Don’t let Iceland’s size on a map fool you. This country may be small, but it still deserves as much time as any other. There is simply so much to see and do here that you could spend weeks exploring. But, if your options are just a few days in Iceland or none at all, you can see and experience a lot on a short time-table. If you only have fout days in Iceland, try one of these recommended plans.
All Reykjavik, all the time
You may be surprised by how much you can see and do in Iceland without ever straying too far from Reykjavik. If you don’t want to rent a car, or are coming in winter when driving on snowy roads in the dark can be daunting, this is a good way to see a lot with less stress and expense.
Days 1 and 2
Follow the Day 1 itinerary for two days in Iceland, but rather than picking just one or two museums to visit due to time constraints, opt for three or four. Take your time visiting Reykjavik’s other attractions, like the zoo, botanical gardens, and Hallgrímskirkja Church, spend hours in a cafe people-watching. Relax and soak it all in. And speaking of soak…if you didn’t get enough of Iceland’s obsession with hot springs at the Blue Lagoon, check out one of the thermal swimming pools in Reykjavik.
Day 3 and 4
Now’s your chance to explore Reykjavik’s surroundings with some day trips. Visit the Golden Circle attractions of Geysir, Gulfoss and Thingvellir. Drive along the coast and stop to walk along the black sand beaches or to make friends with curious Icelandic horses. With multiple stops (or on a tour) the trip will take pretty much the whole day.
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For day two, plan an active way to see Iceland. Explore its lava-formed caves, walk on one of its many glaciers, ride ATVs or snowmobiles over the land, go horseback riding, white-water rafting, or snorkel in the rift at Thingvellir. Most tour companies will offer the option to combine one or two tours, so you can get the most for your money and see and do more in your short time.
Half and half
If you don’t want to spend all your time in Reykjavik, plan to split your days evenly between Reykjavik and another location in Iceland.
Days 1 and 2
Follow the Day 1 itinerary for two days in Iceland. Spend your first day soaking in the Blue Lagoon and then exploring the city of Reykjavik. For the second day, choose a day trip from Reykjavik.
Days 3 and 4
AirIceland’s affordable and frequent domestic air service makes it easy to hop to another part of the country for just two days (or even a single day). Though you could also drive to many of these locations in a half-day, with such a short time, you are better off flying to one area then exploring the surroundings.
Go to Isafjordur in the Westfjords, rent a car and drive around and explore the rugged beauty of this sparsely populated area, including the puffin cliffs at Latrabjarg, take the ferry to Flatey island, or spend a day hiking in the uninhabited area of Hornstrandir. Fly north to Akureyri, where you can see majestic Lake Myvatn, hike to the Askja caldera, go whale-watching in Husavik, see the raw power of Europe’s largest waterfall at Godafoss or hop a ferry across the Arctic Circle to Grimsey.