Top 7-day Iceland Itinerary Ideas

8 minute read

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By Max Naylor

23 May 2022


So you have a week to see the Land of Fire and Ice. You’re probably wondering whether it’s long enough. Well with pretty much any Iceland itinerary, 7 days will give you time to experience tons of natural sights and plenty of culture.

One of the best ways to see Iceland is on a 7-day Ring Road itinerary. This means you’ll get to see mighty waterfalls, awe-inspiring glaciers, and gushing geysers around Iceland.

If you want to zoom into a specific region, you could spend a week touring south and west Iceland. This covers the classic Golden Circle touring route, as well as the epic Snæfellsnes peninsula.

However you decide to spend your 7 days in Iceland, you’re bound to have your mind blown. So read on for some travel inspo that’ll spark ideas for your next vacation!

1. Iceland Ring Road itinerary

person standing by a cliff with rock face above and sea below

A week in Iceland gives you time for a self-drive tour around the Ring Road. Also known as Route 1, it hugs the stunning coastline and takes you through most of the country.

Here we’ve put together an Iceland Ring Road itinerary for 7 days to get you feeling inspired.

Day 1: Welcome to Iceland

Once you land at Keflavík airport, you’ll pick up your rental car and head to Reykjavík.

On the way, you can stop off for a relaxing dip in the Blue Lagoon. This spa is famous for its geothermally heated waters, rich in silica and other skin-friendly minerals. It’s the perfect place to unwind and recharge your batteries after your flight.

A man floating in the Blue Lagoon

Depending on when you arrived in Iceland, you might also have time to explore Reykjavík. Iceland’s capital is bursting with cool cafés, trendy bars, and interesting museums. Spend the afternoon wandering the quirky streets of the city center or grabbing a tasty bite.

Day 2: Borgarfjörður & Akureyri

Today you could head north toward Akureyri, the second-largest settlement in Iceland. This quaint town will charm you with its cute wooden houses painted in bright colors.

On the drive north, you’ll pass Borgarfjörður, one of the widest bays in Iceland. It’s studded with thousands of small islands and rocky outcrops that are home to seabirds, including puffins and eider.

It’s also worth taking a short detour off the Ring Road to check out the magnificent Barnafoss & Hraunfossar waterfalls. This network of criss-crossing streams almost glows blue thanks to the minerals in the water.

By dinnertime, you will have arrived in Akureyri. There are dozens of great spots to eat in the town. Whether you’re after local seafood, steak, European, or Asian food, you’ll have no problem finding something tasty.

Day 3: Goðafoss waterfall & Lake Mývatn, North Iceland

After a good night’s sleep in Akureyri, today it’s time to explore some of the wonders of North Iceland. First up today is Goðafoss, one of the country’s most powerful waterfalls. Unusually for an Icelandic waterfall, it’s much wider than it is tall.

The Goðafoss waterfall in summer

Next you can head to the area around Lake Mývatn. The lake itself is renowned for its natural beauty and as a haven for birdlife. But the area around Mývatn is also home to some of the most mind-bending geological features in all of the country.

Amongst these are the Dimmuborgir rock formations, which are the remains of ancient volcanic eruptions. Here you’ll see hollow lava tubes and stacks of basalt that look like they solidified only yesterday. You might also recognize Dimmuborgir as a filming location from the Game of Thrones series.

A stone’s throw away from here is Hverfjall, which from the side of the road looks like a pretty standard mountain. Climb it though and you’ll see that it is in fact a huge collapsed volcanic crater!

Other cool things to see and do in the Lake Mývatn area include:

  • Grjótagjá cave – Check out these spooky caves filled with naturally heated water
  • Hverir hot springs – See liquid mud bubble away and steam rise from the ground
  • Mývatn Nature Baths – Relax in these refreshing geothermal baths after a day’s sightseeing
  • Skútustaðagígar – Marvel at these otherworldly craters formed by the Krafla volcano

You could also take a detour to Húsavík. This charming fishing village is the whale watching capital of Iceland. If seeing these gentle giants is on your bucket list, then this is the place to come.

