Planning your dream trip and wondering how to plan a 5-day itinerary in Iceland? You are in the right place as here you will find the top places to visit in Iceland, plus all the logistics and tips to plan a perfect trip!
Visiting Iceland for 5 days itinerary can be challenging as there is so much to see and do on the incredible volcanic Island. You could spend 10 days in Iceland or even weeks here, uncovering the many waterfalls, geysers, and hiking routes. Iceland is also home to some incredible adventure activities like glacier walks, ice fishing, or diving between two tectonic plates.
In this 5-day itinerary, Iceland will surprise you with the wealth of unique sights and activities that you can fit into a short week. From a number of the most famous landmarks in Iceland to some of the country’s best-hidden gems, you will be sure to return back home with an abundance of memories. So without any further ado, let us get into the nitty gritty of this 5 day Iceland itinerary.
You will also enjoy:
- How to Plan your Trip to Iceland
- Iceland Trip Costs and Prices Comparison
- Best Glacier Tours in Iceland.
5-Day Itinerary Iceland Overview
You will not be able to do it all, but I assure you, that you are about to embark on 5 days in Iceland that will leave you in awe visiting some of the absolute highlights of the island. Don’t forget to check this guide on how to plan a trip to Iceland.
Some of the excellent guidebooks that helped me to prepare in advance are Rick Steves Iceland and Lonely Planet Iceland. If you are planning to drive to Iceland, I recommend buying an Iceland Map.
Essential Tips for a 5-Day Itinerary in Iceland
Is 5-Day itinerary in Iceland Enough?
If you are wondering if a 5 day itinerary in Iceland is enough, my answer is YES! But, you will will have to come prepared with a well-planned itinerary. While a 5 day trip to Iceland is enough to see some of the main highlights, if you want to explore the country in-depth, I recommend at least 10 days to 2 weeks.
Arriving in Iceland
When reaching Reykjavik you will most likely arrive by air at Keflavik International Airport in Reykjanes peninsula. If you rent a car, you can pick it up directly at the airport, this is also the easiest way to get around Iceland. The airport is a 45-minute drive from Reykjavik.
However, if you choose to use public transport and private tours, you can opt for a hotel with airport pickup or get on the bus no. 55 at the airport. The last stop is Reykjavik city center and from there, you can walk to the hotel or hail a taxi. Alternatively, you can take a taxi directly from the airport.
How Much is a trip to Iceland?
Prices can vary a lot depending on your travel style and budget, check for pricing comparison to help you to visit Iceland, without breaking your bank account.
You can expect to spend an average of $300-$350 a day for 2 people in Iceland in the low season, traveling by car and joining activities during your trip. In high season, these coasts might go up considerably.
|US$ PER DAY FOR 2 PEOPLE|
|RENTAL CAR + GAS||$65|
|AVERAGE PRICE PER DAY||$345|
What is the best way to explore Iceland in 5-Days?
The best way to explore Iceland in 5 days is by renting a car. This gives you a lot of flexibility to see the country and to get off the beaten path.
Alternatively, there are many great tours that offer jam-packed adventures of the top highlights. There are both private tours, that give you a unique experience, and group tours that are generally more budget-friendly.
Best Tours in Iceland in 5-days:
This is the best 5 day tour in Iceland if you are looking to visit some of the off-the-beaten path. With this tour you will visit many of the best-known tourist places in Iceland, but you will also stop at places which are our best-kept secrets, where you can avoid the crowds and discover places in Iceland to call your own. We help you create a personal and enjoyable experience, such the incredible lake Myvatn area and go on a boat tour to see whales.
This is a small group and popular tour with excellent reviews, taking you to a 5-day adventure from Reykjavik to less rushed experience of both regions. Take your time to fully experience the highlights of the Golden Circle, otherworldly landscapes of Snaefellsnes, and magical glaciers, volcanoes, and waterfalls without the hassle of driving or booking accommodation.
If you only have 5 days itinerary in Iceland and dream about catching the Northern Lights, this is the tour for you! This itinerary includes time in Southwest Iceland, known for glaciers, snow-clad mountains, giant lava fields, steaming hot springs, and waterfalls. You will enjoy the famous Blue Lagoon, and head for two nights to South Iceland, where you might be able to spot the Northern Lights. During the tour, you can also book an optional glacier hike.
When is the best time to visit Iceland?
