Iceland Volcanic Highlands & Ring Road - Big Group Adventure

12 days / 11 nights
Autumnal colors in the Ásbyrgi canyon
Boat tour on Jökulárslón glacier lagoon
The colorful mountains near Landmannalaugar in the Icelandic highlands
Autumnal colors in the Ásbyrgi canyon
Boat tour on Jökulárslón glacier lagoon

Explore Iceland’s volcanic heartland and tour the Ring Road’s top sights

Venture into Iceland’s rugged volcanic interior with an expert local guide on this 12-day guided group tour. Traveling with up to 24 fellow visitors, you’ll soak up the country’s must-see sights and enjoy off-the-beaten-path experiences.

For a local culture fix, start and end your tour in Reykjavík, Iceland’s buzzing capital. The city is brimming with fascinating museums, trendy galleries, and authentic craft shops. Plus, there are plenty of top-notch bars and restaurants to choose from.

The adventure really begins when you meet your guide and head into central Iceland. This is a land of rainbow-colored mountains, volcanic craters, and dazzling glaciers. 

Your guide will share Nordic folk tales and Viking legends with you, as you travel around the country in a comfortable 4x4 vehicle. Not only will you discover Iceland’s volcanic heart, but you’ll also drive the Arctic Coast Way, and spend time in the jaw-dropping Snæfellsjökull National Park.

This tour is operated by a partner of Iceland Tours.

Travel styleGuided Big group
(up to 24 people)
Trip length12 days / 11 nights
VibeSocial
SeasonSummer
(27 June–22 August)
TransportBus
Starts fromReykjavík
Minimum age8 years
Tour codeGT07

On this tour you will...

  • Explore the must-see sights on the Golden Circle route

  • Try hot spring bathing among Landmannalaugar’s rainbow-colored mountains

  • Tour the south coast, where waterfalls, glacier lagoons, and puffin-packed sea cliffs await

  • Weave your way between shards of sparkling ice on Diamond Beach

  • Travel the Sprengisandur trail in a 4x4 and discover a stunning region

  • Soak up the wonders of North Iceland and the beauty of Snæfellsjökull National Park

Top attractions

A man standing in front of mountains at Landmannalaugar

Landmannalaugar

Lake Mývatn in its autumn colors

Lake Mývatn

Trees in the lush Ásbyrgi canyon

Ásbyrgi

Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon at sunrise with a pink sky

Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon

The edge of the Vatnajökull glacier

Vatnajökull Glacier & National Park

The Dettifoss waterfall in autumn

Dettifoss

The Goðafoss waterfall in summer

Goðafoss

The Tjörnin pond in Reykjavík in summer

Downtown Reykjavík

The Gullfoss waterfall in summertime

Gullfoss

Þingvellir National Park, Iceland, in autumn colors

Þingvellir National Park

The Strokkur geyser erupting in winter against a sunset

Geysir and Strokkur

A rainbow over the Skógafoss waterfall on a sunny day

Skógafoss

The Seljalandsfoss waterfall covered in icicles

Seljalandsfoss

Vik Church with Reynisdrangar sea stacks in the distance

Vík í Mýrdal

Mountains in the Skaftafell Nature Reserve on a cloudy day

Skaftafell Nature Reserve

The Snæfellsjökull glacier at sunset

Snæfellsjökull Glacier & National Park

A man standing below Kirkjufellsfoss

Kirkjufell

Gatklettur rock arch at Arnarstapi

Arnarstapi

Why book a guided group trip with Iceland Tours?

  • Pick from wide range of departure dates

  • Expert local guidance in English

  • Small and big group options available

  • 24/7 emergency helpline in Iceland

  • Secure your booking with just a 5% deposit

  • Handpicked local accommodation options

Your 12-day guided group itinerary

Your 12-day guided group itinerary
Staying inReykjavík
Driving distance50 km (31 mi)

Shared airport transfer from Keflavík Airport to Reykjavík (included).

On arriving at Keflavík Airport you’ll take an included transfer to your accommodation in Reykjavík. If it’s too early to check in, drop off your luggage and head out to explore the city. 

Or instead, indulge in a spot of R&R after your flight with a visit to one of Iceland’s geothermal pools. The Blue Lagoon and Sky Lagoon are two of the best near Reykjavík. 

