An off-the-beaten-path road trip along Iceland's rugged north coast
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- Discover an authentic slice of Iceland
- Drive one of the country's most rugged, remote roads
- Relax in some of Iceland's most beautiful geothermal pools
- Spot whales and seals on boat trips
- Stay in rustic-chic accommodation with fantastic local cuisine
- 1 Night Saurbaer
- 1 Night Hvammstangi
- 2 Nights Siglufjörður
- 3 Nights Lake Myvatn
- 1 Night Reykjavík
Activity adventure | History & culture | Natural world | Off the beaten track | Self-drive
Stark, wild and beautiful, Iceland's Arctic Coast Way is an off-the-beaten-track gem that winds 900km along the north of the country and was one of Lonely Planet's top 10 destinations for 2019. This road trip will see you experience it in all its glory, beginning among tiny fishing villages and windswept black-sand beaches, stopping at colossal rock formations, jutting peninsulas and remote lighthouses. There's also plenty of time to indulge in the area's crowning glory – its geothermally-heated pools and outdoor spas, as well as chances to spot whales, seals and puffins. Fuel up with gourmet local food and stays at the region's very best accommodation, from rustic-chic farmhouses to cosy inns, that'll see you experience Iceland at its most authentic. Then, it all ends in Reykjavik's city cool, where you'll have time to sample its fine-dining restaurants and, yes, dip in the famed Blue Lagoon.
We recommend heading on this trip between May and August, but if you're thinking of visiting during winter, talk to us for tips and advice.
Day by day itinerary
UK to Keflavik
Fly to Keflavik and pick up your hire car, ready to drive to your hotel in Saurbaer. If time allows, we highly recommend the scenic route that skirts the remote fjords to reach your hotel. One of Iceland’s more luxurious countryside offerings, each room at the Hotel Glymur vaunts unique art and panoramic views overlooking the fjord or mountains, alongside a renowned restaurant that offers traditional Icelandic dishes which you'll enjoy looking over the appropriately-named 'Whale Fjord'.
Stay: Hotel Glymur
Saurbaer to Hvammstangi
After breakfast, begin your drive to the official start of the Arctic Coast Way at Hvammstangi, sweeping over mountain passes and remote northern shores. We recommend a stop here for some seal watching before checking in to Hotel Laugarbakki, a Scandi-modern gem with complimentary use of its outdoor hot tubs – ideal for enjoying under the Midnight Sun.
Stay: Hotel Laugarbakki
Meals: B D
Hvammstangi to Siglufjordur
Day three will see you start your road trip at the official beginning of the Arctic Coast Way. As you traverse along the windswept coast, be sure to stop at the beautiful Hvítserkur rock formation on a black-sand beach that offers great seal-watching opportunities, as well as Grettislaug, one of the country's most famous geothermal pools with wonderful views. If you'd rather break up the journey here, Saudarkrokur has several traditional hotels we highly recommend – simply ask us for further information. Otherwise, carry on to Siglufjord, that offers excellent beach horse riding and a geothermal pool at Hofsós' Giants Causeway. You'll have two nights in Siglufjordur at the Siglo Hotel, a contemporary-chic offering in the centre of the town that vaunts both a fine-dining restaurant and more casual bistro. Two days gives you plenty of time to explore the town’s microbreweries and quaint galleries, including the Herring Museum and Folk Music Centre, as well as fantastic hiking on the wild Troll Peninsula.
Stay: Siglo Hotel, Siglufjordur (Superior)
Siglufjordur to Lake Myvatn
After breakfast today it's time to continue your drive to Siglufjordur and the famed Lake Myvatn. It's a leisurely two-hour drive, so you've got plenty of time to stop at Dalvik for excellent whale watching and enjoy lunch at the famous 'beer spa'. Finish the day at the mighty spray of the Godafoss waterfall before checking in to the ecelctic Icelandair Hotel Lake Myvatn, sampling a delicious local meal at its cosy restaurant.
Stay: Icelandair Hotel Lake Myvatn
Lake Myvatn & Husavik
The next two days will see you discover the region's highlights, such as the Dimmuborgir lava foundations, Mount Krafla and Dettifoss waterfall. This area – the final section of the way – is all about 'elemental nature', so be sure to visit Hverir's mud pools and steam vents as well as spending an evening relaxing at the Myvatn Nature Baths. We also recommend a road trip to Husavik, home to world-class whale watching and the famous GEO spa, a collection of geothermal pools with spectacular coastal views. You could even head further along the coast to the most remote section of the way, home to stunning gannet-dotted rock formations.
Stay: Icelandair Hotel Lake Myvatn
Myvatn to Reykjavik
Drop off your hire car at the airport this morning and board your short flight to Reykjavik. On arrival, self-transfer to your hotel in the city centre ready to enjoy a night in the capital. We recommend the Centrum Hotel in the heart of the Old Town, its excellent location meaning myriad excellent restaurants and the city's most famous sights lie within walking distance.
Stay: Hotel Reykjavik Centrum (Superior)
Reykjavik to UK
After breakfast, explore the city for a couple of hours or perhaps make time to tick one more off the bucket list with a soak in the Blue Lagoon before your flight home.
Any element of this itinerary can be adjusted to suit your needs. Just contact us to find out more.
from £1,495 pp. incl. flights
from £1,990 pp. incl. flights
- Return flights UK to Keflavik international airport
- Domestic flight from Akureyri to Reykjavik domestic airport
- 8 nights accommodation in standard rooms on a B&B basis
- 7 days (7x24 hrs) Group C (Toyota Avensis or similar) car hire
- Airport shuttle transfer from Reykjavik to Keflavik international airport
Terms & Conditions
Prices are per person based on two people sharing a twin/double room; prices are subject to availability and possible change; normal booking conditions apply.
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