top of page

5 Best Iceland Road Trips

Taking an Iceland road trip is the best way to explore the island. But there are various routes to drive and you need to take the season, what you would like to do and see, and any time constraints into consideration.

That’s why we’ve compiled this handy guide to some of the best road trip itineraries in Iceland that cater to a wide variety of visitors. Read on and see which one is the right fit for you.

Iceland road trip

The Best Road Trips in Iceland

We have compiled a detailed list of the 5 best road trip itineraries that include some of Iceland’s most popular roads and road trip routes. Below you will find the following:

1-Day Iceland Road Trip Itinerary: Taking Advantage of the Business Trip

Your 1-day itinerary will depend on where you are. If it’s a business trip you’ll most likely end up in one of the major cities; Reykjavík, Kopavogur, Hafnarfjördur, and Akureyri. These are some of the things you can consider:

  • Reykjavík. Visit Hallgrimskirkja, Perlan Museum, Harpa Concert Hall, Sun Voyager, National Museum of Iceland.

  • Kopavogur. Head to Sky Lagoon, Kopavogur Church, Natural History Museum of Kopavogur, Kopavogur Art Museum.

  • Hafnarfjördur. The Viking Village, Leidarendi Lava Cave, Aurora Basecamp, Hraunhestar Riding Tours.

  • Akureyri. Arctic Botanical Gardens, Kjarjaskogur Forest, and Laufas Turf Houses. You can also visit the Aviation Museum or get ice cream from Brynjuis.

Reykjavík, Iceland

2 Day Iceland Road Trip Itinerary: The Best Road Trip for a Quick Stopover

You might not be able to road trip all around Iceland, but you can still get to experience a lot of the island with this 2 day Iceland itinerary:

Day 1: The Capital City of Reykjavík

Take a morning walk to the waterfront and go see the interesting steel sculpture called the Sun Voyager. If you appreciate great architecture, you can also visit Hallgrimskirkja and get an eagle’s eye view of the city. You can also visit the Harpa Concert Hall. If you want to do some shopping, Laugavegur street should be your next stop.

Iceland is famous for its hot dogs, so consider having lunch at Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur (Iceland’s most famous hot dog stand). There are plenty of museums to visit in the afternoon such as the Saga Museum, Perlan Museum, and FlyOver Iceland. The latter we can really recommend since you won’t be able to explore the rest of the island.

End your day with a relaxing soak at the Sky Lagoon and also get some dinner there. If you’re close to the city center and feel like having a nightcap, you can go to the Magic Ice Bar (open ‘till 10-11 pm).

Day 2: The Golden Circle or the South Coast

It will be up to you which you choose. The Golden Circle has three main stops. You'll visit Thingvellir National Park, Geysir Geothermal Area, and Gullfoss Waterfall. The South Coast Way includes stops such as Seljalandsfoss Waterfall and Eyjafjallajökull Volcano.

Iceland road trip routes: Golden circle.

5-Day Iceland Road Trip Itinerary: The Best Road Trip for Flexibility & Add-On Stops within a Limited Time Period

This road trip is for those who have limited time on the island (a week or less), and would like to have some flexibility in their itinerary:

Day 1: The Capital City of Reykjavík

You can easily do the Day 1 itinerary we detailed in the 2-day itinerary above. Or you can switch it up by adding a dip at the Blue Lagoon on your way to the city from the airport.

Day 2: The Golden Circle

Once again, you can take a look at our description above of what you can expect from the Golden Circle route.

Day 3: The South Coast

You can also take a look at our description above of what you can expect from the South Coast Way.

Day 4: Skaftafell National Park

Skaftafell National Park now forms part of the bigger Vatnajökull National Park and is definitely a treat. It has numerous hiking trails, just remember to take daylight hours into account. You can also visit the Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, and the renowned Diamond Beach.

Day 5: Pick Your Preference

On day 5 you have a variety of options to choose from. These include:

Best road trip Iceland: snaefellnes

7-Day Iceland Road Trip Itinerary: The Best Road Trip for Animal Lovers

Since the wildlife of this itinerary is seasonal, this itinerary can only be done during the Icelandic spring and summer months. That is between May to August to be precise. These are the months that the migratory whales visit the island and the Icelandic Puffins breed on the island.

Day 1: Blue Lagoon/Sky Lagoon & Snæfellsnes Peninsula

You can choose to either stop by the Blue Lagoon on your way to Reykjavík or have a soak at Sky Lagoon in the capital city. From here you’ll travel to Snæfellsnes.

Day 2: Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Exploring the peninsula will allow you to do and see amazing things. Among them, a visit to Bjarnarfoss Waterfall, Svörtuloft Lighthouse, and the stone bridge in Arnarstapi.

