Day 1: Exploring Reykjavik
Arrive at KEF in the morning and pick up your rental car and drive to downtown Reykjavik. If you like, you can stop at the Blue Lagoon for a couple hours on your way (it opens at 8am and is just 20 minutes from the airport), or you can do that on your last day instead.
- Bergsson Mathús (opens at 7am)
- Sandholt (opens at 7am)
- Reykjavik Roasters (coffee)
- Brauð & Co. (bread and pastries)
Things to do in 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 class 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.
Driving Time: 40 min to Reykjavik.
Day 2: Glymur Falls, Borgarnes, Snæfellsnes Peninsula
Drive north from Reykjavik (1-hour drive) and hike to Glymur Falls, Iceland's tallest waterfall (~2 hours out and back). You’ll hike beside a narrow canyon which makes for some great photographs. If you had an early start and it’s not yet late afternoon, stop by Hraunfossar (“Lava Falls”) and Barnafoss (Children's waterfall), regarded as some of the most unique and spectacular waterfalls in Iceland, where clear subterranean water seeps through the lava fields, pouring out of the rocks, creating Hraunfossar.
Stop in Borgarnes on the water, where you can learn more about the Settlement age of Iceland at the Settlement Center, or walk along the shore path near the water. If you have extra time, make some extra stops at the other quaint historical towns like Reykholt and Hvanneyri.
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.
Some of this places allow for longer hikes. They are all mostly flat (but the ground can be uneven in places). Walk as far as you feel comfortable, you will be impressed by nature after only a few minutes walking from the parking lots.
Your first stop will be the Gerðuberg Basalt Cliffs, where strange basalt columns rise up out of the earth. Park the car and walk around exploring and getting a closer look. Next, walk through the start of the Budhahraun lava fields on the coast, covered in moss.
Walk along the cliff-side paths at Arnarstapi, where you will see really cool cliffs, lava formations, and arches in the rocks. In Hellnar, stop at the small Fjöruhúsið cafe near the water to taste their delicious fish soup and enjoy the setting.
Driving Times: 2.5 hours from Reykjavik to Hellnar (3 hours if you take the detour to Glymur Falls)
Day 3: More of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula
Next, you will see the huge Londrangar lava formations, which you can view from afar or walk 15 minutes to see them up close. A little further along the road is the Visitor Center for the Peninsula where you can learn more about the volcanic system and the area.
Take a stroll along Djúpalónssandur black sand beach with debris from a shipwreck (cool to photograph the rusted mangled metal pieces on the black sand). Here you will find 4 stones of different sizes. These were used by sea captains to test the strength of people wanting to join their crew.
Continue your drive around the other side of the peninsula and end your day with a visit to Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall with Kirkjufell mountain in the background (one of Iceland's most photographed).
Finish exploring the Snaefellsnes Peninsula and drive south to Reykjavik. Drive into the Berserkjahraun Lava Fields, or drive to Stykkishólmur and stop by the Volcano Museum.
If you have some extra time, you can stop by Hraunfossar (“Lava Falls”) and Barnafoss (Children's waterfall), regarded as some of the most unique and spectacular waterfalls in Iceland, where clear subterranean water seeps through the lava fields, pouring out of the rocks, creating Hraunfossar.
Continue south to Reykjavik to spend your last evening with a nice meal and getting a taste of the nightlife.
Accommodation: Spend the night in Reykjavik of closer to Keflavik if you have an early morning departure.
Day 4: Blue Lagoon, Departure
Enjoy a stroll through Reykjavik on your last morning seeing any sights you missed on your first day, then head to KEF airport for your flight back home.
If you like, stop at the Blue Lagoon on your drive to the airport where you can enjoy one last geothermal soak before you fly home.
Driving Times: 40 min to KEF