Make the Most of Your Time in Iceland

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Reykjavík, Iceland
How Many Days to Spend in Iceland

You can have an epic Iceland experience when you spend five days or more in Iceland. Shorter trips are possible but won't give you enough time to explore beyond the Reykjavík area and the western section of the South Coast. Starting at eight days or more, you can complete the famous ring road and experience Iceland's natural beauty in all its glory, seeing incredible sights most tourists miss, like the Godafoss waterfall, the unique volcanic hotspots surrounding Lake Mývatn and the Westfjords.

Marvel at Iceland's rugged beauty and powerful waterfalls, like Goðafoss
Map of 5 Days in Iceland - 7 Unique Road Trip Itinerary Ideas
5 Days in Iceland - 7 Unique Road Trip Itinerary Ideas

Have only five days to explore Iceland? While it might be tempting to stay in Reykjavík and do day trips from there, we recommend heading out into the countryside using one of these unique itineraries that help you make the most of your time.

A bridge crosses the milky blue mineral waters of the Blue Lagoon, a classic stop outside of Reykavík
Map of 5 Days in Iceland - 6 Unique Itinerary Ideas
5 Days in Iceland - 6 Unique Itinerary Ideas

Five days may seem like a short amount of time for an eventful trip to Iceland, but with the right itinerary, a rental car, and internal flights at your disposal, you can explore the highlights in up to three regions. Tour popular spots like the Golden Circle and South Coast, or venture to areas with less tourist traffic—the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, Lake Mývatn, and the Eastfjords are all great picks. Going in winter? Check out itinerary #6 to make sure the most of the snow, ice, and Northern Lights.

Gullfoss waterfall in Iceland in winter
Map of 5 Days in Iceland - 5 Winter Itinerary Ideas
5 Days in Iceland - 5 Winter Itinerary Ideas

With five days to spend in Iceland this winter, you can head on a classic winter tour exploring the Golden Circle and the frozen landscapes surrounding Vík. Or, drive up Iceland's western coast to learn about Viking history and stay in remote fishing villages. For those who want to experience nature from all angles, focus on Iceland's south coast—stopping for a photography tour of the aurora borealis (northern lights)—and hike into Crystal Blue Ice Cave while wildlife lovers explore by horseback and dogsledding.

Go on a whale watching tour in Husavík and spot humpback whales
Map of 6 Days in Iceland - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas
6 Days in Iceland - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas

Six days is enough time for a quick and eventful road trip through a couple of regions of Iceland, but not enough time to drive the full Ring Road. Most trips offer plenty of flexibility to circle back to any sights missed along the way. Tour dozens of destinations among the stunning Icelandic landscapes, from the Golden Circle to the South Coast. Enjoy both warm and cold adventures—with chances to enjoy more winter-forward excursions and sightings of the Northern Lights in the summer—in these five trip plans.

Take a hike in Þingvellir National Park with the kids in tow
Map of 1 Week in Iceland - 5 Family-Friendly Itinerary Ideas
1 Week in Iceland - 5 Family-Friendly Itinerary Ideas

One week in Iceland is enough time for a family-friendly, adventure-filled road trip that includes popular highlights and natural wonders along the South Coast and Golden Circle. Families with older children can incorporate ATV and snowmobile tours. Those with budding birders and biologists should consider itineraries that include Snæfellsnes Peninsula, the Eastfjords, or the Westfjords for a chance to encounter wildlife such as puffins, seals, and whales.

7 Days in Iceland - 7 Unique Itinerary Ideas
Map of 1 Week in Iceland - 7 Unique Itinerary Ideas
1 Week in Iceland - 7 Unique Itinerary Ideas

A full week in Iceland is an ideal amount of time to explore three regions. In the itineraries below, explore the classic Golden Circle and South Coast stops, or venture to lesser-known areas like the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, Arctic Coast, and the Westman Islands. For adventurous hikers, the multi-day Laugavegur Trek offers an incredible outdoor experience, while winter travelers can enjoy an entirely different side of the country, complete with seasonal activities and snowy scenery. Read on for more 7-day trip inspiration.

