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How Long to Stay in Iceland

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It’s no secret that Iceland has become an essential destination to every traveler’s bucket list. This northern wonderland boasts some of the most fantastic scenery of the northern hemisphere, including glaciers, volcanoes and ice caves, forcing visitors to continue to come back for more. Whether you’re looking for a short getaway or a full backpacking adventure, Iceland has everything you are looking for. However, before packing up and heading north, here’s a few different itineraries to plan the perfect length Icelandic vacation.

If it’s your first time in Iceland, it is recommended that you spend at least 3-4 days visiting. This will definitely not be enough time to explore all that there is to offer, but it will help you plan a beginner’s trip around the island. There’s also an incredible Icelandic road trip for those who’d like to tackle Iceland’s iconic ring road. Technically, the full drive takes 24 hours; however, 7-8 days would allow you to visit all the major stops along the way. Generally, we advise to visit for not less than 7-8 days as you will then have sufficient time to explore much of the tours and attractions in Iceland and Reykjavik

Below please see a few good Iceland itineraries with duration’s of 4 days, 6 days and 8 days, respectively.

Four Days / Three Nights: Winter Adventure

Reykjavík, the capital and largest city of Iceland
Reykjavik city from the top of Hallgrimskirkja church

Spend four days and three nights in the capital city of Reykjavik. This is a perfect place to visit during the winter in order to enjoy this winter wonderland.

  • Day 1: After arriving at the Keflavik Airport, go to Reykjavík. Spend the day exploring the city and its museums, galleries, spas, thermal pools, and boutiques. The city is small so you should be able to walk to all of these places.
  • Day 2: On the second day of your trip, take a small walking tour with a group guide in order to see the landmarks of downtown Reykjavik. Don't miss out on the Hallgrímskirkja - a famous landmark in Reykjavik. 

In the evening, if weather permits, go on a tour outside and view the northern lights.

  • Day 3: On day three of your vacation, take a Golden Circle tour. On this tour, you will get to see a glacial waterfall (Gullfoss), the Great Geysir geothermal region that has regular eruptions, and finally, Þingvellir National Park, which is the site of the first parliament
  • Day 4: On your last day of your trip, relax at the Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa. Then, after you feel much better, you can catch your flight back home.

Six Days / Five Nights: City and Nature Adventure

Seljalandsfoss one of the best known waterfalls in Iceland
Seljalandsfoss waterfall

Spend six days and five nights in Iceland exploring both the city as well as the great outdoors. On this trip, you can visit the shops and museums as well as see wildlife, geysers, and waterfalls.

  • Day 1: After arriving at the airport and then traveling to the capital city of Reykjavik, take in the city by visiting the museums, naturally heated pools, restaurants, and nightclubs.
  • Day 2: Go with a tour group for about two hours to view the capital city. On the tour, you will be able to see the highlights of the city as well as historic landmarks. There are also many interesting activities going on in the city that you will learn about on the tour.
  • Day 3: Day three of your trip is to visit the Golden Circle. Here, you will see a glacier waterfall and get to see many geysers.
  • Day 4: Visit the Blue Lagoon, a spa, on your fourth day in order to relax in naturally heated seawater. There are saunas, steam baths, and different treatments that you can choose from in order to help you unwind and relax.
  • Day 5: On the fifth day, visit the south coast. Here, you will get to see the Seljalandsfoss waterfall which is forty meters high. Then, you will get to see the Sólheimajökull glacier. Finally, the last stop will be a black sand beach and then the Skógafoss waterfall.
  • Day 6: On the last day before your flight, consider visiting the Reykjanes peninsula for another breathtaking view to take home.

Eight Days / Seven Nights: Southern and Western Iceland

Jokulsarlon cave
Ice cave in Jokulsarlon, Iceland

This tour takes you into the countryside of Iceland for eight days and seven nights. The trip will start and end in Reykjavik and let you see beautiful glaciers, waterfalls, and the famous Golden Circle.

  • Day 1: After arriving at the Keflavik Airport, a driver will take you to your hotel in Reykjavík. Then, you can spend the day relaxing after a busy day of traveling or explore the city. That night, you will stay in Reykjavik.
  • Day 2: On this day, you will take a car and drive around the historic Borgarfjörður area. It is here that you can learn the history of Iceland with a stop at Icelandic Settlement Center. Then, you can check out the Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls. Then, you can see the Víðgelmir and Surtshellir caves. Finally, the last stop of your day should be to see a man made ice cave that was carved out of a glacier. That night, you will stay in the Borgarfjörður area.
  • Day 3: On the third day of your Iceland vacation, you will drive to the Snæfellsjökull peninsula and check out the Snæfellsjökull glacier. This glacier is actually thought to be one of the seven energy centers of the Earth. In addition to the glacier, you will also see the Dritvík Cove, some impressive cliffs, and a fishing village. You will spend the night in the Borgarfjörður area again.
  • Day 4: Iceland’s most popular attractions is the Golden Circle. This driving route will take you to Thingvellir National Park where you can actually walk in a rift valley between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. Then, you will go to the Haukadalur geothermal area where you see a geyser spout. Finally, at the end of the day, stop at the Gullfoss waterfall for a beautiful view. Then, stay the night in the Selfoss Area.
  • Day 5: Today’s adventure starts with a trip to the Seljalandsfoss waterfall, which you can actually go behind. After that, you can check out the impressive Skógafoss waterfall. Next, go to the Skogar Folk Museum and then the black volcanic beach located at Vík. If you are looking for even more of an adventure and don’t mind driving a little more, you should go to Skaftafell and Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. It is totally worth the extra driving time. At night, you will once again stay in the Selfoss area.
  • Day 6: On the sixth day, spend some more time in the Selfoss area. Only this time, you should check out fun activities like snorkeling or river-jet. Then, you can go on a hike close to Hveragerði. You will once again spend the night here.
  • Day 7: Today, you need to head back to Reykjavik. The drive does not need to be boring though! Take the Hellisheiði driving route and actually go inside a volcano. Then, make sure you go to Hveragerði so that you can check out the geothermal features found there. Tonight, you will stay in Reykjavik.
  • Day 8: So as not to over do it on your last day in Iceland, take this time to take a relaxing stroll through the capital city. Check out a local cafe, mingle with the locals, and take a few more breathtaking pictures before heading back home.

Regardless of how long you decide to stay in Iceland, you can be sure to have a fantastic time and witness some of the world’s most breathtaking views. This Nordic island nation has something to offer for everyone, and there is no doubt that you will return home refreshed and content.

So what is the best time to visit Iceland? Make sure you check out the weather before deciding on the dates to your trip, to make it truly memorable! Also take note of the top things to do in Iceland as, by visiting iceland, you've been given an opportunity to see some of the most amazing glaciers, volcanoes, and ice caves, that this world has to offer. 

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