- Time: 9 days
- Expenses: less than $94 or 80€ per person per day (excludes airfares, rental car)
- Season: all year around
Money and time-saving tips:
- Rent a car to get from destination to destination,
- you don’t need any cash, even in most remote places you can pay with your credit card, with no provision,
- save money by cooking, eating out is really expensive.
Iceland is becoming a more and more popular tourist destination in the last couple of years. This land offers some of nature’s most breathtaking and majestic waterfalls, geysers, caves, hikes, lagoons and lovable people in the world.
This trip is around 1087 miles (1750 kilometers) long, on average you’ll drive 2 to 3 hours almost every day, moving from destination to destination.
Iceland is a little more expensive when it comes to eating out, buying food and alcohol and accommodations vary on average from 25€ to 50€ for a night per person. If you want to save money, cook most of your meals (in your Airbnb or guesthouse kitchen) and buy your food at cheaper food markets like Bonus. The landmark tourist attractions are mostly free and the ones that are not, only have a small fee.
Our 9-day itinerary:
- day – Reykjadalur Valley, Raufarholshellir, and Reykjavik
- day – Reykjavik
- day – The Golden Circle
- day – Vik and surroundings
- day – from the South to the North
- day – Mývatn and surroundings
- day – Husavik and Akureyri
- day – from Akureyri to Borgarnes
- day – The Blue Lagoon
Day one – Reykjadalur Valley, Raufarholshellir, and Reykjavik
After landing, rent a car and start your journey.
Drive to the Raufarholshellir Lava Tunnel, put on your hiking shoes and watch your step. Here you’ll find one of the longest lava caves in Iceland with interesting natural ice sculptures and cave formations.
Next is the Reykjadalur Valley, take your time to explore it, it’s a great place to take a hike. On the way, you’ll find boiling hot pools and steam rising up from several places and if you’re up for it you can take a dip in the river during the season when it’s flowing.
Late in the afternoon make your way to Reykjavik. Enjoy the night out, there some good places for partying.
Day two – Reykjavik
This day is all about Reykjavik, the capital city. Enjoy your day walking through Reykjavík Botanical Gardens, trough the main shopping street Laugavegur, stopping at Sólfarið – Sun Voyager monument that symbolizes a dreamboat, an ode to the sun and light and resembles a Viking longboat.
Don’t forget the astonishing Harpa Music Hall, City Hall and the Parliament House. You’ll be amazed at the symbol of Reykjavik, the church Hallgrímskirkja, the architecture is something special.
For a great view of the city, head up to Perlan observation deck.
If you have the time, you can relax at the Nautholsvik Beach or go for a swim in one of the city polls (Árbæjarlaug or Laugardalslaug swimming pools).
Day three – The Golden Circle
The Golden Circle covers stunning locations: Þingvellir National Park, the Geysir Geothermal Area and Gullfoss waterfall.
Thingvellir national park has been a park since 1930. When the Vikings arrived in the 10th century they choose this location, which became the site, where the world’s oldest parliament was established. It’s also the place between the two tectonic plates, where the North American tectonic meets the Eurasian plate.
The second stop of the day on the Golden Circle is the Geysir Geothermal Area. Iceland is full of geometrical areas, in Geysir Geothermal Area you’ll find hot springs with water up to 100°C (212ºF) and the great Geysir which erupts every 4 -10 minutes, reaching an average height around 20 meters.
Next is the magnificent Gullfoss Waterfall. It has two drops from a height 32 metres/105 feet with an average of 140 cubic metres/4944 cubic feet of water pouring down at every second. Wow!
A little detour takes you to the Crater Kerid. It was formed about 6500 years ago, you can walk around it, explore the amazing texture, colors and go down to the bottom and relax on the bench by the lake.
Day four – Vik and surroundings
Start your day with a dip in this astonishing pool in the middle of the mountains. A short hike from the wild parking lot and you’ll be amazed by the scenery of Seljavallalaug swimming pool. Despite low temperatures, this will be delightful, the weather is around 25°C(77°F) all year round.
Stop by the black beach Dyrhólaey where you’ll see the unusual Reynisfjall mountain, but beware of the power of the waves.
From there it will take two and a half hours to reach the final destination of the day, the Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon. You can walk around and explore it by yourself or take a boat tour. Take a seat and listen to the cracking of the ice and look around for the seals, they gather here in large numbers.
Day five – from the South to the North
Day five will have a little more driving to get from the South to the North of the Island, with stops along the way. About 5 hours in total.
Start with the Vesturhorn cliff. The next few stops will be all about waterfalls. First Fardagafoss, Hafragilsfoss, and Dettifoss. Dettifoss is reputed to be the most powerful waterfall in Europe, you’ll hear and see why.
Afterwards, stop at the Krafla Viti Crater. The Crater was formed during a 5-year long explosive eruption of Volcan Krafla. Here you also see a small geothermal area between the lakes.
Day six – Mývatn and surroundings
The destinations for this day are the Námafjall, a geometrical area, a hike on the Hverfjall Crater and a walk around the Lake Mývatn where you’ll get beautiful views of the city and the lake.
Day seven – Husavik and Akureyri
Husavik is one of the best locations in the world to go whale watching. Explore the city, go to The Whale Museum and as mentioned on a Whale watching tour. It’s a unique experience and if you’re lucky, you’ll get to see a lot of different whales. Remember to dress warm, it gets colder in the open sea.
In the afternoon drive to Akureyri. Along the way stop and enjoy the Godafoss Waterfall. Another waterfall that will take your breath away, it’s magnificent.
Day eight – from Akureyri to Borgarnes
The way from Akureyri to Borgarnes will take you to the Glaumbær Museum. The museum is actually many large farmhouses in Skagafjördur from the 18th and 19th century. The farmhouses are built out of turf, stones, and timber. The atmosphere brings you closer to the lifestyle of people who used to live here. There are a total of 13 houses, each with its own function and exhibition.
After visiting the museum, drive to the Grábrók Crater. It’s a short hike to get to the top to and grab some great pictures of the crater and the surrounding landscape.
Next on the agenda are yet again, a couple of great waterfalls, Hraunfossar and Barnafoss. Hraunfossar Waterfall is a collection of countless creeks and cascades streaming out over a distance of about 900 meters long. Above it is another famous waterfall called Barnafoss.
The last stop is the Deildartunguhver geothermal area which is the highest flow hot spring in Europe providing 180 liters of water at 100°C(212°F) per second.
Day nine – The Blue Lagoon
Before saying goodbye to Iceland, conclude this epic adventure, with enjoying the day at the Blue Lagoon. Your day will be filled with swimming, massages and relaxation in a really special place.
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