Self Drive Iceland Itinerary

Iceland is one country that always make you want to come back if you love nature and action. I have written a post on what you need to know if it is your first time to Iceland and write about my trip when I went to Iceland.

Here I want to share itinerary you can copy if you have 4 days, 7 days and 10 days in Iceland. This is well packed itinerary for self drive and you will be staying in different place every night to maximize your time. If you want to do it in a leisure pace you can always extend the 4 days itinerary to 5 or 6 days. Bear in mind that Iceland weather can change dramatically and when that happen you need to be flexible and change course.

When to Come

Iceland is beautiful all year round and the landscape changes so much from spring, summer, autumn and winter.

The peak season is summer where everyone will flock to Iceland renting a car or campervan and drive around the ring road and highland. Northern light is the second reason people come to Iceland and the season start from September to March.

The best way to enjoy Iceland in my opinion is by renting a car and drive yourself. But this cannot be done in deep winter (Dec and January). Not only you need to be an experienced winter driver but Iceland weather is harsh during this period that road can become inaccessible and it is dangerous to drive. Daylight in December and January is also very short, only few hours. You don’t want to spend your days driving in the dark for hours. Read here about self driving in Iceland.

Four days Itinerary

Day 1: Assuming you land Keflavik yesterday afternoon or today early morning. With your rental car sorted, today you should explore Iceland Golden Circle. Start with Thingvellir national park. Spend good 2-3 hours in the park then drive thru for lunch. After lunch drive to Gulfoss and Geysir. Gulfoss and Geysir are 10 km apart and around 10 minutes drive. While Thingvellir is around 1 hour+ drive from Geysir. Stay the night somewhere in the area instead of detouring back to Reykjavik.

Day 2: Explore South Coast. Here you will visit 2 waterfalls: Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss, black sandy beach Reynijsfara and the town of Vik. Stay the night in Vik.

Day 3: Jokulsarlon and Diamond beach. If you come from November to March you will be able to do ice cave tour in Vatnajokull national park whch leaves from Jokulsarlon. If you come outside winter, you can take half day glacier walk tour in Skaftaffel. Leave your accommodation before 7.30 am so you can get to your meeting point before 10.30 am to join the tour. Morning Tour finishes around 14.00 which leaves you ample time to admire the iceberg lagoon in Jokulsarlon and make your way to Diamond beach just across the road. If you come in the summer and don’t want to do glacier walk, you can take zodiac boat tour in Jokulsarlon lagoon. Stay the night near the area (there are Hotels and guesthouse 10kms away) or drive back to Kirkjublaeklaustur (1.5 hour drive) and stay night there.

Day 4: Today you are driving back to Reykjavik. It is a long drive ~ 3 to 4 hours depending on where your accommodation is. You can stop by at Fjadrargljufur canyon and spend sometimes there. The canyon is much more impressive outside winter so you will spend more time there if you come in summer. You should arrive in Reykjavik late afternoon and stay the night there so you can stroll around Reykjavik. For a nice experience to end your holiday, visit Sky Lagoon for a relaxing thermal bath (last slot at 19.30 and it closes at 21.30).

Day 5: Fly home. Reykjavik is 40 minutes drive to Keflavik airport

Seven Days Itinerary

Day 1: you should explore Iceland Golden Circle. Start with Thingvellir national park. Spend good 2-3 hours in the park then drive thru for lunch. After lunch drive to Gulfoss and Geysir. Gulfoss and Geysir are 10 km apart and around 10 minutes drive. While Thingvellier is around 1 hour+ drive from Geysir. Stay the night somewhere in the area instead of detouring back to Reykjavik.

Day 2: Explore South Coast. Here you will visit 2 waterfalls: Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss, black sandy beach Reynijsfara and the town of Vik. Stay the night in Vik.

Day 3: Jokulsarlon and Diamond beach. If you come from November to March you will be able to do ice cave tour in Vatnajokull national park whch leaves from Jokulsarlon. If you come outside winter, you can take half day glacier walk tour in Skaftaffel. Leave your accommodation before 7.30 am so you can get to your meeting point before 10.30 am to join the tour. Morning Tour finishes around 14.00 which leaves you ample time to admire the iceberg lagoon in Jokulsarlon and make your way to Diamond beach just across the road. If you come in the summer and don’t want to do glacier walk, you can take zodiac boat tour in Jokulsarlon lagoon. Stay the night near the area (there are Hotels and guesthouse 10kms away) or drive back to Kirkjublaeklaustur (1.5 hour drive) and stay night there.

Day 4: Today you are driving back to Reykjavik. It is a long drive~ 3 to 4 hours drive depending on where your accommodation is. You can stop by at Fjadrargljufur canyon and spend sometimes there. The canyon is much more impressive during spring and summer so you will spend more time there if you come during that time. You should arrive in Reykjavik late afternoon and stay the night there so you can stroll around Reykjavik.

