GRAND CIRCLE AND THE WEST FJORDS

Day 1: Keflavík-Reykjavík (ca. 50 km)
Arrival at Keflavík international airport. Pick up the rental car at the airport and drive to Reykjavík where you stay the first night. If your arrival is late evening then it is also possible to arrange accommodation in Keflavik.
 
Day 2: Reykjavík- Borganes- Snæfellsnes:
Driving north out of Reykjavik along the ring road no.1 towards Hvalfjörður and further to Borgarnes. Here you leave the ring road and continue around Snæfellsnes peninsula. There are many sights of interest on the way. To name but a few: Eldborg volcanic crater that rises above the field is good point for a short hike; Panoramic view of moutains and tiny waterfalls that drop of the hilltops as you get closer to the western point of the peninsula; White sand beaches and lava fields; Snæfellsjökull volcano covered by glacier – made famous in a book by Jules Verne about the journey to the centre of the earth; Vatnshellir – a lava cave only recently made accessible to visitor’s by a round staircase that decends deep down into the darkness underground; Arnarstapi and Hellnar – interesting basalt rock formations and bird cliffs;  the cliff of Londrangar; Djúpalónssandur – once an important fishing harbour where one can also see the remains of an English trawler that stranded there in March 1948 and 4 men were rescued under very difficult circumstances. Driving north around the Snæfellsjökull glacier will take you through the fishing villages of Hellisandur, Ríf and Ólafsvík to Grundarfjörður. Overnight in the area.
 
Day 3: Snæfellsnes - West fjords:
Drive to Stykkishólmur in time for the morning ferry departure to Brjánslækur. On the way across Breiðafjörður the ferry makes a stop atFlateyIsland. It is possible for you to make a stop here and take a walk through the picturesque village on Flatey and continue further to the Westfjords with the afternoon ferry. Or you continue direct to Brjánslækur and use the chance to drive all the way to the westernmost point ofEurope at Látrabjarg – a fascinating bird cliff which rises high above the ocean. No words can describe the feeling of a tranquil summer evening with puffins, guillemots, gulls and other sea birds prepare for the night as the sun is setting. Stay overnight in the area of Patreksfjörður.

Day 4: West fjords- Ísafjörður:
You can spend time in the morning in the area of Látrabjarg, or start the drive north across the mountain passes of the West fjords towards Arnarfjörður where you will come upon the majestic Dynjandi waterfall which cascades in a wide curtain deep down from the top of the hills. Continue the drive north through the fishing villages and across mountain passes with panoramic views of the deep fjords until you reach Ísafjörður, the administrative centre of the Westfjords region. Overnight in the area.

Day 5: Ísafjörður area:
You can drive to the town of Bolungarvík, visit the Ósvör maritime museum and, weather permitting, drive up the Mt. Boli for a panoramic view.
Another possibility for this day is an optional boat tour to Vígur Island. Visit to the island is a must for anyone coming to the Westfjords. A walk on the island brings visitors close to the thousands of birds (puffins, eider ducks and other sea birds) that inhabit the island during the summer months. Another option could be a a boat tour to Hesteyri – a deserted village where the houses that are now mainly used a summer residence for the local people are well maintained and give a feeling for the times past.
Ísafjörður is also an ideal place for a short kayak tour.
Overnight in Ísafjörður.
 
Day 6: Ísafjörður- Hólmavík- Hvammstangi- Blönduós:
Leaving Ísafjörður behind the drive will continue along the northern side of the West fjords to Hólmavík, a charming fishing village, well worth taking a lunch break here and perhaps take a look at the witchcraft museum. Coastal road along Húnaflói bay and Hrútafjörður offers fantastic panoramic views and will bring you back to the ring road where you turn towards north towards Vatnsnes peninsula. At Hvammstangi you have a possibility to visit the seal center, and learn a bit about seals before driving further northa along the peninsula. On the way you may get lucky and spot seals resting on the rocks in the sea. Continuing to the east side of the peninsula there is another sight of interest – Hvítserkur, a solitary basalt rock formation in the sea not far from the shore. Drive toward Blönduós. Overnight in the area.

Day 7:  Blönduós- Skagafjörður- Akureyri:
Leaving Blönduós drive towards Skagafjörður. On the way you have the possibility to visit Glaumbær museum – the largest preserved turf farmhouse. Continue towards Akureyri either direct by the ring road or take a detour via Siglufjörður – one of the most beautiful Icelandic fishing villages with the award winning Herring Era museum.  
Or you spend a little more time in Skagafjörður if you decide to do an optional river rafting or horseback riding tour before driving on to Akureyri.
The university town of Akureyriis the cultural, educational and administrative centre of North Icelandand has many things to offer. The churchof Akureyriwith its two towers is one of the landmarks in the city. In the northernmost botanical garden you will find plants that one would not expect this far in the Arctic. A number of interesting museums are located in the town and the surrounding countryside. There are a number of cafés where one can enjoy a cup of coffee. Overnight in Akureyri.

