Summer Iceland: Road Trip Adventure
Snorkel between two tectonic plates, kayak on a glacial lagoon & soak in geothermal hot pots overlooking the Arctic Ocean
Summer Iceland: Road Trip Adventure
About your trip
Bubbling mud pots, simmering volcanoes and two continents literally pulling apart…this summer road trip through Iceland’s ethereal landscapes will invigorate and inspire you.
Over 10 epic days, you’ll embrace the spirit of pure wilderness as you twist and turn your way round the island. Your 4×4 journey will be packed with immersive activities, like kayaking next to luminous-blue icebergs in the stunning Jökulsárlón lagoon, soaking in geothermal hot springs overlooking the Arctic Ocean and snorkelling the ice-clear water of the extraordinary Silfra Rift – the gap between the tectonic plates increasing by a whopping (in geological terms) 2 cm each year.
There’ll be whale watching in deep fjords, crampon hikes across sparkling glaciers and lava bread baked in the ground. This is the land of the Midnight Sun and you’ll unravel its secrets Flash Pack style, with a group of like-minded adventurers.
- Max 14 travellers per group
- Exclusively for people in their 30s & 40s
- All activities mentioned on the itinerary
- 9 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 2 dinners
- Hand-picked 3-4 star hotels
- Private 4x4 minibus
- Accommodation in twin, deluxe or family rooms with queen bunk beds
- Experienced Pack Leader with you throughout the trip
- Arrival airport transfer by Flybus
Flashpackers must provide evidence that they have purchased travel insurance for the duration of their adventure. Remember, flights aren't included and prices are based on sharing a twin room. If you'd like to upgrade to a single room, you can add this during the booking process or by contacting our Customer Experience team. Please note: the room categories in some of the hotels may vary and these are assigned at random. Rest assured that all the rooms are characterful, comfortable and aligned with Flash Pack standards.
Day 01 Welcome to Reykjavík
Welcome to the world’s most northerly capital, a colourful bohemian town buzzing with creative energy. Your boutique hotel is located in the central 101 District, its historic streets lined with eye-catching architecture, quirky art galleries and offbeat cafes that transform into hip music venues by night. After meeting your Pack Leader and group, you’ll head out for a welcome dinner at a cosy brasserie and cocktail bar. Get to know your fellow Flashpackers over elegant dishes of Icelandic food and raise a glass of brennivin (schnapps) to the adventures to come.
Day 02 SNORKEL BETWEEN TWO CONTINENTS
The open road awaits and you’ll start with a geologically supercharged tour of Iceland’s Golden Circle, taking in Thingvellir (the site of Iceland’s original Viking parliament), Geysir (the waterspout after which all others are named) and Gullfoss (the ‘Golden Waterfall’), with its rainbow colours shining through the mist. En route, you’ll stop at the dramatic Silfra Rift to snorkel in the icy clear water between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. With visibility up to 100 metres, it’s an experience like no other. Warm up at a geothermal bakery where lava bread is baked underground and taste the most delicious tomato soup at the famous Friðheimar greenhouse, before continuing to your chic base in the remote Central Highlands.
Day 03 Hike an otherworldly volcanic terrain
Much of Iceland’s interior is a vast volcanic desert, a barely habited landscape of bubbling mud pots, huge glaciers and rivers winding through rust-coloured rhyolite hills pocked with steaming sulphur vents. This is where the wilderness really begins. You’ll spend the day exploring the untamed landscape around Kerlingarfjöll, a snow-covered summit criss-crossed with gravel tracks and spectacular hiking trails. After an active day, retreat from the elements at your highland base, a refuge of warm hospitality complete with hot thermal pools – a spectacular way to spend a wild summer’s evening.
Day 04 Whale watching & microbrews
Traversing the rugged highlands, you’ll arrive at the Tröllaskagi Peninsula on Iceland’s north coast, a fairytale landscape of towering mountains and deep fjords, said to be inhabited by trolls. Keep your eyes peeled for wild Icelandic ponies as you travel towards the town of Hauganes, one of the best places in the country for a whale-whaling excursion. Boarding a classic oak boat, you’ll set off up the fjord in search of cetaceans, such as humpback whales, minke whales and white-beaked dolphins. Back on dry land, you’ll stop at a microbrewery to sample some of Iceland’s finest craft beers, before arriving at your hotel in Akureyri.
