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5 best ways to spend a week in Iceland

By: Camila
Posted in: Blogs

Spend one week in Iceland without missing out.

What would you say if we told you you could drive around the whole country in 7 days? It makes a week in Iceland sound fantastic, doesn’t it? How about a relaxing week, seeing the most famous sights at a more leisurely pace? Whatever is best suited for you, we share our tips for the best ways to spend 7 days in Iceland.

Driving the Ring Road around the country

The best way to see all the highlights of Iceland in a week is definitely to drive around the country.

It is true that with only a week in Iceland, you can drive the Ring Road in its entirety, the famous main highway that circles the country. This is the perfect adventure for those who want a 7-day itinerary in Iceland that is independent, flexible, and shows you a little bit of the entire island.

While this drive will mean driving between 200 and 420km a day, in the summer months, with the extra daylight hours (and potentially even midnight sun) you should be able to make the best of your week in Iceland.

A 7-day itinerary through Iceland is the fast track way around the Ring Road; however, touring the country will undoubtedly give you a taste of the best that Iceland has to offer. Driving yourself will also allow you to customise your experience as much as you want and stop to admire all the sights along the way. Perhaps it’ll even tempt you to come back or stay longer…  

Kirkjufell Mountain on Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Visit the southern coast at a leisurely pace

If you would rather come to Iceland to spend a week seeing the sights at a more leisurely pace, why not focus on the Icelandic southern coast. The south includes many of Iceland’s most famous sights and is reachable both summer and winter alike.

In only a short week, you’ll be able to see the majestic Seljalandsfoss waterfall, where you can walk behind the cascade on a footpath, the 60-meter free-falling Skógafoss waterfall, and have the opportunity to take a boat ride among floating icebergs at the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. Another sight to behold on the south coast is the volcanic black sand beaches near the village of Vík í Mýrdal.

There, you’ll also be able to tour the Golden Circle. If you’ve heard the name it’s because it’s one of the most popular driving routes in Iceland. It spans from the capital into the Þingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, passing by Strokkur and Geysir, two geysers in the Haukadalur geothermal area, and the majestic Gullfoss waterfall.

The perfect way to end this leisurely trip? Pop along into the Reykjanes Peninsula, to go visit the most relaxing of all relaxing places, the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa.

Reynisdrangar sunset

Go off the beaten path in the west of Iceland

If you want an experience like no other, you may want to spend a week in the west and Westfjords of Iceland. The Westfjords especially are often overlooked. Since they are a detour off the main Ring Road, not as many people take the time to go see this unspoilt scenery.

Head on the coastal road that winds itself between mountains and fjords, enjoying the adventure and the unrivalled views. See the Dynjandi waterfall, often compared to a bridal veil, the 7-tiered waterfall is the largest in the Westfjords. For birdwatchers and puffin-enthusiasts, you can drive to Látrabjarg, a gigantic bird cliff dotted with thousands of birds during the summer months. It also marks the westernmost point of Europe.

In the west, you would also get the chance to see the Snæfellsnes peninsula. A definite must stop on your 7-day itinerary in Iceland. Often referred to as “Iceland in miniature” this peninsula in west Iceland is the perfect stop to see a lot of natural wonders at once. The area was formed over millennia by wind, water, ice and volcanoes. It features dramatic cliffs, rocky beaches, lava formations, birdlife and charming fishing villages.

Gatklettur at Arnarstapi

Day tours in the south and north of the country

If you would prefer to cut down on driving, you could stay put for a few days while you explore the surroundings. Why not take multi-day tours around the western part of the country? This way you could enjoy a base in the capital while also seeing some of the unforgettable sights north and south of Reykjavik.

From Reykjavik you could see the most popular bits of the southern routes. Visiting the unmissable Golden Circle on one day, before treating yourself to a relaxing day at the Blue Lagoon, and going along to see the picturesque waterfalls, glaciers and black sand beaches.

Also from the capital, you can take a short flight to Akureyri, to get a taster of the capital of the north without the hassle of having to drive. Up in the north, you’ll be able to discover the surroundings of Mývatn, stopping at the mighty Goðafoss waterfall, and Dimmuborgir, a region of strewn lava rocks, small caves, volcanic rocks and cliffs.

Lake Mývatn

While we would recommend 10 days or more to go around the country and discover some hidden gems, 7 days in Iceland is more than enough to get a good taste of this beautiful Nordic country.

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Post by: Camila

Half Canadian, half Chilean, Camila grew up in Montreal before moving to Scotland in 2012. When she’s not travelling or writing about travels, she loves to read a good book, train for triathlons, and try new restaurants in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

More posts by Camila

Getting there

We'd love to give you the same amazing travel experiences as you read about in our blog! To visit the destinations and attractions mentioned in this post - and to discover a few new highlights along the way, check out these recommended Nordic Visitor tours.

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