvellir National Park.
An Iceland itinerary stop at Gullfoss waterfall
The famous Gullfoss waterfall! You will get sprayed a bit by the mist.
An Iceland itinerary stop at the gorgeous gorge of Bruarhlod
Brúarhlöð was one of my favorite spots- we were practically the only ones there!
Enjoying the hot spring at the Secret Lagoon Hot Spring in Iceland
It started raining while we were at the Secret Lagoon Hot Spring, but it was no problem- the hot water felt so good! There are full changing rooms and showers here.
An Iceland itinerary stop at Kerid, a turquoise crater lake
Heading down the stairs at Kerid. You can go all the way to the lake at the bottom!

Iceland Itinerary Day 3

Total driving time: 3 hours, 57 minutes

Location: starting in Selfoss, ending in Kirkjubæjarklaustur.

PlaceDescriptionDriving time
HotelIf you stay at the Akurgerdi Guesthouse, start the morning with a dip in the hot tub, or by playing with the horses!10 minutes
Breakfast in SelfossWe enjoyed breakfast at Kaffe Kruz in Selfoss. They’ve got great prices for Iceland.1 hour
SeljalandsfossA path leads you behind the waterfall. Wear a waterproof jacket as you will get soaking wet from the drizzle! We brought a camera jacket for our DSLR as well!22 minutes
SeljavallalaugNo entry fee to this pool. Turn of the Ring Road onto Road 242. You drive until you reach the parking lot (there are two, park at the further one since it is closer!) then walk for 15-20 minutes towards the bottom of the valley. You can’t see it until you get to it! Note that you’ll have to cross a tiny creek.13 minutes + a hike
Skógafoss WaterfallSkógafoss is 60 m high and 25 meters wide, and you can walk right up to it. Again, there is a drizzle, so protect your camera. There’s a really long staircase that leads up to the top of the hill above the falls.12 minutes + 4km hike
Sólheimasandur plane crash This famous plane crash is set on a black beach. We didn’t go because it was pouring rain, but I’ve heard it’s worth the 4km hike!19 minutes
Reynisfjara BeachA famous black sand beach with beautiful basalt columns. Have a late lunch/early dinner in Vik nearby!1 hour, 2 minutes
EldhraunA tiny hot pot, there might be a line to get in! It’s located in Hruni, tucked away over a hill, so secluded that you can’t see it from the parking lot. It’s on private land but the owners don’t charge a fee! There’s a tiny changing room as well.2 minutes
Hotel in 
Kirkju-bæjarklaustur
We stayed in Hotel Geirland. It wasn’t anything special, but honestly there aren’t many options out here!
Playing with Icelandic horses near Selfoss, Iceland
These were some sweet Icelandic horses at the farm where we stayed, the Akurgerdi Guesthouse.
An Iceland itinerary stop at  Seljalandsfoss
I literally got soaking wet taking this picture of Seljalandsfoss, which is why I’m making the face that I am! Good thing I was pretty much wearing entirely waterproof gear!
An Iceland itinerary stop at Seljavallalaug
Seljavallalaug was pretty but honestly didn’t meet expectations. The changing rooms were littered with trash and the water had quite a bit of algae in it (and wasn’t very warm!). But it’s definitely a unique experience!
An Iceland itinerary stop at Skogafoss
The view of Skogafoss from the top of the stairs! Trust me, those stairs will give you a great work out.
An Iceland itinerary stop at the black sand beach of Reynisfjara Beach
It was pouring rain at Reynisfjara Beach, but the black sand and basalt columns (not pictured) are really beautiful regardless!