The best time to visit Iceland depends on your preferences. The summer months offer warmer temperatures and a romantic midnight sun.
July and August are the best months for hiking as all trails are open, while the winter months offer cold temperatures which might be a small sacrifice to witness the Aurora Borealis.
Usually, the shoulder seasons are slightly more budget-friendly and you will still get to explore a lot of Iceland.
5-Day Itinerary Iceland: South Iceland
DAY 1: Enjoy Reykjavík
- STAY: Spend 2-nights in Reykjavik
- BEST TOUR: Landmannalaugar Hiking Tour – Highlands of Iceland is an incredible full day tour from Reykjavik, where you will explore one of the best hikes in Iceland and catch breath-taking views.
On day one of this 5 days Iceland itinerary, you will be exploring the quaint capital city, Reykjavik. The city is small and walkable, so you do not need to use a car or public transport to get around. Basically, you will not walk for more than 10-15 minutes between attractions.
I suggest starting your day with a leisurely stroll along the waterfront to get a few pictures of the iconic Sun Voyager sculpture. It resembles a Viking ship and represents hope and freedom. It is particularly beautiful at sunrise when the golden light reflects on this Iceland famous landmark.
You also had the option to take the hop-on-hop-off tour bus and you can easily visit the main site in Reykjavik.
Next, head to Hallgrímskirkja, the most prominent attraction in Reykjavik and the city’s tallest building at 74.5 meters (244 feet.) It usually opens at 10 AM, but you can check updated opening hours on the church’s official site.
From Hallgrímskirkja, you can stroll through Reykjavik’s old town, which holds a surprisingly energetic vibe for being such a small city. Make sure you take a picture of the recently painted Rainbow Street with Hallgrímskirkja as a backdrop.
Reykjavik is also known as an artistic hotspot, and creative street art throughout the city is great evidence. Especially around Grettisgata and Laugavegur.
There are also a lot of shops to get hold of souvenirs and restaurants and cafés to sit down and grab a coffee or a bite to eat before strolling around Reykjavik Pond where you can feed the ducks.
You can spend your afternoon soaking for a few hours in the Blue Lagoon, not only is it Iceland’s most famous geothermal spa, but it’s arguably the most beautiful, with its vibrant blue waters set against the backdrop of dark volcanic rock.
Another option is to visit some of the awesome museums in Reykjavik to learn more about this incredible country. I recommend visiting the Saga Museum which is dedicated to Icelandic history. It features real-size wax figures and you can enjoy an interactive learning experience with an audio guide. As an addition to your vacation photos, dress up as a real Viking and take a photo shoot.
If you are looking for something more quirky, or possibly the most bizarre you will ever experience, visit the Icelandic Phallological Museum where you can observe a collection of male genitals from a number of animal species.
With one day in Reykjavik, I also recommend visiting the Perlan Science Museum, which is largely the most popular attraction in Reykjavik. This large glass dome is home to some of the most impressive exhibitions in the country.
Scientists and artists have put their skills together and recreated Iceland’s natural wonders and you can experience volcanoes, glaciers, the northern lights, and the immense underwater world. Remember to climb to the top for epic 360 views before you leave! They do get busy at Perlan Science Museum, so I recommend booking your tickets in advance.
For dinner, I recommend heading to the old town. Reykjavik is also known for its music scene, so you might want to look for a local joint with local artists performing for a couple of drinks in the evening.
Best accommodation in Reykjavik:
- BUDGET | 201 Hotel is a great hotel in Reykjavik with free parking, a fitness center, free Wi-Fi, and an on-site bar.
- MID-RANGE | Reykjavik Residence Apartment comfortable apartments with a kitchen in the heart of Reykjavik. They have both parking and a free airport shuttle. The apartment hotel also has a bar on site.
- BEST RATED | Freyja Guesthouse & Suites homely rooms in walking distance of Reykjavik’s top attractions. There is parking, free Wi-Fi, and a nice outdoor area.
DAY 2: Explore the Golden Circle
- STAY: Option to send the second night in Reykjavik or head to Vik
- BEST TOUR: Private Golden Circle Tour from Reykjavik to discover the best of Golden Circle on a private day-tour
The Golden Circle is a drive of around 3.5 hours, covering around 140 miles (230 kilometers). It takes you through a set of amazing sites and has turned into one of the most popular day trips from Reykjavik. Any 5-day Iceland itinerary would not be complete without exploring it.
Of course, you will not be driving the whole time, so with stops at the top sites, you can gladly spend 7-10 hours on the road – it is all up to you how long you want to spend in each place.
If you do not have a rental car, there are also tours from Reykjavik to the Golden Circle. Here are the must-see highlights of the Golden Circle, driving clockwise.
- Thingvellir National Park
- Geysir Geothermal Area
- Gullfoss Waterfall
- Kerid Crater
PRO-TIP: You have to be prepared for different weather conditions and be flexible with your itinerary in Iceland. I tried to visit some sights and after getting out of the car for a few minutes, I was soaked in the rain. The beauty of a day like this is that it will force you to find alternatives, and sometimes you can find some hidden gems. I stopped for lunch at the Fludasveppir Farmers Bistro and this is the only farm that grows mushrooms in Iceland.
Thingvellir National Park is the only UNESCO World Heritage Site listed site in mainland Iceland. It is also where the first parliament of Iceland was founded in 930 AD. But most of all, it is an impressive natural attraction with waterfalls to explore like the Oxarafoss waterfall.
It is also where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates are slowly splitting, making it a popular spot for diving and snorkeling in the crystal-clear (and freezing cold) glacier water. The Silfra Fissure lies in a valley where the tectonic plates of North America and Europe drift further apart every year.
I recommend booking the tour in advance to guarantee your spot, as this activity is very popular. You can either go on Snorkeling Tour with Underwater photos or you can choose to go Diving in the Silfra. But it is also possible to see the tectonic places above the earth’s crust which makes it a unique place to go for a walk.
Next, make a stop to experience the grand geysers of Iceland. It is such a magical experience to see how a hole in the ground spits up boiling hot water up to 100 feet in the air.
Further, the most famous waterfall along the Golden circle is worth a stop, Gullfoss Waterfall which is one of the most popular places to see during any Iceland 5 day tour.
The final stop you should make is the Kerið Crate Lake, once a single-coned volcano. Now, it is a great place to walk to the bottom in only a few minutes to see it from inside to capture amazing views of this site that is considered and one of the most amazing landmarks to visit in Iceland. After your last visit of the day, it is time to make your way back to Reykjavik, which is only a 20 minutes drive.
DAY 3: See the Scenic South of Iceland
- STAY: Spend the night in Vik
- DISTANCE: Distance from Vik to Skaftafell 87 miles (140 km) / 2-hours
On day 3 of your 5 days in Iceland itinerary, you will be heading to the southern part of the island. I stayed in a cute little village called Vik which is a great place to base yourself when exploring the area.
Driving from Reykjavik to Vik takes about 2.5 hours, so I suggest having a big breakfast and grabbing some snacks from a supermarket for the road. After checking in at your accommodation, you can spend some time walking around the village and finding a place for lunch.
In the afternoon, take the 45-minute drive to the green lava fields which are truly unique. The rough lava fields are covered in a soft blanket of moss which makes them extremely pretty. Make sure you do not walk on them; it takes 200 years for the moss to grow on this hostile ground!
Visit the famous Vík ï Mýrdar Church on top of the hill and the local cemetery, they have awesome views from there and make stunning pictures, like the one below. Another interesting thing to see while visiting Vik is the Mýrdalsjökull Glacier, just north of Vík, which stands at 1,493 m (4,898 ft.) in height and covers the upper part of Katla, an active volcano that has a history of erupting every 40 – 80 years.
Best accommodation in Vik:
- BUDGET | Guest House Carina – Cozy, bright, and with great views of bedrooms, with free WiFi and breakfast served daily.
- MID-RANGE | Sólheimahjáleiga Guesthouse – This farm property offers a communal kitchen, lounge, and terrace. Public area Wi-Fi. Vík town center is within 20 minutes drive, while Skógarfoss Waterfall is even closer. Breakfast is served daily.
- BEST RATED | Black Beach Suites – With an ocean view, all units offer a dining area and terrace. Fantastic rooms and well equipped.
DAY 4: Visit Waterfalls and the Black Beach
- STAY: Option to stay in Vik again, or head to Skaftafell
- DISTANCE: from Vik to Skaftafell is 203 mi (327 km) / 4:45 hours
Continue your Iceland in 5 days itinerary in Vik, and head to Black Sand Beach, one of the most picturesque beaches in southern Iceland with dramatic black rocks towering out of the furious water striking them with its ferocious Atlantic waves.