Colorful sunset on Reynisfjara black sand beach, Iceland
Map of 1 Week in Iceland - 4 Unique Road Trip Itinerary Ideas
1 Week in Iceland - 4 Unique Road Trip Itinerary Ideas

With seven days in Iceland, hit the road and explore the incredible wonders farther afield from Reykjavik. Explore a variety of landscapes: volcanoes and lava fields, green pastures and farmlands, scenic vistas above fjords, beaches of every color, glaciers and ice caves, and the rugged interior. Here are our recommended drives, an option for all travelers and seasons.

Soak in your personal wood-fired hot tub in a luxury cabin on an adrenaline-filled Iceland adventure (photo courtesy of Hrifunes Nature Park)
Map of 1 Week in Iceland - 5 Luxury Itinerary Ideas
1 Week in Iceland - 5 Luxury Itinerary Ideas

With one week in Iceland, you can uncover the country's spectacular landscapes and accommodations. Reykjavík is an excellent base to explore the Golden Circle and the southern coast, while the remote Kirkjubæjarklaustur region calls to adrenaline seekers. If you're traveling in winter, dogsledding and Super Jeep adventures introduce you to frosted landscapes. Or, for a relaxing itinerary, split your time between geothermal spas and scenic helicopter rides.

Take on the Skaftafellsjökull on a hike in Vatnajökull National park
Map of 1 Week in Iceland - 5 Winter Itinerary Ideas
1 Week in Iceland - 5 Winter Itinerary Ideas

With one wintry week in Iceland, you can explore the icy highlights around the Golden Circle and Snæfellsnes Peninsula on a classic winter tour. Or, make your way north to the Diamond Circle, stopping at the geothermal landscapes surrounding Lake Mývatn before flying from Akureyri back to Reykjavík. For those who want a relaxing vacation, spend your days warming in natural hot springs while adventure seekers head to the East Fjords to get deep into Iceland's remote landscapes.

Dettifoss
Map of 8 Days in Iceland - 6 Unique Itinerary Ideas
8 Days in Iceland - 6 Unique Itinerary Ideas

Eight days is enough for a trip around Ring Road, to either the Golden Circle or the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, with more time set aside for another region. Escape the main routes and spend time in Thorsmörk, along the Laugavegur Trek, or to the locals’ favorite getaway in the Westman Islands. Each trip allows for a bit of time in the capital city, but one night, maximum, is ideal, so you can enjoy more time in other areas of Iceland. Learn more about the best eight-day trip options in the six itineraries outlined below.

Kirkjufellsfoss Waterfall
Map of 9 Days in Iceland - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas
9 Days in Iceland - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas

Nine days is a comfortable amount of time to explore two of Iceland's regions. Consider a leisurely road trip around the famed Ring Road, getting off the main route to spend time in Thorsmork and the Highlands or the Westman Islands (a favorite local hideaway). The five itineraries below take you to popular areas, like the Golden Circle and South Coast, while also incorporating lesser-known territories, including the Snaefellsnes Peninsula and the Westfjords.

A vibrant Atlantic puffin rests on the cliffs at Latrabjarg
Map of 10 Days in Iceland - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas
10 Days in Iceland - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas

Ten days in Iceland is perfect for completing the rightfully famous Ring Road on a self-drive adventure. Alternatively, you can focus on the popular Golden Circle and South Coast to reduce drive time and conquer hikes to waterfalls and volcanic landscapes. If you prefer to escape the busier south, consider summertime itineraries to the west and north for off-the-beaten-path discoveries. Or, opt for an Iceland winter road trip to experience the country's wonders blanketed in white.

Siblings look out over Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon
Map of 10 Days in Iceland - 5 Family-Friendly Itinerary Ideas
10 Days in Iceland - 5 Family-Friendly Itinerary Ideas

With 10 days in Iceland, you can explore the highlights as a family on an exciting voyage around the famous Golden Circle route or stick to one area, such as Snæfellsnes and Patreksfjörður in the wild west. Venture east to west, covering Egilsstaðir, Höfn, and Vík, and squeeze in a trip to the Westman Islands to get off the beaten track. The south is ideal for wildlife-loving families, where you can see puffins and whales from Reykjavík and the geothermal pools of the Secret Lagoon and Blue Lagoon.

