Hitting headlines, attracting adventure seekers, and wooing nature lovers and photographers alike– Iceland has become a top bucket list destination for millions of travellers around the globe of all age groups and ethnicities. In this complete Iceland Travel Guide, read about my Epic 10-day Iceland Roadtrip through spectacular landscapes of stunning waterfalls to otherworldly volcanic landscapes, from bubbling mud pots to curious lava towers, from sparkling beaches to geothermal Lagoons.
Table of Contents
What made me plan a 10-day Iceland Roadtrip?
I first heard of Iceland when I used to play video games in childhood on those game consoles with cassettes. My Formal introduction to Iceland happened in 2010 when our Family Trip to London got postponed by two weeks due to a volcanic eruption in Iceland. The smoke took over European Airspace and forced us to postpone our flights.
Finally, I went to Iceland in 2016 for my 100-Day Europe Backpacking Trip. Iceland was my final country on my Marathon European Journey, spanning over 25+ Countries and 50+ cities. My Mother wanted to join me specifically for Iceland as she had seen some pictures of Iceland on the Internet. So I decided to rent a car and do a road trip across the Ring Road Circle in Iceland. And it turned out to be the most beautiful experience of my life.
So let’s start from the beginning now.
How to Reach Iceland
There are two ways to get to Iceland – by airplane or by ferry. I chose to fly in. Keflavik International Airport in Reykjavik, Iceland, is your gateway to the country. Most European Cities have a direct flight to Reykjavik. Iceland Air is the flag carrier airline of Iceland, while WOW Air is the budget airline which offers fantastic deals. Around 20 airlines have regular flights from destinations in Europe and North America to Keflavik airport all year round.
Best Months to Visit Iceland
Summers are the best time to visit Iceland as the roads are clear of snow and the weather is not that harsh. So you get to witness the beautiful landscapes while travelling around the country. It would be best to visit Iceland in December – January to see Northern Lights. I suggest visiting in May-June or September-October when the skies are clear and there are few tourist crowds in the country. Also, the days are longer so you can travel more during the day.
How to Travel in Iceland
The best way to travel around Iceland is by renting a car. Public Buses are available, but you will only be able to access some of the sites. You can easily rent a car in Iceland with your Indian Driving License by getting International approval from your Driving License authority by showing your passport and flight tickets. There are many car rental companies in Iceland, and you won’t have any trouble finding the right car or even a Caravan for yourself, as Caravan Tourism is getting popular in Iceland. I rented my Car from Lagoon Car Rental for 7 Days at Rs.50,000 back in 2016.
Why is Iceland Still My Favorite Country after visiting 52 Countries
Iceland is home to hundreds of waterfalls, and I have a deep connection with flowing water, so I tried and explored as many waterfalls as possible during my road trip. Some of my Favorites are Gulfoss, Seljlandsfoss, Skogapfoss, and Detifoss & Godafoss. Iceland Tourism has ensured that you have a pleasant and safe experience while visiting these falls, so proper trails are made, and even my Mother was able to see all of them.
I was spellbound when I saw these enormous Glaciers for the first time in my life. We visited Vatnajokull and did a zodiac boat ride in Jokulsarlon Lagoon, where we spotted Walrus and Seals playing on the icebergs. Words cannot describe our emotions while witnessing these natural wonders. I also did Glacier Hiking which was 2 hours experience; in a group of 10, we went to walk on Breidamerkurjokull Glacier. The surprising part of this hike was the ice cave we sneaked into was formed due to crevasses in the glaciers—an extraordinarily thrilling and memorable experience for me.
The Great Geysir, part of the Golden Circle Day trip, is the Mother of all geysers in Iceland. I remember the boiling water shooting up to more than 50 meters in the air, and it was the first time I saw the water going up like this, so again a big memory for me. Strokkur is another Geysir we saw near The Great Geysir, which erupts more frequently but does not go that high. Also, they are boiling mud pools in Myvatn Region, which is also a sight that I remember very well to date.
Diamond Beach near Jokursalon Glacier Lagoon was one of the most beautiful beaches I have seen. Diamond Beach is famous because it sparkles with orbs of ice; no, you do not find any diamonds here. Another Beach I remember well is Black Sand Beach of Reynisfjara, where the sand at the beach is now black due to volcanic ash.
The Blue Lagoon is a milky blue-green bath visited by two million people a year. No wonder it is one of the most photographed sights in Iceland, and rightfully so. Here the powers of geothermal sea waters create beautiful spa experiences, which is why you need to make a reservation before because it gets completely booked on even regular days.
Iceland is one of the most active volcanic regions on the planet & is home to 32 active volcanoes. An eruption occurs every four years on Average. One can take helicopter tours over some of the volcanoes permitted by the government, but it is an expensive affair. So it is an entirely personal choice whether you would like to see them up close or you would get to see many of those while driving around the Ring Road.
So many geological wonders are packed in such a tiny country of Iceland, which is why geothermal energy is most effectively utilized in Iceland, and you can see many geothermal plants in Iceland’s national parks. One of the most beautiful Geothermal Plants was near the Kerid Crater, another sight to behold
I wish I could return to Iceland; there is so much to see in this country full of natural wonders & beauty.
