Iceland is one of the top destinations for tourists and travelers. Other country’s winter hotspots are nothing compared to the Nordic icy views. Which is why people don their ski jackets and layers of clothing to endure the cold just to see the terrains of Iceland.
This country is famous for being a perfect destination for road trips. So if you’re planning to visit Iceland regardless of their season, you can’t miss out on going on a road trip.
But driving on another country takes so much research and planning so we did that bit for you.
Five days are perfect for an Iceland road trip so you can visit the best cultural highlights, national parks, waterfalls, glaciers, and other things that Iceland can offer.
Before you get started…
Before we get started on your Iceland road trip, there are a couple of things that you should know first. One of them is whether you should drive on your own or take a group tour.
This decision really depends on your budget, comfortability in driving, how much you want to do the planning, and your travel style.
If you want your freedom and flexibility, definitely opt for a do-it-yourself road trip especially if you’re in a group so you can spend less.
But if you’re alone and not comfortable driving by yourself, then participating in a group tour is the best way to go.
Even on a group tour, some companies give you some sort of leeway to come up with your itinerary. If you’re doing your own driving, then you have to do proper planning when it comes to your itinerary.
Don’t know where to start? Here is a sample itinerary for a five-day Iceland road trip:
Day 1: Grindavik
- Arrival at Keflavik International Airport
- Relax at the world-famous Blue Lagoon
- Join a mountain biking tour
Most of Iceland’s international flights will land at Keflavik International Airport. If you’re driving, you can already pick up your rented car there. But, for this itinerary, getting your car on your first day is not that necessary.
You can schedule your car pick up on your second day at Iceland so you can save one day of the rental fee.
For the first day here at Iceland, rejuvenate yourself by spending a day at the world-famous Blue Lagoon.
This place is a great start to kick off your Iceland trip and it’s actually near Keflavik Airport! It’s only less than 20 minutes away so taking their public transportation is fine.
At Blue Lagoon, you’ll see exactly why this place draws visitors from around the world.
During winter, a trip to this lagoon is eerie and wonderful — with the wisps of heat from the milky water combined with white dots of snow falling from the dark sky.
The water is not that deep, it’s less than five feet and the bottom is covered in white silica mud. So when you’re there, don’t be shy to scoop up some mud and apply it to your face!
It’s a great organic mud pack that tops off your hot lagoon experience. You can also take a peek at their gift shop where they sell varieties of skincare products.
After a lovely bath, why not take this time to explore more of Grindavik with an ATV Quad or a mountain bike tour? You can go around the Volcano Garden Reykjnes Geopark to see volcanic craters and lava fields.
Day 2: Day one at Húsafell
- Head to Húsafell
- See the lava field waterfalls at Hraunfossar
- Explore the lava cave of Viðgelmir
Your second day at Iceland is when you’ll officially start your road trip. So pick up your rental car if you haven’t and get ready to head on to Húsafell.
The drive from Grindavik to Húsafell takes around two and a half hours depending on driving and traffic conditions. On the way, you’ll get to see amazing sceneries that Iceland has to offer so don’t be shy to pull over (if you’re not on a major highway!) and take a couple of pictures.
Iceland is really a scenic drive wherever you are in the country so expect that you’ll be entertained and amazed by the beauty of their nature.
Upon arrival at Húsafell, you’ll be greeted with miles of lava fields, icy glaciers, and mountains. Check in to your hotel, rest up for a bit, then get ready to start exploring the town.
For your first destination, take the chance to explore Hraunfossar. Hraunfossar is a series of waterfalls streaming over 900 meters out of a lava field. This place is great to visit all-year-round and you’ll always see a lot of rainbows near the falls during sunny or rainy days. You can spend the afternoon here on a picnic or enjoy the cool water.
While you’re here, get a tour at the Viðgelmir lava cave, the largest lava cave in Iceland. Unlike many other caves where it’s dark, tight, and might need a bit of skill to explore, Viðgelmir is beginner-friendly and it even takes it easy on those people who might be a tad claustrophobic.
The only tight space you’ll encounter is a short tunnel after descending into the cave. Then, the cave opens into a wide space with hundreds of icicles that sparkle when the light hits them.
There are access walkways so there’s no need for you to maneuver around the rocks. Lights are strategically put so the colors of the wall become rainbow-like. A true beauty to witness!
Day 3: Day two at Húsafell
- Tour at Glacier Langjokull
- Northern Lights sighting
- Drive back to Reykjavik
You won’t regret spending another day at Húsafell as you continue to explore the beauty of Iceland in this small town. First, on your agenda is a getting a tour at the man-made Glacier Langjokull, the second-largest glacier in Iceland.
Depending on your tour, you’ll be picked up at your lodging in Húsafell. Then, you’ll join a guided tour in the ice tunnel of Langjokull which is 40 meters down the glacier. The ice tunnel is long and features an all-ice surrounding.
Take this opportunity to have a mini photoshoot, ice, and light is a perfect combination!
Your tour will also include a monster truck ride up the glacier. By monster truck, we’re not talking about your typical 4×4 vehicle. You’ll ride a gigantic truck where you’re as easily as tall as its wheels. You’ll explore more of the Glacier Langjokull and see different glacier ice formations.
The tour will easily take up most of your morning and early afternoon. You can spend the rest of the afternoon exploring the little shops around the city and trying some of their food.
If you’re visiting during the winter season, spend the night outside for a bit of Northern Lights sightings.
Witnessing the aurora borealis is a bucket-lister for many and lucky for you, Húsafell is a perfect place to catch them. This town is away from all the light pollution and home to the Northern Lights Institute. On average, this town experiences a minimum of three sightings per week in winter.
After resting, get ready for some night road trip (if you can) back to Reykjavik to start the ever-famous Golden Circle route.
Day 4-5: Golden Circle
- Thingvellir National Park
- Strokkur Geysir
- Gullfoss Waterfall
- Departure at Keflavik International Airport
The Golden Circle trip is one of the top agendas for many of the tourists who want to embark on an Icelandic road trip. This trip is totally DIY and it’s up to you on how you will pace it. Generally, two days are enough for you to enjoy each of the
Start your Golden Circle road trip with the Thingvellir National Park, about 40 kilometers away from Reykjavik. The entrance is free of charge, but you need to pay for the parking fee.
This park is the only UNESCO World Heritage Site on the Icelandic mainland and definitely one of the top tourist destinations in the country. Here at Thingvellir, you’ll learn all about Iceland’s history and geology.
Did you know that the ravines at this park came from the meltwater of Langjokull glacier? The waters at this park are pristinely clear, which is why it’s also a great location for scuba diving!
You can’t leave Iceland without visiting the famous Strokkur Geysir. Located in the geothermal pools of Haukadalur Valley, this geyser erupts every ten minutes, shooting boiling water over 70 meters up in the air! Take a walk around the area to see other small geysers erupt. Just be careful of any splashes!
There’s no better way to end your Iceland trip than to see Iceland’s most popular waterfall, Gullfoss Waterfall. Just a short drive from Strokkur Geysir, this 32-meter waterfall is a beast and a beauty to behold.
You can easily spend two to three hours exploring the waterfalls on the selection of wooden paths. They offer great views of the thundering water and the large gorges that surround the falls until the valley below.
In Icelandic road trip is definitely one of the things that you should do at least one in your life. It’s certainly different from other tourist spots in other countries but the unparalleled beauty of Iceland will make all your efforts in planning and exhaustion from driving absolutely worth it.