Day 8: Akureyri- Húsavík- Ásbyrgi:
Drive across Vikurskarð mountain pass down to the valley of Fnjóskadalur and past the Lake Ljósavatn towards Goðafoss – “The Waterfall of the Gods”.
Continue to the town of Húsavík which is a delightful fishing town located on the north coast. Here you will find interesting museums and one of the finest wooden churches in the country. Drive further around the Tjörnes peninsula where you may spot puffins nesting on the cliffs.  Continue to Ásbyrgi, a horse-shoe shaped canyon with lush vegetation on the northern end of the Jökulsárgljúr national park. Continue drive south towards Dettifoss waterfall, either along the road on the west or east side of the canyon –  the western route might be dependent on road conditions. End the day in the area of Lake Myvatn where you stay overnight.

Day 9: Mývatn area:
Time to explore the various sights at Lake Mývatn - one of Iceland's most fascinating regions with fantastic volcanic formations, geothermal activity and the lake teeming with water fowl. Visit the public park Höfði with its lush vegetation. Walk through the fascinating labyrinth of lava formations at Dimmuborgir, or walk up the nearby crater Hverfjall. Among other interesting places to see is the Grjótagjá fissure undir which there are caves filled with hot water. The pseudocraters at Skútustaðir are unique and the Hverir solfatara field at Námaskarð with bubbling mud pits and roaring steam vents is simply out of this world. Possibility to relax in the pleasantly warm geothermal water of the Nature Baths. Overnight in the area
 
Day 10: Mývatn- Egilsstaðir - East fjords:
Leaving the area of Lake Mývatn and the lava fields to the east you will cross the Möðrudalsöræfi desert land. In this remote wilderness there is only one farm on the way – Möðrudalur with a little church built by a farmer who used to live on the farm and who also painted the altar piece. It is a good spot to take a midday break and have some home-made refreshments at only café in the area while enjoying the view of Mt Herðubreið, the queen of the Icelandic mountains in the distance.
If you have decided for a 4WD type of car, then you have the possibility for a detour to Snænautasel. This is a turf house built in 1843 on the river bank in a green oasis in the middle of the desert land. It is now a museum where one can usually try out the special Icelandic pastry called “lummur”.
Continue your trip further east to Egilsstaðir. And then towards the Eastfjords. Particularly interesting is Petra's stone museum with a colourful collection of Icelandic minerals in Stöðvarfjörður. Overnight in the area between Reyðarfjörður and Djúpivogur.
 
Day 11: East fjords- Höfn- Glacier Lagoon- Skaftafell:
We suggest an early morning start – there is so much to be seen! Drive along the coast towards Höfn – the Harbour town. Further to Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon with floating icebergs, definitely worth taking time to visit, whether it is just to walk around the area and along the short river to the sea on the other side of the road, or taking an optional short boat tour, sailing among the icebergs.
Then continue to Skaftafell in the Vatnajökull national park, a green oasis surrounded by glaciers and sands of the glacial rivers. There is a network of hiking trails through the park with opportunities for shorter easy hikes or longer and more demanding ones. Svartifoss waterfall is one of the popular hiking destinations in the park. Overnight in the area of Skaftafell or Kirkjubæjarklaustur.
 
Day 12: Kirkjubæjarklaustur – Vík - Dyrhólaey:
Drive from Skaftafell leads across the Sands created by the deposit of ever changing course and water volume of glacial rivers on their way to the sea. The sand desert turns to lava fields as we get closer to the mountains. Lava fields and sand deserts in places overgrown by the Alaskan lupine will follow us as far as thevillage ofVík where the black sandy beach stretches as far as eye can reach. Overnight in the area of Vík or Dyrhólaey. 
Overnight just outside the pretty village of Vík. If you have the time this day you can visit the small peninsula Dyrhólaey. In front of the peninsula, there is a gigantic black arch of lava standing in the sea which gave the peninsula its name. In the summertime many puffins nest on the cliff faces of Dyrhólaey. Overnight in the area

Day 13: Dyrhólaey - Skógar - Gullfoss:
The Dyrhólaey promontory is a bird sanctuary and the southern most tip of the island. There is a good chance of observing puffins on the cliffs. From here the drive goes further west to Skógar with the impressive Skógafoss waterfall and a remarkable museum. Continue along the foot of the Eyjafjöll mountains covered by the Eyjafjallajökull glacier under which rests the notorious volcano of the same name. Seljalandsfoss waterfall is another highlight of the day, before the drive continues towards the town ofSelfoss, where you leave the ring road again in order to reach the famous Geysir area with one of the gesyser, Strokkur spouting regularly every 5-10 minutes. Gullfoss waterfall – the “Golden waterfall” is only a few km further along the road. Overnight in the area.

Day 14: Geysir – Þingvellir - Reykjavík:
Have another look at the geysers in the morning light before continuing towards the Þingvellir national park, a site of histrical, cultural and geological importance. In this rift valley by the Lake Þingvallavatn the oldest parliament was established in 930 where it remained until 1789. The national park was established at 1000th anniversary in order to protect the remains of the parliament site, later extended to protect also the natural sights of geological interest.
From here there only a short distance (ca. 40 km) toReykjavikcity where you stay the last night. 

Day 15: Reykjavík – Keflavík:
Departure day.
Drive to Keflavík international airport, drop off the rental car and then check-in for the flight back home. If your flight leavesKeflavik in the afternoon then you have a possibility for a visit to the Blue Lagoon before driving to the airport.


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