Iceland trip itinerary suggestions - from one day to two weeks

Best Iceland Itinerary Suggestions

In Europe, Iceland, Trip itineraries by Jurga28 Comments

Every day I get reader mail and comments on my blog posts in regards to planning a trip to Iceland. The questions I get most of the time are related to Iceland trip itinerary suggestions for one, two, three, four, five, six days, a week and more. So I decided to put all those recommendations in one place and create several suggested Iceland trip itineraries for different durations of your stay.

These suggested Iceland trip itineraries are based on our experience (all, except the longest one of two weeks). The shorter trips, up to one week, only focus on Reykjavik and South Iceland and can be done in any season. The two longer trips – Akureyri to Reykjavik and the complete Iceland Ring Road tour – are recommended in summer only. Someone told me I shouldn’t say it’s not possible to do the round trip in winter. It’s true, it’s not impossible, but you might face road closures and icy roads, so I do not recommend driving in the North in winter unless you are very flexible with your schedule and feel confident driving on ice.

I tried to include the most beautiful places of Iceland in each itinerary, so that you get the most out of your trip, no matter how much time you have in Iceland, or in which season you travel.

First, let me tell you that Iceland is worth a longer trip than just a day or two. No matter whether you’re traveling in summer or in winter, I think one week is the minimum time you need in order to see at least some of the main highlights of Iceland. Nevertheless, I know that Iceland has become a popular stopover destination and there are many people looking for suggestions on what to see and do in Iceland in just one, two, or three days. Thus this post, to help other travellers in planning their trip to Iceland.

Below is an overview of several suggested Iceland trip itineraries for different durations of your stay. In order not repeat myself, I only give a longer explanation of the specific location once. So if you are looking at a three day trip in Iceland, you’ll have to read the explanation of day one and day two as well.

Iceland Itinerary Suggestions for any trip from a short stopover in Reykjavik to a two week trip around the island. See the best of Iceland with these tips!

 

Best Iceland itinerary suggestions for any trip from one day to two weeks

 

1 day stopover in Iceland – best of Reykjavik in a day

Day 1 : Reykjavik city tour + Blue Lagoon

Reykjavik isn’t such a big city, so you can see the main highlights in just half a day:

  • Walk along the waterfront and see the two main landmarks – the Harpa concert hall and the Sun Voyager sculpture.
  • Stroll the two main shopping streets, Laugavegur and Skólavörðustígur.
  • Visit the Hallgrimskirkja church and make sure you go all the way to the top for the best views.
  • If you have time, you can visit one of the museums of Reykjavik.

In the afternoon head to the Blue Lagoon – the most famous hot tub of Iceland. It’s located a bit outside of the city and the best way to get there is by booking a bus transfer that includes the entrance to the Blue Lagoon. Book your Blue Lagoon experience here.

Alternatively, you can book a Reykjavik sightseeing tour that also includes the Blue Lagoon visit.

For dinner, you’ll find plenty of restaurants and pubs in the city centre. Reykjavik is also famous for its nightlife. Not sure where to start? Book a Reykjavik local pub crawl tour or go beer tasting at Olgerdin brewery.

Hallgrimskirkja church in Reykjavik

Hallgrimskirkja

 

How to spend two days in Iceland (no car needed)

Day 1 : Reykjavik city tour + Blue Lagoon
Day 2: The Golden Circle

If you have two days in Iceland, spend one day in Reykjavik and the Blue Lagoon (as described above), and the second day exploring outside the city.

The most popular day trip from Reykjavik is a visit to the area called the Golden Circle. It includes a visit to Thingvellir National Park, Gullfoss waterfall, and the Geysir area. You can do this tour by car, but if you don’t feel like renting a car for just a day, you can easily book one of the organised tours. Here you can book a Golden Circle group tour or a private tour.

Some of the Golden Circle tours offer combination tours that include food tasting, whale watching, or Northern Lights viewing (in winter). You can find the best Golden Circle tour options here.

Alternatively, you can opt for a tour that combines the Golden Circle and the South Coast, but it’s a very long tour of 12 hours. Perfect for those who have little time, but otherwise better split these two areas over two days.

Thingvellir National Park is one of the three stops on the Iceland Golden Circle Tour

Oxararfoss waterfall in Thingvellir National Park

 

What to do and see in Iceland in three days (no rental car needed)

Day 1: Reykjavik city tour + Blue Lagoon
Day 2: The Golden Circle
Day 3: South Coast – glaciers, waterfalls and beaches

Days one and two as above.
Day 3. Another great day trip from Reykjavik is a trip to Southern Iceland. The highlights include: black sand beaches of Vik, Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss waterfalls, and also glaciers. Here is the best price-quality day trip to South Coast that I found. Alternatively, check out this tour – it is more expensive, but it includes glacier hiking as well.

Once again, you can do this tour with a rental car, or you can book a day trip from Reykjavik. If you rent a car, consider staying in Hvergaderi area after you visit the Golden Circle, instead of heading back to Reykjavik. It will save you quite some driving time. If you do this, you can easily add a glacier hike to your day 3 itinerary as well.

