Loading...

TRAVEL UPDATE - Coronavirus (Covid-19) | Book with confidence until 31 Aug 2020

Menu

How Many Days Do You Need in Iceland?

Last Updated: 02/07/2020

With its treasure trove of natural wonders, Iceland is one of the best places in the world to visit. On the same day you could see a waterfall, volcano, glacier, black sand beach, and more. The variety here is astounding and you won’t believe the range of activities you can do.

But how many days do you need in Iceland? To be honest, the more days the better! A minimum of 1 week is ideal for exploring Iceland, but visiting for up to 2 or even 3 weeks will allow you to see more of this beautiful country in the same trip.

Staying for less than 7 days in Iceland is still doable, but there’s no doubt you’ll want to come back again to see and do more.

This guide will give you an idea of the sort of routes and experiences that you can do with different trip durations. We’ve also included a little inspiration for Iceland itineraries to help you decide how long to spend in Iceland.


Contents:


Reykjavík, Iceland

Iceland in 3-4 days

For a taste of Iceland, you could enjoy a short break to Reykjavík over 3 or 4 days. This works if you only have a couple of days holiday to spend or if you want to go to Iceland for a long weekend. It is also ideal for a transatlantic stopover between North America and Europe.

With 3 days in Iceland, we recommend basing yourself in Reykjavík and taking excursions to nearby attractions like the Golden Circle. You’ll get a short introduction to the country but you can still see some of the famous natural sites that are located close to the capital.

In 4 days, you could rent a car and spend a night or two in the countryside. Or you could let someone else do the driving and opt for a private tour instead. The extra day gives you more options such as exploring the South Coast or Icelandic highlands

4-day Iceland itinerary

Day 1 - Arrive in Reykjavík and explore the city’s museums, shops and restaurants. There are plenty of things to do in Iceland’s capital. You could visit top attractions like Hallgrímskirkja church, join a guided foodie walk, or choose whale-watching tours.

Day 2 - Pick up your rental car (or meet your guide) and head to the Golden Circle. Discover Þingvellir National Park, Gullfoss waterfall, and the Geysir hot spring. Continue along the South Coast of Iceland to witness more waterfalls and walk on black sand beaches.

Day 3 - Experience more gems of the South Coast including Skaftafell Nature Reserve, Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon and Fjallsárlón ice lagoon. Return to Reykjavík.

Day 4 - Before your flight home, you may have time to visit the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa or the volcanic Reykjanes peninsula en route to Keflavík Airport. 



Gullfoss waterfall, Iceland

Iceland in 5-7 days

Spending a couple more days in Iceland means you can enjoy your tour at a slower pace and take in more attractions. Between 5 days and a week is ideal for exploring one area of Iceland in-depth, such as the beautiful South Coast or West Iceland.

Stay 5 days in Iceland to get to know Reykjavík and South Iceland. Like the 4-day itinerary, you could take in the Golden Circle and South Coast, but with an extra day to soak up the sights at a more relaxed pace. If you don’t want to drive, you could join a guided small group tour instead.

Visit in winter for an exciting Christmas vacation in Iceland or a New Years Eve tour package lasting 5 or 6 days. This is the perfect amount of time for a short festive break to experience Iceland’s traditions, celebrate with the locals, and hunt for the northern lights.

When you spend 7 days in Iceland, you can explore certain regions at a leisurely pace. You’ll have time for trekking, glacier hiking, ATV tours and other outdoor activities, as well as discovering top natural sites and Reykjavík’s cultural attractions.

There are various ways to spend a week in Iceland, so take your pick. Delve into the beautiful South Coast, head off the beaten path in the Westfjords, or split your time between Reykjavík and Akureyri, the “capital of North Iceland”. You could even drive around the Ring Road for an express Iceland tour.

Raudisandur, Westfjords, Iceland

7-day Iceland itinerary

Day 1 - Arrive in Reykjavík and explore the city’s museums, shops and restaurants. You could visit the Wonders of Iceland exhibition, head “Inside the Volcano”, or enjoy the Flyover Iceland experience.

Day 2 - Drive west to see waterfalls and hot springs en route to Hólmavík in the Westfjords. Soak up the charming atmosphere of this little village and visit the Museum of Icelandic Sorcery and Witchcraft or the quaint harbour.

