Iceland is the dream destination of pretty much every traveller I’ve spoken to. Having visited Iceland twice now for week-long spells, it’s safe to say that I totally understand why.

The landscape is so amazing, dramatic and unlike anywhere else in the world, the people are friendly, it’s safe and the food is pretty fantastic too! I never tire of visiting Iceland and even as we speak, I’m already planning my next getaway to this amazing land of fire and ice.

The first time we visited Iceland, we had two main bases, the Blue Lagoon and Reykjavik, both of which are great but seeing as they’re located fairly close to one another, it was somewhat limited as you can only wander so far from your base location – even when you have a car.

The next time we visited however, we had the benefit of hindsight to guide us and developed a more detailed and comprehensive itinerary to see as much as of Iceland as we possible could in one week.

A 1-Week Travel Plan For Visiting & Exploring Iceland

It took us a lot of time and so much effort to organise a solid and logical plan to see as many sights as sights as possible! To save to you the hassle of organising everything from scratch and to help you get the most of your time when you visit, we’re sharing with you our 1-week itinerary for visiting and exploring Iceland!


Need help deciding what to pack for your trip to Iceland? Check out these essential items you need to take with you on your trip to Iceland!


DAY 1

1.) Pick Up Car From Keflavik Airport

5 Course Meal at Hotel Laki and Jökulsárlón - The Iceberg Lagoon (6)

5 Course Meal at Hotel Laki and Jökulsárlón - The Iceberg Lagoon (1)

A lot of the sights in Iceland are free to see and so all you need is a car to get to them. We can’t recommend this enough, it’s totally worth it – unless of course, if you don’t drive.

2.) Head over to the Laugarvatn Fontana for lunch

The 1st Day in The Land Of Fire and Ice - Iceland! Lava Baking, Geo-Thermal Pools And The Golden Circle (Part 1) (8)

The 1st Day in The Land Of Fire and Ice - Iceland! Lava Baking, Geo-Thermal Pools And The Golden Circle (Part 1) (13)

The 1st Day in The Land Of Fire and Ice - Iceland! Lava Baking, Geo-Thermal Pools And The Golden Circle (Part 1) (18)

This is where they bake the bread using the lava heat so you not only get to experience a part of old Icelandic tradition, you also get some rather delicious bread to boot! They have lots of choice for lunch but watching the bread making process was definitely a personal highlight so do inquire in advance of your visit.

The 1st Day in The Land Of Fire and Ice - Iceland! Lava Baking, Geo-Thermal Pools And The Golden Circle (Part 1) (39)

The 1st Day in The Land Of Fire and Ice - Iceland! Lava Baking, Geo-Thermal Pools And The Golden Circle (Part 1) (40)

After lunch, go for a dip in to the nice geothermal baths and try the natural steam rooms and if you’re feeling brave enough, take a dip in the nearby freezing lake afterwards. Personally, I think you need to give this a go at least once – it’s the Nordic way!

Address: Laugarvatn Fontana, Hverabraut 1, 840 Laugarvatn, Iceland

Website: www.fontana.is

Tel: +354 486 1400 | Mobile +354 663 9400

3.) Once you’re done with your geothermal bathing experience, head over to an absolutely Iceland must-do – Geysir (In Strokkur) & Gulfoss Waterfall.

The 1st Day in The Land Of Fire and Ice - Iceland! Lava Baking, Geo-Thermal Pools And The Golden Circle (Part 2) (12)

The 1st Day in The Land Of Fire and Ice - Iceland! Lava Baking, Geo-Thermal Pools And The Golden Circle (Part 2) (22)

The 1st Day in The Land Of Fire and Ice - Iceland! Lava Baking, Geo-Thermal Pools And The Golden Circle (Part 2) (33)

These two places, along with Thingvellir National Park, all form part of the Golden triangle and seeing the geyser erupt in Iceland is truly a magnificent experience.

4.) Make your way to Reykjavik to check into your hotel.

