Black sand beaches, vast expanses of ice, breathtaking cold mountains and an ethereal landscape. That’s what you’ll have to look forward to in this 10 day itinerary for Iceland. We’ll be traveling through Iceland via car, making a full loop around Iceland’s best cities and attractions.
This will be the most scenic road trip you’ll ever go on and includes Reykjavik, Thingvellir National Park and Geysir, The Golden Circle and South Coast, Glacier Lagoon and Jökulsárlón, Eastern Fjords, Akureyri and Lake Myvatn, Whale Watching and the North Coast, West Iceland, and the Reykjanes Peninsula before finishing off back in Reykjavik.
It’s going to be a whirlwind or should we say snow storm of a trip that will render you speechless and frozen with delight. Iceland, show us what you’ve got!
Best places to stay during your 10 day itinerary for Iceland
Get ready for a few tongue twisters, because these Icelandic cities are some of the hardest to pronounce.
Iceland’s most famous and noteworthy cities to stay in Iceland include; Reykjavik – (Iceland’s capital and largest city), Akureyri (the largest town outside of the capital, located in the north of Iceland), Hafnarfjörður (south of Reykjavik), Borgarnes (on the west coast of Iceland), Egilsstaðir (in the east of Iceland) and Ísafjörður – (located in the remote Westfjords region).
The best way to travel through Iceland is by hiring a comfortable vehicle that you can use to drive from place to place and stop and go at your own leisure.
Best time to visit Iceland
Summer (June to August) is the most popular time to visit Iceland. The weather is generally mild, and the days are long, with almost 24 hours of daylight in some parts of the country.
This is the best time for outdoor activities, such as hiking, camping, and exploring Iceland’s many waterfalls, hot springs, and geysers. However, it can also be crowded and expensive, especially in July and August.
Winter (December to February) in Iceland can be harsh, with cold temperatures, snow, and short days. However, it is also a magical time to visit, with the possibility of seeing the Northern Lights and enjoying winter sports like skiing and snowboarding. It is also a quieter time to visit, with fewer tourists and lower prices.
Whatever your preference, both times are equally good to visit Iceland. Or perhaps visit in Summer and Winter to experience the best of both seasons.
Plan your trip?
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10 day Itinerary for Iceland
Let’s crack on with our 10 day itinerary for Iceland. There’s a lot to do, so fill up the tank (and your personal tank with a bunch of snacks) and let’s hit the road. You’ll most probably fly into Reykjavik, which is great because that’s where we’ll be starting the trip.
Day 1 – Reykjavik
Start the day off by visiting Hallgrimskirkja. This is Reykjavik’s most well known landmark and is the largest church in Iceland. It’s a striking church that towers over the city, and you can take an elevator to the top to see the city and surrounding countryside.
Next up is downtown Reykjavik. You’ll find a small city which you’ll be able to explore by foot. Stroll along the main street, Laugavegur, and check out the many cafes, shops, and restaurants.
Do some window shopping while you’re at it. Be sure to visit the colorful houses on the street called “Austurstræti,” which are an Instagram favorite.
As the day winds down, end it off with a concert at the Harpa Concert Hall. Located on the waterfront, Harpa is a stunning concert hall with a unique modern design that incorporates glass and colored lights. You can take a guided tour or attend a concert or event here.
Sleep tight because tomorrow is going to be a busy one.
Day 2 – Thingvellir National Park and Geysir
Thingvellir National Park is located about 40 minutes from Reykjavik and is where you’ll be heading on day 2 of this Iceland itinerary.
The park is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is known for its impressive, unique landscape and historical significance.
It’s where the world’s first parliament, the Althing, was established in the year 930, and it’s also the site where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates meet.
After spending the morning at Thingvellir, you’ll spend the afternoon at the Geysir Geothermal Area which is located about an hour from Thingvellir and is home to several hot springs and geysers, including the famous Strokkur geyser, which erupts every 5-10 minutes.
Day 3 – The Golden Circle and South Coast
The Golden Circle is famous for doing a full loop around the South Coast. You’ll also pass by some of Iceland’s most notable attractions and scenery. If you don’t want to drive, enjoy a Golden Circle Tour so you can relax!
