I absolutely love planning out trips, so I was super excited to create this ultimate 7-day road trip itinerary in Iceland! There’s so many great locations, that it was hard to choose some over the other, but I think for the most part, we were able to experience everything we wanted on this trip to Iceland.
If you are doing this itinerary, I highly suggest getting a 4WD vehicle. We rented one from Go Iceland since it was the cheapest option and recommended by Million Mile Secrets. It’s a 5-minute walk to the rental car company from the airport.
I also suggest getting a portable wifi. We rented ours from Iceland Camping Equipment and they were wonderful. This really helped us out in navigating. We used our phones as a GPS and it worked out great! If you don't want the hassle of picking up and dropping off the device, you can also purchase your own wifi hotspot from Skyroam. We've used it on several international trips and it also works great.
Couple more tips: 1) If you’re going to exchange money, do as little as possible. We decided not to exchange any money at all and used our credit cards everywhere. Iceland is very credit card friendly. 2) Send your itinerary to safetravel.is so that someone knows your whereabouts at all times. Better safe than sorry!
Now let’s get started with the fun stuff!
DAY 1 | Reykjavik and Blue Lagoon
We arrived at Keflavik airport bright and early at 7am. Initially, we wanted to visit the Blue Lagoon first before heading to Reykjavik, but silly me forgot to make a reservation until the last minute, so we couldn’t get in until 6pm. It actually worked out great (besides having to drive an extra hour) because the lagoon wasn’t as crowded later in the day. Most of the flights to Iceland get in first thing in the morning and everyone heads straight to the Blue Lagoon since it’s close to the airport, so it’s pretty crowded in the morning until mid-afternoon.
Reykjavik is the capital of Iceland and the largest city in the country. Although it is the largest in the country, it’s still a small city and you can explore pretty much everything you want within a day. We grabbed some coffee, did some souvenir shopping, ate some lunch at Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur (Iceland’s famous hot dog stand), went to the top of Hallgrímskirkja (Iceland’s largest church), stopped by the Harpa Concert Hall and checked in to our Airbnb apartment.
Once we checked in, we enjoyed our lovely apartment for a bit and headed to the Blue Lagoon for some dinner and relaxation. We made a reservation at LAVA at 5pm, which gave us an hour to eat before our 6pm reservation into the lagoon. LAVA’s dining room was so awesome. You felt like you were in a luxury cave with huge windows looking out to the lagoon. We ordered the lamb and ribeye and everything was fantastic!
DAY 2 | The Golden Circle, Waterfalls and Solheimasandur
This day was an ambitious travel day, as we planned to hit up 6 locations. We left our beautiful apartment at 7am and headed for the “Golden Circle”. The Golden Circle consists of Pingviller National Park, the geysers at Haukadalur and the Gullfoss waterfall. It is one of the most popular tourist routes in Iceland. We explored these areas for a total of 3 hours and stopped by the Gullfoss Cafe for lunch before heading to additional waterfalls.
On our way to the waterfalls, I spotted some Icelandic horses near the road and had to stop by to take some pictures. Surprisingly, 5 horses came up to us and wanted attention. I was so excited at how friendly they were! They all wanted to be pet and it was the cutest thing!! Not only are they adorable, they have the most gorgeous hair and they’re so furry. I’m forever in love with Icelandic horses.
Our next two waterfall stops were Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss. Both waterfalls are 200 feet tall and is quite a sight to see. You can go behind the waterfalls and climb up top to get some different views. Make sure you're wearing waterproof material because you will get wet the closer you get. If you have a nice camera, I would recommend looking into protective gear.
At 4 pm, we headed to the Solheimasandur plane wreckage. I was not looking forward to the 5 mile trek, but it really wasn’t that bad and the walk was definitely worth it. We spent about 3 hours here and headed to our hotel for the night near Vik. We stayed at the Volcano Hotel and we loved the friendly and helpful staff. They recommended theHalldorskaffi restaurant for dinner and we enjoyed some Icelandic pizza and burgers. Really loved this joint.
DAY 3 | Skaftafell and Jokulsarlon
We wanted to start our day at the black sand beach, but unfortunately, there was torrential rain on this day and it did not look like it was going to let up. We were prepared for some changes in our itinerary due to weather, so we moved on to Skaftafell National Park.
On the way, we pulled over on the road to a couple of interesting locations that caught our attention. One was Laki lava fields. You drive by miles and miles of lava fields covered in moss. Never thought moss could look so beautiful until I approached this.
Not sure what the second location is called, but you can’t miss this spot either. There’s a big rock in the middle of the field with a pond in front and gorgeous mountains in the background. There were some different looking plants around the area too.
Once we arrived at Skaftafell, we went inside the visitor center to ask how far of a hike the Svartifoss waterfall was. She said the hike was super easy and it would only take about 40 minutes. Well, she lied!! It was NOT easy at all. The entire walk you are going uphill and then once you start approaching the waterfall, you have to walk downhill through mud and snow patches. It was tiring and a little scary. BUT I’m a little baby when it comes to hiking, so this might be easy for others.
After we took some pictures of the waterfall, we headed towards Jokulasarlon. This was one of the locations we were really looking forward to because we’ve seen so many cool pictures of chunks of glacier ice on the black sand beach with bright blue glaciers floating in the water.
When we arrived, we indeed see some glacier ice floating around the water, but there weren’t as many as we saw in the pictures. We later found out that April is when they start to disappear and you need to come see them in the colder months. We were still able to see some pieces of glacier ice and there were also tons of seals swimming around the area!
