❄️ Epic 7 Days in Iceland South Coast: Road Trip Itinerary

Woman standing on a rock and looking out at colorful mountains with some snow.

With over two million visitors per year, Iceland is a popular small island destination with only about 400,000 locals. Known as the “Land of Fire and Ice,” Iceland has epic natural landscapes, hot springs, wildlife watching and the midnight sun in the summers.

While many visitors aspire to travel around Iceland’s full Ring Road, the main road that wraps around the country, that road trip requires at least 10 days to not feel rushed. If you only have one week in Iceland, the best thing to explore is Iceland’s stunning South Coast.

After road-tripping through Iceland’s South Coast in a campervan, I share my practical travel trips here. This post covers:

  • 🗓️ Optimized 1-week itinerary
  • 🥾 20+ top attractions and 3 epic hikes
  • 📍 Map with key places pinned
  • 🚙 Driving distance and time per day

Planning a trip to Iceland? This Iceland guide covers things to know before getting there, including how to get around, weather conditions, navigating with just English and more.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through them, I may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!

4 Essential Tips for Visiting Iceland

Before getting into the itinerary, below are four helpful tips when traveling to Iceland.

🗓️ Tip #1: Plan in advance for the summer.

The weather in Iceland is volatile in all seasons, but it’s warmer (averaging 45°F to 57°F, aka “light winter”) during the peak summer season and therefore more popular and crowded.

Lodging and campervans must be booked months in advance. Popular timed ticket slots for places like Blue Lagoon start disappearing a month ahead.

During the summer months in Iceland, the sun rises early (between 3 am to 6 am) and sets late (between 9 pm and 12 am). This phenomenon is known as the midnight sun and gives you more time to explore during the daytime. This Iceland summer trip guide has more tips on traveling during the peak season.

🚙 Tip #2: Skip the full Ring Road if you only have a week.

The Ring Road is the main road that runs around Iceland and many visitors want to travel its entirety.

It’s feasible to do the full Ring Road in about 8 days, but it’ll be rushed and you’ll skip many sites along the way. If you only have a week, focus on exploring the South Coast and you’ll have an amazing time.

The blog author standing on a mountain hike, where the soil is very green.
One of the epic day hikes on Iceland’s South Coast.

🍞 Tip #3: Grocery shop in Iceland.

Iceland is one of the most expensive countries to visit (I broke down my Iceland travel expenses in detail) and in some places (e.g., the Skaftafell National Park area), restaurants close early and are few and far between.

It’s a good idea to grocery shop in Iceland if you want to save some money. Look for grocery shops like Bonus (budget), Kronar (wider selections) and Netto (fewer selections). Avoid 10/11 as they’re more expensive and target tourists.

Bread, pasta, ham, yogurt and other grocery items on the back of a campervan.
Groceries in Iceland.

💵 Tip #4: Don’t worry too much about cash and cell signal.

Iceland has a great credit card infrastructure and you’ll rarely need cash. They also have decent to good Wi-Fi at many locations with a few areas that will drop to 3G (e.g., between Vík and Skaftafell National Park).

This Iceland guide covers other things to know before getting there, including how to get around, weather conditions, navigating with just English and more.

One-Week Itinerary for Iceland

Below is a great way to spend seven days in Iceland while incorporating hot springs, epic day hikes, and over eight of Iceland’s most iconic natural attractions.

About This Itinerary

Here are two things you should know about this itinerary:

  • All the activities (e.g., hikes, tours, hot springs, attractions) are spaced out, but this is an active, busy itinerary that you can modify to incorporate more downtime.
  • This 7-day Iceland itinerary is the improved version of my Iceland road trip. I’ve included some of my actual timestamps to give you an idea of how long you might need for each activity and how to efficiently sequence everything.

Due to the country’s well-maintained road conditions on the Ring Road, Iceland is a country that is best explored by road trip, so this itinerary assumes that you have a rental car or campervan. I’ve included a map of each day’s driving route below.

Iceland Itinerary

The Iceland trip planner below has this itinerary prefilled.

Day 1🚐 Arrive and pickup campervan (6–8 am)
🌀 Relax in Blue Lagoon (8–11 am)
🌋 Hike an erupting volcano or visit Reykjavík (1:30–5 pm)
Day 2⛰️ Walk around Kerid Crater (11 am–12 pm)
🟡 Tour the Golden Circle (1:30–6:30 pm)
🔥 Relax in Hrunalaug hot spring (7:45–9 pm)
Day 3🚌 Bus to the Highlands (9:10–11:20 am)
🥾 Hike Landmannalaugar (11:30 am–3:30 pm)
🚌 Bus back (4:30–6:30 pm)
Day 4💧 Visit Seljalandsfoss and Gljufabrui (10–11 am)
💧 Visit Skógafoss and Kvernufoss (11 am–12:30 pm)
🐴 Ride or feed an Icelandic horse (2:15–3:30 pm)
🐍 Look out Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon (4–5 pm)
Day 5🏔️ Hike the Vatnajökull glacier (9:20 am–3 pm)
💎 Visit Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon and Diamond Beach (4:45–6:15 pm)
🧊 Quick stop at Fjallsárlón Glacier Lagoon (6:30–6:45 pm)
Day 6💧 Hike to Svartifoss (9:30 am–10:45 am)
🐧 Visit Dyrhólaey Arch to see puffins (1:15–2 pm)
🏖️ Climb the sea stacks at Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach (2:15–3 pm)
🥾 Hike part of Waterfall Way (3:30–5 pm)
🌡️ Relax in Secret Lagoon (6:30–8:15 pm)
Day 7🥾 Hike Glymur waterfall (10:30 am–1:15 pm)
🦈 Visit Reykjavík (2:15–6:30 pm)

Iceland Map With Driving Route

This Iceland map has all the recommended places pinned in the order of this itinerary. I’ve also included a map of each day’s driving route below.

🚙 Driving time and distance: 20 hours of driving and 4 hours of bus riding to cover 933 miles.

Day 1: Blue Lagoon, Volcano Hike or Reykjavík

📍 Here’s the driving route for day 1 of this Iceland itinerary.

  • Distance covered: 71 miles
  • Drive time: 1.75 hours

Stop #1: Relax in Blue Lagoon

🤔 Why: One of the 25 wonders of the world, Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spa that’s one of the most iconic places in Iceland. It’s a great first stop to kick off your Iceland trip.

The blog author is milky-blue water under an open sky.
Taking a dip in the famous Blue Lagoon.

What to do there:

  • Relax and enjoy the hot spring water. There are different water temperatures in different areas since Blue Lagoon is massive.
  • Get a drink at the spa bar and get a face mask without leaving the lagoon. Each ticket includes a complimentary drink and mud mask.

🚙 Getting there: Blue Lagoon is a 20-minute drive from Keflavík International Airport, so it’s a great stop at the start or end of your trip. If you don’t have a car or campervan, you can book tours like this one that will provide transportation.

⏰ Suggested duration: Two to four hours is an adequate amount of time to enjoy Blue Lagoon. I spent three hours there after a red-eye flight.

💰 Expected cost: Blue Lagoon offers tiered experiences at different price points, starting at 11,000 ISDK (~$80 USD).

Make sure to book Blue Lagoon timed entry tickets in advance as earlier time slots are cheaper and less crowded. This is especially true if you’re visiting in the summer. If you don’t want to pay the entry fee, you can also see the blue water from the outside. This hot spring guide has more Blue Lagoon tips.

🍀 My take: Some people argue that there are many hot springs in Iceland and that the Blue Lagoon is touristy (which is true), but the unique milky-blue water color and extraordinary surrounding makes it feel like you’re on another planet, which makes it worth a visit.

Stop #2: Hike an Erupting Volcano

🤔 Why: Seeing an active volcano is a unique experience, so check for volcanic activity during your Iceland trip. Fagradalsfjall erupted a week before my trip and it was a six-mile hike to see it.

Lava erupting from a volcano with smoke in the sky.
One of my Iceland trip’s highlights: watching lava spew out of a volcano.

🍀 My take: Hiking to an erupting volcano wasn’t originally on my itinerary, but it was such a rare opportunity that I went for it. It became one of my trip’s highlights; seeing lava in real life and feeling the heat’s power is stunning.

Stop #2 Alternative: Visit Reykjavík

🤔 Why: Reykjavík is the largest city in Iceland and offers a city landscape in an otherwise nature-heavy country. For a more relaxing start to your Iceland trip, stop by Reykjavík on your first day.