Day 4: Eastfjords

Today you’ll carry on around the Ring Road toward the Eastfjords. This region of Iceland is sometimes skipped. But with plenty to explore here, there’s no reason you should pass it by.

The town of Egilsstaðir is a great place to stop for lunch, but the true gem here is the Hallormsstaðaskógur forest just outside the town. This is the largest in Iceland and it hugs the banks of the Lagarfljót river. Rumor has it that Iceland’s answer to the Loch Ness monster lives here!

rainbow pavement leading to light blue church

If you have more time to explore, you could take the slow route around the Eastfjords and check out the region’s charming towns and villages. The village of Seyðisfjörður is full of traditional Icelandic buildings painted in bright, quirky colors. In the summer, it’s home to the Lunga arts festival, so it has a surprisingly cosmopolitan feel for such a small town.

Other villages in the area include:

  • Eskifjörður – Check out the maritime museum and refuel at a cozy café
  • Fáskrúðsfjörður – Explore this sleepy village that wears its French legacy on its sleeve
  • Stöðvarfjörður – Visit the famous Petra’s Stone Collection
  • Djúpivogur – Have a spot of lunch and marvel at the village’s collection of giant stone eggs

Tonight you’ll reach the town of Höfn í Hornarfirði, where you can grab dinner and get some rest before tomorrow’s adventures.

Day 5: Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon & south coast

This morning you don’t have far to go to see your first amazing sight. Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon is just under 1 hour’s drive from Höfn. The lagoon is filled with baby icebergs that have broken off the Vatnajökull glacier, which is the largest in Iceland.

The lagoon looks best at sunrise, so if you’re a morning person we definitely recommend getting up early to see it in all its glory. There’s something so calming about watching the tiny icebergs drift slowly out to sea.

Just over the road from the lagoon is Breiðamerkursandur (AKA Diamond Beach), where some of the chunks of ice wash up. Just imagine the clear-blue ice glistening against the jet-black sand.

Once you’ve had your fill of icebergs, you can rejoin the Ring Road. Follow it west and check out the rest of what Vatnajökull National Park has to offer, including:

  • Svartifoss – This hidden waterfall flows over hexagonal basalt columns
  • Skaftafellsjökull – A jaw-dropping, tongue-like outlet of the Vatnajökull glacier
  • Dverghamrar – Unusual geometric rock formations

In wintertime, you can also visit natural ice caves that form underneath the Vatnajökull glacier. Lined with smooth blue ice, these are a sight that’s hard to let go of.

Day 6: Golden Circle

The Strokkur geyser erupting in winter against a sunset

After checking out the best of South Iceland’s nature, today you’ll follow the famous Golden Circle touring route. This features 3 unmissable sights:

  • Gullfoss – A multi-tiered waterfall that is one of Iceland’s most beautiful
  • Geysir – The geothermal area that’s home to the active Strokkur geyser
  • Þingvellir National Park – Once the gathering place for Iceland’s ancient parliament

Now it’s time to head back to Reykjavík to enjoy your last night in Iceland. Why not head down to the trendy Grandi fishpacking district for some local food? Or you could sip a cocktail at a bar off Laugavegur, the main street.

For a truly Icelandic experience on your final night, you could visit a local pool for a dip in a ‘hot pot’ (what the locals call a hot tub). Many are open until 10 p.m., so you can relax your muscles before your journey home.

Day 7: Spa day or shopping in Reykjavík

Depending on the time of your flight, you could squeeze in a trip to the Blue Lagoon or Sky Lagoon if you haven’t already. Or simply spend the morning strolling the streets of Reykjavík and dropping into local boutiques to pick up a souvenir!

This is just a taste of what you could get up to on a 7-day Ring Road tour of Iceland. If you want to fit even more in, you could add extra days in Reykjavík at the start or end of your trip.

2. South & West Iceland

By focusing on one or two specific regions, you can travel at a more laid-back pace and enjoy more time at each attraction. South and West Iceland are brimming with jaw-dropping waterfalls, bubbling hot springs, and even the occasional glacier!

