Travelers with 12 days to spend in Iceland have plenty of options. You can circle the entire island on a grand tour or focus your time on an in-depth exploration of two or three regions, such as the Westfjords, Snæfellness Peninsula, and Golden Circle. Perhaps you want a winter adventure, or an active adventure combining kayaking, hiking, and riding e-mountain bikes in West and South Iceland. These five itineraries show you how to make the most of your visit.

Itinerary #1: Iceland Ring Road & Westman Islands Highlights

This 12-day self-drive itinerary makes a complete circle of Iceland, taking in all the top highlights such as Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon, the Lake Mývatn region, and the Skógafoss and Godafoss waterfalls. Plus, you'll also visit the Westman Islands and thrill to whale watching off the north coast.

Viewing puffins is a highlight in the Westman Islands
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Keflavik, Blue Lagoon, Golden Circle Selfoss
Day 2 Westman Islands Westman Islands
Day 3 South Coast Waterfalls & Black-Sand Beaches Vik
Day 4 Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon, Skaftafell Nature Reserve, Jökulsárlón Lagoon Höfn
Day 5 The Eastfjords Egilsstadir
Day 6 The wonders of Lake Mývatn Lake Mývatn
Day 7 Dettifoss, Jökulsárgljúfur & Husavik, Myvatn Nature Baths Lake Mývatn
Day 8 Akureyri & Godafoss, Akureyri Whale Watching, Vatnsnes Peninsula Laugarbakki
Day 9 The Wonders of Snaefellsnes Peninsula Grundarfjordur
Day 10 West Iceland & Borgarfjordur, Sky Lagoon Reykjavik
Day 11 Free Day to Explore Reykjavik Reykjavik
Day 12 Reykjanes Peninsula, Depart  


Arrive at Keflavik airport, pick up your 4WD, and head to the Blue Lagoon Spa to soak in geothermal pools before heading to Thingvellir National Park and the "Golden Circle," including Strokkur geyser and Gullfoss waterfall. Then take a ferry to the Westman Islands to view puffins at Storhofdi cliffs and hike the dormant Eldfell volcano. Continuing along the South Coast, admire Seljalandsfoss, Skógafoss, and Svartifoss waterfalls, and the coastal formations of Dyrhólaey and Reynisfjara, and hike Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon and Skaftafellsjokull glacier. Plus, tour Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon by kayak or Zodiak.

In Eastfjords, hike to the Folaldafoss and Hengifoss waterfalls before exploring the Northern Volcanic Rift Zone, starting with Stuðlagil Canyon. The geothermally active Lake Mývatn region, including the Dettifoss and Godafoss waterfalls, comes next. Spend a morning whale watching from Akureyri, then head west for the Vatnsnes Peninsula (with its surreal Hvitserkur sea stack) and Snæfellsnes Peninsula (including its fantastical coastal formations and iconic Kirkjufell mountain). Finally, head south to Reykjavik via the Borgarfjörður region, including the Hraunfossar waterfall. Learn more

Itinerary #2: Self-Drive Iceland North, West & South

Packed with exciting activities, from exploring a "Crystal Blue Ice Cave" to snowmobiling on Mýrdalsjökull glacier, this busy 12-day self-drive itinerary features an in-depth foray through four distinct regions—the South Coast, Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Westfjords, and the Vatnsnes Peninsula.

Basalt rock looks like a thirsty dragon
Hvítserkur. Basalt sea stack or petrified troll (or thirsty dragon)?
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Keflavik, Reykjadalur Valley Hike Vik
Day 2 Drive along the South Coast Hofn
Day 3 Skaftafell Nature Reserve & Glacier Lagoons, Crystal Blue Ice-Cave Hofn
Day 4 Myrdalsjökull Glacier Snowmobiling Hvolsvollur
Day 5 West Iceland & Borgarfjörður Snæfellsnes Peninsula
Day 6 The Wonders of Snæfellsnes Snæfellsnes Peninsula
Day 7 Visit Kirkjufellsfoss Waterfall Patreksfjörður
Day 8 Latrabjarg, Raudasandur & the Southern Westfjords Patreksfjörður
Day 9 Dynjandi & the Northern Westfjords Isafjordur
Day 10 Vatnsnes Peninsula Laugarbakki
Day 11 Haafell Goat Farm, Reykjavik Reykjavik
Day 12 Reykjanes Peninsula, Depart  


Pick up your 4WD at Keflavik airport and head to Hveragerdi to hike the geothermally active Reykjadalur Valley. Also, hike Þakgil and Fjaðrárgljúfur canyons, walk the Skaftafellsjokull glacier, explore Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon and the "Crystal Blue Ice Cave," and ride a snowmobile atop Mýrdalsjökull glacier. Then you'll visit Svartifoss, Skógafoss, and Seljalandsfoss waterfalls; and, in West Iceland, the Glymur and Hraunfossar waterfalls. Then head to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, highlighted by the Lóndrangar basalt cliffs, Gatklettur "Arch Rock," and iconic Kirkjufell mountain and Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall.

