There are so many incredible things to do in Iceland it can be overwhelming to try and plan your trip. We’ve rounded up the top adventures, sights to see and culinary experiences so you can create your own Iceland bucket list.
With active volcanoes, black sand beaches, rushing waterfalls and glacial lagoons, Iceland is a nature-lover’s haven. And for those who get excited by culture and foodie delights, there are plenty of charming towns, historic sights and elevated culinary experiences to make your heart pitter-patter.
With so many things to do in Iceland, where is one to start? Well, we think we have a pretty darn good list to help you plan the trip of a lifetime.
Whether you’re an adventure junkie seeking an off-the-beaten-path experience or you have an affinity for the finer things in life, Iceland is sure to knock your travel socks right off. Before you know it you’ll be planning a return trip to this spectacular country. (We’re already dreaming about our third visit!)
Without further adieu, let’s dive into our curated list of the very best things to do in Iceland – complete with insider tips so you can start planning your own Icelandic adventure!
Iceland Travel Guide
For more tips and advice for planning your trip to Iceland, jump to the following sections (or just keep scrolling to see it all!).
- How many days do you need
- Iceland itinerary
- Best time to visit
- How to get around
- Tips for visiting
- What to pack
Top things to do in Iceland
If you’re looking for the very best things to do in Iceland, here are our top recommendations:
- Go on an epic road trip
- Soak in as many hot springs as possible
- Discover the Golden Circle
- Hike the Fimmvörðuháls trail
- Chase waterfalls
- Explore Reykjavik
Keep reading for more detailed information on each of these things and more ideas of fun things to do in Iceland.
1. Go on an epic road trip
Outside of Reykjavík, it’s very difficult to experience much of this country without your own vehicle.
Pack your favorite snacks, crank the tunes and roll down the windows… well, maybe not – it gets pretty cold in Iceland – and prepare for the road trip of a lifetime!
Use our Iceland road trip planning guide to help you plan your trip.
Here are some of the top Iceland road trips we’d recommend:
- South Iceland: See the highlights of Iceland’s southern coast on this perfect Iceland itinerary
- Ring Road: If you have the time, we highly recommend doing a road trip around the entire Ring Road that encircles the country.
- Snaefellsnes Peninsula: If you’re pressed for time, or just want to see something different, check out the beauty on this peninsula just a few hours north of Reykjavik.
- Golden Circle: An absolute must on your first trip to Iceland, see #3 for details!
Want to save time and energy on planning?
We’ve traveled to Iceland 3 times now and spent weeks living in a campervan, traveling around the country. We’ve been able to explore a lot of what Iceland has to offer!
We’ve compiled our experience to create the perfect Iceland itinerary. Our itinerary is for 7-9 days and meant to be explored while traveling in a campervan. It includes the highlights of the southern coast of Iceland.
We’ll send you our complete 7-9 day customizable itinerary, filled with tips and advice. Just click below to get your perfect Iceland itinerary today!
2. Soak in as many hot springs as possible
Being that Iceland is known for its geothermal activity, it should come as no surprise that hot springs are about as numerous as sheep. Well, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the point.
From rustic hot pots in the middle of nowhere to bougie hot spring resorts where you can enjoy a massage, a facial and Prosecco all while soaking in tepid waters *Blue Lagoon, cough, cough*, there are quite a variety of hot springs to choose from.
Whether you’re looking for an off-the-beaten-path adventure and don’t mind a bit of effort (or algae!) or you prefer being pampered and would prefer your soaking experience be algae-free, visiting a hot spring (or 5!) in Iceland should definitely be on your itinerary.
Our favorite Iceland hot springs
- Fosslaug: Small riverside pool requiring a short and easy walk to reach
- Hrunalaug: A very natural hot spring that looks like a scene out of Lord of the Rings
- Reyklajular Thermal River: A picturesque geo-thermal river that requires a roughly 1 hour hike in
- Sky Lagoon: Luxury bathing near Reykjavík with pools overlooking the ocean
- Blue Lagoon: Iceland’s most famous hot spring known for its milky-blue color
- Myvatn Nature Baths: Located in north Iceland, this is a great alternative to the Blue Lagoon without the crowds.
- Secret Lagoon: Iceland’s oldest swimming pool, although far from “secret” as the name would suggest
We’ve created a list of our favorite hot springs in Iceland, including our own personal tips and things you should know before you don your bikini.
