Is there ever a reason not to go on a roadtrip in Iceland? For me, I was attracted by the country’s pristine nature — scenic waterfalls, vast lava fields, geothermal spas, and active volcanoes. I wanted to indulge in this opportunity, so I booked my flight and before I knew it, I was on the way to Iceland.
DAY ONE – Blue Lagoon + Reykavik
After five or so hours on the plane, we touched down in Iceland. In no time, I was already on the shuttle to pickup my rental car, a Hyundai i20, from Go Iceland (cheapest option I found). If you’re wondering, I bought gravel insurance since the roads can be iffy sometimes.
I drove straight to the magical Blue Lagoon, to soak my tired legs in this geothermal spa. You can book your spot ahead of time here (I got the basic package). After spending a few hours wading around in this geothermal bath, I decided I was ready to check out Reykavik.
I spent the afternoon & evening walking around Reykjavík, where my Airbnb was. Some main streets where there are cafes, design shops, and clothing stores, are on & around Laugavegur. After walking around, I visited Hallgrimskirkja, where you can get access for ~$10 to a gorgeous, panoramic view of the city and sea.
DAY TWO: Golden Circle | Selfoss
The next day I woke up after a refreshing sleep. I had to get my booty out of bed because today I would be doing the entire Golden Circle! I started at Pingvellir National Park, and saw the Almannagjá gorge, Þingvallavatn lake, and the Öxarárfoss waterfall. All were very beautiful places, it was just quite crowded! After a few hours, I headed over to Gullfoss, an immense waterfall with a height of 32 meters.
Then, I checked out Geysir, an area with exploding geysers and boiling hot springs. I hiked up to get a view of the whole geothermal area below. It was so fun to see water spurt out every couple of minutes! After this, my next stop was Kerid Crater, which is an absolutely special place in Iceland. You pay a few bucks to get in, but you can walk around the whole perimeter. I’ll talk more in-depth about every place I went to in my upcoming Golden Circle blog post!
At night, I stayed at an Airbnb in Selfoss. Selfoss is a cute little town with a population of about 7,000 people. It is a quaint place to walk around, but there is definitely not much to see here. At the end of the day, I was super tired, but reflecting back, I think the Golden Circle can absolutely be a one-day trip if you’re efficient with your time.
DAY THREE – Gluggafoss | Seljalandsfoss | Skogafoss
I unfortunately slept in late this day due to some jet lag, but still got to see everything I’d planned. I first drove to Gluggafoss (Merkjárfoss), which was absolutely the most peaceful waterfall I went to during my entire trip. After being around so many people the day prior on the Golden Circle, I was so surprised to see only two or three cars in this parking lot. I spent time climbing around the waterfall, and even got to stand behind the falling water! I loved it here and could have stayed for hours.
Next, I drove down the road to one of the more well-known waterfalls, Seljalandsfoss, which was jawdropping. A hidden gem on this site is another waterfall called Gljufrafoss, which is tucked away in a cave. I had to carefully walk on some stepping stones in order to see the waterfall, but it was so amazing when I actually got all the way in. I would highly recommend having this experience even if you’re not especially balanced.
My next stop was in Skogar, to see a waterfall called Skógafoss. I had such an adventure at this spot because I finally found a decent hike! After climbing up to see the top of the waterfall, you can follow a path above for some crazy breathtaking views. This was definitely my favorite hike during my roadtrip in Iceland.
At night, I drove back west a bit to stay in an Airbnb on the sweetest farm. At the end of the night, I decided to take a walk down the road. I found some horses to hangout with (don’t laugh, solo travel life gets lonely), and actually had a brief conversation with an older Icelandic man who lived on the farm. He only spoke a few words of English, but managed to say that he was born on the farm we were standing in front of. It was so humbling to see someone living such a simple life on this little farm in rural Iceland.
DAY FOUR – Fjadragljufur | Dyrholaey | Reynisfjara |Skaftáreldahraun | Vík
Today I drove eastward from the farm to Fjadragljufur, a canyon in southeast Iceland. When I arrived, I was amazed at how surreal the winding river looked beneath the mossy cliffs. This was a great spot to hangout at for an hour or so, but wouldn’t be the right place for a longer hike.
On the drive back from Fjadragljufur to Vik, I stopped at Skaftáreldahraun, which is in the Katla Geopark. Essentially it’s a lava field leftover from past eruptions… how cool?!
In the afternoon, I drove two hours back to check out Dyrhólaey, a small peninsula with a view of a beautiful arch. I was so lucky because I got to see puffins here! They were super cute flying around. Something I learned though, is that Icelandic people EAT these little creatures since they are a sort of delicacy… Afterwards, I drove a few minutes to the black sand beach of Reynisfjara.
Tonight I stayed at Guesthouse Cantina, which was the nicest accomodation during my trip. I honestly didn’t have much of an option since almost everything else was booked in Vik for the night, but it was honestly worth the splurge! It was such a cozy room with a really sweet view of the village.
DAY FIVE – Jökulsárlón | Diamond Beach | Skaftafell
I departed from Vik quite early in the morning, in order to drive from Vik to Jökulsárlón. I was so excited to come and see the glacier lagoon, and had no clue what to expect. When I got there, I was stunned by the icebergs and glaciers floating around. I’ve never seen such a wonderful place in my life, and I can still remember the state of bliss I was in. This was the furthest east I would go during my roadtrip in Iceland, but one day I aspire to drive the entire Ring Road!
After Jökulsárlón, I walked along the Diamond Beach, which is conveniently across the street from the glacier lagoon. This beach is pretty unique since the icebergs wash up onto the shore from the glacier lagoon; they appear to sparkle in the sun like diamonds.
I spent the rest of the day in Skaftafell National Park, where I hiked to see this immense waterfall, Svartifoss. This is the perfect location if you want to do a more legitimate hike, since there’s tons of trails. I liked this waterfall, but it wasn’t my favorite because there were too many tourists. I prefer some place more quiet so that all I can hear is the falling water.
Day Six – Reykjavík
I woke up today and drove from Vik to Reykjavík. The drive was around 2.5 hours, and I pulled over at random sights I thought looked enticing. In the afternoon, I did a 1.5 hour horseback riding tour at Íshestar. I did the Lava Tour, which you can book here if you wish. I would highly recommend getting on an Icelandic horse during your roadtrip in Iceland. They are the only breed of horse legally permitted on the island, and have this special gate called a tölt which is super comfortable!
After the horseback riding tour, I explored more of Reykavik. Below is a food hall I visited, called Hlemmur Mathöll! If you read my post on the best markets & street food in London, you know how obsessed I am with food halls in Europe. I think these places are the best way to get an initial feel for a country’s culture and identity. Plus, it’s a good excuse to sample some street food.
I headed to the airport the following morning, which concluded my roadtrip in Iceland! I’ll be posting more specific blogs about the Golden Circle, where I ate, my favorite parts of Reykjavík, and some stunning photos from the nature. I hope my itinerary can help give you some ideas, and if you have any questions please reach out!