Next, head to Southern Westfjords to stroll honey-hued Raudasandur Beach, hike the Látrabjarg cliffs to view nesting puffins, and drive through the fjords to the Dynjandi waterfalls. Continue to Ísafjörður, and then on to the Vatnsnes Peninsula to visit the Icelandic Seal Center and view the surreal Hvítserkur sea stack and Viking-era Borgarvirki fortress. Heading back to Rekjavik, call in at the nearby Haafell Goat Farm to meet endangered Icelandic goats. You'll have time to explore Reykjavik that day and perhaps even the volcanically fiery Reykjanes Peninsula the following day before departing. Learn more

Itinerary #3: Self-Drive Active Iceland: South Coast & Highlands

You'll experience the best of Iceland on this 12-day active adventure, from snorkeling in the Silfra fissure and kayaking amid the icebergs of Jökulsárlón to whale-watching out of Reykjavik. Plus, you'll check off a wish list of geological and cultural highlights.

Spectacular colors of Landmannalaugar
Take in the spectacular colors of Landmannalaugar on a hike
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Keflavik, Blue Lagoon Snæfellsnes Peninsula
Day 2 The Wonders of Snæfellsnes, Vatnshellir Lava Cave Tour Snæfellsnes Peninsula
Day 3 Golden Circle, Silfra Snorkeling Selfoss
Day 4 The Lava Trails: E-Mountain Bike Day Trip, Hveragerdi Selfoss
Day 5 A Day in Landmannalaugar Selfoss
Day 6 South Coast Waterfalls & Black-Sand Beaches, Mountain Biking Kirkjubæjarklaustur
Day 7 Jökulsárlón & Diamond Beach, Jökulsárlón Glacier Kayaking Adventure Kirkjubæjarklaustur
Day 8 Skaftafell, Skaftafell Ice Climbing & Glacier Hike Kirkjubæjarklaustur
Day 9 Vik i Myrdal, Secret Ice Cave Reykjavik
Day 10 Reykjavik City, Reykjavík Classic Whale Watching Reykjavik
Day 11 Exploring Downtown Reykjavik Reykjavik
Day 12 Reykjanes Peninsula, Depart  


After picking up your rental 4WD, soak away any travel stress in the Blue Lagoon geothermal pools, then head to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula for two days exploring its geological wonders, including Kirkjufell mountain, the Lóndrangar basalt cliffs, and Vatnshellir Lava Cave. Then head to the Golden Circle to hike in Thingvellir National Park, view the Strokkur geyser erupt, snorkel the crystal-clear glacial waters of the Silfra fissure, and ride an e-mountain bike around Hveragerði. Next, hike amid the multi-colored landscape of Landmannalaugar before following the Ring Road along the South Coast.

You'll check off such iconic highlights as Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss waterfalls, the Skógar Folk Museum, and the coastal formations of Dyrholaey and Reynisfjara. Then explore Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon by boat or kayak, hike the Skaftafellsjokull glacier, and explore an ice cave in Kötlujökull glacier. In Reykjavik, you'll join an expert biologist for a whale-watching trip, then spend a full day exploring the capital city's top sites and many world-class museums. Finally, time permitting, you'll explore the volcanically active Reykjanes Peninsula en route to the airport for your departure flight. Learn more

Itinerary #4: Classic Iceland Ring Road Adventure

This complete 12-day self-drive circuit of Iceland explores a long wishlist of Iceland's top sites. It is packed with exciting activities, from riding an ATV on the black sands of the Reykjanes Peninsula to ziplining at Vík í Mýrdal. You'll also hike, ride horseback, and soak in a beer-filled hot tub.

Zipline Iceland
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Keflavik, Reykjanes Peninsula & ATV Tour Golden Circle
Day 2 Golden Circle & Fontana Geothermal Baths Golden Circle
Day 3 Þórsmörk Hike, Waterfalls & Beaches & Transfer to Vík í Mýrdal Vík í Mýrdal
Day 4 Zipline & Horseback Riding Tour on Víkurfjara Black-Sand Beach Vík í Mýrdal
Day 5 Skaftafell Hike, Boat or Kayak Jökulsárlón, Transfer to Höfn Höfn
Day 6 Eastfjords: Explore Egilsstaðir, Hike to Waterfalls & Reindeer Safari Egilsstaðir
Day 7 Stuðlagil, Explore Lake Mývatn & Surrounds: Krafla Volcano Walk Lake Mývatn
Day 8 Explore Diamond Circle, Dettifoss Hike, Whale Watching & Mývatn Lake Mývatn
Day 9 Troll Peninsula via Beer Spa, Vatnsnes & Viking Fortress to Laugarbakki Laugarbakki
Day 10 Snæfellsnes, Kirkjufell Mountain & Waterfall, Vatnshellir Lava Tube Snæfellsnes Peninsula
Day 11 West Iceland: Hraunfossar & Barnafoss Waterfalls, Reykjavik City Reykjavik
Day 12 Explore Reykjavik, Depart  


