PRIVATE GRAND CIRCLE TOUR | 8+ DAY RING ROAD

The peculiar geology of Iceland has created one of the most interesting road trips imaginable and Hidden Iceland would love to take you for a ride! Our beautiful volcanic island is protected by the Gulf Stream, which makes it’s coastal areas pleasant and habitable despite Iceland’s northern latitude. Join our Grand Circle tour for the ultimate ring road trip!

The central highlands are mostly uninhabitable and hard to access and thus a ring road connecting the south with the north and the east with the west was completed less than half a century ago. An enjoyable trip around Iceland on the ring road can be completed in as little as 8 days, however, as it offers endless opportunities for detours the Grand Circle can easily be customised for longer holidays.

The most popular version of our Private Grand Circle is often 9 or 10 days long. Some even extending into as full two weeks. To get you started though, we’ve included our 8 day version below, which starts with the most visited areas of Iceland and moves into less touristic locations for a diverse and immersive Iceland experience. Please note, this 8 day trip does not include arrival day or departure day.

Hidden Iceland focuses on enjoying nature and selecting the best locations for each overnight stay. We would be happy to adapt this private trip to your group according to your preferences or some of the suggestions below. Having a friendly and knowledgeable guide who will tell you stories about each area and add in little stops, hikes or detours they know and love is also a great way of making a multi day tour unforgettable.

Trip Highlights

Golden Circle sights & the all inclusive lunch at Friðheimar Tomato Farm
• Waterfalls & beaches of the South Coast
• Glaciers & Vatnajökull National Park in all its immense glory
• The tranquillity of the Eastfjords
• Geological phenomena in the Mývatn area
Whale watching in North Iceland
• The rich history of West Iceland
• And we can’t even try to pick just one the Snæfellsnes destinations
• Relaxing in the blue waters of the Blue Lagoon or Retreat Lagoon
Volcanic Eruption Viewpoint & The Lava Tunnel

Arrival & Reykjavík time

A private driver will wait for you by the arrival gates at KEF Airport upon arrival and take you to Reykjavík where you check into your accommodation. Although Reykjavík is a small city, there are a lot of interesting things to see and do. Not to mention the numerous restaurants to test out! Have a read through our Reykjavík City Guide where we’ve outlined some of our favorite places, covering everything from transportation in the city, to sights, activities and restaurants.

Where do we stay?
Reykjavík boasts of an impressive amount of high quality accommodation for such a small capital. There are many amazing options to choose from with our favourites being Reykjavik Residence Apartments and Alda Hotel. For an upgrade in accommodation then Konsúlat Hótel, Tower Suites or The Reykjavík EDITION Hotel are all amazing options.

The Day to Day Itinerary
Day 1 of 8 | Golden Circle Sights

Today you’ll be picked up after breakfast by our guide to start the journey around Iceland. On this first day we’ll see all of the most popular sights of the so-called Golden Circle area, with some unique twists to make the first day even more special. We head first to Þingvellir National Park & UNESCO Heritage Site to see the effects of constant tectonic movement in the midst of an area which is as rich in history as it is beautiful. From there we’ll go to Friðheimar for an all inclusive lunch at this one of a kind restaurant. Tomato ice cream, anyone? Next up is the erupting geyser Strokkur and its neighbour, the one and only Geysir, along with the impressive Gullfoss waterfall. Then we start heading towards our South Coast accommodation, but not without stopping first to relax in the warm waters of the Secret Lagoon geothermal hot pool, which dates back to the late 18th century. 

Activities
Secret Lagoon and lunch at Friðheimar Tomato Greenhouse

Where do we stay?
We love staying at Hotel Vos, Skálakot Manor Hotel & Hotel UMI.

Looking for a little something extra?
What about adding a night in the south to go on a super jeep day tour into the highland valley of Þórsmörk?

Day 2 of 8 | South Coast Highlights

Today we drive along the entire South Coast with its many beaches and waterfalls. We walk behind Seljalandsfoss waterfall and try to get as close to Skógafoss waterfall as possible before admiring the basalt columns and taking a walk on the black sand beach of Reynisfjara. Here we can have lunch before continuing our drive through the seaside town of Vík. We go past the vast Eldhraun lava field and hike along the edges of Fjaðrárgljúfur gorge. As we reach Vatnajökull National Park the landscape starts to change dramatically due to the effect of Europe’s largest glacier and as we come into Skaftafell Nature Reserve we will stop at one of the numerous outlet glaciers here for views over these icy giants. 

