PRIVATE GRAND CIRCLE TOUR | 8+ DAY RING ROAD

The Private Grand Circle, Ring Road tour takes you around the entire island stopping at all the most celebrated sights that Iceland has to offer, while taking in breathtaking scenery. This customisable trip can easily be extended or amended to match your number of days and desires. Join our Grand Circle tour for the ultimate ring road trip!

Iceland’s unbroken ring road was only completed in the 1960s, finally giving the locals unencumbered access to the entire country. At over 800 miles, we can understand why it took so long. Let’s explore it together.

Throughout this expansive itinerary we will visit the popular Golden Circle with its erupting geysers, thunderous waterfalls and scarred tectonic boundaries. We will travel the entire south coast making sure to stop at the Vatnajökull National Park where there are countless glacier, icebergs and black sand beaches. In the Eastfjords we will wizz around the winding roads with towering mountains on one side and dramatic coastal cliffs on the other. As we travel north we will visit Iceland’s largest and most stunning waterfalls and take in the geothermally active sites of Mývatn. In the north and west we’ll get a glimpse of rural life and ever changing landscapes before finishing in the south west with the Blue Lagoon, recently active volcanoes and lava tunnels. To achieve Iceland’s ring road is to really feel like you’ve ‘seen it all’.

PRIVATE GRAND CIRCLE TOUR | 8 + DAY RING ROAD

Tour Summary

Day 1 | Golden Circle with Secret Lagoon and Friðheimar Tomato Greenhouse Lunch

Day 2 | Travel the entire South Coast of Iceland with black sand beaches and towering waterfalls

Day 3 | Explore the Vatnajökull National Park, walk along the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon & Diamond Beach and take part in optional hikes

Day 4 | Wind your way through the Eastfjords with Stokksnes Beach and the Vestrahorn mountain

Day 5 | Visit the Mývatn geothermal area, Dettifoss waterfall and optional Stuðlagil Canyon hike

Day 6 | Navigate the Diamond Circle with Whale watching and Iceland’s most powerful waterfalls

Day 7 | Journey from the north to the west getting a glimpse of Iceland’s past

Day 8 | Traverse the Snæfellsnes Peninsula with its dramatic coastal views

Day 9 | Enjoy the Reykjanes Peninsula with its Lava Tunnel, volcano viewpoint and Blue Lagoon

Please note:
The proposed itinerary is 9 days in total. If you have a maximum of 8 days then activities and sights may need to be removed. Many days can be added to this itinerary with ease.

Arrival day, departure day and additional days are not part of the proposed itinerary but will be planned by our Trip Planners for you in your first quote. We also recommend having at least one full day in Reykjavík before or after your tour. 

Day 1 | The Golden Circle

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 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 before taking a dip in the Secret Lagoon, Iceland’s oldest natural hot pool.

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

Day 2 | 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 volcano. 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 | Vatnajökull National Park with Optional Hikes

Today is all about the ice! We start the day at one of our favorite locations in Iceland at Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon where we witness the giant icebergs floating in the 8 km long 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 smaller broken icebergs wash up on shore.

In the afternoon you have an almost unlimited choice for hiking and other great spots. Our favourite is the glacier hike on the nearby Falljökull glacier. This can be a relatively short scenic hike or upgraded to be more adventurous. Check out our Glacier Hike Guide for more details. If you are looking for something a little more tranquil we can take a beautiful nature walk to the hidden Svartifoss waterfall with water pouring through basalt columns. If you have younger kids, you might prefer to join an Atlantic puffin tour, only accessible by tractor to get the group to a forgotten breeding ground. The choice is yours.

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

Day 4 | Stokksnes Beach & the Eastfjords

Today is all about the drive. And what a drive it is. Often hailed as the best views in Iceland, the winding roads, towering mountains, steep cliffs and dramatic coast lines will certainly have you believing it.