Having picked up your rented 4WD, explore the Reykjanes Peninsula, including an ATV ride on a black-sand beach, before following the Golden Circle. In Þingvellir National Park, hike the Mid-Atlantic Rift valley and snorkel the glacial waters of the Silfra fissure, then head to Þórsmörk Nature Reserve for more hiking. Along the South Coast, explore the Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss waterfalls and dramatic coastal formations of Dyrholaey and Reynisfjara, then go zip lining outside Vík. Next, hike Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon and onward to Skaftafellsjökull glacier before taking to the water to explore Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon.

Next, explore the Eastfjords, including Klifbrekkufossar waterfall and a soak in the infinity pools of Vök Baths. From here, head via Stuðlagil Canyon to Lake Mývatn to explore its geological and geothermal wonders, then follow the "Diamond Circle" via Dettifoss waterfall and Húsavík before steeping at Mývatn Nature Baths. Now turn west via Goðafoss waterfall for the Vatnsnes Peninsula and its Hvitserkur sea stack, and on to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, to include Kirkjufell mountain and Lóndrangar cliffs among its many iconic must-sees. Finally, drive south via West Iceland for sightseeing in Reykjavik. Learn more

Itinerary #5: Off-the-Beaten-Path Iceland: North & West

Mountain hikes, "Super Jeep" adventures, and snorkeling in the Silfra fissure of the Mid-Atlantic Rift are a few fun activities that highlight this 12-day self-drive adventure, which includes the top must-see and off-beat sites of northern and western Iceland.

Dive in or snorkel the Skilfra fissure
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Keflavik, Fly to Egilsstadir & Explore Egilsstadir
Day 2 Eastfjords: Explore Egilsstaðir, Hike to Waterfalls & Reindeer Safari Egilsstadir
Day 3 Stuðlagil, Explore Lake Mývatn & Nature Baths, Visit Grjótagjá Cave Lake Mývatn
Day 4 Dyngjufjoll Mountains & Askja Caldera Lake Mývatn
Day 5 Diamond Circle, Troll & Vatnsnes, Viking Fortress to Laugarbakki Laugarbakki
Day 6 Westfjords to Ísafjörður Ísafjörður
Day 7 Explore Ísafjörður & Surrounds: Kayak, Hike, or Visit Small Villages Ísafjörður
Day 8 Northern Westfjords & Dynjandi Waterfalls Patreksfjörður
Day 9 Southern Westfjords to Snæfellsnes, Látrabjarg Cliffs & Rauðasandur Snæfellsnes Peninsula
Day 10 Explore Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Guided Hike or Whale Watching Snæfellsnes Peninsula
Day 11 West Iceland to Reykjavik: Borgarfjordur, Waterfalls & Silfra Snorkeling Reykjavik
Day 12 Explore Reykjavik & Reykjanes Peninsula, Depart  


Begin with a domestic flight to Egilsstaðir, capital of the Eastfjords region, with two days to explore the fjords and Hengifoss, Klifbrekkufossar, and Folaldafoss waterfalls. Then follow the Ring Road west via Stuðlagil Canyon to the geothermally active Lake Mývatn region to experience its mud pools, steaming vents, volcanic craters, and hot springs. A Super Jeep adventure to the remote Askja caldera precedes your drive via Godafoss waterfall to the Vatnses Peninsula and its surreal Hvitserkur sea stack, plus the Icelandic Seal Center in Hvammstangi.

Next, drive through the remote Westfjords region to explore Ísafjörður, with options to kayak Ísafjarðardjúp fjord or hike in the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve. Then trek to Dynjandi waterfall, atop the Látrabjarg cliffs, and stroll Rauðasandur beach before continuing to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. A circuit takes in Kirkjufell mountain and Lóndrangar's clifftop basalt pillars, and other iconic sites. Finally, drive via West Iceland, including Reykholt medieval Saga heritage village and Hraunfossar and Glymur waterfalls, before arriving in Reykjavik with time to explore its museums and sites. Learn more

More Great Iceland Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Iceland? Check out other 12-day Iceland itineraries, with self-drive trips, active adventures, and cultural and nature-focused experiences.

Map

Map of 12 Days in Iceland - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas
Map of 12 Days in Iceland - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas