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A Perfect 10 Day Iceland Ring Road Itinerary (Complete Guide & Map)

A Perfect 10 Day Iceland Ring Road Itinerary (Complete Guide & Map)

If you are heading to Iceland and want to experience everything that the country has to offer, this 10-day Iceland Ring Road itinerary is for you. It is jam-packed with plenty of hiking, adventure, and of course, waterfalls.

It will take you along the entirety of the Ring Road of Iceland from the south coast to the north coast and the east coast to the west coast – whatever you want to do this itinerary has you covered.

Read on to learn more about what 10 days in Iceland is all about, and how to best prepare for a trip to the country.

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1) Iceland Ring Road Itinerary Overview

This 10 day Iceland itinerary will take you along the Ring Road for an exciting road trip around the country. Before jumping into the itinerary though I did want to list out a few important things to note about this trip in particular:

Time of Year: one of the top considerations for Iceland is the best time of year to visit. In general, the summer months will bring longer days and more optimal weather conditions. As you get closer to the winter, those days will continue to shorten and you will have less daylight to take part in activities (although you will have the northern lights).

Due to this, I would highly recommend taking part in this particular itinerary during the summer and neighboring months, from May to September. This will give you the best chance to enjoy all the activities listed and actually give you the time to do so.

It is certainly possible to go to Iceland at other times of the year, but just note that you probably will not be able to take part in every activity & attraction listed in this itinerary.

Unpredictable Weather: although summer offers the longest daylight hours, the weather in the country can be highly unpredictable at any time of year.

Sunny days can turn to rain & clouds in an instant, so you really need to be prepared for all types of conditions. I would recommend packing accordingly for all types of weather (a topic I will touch upon later on).

Renting a Car: You will want to rent a car or campervan for the duration of the trip (check out for some options). Having your own rental car is the best way to see the entire country at your own pace and create the exact type of route that you want.

When it comes to the Ring Road, there is no better way to experience it than by driving it on your own. You can pick the car up once in land in Reykjavik and be on your way from there.

On the Move: Be prepared to only stay 1-2 nights in each city/town as you make your way around the country. It is not a trip for those who want to stay in one place for a long period of time.

You can check out the Iceland 5 day itinerary and one week Iceland itinerary I have up on the site that are more so based in two locations.

Getting Started: You can start this itinerary on day 1 straight from the airport since many flights get to Iceland early in the morning. Alternatively, you can stay in Reykjavik for the first day to relax before heading out on day 2.

Where to Stay: Take a look at this guide on Where to Stay in Iceland for some of the top hotels/guesthouses in cities around the country.

Helpful Tips: For more helpful info be sure to check out the Iceland Helpful Tips section to get you prepared for Iceland!

Skaftafell Glacier Iceland

2) Ring Road Map & Route

The below map shows each and every attraction mentioned in this itinerary. This should give you a better visual view of what a Ring Road trip is all about.

Day 1 starts out with the purple pins and the trip then continues counterclockwise from there, with each pin color indicating the attractions for a day (the small icon in the top left corner expands to show the day-by-day attractions).

3) 10 Day Iceland Ring Road Itinerary Summary

Now let’s get on to the actual trip! The following is a detailed breakout of the daily attractions and activities on this 10 day Iceland itinerary.

Feel free to scroll through and click on any more in-depth posts along the way.

Iceland 10 Day Itinerary #1
Iceland 10 Day Itinerary #2

4) Day 1 – The Golden Circle

If coming off the plane or from Reykjavik, it is time to make your way around one of the more well known parts of Iceland – the Golden Circle.

There will be five stops along the way as you start your first day of exploring. Depending on interest level and time, you can do all five or pick and choose which are best for you.

Learn More: Check out the complete guide to Iceland’s Golden Circle for an in depth review of what it all entails.

Stop #1: Thingvellir National Park

The first stop of the day is Thingvellir National Park. Thingvellir offers a whole bunch of different options for its visitors. If you are interested in hiking, there are some short and long hiking trails that can take you around the park.

You can decide to just take a stroll to the nearby Oxararfoss Waterfall and the small church as you come across the gap between the two tectonic plates.

And if you are up for a unique experience, you can decide to snorkel or scuba dive between the tectonic plates. Whatever you decide on, you are sure to enjoy your time exploring the area.

Feel free to sign up in advance for a Thingvellir Snorkeling Tour between two tectonic plates!