This round-up includes an array of different soaking options — from totally free and little-known hot springs to the luxurious resorts that are known around the world.
3. Discover the Golden Circle
Driving the Golden Circle is sort of a rite of passage on most visitors’ first trip to Iceland. This route encircles three major attractions:
- Thingvellir National Park
- Gullfoss Waterfall
Lucky for you, we have an entire guide to the Golden Circle, packed with useful tidbits and hidden gems along the way.
4. Hike the Fimmvörðuháls trail
While this suggestion may not be for every traveler, if you are an avid hiker you’ll definitely want to put this trek on your Iceland bucket list.
This 15.5-mile trail brings you through some of the most dramatically diverse landscapes in the country, making it one of the best hikes in Iceland.
Sound like fun? We’ve written a super comprehensive guide to the Fimmvörðuháls hike so you can know exactly what to expect!
5. Go chasing waterfalls
Iceland has the highest concentration of waterfalls of any place we’ve ever visited in the world. (And that’s saying a lot for two people who live in the Pacific Northwest!)
There are waterfalls everywhere. You’ll be driving and BOOM – you’ll see one waterfall after another.
And these aren’t just trickles, friends. I’m talking about legitimate, gushing waterfalls.
So how do you determine which waterfalls are worth seeing? That’s a tough question to answer, but we’ll get your started with a list of our top recs.
Our favorite waterfalls in Iceland
- Gullfoss waterfall: Often hailed as the most famous waterfall in Iceland
- Brúarfoss: An off-the-beaten path attraction and possibly the bluest waterfall in all of Iceland
- Glymur waterfall: The second tallest waterfall in Iceland
- Seljalandsfoss waterfall: Can walk behind the falls—best to see at sunset
- Gluggafoss: A quick detour from Ring Road and much less crowded
- Kirkjufellsfoss: A good one to photograph with a a cone-shaped mountain looming in the near distance
- Skógafoss waterfall: Another ultra-popular site, but very cool to see and you can walk right up to the water
- Dettifoss waterfall: The largest waterfall in Iceland by volume!
We’ve put together a list of the best waterfalls in Iceland – from the uber famous (and rightly so!) Skógafoss to seldom-visited falls that require a bit of effort to reach.
6. Explore Reykjavík
Despite being a relatively small capital city, Reykjavík is absolutely packed with fun things to do. With next-level restaurants that’ll impress even the snobbiest of foodies to eclectic and colorful street art, this city is sure to charm just about any traveler.
While exploring downtown Reykjavík, be sure to wander the colorful streets, take advantage of the vibrant food and nightlife scene, and experience some free sightseeing along the way.
We’ve rounded up our top things to do in Reykjavík so all the research has basically been done for you!
7. Wake up with a view
We may be biased, but we think camping is the best way to experience all the beauty and adventure that Iceland has to offer. Whether you choose to pitch a tent or rent a campervan in Iceland, you’re in for one hell of an adventure!
While campervanning around Iceland, we fell asleep under the stars and woke up with coffee next to waterfalls. We ventured to remote canyons and hidden hot springs. And we made memories we’ll be talking about for years.
If that sounds dreamy to you, be sure to check out our complete guide to camping in Iceland. It legitimately has everything you need to know to prepare for a trip of a lifetime. Plus, we’ll answer all your burning questions, so it’s good to check out if you’re on the fence.
8. Stay at unique accommodation
There are all sorts of cool places to stay at in Iceland – bubble hotels, farm stays, mountain huts, and luxurious “cabins” made of glass (perfect for *hopefully* seeing the Northern Lights!).
One of the best ways to find cool accommodation in Iceland is to search on Airbnb using their filters. You can set it up so it only shows you “unique stays” or “stays with hot tubs”, for instance.
Want a shortcut? We rounded up some of the best Airbnbs in Iceland just for you!
9. Try Icelandic cuisine
One of our favorite things to do while traveling anywhere in the world is to indulge in the local flavors because:
a) we like to eat (!!!)
b) it gives you a glimpse into the culture and how locals live
And Iceland was no exception. We ate our way through the country, all in the name of “research”.
Icelandic cuisine is heavy on seafood, lamb and potatoes, and can be described as a whole as “comfort food for a cozy fall day”. (Well, at least that’s how I like to describe it!)
