In just 10 days, discover the highlights of five distinct regions of Iceland. It's an efficient adventure that combines road trips, boat rides to offshore islands, hiking excursions, and glacier visits. You'll explore the rugged cliffs of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, trek in "Thor's Valley," hit the road down the famous Golden Circle, enjoy boat rides on the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, and much more.


  • Hike along the rugged sea cliffs on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula
  • Visit the waterfalls and national parks along the Golden Circle
  • Zip to the rocky Westman Islands in a Zodiac and see puffin colonies
  • Explore the waterfalls, glaciers, and sea cliffs of Iceland's South Coast
  • Embark on a scenic trek through the vast Thórsmörk Valley

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Reykjavík, Downtown Tour Reykjavík
Day 2 Drive to Borgarnes & Snæfellsnes, Hike Glymur Falls Snæfellsnes Peninsula
Day 3 Snæfellsnes Peninsula Beaches & Villages Snæfellsnes Peninsula
Day 4 Drive the Golden Circle, Visit the Secret Lagoon Golden Circle
Day 5 Ferry to Westman Islands, Optional Activities Westman Islands 
Day 6 South Coast Waterfalls, Beaches & Cliffs Kirkjubæjarklaustur
Day 7 Jökulsárlón Lagoon & Waterfalls Kirkjubæjarklaustur
Day 8 Þórsmörk 4WD Tour & Hiking Þórsmörk
Day 9 Drive the South Coast to Reykjavík Reykjavík
Day 10 Visit Reykjanes Peninsula & Blue Lagoon, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Reykjavík, Downtown Tour

An aerial view of Reykjavík
Reykjavík is a colorful capital with history and culture to spare

Welcome to Iceland! This volcanic island at the edge of the Arctic Circle offers myriad geological wonders, untamed beauty, and a rich cultural heritage dating back to the age of the Vikings. Interestingly, it's capital of Reykjavík is the very definition of a modern and progressive European metropolis. 

There's no need to wait to discover this rich culture because when you arrive at Keflavík International Airport, you'll pick up your rental car and drive 45 minutes east to the capital. Once in the city, you'll check into your hotel and can then explore the colorful downtown. In and around this area are a wealth of fine museums and galleries, including the National Museum, the Settlement Exhibition (focusing on the settlement of Reykjavík), the Maritime Museum, the Northern Lights Center, the Saga Museum, and the Whales of Iceland Exhibition.

On the waterfront, you can take photos of the impressive Sun Voyager dreamboat sculpture and perhaps tour the Harpa Concert Hall. The northern lights inspired the shimmering glass facade of Northern Europe's most impressive concert venue. You certainly don't want to miss Iceland's tallest church, Hallgrimskirkja, which sits on a hill overlooking downtown. When the sun goes down, perhaps indulge in Reykjavík's nightlife scene. Plenty of cool bars in the center serve up handcrafted cocktails you can enjoy while listening to live music.

Day 2: Drive to Borgarnes & Snæfellsnes, Hike Glymur Falls

Take your first hike in Iceland around the famous Glymur Falls

Time to hit the highlights of western Iceland! After breakfast at the hotel, say goodbye to Reykjavík as you head north on Ring Road (Route 1) to the colorful town of Borgarnes, located on the Borgarfjörður fjord. Once here, you can visit the Settlement Center on a tour. Located in two of the town's most historic buildings, the center recounts Icelandic history and recreates fascinating folklore. 

Afterward, continue driving a short way west to Snæfellsnes. This 56-mile (90 km) long peninsula is often referred to as "Iceland in miniature" as it contains many of the wonders the country is known for, like rugged sea cliffs, dramatic rock formations, and otherworldly waterfalls. Speaking of which, the first stop here will be at Glymur Falls. Iceland's second-tallest waterfall cascades 650 feet (198 m) over mountain cliffs. A two-hour out-and-back hike to the waterfall will take you through narrow canyons and to stunning viewpoints great for photos.

Later, continue driving around the peninsula's other famous landmarks. A major highlight is Mount Kirkjufell, which looms over the three-tiered waterfall of Kirkjufellsfoss. To see the most incredible rock formations, take a stroll on the cliffs between the villages of Hellnar and Arnarstapi. Also, the Berserkjahraun and Budahraun lava fields are well worth a visit. After sightseeing and hiking, you'll drive to a hotel in Hellnar, where you'll overnight.

Day 3: Snæfellsnes Peninsula Beaches & Villages

The Snæfellsnes Peninsula is known for its volcanic sea cliffs, like at Lóndrangar

You'll have the entire day to visit even more highlights on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. First, drive to the southwest and Lóndrangar. The unique lava rock formations and coastal sea cliffs here are actually the remains of a volcanic crater that the sea has shaped over time. Its most famous landmarks are two incredible rock pillars, which rise as high as 246 feet (75 m). The peninsula's visitor center is farther up the road, where you can learn more about this area's volcanic system.

A short drive up the coast from Lóndrangar, you'll reach Djupalonsandur. This beach is also dotted with towering rock formations, but its volcanic black sands are the real star. There's interesting history here in the form of a shipwreck from 1948, and back in the Middle Ages, the area was a prominent fishing village. Left on the beach from that time period are four different-sized stones that sea captains used to test the strength of potential sailors. 

Spend the night in the town of Grundarfjörður, near Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall, or continue to the larger town of Stykkishólmur. On the way, stop at the Shark Museum and taste hákarl (fermented shark), an Icelandic staple. Or, for something less adventurous, enjoy dinner at one of the town's cozy restaurants. 

Day 4: Drive the Golden Circle, Visit the Secret Lagoon

Gullfoss is one of the most powerful waterfalls in Iceland

Hit the road again after breakfast, heading south back toward Reykjavík. Once there, you'll head southeast out of the city for a drive along the famous Golden Circle. This 190-mile (300 km) route features some of southern Iceland's most popular natural attractions. First up is Þingvellir National Park and Law Rock. At this outcrop during the Middle Ages, chieftains met once a year to air grievances and recite new laws. Also in the park is the Silfra Fissure, a rift located in a crystalline lake on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. It's the only place in the world you can dive between two continents.

Next is the Geysir geothermal area. With its bubbling mud pits, steam vents, and erupting geysers, this is one of the most impressive geothermal zones in the country. The geyser is rarely active these days but can reach up to 230 feet (70 m) when it does erupt. However, the area, which covers much of the Haukadalur Valley, is also home to the Strokkur Geyser, which erupts like clockwork every 5-10 minutes and can reach up to 130 feet (40 m). 

Then, it's on to Gullfoss, one of Iceland's most impressive waterfalls. You can follow trails to the top of the falls or view them above the canyon's edge. Another highlight is Kerið Kerið, a 180-foot (55 m) volcanic crater lake whose steep slopes resemble an ancient amphitheater. Cap the day with a visit to the Secret Lagoon. Created in 1891 in the Hverahólmi geothermal area, this is the oldest human-made swimming pool in Iceland, with water remaining between 86°F-104°F (38°C-40°C) year-round. After enjoying the lagoon, head to your roadside hotel and rest up for tomorrow's adventure.

Plan your trip to Iceland
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Day 5: Ferry to Westman Islands, Optional Activities

Embark on boat trip in the Westman Islands and colonies of puffins

Continue south this morning on a straightforward drive from the Golden Circle to the Landeyjahöfn Ferry Terminal on Iceland's southern coast. Here, you'll board a ferry for the 30-minute ride to the Vestmannaeyjar archipelago, also known as the Westman Islands. Your destination is Heimaey, the largest and only inhabited island in the archipelago; it's an off-the-beaten-path gem with colorful lava landscapes and the world's largest puffin colony.

Once here, you'll check into your accommodation and have the rest of the day free. If you like, travel to Stórhöfði, a peninsula and the southernmost point on the island. Here, you can see the famous puffin colonies. You can also board a Zodiac-style RUB boat for an exciting ride along the coast to explore sea caves. During the ride, you'll certainly see more puffins, and from June to September, whale sightings are common.

You can also hike up and around the 660-foot-tall (200 m) dormant volcanic cone of Eldfell, created when a fissure erupted in 1973, decimating half the town. The fascinating Eldheimar Museum tells the story and is built around houses half-buried by lava. Although it looks like the lava flow stopped just short of the Stafkirkjan stave church, this was a gift of Norway in 2000 to commemorate the millennium of Iceland's official adoption of Christianity. At the end of the day, return to your hotel.

Day 6: South Coast Waterfalls, Beaches & Cliffs

Skógafoss is one of the most iconic waterfalls in Iceland

If you like, wake up early for a morning hike along the coast in Heimaey. Then, after breakfast, transfer to the ferry terminal for the ride back to the mainland. Once back, you'll continue the adventure down Route 1, driving about 15 minutes to Seljalandsfoss. This awe-inspiring waterfall plunges 196 feet (60 m) over a cliff into a lagoon. Just as impressive is the hiking trail that leads directly behind the falls. And 19 miles (30 km) east of here lies Skógafoss waterfall. You can hike to the top of the falls and follow the Fimmvörðuháls trail to even more waterfalls higher up.

Afterward, continue driving east to Dyrhólaey, a massive rock promontory and natural arch home to more colonies of puffins. You can stop to admire the panoramic clifftop views of the arch and ocean, plus snap some highly Instagrammable coastal pics. During summer, you can even see whales and dolphins frolicking in the ocean below.

Then get back on the road, continuing to the southern coastal town of Vík. On the way, look for the turnoff for Reynisfjara Beach. This volcanic black beach is famous for its Reynisdrangar sea stacks—huge basalt hexagonal formations rising up out of the sand. You can hike around the cliffs here and enjoy ocean views as well as explore a couple of large caves. At the end of the day, you'll drive to your hotel in the village of Kirkjubæjarklaustur, near Vík. 

