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There is no wrong way to spend your time in Iceland, but if you’re struggling to find a starting point, here are some tips for how to plan your eight days.
Iceland is an incredible destination for countless reasons. No matter your interests, budget, and wishes for your vacation, the small island has tons to offer. With so much to get up to, inside and outside, on and off the beaten track, you can plan a holiday that is just the right level of adventure for you and your family. But how should you spend eight days in Iceland? We’re here to help.
If you’re in the early stages of planning your trip, you might still be unsure about how long to spend in Iceland. We understand that you want to be sure you have enough time to cross off everything you have on your Icelandic bucket list, but not so much time that you find yourself lacking in things to do.
Rest assured that there is enough to keep you and your family occupied for weeks in Iceland, so there’s no correct amount of time to choose. Eight days ensures you have a solid week to enjoy a range of activities while allowing for some downtime to rest tired legs in the evenings.
8 Days in Winter or Summer?
The question of the absolute best time to visit Iceland is a difficult one to answer. While wildlife flourishes and the midnight sun reigns over the summer months, dramatic snowy landscapes and dark skies painted with the Northern Lights await you during winter. Your eight-day itinerary could differ dramatically depending on when you visit Iceland, so it might be more important that you stop to consider the time of year.
Laugavegur trail, Iceland
8 Days in Summer in Iceland
Temperatures are warmer (for Iceland), daylight hours are almost unbelievably long, and opportunities for wildlife watching are rife.
The Ring Road
If you choose to visit in summer, eight days is the perfect amount of time to spend visiting the top natural attractions on Iceland’s Ring Road. This is one of, if not the, most iconic road trips you could embark on around Iceland. It will take you around the southern fringes of the island to the most photographed attractions, including Seljalandsfoss Waterfall and Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach, before winding through the further-afield Eastfjords. This is also a great route for exploring North Iceland.
If you’re not keen on road trips, the summer is also the perfect time for hiking in Iceland’s Highlands! Winter makes roads in the island’s wilder center treacherous, so if you’re keen to set eyes on the colorful Landmannalaugar Mountains then the warmer months are your best bet. Browse our hiking tours for guided tour options and for the chance to embark on the Laugavegur trail.
Puffin & Whale Watching
Arctic puffins in Iceland are a real treat to observe. These curious little creatures are easy to spot in late spring and into summer in Southwest Iceland. Around Reykjavík’s harbor area and the Westman Islands are some of the best places to observe the birds as they nest in cliffs or swoop across the water. Moreover, our whale-watching toursare in full swing from the capital city, incredibly popular with families and individuals alike. Watching dolphins playing in the shallower waters off of Iceland’s coast is a real treat and shouldn’t be missed if you have the time!
8 Days in Winter in Iceland
While the temperatures drop, a wealth of jaw-dropping landscapes and stunning phenomena await you during winter, so don’t write the darker months off for your eight-day trip!
Although the summer offers ample opportunity to delve far across Iceland, winter provides a great time for a couple of days exploring all that the capital has to offer. Reykjavík may be small, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in character. Spend time in coffee shops, trying delicacies, shopping for curious souvenirs, and learning about Iceland’s culture and history in its many museums!
Northern Lights Hunting
The lack of daylight hours makes winter the ideal time to embark on a Northern Lights tour. These lights are elusive and it requires extensive research or experience to get the best conditions for seeing them. That’s why we recommend embarking with an experienced guide on our Northern Lights day tours to provide the best possible chances for seeing this incredible phenomenon. And with eight days, you can even have multiple tries if your first evening is unsuccessful!
Explore Natural Ice Caves
While it is possible to see ice caves in Iceland year-round, their best season runs over the winter months. The colder temperatures mean that the glaciers in which the caves are carved are stable enough to offer lengthy and complete explorations. Our ice cave tours open up a world you’ve never seen before and allow you to step inside ice giants that are several millennia old.
8-Day Guided Tours
If you are still feeling stuck for options, our eight-day guided tours provide an action-packed schedule full of Iceland’s greatest hits. Some of our most popular tours that span eight days include: