If you are short on time, or perhaps you are looking for an extended layover on your way from Europe to North America or vice versa, your options in Iceland are limited to closer to Reykjavik. Here is a 3-day itinerary that will still let you experience some of the spectacular beauty of Iceland.

Day 1: Arrival, Blue Lagoon, Reykjavik in the Evening

Arrive at KEF international airport and head to the Blue Lagoon. Transport options include taxis (quite expensive in Iceland), rental car, or the so-called Flybus (airport shuttle). 

After enjoying the Blue Lagoon, continue to Reykjavik. 

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.

Stay in Reykjavik.

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Day 2: South Coast Tour and Glacier Walk

Highlights

  • Seljalandsfoss waterfall
  • Sólheimajökull Glacier
  • Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach
  • Skógafoss waterfall
  • Eyjafjallajökull Glacier / Volcano view
  • Hekla Volcano view
  • Glacier Hike

Today you will have a long day (~12 hours) as you  explore the South Coast. You can do this using your rental car, a small group tour or private tour. 

Suggested stops include the Seljalandsfoss waterfall, where you can walk behind the magnificent wall of water and feel the power generated by the fall. Seljalandsfoss is an excellent place for great photos.

Next step on your journey is a giant step for those that have never set foot on a glacier. Hear the ancient ice crack as you safely enjoy your hike on the glacier tongue with a certified glacier guide.

After the thrill of the glacier, head for Reynisfjara where you can leisurely stroll along the black sand beach known for its famous basalt columns and caverns. Witness the Reynisdrangar cliffs and basalt rock stacks that rise from the sea, which Icelandic legends say are mischievous trolls turned into rock by the rising sun.

Your final stop is the Skógafoss waterfall. Here you can walk right up to the 60-meter high thundering waterfall and feel the spray on your face. You can even walk up the 527 steps to gain a bird’s eye view of the cascading water and rainbows.

Head back to Reykjavik from here (approximately 2 hours of driving).

Alternative option: If you want to spend a bit less time driving today, you can opt for the "Golden Circle" instead.  This is a 300km loop near Reykjavik that takes you along Thingvellir National Park, Geysir geothermal area and Gullfoss (golden falls), a magnificent waterfall with a massive amount of water.

Day 3: Downtown Reykjavik, Departure

Spend your morning in Reykjavik exploring the small, funky downtown area, and tick off the things you missed (or repeat things you loved) on your first day. 

Then head back to the international airport to catch your flight. Farewell for now.... you should come back and spend more time on this amazing island. 

Map

Map of 3 Days in Iceland: Blue Lagoon, South Coast, Reykjavik - 3-day itinerary
Map of 3 Days in Iceland: Blue Lagoon, South Coast, Reykjavik - 3-day itinerary