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.
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!
1.) Pick Up Car From Keflavik Airport
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
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.
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
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.
4.) Make your way to Reykjavik to check into your hotel.
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.
Do check out these Northern Lights photography tips before you go!
1.) Head into Check-out of the hotel Go whale watching in Reykjavik.
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
Tel: +354 560 8800
2.) Pop into your car and head over to the Frost & Fire Hotel.
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
Tel: +354 483 4959 / 8576788
3.) Look out for the Northern Lights.
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.
1.) Get breakfast at the Frost and Fire hotel.
2.) Walk behind Seljalandsfoss waterfall.
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 centre. This 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.
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
Tel: +354 570 2700
5.) Visit Skogafoss.
6.) Go on a glacier hike.
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
Tel: +354 858-3500
7.) Visit the beautiful Dyrhólaey and Vik beach.
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.
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)
Tel: +354 487 4694
9.) Go hunting for the Northern Lights.
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!
1.) Have breakfast at the Hotel Laki.
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
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).
4.) Drive up to Jökulsárlón – the famous Iceberg Lagoon.
Jökulsárlón is another amazing sight you have to see in Iceland.
5.) Optional: Visit Geysir and Gullfoss (Geysir).
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.
Address: Hverhamar, 810 Hveragerði, Iceland
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! 🙂
1.) Go Horse Riding at Hestheimar.
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
Tel: +354 487 6666
2.) Check into the Blue Lagoon.
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
Tel: +354 420 8800 or +354 420 8900
3.) See the Northern Lights.
You can do this from your Blue Lagoon hotel room balcony/patio…. or even from the Blue Lagoon itself.
1.) Spend the day the Blue Lagoon (the general one).
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.
Reykjavik has such an interesting music scene and pretty good night life so it’s worth checking this out.
1.) Explore Reykjavik.
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.