Come evening, uncover the capital’s thriving foodie scene. While we recommend trying the local cuisine, you can also sample dishes from around the world at one of Reykjavík’s casual food halls.

Highlights

The Tjörnin pond in Reykjavík in summer

Downtown Reykjavík

Extra activities

A man floating in the Blue LagoonExtra

Blue Lagoon Comfort Admission with Transfer

A whale breaching near Húsavík in IcelandExtra

Whale Watching from Reykjavík

Reykjavík City Walk – Small GroupsExtra

Reykjavík City Walk – Small Groups

Close up of a hand holding a hot dogExtra

The Tasty Reykjavík Food Walk

Staying inHella area (dinner included)
Driving distance280 km (174 mi)

This morning, you’ll meet your guide before setting off on a tour of the iconic sights along Iceland’s Golden Circle route. 

After a hearty buffet breakfast at your hotel, hit the road with your expert guide at the wheel. Throughout today’s journey, keep your eyes glued to the stunning scenery that flashes past the window. 

Soon you’ll arrive in Þingvellir (Thingvellir) National Park, the site of the world’s first parliament. Here, your guide will share the history of the area with you. What’s more, you can walk along the continental divide between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates.

Then there’s the geothermal area at Geysir, another of the Golden Circle’s must-see attractions. Prepare to be amazed by the Strokkur geyser, the most active here. If you wait for just 5–10 minutes you’ll see it shoot super-heated water 20 meters (65 feet) into the air. 

Round off the day with a visit to Gullfoss waterfall, or ‘Golden Falls’, your final stop on the Golden Circle. Stretch your legs on one of the trails surrounding these tiered falls. Don’t forget to take your camera – this cascade of water looks impressive from all angles.

Staying inKirkjubæjarklaustur area (dinner included)
Driving distance190 km (118 mi)

On today’s itinerary, you could see 3 of the things Iceland is best known for: spectacular waterfalls, adorable puffins, and volcanic formations. 

Begin the day with a visit to 2 breathtaking waterfalls: Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss. At Seljalandsfoss you can even walk behind the impressive plume of water. 

Drive further along the south coast and you’ll come to Dyrhólaey headland, home to basalt columns, black sand beaches, and towering sea cliffs. Between May and mid-August, you’ll notice these cliffs are packed with nesting puffins. 

Later, stop off in the picturesque village of Vík before you glimpse more evidence of the country’s volcanic heritage. This comes in the form of Eldhraun, the world’s largest recorded lava field in the last 10,000 years.

Staying inKirkjubæjarklaustur area (dinner included)
Driving distance260 km (162 mi)

You’ve seen some of the volcanism that puts the fire in the Land of Fire and Ice, but now it’s time for the ice. Today you’ll stand on the shores of a glacier lagoon, walk between icebergs on Diamond Beach, and see the country’s largest glacier.

This morning your guide will whisk you off to the biggest national park in Western Europe: Vatnajökull National Park. Here you’ll marvel at the glacier-topped peak of Hvannadalshnjúkur, Iceland’s highest, on your way to Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon.

Not only will you have time to walk the shores of the lagoon, but you’ll also board a zodiac boat to get up close and personal with the ice. Imagine sailing around the lagoon, surrounded by jagged peaks as icebergs bob past. 

Afterward, head to nearby Diamond Beach. An otherworldly scene awaits you. Think glittering shards of ice scattered across black volcanic sands with the ocean as your backdrop.

Staying inÞjórsárdalur valley area (dinner included)
Driving distance200 km (124 mi)

Venture into Iceland’s pristine interior to hike in multi-colored valleys and soothe your muscles in natural hot and cold springs. 

The rugged roads of Iceland’s highlands await today. Your guide will expertly navigate these dirt tracks to bring you into the volcanic heart of the country. Here you’ll embark on a short hike where you can admire the striking many-hued rhyolite mountains. 

In the afternoon, you can take part in a revitalizing Icelandic wellness ritual. This involves taking a dip in cold pools, before soaking in naturally warmed springs. 

Staying inMývatn area (packed launch & dinner included)
Driving distance300 km (186 mi)

Head further into the highlands as your guide navigates the Sprengisandur trail. Mind-blowing scenery is waiting for you!

Fueled up with a wholesome breakfast, it’s time to see even more of Iceland’s wild interior. 

