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Eager to explore Iceland but only have a few days to do it? We’ve got you covered. Find out how best to spend 3 days on the island nation for those short on time!
Adventures don’t always have to be weeks long. Iceland is a relatively small country, and while the abundance of things to do and see could fill months of your time, some people only have a few days. This might be because of a layover in Iceland or just busy lives! Whatever the reason, you can plan a fantastic time in just a few days.
3-Day Driving Tour of Iceland
The most obvious way to make sure you can see everything you want to see is to rent a car or campervan and set off on the Icelandic roads. Road 1, Iceland’s Ring Road, makes reaching nearby and further located attractions simple. If you’ve only got a few days and want to hit some of the country’s most famed destinations, this simple itinerary could be perfect for you. If three days isn’t quite enough, take a look at our suggestions on how to spend four days in Iceland.
Day 1: The Golden Circle
The Strokkur geyser with Iceland’s Golden Circle
After landing in Iceland, you’ll likely want to hit the capital before anything else. Reykjavík is very close to Keflavik International Airport, so you can grab some food and sit down at one of the many restaurants and cafes in the small city. On a travel day, you might not want to travel too far, and this is where the Golden Circle is ideal.
With many smaller attractions in between and plenty to explore at each location, this is a great day or even half-day tour. What’s more, it’s an ideal introduction to the volcanic geography under your very feet in Iceland.
Day 2: Iceland’s South Coast
Seljalandsfoss Waterfall in Iceland
On day two, it’s time to go a little further along Iceland’s South Coast. This area is a great blend of accessibility and excitement! The southern coast is easy to reach from the capital and other nearby towns, so it is great to explore from wherever you choose to stay after your first day. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights in this area.
If you set off early enough from your starting destination, you can even tick off all these locations in time to head back to the capital!
Reynisfjara Beach: This black sand beach is a famous location in South Iceland. Black sand beaches like this are incredibly unique sights, but Reynisfjara is an unmissable spot on the southern coast due to its stunning basalt columns.
Seljalandsfoss Waterfall: If you’ve looked at pictures of Iceland for inspiration, you’ve almost definitely seen images of this curious waterfall. Seljalandsfoss Waterfall has a path that winds up to and behind the water, creating an ethereal feeling as you are separated from the landscapes outside by a curtain of water.
Skogafoss Waterfall: Another stunning waterfall should also make your list of things to see on day two of your time in Iceland. This powerful waterfall is much wider than the previous one, and you’ll need to ensure you’re dressed for the occasion - the spray that is produced by Skogafoss can be seen far before the waterfall itself. You can get right up to the falling water here - taking care in case of slippery stones underfoot.
Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon: Jökulsárlón is another memorable destination, unlike anywhere you’ve seen. Icebergs floating across the lagoon have separated from the glacier itself and glide peacefully across the water. Here, you can embark on a tour via Zodiac Boat or a glacier hike on the nearby ice giants.
Day 3: Explore Reykjavík and the Blue Lagoon
Day three can be spent exploring all that the capital has to offer. While it may not hold the adventure that the rest of this rugged island has to offer, it is still worth spending time getting to know the perks of Reykjavík. We offer city sightseeing tours for those looking to learn a little more than meets the eye.
Aerial view over Hallgrimskirkja and surrounding buildings in Reykjavík, Iceland
Here are just a few of the museums, cafes, and attractions you shouldn’t miss during your time here.
Hallgrímskirkja: This distinctive church stands at the head of one of the main shopping streets in the town. The design of the church is an ode to the hexagonal basalt columns found along the south coast and beyond, naturally formed in volcanic rock. You can go up to the top of the church for a stunning panoramic view of the city.
Laugavegur: For picking up souvenirs or some quality outdoor clothing, Laugavegur is a must-visit street in the capital. You can wander the rainbow-painted road to find cute cafes, delicious ice cream, as well as hand-crafted goods to take home to loved ones.
The Sun Voyager: Located on the city’s shoreline, the Sun Voyager is a metal sculpture of a Viking boat, representing the first settlers in Iceland.
Tjörnin Pond: While not as large as other lakes in Iceland, the Tjörnin Pond makes for a great break from the city streets in easy reach of the main shopping areas. Birds of all kinds, mainly ducks and gulls of different varieties, sit on the water all year round.
National Museum of Iceland: The National Museum of Iceland offers an insight into the Viking beginnings of Iceland and everything that has developed since then. Learn about what life was like in those early years.
Icelandic Phallological Museum: Iceland’s Penis Museum can also be found in the capital, showcasing around 300 specimens across different species.
After you explore Reykjavík, you should also make sure to head to the Blue Lagoon before your flight! The man-made lagoon lies a short distance from both the capital and Keflavik International Airport, making it the perfect relaxing stop before you head home. Soak in the mineral-rich waters and relax after a couple of busy days around Iceland. Your entry will typically include a face mask and a drink at the swim-up bar.
Choose an adventure-packed 3-day tour to tick off as many items as possible on your bucket list in a short trip! Multi-day tours are designed to get you places without you having to worry about anything!