Öxarárfoss waterfall, Golden Circle, Iceland

Iceland itinerary: One Week Road Trip in Iceland

November 4, 2023

In the following article, you can read the itinerary for a 7-day trip to Iceland. We have created an itinerary that we have tried out ourselves. The 7-day road trip takes you around Iceland, visiting the most important destinations. The itinerary gives you tips and ideas to make the most of your trip to Iceland.

Iceland is a time-consuming destination where you need to plan everything carefully before you start your trip. However, whatever you plan, the changeable Icelandic weather can ruin any plan. So you will need all your flexibility and adaptability in Iceland.

The itinerary is for a car trip. It is very difficult to get around Iceland without a car, so car rental is highly recommended. Whether you stay in hotels, guesthouses or campsites is entirely your decision.

Costs in Iceland

The budget also depends on your needs. Iceland is a relatively expensive country, but you can get by at quite low costs with store-bought food and camping. If you want to read more tips on how you can get the most out of your trip to Iceland on a budget, click on the link to find out more.

About the itinerary

The outward and return journeys, as in all our itineraries, are not scheduled. It’s different for every traveller, wherever you come from in the world.

The tour takes you mainly along the main road 1. From there, you will only travel short distances to visit the various highlights.

The highlands are not planned into the trip, as the highlands are the most time-consuming place. The roads, open only a few summer months of the year, are very difficult to drive on, often involve crossing rivers and are prone to cause accidents or flat tyres. It is easy to get stuck. Only plan the highlands into your trip if you are either skipping something from our itinerary or spending several days in Iceland. Be prepared to hire a 4×4 car with extra insurance.

There are a few more things to prepare for when travelling to Iceland. One is clothing. This depends a lot on the season you are travelling in. Winter is always cold and you need to be prepared with layers of warm, waterproof clothing. Most people travel in the summer, when any temperature between about 5°C and 20°C can occur. So in summer, be prepared with thinner but layered and waterproof clothes because it rains a lot. Always carry a windproof raincoat with you. Be prepared with hiking boots too, even several pairs. Hiking boots will be your most essential piece of equipment in Iceland. You may also need a good backpack and sometimes the hiking poles.

If you rent a car, rent a 4×4 car with extra insurance. It can be useful in the tougher rural terrain.

Wherever you travel in Iceland, always carry some food. This could be some sandwiches and a few bottles of water. As shops are few and far between, it’s best to have food in your car at all times.

If you are planning a family trip with children, we recommend the article on the following link for a detailed guide to a family road trip to Iceland.

If you plan your trip well and prepare for everything, you are guaranteed to have a fantastic trip to Iceland.

So let’s see what you can see during a week in Iceland.

Day 1: Reykjavík

On your first day, you can see the main sights of Reykjavík. The unique-looking Hallgrímskirkja Church is an important symbol of Iceland. There are also a number of museums in the city, and you may want to visit one of them if you are interested.

If you still have time, it’s worth driving outside the city to visit two of Iceland’s most famous bathing spots: the Blue Lagoon and Sky Lagoon. Whichever you choose, both are worth it.

By the way, in 2021, the year we travelled, the famous volcanic eruption was on the Reykjanes peninsula near Reykjavík, and we have included some photos of it in the photo gallery.

Day 2: Golden Circle

The second day is dedicated to Iceland’s famous Golden Circle. It’s a couple of hours drive near the capital. In general, the Icelandic infrastructure under the Golden Circle is still surprisingly good. Here you can still get a taste of Iceland without really being out of your comfort zone. The roads are still paved and there are plenty of shops and restaurants.

Golden Circle includes several interesting sights, which are the following:

Thingvellir National Park

Thingvellir National Park is one of Iceland’s most famous tourist destinations. Here you can find the border between two continents, Europe and North America. That’s right, you can walk in Thingvellir at the meeting of two tectonic plates. Knowing this information gives extra meaning to a visit here besides being a beautiful place.

You can reach the breathtaking Öxarárfoss waterfall from a separate entrance next to the national park. It’s definitely worth a visit, we think it’s one of the most photogenic waterfalls in Iceland.


In fact, you won’t find just one geyser here, but many. Yet Strokkur is the most famous in Iceland, because it is the one that erupts most often (every 5–10 minutes). If you visit here, you are almost guaranteed to see an active geyser erupting into the sky. It’s a great adventure, don’t miss it.

