A 12-Day Iceland Road Trip Itinerary

July 29, 2017

This post is long over-due but I’m excited to share with you my recent trip to Iceland. We went for 12 days and 11 nights. I felt like it was just the right amount of time in order to see everything Iceland has to offer while not being on the road for too long in one particular day. I would definitely recommend getting a 4WD. We rented a Mazda CX-3 but in hindsight, would have rented a larger vehicle. There were 3 of us and we each had a carry-on suitcase and a backpack. Everything just fit in the car. However, several stretches of the road are unpaved and makes for a very rough ride. I’m not going to go too in-depth but will provide our itinerary for each day to help with your planning.

Day 1

On our first day, we explored the city of Reykjavík. Our flight was delayed for several hours so instead of getting to Iceland in the morning, we arrived in the afternoon. Of course, we were hungry so we headed straight for lunch and had the best fish and chips from Kaffivagninn and cinnamon rolls from Brauð & Co. After lunch, we walked to the Hallgrímskirkja Church, and then drove to the Sun Voyager and the Harpa before checking into our place for the night.

fish_and_chips_Kaffivagninnbraud_and_co Hallgrímskirkja_Church_icelandharpa_icelandsun_voyager

Day 2

We woke up bright and early (around 5am) and went to Seljalandsfoss (where we hiked behind it), Gljufrabui Waterfall, Skógafoss, Dyrhólaey Arch, walked around Kirkjufjara Beach, saw cool basalt sea stacks at Reynisfjara Beach, and took a long walk to see the Sólheimasandur plane crash.

SeljalandsfossSkógafossSkógafossblack_sand_beachlambReynisfjara_BeachSólheimasandur_plane_crash

Day 3

We started our morning hiking around Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon, visited Skaftafell National Park where we took hikes to see the Skaftafellsjökull Glacier and Svartifoss, and took lots of pictures at Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon and Diamond Beach (probably one of my favorite stops during the whole trip). We ended the day with dinner at Humarhöfnin.

Fjaðrárgljúfur_CanyonSkaftafellsjökull_GlacierSvartifossJökulsárlón_Glacier_Lagoondiamond_beachdiamond_beach

Day 4

We first saw the Eggin í Gleðivík outdoor artwork in Djúpivogur, made the picturesque drive from Egilsstaðir to Seyðisfjörður where we saw Gufufoss, and enjoyed a hike to Hengifoss.

Eggin_í_GleðivíkSeyðisfjörðurHengifoss

Day 5

We started our day hiking to Dettifoss, saw Krafla’s Viti Crater, explored Leirhnjúkur Lava Fields, saw the mud pots at Hveraröndor Hverir and Námafjall, visited the Myvatn Nature Baths, hiked up Hverfjall Volcano, and saw lava formations and pseudocraters at Lake Myvatn.

DettifossDettifossmud_potsHverfjall_Volcano

Day 6

We started our morning at Godafoss, then saw the grass roof houses at Laufas Museum, and walked around the town of Akureyri. Then took a long drive to see Hvítserkur, looked for seals, and had seafood soup for dinner at Sjavarborg.

GodafossLaufas_MuseumHvítserkurSjavarborg

Day 7

Today began our drive through the Westfjords. We stopped for lunch at Restaurant Galdur at the Holmavik Museum of Witchcraft and Wizardry before continuing to Ísafjörður.

Restaurant_GaldurGamla_bakariid

Day 8

We began our day hiking to Dynjandi Waterfall, saw Garðar BA 64 (a shipwreck), hiked Látrabjarg Cliffs where we found puffins, and had traditional Icelandic fish stew at Heimsendi in Patreksfjordur.

Dynjandi_WaterfallGarðar_BA_64Látrabjarg_Cliffs_puffinHeimsendi_fish_stew

Day 9

We continued driving in the Westfjords and saw the Black Church, had seafood at Bjargar-stein, and saw Kirkjufellsfoss / Kirkjufell Church Mountain.

Bjargar-steinKirkjufell_Church_Mountain

Day 10

We started the morning at Hraunfossar and Barnafoss, explored Vidgelmir Cave on a guided tour, walked around Thingvellir National Park, watched Strokkur fountain geyser which goes off every few minutes, saw Gullfoss on the Golden Circle and had fresh cod at Tryggvaskáli.

BarnafossVidgelmir_caveThingvellir_National_ParkStrokkur_fountain_geyserTryggvaskáli

Day 11

We spent our last full day relaxing and exploring more of Reykjavik. We had lobster soup at Saegreifinn, went back to Kaffivagninn for more fish and chips, and had ice cream for dessert.

lobster_soupiceland_food

Day 12

On our last day, we went to the Blue Lagoon to walk around and see this famous hot spring in Iceland before heading to the airport. Overall, we drove over 2,100 miles!

blue_lagoon

Tips

Before going, I would recommend downloading an offline map of Iceland in Google Maps. While we brought our GPS with us, we couldn’t get satellite signal and it ended up being useless. However, Google Maps worked great. We booked all of our rooms through booking.com and stayed at a lot of great Airbnb-type places. We got a SIM card for a cheap phone (we purchased through Amazon ahead of time) the first day we got there and it came in handy as we occasionally needed to call the houses we were staying at. Buy waterproof pants! Not only did they come in handy when it rained, it also helped to keep the wind out and were pretty warm when worn with long workout tights. A good pair of waterproof hiking boots is also a good idea. In case it’s not implied, a raincoat is also a must. Be prepared to eat lots of delicious fresh fish and lamb! I think I had fish everyday and loved every dish.

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