Day 3 - Take the scenic route along the coast to Ísafjörður, passing stunning mountains and fjords on the way. Upon arrival, you could go hiking and kayaking or simply get to know the shops, cafés and museums of Ísafjörður. 

Day 4 - Continue your journey through the Westfjords to reach Dynjandi, a beautiful 7-tiered waterfall, and Látrabjarg cliff. Here you can witness puffins in summer at the westernmost point of Europe, before driving on to Patreksfjörður.

Day 5 - On your last day in the Westfjords, walk on the golden sands of Rauðisandur beach or bathe in a hot spring at Vatnsfjörður Nature Reserve. Board a ferry and cross Breiðafjörður Bay to reach the Snæfellsnes peninsula, passing Flatey island on the way.

Day 6 - Discover the delightfully varied terrain of Snæfellsjökull National Park, characterised by valleys, lava fields, and the eponymous stratovolcano. Visit coves, black sand beaches, and cliffs populated by sea birds. You could go hiking, take a boat cruise, or even venture inside a lava cave. Afterwards, return to Reykjavík.

Day 7 - Before your flight home, you may have time to visit the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa or the volcanic Reykjanes peninsula en route to Keflavík Airport. 



Stokknes, Iceland

Iceland in 8-12 days

8-12 days is an ideal amount of time to spend in Iceland as it means you can explore different regions. You could drive around the Ring Road in a full circle to reach the diverse corners of Iceland, from the South Coast to eastern fjords, around North Iceland and over to the Snæfellsnes peninsula.

On average, a tour of 10 days is one of the most popular trip durations for visitors to Iceland. Why? Because you can take a road trip around the island to see as much of Iceland as possible! Of course, if you’d prefer someone else to do the driving, you could choose a private tour or guided small group package instead.

Alternatively, stick to one or two regions to explore them at a leisurely pace. In 8 days or 9 days, you could delve into both South Iceland and West Iceland. Discover “Iceland in miniature” at the Snæfellsnes peninsula, take in the Golden Circle attractions, and venture along the South Coast.

Or opt for an Iceland itinerary lasting between 10 and 12 days to cut the driving times and take things slower.

Viti crater lake, Iceland

10-day Iceland itinerary

Day 1 - Arrive in Reykjavík and explore the city’s museums, shops and restaurants. There are plenty of things to do in Iceland’s capital. Stroll down the main street, Laugavegur, join a guided city walk, or enjoy a helicopter sightseeing tour.

Day 2 - Pick up your rental car (or meet your guide) before heading to the Golden Circle. Discover Þingvellir National Park, Gullfoss waterfall, and the Geysir hot spring. You can also visit the Kerið crater nearby.

Day 3 - Continue to the South Coast of Iceland to witness more waterfalls: Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss. Walk on black sand beaches at Vík including Reynisfjara, from where you can see the Reynisdrangar sea stacks and the Dyrhólaey cliff arch. Finish the day at Fjaðrárgljúfur, an ethereal rock canyon.

Day 4 - Experience more gems of the South Coast including Skaftafell Nature Reserve, where you can choose from a range of hiking trails and glacier walking adventures. Afterwards, visit the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon to see floating icebergs in one of the country’s most iconic destinations.

Day 5 - Prepare for a scenic drive through East Iceland’s majestic landscapes today. Look out the window to see fjords, fishing villages and tundra en route to Lake Mývatn in North Iceland. You could visit the Krafla volcano, Námaskarð pass, or the Hverfjall crater, among many other natural sites in the area.

Kirkjufell, West Iceland


Day 6 - Spend a full day in the Lake Mývatn region to take in its many attractions. Choose from a host of activities, including whale watching in Húsavík, walking in Ásbyrgi canyon, or marvelling at Dettifoss – Europe’s most powerful waterfall. Afterwards, we highly recommend a dip in the Mývatn Nature Baths.

Day 7 - This morning, visit any of the top sites around Lake Mývatn you may have missed, such as the mighty Goðafoss – “Waterfall of the Gods”. Head on to Akureyri, the largest town after Reykjavík, then drive a scenic coastal route to soak up views of mountains, cliffs and fjords.

