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Need Help with Planning a 5 day trip to Iceland

I looked at the recommended 5 day schedule - and would like to make a couple of changes. Basically I would like to skip Westman Island and add in Jökulsárlón. I am planning to visit in early August (Aug - 01 or 02) & would be renting a car. We are a family of 4 & all of us plan to visit together.

So basically these are the places I would like to visit -
1. Golden Circle 2. Blue Lagoon 3. South Coast 4. Southeast Iceland (Jökulsárlón) 5. Reykjavík

So my question is How to plan the night stay for minimum disruption ? Something like this ?

  1. Day-1 -- Arrive at Keflavik airport, pick up car & drive up to South Coast & stay there ? <Where ?> Vik ?
  2. Day-2 - Day trip to Southeast Iceland (Jökulsárlón) .. back to Vik for night halt
  3. Day-3 - South Coast sights ... drive to outskirts of Reykjavík and stay in "Hafnarfjordur"
  4. Day-4 - Golden Circle and stay in "Hafnarfjordur"
  5. Day-5 - Blue Lagoon & Reykjavík later in the day .. stay in "Hafnarfjordur"
  6. Fly OUT

I feel that #3-#5 are do-able. I am not sure if #1 - #2 can be easily done ? Is "Vik" the right place to stay OR should I stay somewhere further East ? Where ?

Also I cannot commit to the trip before mid June. Will I be able to get hotel / AirBnB reservations for August if I start booking mid June ?

Posted by
2494 posts

What time does your flight arrive? If it's early, you could do The Golden Circle on Day 1 and maybe sleep somewhere around Selfoss. Day 2 see sites between Selfoss and Vik and sleep in Vik. Day 3 Go east and see everything between Vik and Jökulsárlón, head back and sleep in Vik. Then you'd have Day 4 and 5 for Reykjavik, Blue Lagoon and any other site you want to see.

Posted by
70 posts

Flight arrives around 10 am ... by the time I collect luggage, rent a car & get out, it probably would be almost 12pm

Probably too late in the day to do Golden Circle. That is why I was thinking drive as far East as possible & stay at a Base point from which both Jökulsárlón & South Coast is possible. That way minimizes the number of hotels I would need to switch.

Ideally 2 Nights at one place covering the above sights & then head West & base myself at "Hafnarfjordur" & cover the other sights.

But unsure of what is good location in East to base myself ? Would that be Vik ? or some other place ? Hopefully hotels would still be available when I book in mid June.

Posted by
7050 posts

by the time I collect luggage, rent a car & get out, it probably would
be almost 12pm

I doubt it will take that long because Keflavik is a very compact airport (although there may be a line for the rental car). It would take me 2 hours say at LAX/ Los Angeles Int'l Airport, but not Iceland.

Probably too late in the day to do Golden Circle.

Remember that in August the sun barely goes down at all in Iceland so you will have very long days. Your only constraint will be being tired or jetlagged.

I don't know where people stay in Vik, but expect a really tiny village. Book all your accommodations as early as possible of you may be out of luck, or the prices will be sky high. Many people visit in summer.

Posted by
2494 posts

As Agnes said, the days are very long in August - you'll have daylight past 10 PM, plenty of time to do The Golden Circle on day 1, unless you're too tired. You'll have almost 10-11 hours of daylight after leaving the airport on day 1, plenty of time to see some of the sights.

Since you can't finalize your bookings until mid-June, search for accommodation in Vik and surrounding areas in case Vik books up. It's not very big.

Any reason you're planning to stay in Hafnarfjordur instead of Reykjavik?

Another idea -- you could go to Blue Lagoon on day 1 right after the airport and before checking into hotel.

Posted by
70 posts

Thanks Agnes & Roubrat.

Yes, given what you are saying I guess I will do the Golden Circle on Day-1 itself then.

Then I sleep somewhere between Selfoss or Vik. Actually I am not really particular about Vik. Just want a mid way point to park myself & use it as a base for South Coast & Southeast Island.

As far as picking Hafnarfjordur over Reykjavik, I was just going by what Rick was suggesting that picking a suburb than the main city.

Would you suggest picking Reykjavik instead ?

Posted by
2494 posts

Vik is a great location for your plans, but if I were you I'd also look into some backup accommodation in the surrounding areas in case Vik is all booked up.

I personally would stay in Reykjavik over a suburb for the ease of being in the center of town, but that's just my preference. I like to be able to walk outside the hotel and be in close walking distance to everything. But since you'll have a car you'd have to investigate parking options at your hotel. I don't think one option is better than the other, just depends on personal preference.

Posted by
7050 posts

There's nothing wrong with Hafnarfjordur, but I would only pick it over Reykjavik if lodging plus parking is cheaper/easier. Reykjavik is a fantastic and compact town and there are plenty of residential areas that have lodging where it shouldn't be too hard to park the car. If your elect to stay in a very central location then I'm sure parking will be at a premium.

Posted by
70 posts

Thanks Roubrat, Agnes.

Yes agreed, I will look at other places in & around Vik. As I mentioned, I am not particularly hung up on Vik. I guess room availability would dictate this more than anything else. Not sure if Airbnb is available there, need to check.

As far as Hafnarfjordur vs Reykjavik goes, actually my preference is also staying more near the town center so that I can walk to sights. As Agnes suggest, maybe I can look at the residential areas with a car park / airbnb with a car park.

Thanks a lot for your helpful suggestions.