This 15-day Iceland adventure combines tours of natural wonders with enough outdoor excursions to keep you active each day of the trip. You'll be hiking up volcanoes, kayaking the Icelandic coast, riding ATVs on lava fields, climbing ice walls, soaring over gorges on zip lines, and much more. Round out this trip of a lifetime with whale watching, visiting waterfalls, and soaking in natural hot springs.


  • Explore the rugged coastline of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula
  • Hike through highland nature reserves and up volcanoes
  • Ride ATVs on lava fields and go kayaking off the coast
  • Take a speedboat to offshore islands and walk along glaciers

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Iceland, Explore the Snæfellsnes Peninsula Snæfellsnes Peninsula
Day 2 Kayaking Near Mount Kirkjufell Snæfellsnes Peninsula
Day 3 Whale Watching in Ólafsvík, Drive to Reykjavík Reykjavík
Days 4-6 Hiking the Southern Highlands Landmannalaugar
Day 7 ATV Tour From Reykjavík Reykjavík
Day 8 Golden Circle Tour & Zip Line Ride Golden Circle
Day 9 Day Hike at Thórsmörk Thórsmörk
Day 10 Day Trip to Westman Islands & Boat Tour Westman Islands
Day 11 South Coast Scenic Drive, Glacier Snowmobiling Kirkjubæjarklaustur
Day 12 Skaftafell Nature Reserve & Nature Hike Kirkjubæjarklaustur
Day 13 Tour the Reykjanes Peninsula & Sky Lagoon Reykjanes Peninsula
Day 14 Fagradalsfjall Volcano Hike Reykjanes Peninsula
Day 15 Drive to Keflavík & Depart   

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Iceland, Explore the Snæfellsnes Peninsula

The rugged coast of Snæfellsnes Peninsula
Welcome to Iceland! Known as the Land of Ice and Fire, this is one of the most unique nations on the planet. It's a volcanic island, one that has only been inhabited for a little over 1,000 years. Even today, the country's ruggedly beautiful landscapes are defined by high geological activity that results in everything from natural hot springs and geysers to waterfalls and volcanic eruptions.   
You won't waste any time discovering these marvels of Mother Nature, because upon arrival at Keflavík Airport, in western Iceland, you'll pick up your rental car and head north to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. This 56-mile (90-km) peninsula is regarded as "Iceland in miniature," as it's home to beautiful scenery and many of the kinds of landmarks that have made the country famous.
The region is dominated by the snow-capped Snæfellsjökull volcano, and elsewhere you'll find unique rock formations, desolate lava fields, windswept beaches, and rugged sea cliffs. There are also historic coastal villages and prime areas to go whale and orca spotting. After visiting a few of these natural wonders and man-made attractions, like the striking Black Church of Budir, you'll continue to a nearby town, where you'll overnight. 

Day 2: Kayaking Near Mount Kirkjufell

Kirkjufellfoss waterfall
Kirkjufellfoss waterfall and Mount Kirkjufell

Today, you'll visit one of the highlights of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula: the three-tiered waterfall of Kirkjufellsfoss. Backed by the rounded peak of Mount Kirkjufell, this stunning landmark was featured in the TV series "Game of Thrones." But you won't merely be hiking around Kirkjufellsfoss—you'll be traveling down its river on a two-hour kayak excursion. The ride will take you from Kirkjufell to the sea where you can paddle around the beautiful Icelandic coastline, with plenty of stops to take photos. You might even encounter a curious seal or two. 

Day 3: Whale Watching in Ólafsvík, Drive to Reykjavík

Whale Watching Ólafsvík
See orcas in Ólafsvík
In the morning, you'll take a drive to Ólafsvík, a village located on the north side of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. It's a charming port town surrounded by mountains and waterfalls, but rather than a nature hike, you're here to go whale watching. When you arrive, you'll board a boat for a 3.5-hour tour to the offshore spots where giants swim in the shadow of the Snæfellsjökull glacier. Nowhere else in Iceland is there a better chance to see orcas, sperm whales, and pilot whales than along this beautiful stretch of coastline. Afterward, you'll continue to Iceland's capital Reykjavík, where you'll overnight. 

