Short & Sweet 6-Day Itinerary in Iceland

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Advisor - Olivia Haley
Curated By

Olivia Haley

  • Reykjavik

  • Iceland

  • City Travel

  • Nature Escapes

  • Adventure Travel

  • Active Travel

  • Road Trip Travel

  • Couples Travel

  • Solo Travel

  • WIldlife

  • Relaxation

  • National Park

the green northern lights amidst starry skye
Curator’s statement

Iceland is an amazing destination for the adventurous travelers! The Icelandic culture is unlike any other. You can be exploring lava fields, beautiful waterfalls and ice glaciers one day and the next you can relax in the hot springs and a have luxurious spa experience. Then later, you can sit back and see the most stunning wonder happening in the night sky above, the Northern Lights. This country offers a great mix between nature and nurture and I cant wait for you to experience it all!

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Day 1: Arrive in Reykjavik

a long street painted rainbow leading towards a monument

You will likely arrive to Keflavik Airport in the early morning. First things first, go pick up your rental car. Now, you are only 20 minutes from the infamous Blue Lagoon. Enjoy showering and taking those plane clothes off and hop into the largest manmade geothermal bath on Earth (plus it is way less crowded in the early morning hours than it is mid/late day). Once you are done soaking and relaxing for a few hours, you can grab a snack at their cafe and then hit the road to the city. Once you arrive in Reykjavik, you can leave your bags in your hotel and head out for lunch and explore the city (City Walk offers free walking tours). After checking out the town, you will be in able to check into your hotel and relax. Go for an early dinner because the jetlag will be hitting you. For a casual and quick meal, stop for fish and chips and if you are feeling a nice meal at a cute trendy spot, I highly recommend Sushi Social.

Day 2: Road trip through geysir, glacier, and lava

glacier erupts across vast snowy land

The jetlag will probably get you up early, but thats a good thing because there is a lot to do today! Wake up and get a quick breakfast either at the hotel or in the city nearby. On your way out of town stop at a Bonus or Kronan grocery store for some cheap snacks for the journey.

Your first stop will be Thingvellir National Park (it'll take about 45 min to get there so during your ride look up the history behind the park because there is a lot of unique facts on this one).

The next stop on the drive is Laugarvatn Fontana (if you haven't watched Down To Earth with Zac Efron, watch the Iceland episode before or after this tour)! At this stop you will see how in this town bakes their bread in the lava fields down by the hot springs and lake. Enjoy their delicious rye bread from mother nature AND some of the best smoked trout I have ever eaten, that they pair with the bread, that comes fresh from across the lake. You have to buy tickets in advance to this tour. They only have tours for the bread baking at 11:45am and 2pm.

Next stop on the road is Geysir. This spot won't take long, but definitely worth the stop. The Great Geysir was the first geyser ever recorded in the world, therefore naming every geyser after it off of the town it started in.

The final activity on the road is Gulfoss. A beautiful waterfall on the must see list of Iceland. This is also the meeting location to most tours up to one of the famous glaciers in Iceland (the top two tour companies are Mountaineers of Iceland and Sleipnir Iceland - highly recommend booking one of these tours to the top of the glacier and see the ice caves).

After you are done here, you will drive down to Hella, home to one of the best hotels in Iceland, Hotel Ranga. If you are visiting in the winter they have an option on their room phones to be woken up if the Northern Lights are visible. Highly recommend dinner at the hotel restaurant.

Day 3: Hella and horses

icelandic brown and white spotted horses stand on snow ground at sunset

Wake up and have breakfast at the delicious complimentary hotel breakfast. Depending on the time of year and weather, you can venture to the infamous Diamond Beach (a black sand beach with small to large ice formations all over, looking like shiny diamonds). If the weather isn't in your favor and the ice is melted, skip the long drive and head towards the town of Vik. Here you can explore the black sand beaches either by foot or horseback (with Vik Horse Adventure). After exploring the quaint town and beaches, check into your hotel right in town. Once you change and relax a little, head over to the lava show to see the only show in the world that recreates a volcanic eruption in front of your eyes. Take your pick at any of the small town restaurants for dinner.

Day 4: Journey back to Selfoss

waterfall over a rock cliff on a cloudy day

Wake up for your complimentary breakfast in the hotel restaurant with great views of the mountains. Then start your journey back towards Selfoss. On your way you will be making stops at multiple must-see spots, including: Dyrholaey lookout, the plane wreck (a long walk or quick shuttle from the road, but worth it), Skogafoss waterfall, and ending at Seljalandfoss waterfall. Once you've seen all the sights along the road, drive to Greenhouse Hotel. The hotel has a great food hall, a great shop, and an even better ice cream shop. Another food option around the hotel that is a very yummy option is Olverk Pizzeria and Brewery.

Day 5: Geothermal baths in Reykjavik

geothermal bath with wooden deck with steam rising from the water

Enjoy the morning, stop in town at a bakery in Selfoss for breakfast. Then head back to Reykjavik. Drop your bags off at the hotel, then explore the city some more or head to Sky Lagoon for a relaxing late afternoon in one of the best geothermal baths. After the day, however you decided to spend it, finish it off with a nice dinner in the city. If you are visiting in the winter and haven't chased the Northern Lights on your own yet (via the Aurora app), buy tickets to a tour to find the lights with a group.

Day 6: Farewell Iceland

a peninsula with a long road through it and a white house in the foreground

Wake up and head to The Laundromat Cafe, where you can eat your breakfast, have an amazing cappuccino, and do laundry downstairs at the same time. Once you're down exploring the city, head to the Bridge Between Two Continents on your way to the airport. It is a quick stop that is about 20 minutes from the airport. You get to walk across the bridge from one continental tectonic plate to another! A great way to end the trip.

Advisor - Olivia Haley

Travel Advisor

Olivia Haley

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Iceland.