Need an Iceland itinerary?
Look no further.
Hot pots, lagoons, mountains, waterfalls, black sand beaches, glaciers, horses- this Iceland itinerary has them all.
My husband, Harrison, and I recently spent 9 days in Iceland driving around the Ring Road.
I planned meticulously for months ahead of time, and came up with a Google map and the ultimate Iceland itinerary that we followed each day!
We followed it step by step and our trip was honestly amazing.
After our nine days were up, we felt like we had really gotten to experience Iceland in all its beauty- it was incredible!
So here you go- a nine day Iceland itinerary around the Ring Road. You’ll go all around the circle on Highway 1, catching all of the most beautiful sights along the way!
I hope this helps you plan your trip whether you’re in Iceland for a week or a month! Modify it to suit exactly what you want to get out of your trip!
Map of Places
Scroll through my Iceland itinerary below to see the most stunning views and hidden gems in this beautiful country that I captured on camera!
Iceland Itinerary Day 1
Total driving time: 1 hour
- Klafavik Int’l Airport– Land in the morning. Pick up your portable WiFi at Dunkin Donuts (we got ours through TraWire) and get your rental car by the airport (we used 4×4 Icerentals through Guide to Iceland).
- Blue Lagoon– **Advanced reservation required** Enjoy the Blue Lagoon right after the airport since it’s right next to it! It’s also a great way to decompress.
- Lava Restaurant– Splurge a little and have lunch at the Lava Restaurant at the Blue Lagoon.
- Hotel– Check into your hotel in Reykjavik. We stayed at the CenterHotel Plaza and loved it. I highly recommend upgrading your room to the top floor! It’s not too much extra (I think it’s around $30 USD) and the view is worth it!
- Reykjavik– Explore the city! Be sure to check out Hallgrímskirkja, the famous Icelandic church.
- Dinner– Grab some dinner in Reykjavik. The options are endless, so I’ll let you choose whichever one sounds best!
Iceland Itinerary Day 2
Total driving time: 3 hours, 19 minutes
Location: Driving around the Golden Circle, from Reykjavik making a circle to end up in the Selfoss area.
- Hotel– Enjoy breakfast at your hotel. The CenterPlaza Hotel has a fantastic breakfast! (Time to next destination: 48 minutes)
- Þingvellir National Park– This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, known for the Alþing, the oldest parliament in the world. On the site are the Þingvellir Church and the ruins of old stone shelters. The park is also famously between two tectonic plates (North America and Eurasia)! (Time to next destination: 1 hour)
- Haukadalur Hot Springs– There is an active geysir, Strokkur, which goes 30 meters (98 ft) high every five to ten minutes. (Time to next destination: 10 minutes)
- Gulfoss (and lunch)– This is the famous “V” shaped waterfall in Iceland. While you’re there, grab some lunch at the cafe- it has great soups, sandwiches, salads, and cakes. (Time to next destination: 15 minutes)
- Brúarhlöð– Brúarhlöð is a narrow gorge in the Hvitá River about three kilometers south of the Gullfoss. When we went, no one was there, except for a group rafting on the river! (Time to next destination: 17 minutes)
- Secret Lagoon Hot Spring– **Reservation recommended but not required** This lagoon is much smaller than the Blue Lagoon but is just as fun. It’s only 3300 ISK per person with a towel. There are full changing rooms and showers here. (Time to next destination: 4 minutes)
- Hrunalaug– A tiny hot pot, there might be a line to get in! It’s located in Hruni, tucked away over a hill, so secluded that you can’t see it from the parking lot. It’s on private land but the owners don’t charge a fee! There’s a tiny changing room as well. (Time to next destination: 2 minutes)
- Minilik Ethiopian Restaurant– This place has great reviews! If you’re up for a new cuisine while in a new country, try it out! Note that it is closed on Sundays. (Time to next destination: 31 minutes)
- Kerid– This is a famous crater lake with gorgeous turquoise waters. There is a small entrance fee of 400 ISK to preserve and protect the crater. (Time to next destination: 15 minutes)
- Akurgerdi Guesthouse– This guesthouse is basically a perfectly decorated tiny home set on a horse farm! You have your own private hot tub and a kitchen!
Iceland Itinerary Day 3
Total driving time: 3 hours, 57 minutes
Location: starting in Selfoss, ending in Kirkjubæjarklaustur.
- Hotel– If you stay at the Akurgerdi Guesthouse, start the morning with a dip in the hot tub, or by playing with the horses! (Time to next destination: 10 minutes)
- Breakfast in Selfoss– We enjoyed breakfast at Kaffe Kruz in Selfoss. They’ve got great prices for Iceland. (Time to next destination: 1 hour)
- Seljalandsfoss– A path leads you behind the waterfall. Wear a waterproof jacket as you will get soaking wet from the drizzle! We brought a camera jacket for our DSLR as well! (Time to next destination: 22 minutes)
- Seljavallalaug– No entry fee to this pool. Turn of the Ring Road onto Road 242. You drive until you reach the parking lot (there are two, park at the further one since it is closer!) then walk for 15-20 minutes towards the bottom of the valley. You can’t see it until you get to it! Note that you’ll have to cross a tiny creek. Seljavallalaug is pretty but feel free to skip it. The changing rooms were littered with trash and the water had quite a bit of algae in it (and wasn’t very warm!). But it’s definitely a unique experience! (Time to next destination: 13 minutes + a hike)
- Skógafoss Waterfall– Skógafoss is 60 m high and 25 meters wide, and you can walk right up to it. Again, there is a drizzle, so protect your camera. There’s a really long staircase that leads up to the top of the hill above the falls. (Time to next destination: 12 minutes + 4km hike)
- Sólheimasandur plane crash– This famous plane crash is set on a black beach. We didn’t go because it was pouring rain, but I’ve heard it’s worth the 4km hike! (Time to next destination: 19 minutes)
- Reynisfjara Beach– A famous black sand beach with beautiful basalt columns. Have a late lunch/early dinner in Vik nearby! (Time to next destination: 1 hour, 2 minutes)
- Eldhraun– A tiny hot pot, there might be a line to get in! It’s located in Hruni, tucked away over a hill, so secluded that you can’t see it from the parking lot. It’s on private land but the owners don’t charge a fee! There’s a tiny changing room as well. (Time to next destination: 2 minutes)
- Hotel in Kirkju-bæjarklaustur– We stayed in Hotel Geirland. It wasn’t anything special, but honestly there aren’t many options out here!
Iceland Itinerary Day 4
Total driving time: 4 hours
Location: starting in Kirkjubæjarklaustur, ending in Höfn
- Hotel– Enjoy breakfast at your hotel (Hotel Geirland, where we stayed, has a decent breakfast) (Time to next destination: 17 minutes)
- Fjaðrárgljúfur– Fjaðrárgljúfur is a canyon with the Fjaðrá river running through it. Stairs/ramps take you to a gorgeous view of the canyon. (Time to next destination: 25 minutes)
- Fagrifoss– You can only get to Fagrifoss by crossing a river by car! So only attempt to reach this if you’re in a sturdy 4X4 that’s good for offroading. We actually turned back once we saw the river, so maybe we’ll see Fagrifoss on our next trip! (Time to next destination: 1 hour, 26 minutes)
- Svínafellsjökull– Turn left on to Route 998, which will take you on a very bumpy ride to the car park. The glaciers here are absolutely beautiful! (Time to next destination: 51 minutes)
- Diamond Beach– This beach is called Diamond Beach because of the glacier ice that washes up on the black sand beach. (Time to next destination: 2 minutes)
- Jökulsárlón– This lake is filled with stunning blue glaciers and is right across the Ring Road from Diamond Beach. (Time to next destination: 1 hour)
- Dinner– We loved the lobster pizza at Z Bistro. They also have delicious desserts! (Time to next destination: 5 minutes)
- Hotel Höfn– This was one of my favorite hotels. They offer complimentary bike rentals, so definitely bike down to the water- it’s beautiful at sunset!
Need ideas for where to stay along the Ring Road? Check out this post for detailed information on the best spots!