To start the day we will pass the sleepy fishing town of Höfn and walk across the pristine black sands at Stokksnes. On calm days, you have a chance to get a picture of the elusive reflection of the spiked Vestrahorn mountain in the distance.

As you head north through the Eastfjords, you’ll want to stop every 5 minutes with breathtaking views at every turn. Don’t worry, your guide knows the best places to stop today.

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

Day 5 | Mývatn, Dettifoss & Optional Stuðlagil Canyon Hike

Heading into the north of Iceland we drive through a desert like landscape. Really quite different from what we have seen so far. But this apparent barren tundra is secretly bursting with life and activity. On the way to Mývatn you can take part in an optional hike to the recently unearthed Stuðlagil Canyon with blue glacial water streaming between tall basalt columns. This hike takes around 2 + hours so may not be for everyone.

In the afternoon, we continue into the mystical landscape around Lake Mývatn making sure to stop at Iceland’s most powerful waterfall, Dettifoss. There, we explore the mars like landscape by Námaskarð and Hverir, with their steaming fumaroles and bubbling mud pits. We’ll then peek into Grjótagjá cave, made famous by Game of Thrones.

Where do we stay?
We can stay close to the centre of Mývatn at Fosshotel Mývatn or Icelandair Mývatn.

Day 6 | North Iceland & Optional Whale Watching

Today you will explore North Iceland. First you’ll visit one of Iceland’s most loved waterfalls, the waterfall of the Gods, Góðafoss. You then make your way to Akureyri, the capital of the North, where you have lunch and a little wander around the city. Here you will also embark on your optional whale watching excursion in the beautiful Eyjafjörður Fjord, departing from the city. If you wish, we can upgrade your tour to a speed RIB boat, which allows you to cover a larger area, increasing your chances of getting up close to whales. From Akureyri you start your drive up Tröllaskagi peninsula. The peninsula is very mountainous, with several peaks reaching over 1,000 meters above sea levels. This scenic drive alone will leave you in awe of the area.

Where do we stay?
You come to the remote town of Siglufjörður where you spend the night in the wonderful Hótel Sigló.

Day 7 | Arctic Coastway to West Iceland

It’s time to depart the North and head west. This will be the longest driving day of the trip but don’t worry, you’ll have some great scenic views as we drive through rural Iceland, 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.

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

Day 8 | The Snæfellsnes Peninsula

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 to our accommodation for the night. 

Where do we stay?
In the town of Borgarnes the day at the wide open Hotel Hamar or equivalent. Alternatively, we may drive back to Reykjavík to give you a chance to explore the city one last time.

Day 9 | 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. 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 the dramatic landscape is still well worth the visit. 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.

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. If you are on a budget you can always opt to stay at the nearby Northern Lights Inn once you’ve finished bathing in the lagoon. Alternatively, we can head back to Reykjavík.

General Information

OPERATES
Recommended
May – September

DURATION
Minimum 8 days
Recommended 9 + days

MINIMUM AGE
No minimum

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

STARTING POINT
Reykjavík,
can be customised

END POINT
Blue Lagoon area
or Reykjavík,
can be customised

Inclusions
All hotel choices are modern, spacious and comfortable with private bathrooms, and include breakfast. Lunch at Friðheimar Tomato Greenhouse (all inclusive except from alcoholic drinks) and entrance to the Secret Lagoon geothermal pool. General departure whale watching. Entry to Glaumbær farm. Glacier hike with all safety gear (if chosen). Entry to the Lava Tunnel. Private transportation in a modern and comfortable vehicle and one of our wonderful English speaking guides for the duration of the 9 days.

Exclusions
Flights to and from Iceland, meals unless otherwise specified. Reykjavík based activities and accommodation.

Extensions / Add-ons
We can include Reykjavík based accommodation and activities upon request
This trip can be reduced to 8 days but will require removing activities and sights.
It can easily be extended to 10 or more days with ease
Additional or replacement activities can be requested (see form below)

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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