Best of Northern Iceland

Top itineraries and travel advice in and around Northern Iceland
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Northern Iceland Essentials

Streets of downtown Akureyri
Where to Eat & Drink In Akureyri

Despite being Iceland’s second largest city, Akureyri is home to a mere 18,000 residents. Don’t let its size fool you though: this epicenter of Northern Iceland is home to world-class restaurants, hip cafés, and even a few hotspots for nightlife.

The Blue Lagoon in Iceland
The Best Hot Springs Experiences in Iceland

Iceland's hot springs are world-famous, as many travelers flock to the country to soak in the hot and healing geothermal pools. You'll find hot springs in every corner of the country, including popular baths like The Blue Lagoon and Fontana near Reykjavík. Or, you can venture out of the west and visit unique pools like Vök Baths and GeoSea. If you want a true adventure, you'll also find baths that require hikes, like the scenic Seljavallalaug pool.

Akureyri at Night
Best Things to Do in Akureyri

Whether it’s summer or winter, Akureyri proudly reigns as Iceland's second city. It may be no larger than a small town, but the capital of Northern Iceland abounds with activity. From taking in the town's history to hiking north of the Arctic Circle, Akureyri has something for every traveler.

The scenery of Northern Iceland
Best Things to Do in Northern Iceland

Northern Iceland is a special region offering unique experiences not experienced by those who only visit the country's southern and western portions. In the north, you'll find an idyllic stretch of the famed Ring Road, passing through places like Húsavík, Iceland's whale-watching capital. In addition, you'll discover less-crowded alternatives to the popular Blue Lagoon and can explore Askja, one of the country's wildest regions. But don't worry, the north also boasts waterfalls, mountains, glaciers, and thermal baths!

Iceland's colorful and historical towns
Top Cultural & Historical Experiences in Iceland

Iceland's culture is deeply rooted in its Nordic region, with a settlement period going back centuries to when the locals worshipped gods and goddesses and before the Vikings had even arrived. You can experience this history and culture throughout the country by visiting museums devoted to architecture and folklore or learning about the Vikings through interactive exhibitions. Discover Icelandic sea monsters, stop by the birthplace of Leif Eiriksson, catch the sunlight at the Arctic Henge sundial, observe traditional turf houses, and more.

Iceland's famed glacier lagoon
Top Winter Experiences in Iceland

Winter in Iceland offers many unique activities that you can't always experience in other seasons. Make the most out of the limited daylight with wintry adventures, such as kayaking amongst icebergs, exploring electric-blue ice caves, dogsledding with a pack of Huskies, snowmobiling atop glaciers, hiking in the snow, or tracking the country's wild reindeer population during their annual migration.

Volcanic eruption in Iceland
Top Volcano Experiences in Iceland

Many travelers visit Iceland for its unique terrain, volcanic activity, and geologic history. Known as the Land of Fire and Ice, Iceland has many volcanoes, with some covered in ice caps. You can hike atop an active volcano, walk across lava fields and steamy valleys, or visit lava tunnels and museums. Learn about the inner workings of Iceland's volcanoes and discover how they connect to the glaciers and mountains that surround them.

The beautiful and powerful Skogafoss waterfall
Top Waterfall Experiences in Iceland

Iceland's scenic waterfalls are a huge draw to the country, as many are easily accessible and tower from impossible heights into scenic river canyons. The country's famed cascades are diverse, from Kirkjufellsfoss with its magnificent mountain backdrop to Seljalandsfoss with its impressive spray within a cave. You'll find waterfalls in every corner of the country, though some of the most popular include Skogafoss in the south and Godafoss in the north.

Kayak in a glacier lagoon
Top Active Experiences in Iceland

Although Iceland offers a diverse range of activities to enjoy, its natural environment is one of its main draws—and with that comes a nearly endless assortment of active outdoor excursions. Experience kayaking through a glacial lagoon or hiking to the country's many waterfalls. Go ice climbing up one of the glaciers or ride horses along the coast. Snorkel between tectonic plates and zip line over river canyons. You can do all this and more in beautiful Iceland.

Experience the unique scenery of the Ring Road
Best Things to Do on the Ring Road

Route 1—known as Iceland's famed Ring Road—loops around the entire country, allowing you to see all the sights, east to west, north to south. A road trip along the Ring Road features some of Iceland's most popular destinations, like the Blue Lagoon, the canyons and glaciers of the South Coast, the famous Gulfoss waterfall, black-sand beaches, and geothermal areas. In addition, the route is packed with excursions like glacier hikes, river rafting, hiking, and (of course) soaking in hot springs.

Northern Iceland Itineraries

Hverfjall Crater rises in the distance of the Dimmuborgir lava fields
Map of 5-Day Tour of the North: Akureyri, Lake Myvatn, Waterfalls, and Geothermal Hotspots
5-Day Tour of the North: Akureyri, Lake Myvatn, Waterfalls, and Geothermal Hotspots

For a unique Iceland experience, avoid the crowds of the south completely. This trip has it all: volcanoes, waterfalls, hot springs, nature baths, whale watching, fjords and more. Below are 2 great ways to experience the north: all the highlights with only a fraction of the people. You can maximize your time by taking a domestic flight over the beautiful highlands of the interior to Akureyri, or you can drive one way and fly from Akureyri back to Reykjavik.

Lake Mývatn
Map of Best of Northern Iceland: Arctic Coast & Lake Mývatn - 6 Days
Best of Northern Iceland: Arctic Coast & Lake Mývatn - 6 Days

New visitors and returning travelers who’ve experienced the Golden Circle and South Coast can enjoy the best of Northern Iceland—without the crowds. First, explore Glymur Falls in West Iceland, followed by visits to turf houses, the Hvitserkur rock formation, and geothermal pools along the Arctic Coast. Next, tour Akureyri, the stunning Goðafoss Waterfall, and Lake Mývatn at length. Then, go whale watching in Husavik, before heading back west to discover the highlights of Reykjavík and the Reykjanes Peninsula, with a relaxing grand finale at the Blue Lagoon.

Goðafoss Waterfall
Map of Quick Road Trip to Iceland's North & Lake Mývatn - 5 Days
Quick Road Trip to Iceland's North & Lake Mývatn - 5 Days

Take a different route—past the large crowds in the south—on this quick and scenic, five-day road trip. This itinerary is especially enticing for those who have been to popular areas, like the South Coast and Golden Circle, as it incorporates different regions. In West Iceland, hike to Glymur Falls, then head to the Artic Coast to check out turf houses, basalt formations, and the geothermal pools. Tour and spend two nights in Akureyri, along with discovering Goðafoss Waterfall and Lake Mývatn’s highlights, before enjoying time in the capital and a soak in the Blue Lagoon.

Wild Icelandic horses in the Snæfellsnes Peninsula
Map of Iceland Off the Beaten Path: Snæfellsnes, Akureyri,  Lake Mývatn & More - 9 Days
Iceland Off the Beaten Path: Snæfellsnes, Akureyri, Lake Mývatn & More - 9 Days

This 9-day self-drive adventure is a great alternative to the full Ring Road loop, especially during summer months when Iceland tourism hits its peak. With more than a week, you'll experience a range of incredible landscapes all over the island, like rugged peninsulas, hot springs, volcanoes, lava fields, small fishing towns, and waterfall hikes with only a fraction of the crowds. To shorten this itinerary, skip the East Fjords and fly back to Reykjavík from Akureyri.

Lake Mývatn
Map of West & North Iceland Escape: Snaefellsnes Peninsula, Arctic Coast, Lake Mývatn, & More - 8 Days
West & North Iceland Escape: Snaefellsnes Peninsula, Arctic Coast, Lake Mývatn, & More - 8 Days

Explore the scenic peninsulas, waterfalls, lakes, and more on this eight-day tour through Iceland’s west and north regions. This route, especially, allows you to beat the summer crowds headed to the South Coast and Golden Circle, providing more time to hike and take in magnificent viewpoints in destinations like Glymur Falls, Lake Mývatn, Asbyrgi Canyon, and Dettifoss. Absorb the stunning black-sand beaches and small fishing towns in Snaefellsnes Peninsula. Take more time in the Arctic Coast and remote Northeast, and go whale watching in Husavik. End the trip with a tour of the geothermal highlights of the Reykjanes Peninsula.

The northern lights over Iceland
Map of North & West Iceland Family Adventure - 7 Days
North & West Iceland Family Adventure - 7 Days

Discover Iceland's wilder side with this whirlwind, seven-day road trip that takes you through the highlights of the country's north and west. Ideal for active families with older kids, experience thundering waterfalls, glacier volcanoes, geothermal hot springs, and ice caves as you journey from the Snæfellsnes Peninsula to the shores of Lake Mývatn. With exhilarating excursions aplenty, create treasured memories and enjoy quality family time while uncovering the land of ice and fire.

Hverir near Lake Mývatn
Map of Best of Iceland's West & North - 7 Days
Best of Iceland's West & North - 7 Days

Lose the tourists crowding the South in the summer, and hit Iceland’s West and North, instead. This weeklong journey is a great second trip plan for those who’ve already visited popular areas (like the Golden Circle and South Coast). Spend time along the Arctic Coast and explore the remote northeast. Go whale watching in Husavik, tour the geothermal marvel that is Lake Mývatn, discover the fishing towns, black-sand beaches, and cliffs along the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, and more.

Glymur Falls
Map of Iceland Summer Escape: West & North Iceland - 9 Days
Iceland Summer Escape: West & North Iceland - 9 Days

Visit the best of the west and north regions of Iceland on this nine-day trip. Although this route is not recommended for winter travel, it is a great way to skip the summer crowds headed south. Visit the black-sand beaches and fishing towns in the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, go on scenic hikes to Dettifoss and Asbyri Canyon, and take in the incredible sights around Lake Mývatn. Enjoy time in the Arctic Coast and less-populated Northeast, along with some whale watching in Husavik. On the way back to the capital, stop in West Iceland’s Borgarnes, and take a memorable hike to Glymur Falls.