Afternoon in Reykjavik, Iceland Before Storm (10)

We stayed at the Reykjavik Residence Hotel (we booked this almost immediately after we paid for our flights) which is brilliant for parking (the car park is almost opposite it) and is centrally located enough that you can just walk around in the town, though it has to be said, Reykjavik is generally a very walkable city.

5.) Dress warm, hop into the car at night and drive to Thingvellir National Park to see the Northern Lights.

The Northern Lights, Eyjafjallajökull And Þingvellir National Park (21)

Do check out these Northern Lights photography tips before you go!

DAY 2

1.) Head into Check-out of the hotel Go whale watching in Reykjavik.

Here Is How To See Whales (And Dolphins) In Iceland! Whale watching in Reykjavik (38) (38)

Here Is How To See Whales (And Dolphins) In Iceland! Whale watching in Reykjavik (38) (27)

Here Is How To See Whales (And Dolphins) In Iceland! Whale watching in Reykjavik (38) (22)

We went with Special Tours  for what turned out to be a rather fun afternoon searching for whales in Iceland.

Address: Special Tours, Reykjavik’s Old Harbour, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland

Website: www.specialtours.is

Tel: +354 560 8800

2.) Pop into your car and head over to the Frost & Fire Hotel.

Frost and Fire Hotel, Iceland on Hand Luggage Only - www.HandLuggageOnly.co.uk (3)

Frost and Fire Hotel, Iceland on Hand Luggage Only - www.HandLuggageOnly.co.uk (10)

Frost and Fire Hotel, Iceland on Hand Luggage Only - www.HandLuggageOnly.co.uk (14)

And whatever you do here, you need to have dinner here! Go the whole hog and sit down for a 3 course meal here. It’s slightly pricey, as is Iceland as a whole (though not too much) but totally worth it!

After dinner, get yourself some wine/beer and nip into one of the geothermally heated hot tubs where, if you’re lucky,

Address: Hverhamar, 810 Hveragerði, Iceland

Website: www.frostandfire.is

Tel: +354 483 4959 / 8576788

3.) Look out for the Northern Lights.

The Northern Lights in Iceland and Hotel Laki - www.HandLuggageOnly.co.uk (19)

You can see them right from the hot tub if they’re out but if you fancy an adventure, you can also pop into your car and drive out.

DAY 3

1.) Get breakfast at the Frost and Fire hotel.

Frost and Fire Hotel, Iceland on Hand Luggage Only - www.HandLuggageOnly.co.uk (6)

2.) Walk behind Seljalandsfoss waterfall.

Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss Waterfalls in Iceland plus Icelandic Lamb and rainbows (2)

3 Amazing Waterfalls You Have To Visit In Southern Iceland + Plus A Tour Around Reykjavik (36)

3 Amazing Waterfalls You Have To Visit In Southern Iceland + Plus A Tour Around Reykjavik (37)

Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss Waterfalls in Iceland plus Icelandic Lamb and rainbows (7)

Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss Waterfalls in Iceland plus Icelandic Lamb and rainbows (9)

This is the only one of the waterfalls on here where you can do that and it’s such a unique experience to actually be able to walk behind such a huge and powerful waterfall.

3.) Visit the Eyjafjallajökull Erupts visitor centreThis is the volcano that erupted back in 2010 resulting the in the ‘ash cloud’ that covered most of Europe.

4.) Head over for lunch in Hotel Skogafoss.

Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss Waterfalls in Iceland plus Icelandic Lamb and rainbows (32)

Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss Waterfalls in Iceland plus Icelandic Lamb and rainbows (31)

Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss Waterfalls in Iceland plus Icelandic Lamb and rainbows (36)

Whatever you do, unless you’re vegetarian (in which case – salad), order the lamb. You’ll see why I recommended this when you do. You’ll also have a great view of Skogafoss (the waterfall) from here while you have your lunch.

Address: Skógarfoss, Iceland

Website: www.facebook.com/hotelskogafoss/

Tel: +354 570 2700

5.) Visit Skogafoss.

Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss Waterfalls in Iceland plus Icelandic Lamb and rainbows (38)

Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss Waterfalls in Iceland plus Icelandic Lamb and rainbows (44)

Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss Waterfalls in Iceland plus Icelandic Lamb and rainbows (41)

Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss Waterfalls in Iceland plus Icelandic Lamb and rainbows (39)

Skogafoss is one of the most powerful and most dramatic waterfalls of the lot. See more here.

6.) Go on a glacier hike.

The Unexpected Glacier, Iceland (14)

The Unexpected Glacier, Iceland (10)

The tour we were meant to do was with the folks over Atarcanum but this was the one item we couldn’t do in the end due to the storm in Iceland when we visited. They come very highly recommended so I have no reservations in recommending them but alas, that storm meant that we’ve had to add this to our growing list of reasons why we need to return to Iceland.

The glacier walk and ice climbing base is by Sólheimajökull glaicer about 28km west of Vík and 6 km east of Skógar. (If you’re heading here from Reykjavík, it is about 160 km and the driving time is about 2 hours.)

Address: Ytri Solheimar 1, 871 Vik, Iceland

Website: www.arcanum.is

Tel: +354 858-3500

7.) Visit the beautiful Dyrhólaey and Vik beach.

Dyrhólaey, Iceland - A Photo Diary... (1)

Dyrhólaey, Iceland - A Photo Diary... (12)

Dyrhólaey, Iceland - A Photo Diary... (16)

Dyrhólaey, Iceland - A Photo Diary... (6)

The drive to the next stop after this is a long one and this stop is definitely an Icelandic must-do. The scenery here is so dramatic and nothing short of amazing.

8.) Head over to Hotel Laki, where you’ll be staying for the night.

The Northern Lights in Iceland and Hotel Laki - www.HandLuggageOnly.co.uk (28)

The Northern Lights in Iceland and Hotel Laki - www.HandLuggageOnly.co.uk (27)

The Northern Lights in Iceland and Hotel Laki - www.HandLuggageOnly.co.uk (23)

There’s a restaurant and bar here for your to have dinner and subsequently, warm your cockles by the roaring fireplace.

Address: Efri-Vík, 880 Kirkjubæjarklausturi, Iceland

(Hotel Laki is located on road 204. Only 4 km from highway number 1 just south of Kirkjubæjarklaustur)

Website: www.hotellaki.is

Tel: +354 487 4694

9.) Go hunting for the Northern Lights.

The Northern Lights in Iceland and Hotel Laki - www.HandLuggageOnly.co.uk (4)

The Northern Lights in Iceland and Hotel Laki - www.HandLuggageOnly.co.uk (9)

The Northern Lights in Iceland and Hotel Laki - www.HandLuggageOnly.co.uk (1)

Hotel Laki is PERFECT for seeing the Northern Lights. You can see the Northern Lights from your room here… or you can head up to the balcony upstairs where you’ll have an unrestricted view of the Northern Lights (complete with coffee and tea machines)… or you can head out to the fields outside for a great view of the Northern Lights. You get where I’m going to with this – the choices are endless. We saw the Northern Lights here and it was incredible!

DAY 4

1.) Have breakfast at the Hotel Laki.

The Northern Lights in Iceland and Hotel Laki - www.HandLuggageOnly.co.uk (35)

Go for a walk or perhaps even have a nap if you’ve been lucky enough to have been up all night seeing the Northern Lights. (We stayed up till 6am).

2.) Head back to the Hotel Laki for

5 Course Meal at Hotel Laki and Jökulsárlón - The Iceberg Lagoon (47)

5 Course Meal at Hotel Laki and Jökulsárlón - The Iceberg Lagoon (45)

5 Course Meal at Hotel Laki and Jökulsárlón - The Iceberg Lagoon (53)

a 7 Course lunch specially chosen by the chef from ingredients from our National Park. The food here was absolutely amazing and another notch in Iceland’s culinary belt. (Do inquire about this in advance).

3.) Work off your lunch with a glacier cave hike in Vatnajökull.