Thingvellir Tectonic Plates Iceland
Thingvellir Hiking Iceland
Thingvellir Iceland Church

Stop #2: Bruarfoss

One of the most beautiful waterfalls in all of Iceland is that of Bruarfoss. If you have the time and are up for a 2 hour round trip hike you can head over to Bruarfoss from a small parking lot off the main road.

A bit more of a hidden gem, Bruarfoss is a majestic blue colored waterfall that is sure not to be missed.

Bruarfoss Cover

Stop #3: Geysir

Have you ever seen tons of water getting shot up a hundred feet in the air? Well now is your chance. At the Geysir geothermal area you will be able to see things like this happen:

Geysir Iceland Bubble
Geysir Iceland

Stop #4: Gullfoss

The Gullfoss waterfall is one of the most powerful and wide waterfalls that Iceland has to offer. It is just a short walk to the various viewing platforms overlooking the waterfall, as you take in some amazing views from different angles.

Gullfoss Iceland 2

Stop #5: Kerid Crater

Last but not least is Kerid Crater – a massive formation with a lake down below to hike around and enjoy before calling it a day and heading to the town of Selfoss, where you will stay the night.

Kerid Crater View

Iceland Night #1

After visiting the Kerid Crater, the first night of the trip will be spent in the small town of Selfoss. Feel free to take a look at a variety of Selfoss hotels & guesthouses for your one night stay.

Recommended Option: 360 Hotel & Thermal Baths

Hotel Selfoss & Spa Booking

5) Day 2 – Southern Coast

The second day of the Ring Road itinerary will be spent exploring the southern coast of the country. Here you will find a whole variety of waterfalls, beaches, and more stunning landscapes.

Seljalandsfoss & Gljufrabui

First up on day 2 is Seljalandsfoss which is about a 60 minute drive from Selfoss. This waterfall is unique in that you can actually walk around it as you take in a 360 degree view of the waterfall, even getting behind it.

Spend some time taking pictures at different angles and walking all the way around.

Here you will also find a lesser known waterfall called Gljufrabui. Walk about ten minutes north of Seljalandsfoss along the path following the signs.

Through a narrow rock corridor lies the waterfall, where you will most likely get a bit wet as you are literally inside of a cave.

It is quite a unique experience being inside this rock as the waterfall comes down behind you. After you spend some time down low, follow the path to the top of the waterfall, where you can climb the small ladder to get a view from above.

Seljalandsfoss Iceland
Gljufrabui Iceland


Next up is the waterfall Skogafoss which is one that you cannot miss. It is a massive waterfall with a staircase off to the side which you can walk up to the top of.

Getting too close to the bottom of the waterfall will most likely result in some wetness so be careful when trying to get the best picture.

After hanging out at the bottom, climb up the staircase to get a view from the top. For a real epic hiking opportunity, you can continue your way along the Skoga River.

Learn More: For an in depth overview of this hike check out the guide to Hiking Skogafoss

Skogafoss Waterfall Mist
Skogafoss Hike Iceland River
Skogafoss Waterfall Hike Waterfalls
Skogafoss Hike Iceland Jump

Dyrholaey & Reynisfjara

After taking in a couple of waterfalls, hiking for a bit, and eating lunch, continue your way east to Dyrholaey which is the large peninsula with its well known arch.

You can walk around to different viewpoints and get a look at the waves crashing nearby. 

The black sand beaches of Reynisfjara are next up. Here you can walk the beach, hang out on the limestone cliffs, and take in some amazing views. 

After the arches and black sand beach head to the town of Vik. It is a pretty nice small town where you can find some restaurants and also a grocery store to pick up some essentials. You can get in a nice viewpoint from the church at the top of the town.

One important thing to note is that main towns can be very far apart from one another. So if you see somewhere you would like to eat or add some gas to the tank you should do it sooner rather than later as you won’t know when the next opportunity will be.

Dyrholaey Iceland
Reynisfjara Iceland View
Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach


​You can then head out to Laufskalavaroa, where you will find thousands of small rock piles all around this small hill.

Apparently building one of these rock piles gives you good luck as you continue your adventures around the country of Iceland.

As it is the beginning of your journey it could be a good idea to make one of your own! Feel free to to take the short walk around the area before continuing on.

Laufskalavaroa Iceland

Fjadrargljufur Canyon

The next stop is one of the most picturesque places of the entire trip – Fjadrargljufur Canyon. Hike up along the side of the canyon taking in the views.

