Arctic Coast Way – North Coast Highlights

Arctic Coast Way – North Coast Highlights

from £1,575 excluding flights

  • 11 nights
  • May-Sep
01737 214 250
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Enquire Now nordic team eric shadbolt bw

One of our specialists

Meet Eric

10 Visits to Iceland

5 Successful whale watching trips

34 Countries visited

iceland north kalfshamarsvik lone figure

Arctic Coast Way – North Coast Highlights

from £1,575 excluding flights

  • 11 nights
  • May-Sep

Customers rate Discover the World

Average score 4.9/5

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Highlights

In pictures
iceland north oxarfjordur clifftop

Explore a coastline of wild and pure beauty created by nature

north iceland footpath to dettifoss rth

Walk to the brink of mighty Dettifoss, Europe’s most powerful waterfall

north iceland husavik humpback whale breaching ns

Spot humpback whales on a boat trip from Husavik

Aerial view over Lake Myvatn

Discover pseudo-craters and lava pillars at Lake Myvatn

iceland atlantic puffin pair istk

Encounter birdlife including puffins and wildfowl

north iceland myvatn nature baths rth

Relax in the geothermally heated waters of the Nature Baths

Why this trip...

Aoraki Mt Cook National Park tailor made white

Tailor made

This itinerary can be tailor made to suit you and is intended to give you a guideline of what is possible in a given timeframe

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Off-the-beaten-track

This holiday showcases places and experiences away from the usual tourist routes

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Nordic Heritage

With over 37 years of experience in creating trips to Nordics we know this region inside out

Overview

The picturesque Arctic Coast Way is a newly-christened, 900 km touring route in North Iceland, which features in Lonely Planet's "Best in Europe 2019 Guide". A lesser-visited coastline than its southern counterpart, the scenery is equally dramatic and inspiring. Discover winding roads that hug clifftops, trace peninsulas and skirt deserted beaches. Encounter the locals in the 21 tiny villages that dot the route. Visit in spring or summer when the coast is bathed in the golden light of the midnight sun. Or early autumn with the chance of experiencing glimpses of the aurora.

Divided into three sections, this itinerary covers the entire route. Should you wish to focus in more detail on any section, adapting the itinerary to your personal preference then please call us to discuss.

Coast of Sagas and Mythology

The western section of the Arctic Coast Way introduces visitors to Arctic wildlife. Enjoy an atmospheric coastline and the seals and birds that call it home, and a land where wild horses roam. Follow in the footsteps of lore and legend and at Hvitserkur, discover a 15m high basalt stack, believed to be a troll petrified in eternity by the sun.

Coast of Fishing Towns and Heritage

Cultural riches flourish in the heart of the Arctic Coast Way. This section of the route consists of clifftop roads, mountain tunnels, bridges and ferries connecting a string of quaint fishing villages and their inhabitants. Expect some great hospitality and excellent opportunities to taste 'the catch of the day'. Festivals, fisheries and quirky museums are also on the agenda including the fascinating Whale Museum at Husavik. From here, Europe's whale watching capital, head out into Skjalfandi Bay and spot minke and humpback, possibly even a blue whale. Dolphins, porpoises and enchanting puffins also compete for camera space.

Coast of Elemental Nature

On the eastern section of the Arctic Coast Way, be prepared to leave the tourists behind. Serenity rules along with moody landscapes, offshore sea stacks, deserted beaches covered in driftwood, fossils and birds. Lots of them. Take a detour inland to beautiful Lake Myvatn, the mud pools and steaming solfataras at Namaskard and more otherworldly geological wonders. The Nature Baths, mighty Dettifoss, Europe's most powerful waterfall and Asbyrgi Canyon are must-visits before heading back up to the quiet coast and the northernmost point on Iceland's mainland, close to the Arctic Circle. Big skies, wild seas and panoramic views abound.

Itinerary

The itinerary shown is an example of this self-drive holiday. We have many other hotels and route recommendations which can be tailored to your requirements. Please discuss with our Travel Specialists who can put together a bespoke itinerary for you.