Check out Strokkur geyser on Iceland's Golden Circle route
Map of 10 Days in Iceland - 5 Winter Itinerary Ideas
10 Days in Iceland - 5 Winter Itinerary Ideas

With 10 days this winter, you can explore Iceland on an exciting expedition from Reykjavík in the west to Egilsstadir in the east to Húsavík and Mývatn in the north. Alternatively, stick to one area, such as the Golden Circle route or the frost-laden Þingvellir National Park, to see phenomena like the Geysir geothermal area. Tour the blue ice cave in Vatnajökull, embark on a Jeep tour to Landmannalaugar, or see wildlife like reindeer, toothed whales (commonly sighted in winter), and horses as you enjoy an intrepid adventure along the East Fjords.

Hiking in Reykjadalur Geothermal Valley
Map of 11 Days in Iceland - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas
11 Days in Iceland - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas

You can explore diverse regions in 11 days, providing enough time to check off many of Iceland's most iconic as well as popular sites and plenty of lesser-visited destinations. Maybe you want an experiential tour focused on hiking, such as around the Golden Circle and South Coast. Or, pack in active adventures in these two popular regions, plus more off-beat destinations such as Westfjords and Snæfellsnes Peninsula. And if you love to drive, follow the Ring Road from beginning to end.

Swim in the  Silfra fissure in Pingvellir National Park
Map of 12 Days in Iceland - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas
12 Days in Iceland - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas

Travelers with 12 days to spend in Iceland have plenty of options. You can circle the entire island on a grand tour or focus your time on an in-depth exploration of two or three regions, such as the Westfjords, Snæfellness Peninsula, and Golden Circle. Perhaps you want a winter adventure, or an active adventure combining kayaking, hiking, and riding e-mountain bikes in West and South Iceland. These five itineraries show you how to make the most of your visit.

See iconic Hvitserkur in Iceland's north on a tour of the Ring Road and its highlights
Map of 13 Days in Iceland - 3 Unique Itinerary Ideas
13 Days in Iceland - 3 Unique Itinerary Ideas

Spending 13 days in Iceland offers you plenty of time to hit the road and explore the land of ice and fire at your own pace. Here are three self-drive Iceland itineraries that take you to the island nation's iconic sights and give you time to marvel at spectacular waterfalls, wander past legendary lava formations, and soak in Iceland's famous geothermal baths. Two itineraries include hiking and other outdoor sports and are best suited for summer travel, but for a truly unique adventure, consider a self-drive winter tour of Iceland's Ring Road.

Admire Iceland's many waterfalls, like the iconic Seljalandsfoss on a two-week trip
Map of 2 Weeks in Iceland - 4 Unique Itinerary Ideas
2 Weeks in Iceland - 4 Unique Itinerary Ideas

Two weeks in Iceland is an excellent amount of time to hit the road and journey along the northern and southern coasts and into remote fjords on an ultimate summer highlights trip. Or, if you're visiting in winter, focus on the Golden Circle's waterfalls and glaciers and the southern portion of the famed Ring Road. Other options include a faster-paced winter itinerary that consists of the northern Diamond Circle and a hiking-focused trip featuring a four-day trek and off-road adventures.

Father and son hopping on rocks and enjoying Skógafoss waterfall in Iceland
Map of 2 Weeks in Iceland - 4 Family-Friendly Itinerary Ideas
2 Weeks in Iceland - 4 Family-Friendly Itinerary Ideas

With two weeks in Iceland, you can make a complete loop around the country on a wintry adventure perfect for older children or stick to a northwest road trip to unplug and recharge while hiking, horseback riding, and soaking in geothermal pools. First-time travelers to Iceland can opt for a scenic tour of Snæfellsnes, Golden Circle, and the Westman Islands, while those ready to get well off the beaten path should opt for a trip to the Westfjords.

Giant volcano Askja offers a view at two crater lakes: smaller Viti and larger Öskjuvatn
Map of 15 Days in Iceland - 3 Unique Itinerary Ideas
15 Days in Iceland - 3 Unique Itinerary Ideas

With 15 days in Iceland, there's ample time to discover all of the natural wonders and charming cities and villages. A highlights trip takes you around the whole island with a kayak tour of the Jökulsárlón lagoon and hikes. Alternatively, opt for a more easygoing itinerary that focuses on the south coast to the fumaroles of the Reykjanes Peninsula and the mountain views of Thórsmörk. Finally, a tour of the west coast offers a mix of wildlife, nature, and history around the Snæfellsnes Peninsula.