Day 8 - Make for West Iceland today and stop off at interesting attractions along the way. Visit Eiríksstaðir – home of Erik the Red, a famous Viking – or soak in the geothermal pool of Guðrúnarlaug. There are fishing villages, coastal views, and the chance to go horse riding in the Skagafjörður valley before you reach the Snæfellsnes peninsula.

Day 9 - Discover the delightfully varied terrain of Snæfellsjökull National Park, characterised by valleys, lava fields, and the eponymous stratovolcano. Visit coves, black sand beaches, and cliffs populated by sea birds. You could go hiking, take a boat cruise, or even venture inside a lava cave. Afterwards, return to Reykjavík.

Day 10 - Before your flight home, you may have time to visit the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa or the volcanic Reykjanes peninsula en route to Keflavík Airport. 



Skogafoss waterfall, Iceland

Iceland in 2-3 weeks

Got a couple of weeks to play with? Then they will be well spent in Iceland! If you’re looking for a big adventure or an immersive experience in nature, Iceland ticks all the boxes.

With up to 3 weeks in Iceland, you could take it slow and travel at a leisurely pace around the island. Driving times will be short, so you can spend more hours out in nature, meeting the locals, or enjoying exciting activities.

Iceland is a relatively small country but there is so much to see and do. With 2 weeks or more, you could really get under the skin of Iceland by taking an in-depth tour of the whole country. Go with an expert guide or enjoy the freedom of independent travel.

Get to know the waterfalls, hot springs, volcanoes, glaciers, caves and beaches inside out. Learn about fascinating local legends, cultures and histories. Leave Iceland with a deep understanding of this magical, mythical country.

Budir Church, West Iceland

17-day Iceland itinerary

Day 1 - Arrive in Reykjavík and explore the city’s museums, shops and restaurants. There are plenty of things to do in Iceland’s capital. Stroll down the main street, Laugavegur, join a guided city walk, or enjoy a helicopter sightseeing tour.

Day 2 - Pick up your rental car (or meet your guide) before heading to the Golden Circle. Discover Þingvellir National Park, Gullfoss waterfall, and the Geysir hot spring. You can also visit the Kerið crater nearby.

Day 3 - Continue to the South Coast of Iceland to witness more waterfalls: Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss. Walk on black sand beaches at Vík including Reynisfjara, from where you can see the Reynisdrangar sea stacks and the Dyrhólaey cliff arch.

Day 4 - Experience more gems of the South Coast including Skaftafell Nature Reserve, where you can choose from a range of hiking trails and glacier walking adventures. Afterwards, visit the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon to see floating icebergs in one of the country’s most iconic destinations.

Day 5 - Prepare for a scenic drive through East Iceland’s majestic landscapes today, looking out the window to see fjords, fishing villages and tundra. You could stop off at Petra’s Mineral Collection in Stöðvarfjörður, explore the little town of Egilsstaðir, or walk through Iceland’s largest forest, Hallormsstaður.

Glacier lagoon, East Iceland


Day 6 - See more of East Iceland today with a visit to Seyðisfjörður, a charming village with wooden houses tucked between a dramatic mountain and fjord. Uncover the myths of Bakkagerði, a remote hamlet populated by birdlife and – according to local legend – elves and fairies. Look out for puffins and Hengifoss waterfall while hiking in the region.

Day 7 - Hit the Ring Road again and drive to Lake Mývatn in North Iceland. You could visit the Krafla volcano, Námaskarð pass, or the Hverfjall crater, among many other natural sites in the area. Afterwards, we highly recommend a dip in the Mývatn Nature Baths.

Day 8 - Spend a full day in the Lake Mývatn region to take in its many attractions. Choose from a host of activities, including whale watching in Húsavík, walking in Ásbyrgi canyon, or marvelling at Dettifoss – Europe’s most powerful waterfall.

Day 9 - This morning, visit any of the top sites around Lake Mývatn you may have missed, such as the mighty Goðafoss – “Waterfall of the Gods”. Head on to Akureyri, the largest town after Reykjavík, then drive a scenic coastal route to soak up views of mountains, cliffs and fjords.

Day 10 - Drive west to see the Vatnsdalshólar mounds, Borgarvirki natural fortress, and Hvítserkur rock formation en route to Hólmavík in the Westfjords. Soak up the charming atmosphere of this little village and visit the Museum of Icelandic Sorcery and Witchcraft or the Drangsnes hot pools.

