A Complete Ring Road Itinerary - Part 2
During this leg of the trip, you will spend some time in Eastern Iceland, as well as heading into the infamous South Coast. You will visit hidden waterfalls, small villages, dramatic black sand beaches, and quirky museums.
Days 4 - 7
Welcome to Part Two of your exciting Ring Road Itinerary! During this leg of the trip, you will spend some time in Eastern Iceland, as well as heading into the infamous South Coast. You will visit hidden waterfalls, small villages, dramatic black sand beaches, and quirky museums. So let's get started! To reach all destinations mentioned in this guide, you must drive for a couple of hours; we recommend renting comfortable cars, like a family car or 4x4 SUV. For a larger group, go with a minivan to fully enjoy the experience.
This guide is part two of a three-part series, you can find Part One and Part Three here down bellow.
Total Drive Time: 5 hours 20 minutes
Stop 1: Rjúkandi Waterfall
*44 minutes from Fjallakaffi
This waterfall is visible from the side of the road, making it easy to pass for most travelers. But they are missing out! Rjúkandi Waterfall belongs to the landscape at Jökuldalur valley. There is a short path that will lead you to the base of the waterfall. The views from the bottom are excellent and can be a gorgeous photo opportunity, especially at sunrise. It is a great stop to kick off your fourth day on The Ring Road!
Stop 2: Egilsstaðir
*37 minutes from Rjúkandi Waterfall
Continue to visit the largest town in east Iceland, Egilsstaðir. Here you can stock up on any road trip supplies and explore the town. There is a supermarket, various hotels, an information center, tasty restaurants, and gift shops. We recommend filling up your gas tank here too!
Then enjoy a quick stop at the Heritage Museum, which has several remodeled turf houses, replicas of the homes Icelanders lived in for centuries. You can also learn about the Wild Reindeer in the area. The East is the only part of Iceland where you will find them.
Brunch: Then grab some brunch at the Hengifoss Food Truck. Try their Grandma's Waffles served with powdered sugar. You can even add chocolate and banana sauce!
Stop 3: Seydisfjördur
*28 minutes from Egilsstaðir
Take the quick detour off The Ring Road to enjoy the scenery of Seydisfjördur, one of Iceland's most adored towns. The town was an old fishing village and is known to be remote and peaceful. One reason to visit is the bucket list photo of the Seydisfjordur blue church with a rainbow pavement next to it.
Other than that, enjoy the beautiful drive around and through the town. Despite its remote location, Seydisfjördur is one of the most Instagram-able places in the country. A must-see during your road trip.
Stop 4: Folaldafoss
*1 hour 20 minutes from Seydisfjördur
Folaldafoss is a scenic and brief stop off of The Ring Road. You will turn onto the unpaved road of route 939. From here, it is just a quick journey to the parking lot at Folaldafoss. There is a short path that you can hike to view the waterfall up close, which is surrounded by vibrant green scenery.
The waterfall's drop is 65 feet, and the area is known for its surrounding mountainous beauty! We recommend stopping for a while and enjoying a packed lunch or snack by the waterfall. It is a hidden gem that most travelers find by accident.
Stop 5: Sveinsstekksfoss
*12 minutes from Folaldafoss
You will pass Sveinsstekksfoss coming back from Folaldafoss towards Ring Road. But it is a hidden waterfall, so you could drive right past it if you don't know about it. So instead, you can find the 49.2-foot waterfall by taking a quick walk across the gated bridge over the Fossá River. From there, walk up the steep unpaved road to a lookout where the waterfall is visible. The walk is quick and is about half of a mile long roundtrip.
Lunch: Kaupfjelagið Art and Craft Cafe
Take a break at Kaupfjelagið Art and Craft Cafe while heading to your next destination. This quirky cafe has a variety of bites to eat. Grab an Icelandic Hot Dog, a Cheeseburger, or Lambchops. The best part is it is right along the route you were taking to your next stop.
Stop 6: Petra's Stone Collection
*50 minutes from Sveinsstekksfoss
After getting your waterfall fix, it is time to visit Petra's Stone Collection. This place is oh-so exceptional. Every single stone in this museum has been found in the Icelandic highlands. With most of them being extremely rare.
The collection was created entirely by one woman, Ljósbjörg Petra María. She spent her whole life collecting the stones, even when some people told her it was not productive. Learn all about her extraordinary life and why these stones are essential.