Day 7: Jökulsárlón Lagoon & Waterfalls

Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
The Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon is the deepest lake in the country

Hop in the car this morning and hit the road for a full day of visiting glaciers and waterfalls in Iceland's miraculous south. First up is Jökulsárlón. Located about 2.5 hours up the coast from Vík, this is the deepest glacial lake in the country at 656 feet (200 m). It's a great place to enjoy a boat or kayak tour, as you can paddle around floating icebergs that are over 1,000 years old. 

You'll also visit landmarks like Skaftafell and Svartifoss, two towering waterfalls. Svartifoss is particularly impressive, as it cascades 65 feet (20 m) over basalt lava columns into a lagoon below. And if you like, stop for lunch in the charming fishing town of Höfn. There's no shortage of restaurants here serving fresh seafood, and there's also a visitor center worth stopping at that offers info on the nearby Vatnajökull. Covering an area of 3,130 square miles (8,100 sq km) this is Europe's largest glacier by area.

From Höfn it's a short drive southwest to Diamond Beach. This volcanic beach is so named due to the iceberg fragments that wash ashore from the nearby glacial lake and sparkle in the light. While here, you may get lucky and spot seals, porpoises, or small whales on or near the shore. At the end of the afternoon, you'll drive back to Kirkjubæjarklaustur and your hotel.

Day 8: Þórsmörk 4WD Tour & Hiking

Go off-roading and hiking in the mountains and valleys of Þórsmörk

Leave your rental car behind this morning as you hop in a 4WD vehicle with a local guide and embark on a rugged off-roading adventure in Þórsmörk (Thórsmörk). Literally translating to "Valley of Thor," this aptly-named mountain ridge sits between the Tindfjallajökull and Eyjafjallajökull ice caps and was designated as a nature reserve in 1918. Its diverse landscape is characterized by impressive gorges, ravines, scrubby slopes, waterfalls, and dried lava fields.

During this full-day excursion, you'll drive along many of the aforementioned scenic landscapes. There are also plenty of hiking trails in the park, and you can choose an adventure on foot. As you go, your guide will share insight into the region's geology and point out fascinating landmarks at each one. One incredible site is Gígjökull, a glacier impacted by rushing flood waters when the volcano under the Eyjafjallajökull ice cap erupted in 2010. After a day of driving and hiking, return to the meeting point and transfer to a nearby hotel, or you can camp in the park. 

Day 9: Drive the South Coast to Reykjavík

Make some optional stops on the way to Reykjavík, like Kerid Crater

Enjoy breakfast in Þórsmörk (possibly around a campfire), followed by a brisk nature hike. Then, in the afternoon, you'll leave Þórsmörk for the 1.5-hour drive up the south coast toward Reykjavík. If you like, you can make a couple of stops at famous landmarks on the way. One fun option is the Kerid Crater. This 3,000-year-old volcanic caldera is a popular stop due to the deep blue crater lake at its base. Hike down the red and green slopes of the caldera to the waterfront, where you can take some truly captivating photos.

You might also want to stop at Seljavallalaug Pool. Located just west of Skógar village, this 82-foot (25 m) public pool was built in 1923, making it one of the oldest in the country. Situated next to a river and nestled between sloping hills, it's a great place to take a dip, relax, and enjoy the geothermal waters, which remain at 68-86°F (20-35°C). Eventually, you'll arrive in Reykjavík and check into your hotel. Then you can enjoy your penultimate evening in Iceland however you like.

Day 10: Visit Reykjanes Peninsula & Blue Lagoon, Depart

Before leaving, stop for a dip in Iceland's famous Blue Lagoon

No need to stop having fun yet. In the morning, you'll return to the Reykjanes Peninsula for a self-guided tour until it's time for your flight. Highlights include lava fields, fishing villages, and the UNESCO World Heritage Reykjanes Geopark. This hotbed of geological activity is the only place on Earth where the Mid-Atlantic Ridge is visible above sea level.

The most famous destination on this peninsula is the Blue Lagoon. If there's time, stop for a soak in its milky blue waters, 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. Speaking of that water, its rich mineral content and algae and silica offer many health benefits. It's even a proven treatment for psoriasis.

Other locales you may want to visit include Reykjanesviti, the oldest lighthouse in Iceland, built in 1878. Nearby is a footbridge over a fissure separating the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. A walk across it means you're taking a stroll between two continents. Afterward, drive to the airport, where you'll drop off your rental car and catch your flight home. Bless!

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Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Iceland? Check out these other Iceland itineraries, explore different ways to spend 10 days in Iceland, and learn about the best time to visit Iceland.


Map of Epic Iceland: Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Golden Circle, South Coast, Westman Islands & Þórsmörk - 10 Days
Map of Epic Iceland: Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Golden Circle, South Coast, Westman Islands & Þórsmörk - 10 Days