Are you planning a trip to Iceland and looking for the best Iceland itinerary? This guide will give you a good overview of some of the best itineraries for any trip to Iceland. Take a look!
Every day I get reader questions about how to plan their Iceland itinerary… You may have seen articles claiming they have the best Iceland itinerary for X days for any season, but in reality, it’s not possible. Just one example – Iceland in winter or in summer is like two different countries… The weather is different, the sights are more or less accessible, and the daylight time varies from just 3 to 24 hours…
So the best Iceland itinerary for your trip will depend a lot on when you travel, how much time you have, and of course on your interests.
While there is no one Iceland itinerary that fits it all, I created several suggested Iceland road trip itineraries for different durations. This article covers some of the most popular Iceland trip itineraries for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 days, a week, 10 days, and 14 days.
These Iceland itineraries are meant to show you what’s worth visiting the most and how much time it normally takes to see it all with regular sightseeing days of about 8-10 hours.
We’ve been to Iceland multiple times and did several road trips in different seasons. So these suggested Iceland trip itineraries are based on our experience. We highly recommend that you rent a car and explore Iceland on a self-drive road trip.
The shorter trip itineraries – up to one week – only focus on Reykjavik and South Iceland and can be done in any season. If you are traveling in the dark season, you can also expect to see the Northern Lights in Iceland following those itineraries. The longer road trips – 10-day trips and the 14-day complete Iceland Ring Road tour including the Westfjords – are recommended in summer only.
I included the most beautiful places of Iceland in each Iceland itinerary (as much as possible, depending on the duration). That way you can get the most out of your trip, no matter how much time you have in Iceland, or in which season you travel. Find out!
How much time do you need in Iceland?
Iceland is worth a longer trip than just a day or two and 4 days is an absolute minimum for Reykjavik and the South Coast. However, no matter whether you’re traveling – in summer or in winter – I recommend planning at least 5-7 days if you want to see some of the main highlights of Iceland.
With 10 days, you could drive the entire Ring Road, whereas in two weeks, you could see all the main places in Iceland and get a bit off the beaten path.
Nevertheless, I know that Iceland has become a popular stopover destination and there are also many people looking for suggestions on what to see and do in Iceland in just one, two, or three days.
So in this post, we share suggestions for any Iceland itinerary. Whether you have just a few days or a few weeks in Iceland, this article will help you plan your trip. Find out!
Iceland itinerary: suggestions from one day to two weeks
- 1 day in Iceland – Reykjavik layover
- 2 days in Iceland – stopover in Reykjavik
- 3 days in Iceland
- 4 days in Iceland
- 5 – 6 days in Iceland
- 7 days in Iceland
- 10 days complete Ring Road itinerary
- 10 day Iceland trip itinerary: Akureyri to Reykjavik
- 10 days West and North Iceland itinerary
- Two weeks complete Iceland Ring Road itinerary
- Best resources for planning a trip to Iceland
Below is an overview of several suggested Iceland trip itineraries for different durations of your stay. In order not to 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.
1 day stopover in Iceland – best of Reykjavik in a day
Day 1: Reykjavik city tour + Blue Lagoon/Sky Lagoon or 1/2 day excursion.
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 a few museums or fun attractions in 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 from Reykjavik. Entrance tickets to the Blue Lagoon have to be booked at least a few days in advance; you can book Blue Lagoon tickets here.
Update: The recently-opened Sky Lagoon is now a very popular alternative to the famous Blue Lagoon. It’s located closer to town and is easier to visit, plus the views are amazing. Also here, bus transfers are available and you really have to book tickets/transfers in advance.
Alternatively, take a short excursion from Reykjavik – there are so many amazing options! Here you can find our guide to the very best half-day tours from Reykjavik.
For dinner, you’ll find plenty of restaurants and pubs in the city center. Reykjavik is also famous for its nightlife. Not sure where to start? Check out these great Icelandic food tours in Reykjavik.
- Here you can read more about what to do when visiting Reykjavik.
- Looking for the best accommodation options in Reykjavik? Check our Reykjavik hotel suggestions.
READ ALSO: Reykjavik 1-Day Itinerary (slightly different than the above, with more time in the city and including the Sky Lagoon instead of the Blue Lagoon)
How to spend two days in Iceland (no car needed)
Day 1: Reykjavik city + Sky Lagoon (see our recommended itinerary for a day in Reykjavik).
Day 2: The Golden Circle or South Coast.
If you have two days in Iceland, spend one day in Reykjavik and the Blue Lagoon or Sky 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 organized tours. Here you can book a highly-rated Golden Circle group tour or a private tour.
Some of the Golden Circle tours offer combination tours that include food tasting, whale watching, geothermal lagoons, or Northern Lights viewing (in winter). You can find the best Golden Circle tour options here or check our hand-picked selection of the best day trips from Reykjavik.
South Coast is another extremely popular day trip – more information further below.
South Coast and Jokulsarlon. Alternatively, you can opt for a tour of the South Coast and Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon. This tour covers all the main highlights of the South Coast, but also goes all the way to Jokulsarlon. However, it’s a very long tour of 14 hours. It’s good for those who have little time in Iceland and want to get the absolute most of their trip and don’t mind a long day on a bus.
Iceland itinerary for three days (no rental car needed)
Day 1: Reykjavik city + Blue Lagoon or Sky Lagoon (see our recommended itinerary for a day in Reykjavik).
Day 2: Golden Circle.
Day 3: South Coast.
If you have three days in Iceland, you definitely should try to take a tour of the South Coast. The highlights include the 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.
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.
Good to know: If you have three days in Iceland (and you are not traveling in winter), you can do this tour with a rental car. 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, if you only have 1-3 days in Iceland, you can also stay in the city and make day trips from Reykjavik. Most day tours will pick you up at the hotel in Reykjavik or in the city center.
READ ALSO: Iceland South Coast: Best Sights & Attractions
Four days Iceland itinerary
Day 1: Reykjavik city tour + Blue Lagoon/Sky 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 and making a road trip. It’s the best way to explore the country!
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 Jokulsarlon beach, also called Diamond beach, and the smaller glacial lagoon Fjallsarlon.
TIP: Take a look at our detailed Iceland 4 days itinerary covering all these places and more. Check it out!
Iceland itinerary for five to six days
If you have five or six days in Iceland, you should cover all the main highlights from the 4-day Iceland itinerary mentioned above. In addition, you can add some of the following highlights to your 5-6 day Iceland itinerary:
- Visit Snaefellsnes Peninsula – one full day is a minimum.
- Visit Heimaey Island – it can be easily combined with your South Coast itinerary and one day is enough.
- Visit the highlands. You can visit Haifoss Waterfall in your own car or take a day tour to Landmannalaugar (summer only).
- Visit Reykjanes Peninsula – it’s close to Reykjavik and Keflavik airport and half a day is enough for the main highlights.
- Go glacier hiking – make sure you book a tour in advance! It only requires half a day and can be easily added to your South Coast itinerary.
- 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!
- Visit Skogar Museum, Fjadrargljufur Canyon, and Eldhraun lava field.
Iceland one week itinerary
There are many ways to spend a week in Iceland. A lot depends on your interests and when you travel. In any case, Golden Circle and South Coast are a must and I highly recommend planning a day in Snaefellsnes Peninsula. In addition, consider a tour to see whales and/or puffins. And I also recommend spending some time in Skaftafell National Park or exploring the glaciers of Iceland.
Here you can find our detailed one week Iceland winter trip itinerary. It’s specifically tailored for short daylight hours and unpredictable roads. This itinerary is perfect for a trip between October and March.
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 – see our suggested Iceland itinerary for a summer trip below.
If you are traveling in summer (+-May to September), your one week Iceland itinerary could look as follows:
Day 1: Blue Lagoon/Sky Lagoon and drive to Snaefellsnes.
Day 2: Snaefellsnes Peninsula.
Day 3: Golden Circle.
Day 4: Heimaey Island or Icelandic Highlands.
Day 5: South Coast.
Day 6: Skaftafell National Park and glaciers.
Day 7: Reykjavik (+ whale and puffin tour) or Reykjanes Peninsula.
Here you can find all the details for this 7 days Iceland itinerary.