You can get some amazing pictures both all the way towards the top of the trail and the bottom of the trail. Enjoy your last attraction of the day before heading to your hotel or guesthouse nearby.

Fjadrargljufur Iceland

Iceland Night #2

The second night of the trip will be spent in or near the town of Kirkjubaejarklauster (Lauster for short). Take a look at some Kirkjubæjarklaustur Hotels & Guesthouses that can work for you.

Recommended Option: Hotel Laki

Hotel Laki

6) Day 3 – Skaftafell and Jokulsarlon

Day 3 of your Iceland itinerary will be focused on two main areas on the southeast part of the island. The first is Skaftafell National Park and the second is Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon.

Skaftafell National Park

After a much needed sleep wake up bright and early to head out to Skaftafell National Park. Here you will have two main options to choose from – hiking in the national park on your own or heading on a glacier hike as part of a guided tour.

There are plenty of hiking trails in the national park ranging from just around an hour to full day hiking options. The guide to Hiking Skaftafell National Park will go over what you need to know to hit the trails.

Taking part in a Skaftafell Glacier Hike will have you experience what it is like to hike on ice. There are also several options to choose from ranging from a couple hours on the glacier to a full day activity. I put together a Skaftafell Glacier Hike guide for you to learn more.

If you are interested in the glacier hike you can book a Skaftafell Glacier Hike Tour in advance to reserve your spot!

Skaftafell Hiking Glacier
Skaftafell Hiking Glacier View
Skaftafell Glacier Walk

Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon

After a long morning/afternoon of hiking grab some food back by the visitor center and relax for a bit. After the break continue your day towards some glacier lagoons.

Take a quick stop at the smaller Fjallsarlon lagoon before making the short drive to Jokulsarlon.

You have the option to tour the lagoon on a zodiac type of boat or a larger amphibian one where you are with more people and higher up from the water.

The smaller boat is a really great time with just about 8 people in the boat with your driver. Make sure to book in advance especially if you are opting for the smaller boat.

Your boat driver will give you a tour of the lagoon, answer your questions, and even let you take a huge piece of ice from the water. Your driver will then drive the boat towards the back of the lagoon where ice cliffs will be breaking off every few minutes.

After about 45 minutes the boat will head back to land, where you will then depart Jokulsarlon and head over to Hofn for the night.

Jokursalon Ice

Iceland Night #3

The southeast town of Hofn will be your next overnight stay, before continuing northbound along the coast. Feel free to check out some Hofn Hotels & Guesthouses for your time there.

Recommended Option: Fosshotel Vatnajökull

Fosshótel Vatnajökull

7) Day 4 – Eastern Fjords

The fourth day of your trip takes you from the town of Hofn up to Egilsstadir along the eastern fjords. As you make your way up north you will pass by plenty of scenic routes and towns.

Stokksnes & Vestrahorn

Your first stop will be Stokksnes, which is only about a 20-minute drive away and a great site to start your day. Here you will also be able to see the mountain of Vestrahorn, also known as the Batman Mountain.

You can stop here for a bit and walk around to enjoy the mountain in the background and the dunes and black sand beach surrounding it. Note that there could be a small fee to drive on this private land.


Eastern Fjords

After leaving the Stokksnes and Vestrahorn area start the drive up the coast and through the eastern fjords. Hopefully is it a nice clear day out and you will be able to enjoy the scenery around you.

There is a good chance that you will want to stop a few times along this route, get out of the car, and just take it all in.

After about 60-90 minutes of driving in and out of the fjords, there is a small town named Djupivogur. Here you can just drive through or stop for a bit if you would like to experience an eastern Iceland town.

Iceland Fjords
Eastern Fjords

Shortly after you leave the area of Djupivogur you will have a fork in the road – either continue along the coast on Route 1 or take a bit of a shortcut on Route 939.

The latter is more of a gravel road compared to the pavement of Route 1.

If you either don’t want to drive on gravel and/or want to drive more along the coast then continue on Route 1. If not then take the 939 shortcut, which will save you about 45 minutes of driving.


After a morning of driving the fjords, it is time to have some food in Skriduklaustur.

Here you will find the famous cake buffet. There will be plenty of different food options – cakes, pastries, fruit, homemade breads, and more. It will be a great way to fuel up before another beautiful hike.

Right close by to the cake buffet is Hengifoss. Getting to the waterfall requires a bit of hiking and the start of the hike can be a bit strenuous. The entire hike will take about an hour and a half.

