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Trip itinerary help for Iceland 7 full days during October

Hello all fellow travelers

We are planning 7 full days to Iceland in Mid October.
Here is what Rick suggests for summer, since the days are shorter in October what would should we change?
We will be driving ourselves, we would also like to be in a place that we have a better chance to see Northern Lights.
Would a trip to Jökulsárlón be possible (or worth it)?

Day 1: Arrive, pick up car, go to the Blue Lagoon, then head to the South Coast; sleep along the South Coast
Day 2: South Coast
Day 3: Westman Islands
Day 4: Reykjavík (sleep in Reykjavík)
Day 5: Golden Circle (sleep in Reykjavík​)
Day 6: Reykjavík, or excursions — whale watching, horseback riding, glacier hikes, volcano cave tours (sleep in Reykjavík​)
Day 7: Reykjavík (and/or more excursions).
Day 8 Fly out

Posted by
566 posts

Add more time to the South Coast and less in Reykjavik. That way you can experience the glacier lagoon, Diamond Beach, water falls, black sand beach, and horseback riding. Also maybe ice cave tours? No need to do those excursions out of Reykjavik, which would make a very long day.

Posted by
232 posts

I completely agree with naalehuretiree. If you spend the first few days out on the South Coast, you will be able to go to Jokullsarlon, the glacier hikes, horseback riding, etc. The Golden Circle tour can be driven alone (I drove it with friends in December) and would allow you to set the pace (unless of course you want to be on a tour for the discussion). An evening in Laugervatn or Selfoss would allow you to quickly travel into Þingvellir National Park to get away from the light pollution (most land tours go there for the lights). If it were me, I would drop the car at the airport on the way to Reykjavik, and book the Flybus from the airport round-trip. There's really not much point in having the car in Reykjavik, as it is very walkable. Plus, if you do go on more excursions from there, you would just leave it parked anyway. I like Reykjavik Excursions when I do book tours, but I am sure there are many other reputable agencies that would be wonderful to book with (such as Viatour and Guide to Iceland).

I havent been to the Westman Islands, but depending on mode of travel, time to get there and what you want to do there, one night seems like a short visit to me?

Best wishes and safe travels!

Posted by
27 posts

If you are flying from North America, overnight, you aren't able to get a full night's sleep, and you land at 6:00 AM, I would suggest booking a hotel room for the night before and tell the hotel you'll be checking in at 8:00 AM. That way, you have a place to shower and sleep because you will be exhausted. I tried to see if they'd check me in early but no such luck. Check-in is typically 3:00 pm and some hotels don't let you check in until 5:00 pm. If you're staying at an Airbnb, double check with the host. It sounds like a waste of money if you're not staying at the hotel there overnight, but you're going to be very glad you did.

I agree with the above, don't stay more than 2 nights in Reykjavik. The city is so small that you can "finish" it within an afternoon. South Coast is so beautiful you will want to reserve at least 2 days to really take in the sights. If you're the type of person who likes to take their time exploring a location and not be rushed around like a tour would, then spread that portion of Iceland out.

Spread your Day 6 out over other days. The glacier hike on its own is a total of 3 hours (1 hour to drive + hike to the ice cave, 1 hour to explore the ice cave, 1 hour to hike back and drive back to the pick up point), and there are no washrooms along the way so don't drink too much liquids for that.

Whale watching also took around 3 hours and if you're not used to being on ships/boats/at sea, you might feel seasick and that will take a toll on your body and not something I'd recommend just before an ice cave tour lol

Each of the activities in Day 6 are a lot and I recommend you do 1 of those per day.

October might be a bit early for ice caves anyway, double check with the tour operator what their perspective is. I went in December and it was perfect!

Posted by
1484 posts

I agree with the others. Less time in Reykjavik. I would start with the first day there so that you can adjust after jet lag. Take the flybus to Reykjavik upon arrival and explore the town for that day. A good orientation to the city is a Citywalk free walking tour. They do not charge, but rely on tips. They are very good! We have done those twice. Then you can pick up the rental car the next morning and start venturing out. We used Blue Rental Car, and they have a location in downtown, so we just walked form our hotel to go pick up the vehicle. Then we returned it to the airport location.

Posted by
15 posts

Thank you all for your input it seems that the consensus is to spend less time in Reykjavik and I agree, I will revise our Itinerary and re-post so that (you) the experienced people can see if we are making the best use of our time