Iceland 7 day Itinerary

 

Iceland should be on everybody’s Bucket list.  It is such a fascinating country; very accessible and the whole island can be driven in as little as 5 days.  Although I recommend 8 days or more to enjoy it to the fullest.  Iceland has a very low crime rate, is easy to drive around, everybody speaks English, and most importantly has incredible scenery.  So, why cant it be your next vacation destination? Here’s how we spent 7 days in Iceland.

We flew Wow air (Iceland’s new lost cost airlines) from Boston to Reykjavik. For what we paid, it was a pretty good flight. The plane was clean, leg room was bigger than most of the other low cost American airlines. The only major drawback is that they don’t serve anything on board for free, not even water. So be prepared for that. You also have to pay extra for each piece of luggage, which is not unusual with these low cost airlines. To get their 99$ one way fare, make sure you book about 6-8 months ahead. Book your ticket here.

Icelandic Horse
What a beauty

We were extra excited about this trip because we were going to drive around and sleep in a Camper (RV). After we purchased a sim card (Simiinn) from one of the stores at the airport, our rental company “Camper Iceland” picked us up. After picking up our Camper, we went to the nearby BONUS (Iceland’s supermarket chain) store to stock up on groceries and were soon on our way to explore this amazing country.

Camper Iceland
Our Camper

Iceland’s ring road, also know as Highway 1, makes a complete circle around the Island.  Since we were not tied to hotels for specific days, we were free to decide which direction to start with.  I had left this decision to the last moment because I wanted to check the weather and chase sunny skies (Vedur is very reliable for Icelandic weather).  But unfortunately, it was raining across the whole country. The other factor to consider per the very helpful Camper rental employee was the wind. They had previous incidents of RVs flipping over due to high winds.  Even though it was raining, the wind was less severe towards the east compared to the west, so we chose to go Anti-Clockwise.

We made a complete circle!

Day 1:  Driving the Golden Circle

The Golden Circle includes Thingviller National Park, Geysir, Gulfoss and Kerid Crater.  We also went a little off the main road and visited Bruarfoss, a bluish looking incredible waterfall.  Check out my more detailed post specifically on this day: “Driving the Golden Circle

kerid crater
Kerid crater

 

Day 2: Selfoss to Vik

I was looking forward to this drive because the most picturesque waterfalls are between these two towns. From Selfoss, we drove about an hour to this amazing waterfall:  Seljalandsfoss. We could see it straight in front of us from about 5 miles away, so it is unmissable if driving on Highway 1. Whats different about this waterfall is that there is a cave behind it which you can walk to and all the way through/around the falls.

Seljalandsfoss, Iceland
Seljalandsfoss
Seljalandsfoss, Iceland
Behind Seljalandsfoss

Just about a kilometer walk away to the left is another amazing waterfall, Gljufrabui.  This is a hidden waterfall and you have to hike in the river, in between a slit in the mountain to get to. We were hesitant to get in the slit at first. But then thought this is a ‘Once in a lifetime opportunity’, and decided to get in.  Make sure you have good waterproof boots and a raincoat because you will get wet like we did.  We were completely soaked by the falls, but did not regret it. It was amazing in there and we enjoyed the droplets falling on us cutting through the lights from the opening.

Gljufrabui, Iceland
Gljufrabui
Gljufrabui, Iceland
Gljufrabui

 

Our next stop was at another picture perfect waterfall- Skogafoss.  This waterfall feels like its right out of a fairy tale, situated perfectly between two green mountains and very powerful with a black sand beach around the bottom.  We walked up one of the mountains and enjoyed great views from the top.

Skogafoss, Iceland
Skogafoss
Skogafoss, Iceland
Skogafoss from the top
Skogafoss, Iceland
What an amazing view from the top

A short 15 minute drive from Skogafoss brought us to Sólheimajökull, where we hiked to the foot of a glacier. The hike is about 10-15 minutes and is along a nice, almost flat trail.

Sólheimajökull, Iceland
Sólheimajökull
Sólheimajökull, Iceland
Trail to Sólheimajökull

Next, was the Solheimasandur Plane Wreck site. There is a parking lot right off of Highway 1, to the right if you’re eastbound, from where you can start this hike. The total hike to the beach and the crash site is about 4 km and it took us about an hour one way to get there.  This is a US Navy plane that crash landed back in the 1970s (luckily everyone on board survived).  It has been sitting there since then.

We had quite an adventure hiking this trail.  When we were about 2km in, it started to rain and got very windy. We decided to proceed anyways since we were half way through. The rain was constantly hitting us on one side and we couldn’t even hear each other. We felt like we were walking on some other planet. By the time we got back to the RV, we were completely drenched by the rain and extremely tired. While my husband disagrees, I still think it was worth it. 🙂

 Solheimasandur Plane Wreck, Iceland
4 km of flat trail to Solheimasandur Plane Wreck
 Solheimasandur Plane Wreck, Iceland
Solheimasandur Plane Wreck

Vik was only 20 mins from here and that’s where we decided to call it a day. The campsite in Vik had a washer and dryer. So we were able to dry our clothes and shoes.

Day 3: Vik to Djúpivogur

From what we experienced with the rain and wind the previous day, I didn’t even want to get out of the RV.  But luckily the sun was out.  We were so excited and couldn’t wait to get out and explore. We drove back a little to the west in order to visit Dyrholaey.  In Dyrholaey, immediately after the entrance gate, the road splits 2 ways. One to the light house and the other to the cliff with views of Reynisfjara Beach. Both were amazing.

Vik, Iceland
Woohoo!
Vik, Iceland
Vik
Reynisfjara Beach, Iceland
Reynisfjara Beach
Vik, Iceland
On the way to Reynisfjara Beach

 

Vik, Iceland
Somewhere in Vik

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Next we stopped at Fjadrargljufur Canyon. We took a short hike down to the river and the canyon.

Fjadrargljufur Canyon, Iceland
Fjadrargljufur Canyon

About 15 mins from there is Systrafall and Kirkjugolf.

Systrafall, Iceland
Systrafall – sister falls
Turf House, Systafall, Iceland
Turf House at Systrafalls
Iceland
Saw this beautiful waterfall along the way

The drive was now alongside the biggest glacier in Iceland; Vatnajökull.  This glacier has protrusions extending at many sites, called the ‘Tongue of the Glacier’ which can be seen from Highway 1. We got real close to one of the tongues near Skaftafell National Park.

Small part of Vatnajökull
Iceland
Driving towards the Svínafellsjökull
Svínafellsjökull, Iceland
Svínafellsjökull

 

Svínafellsjökull, Iceland
Svínafellsjökull

 

Next stop was at Fjallsárlón glacier lagoon. This is like a smaller version of Jokulsarkalom.

Fjallsárlón glacier lagoon, Iceland
Fjallsárlón glacier lagoon
Fjallsárlón glacier lagoon, Iceland
Fjallsárlón glacier lagoon

From here Jokulsarkalom is about 15 minutes away. In Jokulsarkalom, we did an amphibian boat tour where we were taken closer to the icebergs and the glacier. It was a breathtaking experience.

Jokulsarkalom, Iceland
Jokulsarkalom
Jokulsarkalom, Iceland
A big piece of Ice on the shore in Jokulsarkalom
Jokulsarkalom, Iceland
Jokulsarkalom
Jokulsarkalom, Iceland
This ice is apparently 1000 years old

 

Since the next day had high gale force wind warnings, we wanted to get and see as much as possible. It was a sunny day, and its sunlight 24/7 during the summer in Iceland, so we decided to keep exploring. We made a quick pit stop at Hofn, filled up on gas and groceries and headed out to the next attraction: Stockness.

Right before entering a tunnel, there is an unmarked road which took us to this amazing site. This is a private property and we had to pay 8$ per person to enter.  But it was well worth it.  Amazing views of the Vestrahorn mountains, shallow lagoon and the beach.

From here we drove non-stop to Djúpivogur.  This is a nice coastal drive that passes through many small fjords with great scenery.  We spent the night at one of the camping sites in Djúpivogur.

 

Vestrahorn mountains, Iceland
Vestrahorn mountains
Vestrahorn mountains, Iceland
Vestrahorn mountains after the tunnel
Iceland
On the way to Djúpivogur
Iceland
Coastal road from Hofn to Djúpivogur
Iceland
Coastal road from Hofn to Djúpivogur

We woke up to heavy rain and wind on our fourth morning in Iceland.  We didn’t  know that gale force winds were such a big deal in Iceland.  We were rocking back and forth in the RV due to the sheer force of the wind and rain.  We had no idea what we could do on such a day.  Our original plan was to explore the east fjords.  The rain was really putting a damper on our day.  After getting disappointed, constantly checking the weather (vedur) and putting our thoughts together we decided to drop the idea of going to the east fjords and continue moving along Highway 1 to a dryer part of the the Country.

Day 4-  Djupivogur to Akureyri

Our drive from Djupivogur to Egilsstaðir was very stressful.  Our chances of flipping over were extremely high since the speed of the vehicle adds exponentially to the force of the wind.  We continued on regardless.  After stopping in Egilsstadir for food and gas, we headed towards Dettifoss: Europe’s most powerful waterfall.  Dettifoss is about 30 minutes from Highway 1.

Dettifoss, Iceland
Dettifoss

Our next stop was at Hverir at the Myvatn area.  This site is such a treat to the eyes.  Full of geothernal activiies, its vibrant, brown background makes it even more special.

Iceland
On the way to Myvatn area

 

Iceland
Hverir
Iceland
Hverir
Iceland
Boiling mud in Hverir

 

A few mins away from here is a blue lake.  This is a non-swimmable lake but its bright blue color makes it very attractive for pictures.

Iceland
Blue Lake in Myvatn

 

Dimmuborgir was our next stop.  It’s an interesting area with different shapes and sizes of lava tubes that have formed over thousands of years.

Dimmuborgir, Iceland
Dimmuborgir
Dimmuborgir, Iceland
Dimmuborgir
Dimmuborgir, Iceland
Lava cave in Dimmuborgir

Skutustadagigar is another must see in Myvatn.  It’s a nice park on Lake Myvatn where you can walk around some pseudo craters. There are two different trails that loop around the pseudo craters. We did the shorter one(SK1) which was about 20 mins round trip.  If you have more than an hour to explore, you can do the longer one(SK2)

 

Skutustadagigar, Iceland
Skutustadagigar
Skutustadagigar, Iceland
Skutustadagigar

Driving about 30 mins from the Myvatn area brought us to this amazing waterfall: Godafoss.  Even though we had already seen so many waterfalls in Iceland, we were really excited to see this one. There is something different and unique about each waterfall in Iceland.  From the parking lot, we walked down closer to Godafoss.

Godafoss, Iceland
Godafoss

From Godafoss, Akureyri is a scenic on hour drive.  One the way, we enjoyed an amazing sunset from one of the lookouts near Akueyri.

Day 5: Akureyi to Snaefellsnes peninsula:

Since we were getting late for our whale watching tour, we couldn’t explore Akureyi much.  Just saw it from the windows of our car.  It was a nice charming town with great views of the fjords and the surrounding mountains.  I am sure there is a lot more to explore in the city, but we just did not have the time.

Akureyi, Iceland
Town of Akureyi
Akureyi, Iceland
Beautiful Lupins

We had booked a whale watching tour with Arctic Sea Tours about an hour away from Akureyi in Dalvik. We had a great time.  At first the crew were having a difficult time spotting any whales, but later we saw many humpback whales.  At the end of the tour they allowed us to fish in the ocean.  This tour lasted about 3-4 hours and was such a cool experience.

From here we drove 5 hours nonstop to one of the camping sites on the Snaefellsnes peninsula.

Dalvik, Iceland
On the way to Dalvik
Darvik, Iceland
Fishing village of Dalvik
Dalvik, Iceland
Looking for whales
Dalvik, Iceland
Whale watching at Dalvik
Dalvik, Iceland
Dalvik
Humpback Whale, Iceland
Humpback Whale
Humpback Whale, Iceland
Humpback whale blowing

 

Day 6: Snaefellsnes peninsula

We were so glad we made the long drive the previous day since it was a bright, warm day in the Snaefellsnes peninsula and for the first time on our trip we could let go of our big heavy jackets.  Our first stop was at Kirkjufell waterfall – the most photographed in Iceland.  No wonder this was the site that first put the thought of visiting Iceland in my mind.

Kirkjufell, Iceland
Kirkjufell
Kirkjufell, Iceland
Kirkjufell from the other side

Our next stop was at this tall waterfall that we happened to see on our way to Arnarstapi.  We cooked and ate lunch here while enjoying the great view of the waterfall and the surroundings.

Arnarstapi is a great coastal town with awesome views of the ocean.  We did a coastal walk from Arnarstapi to Hellnar, which is about 1.5km one way.  Great views of many rock formations, bird colonies and cliffs.

Arnarstapi, Iceland
Arnarstapi
Arnarstapi, Iceland
Arnarstapi
Arnarstapi, Iceland
Arnarstapi to Hellnar coastal walk

We spent our whole day exploring this peninsula, driving around Snaefellsnes glacier and stopping along the way.  It easily has a day’s worth of stuff to see and do.

Raudafeldsgja, Iceland
Raudafeldsgja- Narrow Canyon/Cave
Snaefellsnes peninsula, Iceland
Somewhere in Snaefellsnes peninsula
Snæfellsjökull glacier, Iceland
Snæfellsjökull Glacier

Day 7: Snaefellsnes peninsula to Keflavik 

It was our last full day in Iceland.  We did the 2 and a half hour drive to Reykjavik, taking the tollway which is about $11-$15 per vehicle.  In Reykjavik, we visited the main attractions.

Hallgrímskirkja, Iceland
Hallgrímskirkja, Reykjavik
The Sun Voyager, Reykavik, Iceland
The Sun Voyager, Reykjavik

In the evening, we did the most popular attraction in Iceland: The Blue Lagoon.  We hadn’t booked our spot in advance, so the only available time was at 9 pm and was $61 per person. Make sure you book way ahead of time to ensure availability and also to get a cheaper ticket since the slots fill up and get more expensive. What an amazing way to end our Icelandic adventure- soaking in the mineral rich water of the Blue Lagoon.

Blue Lagoon, Iceland
Mud mask at the Blue Lagoon
Blue Lagoon, Iceland
Blue Lagoon
Blue Lagoon, Iceland
Blue Lagoon

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Things you need to know before visiting Iceland:

  1. Make sure you have a credit card with a pin number. Most gas stations are self service and require a credit card that supports Chip and Pin.
  2. Siminn has very good cell coverage and internet speeds that work almost at every corner of Iceland.  They have relatively inexpensive Data packages that can be very useful throughout Iceland.
  3. Driving is very easy in Iceland and is the best way to see the country. Rental car companies are about 3 mins from the airport and provide shuttle to and from the airport. Most rental cars are manual transmission. If you prefer automatic like us, make sure to reserve it in advance since quantities may be limited.
  4. Gas stations are your go to for food. N1 Nesti gas stations have a fast food restaurant inside them and there is one in just about every town.
  5. Weather can be very unpredictable in Iceland, so carry clothes for all seasons and dress in layers. Long sleeved raincoats/jackets are a must have. Umbrellas are no good and likely more of  a hassle since it gets very windy. Even though we were there in June, it was very cold and it rained almost everyday.
  6. The average gas price is about $8 per gallon, so make sure to factor that into your budget while calculating your expenses.
  7. The ring road that goes around the island is a nice paved/sealed road. But if you want to explore a little more you, will need a 4×4 car. Most popular attractions are on the ring road.
  8. Make sure you have good water proof hiking shoes. I like my Columbia Redmond waterproof hiking shoes.
  9. Everyone speaks English.

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Also Read:  A weekend getaway to the USVI, Driving the Golden Circle, Day trip to Milford Sound

10 Comments

  1. Gen

    June 30, 2017 at 12:26 am

    Wow im a camper and a photograper and i love reading your blog and scanning all thru those beautiful photos

    1. livefreeanddiscover

      June 30, 2017 at 12:42 am

      Thank you Gen. I am glad you liked it 🙂

  2. Sanskaara

    June 30, 2017 at 12:48 am

    I love travelling to places you can drive around. That plane wreck has always fascinated me and I was happy to know that all survived. Thank you for those tips on network, that part is always a struggle in a new country! Great pictures 🙂

    1. livefreeanddiscover

      June 30, 2017 at 1:40 am

      Thank you Sanskaara! We loved driving around in Iceland, we could explore at our own pace and spend more time at the places we liked.

  3. Kayhdj De Jesus

    June 30, 2017 at 2:17 am

    wow. beautiful places in Iceland. Wish someday I could visit those places especially the falls, for sure that’s so cold as sounds of ICE-land 🙂

    1. livefreeanddiscover

      June 30, 2017 at 9:14 pm

      Yep, Iceland is awesome. I hope you get to visit soon:)

  4. Part of that world

    July 1, 2017 at 12:04 am

    Iceland is on my list. Thanks for sharing your itinerary. I’ll bookmark this as reference when i go to iceland.

  5. Ryan Biddulph

    July 10, 2017 at 7:53 pm

    Beyond stunning Tripti. So cool you got to see a whale amid all that epic-ness in in the place. I’ve said it before; never seen a bad photo of Iceland. Brilliant images.

  6. Marcela

    July 20, 2017 at 3:30 am

    Amazing blog! Question: where did you returned the campervan? If In the city how did you go to the blue lagoon and back to raykjavik ? I think my campervan would allow only return in the city or the airport for extra 90euros :/ so seems a bit annoying to return the van in the city then have to find a transport tô and back to the lagoon, then back to the city to sleep then to the airport cause flight is 7:30am. What would you reocmend? Thank you!

    1. livefreeanddiscover

      July 20, 2017 at 6:02 am

      Hi Marcela,
      Our camper van company picked us up from the airport and dropped us off at the airport on our last day. So it was pretty easy for us. Reykjavik is about 45 mins from the airport and the lagoon so it would definitely be a hassle to arrange a transport back and forth to the lagoon and the city. If possible, change your rental company and look for one that’s in Keflavik. If not paying that $90 would be the best decision. Enjoy your time in Iceland.

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