The entry fee to the museum is 1,500 ISK for those 14 and older.
Stop 7: Djúpivogur
*1 hour from Petra's Stone Collection
Your final stop on day four will bring you to the village of Djúpivogur. This small coastal town is located on the Búlandsnes peninsula. There are plenty of things to explore here, including the bright red art gallery of Gallery Freevilli. They have odd and unique art, such as skeletons and knickknacks.
Optional Add-On: If you finish your day early or want an extra night, you can take a boat tour from Djúpivogurto, the largest island off of east Iceland, Papey. A daily tour is offered to Papey Island during the summer months. Departure is at 13:00 or 1:00 PM from Djúpivogur marina, located across the bay from Hótel Framtíð. The trip lasts 4 hours and includes a guided hike on the island.
Where To Stay: Hotel Framtid
Relax at the waterfront hotel of Hotel Framtid. They have been operating since 1984 and have been a popular spot for all East Iceland travelers. They have classic hotel rooms, cottages, and apartments all around town!
Where To Eat: Við Voginn
"We create flavorsome, traditional fast food dishes using fresh, local ingredients," is the quote at Við Voginn. A favorite spot for both locals and travelers in the area. Try their freshly baked Chicken Bread with a slice of sourdough bread topped with chicken, garlic, roasted mushrooms, tomatoes, caramelized onions, and a special sauce. Add on the Soup Of The Day for an ideal dining experience. Delicious!
Day 5: South Iceland
Total Drive Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Stop 1: Vestrahorn
*1 hour 20 minutes from Hotel Framtid
Marvel at the gorgeous mountain of Vestrahorn. It is known for its two characteristic peaks. There is a small fee to enter the road since it is on private land. But it is worth it. Photographers and filmmakers prize the mountain due to the sun reflecting off the water onto the mountain. It was even used as a backdrop for the Bollywood film Dilwale.
Stop 2: Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
*55 minutes from Vestrahorn
Spend some time at one of the most majestic places in all of Iceland, The Jökulsárlón Glacier. It is actually the deepest lake in Iceland, with a surface area of 18 square kilometers. The lagoon is filled with chunks of ice that break off from the glaciers, which then fill the bay. It's a mindblowing experience watching the glassy white chunks of ice bob go from the lagoon to the turquoise-blue water.
You can take a boat tour with Ice Lagoon Zodiac Boat Tours. This once-in-a-lifetime tour brings you up close to the biggest glacier in Europe, the great Vatnajökull. If you are lucky enough you will even see the glacial chunks falling off the side.
Stop 3: Diamond Beach
*5 minutes from Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
Located just across the street from the glacier lagoon is the famous Diamond Beach. A name that comes as no surprise when you see it in person. The icebergs that carry over from the lagoon do resemble shining diamonds that float throughout the sea.
Famous movies and films such as Batman Begins, Tomb Raider, and Game of Thrones filmed some of their scenes here. So you know it is a must-see during your road trip on The Ring Road. It is also a sought-after area for photographers since the sunlight shines through the icebergs which makes them appear as even shinier diamonds.
Lunch: Heimahumar "Local Langoustine" Truck
You cannot continue your road trip without stopping at Heimahumar's "Local Langoustine" Truck for lunch. Their famous lobster roll has chunks of lobster and fried crunchy onions, topped with a special sauce. You can try their Icelandic Hot Dog or Vegan Hot Dog too. Then experience their mouthwatering lobster soup! You cannot go wrong with any item from this local and fresh food truck.
Stop 3: Vatnajökull National Park
*47 minutes from Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
The rest of your day will be spent in Vatnajökull National Park because there is much to see here. While you can only access some parts of the park, it is worth a few hours. In addition, you will be able to access Skaftafell, which is a wilderness area.
It includes the massive glaciers of Skaftafellsjökull and Svínafellsjökull. Hike all or part of the trail to Kristínartindar Mountain. It is 11 miles long and takes anywhere from 6-9 hours, But doing a portion is just as beautiful. Then take in the beauty of Svartifoss, a waterfall that cannot be seen from the road. There is a short hike to the falls that only takes about 30-45 minutes.
