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 7 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 7 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 7 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

The Day to Day Itinerary
Day 1 of 7 | 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. 

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 7 | South Coast Sights

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. There is no better way to end a long day than at Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, where we’ll look for seals and watch the giant icebergs float around and wash up on the black sand shores of Diamond Beach, glistening on the sand.

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

Looking for a little something extra?
What about a snowmobile tour or a boat tour on a glacier lagoon?

Day 3 of 7 | From South Coast to East Fjords

We leave the South Coast behind and make our way through the much less visited Eastfjords of Iceland. 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 start the morning visiting one of Iceland’s most spectacular beaches on Stokksnes Peninsula, where Vestrahorn mountain towers over the surrounding black sands, making a spectacular setting. We continue north towards Egilsstaðir but not without a detour through Hallormsstaðaskógur, Iceland’s largest forest and a hike up to the country’s second highest waterfall, Hengifoss. 

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

Looking for a little something extra?
What about turning your accommodation into an experience, or even an additional day, at the remote Wilderness Centre. There is no better way of getting the know the folklore of the highlands and true rural tranquillity.

Day 4 of 7 | From East to North

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. We’ll walk through the Dimmuborgir, or the Dark Fortress, lava field, consisting of incredible lava rock formations. 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 7 | North Iceland

We depart Akureyri and go on a whale watching tour from the charming small town of Hauganes. 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. During the tour you also have the chance to try your luck at some sea angling to catch some Icelandic cod. To warm up after the tour we can dip into the seaside hot tubs and enjoy the delicious fish from the bay at local restaurant. We continue our drive west, passing through the small farming towns of northwest Iceland. 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 Borgarfjörður area we can go on a short scenic hike up to the Mt. Grábrók crater.

Where do we stay?
Borgarfjörður and the surrounding area has great accommodation options and we can switch the order of the next two days to stay anywhere from Hotel Egilsen in Stykkishólmur, Hótel Húsafell or right in between at Icelandair Hotel Hamar.

Looking for a little something extra?
If you just can’t get enough of the endless spas and geothermal baths in Iceland we can skip the Hauganes hot tubs and go a bit further to the Beer Spa. When taking a beer bath, you bathe in a big tub filled with beer, water, hops and yeast and you can get a cold glass of the cold stuff on the side.

Day 6 of 7 | 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. We’ll visit Selvallavatn lake and lava fields before going to the picturesque fishing village Stykkishólmur for view over the bay and lunch at one of our favourite local restaurants, Narfeyrarstofa, who use fresh seafood and produce straight from Breiðafjörður. From there we 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 7 | West Iceland to Reykjavík

This final day is taken a little slower before returning to Reykjavik. 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 Husafell. 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. 

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 Canopy Reykjavik, Icelandair Marina Hotel, CenterHotel Miðgarður and Reykjavik Residence Apartments.

Looking for a little something extra?
Add a full extra day to explore Reykjanes Geopark on a customised version of our Reykjanes & Lava Tunnel Tour. Or perhaps end day 7 at the Blue Lagoon for a last night at the Retreat or Silica Hotels.

General Information

Operates: Suggested between April to October 
Flexible, 7 days, 6 nights approx. 
Minimum age: No minimum age, check for optional activities
Level of difficulty: Easy, but customisable (depends on activities)

Included: Accommodation, activities requested & private transportation in a comfortable vehicle (type of vehicle is dependant on group size) and our wonderful English speaking driver guide for the duration of the trip. Pick up and drop offs in Reykjavík, airport pickup and/or drop off can be 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 respond to all messages within 72 hours.

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