Iceland: The Land of Fire & Ice

An epic road trip through Mother Nature's sandbox.

Christian Gibney
Origin travel expert
Iceland: A Geothermal Paradise

Iceland is mother nature's laboratory, where a natural landscape is dominated by vast glaciers, active volcanoes and shifting tectonic plates, all working symbiotically to dramatically shape the scenery of this stunning country. Over the course of a week, you will traverse the southwestern and eastern regions of Iceland encountering all that characterizes the island's natural identity from geothermic hotspots to cascading waterfalls.

Iceland's Ring Road
Trip Overview
Day 1: Velkominn!
International Flight Arrival

Upon arrival, pick up your rental car before heading west to your accommodations at Hotel Rangá.

Your Stay: Hotel Rangá

Hotel Rangá is a traditional Icelandic hunting lodge. This countryside hideaway offers staggering views of the vast landscape in the southern region of Iceland. Enjoy the vast surrounding landscapes from the outdoor geothermal hot tub with views on nearby volcanoes.

What better way to end the first day driving along the southern coast of Iceland than with a dip in the hot tub!
Day 2: Iceland's Golden Circle

Today is reserved for you to explore The Golden Circle's iconic sights at your leisure.

Golden Circle Highlights

Gullfoss, meaning "Golden Falls", are powerful waterfalls sending upwards of 140 cubic meters of water into the canyon of the Hvítá River.

Geysir & Strokkur geysers, the geothermal area of Haukadalur plays home to a few of the most well-known and accessible geysers in Iceland. While Geysir rarely erupts, Strokkur shoots scalding hot water up to 30m into the air every 5-10 minutes!

We recommend lunch at Fridheimar, a greenhouse specializing in sustainable growth of delicious produce such as tomatoes.

The road around the Golden Circle
Gulfoss
The oft-erupting Strokkur geyser
Day 3: ATV Ride along the Southern Coast

Enjoy breakfast and hit the road again! Today, we have planned for you an exhilarating ATV ride.

Kick up some volcanic dirt on an ATV ride! Discover the mysteries of Thorsmörk on this journey to the popular Thorsmörk Nature Reserve at the foot of the famous Eyjafjallajökull glacier and volcano.

Ring Road Highlights

After your ATV ride along the way to your accommodation, we suggest the following stops along the Ring Road:

Seljalandfoss is unlike any other waterfall you'll visit here in Iceland. Just behind the falls is a footpath that provides for some spectacular photo opportunities. The view looking out to coastline as the falls crash before you is nothing short of remarkable.

Skógafoss, feel the full force of this waterfall as you walk through the shrouded mist directly to the water's flow. This is not a dry experience! If you'd rather avoid getting wet, there is a short hiking path up to the rocky cliffside that offers another perspective of the spectacular falls.

Reynisdrangar are basalt sea stacks situated under the mountain, Reynisfjall, which is framed by the black sand beach of Reynisfjara.

On your way to Fosshótel Núpar we recommend a dinner stop at either Gamla fjósið or The Soup Company in Vík.

An aerial view of the Seljalandfoss waterfall
The perspective from behind Seljalandfoss
The basalt columns and black sand beach of Reynisfjara
Your Stay: Fosshótel Núpar

Fosshótel Núpar is a comfortable and ideally located hotel in one of Iceland's most glorious landscapes as it is surrounded by lava fields and offers a spectacular view of Vatnajökull.

Day 4: Glacier Hike in Skaftafell

Today, you'll venture out onto the Vatnajökull glacier for the hike of a lifetime!

Hike on an outlet of the Vatnajökull glacier with your mountain guide and experience this ever-changing glacier within the Skaftafell Nature Reserve. Looking around, you'll be able to see dozens of mountain peaks, and the glistening blue glacier stretch out around you, dazzling with its sheer size and beauty.

Lunch after your hike is recommended at the Glacier Goodies food truck next to the Visitor Center.

The rest of your day is at leisure to explore the surrounding area. We'd recommend visiting the following highlights at the Skaftafell Nature Reserve:

Svartifoss (Black Falls) tumbles over a cliff bordered on both sides by tall black basalt columns, resembling the pipes of a giant organ. This wonder of natural architecture inspired the design for Iceland’s National Theater in Reykjavik.

Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon is a magnificent and massive serpentine-shaped canyon, about 100 m deep and 2 km long thought to be around 2 million years old. The canyon has narrow, sheer walls towering over the ravine below.

This evening, you have adinner reservation at the Fosshótel Núpar Restaurant.

The oddly geometric rocks around Svartifoss formed from cooling volcanic rock
The otherwordly canyon of Fjaðrárgljúfur
The hauntingly beautiful colors of Vatnajökull glacier
Day 5: Fjallsárlón & the Eastern Fjordlands

After breakfast and check-out this morning, continue your drive up the eastern coast. On the way, stop at the Glacier Lagoon before continuing your drive to the Eastern Fjordlands.

Sail in a Zodiac boat, amongst floating icebergs in the majestic Fjallsárlón Glacier Lagoon.

Recommended Highlights Heading East

Jökulsárlón Lake. Back in 1934, the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier began to retreat, leaving the glacial lagoon, Jökulsárlón, in its path. The floating icebergs here are estimated to be over 1,000 years old and create a breathtaking picture from the surrounding shoreline.

Höfn, an Icelandic fishing town and Lobster capital with scenic views of Vatnajökull.

Recommended late lunch at Pakkhúsið or Ósinn in Höfn. These are are a few of the staple restaurants in the area serving the famed Icelandic langoustine.