Days 4-6: Hiking the Southern Highlands

Explore Landmannalaugar
Board a bus today the three-hour ride south from Reykjavík to the southern highlands and the Fjallabak Nature Reserve. Within it is Landmannalaugar, an area of dramatic natural beauty, filled with painted mountains, hot springs, and lava fields. It's one of the most popular areas in Iceland for multi-day trekking, which is exactly what you'll be doing over the next three days.
During this series of day hikes, you'll alternate between relaxing in geothermal baths and testing your endurance on long-distance treks around canyons, craters, and volcanic mountains colored pink, blue, yellow, and green. At the end of each day, you'll return to the bus and overnight at a lodge in the area. When the excursion is over, you'll transfer back to Reykjavík.

Day 7: ATV Tour From Reykjavík

Race around Iceland on an ATV
Plan your trip to Iceland
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
After breakfast, you'll head 15 minutes outside of Reykjavik where you'll trade the car for an ATV. Upon arrival at the base camp you'll suit up and, after receiving safety instructions, take off on your quad bike for a one-hour trip around the Icelandic countryside. During this off-roading adventure, you'll follow a scenic route over lava fields and up to the summit of Mount Hagafell, which overlooks the famous Blue Lagoon. This activity is good fun for the whole family, and beginners are welcome.

Day 8: Golden Circle Tour & Zip Line Ride

The nightly Gullfoss 
Today you'll hit the road on a driving tour along the country's most famous sightseeing route: the Golden Circle. This 190-mile (300 km) circuit passes 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. Besides the famous sights, there are lesser-visited gems like the crater lake Kerid and the hot springs at the town of Hveragerði.
Besides the sightseeing, you'll stop along to enjoy the Golden Circle's newest adventure activity: a zip line ride. Opened in 2022, the Megazipline Iceland is the country's longest zip line, as it runs for over half a mile (1 km) over the Kambar Plateau. As you soar over the gaping gorge of Svartagljúfur, you'll be treated to a birds-eye view of waterfalls, rivers, and mountains. Afterward, you'll continue to a hotel in the area, where you'll overnight. 

Day 9: Day Hike at Thórsmörk

The mountain ridges of Thórsmörk

After breakfast, hit the road toward Thórsmörk, a mountain ridge named after the Norse god of thunder. Designated as a reserve in 1918, it's located between the Tindfjallajökull and Eyjafjallajökull glaciers and is home to one of the largest birch forests in Iceland. It's a great place to spend the day on a nature hike, and even the route getting there is exciting, as it follows backcountry tracks with river crossings.

Once at the ridge, you can choose between various hiking trails. Some are longer and some are shorter, but all offer incredible views. You'll pass by unique rock formations, deep gorges, and rugged mountain slopes as you cross dried lava fields to secluded waterfalls. Many trails offer panoramic views of the three glaciers in the area—Tindfjallajökull, Eyjafjallajökull, and Mýrdalsjökull—as well as the massive gorges of Goðaland. At the end of the day, you'll check in to a hotel in the area.

Day 10: Day Trip to Westman Islands & Boat Tour

See puffin colonies on the Westman Islands
Off the southern coast of Iceland are the Westman Islands. Among other things, they're famous for having the largest puffin colony in the world. Also here is Stórhöfði, a peninsula with the distinction of being the windiest place in Iceland. In the morning, you'll transfer from the mainland to Heimaey, the largest island in the archipelago. It's an off-the-beaten-path gem offering great hikes amid colorful volcanic landscapes.
On a half-day tour, you'll visit the puffin colony as well as other highlights like the Eldheimar Museum, which is dedicated to the devastating volcanic eruption of 1973. Another landmark you won't want to miss is the Stafkirkjan Stave Church, which was a gift from Norway. You'll also have the option to embark on a variety of walking and hiking trails to volcanoes, coastal cliffs, and lava fields.
Later in the day, you'll hop in a RIB speedboat for a one-hour ride around the islands. This is the fastest and most fun way to see as much of this region as possible. As you zip over the waves, your guide will impart interesting facts about the history of the islands and the natural wonders here. You'll also get a chance to explore sea caves and visit the iconic Elephant Rock. Keep an eye out during the ride, as there will be ample opportunities to spot sea birds like fulmars, kittiwakes, gannets, and puffins. It's also not uncommon to glimpse seals and whales.