You will enjoy walking along the river, passing waterfalls along the way, and finally making it to the main attraction.



Depending on your timing you can now make your way to Seydisfjordur. Along this route be prepared to look all around at the fjords and the waterfalls coming from every direction.  

It is quite the site to see constant waterfalls alongside the road as you drive on by.

Once you are finished with the drive head back to your final destination for the day and that is the town of Egilsstadir. Grab some dinner, put some gas in the tank, and rest up before starting day 5 of your journey.

Mountain Waterfalls

Iceland Night #4

After making your way up the coast, it is time to spend the night in the small town of Egilsstadir. Take a look through some Egilsstadir Hotels & Guesthouses for your stay.

Recommended Option: Lyngas Guesthouse

Lyngas Guesthouse

8) Day 5 – Northern Iceland

It is now time to explore some of the top highlights of northern Iceland as part of this 10 day Iceland itinerary.

The day will start and end with two incredible waterfalls, and include a visit to the Myvatn Geothermal area in between.


It is now time to see what the northeast of Iceland has to offer and that is going to start with a ~2 hour or so drive to Dettifoss, which is one of the most powerful and largest waterfalls in Iceland.

When driving up there on Route 1 you can either take one of two roads that end up at the waterfall – Route 862 (the western side with a little bit more of an obstructed view of the falls) or 864 (the eastern side which has a more open view).

The 862 route is more paved while 864 is more gravel, so just be aware to drive carefully along these routes.

Depending on views and driving preference you can choose between the two. Whatever you do end up doing, you cannot go wrong.


Lake Myvatn

It is now time to head on over to Lake Myvatn, a beautiful lake with plenty of things to see around the area. It is also where many scenes of Game of Thrones were filmed.

Learn More: For an in depth review of the area check out the Best Things To Do Around Lake Myvatn.

These 8 spots around the area include:

  1. Skutustadir Pseudo Craters
  2. Hofdi Peninsula
  3. Dimmuborgir Lava Fields
  4. Grjotagja Cave
  5. Myvatn Nature Baths
  6. Hverir Geothermal Field
  7. Viti Crater
  8. Leirhnjukur
Hverir Fumes
Skutustadir Pseudo Craters​ Lake Myvatn 2


Once complete with your time around Lake Myvatn head to the next massive waterfall of the day Godafoss. This is a unique waterfall as it looks like there are several waterfalls making up this gigantic one. 

Snap some shots and enjoy the area before making it to the capital of the north for the night – Akureyri.


Iceland Nights #5 & #6

For the first time on the trip, you will be able to spend a couple of nights in one place.

Akureyri is the largest city in northern Iceland and is a great place to spend two days before moving westbound. Check out some Akureyri Hotels & Guesthouses for your stay.

Recommended Option: Hotel Nordurland

Hotel Nordurland

9) Day 6 – Akureyri

​Akureyri is the second largest city in Iceland and now you will be able to spend the day around the area after hopping from town to town over the past several days of the trip.

The morning of day 6 however will take you about 60-90 minutes north of the city to Husavik. Here is the base for some of the best whale watching and puffin sightings in all of Iceland.

You can book a tour ahead of time to reserve your spot and have yourself all set to take part in some whale watching. If you do not want to head over to Husavik there are also plenty of whale watching opportunities in Akureyri as well.

There are tours going throughout the morning so there are plenty of options to choose from. You will be given some waterproof suits to wear while out on the water as it can get very cold and wet.

Over the course of the 3-4 hours, you will learn about the different whale species and their history and get to ask questions you might have to your guide. You are bound to see a bunch of whales out there and get to snap some pics of them as they pass by. 

Husavik Whale Watching
Whale Watching Iceland

After a morning of whale watching make your way back down to Akureyri. Now you will be able to relax and explore the city for the rest of the afternoon and evening.

The city is not all that big and you can walk around enjoying the street art and colorful buildings surrounding you.

As you walk around you are sure to pass by many local stores, where you can buy any northern Icelandic souvenirs.

Right around the city center you can even find the Arctic Botanical Gardens and get to see some of the local flowers and plants.

Akureyri Iceland
Akureyri Gardens

10) Day 7 – Heading West

Get prepared for a long drive as you make your way west to the Snaefellsnes peninsula with a few stops along the way. Don’t feel obligated to stop at each place if you are short of time.