We’ve rounded up all the best foods to try in Iceland so you have a go-to checklist of dishes to sample on your trip. And we’ve also explained which foods you can skip during your trip to Iceland.
Calling all foodies! If you too love eating on your travels (hey, let’s be friends!), we’d highly recommend doing a food tour with Reykjavík Food Walk. Use the discount code TWS10 when you check out to get 10% off your tour price.
10. Take a hike!
No, we’re not telling you to get lost.
Hiking in is one of the absolute, all-time, CAN’T-MISS things to do in Iceland. This country was absolutely made for exploring on foot.
Whether you’re an avid hiker or you’re simply up for a bit of a heart-thumping adventure on your trip to Iceland, there are plenty of trails around the country that’ll make you fall head-over-hiking boots. Corny, but true.
As hiking enthusiasts ourselves, we’ve done quite a bit of trekking around this jaw-dropping country and we’ve compiled a list of our favorite Iceland hikes to share with you.
11. Walk on Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach
Iceland’s coast is dotted with black sand beaches. With all of the volcanic activity on this island nation, it’s easy to see why. While traveling in Iceland, be sure to stroll along at least one black sand beach – there are plenty to choose from.
One of the most famous and most beautiful beaches in Iceland is Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach. Situated on Iceland’s south coast not far from the small town of Vík, this is a good black sand beach to add to your itinerary.
12. Visit the tranquil (but eerie) Seljavallalaug Swimming Pool
Built in 1923, this is one of the oldest public pools in all of Iceland (some accounts claim it is the oldest). We’ve visited this hot pool twice – once in 2016 and again in 2021 – and we enjoyed our visit both times. That said, there are a few things you should know…
Seljavallalaug is a 25-meter outdoor public pool fed by a natural hot spring. The water in the pool is lukewarm (not hot), and the bottom of the pool has algae so it’s a little slippery in places.
It didn’t bother us, but don’t expect clean, pristine water here. There was also some trash around left from other visitors and graffiti in the changing rooms when we visited.
The facilities are minimal, changing rooms are separated by gender, but there are no doors, just stalls, so it’s not that private. There are no toilets here either.
The “hike in” is an easy 20-minute walk along the riverbed to reach this pool. On our most recent visit, we were the only ones there for a while.
Find out exactly how to get there and everything else you need to know in our guide to visiting Seljavallalaug Swimming Pool.
13. (Try to) see the Northern Lights
Gazing up at a sky dancing in hues of green is on many-a-travelers’ bucket lists. And while seeing the Aurora Borealis in person is an experience that you will cherish forever, I’m going to pop in and be a bit of a buzzkill…
You have to be very lucky to see the Northern Lights. If you go into your trip expecting to see this natural phenomenon, you very likely may be disappointed.
But if you go in with an open mind and a few tricks to hopefully help you spot them, this may be a highlight of your trip.
Tips for seeing the Northern Lights
- Plan your trip right
- Download a Northern Lights app (it’s one of our top Iceland app recommendations)
- Watch the weather
- Try again and again
- Set an alarm
14. Go whale watching
Being that Iceland is an island nation, there are plenty of opportunities to go whale watching. The two most popular spots are in Husavik (a small town on Iceland’s northern coast) and in the waters just outside of Reykjavík.
While it is never guaranteed that you will see whales – they are wild creatures, after all – you do have a pretty good chance of spotting these gentle giants breaching.
We went whale watching with North Sailing and while it was fun to be out on the water on a rare sunny and hot Icelandic day, we didn’t get very lucky with spotting whales. We saw a small minke whale from a distance, but that was it.
That said, we appreciate that laws in Iceland prevent tour companies from chasing whales or using sonar technology to find them. This makes it a much better environment for the whales, and even more special when you do get to see them up close.
Insider tip: If you tend to get seasick, be sure to take medicine or natural remedies with you.
15. See puffins
If you are traveling to Iceland during the spring and summer months, you have a good chance of spotting these cuties if you know where to look.
Iceland is one of the best places to see these charismatic black and white birds, as more than half of the world’s Atlantic puffin population make a visit to Iceland each year. From late March to late August, it is estimated that between 8 and 10 million puffins flock to Iceland, forming large breeding colonies.
With their cute, clown-like faces and playful nature, these birds are incredibly fun to photograph. Just be sure to maintain your distance (use a zoom lens!), and never feed them (or any wild animal, on that note).
Fun fact: Did you know that puffins mate for life?!