5 Course Meal at Hotel Laki and Jökulsárlón - The Iceberg Lagoon (3)

5 Course Meal at Hotel Laki and Jökulsárlón - The Iceberg Lagoon (4)

4.) Drive up to Jökulsárlón – the famous Iceberg Lagoon.

5 Course Meal at Hotel Laki and Jökulsárlón - The Iceberg Lagoon (11)

5 Course Meal at Hotel Laki and Jökulsárlón - The Iceberg Lagoon (15)

5 Course Meal at Hotel Laki and Jökulsárlón - The Iceberg Lagoon (16)

Jökulsárlón is another amazing sight you have to see in Iceland.

5.) Optional: Visit Geysir and Gullfoss (Geysir).

Iceland Travel Reykjavik Keflavik Waterfall Gulfoss Northern Lights Blue Lagoon Spa Geysir Geyser (5)

The 1st Day in The Land Of Fire and Ice - Iceland! Lava Baking, Geo-Thermal Pools And The Golden Circle (Part 2) (32)

In case you missed it on the first day… or if you just haven’t gotten your fill of those two amazing sites.

6.) Check into the Frost and Fire Hotel again and attempt another indulgent dining session here.

Frost and Fire Hotel, Iceland on Hand Luggage Only - www.HandLuggageOnly.co.uk (13)

Address: Hverhamar, 810 Hveragerði, Iceland

Website: www.frostandfire.is

Tel: +354 483 4959 / 8576788

7.) See the Northern Lights at the Frost and Fire Hotel. This time, definitely stick around in the hot tub to see them! 🙂

DAY 5

1.) Go Horse Riding at Hestheimar.

This Is One Experience You Definitely Have To Do In Iceland! (And We Finally Did It!!!) (3)

This Is One Experience You Definitely Have To Do In Iceland! (And We Finally Did It!!!) (20)

This Is One Experience You Definitely Have To Do In Iceland! (And We Finally Did It!!!) (1)

This Is One Experience You Definitely Have To Do In Iceland! (And We Finally Did It!!!) (5)

Icelandic horses are very unique to the country (you can’t import horses into Iceland and if you export horses, they’re never allowed to return back to the country) and there’s no better way to see the Icelandic countryside than ambling around at your own pace on these horses. We went horse riding at Hestheimar during the tail end of the storm which I have to admit, made it all the more exciting!

Address: Ásahreppur 851 Hella Ísland, Iceland

Website: www.hestheimar.is

Tel: +354 487 6666

2.) Check into the Blue Lagoon.

The Blue Lagoon in Iceland on Hand Luggage Only - www.HandLuggageOnly.co.uk (27)

The Blue Lagoon in Iceland on Hand Luggage Only - www.HandLuggageOnly.co.uk (30)

The Blue Lagoon in Iceland on Hand Luggage Only - www.HandLuggageOnly.co.uk (33)

The Blue Lagoon in Iceland on Hand Luggage Only - www.HandLuggageOnly.co.uk (4)

We always spend at least one night here. You not only get to stay here and have your own private blue lagoon (which opens earlier and closes later than the general one), you also get free access to general one which, when you factor in the entry prices (especially if you go for two days), definitely makes a lot of sense.

Address: Blue Lagoon, 240 Grindavik, Iceland

Website: www.bluelagoon.com

Tel: +354 420 8800 or +354 420 8900

3.) See the Northern Lights.

Iceland Travel Reykjavik Keflavik Waterfall Gulfoss Northern Lights Blue Lagoon Spa Geysir Geyser (7)

You can do this from your Blue Lagoon hotel room balcony/patio…. or even from the Blue Lagoon itself.

DAY 6

1.) Spend the day the Blue Lagoon (the general one).

The Blue Lagoon in Iceland on Hand Luggage Only - www.HandLuggageOnly.co.uk (31)

The Blue Lagoon, Iceland - The Photo Diaries (12)

The Blue Lagoon in Iceland on Hand Luggage Only - www.HandLuggageOnly.co.uk (10)

The Blue Lagoon in Iceland on Hand Luggage Only - www.HandLuggageOnly.co.uk (12)

You’ve earned the ‘down-time’ after all and there’s no better way to spend it than chilling at the Blue Lagoon!