Iceland's Blue Lagoon
Map of Winter in Iceland: Relax & Reconnect - 7 Days
Winter in Iceland: Relax & Reconnect - 7 Days

If your goal is to reinvigorate your mind and body while connecting with nature, there are few better places for it than Iceland. On this winter getaway, you'll take a road trip along famous circuit routes dotted with stunning scenery like rivers, waterfalls, rugged beaches, geothermal areas, and historic villages. And almost every day of the trip, you'll stop at natural hot springs to relax and recharge.

Iceland
Map of Iceland Winter Holiday: In the Footsteps of Vikings - 7 Days
Iceland Winter Holiday: In the Footsteps of Vikings - 7 Days

This seven-day road trip in Iceland is as much a journey through Viking history as a sightseeing tour of incredible natural wonders. Not only will you see highlight waterfalls, beaches, and geothermal sites, but you'll also visit museums and historic locales like the home of Leif Erikson. As a bonus, you'll do some whale watching and go on a photo tour to see the northern lights.

Lake Myvatn, Iceland
Map of Reykjavík, Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Lake Mývatn & Akureyri: Best Itinerary Ideas
Reykjavík, Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Lake Mývatn & Akureyri: Best Itinerary Ideas

Travelers to Iceland typically plan a trip for 8 to 10 days when combining Reykjavík, the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Lake Mývatn, and Akureyri with South Coast and East Fjords. For travelers wanting to visit Reykjavík, Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Lake Mývatn, and Akureyri exclusively, plan a week to eight days for a well-paced trip. Read on for the best itineraries, including Reykjavík, Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Lake Mývatn, and Akureyri and beyond.

Dettifoss is one of the most powerful falls in Europe
Map of Iceland West to North: Golden Circle, Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Husavik, Akureyri & More - 10 Days
Iceland West to North: Golden Circle, Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Husavik, Akureyri & More - 10 Days

This savvy 10-day Iceland tour bypasses the summer crowds in favor of remote road-trip adventures in the west and north. After touring the waterfalls of the Golden Circle, head to the volcanic beaches and rugged cliffs on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, then continue to the far north and the Arctic coast. Discover the fjords of Tröllaskagi, go whale watching in Húsavik, explore the lunar landscapes of Mývatn and more.

Children playing in Iceland
Map of Best of Iceland's Wild West & Arctic North: Family Friendly Road Trip - 10 Days
Best of Iceland's Wild West & Arctic North: Family Friendly Road Trip - 10 Days

Leave your cares behind you on this rejuvenating 10-day Icelandic family adventure that kicks off in the iconic Blue Lagoon Spa and ends with a journey into the icy heart of the Langjökull glacier. Along the way, discover Norse mythology, waterfalls, and lava caves among the wild beauty of Borgarfjörður and the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. Go horseback riding, whale watching, and puffin spotting along the northern coast, then head for the myriad charms of Reykjavík via the geothermal wonders of Lake Mývatn.

Explore Iceland along its most-famous road
Map of Iceland Road Trip: Reykjavik to Akureyri - 8 Days
Iceland Road Trip: Reykjavik to Akureyri - 8 Days

This photogenic self-drive adventure along the Ring Road travels from Iceland's capital to its 2nd largest city on the sunnier north coast, with stops in lesser-known Snaefellsnes Peninsula, Husavik, and Lake Myvatn. This all-season itinerary is especially ideal for anyone interested in the unique geological features of Iceland, with lava fields, volcano hikes, massive waterfalls, and geothermal pools, not to mention cool cultural sites and Scandinavian cuisine.

Godafoss waterfall in the north
Map of Iceland's Western & Northern Highlights - 7 Days
Iceland's Western & Northern Highlights - 7 Days

On this scenic road trip, you'll skip Iceland's busier south coast in order to explore the lesser-known Snaefellsnes Peninsula and northern beauties of Akureyri, Husavik, and Lake Myvatn. This all-season itinerary is especially ideal for anyone interested in the unique geological features of Iceland, with lava fields, volcano hikes, massive waterfalls, and geothermal pools—all there for the taking.

Dettifoss waterfall in northern Iceland
Map of Iceland Relaxed Self-Drive Tour - 8 Days
Iceland Relaxed Self-Drive Tour - 8 Days

This scenic road trip traverses highlights along Iceland's west and north regions at a more relaxed pace. Starting from Reykjavik, you'll explore the Golden Circle, the lesser-known Snaefellsnes Peninsula, and continue northwest to Akureyri (Iceland's 2nd biggest hub), Husavik and Lake Myvatn for lava fields, volcano hikes, massive waterfalls, and natural hot springs.

A local resident puffin, one of millions on the Látrabjarg cliffs
Map of Best of Iceland's West & North: Snaefellsnes, Westfjords, Vatnsnes & Diamond Circle - 12 Days
Best of Iceland's West & North: Snaefellsnes, Westfjords, Vatnsnes & Diamond Circle - 12 Days

Two of Iceland's more remote and scenically stunning yet lesser-visited regions—Westfjords and North Iceland—are the focus of this scenic 12-day active self-drive adventure, which also includes the mesmerizing Snæfellsnes Peninsula. The non-stop experiences range from clifftop hikes and wildlife viewing to helicopter flightseeing, as well as visits to many of Iceland's iconic and less familiar but equally spectacular sites.

See the northern lights over Akureyri
Map of Reykjavík, Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Westfjords, Lake Mývatn & Akureyri: Best Itinerary Ideas
Reykjavík, Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Westfjords, Lake Mývatn & Akureyri: Best Itinerary Ideas

Twelve to 14 days is the most popular trip length for Iceland travelers interested in visiting Reykjavík, the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Westfjords, Lake Mývatn, and Akureyri, especially when also including the Golden Circle, South Coast, and East Fjords. If you're not interested in the Golden Circle, South Coast, and East Fjords, about 10 days are enough for your Reykjavík, Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Westfjords, Lake Mývatn, and Akureyri trip. A fast-paced highlights trip is possible in eight or nine days for travelers with limited time. Read on for the best itineraries including Reykjavík, Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Westfjords, Lake Mývatn, and Akureyri and beyond.

Ultimate Ring Road Adventure - 9 Days
Map of Ultimate Ring Road Adventure - 9 Days
Ultimate Ring Road Adventure - 9 Days

For road trip enthusiasts, it doesn't get much better than encircling Iceland along its infamous Route 1 (Ring Road). This quick-paced, self-drive itinerary will take you to the best spots along the 828-mile (1,332 km) route with plenty of detours to work the leg muscles and camera batteries. With a bit more than a week, you'll experience a variety of landscapes, like geysers, hot springs, black sand beaches, volcanoes, lava fields, small fishing towns, and massive glaciers in protected national parks.

Iceland
Map of Iceland Best of the West: Snæfellsnes & Westfjords - 15 Days
Iceland Best of the West: Snæfellsnes & Westfjords - 15 Days

The rugged beauty of Iceland was made for road-tripping, which is precisely what you'll do on this 15-day self-drive excursion. You'll be traveling through the west, which is packed full of highlights ranging from waterfalls and glaciers to fjords and natural hot springs. You'll even have time for a detour to the north, where you'll ride horses, take helicopter tours, and drive the scenic Diamond Circle route.

Godafoss Waterfall in Northern Iceland
Map of Iceland Relaxed Ring Road Adventure - 10 Days
Iceland Relaxed Ring Road Adventure - 10 Days

10 days on the road in Iceland is enough time to discover its highlights and off-the-beaten-path wonders. Loop around the famous Route 1 (Ring Road) on a relaxed self-drive adventure, stopping at big cities, active volcanoes, cascading waterfalls, dried lava fields, black beaches, quaint fishing towns, massive glaciers, and the star landmarks along the famed Golden Circle. It's gonna be a gorgeous ride.

Glymur Falls
Map of Classic Iceland Ring Road Drive - 7 Days
Classic Iceland Ring Road Drive - 7 Days

Drive Iceland's famous Ring Road on this quick, seven-day trip designed for warmer travel (so there are no slowdowns due to weather and lack of daylight in the winter). Head south to the most-visited highlights—massive waterfalls, black-sand beaches, and glaciers. Enjoy the scenic route through the East Fjords, before arriving at Lake Myvatn, surrounded by geothermal and volcanic wonders. Join a whale-watching trip from Husavik, the whale watching capital, and spend time in Reykjavik exploring the best of the city, along with enjoying a soak in the Blue Lagoon.

Northern Lights in Iceland
Map of Winter Tour of Iceland: Golden Circle, East Fjords & Diamond Circle - 7 Days
Winter Tour of Iceland: Golden Circle, East Fjords & Diamond Circle - 7 Days

This seven-day, self-drive winter adventure in Iceland starts with a visit to the Golden Circle, where you'll hike among waterfalls and volcanic craters. From there, take a guided, off-road ATV tour for a wild ride across tundra fields and unbridged streams, then head to the East Fjords to tour the Streiti coastline via Jeep. Relax in the nature baths at Lake Mývatn before concluding your travels with an evening cruise under the dancing lights of the aurora borealis.

See Iceland's wonders as a family
Map of Active Iceland Ring Road Adventure for Families - 10 Days
Active Iceland Ring Road Adventure for Families - 10 Days

Perfect for families with energetic older kids, this exhilarating 10-day road trip takes in the best of the country's natural wonders as you tour Iceland's famous Ring Road. Discover the beauty of the Golden Circle before hiking the black-sand beaches and waterfalls of the South Coast. Explore the wild Eastfjords and raft glacial whitewater in the north as you adventure among volcanoes, canyons, glaciers, and lava caves to create family memories that will last a lifetime.

