Öxarárfoss waterfall, Golden Circle, Iceland

7-Day Iceland Itinerary: One-Week Road Trip on the Iceland Ring Road

May 18, 2024

Are you planning a one-week trip to Iceland, but not sure how or what to visit? Then check out our 7-day Iceland itinerary, which takes you around the Icelandic Ring Road and all the must-see attractions nearby!

Iceland is an island country in the North Atlantic Ocean that is becoming more popular among tourists because of its unique natural wonders.

Many people call Iceland the “land of fire and ice,” and there’s a reason for it. In Iceland, you can find active volcanoes, vast lava fields, geysers, and hot springs, all while exploring glaciers, icy lakes, and beaches, along with numerous hiking trails and waterfalls.

Iceland is full of interesting natural phenomena that rank among the world’s greatest natural wonders. Examples include the aurora borealis, volcanic lakes, black sand beaches, unique-shaped mountains, and massive waterfalls, offering endless opportunities for outdoor activities and exploration.

So, due to the popularity of Iceland and because it’s a highly favored destination for us as well, we’ve prepared a 7-day itinerary that showcases how we believe you should spend 7 days in Iceland to see as much of the country as possible.

The route mostly follows Iceland’s Ring Road for 7 days, which is one of Europe’s best road trips.

Additionally, our itinerary includes common questions that arise when planning an Iceland trip, and day by day, we thoroughly outline how to discover the most attractions of Iceland in 7 days.

So, let’s first take a look at an overview of the itinerary, followed by the frequently asked questions, and then the day-by-day itinerary for Iceland.

Overview of the 7-day Iceland itinerary

Day 1: Reykjavík

Day 2: Golden Circle

Day 3: Southern coast of Iceland

Day 4: Southeast Iceland

Day 5: Egilsstaðir and surroundings

Day 6: Northern part of Iceland

Day 7: Snaefellsnes peninsula

Map for the 7-day Iceland road trip itinerary

FAQ: What to know about a one-week road trip in Iceland

About our 7-day Iceland itinerary

We mainly detail the following for those who will be on their first 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 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. Only plan the highlands into your trip if you are either skipping something from our itinerary or spending more time in Iceland.
  • 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.

What is included in our one-week Iceland trip

Our itinerary includes:

  • Almost all attractions along the Icelandic Ring Road: waterfalls, geysers, mountains, canyons, black sand beaches, and much more
  • Most of the famous Golden Circle attractions
  • Excursions not far from the Ring Road, such as the Snæfellsnes Peninsula
  • Opportunities for puffin watching.

How to get to Iceland

There are numerous airlines operating flights to Iceland, so you can easily reach Keflavik International Airport from most places. For checking prices and options, we recommend using Kiwi.com.

How to get around Iceland

In Iceland, the number one mode of transportation is by car. Since everything is very rural and distances are huge, we highly recommend traveling by car.

Public transportation is only available in some places.

Our itinerary is for a self-drive trip. It is very difficult to get around Iceland without a car, so car rental is highly recommended.

Car rental in Iceland

The biggest question when planning a trip to Iceland is what type of car you will need for driving in Iceland.

If you don’t plan to go to the Highlands (and our itinerary doesn’t include it), then renting a decent SUV should suffice. It’s good to have a 4×4, but it’s not necessary, just advantageous.

If you’re also planning to go to the Highlands, or many other rural, gravel road trips, then rent a 4×4. This will be more expensive, but you won’t be able to reach remote attractions with anything else.

Some places (not included in our itinerary) may require river crossings, which rental car companies generally discourage, so it’s strongly advisable to consider this carefully. In such cases, we recommend opting for a guided tour where locals take you with local experience.

For car rental, we can recommend BlueCar, where we ourselves rented from, a reputable company with excellent cars. The price may be a bit high, but that’s the case everywhere in Iceland. We rented a high-performance, standard SUV, which served us excellently on all terrains mentioned in the itinerary.

When renting a car, also make sure to opt for full insurance coverage. In Iceland, incidents like gravel hitting the windshield and punctures are common, so it’s better to have comprehensive insurance.

If you’re interested in prices, take a look at DiscoverCars.com.

If you definitely don’t want to drive in Iceland, check out GetYourGuide’s guided tour offers.

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Best time to visit Iceland

Our 7-day itinerary is planned for a summer visit to Iceland, which is best enjoyed from June to early September. While rain is still common during the summer months, there are fewer disruptions on the roads due to extreme weather conditions such as snow and wind, making travel easier.

Additionally, around June to July, the lupine flowers bloom, enhancing the beauty of the Icelandic landscapes even more.

Iceland in winter

A winter trip to Iceland may pique the curiosity of many, especially due to the possibility of seeing the Northern Lights.

However, we do not particularly recommend winter travel. The winter weather brings massive windstorms, snowfall, and road disruptions, which can easily pose problems for a well-planned and paid trip.

If you are experienced in winter travel and comfortable with snowy conditions, you may consider a winter trip. Otherwise, we advise sticking to the southern part of the country, with minimal driving involved.

What to wear in Iceland

There are a few more things to prepare for when travelling to Iceland. Clothing is one of them. This depends a lot on the season you are traveling in.

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.

Winter is always cold, and you need to be prepared with layers of warm, waterproof clothing.

Costs in Iceland

The budget highly depends on your needs. Iceland is one of the most expensive destinations in the world, 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.

Overall, if you’re planning to travel to Iceland, expect prices to be at least 1.5-2 times higher than what you would typically expect in Western Europe.

For us, a two-person trip for a week cost around 4000 euros in 2021. However, in 2024, it would only come out to this amount if we significantly reduced our needs. So, it’s indeed much more expensive compared to other destinations.

Where to stay in Iceland

During a road trip around Iceland, it’s most practical to stay overnight along the way, meaning you’ll have a different accommodation almost every day.

Here are the accommodations we recommend around the Ring Road:

Detailed 7-day Iceland road trip itinerary: How to spend 7 days driving around the Icelandic Ring Road

In the following section, you can read our itinerary for a 7-day trip to Iceland. We’ve carefully designed a route that we’ve personally experienced.

This 7-day road trip follows the route of the Iceland Ring Road, visiting the most important destinations of the country. The itinerary provides tips and ideas to help you make the most of your Icelandic journey.

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

Day 1: Reykjavik

The first day of the one-week Iceland itinerary focuses on the capital, Reykjavik, where the city’s main attractions are worth a short visit.

The unique-looking Hallgrímskirkja Church is an important symbol of Iceland. Furthermore, 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.

Near Reykjavík, the Reykjanes Peninsula has become famous in recent years for its frequent volcanic eruptions. So, if you’re lucky, you might even see an active volcanic eruption during your trip.

Day 2: Golden Circle

The second day is dedicated to Iceland’s famous Golden Circle. The attractions of the Golden Circle are easily accessible from Reykjavik on a day trip.

In general, it can be said that the Icelandic infrastructure along 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.

The 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.

Within the national park, you’ll also find the stunning Öxarárfoss waterfall, which you can reach with a short walk from several parking lots. 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 entirely accessible for walking around.

These are the main attractions of the Golden Circle. They can easily 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 Iceland

Our one-week journey continues towards the southern part of the island. The south coast 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.


Skógafoss is an amazing 60-meter waterfall in Iceland, famous for its massive cascade and the picturesque surroundings along the Skógá River. It is easily accessible, and the nearby stairs allow visitors to climb to the top of the waterfall, providing a memorable experience for nature lovers and photographers.

Additionally, it marks the endpoint of Iceland’s Fimmvörðuháls and Laugavegur Trails, which are well worth exploring for adventurous trekkers.


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 the most famous places in Iceland, 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.

However, be especially cautious with the weather, as the waves can change suddenly. Always pay attention to the locally available, color-coded sign to see how safe the area is.

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, 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.

Furthermore, 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 also along the way, but it’s a challenging hike, so you’ll need to plan extra time for it separately.

The next stop of the day on our itinerary is:


A spectacular ice lake with organized 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.

Or, 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 towns 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 attractions in the area for the fifth day are:

Hengifoss – Optional

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 conditions are very bad, which is why a 4×4 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, visit 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 (sulfur). 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 program, 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 the black churches of Iceland. It’s a highly photogenic place, which is why it’s worth a short stop.

In the afternoon or evening, travel back to Reykjavik. Although the road network on the peninsula is extremely poor, don’t worry, as you approach the capital, the roads will improve. Along the way, you’ll also drive into a tunnel on the main road 1, which goes under the sea.

If you still have some time left in Iceland, you can visit more nearby attractions around Reykjavik, perhaps even those you missed.

Other attractions to see include:

  • Húsafell for its waterfalls, such as Barnafoss
  • Grábrók crater along the main road 1
  • Glymur waterfall: Iceland’s second-highest waterfall
  • Blue Lagoon
  • Sky Lagoon

At the end of the day, you’ll return to the capital, the starting point of our 7-day Iceland travel itinerary, marking the completion of our one-week journey along the Iceland Ring Road.

So, that was the Iceland Ring Road itinerary for a 7-day tour, in which we showed how, in our opinion, you can make the most of a week in Iceland, seeing and experiencing as much as possible of what Iceland has to offer. If you only have one week in Iceland, our itinerary allows you to explore the best of the island and have a truly fulfilling journey.

Although the pace may seem a bit fast, as Iceland is quite an expensive place, many people want to see the best places of Iceland in one week, so it’s worth making the most of the available time. If you prefer to relax, we have also recommended places like the lagoons, but fundamentally, our itinerary includes an active and very fulfilling journey.

We hope we’ve provided enough information, inspired you for a similar journey, and introduced you to the best places in Iceland. Iceland is an exciting place, full of interesting and unique sights, making it a bucket list destination for many. We can only recommend not postponing your trip, boldly embark on an Icelandic journey, and enjoy every single day of it!

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