As I mentioned on my Iceland travel blog here, I went to Iceland with my family for 6 days and planned out the whole itinerary myself through much research. This is the ideal Iceland itinerary for getting in as much as possible in a short time while seeing the top attractions. 6 Days in Iceland is the perfect amount of time. The South Iceland coast has some of the best, most stunning attractions, is easy to do with little time, and has many locations for Northern Lights spotting! Keep reading for an ideal 6 Day Iceland Itinerary around the South Coast.
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TIPS For my 6 Day Iceland Itinerary:
- Make sure to check my Iceland packing gear guide on my Iceland travel blog before you go so you are prepared!
- For all of my travel/packing essentials I bring on any trip compiled together, head to my influencer page on Amazon here for a complete list or my descriptive carry-on packing guide here!
- Renting a car on your own is essential for this dDay Iceland itinerary.
- There is one highway that spans the entire perimeter of Iceland called the Ring Road. This is Route 1 and what you will be staying on at all times for this Iceland itinerary!
- Stop at the rest stops/gas stations on the Ring Road for cheap snacks and good lunch!
- Stop along the way to pet the gorgeous wild horses; they are friendly horses, you can just walk up to them and pet them.
Day 1: Arrive early morning –> Blue Lagoon –> South Coast
Most flights land in Iceland in the early morning (6 AM) from America to give you a full day. If for some reason you are meeting someone there who already rented a car, then you can take the Grayline Bus directly to the Blue Lagoon from the airport, but if not, then drive here straight from the airport after picking up your rental car.
The Blue Lagoon is close to the airport and not near anything else so it is a perfect first destination when entering Iceland or last destination before leaving.
1. BLUE LAGOON
The Blue Lagoon is a must-do and the top thing to do in Iceland! The natural springs are rejuvenating and gorgeous. The water is clear blue and it really is awesome. We were there while it was hailing and 40 degrees and it was still amazing to be outside in the water during it. The face masks are also phenomenal. Book your tickets for the Blue Lagoon here.
- 15 minute drive from airport
- You must make a reservation far in advance and do the VIP package. These packages book quick.
- Stay here for 3-4 hours. Each lunch at LAVA Restaurant – it is one of the best in the country.
- They give you a waterproof wristband that links to your Credit Card to purchase drinks while you’re in the water so you won’t have to worry about bringing cash (yes there is a bar in the water 🙂 )
Then you will start your drive down the Iceland South Coast (Route 1 – Ring Road).
- ~2 hour drive to Seljalandsfoss Waterfall: These falls are gorgeous AND you can walk behind them for some amazing views and pictures. Around 1 hour stay here. Make sure you wear rain boots and a rain jacket as it’s misty and muddy. This is a must stop and one of the most popular Iceland attractions.
- From Seljalandsfoss, walk to the hidden Gljufrabui Waterfall. It is a 4 minute walk to the left on the path. This was definitely a highlight for a few reasons, but mostly because there are 1/4 amount of tourists compared to Seljalandsfoss so it was serene, hidden and solo (also very muddy and wet and you are walking through a light stream of water and rocks). Wear raincoats because you get up close and personal in the small waterfall.
- 30 minute drive further East on the Ring Road to Skogafoss Waterfall. Another top thing to do in Iceland on the South Coast. It is a massive stunning waterfall and you can walk the staircase to the top (2 hour stay) or just look from the bottom (30 minute stay). There is a very good chance of seeing rainbows here, too!
- Continue the drive and stay overnight in Vik or Kirkjubaejarklauster (Klauster) town.
- We stayed in Klauster so that the drive on day 2 would be less, but Vik has more hotel/food options. If choosing Vik, stay at the IcelandAir Vik (book here), which is super nice and recommended.
- We stayed at Hotel Laki (book here) in Klauster which was basic and remote but good.
- #1 restaurant in Klauster: Systrakaffi at Klausturvegi 13. A good cafe with pizza and burgers. Ate here both nights we stayed here. It was a very good restaurant (at least for Iceland’s standard).
Day 2: Driving Further East Down the South Coast of Iceland
- Drive 50 minutes from hotel (1.5 hours from Vik) to Skaftafell National Park.
- Skaftafell is part of Vatnajokull National Park – the largest glacier in all of Europe!
- Here you can either do a Glacier Hike (Skaftafellsjokull Glacier) or Waterfall hike (Svartafoss Waterfall). Probably can’t do both due to time constraints.
- We opted for the Glacier Wonders hike through Glacier Guides.
- It was around 4 hours and was really informational and cool! The guide was great. It wasn’t as awesome as our second glacier hike the next day (see more below), but it is the largest glacier in Europe so it is pretty awesome to say you hiked it.
- Drive another 40 minutes East to Jokulsarlon Glacier Ice Lagoon and do a boat tour. This was the absolute highlight of my Iceland trip and one of the COOLEST places I have ever been. It was mind-blowing and the pictures don’t do these icebergs justice at all. It is considered the most beautiful place in Iceland.
- You can opt for the Amphibian Boat Tour (a big group boat that starts on the ground then drives into the water) or the Zodiac Boat Tour (a small personal boat for 6 people)
- Jokulsarlon Tickets here: There is no fixed schedule for the Amphibian boat tour you just show up and get the time for your excursion. Note that the last amphibian boat tour departs about one hour before closing time. CLOSES AT 5 PM. Zodiac Tour you have to book in advance!
- Drive 1.5 hour back to Kirkjubaejarklauster (or Vik – 2 hours)
- Stay over at Hotel Laki again.
- Make sure to look up for the Northern Lights!
Day 3: Driving back West towards Hella, Iceland
- Drive an hour back west on the Ring Road (10 minutes if staying in Vik) to the Black Sand Beach in Vik (Reynisfjara). Really cool beach with black sand (duh) that has basalt columns, caves and sea stacks. Don’t go close to water (there is a strong tide). Walk around here for a bit to see the famous Reynisdrangur rock formations. Need 10-15 minutes here.
- Drive another 20 minutes to Dyrhólaey, a peninsula with a cliff with amazing views on the water. This is a great puffin and other sea birds viewing location (in the right season – spring/summer). It is a long windy road up a steep hill to get there. You are going to think you’re going the wrong way because it’s barely a road and there are few signs but this is correct – don’t turn around, your big rental car can handle it.
- Drive another 20 minutes and then stop on Route 1 where all the cars are for the Solheimasandur Plane Wreck. You have to walk about an hour on the sand to find it after parking on the road. It is RIGHT before you turn right to go to the next glacier tour. We didn’t make it here because we were rushed for timing to get to our glacier hike but I highly recommend if you can squeeze it.
- Drive 2 minutes more and make a right on Road #221 and drive about 4 Km to get to Solheimajokull Glacier Hike by Arcanum Glacier Tours. They pick up at the Arcanum booking center, which has a cute cafe with good food. There are lots of signs here but in your GPS I suggest putting in Arcanum Glacier Tours.
- Tours here. Meeting point at Arcanum jöklakaffi. 2-3 hour hike.
- This glacier hike was amazing and exceeded our expectations after our other one the day before. I definitely suggest this one as you get to do different activities and see different aspects of the glacier (and hike further up) than the first one. The water is so clean on the glaciers that they encourage you to drink it! Definitely another top thing to do in Iceland.
- Drive another 50 minutes west to Hotel Ranga for the night.
- Ranga is the top hotel in Iceland and only 4 star hotel in South Iceland. The hotel is amazing and the restaurant is fantastic. Best restaurant in Iceland by a landslide.
- This hotel was MADE for Northern Lights searching, there is an astrologist on site and stargazing center with amazing telescopes and stories about the sky. Hotel Ranga is an absolute must when visiting Iceland – book here!
- There are also Northern Lights wakeup calls at Ranga incase they come out in the middle of the night 🙂
Day 4: Iceland Golden Circle Day
1. KERID CRATER
- 45 minute drive from Hotel Ranga. Really cool crater to look at. You can walk to the bottom but we just took pictures from the top since we had a packed day.
- 30 minute drive. This is a magical very hidden waterfall, have to walk in the woods to get to. This is an absolute MUST do and by far the best place I saw in the entire country. Follow my directions specifically so you can find this hidden treasure.
- Directions: Take Road 35 from Gullfoss, turns into Route 37 AKA Laugarvatnvugr stay on that for 8 km, then will reach a large summer house area on the right side (Brekkuskogur). Take the first road into this area and drive straight ahead. Just follow this way until you reach a bigger path with two tracks. Keep left there to stay on Brekkuskogur when you reach the end of this road and stay left. When you see the #12 parking spot, turn left for a few meters then park in the little dirt alcove on the right (so small, only fits about 2 cars) and then start walking on the path on the left there and follow it down to the right. It’s about a 10 minute walk through the muddy woods but it’s easy. Just listen for the falls and you will find them!
- The Gulfoss Waterfall is one of the 3 destinations on the Iceland Golden Circle and top attractions. It is a massive, stunning waterfall that you can hike around. The cafe here also has great food (and warmth!).
- This is also where you get picked up for the main Snowmobiling Tour company that I highly suggest (see below).
- A must-do top Iceland activity! You can book the Snowmobiling Tour online and must book in advance. 3-4 hour tour. 1230 PM departures daily.
- Obviously it is an investment but it is so worth it in my opinion. This tour is one of the top in Iceland (Beyonce used this company so you know it’s good!).
- 10 minute drive from Gulfoss. This is another one of the 3 destinations on the Golden Circle that is a must hit. It is very touristy but cool! The Strokkur Geyser erupts every 5-10 minutes and produces a gorgeous bright blue circle right before erupting.
- 45 min drive to Thingviller National Park, where the first Icelandic, and longest, parliament was and also where the two tectonic plates separate Europe and North America. This is the last of 3 destinations on the Golden Circle. It is a nice park to walk around in and see the plates divide. Usually need only 30 minutes – hour here. You can also go scubadiving here, which is a popular Iceland summer activity between the tectonic plates.
- Then 35 minute drive back to Reykjavik where you will stay for 1 more night, see my Reykjavik travel guide for Reykjavik hotel recommendations.
- Other stops on the Golden Circle route if you have time/don’t do snowmobiling: Faxi Waterfall (another pretty waterfall) & Fridheimer Farm (a famous greenhouse/farm serving lunch known for their tomato soup).
Day 5: Reykjavik & Helicopter Tour
See my Reykjavik specific travel guide here for the best helicopter tours and what to do/where to stay in Reykjavik!
Day 6: 1/2 Day Reykjavik & Leave
See my Reykjavik specific travel guide here for what to do in Reykjavik.
Most flights out of Iceland back to America are in the early afternoon so you have the morning to explore and then that’s the end of the 6 Day Iceland Itinerary!
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