It would take a lifetime to experience everything that Iceland has to offer. But you don’t have to do absolutely everything while you’re here!
If you want to get the most out of a trip to Iceland, we recommend that you stay for at least a week. But if you can possibly stretch it, two weeks would be even better! This will give you enough time to explore some of the spectacular natural attractions without spending all day behind the wheel of your rental car.
Of course, not everyone can get away with that much time on vacation. So if you can only visit Iceland for a few days, don’t despair! This article will help you plan an exciting trip to Iceland no matter how long you have available. The key is not to overstretch your itinerary, so you have a chance to enjoy your stay.
If you’re only visiting Iceland for a few days, we recommend staying around Reykjavik and the South Coast.
As tempting as it might be to try and fit in the whole ring road during your stay, it’s just not realistic. Although the Ring Road is only around 12-13 hours of actual driving time in summer conditions, there are so many spectacular waterfalls, black sand beaches, glaciers, and volcanoes to enjoy along the way.
It would be a shame to spend the whole time driving instead of experiencing Iceland’s natural beauty!
We would advise you to visit fewer attractions for a longer time, rather than driving at break-neck speed around the country.
A three-day/four-night self-drive tour around the South has plenty to offer. You can look forward to:
- Reykjanes peninsula
- The unforgettable Golden Circle
- Waterfalls and black sand beaches of the South coast
- A visit to the glacier lagoon.
- A night out in Reykjavik
You can also go on a wildlife-watching trip right from Reykjavik harbor, but you would have a better chance of seeing whales and puffins a bit further afield, so nature lovers might want to consider visiting for a week instead.
If you’ve got a few more days to play with, your itinerary can get even more exciting.
This will free up the time you need to head further along the South Coast and even check out some of the Rugged West of Iceland. It would technically be possible to drive the Ring Road in a week, but we would save that for a 10-day trip or more.
By keeping to the South and West, you’ll probably have a better trip overall because you’ll have the time to process your adventures.
Here are some ideas of what you could do on a seven-day self-drive tour of the South and West:
- hike on glaciers
- walk along black sand beaches
- take a dip in the natural hot springs
- explore ice caves
- check out explosive geysers
- visit a famous plane wreck
- discover Reykjavik’s nightlife
If you have the chance to come for more than a week, take it!
There’s a reason that Iceland is world-famous for travelers, and you are not going to run out of things to do or see.
We think two weeks is a perfect length of time for driving around the whole Icelandic ring road. And if the price seems prohibitive, you can always consider camping in the summer months to keep costs down.
Here are just a few of the experiences you can expect to enjoy on a 14-day ring road trip in Iceland:
- Soak up the sites of the Golden Circle
- Visit countless waterfalls
- Explore the sparkling glaciers
- Hike on the mountain trails
- Walk along the black sand beaches
- Crawl along ancient lava caves
- Go whale watching in the North
- Discover the Tröllaskagi peninsula
- Get involved in Icelandic nightlife
- Get away from it all in the Wild West
- Soak in natural hot spring rivers
- Check out the famous Blue Lagoon spa
Most importantly, this extra time will let you settle into the swing of things before you have to go back home. It will give you the time you need to rest and recharge, so you don’t come home feeling like you need another vacation to recover from the one you just had!
There is no right answer when it comes to how long you should visit Iceland. For some people, a weekend will be more than enough. For others, two weeks isn’t going to scratch the surface.
It can be a good idea to work out which activities you really want to do while here and then work out a realistic timeframe to enjoy them. If you just want to check out the Golden Circle and the South Coast, you can get away with a few days to visit.
But if you’re determined to hike on a glacier or go whale watching in the North, you need to set aside enough time to get there safely and fully enjoy the experience. We hope you can find a way to visit for at least a week because there are so many spectacular sights waiting for you here!
We hope you found this article helpful! You can explore the rest of the Play Iceland site to find tonnes of information about visiting Iceland, as well as some hand-picked tours to help you plan your trip.