Iceland Itinerary Day 4

Total driving time: 4 hours

Location: starting in Kirkjubæjarklaustur, ending in Höfn

PlaceDescriptionDriving time
HotelEnjoy breakfast at your hotel (Hotel Geirland, where we stayed, has a decent breakfast)17 minutes
FjaðrárgljúfurFjaðrárgljúfur is a canyon with the Fjaðrá river running through it. Stairs/ramps take you to a gorgeous view of the canyon.25 minutes
FagrifossYou can only get to Fagrifoss by crossing a river by car! So only attempt to reach this if you’re in a sturdy 4X4 that’s good for offroading. We actually turned back once we saw the river, so maybe we’ll see Fagrifoss on our next trip!1 hour, 26 minutes

Svínafellsjökull
Turn left on to Route 998, which will take you on a very bumpy ride to the car park. The glaciers here are absolutely beautiful!51 minutes
Diamond BeachThis beach is called Diamond Beach because of the glacier ice that washes up on the black sand beach.2 minutes
JökulsárlónThis lake is filled with stunning blue glaciers and is right across the Ring Road from Diamond Beach.1 hour
DinnerWe loved the lobster pizza at Z Bistro. They also have delicious desserts!5 minutes
Hotel HöfnThis was one of my favorite hotels. They offer complimentary bike rentals, so definitely bike down to the water- it’s beautiful at sunset!
An Iceland itinerary stop at  Fjadrargljufur
A view of the canyons of Fjaðrárgljúfur.
An Iceland itinerary stop on the way to Fagrifoss
Though we didn’t make it to Fagrifoss, we did see some GORGEOUS views and falls along the way, like this one!
A waterfall on the side of the Ring Road in Iceland
You’ll see a ton of waterfalls as you drive along the Ring Road! This one was on our way to 
Svínafellsjökull. 
Stunning glacier views at Svínafellsjökull.
An Iceland itinerary stop at Diamond beach, a black sand beach with glaciers
Check out those gorgeous glacier pieces on the black sand at Diamond Beach. Such a beautiful contrast!
An Iceland itinerary stop at Jokulsarlon with views of glaciers
Right across the Ring Road you’ll find the stunning blue glaciers at Jökulsárlón.
Sunset over a mirror lake in Hofn, a must visit city on your Iceland itinerary.
We ended the day with this sunset in Höfn. How incredible is this reflection? It was absolutely mesmerizing.

Iceland Itinerary Day 5

Total driving time: 3 hours

Location: Höfn to Eskifjörður or Egilsstaðir, driving inland. You can also drive along the coast, but we wanted to see what we’d find inland. Note that you might need a 4X4 vehicle if you’re wanting to leave the Ring Road.

PlaceDescriptionDriving time
Hotel HöfnThe breakfast at Hotel Höfn is beyond delicious. Definitely one of the best breakfast spreads we had!2 hours, 35 minutes
Waterfalls galoreAs you drive inland, you’ll be on a smaller road that is paved at some parts and gravel at others. Be prepared to see SO many waterfalls along the drive.

Lagarfljót
Lagarfljót is a lake near Egilsstaðir. There are legends of a lake monster in the lake!6 minutes
Vallanes RestaurantYou’ve got to try this restaurant if you take the route that leads to the lake. It’s in Egilsstaðir and serves all organic food made from their and their neighbors’ crops!5 or 52 minutes (depends)
HotelWe stayed at an AirBNB in Eskifjörður, but anywhere in East Iceland will be a good place to stop. If you stay in Egilsstaðir, your drive will be shorter on this day and the next.
Driving through Inland Iceland you'll find plenty of hidden waterfalls
Waterfalls are all along the drive inland. It’s truly a magical sight!
A gorgeous waterfall in inland Iceland.
Another gorgeous water feature you might stumble upon.
An Iceland itinerary stop at Vallanes, a restaurant with a greenhouse view
You’ll have a view of the crops and greenhouse while eating a meal at Vallanes.
Vallanes, Iceland
They even show you where your food is coming from!