Day 1 Keflavik - West Iceland

Fly to Keflavik, collect your rental car and head north to beautiful Hvalfjordur on a 1.5 hour journey that passes Reykjavik and Mt Esja. If time allows take the scenic drive around this stunning fjord, or for more direct journey, drive through the tunnel to reach the north side of the fjord. Overnight at Hvalfjordur. Overnight at Hotel Glymur

Fly to Keflavik, collect your rental car and head north to beautiful Hvalfjordur on a 1.5 hour journey that passes Reykjavik and Mt Esja. If time allows take the scenic drive around this stunning fjord, or for more direct journey, drive through the tunnel to reach the north side of the fjord. Overnight at Hvalfjordur. Overnight at Hotel Glymur

Day 2 West Iceland - Laugarbakki

Head north, through fertile farmlands and over the mountain pass to the northern shores of Hunafloi, the start of the Arctic Coast Way. Overnight at Hotel Laugarbakki.

Head north, through fertile farmlands and over the mountain pass to the northern shores of Hunafloi, the start of the Arctic Coast Way. Overnight at Hotel Laugarbakki.

Day 3 exploring around Laugarbakki

Take an optional seal watching boat trip off the coast Hvammstangi and visit the Icelandic Seal Center, which provides information Vatnsnes area and its marine inhabitants. Visit Kolugljufur waterfall and make a photo stop at Hvitserkur, an impressive basalt rock stack that some say, resembles a dragon stooping to take a drink from the sea - but talk to the locals and you'll discover it is really a petrified troll. There is also an opportunity to visit KIDKA, a knitting and sewing company that produces knitwear out of Icelandic wool for its own clothing line. Overnight at Hotel Laugarbakki.

Take an optional seal watching boat trip off the coast Hvammstangi and visit the Icelandic Seal Center, which provides information Vatnsnes area and its marine inhabitants. Visit Kolugljufur waterfall and make a photo stop at Hvitserkur, an impressive basalt rock stack that some say, resembles a dragon stooping to take a drink from the sea - but talk to the locals and you'll discover it is really a petrified troll. There is also an opportunity to visit KIDKA, a knitting and sewing company that produces knitwear out of Icelandic wool for its own clothing line. Overnight at Hotel Laugarbakki.

iceland north vatnsnes hvitserkur sunset beach istk
iceland north grettislaug hot pool
iceland north hofsos town aerial

Day 4 Laugarbakki - Siglufjordur

Drive along the Arctic Coast Way and through the villages of Blonduos, Saudarkrokur where you can visit the 1238 : The Battle of Iceland museum and Hofsos where you can visit the Icelandic Emigration Museum. Continue along the dramatic North Atlantic coastline to the small town of Siglufjordur. Overnight at Hotel Siglo.

Drive along the Arctic Coast Way and through the villages of Blonduos, Saudarkrokur where you can visit the 1238 : The Battle of Iceland museum and Hofsos where you can visit the Icelandic Emigration Museum. Continue along the dramatic North Atlantic coastline to the small town of Siglufjordur. Overnight at Hotel Siglo.

Day 5 exploring around Siglufjordur

Take a boat trip on the fjord, visit the Herring Museum and soak up the relaxed atmosphere of this picture-postcard village. Hotel Siglo has an outdoor hot tub and a wonderful restaurant overlooking the marina. Find some excellent cafes dotted amongst Siglufjordur’s historic and colourful harbour side buildings and take time to watch the world go by. Overnight at Hotel Siglo.

Take a boat trip on the fjord, visit the Herring Museum and soak up the relaxed atmosphere of this picture-postcard village. Hotel Siglo has an outdoor hot tub and a wonderful restaurant overlooking the marina. Find some excellent cafes dotted amongst Siglufjordur’s historic and colourful harbour side buildings and take time to watch the world go by. Overnight at Hotel Siglo.

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Day 6 Siglufjordur - Husavik

Enjoy a leisurely drive along the shores of Eyjafjordur, perhaps visit the unusual baths at Beer Spa, before spending some time exploring Akureyri. The ‘capital’ of North Iceland, this interesting town has a good range of shops and restaurants, as well as botanical gardens and a busy fishing port. You can also visit the Akureyri Art Museum or Folk and Outside Museum located in the city.

Enjoy a leisurely drive along the shores of Eyjafjordur, perhaps visit the unusual baths at Beer Spa, before spending some time exploring Akureyri. The ‘capital’ of North Iceland, this interesting town has a good range of shops and restaurants, as well as botanical gardens and a busy fishing port. You can also visit the Akureyri Art Museum or Folk and Outside Museum located in the city.

Day 7 exploring around Myvatn

Explore the curious volcanic features around Lake Myvatn, pseudocraters at Skutustadir, boiling mud pools at Namaskard, Krafla volcano and the Viti crater. Hike amongst the strange lava formations at Dimmuborgir or hike up Hverfjall and walk around the rim for amazing 360° views of the area. After a long day, relax in the warm, milky waters of the Nature Baths, the north’s answer to the Blue Lagoon (entrance payable locally). Overnight at Húsavík Cape Hotel.

Explore the curious volcanic features around Lake Myvatn, pseudocraters at Skutustadir, boiling mud pools at Namaskard, Krafla volcano and the Viti crater. Hike amongst the strange lava formations at Dimmuborgir or hike up Hverfjall and walk around the rim for amazing 360° views of the area. After a long day, relax in the warm, milky waters of the Nature Baths, the north’s answer to the Blue Lagoon (entrance payable locally). Overnight at Húsavík Cape Hotel.

north iceland lake myvatn pseudocraters istk
iceland lake myvatn great northern diver istk
iceland north east namaskard sunset rth

Day 8 visit Dettifoss

Venture a little further into the Lake Myvatn area and head to Dettifoss. Park the car and walk right up to Europe’s most powerful waterfall, measuring 100m wide and gaze in awe as its silt-laden meltwater, from the Vatnajokull icecap, thunders down 45m into the basalt canyon below. Overnight at Húsavík Cape Hotel.

Venture a little further into the Lake Myvatn area and head to Dettifoss. Park the car and walk right up to Europe’s most powerful waterfall, measuring 100m wide and gaze in awe as its silt-laden meltwater, from the Vatnajokull icecap, thunders down 45m into the basalt canyon below. Overnight at Húsavík Cape Hotel.

Day 9 Husavik - Raufarhofn

Take a whale watching trip this morning (optional) and visit the Húsavík Whale Museum. Voyaging into Skjalfandi Bay aboard one of North Sailing’s beautiful wooden boats, scan the sea for tell-tale signs of minke and humpback whales – a sudden spout perhaps as the whale surfaces to breathe, or a flock of seabirds fussing over fish driven to the surface by feeding whales. With luck you’ll be treated to a close encounter. Humpbacks can be particularly acrobatic, slapping their tails and flukes, spy-hopping or breaching. You may also spot white-sided dolphins and even blue whales. Back on shore visit the excellent Whale Museum in Husavik harbour before driving to Asbyrgi. This horseshoe-shaped canyon, according to Norse legend, was stamped in the ground by Odin’s eight-legged horse Sleipnir; its sheer-sided cliffs shelter a small pond and beautiful birch woodland; a fine spot for a walk and a picnic.

Continue along the Arctic Coast Way to Kopasker, visit the Earthquake Centre and then head further north to Melrakkasletta. Here, beaches full of driftwood, lakes, ponds, moors, basaltic black rock stacks and cliffs dominate the landscape, together with a large number of birds. Commons species to spot include Redwing, Great Skua, Red-throated Diver, Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Ruddy Turnstone, Red Knot, Razorbill, Northern Gannet and Great Cormorant, and you might even be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the elegant Gyrfalcon. Continue to Raufarhofn. Overnight at Hotel Norðurljós.

Take a whale watching trip this morning (optional) and visit the Húsavík Whale Museum. Voyaging into Skjalfandi Bay aboard one of North Sailing’s beautiful wooden boats, scan the sea for tell-tale signs of minke and humpback whales – a sudden spout perhaps as the whale surfaces to breathe, or a flock of seabirds fussing over fish driven to the surface by feeding whales. With luck you’ll be treated to a close encounter. Humpbacks can be particularly acrobatic, slapping their tails and flukes, spy-hopping or breaching. You may also spot white-sided dolphins and even blue whales. Back on shore visit the excellent Whale Museum in Husavik harbour before driving to Asbyrgi. This horseshoe-shaped canyon, according to Norse legend, was stamped in the ground by Odin’s eight-legged horse Sleipnir; its sheer-sided cliffs shelter a small pond and beautiful birch woodland; a fine spot for a walk and a picnic.

Continue along the Arctic Coast Way to Kopasker, visit the Earthquake Centre and then head further north to Melrakkasletta. Here, beaches full of driftwood, lakes, ponds, moors, basaltic black rock stacks and cliffs dominate the landscape, together with a large number of birds. Commons species to spot include Redwing, Great Skua, Red-throated Diver, Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Ruddy Turnstone, Red Knot, Razorbill, Northern Gannet and Great Cormorant, and you might even be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the elegant Gyrfalcon. Continue to Raufarhofn. Overnight at Hotel Norðurljós.

