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Iceland Itinerary -- too ambitious?

Making plans to visit Iceland next summer. How does the following proposed itinerary look? Too ambitious? Suggested alterations are welcome, though trip probably cannot be extended more than one day, if that. We plan to rent a car once we’re ready to leave Reykjavik.


Day 1– Depart U.S.

Day 2 -- Arrive in Reykjavik about breakfast time. Transport to Blue Lagoon on way to city from airport, then transfer to hotel late morning or early afternoon

Days 2-4 – Explore Reykjavik (museums, strolls, shopping, evening entertainment at Harpa, etc...)

Day 5 -- Check out of hotel and pick up rental car; Golden Circle; Overnight: Selfoss

Day 6 – Drive through South Iceland
o Keldur - Earth-covered farmhouses
o Hvolsvollur – LAVA Center
o Seljalandsfoss waterfall
o Eyjafjallajokull Visitor Center
o Vik – Reynisdrangur Beach
Overnight: Skaftafell or Hnapavellir

Day 7 – Vatnajokull National Park
o Visitor Center at Skaftafell Entrance
o Hike: Skaftafellsheidi Loop (10.4 miles) or Svartifoss-Sjonarsker Loop (3.4 miles)
Overnight: Skaftafell or Hnapavellir

Day 8 – AM: Drive to Jökulsárlón Lagoon – take 40-minute boat trip; Return west to Skogar or Vik; Overnight: Skogar or Vik

Day 9 – Skogar - Hike: Fimmvorduhals Trail to Thorsmork and return by bus; Overnight: Skogar or Vik

Day 10 – AM: Return to Reykjavik; return rental car; explore Reykjavik

Day 11 – AM: Explore Reykjavik; PM: Transport to airport; Return Home

Posted by
4998 posts

We were there in April 3 years ago, so I don’t know about summer or 2018 (have the sights and roads gotten more crowded?) but it doesn’t seem you’re trying to fit 14 days into 11. Maybe you’re not interested in a whale watching boat tour, but If you can fit one into your Reykjavik time, you might consider that. Enjoy!

Posted by
31 posts

Reykjavik is really small, you may wish you had a car those days if you run out of things to do there.

Adding a few items to your to do list:

Before you get to Jokulsarlon, stop at Fjallsarlon - another lagoon - smaller, different, proper bathrooms.
Go to some of the swimming pool complexes - they are everywhere and unlike most things in Iceland, are affordable.

Posted by
7 posts

I just got back from a short 5 day trip. I was amazed how many things we fit in. We just set the top priority and kept going until we were tired. The long summer never really gets dark can make doing more outdoor things possible. We were careful about park hours, but a few things are just available all Diamond Beach. The only thing we messed up was dining out...we were not ready to eat until 10 at night. Be careful about that. We had lots of food in our rental car and stayed in some great AirBnbs so we could cook at our convenience. We took advantage of grocery stores for breakfast and lunch. I hope you have a lot of fun. It is so beautiful. Pictures just don't do it justice. I plan on going back and do a couple of days layover on a trip to Europe.

Posted by
767 posts

I just got back from a quick five nights in beautiful Iceland. The Golden Circle is easy to do from Reykjavik, which is pretty small. Unless you are very interested in the museums or nightlife, I might shift one of those city days at the end of your trip to the more beautiful countryside somewhere.
The Jökulsárlón Lagoon and the Diamond Beach (across the highway) were my favorite parts. We did a Zodiac boat trip in the Fjallsarlon glacier lagoon, about 10 miles closer to Vik from Jökulsárlón. The trips at Jökulsárlón appeared to be in larger amphibious vehicles. It may be a choice between bigger icebergs and a quieter trip. Both lagoons were beautiful. Iceland is stunning. Take lots of money. Food is incredibly expensive!
I think I would rent a car at the airport on arrival. Don't know where you're staying in Reykjavik, but we were in an Airbnb in a suburb 10 minutes from downtown and really needed the car. All those transports will get expensive quickly. Driving is easy. Parking downtown is limited. but we always managed to find a place.

Posted by
192 posts

I disagree about too much time in Reykjavik - especially if you like history and museums. There are several outstanding ones - including the Settlement Museum, the National Museum, and the Open Air Museum (outside the center).

When you head south, Skogar is a great area to stay. Be warned that the Eyjafjallajokull Visitor Center is permanently closed (we were told that the farmers running it decided to retire). Keldur is really wonderful. The tour was outstanding and we felt such a great sense of Icelandic tradition.

Posted by
61 posts

Thanks HK. Yes, we like history and culture, and we've heard there are many fine museums in Reykjavik. We don't wish to cut a day from there. Your advice on which museums are the best is much appreciated.