Day 11:  South Coast Scenic Drive, Glacier Snowmobiling

Black Sand Beach and Rocks of Reynisfjara
Black sand beach and rock formations at Reynisfjara
In the morning, you'll set off for a drive down Iceland's famous Route 1 to see the most stunning landmarks in the region. Stop 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.
In the afternoon, you'll head over to the Mýrdalsjökull ice cap, which is Iceland's fourth largest glacier and sits atop the Katla volcano. Getting there requires traveling up the mountain in a glacier truck, which takes about 30 minutes each way. Once at the glacier, you'll travel across its surface in a unique way: on the back of a snowmobile. During this 2.5-hour excursion, you'll zip around the ice cap while enjoying the breathtaking views over south Iceland. The tour is suitable even for beginners, as all safety equipment is provided and it's led by expert guides. 

Day 12: Skaftafell Nature Reserve & Nature Hike

Diamond Beach
Today, you'll travel to the southernmost end of Iceland. These landscapes are dominated by Vatnajökull, the country's largest glacier. Within the national park here is the Skaftafell Nature Reserve, a wilderness area featuring waterfalls, volcanoes, lagoons, and Vatnajökull's outlet glaciers.
On a visit here, you'll have the option to embark on a short hike to Svartifoss, a thin waterfall cascading over basalt cliffs. You'll also travel to nearby Fjaðrárgljúfur, perhaps the most dramatic river canyon in the country, and stop at Diamond Beach, which is so named due to the iceberg fragments that wash ashore from the nearby glacial lake and sparkle in the light.

Day 13: Tour the Reykjanes Peninsula & Sky Lagoon

Gunnuhver Hot Springs, in Reykjanes Geopark

In the morning, you'll head out on a road trip to see the highlights of the Reykjanes Peninsula. There's a lot of scenery to enjoy here, including 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. Another standout is Krýsuvík, a geothermal area filled with hot springs, steam vents, and mud pots.

Similarly, you can visit the bubbling and steaming mud cauldrons at Gunnuhver Hot Springs, named after a female ghost who was supposedly trapped here by a priest about 400 years ago. There are also some amazing views along the nearby cliffs. Here, you'll find Reykjanesviti, the oldest lighthouse in Iceland, which dates to 1878. Nearby is the Bridge Between Continents, a footbridge over a fissure separating the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates.

After the sightseeing, you'll have time to relax. A few minutes south of downtown Reykjavík is Sky Lagoon, a geothermal hot spring overlooking the North Atlantic Ocean. The temperatures of the pools here range between 100-104°F (38-40°C), which is perfect for a nice long soak. There are optional spa services at this facility, too, like the Seven-Step Ritual. This involves alternating between soaking in the hot springs and taking cold plunges. Follow that with a trip to the sauna and then step out into a refreshing cold-fog mist. 

Day 14: Fagradalsfjall Volcano Hike

See the active Fagradalsfjall volcano

After breakfast, you'll drive to Geldingadalur Valley, at the south end of the peninsula, for a hike to Fagradalsfjall. This once-dormant volcano made news when it erupted in March 2021 and then continued erupting for 183 days straight. Currently, Fagradalsfjall holds the record for being the longest volcanic eruption of the 21st century. Despite the recent activity, this half-day volcano hike is safe, as you'll be led by an expert guide who will check the activity and conditions beforehand.

If you are given the green light to proceed, you'll head out on the trail. Over the first couple of hours, you'll pass dried lava fields, steam vents, and conical peaks. Eventually, you'll arrive near the fissures of Fagradalsfjall and see fresh lava fields merging with the old. Your guide will get you as close as is safely possible to these lava fields to ensure you take the best photos.

Day 15: Drive to Keflavík & Depart 

Goodbye, Iceland

Unfortunately, your active adventure in Iceland has come to an end. At the appropriate time, you'll make your way to the airport to drop off your car and catch your departing flight. Bless!

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Map of Ultimate Iceland: Nature, Hiking & Outdoor Adventures - 15 Days
Map of Ultimate Iceland: Nature, Hiking & Outdoor Adventures - 15 Days