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Car driving on road Iceland

Rent a Car and Drive the Circle of Iceland

  • Átak
  • 23.08.2017

The most popular and complete vacation in Iceland is to drive the whole circle of Iceland. Along the coast, there is a road called the Ring Road, or Route 1. It encircles the whole island and from the Ring Road you can see some of the best natural attractions that Iceland has to offer. This article will tell you how you can plan for a trip like this in 6 days, and what attractions you can see along the way.

Driving the ring road

First you will need to rent a car. A small cheap car is enough for this trip as Route 1 is mostly paved and easily navigated. For entering the highlands and crossing rivers a Jeep is required. The speed limit along the way is mostly 90km per hour (55mph), except when passing through villages and towns. It is recommended that you drive slowly and carefully, as gravel roads can also be encountered on the way. They can also be slippery in rain and mist, but as long as you drive carefully you will not encounter any problems.

Day 1 - Keflavík to Reykjavík

You can pick up your car from Keflavík airport and drive it to your accommodation in Reykjavík for your first day. Along the way, you will pass by the Blue Lagoon, which is ideally done on the way to or from the airport.

Day 2 - Reykjavík to Laugavatn

The next day you start your journey through magnificent landscapes. Most people start counter-clockwise, going south first. On your first day, you should visit the attractions on the famous Golden Circle Route. The attractions on this route include Þingvellir National Park, where you can see the continents of Europe and America rip apart. The next stop on the Golden Circle is the Geysir geothermal area, before reaching the mighty Gullfoss waterfall. This route isn´t exactly all on the Ring Road itself but these attractions are a small detour from it. Spend the night at Laugavatn, which is a small and charming village.

Day 3 - Laugavatn to Skaftafell

The next day you will drive down Route 1 in South Iceland. You will pass by the famous Seljalandsfoss waterfall, which has a cave behind it you can walk through. The next stop would be Skógafoss waterfall where you can walk all the way to the top. From the top, you can see a rock which locals believe used to be a troll before being turned to stone by the sun. Continue South on Route 1 to pass the fishing village of Vík í Mýrdal. You can spend the night in this charming village or you can continue eastward to reach Skaftafell National Park. Skaftafell is the gateway to Vatnajökull National Park; which is the largest nature reserve in Europe.

Day 4 - Skaftafell to Egilsstaðir

Explore the amazing scenery of Skaftafell National Park. Europe´s largest nature reserve also contains its largest glacier. You can go glacier hiking and there are numerous tours that you can join in to take advantage of the many adventures the park has to offer. This tour for example takes you glacier hiking and on a boat trip through the extremely beautiful glacier lagoon Jökulsárlón. By driving eastward you will also pass the glacier lagoon if you want to spend more time there. Continue your journey east to start driving through the Eastfjords. There you will start to climb to higher elevations which will slow your journey while you drive in the mountains. We recommend you stay at Egilsstaðir for the night before your journey up the mountains.

Day 5 - Egilsstaðir to Akureyri

Continue north to the amazing Mývatn area. There you will see mud pools and can even bathe in a hot spring in the Mývant nature baths. On your way to the town of Akureyri you will also pass by Ásbyrgi canyon, where it is believed the eight-legged horse of the Norse god Óðinn landed. It is an awesome place. Continue your journey in Northern Iceland to reach Akureyri, which locals call “Pearl of the North."  In Akureyri, you can find the botanical garden and numerous cafés, restaurants and nightclubs. There is also a beautiful mountain that lies in front of the town and small picturesque fishing boats by the harbour.

Day 6 - Akureyri to Reykjavík

Start your journey back to Reykjavík. It will take you about 6 hours to reach the capital again from Akureyri, and along the way you will see beautiful mountains, farms, horses and sheep. If you follow the Ring Road you will truly spend some amazing days in Iceland and get to see most of the best attractions here. If you rent a car with us we can help you enter in the GPS locations of all the best attractions on the way.