This 7-day itinerary will take you to the north, away from the crowded south coast. On this trip you will enjoy the volcanic Snaefellsnes Peninsula and the scenic and remote Westfjords.

Hike through lava fields, along cliffs with rocky formations, see black, red, and golden sand beaches, climb up craters and into caves. See several waterfalls, try fermented shark at the shark museum, see thousands of birds at Látrabjarg Bird cliffs as you hike one of the most scenic trails. Take a boat to Hornstrandir nature preserve, one of the most remote regions and hike along the pristine lands, kayak through the calm fjord waters, or ride an Icelandic horse along the water.

Finish your trip with a tour of the Golden Circle and end back in Reykjavik for a nice meal and nightlife in Iceland’s capital city.

Daily Highlights

  • Day 1: Arrive at KEF. Reykjavik, cool architecture, sculptures, restaurants and nightlife
  • Day 2: Glymur Falls Hike, Hraunfossar and Barnafoss, Borgarnes and Settlement Center
  • Day 3: Volcanic Snaefellsnes Peninsula: lava fields, volcanoes, black beaches, waterfalls, and cliff formations.
  • Day 4: Southern Westfjords: Bird Cliffs, red beaches, shipwreck, Dynandi falls
  • Day 5: Isafjordur, heart of the Westfjords: hiking, kayaking, sailing, mountain biking or horse riding
  • Day 6: Scenic drive back down south (or domestic flight) - Or, spend another night along the Westfjords
  • Day 7: Golden Circle Highlights: Thingvellir National Park, Geysir, Gullfoss, Kerid Crater, Secret Lagoon

Have more time? Consider an extra day exploring more of the Westfjords, or explore the Reykjanes Peninsula and Blue Lagoon on your final day.

Day 1: Downtown Reykjavik

Walk through Reykjavik’s compact downtown area, and along the water past the Sun Voyager Sculpture and to the Harpa Cultural Center with its cool glass architecture. Visit Hallgrimskirkja church on the hill and take the elevator to the tower at for a great overview of the city below and panoramic views of the area. Walk around the harbor or join a whale watching tour. Spend some time learning about Iceland’s history at the Settlement Exhibition or the National Museum of Iceland. Snack on a world famous hot dog at Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur or hop between cafes. In the evenings enjoy a variety of top-tier fish restaurants and Reykjavik’s nightlife.

Downtown Reykjavik, view from Hallgrimskirkja Church tower

Day 2: Glymur Falls and Borgarnes

Drive north from Reykjavik and  hike 2 hours to Glymur Falls, Iceland's tallest waterfall. You’ll hike beside a narrow canyon which makes for some great photographs. While you’re in the west, stop by Hraunfossar (“Lava Falls”) and Barnafoss (Children's waterfall), regarded as some of the most unique and spectacular waterfalls in Iceland. Clear subterranean water seeps through the lava fields, pouring out of the rocks, creating Hraunfossar.

Visit some quaint historical towns like Reykholt and Hvanneyri before finishing your day at Borgarnes on the water. If you like, learn more about the Settlement age of Iceland at the Settlement Center, or walk along the shore path near the water.

Glymur Falls, Iceland’s tallest waterfall (photo by Chris McCarty)

Day 3: Volcanic Snæfellsnes Peninsula

The Snaefellsnes Peninsula is sometimes referred to as “little Iceland”, because here you can find a little bit of everything that Iceland has to offer: amazing Basalt columns, tiny fishing villages, coastal cliff walks past arches and other rock formations, lava fields, volcanic craters, black sand beaches, waterfalls, lava caves, and more.

Walk along the Gerðuberg Basalt Cliffs, through the Budhahraun lava fields on the coast (you can continue further to hike to a volcanic crater if you like). Take a cliff-side walk between the tiny fishing villages of Arnarstapi to Hellnar, where you will see really cool cliffs, lava formations, and arches in the rocks.

Stop by the huge Londrangar lava formations, and the Djúpalónssandur black sand beach with debris from a shipwreck (cool to photograph the rusted mangled metal pieces on the black sand). End your day with a visit to Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall with Kirkjufell mountain in the background (one of Iceland's most photographed) and the Berserkjahraun lava field.

