Itinerary in brief:
- 1 night Hveragerdi
- 1 night West Iceland
- 1 night Westfjords area
- 1 night Isafjordur
- 1 night Saelingsdalur area
- 1 night Reykjavik
Day 1: Arrive Reykjavik
On arrival into Reykjavik, you will pick up your hire car at the airport and drive down to the southern coast, where you’ll spend your first night in the charming village of Hveragerdi. This village is one of the few places in the world located directly on top of a geothermal area and, because of the many greenhouses heated by natural springs, it is known as the flower village.
Day 2: Snaefellsnes Peninsula and Stykkisholmur
Today you’ll set off on your trip in west Iceland, travelling along the scenic road towards the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. On route, you’ll pass the Eldborg Crater, which looks like it belongs on the moon. Keep your eyes peeled for birds as you make your way along the coast. Throughout the drive, you’ll see the snow-capped peak of the Snaefellsjokull glacier. Make a stop on the shiny black pebble beach at Djupalonssandur and take some time to explore the national park. Further along, you’ll arrive in Stykkisholmur, where you can spend the afternoon wandering through the pretty town, enjoying the restored timber houses and eating local blueberry ice cream by the harbour. All kinds of birdwatching tours and cruises depart from Stykkisholmur, including a great boat trip where you can see starfish, scallops and urchins pulled up from the ocean and try some of the freshest sushi around. If you want to add a cruise, just ask!
Day 3: Stykkishomur, Brjanslaekur and the Westfjords
After breakfast, you’ll head north to the Westfjords, either by ferry or by road. The ferry takes around 3 hours while the journey by road is closer to 4 hours, but very scenic indeed. Arriving into the Westfjords, you’ll very quickly see why this is one of Iceland’s best-kept secrets. Here, you’ll find the 1500-foot-high Latrabjarg Cliffs, alive with millions of puffins, gannets and razorbills all clamouring for a spot on the outcrop. It’s truly one of the greatest wildlife spectacles in the world. If you want to really get off the grid, head to Flatey Island, a tiny spot in the Breidafjordur Bay where native Icelanders go to renovate their ancestor’s old homes in the traditional village - strictly limited to the summer months.
Day 4: Patreksjordur and Isafjordur
Travelling across the spectacular Westfjords today, you can keep an eye out for hot bathing springs dotted throughout the rugged landscape. Head to the wide sandy beach at Raudasadur, famous for its orange sand and seal colonies, before stopping at the powerful Dynjandi waterfall, cascading 100 metres off the edge of a mountain with views over the lush valley. Why not stop here for a picnic lunch before driving leisurely through the pretty fishing village of Thingeyri? You’ll finish the day in the tiny town of Isafjordur, where you’ll find a thriving harbour, delicious local food and colourful narrow streets – perfect for an evening of exploration.
Day 5: Hólmavík and Laugar Saelingsdalur
Today you’ll head over to the village of Hólmavík on the rugged eastern edge of the Westfjords, which has long been infamous for witches, sorcerers and all things magic. Here, you’ll find beaches strewn with driftwood, seals lazing on the beach, arctic foxes play in the grass and wild blueberries growing in abundance. This area is only accessible in midsummer, but its remote beauty makes it all the more worthwhile to visit. There are lots of opportunities for kayaking, horseback riding and hiking, as well as enjoying bustling village life in Hólmavík, which has regular food markets and summer festivals. End your day in the green valleys of Laugar in Saelingsdalur, rich in saga folklore and perfect for a pitstop on your way down south.
Day 6: Borgarfjordur and Reykjavik
Spend the day slowly driving down to Reykjavik, stopping at Eiriksstadir, the Viking Age home of Erik the Red and birthplace of his son Leif, who discovered North America. Here, you can see the replica of his house and stand on its doorstep, with magnificent views over the Haukadalur Valley. Stop off at the Hraunfoss waterfall where the water trickles through moss into the pool below, as well as Deildartunuhver, Europe’s most powerful hot spring. If you’re peckish, you can even buy some tomatoes grown using geothermal heat to fill your sandwiches! Arriving in Reykjavik in the afternoon, you can spend some time exploring the city. Walk along the pretty harbour, browse the craft shops and feast on fresh Icelandic seafood for dinner. At the end of the evening, raise a pint of Icelandic craft ale and toast a wonderful trip to the spectacular west coast.
Day 7: Depart Reykjavik
Today is your final day in Iceland, you’ll drive back to the airport in time to catch your onwards flight.