One thing that has been brought to my attention from browsing forums and helping travelers plan their journeys, is that many tourists are looking for that perfect itinerary for Iceland. A plan for them to follow, so they can see as much of the island as possible within their time-frame.
Personally, I don't think there is such a thing as a 'perfect itinerary'. Simply because everyone has different needs and different attractions they want to see.
I may want to see more of the south coast, but you may want to see the Westfjords.
There are many things that have to be taken into consideration when writing an itinerary, for yourself or for others. These may include:
- What do I want to see?
- How long does it take to get from (A) to (B)?
- How much can I see in (X amount) of days?
- Do I stay in a hotel, hostel or camp?
Of course, it's difficult to plan how long it will take to drive between one place and another, there are many unforeseen factors such as traffic or weather conditions. But, it's always good to plan this out, and just stick to estimates. At least you have a plan!
After reading many of the forum posts, taking in ideas, and using my own ideas, I wanted to have a go at writing a 7-day itinerary that people may want to use or even just inspire them to write their own.
It's important to take into account that this plan is based on certain flight-times, a certain length of stay and also MY recommendations on what to see.
To fully-see the whole of Iceland, I would recommend an 11-14 day stay. This way you can see more.
But the average length a tourist will stay is 7 days, so I wanted to stick to that length.
The flight times may also vary, for this itinerary I have used 08:00 arrival and 08:00 departure.
Dates: June 14 (08:00 AM) - June 21 (08:00 AM)
Recommended Vehicle: A 4x4 + roof tent
The number of people: 2
Estimated arrival (08:00 AM - Golden Circle and F35.
08:30 AM - Pick up Car.
09:00 AM - Leave the rental agency, head to Þingvellir (1-hour 30-minute drive. Estimated arrival between 10:30 and 11:00).
12:00/12:30 - Head to Geysir (56-minute drive. Estimated arrival 13:00/13:30).
15:00 - Head to Gullfoss (10-minute drive. Estimated arrival 15:10).
16:00/16:30 - Leave Gullfoss via F35, take a short stop at Hveravellir, accessible by turning from approx. the middle of F35 onto 735 and then making a left turn at Hveravallavegur. (2-hour drive. Estimated arrival 18:30).
19:30 - Head back to F35, continue onwards to Akureyri. (2-hour 46-minute drive. Estimated arrival 22:30).
Overnight stay at Akureyri campsite.
Estimated departure 08:00 AM - Akureyri, The North and Mývatn Nature Baths.
08:00 - Breakfast in Akureyri, visit the harbour.
11:00 - Leave Akureyri, head to Góðafoss (44-minute drive. Estimated arrival 11:45).
12:30 - Head to Mývatn nature baths for reservation (44-minute drive. Estimated arrival 13:15). *Try to have 13:30-14:00 reservation.
16:00 - Head to Asbyrgi (1-hour 35-minute drive. Estimated arrival 17:35).
18:45 - Drive to Dettifoss (39-minute drive. Estimated arrival 19:25).
20:30 - Drive to Grímsstaðir (50-minute drive. Estimated arrival 21:20). Overnight stay at Grimsstaðir campsite.
Estimated departure 08:00 AM - Drive to Egillstaðir and Eastfjords.
08:00 - Drive to Egilsstaðir (2-hour drive. Estimated arrival 10:00).
11:00 - Head to Seyðisfjörður (29-minute drive. Estimated arrival 11:30).
12:30 - Then to Reyðarfjörður (51-minute drive. Estimated arrival 13:30).
14:45 - Head to Djúpivogur. Exploring some of the East fjords on the route. (Route from Reyðarfjörður to Djúpivogur takes 1-hour 46-minutes. But, go ahead and explore. There's no rush. Estimated arrival at Djúpivogur 18:00-19:00).
19:30 - Dinner in Djúpivogur. Overnight stay at Djúpivogur campsite.
Estimated departure 08:00 AM - Drive to Höfn, Jökulsárlón, Kirkjubæjarlaustur and Vík.
08:00 - Drive to Höfn (1-hour 30-minute drive. Estimated arrival 09:30). Look around, eat.
11:00 - Head to Jökulsárlón (1- hour drive. Estimated arrival 12:00). *Consider taking one of the boat-rides here.
14:00 - Head to Skaftafell (45-minute drive. Estimated arrival 14:45).
16:30 - Head to Kirkjubæjarklaustur (53-minute drive. Estimated arrival 17:25) *Check out Fjaðrárgljúfur, Kirkjugólf, Systrafoss and Stjórnarfoss.
19:45 - Head to Vík (50-minute drive. Estimated arrival 20:35).
Overnight stay at Vík campsite.
*Whilst in Skaftafell and Kirkjubæjarklaustur, you may have time to explore more, depending on your sleep needs. Take your time and appreciate the island!
Estimated departure 09:00 - South coast and Selfoss.
09:00 - Head to Reynisfjara beach (10-minute drive. Estimated arrival 09:10).
10:15 - Head to Dyrhólaey (20-minute drive. Estimated arrival 10:35).
11:30 - Head to Solheimasandur (20-minute drive. Estimated arrival 11:50).
12:45 - Drive to Skógafoss (10-minute drive. Estimated arrival 13:00).
14:15 - Head to Seljavallalaug (15-minute drive then a 15-minute walk. Estimated arrival 14:45). *Potential stop at Holtsós afterwards.
16:45 - Head to Seljalandsfoss (20-minute drive. Estimated arrival 17:05).
18:30 - Head to Selfoss (1-hour drive. Estimated arrival 19:30). *Potentially go check out Ölfusá river, and the woodland 'Hellisskógur'. Overnight stay at Selfoss campsite.
Estimated departure 09:00 - Hveragerði, Heiðmörk, Reykjavik and Blue Lagoon. 09:00 -** Head to Hveragerði (16-minute drive. Estimated arrival 09:16).
10:00 - Head to Heiðmörk (45-minute drive. Estimated arrival 10:45).
12:00 - Head to Reykjavík (25-minute drive. Estimated arrival 12:25).
12:25 - Explore downtown Reykjavik. *See the church Hallgrimskirkja, Harpa, try out one of the many restaurants, purchase souvenirs and visit one of the many museums.
16:00 - Head to Blue Lagoon (45-minute drive. Estimated arrival 16:45) *Try to purchase tickets for 17:00 entry. Book tickets well in advance.
19:00 - Head to Garður campsite (25-minute drive. Estimated arrival 19:25).
Overnight stay at Garður campsite.
Estimated departure 05:00 AM - Car return, airport check-in and flight.
If you have a flight later in the afternoon/evening, then try exploring the Reykjanes Peninsula. Head to Gunnuhver, Krýsuvík, Bridge Between Continents, Brimketill, Katlahraun, Kleifarvatn and Keilir.
05:00 - Return the car (17-minute drive. Estimated arrival 05:17). *Please note that this estimation is for the return of this vehicle only. It may be different depending on the vehicle you book.
05:45 - Head to the airport (10-minute drive. Estimated arrival 05:55).
08:00 - Fly home.
*The times here may be subject to change depending on your flight and preference. But it is recommended that you be at the airport at least 2 hours before your flight.
Iceland may be small in population, but it is still a rather large island with a lot to see and do.
For this itinerary, I wanted the person to be able to see as much as possible within the 7-day time frame.
It requires a lot of driving, but it is worth it if you want to see many of the attractions. I tried to keep it fun by adding some attractions in the middle of big drives, to prevent any tiredness and boring driving (I hate long distance driving too!).
You will visit many of the major 'cities' in Iceland such as Reykjavik, Akureyri, Egillstaðir, Höfn and Vík. You will also hit main attractions such as the golden circle, Jökulsárlón, Blue Lagoon and Mývatn.
It's action-packed to ensure you get the most from your trip (who needs sleep anyway?).
Remember the times are estimates, but based on experience and careful planning, they shouldn't change much.
You will notice I added some potential extras (such as the boat ride at Jökulsárlon and also exploring the Reykjanes Peninsula) for if you want to see more, my recommendation would be to go ahead and do this.
Also, if there are some places you want to skip then maybe try replacing them with tours such as whale watching in Akureyri or Reykjavik, go horse riding or even just visit some of the smaller towns such as Blönduós and Húsavík (recommendation for this would be to stop-over at Blönduós on night 1).
I know some of you may be here for less or even more days. So for those of you that are here for less than 7 days, I would recommend sticking to Day 1, but instead of heading to the North, (so basically cut-out the North and East) head to Selfoss, stay overnight in Selfoss, then head along the south coast hitting the main attractions listed such as Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss, Jökulsárlón and heading to Höfn.
You may even want to try Snæfellsnes, which is extremely beautiful.
Those of you that are here for longer, well you may very well much see most of the island. Head to the golden circle, Snæfellsnes, Westfjords, the North, the East, the South. Just do everything, but remember to plan carefully!
If you have any questions or need any suggestions, then contact us and we'll be happy to help in guiding you, whether it be on this Itinerary or even your own.