Optional Activity: Vatnshellir Lava Cave Tour

Mountains, waterfalls, and lava fields in the volcanic Snaefellesnes Peninsula

Day 4: Southern Westfjords

Take a car Ferry to the Westfjords (or drive if you prefer)

Start your day with a hike along the edge at the Látrabjarg Bird Cliffs, with incredible views over the waters below. Take a break at Rauðasandur Red sand beach and Breiðavík Golden Beach.  Walk around the Gardar BA 64 Shipwreck, beached on side of the road. Walk around several waterfalls below the massive Dynjandi waterfall in a beautiful fjord setting. Finish your drive through Iceland’s longest tunnel, arriving in Isafjordur to enjoy one the best fish meals in the country.

Massive Dynjandi Falls in the Westfjords

Day 5: Isafjordur and the Scenic Westfjords

Isafjordur is the heart of the Westfjords as the region’s largest town. It’s a great home based and a pleasant town for a stroll. From here you can drive to the region’s highlights such as Dynjandi Falls and the Látrabjarg Bird Cliffs, hike above the fjords, kayak the calm waters or around the coast, or a day trip to Hornstrandir Nature Preserve. While in town, visit the Isafjordur Maritime Museum, join a cultural and historical walking tour of the town, or eat all the fish you ever wanted at Tjoruhusid, named best seafood in Europe a few years back.

A View over Isafjordur in the Westfjords from the "Kubbi" hike (photo by Chris McCarty)

A couple of options for how to spend your time:

  • Hiking around Isafjordur up the sides of the mountains to see the fords below
  • Boat ride and hiking tour of Hornstrandir Natural Preserve, one of the most remote and scenic areas of Iceland (more info below)
  • Kayaking the calm fjord waters or longer kayak between fjords or to Vigur island to see birdlife and sealife.
  • Mountain Biking around the avalanche barrier of Ísafjördur. An Off-road tour that leads you into Icelandic "forest" over avalanche walls, with a short single track for beginners and few short downhill.
  • Icelandic horseback riding tour through the lush Sandá Valley where you can experience the Icelandic countryside and up-close views of the "Westfjords Alps", while getting acquainted with friendly Icelandic horses.

Hornstrandir Nature Preserve

The Hornstrandir nature reserve is a place of magnificent untouched beauty and wildlife. The sheer basalt mountains stretch from the sea to the sky chaotically divided by deep fjords, secluded alcoves, and valleys. At the coastline, the relentless power of the ocean has molded towering sea cliffs, richly populated by birds. Many of the alcoves and scurries off the coast are home to an abundance of seals. Inland the crawling glaciers of the last ice age have hewn ancient mountain passes and lakes into the rugged peninsula and there the arctic fox wanders in its natural environment.

The Green Cliffs of remote Hornstrandir Nature Preserve (photo by Borea Adventures)

Day 6: Scenic Drive back to Reykjavik

Start the morning with a hike up to “Trolls Seat” for one last view back down on Isafjordur before taking a scenic drive along the fjords and back to the south. Take an optional stop at Icelandic Sorcery & Witchcraft Museum along the way, and explore Thingvellir National Park if time allows (you can do this the next day as well). Spend the night near Reykholt or Gullfoss along the Golden Circle route to get an early start and beat the crowds the next day).

Alternative: If you prefer not to drive back, you can also fly one-way from Isafjordur to Reykjavik domestic airport. This will save you time and the views from the flight are pretty spectacular as well.

Have more time? If you have more than 7 days, you can spend an extra night near Hólmavík in the eastern Westfjords and enjoy a day of hiking and exploring the coast.

View from the Troll Seat, looking back down on Isafjordur (photo by Chris McCarty)

Day 7: Golden Circle: Thingvellir, Geysir, Gullfoss

Get an early and marvel at Gullfoss (“Golden Falls”) and Geysir geothermal area before the tour groups arrive. Hike around Thingvellir National Park, or snorkel between two continents where the tectonic plates meet at Silfra fissure. Visit historical Law Rock where chieftains from all over the country met once a year to discuss laws and issues. Walk around the rim of Kerid crater and down to the blue waters in the lake inside. Finish your day with a relaxing soak at Secret Lagoon where the warm geothermal waters bubble out from the rocks (much less crowded than the Blue Lagoon)

Optional Activities:

  • Rafting down the Hvítá river in Gullfoss Canyon, Hot sauna after.
  • Snorkel or Scuba between tectonic plates at Silfra Fissure
Gullfoss Waterfall (“Golden Falls”), along the golden circle route

Have Another Day?

With another day (or morning) you can explore part of the Reykjanes peninsula on your way back to KEF airport. Small fishing villages, geothermal areas, and the popular Blue Lagoon await you in this often-missed peninsula.