ICELAND IN 2 WEEKS: THE ULTIMATE SUMMER ROAD TRIP ITINERARY
If you are looking for a jam-packed Iceland road trip itinerary, you have come to the right place.
This (just over) 2-week itinerary was the result of many hours searching for the best things to do in Iceland and mapping them out into a drivable route. We then tested it out ourselves on a 2-week journey around the country.
This itinerary is definitely intended as a summer road trip, as some of the roads become impassable in winter (plus, if you are visiting during the Midnight Sun—a.k.a. 24 hours of daylight—you can choose to do some of these activities in the dead of night!). With that said, there are approximately eight suggested guided activities that we recommend booking in advance, as summers in Iceland often book up.
For the best use of this itinerary, you will likely want to consider a four-wheel-drive car rental. This could be just a cheap little Suzuki Jimny (like us), or it could be a campervan in order to combine your wheels and accommodation into one. If you don't plan to rent a campervan, we strongly recommend you bring some camping equipment with you. Camspites are fairly easy to come by in Iceland and generally do not need to be booked in advance, whereas affordable hotels and hostels are not (especially in some of the remote stops this itinerary will take you to). Our recommendations will be primarily campsites, with a luxury stay thrown in.
We have included prices accurate at the time of writing this to give you an idea of activity cost, but where appropriate have linked to websites where you can find up-to-date pricing. We do not earn anything from these recommendations, they are just based on our experience travelling Iceland!
With that all out of the way, here is the the ultimate Icelandic summer road-trip itinerary!
Upon arrival, you will need to pick up your rental car or campervan before visiting the iconic Blue Lagoon, which is conveniently located only 30 minutes drive from the airport. Basic day passes include entrance, a Silica mud mask, use of a towel, and a drink of your choice for ISK 8,490 per person, while Premium day passes will run you ISK 10,990 (and will add 2 additional masks, use of a bathrobe, one glass of sparkling wine if dining at Lava restaurant, and allowed us to bypass the line).
After spending the morning relaxing in the thermal waters of the Blue Lagoon, you will make the approximately 1.5 hour drive (optionally stopping for groceries and gas in Reykjavik) to Thingvellir National Park. Here, you will be swimming in the frigid glacial meltwater on the Silfra Fissure Snorkeling Tour, while wearing a dry-suit to keep you (you guessed it) dry and warm. On this tour, you will get to snorkel in one of the top dive sites in the world where the tectonic plates of the North American and European continents continue to drift apart. We used Troll Expeditions, but booked through Get Your Guide. The cost of this activity is currently ISK 19,990 per person.
For the remainder of your day, you can explore Almannagia, the gorge in Thingvellir National Park.
Thingvellir National Park Campsite - ISK 1,300 per person, per night.
You will want to be up bright and early to ensure you can make it to each of the stops.
Drive 1 hour to the trailhead of Glymur Waterfall, Iceland's tallest waterfall. Reaching the waterfall includes climbing down through a large cave, crossing the river using a tree trunk and cable wire, and—if you are doing the full loop—crossing the river barefoot or with water shoes at the top of the waterfall. This hike is a 6.0 kilometre loop with 370 metres elevation gain and takes approximately 4 hours to complete, including time spent taking photos.
1.5 hours away, you will find Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls.
We recommend starting with the powerful Barnafoss waterfall. It may not be as picturesque as other waterfalls in Iceland, but it is paired with Hraunfossar—cascading falls spanning over half a mile in width—only a short path away.
You will spend the remainder of your day on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, beginning with a short stop at the all-black Budakirkja Church (2 hours drive), followed by a stop in Anarstapi to visit the naturally formed stone arch, Gatklettur (20 minutes drive), and the stone statue of Bardur Snaefellsnes, the half-troll/half man who settled the area and acts as guardian of the peninsula.
The last stop of your day will be visiting Kirkjufell Mountain and Kirkjufellsfoss Waterfall (45 minutes drive) at sunset. Kirkjufell was Arrowhead Mountain in Game of Thrones, and is one of the most photographed places in Iceland.
