Iceland road trip itinerary

Trying to plan your perfect Iceland itinerary but not sure where to start and what to visit? I´ve got you!

In this post I have put together an amazing Iceland itinerary.  Whether you prefer waterfalls, hot spring or glaciers, this itinerary has it all!

Even though Iceland is not exactly a huge country, Iceland has an insane amount of places that are worth a visit. During winter time some places in the inner part of the island are inaccessible.

This itinerary is based on a trip to Iceland in winter. Some points of interest that are easily accessible in summer and worth a visit, might not be on the list here. 

If you have more or less time available than suggested in the post, feel free to add and remove days as needed to fit your perfect itinerary.

The West fjords and Sneafellsness for example are not part of the ring road and you can skip them, in case you do not have enough time or are traveling in winter and the weather forecast is bad. I skipped the West fjords due to bad weather and road closures. I did stay in Sneafellsness though, but the weather was so bad that I could not explore the area.

road trip itinerary Iceland

1. Reykjavik, 2-3 days

Let´s start this Iceland itinerary with Iceland´s capital – Reykjavik.

There are quite a few things to see and do here – something for everyone!

Also around the bustling city, there are many other points of interest that can be explored while staying in Reykjavik.

How to get to Reykjavik?

Chances are, you will arrive to Io Iceland by plane, flying into Keflavik International airport.

The airport is about 40 minutes from the city center of Reykjavik. Ideally, you should rent a car for your Iceland trip, with pick-up and drop-off at the airport, which will make transportation a whole lot easier.

In case you are not renting a car or can only pick it up in Reykjavik downtown, you can take a bus or taxi from the airport to the city.

Where to stay in Reykjavik?

Reykjavik has the most accommodation options in Iceland. From hostels, hotels to airbnbs – you can find it all here. Make sure to check out all the different options in advance to find your perfect fit!

What to do and see in and around Reykjavik?

  • Downtown & rainbow road
  • Hallgrimskirkja church
  • Hot dog at the famous Baejarins Beztu Pylsur
  • Blue Lagoon
  • Sky Lagoon
  • Reykjadalur Hot Spring Thermal River
  • Pingvellir National Park
got to be on any Iceland itinerary: Blue Lagoon
Blue Lagoon
rainbow road in Reykjavik downtown
rainbow road in Reykjavik downtown
Pingvellir National Park
Pingvellir National Park

2. Golden Circle, 1-2 days

The Golden Circle is one of the most popular and most touristy areas of Iceland.

It is a 190 mile loop road with 3 of the most incredible natural attractions in Iceland. 

You certainly do not want to skip this area while visiting Iceland, if you have not been to the Golden Circle before.

How to get to the Golden Circle?

It is conveniently located about an hour and a half from Reykjavik and easily accessible through the ring road.

The best option is to get a rental car and explore all the Golden Circle has to offer by yourself. Check out my blog post Iceland in winter for more details on how to rent a car in Iceland.

However, it is also possible to take a guided tour from Selfoss or Reykjavik.

Where to stay in the area? 

While there are also some accommodation options in the Golden Circle itself, a great base nearby is Selfoss. After Reykjavik, this is probably the area with the second most accommodation options.

I have not personally stayed overnight in the area. But there are many options in this area and some of the most amazing looking airbnbs and unique stays are located here as well. 

What to see and do at the Golden Circle?

  • Strokkur Geysir
  • Gullfoss
  • Hrunalaug hot springs
  • Bruarfoss
  • Faxi waterfall
  • Pingvellir National Park


add to your Iceland itinerary: Strokkur Geysir
Strokkur Geysir
Gullfoss waterfall
Gullfoss waterfall
Hrunalaug Hot Springs
Hrunalaug Hot Springs

3. Hella and/ or Vik, 2-4 days

Most easily accessible and famous tourist attractions in Iceland are located in the South, between Hella and Vik.

You should plan enough time in the South for your perfect Iceland itinerary to be sure you are not missing out on any worthy places to visit. Some of my favorite hidden gems are located in the South of Iceland as well. 

The towns Hella and Vik are the next bigger towns after Selfoss and many waterfalls and other points of interest are located between the two.

How to get to South Iceland?

At this point of your trip you definitely want a rental car, except if you are traveling on a guided tour around Iceland.

Where to stay in South Iceland?

You can either base yourself in one or the other, or just split up the stay.

I personally stayed 3 nights in Hella (due to a hotel collaboration), 1 in Hvollsvöllur (only a few kilometers from Hella) and 2 in Vik.

I did stay at Hotel Ranga in Hella for 3 nights and absolutely loved it. This hotel is located in the middle of nature without any city or town light pollution. And the best: they have a Northern Lights wake-up call. Check out my blog post Northern Lights in Iceland for more information.

I also stayed at my favorite hostel in Iceland in a little town called Hvollsvöllur. Make sure to check out the Midgard base camp, it has an amazing outside hot tub, sauna and the best price in all of Iceland.

What to do and see in South Iceland? 

  • Gluggafoss (my very favorite hidden gem)
  • Seljalandsfoss
  • Glufrabui
  • Skogafoss
  • Kvernufoss (one of my favorite hidden gems)
  • Solheimasandur Plane Wreck
  • Dyrholaey view point
  • Reynisdrangar Beach
  • Vik Black Sand Beach
  • Solheimajökull glacier
Skogafoss waterfall
Skogafoss waterfall
popular place on your Iceland itinerary: Reynisdrangar Beach
Reynisdrangar Beach
Gluggafoss waterfall
Gluggafoss waterfall
Hotel Ranga - hot tub with a view
Hotel Ranga - hot tub with a view

4. Höfn and Egilsstadir, 2-3 days

From Vik it is quite a long journey to the next bigger town Höfn. There are a couple of places in between that you should definitely add to your Iceland itinerary.

First stop after leaving Vik will be Fjadragljifur. From there you continue for another hour or so until you will get to the next few points of interest that are all quite close together. Some of the most famous in this area are Europe´s largest glacier Vatnajökull and Diamond beach. 

Then onwards to Höfn, which is the next bigger town to stay overnight, it is another hour of driving.

If you enjoy scenic views while on the road, you will absolutely love the East fjords. Incredible views around every corner! Make sure to look out for reindeer in this area!

Where to stay in East Iceland?

Höfn is a quite small town and there are not a whole lot of options. I stayed at the Höfn Hostel, which was a good place to stay for a night or two, if exploring the area.

In between Vik & Höfn as well as Höfn & Edgilsstadir there are not many options, as there´s hardly any inhabited areas. In Egilsstadir I stayed at the Tehusid hostel, which I really liked as well.

What to do and see in East Iceland?

  • Fjadrargljufur
  • Svartifoss
  • Mulagljufur
  • Fjallsarlon
  • Jökulsarlon
  • Diamond Beach
  • Vatnajökull glacier (two of my TOP 6 bucketlist experiences in Iceland can be done here!)
  • Vestrahorn
  • Stokksnes
  • Rainbow Road in Seydisfjordur
  • Gufu waterfall
  • Vök Baths
  • Rjukandi Waterfall
  • Hengifoss
  • Studlagil
if you visit in winter, you need to add this place to your Iceland itinerary: ice cave at Vatnajökull glacier
exploring an ice cave at Vatnajökull glacier
Svartifoss waterfall
Svartifoss waterfall

5. Myvatn and/ or Akureyri, 2-3 days

The North is, compared to the South, much less touristy but is also home to less tourist attractions that are easily accessible or well developed.

I wanted to visit some places around the Myvatn lake during my winter trip, however there has been a lot of snow and walkways etc. were simply not serviced. So I did end up visiting much less places in the North than initially planned.

I only spent one night in the North due to inaccessibility of most places during this time.

Ended up in two snow storms and had to sit out a few road closures, but it´s all fun of the adventure!

Where to stay in North Iceland?

Akureyri is the 2nd biggest city in Iceland and also called “The capital of the North”. There are many accommodation options in the area; hostels, hotels and airbnbs.

I stayed at the Akureyri Backpackers, which was cheap but I did not like it very much. It was also the only hostel I would have had to rent a blanket for like 10 USD – no, thank you!

What to do and see in North Iceland?

  • Dettifoss
  • Hverir
  • Myvatn Nature Baths
  • Grjotagja (hot springs)
  • Lake Myvatn
  • Skutusadagigar (Pseudo craters)
  • Godafoss
  • Geosea, Geothermal Sea Baths
  • Hauganes Hot Tubs (one of my favorite hidden gems in Iceland)
  • Fosslaug
Godafoss waterfall
Godafoss waterfall
not to be missed on your Iceland itinerary: the capital of the North Akureyri
the capital of the North Akureyri
Hauganes Hot Tubs
Hauganes Hot Tubs

6. West fjords and/ or Sneafellsness, 2-4 days

I really wanted to add the West Fjords to my Iceland itinerary when I visited, but when I was about to go, the weather got really bad for days and most roads were closed, so I skipped this time.

I did make it to the Snaefellsness peninsula, but the weather was too bad to go out and see something of this beautiful corner of Iceland.

The Westfjords & Snaefellsness peninsula have many beautiful places to offer. Especially for the fellow hot spring lovers out there – add the Westfjords to your itinerary, if you have the time!

Due to the location and accessibility, this areas of Iceland are also much less visited by tourists than the South, which is great to escape the tourist crowds, especially in summer.

What to do and see in the West fjords and Sneafellsness?

  • Gudrunarlaug
  • Grettislaug
  • Hellulaug
  • Krosslaug
  • Strompgljufrafoss
  • Heydalur
  • Latrabjarg
  • Kirkjufell
  • Londrangar
  • Arnarstapi
  • Budir church

6. Borgarnes, 1-2 days

Last stop on this Iceland itinerary! This city is located only an hour North of Reykjavik and serves as a great last stop along the ring road.

From here, you can easily reach Reykjavik and the International airport Keflavik to drop off your rental car and finish your perfect Iceland road trip!

Where to stay in Borgarnes?

There are multiple options to stay in Borgarnes. Not as many as in Reykjavik but still many.

I did stay at Hvammsvik, which is about 40 minutes from Borgarnes and soooo worth a visit and also an amazing place to stay, if you are in the area.

This place has some of the most amazing hot springs I have ever been to and also some really beautiful accommodation options. It is also much less visited than the Blue Lagoon for example, it´s one of my favorite hidden gems in Iceland.

What to do and see in Borgarnes?

  • Hvammsvik
  • Barnafoss
  • Snorralaug
  • Hraunfossar
  • Gudlaug Baths
  • Porufoss
  • Pingvellir National Park
bucketlist experiences in Iceland: Hvammsvik Nature Baths
Hvammsvik Nature Baths

Of course there are many, many more places that you can add to your Iceland itinerary. Especially when visiting in summer there´s  many more accessible.

Also, even though Iceland is getting more and more popular and tourist crowds increase every year, there are still many hidden gems left to explore.

Make sure to check out my other Iceland blog posts to help you plan your perfect trip to Iceland: