Iceland is one of the most beautiful countries we’ve ever visited. Black sand beaches, waterfalls, geysers, glaciers, lagoons, mountains, colorful churches, Iceland has it all. And with this 7 day Iceland itinerary you get to see those amazing places too!
Every year, Iceland gets more popular. And we definitely get why, as Iceland’s nature is simply breathtaking. It’s the perfect country to go to if you love nature and are looking for adventure. Iceland is different than any other country you’ve seen before.
7 days in Iceland is enough to see the highlights of the country. We recommend to rent a car or campervan and drive around the island yourself. This way you can visit and stop at the places you want to see! Because to be honest, there’s so much to see and do in Iceland that you easily stay for weeks without getting bored. If you rather go on a tour, we will also include our tips in this Iceland in 7 days itinerary.
If you have more days to spend in Iceland, you can also use this 7 day Iceland itinerary, as we recommend extra stops on the way. Just in case you have more time, or if want to skip other spots.
When to Visit Iceland?
Planning when to visit Iceland is very important, as it will decide your itinerary and how many days you need in Iceland. Which season you visit Iceland will form your Iceland experience. Every season in Iceland has its pros and cons, and we will explain to you what those are.
This 7 day Iceland itinerary is for the summer and spring months; during those months you have the most daylight. You could do this itinerary during the winter months, but you will need more time. We recommend visiting Iceland between May and September if you want to see Iceland in 7 days.
Fall & Winter in Iceland
During the winter months, between November and March, there isn’t much daylight. On the shortest day of the year, there are only 4 hours of daylight. Therefore there’s less time to explore and traveling will take longer because of the snow and icy roads. And roads can be closed during the winter months.
The perks are that there are fewer tourists and you will get to experience Iceland how many people imagine Iceland to be: cold, lots of snow, and beautiful winter landscapes. During wintertime, you also have the best chances to see the northern lights. And think about those cool icy adventures like ice caves.
September and October is fall time in Iceland. The temperatures are getting cooler, nature is changing colors and you are also able to see the northern lights. Remember: northern lights can never be guaranteed.
Spring & Summer in Iceland
Temperatures begin to rise, the days are getting longer and longer, nature wakes up, snow melts, hello spring! In May and April, it’s springtime in Iceland; June, July, and August are the summer months.
During these months you can experience the midnight sun, which happens between mid-May and mid-August. This natural phenomenon happens in places close to the poles, bringing long bright days and never-ending daylight. So the sun is still visible at midnight. Imagine how many hours a day you have to explore Iceland! Also, this time of year you can see puffins (May-August), Lupines (May-July), and whales.
Weather in Iceland
We’ve talked about the different seasons in Iceland in the previous paragraph, but it’s also good to know a few things about the weather in Iceland.
The weather in Iceland is unpredictable and changes a lot. When in Iceland you might hear the joke ‘if you don’t like the weather, wait 5 minutes’. It changes constantly!
In general, South Iceland gets more rain, is windier, and is warmer than North Iceland. But it’s the sunniest in East and North Iceland. So don’t worry if you have bad weather in one part of Iceland, as it can be totally different in another part.
When you hear Iceland, you probably think ‘super cold’. But the temperatures aren’t too cold in Iceland (even in winter), thanks to the Gulf Stream bringing warmth all the way from the Caribbean. Be aware that summer temperatures are colder than other summer temperatures around the world.
Driving in Iceland
Like we said in the introduction, we highly recommend to hire a car or campervan in Iceland and drive around the island yourself. This way you can visit and stop at the places you want to see and explore Iceland at your own pace. Make sure to check the best deals and compare prices for car rental in Iceland. For this 7 day Iceland itinerary it’s not necessary to rent a 4×4 car or campervan, though if you visit Iceland in winter it might be handy.
We explored Iceland with a campervan from Happy Campers and we loved it. A campervan gives you the opportunity to cook for yourselves and go camping in Iceland. But you can also still choose to go to a restaurant and stay in one of the coolest hotels in Iceland.
There’s one road in Iceland that goes around Iceland. That road is called the ring road or simply Route 1 and is a total length of approximately 1300 kilometers (807 miles). You will use this road most of the time and you can either drive clock-wise or counter clock-wise. We drove around the island counter clock-wise but if you want to do it the other way around, that’s possible too.
Not looking forward to driving in Iceland yourselves?! Luckily there are many Iceland tours that either go around the island, only explore South Iceland, go on a Golden Circle day trip, or go to West Iceland.
Yes, Iceland is expensive, though this trip is worth saving up for. And to be honest, for us Dutchies, the prices were okay. It’s more expensive than the Netherlands, but there are ways to keep your Iceland budget low.
