Top 10-day Iceland Itinerary Ideas
Are you planning a trip to Iceland? Then you’re probably wondering how long should stay in the Land of Fire and Ice. You’ve come to the right place! With sparkling ice caves, natural hot springs, and impressive waterfalls waiting for you, any time you have to spend here will be memorable.
One of the best ways to see all of Iceland’s breathtaking regions is by taking a trip around the Ring Road. Circling the entire country, you can drive this road – also known as Route 1 – in a week.
But if you really want to immerse yourself in the experience, then a 10-day Iceland itinerary gives you extra time. This will let you uncover hidden gems, explore in more depth, and pack in thrilling activities.
Read on for 3 exciting trip recommendations. With suggestions for self-drive, guided group, and camping tours, you’re sure to find an itinerary that sparks your wanderlust. How will you spend your 10 days in Iceland?
1. Self-drive Ring Road trip with Snæfellsnes peninsula
Choose a self-drive trip and you’ll be able to tailor your itinerary to match your Iceland wishlist. Plus, you’ll be able to go at your own pace and stop whenever and wherever you like along the way.
Not only that but navigation is straightforward if you’re following the Ring Road. You can even pick and choose which detours you’d like to make as you go.
Here we’ve outlined a self-drive Iceland itinerary for 10 days. It’s brimming with must-see sights as well as a visit to the Snæfellsnes peninsula. There are also ideas for optional excursions you could add along the way.
- Start planning your self-drive tour of Iceland today.
Day 1: Welcome to Iceland!
Arrive at Iceland’s international travel hub Keflavík Airport, and make the 45-minute journey to the capital of Reykjavík. You can either collect your pre-booked rental car from the airport or arrange to rent a car from a provider in the city.
After touching down in Keflavík, you could begin your trip Icelandic style, with a visit to the Blue Lagoon. A dip in the mineral-rich waters is the perfect way to revitalize after your flight.
Head to your hotel and get a good night’s sleep before your adventure begins.
Day 2: Snæfellsnes peninsula
The Snæfellsnes peninsula is often described as ‘Iceland in Miniature’, and it’s easy to see why. Here you’ll see lots of different Icelandic landscapes, all packed into this stunning corner of West Iceland.
Kirkjufell, otherwise known as ‘Church Mountain’, is a must-see on the peninsula. This striking mountain has been used as a filming location in Game of Thrones, amongst others. And don’t miss the nearby waterfall, Kirkjufellsfoss. It will look spectacular in the foreground of your photos of this iconic mountain.
Then discover the basalt Gerðuberg cliffs, Eldborg volcanic crater, and ancient lava fields, which hint at the volcanic power that shapes Iceland. There’s so much to see on this 55-mile (88-kilometer) peninsula, it’s worth allowing time to pause and explore.
Stay the night in the Snæfellsnes area, perhaps stopping off somewhere like Stykkishólmur. Found towards the peninsula’s north, the town is the area’s hub and is well-equipped for visitors.
Day 3: Snæfellsnes to Borgarfjörður
Today you’ll drive inland again, heading for Borgarfjörður. This lush part of Iceland is famous, as it appears in the Saga of Egill. The Icelandic sagas are known across the world as one of the country’s most important cultural works.
You’ll travel around the turquoise waters of the fjord and marvel at the nearby Langjökull glacier. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can try snowmobiling or glacier hiking here (depending on the time of year).
Don’t miss out on the chance to walk under the glacier too. Head into the heart of Langjökull with the ‘Into the Ice’ experience. Here you can explore man-made tunnels under the ice all year round.
Close by you can see (and smell!) Europe’s most powerful hot spring, Deildartunguhver. It powers two nearby towns with the geothermal energy it produces. It’s much too hot for bathing, but still worth a visit.
The town of Borgarnes is ideally placed for you to spend the night before heading north.
Day 4: Akureyri & Vatnsnes peninsula
The region of Skagafjörður in North Iceland is famous for breeding Icelandic horses. As you make your way through the area, you’ll see the horses grazing on the rolling pastures, mountains, and lava fields.
While you’re here, you won’t want to pass up the opportunity to detour to the Vatnsnes peninsula. Here you could glimpse seals on the coast and tour a turf house museum. These famous turf-lined houses were once common all over Iceland.
From Vatnsnes, continue onto Akureyri, the unofficial capital of North Iceland.
Sitting on the shore of Eyjafjörður fjord, Akureyri is Iceland’s second-largest city after Reykjavík. Steeped in Icelandic heritage and culture, it makes a great place for you to stop off and spend the night. Why not explore the local food scene or visit one of the fascinating museums?
Day 5: Húsavík, Mývatn, waterfalls & lava fields
You’re halfway through your 10 days in Iceland, but there’s still plenty more to see!
After Akureyri, your next stop is Goðafoss (‘Waterfall of the Gods’), one of Iceland’s most impressive waterfalls. At 30 meters (100 feet) wide and with a drop of 12 meters (40 feet), you can see how the falls got their mighty name.
From here, you could discover other natural wonders of the north. Dimmuborgir is one of Iceland’s most famous lava fields. Drive or walk through the area, and soak in the otherworldly scenery. You’ll be surrounded by jagged pinnacles, caves, and rock archways.
Your next stop is Lake Mývatn. This beautiful lake boasts crystal-clear water, as well as lots of local wildlife. South of the lake you’ll come across the pseudo-craters of Skútustaðir, which you can walk around.
From Lake Mývatn, you can head to Húsavík for the evening. This charming coastal town is the whale-watching capital of Iceland. If you have time, we highly recommend taking a boat tour out into the bay to spot these gentle giants.
Day 6: Tjörnes peninsula, Ásbyrgi & Dettifoss
Leave Húsavík, and get ready to journey down Iceland’s east coast. Make sure to visit the Tjörnes peninsula on your way. Here you’ll see some of Iceland’s most unique natural features. These include the horseshoe-shaped canyon of Ásbyrgi.
Surrounded by dense forest, the valley is rich in folklore and it’s said to have been formed by a hoofprint from Óðinndin’s horse, Sleipnir. If you look closely enough you might catch a glimpse of the Huldufólk, Iceland’s ‘hidden people’.
Close by is the spectacular waterfall, Dettifoss. This waterfall is so strong you can feel it beneath your feet. It’s the second most powerful waterfall in Europe. If you want to get up close, be sure to bring your waterproof jacket.
Keep driving down the east coast to reach Egilsstaðir. This is a great place to relax for the evening after a day of exploring the Tjörnes peninsula.
Day 7: The Eastfjords
The Eastfjords is perhaps one of the regions most overlooked by tourists, but there’s plenty to see here. And it’s a tranquil place to be, just 3% of Iceland’s population live in the area.
From Egilsstaðir follow Route 1 to wind your way along the fjord-side roads heading south. The road climbs quite high in places, so you’ll want to stop and soak up the epic landscapes that await. Think rugged peaks and breathtaking coastlines.
If you’re interested in quirky art you should stop off to visit the Eggin í Gleðivík. This art installation is located in the little village of Djúpivogur.
Here you can see sculptures of 34 bird eggs carved by Sigurður Guðmundsson. It’s an unusual piece set against a stunning natural backdrop.
Reach Southeast Iceland and you’ll find your stopping point for the night. Höfn is a bustling town with striking views of the Vatnajökull glacier.
Day 8: Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon & Skaftafell Nature Reserve
It’s time for you to explore the famous south coast of Iceland! Today you’ll visit some of the best-known landmarks in the country.
Begin by driving west through Vatnajökull National Park, to arrive at Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. Admire icebergs bobbing on the lake from the shore or take a guided boat tour on the turquoise waters.
Then, drive head to Breiðamerkursandur (also known as ‘Diamond Beach’). This is where the icebergs from Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon are deposited on their way out to sea. The beach is one of the most popular sights in Iceland and gets its name from the striking contrast of the glittering ice against the black volcanic sand.
Once you’ve had your fill of the coast, head back to the national park to tour Skaftafell Nature Reserve. If you love hiking and spending time in nature, you’ll want to allow a bit of time here. With a range of trails to choose from you’ll find something to suit your fitness level.
Travel through Kirkjubæjarklaustur and the Eldhraun lava field, which boast even more wild scenery. Your overnight stop on the south coast is Vík.
- Related: Your complete guide to Diamond Beach.
Day 9: Reykjanes peninsula & the Golden Circle
As you journey back towards Reykjavík, you won’t want to miss a tour of the Golden Circle. Your trip to Iceland simply isn’t complete without taking in the must-see sights on this route, and best of all, it’s completely doable in a day.
On your way to the Golden Circle, visit the spectacular waterfalls of Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss. If you’re feeling brave, you can even follow a path that takes you behind the cascading water at Seljalandsfoss!
A detour to the Reykjanes peninsula, if you haven’t already visited, is also recommended. Here you can relax in the Blue Lagoon and marvel at the region’s volcanoes.
Now it’s time to do the classic Golden Circle tour of Iceland. The route takes in several of the country’s most iconic sights: Geysir, Þingvellir (Thingvellir) National Park, and Gullfoss waterfall.