Today you’ll have the pleasure of seeing various places that are bucket list items for a reason. Starting off with Seljalandsfoss. This is a spectacular waterfall that drops 60 meters from a cliff.
What makes Seljalandsfoss unique is that you can walk behind it for a unique perspective and photo opportunity. You’ll be able to experience the sight of a wall of water and feel the crashing water thunder through your body.
After Seljalandsfoss, head to Skogafoss, another impressive waterfall that’s wider and more powerful than Seljalandsfoss (if that’s even possible after what you’ve just witnessed). You can climb up a staircase next to the waterfall for some great views from above.
Now for the real bucket list item – Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach. This beach is one of Iceland’s most famous attractions, with its black sand, basalt columns, and jaw dropping cliffs. Be sure to explore the nearby sea stacks and caves, and keep an eye out for cute lil puffins.
Diving deep into the natural world, you’ll explore Solheimajokull Glacier. This is an opportunity to explore a glacier up close, either by hiking on it or taking a guided tour on a snowmobile.
This is an unforgettable experience that allows you to see the beauty and power of a frozen landscape.
To end off a busy day, you’ll drive to and stay the night in the charming town of Vik. Enjoy a warm, local meal and relax by the fire in preparation for tomorrow’s adventure.
Day 4 – Glacier Lagoon and Jökulsárlón
On day four, you’ll continue your exploration of Iceland’s glaciers by visiting the largest glacier in Europe, Vatnajokull, and the nearby Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon.
There are several options for exploring the glacier at Vatnajokull National Park depending on your preferences and fitness level.
You can take a guided glacier hike, a snowmobile tour, or a super jeep tour that takes you off-road to explore the glacier’s many crevasses and ice formations. Anyone else getting Ice Age vibes yet?
After slipping and sliding around Vatnajokull, head to Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, which is a natural wonder that’s filled with floating icebergs of all shapes and sizes.
You can take a boat tour to get up close to the icebergs, or simply walk along the shore and enjoy the scenery. Look out for the seals that bob up and down in the water.
Arguably the most Instagram-worthy destination in Iceland, Diamond Beach is just across the road from Jökulsárlón.
You’ll find icebergs that have broken off from the glacier and washed up on the black sand beach, producing a landscape that looks like gemstones sunken into black silk.
Tonight you’ll stay in the quaint town of Hofn, where you can enjoy fresh seafood and local specialties, as well as take a stroll along the harbor and enjoy views of the surrounding mountains.
Day 5 – Eastern Fjords
After a cozy evening in Hofn, you’re driving East to traverse the Eastern Fjords which is known for three things that perfectly encompass the best of Iceland – Its dramatic coastline, small fishing villages, and stunning mountain scenery.
Start your day in Egilsstadir, the largest town in the East Fjords region. Here, you can explore the local museums and galleries, as well as stock up on supplies for the day ahead.
From Egilsstadir, take a scenic drive to Seydisfjordur, which is a fishing village that’s known for its colorful houses, picturesque harbor, and artistic community. Take a break from the bitter cold and explore the town’s galleries and boutiques in the warmth for a bit.
After leaving the warmth of Seydisfjordur, drive to Stokksnes, a breathtaking peninsula that’s home to a black sand beach, jet black mountains, and a Viking village film set.
You can explore the beach and hike up the nearby mountains. This is where you’ll stay overnight in a traditional Viking-style cabin to get the full How To Train Your Dragon experience.
Day 6 – Akureyri and Lake Myvatn
We’re heading to Northern Iceland for the next leg of this Icelandic icebreaker. Today you’ll take a drive from Stokksnes to Akureyi, which is the largest city in Northern Iceland.
Here, you can explore the city’s museums, galleries, and shops, as well as visit the iconic Akureyrarkirkja church, which offers pretty views of the surrounding mountains and fjord.
From Akureyri, drive to Godafoss waterfall, another one of the most iconic waterfalls in Iceland. The waterfall is known for its horseshoe shape and its connection to Icelandic mythology. This will be the perfect fix for the history lovers.
