What you Can Expect from a Road Trip to Iceland in Summer

Thursday, 6th May 2021

Will Gray

iceland open roads through countryside rth

With Iceland given the green light for travel this summer, we can’t wait to hit the road on a touring holiday in one of Europe’s best self-drive destinations. Fancy a flexible, free-spirited adventure in the spectacular Land of Fire & Ice? Stunning volcanic landscapes, mesmerising waterfalls and endless vistas are just a 3-hour flight away.

Watch the video below to get you in the mood and read on to discover what’s waiting for you…

Wide-open Spaces... socially-distanced naturally

Iceland is by far the least densely populated country in Europe – around three people per square kilometre, compared to 280 in the UK. That’s a lot of empty space! Put another way, Iceland is roughly the same size as Scotland and Wales combined, but has a population of just 341,000, compared to 8½ million! We all appreciate wide-open spaces more than ever, but Iceland has a knack for filling its ‘empty bits’ with natural wonders. In just a few day’s self-drive you can witness vast icecaps and volcanic wilderness, countless waterfalls and hidden fjords, a coastline chiselled with seabird cliffs and broad bays teeming with whales and dolphins.

south east iceland lomagnupur sub glacial mound rth

Stunning landscapes... baked to perfection

Iceland’s Ring Road casts a loop around the entire island, neatly rounding up several of the country’s most breathtaking locations – from the South Coast and Snaefellsnes Peninsula to the East Fjords and remote Arctic Coast Way in the north. For your self-drive, focus on one or two regions, or go full-circle and do the lot. Volcanoes pop up on every itinerary. Just as ice and sea gnaw away at the land, shaping Iceland’s rugged coast and interior, it’s basalt lava that’s literally building the country, inch by inch. The latest eruption (at Fagradalsfjall volcano near Reykjavik) began in March. If you’re lucky, you might experience the phenomenon before it ends – but visit anyway to witness the incredible sight of a ‘new-born landscape’.

iceland reykjanes peninsula fagradalsfjall eruption rth sigurdsson

Long summer days and the midnight sun

If summer seems to have been a long time coming, you can make the most of it in Iceland. From May-August there’s 24hr daylight. On 21 June, the longest day of the year, the sun sets in Reykjavik just after midnight and rises again before 3am. Head north to Akureyri and you’ll be a whisker below the Arctic Circle, in prime position for witnessing the midnight sun in all its glory. And of course, with endless summer days come endless opportunities for adventure. Instead of dashing from one place to the next, your Iceland road trip can be a leisurely dawdle, interspersed with anything from a relaxing dip in a natural geothermal lagoon to a midnight boat trip in search of humpback whales.

iceland north east myvatn sunset rth

Amazing places to stay... at exceptional value

Notwithstanding the wonders of the midnight sun, we appreciate that you still need to sleep! Iceland offers everything from swanky city hotels to wilderness lodges, farm retreats and coastal boltholes. The trick is to not only pick the ones that join the dots on a well-paced self-drive itinerary, but also to choose properties that meet your budget and interests. With 38 years’ experience, we’ve developed strong partnerships with the best properties in Iceland – which means we can offer you the best advice and best value too. Some of our favourite places to stay, like Hotel Ranga, enhance your holiday with delicious local cuisine, outdoor hot tubs and activities like superjeep safaris and snowmobiling tours.

hotel ranga exterior south west iceland wg

Summer into autumn and the northern lights

Don’t forget – the adventure doesn’t stop at the end of summer. We’ve waited this long, so why not consider an autumn or winter break in Iceland as well? It’s a completely different experience. Instead of the midnight sun, September–March sees the northern lights shimmering green and crimson over the lavascape. Autumn colours burnish the tundra, pods of orca hunt overwintering shoals of herring, and the range of adventure activities is just as extensive as it is during summer. Autumn is a particularly beautiful and peaceful time for a self-drive, while winter road trips are also a great option, particularly in the southwest.

iceland south west thingvellir aurora rth

Feeling inspired?

Our Iceland self-drive itineraries will allow you to enjoy the country’s natural wonders, at your own pace and represent excellent value for money.

Read our comprehensive travel guide outlining what you need to know before, during and after your trip to Iceland this summer. Our Iceland travel experts are also available to discuss your options and answer questions you may have.

Our unrivalled Flexibility Promise, which includes free cancellations, has been designed to provide a cushion around uncertainty giving you the reassurance you need to book.

Talk to our Travel Specialists on 01737 214 250 or if you prefer a virtual face-to-face, request a video chat when you send an enquiry.

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