With your guide at the wheel, you can take in the scenery from your comfortable 4x4 vehicle. Relax and rely on your skillful guide to safely ford glacial rivers and drive the rugged terrain ahead. 

Throughout the journey, enjoy gazing out at the view, which includes these beautiful glaciers: Hofsjökull and Vatnajökull. This region is known to have inspired many of Iceland’s ghost stories and folk tales. Why not ask your guide to share a few with you? 

If Sprengisandur is closed due to road conditions, don’t worry! Your group will take the Kjölur route through the highlands instead.

Staying inMývatn area (dinner included)
Driving distance300 km (186 mi)

Explore the northern reaches of Vatnajökull National Park and marvel at the wildlife and geological wonders that you’ll find around Lake Mývatn. 

Once you reach Lake Mývatn, you’ll be blown away by your volcanic surroundings and the birdlife on the lake. Then visit the Hverir geothermal area where you can walk between boiling mud pits and see fields of cooling lava from the Krafla volcano.

You’ll also get to glimpse Dettifoss waterfall, one of the most powerful in Europe. 

Before arriving in Húsavík, you’ll stop off at Ásbyrgi canyon to see its 100-meter (328-feet) tall walls. Here your guide will delight you with age-old legends. One of which says, the horseshoe shape of the valley was made by the hoof of Óðinn’s eight-legged horse, Sleipnir. 

In the afternoon you'll visit the pretty fishing village of Húsavík to get a glimpse of local life before returning to your accommodation.

 

Staying inMývatn area (packed launch & dinner included)
Driving distance400 km (249 mi)

Today you’ll see volcanic craters, turquoise lakes, and the vast expanse of Vatnajökull National Park’s Ódáðahraun desert area. 

Once more, your guide will lead you into Iceland’s rugged heart. The terrain here is so otherworldly that it was used as a training site for the moon landings by NASA in the 1960s. 

From here, you’ll head for the huge Askja caldera, which formed during an eruption in the last ice age. 

The caldera is home to 2 neighboring lakes: Víti and Askja. Although Lake Askja is the largest, the milky blue waters of Lake Viti make it just as striking, despite its small size. A hike to the crater’s edge will give you unrivaled views over the lakes. 

Then round off your day with a visit to Drekagil, the ‘Dragon Valley’. Here you can wander between the strangely shaped lava formations and gaze up at the rocky pinnacles that gave the area its name.

Staying inLaugarbakki area (dinner included)
Driving distance300 km (186 mi)

Journey along Iceland’s north coast and discover magical valleys, quaint villages, and Akureyri, the country’s second city.

This morning, you’ll begin your journey along the Arctic Coast Way. Sit back and enjoy views of the spectacular coastline dotted with picturesque villages. En route, you’ll stop off at Goðafoss (‘Waterfall of the Gods’), another of Iceland’s breathtaking falls. 

Next, arrive in Akureyri, the capital of the North, where you’ll have time to explore. Have your camera at the ready as you meander along the charming streets, lined with colorful houses. You could head to the botanic gardens or tour the artist’s district. 

Afterward, hit the road again on your way to Tröllaskagi (‘Troll Peninsula’). This striking region got its name from the rock formations that resemble frozen trolls. From here, continue onto Skagafjörður, the home of the Icelandic horse.

As well as being the traditional heart of this hardy horse breed, you’ll also find that Skagafjörður boasts many historical sites from the Viking-age sagas.

Staying inSnæfellsnes area (dinner included)
Driving distance250 km (155 mi)

Continuing along the Arctic Coast Way, you’ll have plenty of time to marvel at epic sea cliffs before immersing yourself in Viking history. 

Your guide will take the wheel once more, following the Arctic Coast Way, as it skirts the Arctic Circle. 

Keep a lookout for seals hauled out on the beaches that line this stretch of coast. You’ll also pass Hvítserkur, a 15-meter (49-feet) tall arched rock formation that rises out of the sea. 

In the afternoon, you’ll drive across Laxardalsheiði heath and the surrounding farmland. The region is known to be the home of Erik the Red and his son, Leifur Eiríksson, two of the most famous Viking explorers. Your guide will share Viking legends with you and you’ll be able to learn more by visiting the Erik the Red Museum.