Where To Stay: Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon
*27 minutes from Vatnajökull National Park
Enjoy your evening in the town of Hof at Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon. A relaxing hotel that has a hot tub, gym, and saunas. The rooms are comfortable and contemporary, with high ceilings and large windows with views over the mountains or the ocean. The rooms have satellite television, coffee and tea-making facilities, coolers, and more.
Where To Eat: Fosshótel Glacier Lagoon Restaurant
After a day of hiking, grab dinner at Fosshótel Glacier Lagoon Restaurant, located at the hotel. The cooking is inspired by Iceland's nature that surrounds the hotel, where they highlight quality and creativity in their dishes. Try their Öræfi feast, which features smoked sheep carpaccio with blueberries and roasted hazelnuts, torched cod with black and white onion, potatoes, and black pepper Béchamel and a selection of homemade ice cream and sorbets.
Day 6: South Coast
Total Drive Time: 5 hours 30 minutes
Stop 1: Fjaðrárgljúfur
*1 hour 20 minutes from Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon
Start day six by seeing the Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon! It is 328 feet deep and 1.2 miles long. The river of Fjaðrá runs through the canyon. The canyon was created slowly by advancing erosion from flowing water from glaciers through the rocks over 9000 years ago.
You can enjoy the canyon from above or take the two-mile moderate walk down to the bottom. If you do, you will find yourself standing right next to the rocky walls, a marvelous unique experience!
Stop 2: Vik
*53 minutes from Fjaðrárgljúfur
After you are down soaking up the views of the canyon, head east to the coastal town of Vik, there is so much to do in this charming little town! Vik is home to tasty meals, art galleries, and much more. We recommend checking out the Icelandic Lava Show before grabbing some lunch. It is the only place in the world where you can safely experience hot molten lava nearby.
Lunch: The Soup Company
A Vik hot spot with Hurry Curry Fish Soup, Lamb Stew, and Vegan Soups. The Soup Companyis a small family-owned restaurant. Soups were always enjoyed on cold and rainy coastal days by the family. It quickly became a family tradition now shared with both tourists and locals.
Try the red hot lava soup, a spicy meat soup with red wine, black beans, tomatoes, bay leaves, red lentils, and more.
Stop 3: Black Sand Beach Reynisfjara
*12 minutes from Vik
Only a 12-minute drive from Vik is the infamous Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach. Admire the unique volcanic black sand and Reynisdrangar, which are rocky sea stacks. While the black sand beach is majestic and beautiful, it can be dangerous. Lives are unfortunately lost here annually due to the unpredictable sneaker waves, which are large and powerful coastal waves that reach the shore quickly and unexpectedly.
You can still enjoy the beach from afar, but be careful when approaching the shoreline. Always keep your eye on the ocean and never turn your back. Grab some beautiful photographs here before moving on to your next destination!
Stop 4: Sólheimasandur
*20 minutes from Black Sand Beach Reynisfjara
Visit the scene where the Sólheimasandur DC Plane Crash took place. The small DC plane had to make a crash landing due to a lack of de-icing and low fuel on the airplane. However, the aircraft landed safely on the stony black beaches of Sólheimasandur.
You can take a hike to the white shell of the plane that is still intact and sits on the beach. The hike is a four-mile round trip hike to the abandoned DC plane. Once you get there, you can go on the plane. We recommend snagging a sunset here before taking the two-mile trek back to the parking lot.
Where To Stay: Sólheimahjáleiga Guest House
Relax at the family-run hotel Sólheimahjáleiga Guest House. The property is run by three generations of the family, Elín & Jónas and Einar & Sara, and their two small children, Gréta and Ásmundur. The family has been at the property for over 150 years. In 1984, the hotel offered accommodations to the public, and they became the first traditional farms to do so. You can stay in one of the two houses, the Old House and the Barn.
Don't forget to visit their animals. They operate a sheep farm with 270 sheep, five goats, a few hens, a few ducks, and two very friendly dogs named Perla and Ronja.
Where To Eat: Mia's Country Van
Mia's Country Van is a small food truck serving delicious fish and chips throughout the country. This vibrant red food truck, accompanied by white polka dots, is a can't-miss after your day of adventure.
Order crispy fish and chips that come with a choice of sauce. Sauces range from ketchup and sweet chili, or Icelandic tartar sauce. Then top it off with some local salts, including Lava Salt.
Day 7: South Coast
Total Drive Time: 1 hours 10 minutes
Stop 1: Skogafoss Waterfall
*13 minutes from Sólheimahjáleiga Guest House
Get ready to kick your day off by visiting one of the most popular destinations in Iceland, Skógafoss Falls. The waterfall is located on the Skoga River, with a width of 82 feet and a drop of 197 feet. This waterfall is famous for sometimes producing both single and double rainbows. Thanks to the amount of mist that the falls produce. You may even recognize the location from Justin Bieber's music video "I'll Show You" back in 2015.
You can do the 4.2-mile hike up the five-hundred-step staircase, which brings you to the top of the waterfall. A moderate hike is worth it once you see the views from the top.
Stop 2: Seljavallalaug Hot Spring
*5-minute drive from Skogafoss Waterfall
Next, it is time to visit the hidden swimming pool called Seljavallalaug Hot Spring. The remote pool is only accessible by a short hike. The pool was once used for swimming lessons by the locals. Until 2010 the pool was available for swimming until the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull volcano, and the pool then closed as a result of the volcanic ash. It later reopened thanks to the help of the Icelandic locals.
Learn all about what to bring and how to get to the hot spring by checking out our Guide to Seljavallalaug Hot Spring.
Stop 3: Seljalandsfoss Waterfall
*23 minutes from Seljavallalaug Hot Spring
After soaking in one of the country's majestic hot springs, visit the prominent waterfall of Seljalandsfoss. This gigantic waterfall has a 200 feet drop that can be seen from the road. But you have to stop! Seljalandsfoss is fueled by the glacial Seljalandsa River, which flows from the Eyjafjallajökull glacier. The glacier is quite famous because of its volcanic eruption in 2010 due to Eyjafjallajökull's location in the eastern volcanic zone of Iceland.
Take on the short hike which brings you behind the waterfall! Typically it is dangerous and illegal to make your way behind a waterfall, but not at Seljalandsfoss. So there is no wonder this waterfall is famous and has been used in multiple tv shows, music videos, and movies.
Optional Add-On: A short walk from Seljalandsfoss is B Gljufrabui or Gljúfurárfoss. This smaller waterfall is 131 feet tall and mostly hidden by a cliff rock, making it often missed by travelers in the area. You can find the waterfall by taking the short, sweet, 1.2-mile out-and-back hike. It is worth the extra mileage!
Stop 4: LAVA Centre
*18 minutes from Seljalandsfoss Waterfall
Your next stop of the day is an educational one. The LAVA Centre is a museum in Hvolsvöllur, Iceland, only eighteen minutes northwest of Seljalandsfoss. The museum is an interactive volcano exhibit that features geophysical monitoring of active volcanic systems, earthquake activity, and surface movements with the Volcano and Earthquake alerts.
You can learn about different volcanoes, eruptions and lava flows, volcanic and rift systems, faults, and glacial floods, making Iceland a showcase of volcanism. You can even book your ticket to watch Lava Centre The Movie. We recommend booking the "Full Experience" ticket for Adults 3.990 ISK per adult and 1.990 ISK per child.
Stop 5: Caves of Hella
*10 minutes from LAVA Centre
End your day in Hella, which is in the beautiful Icelandic countryside. You can explore the Caves of Hella here, twelve man-made caves discovered on the land of Ægissíða by Hella. Four caves are open to the public and can only be accessed by a guided tour. The historical site is Iceland's oldest still-standing archaeological remains. Some believe the caves date even further back than the settlement of the Nordic Vikings.
Tours in English are available every day at 12:00, 2:00, and 4:00, except Saturdays. The admission fee: is 3900 ISK for adults.
Where To Stay? Stracta Hotel
Stracta is a family-owned hotel that offers comfortable accommodations. Enjoy the stunning views of the beautiful nature surrounding the hotel, such as Eyjafjallajökull and Hekla. Stay in a standard suite that has a nordic style or a deluxe suite that has a private hot tub. They have a Bistro on the hotel's ground floor and serve a delicious breakfast buffet, which is included in your stay.
Where To Eat? Restaurant Árhús
Located just a quick walk from your hotel is Árhús Restaurant, which serves a wide variety of local plates and global favorites. Try their Catch Of The Day or the Fish Casserole, which is fish gratin with melted cheese and rye bread. They even have a pizza menu! Their pizza is stone-baked with fresh Mozzarella and homemade pizza sauce—a dinner favorite in the area.