This curated summer itinerary will see you knit together Iceland’s city energy and spectacular natural world with some of the country’s finest hotels. You’ll stay in a design boutique while sampling Rekyjavik’s rich heritage, pair the majestic glaciers of Snaefellsnes with one of Iceland’s finest restaurants and spend a night in a stilted spa masterpiece after exploring the Golden Circle. Here, you can marvel at giant waterfalls and set your watch by geyser eruptions. It’s all linked by impossibly scenic drives.
Days 1-2: Golden Circle
Fly out to Keflavik, collect your hire car and make the scenic drive to the ION Adventure Hotel. This is one of Iceland’s finest properties – a jewel of modernist design whose floor-to-ceiling windows showcase both the Northern Lights and its rugged, lava-field setting. Its spa is especially good. Then, over two memorable days, you’ll explore the Golden Circle. As Iceland’s most famous driving route, it links many of the country’s iconic sights, bringing you between giant geysers, cascading waterfalls and volcanic crater lakes. Thingvellir National Park is a particular highlight. Home to the world’s first democratic parliament, its Viking heritage plays out over thousand-year-old ruins, backdropped by a spectacular natural world. A meeting of tectonic plates has formed a rift-valley spectacle of rivers, waterfalls and rocky jags.
Day 3: Drive to Snaefellsnes
Drive north to Snaefellsnes, crossing fjord bridges and tracing Iceland’s spectacularly cragged coast, perhaps stopping for lunch at the Settlement Centre in Borganes or a chocolate covered cinnamon bun at Geirabakari. You’ll also have the chance to take in the views of the Gerduberg Cliffs, visible from the road, and pause for a walk around the crater of the Eldbord Volcano. Then, check into the Budir Hotel, beautifully poised on the westernmost tip of the Snaefellsnes peninsula. Remote and utterly romantic, its delightful rooms and gourmet restaurant offer views over the glacier-topped Snæfellsjökull volcano and glacier.
Stay: Hotel Budir
Day 4: Around Snaefellsnes
Enjoy a free day to explore Snaefellsnes, where options include everything from glacier hikes and horse rides to whale-watching cruises, fatbike volcano rides and dips in geothermal pools. You might also to choose to take a ferry out to Flatey Island for pretty village walks, wildlife and views over Breidafjordur Bay, head to Arnarstapi’s rock formations to see thousands-strong colonies of nesting birds, or explore Vatnshellir Cave and its 8000-year-old lava tubes. The black beach at Djúpalónssandur is also well worth a visit, its pearl-like pebbles eroded by the ocean’s swell.
Stay: Hotel Budir
Day 5: Reykjavik
Return south to the capital and check into your boutique design hotel. Here, the minibars are complimentary and the bay views are invited in by picture windows. And, given that it’s all found right in the city centre, you’ll want to head out and explore. Beyond its historic core of colourful townhouses and centuries-old church spires, Reykjavik is host to a cutting-edge creative scene. Taste your way through gourmet Nordic restaurants, step into galleries of local award winners and take in the lively nightlife. There’s even the spectacularly tiered Hallgrímskirkja – a lesson in contemporary architecture.
Stay: ION City Hotel
Day 6: Depart for UK
Today, you’ll return your car at the airport for your flight home. If you’ve a later departure, we highly recommend pausing for a soak in the bright azure of the Blue Lagoon’s geothermal waters.
This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website
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