You can have an epic Iceland experience when you spend five days or more in Iceland. Shorter trips are possible but won't give you enough time to explore beyond the Reykjavík area and the western section of the South Coast. Starting at eight days or more, you can complete the famous ring road and experience Iceland's natural beauty in all its glory, seeing incredible sights most tourists miss, like the Godafoss waterfall, the unique volcanic hotspots surrounding Lake Mývatn and the Westfjords.

Planning Your Trip to Iceland

Iceland's natural wonders are endless, meaning you'll want considerable time for exploration—and sites of interest are often multiple hours of drive time apart, meaning you'll be spending large chunks of time on the country's scenic roads.

Any traveler could spend weeks getting to know Iceland, but given the reality of limited vacation days, 5-7 days are recommended for a satisfying trip. In this length of time, you can make a northern road trip from Reykjavík to Akureyri or drive the south coast via Vík to Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. One idea for getting the most out of five days is to hop on a local flight to one of Iceland's small domestic airports and drive back to the capital.

Shorter trips are possible, too—even three days gives you time to explore outside Reykjavík—and with more than a week, you can truly maximize your time. Check out other great itinerary options for everything from a long weekend to a multi-week sojourn below. 

In order to decide when to visit Iceland, take into account seasonal weather patterns, hours of sunlight, and crowds. You can find all the details in the Best Time of Year to Visit Iceland.

Iceland in Less Than 3 Days

No matter how many days you spend in Iceland, you will likely see its capital, Reykjavík

If you have three days or less, you won't really be able to leave the crowds behind since you will be spending most of your time in and around Reykjavík with a possible quick tour of the south coast or a Golden Circle Tour. Here is a three-day itinerary that includes a long day exploring the South Coast or, alternatively, a shorter day touring the Golden Circle.

Plan your trip to Iceland
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Iceland in 4 Days

You can see Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall if you have at least four days in Iceland

With four days, you have the opportunity to explore a little bit of Iceland beyond the heavily visited areas around Reykjavík. Head north to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula to see a side of Iceland that most mainstream travelers tend to miss. Or, if you are into hiking, you can head along the south coast and complete the epic Fimmvorduhals hike, which takes you over a glacier next to the infamous Eyjafjallajökull volcano into the dramatic Thórsmörk valley, where you can spend the night and explore its endless hiking trails the next day. 

Iceland in 5-7 Days

You can see Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon if you have at least five days in Iceland

If you have five days or more, lots of opportunities to see Iceland in interesting ways open up, assuming you plan carefully. Options include driving to the North to explore Akureyri and Lake Mývatn or driving along the south coast via Vík to Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. 

Here is a collection of five-day itineraries that will help you pack the most in this short amount of time. If you have six days, you can extend these itineraries with side trips, and with a week, you can reach the Westfjords overland, spend some time there, and still get back in time to catch your flight. Or, if you want to push it, you can squeeze in the entire ring road, although that will require some long days of driving, and you won't have much time to enjoy all the great stops.

See these five- to seven-day itineraries for more ideas.

Iceland in 10 Days or More

You can see Lake Mývatn if you have at least five days in Iceland

With eight days, you can cover all of Iceland via its famous ring road. The more days you have, the more side trips you can take on this route. Refer to the 14-day ring road itinerary for ideas. Other options in the eight to 10-day range include combining Western and Southern Iceland and a more in-depth exploration of Southern Iceland.

If you have more time, a good starting point is the two-week ring road itinerary which you combine with variations like this tour through the highlands. You can also consider multi-day hikes such as the Laugavegur Trail or a trek through Hornstrandir Nature Reserve.

See these 10-day and 2-week itineraries for more ideas.

More Great Iceland Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Iceland? Check out these other Iceland itineraries, with outdoor adventures, self-drive trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights.