See it all on this adventure that covers the highlights and hidden wonders of Iceland. There's no time to waste, as right when you arrive you'll visit the waterfalls, glaciers, fjords, and beaches on the Golden Circle and South Coast. Continue the journey halfway around the island as you travel north to historic landmarks, coastal cliffs, and volcanic landscapes, before returning to the mother of all hot springs, the Blue Lagoon.


  • See the waterfalls and geysers on the Golden Circle
  • Hike the fjords and coastal cliffs of the Westfjords
  • Explore the geothermal landscapes around Lake Mývatn
  • Soak in the rejuvenating waters of the Blue Lagoon

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Iceland, Transfer to Reykjavík, Sky Lagoon Reykjavík
Day 2 Golden Circle Tour Reykjavík
Day 3 South Coast Tour Reykjavík
Day 4 Fly to Ísafjörður, Driving Tour Isafjordur
Day 5 Guided Cultural Tour of Ísafjörður Isafjordur
Day 6 Dynjandi & the Northern Westfjords Patreksfjörður
Day 7 Explore the Southern Westfjords Patreksfjörður
Day 8 Eiriksstadir Viking House, Dalir Scenic Tour Búdardalur
Day 9 Drive to Akureyri, Stop at Godafoss Akureyri
Day 10 Drive to Lake Mývatn & Hot Springs Lake Mývatn
Day 11 Ring Road & Húsavik Húsavik
Day 12 Fly to Reykjavík, Visit the Blue Lagoon Grindavík
Day 13 Depart Keflavík  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Iceland, Transfer to Reykjavík, Sky Lagoon

Welcome to Reykjavík 

Welcome to Iceland! Inhabited for barely a millennium, much of this volcanic island remains an untamed wonderland of geothermal activity. Whether it's fiery volcanoes, vast lava fields, thundering waterfalls, or relaxing hot springs, there's no shortage of adventures to enjoy here.

You'll arrive on the southwestern side of Iceland, on the Reykjanes Peninsula. A driver will be waiting for you at the airport, and from there it's about an hour's drive into Reykjavík. Iceland as a whole may be wild, but Reykjavík is the very model of a modern, progressive European capital. Upon arrival, you'll check in to your hotel.

You'll probably want to head out and explore, so start your grand adventure with a nice long soak in the Sky Lagoon. Located minutes from downtown Reykjavík, this outdoor thermal spa offers relaxing 104°F (40°C) waters and expansive views out over the North Atlantic. You can opt for additional spa services here, and if you stay for sunset, you might even spot the northern lights. 

Day 2: Golden Circle Tour

Visit the mighty Gullfoss waterfall

There's no better introduction to the majesty of Iceland than a road trip along its most famous sightseeing route: the Golden Circle. In the morning, your driver will pick you up for a ride along this 190-mile (300 km) circuit, the starting point of which is located right outside Reykjavík. 

During the trip, you'll pass incredible landscapes like Þingvellir National Park, which sits in a rift valley between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. Another highlight is the Strokkur geyser, which erupts every 8-10 minutes. Last but not least is Gullfoss, a two-tiered waterfall that is one of the most impressive in the country. At the end of the day, you'll return to your hotel in Reykjavík. 

Day 3: South Coast Tour

Polished ice washed up on Diamond Beach

Continue the scenic road trip, this time venturing to the southern tip of Iceland. This area features a stunning coastline and some of the country's largest ice caps. Set off early on a drive down Iceland's famous Route 1, stopping at highlights like Seljalandsfoss, a romantic waterfall that plunges 200 feet (60 m) over a cliff into a lagoon. There's also Reynisfjara, a black-sand beach dotted with incredible rock formations. Other stops include Dyrhólaey, a 393-foot (120 m) rock outcropping on the coast—keep an eye out for puffins nesting on the cliffside.

The landscapes in this part of Iceland are dominated by Vatnajökull, the country's largest glacier. Within its national park is the Skaftafell Nature Reserve, a wilderness area featuring waterfalls, volcanoes, lagoons, and Vatnajökull's outlet glaciers. On a visit, you can take a short hike to Svartifoss, a thin waterfall cascading over basalt cliffs. You'll also travel to the Fjaðrárgljúfur river canyon and stop at Diamond Beach, which is named after the iceberg fragments that wash ashore from a nearby glacial lake and sparkle in the light. At the end of the day, you'll return to Reykjavík. 

