Top 10 Places to Visit with Your Rental Car in Iceland
Exploring Iceland by rental car has become a popular way to see the country's beauty and natural wonders. With so many attractions to visit and scenic drives to enjoy, you will not run out of places to see during your road trip!
So how do you choose your top destinations to visit? We've put together a list of the top 10 best places to visit with your rental car in iceland, so you don’t have to! From driving along the famous Golden Circle to finding hidden gems like the Stuðlagil Canyon.
These destinations will take your breath away and make your trip to Iceland unforgettable. Get ready to hit the road and have the adventure of a lifetime.
Raufarhólshellir Lava Tunnel
A must-see destination that is only 35 minutes away from Reykjavik is the unique Raufarhólshellir Lava Tunnel.
You can explore the lava tunnel which was once created by the volcanic eruption of Leitahraun. The eruption occurred east of the Bláfjöll mountains about 5200 years ago. Today, you can walk the path where the lava once flowed.
Winter is also a spectacular time to visit! Ice sculptures are formed inside the entrance of the cave, making the experience of the Raufarhólshellir Lava Tunnel even more magical.
You can access the tunnel by tour and there are a few different options available
The Standard Tour takes you to the part of the tunnel that is easily accessible for most people. This tour takes around 60 minutes.
The Lava Falls Adventure Tour is for those wanting to explore the bottom of the cave. It is a longer tour, lasting from 3-4 hours.
Take the Evening Lava Tunnel Tour if you visit during Iceland’s winter months. You will still explore the tunnel before taking part in the evening activity of the Northern light hunt after.
The Raufarhólshellir Lava Tunnel is a fascinating activity, ideal for those wanting to experience the volcanic landscape of Iceland.
Þórsmörk: The Valley Of Thor
With the nickname "The Valley of Thor", Þórsmörk attracts tourists from all over. This nature reserve sits between three glaciers - Eyjafjallajökull, Mýrdalsjökull, and Tindfjallajökull. The area is surrounded by a vast mountain range and mossy landscapes.
Þórsmörk is located in Iceland's Southern Highlands, making it a perfect destination for your Iceland road trip. It is about a two-hour drive from Reykjavik too, and you will be driving in Iceland’s mountainous landscape. Which means a 4X4 vehicle is needed.
The Valley of Thor is named after the Norse God of Thunder, Þór. It is said the land was created when Þó slammed his hammer down, creating a plunging hole and forming the valley.
A top attraction is Eyjafjallajökull Volcano, also known as Eyjafjallajökull, Eyjafjöll, or Eyjafjalla Glacier Volcano.
The famous eruption took place in 2010, lasting from January until May. It caused flooding, destroyed farms and roads, and spread smoke over a 7-mile radius, leading to the shutdown of commercial airline routes.
The eruption also created two new volcanic craters, named Magni and Móði, after the sons of the Norse God Thor. Despite its destructive effects, the area is now famous for its stunning scenery.
Visitors come from all over to see the new craters for themselves. For that reason alone, Þórsmörk has become one of the best places to visit in Iceland.
If you've ever wanted to explore a volcanic lake, Lake Mývatn in Iceland is the perfect destination to fulfill that dream.
You can reach Lake Myvatn by taking the 6-hour drive from Reykjavik as the lake is located on the northeastern shore of Reykjahlíð village. The Lake sits conveniently off Ring Road.
The area of Lake Myvatn is 14 square miles, making it Iceland's fourth-largest body of water. The lake is relatively shallow and is enriched with minerals, providing nutrition and energy to the diverse wildlife that inhabits the area.
While swimming is prohibited due to the warm temperature of the water, Lake Mývatn is home to a variety of fish, including trout and arctic char.
After visiting the lake, stop by the Myvatn Nature Baths. This lagoon is home to milky blue waters that you can swim in, with a temperature ranging from 96 to 104°F. Ideal for a relaxing soak after your Iceland road trip. You can even enjoy a tasty beverage from the swim-up bar while you bathe.
Afterward, unwind further in the steam bath where the temperature sits at 113°F, with close to 100% humidity. The steam rises directly through the floor and is controlled by the weather. Take in the stunning views of Iceland through the large steam bath windows at the breathtaking Myvatn Nature Baths.
The region of Mývatn earns is a spot on travelers’ Iceland itinerary
The Golden Circle
If you've heard of Iceland, chances are you've also heard of the Golden Circle. It's one of the most popular travel routes for those exploring Iceland, covering a distance of 230 kilometers or 140 miles. You can complete this Iceland road trip in a single day, taking about three hours without stops. We recommend taking a few days to explore the area, that way you can ensure you have seen all of these Iceland attractions.
There are three main stops on the Golden Circle: Thingvellir National Park, The Geysir Geothermal Area, and Gullfoss Falls. Each of these places is remarkable in its own way.
Thingvellir National Park is the only place in the world where you can walk between two tectonic plates. It's also home to Iceland's largest lake, Thingvallavatn. You can take advantage of the many hiking trails as well.
The Geysir Geothermal Area is an incredible hot spring that's considered one of the best places to visit in Iceland. The Geysir erupts up to 20 meters or 65 feet high and can shoot up to 40 meters or 130 feet high. It's a quick and easy stop, as the Geysir erupts every five to ten minutes.
Finally, make your way to Gullfoss Falls. This two-level waterfall combines two falls: the first with a 36-foot drop and the second with a 69-foot drop. The canyon on both sides of the waterfall reaches 230 feet, making for a spectacular view. Enjoy a short and scenic hike to the top of the falls and feel the mist on your face before hitting the road again.
