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The Ultimate Iceland Itinerary for 5 Days

Just a couple of days in a destination is rarely enough to do all the things you want to do and see the things you want to see. A week is short, 5 days is pushing it. Luckily, you can fit all the essentials in an Iceland Itinerary for 5 days, may it be a complete round-trip of the island or a series of excursions in the south.

Cramming in an entire holiday in only a couple of days is easier said than done. You need to know exactly what you want to see and where you want to go before you can even begin to plan a trip shorter than a week. Luckily, we put together an Iceland itinerary for 5 days, regardless of if you want to go around the entire nation, or simply enjoy the south.

Iceland itinerary 5 days

Are 5 Days Enough to Visit Iceland?

If you have a limited time and are not in the mood to sit around and relax, then 5 days is just enough. If you want to see Iceland and have some downtime on your travels, we suggest not taking an Iceland itinerary for 5 days.

In the case you are 5 days in Iceland in the summer, traveling around is easier due to the long days and the mild weather. However, everything will likely be a bit more expensive, so it will be hard to travel Iceland cheaply. If you drive in the winter, know that snow tires in Iceland are mandatory by law from the 1st of November on.

Taking a Road Trip in Iceland is the Best

The land of fire and ice is also the land of adventure and extraordinary experiences. No adventure has been had while staying still in only one place! In Iceland, the best way to see all the amazing things and have the best experiences is to drive yourself. Then, make sure you have the best road trip car for your Iceland trip.

Even though we suggest a long stay, having a week-long holiday is normally the way to go. 2 days are reserved for traveling in and out, which leaves only 5 days in Iceland to explore the country. Luckily, we have a couple of suggestions for an Iceland itinerary in just 5 days. Depending on which season you come to this magical paradise, you should focus on different routes to get the most out of your Iceland road trip in 5 days.

And if you still don't know how many days you'll stay in Iceland, don't miss our other itineraries:

Itinerary for Driving Around Iceland in 5 Days

If you have the time, we always suggest taking a trip around the island. For the Iceland itinerary that is for 5 days, the normal suggestion will always be to take you around the south coast. If you are adamant about driving around the country, we have a plan for you. This trip takes you on the clockwise lap around the country, and is not an Iceland itinerary in 5 days that you do with kids.

5 days in Iceland

Day 1

You either arrive in Reykjavík on this day, or you woke up in the city with an urge to explore. Make sure your car is waiting for you and gather the supplies you want to bring with you. Water, snacks, and something to eat with a little bit of substance is always a good idea. Get ready for a long day. The goal of today is to reach Akureyri.

Your first stop will be Glymur waterfall, the second-tallest waterfall in Iceland. This one requires you to get out of the car for a short hike to the waterfall, making sure you start your journey off with a nice, relaxing hike. From Reykjavík to Glymur parking, it’s going to be about an hour, and then another hour to spend at the falls.

Your next stop on the Iceland itinerary for these 5 days will be a two-and-a-half-hour drive north to the Hvitserkur rock formations. For this location, you don’t need to hike or walk around. This is the perfect place to have a quick stop, stretch your legs, and have a snack.

After that, you are going to start the 2,5-hour long journey to Akureyri. On the way, you should stop for a late lunch in one of the towns you’re driving through. A hot tip is one of the restaurants in Blönduos. When you arrive in Akureyri it should be somewhere in the late afternoon, so you can get to a late check-in and hit the town for a nice dinner.

Highlights of the day:

  • Glymur Waterfall

  • Hvitserkur Rock Formations

  • Akureyri

Day 2

Waking up today, you will have a shorter drive with more stops. To have time for today’s activities, you’ll need to leave Akureyri before 9 a.m. You can do this leg in two ways: via Husavik, or via Myvatn.

When you drive around Iceland in 5 days, it doesn’t leave much for tours and such. However, if you cut the Akureyri stroll short and hit the roads early (around 9 a.m.), you will have time to catch a 2-hour whale-watching tour in Husavik. If you’re crammed for time and still want to spot some whales, rather look at their amazing whale museum. The trip from Akureyri to Husavik is about an hour.

Iceland ring road itinerary 5 days

If you choose to go via Myvatn instead, you can take a walk in the mythical Dimmuborgir and swim in the Myvatn Nature Baths. If you rather want a slow start to this part of the Iceland itinerary you can do in 5 days, you can always stay in Akureyri. There, you can enjoy the town instead of either going whale-watching or taking a dip in the hot springs. The trip from Akureyri to Myvatn will be about an hour long.

Regardless of what you choose, your next stop will be the Dettifoss waterfall in the northernmost part of the Vatnajökull National Park. This is the largest waterfall in Iceland and one of the largest waterfalls in Europe. The trip from Myvatn or Husavik to Dettifoss will take about 1 hour and 20 minutes and you will have done the majority of the Diamond Circle.

From Dettifoss, your next stop is Egilsstadir on the east coast. This trip will be roughly 2 hours and 10 minutes, depending on the state of the road. You should arrive in Egilsstadir in the late afternoon and have just enough time to check into your hotel and find something to eat.

Highlights of the day:

  • Husavik/Myvatn

  • Dimmuborgir

  • Dettifoss Waterfall

  • Vatnajökull National Park

  • Egilsstadir

Day 3

Your Iceland Itinerary for 5 days will have less driving and more sightseeing from now on. The goal of the day is to get to Höfn. We suggest starting this day off by visiting the geothermal baths in Egilsstadir, to relax the muscles after all the driving. To have time to comfortably reach Höfn, we recommend you leave Egilsstadir no later than 12.