Iceland Itinerary Day 5
Total driving time: 3 hours
Location: Höfn to Eskifjörður or Egilsstaðir, driving inland. You can also drive along the coast, but we wanted to see what we’d find inland. Note that you might need a 4X4 vehicle if you’re wanting to leave the Ring Road.
- Hotel Höfn– The breakfast at Hotel Höfn is beyond delicious. Definitely one of the best breakfast spreads we had! (Time to next destination: 2 hours, 35 minutes)
- Waterfalls galore– As you drive inland, you’ll be on a smaller road that is paved at some parts and gravel at others. Be prepared to see SO many waterfalls along the drive.
- Lagarfljót– Lagarfljót is a lake near Egilsstaðir. There are legends of a lake monster in the lake! (Time to next destination: 6 minutes)
- Vallanes Restaurant– You’ve got to try this restaurant if you take the route that leads to the lake. It’s in Egilsstaðir and serves all organic food made from their and their neighbors’ crops! (Time to next destination: 5 or 52 minutes, it depends on where you’re staying)
- Hotel– We stayed at an AirBNB in Eskifjörður, but anywhere in East Iceland will be a good place to stop. If you stay in Egilsstaðir, your drive will be shorter on this day and the next.
Iceland Itinerary Day 6
Travel time: 4 hours, 23 minutes
Location: Eskifjörður or Egilsstaðir to Laugar
- Hotel– We started off at our AirBNB in Eskifjörður. If you’re starting in Egilsstaðir, the drive is a little over 2 hours to Dettifoss. (Time to next destination: 2 hours, 45 minutes)
- Dettifoss– This waterfall in Vatnajökull National Park is the most powerful waterfall in Europe! (Time to next destination: 1 hour)
- Namaskardh– A sulfuric martian-like landscape that smells like it sounds- like sulfur. There are hot sulfuric mud springs and steam springs. (Time to next destination: 3 minutes)
- Mývatn Nature Baths– This is the Blue Lagoon of the north. It’s far less crowded and much cheaper. It is also smaller, but still beautiful. They don’t do advanced reservations! (Time to next destination: 35 minutes)
- Guesthouse Storu-Laugar– This guesthouse has a great hot tub, but there isn’t much to do in the area. If you want to order dinner, you need to let them know by 5PM.
Did you know that Dettifoss in Iceland is the most powerful waterfall in all of Europe?
Iceland Itinerary Day 7
Driving time: 3 hours, 25 minutes
Location: Laugar to
- Hotel– Enjoy breakfast at the hotel. Depart by 8:30 to leave enough time for whale watching reservation! (Time to next destination: 13 minutes)
- Goðafoss Waterfall– Goðafoss Waterfall is considered a part of the Diamond Circle sightseeing route. You can actually go down to the water where the falls reach it. (Time to next destination: 44 minutes)
- Akureyri– The colorful “capital” of northern Iceland. Walk around the main shopping street, Hafnarstræti. (Time to next destination: 34 minutes)
- Whale watching in Dalvik– Make sure you make a reservation for your whale watching tour. We did ours through Extreme Iceland. The tour is about 2.5-3 hours long. You are supposed to arrive 20 minutes ahead of time! (Time to next destination: 35 minutes)
- Siglufjörður– Siglufjörður is a gorgeous northern coastal town, and a great place to grab some dinner. (Time to next destination: 1 hour, 19 minutes)
- AirBNB in Sauðárkrókur– We stayed at an AirBNB that allowed us to go horseback riding the next morning! They had the best riding rates that I was able to find.
Whale watching in Iceland is a must! Like I mentioned above, we booked our reservation through Extreme Iceland. Scroll up to my day 7 itinerary to learn more about it.
