Make the Most of Your Time in Iceland

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Reykjavik, Iceland
How Many Days to Spend in Iceland

You can have an epic Iceland experience when you spend 5 days or more in Iceland. Shorter trips are possible but won’t give you enough time to really explore beyond the Reykjavik area and the western section of the South Coast. Starting at 8 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 Godafoss Waterfall, the unique volcanic hotspots surrounding Lake Myvatn and the Westfjords.

Goðafoss Waterfall
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.

Iceland
Map of 5 Days in Iceland - 7 Self-Drive Itinerary Ideas
5 Days in Iceland - 7 Self-Drive Itinerary Ideas

Have only 5 days to explore Iceland? While it might be tempting to stay in Reykjavik and do day trips from there, we recommend to head out into the country side using one of these unique itineraries that help you make the most of your time.

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, 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 dog sledding.

Seljalandsfoss
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.

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.

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 week to spend in Iceland, you can explore the 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 soaking in natural hot springs while adventure seekers head to the East Fjords to get deep in Iceland's remote landscapes.

7 Days in Iceland - 7 Unique Itinerary Ideas
Map of 7 Days in Iceland - 7 Unique Itinerary Ideas
7 Days 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.

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.

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.

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

In 10 days, you can explore the entire country 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 Þingvellir National Park, to see phenomena like the Geysir geothermal area. Tour the Crystal Blue Ice Cave in Vatnajökull, embark on a Jeep tour to Landmannalaugar, or see wildlife like reindeer, whales, and horses as you enjoy an intrepid adventure along the East Fjords.

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.

Vibrant Atlantic puffin rests on Latrabjarg
10 Days in Iceland - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas

Ten days in Iceland is a perfect amount of time to complete the rightfully famous Ring Road. Alternatively, you have time to explore up to three areas in-depth. A great option is to visit the popular Golden Circle and South Coast, coupled with lesser-known destinations like the volcanic Snaefellsnes Peninsula or the Westman Islands. If you prefer to escape the crowded south, consider summertime itineraries to the West, North, and Westfjords for off-the-beaten-path discoveries. Active travelers can work the trails of Thorsmork or the Laugavegur Trek into their itinerary.

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
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.

Iceland
2 Weeks in Iceland - 2 Unique Itinerary Ideas

Glaciers, waterfalls, and wildlife like you've never seen: fourteen days is plenty of time to experience Iceland beyond what you'll find in any guidebook—both on and off the beaten path. Here are two itineraries that make the most of two weeks in the Land of Fire and Ice.

Father and son hopping on rocks and enjoying Skógafoss waterfall in Iceland
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.