Northern lights over the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon
Map of Iceland Winter Discovery: Golden Circle, East Fjords & Reykjanes Peninsula - 10 Days
Iceland Winter Discovery: Golden Circle, East Fjords & Reykjanes Peninsula - 10 Days

Nothing compares to Iceland in winter, and this 10-day self-drive tour takes you to some of its most breathtaking natural wonders and historic sites. Visit Þingvellir National Park for snorkel tours of the Silfra fissure and gushing geysers, then see the Streiti Coastline via Jeep, where you'll traverse remote roads and cross unbridged rivers. Hike the winter shores of Lake Mývatn, completing your trip with a spa day at the Blue Lagoon, where you'll soak in mineral-rich waters and enjoy a mud mask.

Snowfall over the red-roofed church in Vík
Map of Winter Tour of Iceland's Ring Road - 13 Days
Winter Tour of Iceland's Ring Road - 13 Days

This 13-day, self-drive adventure takes you along Iceland's famous Ring Road, which circles the entire country. Start in the Golden Circle for views of erupting geysers, iced-over crater lakes, and natural hot springs. Then, head to the southern coast for massive waterfalls, icebergs drifting in the sea, and black-sand beaches. Drive snowmobiles across icy glacial landscapes, search out herds of wild reindeer and close your tour in the modern city of Reykjavík with its vibrant cultural scene.

Lake Myvatn at sunset
Map of Reykjavík, South Coast, Snæfellsnes Peninsula, East Fjords, Lake Mývatn & Akureyri: Best Itinerary Ideas
Reykjavík, South Coast, Snæfellsnes Peninsula, East Fjords, Lake Mývatn & Akureyri: Best Itinerary Ideas

Eight to 10 days is a great length for an Iceland trip with stops in Reykjavík, the South Coast, Snæfellsnes Peninsula, East Fjords, Lake Mývatn, and Akureyri. Travelers with more time can enjoy extra sights and activities at each stop or explore more of the country—some favored itinerary extensions include the Golden Circle, Westfjords, or West Iceland. Get inspired with the below trip ideas for Reykjavík, the South Coast, Snæfellsnes Peninsula, East Fjords, Lake Mývatn, and Akureyri.

Have fun with the kids riding Icelandic horses
Map of  Iceland's Wild West & Arctic North Family Road Trip - 14 Days
Iceland's Wild West & Arctic North Family Road Trip - 14 Days

Switch off your devices and reconnect with your family on this captivating two-week Icelandic road trip. Touch down in Reykjavík, where you'll explore 8,000-year-old glittering lava tunnels before heading west to immerse yourselves in nature, waterfalls, and the untouched Westfjords. Along the way, hike icy glaciers, ride Icelandic horses across stunning vistas, and enjoy quality time with the kids as you venture across vast fjords, red-sand beaches, and peninsulas rich in Norse mythology.

Iceland in winter
Map of Wintry Iceland Family Adventure - 14 Days
Wintry Iceland Family Adventure - 14 Days

If you're looking for a thrilling winter trip to Iceland that traverses all the highlights via the famous Ring Road, look no further. Experience glittering snowy landscapes and the bucket-list sight of the magical northern lights with this 14-day, excursion-packed itinerary. Perfect for families with adventurous older kids, you'll dogsled your way across snowy vistas, climb ice walls, hang out with a herd of wild reindeer, and relax in the therapeutic geothermal waters of Mývatn.

Iceland Escape
Map of Iceland Off The Beaten Path: West and North Escape - 10 Days
Iceland Off The Beaten Path: West and North Escape - 10 Days

This 10-day driving itinerary is great for the summer when the crowds of the south coast and golden circle area are at their peak and accommodation can be hard to find. Instead, escape to the more remote areas of the country to experience some of the best that Iceland has to offer, with few other people to share it with.

Kirkjufell's landscape and waterfalls on the west coast
Map of Iceland Ring Road & Snaefellsnes Peninsula - 11 Days
Iceland Ring Road & Snaefellsnes Peninsula - 11 Days

On this spectacular self-drive itinerary, you'll hit the four cardinal points of Iceland as you loop clockwise around the famous Ring Road. Stop to explore volcanoes, waterfalls, lava fields, black sand beaches, and glaciers from Reykjavik to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula and beyond. Finish the adventure with a rewarding soak in the Blue Lagoon before you depart.

Dettifoss waterfall in Vatnajökull National Park in Northeast Iceland
Map of Self-Drive Iceland North, East & South: Half Circle Fly & Drive - 11 Days
Self-Drive Iceland North, East & South: Half Circle Fly & Drive - 11 Days

The best of eastern and southern Iceland awaits on this 11-day self-drive adventure that follows the Ring Road and explores the top sites of Lake Mývatn, the Eastfjords, the South Coast, and the Reykjanes Peninsula. You'll thrill to such fun activities as whale watching from Húsavik, hiking on Skaftafell glacier, and snorkeling the Silfra fissure. Plus, you'll have time to discover Reykjavik and Iceland's fascinating cultural history dating back to the Viking era.

Godafoss waterfall
Map of Classic Iceland Ring Road Adventure: Snaefellsnes & Vatnsnes Peninsulas & Golden Circle - 11 Days
Classic Iceland Ring Road Adventure: Snaefellsnes & Vatnsnes Peninsulas & Golden Circle - 11 Days

Drive your 4WD in a clockwise loop of the entire island on this 11-day active itinerary packed with exciting adventures for a complete and quintessential Icelandic experience. You'll thrill to whale watching off the North Coast, steering a snowmobile across the Langjökull Glacier, snorkeling (or even scuba diving) in the Silfra fissure, and sleeping under the Northern Lights in a bubble. Along the way, you'll explore the top sites of the Snæfellsnes and Vatnsnes peninsulas, plus the Diamond Circle and Golden Circle.

Kirkjufellsfoss Waterfall
Map of Iceland Ring Road & Snaefellsnes Peninsula - 8 Days
Iceland Ring Road & Snaefellsnes Peninsula - 8 Days

Drive Iceland's famous Ring Road on this quick, eight-day trip, which includes a detour to the volcanic Snaefellsnes Peninsula. Head south to the most visited highlights, including massive waterfalls, black-sand beaches, and glaciers. Enjoy the scenic route through the East Fjords before arriving at Lake Mývatn, surrounded by geothermal and volcanic wonders. Visit the whale-watching capital of Husavik and venture west into the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, with its small fishing towns, easy cliffside walks, and lava fields, and end by exploring the Icelandic capital city of Reykjavík. 

Town of Akureyri in North Iceland
Map of Reykjavík, Golden Circle, South Coast, Snæfellsnes Peninsula, East Fjords, Lake Mývatn & Akureyri: Best Itinerary Ideas
Reykjavík, Golden Circle, South Coast, Snæfellsnes Peninsula, East Fjords, Lake Mývatn & Akureyri: Best Itinerary Ideas

Nine to 10 days is a great length for an Iceland trip with stops in Reykjavík, the Golden Circle, South Coast, Snæfellsnes Peninsula, East Fjords, Lake Mývatn, and Akureyri. With more time, you can enjoy extra activities at each stop or a few days in another region like Westfjords, Hvammstangi, or the Reykjanes Peninsula. Get inspired with kimkim's Reykjavík, Golden Circle, South Coast, Snæfellsnes Peninsula, East Fjords, Lake Mývatn, and Akureyri trip ideas below.

North Iceland's Viti crater is filled with a bright blue lake
Map of Iceland Ring Road & Westfjords Adventure - 12 Days
Iceland Ring Road & Westfjords Adventure - 12 Days

This epic 12-day road trip is a perfect way to absorb Iceland as you traverse all four corners of the country. You'll visit popular spots along the famous 828-mile Ring Road, and head off the beaten path to detour through the Westfjords (great for mountain biking and kayaking). The self-drive loop also includes stops in Iceland's two biggest cities, and numerous natural sites like volcanoes, waterfalls, lava fields, black sand beaches, glaciers, and more.

Godafoss waterfall in the north
Map of Best of West & North Iceland - 12 Days
Best of West & North Iceland - 12 Days

This off-the-beaten-path road trip is especially great during summer months when peak crowds head for Iceland's south coast and Golden Circle (and accommodations can be hard to find). Instead, you'll escape to more remote areas of the country, traveling from Reykjavik all the way to its sunnier north coast with stops in Snaefellsnes Peninsula, the Westfjords (by way of car ferry), Husavik, and Lake Myvatn. There's plenty of time to experience unique geological features along the way with lava fields, volcano hikes, massive waterfalls, and geothermal pools, not to mention cool Scandinavian culture and cuisine.

Godafoss waterfall
Map of Iceland Ring Road & Westman Islands Highlights - 12 Days
Iceland Ring Road & Westman Islands Highlights - 12 Days

Make a complete circle of Iceland, plus explore the Westman Islands, on this 12-day self-drive itinerary that takes in a vast wealth of geological wonders, exciting activities, and cultural highlights. From whale watching, snorkeling the Silfra fissure, and a boat journey on the Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon to soaks in the Mývatn Nature Baths and Blue Lagoon, you'll experience Iceland in all its facets, north, south, east, and west.

Thorsmork Valley
Map of Classic Iceland Ring Road Adventure: ATV, Zipline & Horseback - 12 Days
Classic Iceland Ring Road Adventure: ATV, Zipline & Horseback - 12 Days

Packed with exciting activities from the off-beat to iconic experiences, this 12-day self-drive adventure also explores a long wishlist of Iceland's top sites, from Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon and the geological wonders of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula to Gullfoss, Dettifoss, and Godafoss waterfalls. You'll thrill to ziplining, rides by ATV and horseback on black-sand beaches, hiking in Þórsmörk and Fjaðrárgljúfur canyons, and soaks in geothermal lagoons and even a beer-filled hot tub.

Icelandic horses
Map of Iceland Off-the-Beaten-Path Road Trip: North & West - 12 Days
Iceland Off-the-Beaten-Path Road Trip: North & West - 12 Days

Follow an arc from eastern to western Iceland via the north coast on this 12-day active self-drive adventure. You'll pack in many of the country's most iconic sites, from Godafoss waterfall and the volcanic wonders of Lake Mývatn to the dizzying Látrabjarg cliffs and world-famous Kirkjufell mountain. Plus, you'll thrill to mountain hikes, "Super Jeep" adventures, and even snorkeling in the Silfra fissure of the Mid-Atlantic Rift.

Dettifoss waterfall
Map of Highlights of Iceland's South, West & North - 13 Days
Highlights of Iceland's South, West & North - 13 Days

See it all on this adventure that covers the highlights and hidden wonders of Iceland. There's no time to waste, as right when you arrive you'll visit the waterfalls, glaciers, fjords, and beaches on the Golden Circle and South Coast. Continue the journey halfway around the island as you travel north to historic landmarks, coastal cliffs, and volcanic landscapes, before returning to the mother of all hot springs, the Blue Lagoon.

Iceland
Map of Iceland's Wild West & Arctic North - 15 Days
Iceland's Wild West & Arctic North - 15 Days

Enjoy both unspoiled countryside and wild volcanic landscapes on this epic road trip through Iceland. Arrive in the west and head north past lava fields and rugged coastline to the Westfjords, a wild and remote area known for its mountains, fjords, and waterfalls. Continue to the far north and see the geothermal highlights along the Diamond Circle before turning south to relax in hot springs and stuff yourself on food tours in Reykjavík.

The Road to Adventure
Map of Classic Circle Tour of Iceland - 9 Days
Classic Circle Tour of Iceland - 9 Days

If you want to see Iceland's top natural highlights, a self-drive tour is by far the most popular option. Travel at your own pace with plenty of changes to head off the main road in search of your own adventures. This tour also includes the Snaefellsnes peninsula which many call "mini-Iceland" as almost every natural phenomenon in Iceland can be found there, albeit on a smaller scale than elsewhere. 

The Ring Road
Map of Iceland's Magical Ring Road: Waterfalls, Lava Fields, Hot Springs & Wildlife - 13 Days
Iceland's Magical Ring Road: Waterfalls, Lava Fields, Hot Springs & Wildlife - 13 Days

See the magic of Iceland's Ring Road with this 13-day self-drive tour. Start in Reykjavík for whale watching and a vibrant downtown scene. From here, drive the Snæfellsnes Peninsula with its crashing waterfalls and black-sand beaches, then ferry to the Westfjords. Hike the cliffs of Látrabjarg, kayak to Vigur Island, and ride horses along the Westfjords' "Alps." Walk among icebergs at Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, visit breathtaking Seljalandsfoss waterfall, and end with a dip in the iconic Blue Lagoon.

Skjalfandafljot river near Godafoss waterfall, Iceland
Map of Iceland Summer Self-Drive Tour - 13 Days
Iceland Summer Self-Drive Tour - 13 Days

Summer means fun in the sun and time spent outdoors and at beaches—even in a far-north country like Iceland. It's the perfect time for a road trip, and on this 13-day self-drive tour, you'll experience this Nordic nation's volcanic marvels, natural hot springs, shimmering ice caves, and breathtaking waterfalls. The adventure begins with a hike to an erupting volcano and continues with Zodiac boat rides and whale watching before ending on Iceland's famous black-sand beaches.

Iceland
Map of Iceland Self-Drive Adventure: Waterfalls, Geysers & Hot Springs  - 13 Days
Iceland Self-Drive Adventure: Waterfalls, Geysers & Hot Springs - 13 Days

This 13-day driving tour of Iceland takes you to some of the country's most amazing landmarks and historic sites. Travel along Iceland's Ring Road, where you'll see crashing waterfalls and long stretches of lava fields at Lake Mývatn. Visit historic fishing villages for beautiful harbor views and marine life tours, then hike the peaks of Kaldbakur Mountain. See geysers erupt into the sky, walk the cliffs of Arnarstapi, and take in the geological wonders of the Golden Circle and Þingvellir National Park.

Discover Ísafjörður in Iceland's Westfjords
Map of Reykjavík, Golden Circle, South Coast, Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Westfjords, East Fjords, Lake Mývatn & Akureyri: Best Itinerary Ideas
Reykjavík, Golden Circle, South Coast, Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Westfjords, East Fjords, Lake Mývatn & Akureyri: Best Itinerary Ideas

Twelve to 14 days is a great length for a Iceland trip with stops in Reykjavík, the Golden Circle, South Coast, Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Westfjords, East Fjords, Lake Mývatn, and Akureyri. Travelers with more time can enjoy extra sights and activities at each stop, or explore more of the country—some favorite itinerary extensions include Varmahlid or Laugarbakki. Keep reading for more inspiring Reykjavík, Golden Circle, South Coast, Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Westfjords, East Fjords, Lake Mývatn, and Akureyri itineraries.