Geysir is also famous because it is the largest geyser in Iceland, but it only erupts very rarely.

Next to the geyser park there is a very good restaurant called Restaurant Geysir Glima, where you can choose from a variety of Icelandic dishes and they are very tasty.

Gullfoss Waterfall

Take a detour to Gullfoss Waterfall, where you can see one of Iceland’s largest waterfalls. It has a huge water flow. You can see the Gullfoss from several angles from the small path next to the waterfall.

Kerid Crater

Kerid Crater is a picturesque lake formed in a volcanic crater about 3000 years old, accessible on foot. Its beautiful water color changes with the weather, ranging from blue to green most of the time. The crater is fully walkable in a circle.


These are the main attractions of the Golden Circle. They can fit into a day if you have a good schedule. Especially in summer, when it’s light almost all day in Iceland.

The night is recommended to be spent in Reykjavík or in Selfoss.

Day 3: Southern coast

Our itinerary continues towards the southern part of Iceland. The south of Iceland also has many famous must-see attractions.

Don’t miss the following:


On the way, the first stop is at the Seljalandsfoss waterfall. This is the giant waterfall that you can walk behind on the hiking trail. It will be an unforgettable experience to see a huge waterfall from behind.


The next attraction along the southern coast of Iceland is Skógafoss. This is also a huge waterfall. Next to it you can walk up a staircase to the top of the waterfall.


The Dyrhólaey is a small peninsula with a scenic view, a lighthouse and a large arch of volcanic rock in the sea. It is worth stopping here for a short walk.


The Reynisfjara beach is also next to Dyrhólaey, but can only be reached by a detour by car. This is one of Iceland’s most famous places, and many people come here to take photos. The basalt hillsides, the black rocks rising out of the sea and the volcanic black sand with its varying grain size make for a stunning sight. Sometimes you can also see puffins here.

Vík í Mýrdal

The largest town here is Vík í Mýrdal. The main attraction is the view from the hill above the local church, from where you get a fantastic view of the surrounding area. It’s a famous Icelandic view.

You can still shop, refuel and dine at restaurants in Vík í Mýrdal, so get ready for the next day.

Day 4: Southeast Iceland

On the fourth day in Iceland, continue your journey to the southeast. Here, in order, the following are worth visiting:

Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon

Iceland’s most spectacular canyon, easily accessible by a gravel road. The canyon offers breathtaking views from both above and below, so it’s worth hiking up the trail next to it.

If you have the time and interest, make a short stop at the Stjornarfoss waterfall.

Along the way, you’ll see lots of old lava fields. It’s worth stopping at one for a while, it was a great experience for us. The lava fields in this area are Mossy Lava Fields, Gönguleið um Eldhraun and Skaftareldahraun.

Your next destination in Iceland will be a little further away, but you’ll see some magical landscapes along the way. The Svartifoss waterfall is still on the way, but it’s a difficult hike, so you’ll have to plan specifically for it.

The next stop is:


A spectacular ice lake with organised activities. It is worth paying for a boat trip on the glacier lagoon. You can get a close-up view of the icebergs and the glacier.

Jökulsárlón and Diamond Beach

Jökulsárlón is similar to the previous Fjallsárlón, but a larger lake. You can see bluish icebergs here even in summer.

On the other side of the road, you’ll find Diamond Beach, where you can see small and large chunks of ice on the black sandy beach. It’s a stunning sight. It gets its name from these pieces of ice, because they look like diamonds in the black sand.

You can either spend the night in a guesthouse on the way or drive to the nearest town, Höfn. If you have any time left, it is recommended to drive to Egilsstaðir. Along the way you will see sights such as Stokksnes and Hvalnes Lighthouse. The road is most challenging on the following sections. They are winding, often unpaved and difficult to drive on.

Day 5: Egilsstaðir and surroundings

The Egilsstaðir area has several attractions and the best infrastructure in the area, so it’s a worthwhile place to plan your trip. Egilsstaðir is one of the most important cities in the northern part of Iceland, although it only has a population of a few thousand people. However, it is easiest to continue to other destinations from here.


The Hengifoss waterfall, justly famous on social media, is located nearby, but it is difficult to reach, and therefore time-consuming.

Watching puffins

We chose the village of Borgarfjörður Eystri for our trip. Here there is a puffin viewing area where you can see plenty of puffins during the summer. Another interesting attraction of the village is Lindarbakki, where you can see small wooden houses covered with grass.

Stuðlagil Canyon

In the afternoon, head to one of Iceland’s most famous places, to the Stuðlagil Canyon.

It is quite easy to get lost and take the wrong route in Stuðlagil Canyon. The road that leads there is very bad, which is why a 4x-4 car is recommended.

We recommend two routes. The first is the quicker option. Drive to the point marked „Studlagil Canyon” on Google Maps. From there, a staircase leads down to the side of the canyon, but you can’t go down to the water. It’s great for quick photos and viewing.

If you want to spend more time here, choose the second option. Drive along the extremely difficult road to the point marked „Parkplatz Klaustrusel – Studlagil”. You will find a parking lot there. From the car park, you can take a short hike (about 2-2.5 km just there) on foot to reach the canyon, from where you can walk down to the water and take the best photos. Along the way you will also come across Stuðlafoss Waterfall, which has some stunningly beautiful basalt formations.

In the evening, continue to Reykjahlíð, the next larger settlement in the north of Iceland.

Day 6: Northern part of Iceland

On the sixth day, see the next part of the northern attractions in Iceland:

Lake Mývatn

It’s worth taking a drive along the shores of Lake Mývatn. There are fantastic views along the lake, especially on the southeastern side. You can take the best photos of the lake by walking on and around the Höfði peninsula. It’s not a time-consuming activity and it would be a shame to miss it.


Hverir is a geothermal area in the northern part of Iceland. The photos already show how special this place is. For average people who don’t understand geology, it will just be a walk among strange formations smelling of rotten eggs (sulphur). The formations are usually steaming and bubbling. If you are interested in geology, you should read more about it, because Hverir is a unique area on Earth.

Krafla Víti Crater

An Icelandic volcanic crater filled with bright blue water. A real geological wonder, which you can read more about here. You can reach it by a relatively short road not far from Hverir. If you have the time, it’s worth a look.


Continue west on the main road 1. On the way, it is worth stopping at the Goðafoss waterfall. From here you can admire the waterfall from several viewing points, depending on which side you park. The waterfall has a huge water yield.

In the evening, it is worth traveling further to the southwestern part of Iceland. This is a long distance, so you need to be well prepared. Shops and restaurants are mainly to be found in the town of Akureyri.

If you’re interested in exploring Northern Iceland more thoroughly, we recommend checking out another article, which details the Diamond Circle route in Northern Iceland and the attractions you’ll encounter along the way.

Day 7: Snaefellsnes peninsula

The last day in Iceland will focus on the main attractions of the Snaefellsnes peninsula.

These are:

Kirkjufell Mountain and Kirkjufellsfoss

Kirkjufell Mountain is one of Iceland’s most famous landmarks. Almost everyone has seen photos of it. This cone-shaped mountain is such a special sight that it is a must-see for tourists. It is usually photographed with the Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall in front of it. It’s not a time-consuming programme, but the journey is quite long.

Viewpoints in Arnarstapi

Then it’s worth travelling to Arnarstapi. The small village has some very good restaurants. Here we had the best Fish & Chips of our lives.

Arnarstapi and its surroundings have many wonderful viewpoints, check out some of them. What you can expect: a breathtaking zigzag coastline with black rocks and typical Icelandic scenery. We recommend Arnarstapi Cliff Viewpoint and Hellnar View Point. In Arnarstapi, on the way to the lighthouse, you can also find a stone bridge, which has recently become one of the favorite Icelandic photo spots on social media.


On the way, it is worth stopping for a short while at Búðakirkja, one of Iceland’s black churches. It is very photogenic place.

Travel back to Reykjavík in the afternoon or evening. Although the road network on the peninsula is extremely poor, don’t worry, as you get closer to the capital, the roads will get better. On the way, you will also enter a tunnel on the main road 1 that goes under the sea.

If you still have some time left in Iceland, you can visit more nearby attractions around Reykjavík, maybe even the ones you missed.

This is the end of the 7-day trip to Iceland. Iceland is fantastic, one of the best tourist destinations in the world. But all the driving, hiking, and the difficulty of managing meals can exhaust you within a week. The lesson is just to eat and sleep well throughout the trip.

If you are planning a shorter trip to Iceland, check out our other articles. If you want to take a longer trip, you can also get inspiration from our other articles, where you can find out more about the things to see in Iceland.

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