You can either opt to stay at the same accommodation as the night before, or move closer to the Golden Circle to shorten the drive the next day. That will depend on the amount of exploring you want to do.

Day 3: The Golden Circle

You know the drill: you can take a look at our description above of what you can expect from the Golden Circle route.

Day 4: Heimaey Island or the Highlands

The choice is yours. Just keep in mind that if you attempt this itinerary in the shoulder months, most of the Highlands will be closed due to weather conditions. This area only reopens in mid-June. If you’re planning a mid-summer trip, you’ll need to chat with your rental agency, since the Highlands F-roads is only accessible via 4x4.

Heimaey, Iceland

If you’re visiting the island when the Highlands are closed or simply prefer to go to Meimaey Island, you’ll be treated to whale watching and Puffin tours. In case you’d rather opt for the Highlands, you should go and explore Landmannalaugar.

Day 5: The South Coast to Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon

Once again, refer to what you can expect from a South Coast Way day itinerary above.

Day 6: Skaftafell, Glaciers & Vik

Like on day 4 of our 5-Day Iceland road trip itinerary, you’ll explore and experience Vatnajokull National Park, Jokulsarlon, Diamond Beach, etc. The only difference is that you’ll be sleeping over in Vik.

Day 7: The Reykjanes Peninsula

You can either spend the day exploring the peninsula, or you can head straight back to Reykjavík and Keflavik Airport if you have an early flight.

10-Day Iceland Road Trip Itinerary: The Best Road Trip for Those Dead-set on Traveling Around the Island via the Ring Road

This is yet another itinerary that can be perceived as seasonal. Although the Ring Road is technically open all year round, you may find road conditions in the northern parts challenging. You may even face sudden road closures due to weather conditions in the colder months. This itinerary will allow you to travel around Iceland by car and see most of what Iceland has to offer visitors.

Day 1: Blue Lagoon/Sky Lagoon & Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Refer to our previous day 1.

Day 2: Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Refer to our previous day 2.

Day 3: Head to Akureyri, North Iceland

You will spend most of today on the road. So, whilst you can make a quick detour to the Hvitserkur rock formation. You can also stop at Glumbaer along the way to visit the turf houses. However, you need to ensure that you give yourself enough time to complete the drive to Akureyri without getting caught in the dark. The drive itself should take you about 5–6 hours.

Ultimate road trip Iceland: North

Day 4: Godafoss Waterfall, Husavik & Myvatn

You can start your day off by visiting Godafoss Waterfall. Thereafter, make your way to Husavik (the whale capital of Iceland) to, you guessed it, go on a whale watching tour. From there you will go to Myvatn where you’ll spend the night.

Day 5: Myvatn & the Falls

Get up early to see some of Iceland’s most popular waterfalls; Dettifoss and Selfoss. Thereafter, you can explore the impressive Myvatn area. Head to the Hverfjall crater, visit a Game of Thrones shooting location! Grjotagja Cave, Jon Snow's cave in Iceland. Or lounging around in the healing waters of the Myvatn Nature Baths.

Day 6: East Iceland

This is the longest driving day on the itinerary, so be mindful of how you spend your time. You’ll be driving all the way from North Iceland to the southern part of East Iceland. The drive itself is gorgeous, and you’ll have three detour options on route.

It’s up to you which you prefer: Studlagil Canyon, or Rjukandi Waterfall. Or maybe the Iceland Puffins at Borgarfjördur Eystri (the latter only if you’re visiting between May and August). You’ll be spending the night in Höfn.

Day 7: Skaftafell, Glaciers & Back

You should already know what the day has in store for you by reverting back to the aforementioned itineraries. The only difference here is that you’ll sleep over in Skaftafell.

Day 8: The South Coast

Refer back to the previously mentioned Iceland South Coast daily itineraries to know what to expect.

Day 9: The Golden Circle

Refer back to the previously mentioned Golden Circle daily itineraries to know what to expect.

Day 10: The Reykjanes Peninsula

Refer to our previous day 7.

 Iceland by car

The Ultimate Road Trip in Iceland is Up to You

Touring Iceland by car is the best way to explore the island, yet, we cannot isolate just one road trip route or itinerary as the best road trip in Iceland. Whether it will be the ultimate road trip for you will depend on your preferences. The time availability, the things you want to do and see, the season you want to spend on the island, and much more.

But picking one of the proposed itineraries in this guide, based on the aforementioned, is a good start. Your next step is just to book a flight and rent a car in Iceland. And although we can’t guarantee that it will be the best road trip of all time, we can certainly guarantee that it will have the best time.



bottom of page