After visiting Godafoss, continue on to Lake Myvatn, a place with a volcanic lake that’s surrounded by ethereal landscapes, hot springs, and geothermal vents.
You can take a hike around the lake, explore the nearby pseudo-craters, or relax in one of the many hot springs in the area. After all the driving and hiking, this will be a welcome treat for your body.
From Lake Myvatn, visit Dimmuborgir, which is a field of volcanic rock formations that are said to be the home of trolls and elves according to Icelandic folklore.
You can explore the twisting paths and towers of lava rock, and even climb to the top of Hverfjall, a nearby volcanic crater. Look out for signs of those mystical elves along the way.
So that was a day filled with history, fantasy questioning and beauty. Ponder all of it while soaking in the Myvatn Nature Baths.
They are a hot spring spa that’s known for its healing waters and location from which you can gaze at the monstrous surrounding mountains. Take some time to enjoy a traditional Icelandic dinner at the on-site restaurant.
Day 7 – Whale Watching and the North Coast
No trip to Iceland would be complete without watching the whales frolic along the North Coast of Iceland.
So on day seven, you’ll jump in the car and leisurely make your way to the town of Husavik, which is known as the whale watching capital of Iceland.
Here, you can embark on a whale watching tour, which will take you out into the waters of Skjalfandi Bay to search for humpback whales, minke whales, and other marine life.
After your whale watching tour, drive to Asbyrgi Canyon, a horseshoe-shaped canyon that’s surrounded by rugged cliffs and dark green forests.
You can take a hike through the canyon and explore the interesting terrain and the nearby Tjornes Peninsula.
From Asbyrgi Canyon, drive to the viking village of Hofsos, which is known for its beautiful harbor and panoramic views of the North Atlantic.
You can explore the village’s historic buildings, take a dip in the local swimming pool, or simply enjoy the views with some mulled wine and a cheese fondue.
Speaking of towns, your final destination for today is the town of Siglufjordur, an ancient fishing village that’s known for its stunning scenery and rich cultural heritage.
You can explore the town’s museums and galleries, sample some of the local seafood, or take a hike along the nearby mountains and fjords.
Day 8 – West Iceland
On day eight, you’ll continue to explore the rugged and wild landscapes of West Iceland, which are known for their glaciers, waterfalls, and geothermal activity.
Every part of Iceland is different though so you won’t be bored any time soon by seeing landscapes that are similarly named.
Start off day eight by driving to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, which is often called “Iceland in Miniature” because of its diverse array of landscapes and natural features within a small space. You can hike along the coastline, check out the fishing villages, and see the Snaefellsjokull glacier.
From the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, you’ll head for the hills to the Kirkjufell Mountain, one of the most photographed mountains in Iceland.
The mountain is known for its distinctive shape and vast views of the surrounding landscape, making it a popular destination for hikers and photographers.
After visiting Kirkjufell, drive to Hraunfossar Waterfalls, which features a series of cascading falls that flow out of a lava field.
Now you can see why Iceland is known as the land of fire and ice. You can explore the area on foot, taking in the prowess of the falls and the surrounding cliffs and valleys.
You’ll finish day eight in Reykholt, an ancient village that’s known for its connections to Icelandic literature and culture.
You can also visit the Snorrastofa cultural center, which honors the Icelandic writer Snorri Sturluson. There are also nearby hot springs and geothermal areas.
Day 9 – Reykjanes Peninsula
Your road trip to Iceland is almost over with 48 hours left to explore the last of Iceland’s treasures. You know the infamous Blue Lagoon? You’ll be seeing what all the hype is about today.
The Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spa that’s known for its warm, milky-blue waters and its therapeutic silica mud.
You can take a relaxing dip in the lagoon, explore the spa’s facilities, and learn more about the geothermal activity that powers the area. Don’t forget to take a pic of your face lathered in white clay.
Now that you’re all warm with skin as smooth as silk, you’ll drive to Gunnuhver, another geothermal area that’s named after the legendary ghost “Gunna” who is said to haunt the area.