Named after its sparkling black volcanic sand and diamond-like icebergs, Diamond Beach is a must-see destination on any Iceland road trip.
The beach is located five hours southeast of Reykjavik near Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. You can add the stop to your Iceland itinerary around Ring Road since it sits right along the route.
The beach offers eleven miles of black sand for you to walk along. Spend your day marveling at the hundreds of icebergs floating in the water that comes from Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon.
Although the beach can be visited year-round, summer is recommended due to the remote location and longer daylight hours. However, some visit in the winter for a chance to see the northern lights.
However, visitors should be aware of the potential danger of sneaker waves that occur randomly on black sand beaches.
Located on the north shore of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula in Iceland, near Grundarfjörður, is the famous Mt. Kirkjufell. The drive is 2 hours and 30 minutes from Reykjavik, a perfect destination to enjoy during your Iceland vacation.
This mountain has gained international attention due to its appearance as Arrowhead Mountain in Game of Thrones. However, visitors also come to see the breathtaking area surrounding the mountain.
There is a trio of waterfalls that sit in front of the mountain, cascading into the Kirkjufellsa River. The falls are surrounded by bright green moss, and the mountain's pyramid-like shape looms behind them. You will see many photographers flock to this location, thanks to its unique landscape.
This picturesque location can be visited year-round, with winter being ideal for viewing the Northern Lights. Summer is also a great time to visit, thanks to the longer daylight hours and warmer weather.
Krossneslaug Hot Spring
Photo by: Margrét Adamsdóttir
Although popular geothermal pools like the Blue Lagoon or Sky Lagoon are great places to visit during your Iceland road trip, nothing beats soaking in a hidden pool in a remote area. This is just one reason why Krossneslaug Hot Spring needs a place in your Iceland travel guide.
The hot spring is located on the east coastline of Strandir in the WestFjords Peninsula.
This means you can enjoy views of both the mountains and the sea while soaking in the geothermal pool. Plus, the hot spring is near the arctic circle, making it a truly unique experience.
Located on the east coastline of Strandir in the WestFjords Peninsula, you can enjoy views of both the mountains and the sea while soaking in the geothermal pool. Plus, the hot spring is near the arctic circle, making it a truly unique experience.
This area is the oldest part of Iceland and the infinity pool was constructed in 1954. The pool offers unobstructed views of the ocean, allowing you to relax and listen to the waves while feeling the ocean breeze on your face.
Seyðisfjörður is one of the cutest villages that you can visit with your Iceland car rental. Despite its small size, this old fishing village has a lot to offer with stunning views of its surrounding snow-capped mountains.
It is an 8-hour drive from Reykjavik, located in Eastern Iceland. Despite its remote location, Seydisfjördur attracts a significant number of visitors and is consistently rated one of the best places to visit in Iceland
Capture a snapshot of the iconic rainbow pathway that leads to the Seyðisfjarðarkirkja, a light blue church in Seydisfjördur Village. This area is one of the most photographed places in East Iceland, an Instagram-worthy destination.
Seyðisfjörður is also a food lover's paradise, offering a variety of tasty restaurants. Try local Icelandic cuisine and fresh fish dishes that are caught right in town. You can savor authentic Icelandic dishes like reindeer meat and other delicacies as well, a great addition to your Iceland travel guide.
Vatnajökull Glacier’s Ice Cave
One of the most popular caves in Iceland is the infamous Vatnajökull Glacier's Ice Cave, located on the south side of the Vatnajökull Glacier. You can reach this area which is located on the South Coast of Iceland, by driving 4 hours and 30 minutes from Reykjavik.
This is one of the most magnificent Iceland attractions! The ice caves are formed during the winter months from the glaciers of Vatnajökull, one of the biggest glaciers in Europe, making it an ideal location for winter photography.
You will need to sign up for a tour so a guide can safely lead you into the Ice Cave. Several tours are available, and they usually begin with a challenging five-mile hike to the glacier. The hike is not easy as it involves ropes and heights, but with your guide's help, you should have nothing to worry about.
Once you reach the cave, you will be awestruck by the glowing bright blue ice walls. This location is only accessible and photographable during the winter months because the caves are created as canals at the bottom of the glacier, and water from underneath creates a cave.
This process usually happens during the summer months when the ice melts, making the caves inaccessible. In the fall, snowmelt decreases, allowing the caves to refreeze in winter, making it the perfect time to capture stunning photographs.
An enchanting location to add to your Iceland itinerary, especially for those seeking the Northern Lights.
The last place on our list to visit with your Iceland car rental is the breathtaking Studlagil Canyon. Which is located in the Jökuldalur glacier valley in East Iceland.
If you are Driving in Iceland Reykjavik, you can expect an 8-hour drive from the city.
What makes Stuðlagil even more special is that it remains relatively unknown to most tourists, with no signs or tourist attractions leading to it.
This ravine stands out with its stunning combination of green and blue glacial waters flowing through a landscape with the largest number of basalt rock columns in Iceland. These unique columns, like those at Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach, are a dark gray color that provides a rustic contrast to the bright blue water.
Despite its isolation, there are several hiking trails available for visitors to enjoy. Don't forget to capture some unforgettable photos of this hidden gem.
Stuðlagil is undoubtedly one of the rarest beauties in Iceland and a must-visit destination that perfectly concludes our list of the best places to visit in Iceland.
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