Campground Langafit (2.5 hour drive) - approximately ISK 1,000 per person (included in Camping Card, if you choose to purchase it).
In the morning, drive 20 minutes to visit Kolugljufur waterfall, with its multiple streams of water combining to form the water flowing through the small valley. There is also a small bridge to get a better lookout of the waterfall.
Next, make your way to Hvitserker, the monolith resembling a rhino, elephant, or dinosaur (depending on who you ask) off the coast of Northern Iceland. At low tide, you can walk out to it. Expect some rougher roads on the 45 minute drive out.
You will find yourself at the "Waterfall of the Gods" after a 3.25 hour drive. Godafoss is a beautiful semi-circle waterfall that visitors can view from the East, West, as well as walking down to the base of the waterfall.
1 hour from Godafoss, Aldeyjarfoss is a plunge waterfall surrounded by basalt columns. It requires a 4x4 to drive to the parking lot as the latter portion takes place on an F-Road, where only 4x4 rentals are allowed. For those who do not rent a 4x4, you can drive until you see the F-Road warning sign and ask the neighbouring farmer's permission to park on the property before hiking the remaining 4km to the waterfall.
The remainder of your day will be spent making the 1.5 hour drive to Husavik and visiting the Geosea Spa (with an optional stop at the Ja Ja Ding Dong Bar for fans of Eurovision!). The Geosea Spa overlooks the ocean in an infinity pool style. We had very cold weather while in the North, and we loved warming up here while looking out on the foggy ocean.
Camping 66.12 NORTH - ISK 1,500 per person.
Husavik Campground - ISK 1,600 per person.
Start your day with a Whale Watching tour from Husavik. We planned to go on the Whales and Sails tour (ISK 11,990 per person) with North Sailing, but it was cancelled due to the poor weather and high winds.
The rest of your day will be spent in the Myvatn area, which is approximately 1 hour away from Husavik. While there, you can visit Grjotagja Cave, Hverir Geothermal Area (also called Namafjall or Namaskard), and Viti Crater all within 10 - 15 minutes drive of each other.
Grjotagja Cave is a famous lava cave containing hot springs, although you are unable to touch or enter the water due to the high fluctuations in temperature. This is the filming location for the famous love scene between Jon Snow and Ygritte in Game of Thrones.
Hverir is a lunar-like landscape with steaming vents, geysers, and bubbling mud.
Viti Crater is a crater filled with beautiful blue water that takes roughly 20 minutes to walk around.
The last stop of your day will be the Myvatn Nature Baths. Known as the Blue Lagoon of the North, it offers a less expensive (ranging from ISK 5,900 for the basic ticket to ISK 8,990 for a ticket with an included drink, bathrobe, and towel) and less crowded experience.
Camping Myvatn - ISK 2,200 per person.
Day 5 begins with a 1 hour drive to the East side of Dettifoss, the second most powerful waterfall in Europe. You have the opportunity to view Dettifoss from either the East or West side, but it adds hours of drive time in order to do both so it is common to pick one side. After looking into the benefits of each, we felt the East side suited our preferences best. The East side has worse accessibility in terms of roads.
From Dettifoss, you can walk 1km to Selfoss, the smaller, but expansive, curtained neighbour.
Although it won't suit everyone's trip, consider adding in a trip to the far North of Iceland, Raufarhofn, and its Icelandic Arctic Henge (2 hours drive). The Henge is home to four, six-meter tall gates and one ten-meter high column in the centre. The gates function as a sundial, and were inspired by four dwarves of Norse mythology, Austri, Norðri, Suðri and Vestri. Each face their namesake, East, North, South and West.
Next, you will make your way 3.25 hours to the fantasy-like setting of Studlagil Basalt Canyon, with its beautiful aqua water and towering basalt columns. There is a viewpoint from the West side, but the East side offers a short hike reaching the river's edge and the epic view seen in most photos from the location.
Your last stop after a 1.5 hour drive will take you to Gufufoss Waterfall at dusk. Although not a hugely popular stop, it is conveniently situated along the road just five minutes before reaching your stop for the night, the nestled coast-and-mountain town of Seydisfjordur. It is also known to look like a smaller version of Skogafoss Waterfall.