The geothermal area of Geysir, home to the famous Strokkur geyser, is your first stop. This geyser regularly shoots water up to 30 meters (100 feet) into the air.
Then head to Þingvellir National Park. Not only will you see gorgeous scenery, but you can also visit Alþingi, one of Iceland’s key historic sites. Established in 930 AD, Alþingi is known for being the oldest parliament in the world.
As well as being culturally important, you can also see part of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge in Þingvellir National Park. This 5-kilometer (3-mile) stretch of the ridge is where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates are pulling apart, to create new land.
The last stop on the Golden Circle is Gullfoss. Complete with 3 tiers of falls, it’s one of the most spectacular in the country. The water rushing over the edge here comes Iceland’s second-largest glacier, Langjökull.
If you have time, you might also want to pay a visit to Friðheimar, a geothermal-powered greenhouse. Afterward, you’ll see tomato and cucumber farming in a whole new light. There’s even a restaurant where you can dine on produce grown on the farm.
Later, return to Reykjavík for your final night in Iceland.
Day 10: Return to Reykjavík
After 10 days spent traveling around Iceland, making lifelong memories you can round off your trip with a day to explore Reykjavík. Don’t miss Hallgrímskirkja church and the Sun Voyager sculpture.
Before you catch your flight you could take a stroll down Laugavegur, the main street, to pick up any souvenirs. And pop over to the famous ‘rainbow street’ too for local art and culture.
You could also go to Sky Lagoon, perfect if you want to unwind after your road trip. Here you can luxuriate in an infinity-edge geothermal pool with ocean views. Plus, there are spa treatments available too.
When it’s time to head home, drive back to Keflavík Airport and drop off your rental car.
Good to know: This 10-day adventure is possible in summer and winter. If you’re planning to visit over winter, you’ll have a better chance of seeing the Northern Lights. So keep this in mind if you want to chase the Aurora Borealis.
- Want more inspiration for your trip? Check out these winter self-drive tours.
- Related: Sky Lagoon vs Blue Lagoon – Which One Should You Visit?
2. Guided group Ring Road adventure
Taking the wheel yourself isn’t the only way to enjoy everything the Ring Road has to offer. If you’d prefer to let someone else do the driving, then join an escorted group tour of Iceland and an experienced driver-guide will lead the way.
Your route will hug the coast, as well as heading inland through dramatic volcanic scenery. You’ll also pass many of the country’s historic and cultural highlights along the way.
Travel with a local expert and you’ll benefit from their insider knowledge for an even deeper insight into the Icelandic way of life. So choose a guided Ring Road trip around the Land of Fire and Ice and you’ll take in the must-see sights and more.
- Check out these Iceland Ring Road tour packages.
Day 1: Arrive in Iceland
Land in Keflavík International Airport, Iceland’s main airport. From here, you can take a transfer to Reykjavík in around 45 minutes.
If your flight arrives early, you’ll have time to explore the city or unwind at your hotel. You’ll meet your guide and begin your tour the following morning.
Day 2 & 3: Golden Circle & south coast
After a hearty breakfast, your tour bus will collect you from your hotel. Now it’s time to meet your fellow adventurers and set off on your guided group trip. Today’s route will take in the iconic sights on the Golden Circle: Þingvellir National Park, Gullfoss waterfall, and Strokkur geyser.
Venturing along the south coast, you have the chance to see Skógafoss and Seljalandfoss, two of Iceland’s most impressive waterfalls. You’ll spend the night in Vík.
Your south coast adventure continues on day 3 as you head into Vatnajökull National Park. Here you’ll enter a world of glaciers, lagoons, and black sand beaches.
You’ll stop off at highlights including, Skaftafell Nature Reserve, Vatnajökull glacier, and Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. And you could also walk along Diamond Beach, where icebergs are scattered across the black volcanic sand.
Come evening, rest your head in the fishing port of Höfn. You can even enjoy glacier views from the town.
Day 4: Eastfjords
Your fourth day sees you venturing north to the Eastfjords, one of Iceland’s most remote regions.
As your guide navigates the country’s coastal roads, you’ll glimpse a different side of Iceland. Think charming villages and forested valleys. Today’s highlights include Reyðarfjörður, a town on one of the longest fjords of east Iceland, the Beljandi Microbrewery, and the village of Egilsstaðir, where you’ll spend the night.
At Egilsstaðir you’ll discover Iceland’s largest forest, Hallormsstaðaskógur. Don’t miss the chance to see Lake Lagarfjlót as well. The lake has a legend of a mythical beast living in the waters. Keep an eye out for the roaming reindeer through this area too.