Best places to spot puffins in Iceland:
- Vestmannaeyjar (Westman Islands): This is the largest puffin colony in the world, but it requires a bit of effort to get here as you will need to take a ferry to the island.
- Dyrhólaey: This cliffside on Iceland’s south coast is where we have seen puffins on two separate trips. While not the largest colony, this is a convenient place to spot them as most visitors driving the Ring Road will pass by this location.
- Látrabjarg: These remote cliffs in the Westfjords are a great place to see puffins if your itinerary brings you to Iceland’s sparsely populated western region.
- Lundey & Akurey Islands: If you want the best chance of spotting puffins without venturing far from Reykjavík, this is your best bet. You can catch a short boat ride from the city’s old harbor to these uninhabited neighboring islands that are known for Iceland’s favorite bird. In fact Lundey translates to “puffin island”.
- Borgarfjörður Eystri: This cliffside area is located in the east fjords, and 1 1.5-hour detour off of the Ring Road. Those who make the journey will be rewarded with the sight of nearly 10,000 pairs of puffins that call nesting at Borgarfjörður Eystri home each summer.
16. Wander cute Icelandic towns
For a small country, Iceland has a surprising number of super cute towns. Well, I suppose that’s a subjective statement, but if you think fishing villages flanked by mountains, colorful buildings and a quaint atmosphere is cute, then you’ll surely agree with me. And if you don’t think that’s a winning combination, you may want to check your pulse.
Here are some of the cutest towns in Iceland (in our opinion!):
17. Snorkel between continents
Snorkeling in the Silfra Fissure is an experience you can’t get anywhere else in the world. This is the spot where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates meet. They are pulling apart slowly and have created a rift that can be seen above ground and just below the water’s surface.
The water hovers around around 36°F (2°C) year round (yes, this tour can be done during any season). Because of the near-freezing temps, you won’t see much underwater life, but this place boasts visibility up to 100 meters (330 feet), which is unparalleled and an experience in and of itself.
Are you a scuba diver? This is ranked time and time again as one of the best places to dive in the world. The catch? You must either carry a certification for dry suit diving or you must have 10 logged dry suit dives (one of which must have been during the last 2 years).
18. Be wowed by Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
One of the coolest – both literally and figuratively – natural wonders in Iceland are the glacier lagoons.
Whether you’re driving around the whole Ring Road or you’re just exploring Iceland for a handful of days, Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon is one of the best stops you can make.
It is utter magic. Imagine giant chunks of ice in all shades of blue floating in a body of water in front of you as sea birds swoop down from above and seals break the water’s surface with their whiskered noses.
While you can book a glacier lagoon kayak tour or a motorized boat excursion, simply just walking around the lagoon and enjoying the sight from shore is an experience that you won’t soon forget.
After getting your fill at Jökulsárlón Lagoon itself, be sure to make your way to the nearby Diamond Beach where you can see ice chunks that have washed up on the black sand shore
Good to know: Jökulsárlón is undoubtedly the most famous glacier lagoon in Iceland, but it’s not the only one. Fjallsárlón is not far from its more popular sister, but it’s pretty cool to check out this lesser-known lagoon if you have the time.
19. Hike to Sólheimasandur Plane Wreck
There aren’t many places in the world where you can see a plane wreck on a black sand beach… Come to think of it, this may be the only one.
The Sólheimasandur plane wreck is on Iceland’s south coast, not far from the town of Vík, and is popular with photographers and travelers seeking a unique sight. Near the ocean’s edge, you’ll find the remains of a 1973 U.S. Navy plane that crashed at this spot after running out of fuel. Thankfully, everyone on board survived.
Visiting this popular spot is easy. You simply park in this lot, and follow the marked path for a little more than 2 miles (3.5 km) until you reach the wreckage. In total, this is a 4.5-mile (7.25 km) walk.
Good to know: The walk to the plane is kind of long and very boring. It’s flat, so you won’t have to worry about elevation gain, but it’s important to pack plenty of layers and rain gear.
20. Explore the magical basalt columns of Studlagil Canyon
Located in eastern Iceland, Studlagil Canyon is quite a gem. With towering black basalt columns set against (sometimes) turquoise waters, this otherworldly place is unlike anything you’ve ever seen.
Getting here can be a bit confusing, so we created a guide to Studlagil Canyon complete with a free map, precise directions and insider tips we wished we would have known before our visit.