Where do we stay?
There are many lovely accommodation options in the southeast, such as Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon.

Day 3 of 8 | Winding off the beaten bath through to the Eastfjords

We leave the South Coast behind and make our way through the much less visited Eastfjords of Iceland. We start the day by one of our favorite locations in Iceland at Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon where we witness the giant glacier ice bergs float in the massive lagoon. If you’re lucky, you’ll be greeted by one of the friendly and curious seals that live in the lagoon. Afterwards we pop over to the Diamond Beach where the glacier ice bergs wash up to shore. From here we start our journey east. On our way we’ll see minuscule fishing villages and gorgeous views of valleys and uninhabited fjords. The birdlife it quite spectacular in certain seasons as migrant species gather in these tranquil areas. We continue north towards the town of Egilsstaðir where we spend the night.

Where do we stay?
In Egilsstaðir you can stay at the Lake Hotel, Icelandair Hotel Hérað or 1001 Nótt to name a few.

Day 4 of 8 | Exploring the North East Wonders

Heading into the north of Iceland we drive through a rough mountainous and desert area, quite different from what we have seen so far, before coming to Dettifoss waterfall, Europe’s most powerful waterfall with it’s hypnotising voluminous flow. You’ll be able to hear its roar and feel the mist before even catching a glimpse of the waterfall itself. Then we continue into the mystical landscape around Lake Mývatn. There we explore the mars like landscape by Námaskarð geothermal mud pools and peak into Grjótagjá cave, made famous by Game of Thrones. No visit to Mývatn is complete without a visit to Jarðböðin, or Mývatn Nature Baths, where we can bathe in the warmth of the mineral rich alkaline water. We then travel to Akureyri for an overnight stay, visiting the wide and dreamy crescent shaped waterfall, Goðafoss, as the last stop of the day.

Where do we stay?
We can stay close the centre of Akureyri at Kea Hotel or Icelandair Hotel Akureyri if you want to experience the nightlife in a small city, or alternatively we can look for more peace and quiet at Skjaldarvík Guesthouse or similar.

Looking for a little something extra?
Perhaps we can add an additional night close to the Mývatn area so you’ll get more time to explore the magnificent north of Iceland and reach more remote locations, such as Ásbyrgi Canyon.

Day 5 of 8 | Arctic Coastway to West Iceland

We check out of our accommodation in Akureyri and go on a whale watching tour from the town. This is the perfect place to spot whales, not needing to travel far from the port to where you frequently see whales within the fjord. We continue our drive west, passing through the small farming towns of northwest Iceland while driving through the Arctic Coastway. We will stop by Glaumbær farm where we can walk through and see the restored old turf houses and farms and get a sense of life in early times in Iceland. Before coming into our accommodation in the fishing village of Stykkishólmur, located by Breiðafjörður bay.

Activities
Today we go whale watching from the town of Akureyri

Where do we stay?
Tonight we spend the night in the charming fishing village of Stykkishólmur at Hotel Egilsen.

Day 6 of 8 | West Iceland Sights

Today we explore Snæfellsnes, a little miniature of Iceland where you’ll see fjords, mountains, volcanoes, endless lava fields, glaciers, and dramatic coastal cliffs, all in one amazing peninsula. From Stykkishólmur we make our headway around the peninsula made famous by Jules Verne and head to Kirkjufell mountain, another Game of Thrones location known as Arrow Mountain, although in Icelandic the name stands for Church Mountain. We explore the lava formations and black pebble beach of Djúpalónssandur, no less impressive than the south coast shores. As we continue to go around Snæfellsjökull glacier we head to the stunning Lóndrangar basalt spires and the small village of Arnarstapi, which is surrounded by impressive sea cliffs plummeting into the ocean and boasting its own guardian giant. We’ll make a quick photo stop by Búðakirkja black church before heading back to our accommodation for the night. 

