As an ending of my Icelandic series, I decided to make an Icelandic itinerary. It should cover everything from south to north, from beaten paths till classy attractions. You can also find there some alternatives in case you prefer more hikes on your Icelandic itinerary.
Ultimate Icelandic itinerary
You want to explore Iceland but you don’t have too much time? You are interested in all the waterfalls you saw on Instagram? Well, follow my lead, this Icelandic itinerary will get you through the country of Ice and Fire in one week and you will see everything.
Day 1 – Reykjavík
Welcome to Iceland! Let’s settle in Reykjavík. Reykjavík is the capital and biggest city in Iceland and therefore shouldn’t be missed on any Icelandic itinerary. To rest here properly, start by walking around in the city center and have a look at Icelandic infrastructure. If you feel like you have enough time, choose some museum to visit. I’d recommend a whale museum or even a penis museum – both very fun and quite unique. If you don’t feel like spending time in the museum, head to Halgrimskirkja. From the biggest church in Iceland, you can very well observe the capital and see how does it look like inside of the modern church with modern architecture.
After that hit the road again, find the main street and head to the lake. Walk around the lake usually enables to see a different view of Iceland.
While we are at walks, let’s try one more. This time go around the shore. The first thing you will meet here is Harpa – the music hall with extraordinary architecture. It is free to come in and hang out in common areas. And it can be a great place if you want a place to read a book.
Next stop, a statue of the ship. It is not far from Harpa, approximately 500 meters. I recommend doing this around sunset because this place is ideal to watch a sunset in Reykjavík. On the opposite side of the road, there is a Peace house. You might not get in, but you can walk around and see a little presentation about how was cold war ended.
For food, I would recommend going to Lamb-street food, if you want to taste delicious lamb in Iceland or visit Hofnin restaurant in the city center. It is a bit more pricey but the food there is really good. Both of them have traditional Icelandic cuisine. However, if you are looking for a party place in the evening, head to an English pub, there is live music every day.
Day 2 – Golden circle
Take a car or a tour and head to Golden circle. Here you can see the Icelandic classics that everyone should really visit. Start with Thingvellir national park. It is one of the UNESCO heritage sites. You can learn here about local folklore and history. You will be also surrounded by amazing geology and take pictures like the ones you saw in a catalog. At the same time, this is only 45 minutes from Reykjavík, so adventure is right behind the door.
After a walk in Thingvellir, continue to see the most famous geyser in Iceland – Stokkur. Stokkur erupts every 10 minutes, so it is very easy to see the eruption. At the same time, this place is surrounded by other geothermal places, you walk carefully, but try to walk around for a little bit to see how nature looks like with geothermal energy right under its soil.
Continue to the third site! The Gullfoss waterfall. This is one of the strongest waterfalls in Iceland. It is certainly one of the most breathtaking atractions for first timers. The good thing about it is that there are several paths around it. If you don’t mind getting wet, you can go directly to the waterfalls and observe this nature wander really closely. On the other hand, you can also stay on the cliff where there is a parking lot and see it from a bit more distance with informational boards around.
Addition trips from Golden Circle:
Thjorsardalur valley – This is a little bit off the beaten path kind of trip, but there are more waterfalls to see! Here you can find for example beautiful Haifoss or Heitifoss.
Secret lagoon: Wanna try geothermal energy for your self? Go to for bath to a secret lagoon in Fludir. It is just a little bit down the road from Gulfoss and it is a great resting place after a whole day trip.
What to eat: Try something very local. Especially in this area, there is a lot of things that work on geothermal energy. One of them is Fridheimar tomato and a horse farm. Taste products that are made just on this farm or go horseback riding.
Day 3 – South attractions
South is very popular for tourists. There is some must on your Icelandic itinerary. There are not only popular places but also some hidden gems.
Let’s hit the road again and go south. Drive south so Selfjanassfoss waterfall. This is the place where you can walk around like Justin Bieber. For this particular adventure, prepare to be very wet. 50 meters from Seljanassfoss is another waterfall, hidden in the cave. Here it is important to take waterproof boots or you will be reminded this adventure by cold later on.
When you feel like you are done exploring this waterfall, let’s head to the next one. Skogafoss is only 30 km from here. And on the way, you can also stop by in the museum of the local volcano (yes, the one, no one can pronounce) the museum is small and this stop will probably take only 20 minutes.
Skogafoss is the museum where you can walk upstairs and see the waterfall both from the bottom and top point. It is also one of the places where you can see the houses with its roof covered in grass.
Here is also a possibility for an alternative way of your trip. Here you can hike all the way to Thorsmork. This hike is about 20 km and you might want to do it during sunny or at least not a rainy day. Thorsmork highlands is a good place for about one day of hiking around and enjoying nature, but it is for those who are not afraid of sore legs after a whole day of hiking.
If you do not continue to Thorsmork, you can head even more south. Here you get to see the famous Dyrholaey and black beach. When you reach Dyrholaey, be patient, because you can see Puffins here – perhaps one of the most famous birds of Iceland. The same applies to the black beach. On none of those places is safe to bath, so stay away from the water, because streams here are very dangerous.
Finally, finish your day in Vík. Little town in the southshore with a lot of adventures waiting around the corner. But for the end of this day, enjoy around the little town and see the classic purple flowers of Iceland and little church.
Additional days on the south shore:
If you want to stick on southern Iceland a little bit longer or make your Icelandic itinerary slightly more interesting, here are some more tips.
Westman island trip: One day on the most southern part of Iceland, surrounded by puffins, cliffs and one volcano, that you can even hike. There is a possibility of renting a bike and make your trip even more adventurous. The good thing to know: these islands are very small, so it will be probably one relaxed day.