Day 05 Geothermal relaxation
Iceland’s second-largest city makes a good base for exploring the geological wonders the north. First up, you’ll visit Lake Mývatn: a serene bird-filled lake dotted with pseudocraters and surrounded by weird lava formations. From here, you’ll travel east to the roaring falls of Dettifoss, Europe’s most powerful waterfall, fed by icy water from the massive Vatnajökull glacier. Take in the views over Ásbyrgi, a magnificent horseshoe-shaped canyon filled with lush birch forest – a rare sight in Iceland – before finishing your day at a spa in the quaint fishing village of Húsavík, soaking in hot mineral-rich sea baths overlooking the Arctic Ocean.
Day 06 Explore the Eastfjords
Rejoining Route One, which circumnavigates the island, you’ll travel east to the beautiful Eastfjords, a convoluted coastline of picturesque villages backed by sheer-sided mountains. You’ll stop to explore the stunning Stuðlagil Canyon, a particularly photogenic spot with hexagonal basalt columns lining a river of blue-green glacial melt water. Then, it’s a short drive to Iceland’s second highest waterfall: Hengifoss. Stretch your legs with a hike to this narrow ribbon of water cascading down the straited red clay and black basalt cliffs, before arriving at your hotel in time for a hearty dinner.
Day 07 Kayak amongst glittering icebergs
There’s a long drive in store today, but the scenery is out of this world, transporting you through desolate volcanic plains, past lonely farms and around the tongues of glaciers. You’ll stop off for lobster sandwiches at a cute cafe in the harbour town of Höfn before arriving at the magical Jökulsárlón lagoon. You might recognise this sight from films such as James Bond, Tomb Raider and Batman Begins but nothing prepares you for its beauty. Together with your group, you’ll kayak out into the tranquil water, surrounded by ghostly blue icebergs carving off the glacier and spinning as they drift out to sea or glistening like diamonds washed up on the black sand.
Day 08 Puffin spotting & a glacier hike
Spend the morning exploring some more of the south coast’s dramatic sights, including one of Iceland’s best beaches: Reynisfjara. The sparkling jet-black sand is backed by towering basalt columns with spiky basalt stacks jutting out of the sea offshore. Take in the view from the Dyrhólaey rock arch, a popular puffin-nesting site in summer, before preparing to get wet at Seljalandsfoss waterfall as you clamber behind the thundering cascade. After lunch, you’ll strap on some crampons for a hike on the Sólheimajökull glacier. Led by an expert guide, you’ll crunch your way across the icy wonderland, past deep crevasses, jagged ridges and sink holes.
Day 09 Relax in a hot river
After breakfast, get ready for a quintessential Icelandic experience: bathing in a hot river in the middle of the Icelandic countryside. The Reykjadalur Valley is a beautiful geothermal area dotted with steaming fumaroles and mud pools. You’ll hike for a few kilometres through emerald green hills until you reach the perfect spot for a dip. Depending how hot you like the water, you can go up or down river to find the right temperature. Feeling thoroughly relaxed, it’s time to return to Reykjavik for your final farewell dinner at one of the country’s top fish restaurants.
Day 10 UNTIL NEXT TIME, ICELAND
That’s it, you’ve completed your grand tour of Iceland and it’s time to make your own way to the airport for your onward journey home. You’ve travelled through some incredible landscapes and met incredible people along the way. To experience a different side to the country, why not return in winter for our Unknown Iceland adventure where you’ll search for the Northern Lights and explore by super Jeep.
Our Favourite Hotels
Here's a taste of the hotels we sometimes use on this adventure. The hotels you'll stay in for your departure will be shared with you one month before you go.
EXETER HOTEL, Reykjavík
With its loft-style interiors and industrial chic vibe, this contemporary design hotel is right in the heart of District 101. The city’s buzzing nightlife is close at hand, plus the hotel’s lively bar ensures an upbeat ambience.
HIGHLAND BASE, Kerlingarfjöll
An upscale wilderness retreat surrounded by dramatic highland scenery. Spend your days hiking through the colourful glacial mountains and your evenings soaking up the views from a geothermal hot tub under the Arctic sky.
