If you are like me and don’t get much vacation days but want to see the most from a place, you may need to know how far you can cover within a certain amount of time. Here is where itinerary’s are helpful. I rented a car and drove around iceland for 7 days and pretty much saw everything possible. Here is my 7 day itinerary to see iceland
Land in Reykjavik and check out the city for the first day. Go to the blue lagoon and relax for a couple of hours. Its only 45 mins from the city and close to the airport. Check out the big church downtown called Hallgrímskirkja. Dine at this place called Fish market down by the city square and drink an espresso and enjoy the views. Don’t forget to rent a car sometime during the day!
Drive east of reykjavik to Gullfoss and Geysir in Þingvellir. This is part of the whole golden circle. After you see the Geysir, drive south towards Vik.On the way you will find some of the most amazing waterfalls in the world. Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss are really pretty waterfalls next to each other fed by glaciers Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull. Make sure to do some hikes around the waterfalls as well. Try to camp in the wild here if you dont have much time. Otherwise head straight to Vik and camp there in a campground. They have excellent facilities and a breathtaking view of the mountains.
Iceland Photo Gallery
[slickr-flickr tag=”nordic” type=”galleria”]
After a nights rest at Vik, drive to Vatnajökull National Park. It is the second largest national park and has plenty of activities to do including regular hiking, glacier hiking, heli skiing and snowmobiling on a glacier. Definitely plan on hiking to Svartifoss from the visitor center. Svartifoss has huge basalt columns and looks pretty amazing. If you continue the hike further, you can check out the glacier called Skaftafellsjökull (“SKAP-tuh-fells-yuk-ul”) offering panoramic views of the glacier. Spend the night camping somewhere around the visitor center. There are plenty of options there for you.
Continue your journey on route 1 and head towards Jökulsárlón – the glacial lagoon. Here you will seethe glacier ice melt and fall away and mix with the ocean. There are boat tours that take you to the glacier. Keep driving to the west and stop at Hofn for some good lamb soup for lunch. The entire drive is beautiful with fjords and cliffs, plenty of hikes along the way if you want to get down and stretch. Head towards Seydisfjordur (East iceland). This is a magical town on a fjord and has breathtaking views. The entire town is really chill and a great place to relax. I recommend ditching your tent and staying in a hotel or a guest house here. Take an evening stroll along the harbor and check out the houses.
After a heavy breakfast, drive north towards Akureyri. If you continue on Route 1, you can stop by at Dettifoss. The most powerful falls in Europe. Once you get to dettifoss, make sure to take a 1.4 KM hike to go to selfoss. This is definitely one of my favorite waterfalls. After these waterfalls, head towards Myvatn. This has one of the most amazing landscapes you will ever see. A lot of movies were shot here and this has been used by NASA during the Apollo program. This place is otherworldly with geysers, volcanic rocks, lava fields and stuff. Stop at Farmhouse Cafe by the lake and drink their lava tea. After your snack, head towards godafoss. Stop by the cafeteria and check out the store for some amazing handicrafts. If you need a place to buy a sweater knit by a local, this would be perfect. Spend the night at Akureyri. There are lots of campsites there as well.
After a nice hot breakfast, head towards Snæfellsnes peninsula. This is a long drive but an enjoyable one. Check out Vatnsnes peninsula which has a large collection of birds and a lots of seal colonies. The drive here resembles the drive on Highway 1 in California. Head towards Stykkishólmur and have a nice lunch there. Check out the town for a bit and head towards Snæfellsjökull. If you have plenty of time, try hiking up the glacier. It is one of the most amazing hikes in iceland. Try camping in the wild on Route 54 between 55 and 56. Find a spot by the fjord and set up your campsite and relax the evening and see the sunset.
Time is almost up and it really sucks to think about going back home. Hey on the bright side, you still have a couple of beautiful places to see before you board a tin can. Make sure to stop by at Hraunfossar along the way. This is one of the most beautiful waterfalls formed by rivulets. On your drive, stop by at Arkanes peninsula if you are a bird lover or just want to relax your day and soak up the sunshine (Whenever you see the sun, just get out and enjoy as its rare!). After this, head over to Reykjavik and finish your trip on a high.
This is my 7 day itinerary to see iceland and we did rush at times to get to the next place. We did completely miss out the west fjords due to lack of time but with this one, you can cover almost 80% of all iceland in 7 days. Good luck on your travels!