Day 4: Fly to Ísafjörður, Driving Tour

Ísafjörður town
The vast landscapes of Ísafjörður

Transfer back to the airport this morning for the 45-minute flight north to Isafjordur, a historic fishing village in the Westfjords region of northwestern Iceland. Here you'll witness some of the most dramatic landscapes in the country. Isafjordur is stunning, as grand table mountains hug the bay, and in town, there are red-roofed homes dating to the 18th century.

Upon arrival, you'll pick up a rental car and hit the road to explore the area, stopping at many scenic locales. Get up close and personal with curious seals at the cape in Hvítanes, or stop at the Arctic Fox Centre in Súðavík to learn about the only terrestrial mammal native to Iceland. You can also hike up to waterfalls in the Valagil Gorge. When you do return to Ísafjörður, you'll check in at your hotel and can spend the rest of the day relaxing. 

Day 5: Guided Cultural Tour of Ísafjörður

Visit the harbor towns around Ísafjörður

This morning you'll meet your guide, who will lead you on a tour of the best cultural sites in the area. Take a stroll around Ísafjörður's well-preserved town center, then learn about its fishing history at the Maritime Museum. Located in a renovated 18th-century home, this museum features a salt house, drying shed, crew hut, and fishing boat. For more seafaring history, take a short drive up to the village of Bolungarvík and visit the Ósvör Museum, a replica of a 19th-century fishing station.

There are many other charming villages and interesting landmarks in the Westfjords, all just a short drive from Ísafjörður. These include the village of Flateyri, the scenic Önundarfjörður fjord, and the golden sands at Holt Beach. After spending the day driving around and enjoying some hikes, you'll return to your hotel in Ísafjörður. For dinner, consider stopping in at Tjöruhúsið, one of Iceland's best fish restaurants. 

Day 6: Dynjandi & the Northern Westfjords

Dynjandi Waterfall
The majestic Dynjandi waterfall

Hop back in the car today for a drive between the northern and southern Westfjords. The route you'll follow passes through sweeping mountain passes, charming fishing villages, and some of the most beautiful fjords in Iceland, including Arnarfjordur, Dyrafjordur, and Onundarfjorduris.

The highlight of this route is the majestic Dynjandi, one of Iceland's prettiest waterfalls and an icon of the Westfjords. The name translates to "thunderous," and this 330-foot (100 m) cascade delivers on its promise. Standing near the 196-foot (60 m) base of the falls and hearing the water crash around you is truly an unforgettable experience. At the end of the day, you'll return to your hotel. 

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Day 7: Explore the Southern Westfjords

Hike along the Látrabjarg Bird Cliffs
Hike along the Látrabjarg cliffs
Spend today exploring the southern Westfjords, an area home to some of the nicest, sandiest beaches in Iceland. You can see for yourself when you embark on a drive along the coast to Rauðasandur, a unique beach in that its sands are red-hued and golden rather than volcanic and black. Continue to the western end of the region, and you'll arrive at Látrabjarg, whose towering sea cliffs are home to colonies of seabirds like puffins. Feel free to stop for a brief stroll near the cliffs. Afterward, you'll continue to a hotel in the area. 

Day 8: Eiriksstadir Viking House, Dalir Scenic Tour

Visit a historic Viking house

Get back on the road today and head toward the Hvammsfjörður fjord. This area has a long history dating from the first settlements in Iceland. In fact, a short distance from the village is Eiríksstaðir, the homestead of Erik the Red (950 to 1003 CE), who was the first European to discover Greenland. His son, Leif Erikson, was the first European to set foot in North America. 

Eiriksstadir is one of the most prominent historical houses in Iceland and has become an open-air museum. A tour here will take you back to the 10th century as guides in traditional Viking dress regale you with tales of Norse history and legends. You'll even get to handle Viking tools, weapons, and try on handmade clothing and adornments like the iconic Viking helmet. 

Afterward, take a drive to the Dalir region, which is a bridge between western and northwestern Iceland. Even today it remains mostly off the tourist trail and is filled with great scenery and historical landmarks right out of the Icelandic Sagas. This region also offers stunning views of the coastline and the countless islands of the Breidafjordur against the backdrop of Snæfellsnes Peninsula and the Westfjords. On clear days, the sunset here is unbeatable. If you like, you can also take a detour for a dip in the historic Guðrúnarlaug Hot Spring, which dates back thousands of years.