Austurland

East Iceland covers an area of 15,792 square km and is inhabited by 10,300 people. This part of Iceland is characterized by small villages, dramatic coastlines, narrow fjords, waterfalls, and mountains. The destination offers outstanding outdoor experiences all year round along with a great range of some of Europe’s best hiking trails throughout the rugged and vast highlands.

The eerie, yet serene glacial lagoon
Egilsstaðir

Egilsstaðir is a town in east Iceland on the banks of the Lagarfljót River. The area that Egilsstaðir is located in is called Fljótsdalshérað and it is home to a progressive, energetic community. Almost as an extension of the inviting surroundings and comfortable climate, the cordiality of locals provides a warm welcome for those visiting.

Your Stay: Gistihúsið – Lake Hotel

Gistihúsið – Lake Hotel is built on the river banks of the beautiful Lagarfljót near the town of Egilsstaðir. It is ideal as a central point for traveling around East Iceland, whether venturing up to the mountains or down to the fjords. A variety of enjoyable recreational opportunities can be found in the district.

Recommended dinner at the hotel's Eldhúsið Restaurant tonight.

Day 6: Vök Baths & Flight to Reykjavik

Today is a day to explore the Eastern Fjordlands at leisure to visit towns such as Seydisfjordur and Mjóifjörður, formerly a Norwegian whaling station and the village of 11 people, known for being the smallest in Iceland.

Before your flight, today, enjoy a bit of rest and relaxation in the geothermic pools of Vök Baths.

The Vök Baths, located on the picturesque Lake Urriðavatn in East Iceland

Depart from Egilsstaðir Airport for Reykjavik where you will pick up another rental car for the remainder of your trip.

Your Stay: Sandhotel

Located on the shopping street of Laugavegur, this boutique hotel is at the heart of Reykjavík's vibrant cultural life. The Art Deco-style rooms pay respect to the history of the property mixed with modern design and original contemporary artwork.

The Sandhotel is located off one of Reykjavik's main shopping streets.
A suite at the Sandhotel
Reykjavik

The capital city of Iceland is chock full of little shops, pubs, and sights to see. The most eye-grabbing of these is perhaps Hallgrimskirkja. The church is noteworthy as being the tallest church in Iceland and for its unusual architecture which emulates the hexagonal rock formations one would find all over the island. For a further dive into the Icelandic architectural style, head down to the water to see Harpa Concert Hall whose geometric appearance provides yet another example of art imitating the Icelandic environment.

The church of Hallgrimskirkja
Recommended Bites in Reykjavik

For coffee or a local drink, two cozy spots that locals and visitors adore are Reykjavik Roasters and Kaldi Bar. Both located within walking distance of your hotel - you'll find Reykjavik to be a pretty walkable city! Reykjavik Roasters is arguably the city's best coffee shop while Kaldi Bar features the best of Iceland's popular craft beer scene along with the best gin and tonic program in Iceland in a mountain cabin-like atmosphere.

An iconic hot dog? Yes indeed. Try Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur (English: The best hot dog in town), a popular hot dog stand located downtown near the harbor. Open since 1937, international visitors are often brought here to showcase “the National Food of Iceland”. Icelandic hot dog condiments include ketchup, sweet mustard, fried onion, raw onion, and remolaði, a mayonnaise-based sauce with sweet relish. Hot dogs are often ordered with “the works,” i.e., all condiments, or in Icelandic “eina með öllu”.

Additional Dinner Recommendations: Fish Company, Apotek, Dill (reservation required).

Day 7: Heli & Snorkel

You have an exciting day ahead of you as you will have the opportunity to see the Icelandic landscape from air and sea!

Start the day off with a helicopter adventure to gain a bird's eye view of the stunning scenery below including the erupting volcano of Gerlingadalur.

On your flight, you'll have the opportunity to see a once-in-a-lifetime event: a volcanic eruption!

After weeks of earthquakes in the Southwest region of Iceland, the Reykjanes peninsula finally gave way, bringing a new volcanic eruption to the region for the first time in around 800 years. It started on the 19th of March, 2021 and the eruption has been slowly growing with new fissures opening along the fault line.

The eruption of the Geldingadalir volcano

After your helicopter flight, head to Þingvellir National Park to snorkel between two shifting tectonic plates!

Find yourself snorkeling between two continental plates, floating in astonishingly clear water and the mesmerizing colors of this underwater world.

The Mid-Atlantic Ridge from under the crystal clear water at Silfra
Day 8: Exploring Snæfellsness

Drive up to the Snaefellsness Peninsula. The peninsula is a microcosm of the rest of Iceland. On this stretch of land, one may find an abundance of the natural landmarks that exist on the rest of the island including a volcano, glacier, treacherous cliffs, black sand beaches, a rich diversity of wildlife, and what is considered to be the most photographed mountain on Iceland, Kirkjufell.

Kirkjufell mountain on the north side of Snæfellsnes
Day 9: Heading Home

Enjoy this last morning in Iceland at leisure.

Before your return home, enjoy one last bath in a geothermic pool at Sky Lagoon. Enjoy a Sky Pass to the newest hot springs a short drive from Reykjavik, having opened just this year in 2021.

Revel in the natural hot springs at Sky Lagoon

We recommend grabbing lunch at the Sky Lagoon restaurant where they have a menu of sandwiches, soups, or local specialties in a classically rustic and Icelandic style.

Pricing & Inclusions

For an itinerary like this, you can expect pricing to start around €8,000 per person. This includes accommodations for 7 nights with bed and breakfast, various activities as stated in this itinerary, a rental car for 9 days, and a domestic flight. International flights are excluded.

Want to experience majestic Iceland?

Just let us know and we'll get planning. We are happy to customize your trip based on your desires and preferences.

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