Complete Ring Road in 10 days
If you want to do the entire Ring Road of Iceland in the shortest time possible while still being enjoyable, then this is the best itinerary for you!
Day 1: Arrival, Blue Lagoon/Sky Lagoon & Reykjavik.
Day 2: Golden Circle.
Day 3: South Coast.
Day 4: Jokulsarlon & Eastfjords.
Day 5: Myvatn.
Day 6: Husavik to Akureyri.
Day 7: Trollaskagi Peninsula.
Day 8: North Coast to Snaefellsnes.
Day 9: Snaefellsnes Peninsula.
Day 10: Reykjavik, Reykjanes Peninsula & departure.
Here you can find the details of this complete Iceland Ring Road trip.
Iceland road trip in summer – 10 days itinerary 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. This is a more relaxed itinerary where you really have the time to explore deeper.
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 June, July or August, maybe still in September – October, but be prepared for some snow…
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 Cape and 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.
10 days West and North Iceland itinerary
This is one of our favorite summer trips to Iceland. In 10 days, we visited the best places in the West, the North, and also the Highlands of Iceland.
Day 1: Arrival, visit Reykjavik, drive to Snaefellsnes Peninsula.
Day 2: Snaefellsnes Peninsula.
Day 3: Snaefellsnes Peninsula to the Westfjords.
Day 4: Westfjords to Blönduós.
Day 5: Blönduós to Myvatn.
Day 6: Myvatn area.
Day 7: Myvatn to Blönduós.
Day 8: Blönduós via F35 to the Golden Circle area.
Day 9: The Highlands (Haifoss, Landmannalaugar) or South Coast.
Day 10: Reykjanes Peninsula, Blue Lagoon/Sky Lagoon, and departure.
You can find all the details for this trip in our West and North Iceland itinerary for 10 days.
Iceland Ring Road trip – two weeks Iceland itinerary
Just as the 10-day trip, the complete Iceland Ring Road trip is best done in the warmest months +- June to September.
Someone told me I shouldn’t say it’s not possible to do the whole Ring Road in winter. It’s true, it’s not impossible. However, 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 in a serious snowstorm in the dark.
You may want to read this post for more information about driving in Iceland in winter. Be sure to also check our tips for Iceland in winter.
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.
Day 6: To Myvatn and the highlights of the Myvatn area (more info – things to do in Myvatn).
Day 7: Húsavik and Akureyri.
Day 8: Northwest Iceland to Westfjords (stop at Hvitserkur).
Day 9: To Isafjordur.
Day 10: Isafjördur.
Day 11: Dynjandi waterfall, Raudasandur, and the birds of Latrabjarg (more info – Westfjords Itinerary).
Day 12: Ferry to Snaefellsnes Peninsula and Snaefellsnes Peninsula.
Day 13: Snaefellsnes – Things to do in Snaefellsnes Peninsula.
Day 14: Reykholtsdal (Hraunfossar & Barnafoss waterfalls and Deildartunguhver) and Reykjavík.
Day 15: Reykjanes Peninsula, Blue Lagoon, and flight back home.
Resources for planning a self-drive Iceland itinerary
✓ The best way to explore Iceland is by renting a car and making a road trip. You can find some of the best deals for Iceland car rental on the RentalCars website. I recommend renting a car for your Iceland road trip via this company. Not only can you compare different providers and find the best deals, but you are also much better protected in case a local company goes under as recently happened with our favorite local car hire company in Iceland.
✓ You can find the best deals for Iceland accommodation on Booking.com – that’s the website where we always book all our accommodation when we travel to Iceland. Alternatively, check our guide to the best accommodation suggestions for a self-drive trip around Iceland.
TIP: Compare hotels and short-term rental accommodations in Iceland via the map below. Simply insert your travel dates and group size, and you’ll see what’s available for your stay. Check it out!
Iceland itinerary FAQ
If you are visiting Iceland for the first time, we recommend at least 5-7 days. This will allow you to visit Reykjavik, the Blue Lagoon, Golden Circle, and the highlights of the South Coast. In addition, you could also visit Snaefellsnes Peninsula and – depending on the season – maybe also take a day trip to the highlands.
While you can drive the entire Ring Road of Iceland in just 1 day and see the main highlights along the Ring Road in 7-8 days, we recommend at least 10 days for the Ring Road road trip. Doing the entire Ring Road in 7 days would be very rushed and you would spend more time driving than sightseeing. 10-12 days will allow you to explore deeper, with 14 days, you could also add the Westfjords to your itinerary.
Visiting Iceland in different seasons is a very different experience. But while every season has its charms, the best months to explore Iceland are between May and September. That’s when the temperatures are mild, the days are long, and driving conditions are good. If you want to explore everything and also have a chance to see the Northern Lights, September is the very best month for the first trip to Iceland. Here you can read more about visiting Iceland in September.
Iceland is not a cheap country, but how much your trip costs depends a lot on the choices you make (hotels, rental car, tours), and also on the season when you travel. As a rule of thumb, count about 1500 USD per person per week, not including the flights. This should cover mid-budget accommodations, car rental, and daily expenses, plus one or two activities such as whale watching tour or glacier hiking.
LEARN MORE: How Expensive is Iceland (+ Budget Tips)
Planning a road trip to Iceland? Check out these guides:
- Best places to see in Iceland: an overview of all the best places and areas that are worth visiting the most.
- Iceland travel tips: practical tips and things you should know before planning your trip to Iceland.
- What to pack for Iceland in summer: an essential list when traveling to Iceland between May and September.
- What to wear in Iceland in winter: packing list for October to April.
READ ALSO: Iceland Travel Guide – a complete guide with an overview of all our destination guides and practical tips for visiting Iceland. You may want to bookmark it and refer to it later – it has all the info you need for planning your trip to Iceland. Check it out!
TIP: If you are planning a trip to Iceland and have practical questions, you can leave a reply below and we’ll try to help. Alternatively, join our Facebook Group for Iceland and Scandinavia Travel. It has thousands of members who can help you out with their experience-based tips and advice.
If you found this post useful, don’t forget to bookmark it and share it with your friends. Are you on Pinterest? Pin these images!
Thursday 16th of February 2023
We have planned our Iceland visit in April (Easter holidays) 10days. What is the best itinerary according to you? We have a 5 year old kid.
Friday 17th of February 2023
Hi Deepa, if you want to see as much as possible in 10 days, you could try doing the entire Ring Road in 10 days (keeping in mind that there is a small chance of snow on the roads in the north still). Otherwise, if you rather take it slow and explore deeper, just focus on Reykjavik, the South Coast, and Snaefellsnes Peninsula. You could more or less follow this 7-day itinerary adding a few days in Reykjavik and also visiting Reykjanes Peninsula. If your 5-year old doesn't like to sit in a car for hours and hours, I think I'd go with the second option. In any case, be sure to look up local pools at the places where you are staying and go there in the evenings. They are cheap, always have a nice section for kids, hot tubs, saunas, etc. Our kids loved local pools in Iceland. It's a great way to end a day of sightseeing (most pools stay open till 9-10 pm). Have a great trip!
Sunday 22nd of January 2023
We are looking at visiting Iceland in September 2023 for 10 days. I've learned to slow down my vacations and not do a quick stopover just to tick a location off the list. I prefer slow travel to fast paced. The itinerary is open at this point but would prefer to base myself in 3 places and do day trips from that base. Can you suggest best towns for doing this. Thanks!
Monday 23rd of January 2023
@Jurga, Thank you so much. This was quite helpful. I'll plan according to you advise and maybe not do base locations for this particular trip.
Monday 23rd of January 2023
Hi Lynn, I understand your point, but Iceland isn't the best place where you can see a lot by staying in just a few locations. Or - maybe a more accurate way to say this - you can see and do a lot of nice things, but you won't be able to visit all the best places that way. This is because you'll need to use the main road (Ring Road) to get to most places. Often, there are no alternatives and you can't just take another road through the highlands (well, not in a quick way anyway). Also, most towns are tiny, so it might not be what you have in mind.
Anyway, if you are looking for just 3 spots to base yourself and still see a bit of every part of Iceland (with quite some driving in between), you could stay a few days in the Golden Circle area, a few days around Skaftafell/Jokulsarlon, and a few days in Husavik in the north. But driving in between would be quite long and you would have to also do quite some backtracking to see the places along the road which you already passed. Alternatively, don't try to see 'everything' and concentrate on the southwest of Iceland. You could stay in Reykjavik for a few days, a few days in Snaefellsnes Peninsula and/or Golden Circle area, and a few days along the South Coast (maybe Vik or Slellfoos or Kirkjubaejarklaustur). It's all about your preferences and the places you want to visit. I think you should start with that first - indicate what you want to see on the map, and then it will become much clearer where to base yourself. Good luck with the planning!
Tuesday 17th of January 2023
Hello Jurga. Thank you so much for the most thorough article with extensions that I have seen in regards to planning an Iceland visit!! I am planning a late Sept 2024 10-12 day Ring Road visit for potentially seeing the northern lites during a "new moon" and around the "fall equinox". We want to stay in lodging away from city/town lights for best opportunity for viewing the NL. Can you suggest moderate lodgings outside of your suggested towns on your 10 day Ring tour that would be in more remote areas (away from town lights) and still be able to follow your suggested itinerary? Thank you so much, Lyn
Thursday 19th of January 2023
Hi Lyn, most accommodations along Ring Road will be remote enough to see the Northern Lights if they appear. Just check for places that are not immediately in the town center (the towns are small, so it's usually really not an issue). Often, you can also just walk a bit away from the lights of the hotel itself. Here are just a few 'moderate' lodging suggestions that would approximately fit this Ring Road itinerary and where it should be dark enough: - Day 2 - in Hella. - Day 3 - close to Jokulsarlon. - Day 4 - in the Eastfjords. ... You can find more accommodation suggestions for each step of the itinerary in that article. We have recommendations in there for all budgets. Hope this helps. Just remember to go outside and wait. If it's not raining and totally covered with clouds, you have a good chance to see the lights every night, even if the KP index is low. You may also want to read this guide to Northern Lights in Iceland for some tips. Have a great trip!
Tuesday 29th of November 2022
Hi, I am planning on visiting Iceland mid March for 10 days. What itinerary would you recommend? I like the sound of your 7 day winter itinerary but would like to see a bit more of the island. Thanks in advance :)
Friday 2nd of December 2022
Hi Leigh, March is a bit tricky since the days are long, so you could easily do much more than our 7-day winter itinerary. If you have winter driving experience, you could maybe even attempt the entire Ring Road. However, it's still winter, the roads can get closed due to snowstorms, etc. So if you want to play it safe, with 10 days, I'd just focus on the south of Iceland and also add Snaefellsnes Peninsula, Reykjavik, and also Reykjanes Peninsula. Once again, the days are quite long in March already (especially at the end of the month), so you can do more each day than our winter itinerary suggests. So adjust it to your liking, definitely visit an ice cave, etc. Your trip could be a mix of this 7-day summer itinerary and the winter itinerary, plus a few days in Reykjavik and surroundings. Hope this helps a bit and doesn't sound too confusing ;). Good luck with the planning!
Monday 25th of July 2022
Hi, can i base myself in Reyjkavik and do a seven day trip around Iceland? we are planning to visit August 2022 and it is a last-minute decision so unlikely to get accommodation flexibility.
Monday 25th of July 2022
Hi Albert, there's no way to base yourself in Reykjavik and drive around the entire island on a day trip, if that's what you are asking. I'm not even sure I understand your question... You can't do a 'seven day trip around Iceland' by staying in the city all the time... Anyway, what you can do is see all the best places in Reykjavik and take various day trips from Reykjavik (see this guide for the best options), by car or with tours. Or you could try to do this 7-day Iceland itinerary just focusing on the south and the west of the country.
There are quite a lot of accommodations around the Hella/Selfoss area, so even if you don't find anything further along the coast, from there you could drive as far as Jokulsarlon in a day if you make it a long day. So you could maybe stay there for 3-4 days and visit the Golden Circle and the best places along the South Coast. Snaefellsnes Peninsula could also be a nice place for 2 days, and even if you don't find accommodations there, you may find something around this area. Hope this helps.