Staying inReykjavík
Driving distance310 km (193 mi)

Soak up the wild beauty of Snæfellsjökull National Park as your guide shows you the region’s top spots. 

This beautiful corner of Iceland is home to a dormant volcano, topped by a dazzling glacier. It’s this glacier, Snæfellsjökull, that gives the park its name. 

Your guide will also take you to Kirkufjell, perhaps the most photographed peak in the country. After time to capture this iconic mountain, you’ll head for Arnarstapi village where basalt sea stacks line the coast.

Before returning to Reykjavík, you may also have time for a short hike between the historic settlements of Arnarstapi and Hellnar.

Once you arrive in Reykjavík, your guide will say goodbye at your hotel. The rest of the evening is yours to spend as you like.

Driving distance50 km (31 mi)

Shared airport transfer to Keflavík Airport for your return flight (included).

Now that your unforgettable trip to Iceland has come to an end, it’s time to say farewell and board the plane home. 

Or, if you’d like more time to enjoy the buzz of city life, why not stay in Reykjavík for an extra night or two?

What’s included?

Comfort accommodation every night

Continental breakfast every day

9 two-course or buffet-style dinners in the countryside

2 packed lunches (Days 6 & 8)

Airport transfer

Local transport with guidance in English

Zodiac boat tour on Fjallsárlón glacier lagoon

Admission to Eric the Red Museum

24/7 emergency helpline when you’re in Iceland

VAT, taxes & service fees

Flights to Iceland

Food & drink, unless otherwise stated

Attraction entrance fees, unless otherwise stated

Personal travel insurance

Your accommodation

More info

Stay in well-located hotels and guesthouses that are highly rated by visitors and handpicked by experts.

On this trip, you’ll stay at the following hotels or similar:

  • Day 1 – Hotel Klettur 
  • Day 2 – Stracta Hotel or Landhotel 
  • Day 3 & 4 – Magma Hotel 
  • Day 5 – Hrauneyjar Highland Hotel 
  • Days 6–8 – Country Hotel Narfastaðir 
  • Day 9 – Laugarbakki Hotel 
  • Day 10 – Hotel Stykkishólmur 
  • Day 11 – Hotel Klettur

Adults

Ages 12+

2

Children

Ages 2-11

0

Infants

Ages 0-1

0

FAQs about our guided group trips

On this type of tour, you’ll travel around Iceland by bus with the same driver-guide for the length of your trip. Guided group tours are a great way to make like-minded friends, as you’ll spend time with the same travelers for your whole vacation.

You’ll get to stay in accommodation around the country, and some tours include a few evening meals too. After a day’s exploring, you’ll go back to your private room and meet your guide and group the next morning to continue your trip.

All of our guided group tours start and finish in Reykjavík.

There are 2 group sizes available:

  • Small group: Up to 16 people
  • Big group: Up to 36 people

Small groups offer a more intimate travel experience, whereas big groups are more wallet-friendly.

You’ll likely be with people from a whole mix of backgrounds, from different countries and of different ages. Your guide will entertain you with fun facts and jokes as you journey around Iceland. It’s almost guaranteed you’ll be laughing along with your group!

There will most probably be a mix of solo travelers, couples, and small groups of friends and family.

The luggage restrictions on guided group tours 3 days and longer are as follows:

  • 1 suitcase or large bag per person for clothes and overnight items
  • 1 day bag for essential items, like a camera, extra clothes, and valuables

The luggage restrictions on guided group tours up to 3 days are as follows:

  • 1 small carry-on luggage, bag size: 50 x 30 x 60 cm (19.9 x 11.8 x 23.6 inches)
  • If you have large luggage with you, please check with your accommodation if they offer luggage storage while on this tour. If that is not a possibility, you can pay an extra fee per luggage (2000 ISK) with 72 hours notice.

Each day your luggage will be loaded onto the bus. In the evening, you’ll take all your bags with you to your room.

Our guided group tours have fixed start dates and itineraries. While it’s not possible to customize the actual tour, you can tailor your trip with extra days and activities before or afterwards.

For example, you could add a couple more days in Reykjavík at the end of your trip. Fill these with day tours or exciting activities like ice caving and snowmobiling.

Soon you’ll be able to add these customizations yourself on our website. Until then, just let us know in the ‘Special requests’ field at checkout if you want to add activities or extra days to your trip.

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