Thanks to Icelandair, it’s easy (and free) to schedule a short stopover in Iceland on your way between Europe and North America. Being more than a little partial to Iceland, I’d of course recommend that you stay as long as you possibly can, but if you only have a few days, you can still experience enough of this beautiful country to be enticed to start planning a return trip immediately. If you only have three days in Iceland, here is what I recommend you do.
Day 1 – Reykjavik
Start with the Day 1 itinerary for two days in Iceland. This is your day to relax in the Blue Lagoon, explore the city center, see the harbor, visit some of Reykjavik’s best museums, do a little shopping, and a sample some of the Icelandic cuisine. Hit the town for the runtur at night, just don’t overdo it, because you have a big day ahead tomorrow.
Day 2 – Southwest Iceland
Now that you’ve seen the city, it’s time to get out and see some of Iceland’s natural wonders. If you have a car, you can easily drive yourself around the Golden Circle, which is the name for three of Iceland’s main tourist attractions. Geysir is a series of geysirs that shoot water into the air; Gulfoss is a thundering waterfall; and Thingvellir is a National Park, site of the first Parliament, and the site where two tectonic plates are shifting and forming a rift in the earth. If you drive yourself, you can also make a stop to go ride an Icelandic horse, or if you take a tour, you can often combine the sites with other activities like snowmobiling and ATV tours.And because of the proximity of Reykjavik to these activities, you can still stay in town if you like.
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Day 3 – And beyond
With a third day, you could do any of the outdoor activities you missed out on the day before – snorkeling in the rift at Thingvellir, glacier walking, volcano viewing, cave exploring, dogsledding, river rafting or whale-watching 0 or you could plan another day trip, either on your own or with an organized tour. And if your flight doesn’t leave until later in the afternoon on the next day, you can venture even further away from Reykjavik. You could also opt for an overnight in another part of the country and spend your final day getting back to Keflavik.
When it comes to day or overnight trips further from Reykjavik, you have plenty of options. About three hours north of Reykjavik likes the Snaefellsnes Peninsula in West Iceland. With an abundance of wildlife like puffins and whale, a rich saga history, and activities like glacier walking, hiking and horsebackriding, you could certainly spend a few days here. But, even a day will give you another glimpse at life in Iceland and expose you to a new part of the country.
To the east of Reykjavik, you can head to Vik in South Iceland. Walk along the black sand beaches, explore Viking history, visit Vatnajokull National Park or see the troublesome Eyjafjalljokull volcano, or hike the Landmannalaaugar Valley. From this region you can also take a ferry to the Westman Islands.
If you don’t want to rent a car or spend long hours driving when you could be sightseeing, take a day tour with Air Iceland. They’ll fly you from Reykjavik to Isafjordur in the Westfjords, the Westman Islands, or Akureyri in the north.