Just pick and choose what you would like best as you head towards the peninsula.


The first stop is Glaumbaer. I am sure you will have seen small houses from time to time covered with grass roofs. Here you will see a whole section of houses that look like this.


Grabrok Crater

After exploring the area head back in the car for a little longer of a drive to the Grabrok Crater. Once you arrive at the crater head up the path that takes you to the top so you get in an amazing view from above.

There is a great path/staircase that takes you up and along the crater, so you can get pictures from a bunch of different points.

Grabrok Crater


After walking around the crater head out to the best-named attraction of your trip – Deildartunguhver. This is Europe’s most powerful hot spring and is used to provide heat for a few neighboring towns.


Hraunfossar and Barnafoss

You will probably only need about 20-30 minutes around Deildartunguhver before heading to the two neighboring waterfalls of Hraunfossar and Barnafoss

Hraunfossar and Barnafoss


Once the waterfall excursion is complete, the Snaefellsnes peninsula awaits. Check into your hotel or guesthouse around this area and relax after a long day of driving and sightseeing.

Depending on how early you started your day, how quickly you were able to drive from one attraction to the next, and where you will be staying overnight it might be possible to get to Kirkjufell now.

If not you can enjoy it the next morning as written below. You might also want to check it out twice – once in the evening and once in the morning. It is all up to you.

Kirkjufell Iceland

Iceland Night #7

You can choose from a variety of places all along the peninsula. Be sure to take a look at some Snaefellsnes Hotels & Guesthouses for plenty of options.

Recommended Option: Bikers Paradise

Bikers Paradise

11) Day 8 – Glymur & Blue Lagoon

If you were not able to get it in the previous day, the mountain of Kirkjufell is one of, if not the most pictured site in all of Iceland.

You will definitely want to walk around this area getting the best picture you can while taking in the waterfalls, greenery, and scenic views around you.

It should also be mentioned that as you are driving through the Snaefellsness peninsula, you will probably want to stop a few times to take in some beautiful landscapes along the way too.

Kirkjufell Waterfall

Glymur Waterfall Hike

You will then begin the drive to Glymur – the second highest waterfall in Iceland, nearly 200 meters tall, and is also home to one of the best hikes in the country.

You should plan on getting there on the earlier end – once it gets to midday/early afternoon there could be many more people on the trail.

Learn More: I put together a complete guide to hiking Glymur to get you all prepared for the one of a kind trail

Glymur Hike View
Glymur Hike Iceland Waterfall
Glymur Hike Iceland

Blue Lagoon

NOTE: You can also push the Blue Lagoon to day 9 or 10 if you feel like making more of a day out of it.

Next up comes the most relaxing portion of the trip and that is the Blue Lagoon. Make sure to buy tickets in advance so when you get there you can walk right in and enjoy.

Once you get there you can drop your stuff off in a locker and head outside in what is probably pretty cold weather. But don’t worry because once you are inside the Blue Lagoon all is well.

The temperature of the water is very soothing and relaxing, and there are definitely spots warmer than others. You can buy yourself a few drinks and wade/walk around the lagoon.

You can probably spend 2+ hours there altogether just relaxing your body after all the hiking that has been done.

Once finished with the blue lagoon you can shower and change before heading back to Reykjavik.

Sky Lagoon Note: these days many people opt to head to the nearby Sky Lagoon instead (or in addition). Sky Lagoon is located just 15 minutes from Reykjavik town and offers a stunning 70-meter infinity pool overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

Blue Lagoon Iceland
Blue Lagoon Iceland Water

Iceland Nights #8 & #9

The capital city of Reykjavik has plenty of hotel options to choose from for your last stay of this 10 day Iceland itinerary.

Spend the last couple nights of your trip in the capital as you wind down after a long Ring Road experience. Browse some Reykjavik Hotels & Guesthouses to end your trip!

Here are a few top accommodation options to choose from:

Reykjavik Graffiti

12) Day 9 – Reykjavik

There really aren’t too many different sites to see but definitely enough to keep yourself busy for a day or two. You probably won’t make it out of your hotel on days 9 and 10 until later in the morning to catch up on sleep from the previous week.

Stroll through the city center as you walk down the main street Laugavegur, and then to the harbor area. 

Stop by the Harpa Opera House, a really modern piece of architecture with many different areas to explore and a glass like structure throughout. Then walk further along the water to the viking ship known as the Sun Voyager.

