This is the best 7-day Iceland itinerary, which includes the best Ring Road trip, with my personal tips on what to see and where to stop.
I spend more than one month in Iceland, exploring all it has to offer. And I can now create for you the best 7-day Iceland itinerary, which includes the best Ring Road trip, with my personal tips on what to see and where to stop.
Icelandic influencers ask for fees when creating similar itineraries, but this is all free. I also included some optional stops and day trips (if you have more time) to give you more options on what to include and what to leave out of your Icelandic itinerary.
Important things to remember when planning your Iceland road trip
Depending on your chosen time to travel to Iceland, there will be considerable variation in daylight in Iceland.
This 7-day Iceland itinerary is suitable for summer or at least April-September.
During winter, the daylight can be as little as 4 hours per day, and it will not make any sense to try to put so much sightseeing in a day if it’s night outside.
Also, the driving conditions may differ from summer to winter, especially on smaller and unpaved roads that lead to certain locations mentioned on this itinerary.
If you plan to go on a road trip in Iceland during winter, your main attraction will be the Northern Lights, which should be visible from anywhere, as long as the sky is clear. In that case, I would recommend doing half of the things recommended for each day.
One piece of advice: Don’t try to include everything on your first trip to Iceland because it will be impossible to see it all, and it will leave you exhausted. At the end of it, you will be so tired of everything, realize you didn’t spend enough time in the places you liked and still haven’t seen ad done it all.
Also, always remember to check SafeTravel.is when planning your one-week itinerary in Iceland.
Most likely, you will need a car to make this one-week itinerary in Iceland possible.
A car will allow you to set your own schedule, and reach even the most remote places that might not be included in the itineraries of tour agencies.
Day 1: Reykjavik Exploration
- Harpa Concert Hall
- Hallgrímskirkja church
- Old Harbor and some museums (Perlan Museum, Whales of Iceland Museum etc.)
- Laugavegur shopping street
- Experience the local nightlife (try Einstok bar)
Reykjavik is a nice place to explore, especially on a sunny day. There are also whale tours from Reykjavik, if you want to do something more.
Where to stay in Reykjavik
- Bus Hostel Reykjavik – Reykjavik Terminal (budget stay with shared bathroom)
- Hotel Von (budget stay in the centre)
- Reykjavik Residence Apartment Hotel (entire studio, centrally located)
- Center Hotels Laugavegur (great value for money)
Day 2: The Golden Circle
- Þingvellir National Park
- Geysir geothermal area
- Gullfoss waterfall
- Return to Reykjavik and relax at a local geothermal pool
If you are travelling alone or don’t have a car for this day, you can visit the Golden Circle on a day trip from Reykjavik.
At the end of this 7-day Iceland itinerary, I’ve added an alternative for this day, which is suitable for those looking to spend more time admiring Icelandic nature but with fewer crowds.
Day 3: South Coast Adventures
- Explore the best waterfalls in Iceland: Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss waterfalls.
- Reynisfjara black sand beach
- Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon
- Overnight stay in Vik
Here are the best places to stay in Vik:
The Barn (budget stay/ dormitory)
Hotel Katla by Keahotels (budget stay with shared bathroom)
Vík Cottages (close to the beach, must book 6 months in advance)
You can also do this as a day trip from Reykjavik.
Day 4: Jökulsárlón
Morning: Drive To Jökulsárlón
Skaftafell National Park
Afternoon: Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon
Optional (but recommended) activities to do at Jökulsárlón
book a tour of the lagoon with either a speed boat, amphibian boat or kayak. (https://icelagoon.is/zodiac-tours/)
a hiking tour on the glacier
a visit to the Ice cave (only between November and April)
- Diamond Beach (Breiðamerkursandur)
Next to the lagoon, you’ll see the famous diamond beach. The part with the ice is in the West (Reykjavik direction) of the bridge. There are parking places on both sides, near the lagoon, and near the beach.
You’ll need to pay for parking (it was about 1000 ISK for a normal car in July 2023, and it’s valid for the entire day).
There are machines to pay for parking and you only pay once.
I recommend crossing the bridge, parking at the lagoon first, and after you’re done there, go at the beach.
In the parking lot at the glacier lagoon, you’ll find a small souvenir shop, toilets, and some food stands. Note that the food places close at 6 pm during summer.
The parking is paid 24/7. I got there at 6 pm, there was no restaurant open, but I liked it because there were fewer people. I recommend that you do the same if you’re doing a self-driving road trip.
Take your time and really enjoy the lagoon and then reserve at least 1 hour for the beach. To get to see the many ice pieces, you might need to walk for a while on the beach. Most people give up after a few minutes. You can’t see the ice from the parking lot.
Tours to get to Jökulsárlón
If you decide that you don’t want to rent a car to visit this place, or you are travelling alone and renting a car may be over your budget, your next best option (and budget-friendly too) is to book a full-day tour to see the glacier lagoon or a multiple-day tour from Reykjavik.
Here’re some tours I recommend:
Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon & Boat Tour from Reykjavik (day trip with boat tour included)
Glacier Lagoon Small Group Tour (day trip from Reykjavik, takes a 14 hours, without boat)
3-Day South Coast Winter Tour with Ice Cave (November to March) – It includes transport from Reykjavik, accommodation for two nights, and everything else I’ve included in the first 2 days of this itinerary (Golden Circle and South Coast and Glaciar lagoon), plus a guide and a visit to the Ice Cave (The most amazing ice cave in Iceland) which is only available in winter). This is a perfect option for solo travellers in Iceland during winter.
Evening: Overnight near Höfn
From the Jökulsárlón glacier, you’ll need to drive only one hour to get to Höfn, where you will spend the night.
Here are some good hotels in Höfn:
- Árnanes Country Hotel
- Skýjaborg Apartments (complete apartment for up to 4 people)
- Vikingcafe (if you also want to visit the Viking Village movie set, which was used for “Vikingr” and “The Witcher” TV shows)
Out of all hotels and places in Iceland, I find Höfn to be one of the busiest, given its proximity to the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, Iceland’s most popular attraction.
I strongly advise that you book your hotel in advance for this location. There aren’t many options around, and they get fully booked fast.
If you feel like driving a bit more (about 20 minutes more after passing Höfn), consider staying at Hrafnavellir Guest House, which has a few gorgeous cottages in the most beautiful place. There’s nothing else there except for these Nordic-style cottages and the epic Icelandic landscape.
Day 5: East Fjords
- Drive through the scenic East Fjords
Start your day with a big breakfast and continue the Ring Road itinerary towards the East Fjords of Iceland.
There are more than just a few hidden gems near road 1, such as:
- The Stokksnes headland near Höfn
- Hvalnes Nature Reserve Beach and Lighthouse
- Stapinn (Stapavík) viewpoint and beach
- Barkináfoss waterfall
- Nykurhylsfoss (Sveinsstekksfoss) waterfall
- Folaldafoss waterfall
- Meleyri Beach
At some point, road 1 goes North and doesn’t follow the fjords’ coastline anymore. But if you can add a small detour, you can add a stop to the Mjóifjörður.
- Visit Seydisfjordur
You will eventually reach Egilsstaðir, where I recommend staying for the night.
But you should still have some time to drive to Seydisfjordur, where you’ll find the iconic blue church with the rainbow path in front of it.
This is the place the ferry from Denmark arrives.
So if you’re planning on going on a road trip to Iceland and bringing your own car, you can take this ferry. It takes about three days from Denmark, with a stop in the Faroe Islands.
Seydisfjordur is a gorgeous small town, which reminded me a lot of the small places in the Norwegian fjords. The drive itself from Egilsstaðir is also beautiful, with a few viewpoint stops. There are more waterfalls as you approach the town.
- Overnight near Egilsstaðir
Then drive the same road back to Egilsstaðir. Here you’ll find a bunch of great hotels. This is what I recommend:
Lyngás Guesthouse (great budget option, shared bathroom, and kitchen, awesome room)
Hérað – Berjaya Iceland Hotels (hotel with private bathroom)
Lagarfell Studios (have a studio for yourself)
If you’re visiting Iceland during June or July, you should add Hafnarhólmi to your 7-day Iceland itinerary, which is a small village North of Egilsstaðir, only 75 km away.
This place is famous for its puffin colonies, the most cute birds you’ll ever see. There’ll famous for making nests on the Icelandic cliffs, and you shouldn’t miss them. Remember not to walk too close to the edge; you might ruin the nests and fall.
Day 6: Northern Iceland
- Stuðlagil Canyon
- Optional: Bustarfell Museum – one of the oldest and best-preserved farms in Iceland
- Dettifoss waterfall (+ Selfoss)
- Hverir mud polls area
- Húsavík whale watching (50 min to get there + 3 hours the whale tour)
- Myvatn geothermal area (don’t miss Grjótagjá cave)
- Relax in Mývatn Nature Baths (they close at 10 pm)
For Húsavík, you will need to book your whale-watching tour online. This is the best place to see whales in Iceland. There are also some tours that start from Reykjavik, but the chances to see whales are much higher in the North part of Iceland.
I recommend spending the night at Lake Myvatn, at Vogar Guesthouse (budget option) or Mývatn apartments (for families and larger groups). For luxury, or at least a Nordic modern cabin, check out Aska Modern Cabin, which is a great option if you also want to see the Northern Lights.
Day 7: Exploring Akureyri
- Enjoy some time at Myvatn Lake
- Akureyri church (Akureyrarkirkja)
- Drive back to Reykjavik
- Stop at Seal Beach (3h from Akureyri)
- Continue driving for 3h
- Arrive in Reykjavik. Spend the night in Reykjavik or drive directly to Keflavik and reach the airport. Note that you will arrive late, during the night.
Here’s a tip for you if you’re doing this 7-day Iceland itinerary on a budget.
Just before you reach Akureyri, there is a tunnel that goes through the mountain. That is the main road, and passing through the tunnel requires a fee (needs to be paid online at Tunnel.is). If you’re not in a great hurry and don’t want to pay the fee, make sure to take the detour road.
Just take the right road when you see the sign for the tunnel. It will take you around the mountain. On the other side of the mountain, once you get back on the main road, there’s a roundabout. After the roundabout, there’s a small parking on the right. Stop there for the best viewpoint of Akureyri.
If you have an extra day in Northern Iceland
If you have more days in Iceland, I recommend taking the ferry from Dalvik to Grimsey Island. It’s the only place in Iceland located in the Arctic Circle. I recommend making this day trip during summer when the puffin colonies are there (June and July). The views are also extraordinary and cheaper than the whale tours or any other tours around.
During summer, the ferry leaves from Dalvik at 9 am and then leaves Grimsey at 5 pm. Considering that the ferry trip takes about 3 hours one way, you’ll have about five hours on the island, which is plenty to see most of it. Then the ferry arrives back at Dalvik at 8 pm. The great part about this day trip is that you may also see whales and dolphins from the ferry. You can check the schedule and book the ferry from Dalvik here: https://www.akureyri.is/grimsey-en/moya/news/ferry-from-dalvik-saefari .
If you have more time, add Snaefellsnes Peninsula
You can either add Snaefellsnes Peninsula at the end of this itinerary, as it is on the way to Reykjavik. Or you can add it to any Iceland itinerary as a day trip from Reykjavik.
You will drive all around the peninsula and find signs for all the beaches, rocks, canyons, craters, and other attractions. It’s truly a beautiful place, and I don’t regret visiting it.
I would also consider adding this to the 7-day Iceland itinerary and leaving out the Golden Circle, especially if you’re more into remote places with fewer crowds. The Golden Circle is nice, but I find this peninsula even better.
Your day trip would look something like this.
Day trip from Reykjavik: Snaefellsnes Peninsula
- Kirkjufell mountain and waterfall
- Djúpalónssandur beach
- Snæfellsjökull National Park
- Shark Museum
- Return to Reykjavik
Is this 7-day Iceland itinerary worth it?
Yes! This is one of the best options to see most of what Iceland has to offer if you only have 7 days in Iceland.
Of course, there’s so much more to see in Iceland, but these 7 days in Iceland will be enough to convince you that you’ll need to come back and spend more time here.
I created this Iceland itinerary for a week after I visited all these places. If you need more help, make sure to read my guide about planning a trip to Iceland. That’s one of the most comprehensive travel guides you’ll find online about Iceland. I also recommend checking out my list of Iceland travel tips.