Seydisfjordur Camping Site - ISK 2,000 per person (included in Camping Card, if you choose to purchase it).
Take a few moments in.the morning to explore the Rainbow Town (Seydisfjordur), including a stop at the rainbow pathway that leads up to the church.
Afterward, make the 1 hour drive descending a scenic valley to Klifbrekkufossar, a multi-tiered waterfall. You are able to hike up to and behind the lowest tier of the waterfall.
From there, it is another hour to Hengifoss and Litlanesfoss Waterfalls. You will hike approximately 4.8km round trip to reach Hengifoss, passing Litlanesfoss along the way. At 420 metres, Hengifoss is the second tallest waterfall in Iceland and is surrounded by layers of striped brown and red rock.
You will make your way back on to the Ring Road and will pass a few places to stop. First, you will reach Djupavogskorin Hot Spring after a 1.5 hour drive. This hot spring resembles a bathtub in size and has an amazing view of the ocean.
30 minutes further and you will reach the black sand of Fauskasandur Beach. With very little traffic, you will likely have the place to yourself.
Hvalnes Lighthouse and the Red Chair Art Installation are quick stops that are 10 minutes away and 30 minutes away, respectively, and can be good to stretch the legs that are alongside the road (no leaving the Ring Road necessary).
The rest of your afternoon / evening is dedicated to the Viking Village on Hvalnes Peninsula. The Viking Village costs ISK 800 to enter, and you can purchase your tickets in the Viking Cafe. With bird and seal watching spots, stunning views of the surrounding mountains and coast, and the ship and village created for a movie that was abandoned, this stop is worth taking the time to explore. This location was also used for filming The Witcher: Blood Origins!
Tjaldsvaedid Myllulaekur - ISK 1,700 per person (included in Camping Card, if you choose to purchase it).
Day 7 is a big day, and begins with a short stop at the famous Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon. It is about a 1 hour drive to start, but each of the remaining stops on this day are nearby and under 30 minutes. Jokulsarlon is famous for the large glacial ice floating in its unique blue water. By stopping here early in the morning, you can ensure a quieter visit and a chance at seeing the local seals!
Make sure to schedule a Glacier Lagoon Kayaking tour while here to get a close up view of the ice and learn about the geography and unique environment of the glaciers in Iceland. If availability is limited—due to how close the day's activities are—you can return later on in the day. We chose to use Iceguide, costing ISK 12,900 per person.
Next, only 5 minutes away, visit the otherworldly Diamond Beach and the namesake glacial ice that resembles diamonds when it washes ashore the black sand.
Completing the trifecta, drive 10 more minutes to Fjallsarlon Glacier Lagoon. This lagoon is similar, but smaller, murkier, and with less tourists than Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon. You could choose to do a boat or kayak tour here instead as well.
Up next is the incredibly stunning Mulagljufur Canyon. Only 10 minutes from Fjallsarlon, you will find misty views of the mossy canyon and rugged cliffs, as well as some mist-obscured waterfalls and canyon vistas on this approximately 6km hike with just over 300 metre elevation gain. Although the distance and elevation are often contradictory online, it will take around 2 hours there-and-back, but this hike is well worth it, and was one of our favourites on our trip.
Your last stop of the day is Skaftafell National Park. In addition to being able to camp here, there are also many hikes that begin from the campsite. If you have the time and energy (and better weather than we did), then Skaftafellsheidi (16.7km return, taking approximately 5-6 hours) and Svartifoss Waterfall would be a great, albeit long, choice for the area. If not, consider hiking to Svartifoss alone, at just over 5.5km round trip. Although not the largest or tallest waterfall in Iceland, the black basalt columns make for a beautiful backdrop to the waterfall.
Skaftafell Camping - approximately ISK 1,700 per person.
In the morning you will have enough time to do another hike if you choose, such as hiking Skaftafelljokull to the glacier face, or you can utilize the free laundry from the campsite (expect to wait in a line).
You will arrive at Fjadrargljufur Canyon after 1 hour and will have the chance to walk the path to view the winding, ancient canyon. Keep in mind that due to people wandering off trail for photos, there are fences and set paths to follow to allow the flora and fauna to recover.
From there, it will take 10 minutes to reach Eldhraun Lava Fields. This stop is home to approximately 565 square kilometres of lava flow from an 18th century eruption that is now covered in green moss. On the left side of the road, you will see a small circular walking trail that only takes a minute to complete, but if you continue driving a few more minutes and pull off to the right side of the road at the next turn off, you will find a drivable path through the lava field with even more stunning views of this attraction.
Located along your drive to the next destination, you will have a chance to stop 20 minutes later at the mysterious rock piles of Laufskalavarda. This stop is also listed in the Atlas Obscura of unique destinations. Traditionally, travellers would leave little stacks of stones for good luck.
1 hour further and you will arrive at Thakgil, where you will be hiking the stunning Remundargil Ravine Loop. This 12.5 km hike takes you through a lush, mossy canyon erupting with vibrant green and take between 3 - 5 hours to complete. Make sure you grab a map and chat with the staff in the information hut at Thakgil, because they can share the best place to park and the best way to complete the hike. We struggled to find the correct path without a map or service, but stumbled upon the right spots eventually!
To end your day you will drive 45 minutes to Vik, stopping at the red-roofed church for a view overlooking the black sand beach and city.
Vik Camping - ISK 1,750 per person.
Start your day by visiting Reynisfjara Beach after only a 15 minute drive. Be mindful of the sneaker waves, but stroll the black sand beach with views of the black basalt stacks that lore states were trolls trying to pull ships to shore before being turned to stone by the morning sun.
Next, drive 15 minutes to a short stop at Loftsalahellir Cave. You will need to climb a short, steep section to reach the cave, but will have a great view of the peninsula from there.
Only 5 and 10 minutes away respectively, Kirkjufjara Beach and Dyrholaey have more viewpoints of the peninsula and may offer puffin sightings during the May - August season.
20 minutes further, and you will find the parking lot to the Solheimasandur Plane Wreck and will have a choice between paying ISK 2,900 per person to be driven close to the wreck, or hiking 1 hour on flat roadside to reach the wreck yourself. Here, you will find the well-visited beach wreck featured in many travel photos.
From there, it is only 10 minutes to reach the shrinking Solheimajokull Glacier. There is a viewing area, but you are unable to walk on, or near, the glacier without a guide.
Optionally, you can consider visiting Seljavallalaug Hot Pool. We had plans to visit, but had read that this pool was a cooler temperature and we were experiencing cold weather on this day. Additionally, the pool is considered less clean that other hot pools in Iceland, with more algae. We recommend considering it anyway, as it is still considered one of the most popular and photographic hot pools to visit! It requires a 1.8km hike to get to (after a 20 minute drive from the previous stop).
Next, you will visit some of the most stunning waterfalls in Iceland, starting with Seljalandsfoss (located 30 minutes away from the hot pool, or 50 minutes from the glacier). This is the iconic waterfall allowing you to walk behind the curtain to experience it from the other side.
Then, you will make the short walk over to its neighbour, Gljufrabui. You may have to hop on a couple of rocks as you go into the cavern to avoid getting your feet wet, but it is a less busy and more intimate waterfall offering amazing photos.
Our personal favourite was Nauthusagil (15 minutes away), but it takes some effort to get to! Nestled in a rocky, moss coated ravine, you will need to wade through the ankle high water, climb up a slippery but short mini-waterfall, and hike approximately 45 minutes round-trip (but with much of that being through the water). You will be rewarded with a small, solitary and isolated waterfall to yourselves that is well worth the trouble!
From there, consider visiting the smaller and less traveled Seljalandsfoss lookalike, Kvernufoss, located 15 minutes away, before ending your day with the iconic Skogafoss. Skogafoss has the option to climb stairs to get a view from the top, but the view at the base is powerful and photographic as well.
Vik Camping - ISK 1,750 per person.