Campervan rental is more expensive than car rental, for example, but with a campervan, you are able to cook yourselves (which saves money on restaurants) and you can sleep on a camping (which are a lot cheaper than hotels).
If you want to splurge on the most amazing hotels and restaurants, then Iceland is also the perfect place.
Below we will tell you the estimated cost of a trip to Iceland:
- Accommodation: €100-150 for a double room per night in a standard hotel (hostels and guesthouses are cheaper, luxurious hotels more expensive)
- Camping: €7-11 per person per night
- Food: €50-60 a day (you can save a lot of money if you get groceries yourself and cook)
- Transport rental: € 160 per day (car rental is cheaper than campervan rental)
- Gas: €350 for 7 days
- Activities: €50-200 per activity
We spent roughly € 3000 for a 7 days in Iceland trip for two people, including our flights from Europe.
Read the ultimate Iceland packing list for all year round about what to bring to Iceland!
7 Day Itinerary Iceland
Like we said before, you can easily stay in Iceland for weeks without getting bored. You need at least 7 days in Iceland to make the whole round around the island.
In this Iceland itinerary, we share the must-visit highlights. But we will also share a few extra stops that are lesser-known, in case you have extra time or you want to skip some other highlights.
Good the know: Iceland is so pretty that you want to stop everywhere, but that’s not possible if you just have 7 days in Iceland. And 7 days also isn’t enough to go on long hikes every day.
Continue reading for our day by day Iceland itinerary. Including places to stay and eat!
Day 1: Reykjavik
Reykjavik is the capital city of Iceland and is the most northern located capital city in the world. Iceland only has a population of a little over 360.000 people and many people live in Reykjavik.
If you fly to Iceland, you will probably arrive at Keflavík international airport. This is the most popular airport in Iceland and is located about a 45-minute drive from the city center of Reykjavik.
Depending on the time you arrive at the airport, we highly recommend going directly from the airport to the Blue Lagoon, as this is just a 15-minute ride. The Blue Lagoon is a beautiful (Instagrammable) spa and is the perfect place to relax after a flight. And it’s a great place to start your Iceland road trip.
Use the rest of your day to explore Reykjavik. Must see places in Reykjavik are:
- Sun Voyager
- The rainbow path on Skólavörðustígur
- Harpa Concert Hall
- Laugavegur street (there are many bars, shops, and restaurants here)
- Cafe Babalú (try their Icelandic traditional skyr cake)
More time? Take a look at our one day in Reykjavik blog for more sightseeing and things to do in Reykjavik!
Where to stay in Reykjavik
We highly recommend staying in or close to the city center of Reykjavik. As you only have one day in Reykjavik, you don’t want to spend too much time traveling back and forth. Most Reykjavik sightseeing spots are in the city center.
If you are on a budget and want to park your car convenient at the hotel, we recommend staying at Hotel Cabin.
Looking for a unique place to stay in Reykjavik? Check out Reykjavik Domes (or book via Airbnb)! What could be more fun than sleeping under the stars (and maybe even the northern lights?) in Iceland. These glass-roofed domes in Reykjavik are just 10km from the center, so you get the best of both worlds. Make sure to book the luxury dome with a hot tub for the most romantic evening.
Day 2: Golden Circle Iceland
It’s time to leave Reykjavik again (the earlier the better) because today we are going to explore the famous Golden Circle. The Golden Circle is one of the most well-known routes in Iceland and is especially popular because it’s located close to Reykjavik. People that don’t have much time in Iceland, often only explore Reykjavik, the Golden Circle, and South Iceland. The Golden Circle can’t be missed on this Iceland in 7 days itinerary!
The Golden Circle is a route between 3 popular attractions, Thingvellir National Park, Geysir geothermal area, and the waterfall Gullfoss. Though there are more beautiful places where you can stop on the way. If you drive from Reykjavik and back the route is about 230 kilometers (140 miles). Sadly, you can’t find gold on the Golden Circle, it’s just a nickname!
The Golden Circle is free to visit, but at some spots you need to pay an entrance fee or pay for parking (but not at many places).
If you don’t want to drive the Golden Circle yourself, we recommend going on this Golden Circle tour.
Thingvellir National Park
Thingvellir (in Icelandic Þingvellir) is a national park and UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s historically and geologically a very special place. You can call the national park the birthplace of Iceland, as the Icelandic parliament assembled here for the first time back in 930.
What makes the national park geologically special is the two tectonic plates located in the park, the Northern American plate and the Eurasian plate, which move about 2 centimeters each year. At the Silfra fissure, you can snorkel and dive between those continental plates. It’s the only place in the world where you can do this!