2.) Head into Reykjavik for dinner and a night out in the town.

Iceland Travel Reykjavik Keflavik Waterfall Gulfoss Northern Lights Blue Lagoon Spa Geysir Geyser (2)

Reykjavik has such an interesting music scene and pretty good night life so it’s worth checking this out.

DAY 7

1.) Explore Reykjavik.

Afternoon in Reykjavik, Iceland Before Storm (13)

Afternoon in Reykjavik, Iceland Before Storm (11)

Afternoon in Reykjavik, Iceland Before Storm (15)

This is your chance to see the city at your own pace and carry on from where you left off last night. Reyjkjavik is one of the most colourful cities out there and definitely one that I could very easily move to.

2.) Head back to Keflavik airport where you’ll return your car, check in for your flight back home and already start thinking of the many reasons why you need to return to Iceland.



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  • These photos are absolutely breathtaking! I’ve been watching Mr Ben Browns Iceland vlogs on Youtube and it looks so stunning. It’s definitely on my list of places to visit soon <3

    http://abigailalicex.com

    • HandLuggageOnly

      So glad you like them Abigail! We love a good Iceland Vlog… actually anything with Iceland in will make us watch, read, listen… Hahaha!

      🙂

  • 🙂 sounds like a great plan!

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Thanks Tanja! 🙂

  • Rebecca Sharp

    Ahhh I do love a good itinerary plan, makes up for me being so lazy!

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Haha! We love a good plan… 🙂 xx

  • Wow, this is comprehensive! I’ve always wanted to go to Iceland, so I need no further persuasion. The food sounds delicious, and I’m particularly enjoying the waterfall photos. Nothing like a good waterfall!

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Honestly, you’ll love it Rachel! It’s such a great country to explore and the food is unbelievable!

      I definitely gained like 4kg while I was there… haha!

      x

  • I didn’t know there was so much beauty in Iceland, lovely post!
    Marveling-Mind☀ | Instagram | Bloglovin’

    • HandLuggageOnly

      It really is such a wonderful country to explore! So glad you love it too! 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • oh boy !!! I was trying to defer my trip to Iceland till next year – but I think I have to make it happen this year. The Northern Light (amazing !!!). I am not breave enough for a dip int he freezing lakes (or the geothermal baths), but I will plan to try out everything else. Is there a time of year you would recommend for a visit ?

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Honestly, you’ll be so surprised at how warm the geothermal baths are… they’re like the hottest baths you can ever imagine. I had to keep getting out every 5 minutes of so to cool down 🙂 The lake on the other hand was freezing… but not as bad as you’d expect after being heated by the baths.

      March or September are really great times to visit (this is when the Northern Lights are strongest). It’s such a great place – ping us a little message if you have any other questions. Happy to help in any way we can.

      Yaya & Lloyd xx

  • Ksenia Ruzanova

    Iceland is an absolutely must-visit place! Definitely on my list, though it can hardly be called affordable:) But every activity there looks so unique and amazing, want to try them all!

    Ksenia,
    thestylejungle.ru

    • HandLuggageOnly

      It can be a little expensive – you’re right Ksenia. As long as you plan in advance (and drive) you can keep costs to a minimum. We found that food and drink costs where very high – so that was the only thing we couldn’t avoid.

      Yaya & Lloyd xx

  • What an amazing looking trip! I’ve always wanted to visit Iceland and hope I get the chance in the near future. It looks absolutely beautiful and a one of a kind experience!

    Mimi
    http://www.coffeeandsunday.com

    • HandLuggageOnly

      It really was Mimi – ahhh! So excited to hear if you go! We think you’d love it!

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • You nailed it! When I was in Iceland I was in a riding tour so much of the week was spent riding over the lava fields and through the mountains so I couldn’t fit so much in but I did manage to do many of these things and it was amazing!

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Ah, thanks Holly! Wow, it sounds like you had an amazing experience in Iceland. Did you catch the Northern Lights? I don’t think it matters if you stay in Iceland for 2 days or 2 months… there seems to be never enough time to do everything.