21. Photograph Icelandic churches
As you drive around Iceland, you’ll see quaint churches dotted all throughout the countryside and in each town, no matter how small. Some of these churches have a rich history which is typically documented on a sign outside the building.
If you see one that strikes your fancy, pull over, get out of your car and explore a bit. Oh, and don’t forget your camera because Icelandic churches are next-level photogenic.
22. Taste rye bread that was baked underground
Experience for yourself the power of harnessing geothermal energy by sampling bread that was baked underground. This method of cooking was once used out of necessity, but today it is more or less as a way to taste history.
While on the Ring Road, you can stop at Laugarvatn Fontana, where they lead daily Rye Bread Tasting Tours. The tour lasts about 30 minutes and walks you through the baking process. As a group, you’ll uncover a pot that has been underground for 24 hours, and you’ll place a new one near a thermal spring for another tour group to collect the following day.
It is quite interesting to learn about the process, but the best part is trying the finished product. The rye bread is dense and sweet, almost like cake. And topped with a generous amount of smjor (Icelandic butter) and smoked trout, it is absolutely addicting, and definitely a food you should try in Iceland. The details: This tour runs daily at 11:45 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. and costs 1700 ISK per person ($13).
23. Meet Icelandic horses
You won’t drive very far before seeing your first Icelandic horse. These beauties are smaller than the horses you may be used to, and they have short legs and a thick coat of fur.
Oftentimes, these horses will gather at a fence alongside the road, as if begging for a photo. If you can safely pull over, this is usually considered just fine.
However, there are a few things you should not do:
- Don’t park improperly. Make sure that if you pull over, other cars have enough space to pass. Better yet, search for a designated pull-out as stopping on the side of the road is strongly discouraged.
- Don’t ever cross over the fence, as this would be trespassing on private property.
- Don’t feed the horses, as this can cause them to have excess food. Just imagine if you were a farmer and 10 visitors a day fed your horses. This means you don’t have any control over what’s being fed to them and they may be developing bad habits.
If you want a more intimate experience with Icelandic horses, you may want to look into a horseback riding tour. They run all over the country – from remote farms to those just outside of Reykjavík that can pick you up from your hotel.
24. Try glacier hiking
Hiking on a glacier is one of the most unique and adventurous experiences you can have in Iceland. Being that the glaciers are actively melting, this may not be something visitors can do in years to come, so this truly may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
The best place for glacier hiking in Iceland will be at Vatnajökull National Park, which is a vast expanse encompassing the majority of Iceland’s glaciers.
Glacier hiking is an activity you must do with a guide, and there are quite a few tour companies to choose from.
A guided tour includes all the equipment you’ll need, like a harness, an ice axe, crampons and a helmet, as well as a guide who is experienced with the area and glacier safety.
Insider Tip: After doing a bit of research, we read many recommendations that suggested choosing a 5-hour glacier tour over a 3-hour tour, as you get to see much more of the glacier itself. Being that it does take a bit of time to actually reach the glacier, we’d agree with these recommendations.
During the tour, you’ll traverse a pretty large section of a glacier and see some pretty incredible sights. You may even be lucky enough to be (safely) lowered into a small ice cave, which feels like an entirely different world.
Are you visiting Iceland in the winter? You may want to also look into visiting an ice cave with a tour guide. This looks like a pretty incredible experience, but with the exception of a couple, most ice caves can only be visited during the late fall and winter months.
25. Learn about volcanoes
Being that Iceland is a volcanic island, it makes sense that it is a great place to learn about, well, volcanoes.
Now how you choose to learn about them is up to you, but we have a few fun suggestions:
Go to the Lava Show in Vík
How would you like to see real lava up close? Well, this is your chance!
The Lava Show, located in the small town of Vík, boasts that it is the “only place in the world where you can safely experience hot molten lava in close proximity”. And whew, we can attest that it is quite a unique experience. During this 1-hour long show, you’ll have front row seats as you watch molten lava (1,100°C / 2,000°F) flowing right in front of you.
The creator of this experience, Júlíus, is extremely passionate about all things volcanoes and lava, and makes it an entertaining and educational show for both adults and children.