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Day 10 Raufarhofn - Langanes peninsula - Eglisstadir

Before leaving Raufarhofn, visit the site of the Arctic Henge project, an impressive monument for Pagan worshippers inspired by our very own Stonehenge. Continue south to Langanes peninsula where majestic sea stacks, the most famous being Storkarl, are full of nesting gannets and guillemots. Further south at Vopnafjordur, make a stop at the beautiful swimming pool by the Sela river, then continue to Egilsstadir. Trace the coastline, climbing high over the Hellisheidi mountain pass, and enjoy the stunning views of the sea and surrounding landscape. Spend the night in Egilsstadir. Overnight at Lake Hotel.

Before leaving Raufarhofn, visit the site of the Arctic Henge project, an impressive monument for Pagan worshippers inspired by our very own Stonehenge. Continue south to Langanes peninsula where majestic sea stacks, the most famous being Storkarl, are full of nesting gannets and guillemots. Further south at Vopnafjordur, make a stop at the beautiful swimming pool by the Sela river, then continue to Egilsstadir. Trace the coastline, climbing high over the Hellisheidi mountain pass, and enjoy the stunning views of the sea and surrounding landscape. Spend the night in Egilsstadir. Overnight at Lake Hotel.

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Day 11 Eglisstadir - Reykjavik

It is time to say goodbye to the East of Iceland and fly back to Reykjavik where you will spend the night in the capital. Overnight at Hotel Reykjavík Centrum.

It is time to say goodbye to the East of Iceland and fly back to Reykjavik where you will spend the night in the capital. Overnight at Hotel Reykjavík Centrum.

Day 12 depart Iceland

Transfer to Keflavik airport for the flight home, perhaps stopping off at the Blue Lagoon en route.

Transfer to Keflavik airport for the flight home, perhaps stopping off at the Blue Lagoon en route.

Accommodation Options

The properties mentioned in the itinerary have been included in the prices shown, however, with a choice of accommodation available in most locations, we can tailor make to suit your personal preference.

Discuss your options with our Travel Specialists.

Excursions

Enhance your holiday by pre-booking a selection of excursions and activities. View or download the pdf and then talk to our Travel Specialists about how best to fit these into your holiday.

Open Excursions PDF

Prices and Departures

Price from £1,575 excluding flights

Airfares are quoted separately to the holiday price and start from around £250 per person with Icelandair (with higher fares during peak times). When enquiring, our Travel Specialists will provide the best fare possible from your preferred airline / airport.

What's Included

  • Accommodation in rooms with private bathroom
  • Daily breakfast
  • Car rental throughout with unlimited mileage
  • No charge for second driver
  • Exclusive use of iDiscover App
  • 24 hour emergency assistance from our team during your holiday
  • No surcharge guarantee
  • Full financial protection

From prices per person

Based on 2 sharing a room with private bathroom, including car hire. Prices for other combinations of passengers and rooms available on request. Other vehicle types also available.

Departure Duration Car Category Twin Price
May 2021 11 nights B - VW Golf £1,575
May 2021 11 nights D - Skoda Octavia (4WD) £1,696
May 2021 11 nights F - Suzuki Vitara £1,785
Jun - Aug 2021 11 nights B - VW Golf £1,936
Jun - Aug 2021 11 nights D - Skoda Octavia (4WD) £2,122
Jun - Aug 2021 11 nights F - Suzuki Vitara £2,324
Sep 2021 11 nights B - VW Golf £1,575
Sep 2021 11 nights D - Skoda Octavia (4WD) £1,696
Sep 2021 11 nights F - Suzuki Vitara £1,785

Choice of Vehicles

We offer a wide range of rental vehicles for this holiday provided by the local Europcar franchise. Our long-standing relationship with them means that our clients enjoy many exclusive benefits including priority on the newest and best-appointed vehicles available on the day.

Meet our expert

nordic team eric shadbolt bw
One of our specialists
Meet Eric

10 Visits to Iceland

5 Successful whale watching trips

34 Countries visited

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Tailor made trips

As independent destination specialists, we are able to tailor make holidays to suit you, be that customising the itineraries shown on this website or creating something bespoke.

Travelling sustainably

We believe travel is about finding the right balance between minimising our impact on the environment and broadening minds through new experiences and cultural interaction.

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