Day 9: Drive to Akureyri, Stop at Godafoss

A colorful sunset over Goðafoss

Hit the road again today, traveling east into northern Iceland. There's more unforgettable scenery along this route, and you'll have plenty of opportunities to stop and take photos. One of the highlights is Goðafoss. Known as the "Waterfall of the Gods," the cascades here drop 12 m (39 feet) into a river gorge. Also, keep an eye out for seal colonies when you pass the Vatnsnes Peninsula.

After the waterfall, continue on to Akureyri. Known as the "capital of the north," it's the largest metropolis on this side of Iceland (it boasts a whopping 18,000 people). It's also situated amid gorgeous scenery, which you'll get to explore after checking in to your hotel. Perhaps take a walk on the waterfront or head to the city center to see the Swiss-inspired Akureyrarkirkja, a twin-steepled Lutheran church. In the evening, take advantage of the city's burgeoning culinary and nightlife scene.

Day 10: Drive to Lake Mývatn & Hot Springs

The wonders of Lake Myvatn
The pseudocraters at Lake Mývatn
Today you'll drive to Lake Mývatn, which is one of the highlights of the Ring Road (the north's version of the Golden Circle). This 155-mile (250 km) circuit passes the most incredible geothermal sites on this side of the country. Highlights include the bubbling mud pots and steaming fumaroles at Hverir, the lava-rock formations at Dimmuborgir, the pseudocraters in the Mývatn wetlands, and the Grjótagjá lava cave. That latter was even featured in the TV series "Game of Thrones."
Upon arrival in the town at Lake Mývatn, you'll check in to your hotel and will have the rest of the day free. Maybe enjoy a nice long soak in the Mývatn Nature Baths, a hot-spring lagoon whose waters remain at ideal temperatures between 97-104°F (36-40°C). There's an on-site café here where you can relax with a light lunch or dinner.

Day 11: Ring Road & Húsavik

Asbyrgi Canyon
Ásbyrgi Canyon
In the morning, continue your drive to see more of the famed Diamond Circle route. One interesting place is Ásbyrgi, a horseshoe-shaped canyon that, as the story goes, was created when god Odin's eight-legged horse galloped across the land. Other places to visit include the turquoise Botnstjörn Pond, the distinctive rock formations in Vesturdalur Valley, and Jökulsárgljúfur, a 15-mile (25 km) glacial river canyon. It's up to 393 feet (120 m) deep in places, making it one of the deepest in Iceland. A real treat is a stop at Dettifoss, one of the most powerful waterfalls in Europe.

You'll follow the route farther north to Húsavík, a lovely harbor town and the whale watching capital of Iceland. The reason it's so popular is that you don't need to venture far out to sea to view these animals—you can see them right in the harbor. Upon arrival, you'll check in to your hotel and, if you like, can head to the nearby GeoSea Baths for more relaxation. 

Day 12: Fly to Reykjavík, Visit the Blue Lagoon

Spend the day at the Blue Lagoon

Wake up early for the one-hour drive back to Akureyri, where you'll drop off your rental car and catch a 45-minute flight to Reykjavík. Upon arrival, you'll transfer to your hotel for check-in. But your day is only just beginning because after you're settled you'll take a bus to the Reykjanes Peninsula to enjoy one of Iceland's—and the world's—highlights: the Blue Lagoon.

Spend the remainder of the day soaking in the famous milky blue waters here, which hover around a luxurious 98-104°F (37-40°C). The experience is heightened by the sheer blanket of steam and mist perpetually hovering above the water. The water's rich mineral content, combined with its algae and silica, offers many health benefits. It's even a proven treatment for psoriasis. After a nice few hours of pure rejuvenation, you'll settle into your hotel in nearby Grindavík

Day 13: Depart Keflavík

Goodbye, Iceland

Wake up and enjoy coffee and breakfast before transferring to the airport in Keflavík. This concludes your grand Iceland adventure. Come back soon!

More Great Iceland Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Iceland? Check out these other Iceland itineraries, explore different ways to spend 13 days in Iceland, or discover the best time of year to visit Iceland.


Map of Highlights of Iceland's South, West & North - 13 Days
Map of Highlights of Iceland's South, West & North - 13 Days