Iceland Itinerary Day 6

Travel time: 4 hours, 23 minutes

Location: Eskifjörður or Egilsstaðir to Laugar

PlaceDescriptionDriving time
HotelWe started off at our AirBNB in Eskifjörður. If you’re starting in Egilsstaðir, the drive is a little over 2 hours to Dettifoss.2 hours, 45 minutes
DettifossThis waterfall in Vatnajökull National Park is the most powerful waterfall in Europe!1 hour

Namaskardh
A sulfuric martian-like landscape that smells like it sounds- like sulfur. There are hot sulfuric mud springs and steam springs.3 minutes
Mývatn Nature BathsThis is the Blue Lagoon of the north. It’s far less crowded and much cheaper. It is also smaller, but still beautiful. They don’t do advanced reservations!35 minutes
Guesthouse Storu-LaugarThis guesthouse has a great hot tub, but there isn’t much to do in the area. If you want to order dinner, you need to let them know by 5PM.
An Iceland itinerary stop at Dettifoss, a powerful waterfall.
Dettifoss is the most powerful waterfall in all of Europe!
An Iceland itinerary stop at Namascardh
Namascardh, the land of sulfur! Be prepared- it is quite smelly here!
Hot tub at Guesthouse Storu-Lagar in Iceland
We ended the day with a soak in the hot tub at our hotel.

Iceland Itinerary Day 7

Driving time: 3 hours, 25 minutes

Location: Laugar to 
Sauðárkrókur

PlaceDescriptionDriving time
Guesthouse Storu-LaugarEnjoy breakfast at the hotel. Depart by 8:30 to leave enough time for whale watching reservation!13 minutes
Goðafoss WaterfallGoðafoss Waterfall is considered a part of the Diamond Circle sightseeing route. You can actually go down to the water where the falls reach it.44 minutes
AkureyriThe colorful “capital” of northern Iceland. Walk around the main shopping street, Hafnarstræti.34 minutes
Whale watching in DalvikMake sure you make a reservation for your whale watching tour. We did ours through Extreme Iceland. The tour is about 2.5-3 hours long. You are supposed to arrive 20 minutes ahead of time!35 minutes
SiglufjörðurSiglufjörður is a gorgeous northern coastal town, and a great place to grab some dinner.1 hour, 19 minutes
AirBNB in SauðárkrókurWe stayed at an AirBNB that allowed us to go horseback riding the next morning! They had the best riding rates that I was able to find.
An Iceland itinerary stop at Gulfoss waterfall
Gulfoss is known as the waterfall of the gods because of the pagan idols thrown into it after Iceland became a Christian country.
An Iceland itinerary stop at Akuyeri on a cloudy day
A view of Akuyeri. This is such a pretty, colorful town. It’s the capital of the North, the biggest city in northern Iceland.
An Iceland itinerary stop whale watching in Dalvik
When whale watching in Dalvik, it takes about 45 minutes of boating before you see any whales.
Large humpback whale tail diving down into the ocean
It’s always breathtaking seeing humpback whales! They are so huge! We saw several.
Sunset in Iceland during the midnight sun
We ended our day with a pretty sky over Sauðárkrókur .

Iceland Itinerary Day 8

Driving time: 5 hours, 18 minutes

Location:  Sauðárkrókur to Stykkisholmur

PlaceDescriptionDriving time
Horseback riding in SauðárkrókurWe started off the day getting a trail ride at the AirBNB.8 minutes
Breakfast in SauðárkrókurWe drove into town to grab some breakfast at the local bakery, Sauðárkróksbakarí19 minutes
Grettirs PoolThere are two hot pots at Grettirs Pool, and they are both clean and beautiful. It is about 1000-1500ISK per person. There is a small but clean changing room.1 hour, 45 minutes
HvitserkurThis rock formation is known as “the troll of NorthWest Iceland.” There is a steep hike down a cliff if you want to get right up to the water where Hvitserkur is.2 hours, 55 minutes
Dinner in Stykkishólmur There are some excellent dining spots in this little fishing town: Sjávarpakkhúsið and 
Narfeyrarstofa were the two that caught my eye. The first was closed, so we ate at the latter and it was delicious!
13 minutes
Hotel StundarfridurThis is a pretty new hotel that doesn’t have many rooms, but the ones they do have are large and beautiful!
Riding Icelandic horses in Iceland
We began our day with horseback riding at our AirBNB, Icelandhorsetours. This was the best rate for horseback riding that I found! Even if you don’t stay overnight, contact them for a riding tour!
An Iceland itinerary stop at Grettirs Pool hot spring.
This was one of two hot pots in this spot (the other one is a few feet out of the photo on the left). Such a quaint, quiet, and clean hot pot- definitely a hidden gem!
An Iceland itinerary stop at Hvitserkur rock formation
What animal do you think Hvitserkur looks like? I think it looks like a rhinoceros!
Sunset skies in Iceland
Yet another colorful sky as the sun went down on our eighth day.