Note, there is camping at Skogafoss, but it is not rated well and many spots were wet / flooded while we were there so we opted to drive back to Vik.
Early in the morning, drive 1 hour to Landeyjahofn, where you will board the ferry to Vestmannaeyjar Island. Prices were ISK 4,000 roundtrip per person.
Within walking distance from the ferry (only a few minutes away), visit Eyja Tours for your Puffin and Volcano mini-bus tour (ISK 9,500 per person). On this tour you will get to visit the largest puffin colony in the world, learn about the local island (from a local islander!), and see the remains of the volcano eruption that caused the island to evacuate.
After your tour, consider stopping by The Brothers Brewery to try their local beers inspired by puffins, volcanos, and kelp!
Lastly, visit the Heimaey Stave Church (Stafkirkjan), a beautiful black church gifted from Norway. Nearby, you will find a small medical museum that is free to enter. Wander from here back to the ferry or around the town as time permits.
Take the ferry back to the mainland to be ready for your next day's drive!
Panorama Glass Lodge - $$$, located 1 hour drive from the ferry.
Day 11 will take you on a 2+ hour drive, requiring 4x4 access, because you will be visiting the Iceland Highlands. There is even a ranger giving details on the drive and the river crossings that you'll encounter while travelling to Landmannalaugar.
During August, we had to cross 2 small rivers that were no trouble, but once at the parking lot of Landmannalaugar, you will have the choice of doing a large river crossing to get to the campsite, or walking the bridge across with your gear. Note that if you choose to do the large river crossing, most, if not all, rental companies will not cover river crossings within your car insurance. The only people who will need to consider crossing will be those who are using their vehicle for their camping, rather than a tent.
Consider doing the Blahnukur Brennisteinsalda Volcano Loop, which will take between 4 - 6 hours to complete the 10.3km loop and 633 m elevation gain, which will give you amazing views of the colourful, rhyolite mountains.
Afterward, switch to your swimsuit and relax in the natural geothermal pool just seconds away from the campsite and info hut.
There are also some cute shops built into old buses that offer some necessities and luxuries for your time in Landmannalaugar (ramen, chocolate, gear, etc.).
Landmannalaugar Camping - ISK 2,000 per person.
You can choose to pick out another hike around the area in the morning or, alternatively, you can take this time to have a sleep in before heading out back onto to gravel roads.
Once back on the road, we suggest stopping at Liotipollur, which translates to Ugly Puddle (it is anything but ugly). To get to the top is a very short inclined hike. At the top take time to walk around the rim of the crater, take photos, and enjoy the beauty. If visiting early in the morning, you can expect to have the place to yourselves.
Next is a 2.25 hour drive to Haifoss Waterfall. Haifoss is one of the highest waterfalls in Iceland and was one of our favourites. At an impressive 400ft, it is simply stunning. Definitely hike down to the base of the waterfall, which takes approximately 1 hour to complete the easy hike down and back up.
Afterward, drive 1.25 hours to Hrunalaug Hot Spring, where you will relax in a scenic hot pool with a turf roofed hut to get changed in. You will likely need to pay a small fee to enter (as it is increasingly popular), but this also means that the entrance is limited to just a few people at a time. We waited less than 20 minutes and only shared the space with 5 - 10 people the entire time we were there.
Gullfoss Waterfall (Golden Falls), one of the most iconic waterfalls in Iceland, is only 30 minutes away. This powerful waterfall has a variety of viewpoints to enjoy.
Faxi Tjaldsvaedi - ISK 1,300 per person (included in Camping Card, if you choose to purchase it).
In the morning, you will be driving back into the Highlands (via a different route) to get to the absolutely stunning Kerlingarfjoll Mountains and Hveradalir geothermal area. This again will require 4x4, and you should make sure to fill your gas tank before entering the Highlands.
Icelandic legends tell the tale of Kerling, an old hag troll woman who was the daughter of the fire giant, Surtur. One day she didn’t make it home in time before the sunrise and was turned to stone by sunlight.
