Five days may seem like a short amount of time for an eventful trip to Iceland, but with the right itinerary, a rental car, and internal flights at your disposal, you can explore the highlights in up to three regions. Tour popular spots like the Golden Circle and South Coast, or venture to areas with less tourist traffic—the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, Lake Mývatn, and the Eastfjords are all great picks. Going in winter? Check out itinerary #6 to make sure the most of the snow, ice, and Northern Lights.

Itinerary #1: Golden Circle, South Coast & Reykjavík

On this classic trip, explore two regions and the capital city. Highlights in the Golden Circle include Þingvellir National Park, Geysir, and the Secret Lagoon, while the South Coast is home to epic waterfalls, like Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss, along with incredible glacial scenery. 

Þingvellir National Park
Þingvellir National Park
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Drive to Þingvellir, Geysir, & Gullfoss Falls in the Golden Circle Golden Circle
Day 2 South Coast & Waterfalls, Black-Sand Beaches, & Cliffs Kirkjubæjarklaustur
Day 3 Discover Skaftafell, Svartifoss, & Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon Kirkjubæjarklaustur
Day 4 Drive & Explore South Coast Back to Reykjavík Reykjavík
Day 5 Visit the Reykjanes Peninsula & Depart From Reykjavík  

Upon arrival in Reykjavík, grab your rental car and hit the road to the Golden Circle. Explore Þingvellir National Park and go snorkeling in a fissure where the tectonic plates meet. Then, stop at Geysir to discover the mud pits and steam vents, and enjoy a first-night soak in the Secret Lagoon. In the morning, head south to roaring Seljalandsfoss waterfall, followed by a stop at Skogafoss and its memorable Waterfall Way. Check out the cliffs, black-sand beaches, and basalt columns on the way to Vik, stop at a canyon with unique rock formations, and spend the night in Kirkjubæjarklaustur.

Wake up and get ready to experience the gorgeous glaciers in the south on day three. Hike to a thin waterfall at Skaftafell and see the icebergs decorating Diamond Beach at Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. In the morning, head back along the South Coast toward Reykjavik and make a few stops. Check out a hot springs river, an ancient pool, one last waterfall, and a crater. Next, drive to the capital city for a stroll, and stop by the harbor, and enjoy a nice dinner and drinks on your last night.

On your final day, explore the Reykjanes Peninsula highlights, from geothermal areas to a geological marvel, and have a soak in the Blue Lagoon prior to boarding your flight home. Learn more

Itinerary #2: Snaefellsnes Peninsula & South Coast Highlights

This trip through the West and South is fast, but provides an active touring experience. Enjoy the highlights of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, from the black-sand beaches to the fishing towns. Then, check out the mesmerizing waterfalls, beaches, and cliffs along the South Coast. 

A view of Seljalandsfoss Waterfall from behind
A view of Seljalandsfoss Waterfall from behind
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Reykjavík & Drive to Snæfellsnes Peninsula Snæfellsnes Peninsula
Day 2 Snaefellsnes Peninsula - Black-Sand Beaches & Fishing Towns Snæfellsnes Peninsula
Day 3 Snaefellsnes Peninsula to Vik: Waterfalls, Beaches, & Cliffs Vik
Day 4 Tour the South Coast and Explore Reykjavík Reykjavik
Day 5 Visit the Reykjanes Peninsula & Depart From Reykjavík  

Touch down at Keflavik Airport and pick up your rental car. Drive to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, and stop for a hike at stunning Glymur Falls on the way. Then, enjoy a stroll by the shores of Borgarnes and check out the lava fields and basalt cliffs on the coast. Take the cliffside path from one fishing town to another, and stop for some delicious fish soup. On day two, continue enjoying more of the peninsula—stop at the Lóndrangar lava formations and climb to the top of Saxhóll crater. Then, take in the famed Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall (with Kirkjufell mountain by its side), and snap some iconic photos.

Hit the road toward Vik on day three, and stop at several more waterfalls, including the massive Seljalandsfoss that pours 20-30 feet in front of you, and Skogafoss, which is the beginning of the Fimmvörðuháls Trail. Make your way to the South Coast arches and cliffs, and take in views of basalt columns and black-rock beaches on the way to Vik to spend the night. Wake up and drive back toward Reykjavik and make a few worthwhile stops—at Reykjadalur hot springs, Seljavallalaug pool, Kerið Crater, and Raufarhólshellir lava tunnel. Then, explore the capital, from the funky street art to the active harbor. Make sure to indulge in fresh seafood and enjoy the nightlife scene on your final evening.