On this summer itinerary, you’ll have time to explore the Snæfellsnes peninsula, also known as ‘Iceland in Miniature’. This is because it packs in so much. As well as everything listed above, you’ll discover rugged cliffs full of puffins, yellow and black sand beaches, and quiet fishing villages.

Keep reading to find out what you can do in South and West Iceland in a week.

Days 1–3: Reykjavík and south coast

Start your trip by wandering around Reykjavík, snapping pics of the city’s colorful, traditional houses as you go. And of course if you have time, enjoy a relaxing soak in the Sky Lagoon or Blue Lagoon.

After a restful night’s sleep, you’re ready for your first day of adventure. Hit the Ring Road and follow it south along the coast. Here you’ll get your fill of waterfalls! These include the impressive Skógafoss, and Seljalandsfoss, which you can walk behind.

Reynisfjara with the Reynisdrangar sea stacks by sunset

Next continue south toward Reynisfjara black sand beach. The volcanic sand makes for a dramatic backdrop, but the beach is also surrounded by jagged cliffs and towering sea stacks just off the shore.

Tonight you’ll stay near the village of Vík with its iconic church and cool dining options. In the morning, rejoin the Ring Road and drive to Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. Here you can see tiny icebergs breaking off the Vatnajökull glacier and floating out to sea!

Days 4–5: Golden Circle & West Iceland

Today it’s time to follow the Golden Circle trail. This popular route includes Geysir, a geothermal area home to hot springs and the Strokkur geyser. Every 6–10 minutes, you can watch the geyser blast a column of hot water up to 20 meters (65 feet) into the air!

start of rainbow in the mist of multi-tiered waterfall in canyon

Next you’ll head to the Gullfoss waterfall. Its name means ‘Golden Falls’, hence the Golden Circle. One of the most spectacular in Iceland, this tiered waterfall is enveloped in local folk tales.

This evening you could add a visit to the Fontana spa to your plan. The health resort has geothermally heated water and looks out over the spectacular Laugarvatn lake.

The next day you’ll head to Þingvellir National Park. This ancient site is located where the North American and European tectonic plates meet. It was once also the gathering place of ancient Viking parliaments. You can explore the history of Þingvellir by following the many paths and trails around the area.

Spend the afternoon exploring West Iceland. Here you’ll find the Deildartunguhver hot spring, where steam rises from the ground and the water is hot enough to boil an egg. Finish your day’s sightseeing at the Barnafoss & Hraunfossar waterfalls, complete with their icy blue water and rock bridge.

Days 6–7: Snæfellsnes peninsula

Stykkisholmur harbor, Snæfellsnes peninsula

The Snæfellsnes peninsula has earned the nickname ‘Iceland in Miniature’ because it packs so much in. In this part of Iceland you can:

  • Pass through otherworldly, moss-covered lava fields
  • Spot puffins and other seabirds along the coast
  • Admire the handsome Snæfellsjökull glacier
  • Eat fresh local seafood in the town of Stykkishólmur
  • Snap photos of rugged sea stacks at Arnarstapi
  • Relive Game of Thrones at Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall
  • Explore hidden lava caves and gorges
  • Wander golden and black sand beaches

Thanks to how easy the Snæfellsnes peninsula is to navigate, you’ll be able to cross plenty off your Iceland bucket list here!

If you feel like you can’t fit it all in, you might want to add an extra day to your itinerary. That way, you could spend more time in this unspoiled region.

On your final day, you’ll return to Reykjavík. Depending on your flight time, you might be able to squeeze in a souvenir shopping trip or soak up culture at a gallery or museum.

3. Winter glacier adventure

Iceland is even more magical when the waterfalls are frosted over and the mountains blanketed in snow. And as the night draws in, you’ll have plenty of chances to chase down the Northern Lights.

All of this makes winter a great time to visit Iceland. Here we’ve put together an example Iceland road trip for 7 days that you could do in wintertime.