These rust-coloured mountains contain short hiking trails, including the Hveradalir Walk, a 2 - 3 hour hike through the geothermal area, up small mountain inclines, and briefly across glacier.
This is a highlight of Iceland, and definitely worth the drive!
Lastly, take some time to visit Geysir Geothermal Area to see the geysers and pools of water. Strokkur erupts every 5 - 6 minutes and can reach 40m high when it does!
Gesthus Selfoss - ISK 2,500 for the initial site, and ISK 1,500 extra per person.
Note, we stayed at Buubble (South Coast), but they have since stopped offering stays without full day tours being booked with them.
Drive 30 minutes, stopping at Kerid Crater to see the blue water surrounded by red earth walls.
Afterward, drive 1 hour and you have arrived back in Reykjavik already; there is plenty more to do and see here.
Start with a tour by Viking Horses (ISK 19,900 per person), giving you the opportunity to go on a trail ride with the unique and adorable Icelandic horses. The Icelandic horses are a smaller, sturdier breed and have additional gaits compared to horses from other countries. One of which is the Tolt, which famous for being a less bumpy trot, which our guide jokingly told us was due to Vikings not wanting to spill their ale.
These horses are isolated to Iceland and are unable to return to the country if they leave, in addition to Iceland not allowing any other horses to be imported. This allows them to maintain their unique traits and keeps them from getting illnesses due to their lack of genetic diversity.
Viking Horses will pick you up from Reykjavik and take you to their stable, where you will spend 1.5 - 2 hours in the saddle and takes approximately 3.5 - 4 hours overall. They will provide everything you need, and will cater to the capabilities of the riders in the group.
After your horseback ride, visit Svarta Kaffid for dinner for a fresh bread bowl filled with your choice of vegetarian or meat-based soup. Delicious, and affordable for a meal in Iceland! Make sure you arrive early if you don’t want to wait in line.
For your last activity of the day, visit the famous Hallgrimskirkja Church. The outside was designed to resemble the basalt columns you would have experienced on your travels, and the church offers one of the highest views of Reykjavik that you can get. Admission is approximately ISK 1,000 per person.
Reykjavik is also known for its busy nightlife, so consider adding stops at Bryggjan Brugghus, Bastard Brew & Food, and Gaukurinn if you want to get some drinks on the town!
Reykjavik Campsite - ISK 3,200 per person.
Start your day with a drive to Perlan to experience the science centre of Iceland. Inside, they have interactive exhibits that will allow you to learn about the history and geology of Iceland, and even have a manmade glacier tunnel. Entrance costs ISK 4,690 per person.
For breakfast, consider Braud & Co and Reykjavik Roasters (located close beside each other) for cinnamon buns and coffee.
Then, make your way to Kolaportid Flea Market to walk the market and seek out Hakarl (fermented shark), Brennivin (the local brew, also known as Burnt Wine), and Rugbraud (a traditional, dense rye bread baked underground through thermal energy). If you can find and try all three, you get nothing but bragging rights!
If the Hakarl didn't unsettle your stomach, outside you will find the famous Baejarins Beztu Pylsur Hot Dog Stand to try the popular and affordable Icelandic snack.
Your last activity of the day is visiting the Icelandic Phallological Museum to see a surprisingly large assortment of penises and penis memorabilia, as well as learning about the animals they came from.
Consider a carb-only dinner at Reykjavik Chips. They only make one thing: cones of perfectly cooked fries with your choice of sauces (and there are a lot of options).
Reykjavik Campsite - ISK 3,200 per person.
If the Fagradalsfjall volcano is still active, absolutely ensure you add a visit (requiring a 2 - 3 hour hike round trip or a tour via plane / helicopter) to your itinerary. The eruption began early in our trip and we made it on the last morning before our flight, and you will not regret it!
And there you have our 2 week Iceland road trip itinerary! If you are interested in seeing how the trip turned out, make sure to check out our Iceland Diaries, Part 1 and Part 2! If you would prefer to see a snapshot of our trip, check out our Fire and Iceland video!
Total duration: 15 days
Approximate drive time: 60 hours
Click the map below to view our itinerary in Google Maps!