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How to Spend 6 Days in Iceland

Ultimate Iceland 6-Day Itinerary: Map & Top Attractions

|April 10, 2024
Anton draws inspiration from ancient cultures, philosophy, nature, and travel. While he also creates music, his main passion is writing, where he crafts vivid and engaging narratives about Iceland.

Is 6 days enough to spend in Iceland? What are the best things to see and do? Find out with our ultimate 6-day Iceland Itinerary.


Is 6 Days Enough to See Iceland?

Iceland’s land mass covers over 100,000 sq km (40,000 sq mi) of land dotted with glaciers, lava fields, mountains, volcanoes, and beaches. With so much to uncover, it might be a challenge to fit everything into less than a week’s time. But not to worry! We’ve got you covered with our 6-day itinerary to ensure you have an inspiring and memorable trip to Iceland.

Couple's POV over Icelandic nature from camper van

Do I Need to Rent a Car for This 6-Day Itinerary?

Renting a car is a popular option for those visiting Iceland, and understandably so! Driving in Iceland comes with a sense of adventure, freedom, and, most importantly, your own flexibility. If you like being behind the wheel and exploring at your own pace but still wish to fit a good amount of sightseeing into your 6 days in Iceland, this itinerary is for you! 

If you’re staying longer and want to explore Iceland deeper while staying close to the main road, follow our Iceland’s Ring Road itinerary for the ultimate Icelandic road trip experience. 

But nothing can beat a guided tour if you really want to package as many unforgettable experiences as possible and get broader exposure to Iceland within 6 days! With this 6-day tour around Iceland, you will get the best value, with activities and accommodation included. Our expert guides know their way around Iceland and are very involved in your experience. That’s how you can explore the highlights, learn insights on the way, and discover more than just the tip of the iceberg. 

6-Day Itinerary: Summer vs. Winter

Icelandic weather is famously dramatic, and so is the difference between summer and winter in Iceland. The two seasons offer totally different experiences. Both are magical times to visit, but it’s good to know about the advantages of each and things to look out for.

Two hikers in snow-capped Landmannalaugar view from behind

Summer is pleasant, with mild temperatures averaging around 10-13°C (50-55°F). The days are long, with more than 20 hours of sunlight during the weeks around the midnight sun. It’s a perfect opportunity to explore Iceland’s dramatic landscapes in comfortable weather. There is never a shortage of summer activities in Iceland, whether it’s hiking in Landmannalaugar or watching the adorable puffins returning to their homes as it gets warmer.

Winter transforms Iceland into a wonderland with icy landscapes and temperatures hovering around freezing. The scenery is beautifully adorned with snow and ice, creating a unique atmosphere unlike anywhere else. And while daylight shrinks to only a few hours, the bright side is the opportunity to witness the breathtaking Northern Lights. It’s also a prime time to explore the magical Crystal Blue Ice Cave. And if you’re after a complete Icelandic winter experience, going inside a glacier with the Into the Glacier tour is a must! 

Weather conditions become harsh in winter, making it difficult to travel on your own, so it’s recommended to go for a guided tour. It’s headed up by an expert driver guide who will ensure safety during your expedition, unveiling the wonders of Icelandic winter on the way. 

Detailed Itinerary for 6 Days in Iceland

This itinerary is designed to give you the best of Iceland, with the most popular landmarks, iconic sights, and hidden gems. Whether you’ll hand-pick some of our suggestions to fit in a shorter trip or go full circle for the complete experience, this guide will come in handy for your Icelandic adventure!

See our detailed itinerary below, covering the daily highlights of your 6-day journey in Iceland.

 

Day 1: Reykjavik & Golden Circle

Beautiful dawn in Reykjavik with lights

Explore Reykjavik

Kick off your Icelandic adventure by exploring the heartbeat of Iceland, Reykjavik. Start your day with an ascent to Hallgrimskirkja Church for panoramic city views, or stroll by the waterfront to admire the Sun Voyager sculpture before exploring the charming streets of the old town. Pressed for time but still want the best exposure to the city? Simply join the Reykjavik Walking Tour and discover the capital’s vibrant and colorful atmosphere, taking home precious memories.

Golden Circle Route

Within easy reach of Reykjavik is the famous Golden Circle, a tourist route that includes three of the most popular natural wonders of Iceland. Thingvellir National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site where tectonic plates split between two continents. Gullfoss is a stunning waterfall thundering into a deep canyon. Geysir Hot Springs is the home of the original geyser that lends its name to all the others worldwide. This exciting loop route offers a glimpse into Iceland's unique geological forces and rich cultural heritage.

Day 2: South Iceland

Why not visit the magical South Coast and discover its gems on the second day of your Iceland itinerary?

Skogafoss waterfall in early sunset

Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss Waterfalls

If you go south from Reykjavik, you will find the most famous waterfalls of South Iceland, Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss, along the way. 

Seljalandsfoss is a powerful waterfall that you can actually go behind for a beautiful 360° view! It is also situated on the same road that takes you to the epic Valley of Thor

Skógafoss waterfall is elegant and mysterious, dropping into the tranquil Skógá River below. Fancy a scenic hike between two glaciers? There is a pathway near the waterfall leading you directly to the Fimmvorduhals Trail.

Massive under massive Reynisdrangar basalt columns

Reynisfjara Black Sands Beach

Further down the South Coast stretches the incredible Reynisfjara Beach, a must-see for any Icelandic visitor. It is easily one of the best-known black sand beaches in the world. It’s often spotlighted around the world when it comes to non-tropical beaches, and you’ll see why! 

Its fantastic landscape with jet-black volcanic sand, forceful waves, and Reynisdrangar basalt columns is truly unique. Reynisfjara’s otherworldly setting has made it a popular shooting location for films, including Star Wars and Game of Thrones.

Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon on sunny day

Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon

Your South Coast experience is only complete with visiting the Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon and its ethereal glacial world that will blow you away. The lagoon has been formed by meltwater from an outlet glacier of Vatnajökull, Europe’s largest glacier covering 8% of Iceland. 

The lagoon is so spectacular and picture-perfect that it has been featured in such prominent films as James Bond and Tomb Raider. You just can’t keep southern Iceland from starring in movies! For the most immersive experience, combine glacier hiking and Jokulsarlon kayaking, and don’t forget to stroll along the local Diamond Beach. It looks as it sounds, and it’s constantly evolving.

Adventure Hotels

After a long day of exploration, consider a stay at a local hotel! Depending on how far you make it into Iceland’s South, the hearty Hotel Hof and the welcoming Hotel Geirland are great options, offering convenient locations, comfortable rooms, and delicious meals made with locally sourced ingredients. 

Day 3: Eastfjords

Further along the coastline are Iceland’s Eastfjords, a hidden gem tucked away in the eastern part of the island. This region is famous for its signature landscapes. Here, deep fjords cut into steep mountainsides, and cozy, colorful fishing villages are scattered along the coast. It’s a remote area that reflects Iceland’s traditional way of life and is sometimes overlooked due to its seclusion.

Sunny Icelandic landscape with roaming horses

Djúpivogur Village

Djúpivogur is one of the charming villages to visit and appreciate the slow-paced, traditional lifestyle. There, you can really experience the authentic side of Iceland, away from the crowds. The symbol of the town is Eggin í Gleðivík, or “The Eggs of Merry Bay,” the famous local artwork. Its 34 egg-shaped granite sculptures represent the 34 bird species nesting in the area.

Nature and Wildlife

Travelers from all over the world come to Eastfjords for its unadulterated nature. Wildlife enthusiasts come to Eastfjords to see wild reindeer as it’s the only place in Iceland where they can be found. Hikers can explore a network of trails and discover waterfalls, lava caves, and the largest forest in Iceland, Hallormsstaður. Up for a delicious bite off the road? The Wilderness Center is a community hub where you can learn about the area's wildlife. Plus, they offer cozy accommodations – perfect if you're planning a local overnight stay!

Geothermal Baths in Egilstaðir

What can be better than rounding up your day trip to Eastfjords with a relaxing soak in geothermal Vök Baths? The swim comes with a view of the picturesque Urriðavatn lake. The baths are not far from Egilstaðir, the largest town in the region. Finish your day by strolling around the town before a good night’s sleep at a local hotel, recharging your batteries, and getting ready for more adventures the next day! 

Day 4: Iceland’s North East

On the fourth day of your 6-day journey, you can venture into Iceland’s North East and discover the raw beauty of this rugged volcanic region.

Studladil Canyon with basalt columns and blue water

Canyons and Waterfalls

The forces of nature are at full force in North East Iceland, showing off their incredible power and beauty. One of them is the breathtaking Stuðlagil, the basalt rock canyon unlike any other. You can start your day early and beat the crowds to enjoy the powerful sights of the canyon’s corridor filled with turquoise water, and it’s totally worth it.

Further up north lies another natural wonder and the deepest canyon of Iceland, Jökulsárgljúfur. The canyon’s vast area hosts many natural attractions worth exploring. One of them is the pearl of North Iceland and the most powerful waterfall in Europe, Dettifoss, discharging incredible amounts of glacial river water. The waterfall is so epic that it’s featured in the film Prometheus.

Namaskard geothermal area crater

Geothermal Area and Lake Myvatn

Next on the road is the otherworldly Namaskard Pass, where Icelandic geothermal forces are at work. Nested between Námafjall and Dalfjall mountains, Namaskard is a surreal realm of bubbling mud pots and fuming fumaroles that feels like another planet. 

After exploring the colorful geothermal terrains, it’s time to stop by the volcanic Lake Mývatn for fantastic views and more geothermal activity that penetrates the area! As you can grasp, this beautiful part of Iceland has inherited geothermal forces from local volcanic activity throughout the centuries. You can then soak in the Earth-heated Myvatn Nature Baths nearby - a perfect wrap-up for the day.

Waterfall of the Gods

Alternatively, round up your day with more fantastic discoveries instead of the lake dip. The mystical Goðafoss Waterfall is only a short drive away, and witnessing it is truly rewarding. Nicknamed the “Waterfall of the Gods,” it’s as beautiful and epic as it sounds, with fascinating folklore and myths attached to this unforgettable Icelandic destination. 

Day 5: North Iceland

Beautiful Akureyri with lights during late twilight

The Capital of North Iceland

In the very north of the island lies Akureyri, referred to as the “Capital of North Iceland.” Despite its modest population of around 18,000, it’s a charming town as well as a major port and a local fishing center. The town boasts a rich culture with museums, art centers, and even the world's northernmost botanical garden!

Eyjafjörður Fjord

Akureyri is nestled at the head of Eyjafjörður Fjord, the longest fjord in northern Iceland. It stretches for about 60 kilometers (37 miles), surrounded by majestic, snow-capped mountains. Eyjafjörður Fjord is a local center for agriculture, fishery, and tourism, inviting travelers to explore local nature, wildlife, and breathtaking scenery. Be one of them and drive the breathtaking coastline, making stops along the way to enjoy the surroundings or a picnic with a view!

Whale Watching in Dalvik

You can set sail for exciting whale encounters from Dalvik. It’s a charming fishing village along Eyjafjörður, about an hour’s drive north from Akureyri. This colorful village offers spectacular views of Hrísey, a little island in the middle of the fjord (after all, Eyjafjörður means “The Island Fjord”). 

Going whale watching from Dalvik means you’re getting a higher chance of spotting some whales. The calm waters and plentiful food sources of Eyjafjörður make it a perfect home for these gentle giants. There are multiple species of whales in the North Icelandic waters, including the humpback whale, minke whale, and even the blue whale - the largest animal on Earth. So park your car and board a ship! Changing the scenery to watch whales in their natural habitat is a joyful experience that will leave you with a long-lasting impression. 

The Troll’s Peninsula

When you set foot back on land, you can call it a day or spend the remaining hours seeing more of Tröllaskagi, or “The Troll’s Peninsula.” Its highlights include another charming fishing town, Siglufjörður, significant for its herring fishing history. If you want to prolong your day and enjoy the quieter escape, have a tranquil drive along Iceland’s North Coast. Keep an eye out for an overnight stay to pick up on new adventures the next morning!

Day 6: West Iceland

On the last (but not least!) day of your 6-day road trip, discover one of the top regions of the island, West Iceland. It has a little bit of everything Iceland has to offer, from glaciers and volcanoes to waterfalls and fjords. It’s a perfect trip to take away the best of Iceland on your last day, so let’s start it!

Two people at distance on backdrop of Icelandic lake & mountains

Borgarfjörður Fjord Area

Start your day with a short hike at Grábrók, a spectacular volcano crater sitting in the heart of western Iceland. Stretch your legs before going on the road, admiring the contrasting sights of the surrounding volcanic landscapes. Continue down the Ring Road, Iceland’s main highway, and deeper into the Borgarfjörður area, known for its beautiful landmarks.

Most Powerful Hot Spring

Keep things interesting and navigate for Deildartunguhver, the most powerful hot spring in Iceland and the whole of Europe. Witness its forceful geothermal activity and learn how it’s utilized for growing vegetables and fruits. Have a break and visit the relaxing Krauma geothermal baths, recharging your batteries before your next adventure! 

Rugged steaming geothermal hot spring

Barnafoss and Hraunfossar Waterfalls

Next on the agenda is more waterfalls to behold! The legendary Barnafoss (“The Children’s Waterfall”) is West Iceland’s hidden gem surrounded by folklore. Its name comes from the old legend about the two boys who lived nearby and fell into the rapid streams of the falls.

Check in at the neighboring Hraunfossar Waterfall for the most amazing views you will ever witness. Its waters originate from Langjokull, Iceland’s second-largest glacier. The waterfall’s countless streams crawl from underneath the enchanting Hallmundarhraun lava field and cascade down the 900-meter (3000-foot) cliff. It’s a hypnotizing sight, showcasing the harmony between different elements of nature.
Historic Reykholt and the Whale Fjord 

Add a cultural aspect to your final day’s trip and visit the picturesque historical site of Reykholt. It is home to a prominent Icelandic historian, social figure, and poet, Snorri Sturluson, who authored some of the Icelandic Sagas. 

Gradually heading back to Reykjavik, drive around the breathtaking Hvalfjordur, or “The Whale Fjord.” Rounding up your unforgettable journey, drive by the second-highest waterfall in Iceland, Glymur. Behold its 198-meter (650-foot) drop, taking in the powerful atmosphere that surrounds the cascade. You can also go for a scenic hike there, enjoying the vast expanses from the top or exploring some trails as you descend.

Rounding Up

And so ends our Icelandic road trip. Can’t let go of Iceland so easily? If time allows, trade the last day of your 6-day itinerary for a 2-day tour to capture more of West Iceland’s iconic destinations. You can also customize your own experience by hand-picking landmarks and juggling destinations with our alternative Icelandic itineraries below. Read on and see what best fits your visit to Iceland.

More Iceland 6-Day Itineraries

Iceland offers too many diverse experiences to only have a one-fits-all itinerary. Iceland’s Westfjords and Highlands alone are remote regions with plenty to explore! That’s why we’ve put together additional itineraries for you that include these iconic destinations and some of the island's best sights. Read on for more Icelandic highlights that you can build your trip around.

