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Self Guided Walking Holidays & Cycling Holidays


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Self-drive and hike tour around Iceland in 10 days
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Highlights

  • Explore the South Coast, East Fjords and Lake Myvatn by car and on foot.
  • Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon, filled with huge icebergs of turquoise hues
  • The thundering waterfalls of Gulfoss, Skogafoss and Dettifoss.
  • The colourful fishing villages of the East Fjords.
  • Myvatn, scattered with bubbling mud-pots, lava formations and hot springs.

Drive Iceland’s scenic Ring Road 1, starting from the capital of Reykjavik, exploring the picturesque south coast and through the east fjords to Lake Myvatn on the north coast. This drive and hike tour ticks off countless highlights; lava fields, volcanoes, glaciers, waterfalls, fjords, hot springs and geysirs.

You’ll want to get out from behind the wheel and experience Iceland on foot; wander alongside an iceberg lagoon, look down on thundering waterfalls from above, and hike through great tears in the earth’s crust. This is Iceland at it’s best!

Read about journalist Fiona's experiences with Macs Adventure in Iceland in her blog posts Iceland: Myths, Magic & Magnificence, and 12 Must Sees in Southern Iceland

Day 1: Arrive Reykjavik

Arriving at Keflavik International Airport,  you are immediately transported to other-worldly landscapes, as you travel by road through craters and lava fields to reach your hotel in downtown Reykjavik.


The vibrant, quirky city of Reykjavik is wonderfully cosmopolitan and easily explored on foot. Browse the many outdoor and handicraft shops and enjoy a delicious meal from one of the many fantastic seafood restaurants—we recommend the Arctic Char in particular!


Overnight: Reykjavik


Day 2: Golden Circle—Thingvellir, Gulfoss and Geysir

Head straight out into the countryside today to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Thingvellir National Park. Enjoy a walk here between the great rifts of the earths’ crust or if you fancy it you can even try snorkelling between them—an amazing experience!


Continue to the geothermal area of Geysir, where great spouts of boiling hot water shoot up from the ground every 5 minutes.


Finish your day with a visit to the beautiful two-tiered Gulfoss waterfall, where the water often catches the sunlight to throw incredible rainbows across it.


Walk: 3 hours


Total Drive: Approx 190km, 3 hours


Overnight: Hveragerdi


Day 3: Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss Waterfalls

Visit another two of Iceland’s most spectacular waterfalls today - Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss. At Seljalandsfoss take a walk behind the falls to experience the mighty power of nature up close. And walk to the top of Skogafoss falls for a different perspective.


Continue to Kirkjubaelarklaustur via the black sand beaches of Vik. On arrival enjoy a walk to the nearby “church floor pavement”  - a geological phenomenon formed by basalt columns.


Walk from Skogafoss Waterfall: 1.5-3 hours.


Walk to Church Floor Pavement: 1.5hrs


Total Drive: Approx 205km, 3 hours


Overnight: Kirkjubaelarklaustur


Day 4: Skaftafell National Park

A spectacular drive awaits you today! You cross Eldhraun, a 565 km² field of lava covered in thick luxuriant moss—its like a scene from another planet!


Continue to Skaftafell National Park, part of the Vatnajokull National Park, on the edge of the immense Vatnajokull glacier, which covers an amazing 8% of the country!


We recommend several walks at Skaftafell—from a short 3 hour walk to Svartifoss Waterfall to longer full day walks which overlook the Skaftafellsjokull glacier.


Walk: 3-8hrs, 200m-1000m Ascent/Descent


Total Drive: Approx 70km, 1-2 Hours


Overnight: Skaftafell


Day 5: Skaftafell and Jokulsarlon

We recommend an early start today to enjoy a glacier hike starting from Skaftafell Visitor Centre (optional extra, book in advance). With crampons on and accompanied by expert guides walk through a wonderland of glacial ice sculptures, ice ridges and deep crevasses.


After lunch continue to Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon—one of Iceland’s most photographed places! The incredible icebergs floating in the water, with shimmering hues of blue make it easy to see why many Hollywood directors use this as a filming loctation!


Walk: 2-4 hours


Total Drive: Approx 135km, 2 Hours


Overnight: Höfn


Day 6: Drive to the East Fjords

The east coast of Iceland consists of  a series of v-shaped, narrow fjords between rugged steel-grey mountains. Continue along the winding coastal road to the village of Djupivogur, a tiny little village on the water’s edge surrounded by peaks. Heading deeper into the east fjords, stop at Lagarfjlot lake, enjoying a walk to the waterfalls Litlanesfoss and Hengifoss, the third tallest in Iceland.