Where do we stay?
Ending the day at the beautiful Hótel Búðir for an overnight stay can also make the Snæfellsnes experience even more special.

Looking for a little something extra?
If you are interested in exploring Iceland from below we can add in a guided tour through the lava tunnel Vatnshellir.

Day 7 of 8 | Inland in West Iceland & Reykjavík

We are fast approaching the end of our Grand Circle Tour now, so we are taking it a little slower. After breakfast we head inland to Húsafell. We’ll visit the nearby twin waterfalls of Hraunfossar and Barnafoss, which are some of the more beautiful waterfalls in Iceland. Next up is a tranquil horse ride through the fields of Húsafell. From here we go to the highest-flow hot spring in Europe, Deildartunguhver, and then relax in the warm waters of the adjoining Krauma Spa. After the pool we make our way back in to Reykjavik in the late afternoon after an amazing trip on the ring road of Iceland. 

Activities
Today we visit Krauma Spa, where entrance and towel hire is included

Where do we stay?
Tonight we spend the night in Reykjavík.

Day 8 of 8 | Lava Tunnel, Volcanic Eruption Viewpoint & Blue Lagoon

The Reykjanes peninsula and LAVA Tunnel tour is all about the tectonic effects on the island. We spend the day visiting the UNESCO Global Geopark of Reykjanes Peninsula which is home to some incredible sights.

We start with a visit to Raufarhólshellir, or more widely known as the Lava Tunnel. This is one of the longest lava tubes in Iceland and a must see Iceland spot. Here we will explore the depths of this colourful lava tunnel. You will witness the inner workings of a volcanic eruption from 5200 years ago.

Afterwards, we will take part in a moderate hike to the newest lava field on the planet at the dormant volcano, Geldingadalur. We will walk around the lava field learning all about the eruption that started on the 19th of March 2021. There is no hot lava on the surface these days but you’re likely to see some steam coming from the rocks. On a clear day it’s possible to hike to the top of the nearby hill for a view of the volcanic crater. Please note, although the volcano has stopped erupting it is not always possible or safe to visit the site. On these days we would add in other great spots on the Reykjanes Peninsula before finishing the day at the Blue Lagoon.

Activities
We hike to a viewpoint over Geldingadalur Volcano where we see the newly formed lava fields, but also visit The Lava Tunnel where we get to explore the inner workings of where the lava flowed in the Leitarhraun eruption some 5,200 years ago!

Where do we stay?
Your guide will drop you off either at the luxurious Silica by Blue Lagoon or the 5 star Retreat by Blue Lagoon for a unique treat to wrap up your stay in Iceland. Both these hotels give you access to their own secluded pools as well as access to the Blue Lagoon itself.

Departure day

Enjoy a day (or more) in one of the amazing hotels by Blue Lagoon before making your way to KEF Airport for your outbound flight. A private driver will pick you up from your accommodation and take you to the airport located nearby for your flight home.

Tour Highlights

OPERATES
Recommended
April – October

DURATION
Minimum 8 days plus
arrival and departure days

MINIMUM AGE
Varies,
depends on activities

LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY
Easy, but customisable
(depends on activities)

STARTING POINT
Reykjavík,
can be customised

Inclusions
Accommodation, activities requested & private transportation in our luxurious vehicle (type of vehicle is dependant on group size) and our wonderful English speaking driver guide for the duration of the trip. Reykjavík accommodation, airport pickup and/or drop off can be included if requested.

Exclusions
Flights to and from Iceland, meals unless otherwise specified. 

Customise this Trip?

A private tour allows you to customise this trip to ensure your Iceland experience is perfect. We can arrange pick up or drop off at the airport for those on a tight schedule although we always recommend taking an easy day in the city before heading out on such a long tour. Are you feeling adventurous or want this to be the dream trip for the kids in your family? We can add in activities to suit any type of group.

Have more or less than 7 days to explore? Contact us below and we can help you come up with best plan to maximise your time, or continue looking through more of our private tours here for further inspiration!

Ready to make this your dream trip?

Please try to give us as much information as you can in the form below so that we can come up with the best private trip for you as quickly as possible. We will always do our best to respond to all messages within 3 business days, excluding weekends. 


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