Here, you can see boiling mud pools, steam vents, and other geothermal features up close. Look out for Gunna while you’re there and come back with an epic ghost story.
Warn the ships out at sea by visiting the Reykjanesviti Lighthouse, which is located on the southern tip of the peninsula. You can take a short hike to the lighthouse, enjoying the views of the surrounding cliffs and ocean.
Your final activity for day nine is the Bridge Between Continents, a small footbridge that spans the gap between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates.
Here, you can learn about the geology of the area and take in the stunning views of the rugged landscape.
Day 10 – Reykjavik
It’s your final day in Iceland and somehow you’ve ended up back in Reykjavik. You’ve come full circle and seen the best of Iceland all within 10 days.
So today, you’ll take it slow, and take in the last few remnants of Iceland before heading home. Walk your way through the National Museum of Iceland and learn more about everything you’ve seen in the past 9 days.
The museum tells the story of Iceland’s history and culture from the Settlement Age to the present day. You can see a variety of artifacts and exhibits, including Viking weapons, traditional costumes, and contemporary art.
Since you have more space for trinkets and souvenirs, now is the time to shop for them. Check out the trendy boutiques and cafes in the downtown area, or head to the Reykjavik Flea Market to browse for unique souvenirs and local crafts.
Sample Icelandic cuisine at one of the city’s many restaurants, or grab a hot dog from the famous Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur stand.
Additionally, if you’re visiting during the winter months, consider taking a Northern Lights tour on your last night in Reykjavik.
There are several tour operators that offer guided tours to view the Aurora Borealis, which is a spectacular natural light display that’s caused by solar particles colliding with the Earth’s atmosphere. What a spectacular end to your trip the Northern lights will be!
Spend the remaining hours of the evening walking through warmly lit alleyways, in a fire-lit log cabin, drinking hot chocolate and eating some of Iceland’s most heartwarming cuisine.
Recommended tours in Iceland
- Reykjavik Food Walk – Local Foodie Adventure in Iceland
- Silfra: Snorkeling Between Tectonic Plates – Meet on Location
- South Iceland Glaciers, Waterfalls and Black Sand Beach Day Tour from Reykjavik
- Small-Group Golden Circle Tour and Secret Lagoon Visit from Reykjavik
- The Lava Tunnel – Standard Lava Tunnel Tour – Raufarhólshellir
- #1 Northern Lights tour in Iceland from Reykjavik with PRO photos
- Sky Lagoon Entrance Ticket
- Golden Circle, Volcano Crater & Blue Lagoon Small Group Tour
- Icelandic Horseback Riding Tour from Reykjavik
- Glacier Walk and South Coast Tour by Minibus from Reykjavik
- Northern Lights Midnight Adventure from Reykjavík
- Skaftafell Glacier Hike 3-Hour Small Group Tour
- Snaefellsnes Peninsula & Kirkjufell Mountain Full Day Tour from Reykjavik
- Ice Cave by Katla Volcano Super Jeep Tour from Vik
- South Coast: Fire & Ice – Waterfalls, Glaciers & Icelandic Lava Show in Vík
Final Thoughts: Perfect 10 day Itinerary for Iceland
Hot and cold, you’ve experienced it all. You’ve felt like Elsa from Frozen, experienced what it would’ve been like to live in the century of a Viking, had a natural spa treatment, seen ice diamonds dotting black sand beaches (something you never would’ve expected to see in your lifetime).
As well as having met some friendly locals over great comfort food in small villages, seen some of the biggest animals in the world in action and explored the best of the land of fire and ice. Sid and the Ice Age gang would be super proud.
- Where to Stay in Iceland
- Top 10 Budget Friendly Hotels in Iceland
- 15 Remarkable Things to see and Do in Iceland
- 48 Hours in Iceland – A 2 Day Itinerary
- The Best Day Trips from Reykjavik
- 8 of the Best Volcano Tours in Iceland
- Budget Guide to Iceland
- Luxury Travel Guide to Iceland
- Guide to Visiting Iceland
- Is a Tour to Iceland’s South Coast worth it?
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