From the top of the fjord drive down into the village of Seydisfjordur with its pretty church and colourful Scandinavian houses.


As today involves quite long driving distances, you may choose to forego the walk and spend longer in Djupivogur if you wish.


Walk: 2 hours


Total Drive: Approx 250km, 4 hours


Overnight: Seydisfjordur


Day 7: Free Day in Seydisfjordur

A day at leisure to explore the East Fjords. We recommend a couple of walks close to Seydisfjordur including a riverside walk with fantastic views or an interesting walk around the nearby Hallormsstadur forest.  Another option would be to explore Skaftfell, a wonderful visual arts centre, or one of the many other artists studios, workshops and boutiques. Kayak tours are also a popular choice (bookable locally).


Riverside Walk: 2.5hrs


Hallormstadur Forest Walk: 2.5hrs


Overnight: Seydisfjordur


Day 8: Lake Myvatn & Asbyrgi

Leaving the east fjords, head inland and north to Lake Myvatn.


Myvatn which offers plentiful birdlife, pseudo craters, bubbling mud pools and the nearby Nature Baths (a quieter version of the famous Blue Lagoon) where you can soak in the geothermal waters. (entrance payable locally).


You can drive via the rugged Asbyrgi peninsula where a couple of great walks are available. Or you can enjoy one of several walks around the lake.


Walks: 1.5-3hrs


Total Drive: Approx 310km, 4-5 Hours


Overnight: Myvatn


Day 9: Myvatn & surroundings

A drive deep into the Jokulsa canyon will take you to the thundering cascade of Dettifoss, reputed to be Europe’s most powerful waterfall.


A popular circular hike will link this with the smaller, but equally as striking waterfall of Selfoss.


Walk: 2 hours


Overnight: Myvatn


Day 10: Husavik, Drive to Akureyri, Fly to Reykjavik

An early start today means you could enjoy a whale watching trip (optional extra, payable locally) from the pretty village of Husavik, known as Europe’s whale-watching capital.


Stop at Godafoss waterfall before continuing to Akureyri, where you will drop off your rental car at the airport before flying back to Reykjavik (included).


Total Drive: Approx 145km, 2 Hours


Overnight: Reykjavik


Day 11: Onward Travel

A transfer (included) will take you back to Keflavik International Airport for your flight home.


Accommodation

2 Night’s accommodation is included in a 3-star city hotel in Reykjavik. 8 Nights are in comfortable, countryside hotels and guesthouses. We have carefully chosen traditional countryside hotels which offer a warm Icelandic welcome, comfortable rooms and fantastic food! They are in spectacular locations and generally have great views of the surrounding countryside.


Alternative Accommodation

The hotels we normally use are detailed below but subject to availability we may accommodate you in alternative hotels/guesthouses of a similar standard.


Meals

10 breakfasts are included. You can pick up lunches during the day from many cafes or shops. All of the countryside hotels have a restaurant where you can have dinner as there are not usually many other options for places to eat nearby. Food is generally of a very high standard, and local specialities include Hangikjöt (a delicious smoked lamb dish), Saltifiskur (salted fish) and the delicious Arctic Char. For the more adventurous, there is also Hákarl (cured shark commonly accompanied by schnapps), only for the very brave!


Solo Walkers & Single Rooms

Single rooms are available on this trip and a supplement will apply. It
is also available to solo travellers but prices are on a request basis.



 

 

 




Hotel Odinsve - Reykjavik

A stylish 50 room boutique hotel in downtown Reykjavik. They offer newly renovated rooms along with service with a smile. Their restaurant is a popular meeting place in Reykjavik and offers outstanding Icelandic cuisine..


 

 

 


 

 

 



Frost & Fire Hotel - Hveragerdi



Frost & Fire Hotel - Hveragerdi

A quiet hotel with amazing amenities and comfortable rooms. Access to their geothermal spa is included and their restaurant "Varma" offers "slow food" made with the finest local ingredients.


 

 

 


 

 

 



Hotel Klaustur - Kirkjubaejarklaustur



Hotel Klaustur - K'klaustur

57-room Icelandair Hotel Klaustur is a modern property and conveniently located for exploring the south of Iceland. You can relax on their sundeck or enjoy a swim in their neighbouring geothermal pool.


 

 

 


 

 

 





Hotel Skaftafell - Skaftafell

A family run hotel in the vicinity of Skaftafell National Park. Anna Maria and her family take great pride in providing a comfortable place for guests to stay whilst they explore the beautiful surroundings.


 

 

 


 

 

 



Hotel Fosshotel Vatnajokull



Hotel Fosshotel Vatnajokull - Hofn

A charismatic and attractive hotel with a spectacular panoramic view of the majestic glacier. It has been newly renovated and features a modern bar and restaurant.


 

 

 


 

 

 



Hotel Aldan - Seydisfjordur



Hotel Aldan - Seydisfjordur

Historic Hotel Aldan dates from 1898, the 9 lovely rooms have fine linens and antique furniture. Rooms are a few minutes walk from the main reception area.


 

 

 


 

 

 



Hotel Laxa - Myvatn



Hotel Laxa - Myvatn

Hotel Laxa opened in summer 2014 and offers the perfect location for exploring Lake Myvatn and the north of Iceland.


 

 

 

Time of Year and Availability

You can start this tour on any day of the week between the beginning
of May and end of September. From June through to August is the most
popular and best time to travel to Iceland due to the long hours of
sunlight and the fact that the weather is at it’s driest and warmest
then. This is also the best time for wild flowers. During this time,  the main tourist sights such as the most popular waterfalls will get
quite busy but you shouldn’t notice it too much whilst on the walks or
driving.


If you prefer a quieter experience, then we would recommend either
May or September. The weather isn’t quite as reliable then but it is
quieter, and the price also comes down during those months.


The accommodation in Iceland fills up extremely quickly for the summer
months between June and August. For this reason, your accommodation may
change according to availability and your itinerary may be adapted so
that we can secure accommodation. It may also take up to 2 weeks to
confirm your booking but we will try to confirm as quickly as possible
for you. 


Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

This trip is available to solo travellers but a supplement is
applicable and is on request. Single rooms are also available on request
and again a supplement will apply.


Grade & Terrain

We grade this tour as easy-moderate as the suggested walks are all
optional. They are between 1—6 hours in length, and up to 500m
ascent/descent (most are less than 200m ascent/descent.


Navigation, Route Notes & Maps

We provide detailed route notes and maps to allow you to
navigate the recommend walks without any problems. Footpaths are not
always clearly marked but with the above you should not have any issues
navigating. Paths can be slippy and rocky underfoot, so a good pair of
walking boots is essential.


Equipment

Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes
standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, lightweight
clothes, waterproofs and a day pack.


Car Hire

We include Group B Car Hire from the morning of Day 2 up to the
afternoon of Day 6. Group B Car Hire would be based on a Volkswagen Golf
or similar and is suitable for 2-3 people with luggage. For parties of
4, we will automatically include an upgrade to a CAT N Car Hire (similar to a Skoda Octavia) and this
is already included in the cost. For parties of 5-8 people, we will
provide 2x CAT B for 5-6 people, and 2x CAT N for 7-8 people. If you choose, you can also upgrade to a CAT FG Car Hire which is
similar to a Suzuki Grand Vitara 4WD.  Select this option when making
your booking. Car hire includes
unlimited mileage, VAT, CDW insurance, 1 additional driver, Pick up and
Drop off fees. No insurance in Iceland covers the underside of vehichles
and excesses can be expensive. For this reason we suggest you take out
an excess reimbursement policy in advance of your arrival, or upgrade
your insurance locally.  Fuel and oil are not included in the rental of
your vehicle.


Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you
have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity,
emergency evacuation and hospital care.


General Information:

The distances and ascent/descents are approximations of the
recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items,
(for example, proper rain gear jacket and pants, sun hat, sunscreen).
Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes
standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and
waterproof clothes or the cooler months and lightweight clothing for
summer, and a day pack.

Getting to/from Iceland:

Reykjavik is Iceland’s capital city and located in the south west of the country.


Air - Fly into Keflavik International Airport, which is served by numerous airlines from UK, European and International destinations. Keflavik is just a 3 hour flight from the UK and just a 5 hour flight from Boston, with Icelandair offering many direct flights from various US airports.


The internal flight between Akureyri and Reykjavik is included as part of the package.


Transfers between Keflavik Airport and your Reykjavik accommodation, and between Reykjavik Domestic Airport and your Reykjavik hotel on Day 10 are included.

Included

  • 2 Nights in a 3 star hotel in Reykjavik
  • 8 nights in countryside hotels in standard rooms
  • 10 Breakfasts
  • 9 Days Group B Car Hire (Day 2 to Day 10)
  • Internal flight between Akureyri and Reykjavik on Day 10
  • Transfers between Keflavik Airport and Reykjavik accommodation
  • Route notes, maps and driving instructions
  • 24/7 telephone support from our office and local partners

Excluded

  • Travel to and from Iceland
  • Lunches and evening meals
  • Drinks and snacks
  • Fuel and Oil
  • Personal equipment
  • Mountain rescue/emergency assistane
  • Transfer between Reykjavik Domestic Airport and Reykjavik hotel on Day 10
  • Optional activities
  • Travel insurance (required)

Extras

  • Additional nights before, during or after the tour
  • Single room supplement if required
  • Glacier Hike
  • Car Hire upgrades

How far in advance do I need to book?