Day 5 & 6: Dettifoss, Lake Mývatn & North Iceland
Your guide will now whisk you even further north, where you’ll take even more of Iceland’s jaw-dropping sights.
Visit the powerful Dettifoss waterfall where you can feel the ground shake with the power of nature! Then head for Lake Mývatn where you’ll get sweeping views over soft moss-covered lava fields.
Nearby you see Námaskarð pass, a geothermal area full of boiling mud pools and steaming geysers. Spend the night around the Lake Mývatn area.
The next day you’ll continue to Dimmuborgir. Here you’ll find towering rock formations, the result of an ancient lava flow. The rugged peaks and caves here are said to be home to Iceland’s 13 ‘Yule Lads’, who are part of the country’s festive folklore.
- Related: Discover Icelandic Christmas traditions.
Your next stop is Goðafoss waterfall, the ‘Waterfall of the Gods’. It’s well-known as one of Iceland’s most spectacular falls, so you’ll want to have your camera ready.
Later, you’ll arrive in Akureyri, the capital of the North. Brimming with cultural highlights and plenty of old-world charm, the city is a great place to stop. After a quick break in the city, your tour continues west to Siglufjörður, your overnight stop.
Day 7: West Iceland
Today you can explore Siglufjörður, made famous as the setting of the Icelandic thriller Trapped.
Your first stop of the day is Skagafjörður, known as the heartland of the Icelandic horse. Although the herds roam freely here, these aren’t wild animals, they’re owned by farmers and local breeders.
Icelandic horses are special because they have 5 gaits, instead of 4 like most other horse breeds. What’s more, they are almost unchanged since the Vikings first brought them across in the 9th century. You’ll notice there are also plenty of color varieties.
Plus, you’ll get to see the village of Blönduós, which is mentioned in the Icelandic Sagas. In West Iceland, you’ll also have the chance to explore the Borgarfjörður region, a key place in Viking history.
Your overnight stop is in the peninsula town of Borgarnes, where you can take in fjord views from the shores of Borgarfjörður.
Day 8: Þingvellir National Park
This morning your guide will drive along the west coast. On your way, you’ll stop off at Deildartunguhver, one of the most powerful hot springs in Europe. Plus, there are more impressive waterfalls to see: Hraunfossar and Barnafoss.
From here, your journey will take you into Þingvellir National Park. The road follows the shore of Lake Þingvallavatn, Iceland’s largest lake, before going into the park itself.
Þingvellir National Park is a UNESCO-listed heritage site recognized for its geological and cultural importance. You can also walk the boundary where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates meet. And you’ll learn about Alþingi, the site of the oldest parliament in the world.
Later, you’ll return to Reykjavík for your overnight stay.
Day 9 & 10: Return to Reykjavík or an extra day
Before leaving Iceland, we recommend exploring the capital. Reykjavík has so much to see and do, you can easily spend an extra day or two here.
Relax after the excitement of your Ring Road adventure and enjoy city’s culture, art, food, and shops. If you make your trip into a full 10 days in Iceland you won’t regret it.
3. Epic camping trip around Iceland
Visiting Iceland during the summer means you can go camping when the temperatures are warmer. Plus, the midnight sun lets you soak up the scenery late into the evening. With a rental car and your trusty tent, you’ve got everything you need for an Iceland road trip under canvas.
If you want to reconnect with nature surrounded by breathtaking landscapes, 10 days in Iceland could be perfect for your ideal camping vacation.
- Start planning your summer tour of Iceland.
Day 1: Welcome to Iceland
Arrive in Iceland at Keflavík Airport, and pick up your rental car ready to begin your self-drive tour tomorrow.
A great way to kick off your Iceland vacation is with a visit to the Blue Lagoon. So why not indulge in a trip to this geothermal hot spring, just a 45-minute drive south of Reykjavík?
You’ll spend the first night in the buzzing capital of Reykjavík, before hitting the road the next day.
Day 2: Golden Circle & Vík
We recommend beginning your vacation with a tour of the Golden Circle’s renowned natural wonders. Take the wheel and get ready to admire Þingvellir National Park, Gullfoss waterfall, and Geysir hot springs.
After touring the Golden Circle, travel south on Route 1 towards Vík. Along the way, you can stop off at Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss, two of Iceland’s most-photographed waterfalls.
When you get to Vík, pitch your tent at a campsite for the night.