The Hollywood sights of Iceland
Iceland is one of the major filming locations for both Hollywood and Bollywood. Batman and James Bond series was filmed at the foot of Svínafellsjökull Glacier. The “Arrowhead Mountain” from “Game of Thrones” was shot at Kirkjufell and you can even climb it. “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” was among the first to discover Iceland has an all-around location and the movie was extensively filmed throughout Iceland at various locations such as Breiðamerkursandur, Vatnajökull Glacier, Seyðisfjörður, and Skógafoss. Director Christopher Nolan filmed both “Batman Begins” (2005) and “Interstellar” (2014) in southern Iceland. The list is endless. So, don’t forget to see at least 1-2 film locations on your Iceland road trip. If you want to know what movies have been made in Iceland check out this famous film sights article.
Where to Stay on Your 10-day Iceland Roadtrip:
We mostly stayed in AirBnBs on our 10-day Iceland roadrip. In 2016, Iceland was less famous than it is today so we could book our accommodations on the go. We booked our accommodation mainly after reaching the destination, which we mapped on Airbnb App or Google.
Edda Hotels was one of the most value-for-money hotel chains where we stayed often. They had heated pools & even basketball courts inside the hotel. Nowadays, you can find Marriott and Hilton properties as well in Iceland. So, accommodations are available in all sorts of budgets you want.
One of the Edda hotels we stayed at had a full-size indoor basketball court inside the hotel.
Where to Eat on Your Iceland Roadtrip
My Mother is a vegetarian, and I am a non-vegetarian. So we mostly ended up eating at Subways and filled our stomachs with Soups, Pizza, Pasta & Burgers. Iceland has good pit stops, but there was nothing that fancy that I remember that I ate during the trip.
What to Pack for a Hassle-Free 10-day Iceland Roadtrip:
You should pack 4 Pairs of Winter Clothes, including Thermals, Sweaters, down jackets for extreme winds, waterproof gloves and caps as essentials. Rest everyone can figure out their fashion and the number of pairs they want per baggage size.
A good pair of walking or hiking shoes would be suitable for exploring the sights comfortably.
How much does it cost for a 10-day Iceland roadtrip?
Since my Mother flew directly from India for the trip, I have calculated the cost for two people in 2016 accordingly.
1. Flights from Delhi to Reykjavik – Rs.50,000/- per person. Total for 2 People = Rs.1,00,000
2. Accommodation for seven nights – Rs.5000/- per night for two people. So seven nights would be = Rs.35,000
3. Food Costs – Rs.1000 per meal for two people. Total Meal Cost = Rs.25,000
4.Car rental Costs – Rs.50, 000 + Fuel Costs – Rs.25,000 = Rs.75,000
5. Activity Costs = Rs.50, 000
6. Miscellaneous Expenses = Rs.15,000
Total Costs for two people = Rs.3,00,000
Practical Tips for 10-day Iceland Roadtrip
- Make sure you take Gravel Insurance for your car, as there is a lot of solid lava on the roads. I also took a GPS Garmin for the car, which helped me reach the exact destination.
- Go to Supermarkets and shop for a lot of snacks before you begin your road trip. Also, we had a lot of fruits, ice creams and fresh salads from the supermarket on our road trip, which was not only cost-effective but also a healthy option.
- I advise you to be flexible with your plans. Nature has its way of altering your plans, so do not be very task oriented. Also, some deviations from the route can be very rewarding. For example, we ended up seeing Kerid crater and Myvatn Mud Pools, which was initially off my plan.
- During summer, days are long, and there is almost more sunlight for more than 20 hours, so you can explore more places and regions if you travel during the summer.
10-day Iceland Roadtrip Itinerary
Blanketed with lava fields and glaciers and simmering with volcanic activity, Iceland is full of geological surprises. While 10 days are not enough to explore its beauty in its entirety, it does give you a good taste of the diversity the country offers in terms of landscapes. If you want to explore some of the country’s less travelled corners to experience its raw beauty and the innovative culture that has developed on this far-flung island this itinerary is for you. During these 10 days, you’ll see stunning waterfalls, massive lava caves, traditional farmhouses, small communities, fishing villages, and tiny islands. Here’s a recommended 10-day Iceland Roadtrip Itinerary:
DAY 1: REYKJAVÍK, ICELAND
DAY 2: GOLDEN CIRCLE
DAY 3: HÚSAFELL
DAY 4: SNÆFELLSNES PENINSULA/HÚSAFELL
DAY 5: HÚSAFELL/SIGLUFJÖRÐUR
DAY 6: HRÍSEY/MÝVATN
DAY 7: MÝVATN
DAY 8: MÝVATN/AKUREYRI
DAY 9: HÚSAVIK/AKUREYRI
DAY 10: AKUREYRI/REYKJAVÍK
At the age of 25, going on a 10-day Iceland road trip with my Mother, who was around 50 years old, was a gratifying experience. We both enjoyed natural beauty & adapted to each other’s needs. We both are active travellers and were always ready at 6 in the morning to start our day. So it was a very enriching experience for both of us when we made this Road Trip. And Driving in Iceland is very rewarding, the sights you see and the experience of driving in a foreign land. I remember there was a time when it was only our car on the only national Highway in the country for more than 100 km. That ride gave me a huge kick, especially after driving on Delhi Roads. I want to end my Iceland Roadtrip Journey with a quote.
“Life is a Journey, Not a Destination, so enjoy the ride.”
I hope you found this post relevant and would find it useful when planning a trip to Iceland. I would love to hear your feedback or experience. Please use the comment section below to convey your thoughts.
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He is a curious soul looking to experience everything possible around him. Explorer at the core, a foodie by heart and a firm believer that “experiences are more valuable than things.”
He has been to 52 countries on an Indian passport and has been to all states in India. When he’s not travelling, he runs his family business of Wellness Medicines to earn a living.