Day 5: Explore Snaeffelness Peninsula. You will drive to Kirkjuffel mountain and make some stops to see the landscape in Budirkirkja (Black Church), Arnastappi (have lunch here and take a walk to see the stone bridge, rocks of Gatklettur, Cliff viewpoint and Bardur Snaefellsas statue and Monument Jules Verne (Journey to the center of the earth). You should arrive late afternoon to Kirkjuffel mountain and Kirkjuffelfoss (the waterfall). Stay for 2 nights in Grundarfjordur, the closest town.

Day 6: Drive to Olavsfik for whale watching tour (the season starts from 15 February to 30 September with daily departure at 10.00 and 14.00). If you take morning tour, after your tour finish you can drive to Stykkisholmur for a few hours before returning to Grundarfjordur.

Day 7: Drive back to Reykjavik and spend one day in the capital city of Iceland. Have lunch at the Seabaron (Saegriffin) and taste its famous lobster soup and seafood skewer. End your day by soaking in a thermal bath in Sky Lagoon if you stay the night in Reykjavik. But if you have early flight the next day, our suggestion is to stay the night in Keflavik. And if you stay in Keflavik, you should go to Blue Lagoon instead. Both Sky Lagoon and Blue Lagoon are very popular and need to be booked in advance. Read here about our experience in Blue Lagoon.

Iceland Ring Road Itinerary

Day 1: Assuming you land Keflavik yesterday afternoon or today early morning. With your rental car sorted, today we start anti-clockwise by driving to Snaeffelness Peninsula. You will drive to Kirkjuffel mountain and make some stops to see the landscape in Budirkirkja (Black Church), Arnastappi (have lunch here and take a walk to see the stone bridge, rocks of Gatklettur, Cliff viewpoint and Bardur Snaefellsas statue and Monument Jules Verne (Journey to the center of the earth). You should arrive late afternoon to Kirkjuffel mountain and Kirkjuffelfoss (the waterfall). Stay the night in Grundarfjordur, the closest town.

Day 2: Explore North Iceland.
Drive to Akureyri, second most populated city in Iceland. It is around 5 hours drive and you will do stop in Siglufjordur, Godafoss waterfall and Dimmubirgir lava formation. Stay 3 nights in Akureyri.

Day 3: Drive to Husavik to do whale watching tour. Whale watching season starts from 1 March to 30 November. After the tour, stop for a visit to Hveraron geothermal and end your day in Mytvan nature bath.

Day 4: Drive for sightseeing to Skutustadagigar, Hverfjall, Hverir, Krafla power plant and Dettifoss waterfall

Day 5: Explore East Iceland.
Check out from you accommodation and drive to Seydisfjordur and Egilstadir. Journey time around 3 hours. Stay the night in Egilstadir.

Day 6: Drive to Vestrahorn and Stokness. Stay the night in Hofn

Day 7: South Coast Iceland
Drive to Jokulsarlon and Diamond beach. If you come from November to March you will be able to do ice cave tour in Vatnajokull national park whch leaves from Jokulsarlon. Alteratively if you come outside winter, you can take half day glacier walk tour in Skaftaffel. Leave your accommodation early so you can get to your meeting point before 10.30 am to join your tour. Morning Tour finishes around 14.00 which leaves you ample time to admire the iceberg lagoon in Jokulsarlon and make your way to Diamond beach just across the road. If you come during summer and don’t want to do glacier walk, you can take zodiac boat tour in Jokulsarlon lagoon. Stay the night near the area (there are Hotels and guesthouses 10kms away) or drive back to Kirkjublaeklaustur (1.5 hour drive) and stay night there.

Day 8: South Coast Iceland
Today you are going to drive to Vik and Reynijsfara black sand beach. Stop at Fjadrargljufur canyon and spend sometimes there. The canyon is much more impressive during spring and summer so you will spend more time there if you come during that time. You should arrive in Vik in the afternoon for lunch before visiting Reynijsfrara. Stay the night in Vik.

Day 9: You are almost at the end of your road trip. You’re going to drive to Reykjavik and stopping at two waterfalls: Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss. You should arrive in Reykjavik late afternoon where you can stroll around the city and stay for 2 nights.

Day 10: Golden Circle.
Start with Thingvellir national park. Spend good 2-3 hours in the park then drive thru for lunch. After lunch drive to Gulfoss and Geysir. Gulfoss and Geysir are 10 km apart and around 10 minutes drive. While Thingvellir is around 1 hour+ drive from Geysir. End your day by driving back to Sky Lagoon in Reykjavik and enjoy thermal bath to ease off your feet from all the walking and driving.

Day 11: Fly home

If you come during summer, you can stretch this 10 days itinerary to 14 days to cover the Westfjord and Highland. The highland F-road is only open for summer from June to September. Similarly in Westfjord, snowfall is heavy in the region, and due to the small population, the roads are not as regularly maintained as in the rest of the country.

I hope these itinerary can help with your planning. Happy Holiday ! 😊

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