Iceland Itinerary Day 9

Total driving time: 3 hours, 48 minutes

Location: Stykkishólmur to Reykjavik

PlaceDescriptionDriving time
Hotel StundarfridurBreakfast at the hotel is included.29 minutes
Kirkjufell/ KirkjufellsfossThe falls are right on the road. There’s a parking area and path that takes you all the way around the falls.46 minutes

Arnarstapi
This beautiful town has extraordinary basalt columns and cliff formations, as well as an epic rock stack.2 hours, 30 minutes
Hotel in ReykjavikWe stayed at the Eyja Guldsmeden and it was a perfect last night in Iceland. The hotel is gorgeous and incredibly eco-friendly!15 minute walk
Old Iceland Restaurant**Reservation recommended** Have the best dinner you’ll ever have at this restaurant! Be sure to try the salmon appetizer!
An Iceland itinerary stop at Kirkjufell
Enjoying the views of the many waterfalls of the Snaefellus Peninsula
The Snaefellus Peninsula has so many gorgeous waterfalls carved into its hills.
An Iceland itinerary stop at a waterfall on the Snaefellus Peninsula.
This was our all time favorite waterfall, and it’s not even on a list of tourist attractions! We just stumbled upon it while driving.
An Iceland itinerary stop at Arnarstapi, which has a river and mountain peak
Does this part of Arnarstapi look like a scene from Lord of the Rings or what?
An Iceland itinerary stop at Arnarstapi
This gorgeous brook turns into a gorgeous waterfall at the end of the cliff.
Salmon appetizer at Old Iceland in Reykjavik.
Our best meal in Iceland- and possibly the best meal I’ve ever had- was at Old Iceland, where we had this delicious salmon appetizer. It’s a MUST!
Hotel Eyda Guldsmeden canopy bed in Reykjavik, Iceland
Our last night was finished off right- under a canopy bed, feeling like royalty at the Eyda Guldsmeden in Reykjavik.

Iceland Itinerary Day 10

If you’re staying at the Eyda Guldsmeden, the breakfast there is a must, even though it costs extra.

After that, return the rental car, your portable Wi-Fi hotspot, and head to the airport!

I hope your trip is absolutely amazing and I really hope this Iceland itinerary helps!

For more Iceland posts and more details about our Iceland itinerary, check out this one on where to stay around the Ring Road!

Safe travels,

Jasmine

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6 Comments

  1. September 21, 2018 / 12:40 pm

    This is the most comprehensive guide! I love it! Looks like a fab trip.

    • September 21, 2018 / 12:42 pm

      Thank you so much, Olivia!! That means a lot- definitely put a lot of time into this one!! And yes- it was a wonderful trip!!!

  2. Judy
    September 21, 2018 / 3:03 pm

    Great post! Love your maps and photos.

    • September 21, 2018 / 4:23 pm

      Thank you so much Judy!! I appreciate it!

  3. September 30, 2018 / 4:34 pm

    Iceland is on my husband and I’s MUST SEE list in the next few years! Thank you for putting together such a comprehensive guide!! This is how my husband and I do trips, too — self-planned, self-paced, and all over the place! I’ll definitely be using this as a guide whenever we plan our trip there because it seriously looks like it was incredible. Hope you had an absolutely AMAZING time! (Looks like you did!)

    • September 30, 2018 / 10:37 pm

      Yay, I’m so glad it’ll be useful for you guys! It really was such a phenomenal trip- I can’t wait for you to experience Iceland hopefully soon!! And yes- planning makes trips so much easier to me! Glad you can relate!!

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