Other spots to visit in the national park are Almannagjá gorge, the waterfall Öxarárfoss and make sure to spot the lake Thingvallavatn and the Langjökull glacier.
Geysir Geothermal Area
The next stop is the Geysir geothermal area. This is the most famous geothermal area in Iceland and is a great place to wander around. Enjoy the geysers, hot springs, and bubbling mud pots. The area is named after the geyser Geysir, which sadly isn’t active anymore.
Luckily there’s still the geyser Strokkur nearby. Strokkur erupts between every 6 and 10 minutes (though sometimes it can also take 15 minutes if you are unlucky). Strokkur can shoot hot water 40 meters (130 feet) high into the sky. Make sure to have your camera ready. Don’t stand too close, you and your camera gear might get wet!
The waterfall Gullfoss is the last stop of the Golden Circle before we make our way to South Iceland. This is a very impressive waterfall with two different layers. And if it’s sunny you might be able to see a rainbow created by the large amount of spray water from the waterfall!
Next to the waterfall, there’s a trail you can walk to get to the edge of Gullfoss (you will get a little wet when you walk here). For here you can see and hear how powerful the waterfall really is.
Good to know: foss means waterfall in Icelandic!
Like we said before, there’s so much to see and do in Iceland that you easily stay for weeks without getting bored. If you have more time during this second day, here are some other spots to visit: Bruarfoss waterfall, Kerid crater, the Secret Lagoon, the town Skáholt, Faxifoss waterfall, and Reykjadalur Thermal River. And the restaurant Minilik is an unique place to go to for Ethiopian food (make a reservation before you go).
Where to Stay in the Golden Circle Area?
Day 3: South Iceland
Iceland has many many many waterfalls (around 10.000!). Especially in South Iceland, there are quite some waterfalls to visit. We’ve included the (in our eyes) must-see waterfalls in this Iceland in 7 days itinerary, though if you want to skip some to have more time, that’s possible.
South Iceland is beautiful and has many stunning places to see. Therefore today is going to be a busy day exploring! And make sure to look around while driving, as the scenery is going to be beautiful.
Stops in South Iceland:
- Gljúfrafoss (also known as Gljúfrabúi)
Gljúfrafoss and Seljalandsfoss are two waterfalls located close to each other. It’s about a 7-minute walk from one to another. We recommend parking at Gljúfrafoss if you don’t want to pay for parking, as at Seljalandsfoss there’s a parking fee. Both waterfalls are worth the visit. You might get a bit wet at Gljúfrafoss.
Not many people know about Kvernufoss (yet), so make sure to visit this waterfall as soon as possible! It’s one of my favorite places in Iceland, as I simply love the canyon and waterfall combination. It’s a short walk from the parking area next to the Skogar Museum and so worth it! You need to climb over the fence, but luckily there’s are stairs to climb over it. This is how the farmer tells people it’s okay to enter their land!
- Solheimajokull glacier
- DC-3 plane wreck
This DC-3 plane wreck is a famous place in Iceland, especially for photos (you’ve probably seen this airplane on Instagram!). In 1973, the plane crashed on this beautiful black sand beach and it stayed there ever since (luckily nobody died during the crash). It isn’t possible to drive to the plane wreck, so you need to walk. The walk takes about 45 minutes one way. So as you can see it takes quite some time to see the plane wreck. We think it’s especially worth it if you are a photography lover. It can be crowded during the daytime though.
- Dyrhólaey viewpoint + lighthouse
- Reynisfjara beach
The last stops of the day are Dyrhólaey and Reynisfjara beach. To get to the Dyrhólaey lighthouse you need to have a 4×4 car or you can walk up the mountain. The viewpoint is accessible for every car. If you visit Iceland between June and mid-August you might see puffins here!
Hotels Vik Iceland
We recommend staying the night in Vik, the southernmost village in Iceland. Hotel Icelandair Vik, Hotel Kria, and Black Beach Suites are great places to stay at. When in Vik, don’t forget to spot the beautiful church on the mountain. It can’t be missed!
Day 4: Southeast Iceland
From Vik we continue driving in the direction of East Iceland. It’s going to be another exciting day. Day 4 of this 7 day Iceland itinerary includes canyons, a glacier lagoon, lava walks, a diamond beach, and surprise: a waterfall!
Stops in South East Iceland:
- Green lava walk
- Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon
Svartifoss is s beautiful waterfall that’s surrounded by basalt columns. The meaning of Svartifoss is black waterfall. To get to the waterfall you need to hike for about 45-60 minutes. On the way, you get to see other waterfalls too!
- Diamond Beach
- Glacier Lagoon Jökulsárlón
Diamond Beach is the beautiful black sand beach with icebergs on it! The icebergs float from the glacier lagoon into the sea and are pushed back on the beach again. When it’s sunny the icebergs sparkle like diamonds, hence the name! There are many seals in the area, and if you are lucky, you might spot an orca from shore.
Where to stay in South East Iceland?
The hotels and bed and breakfast options in this part of Iceland are limited. Depending on the time of day you end at Diamond Beach and the glacier lagoon we recommend either drive to Höfn or to find a place on the way. From Diamond Beach, it’s about an hour drive to Höfn.
Höfn is a fishing village in East Iceland. It’s located close to the largest glacier of Europe, Vatnajökull. If the weather is clear, you are able to see the glacier from Höfn!
Day 5: East Iceland
It’s day 5 and you’ve already seen so many epic things by now! Today will include lots of driving, and less stops. But don’t worry as today’s drive is going to be a scenic route. The drive itself is the attraction! And don’t be surprised to see the paved road changing into an unpaved road.
This part of Iceland is where you will see fewer tourists, as South Iceland is where most tourists go to. Therefore you will notice fewer people driving on the road.
Stops in East Iceland:
- Viking Village
Stokksnes peninsula can’t be missed on this 7 day Iceland itinerary. The peninsula is famous for the Vestrahorn mountains, one of the most beautiful mountain range in Iceland. With cool steep mountain cliffs, 454 meters (1490 ft) tall peaks, and black sand beaches, it’s an impressive area.
The area is a private area and there’s an entrance fee to enter (around €5/$6 per person). Before you go, make sure to check the weather forecast. When it’s misty or when there’s a low cloud, the mountains will disappear and you won’t see anything.
In the same area, you will find a replica Viking village. The village was built for a movie, but the movie was never filmed. In case you visit Stokksness it’s fun to visit the Viking village too, but we won’t recommend only going there for the village.
We will be driving all the way to Egilsstaðir and this is where we will be staying tonight. In case you have more time today and want to add some stops to your itinerary continue reading the next paragraph.
More time in East Iceland?
If you have more time in East Iceland, we recommend checking the following places. Iceland in 7 days isn’t enough to see everything, but we do want to mention these stops in the area: Hengifoss (one of the highest waterfalls in Iceland), Borgarfjarðarhöfn (puffin island), and Seydisfjordur (here you can see the picturesque Seyðisfjarðarkirkja and rainbow path).
Egilsstadir is a fun and lively city in East Iceland. It’s the biggest city in Eastern Iceland. We recommend the following places to stay in/close to Egilsstadir: Icelandair Hotel Herad, Lake Hotel Egilsstadir, Hotel 1001 Nott, and Ormurinn Cottages.
Head to Askur Pizzeria in Egilsstadir for delicious pizza!
Day 6: North Iceland
Day 6 of this 7 day Iceland itinerary is full of exciting stops (including our favorite canyon in Iceland)! Today we are heading to Akureyri, Iceland’s second-biggest city. On the way, you will see Iceland’s latest hot spot, waterfalls, mars like landscapes, and a geothermal area.
Stops in North Iceland
- Stuðlagil Canyon
The Studlagil canyon is Iceland’s latest hot spot and you might wonder why. Until recently you weren’t able to see the canyon as the canyon was always filled with water. Due to a newly built hydroelectric power station, the water level reduced. So at first, you couldn’t see the canyon, but now you can. And it’s not just a canyon, it’s a stunning canyon with basalt columns. Our absolute favorite canyon in Iceland.
When we visited the canyon in August 2020 there were many locals, who wanted to see the canyon for themselves. As they heard many stories from other locals about it.
There’s a viewpoint on the East side of the canyon, though we highly recommend parking your car at the bridge and walk to the canyon. The hike takes about an hour one way. It’s a quite boring walk but this time it’s all about the destination itself! It’s very worth it.
If you are planning on hiking to the canyon, make sure to start the day early. Or skip any other stop of this 7 day Iceland itinerary, otherwise, it’s too much to do in one day.
Read more about the Stuðlagil canyon!
There are two roads that lead to the Dettifoss waterfall. The west road is the best road (road 862) as it’s partly paved. The east road (864) is bumpier, but many consider the view better for pictures as you can get closer (picture above is taken at the east side).
Myvatn is a lake with many islands located in a volcanic region. The landscape here is very mysterious and amazing to explore. It’s an active geothermal area, so don’t be surprised to see smoke coming out of the ground. The area is also great for bird lovers! And if you want to relax, head to the Myvatn nature baths.
Note: in the area of Myvatn and Hverir there are may black flies. We noticed that people that are staying longer in the area buy nets for over their heads.
End the day in Akureyri, Iceland second biggest city. Make sure to check out the heart-shaped traffic lights in Akureyri!
If you have more time, then add the Viti Crater in Krafla (if you have a 4×4) and the Grjótagjá cave to your itinerary. Are you a Game Of Thrones fan? You might recognize the Grjótagjá cave, it’s a filming location of the series.
Whale Watching Iceland
Akureyri and Husavik are two popular places to go whale watching. Husavik is even called the whale watching capital of Iceland. So if you want to see whales in Iceland, you might want to do it in Northern Iceland.
If you have the time to travel to Husavik, we highly recommend it. Husavik is one of our favorite cities in Iceland. Otherwise, go on a tour from Akureyri. End the day while watching whales when the sun goes down. Go on a RIB boat to get faster and closer to the whales.
Accomodation in Akureyri
Day 7: West Iceland
It’s the last day of this 7 day Iceland itinerary. Depending on when you are leaving Iceland you can either directly drive back to Reykjavik from Akureyri (about a 5-hour drive) or stop in the Snæfellsnes peninsula. We highly recommend the latter (if you have the time).
For the Westfjords (Europe’s most Western point) there’s definitely no time, so you just have to come back! Same for us, as we heard driving there can be quite difficult, we skipped the Westfjords. But it’s good to leave things for next time right?! So you have an extra good reason to come back.
In case you will visit the Snaefellsnes peninsula, we will tell you the places to visit.
Stops in the Snaefellsnes peninsula
Kirkjufell is the most-photographed mountain in all of Iceland. So if you are a photographer, definitely make your way to this beautiful mountain. The mountain reminds us of Lion’s Head in South Africa, maybe you see the comparison too! What makes the mountain extra stunning, is the waterfall in front of it (from the right angle). Head to Kirkjufellsfoss for the best shot.
Iceland has many beautiful churches, and Ingjaldshóll is one of them. The mountains and road toward this church make the church extra special. This is a great spot for photographers.
- Snæfellsjökull National Park
Snæfellsjökull National Park is a national park located on the Snaefellsnes peninsula. You can either drive through this park and enjoy the scenery or make a few stops in between. And if the weather allows it you will be able to see the Snæfell volcano, which is covered with the Snæfellsjökull glacier. Places you could stop at in the National Park are the Saxholl crater, Dritvik & Djúpalónssandur, Londrangar, and one of the caves. Afterward, you can continue driving back to road 54.
- The village Anarstapi
- Búðakirkja (black church)
- Gerðuberg Cliffs
- Landbrotalaug Secret Hot Springs
The Landbrotalaug Secret Hot Springs is a geothermal area with one super cute and romantic hot spring to sit in. Sadly, the area is not as secret as the name tells you. Many people visited Landbrotalaug and left rubbish behind. Therefore the landowner ‘closed’ the area. If you decide to go there, make sure to not leave any rubbish behind.
The drive from Akureyri to the Snæfellsnes peninsula and Reykjavik is quite long. If you want to do something fun on the way, we highly recommend going on a horse riding tour in Varmahlíð. We did an hour horse riding tour through the Icelandic nature with Hestasport and absolutely loved it. You don’t need to have any experience. They also have amazing cottages.
Icelandic horses are special horses, as it’s the only horse breed in the world that can do 5 different gaits. Gaits are different ways of walking.
Where to stay in West Iceland?
Depending on where you want to end the last day of this Iceland 7 day itinerary, we recommend spending the night on either the Snaefellsnes peninsula, on the way to Reykjavik, or in Reykjavik itself.
End of 7 Day Iceland Itinerary
By now, hopefully, you’ve fallen in love with Iceland as much as we have. Iceland was already on our bucket-list for such a long time, and we are so grateful we finally could make our way to this amazing country. We know, many people have Iceland on our bucket-list and we hope with our tips you can fulfill those Iceland dreams too!
Driving through Iceland exceeded all our expectations. In just 7 days in Iceland, you are able to see the most stunning nature. From basalt columns, waterfalls, black sand beaches, volcanos, glaciers, hot springs and so much more. And don’t forget about Iceland’s cool capital city Reykjavik and all the beautiful animals you are able to see. Icelandic horses, puffins, whales, and perhaps even an Icelandic fox.
There’s so much to see and do in Iceland that one visit will never be enough. We can’t wait to come back one day and explore even more (hidden) gems in Iceland. We hope this 7 day Iceland itinerary helps and inspires you for your Iceland trip.
Not sure what to bring to Iceland? Read our ultimate Iceland packing list to not forget anything!
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