      Just another excuse for us to go back, eh? 😉

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

      • No, I went in summer when there is 24hour sunlight. I do want to see the Northern Lights one of these days though!

        • HandLuggageOnly

          Wow! 24 hours sun! 🙂 That’s a dream!

          We visited Norway in early summer and it was still light at midnight. So surreal! 🙂
          xx

  • WOW is all I can say, we’ve been dying to visit Iceland for at least two years now and this post is definitely encouraging me to make the jump and get out there. It looks beautiful and the pictures you’ve taken capture the essence of it all! Thank you for sharing, just got wanderlust all over again.
    http://www.travelalphas.com

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Ahhhhh Thank you so much Maddy and Mauricio! 🙂

      So glad you guys like it! Iceland is amazing! You will both love it!

      You should definitely visit around March or September (the perfect time to see the Northern Lights). Do let us know if you plan a trip – happy to help with any info etc in any way we can.

      xx

  • Nicole Neuman

    Wow, great post and pictures! What do you recommend if we only have 3 or 4 full days in Iceland in late August or early September? Thanks!

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Thanks so much Nicole – definitely do the Blue Lagoon and the ‘Golden Circle’, visit the capital too. You can do them all in four days with a car.

      Hope that helps – ping us a message if you need any more tips! 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • Pingback: This Alternative Map Of Iceland Shows You The Amazing Sights You Need To See On Your First Trip To Iceland - Hand Luggage Only - Travel, Food & Photography Blog()

  • Panayiotis Panagiotou

    Hi Guys,
    I love love love this post and the pics! Congrats on such an informative post.I have been staring at the internet for hours now trying to get to grips of what to do as part of a potential trip to Iceland for my girlfriends 30th birthday next year. Up to this point I had only considered Reykjavik and heading up north for the northern lights, where the ‘specialist, luxury’ offerings seemed gimmicky, so this has been so refreshing. I have a couple of questions, I hope you could answer…
    1. I have been trying to figure out when you guys went as I can’t see a date stamp, although you mention you went in early summer, when exactly?
    2. As my girlfriends birthday is November, I’m thinking sometime between December and Feb, would you do have done the same trip given that it is potentially going to be winter rather than summer when we go?
    3. I am aware of Iceland’s fierce winters and as indicated by your post, one of the best ways to see all of this is driving. If I were to go between December-February, is driving the same kind of trip as you have done above worthwhile or is it definitely more of an early summer thing?
    I appreciate your advise.

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Hey

      Ah! You’re going to LOVE Iceland! It’s an incredible country and the perfect place for a Birthday treat! Wow! 🙂

      Reykjavik is great but there’s so much more to the country too. In answer to your questions:

      1. This trip was taken in April from what I remember as it was still a little snowy.

      2. The only thing I’d say about visiting in Winter (December-February) is that you’ll have much less daylight hours to see the country. We’ve visited at the beginning of October and April and both had relatively long days.

      3. You can definitely drive in winter, you will have snow tyres on your car, but it’s important to check local information before you set off – we got caught in a snow blizzard driving over the mountains and it was a little scary. On the whole, it’s fine to drive, just make sure to listen to local advice too. Summer driving is really easy and the roads are in excellent condition.

      Hope that helps.
      Lloyd & Yaya 🙂

  • Joanna Hughes

    Hi Lloyd and Yaya,
    Just wanted to say a big thank you for this itinerary. We almost followed it word for word, and had a FAB time in Iceland. The info you give in your post was invaluable and made it so much easier to plan – thank you! :o)
    We also did a hike from near Frost & Fire up to a hot river, which was great, and worth doing if you’re there again! We’re following your Norway 9 day itinerary next month – massive groupies! :o)
    Jo and Ben

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Thank you so muhc Joanna…

      …ohhh, this made our evening! We are so happy you had an amazing time. Iceland is an amazing country isn’t it.

      Let us know if you need any more tips for Norway. Always happy to help. 👌

      Lloyd & Yaya xx