On your way to Höfn, it’s important to keep following Road 1. This will take your trip in and out of the fjords in the southeastern part of Iceland. Along this route, we suggest you visit Hafnarnesviti, the small, orange lighthouse in the middle of nowhere. A bit further south, in Djupivogur, you can visit the outdoors arts sculpture “Eggs in Merry Bay”. There you will see 34 huge replicas of eggs from nesting birds in the area.


At the end of this leg of the best Iceland itinerary for 5 days, you will likely arrive in Höfn in the midafternoon. The trip from Egilsstadir to Höfn is about 3 hours of driving and just over an hour extra for the stops.

Highlights of the day:

  • Geothermal Baths at Egilsstadir

  • Hafnarnesviti Lighthouse

  • “Eggs in Merry Bay” Arts Sculpture

  • Höfn

Day 4

Vatnajökull national park is the big attraction for the second last day of the leg. From Höfn, you have an hour’s drive to Jökulsarlon where you can spend the day up until lunch. Here, you can go exploring Diamond Beach and admiring the massive icebergs floating around in the water.

After that, we recommend you drive to Skaftafell, just 40 minutes southwest on Ring Road 1. You can then continue to Vik where you can check out the rock formation Reynisdrangar and the most famous black sand beach in Iceland.

Highlights of the day:

  • Jökulsarlon

  • Diamond Beach

  • Skaftafell

  • Vik

  • Reynisdrangar Black Sand Beach

Iceland itinerary 5 days winter

Day 5

The last leg of this trip is the easiest one and goes to Reykjavík via the Blue Lagoon. Along the way, you will be able to see amazing sights like Seljalandsfoss waterfall, and Skogafoss waterfall. If you have the time, we suggest you visit the Solheimasandur plane wreck right after leaving Vik.

The entire route from Vik to Reykjavík via Blue Lagoon is going to take about 3,5 hours of only driving. Account for at least two hours in the Blue Lagoon and another two hours for visiting the plane wreck.

When you arrive in Reykjavík after this trip, it should be fairly late, and you should get some well-deserved rest. If your plane leaves today, you can skip the sightseeing and Blue Lagoon to catch your plane at Keflavik early instead.

Highlights of the day:

  • Blue Lagoon

  • Reykjavík

Iceland itinerary 5 days winter

South Iceland in 5 Days

If you are in Reykjavík and not in the mood to travel around the entire island, you can always travel along the south coast and see all the amazing things there are to see there. This is the best Iceland itinerary for 5 days you can have if you are really short on time, but still want to relax and not rush through your holiday.

Day 1

We will assume that you are ready to rock and roll on the first day of the itinerary. So, we will start with the crown jewel of short road trips in Iceland: The Golden Circle. The Golden Circle is the most popular road trip route to take. It is also a must if you stay close to the capital and want to see many of the things that Icelanders are proud of.

Here you will first go to Thingvellir National Park and experience the rich, Icelandic history. This will be the perfect start to your Iceland itinerary for 5 days in southern Iceland. After that, you will pay a visit to Gullfoss waterfall and the Geysir geothermal area. You can then return to Reykjavík via Selfoss to catch sights like Kerid Crater, Fridheimar, and the Reykjadalur thermal river.

Highlights of the day:

  • Thingvellir National Park

  • Gullfoss Waterfall

  • Geysir Geothermal Area

  • Kerid Crater

  • Fridheimar

  • Reykjadalur Thermal River

  • Reykjavík

Best Iceland itinerary 5 days

Day 2

Today will be a traveling day and the goal will be to get to Jökulsarlon in Vatnajökull National Park and get on one of the many boat tours in the lagoon. After that, we suggest you enjoy Diamond Beach and start moving towards Vik for accommodation.

Highlights of the day:

Iceland self drive 5 days

Day 3

Today will be the most jam-packed day of your Iceland self-drive for 5 days. Starting in Vik, your first stop will be to drive to the western side of Reynisfjara black sand beach to Dyrholaey. From there, you can see both Reynifjara and the “endless black beach”.

The next two stops on the trip will be the plane wreck at Solheimasandur beach and Solheimajökull glacier. These will both take some time, so you won’t have time to do anything else that day. Your town for accommodation and dinner will be Selfoss.

Highlights of the day:

  • Vik

  • Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach

  • Plane Wrech at Solheimasandur Beach

  • Solheimajökull Glacier

  • Selfoss

Iceland itinerary 5 days

Day 4

The Blue Lagoon is the aim of the day. It’s roughly 1 hour and 10 minutes from Sellfoss, so you will have plenty of time to explore Eyarbakki, Ölfus, Strandkirkja, and Grindavik. In the area around the Blue Lagoon, you can explore the newly erupted volcanoes if you feel adventurous. After that, your next stop will be Reykjavík.

Highlights of the day:

  • Eyarbakki

  • Ölfus

  • Strandkirkja

  • Grindavik

  • Blue Lagoon

  • Reykjavík

Five days itinerary, Iceland

Day 5

If you are not leaving today, or leave only at night, then this is the perfect day to stroll through the city and explore it on foot as a nice and calm ending to your itinerary.

Highlights of the day:

  • Relaxed stroll through the city of Reykjavík

What to Pack for 5 Days in Iceland

We’ve gone through how to spend 5 days in Iceland, and the most important part to remember here is that it’s only five days. Packing light is the name of the game, and you should only take what you can comfortably fit in the car with you.

When it comes to the Iceland itinerary for 5 days in the winter, we strongly suggest packing some pretty warm clothes. If you go in the summer, a thin jacket and some t-shirts usually do the trick.

Hiking boots are a must for some of the stops, and you should always bring a water flask. Check out our Iceland road trip packing list for some good tips on what to bring.

Get Started!

Now you know what the best Iceland itinerary for 5 days will look like if you are out for adventure, or if you still want to avoid the stress. Your next big step will be to choose which car to rent in Iceland and start your journey!



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