Back to Iceland

Summer itinerary, in short

Top-level itinerary from our 10-day summer trip.

kids elders roadtrip

Day 1 Reykjavik

  • Arrive in Reykjavik in the morning.
  • Get some lunch around Keflavik town
  • Head to Blue Lagoon
  • Check in to hotel or Airbnb
  • Head out for dinner and walk around Reykjavik downtown

pathway to blue lagoon Walking to Blue lagoon

Day 2 Golden circle

  • Pick up breakfast from Brauð & Co
  • Drive to Thingvellir National Park (takes about 45 mins)
    • Check out the visitor center. Hike the mid Atlantic Ridge starting at the visitor center.
    • Get back to car and drive to Öxarárfoss waterfall

oxarfoss waterfall in thingvellir national park Oxarfoss in Thingvellir National Park

  • Visit Gullfoss waterfall (takes about 1 hr). Hike to all the viewpoints. Visit cafe and gift shop if time permits.
  • Visit Strokkur Geyser in Geysir Geothermal area (takes about 10 mins). Take a short hike to the main geyser or hike a bit more to see the entire area.
  • Have lunch at Friðheimar greenhouse restaurant (about 25 minutes away) (requires advance reservations).
    • Visit the horse stables here, by reservation only.

horses in fridheimar stables Horses in Fridheimar stables

  • Arrive at hotel in Hella for the night (about 45 mins)
  • Pick up dinner (Pizza from Lava 47 food truck)

Day 3 South Coast

  • Have breakfast at hotel
  • Drive to Seljalandsfoss (about 30 mins away). Paid parking is required at this site. Hike to the view points and around the back of the waterfall. Follow the main trail across the bridge to a couple more waterfalls and one hidden canyon waterfall. The canyon waterfall requires walking in a shallow stream into the canyon.

Hidden waterfall inside canyon near Seljalandsfoss Hidden waterfall inside canyon near Seljalandsfoss

  • Drive to Skógafoss (about 30 mins away). Check out the top of the waterfall by climbing 350 steps to the waterfall way trail. This trail follows several more waterfalls. Worth following for a mile or two.
  • Drive to Kvernufoss (about 5 mins away). Park around the trailhead and pay the parking fee at the museum. Hike the short trail to the waterfall lookout and follow the trail to the back of the waterfall.
  • Drive to Vík for lunch (about 30 mins away). Have lunch at the Soup Company. Time permitting explore the town of Vík. Buy groceries here if needed.
  • Drive to Reynisfjara black sand beach (about 10 mins away). Walk around the beach, check out the basalt column cave, climb the basalt columns. this beach has dangerous sneaker waves and can be extremely windy.

Reynisfjara black sand beach Reynisfjara black sand beach

  • Drive to Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon (about 1 hour away). The hike up the the viewpoints is steep but worth it.
  • Arrive in accommodation for the night in Kirkjubæjarklaustur.

Day 4 Glaciers

  • Have breakfast at hotel or accommodation.
  • Drive to Troll Expedition Headquarters for 2 hr glacier hike (about 1 hr away).

Glacier hike with Troll Expeditions Glacier hike with Troll Expeditions

  • Have lunch at Cafe Vatnajökull (about 10 mins away)
  • Hike Múlagljúfur canyon hike (about 10 mins away). This hike is pretty strenuous and is about 3.6 miles roundtrip. The views are epic!
  • Drive to Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon (about 20 mins away). Take the boat trip in the glacier lagoon to see the icebergs up close (boat tour requires advance reservations).

Floating Icebergs in Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon Floating Icebergs in Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon

  • Drive to Diamond beach just across the bridge and park. Walk along the beach to see various icebergs floating in water and have washed up on shore. Can get windy.
  • Drive to accommodation in Höfn.

Day 5 East Fjords

  • Breakfast at accommodation.
  • Drive to Stokksnes (about 25 mins away). Must purchase tickets to enter. Ticket includes parking fee, visit to Viking village (used in shooting for various shows like The Witcher) and drive to viewpoints for best photo ops.

Stokksnes from the second photo spot Stokksnes from the second photo spot

  • Drive through a part of the east fjords and enjoy many viewpoints and overlooks along the beautiful drive. The drive will go over a mountain pass as well to reach the next destination.
  • Arrive at Hengifoss trailhead (about 3 hrs away). This is a moderately strenuous 3 mile hike. The hike will pass 2 other beautiful waterfalls, with basalt columns before arriving at Hengifoss.
    • There is a small food truck that sells coffee and ice cream at the trailhead.
  • Drive to Seyðisfjörður (about 1 hr away). The drive will go through a high mountain pass and several picturesque waterfalls before ending at the fjords. Stay here and enjoy a walk around the fjord and river. The rainbow road in the main street leads to a quaint church.

Seyðisfjörður near the river with lupines in bloom Seyðisfjörður near the river with lupines in bloom

Day 6 North Central

  • Drive to Stuðlagil canyon (about 1.5 hrs away). Park at the 2nd parking lot across the bridge. The road to get here is bumpy and unpaved but can be managed with a 4x4 vehicle. Walk into the canyon, down to the river. Swimming is permitted in this river as well.

Stuðlagil canyon boardwalk view Stuðlagil canyon

  • Drive to Dettifoss (about 1.5 hrs away). Walk the trail to various viewpoints and platforms to see the waterfall from all angles. West side of waterfall has paved roads, plenty of parking and restrooms. Can continue on an additional short trail to see Selfoss.

Dettifoss from viewing platform Dettifoss from viewing platform

  • Drive to Geosea Geothermal Sea Baths hot springs in Husavik (about 1 hr away). Enjoy the hot springs with a view of the ocean and snow-capped mountains.
  • Spend the night in Husavik.

Day 7 Whale Watching

  • Whale watching with North Sailing on the silent (electric) whale watching tour from Husavik harbor. Park anywhere around the main street area.

Whale watching from Husavik Harbor with North Sailing Whale watching from Husavik Harbor with North Sailing

  • Lunch at Lemon/Grill 66 (about 5 mins away).
  • Drive to Goðafoss (about 40 mins away). Park on either side of the waterfall. Each side has different viewpoints and lookout platforms. Visit the cafe and gift shop, if time permits.

Goðafoss waterfall Goðafoss waterfall

  • Drive to Akureyri (about 30 mins away). Spend time walking around main street. Many souvenir shops and restaurants available.
  • For dinner try Krua Siam Thai.

Day 8 Horse Riding

  • Drive to Polar Hestar (about 30 mins north). 1 hour horse riding tour with beautiful views; cakes and tea after.

Horse riding tour with Polar Hestar Horse riding tour with Polar Hestar

  • Drive back to Akureyri. Lunch at Indian Curry House.
  • Drive to Reykjafoss (about 1.2 hrs away). Park in a parking lot near a farm property. Follow trailhead directions in AllTrails app. Hike is easy and short. Once near the waterfall area, a small hot springs is available for soaking. No changing rooms or restrooms available.

Reykjafoss waterfall Reykjafoss waterfall

  • Drive to Víðimýrarkirkja Turf Church (about 8 mins away) ticket required for entrance.
  • Stay in Bimsloo (about 50 mins away).

Day 9 Kirkjufell

  • Drive to Kolugljúfur Canyon (about 35 mins away). Walk to waterfall and cross bridge to walk along the canyon as well.

Kolugljufur Canyon waterfall Kolugljufur Canyon waterfall

  • Drive to Eiríksstaðir Viking longhouse (about 1.5 hrs away). Follow route 59 and then 586. Do not take route 586 directly from route 1 as road conditions are not drivable. The longhouse is well preserved. Museum keepers tell Icelandic sagas by the fire inside the longhouse and show various artifacts.
  • Drive to Kirkjufellfoss (about 1.7 hrs away). Pay to park in this parking lot. Walk to the viewpoints of Kirkjufell and Kirkjufellfoss. Enjoy views of the harbor of Grundarfjörður.

Kirkjufellfoss waterfall Kirkjufellfoss waterfall

  • For dinner try Kaffi 59 in Grundarfjörður.
  • Spend the night in this town.

Day 10 Snæfellsnes Peninsula

  • Drive to waterfall in Grundarfjörður.
  • Drive to Svöðufoss (about 25 mins away). Hike the short trail to the viewpoint.
  • Drive to Skarðsvík beach (about 20 mins away). One of the few white sand beaches in Iceland. Walk around the rocks and kelp-covered rocks.
  • Drive to Lóndrangar view point (about 20 mins away). Beautiful view of cliffs and seabirds. Enjoy views of glaciers and snow-capped mountains on the way here.
  • Drive to Arnarstapi village (about 10 mins away). Park anywhere in the village and hike the Hellnar to Arnarstapi coastal walk. Walk is right on the coast over sea arches and picturesque houses.

Rocky pointy mountain with snowcapped mountains in background; moss and grass covered grasslands in the front and a lake dotted by houses around it Along the Arnarstapi coastal walk

  • Drive to Bjarnafoss (about 20 mins away). Hike the trail up as close to the waterfall as desired. The trail gets muddy and slippery closer to the falls. A great view from the bridge as well.
  • Drive to Ytri Tunga to see seals (about 15 mins away). Paid parking. Have to walk along the trails and over the rocks to find seals. Seals can be hard to spot at low tide as they are further out.
  • Drive to Hraunfossar (about 1.7 hours away). Beautiful area with multiple waterfalls and a rushing river. Hike is short and easy. Cafe and restrooms nearby.

Cascading wide wall of waterfalls and a river stemming from it. Hraunfossar’s cascading wall of wide waterfalls.

  • Drive to Keflavik (about 2 hrs away). Spend the night here. Try Serrano Mexican for dinner.

Day 11 Airport

  • Drive to airport for flight back home.
Back to Iceland