The dramatic beach has been used as a filming location for numerous movies like Game of Thrones and Star Wars and it is not hard to tell why. But you should not underestimate its fury. The swell is fatal, so make sure you never turn your back to the water as sudden waves might pull you out.
After exploring Black Beach, it is time to uncover the mesmerizing waterfalls of the south. There are various, but here are my top recommendations which will be well worth adding to your 5-day Iceland tour.
First of all, Skogafoss Waterfall and Seljalandsfoss Waterfall, both of them about 60 meters tall, are among the most famous waterfalls and some of the most important sites in Iceland and are definitely worth seeing. Besides these two, Gljufrafoss Waterfall is also worth it and it is fairly close to Seljalandsfoss.
DAY 5: Adventure day at Glacier Hikes and Icebergs
- BEST TOUR: Skaftafell Adventure Tour – 5-Hour Expedition
- DISTANCE: from Vik to Reykjavik is 203 mi (327 km) / 4:45 hours
To spice up this 5-day Iceland itinerary, an unforgettable activity is to spend a day at the glaciers. I did an Ice climbing and glacier walk tour in Skaftafell which was the best thing I did in Iceland.
Note that you must go on a guided tour with a professional guide and gear. It can be extremely dangerous to venture out on the ice on your own as it is tremendously slippery and you risk sliding into crevasses. Please, hire a professional guide to go on the ice climbing.
There are many tours to choose from, but I highly recommend that you book it in advance so that you do not miss out on an experience of a lifetime.
If you have limited mobility or for any other reason cannot or do not want to go on a glacier hike, I recommend seeing the glaciers as they are incredible.
You can also head to Svartifoss waterfall which is famed for its black basalt columns. Besides, Vatnajokull National Park has great hiking opportunities without the risk of sliding, thus a perfect alternative.
After spending the morning on your biggest adventure in Iceland, it is time to head back to Reykjavik to catch your flight back home.
What to pack for 5-Days in Iceland
When planning an Iceland Trip remember the packing rules number one: LAYERS!!!
In Iceland you can have pretty much all the seasons on the same day: a big variation of a sunny day, rain, snow, and heavy winds, and then it will be sunny again.
The first thing is to check the weather of the season you are going to Iceland and pack accordingly. Here is a list of some essentials to pack:
- Rainproof/windproof jacket
- Rain pants
- Lightweight wool sweater
- Warm pants (leggings or hiking pants that you can layer)
- Fleece jacket and pants (for layers)
- Merino pants and long sleeve (for layers)
- The combo: Gloves, Scarves & Hat
- Warm socks
- Waterproof hiking boots
- Swimsuit and quick-dry towel (for visiting pools and hot springs – towels and swimsuits are available for rent at swimming facilities)
- Sunblock (yes, I got a sunburn in Iceland)
- Chargers – computer, camera, cell phone…
- Invest in a DC 12V to AC 110V car power inverter. They are not expensive and make a world of difference when driving. Charge your phone, camera, drone, laptop, tablet, etc. while on the road.
If you are doing activities such as horse riding or ice climbing, they provide all the gear so, no need to pack it with you.
5-Day Itinerary Iceland Conclusion
As you can tell, there are a whole lot of exciting things you can pack into a 5 day Iceland itinerary and this itinerary covers some of the absolute best attractions for a short week. I have no doubts that you will come back from your Iceland 5 day trip wishing to go back and explore more of the land of ice and fire.
If you feel that it is too packed, feel free to spend more time doing the things that attract you the most and spend longer in one area than in another. After all, you are the one that should enjoy your vacation and know best. That said, you have a great base for an itinerary covering unforgettable attractions and sites.
Here is some further information I think you might need in order to plan your trip to Iceland:
- The Ultimate 10-days Ring Road Itinerary in Iceland
- Travel Planning – How to Plan your Trip in 10 Easy Steps
- Iceland Trip Planner – Everything You Need to Know to Plan your trip to Iceland
- 25 Top Landmarks in Iceland
- Top 10 Hidden Gems in Iceland
- Iceland Costs + Save Money in Iceland.
- Glacier hike in Iceland
- Top 12 Glacier Tours in Iceland
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