On day five, drive around the Rekjanes Peninsula en route to the airport to see the geothermal and geological sights. Then, have a pre-flight soak in the Blue Lagoon before takeoff. Learn more

Itinerary #3: East Fjords, South Coast, & Reykjavik

Take a one-way trip from the East Fjords to Reykjavik. WIth an immediate flight to the East Fjords, enjoy more time exploring, hiking, and driving through this lesser-visited region. Then, stop at a few glaciers in the South Coast, along with geothermal areas, craters, and more. 

Vatnajökull National Park
Vatnajökull National Park
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival & Domestic Flight to Egilsstaðir Seydisfjordur
Day 2 Scenic Eastern Fjords - Egilsstaðir to Höfn Hofn
Day 3 Discover the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, South Coast, & Vík Vik
Day 4 Tour the South Coast & Explore Reykjavík Reykjavik
Day 5 Morning in Reykjavik, Blue Lagoon Soak, & Departure  

Land at Keflavik Airport and hop a domestic flight to Egilsstaðir. Upon arrival, stop for your rental car and head over the pass to Seyðisfjörður in the East Fjords. Take in the first exceptional fjord-clad views, go hiking to several waterfalls, and check out the progressive artwork around town. On day two, drive south and choose your route—the longer is more scenic and takes you along several picturesque fjords. Stretch your legs in Breiðdalsvík and grab local goods, baked treats, and more. Take walk to a lighthouse in Djúpivogur and stroll a black-rock beach in Höfn. Enjoy the incredible views of Vatnajökull Glacier (Iceland’s largest) in the distance, and retire for the night.

Discover the glacial region of the south next, with a stop at an otherworldly canyon along the way. Indulge in some climbing and touring around Skaftafell and the glistening Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. Next, stop by a lava ridge known for its rock piles that bring good fortune, and wind down in Vik for the night. On day four's drive to Reyjkavik, stop at South Coast highlights, including a lava tunnel, a couple of geothermal areas, a waterfall, a crater, and yet another beautiful glacier. Take some time to stroll the downtown area of the capital to absorb the street art, museums, and action at the harbor.

On departure day, make a stop at the Blue Lagoon, and treat yourself to a comforting soak before catching the flight home. Learn more

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Itinerary #4: Quick Road Trip to the North & Lake Mývatn 

Ditch the crowded south on this lesser-known route. If you’ve been to the popular tourist destinations already, like the Golden Circle and the South Coast, enjoy a different type of itinerary. Go hiking in West Iceland, visit the Arctic Coast’s natural and geothermal areas, spend time in Akureyri, visit a waterfall giant, and discover the incredible landscapes of Lake Mývatn.

Goðafoss Waterfall
Goðafoss Waterfall
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Reykjavík & Tour West Iceland Laugarbakki
Day 2 Drive the Arctic Coast - Hvammstangi to Akureyri Akureyri
Day 3 Day Trip to Goðafoss & Lake Mývatn Akureyri
Day 4 Explore West Iceland & Sightseeing in Reykjavík Reykjavik
Day 5 Visit the Reykjanes Peninsula & Depart From Reykjavík  

When you land, feel free to stop for breakfast in Reyjkavik before heading north to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. En route, go hiking at Iceland’s largest waterfall, Glymur Falls, and stop at the Settlement Centre in Borgarnes. With extra time, check out Reykholt and Hvanneyri. Wake up and spend the day exploring the northern peninsulas, visit a troll-shaped basalt formation in Vatnsnes, and spend time one of the largest seal colonies in the country. Next, tour the turf houses and churches in the area, then enjoy some relaxation in the geothermal pools nearby. Spend time in the fishing town of Siglufjörður, and head to Akureyri, the second-largest city in Iceland, which is home for the night.

On day three, make the 40-minute drive to see Goðafoss in all its glory, and then head to Lake Mývatn to visit the volcanic and geothermal highlights of the area. Explore the pseudocraters, lava formations, and caves, and take a dip in the Nature Baths. Wake up and drive south and circle back to any missed stops from the beginning of the trip. Visit a pair of waterfalls, then park in Reykjavik and spend time in the capital. Peruse the cool street art and sculptures around town, take a walk down by the harbor, and visit the museums and exhibits. Go to dinner at a nice restaurant, followed by after-hours drinks.

Spend the final morning touring the highlights of the Reykjanes Peninsula, and take a field trip to the Blue Lagoon for one more geothermal swim before heading home. Learn more

Itinerary #5: Golden Circle, South Coast, & Thorsmork

On this condensed, well-balanced vacation, visit three regions in Iceland. Although the Golden Circle and South Coast are popular destinations filled with waterfalls and black-sand beaches, take advantage of some time hiking the trails along the valley in Thorsmork, too.

Go on incredible hikes in Thorsmork
Go on incredible hikes in Thorsmork
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival & Drive to Þingvellir, Geysir, & Gullfoss Falls in the Golden Circle Golden Circle
Day 2 Drive to the South Coast & Explore Waterfalls, Black-Sand Beaches, & Cliffs Hvolsvollur
Day 3 Bus to Thorsmork & Hiking Trails Thorsmork
Day 4 Drive the South Coast & Explore Reykjavík Reykjavik
Day 5 Visit the Reykjanes Peninsula & Depart From Reykjavík  

From the airport, drive your rental car to the Golden Circle and begin with a tour of Þingvellir National Park, where you can snorkel or scuba between tectonic plates at the Silfra Fissure. Then. stop by Geysir, home of Strokkur, which erupts every 10 minutes, and view the impressive Gullfoss waterfall. Enjoy a soak in the Secret Lagoon to rid any lingering stress from your arrival-day travels. On day two, drive south and stop at majestic Seljalandsfoss to view the waterfall from behind, followed by Skogafoss and its collection of falls along the way. Even still, there are cliffs, black-sand beaches, and basalt formations to see.

Next, from Hvolsvollur, take a bus to Thorsmork, and keep an eye out for the ash and lava flows from a recent volcanic eruption in the area. This valley offers a plethora of hiking trails for all skill levels and interests that range from less than 2 hours up to 6. You can also take a hike to a nearby waterfall or visit the LavaSPA natural pool and sauna. Spend the night camping or at the Volcano Huts. On day four, relish a bit more time in Thorsmork—perhaps on another hike—and head back along the South Coast in the afternoon. Stop at a hot spring river, an ancient pool, and a lava tunnel, and more en route to Reykjavik. Enjoy the rest of the day in the capital; check out the local art scene, the lively harbor, and the cultural museums, followed by dinner and drinks in the city.

On the last day, circle through the Reykjanes Peninsula and make a stop at the Blue Lagoon for an enjoyable soak before your long flight out. Learn more

Itinerary #6: Winter Highlights - Snowmobiling, Glaciers, & Northern Lights

This winter adventure reveals a whitewashed version of Iceland, filled with winter activities. Enjoy time hiking and snowmobiling on two different glaciers, take in the stunning, frozen waterfalls, and enjoy warm, comforting soaks in the natural waters under the glow of the Northern Lights

Skogafoss frozen in the wintertime
Skogafoss frozen in the wintertime
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival & Discover Winter in Downtown Reykjavik Reykjavik
Day 2 Golden Circle Exploration & Snowmobile Tour Golden Circle
Day 3 Winter Waterfalls & Black-Sand Beaches (Golden Circle to Vik) Vik
Day 4 South Coast Glacier Hike & Back to Reykjavik Reykjavik
Day 5 Morning in Reykjavik, Blue Lagoon Soak, & Departure  

From Keflavik Airport, stop for your rental car and drive to the capital city. Have breakfast upon arrival in Reykjavik and set out on some sightseeing. View the unique sculptures and art followed by a stop at a church on a hill with incredible views. For a break from the cold, head inside and stroll the cultural museums and settlement exhibits.

At nightfall, enjoy a warm, fresh seafood dinner and upscale drinks on the town. In the morning, stop at Gullfoss for your first view of frozen falls, then head to Langjökull Glacier for an adrenaline-filled snowmobiling excursion. Make stops at Geysir, Þingvellir National Park, or Kerid crater, too, and relax in the Secret Lagoon at nightfall under the Northern Lights (weather dependant).

On day three, stop at popular falls in the South, including Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss, followed by spotting the arches and cliffs and black-rock beaches en route to Vik. For more glacier fun, on day four, head northwest to Sólheimajökull, an outlet glacier of Mýrdalsjökull, and go for a scenic hike through snowy landscapes. Visit the LAVA Centre for a volcanic history lesson and stop at a hot spring river, a waterfall, and a crater on the drive back to the capital.

Wake up and enjoy the final day. Visit any city sights you missed at the beginning of the trip, and stop at the Blue Lagoon for some relaxation before your departure. Learn more

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Map of 5 Days in Iceland - 6 Unique Itinerary Ideas
Map of 5 Days in Iceland - 6 Unique Itinerary Ideas