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Itinerary for 7 full days

We are renting a car and are planning on driving the Golden Circle and southern coast. We want to sightsee, take easy hikes, and meet local people. We are down to earth, love nature, and would enjoy local activities and 1 or 2 museums. . We are flying in on August 25 and out on September 2. We need help deciding where to stay. Thinking the first night or 2 and last night in Reykjavík. After that we need help ideciding where to find lodging. We would also like ideas for other places to visit if you think time allows. We would appreciate all suggestions.

Posted by
220 posts

This forum isn't as busy as some others I'm on. I suggest you post on the TripAdvisor Iceland forum.

You should be looking at booking lodging ASAP. From everything I've seen, Iceland is going to be busy in August and September.

Posted by
220 posts

You are on the Rick Steves Iceland forum.

My suggestion was to go to the TripAdvisor Iceland forum. Totally different web site.

Posted by
9 posts

consider this family-run tour along the south coast near skaftafell. i went on their puffin tour a couple years back--excellent time out in a tractor plus some nice light hiking. you'll be a bit late in the season for puffins, but it should still be nice. the scenery is lovely, the family nice and friendly.

https://www.fromcoasttomountains.com/ingolfshofdi-royal-coast-tour

speaking of skaftafell, plenty of nice hiking there. easy to avoid most of your fellow visitors without going too far off the beaten path.

check this place out too--Fjaðrárgljúfur. it's a canyon about 15 minutes drive from the main road. well worth a detour if you enjoy time alone in nature.

the best way for a tourist to connect with locals? at the pool. be sure and take advantage of iceland's pool culture--

https://sundlaugar.is/sundlaugar/?lang=en
https://guidetoiceland.is/best-of-iceland/the-best-swimming-pools-in-iceland-outside-of-reykjavik

finally, i'd minimize my time in reykjavik. it's a city. so what. not much going on there. the church is kinda cool. food is extremely expensive--true everywhere, though. the national museum is worth a stop. harpa the concert hall is enjoyable too, especially if they have some music going on. icelandic nature > reykjavik any day.

happy planning and enjoy!

Posted by
83 posts

You can do quite a bit in 7 days. Eldheimar on the Westman Islands and Skogar Museum were the best museums I visited. I'd recommend staying somewhere near Vik along the south coast. We stayed at Hotel Anna about 30 minutes outside of Vik and loved it. We were just a short drive from everything we wanted to see on the south coast.
For return covid testing, it may be smart to stay in Reykjavik at the end of your trip for convenience.
The main testing center in Reykjavik does rapid and PCR tests and is quite efficient.
The Facebook group travel Iceland is very active and you can get a lot of good information there.

Posted by
87 posts

Clare89 thank you so much. That was extremely helpful. We are planning on staying in Vic three nights. Is that too long? We were planning on doing side trips from there. What is your take on it?

Posted by
51 posts

I would highly recommend the YouTube channel “Iceland with a View”. It’s been an immense help planning our 5 day layover in September to Iceland. She covers everything from what to pack, how to get accommodations, what to expect each month in Iceland, special places to explore, hot pot soaking protocol (I didn’t know they had shower police), etc.

And as always.....like and subscribe! (Sorry, that was bad YouTube humor.)

Posted by
87 posts

I have been checking with Trip Advisor as suggested but I can't seem to get up to date information on Covd testing for returning to the US. I am trying to find out where we can get rapid tests, how to get an appointment and how much time to leave to do that. From the dated information I have read sites keep changing. Please help. This is now putting the trip on hold because if we need to be in a particular place for 2 days we need to rearrange our itinerary and lodgings.

Posted by
220 posts

Actually, the information on TA Iceland forum does get updated, it's just that things are changing constantly. New change today -- did you know that you will also need a test to get into Iceland whether or not you are vaccinated?

I should have also recommended the Travel Iceland Facebook page. They post the most current information in the Announcements section.

Regarding testing before returning to the US, I found this: https://www.landlaeknir.is/um-embaettid/greinar/grein/item42633/COVID-19-Border-Testing?fbclid=IwAR13gSj2aqnITZqMYEc--iwN6ZMeWWHyBa7xUASemOcZarjVcpqvO8ZA3M8

Things change all the time. Some of the testing sites will not be operational when we will be there in September. Apparently there will only be those in Reykjavik and Keflavik, and we won't be near either when we need to test. I am considering this in-home (in-hotel) test: https://www.emed.com/products/covid-at-home-testkit-six-pack?hsLang=en

Posted by
87 posts

Thank you for the information. I will definitely follow up on Facebook as suggested. Was testing requirement for vaccinated people entering Iceland dated July 19 2021?

Posted by
87 posts

Thank you so much for the current update. It looks like we are going to table our trip until next year but I will save all the information. What did it for us was the vaccinated athletes on the Olympic team testing positive. The stress of not knowing if we can leave took the fun out of what would have been a fabulous vacation. Unfortunately I don’t think we are the only ones that will feel this way and it will be a terrible blow to those who depend on tourism. I just want to thank those who took the time to help on this site. It wasn’t wasted. We will use all the information next year.

Posted by
4825 posts

We just returned last night from 8 days in Iceland. It was fantastic.
We did a wonderful tour with Nordic Visitor that had us in great hotels and took us to so many sites of interest on the Ring Road Tour, 7 days. We arrived one day early to do the Blue Lagoon, which was a must.

Yes, you can do it on your own, but be sure you have your lodging set before you take off outside of Reykjavik, since Iceland is flooded with tourists.

The top sites were the duck (amphibious vehicle) ride on a Glacier lake with icebergs in the southeastern portion of the country. Many huge lava fields, waterfalls, volcanos, calderas, black sandy beaches (one with huge chunks of glacier ice) and more.
Horses are all over the country on its many farms. The dining was super, we loved every meal.

Also, the Icelandic people are so nice.

Posted by
31 posts

Things change all the time. Some of the testing sites will not be operational when we will be there in September. Apparently there will only be those in Reykjavik and Keflavik, and we won't be near either when we need to test. I am considering this in-home (in-hotel) test: https://www.emed.com/products/covid-at-home-testkit-six-pack?hsLang=en

Beware very long wait times for the emed.com test, if you choose this route. That was our plan last week, but when we logged on, the wait time was more than 200 minutes! We ended up doing a rapid test in Reykjavik that was in and out in less than 15 minutes (even with a long line), and had our results in 30 minutes. Just plan to give yourself several hours with WiFi if you decide to go the at-home route.

Posted by
24 posts

In my 10-day trip in Iceland, I made time for snorkeling through the Silfra (Þingvellir National Park), ice caving & glacier hiking (Vatnajökull National Park), lava tube exploration (Snæfellsjökull National Park), horse riding through moss-covered lava fields, attending a performance at Harpa (concert hall), attending a church service at Hallgrimskirkja, a food tour through Reykjavík, touring the Culture House Museum, and visiting the Blue Lagoon. Yes, the BL is a little touristy, but so relaxing! The landscape is amazing & there's so many activities to choose from! Have a great time!