This unforgettable Iceland tour will take you through the legendary Ring Road for a journey of a lifetime at your pace. Take in the panoramic views from the top of Reykjavik’s Hallgrimskirkja Church, stand in awe as Strokkur Geyser erupts, and marvel at powerful waterfalls and the rainbows that develop in their mists. Fantastical surprises await around nearly every turn, from viewing the unique cliff of basalt columns on a black sand beach, cruising among a maze of floating icebergs and visiting...
Reykjavik – Exploring Iceland’s Capital City
Welcome to Iceland! After you arrive at Keflavik Airport, you’ll be welcomed to the country by your driver, who will bring you to your accommodation in Reykjavik, the capital city. Roughly two-thirds of Icelanders live in the capital region, which is home to about 200,000 residents. In the middle of its historical and cultural core, there are no skyscrapers or towering structures - instead, you’ll see colorful, modest-sized buildings and lots of vibrant street art as you breathe in the salty sea air. Once you’re settled in, you’ll have the rest of the day to explore this beautiful but small and walkable city that serves as Iceland’s artistic, social and cultural heart. As you stroll its streets, you’ll immediately notice how green, clean and safe it is, resulting in an especially relaxed, laid-back atmosphere.
Home to multiple outstanding art galleries, museums impressive architectural designs, fantastic street art, welcoming cafes and pubs, Reykjavik is a great city to explore on foot. Start with a visit to the iconic Hallgrimskirkja Church, Iceland’s tallest and largest church, renowned for its futuristic design. Sitting atop Skolavorduhaed Hill, you’ll step into this working church and view a magnificent organ before taking the elevator to the top of its 244-foot tower. Here, you can get a good sense of the layout of the city, along with a spectacular panoramic view of the colorful rooftops, the surrounding mountains and the glistening expanse of the North Atlantic. Coupled with the lovely sounds of the three bells, which ring every 15 minutes, this experience is one that you won’t soon forget.
As you ascend back down the hill toward downtown and the water, by walking along the road that stretches from the church to the harbor, Skólavörðustígur, you’ll discover a number of cool indie boutiques and a fabulous hidden gem known as 12 Tonar. Jam-packed with vinyl and CDs, including rare limited editions, you can open any one of them to listen while sipping free espresso, and discovering what Icelandic music is all about. Now that you’re re-energized, you’ll be ready to hit the rest of the highlights, and stock up on souvenirs, gifts or unique Icelandic fashions. Geysir, just a few steps from 12 Tonar, offers items made from 100 percent Icelandic wool, while Aurum features modern jewelry inspired by Icelandic nature.
Those that appreciate the unique and different, or just want to see what a whale penis looks like, should head to the Icelandic Phallological Museum, colloquially known as the “Penis Museum.” Located on the city’s busiest shopping street, Laugavegur, its one large room is filled with shelves and glass cases that showcase animal penises, ranging in size from a tiny hamster penis to a massive whale member. Of course, you’ll find more traditional museums that are well worth visiting too, like the National Museum of Iceland which details the island’s history, and the Reykjavik Maritime Museum, housed in a former fish factory with historic ships as well as exhibits on the local fishing industry.
At the edge of the bay, just a few blocks from the main district, is Harpa, a concert venue and conference center renowned for its magnificent architecture and design, with facades inspired by nature. You don’t have watch a show to go inside – step in and you’ll find interesting shops and restaurants, as well as glorious views of the water and surrounding mountains. Finally, no visit to this city is complete without a stop at the world’s most famous hot dog vendor, Bæjarins Beztu, which gained international fame when former President Bill Clinton sauntered up to the counter for a dog. If you want to order a local favorite, ask for the “ein með öllu,” a lamb-based hot dog smothered in mustard, ketchup, fried and raw onion, and remoulade, a sweet mayonnaise-like dressing.
Hvolsvollur – The Legendary Golden Circle
Kirkjubaejarklaustur – Waterfalls and Black Sand Beaches
Hofn – Outdoor adventures in Vatnajokull National Park
Lake Myvatn – A Scenic Drive Through East Iceland’s Dramatic Fjords, Tranquil Fishing Villages, and Sweeping Vistas
Lake Myvatn – Continuing the Exploration of the Diverse Lake Myvatn Region
Skagafjordur – The Capital of the North, Peninsula of the Trolls, Icelandic Horses, and More
Snaefellsnes Peninsula – Iceland in Miniature
Reykjavik – In-depth Exploration of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula
Reykjavik – Departure Day
- Visit the capital city of Reykjavik, taking in panoramic views from the top of Hallgrimskirkja Church before exploring unique shops and museums
- A scenic drive along the Golden Circle route, including Pingvellir National Park and the chance to dive between two continents: Gullfoss Waterfall and the Geysir area
- Explore the South Coast, with its black sand beaches, magnificent waterfalls, fantasy-like canyons, and breathtaking glaciers
- View an icy wonderland of glacial sculptures and cruise across Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon with its maze of floating icebergs
- Drive through the dramatic fjords and peaceful fishing villages of East Iceland to the otherworldly landscape of Lake Myvtan
- Watch for whales in the “Whale Watching Capital of Europe” and relax in the geothermal waters of the Myvatn Nature Baths
- Stroll through the world’s most northerly botanical garden in the Capital of the North, ride the ancient Icelandic horse through the countryside and journey to the magnificent Snaefellsnes Peninsula to discover its magical and mysterious wonders
In recent years, Iceland’s extraordinary landscape has caught the eye of many travelers. Largely thanks in part to the country being featured in a number of films and television shows, including “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” the blockbuster “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and the hit HBO series “Game of Thrones.”
With the world now awakened to this fantasy land of waterfalls, rainbows, black sand beaches, geothermal pools, glaciers and dramatic mountain ranges, it’s become a must-visit destination for travelers of all types, and particularly outdoor adventurers.
One of the best ways to explore this otherworldly-like land is through this 10-day Iceland itinerary that allows freedom and flexibility, bringing you through the highlights of one of the most epic drives on the planet, the Ring Road, which circles the entire island. Along the way, you’ll have the opportunity to take part in a myriad of outdoor adventures. Embark on a walk or snowmobile ride across a glacier, a hike to one of Iceland’s most incredible “hidden waterfalls,” a Zodiac boat ride across a glacier lagoon, a climb to the top of a volcanic crater, whale watching, horse riding and more.
The journey begins in the colorful capital of Reykjavik, where you’ll start by taking in the panoramic view from the top of Hallgrimskirkja Church for a fabulous perspective of the city’s layout before visiting its unique shops, galleries, museums and the one of the world’s most famous hot dog stands.
Next, you’ll head out on the first leg of the classic Ring Road. Take in the delights of the Golden Circle route, straddling two continents at Pingvellir National Park, walking the paths of the Geysir area to marvel at the erupting geysers and boiling mud pots.
Each day seems to bring even more wondrous delights; enjoy a day showcasing Iceland’s spectacular South Coast, home to some of the country’s most awe-inspiring scenery, including the majestic Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss waterfalls, the pristine black sand beaches of the Reynisfjara shore and the unique cliff of basalt columns. You’ll walk through a land of fairies and trolls at Fjaorargliufur Canyon and even glide across a stunning glacier on a snowmobile.
Vatnajokull National Park brings more unforgettable experiences that include hidden waterfalls, a walk on a glacier tongue and a boat ride across the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon. Driving through East Iceland to Lake Myvtan, you’ll have the chance to take a boat tour to the “island of puffins,” for close encounters with puffins and seals before reaching the lake known as a bird watching paradise, renowned for its unique lava formations and natural geothermal baths.
The adventure continues with a visit to the world’s most northerly botanical garden in Akureyri, the Capital of the North, a drive on Trollaskagi, “The Peninsula of the Trolls,” and onto the magical, mysterious region of Snaefellsnes, or “Iceland in Miniature.” The 56-mile-long peninsula is filled with everything the country has to offer, all in one place: wild coastline, basalt columns, volcanoes, glaciers, natural hot pools and those adorably fluffy Icelandic horses.
Finally, you’ll head back to Reykjavik to get ready for your return flight, although one more experience awaits if your flight is scheduled in the afternoon. Spend your last morning in Iceland with a soak in the Blue Lagoon, relaxing in the warm, healing waters before saying one final goodbye to this land you’re sure to want to return to time and time again.
$4,545 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
- In-country transportation
- Some or all activities and tours
- Expert trip planning
- 24x7 support during your trip
Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
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