5, 7, 10-day Iceland Itinerary Options

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Iceland is the least populated country in Europe, and is one filled with incredible natural landscapes left untouched by humans. It is its magical scenery that draws tourists in their thousands with the hopes of seeing the Northern Lights, dramatic fjords and natural geysers. In Iceland you can expect to find friendly and welcoming locals, intriguing architecture and fantastical myths and legends. It is well worth spending at least 5 days in Iceland to truly appreciate the countries beauty and culture, however if you are able to take a little longer to explore, it is a country that offers enough to entice you, and enough to bring you back again. Here are three itineraries offering the best things to do on a 5 day, 7 day and 10 day Icelandic vacation.

Iceland Itinerary

When to visit

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Iceland is a beautiful country to visit, regardless of the time of year.

During the summer months, expect to find a mild climate and lush green landscapes.

The summer in Iceland offers long hours of daylight, with the famous midnight sun peaking in midsummer.

During the winter, daylight is short with an average of 4-5 hours of daylight in December.

These long dark nights draw visitors from all over the world in the hope of seeing the Northern Lights, as the darker nights offer the best changes to see them.

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Travelling across Iceland during winter is more difficult than in summer as roads are often closed due to snow and ice.

Public transport, flights and ferries also tend to slim down their schedules and run more limited services.

Best Way to Get Around

Iceland is a vast and wild country.

Connecting to other areas of the country outside of its major cities can be difficult via public transport.

In its cities, take advantage of Stræto, the nations bus network.

Instantly recognisable with their bright yellow busses, the network offers passes ranging from 1 day to 3 days in Reykjavik allowing you to easily travel around the capital.

The downside to Iceland’s limited public transport network is that the tickets are quite expensive.

They also limit their service during winter as the weather takes a turn for the worse.

The best way to see more of Iceland is by hiring a car.

Iceland does not have any trains, so car is the best way to open up otherwise restricted areas of the country.

Hire a car at the airport, or from a rental shop in the city.

Iceland is well connected via airplane as its domestic flight network is vast, however this can also be a costly option.

If you are visiting for a short 5 day trip one of the best ways to get around is to take a guided bus tour of areas such as the Golden Circle.

Iceland has many islands that are easily accessible during the summer months by its excellent ferry network.

Ferries allow for travel between its most popular islands including Westman Islands, Grimsey Island and Flatey Island.

5 Days in Iceland

Day 1 + 2 – Reykjavik

Reykjavik Shot From Top Of Hallgrimskirkja
Reykjavik, Iceland itinerary 7 days.

Iceland’s capital city Reykjavik is the perfect place to start your trip to Iceland.

Since the end of WWII the city has continually grown, however due to its small population of less than 400,000 inhabitants, the city feels more like a cosy and friendly town.

Began by taking in one of the most famous destinations in the country, and enjoy a relaxing morning at the Blue Lagoon.

The Blue Lagoon offers healing waters, spa treatments, and of course its famous steamy blue lagoon where you can take a relaxing dip.

Learn a little more about Iceland in the afternoon and visit The Settlement Exhibition.

This museum sits atop a 10th century hall, with its foundations visible from its lower level.

The museum encourages you to start at the lower level and gradually work your way up through the museum to experience its history chronologically.

Round off your first day in Iceland with a delicious meal at one of Reykjavik’s excellent restaurants.

If you are unsure of what you fancy go straight to Skál, a trendy gastropub that serves traditional Icelandic dishes including arctic char served with silky mashed potatoes and charred vegetables.

Begin your second day in Reykjavik by seeking out a bakery selling snudur, Iceland’s answer to traditional cinnamon rolls, only significantly larger and featuring a range of tasty icings.

After breakfast, explore Reykjavik’s independent shops to pick up traditional souvenirs before admiring the brightly coloured and aptly named Rainbow Street.

This street is a must-visit for its painted houses and quaint shops and cafes, and is an attractive way to approach the famous Hallgrimskirkja Church.

Gudjón Samúelsson designed this architectural marvel that opened in 1986 after just over 4 decades of building.

The church is free to enter and hosts regular events and performances.

Those looking to view the city from a different vantage point should climb its tower for incredible 360-degree views over the city.

If you enjoy learning more about local cultures, including the stories that have inspired some of their myths and legends, book onto a 1.

5 hour guided waking tour of the city, centring around Elves and Trolls.

Make the most of the time you have in Iceland and book onto an evening tour to hunt the Northern Lights.

While naturally phenomena such as the Northern Lights can never be fully guaranteed, a late tour departing the city at 9pm and heading out to dark-sky reserves offers you the best chances.

Recommended tours: From Reykjavik: Borgarfjordur Private Day Trip.

Day 3 – Flúdir

Geysir Golden Circle In Iceland
Flúðir (The Golden Circle) should be on your Iceland itinerary – 5 days.