Humpback whale, Iceland


Day 11 - Take the scenic route along the coast to Ísafjörður, passing stunning mountains and fjords on the way. You could visit the Ósvör Maritime Museum in Bolungarvík or head to the radar station on top of Bolafjall. If it’s a clear day, you might have fantastic views of the uninhabited Hornstrandir Nature Reserve.

Day 12 -  Today enjoy the highlights of Ísafjörður, whether you want to go hiking and kayaking, or simply get to know the town’s shops, cafés and museums. Another option is to take a guided boat tour to Vigur island, spotting local birds such as eider ducks, Arctic terns, puffins and black guillemots.

Day 13 - Continue your journey through the Westfjords to reach Dynjandi, a beautiful 7-tiered waterfall, and Látrabjarg cliff. Here you can witness puffins in summer at the westernmost point of Europe, before driving on to Patreksfjörður.

Day 14 - On your last day in the Westfjords, walk on the golden sands of Rauðisandur beach or bathe in a hot spring at Vatnsfjörður Nature Reserve. Board a ferry and cross Breiðafjörður Bay to reach the Snæfellsnes peninsula, passing Flatey island on the way or stopping to stay the night here.

Day 15 - Discover the delightfully varied terrain of Snæfellsjökull National Park, characterised by valleys, lava fields, and the eponymous stratovolcano. Visit coves, black sand beaches, and cliffs populated by sea birds. You could go hiking, take a boat cruise, or even venture inside a lava cave.

Day 16 - Take your pick from various sites and activities in West Iceland today. Visit the waterfalls of Hraunfossar and Barnafoss, Deildartunguhver hot spring, or Háafell Goat Farm. In the region there’s also the Krauma geothermal baths, Víðgelmir lava tunnel, Langjökull glacier, and Viking history at the Settlement Centre in Borgarnes. Later, return to Reykjavík.

Day 17 - Before your flight home, you may have time to visit the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa or the volcanic Reykjanes peninsula en route to Keflavík Airport. 



Iceland road trip in winter

How to travel around Iceland

Okay, so you might have a better idea now of how many days or weeks you want to visit Iceland for. But how do you travel around once you get there? You have a few options to choose from – the best one for you depends on your personal preferences and travel style.

Rent a car

Driving tours of Iceland are some of the most popular trip types around. This way you can enjoy the freedom of a self-drive adventure yet still have the support and guidance of a local expert, who has planned your route meticulously. Iceland’s roads are wonderfully scenic and you can always take spontaneous stops whenever you feel like it.

Explore Iceland with a private guide

To enjoy the same freedom but with someone else doing the driving, opt for privately guided tours. You’ll get an authentic insight into Iceland this way and won’t need to think about getting from A to B. Private touring is the most personalised, exclusive way to experience Iceland.

Share a local guide with fellow visitors

If you’d like to be accompanied by a guide but with like-minded travellers from around the world, a guided small group tour is the ideal option. You’ll be driven to each destination with a local guide who’ll share their knowledge, and you can make new friends along the way.

Go on day trips from Reykjavík

After flying into Keflavik Airport, base yourself in the capital city and handpick the activities you want to do from there. Multi-day touring is convenient if you want to stay in the same place each night but join different excursions as and when you please.

Bulandstindur, Iceland ©Nordic Visitor

When to visit Iceland

Deciding on the time of year to visit Iceland depends on what you want to do. You could have completely different experiences each season. In winter you can chase the northern lights and step inside ice caves. Or visit Iceland in summer to enjoy long days and better weather.



However many days you want to spend in Iceland, our local travel experts can design a trip to suit you perfectly. They will draw on their expertise to plan your route and day-by-day itinerary, customising your tour with as many attractions and activities as you wish.

If you still need help with deciding how many days in Iceland to spend, don’t worry. Your dedicated travel consultant can advise you and explain the various options you have. Simply get in touch to start planning your trip.

Tags:
Post by: Emma Gillies

Wanderlust has taken Emma across much of the world, but it was Scotland that she made her adopted home. Aside from enjoying countryside walks, campervan weekends and gigs in Glasgow, you’ll often find her writing about European travel and plotting her next trip.

More posts by Emma Gillies

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.