The Greenhouse Hotel, Hveragerði
A plant-filled hub of sustainability, featuring boutique guestrooms and a live music bar, alongside a collection of hip designer stores, ranging from Icelandic knitwear to household goods and a gourmet delicatessen.
- Which airport do I need to fly in and out of? Plus airport code
Fly into and out of Keflavík International Airport (KEF).
- What time should my flight arrive (in time for the welcome meeting)?
Please arrive in Reykjavik before 4 pm on Day 1. The welcome meeting and dinner will be from 6 pm onwards starting at the hotel, which is located approximately 45 minutes away from the airport.
- What time should my flight depart on the final day?
On your final day, we recommend booking flights in the afternoon as you might want to relax in the morning. You are required to arrive in airport two to three hours before your flight.
- Do you include airport transfers?
If you arrive on Day 1 of your adventure, or you book pre-tour accommodation with us, your airport arrival transfer will be included. If you book alternative pre-tour accommodation or are arriving by another mode of transport you must arrange your own arrival transfer.
Airport transfers from Keflavik Airport (KEF) are by coach. You’ll be provided with a pre-paid ticket for the ‘Flybus’ before travelling.
Once you have collected your baggage and have passed through immigration, please follow the clear signs for the Flybus.
Flybus will take you into the centre of Reykjavik and within walking distance of your hotel. In most cases you will need to change to a smaller coach at Reykjavík bus station which is the first stop on the way from the airport. You will be advised by the Flybus staff every step of your journey.
The departure transfer is not included, but your Pack Leader can help you arrange this.
- Are tips included?
Please note that tips are not included in the cost of this adventure. Suggested amounts per person are:
- Pack Leader / Driver: 2500 ISK USD per day
- Local tips: your Pack Leader will be able to advise on how much to tip local guides, restaurants, etc. Some Pack Leaders will collect a tipping kitty at the welcome meeting to take care of local tips.
However, all tips are at your discretion depending on what you feel comfortable with.
- Do I need a visa?
You do not normally need a visa if you’re visiting as a tourist from the EU, UK, USA, Australia or Canada. Please check with your local consulate/embassy if the country you are travelling from requires a visa or visit this website: https://island.is/s/utlendingastofnun.
From 2024, ETIAS travel authorisation will be an entry requirement for visa-exempt nationals travelling to European countries https://travel-europe.europa.eu/etias/what-etias_en.
We recommend that you have at least six months validity remaining on your passport and can show a return ticket.
- Will I see the Northern Lights?
You can see the Northern Lights from late August to May, but it’s best to visit between October and April when the night skies are much darker.
In the summer months, you can witness the Midnight Sun, when the sun doesn’t set below the horizon before 12am. For six weeks either side of the June 21 summer solstice, you’ll experience nights when it never gets truly dark.
- How much should I budget per day for extras?
We recommend budgeting 7,000 ISK, the equivalent of 40 GBP / 55 USD per day.
- What will the hotel rooms be like?
The room categories in some of the hotels may vary and these are assigned at random. Please rest assured that all the rooms are characterful, comfortable and aligned with Flash Pack standards.
- What fitness levels do I need for this trip?
This adventure is fast-paced and the glacier hike will challenge you. However, no specific level of fitness is required. We recommend having a read-through of the itinerary above to make sure you are happy partaking in the activities mentioned. Please get in touch if you have specific questions on fitness.
- Will the itinerary change?
Please be aware that the itinerary, activities, and hotels are subject to change. These changes can happen with little notice due to availability, poor weather, seasonal changes, or other circumstances beyond our control – but we’ll always do our best to ensure it has little impact on your experience. From time to time, we may also make changes to your itinerary to try out new ideas and keep things fresh and exciting.
Joining the Flash Pack comes with a few special guarantees
Our mission is to create 1 million friendships, so we obsess over the group dynamic. Everyone is aged 30-49, 98% travel solo & 80% stay friends.
Want to know more about your group?
Get in touch.
We operate using a 3rd party trust bank account, meaning we guarantee refunds in 14 days if your trip has to be cancelled.
Book with confidence.
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