Fludir, a small and attractive Icelandic village in the countries southern region is the perfect place to begin a 2–day exploration of the Golden Circle.

There are many tours available of the Golden Circle, however spending a night in this breathtaking region opens up more of its beauty and intrigue to you.

This small village has a population of approximately 800 and is surrounded by astonishingly green hills thanks to its high levels of geothermal activity.

The village is a popular destination for camping, however if spending the night in a tent isn’t for you, there is also a luxury hotel, Hotel Fludir, that offers comfortable bedrooms and fine dining.

Around Fludir there are a number of natural geothermal pools that are safe to swim in.

The best and undoubtedly most popular hot spring is The Secret Lagoon, a swimming pool dating from 1891.

If you ride horses, or are a beginner and would like to try, why not book onto a horseback riding tour of the valleys around Fludir?

Horseback riding tours allow you to take in the beauty of the area while enjoying a unique more of transport that is bound to create fond travel memories.

Recommended tours: Reykjavik: Golden Circle, Kerid Crater, & Blue Lagoon Tour.

Day 4 – The Golden Circle

Strokkur Geysir Eruption Golden Circle
The Golden Circle is one of the most popular additions to a 5-day Iceland itinerary.

Depart Fludir on a guided tour of The Golden Circle to see more of this incredible area of Iceland.

There are a number of Golden Circle tours offered in Iceland, all taking in the three most dramatically beautiful natural landmarks the country has to offer.

Tours typically span a whole day, allowing you to admire the landscape moving past your window, and to explore parts of Iceland you otherwise would not be able to visit.

During your Golden Circle your you will experience the Geysir geothermal area, a section of land filled with hot springs, energetic and explosive geysers and mud pools that gently bubble thanks to the warm temperatures.

Gullfoss, the next stop on your journey, will allow you time with the most impressive waterfall in Iceland.

The waterfall cascades over 2 levels, one at 11m (36ft) and the second at 22m ( 72ft), before dramatically crashing into the Ölfusá River.

Thingvellir National Park is often considered one of the most important parts of Iceland’s history to its residents, as it is home to the former National Assembly, founded in 930.

Thingvellir National Park is also home to the Great Atlantic Rift, a gap in the tectonic plates that once connected Europe to North America.

It is possible to walk along this rift, or for the brave, diving tours in the fjord are available allowing you to swim between continents.

Recommended tours: Reykjavik: Golden Circle Full-Day Tour with Kerid Crater.

Day 5 – South Iceland

Hiker At The Skogafoss Waterfall In Southern Iceland
South Iceland trip itinerary will take you to stunning black beaches and waterfalls.

Spend a day exploring the beauty of South Iceland.

Head to the village of Vík, the southernmost village in the country, to experience its famous black-pebble beaches.

After spending time on this unique beach, admire its towering basalt cliffs, caves and weather-worn rock formations.

This region of Iceland is particularly popular with those looking for a more active day as many visitors can be found hiking, paragliding and climbing.

There are many impressive natural landmarks in South Iceland, including towering waterfalls such as Skógafoss.

Skógafoss cascades 60m (196ft) over a cliff at the foot of the Eyjafjöll mountain range and is considered one of the most picturesque and photogenic waterfalls in the country.

Close to the waterfall is the Skógar Folk Museum that is packed with exhibitions on the people who lived in the area hundreds of years ago and includes a range of artefacts such as pottery, clothing and unusually a preserved turf farm.

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Recommended tours: From Reykjavik: South of Iceland Full-Day Trip.

Extend to 7 Days

Day 6 – Mosfellsbær

Visit Iceland’s Green Town of Mosfellsbær that, despite being a mere 15-minute drive from the capital city, is a world away from the city lights.

Here you will find a small population of around 9000, and a town filled with a literary history.

It is believed that Egil Skallagrimsson, a Viking warrior poet, is buried near the town alongside a vast hoard of silver.

Mosfellsbær was also home to Halldór Laxness, Iceland’s only Nobel Laureate, a man who wrote 62 books in 68 years with his primary focus on his life and experiences in the area.

Laxness’ family home has been transformed into a museum that is well worth visiting for book-lovers and history fans, or those simply looking to learn more about the culture of the area.

After learning about the town’s literary history, enjoy a gentle hike along one of the towns many trails leading from the seashore and up into the mountains.

Those who are looking for something a little more energetic may wish to join a group run up one of the mountains.

If you are travelling with children, be sure to visit Hradastadir, a petting farm with Icelandic farm animals.

The farm is in the beautiful Mosfellsdalur valley and is a great place to teach young children about animals and their importance to the heritage of Iceland.

You can even learn to ride horses at the farm, or go out on guided tours of the local area with a knowledgeable guide who will share with you the history of horses within Iceland.