Do the “Inside the Volcano” experience
Have you ever thought about going inside a volcano?! Yep, you read that right – inside! On this tour, guests board a cable lift and descend 120 meters (400 feet) to the bottom of the crater for an experience you can’t get anywhere else. At more than $330 per person, there’s no doubt this is a huge splurge, but the reviews seem to speak for themselves. While we haven’t personally done this tour, it does sound like a pretty cool way to learn about volcanoes.
Hike, hike, hike!
If you’re an avid outdoor enthusiast, you’ll be happy to know that Iceland has some incredible hiking opportunities. And many of the hikes in Iceland are through volcanic landscapes including lava fields.
In our opinion, there’s no better way to learn about something than by getting up close and personal with it. Plus, it won’t cost you a thing, which is a bonus if you’re traveling Iceland on a budget.
26. Scope out traditional Turf Houses
Turf houses are quite the sight to see, but if you don’t know where they are on the map, you may just miss them. These historic relics give us an idea of how people once lived in Iceland, though their purpose today is only the preservation of the past.
Why did people build turf houses? The answer is quite simple. While much of Iceland was once forested, people cut down trees for construction, almost completely eliminating this resource from the small island nation. Since lumber was hard to find, Icelanders resorted to a different method of building.
Turf houses were already popular in neighboring Scandinavian countries and being that the sod provided extra insulation, it was an easy choice. Turf houses were known for keeping the temperature stable throughout the year, staying cool in the summertime and keeping residents warm through the long winter months.
Where can you find turf houses? There aren’t that many remaining, but here are a handful to check out:
Note: Some of these are museums that allow visitors to enter the houses in exchange for admission. If you’d simply like to see a turf house from the outside, that’s okay too.
27. Walk the rim of colorful Kerið Crater
Perhaps the most colorful stop along Iceland’s Golden Circle is the aquamarine lake that sits inside Kerið Crater. The crater itself is a volcanic caldera, flanked by red volcanic rock and bursts of lime green moss in a shocking display of Mother Nature’s artistic side.
Good to know: Kerið Crater is pronounced “kair-ith”, as the “ð” symbol in Icelandic has a “th” sound.
After purchasing a ticket for 400 ISK ($3) at the trail entrance, you can walk the gravel trail that encircles the rim of Kerið Crater.
This loop trail is just under a mile long and is relatively flat and easy and shouldn’t take much more than a half hour in total (including photo stops). You can also descend on a staircase down towards the water for a different perspective.
How many days do you need in Iceland?
In order to get a good taste of all that Iceland has to offer, we’d suggest spending a minimum of one week in Iceland. If you happen to have more time than that, great!
There is so much to see and do in this country you could spend months here and not get bored.
We think 7-9 days is the perfect amount of time to soak up plenty of the highlights and get to know the country a bit better.
Perfect Iceland itinerary
Raise your hand if you don’t want to spend hours of time researching and you just want all the info right at your fingertips!
If your hand is up, keep reading…
If you like the research, all the power to you! Feel free to use our itinerary outlines as a starting point as well as our Iceland guides for more ideas (we’ve got a bunch of them!):
- Ring Road Iceland: Can’t-Miss Stops!
- Actually Cool Things to Do in Reykjavik
- Best Iceland Waterfalls + Exact Locations
- Where to Get the Best Pictures in Iceland (+ photography tips!)
- Beautiful Iceland Hikes
- Dreamy Iceland Honeymoon Experiences
- …the list goes on! (See ALL of our Iceland content here)
But if you want to save some hours of your life, we’ve already put in more than enough for you and us combined. Trust us.
And we’re happy to share everything we learned — from digging through reviews, Youtube and all sorts of Internet rabbit holes, as well as actually traveling in Iceland on 3 separate occasions.
We’ve put together the perfect Iceland itinerary for your first visit. This itinerary includes day-by-day instructions, photos and tips that will help you plan your road trip through southern Iceland and the iconic Golden Circle.
In this 7-9 day itinerary, you’ll find:
- Can’t miss sights and experiences
- Where to eat
- suggestions for what to order
- Where to stay (whether you’re camping or doing hotels)
- the best campsites to stay on the route
- unique stays along the way
- Insider Tips
- Suggestions for extending this trip
We’ve spent hours of research putting this all together, just for you!
In full transparency, this is a paid itinerary since it has taken an incredible amount of time for us to create.
However, we keep all of our paid itineraries affordable – just $17 for an entire 7-9 day itinerary. We think this is an incredible value considering almost all your planning will be done for you!
Best time to visit Iceland
In general you’ll have the best weather and opportunities for hiking and outdoor activities during the summer months, from June – August.
If viewing the Northern Lights is what you seek, visiting during the shoulder seasons of September – October and February – March are when we’d recommend.
While you’ll have chances of cold weather year round (yes, even in the summertime!), you’ll most likely want to avoid traveling to Iceland in winter if you don’t do well in frigid temperatures.
For an in-depth guide on the regional seasons, weather patterns and other factors, check out our complete guide to the best time to visit Iceland.
How to get around Iceland
There aren’t many options for public transportation in Iceland, outside of the capital city of Reykjavik. For this reason, we’d highly recommend renting your own vehicle to explore more of the country at your own pace.
Having a rental car in Iceland will give you the freedom you need to explore the country fully on an epic road trip. Plus, it may be cheaper than you think, especially if you decide to tent camp along the way instead of paying for expensive accommodations.
We’ve rented cars in Iceland on two separate occasions and found it to be incredibly convenient!
We have an entire guide to renting a car in Iceland that will walk you through the ins and outs, including where we found the best rental deals and tips for driving (hint: you won’t want to skip this section!).
Exploring Iceland in a campervan was a dream trip of ours for many years. When we finally made it happen, I can honestly say it lived up to our expectations in every possible way.
The great thing about renting a campervan in Iceland is that you’ll save tons of money on accommodation costs.
Check out our Iceland campervan rental guide where we break down all of the FAQs about traveling Iceland in a campervan, plus tell you about the best Iceland campervan rental company which we just so happen to have an exclusive discount code for.
Tips for visiting Iceland
If you’re planning a trip to Iceland, here are the top tips to make the most of your visit:
- Plan your itinerary in advance. Iceland offers a wide range of breathtaking natural wonders and attractions, so it’s important to plan your itinerary in advance to maximize your time. Identify the places you want to visit, prioritize them based on your interests, and map out a realistic route.
- Pack for diverse weather conditions. Iceland’s weather can change on a dime and it’s not uncommon to experience 4 seasons in just one day. Be prepared for a mix of sunshine, rain, wind, and potentially even snow, depending on the season.
- Download these essential apps before you go. We tested out all the recommended Iceland travel apps on our latest trip and there are a few we could not live without!
- Rent a car or campervan to explore. Renting your own vehicle is highly recommended in Iceland, as it allows you to explore the country at your own pace and venture off the beaten path.
- Respect the environment and practice Leave No Trace. Iceland’s natural beauty is fragile, and it’s essential to be a responsible traveler. Stay on designated paths and trails to minimize damage to the delicate ecosystems. Respect any signs or guidelines for conservation areas and wildlife protection.
- Book an airport shuttle. If you need to get to Reykjavík from the airport, or vice versa, skip the taxis and instead book a shuttle bus. Unless you have a large group of people traveling together, this will save you money! Flybus is the most popular airport shuttle service that runs from Keflavik airport to Reykjavík and back.
What to pack for traveling to Iceland
One of the most frequently asked questions we get from people planning a trip to Iceland seems to be what to pack for Iceland and what to wear on your trip.
Here are some specific items we’d recommend packing for Iceland:
- bug repellant (solids are the way to go)
- insulated water bottle and thermos
- reusable straw & reusable bag (say no to single-use plastic!)
- gloves, winter hat, scarves
- wool socks
- thermal long underwear (for highland activities and travels)
- sun protection
- portable charger
- travel umbrella
- backpack with rain cover
- waterproof jacket (the outer layer should be water and windproof)
- hiking pants or rain pants
- hiking boots (or winter boots depending on the time of year you travel)
Get our complete Iceland packing list, packed with insider tips and valuable information in this downloadable PDF. All you have to do is click below to enter your email and we’ll send it straight to your inbox, completely FREE!
Are you planning a trip to Iceland?
We have TONS of resources on travel in Iceland and how to make the most out of your trip. Check out our Ultimate Iceland Travel Guide for all the answers to your most burning questions, or read some of our favorite articles below.
- Perfect Iceland Itinerary
- Best Iceland Waterfalls + Exact Locations
- Fimmvörðuháls Hike: Guide to Iceland’s Best Day Hike
- Iceland Campervan Rental Guide (+ Exclusive Discount)
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What do you think of this Iceland bucket list? What would you add or skip? We’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below!