What to see in Iceland in 5 days

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Lluis Enric Mayans


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Iceland is a land of ice, volcanoes and wilderness undoubtedly one of the most fascinating destinations in all of Northern Europe. A country that has so much to offer and that, year after year, manages to attract more and more visitors thanks to its natural wonders, but also thanks to a very rich historical and cultural heritage.

If you too feel the call of this out of the ordinary destination, we have prepared a mini-itinerary, in which we explain what to see, how to get around and how much you will spend overall. Are you ready to leave with us? Here what to see in Iceland in 5 days!


  1. 1 day
  2. 2 day
  3. 3 day
  4. 4 day
  5. 5 day
  6. How much does it cost 5 days in Iceland
  7. Before leaving: useful tips
  8. User questions and comments

1 day

Let's start immediately with a trip out of town, to discover the Snaefellsnes Peninsula: 80km of jagged crests, charming little ports and ... millenary volcanoes. Given the large distance to cover, we recommend that you take a day tour from Reykjavik, including transport!

The first stop of the day is the Snaefellsjokull National Park. This colossal volcano, 1.446m high, is considered the "Icelandic Mount Fuji" and it seems that in its bowels lies the entrance to the center of the Earth! Not far away, we advise you not to miss the perfect cone of the Saxhol craterl, which can be reached by taking a short, signposted dirt road.

Continuing the tour of the peninsula, stop for lunch at Gilbakki Kaffihus, an adorable super cheap coffee and suitable for a light meal (2.460,00 ISK / € 15,00). After that, take the car back towards the Kirkjufell, the iconic mountain that has become one of the country's symbols par excellence. Finally, the last stop is Stykkisholmur, a small port town recognizable by the picturesque orange lighthouse.

End the last day by returning to Reykjavik and dining at the Salka Valka restaurant on the city's cathedral street. We suggest the catch of the day and the traditional soup (6.562,00 ISK / € 40,00)

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 475 km / 6 h 17 min by car including transfer to / from Reykjavik
  • Places visited: Snaefellsjokull National Park (free), Saxholl crater (free), Kirkjufell (free), Stykkisholmur (free) / guided tour € 114,00
  • Daily shopping: € 55,00 / with guided tour € 160,00

2 day

The second day is dedicated to exploring its vibrant capital Reykjavik and its surroundings. It all begins in the downtown area, in front of the Harpa Concert Hall: a sort of convention center / concert hall, consisting of over 10.000 colored glass arranged in a honeycomb that seems to be inspired by the Northern Lights (10: 00-18: 00, interior can be visited with guided tours, see the official website). you will also come across a strange sculpture in the shape of a Viking ship: is the Sun Voyager, dedicated to the ancient explorers. Finally, head to the world famous Hallgrimskirkja Church, which appears to be made from basalt columns (11: 00-14: 00).

For lunch, stop for lunch at the Kol Restaurant (ISK 5.000,00 / € 30,00).
It's time to get out of Reykjavik to visit the surroundings: if you have your own means of transport, follow road 42 towards the Reykjanes Peninsula. Here you will come across Lake Kleifarvatn (the "Icelandic Lochness Lake"), the smaller Graenvatn Pond with its characteristic green color and the Seltun geothermal field. Finally, end the day at the Blue Lagoon, one of the most beautiful thermal lagoons in the country, open until 22:00 (from 5.780,00 ISK / € 36,00).

After a regenerating bath, stop for dinner at the Lava Restaurant: it certainly won't be cheap, but dining surrounded by volcanic rocks will prove to be an experience to take your breath away (from 10.000,00 ISK / € 60,00).

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 72 km / 1 h 18 min by car
  • Places visited: Harpa (outdoor free / guided tours 2.500,00 ISK / € 15,30), Sun Voyager (free), Hallgrimskirkja (free / bell tower 1.000,00 ISK / € 6,00), Lake Kleifarvatn (free), geothermal field Seltun (free), Blue Lagoon (from 5.780,00 ISK / € 36,00)
  • Daily shopping: € 135,00

3 day

On the third day in Iceland you leave Reykjavik and head to the well-known Golden Circle. Given the distances and the particularity of the routes and attractions, we strongly recommend taking a guided excursion, which will take up all day but which includes transport and guide.

The first of the three circuit attractions you will come across is Thingvellir National Park, also known as the "plain of parliament". Here you can stroll in one of the most important historical sites in the country, discover the wonders of Lake Thingvallavatn or immerse yourself in the Faglia di Silfra, located between two continents. Here, only through online booking, you can snorkel with underwater photos, as a reminder of the experience! Since the site is very large, the visit will occupy you all morning.

After that, head to Laugarvatn and stop at the Heradsskolinn Restaurant for a quick lunch (4.000,00 ISK / € 24,50). From here, continue north-east along Route 37: this will lead you to the the only Geysers still active in Iceland and the prodigious Gullfoss, the waterfall with the largest flow of water in the entire continent.

Since there aren't many big cities around, reach Lake Kerid, inserted in a volcanic crater, and to arrive in Selfoss. Here you can dine at the Krisp Restaurant (5.800,00 ISK / € 35,00) and spend the night.

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 189 km / 2 h 44 min drive from Reykjavik to Selfoss
  • Places visited: Thingvellir National Park (free), Thingvallavatn Lake (free), Silfra Fault (snorkeling and underwater photos € 80,00), Geyser (free), Gullfoss (free), Kerid Crater Lake (free)
  • Daily shopping: € 60,00 / € 110,00 with guided tour

4 day

Continuing the exploration of the south of the island, on the fourth day you leave from Selfoss and along the road 1 you reach Seljalandsfoss, the most scenic waterfall in Iceland. Once again the advice is to visit the area with a one-day guided excursion: not only will everything be safer, but you will avoid driving for hours, getting lost in search of landmarks, and the presence of a guide. it will certainly enrich the visit.
Here you can follow a path that will lead you behind the jet of water, more than 40m high. From the waterfall you can make a detour to reach Thorsmork, Thor's Wood: it is the only large Icelandic forest.

Continue on state 1 and stop for lunch at Gamla Fjosid, a farmhouse specializing in European cuisine (3.300,00 ISK / € 20,00). After that, continue your journey to Skogafoss, the double rainbow waterfall. Locals rumor that the treasure of the cruel Viking colonizer Thrasi Thorolfsson still hides behind its curtain of water. Finally, just half an hour away is the last stop of the day: Vik, known for the kilometer-long black sand beach, appeared in numerous film productions.

End the day in this wilderness with dinner at Smidjan Brugghus restaurant / grill (ISK 4.100,00 / € 25,00).

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 264 km / 4 h 40 min by car from Selfoss to Vik
  • Places visited: Seljalandsfoss (free), Thorsmork (free), Skogafoss (free), Vik (free)
  • Daily shopping: € 50,00 / € 120,00 with guided tour

5 day

The fifth day is perhaps the most adventurous of the whole itinerary: finally the magnificent Skaftafell National Park awaits you, where the Vatnajokull is kept, the largest glacier in all of Europe. From Vik you have to reach the Skaftafell Tourist Terminal (136 km, 1 h 40 min), where you can take part in a 3-hour excursion of the Park (you will be provided with all the necessary equipment).

After so much effort, stop for refreshment at the Veitingasala Restaurant, inside a natural park (4.100,00 ISK / € 25,00). After lunch, visit the pretty Svartifoss waterfall, just 10 min away. Then continue along the road 1 and reach the Jokulsarlon, that is the Ice Lagoon much loved by tourists and locals alike. If you want to take beautiful pictures, this is the ideal scenario!

Here we advise you to take dinner at Nailed It Fish & Chips is now an institution (2.460,00 ISK / € 15,00) and then return to Vik.

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 400 km / 5 h by car including travel to / from Vik
  • Places visited: Skaftafell National Park (3-hour excursion € 62,00), Svartifoss (free), Jokulsarlon (free)
  • Daily shopping: € 100,00 including the guided excursion to the Skaftafell National Park

How much does it cost 5 days in Iceland

NB: The costs expressed in the table above are to be intended per person.

Iceland tends to be a very expensive destination and it's pretty easy to get out of your budget.

For example, eating out in a restaurant can cost on average around € 35,00 / 40,00 per person in a standard restaurant. To limit food costs, it is advisable to alternate between outings to the restaurant to simpler and cheaper meals, such as "packed lunches" prepared with products purchased at supermarkets or the street food of local stalls. To better organize, we also recommend staying in apartments, in order to be more independent and to be able to prepare lunch or some dinner.

To get around Iceland is necessary to rent a car (average cost from € 50,00 per day). Especially if you go in winter, it will be very useful to consult the official Safe Travel website daily, which will give you all the information on the conditions of the roads, possible snowfalls and closed routes due to snow.

  • to Reykjavik starting from € 166,00
  • Hotels and b & b from € 90,00 per room
  • Total cost of 5 days, flight included: from € 1.016,00 per person

Before leaving: useful tips

  • When to visit Iceland: during the summer, in the months between May and September, to enjoy the many hours of light. For the Northern Lights, from early October to March - find out more
  • frequent air connections are guaranteed from the main European cities to Keflavik, where the most important airport of Iceland is located. It is possible to reach the capital Reykjavik (just 50km away) by bus (€ 20,00)
  • the areas where it is easier to have a variety of choice in terms of accommodation are certainly the big cities like Reykjavik and Akureyri. As for the rest of the island, if you want to keep costs down, we advise you to opt for hostels (where present) or campsites, which are quite cheap and equipped
  • Getting around: for sure, the best way to explore Iceland is to do it in total freedom, thanks to your own means of transport (average cost € 50,00 per day)
  • Recommended cards and passes: there are no specific cards, but if you are based in Reykjavik you can book different experiences, all with transport included
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