See herds of reindeer in eastern Iceland
Map of Wild & Wintry Iceland: Northern Lights, Glaciers, & Volcanoes - 10 Days
Wild & Wintry Iceland: Northern Lights, Glaciers, & Volcanoes - 10 Days

This 10-day, self-guided tour of Iceland's winter landscapes combines the natural wonders of waterfalls, mountains, and volcanoes with plenty of wildlife and marine life viewing. Start in North Iceland, where you'll soak in the healing waters of Mývatn Nature Baths. Then, it's off to Húsavík for whale watching tours and the East Fjords to search out reindeer herds. Conclude your travels in the city of Reykjavík for more whale watching and an evening cruise to view the vibrant and colorful northern lights.

The Sun Voyager sculpture in Reykjavík
Map of Iceland Winter Holiday: In the Footsteps of Vikings - 10 Days
Iceland Winter Holiday: In the Footsteps of Vikings - 10 Days

On this self-drive adventure, you'll spend 10 days exploring all four corners of Iceland. Dive deep into the culture of Reykjavík before hitting the road north to volcanic beaches, historic landmarks, and geothermal sites like the bubbling mud pools at Lake Mývatn. After touring Iceland's eastern fjords, you'll head south to explore ice caves, visit waterfalls, witness lava flows, and take a drive along the famous Golden Circle.

Explore Iceland on a road trip of a lifetime
Map of 2-Week Ring Road Self-Drive Itinerary: Highlights of Iceland & the Remote Westfjords
2-Week Ring Road Self-Drive Itinerary: Highlights of Iceland & the Remote Westfjords

With two weeks in Iceland, you can complete the entire Ring Road and add incredible detours. This grand tour will take you to all the best places giving you plenty of time to hike, explore, and soak it all in. This 14-day itinerary covers all the major regions except the highlands, which you can see with a couple more days or by spending less time in some of the areas below.

Views across the countryside near Vík
Map of Iceland Highlights & Ring Road Adventure - 15 Days
Iceland Highlights & Ring Road Adventure - 15 Days

Hit the road on Iceland's main highway for a 15-day self-drive adventure. You'll arrive in the west and, from there, head south, stopping at waterfalls, glaciers, and black-sand beaches. As you travel up to the east and north, you'll pass scenic fjords, go whale watching, brave river rapids, hike along sea cliffs, and explore lava caves before completing the circuit back in Reykjavík, Iceland's capital.

Iceland's Reykjadalur Valley
Map of Natural Wonders of Iceland: Volcanoes, Waterfalls, Hot Springs & Glaciers - 15 Days
Natural Wonders of Iceland: Volcanoes, Waterfalls, Hot Springs & Glaciers - 15 Days

Take a 15-day self-drive tour of Iceland's phenomenal landscapes and natural vistas, starting with a trip along the Reykjanes Peninsula and a dip in the Blue Lagoon. Visit the Golden Circle and hike through the stunning Reykjadalur Valley, then see beluga whales and puffins in the Westman Islands. Continue counter-clockwise around the entire Icelandic coast as you scale thunderous waterfalls, traverse otherworldly lava fields, ride horses along black-sand beaches, and overnight in colorful fishing villages.

The road to Vestrahorn
Map of Untouched Iceland: Ring Road & Off-the-Beaten-Path Adventure - 12 Days
Untouched Iceland: Ring Road & Off-the-Beaten-Path Adventure - 12 Days

Spend 12 days discovering the beauty of Iceland with this guided and self-drive combo tour. Start in the city of Reykjavík to discover classic and modern Icelandic cuisine in a true foodie's paradise. Then it's off to Fagradalsfjall to walk among ethereal lava fields and see rivers of flowing lava from the active volcano. Hike the blue glacier ice of Skaftafell, see whales and other marine life in their natural habitat, and close your trip with a cliffside trek through the rocky crags of Gatklettur.

A snowy Icelandic scene near Arnarstapi area in Snaefellsnes Peninsula
Map of Self-Drive Iceland North, West & South: Ultimate Winter Adventure - 12 Days
Self-Drive Iceland North, West & South: Ultimate Winter Adventure - 12 Days

Enjoy an array of diverse regions, geological wonders, and exciting experiences on this 12-day self-drive itinerary, which explores Iceland's north, west, and south in the winter months. Wander through ice caves on the Vatnajökull glacier, snowmobile on the Myrdalsjokull ice cap, view seals on the Vatnsnes Peninsula, and even sample cheese at a goat farm. Add soaks in geothermal hot springs, hikes to iconic waterfalls, and drives through the majestic fjords of Westfjords for a comprehensive, in-depth self-drive exploration of Iceland.