After sunset, we headed to our hotel for the night that was 10 minutes away, Hali Country Hotel. This place was okay, but not as nice and personable as Volcano Hotel and the lobby in our building wasn’t very well taken care of. The room smelled a little like mold too.
DAY 4 | East Fjords, Djupivogur and Myvatn
We slept in a little this morning to catch up on some sleep and had our traditional Icelandic breakfast buffet at the hotel. This day would be mostly driving, but we wanted to take our time driving the coast of the East Fjords and pull over to whatever caught our eye. We were also planning on stopping by Detifoss, but the first road we tried was closed off due to snow, so we decided to skip this waterfall, which was okay by us since we’ve seen plenty of waterfalls and planned on visiting Godafoss the next day.
We pulled over at a couple spots where we could go near the ocean and also stopped by Djupivogur to get some food and gas. It’s a cute little town with a population of only 470. We ate at Við Voginn, a little restaurant/convenient store and ordered some pylsurs (a.k.a. hot dogs) and coffee. We loved the hot dogs in Iceland. Especially with fried onions and remoulade sauce.
Our next pit stop was Egilsstaðir, a little city with a population of 2100 people. There was a fast food joint here, so we ate some more hot dogs and stocked up on some food and snacks.
As we drove on, the roads got a bit scarier going up the mountains on gravel roads with less barriers. Plus, it started snowing a little. There was a moment where I freaked out a bit because we didn’t see any cars for at least an hour, but once we reached the top of the mountains, the snow cleared and we were back to paved roads, so I felt much better. The view was stunning with all the fresh, untouched snow everywhere!
At around 6pm, we arrived at our cabin for the night and it was in a great, secluded location. We weren’t really happy with our small room, but it was fine for the night. We mainly wanted to stay here for a chance to view the Northern Lights and we were extremely happy to see them that night!
DAY 5 | Godafoss, Akureyri, Hvammstangi
We started out the morning driving to Godafoss, which means “Waterfall of the Gods”. This was right off the Ring Road and very easy to access. Not as tall as the other waterfalls we visited, but it has a unique horseshoe shape that was beautiful.
Next, we made a pit stop in Akureyri to grab some lunch, fill up on gas and stock up on groceries. Akureyri is the second largest urban area in Iceland with a population of about 18,000. It was weird to see a city again with lots of buildings and people after driving through miles and miles of seeing nothing but grand mountains and landscapes.
We drove on to our final destination of the day, Hvammstangi, where our cute little cabin was located. Hvammstangi is apparently known for seals, but when we went driving near the shores, we didn’t see any. It was a little disappointing, but at least we got to see a bunch of them in Jokulsarlon.
At around 10pm, we looked out the window and the Northern Lights were at it again! This time it was even brighter and more active dancing around. We felt incredibly lucky to see them again.
DAY 6 | Holmavik and Stykkisholmur
We ventured a little into the West Fjords to see if there was anything cool to see. We drove up to Holmavik and there really wasn’t much. To get more of the stunning views, you have to drive a few more hours to Isafjordur, but we didn’t have the time, so we headed to our cabin in Stykkisholmur. On the way down, we pulled over a couple of times to snap some pictures of more glorious mountains and the ocean.
We thought our cabin in Hvammstangi was awesome, but this Airbnb cottage was even better! It’s in an even more secluded location with two other cabins and it was so spacious inside with a kitchen, dining table, modern bathroom, bedroom and a BBQ grill. We took advantage of that grill and went to the local grocery store to buy some seasoned pork and veggies for dinner. It was the best meal we’ve had in days and it was so fun grilling outside and using that little kitchen.
DAY 7 | Kirkjufell, Hellnar and Reykjavik
It was our final day in Iceland, so we had to get in as much as possible before we left. We woke up first thing in the morning at 5:30 to get the sunrise at Kirkjufell. This is a popular location for photographers, so by the time we got there at 6, there were already 4 photographers ready to go. Kirkjufell is an impressive looking mountain that means “Church Mountain” and I didn’t know this until later, but you can hike up the mountain, which takes about 1.5 hours. We mainly wanted to see the infamous spot with the triple waterfalls in front of the mountain.
Next, we headed to the Hellnar sea cliffs, but on our way we came across these powerful waves along the coast. I was a little afraid to go near them at first because they seemed like they were going to form into a tsunami any second. These waves were so compelling that we spent a good amount of time here taking it all in. This was probably my favorite location of the trip and I would really like to come back here the next time I’m in Iceland again.
Finally, we headed back to Reykjavik. Not too many scenic views on this drive, but you go through the long 3.5-mile Hvalfjordur Tunnel, which was exciting. Tunnels remind me of Japan, so it was a little nostalgic.
We checked in to our hotel, ate some food, packed and went to bed early to wake up for our 8:30 flight.
What a beautiful country Iceland is. This is still my favorite country to visit and I would go back again and again. There’s just so many spectacular landscapes on this island that you feel like you’re on a different planet. On our next visit, I would really like to explore the West Fjords as we didn’t have enough time on this trip. Thank you Iceland for another great adventure!
WHERE TO STAY IN ICELAND
Fosshotel Baron (located near the Sun Voyager sculpture in Reykjavik) Sigtun 38, Reykjavik 105, Iceland
Volcano Hotel (located near Vik and Solheimasandur Plane Crash) THjodvegur | Ketilsstadaskoli, Vik 871, Iceland
Related: Where To Stay in Iceland