Day 1: Arrive in Iceland, Soak in the Blue Lagoon, Explore Reykjavik
Welcome to Iceland! Arrive at Keflavik Airport in the morning (adjust this day if you arrive later) and head into Reykjavik to explore the town. All the main sights are within walking distance of each other, you can see as much or as little as you want before heading to your hotel to recover from any jet lag. The next 8 days are packed with adventures, and you’re going to need your rest. If you prefer to recover while floating in hot springs, take a short detour to the Blue Lagoon on your way from the airport (you can also do this on your way back to the airport and the end of your trip as your farewell to Iceland).
Day 2: Tour the Snæfellsnes Peninsula
Drive through the Snæfellsnes peninsula, enjoying a taste of the best of Iceland in a small, manageable area. You will see volcanoes, fjords, golden beaches, gorges, dramatic lava flows, and cute small towns. Spend some time at Stykkishólmur national park: Stykkishólmur crater was made famous by Jules Verne in Journey to the Center of the Earth. Visit the basalt columns at Gerðuberg and hike the path leading to the top.
Walk along the lava fields at Búðahraun where the dark black lava mixes with the warm golden sand. In Winter you can see a variety of birds and sea life on the northern side of the peninsula. Spend the night around Stykkisholmur.
Day 3: Ferry to Westfjords; Explore Geothermal Pools, Beaches, and Waterfalls
Continue north along the western side of Iceland taking a ferry to the southern West Fjords. Walk along the endless Rauðisandur (“red sand”) beach with its red, yellow, and orange sand. Drive to the westernmost point of Iceland at Ljátrabjarg and walk along the dramatic cliffs, home to thousands of birds. Finally, walk to the massive Dynjandi waterfall and experience the sheer force of mother nature. When you’re all worn out, continue to Patreksfjordur or Isafjordur to stay the night.
Day 4: Hike, Sea Kayak, or Whale Watch in Isafjordur
Spend an active day around Ísafjörður before you fly back to Reykjavik. Ísafjörður is the largest town in the western fjords and has been a trading post for at least 500 years. You can hike around the region, paddle a sea kayak around the waters, or join a whale watching trip. Fly back to Reykjavik in the evening and spend the night.
Day 5: Golden Circle Tour to Landmannalaugar
Depart from Reykjavik and tour the top sights along Iceland’s famous Golden Circle route towards Landmannalaugar where you can stay in a cottage or camp if you prefer (Mountain lodge is also possible). Hike around Þingvellir national park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, visit the famous Strokkur and Geysir geysers, and watch as glacier water pours over Gullfoss (golden falls) waterfall.
Day 6: Hike Landmannalaugar, Mountain Drive past Volcanoes
Continue exploring the Landmannalaugar region by hiking dramatic trails in landscapes that seem out of this world. Drive the mountain route of Nyrðra Fjallabak and the canyon of the volcanic Eldgjá fissure, one of the largest lava fields on earth. Visit the most deadly volcano at the Laki Crater, where an eruption from 1783-84 caused the death of 50% of Iceland’s livestock and the aftermath of crop failure and drought led to 6 million deaths globally. Finish your dramatic drive through Jökuldalir valley and spend the night in the Kirkjubæjarklaustur area.
Day 7: Jökulsárlón Glacial Lake, Hiking in Skaftafell, Ice Walking on Glaciers
Drive east along the coast to Jökulsárlón (“Glacial River Lagoon”) between Vatnajökull National park and the coast. Listen to the icebergs crack as they float in the milky blue waters. Hike or Ice walk around Skaftafell National Park before heading back to Kirkjubæjarklaustur (or all the way to Hvolsvollur if you prefer to spend the next day there).
Day 8: Hike through Fimmvörðuháls or Thorsmork
Hike past 26 waterfalls and around 2 of the youngest mountains along the Fimmvörðuháls trail. Magni and Móði were created in 2010 as part of the Eyjafjallajökull eruption. This 25km/16mi hike offers some of the best scenery in Iceland, and the challenging hike is worth the effort. If you prefer something a bit shorter, hike in the Þórsmörk (Thorsmork) valley, known as the “land of Thor”. Spend the night around Hvolsvollur.
Day 9: South Shore Sights, back to Reykjavik
Discover Iceland’s scenic south shore on your way back to Reykjavik. Stop at waterfalls, black sand beaches, lava fields, and small fishing villages. If you skipped the Blue Lagoon on your way in, take one last soak in Icelandic geothermal pools before you head to the airport.