We recommend booking as far in advance as possible for this trip as Iceland is extremely popular, especially over the summer months of June, July and August. The accommodations fill up extremely quickly. However, we will always try our very best to accommodate your plans.

How fit do I need to be?

We grade this tour as easy-moderate as the suggested walks are all optional. They are between 1—6 hours in length, and up to 500m ascent/descent (most are less than 200m ascent/descent.

What personal equipment do I need?

You will need good walking shoes/boots, comfortable walking clothes, waterproof jacket and trousers, a daypack and warm clothing. We supply a detailed packing list with your information pack. 

When is the best time of year?

From June through to August is the most popular and best time to travel to Iceland due to the long hours of sunlight and the fact that the weather is at it’s driest and warmest then. This is also the best time for wild flowers. During this time,  the main tourist sights such as the most popular waterfalls will get quite busy but you shouldn’t notice it too much whilst on the walks or driving.
If you prefer a quieter experience, then we would recommend either May or September. The weather isn’t quite as reliable then but it is quieter, and the price also comes down during those months.

If you would like to do some whale-watching you will need to travel between May and September.

What is driving like in Iceland?

For most visitors driving in Iceland is sheer pleasure with miles and miles of open and traffic free roads, along with stunning scenery. At times, gravel roads,  high winds, dust and rain can make driving more challenging than at home but we provide comprehensive advice on driving conditions in our pre-departure information packs. Your rental vehichle will be left hand drive and driving in Iceland is on the right hand side of the road.

Wow wow wow!

5

Wow from start to finish - the professionalism, organisation, the itinerary and the detail in all the information from Nicola and MACS ADVENTURE. Thank you so much! Then you get to Iceland and words can not describe the amount of amazing things to see and do. Apart from Costa Rica we have never been to a country with such varied landscapes at every corner. Such contrasts between the fire and ice. Excellent accommodation and high quality food. Easy self drive, friendly locals. Long haul experiences only a 2 hour flight away.

Little bunny

York

true

11 Day Iceland Explorer would be perfect

5

We did the 10 day Iceland Explorer which is no longer offered, but the 11 days trip offers everything we said wasn't that good about ours - the first 3 days after Reykavik aren't so rushed and you have two nights in Seydisfjordur which we would loved to have explored more. The scenery and walking is just amazing and if you go late enough into spring you may even see northern lights. The downside of September is that we found many museums closed (due to lack of students to staff apparently). We drove from Lake Myvatn to Akureyi to Reykavik which was quite easy in one day, but while the scenery after Akureyi was good, it wasn't spectacular. Overall it was a great trip and the guide book and walking ideas make it very easy to get around but you can still add other walks, museums, activities etc. All accommodation was excellent as is usual with Macs. This is the 3rd trip we have done with them.

BondyTourers

Brisbane

true

excellent way to see the best of Iceland

5

Again the Macs team deliver in spades! Organisation was faultless, accommodation was good, especially in the larger centres of Reykjavik and Myvatn, and the car hire and driving instructions were easy to follow and took us to the main highlights of this fabulous country. Driving was easy in the main, with a few difficult rough dirt roads and some days of rain reducung visibility, but overall the roads are good. Saw unique sights and did wonderful walks to glaciers, volcanos, waterfalls and through fabulous terrain. Loved every minute!

Erica from Adelaide

Adelaide, Australia

true

Exploring Iceland

5

We love seeing and doing new things and Iceland did not disappoint. There is so much to see, explore and appreciate. The suggested itinerary was well laid out while still providing ample opportunity to customize the trip to suit our activity and adventure needs. Whether your interest is in geography, history, photography, nature,sociology....Iceland offers it all. We went at a perfect time (end of May); not yet overrun by tourists. Thank you Macs Adventure for introducing us to Iceland!

Arlene

Ontario, Canada

true

Exploring Iceland by car and hike

5

We love seeing and doing new things and Iceland did not disappoint. There is so much to see, explore and appreciate. The suggested itinerary was well laid out while still providing ample opportunity to customize the trip to suit our activity and adventure needs. Whether your interest is in geography, history, photography, nature,sociology....Iceland offers it all. We went at a perfect time (end of May); not yet overrun by tourists. Thank you Macs Adventure for introducing us to Iceland!

Arlene

Ontario, Canada

true

Iceland Explorer

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