Alternatively, you can opt for a South Iceland tour that takes you all the way to Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon, but it will be a very long day with lots of driving.

Scenery along South Coast Iceland

Scenery along South Coast

 

If you only have 1-3 days in Iceland, stay in Reykjavik and make day trips from there. Most day tours will pick you up at the hotel in Reykjavik.

Suggestions for four days in Iceland

Day 1: Reykjavik city tour + Blue Lagoon
Day 2: The Golden Circle
Day 3: Southern Iceland – glaciers, waterfalls and beaches
Day 4: Skaftafell National Park – Jokulsarlon – Fjallsarlon

If you have four days in Iceland, you’re probably better off renting a car or booking a Golden Circle tour (see above) and a 2-day tour of the South Coast, that combines days 3 and 4.

Days 1-3 as above.
Day 4. Take one of the many hikes in Skaftafell National Park. Then drive to the famous glacier lagoon – Jokulsarlon. You can explore the area of the lagoon on foot or – weather permitting – take a boat tour on the glacial lake. Make sure to also visit the Jokulsarlon beach, also called the Diamond beach, and the smaller glacial lagoon Fjallsarlon.

Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon should be included in every Iceland trip itinerary

Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon

 

Iceland itinerary for five to six days

The main highlights from days 1 to 4. In addition, you can add some of the following highlights to your 5-6 day Iceland itinerary:

  • Glacier hiking – make sure you book a tour in advance!
  • Explore the Skaftafell National Park a bit more and take one or two longer hikes. We hiked to the famous Svartifoss waterfall and continued on the Sjónarnípa trail. It was definitely worth it!
  • Skogar Museum
  • Fjardrargljufur Canyon
  • Eldhraun lava field
Glacier hiking guides in Iceland

Our glacier hike guides

 

What to see and do in Iceland in one week

I have already shared our detailed one week Iceland trip itinerary in one of the previous posts. While it’s a winter itinerary, you can do the exact same trip any time of the year. In summer the days will be much longer and so you’ll have more time to explore and/or add some additional activities to your trip.

In summer, consider a trip to see whales or puffins. And I definitely recommend spending more time in Skaftafell NP. There are some amazing hikes in this national park!

Skaftafell National Park in Iceland

Skaftafell National Park

 

The best Iceland road trip in summer – 10 days from Akureyri to Reykjavik

The first time we visited Iceland in summer, we took ten days to explore this beautiful country. This is our 10-day Iceland trip itinerary from Akureyri to Reykjavik in a nutshell. If I find more time, I’ll post a detailed ten day itinerary later, but this should give you an idea of where to go and how much time you need. Please note that this is a summer itinerary. We visited in June, and there were still quite some places we couldn’t get to and things we couldn’t do. I would only recommend this trip in July or August, maybe still in September.

Day 1: Flight to Akureyri
Day 2: Akureyri via Godafoss to Mývatn
Day 3: Highlights of Myvatn
Day 4: Dettifoss, and to the Eastern part of Iceland
Day 5: Eastern fjords to Höfn
Day 6: Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon and excursion to Ingölfshöfdi puffins
Day 7: Skaftafell National Park
Day 8: Vik black sand beach, Skogafoos and Seljalandsfoss waterfalls, Hekla volcano lava fields
Day 9: The Golden Circle
Day 10: Reykjavik

Namaskard geothermal area north Iceland

Namaskard geothermal area

 

Complete trip around Iceland Ring Road in two weeks

Like the 10-day trip, the complete Iceland round trip is best done in July or August.
Day 1: Flight to Keflavik (Reykjavik) and drive to the Hveragerdi area
Day 2: The Golden Circle: Thingvellir, Geysir en Gullfoss
Day 3: Southern Iceland – glaciers, waterfalls and beaches
Day 4: Skaftafell National Park – Jokulsarlon – Fjallsarlon
Day 5: Eastern fjords, excursion to Papey island by boat
Day 6: To Myvatn and the highlights of Myvatn area
Day 7: Húsavik and Akureyri
Day 8: Northwest Iceland to Westfjords
Day 9: To Isafjordur
Day 10: Isafjördur
Day 11: Dynjandi waterfall and the birds of Latrabjarg
Day 12: Ferry over Breidafjördur to Snaefellsnes peninsula
Day 13: Snaefellsnes peninsula
Day 14: Reykholtsdal and Reykjavík
Day 15: Reykjavik and flight back home
Puffin in Iceland

You can only see puffins in summer

 

Resources for planning a trip to Iceland

✓ Find the best deals for flights to Iceland here.

✓ Find the best deals for Iceland accommodation using the form below. Alternatively, check this post for the best accommodation suggestions for Reykjavik and a self-drive trip around Iceland.



Booking.com

✓ Find the best deals for Iceland car rental here!

Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links. At no extra cost to you, we get a small commission if you book a tour using these links. Thank you!

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How to see the best of Iceland - itinerary suggestions for any trip from 1 day to 2 weeks

See the best of Iceland with the best Iceland trip itinerary suggestions. Anything from just one day to two weeks, and from Reykjavik to complete Iceland road trip - this is the only guide you'll need to read!

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Best Iceland Itinerary Suggestions was last modified: March 10th, 2017 by Jurga

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Comments

  1. This is a great post! We had an amazing trip through the southern part of Iceland 2 years ago and can’t wait to go back and explore the north!

    1. Author

      Thank you, Ashley. We’ve been to Iceland twice, but wouldn’t mind going again either. Beautiful country to explore!

  2. Super double extra triple bookmarked! It is my dream to visit Iceland in the winter and see the northern lights but you are offering so many more awesome ideas I love it! I am not sure when I will get to go but I will be sure to follow this itinerary and all of your tips!

    1. Author

      Thanks Arianne. Glad this inspired you to see more of Iceland, beyond the Northern Lights…

  3. Those pictures look so amazing. It’s hard not to want to book a trip to Iceland. It’s on our list for this year, so I’m going to save this!

  4. I want to go there so badly! When I do I’ll definitely come back to this post and see what I can do in my time 🙂

  5. Great post! I’m gonna bookmark this post for future reference as I’m planning to visit Iceland one day. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Very timely for me, I have 24 hour stopover this summer and just booked my Blue Lagoon ticket yesterday. I can’t read beyond your 1-day itinerary because I’m already sad at all the things I’m going to miss!

    1. Author

      I know how you feel, Leigh! It’s a constant struggle with stopovers… Maybe that short trip will inspire you to go back and visit longer another time.

  7. This is perfect!!! I’m glad I came across this. I’ll be visiting Iceland for 3 days in May before heading to London and my 3-day itinerary is exactly as you recommend. Even though I’m visiting towards the end of May, I guess I better pack for cold weather!! This make me feel better. Great guide!!

    1. Author

      Hi Livi, glad you found this itinerary reassuring. There is a lot you can do in a specific place, but here I cover the highlights, which I think most people want to see if traveling somewhere for the first time.
      As for packing, I really don’t know about May, I think you can have all kinds of weather, just as any other season. Pack a warm waterproof outer layer, and several other layers so you are flexible. You can check this post for Iceland packing suggestions.
      Have a wonderful trip to Iceland!

  8. Hello,

    I have a slight dilemma, Our flight arrives at 2 PM on Tuesday and leaves on 4 PM Thursday. We would like to plan our trip so that we CAN do the Golden Circle, Reykjavik, and blue lagoon. Just not quite sure which would fit what day. If you were working with that time frame, What would you recommend?

      1. Wow,

        Thank you for such quick response. My wife’s bucket list is the Blue Lagoon. So she would like to spend as much time there as possible. Realistically, How much time is Enough time for blue lagoon with a 4 year old and 7 year old. Also, we are planning to rent a car. About how much time should we allocated for Golden Circle starting at reykjavik and back?

        Lastly, 1 restaurant (family style) you would recommend? Our anniversary falls on middle day of our 3 day trip. Thank you SO much!

        Ted

        1. Author

          Hi Ted, Blue Lagoon will take you 2-4hrs. It takes some time to get in, change, etc. I don’t think you can spend more than an hour, maybe a bit longer in the pool with kids, but you know your kids better of course. It’s far from the city centre, so it will take some time to get there. Count a good half day in total.
          I would count a (relaxed) day for the Golden Circle. If you come back earlier, spend that time in Reykjavik downtown.
          As for restaurants, I really don’t know. Check Trip Advisor for some recommendations.

  9. You have covered a lot on your trips and it is great to see. I think that your pictures are beautiful too. Definitely, pinned this for when I return to Iceland as you give a great range of tips and recommendations.

  10. I will definitely be saving this post! My husband and I are saving up for a trip with our daughter to Scotland in a few years. We’d love to take advantage of a stopover in Iceland!

    1. Author

      If you can, try to take at least 5-6 days for a stopover in Iceland, Mar. If I remember well, Icelandair allows up to 7 days stopover at no additional cost, so it’s a great way to combine Iceland with another trip.

  11. We have 10 days beg June 24..what other trip would you recommend combining with Iceland for 5 days?

    1. Author

      Hi Kathy,
      I assume you’re coming from the US? Icelandair flies to different places in Europe and offers a free stopover in Iceland. So it’s easy to combine with lets say The Netherlands or U.K. or Belgium. All these are just +-3hrs flying from Reykjavik.
      I have some posts on the blog about the Netherlands, you could stay in Amsterdam and make some short day trips in the area (Alkmaar, Kinderdijk, Zaanse Schans, Giethoorn…).
      Alternatively, in Belgium I would suggest Bruges, Ghent, Antwerp and Brussels.
      Not sure if this is your kind of trips.
      If you like nature more, you could try Scotland or Faroe Islands…
      Hope this helps a bit.

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