Day 3: South coast adventures
Today you’ll have the chance to explore Iceland’s scenic south coast as you drive through Vatnajökull National Park. This vast protected area is home to many of the country’s popular sights.
Make sure to allow time to visit top spots, such as Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon and the black sands of Diamond Beach. At the lagoon, you can marvel at the icebergs bobbing on the water. And at the beach, they’re scattered along the sand so you can even walk between them.
Later, venture to Skaftafell Nature Reserve, in the heart of the national park. Lace up your hiking boots and take to one of the many trails to stretch your legs. You could also drive through the Eldhraun lava field and explore the tiny village of Kirkjubæjarklaustur.
Camp for the night in the area of Höfn, a fishing town with views of the Vatnajökull glacier.
Day 4: Eastfjords
Hop into your rental car today for the journey through the remote and beautiful Eastfjords.
The region’s spectacular coastal inlets are studded with small fishing villages. Be sure to stop off at a couple along the way. You’ll get a snapshot of the local culture and find out what country living is like in Iceland.
Soon you’ll arrive in Egilsstaðir, your stop for the night. Here you can go sightseeing in the town and visit Iceland’s largest forest. Why not also go looking for the mythical creature in Lake Lagarfjlót?
Day 5 & 6: North Iceland & Lake Mývatn
Now it’s time to explore North Iceland. First, set your sights on the Möðrudalur highlands. The moon-like landscape here is home to Iceland’s highest inhabited farm.
Traveling further north will take you past the powerful Dettifoss waterfall, and the horseshoe-shaped canyon of Ásbyrgi. Camp for the night in the whale-watching capital of Europe, Húsavík.
Next, you can spend the day at Lake Mývatn. This is a great place to relax and unwind, as there are 2 nature baths nearby for you to indulge in. That said, if you prefer more active pursuits, take to the road for a hike through the otherworldly lava fields of Dimmuborgir.
On day 6, your campsite is in the capital of North Iceland, Akureyri. On your way, don’t miss the opportunity to stop off at the breathtaking Goðafoss waterfall.
Day 7, 8 & 9: Borgarfjörður & Snæfellsnes peninsula
This morning you’ll drive through the scenic northwest before driving down the west coast. Known for breeding Icelandic horses, you’ll likely see many of these stocky, yet charming, horses near the roadside in this part of the country.
Follow the Ring Road as it leads you across a large stretch of moorland, that was farmed by the Vikings. Then, arrive in the Borgarfjörður area, where you’ll spend night 7.
On the morning of day 8, you can set out to explore the Snæfellsnes peninsula. Sometimes called ‘Iceland in Miniature’, this 90-kilometer (55-mile) long peninsula is packed with an amazing variety of things to see.
Kirkjufell mountain and Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall in particular are well worth seeing. Plus, they’re sure to delight Game of Thrones fans. Then rest your head at a campsite on Snæfellsnes.
For your final day on the road, drive along the peninsula’s stunning coastline. Along the way, you’ll see places like Hellnar, where the sea has eroded huge archways in the cliffs. See the fishermen’s lifting stones at Djúpalónssandur, and explore the Eldborg crater and lava fields.
After a day of sightseeing on the Snæfellsnes peninsula, travel south for your final night in Reykjavík.
Day 10: Reykjavík & goodbye Iceland
You’ve traveled around Iceland in 10 days, but you might want to allow extra time at the end of your trip for discovering the highlights of the capital. Enjoy the restaurants, galleries, museums, and shopping in Reykjavík before your flight. Or extend your stay with an additional night here.
When the time comes to leave, you’ll drop off your rental car at the airport before waving goodbye to the Land of Fire and Ice.
- Related: How long do you need in Iceland?
How to have your own 10-day adventure in Iceland
If these 10-day itineraries have got you feeling inspired, then now’s the time to start planning your vacation to Iceland. Travel with Iceland Tours for a trip where your accommodation, local transport, and more are taken care of for you.
When you’re deciding on your ideal tour, make sure to ask yourself these questions:
- What do you most want to see when you’re in Iceland?
- What time of year would you like to visit?
- Are there any activities you wouldn’t want to miss out on? (Some activities are seasonal so it’s worth checking this before you go.)
- Are you happy driving yourself, or would you prefer a driver-guide?
- What’s the longest time you’d want to spend driving each day?
About the author
Catherine became fascinated by Iceland when she studied geology at university. And while there’s plenty to captivate a self-confessed geology geek, there’s so much more to discover here. The wild landscapes, epic bathing spots, and laid-back culture are just some of her favorite things about Iceland. When she’s not writing about travel, you’ll probably find her rock climbing or planning her next adventure.View more posts by Catherine