Hveragerdi hike: If you feel like half a day hike in geothermal area and bath in the hot river as a reward, this would be the place for you. Hveragerdi is just about 45 minutes from Reykjavík and the hike is about 6 km long. It is also possible to rent a horse and ride around on horseback.
Thorsmork or Landmannalaugar: I have already mentioned the hike to Thorsmork. If you want to see rainbow mountains, you can also spend a day in Landmannalaugar with a bath in hot spring after the hike.
Day 4 – Eastern treasures
Head east and continue till you will see board called Skaftafell. It is a national park that is surrounding the biggest glaciers. Go for a half-day hike to the most famous waterfall. If not waterfall there is also a nice walk around the glacier. If you feel even more adventurous, book a tour to see ice cave or climb a glacier.
Otherwise, continue to your drive to east. After volcanic south, here you have the opportunity to see the frozen east of Iceland. If you go further to the east, you will find glacier lagoon. It is a place where the glacier meets the sea and melts down. It is a sad reminder of climate change, but still interesting to see. There are tours where you can see it from the boat, however, it is important to know that you won’t gain that better view than when you stay on the ground. Walk around the glacier lagoon and if you are lucky, you can spot seals playing around the ice. After that head to the seashore. Here you can see a diamond beach. Which is the place where smaller pieces of ice melt and glow on the sun.
Day 5 – Up to the north
North Iceland is not so popular by tourists but should be on your Icelandic itinerary. Only there you will get to see the diversity of the country.
This day is mainly about heading to the north because it is a long way. But on this road trip, you get to see a lot of nature.
After about 300km, you will get to Asbyrgi (shelter of the gods). Ásbyrgi is a canyon that has 3,5 km in length and 1 km across. Hikes here are quite monumental and you will see local forests and rivers around. For a stunning view of the whole canyon, hike the mountain that is dividing the canyon. It is called Eyjan. Eyjan gives you the view of the whole canyon.
Day 6 – Lake Mývátn
Two hours from Ásbyrgi is an area called Lake Mývátn. It is something like the Golden circle of the north and should definitely not miss on your Icelandic itinerary. Lake Mývátn itself is one of the largest lakes in Iceland and home to many bird communities. There is truly a lot of things to visit. Take a bath in Námaskard volcanic mud.
You can also hike up to volcanic crater Hvergjall. The recommended thing to do here would be to ride east of the lake and see Dimmuborgir. This rocky area has one of the most precious minerals. These lava fields is a definitely unique natural marvel that you will see in Iceland. These rocks look like dark cities and are supposed to signify that hell is close or under, according to one of the first Christian legend in this country.
In this area is also a lot of geothermal caves with hot water, but before you get excited and want to jump in it, ask locals, where to go. Some of these hot springs are way too hot or have dangerous chemicals.
Day 7 – Akureyri and Husavík
Back in the city! There are not that many towns in Iceland that would be worth it, but Akureyri and Husavík are, so think twice before you cross them out of your Icelandic itinerary.
Akureyri is perhaps the oldest town in Iceland. So here is your chance to see old Iceland. Walkthrough the city center, visit a local church or a museum of Iceland. Have lunch here and then hop back to the car and drive to Husavík.
Husavík is the capital of whale watching in Iceland. Book tour in advance and watch giants from under the sea. They say that there is about a 90% chance you will see them and if not, you can book the tour again. After the tour walk around the city and enjoy the view of cliffs and the city center.
Day 8 – West fjords
West fjords are actually the biggest fjords on Earth. They might not be so pretty as the fjords in Norway but they do offer a great view. This should be on every Icelandic itinerary especially if you want to see amazing waterfalls and do some birdwatching.
Drive to a magnificent waterfall Dynjandi and hike around. While waterfalls on the south of Iceland are well known, Dynjandi usually stays away from the attention of tourist and there is a good chance that you will have it all for yourself. Dynjandi is a series of waterfalls combined in about 100 meters long. This natural water continues as a small river. So I sincerely recommend hiking around for a bit to have a great view of all parts of this waterfall.
When you feel like you are done with it, head to Látrabjarg. Látrabjark is the most western fjord in Iceland and also most western place in Europe (Next stop Greenland!). Except for a great view of all the fjords around, it is also an ideal place to watch puffins that often nest on the cliffs.
Day 9 – Husafell
Before you head home, spend one of your last days in Husafell. Husafell is especially for those who feel like they didn’t see enough nature on this Icelandic itinerary.
Husafell is a place where you can birdwatch between two glaciers. If you have enough birds because they are really everywhere in Iceland, there are amazing hiking paths, that should satisfy your sense of adventure. Hike between glaciers to see one more forest, or lava fields Hallmundarhraun. In this area you can find numerous caves, they are better to observe with a guide, but it is quite safe just to peek in one of them.
Vidheimir is one of the biggest cave in Iceland, longer than one kilometer. So book a tour to wander around this one.
For waterfalls, you should see Hraunfossar which is a series of waterfalls going into the white river. It ranks as one of the best waterfalls, and at the same time, it kinda lacks the attention of most of the tourists.
Day 10 – Homecoming
Depends on how much time you have, plan some activities on your last day. Close to the airport is a very famous Blue Lagoon. These volcanic hot springs are widely popular for its blue-white tone and Nordic atmosphere. Locals often say that it is way too busy, but it is once in a lifetime activity. To know more how to make the most of this attraction on your way to the airport, check out this guide to Blue Lagoon.
You can also visit Reykjanes, also not far from the airport, where you can see the bridge between the continent. There are buses from and to the airport in both places and in Blue Lagoon, you can even find a place for your suitcase, so you don’t need to worry about security.
Hope you like this Icelandic itinerary, if you find it useful, feel free to comment it or pin it!