Day 7 – Höfn

Hofn View Iceland
Höfn Iceland is a top spot for your ring road itinerary.

Enjoy a day in the traditional fishing town of Höfn located in the southeast of the country.

The town is a popular base for those looking to explore the natural wonders of the region including Vatnajökull National Park and Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon.

The glacier lagoon is the deepest lake in Iceland and is famous for its large icebergs that drift through it each year with the occasional seal taking a rest on its icy surfaces.

If you are visiting Höfn in summer be sure to check out the July Lobster Festival, a festival dedicated to everything lobster, including a number of delicious dishes.

Extend to 10 Days

Day 8 – Borgarfjördur Eystri

Isolated Church In The East Fjords Region
Borgarfjörður eystri is a charming destination for your Iceland 7 day itinerary.

One of the most beautiful destinations in Iceland is Borgarfjördur Eystri, a dramatic natural landscape that is popular with hikers, nature lovers, and those on the trail of elves.

The area is considered the puffin capital of Iceland and is home to the Atlantic puffin.

Borgarfjördur is one of the best, and safest, destinations in Iceland to watch puffins as they nest here in the summer.

There are a number of shelters and platforms where you can see the puffins up close without disturbing them and without getting too close to their burrows and the cliff edge.

The village of Borgarfjördur Eystri has a mere 100 inhabitants, and is believed to be home to 1000 elves.

Elvish lore in Iceland can be found everywhere, however this small Icelandic village is perhaps the best place to learn more about the hidden people.

The fjord’s name comes from the residency of an elf-queen, and other natural landmarks such as Álfaborg can be translated to Elf Rock.

Visit the gigantic rock, Kirkjusteinn, in Kækjudalur Valley which is believed to be an elvish church.

You may also find a keen local tour guide who will tell you tales of elves and trolls from the area.

Local village Bakkagerdi, which sits along the edges of the fjord, is home to an elf cafe and restaurant that both serve delicious local dishes.

Recommended tours: From Reykjavik: Borgarfjordur Private Day Trip.

Day 9 – Húsavík

Sunset View Of Husavik
Husavik is another lovely place to add to an Iceland 5 day itinerary.

Húsavík is the oldest settlement in Iceland, and is the best place in Iceland to go whale watching.

On a whale watching trip from this traditional whaling town you may be lucky enough to see humpback whales, Iceland’s peaceful giants, as well as puffins, seals and harbour porpoises.

To learn more about the whales that inhabit Iceland’s waters spend an hour or so at the Whale Museum, where life size models of whales can be admired, alongside the ginormous 22m (72ft) long skeleton of a blue whale.

For fans of pop culture, book onto a Fire and Saga tour of the town, where key destinations from the Will Ferrel and Rachel McAdams film Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire and Saga was set and filmed.

Learn more about the town and its history at the District Museum, a museum that is considered by locals to be their cultural centre as it focuses on history, folk tales and serves as an archive and art gallery.

There are plenty of restaurants and cafes in the town, with many making the most of the bounty of the ocean for their dishes.

On the outskirts of the town is a golf course and a skiing area if you are planning on spending more than a day here, and a sea bath that allows visitors to enjoy a dip in a geothermal pool filled with sea water.

Recommended tours: Húsavík: Whale Watching Tour with Guide.

Day 10 – Reykjavik

Harpa Reykjavik Concert Hall And Conference Centre
Reykjavik, Iceland itinerary 10 days.

Return to the most northern capital city in the world and spend your last day in Reykjavik.

Begin with a visit to Thingholtin, a neighbourhood nestled between Hallgrimskirkja Church and the calm waters of Tjörnin lake.

The streets in this area are named after gods from the Old Norse religion, giving it the nickname ‘Neighbourhood of the Gods’.

Spend some time by the lake admiring the view, or watching the vast number of swans and ducks that serenely swim across the surface.

Along the edges of the lake are old traditional Icelandic houses making for beautiful photographs.

Visit The Nordic House, an exhibition space designed by Finnish architect Alvar Aalto, to have lunch with a view across the lake.

If you are visiting in the summer spend the evening around Austurvollur Square, a popular meeting place for locals during the midnight sun.

You will find many bars and restaurants around the square, as well as concerts, festivals and national celebrations throughout the year.

Looking for more itineraries? Try these:

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Sarah Holmes
Sarah Holmes is a travel and fashion writer living in the heart of England. From family adventures in numerous parts of the UK and Europe to exploring cities as an adult, Sarah has a wide knowledge of the best areas, sights and local tips that the UK and the neighbouring continent can offer. Sarah grew up in the North East of England, with incredible sights and landmarks only a short drive away. Her favourite places to visit include Seaham Beach, the Lake District and Alnwick Castle. Sarah has written for a range of fashion and travel blogs and print publications.