Days 1–3: South shore & Vatnajökull National Park

Arrive in Iceland and head straight to Reykjavík, where you’ll spend your first night. If you arrive earlier in the day, you might have time to check out the museums and galleries. And in the evening, you can have dinner or grab a drink at one of the city’s trendy local spots.

icicles and waterfall tumbling down rock face with snow on the ground

In the morning, you’ll start your road trip on south coast. Follow the Ring Road down to Seljalandsfoss, probably the most famous waterfall in Iceland, after Gullfoss. This is the one you can walk behind!

A short drive down the road is Skógafoss, its more powerful bigger brother. In winter they’re both likely to be frosted with icicles.

Tonight you’ll bed down in the countryside before your next day’s adventure. Head eastwards to Vatnajökull National Park, where you’ll find Svartifoss waterfall, surrounded by hexagonal columns of basalt.

An interesting view of the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon

The waterfall is fed by the Vatnajökull glacier, which is also the origin of the white and blue icebergs of the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. This magical place has an almost surreal energy. Pause to watch the icebergs drift out to sea, and you’ll see what we mean.

Days 4–5: Golden Circle & Snæfellsnes peninsula

Today a new chapter of your trip begins. You’ll head back west toward the Golden Circle to see the Geysir geothermal area and Gullfoss waterfall. In the afternoon, you can check out Þingvellir National Park where Iceland’s Viking-age parliament met.

The next morning, it’s time to check out Iceland in miniature on the Snæfellsnes peninsula. This compact slice of Iceland has its own glacier, black sand beaches, and lava caves. Oh, and waterfalls by the bucketload!

Days 6–7: West Iceland & Reykjanes peninsula

Spend your final couple of days exploring West Iceland. This part of the country is home to the Deildartunguhver hot springs, where you can see water boil in the ground.

The Barnafoss waterfall

A short drive away are the Barnafoss & Hraunfossar waterfalls. Hraunfossar is a collection of hundreds of small streams that form a network of waterfalls. Barnafoss is more energetic, as it cuts through a narrow strip of rock. And you can even see a lava bridge over the falls that has its own legend attached to it.

Alternatively, you could head to the Reykjanes peninsula in southwest Iceland. This is home to the Blue Lagoon spa, a must-do experience for anyone visiting Iceland.

The Krýsuvík hot springs on the Reykjanes peninsula

There are also natural attractions here, including the Krýsuvík geothermal area with its hot springs and steam vents.

You can also check out the newest sight in the area, which is the Fagradalsfjall lava field. This was created when the volcano of the same name erupted in March 2021. Even though the lava is no longer flowing, you can see it here in its crisp, solidified form.

Ways to see Iceland in 7 days

When planning a 7-day trip to Iceland, it’s worth thinking about the different options you have to get around the country. 

One of the most popular is a self-drive tour. Take the wheel of your own rental car and stop wherever you like, whenever you like. This the best option if you want full freedom to explore and the chance to see every attraction.

If you’re the outdoors type, then a camping trip is great option in summer. Travel as you would on a self-drive, except you’ll be sleeping in a tent under the stars instead of in a guesthouse or hotel.

Don’t feel like driving yourself? You could join a guided group tour, where you’ll circle Iceland’s Ring Road with a group of like-minded travelers. Perfect for making new buddies!

And for something a bit special, there are private tours. Your very own driver-guide will take you all over the country, sharing their insider knowledge with you and showing you their favorite spots.

Choose Iceland Tours and we’ll take care of making your Iceland travel plans for you. Simply pick the trip that excites you the most and book online. Then we’ll organize accommodation, transport, and any included activities for you.

All it takes to secure your booking is a 5% deposit. So you can start dreaming about your week in Iceland today!

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About the author

Max has been back and forth from Iceland since 2009. He lived and worked there for several years, and although he’s moved away, he left a piece of his heart there. When he’s in Iceland, he loves to relax in the ‘hot pot’, chow down on some local food, and catch up with friends. He speaks Icelandic fluently, so if you need to know how to pronounce ‘Fagradalsfjall’, he’s your guy.

View more posts by Max

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