Iceland Itinerary Day 8
Driving time: 5 hours, 18 minutes
Location: Sauðárkrókur to Stykkisholmur
- Horseback riding in Sauðárkrókur– We started off the day getting a trail ride at the AirBNB. (Time to next destination: 8 minutes)
- Breakfast in Sauðárkrókur– We drove into town to grab some breakfast at the local bakery, Sauðárkróksbakarí (Time to next destination: 19 minutes)
- Grettirs Pool– There are two hot pots at Grettirs Pool, and they are both clean and beautiful. It is about 1000-1500ISK per person. There is a small but clean changing room. (Time to next destination: 1 hour, 45 minutes)
- Hvitserkur– This rock formation is known as “the troll of NorthWest Iceland.” There is a steep hike down a cliff if you want to get right up to the water where Hvitserkur is. (Time to next destination: 2 hours, 55 minutes)
- Dinner in Stykkishólmur– There are some excellent dining spots in this little fishing town: Sjávarpakkhúsið and Narfeyrarstofa were the two that caught my eye. The first was closed, so we ate at the latter and it was delicious! (Time to next destination: 13 minutes)
- Hotel Stundarfridur– This is a pretty new hotel that doesn’t have many rooms, but the ones they do have are large and beautiful!
Horseback riding is an excellent way to experience the beautiful scenery of Iceland!
Iceland Itinerary Day 9
Total driving time: 3 hours, 48 minutes
Location: Stykkishólmur to Reykjavik
- Hotel Stundarfridur-Breakfast at the hotel is included. (Time to next destination: 29 minutes)
- Kirkjufell/ Kirkjufellsfoss-The falls are right on the road. There’s a parking area and path that takes you all the way around the falls. (Time to next destination: 46 minutes)
- Arnarstapi-This beautiful town has extraordinary basalt columns and cliff formations, as well as an epic rock stack. (Time to next destination: 2 hours, 30 minutes)
- Hotel in Reykjavik-We stayed at the Eyja Guldsmeden and it was a perfect last night in Iceland. The hotel is gorgeous and incredibly eco-friendly! (Time to next destination: 15 minute walk)
- Old Iceland Restaurant-**Reservation recommended** Have the best dinner you’ll ever have at this restaurant! Be sure to try the salmon appetizer!
Iceland Itinerary Day 10
If you’re staying at the Eyda Guldsmeden, the breakfast there is a must, even though it costs extra.
After that, return the rental car, your portable Wi-Fi hotspot, and head to the airport!
I hope your trip is absolutely amazing and I really hope this Iceland itinerary helps!
For more Iceland posts and more details about our Iceland itinerary, check out this one on where to stay around the Ring Road!
The Mysterious Stone Structures of Iceland
When you drive through Iceland, one of the first things you’ll notice is the strange piles of stones placed sporadically throughout the countryside.
These stone piles range in type and size from a pile of a few rocks to huge structures that provide shelter.
These rock piles (known as cairns) were actually ancient guides set up by travelers to help each other traverse the sometimes treacherous country of Iceland.
Travelers used them as guides or markers to help them know where they were and how far they needed to go to their destination.
Some of the cairns are big enough to provide shelter during a storm or otherwise.
These old-fashioned guide posts represent the history of Iceland, and it is actually illegal to disturb them or make new ones.
So please don’t touch them!
The Best Hot Springs in Iceland
Although I included them all in the itinerary above, I know some people prefer to see the best hot springs in Iceland in list format.
So here’s my ranking of the Icelandic hot springs, nature baths, and hot pots I visited from my favorite to least favorite (also shown in the photos below from left to right).
- Blue Lagoon
- Mývatn Nature Baths
- Secret Lagoon Hot Spring
- Grettirs Pool
Be sure to scroll back through my itinerary above if you’re looking for more information about a particular hot spring.
Where to Eat in Iceland
Again, although I included where we ate in the itinerary above, I know some people prefer to see food options in list format.
So here are my some of my favorite places we ate in Iceland!
- Old Iceland
- breakfast at hotel Eyda Guldsmeden
- Lava Restaurant (at the Blue Lagoon)
- Hotel Höfn
- Kaffe Kruz in Selfoss
- Z Bistro
- Vallanes Restaurant
The Most Amazing Waterfalls in Iceland
Lastly, though I have mentioned these waterfalls throughout my itinerary above, I wanted to provide a consolidated list of Icelandic waterfalls to visit for those interested.
If you found this post helpful, please pin it to your Iceland Pinterest board! You can click on the red Pinterest button to save an image or use either of these!