The best length of stay, according to most visitors in Iceland, is about two weeks. The fortnight option allows you to visit the main regions of the island, and even focus on a few regions enough to find some of the hidden treasures that most tourists don't see.
Whatever your means of transport, these itineraries will be easily accessible.
Going to Iceland for 2 weeks allows for some serious exploration via the western fjords. This may sound heavenly to some, while others would prefer wandering the inland hiking-trails like the Kjolur, Kerlingarfjöll, Askja or the Laki.
But don't worry, we will suggest a range of itineraries for every taste.
Your travel dates will influence your activities and itinerary a great deal. In winter for example, Iceland is at its most charming, but many summer activities are simply inaccessible until the heat returns. Many roads are closed and certain tourist sites, inland in particular, remain locked away. However, keep in mind that this is the Northern Lights season and that is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
You can find more information in our dedicated article: The best time to visit Iceland.
It also depends on what you want to do: are you a fan of long-distance hikes? An intrepir adventurer? Into extreme sports? Volcanoes? Glaciers? All of the above?
Our map of tourist sites by region is a good starting point. It should guide you to the region best suited to your desires, based on the tourist sites nearby.
Here is an idea for a 2-week itinerary that you can choose to do on your own or on a self-guided tour organized by an operator.
Whether you are self-touring in a rental car or traveling by bus, this itinerary will be ideal. If you are on foot, you can get to these tourist sites by bus very simply, the BSI company for example has lines all over the country.
You can find more information in our article about buses in Iceland.
Day 1: After arriving at Keflavik Airport, head to the nearby Blue Lagoon, a heavenly hot spring, before heading to visit the capital Reykjavik. After strolling through the streets of 101 AKA the tourist district and visiting Reykjavik's must-see attractions, stop for a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants in the capital.
Day 2: This day is dedicated to the Golden Circle. This is truly a tourist hotspot with 3 major sites: Geysir, the Gullfoss waterfall and Thingvellir National Park. In the evening, rest your weary bones in the hot baths of the Secret Lagoon in Fluðir.
Day 3: Time for a visit to the Snaefellsnes peninsula and its magnificent landscapes. The peninsula is like a mini-Iceland: Buðir, Kirkjufell, Ytri Tunga... A range of sights to showcase the country's landscapes. Learn more about the Snaefellsnes peninsula and its points of interest in this article.
Day 4: Take the ferry from Stykkishólmur to the northwestern fjords and the small island of Flatey. In the late afternoon you can head to Latrabjarg to see the famous puffins. On the way, stop at Rauðassandur to witness its amazing orange-red sand beaches. Close the day with a visit to Patreksfjordur, one of the fishing villages on the western fjords.
Day 5: Stay west if you want to keep exploring remote landscapes, you may land on some gems like Selardalur, a somewhat unusual little village where sculptures and fantastical architecture will draw your gaze at every turn. Continue your journey to the beautiful Dynjandi waterfall, known for its pyramid form. Near Bolungarvík a fisherman (in period clothing) will gladly take you on a tour the Ösvör Museum where you can learn about the lifestyle of fishermen in the last century. Then you can visit the charming town of Isafjörður. The largest city in the region makes for a convenient pit-stop to get supplies. In this region, you'll see rows of fish drying on racks along the roads, and they taste even better than they look! Fresh, dried, or smoked, nearby restaurants offer the best local fare when it comes to fish, so don't miss out!
Day 6: After crossing the Djup (the full name is Isafjörðjùp), you'll come across a series of fjords where you have good chances of spotting sunbathing seals. The Holmavik Museum, which retraces the history of witchcraft, is one of the highlights of the region, as local lore features the Sagas of heroes who wielded magic to defeat their enemies. You can also travel up the coast to Djupivogur, or even to the Krossneslaug swimming pool.
Day 8: Your journey will take you past the small peat houses of Viðimyri and Glaumbaer, which are quaint and worth a picture, before arriving in the charming town of Akureyri, which has no shortage of attractions. Not too far from here, Siglufjörður, Dalvik, and Ölafsförður are beautiful fishing ports typical of North Iceland.
Winter in Myvatn
Day 9: Your first stop will be one of the most beautiful falls in the country, the Godafoss waterfall near Myvatn, before heading back to Husavik. Iceland's north coast and Arctic Ocean are famous for whale watching, most notably the fishing village of Husavik. From there it's not far to Dettifoss, the second most powerful waterfall in Europe. Then, at the end of the day, a little dip in the Myvatn Nature Baths and its 38° waters will be a welcome respite.
Day 10: It'll take at least a day to see all that Lake Myvatn and its surroundings have to offer. There are numerous dazzling sights in the region. A short drive from the lake in any direction will land you in a dozen tourist sites worthy of note: the Viti crater, filled with its magnificent lake, the Skútustaðir site and its pseudo-craters, the lava labyrinth of Dimmuborgir, the Grjótagjá hot spring, Leirhnjúkur and its lava field, Namafjall and its fumaroles and sulphurous air and the vivid green, red, and yellows of its soil. From Hverfjall, a small mountain that dominates the region, you can see it all in a sweep of your gaze. At the end of the day you will head to Egilsstadir.
Jókulsárlón to the south
Day 11: Next stop is the eastern fjords: Reyðafjöður, Eskifjörður, Neskaupstaður and Fáskrúðsfjöður, but most of all the Seyðisfjörður and the Bakkargedi Fjords. After you've had your fill of fjords, head south towards Höfn, and keep an eye out for reindeer who are populous in this area.
Day 12: Day 12 takes you to Skaftafell National Park with its many hikes with glaciers rising around you. Jokulsarlon and Fjallsarlon are unmissable stops to see icebergs floating sedately, without a doubt one of the most beautiful shows that Iceland can offer. In late afternoon, before reaching Vik, stop by the splendid canyon who's name no-one can pronounce: Fjaðrárgljúfur.
Day 13: The Vik region and its black sand beaches, Reynisdrangar and Cape Dyrholaey, are well worth a visit. At the right time of year it's a great spot for puffin viewing. On the way south along the famous road number 1, you will find the stunning Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss waterfalls, among the most beautiful waterfalls in the country. The small crater of Kerið is worth a jaunt on the way to Fluðir, where you can end the day in the hot baths of the Secret Lagoon.
Day 14: Day 14 could be spent hiking in the Landmannalaugar region before another night in Fluðir. Alternatively, you may choose to return directly to Reykjavík to see the sights you missed in the capital and sleep there before flying out of Keflavik the following day.
This itinerary can be fine-tuned according your needs and the type of vehicle.
While some tourists prefer to organize their trip themselves, others prefer package tours.
Here are a few alternative itinereraries for self-driving tours:
The special “winter” self-driving tours:
Other itineraries: From 3 days to 15 days