It is really just a silver statue but still a pretty great place to check out. After a day of exploring the city head back to your apartment before dinner and another night out.

Learn More: The One Day Reykjavik Itinerary will walk you everything you need to know about the capital city

Harpa Reykjavik
Sun Voyager Reykjavik

13) Day 10 – Reykjavik & Depart

Grab some breakfast, walk around the streets of the city, and buy a bunch of different souvenirs from the surrounding shops. Then head over to the main church – Hallgrimskirkja.

Spend a few dollars to head to the top of the church and see the view of the entire city of colored houses beneath you. You can see all the way to the opera house and beyond.

That will be your last stop on an amazing trip to Iceland before heading to the airport later in the day or the next morning. Hope you enjoy your 10 days in Iceland!

Be sure to read through the next several sections for more helpful tips about Iceland in general.

Reykjavik Church View

14) When to Visit Iceland

One of the main questions to ask yourself is what is the best time of year to visit Iceland and take part in the Ring Road?

In general, I would recommend a summer trip out to Iceland from the months of June to September. During this time of year, you will have the most daylight hours and have more flexibility as you go about your days.

While visiting outside of the summer months is certainly possible, you may need more time to complete a Ring Road itinerary due to the shorter daylight.

To give you a better understanding of the weather over the course of the year, I have included a couple of screenshots courtesy of Meteoblue.

I would recommend using Meteoblue to get more accurate day by day Iceland weather forecasts. The forecasts give you a better idea of how many hours of sun to expect, the amount of precipitation, and other helpful metrics.

The first chart below will show the average temperature along with the rainfall by month. As you can see, the summer does bring those higher temperatures.

Although they may be the highest temperatures, does not mean it is warm (average highs in the summer reach just the mid 50’s F).

You can also see there is quite a bit of precipitation throughout the year, even in the summer months. Although historically, the Spring/Summer months bring the least amount of rain/snow, you should always be prepared for some rainfall.

The second chart shows the amount of cloudy vs. sunny days throughout the year.

You can see that pretty consistently throughout the year over half the days of the month can have overcast weather. That is not to say the entire day will be overcast but the clouds definitely do roll in and out.

Iceland Weather by Month
Iceland Weather Sun Clouds

15) Iceland Weather

Now, just because there is a lot of daylight during the summer, doesn’t mean the weather is always going to be ideal.

Iceland is notorious for its constantly changing weather patterns. In a day’s time it very well may feel like you just went through all four seasons. 

As you prepare for your trip to Iceland, you really do need to be ready for it all – no matter when you go about your trip.

To start, temperatures will always be on the cooler side, especially when the sun isn’t out and shining. As you can tell in the charts above, even those summer month averages don’t get about the mid 50’s.

On top of the cooler temperatures, rain & wind can come and go at a moment’s notice. This can turn a calm & sunny day into one where you don’t even want to leave your car. High wind speeds can be frequent in Iceland, and you may need to be patient until things calm down a bit.

My biggest piece of advice when it comes to weather in Iceland, is not to get too down if the forecast is looking bleak. There were several moments during my trip when it seemed like we were not going to be able to enjoy our day, however, just 30 minutes later the weather would completely change for the best.

Since you will be on a set route given the Ring Road itinerary, there may be less flexibility when it comes to “saving something for later”. So, if the weather gives you a chance to enjoy a natural attraction and it isn’t pouring rain & wind, then be sure to take advantage of your time.

Skaftafell Glacier Iceland

16) Iceland Packing List

The weather really goes hand in hand with what an Iceland packing list will look like. As mentioned, you really need to be ready for all sorts of weather possibilities during a trip. Sun, wind, rain, and more will be frequent throughout your days in the country.

So, when you are heading off for a hike or visiting a certain attraction, don’t just plan to wear whatever your base outfit may be for the day. Instead, you very likely will need to bring along additional layers and items just in case the weather turns one way or another.

If you will be outside and away from your car for long portions of the day, be sure to take a backpack with you to carry any items that you currently aren’t wearing. 

Overall, I would recommend taking a this hiking packing list I put together that has many of the items you will want to consider bringing. The list talks about layers, which will be of utmost importance for a trip to Iceland. Below are the main layers you will want to bring along:

  • Hiking Shorts
  • Hiking Pants
  • Short Sleeve Shirt
  • Long Sleeve Shirt / Sun Hoodie
  • Mid Layer Fleece
  • Puff Jacket
  • Packable Rain Jacket

You want to be sure to bring appropriate waterproof hiking shoes along with solid hiking socks as well.

Additional packing list item recommendations include:

  • Hiking Backpack & Rain cover
  • Water Bottle & Nutrition
  • Portable Charger
  • Hat & Sunglasses
Glacier Hike Skaftafell

17) Renting a Car in Iceland

Another main topic I wanted to cover is renting a car in Iceland. As mentioned, a car rental is going to be the easiest option when it comes to exploring Iceland in general.

You will have the ability to go at your own pace, visit the places you want to visit, and always be on your own schedule.

For renting cars in general, I would highly recommend just taking a look at That way you can get a good understanding of the various options out there across multiple car rental companies.

Note that there are some considerations to think about when renting cars in Iceland including:

Transmission: When choosing a car, note that there can be a mixture between Manual and Automatic options. So, choose correctly (especially if you don’t know how to drive Manual). 

Roads: While there are unpaved roads throughout the country, basically all of the main attractions and activities on an itinerary like this will be on paved roads.

So, you will not need to worry much about getting a 4 X 4 car. However, if you are looking to extend this itinerary to include some more off the beaten path options or you are thinking about visiting in the winter time, then a 4 X 4 car will be your best bet.

Protection: You may also see additional add ons such as gravel protection or sand/ash protection. This will be up to you if you want to be insured for the variety of protections offered by the rental companies.

Iceland Rental Car

18) 10 Day Iceland Budget

One concern that may come up for people is the cost of traveling around Iceland. The country is known to be on the more expensive side and costs can quickly add up.

When it comes to a 10 day Iceland budget, you will need to consider a variety of factors which I will lay out below.

I do want to be clear though that there can be a whole spectrum when it comes to an Iceland budget. On one end, you can opt to camper van your way through and cook all your own food. On the other end, you can stay at more luxurious hotels and have much nicer meals.

Below is what I would consider a middle of the road standard budget for an everyday traveler.

Rental Car: $130 per day

On average, you can find standard automatic SUVs for around $130 per day. These can be rented from a variety of global & local car rental companies.

Gas: $300

For a full Ring Road trip, expect gas prices to come in around $300 give or take

Accommodation: $200 – $300 per night

This is one cost item that can have a wider spectrum. But on average expect a double occupancy room to be around that $250 price range.

Food: $50 – $75 per day

When it comes to meals, you can also have a wide budget range. There are certain restaurants in Reykjavik where meals can add up to the $100+ price point. However, in general, you should be able to have a standard meal around $25 – $40.

Activities: Varies

Throughout the itinerary you will come across a few activities such as glacier hiking, whale watching, and the Blue Lagoon. I would recommend setting aside a few hundred dollars for these sorts of activities.

If paid activities are not for you, then there is nothing to worry about. Most of Iceland is a natural attraction on its own. So, you can really not pay a dollar for activities and still have a great time altogether.

Reykjavik Nightlife

19) Iceland Ring Road Travel Tips

To better help you plan your 10 day Ring Road itinerary, here are some valuable travel tips when it comes to Iceland:

Summer Trip: If you really want to take advantage of your time in Iceland, I would highly recommend a summer trip there. This way you can have more daylight hours to see the natural beauty all around you. While you won’t be able to see the aurora borealis, you can always save that for a winter month visit.

Weather Preparation: You really do need to be prepared for all sorts of weather conditions in Iceland. Be sure to pack accordingly and get ready for that unpredictability. Layers will be of utmost importance when it comes to an Iceland packing list, so go ahead and get those ready.

Rent a Car: Renting a car will be a necessity if you are planning on driving the full Ring Road (unless you join a set guided tour). Be sure to get a car that is comfortable and can fit your whole party. There will be a lot of time spent in the car, so you won’t want to cut many corners when it comes to renting one.

Cash vs Credit: Don’t expect to use the local Icelandic Krona too much (if at all). During my trip, I was able to pay with a credit card nearly everywhere I went. You may want to take out a small amount of local currency when you arrive (just in case).

Free vs Paid: As mentioned in the budget portion, many attractions along the Ring Road are completely free of charge. You can really take part in a full itinerary and feel as if you are not missing out on anything without paying a dollar to see these attractions. With that said, be sure to book any paid activities in advance as they do sell out in the peak months.

Saving Money: If you want to save some money, there are certainly ways to go about it. Just some spending tips include: buying food at supermarkets, going camping, taking the trip with friends to split shared costs, and not going overboard with those paid activities.

Avoid Evening Driving: When it comes to driving, I would recommend not driving in the evening after dark. This can especially hold true if the weather turns for the worse and visibility is poor. Try and keep all of your driving during the daylight hours for safety.

Speed Limit: Lastly, be sure to stay under the speed limit in Iceland. While it may seem pretty empty and therefore safe to go over the limit, there are traffic cameras all around. Abide by those speed signs and try to enjoy your natural surroundings as you drive from one place to the next.

Skogafoss Hike Greenery

20) Is 10 Days Enough for the Ring Road?

One of the biggest concerns when it comes to driving around the Ring Road, is whether you will have enough time to complete it all.

The goal is to have that balance of being able to see all of the top attractions without the need to rush through or skip too much.

With that said, I do believe that 10 days is just the perfect amount of time to encircle the Ring Road and see many of the highlights along the way. While you will need to be continuously moving throughout, and basically hop from one town to the next, 10 days still will be a comfortable experience altogether.

Each day will comprise various top natural attractions while you drive a couple hundred kilometers exploring it all. While you won’t be able to spend more than one night in one town (except Akureyri), a 10-day Ring Road trip will not feel as if you are just rushing from one great place to the next.

In addition, this itinerary is essentially made up of 9 days of exploring, and leaving on day 10. So, if you had 10 full days (and leaving on day 11), then you will be able to see even more than what is laid out on this itinerary.

Skaftafell Rainbow

That wraps up a 10 day Iceland Ring Road itinerary! If you have any questions or comments, feel free to add them below.

Also don’t forget to check out the other Iceland itineraries and guides on the site for some more helpful posts.

Have fun out there and safe travels!

Iceland Ring Road Itinerary

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Mohit Bagri

Friday 8th of September 2023

Hi Charles, the itinerary looks amazing. Do you think I can find overnight parking spot nearby all the stopovers, we take? I am planning to rent and stay in a campervan and do this trip. Is there toll tax in Iceland?


Friday 8th of September 2023

Hey Mohit - if you are taking a campervan around, there are plenty of camping grounds all around the Ring Road. You should not have an issue as many people opt for the campervan experience. There is only one toll road in Iceland (Vadlaheidarargöng Tunnel) near Akureryi. Hope you have a great trip!


Wednesday 19th of April 2023

Hi, thank you for the wonderful itinerary. We are planning a trip in August for 10 days and planning to drive the entire ring road. I was wondering if there is a way to not do so much hotel hopping? I understand we will end up driving more so wondering if checking in every night and checking out every morning is better than driving?


Sunday 28th of May 2023

Hi! With the (almost daily) hotel hopping, does it mean we're driving around with luggage in the car as we make our way through the day before the next hotel check-in?


Wednesday 19th of April 2023

Hi Payal - the Ring Road is tough to do without hotel hopping to be honest. You can certainly stay in certain places longer than one night, but if you want to do the whole Ring Road, then do expect to stay in several places along the way. There are ways to visit just certain portions of the Ring Road, by staying on the southern coast for a couple of nights, and then basing yourself in Reykjavik for the rest (but that wont take you all around the Ring Road). Hope you enjoy the trip!


Tuesday 5th of April 2022

Do you feel that this 10 days itinerary is enough time to enjoy. I could do 12 days if needed. Not sure I want to drive 7 hours in a day.


Wednesday 6th of April 2022

Hi Linda - the longer, the better in my opinion. 10 Days is a pretty standard amount of time for a trip but if you have 12 days then I would definitely take advantage (especially due to potential weather disruptions). Note that the drive from Akureyri to Snaefellsnes is about 5 hours. If you head to the stops mentioned, that will make the drive longer. You can certainly skip some spots to cut down on that longer drive.

Hope that helps!


Tuesday 1st of March 2022

Can you do this in 9 days instead of 10 Days? We depart on day 9. What would you recommend/cut down to fit it in 9 days


Tuesday 1st of March 2022

Hi Teresa - the Ring Road itself will be pretty difficult to cut down any further. If you must do 9 days instead of 10, I would recommend cutting out the last day in Reykjavik (day 9 in the itinerary). You will still at least get an evening in the city to walk around and explore the night before you leave. Hope that helps!


Monday 10th of January 2022

Thank you for putting this helpful information all in one place! Looking to plan a trip in May, and this is a wonderful resource. Thanks again !