Itinerary 1: Reykjavík, Snæfellsnes Peninsula, and the Westfjords

Humpback whale breaching in the waters of Iceland

See some of Iceland’s best highlights with this itinerary, focusing on the western half of Iceland. Starting in Reykjavík, you can enjoy many of the best attractions in the area, including:

  • Downtown Reykjavík- experience the nightlife, enjoy the local culture by visiting museums and galleries, and sample fresh and dynamic cuisine.

  • Whale watching in Faxaflói Bay - depart from Reykjavík and join a boat tour to see humpback and minke whales, dolphins, and porpoises.

  • The Blue Lagoon - soak in mineral-rich waters, enjoy spa treatments, and relax amongst the otherworldly surroundings.

  • Reykjadalur Valley - hike this steaming river valley and soak in natural hot springs to reward your exertions.

Gerðuberg basalt cliffs in Iceland in the snow

After a day or two soaking up the best of the capital and surrounding area, move on to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. This famous region of Iceland is known for its outstanding beauty and varied geographical features. Some of the best sights to see here include:

  • Gerðuberg Cliffs - glimpse these unusual basalt cliffs that form hexagonal columns along the horizon. 
  • Ytri Tunga Beach - enjoy the peaceful scenery and watch seals as they nap in the sun.
  • Rauðfeldsgjá Gorge - this narrow and deep ravine offers dramatic views and makes for a memorable hike.
  • Snæfellsjökull National Park - take in beautiful landscapes, coastlines, and amazing cliff formations in one of Iceland’s three stunning national parks.
  • Kirkjufell Mountain - enjoy one of Iceland’s most famous landmarks, explore the nearby waterfall, and appreciate the area’s serene beauty.
Dynjandi Waterfall in the Westfjords, Iceland

Finally, head into the Westfjords to experience some of the most remote areas of Iceland. This large peninsula, cut by fjords and full of wondrous scenery, is the least populated area in Iceland and is a definite must-see. Some of the highlights of the Westfjords include:

  • Isafjordur - enjoy the largest town in the Westfjords and its many amenities.
  • Latrabjarg Cliffs - these remote cliffs are famous for thriving birdlife, including puffins, which nest at the site each year.
  • Dynjandi Waterfall - this powerful series of tiered waterfalls is a sight to behold, measuring 100 m (330 ft).
  • Hornstrandir Nature Reserve - ideal for hikers and those who wish to appreciate Iceland’s wildlife, including the elusive Arctic fox!
  • Rauðasandur Beach - a sweeping and remote red sand beach, home to seals and many varieties of birds.

Itinerary 2: The South Coast, Eastfjords, and Highlands

Reynisfjara black sand beach in South Iceland on a cloudy day

Another option for making use of six incredible days in Iceland is to take in the wonder of the popular South Coast, the Eastfjords, and the Highlands. This itinerary brings you a perfect mixture of some of Iceland’s most popular attractions, remote wilderness, and untouched landscapes. 

First, experience why everyone is so crazy about Iceland’s South Coast. See some of the country’s most idyllic spots and make memories that will last a lifetime. There is much to see in this region, but some of the highlights you won’t want to skip include:

Move along from the South Coast towards the captivating Eastfjords. This low-populated region of Iceland is sliced through with icy fjords and outstanding views. It’s known for charming fishing villages, stunning geographical features like waterfalls, imposing mountains, and a rich history. Some of the top sights to enjoy in the Eastfjords include:

  • Valtýshellir Cave
  • Fáskrúðsfjörður fishing village
  • Rjúkandi Waterfall
  • Páskahellir Cave
  • East Iceland Heritage Museum
House overlooking a body of water in the Eastfjords of Iceland

On your way back towards Reykjavík, spend a couple of days experiencing Iceland’s Highlands at the very heart of the island. Only accessible during the summer months due to roads that are easily affected by extreme weather, this is a paradise for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. Some must-see spots in the Highlands include:

If you’re still undecided on the best way to spend six days in Iceland, our variety of six-day guided tours could be the answer!

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