What to do: Here are some great things to do in Reykjavík:

  • Get amazing cinnamon buns at Braud & Co (one of the best I’ve ever eaten!)
  • Visit the Hallgrímskirkja church
  • Shop at The Handknitting Association for authentic lopapeysa, Icelandic sweaters
  • Try Icelandic traditional food, including the infamous hákarl (fermented shark). I tried a piece and it wasn’t as terrible as everyone makes it sound, but I wouldn’t eat it again.
  • Visit Faxaflói Bay for some whale watching. The best whale watching in Iceland will be on the north side of the country, but Reykjavík is a good alternative if you’re not heading north.
A piece of white, cube meat, resembling soft potato.
Trying hákarl, a delicacy in Iceland.

🚙 Getting there: Being 45 minutes away from Blue Lagoon, Reykjavík is a popular stop after the geothermal spa.

Park at the Harpan Concert Hall when visiting Reykjavík. It’s a spacious garage and costs around the same as street parking. You pay on your way out by entering your license plate number in the pay machine.

Suggested duration: Most people suggest spending half a day to a full day in Reykjavík. It’s a small town that you can walk through in less than a day.

🍀 My take: Compared to everything else Iceland offers, Reykjavík pales in comparison so I recommend spending half a day here or a day at most.

If you’re visiting Iceland during the fall or winter months (October to April), you can typically see the northern lights. There are several places you can catch them; you can even catch them in Reykjavík despite the higher light pollution.

Day 1 Accommodation: Selfoss Campsite

When settling down for Day 1, pick a location that’s within the Golden Circle area as that’s where we’ll be on Day 2.

🏕️ Where I stayed: I stayed at Selfoss campsite, which was clean, well-maintained and comfortable. It had hot showers, a spacious kitchen facility (about five tables) and an area where people leave things they no longer need (e.g., oil, salt, pasta).

Pasta being cooked on two stoves and served on two simple bowls.
Cooking my first campervan meal at the Selfoss campsite’s kitchen facility.

Day 2: Golden Circle, Hrunalaug Hot Spring

📍 Here’s the driving route for day 2 of this Iceland itinerary.

  • Distance covered: 138 miles
  • Drive time: 3.5 hours

Stop #1: Walk Around Kerid Crater

🤔 Why: Kerid Crater is a beautiful crater that formed when the volcano collapsed on itself. It’s not considered one of the Golden Circle’s main attractions, so it’s generally less crowded.

A blue, green lake inside a crater with a blue sky.
Looking at Kerid Crater from the inside of the crater.

🚙 Getting there: Kerid Crater is within the Golden Circle area. There’s a parking lot once you arrive.

Suggested duration: 30 minutes to one hour is sufficient to visit Kerid Crater. I walked around the entire outer and inner rims for an hour.

💰 Expected cost: Kerid Crater has a 400 ISK (~$3 USD) per person entrance fee.

🍀 My take: If you’ve never seen a crater like this, I highly recommend stopping at Kerid Crater as it’s quite beautiful.

Stops #2: Tour the Golden Circle

🤔 Why: The famous Golden Circle is a 190-mile tourist route featuring three of Iceland’s top natural attractions not too far from the airport. It consists of:

  • Gullfoss, one of the most famous waterfalls in Iceland.
  • Geysir, a rare, steaming vent that erupts about every five minutes. This was my favorite of the three.
  • Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site notable for its volcanic landscape. It’s the site of the world’s first parliament and a key background for Game of Thrones. I drove through it quickly, which was not a bad decision given all the volcanic areas I later saw.
A big waterfall going down a ridge of a valley.
A view of the famous Gullfoss waterfall.

🚙 Getting there: Given its popularity, all three Golden Circle main attractions have a parking lot once you navigate to the Google Map locations above.

The Golden Circle’s three main attractions each have a nearby center with bathrooms, food and a gift shop.

Suggested duration: The Golden Circle can be done in about half a day (four to six hours).

💰 Expected cost: Free. None of the Golden Circle main attractions have an entrance, parking or bathroom fee.

A popular thing to do near Thingvellir National Park is to put on a wetsuit and snorkel in Silfra Fissure located between two tectonic plates. My friends did it and they said it was a cold experience, but “worth it due to the coolness factor!”

The blog author with a happy expression with a giant rainbow and waterfall in the background.
Seeing a giant rainbow at Gullfoss during a sunny moment.

Stop #3: Relax in Hrunalaug Hot Spring

🤔 Why: Hrunalaug is a quaint hot spring that fits ~20 people max and is embedded in a valley, so you have a beautiful view while warming up.

🚙 Getting there: Hrunalaug hot spring is located inside the Golden Circle area, which makes it a good stop to make while touring the Golden Circle.

Suggested duration: One to two hours is sufficient time to enjoy this small hot spring.

💰 Expected cost: Hrunalaug hot spring costs 1000 ISK (~$7 USD) per person.

My take: Hrunalaug hot spring is easily crowded, but is surrounded by a beautiful valley that makes it unique and worth a visit. If it’s too cold, you might want to skip it due to a lack of facilities.

This Hrunalaug hot spring guide has more tips on visiting this small hot spring and how it compares to other hot springs.

Two hot springs in a green valley and open sky.
Hrunalaug hot spring offers 3 small pools (one is not shown in the photo).

Day 2 Accommodation: Gaddstadaflatir Campsite

When settling down for Day 2, consider staying near Hella since that’s one of the few places the bus to the Highlands leaves from for Day 3.

🏕️ Where I stayed: I stayed at Gaddstadaflatir campsite the night of Day 2. This Hella campsite was simple and well-maintained. It had no showers and a fairly small kitchen facility, but it had a spacious campground.

Day 3: Landmannalaugar Epic Day Hike

📍 Here’s the driving route for day 3 of this Iceland itinerary.

  • Distance covered: 128 miles
  • Drive time: 4 hours

All-Day Activity: Hike Landmannalaugar

🤔 Why: The Highlands is an area in the middle of Iceland that’s largely uninhabited and composed of volcanic desert. It’s an extraordinary area, and Landmannalaugar is a stunning, unique and (somewhat) accessible part of it.

🥾 How to hike it: Landmannalaugar has several trail options. For a hike that you can fit in a day, do the Brennisteinsalda-Blahnukur loop, a three to six-hour loop (depending on how fast you go). I’m a fairly strong hiker and took four hours to complete it. It’s steep at points, but beautiful with gorgeous views, constantly changing landscapes and unique colors.

Woman standing on a rock and looking out at colorful mountains with some snow.
One of the many stunning views of Landmannalaugar.
The blog author standing on a hiking ridge with mountains with some snow in the background.
Landmannalaugar hike features glacier patches on the mountains.

🚙 Getting there: You need a four-wheel drive (4WD) to visit the Highlands, which my campervan didn’t have. I took the Hella bus to Landmannalaugar in the morning (9:10-111:20 am and took it back after the hike (4:30 to 6:30 pm). Note that the route is seasonal.

During peak season, the Hella bus to Landmannalaugar wasn’t full, so booking ahead may not be necessary. You lose cell service about halfway through the bus ride.

A big tank-like vehicle fitted to hold passengers.
The 4WD “bus” I took to get to Landmannalaugar.

💰 Expected cost: The round-trip bus ride was $115 USD during peak season. The camp at Landmannalaugar has a bathroom facility that costs 500 ISK (~$4 USD), a hot spring and a few, limited food options.

🍀 My take: Hiking Landmannalaugar is one of my all-time favorite hikes, so I highly recommend it. It’s also a great way to see the Highlands if you’re not spending a lot of time there.

Day 3 Accommodation: Gaddstadaflatir Campsite

When settling down for Day 3, you want to stay somewhere in or between Hella and Vík.

🏕️ Where I stayed: I stayed at the same Gaddstadaflatir campsite the night of Day 3 since the bus returned to Hella and I was too tired to drive after hiking.

Day 4: Waterfalls, Icelandic Horse Riding, Canyon

📍 Here’s the driving route for day 4 of this Iceland itinerary.

  • Distance covered: 157 miles
  • Drive time: 3.75 hours

Stop #1: Visit Seljalandsfoss and Gljufrabui

🤔 Why: Seljalandsfoss and Gljufrabui are some of Iceland’s most popular waterfalls. There’s a short ~10-minute walk trail connecting the two.

  • Seljalandsfoss is one of Iceland’s most unique waterfalls because you can walk around it; you’ll get very wet if you do so. People who were prepared wore full rain gear.
  • Gljufrabui is a waterfall hidden inside a cave. During peak season, you’ll have to wait in line to use the stepping stones into the cave. You can bring water shoes to skip the line.
The view of a big waterfall from the side against a blue sky.
Seeing Seljalandsfoss from the side.

🚙 Getting there: Most people navigate to Seljalandsfoss and park there. To avoid the crowded parking lot, you can park at the neighboring Gljufrabui‘s free parking lot and walk 10 minutes, but I suggest still paying for parking at Seljalandsfoss to help maintain the waterfalls.

Suggested duration: 30-60 minutes is sufficient to visit both waterfalls, while accounting for the time you need to wait in line. I visited both in ~45 minutes.

💰 Expected cost: Parking at Seljalandsfoss costs 700 ISK (~$5 USD). There’s no entrance fee otherwise.

🍀 My take: Seljalandsfoss is very cool to walk around, especially if you’ve never visited such a waterfall. Gljufrabui was very crowded during the peak season and I can’t say it was worth waiting in line for.

The blog author inside a cave looking up at a waterfall coming out the top of the cave.
Looking up at Gljufrabui waterfall.
A line of people entering a cave.
The line for Gljufrabui waterfall.

Stop #2: Visit Skógafoss and Kvernufoss

🤔 Why: Skógafoss and Kvernufoss are two very popular Iceland waterfalls.

  • Skógafoss is one of Iceland’s biggest waterfalls. The water force is so powerful you’ll get wet walking close to it. Right next to it are the staircases leading to the Waterfall Way hike, an easy 10-mile hike where you can see 25+ waterfalls along the route.
  • Kvernufoss is a less well-known (less crowded) idyllic and beautiful waterfall next to Skógafoss. This is one of my favorite waterfalls because of its surroundings. You can access this waterfall after a short five-minute walk.
A giant waterfall with two rainbows at its based. A selfie of a woman with her eyes closed from getting wet.
Catching a rainbow and getting soaked at Skógafoss.

🚙 Getting there: Once you navigate to Skógafoss and Kvernufoss, note that they have separate parking lots that are a 3-minute drive away from each other.

Suggested duration: You’ll need one to two hours if you want to visit both waterfalls, climb up Skógafoss’s stairs and walk part of the Waterfall Way.

💰 Expected cost: Skógafoss’s parking lot is free, but the bathrooms cost 200 ISK (~$1.50 USD). Kvernufoss has a separate parking lot that costs 750 ISK (~$5 USD), but is near a museum with bathrooms; the parking ticket gives you access to the museum bathroom.

🍀 My take: The power of Skógafoss’s waterfall is amazing. Kvernufoss’s surroundings made it one of my favorite waterfalls in Iceland.

A green and rocky natural surrounded hiding a waterfall in the distance.
Idyllic surroundings at Kvernufoss.

Stop #3: Ride or Feed an Icelandic Horse

🤔 Why: Icelandic horses are short and have a unique gait that people say lends to a much smoother ride.

🚙 Getting there: Several places offer riding or feeding an Icelandic horse. I took a Vík horse riding tour since it was highly rated and the location was convenient for me.

Suggested duration: The Vík horse riding tour lasted one hour.

💰 Expected cost: The tour costs $80 USD per person.

🍀 My take: I’ve taken a few horse riding tours in different countries and this tour is good for beginners; it’s controlled and slow-paced.

Cell signal gets weak (turns to 3G) on the Ring Road between Vík and Vatnajökull glacier area. Make sure to download the Iceland map (via Google Maps offline feature) before you leave Vík.

Blog author riding an Icelandic horse on a black sand beach.
Riding an Icelandic horse near the town, Vík.

Stop #4: Visit Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon

🤔 Why: Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon is a unique, serpent-shaped canyon that has three viewpoints. This canyon became famous when Justin Bieber featured it in one of his music videos (unfortunately, the rush of visitors destroyed the canyon’s surrounding grass, which is why some of the areas are roped off).

🚙 Getting there: Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon has two parking lots. I would park at the higher one so you’re closer to the highest viewpoints, which I think is the best view. The lower parking lot has a bathroom.

While driving from Vik to Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon, you’ll pass the lava fields called Eldhraun.

Suggested duration: One hour is sufficient to see the canyon from all three viewpoints.

💰 Expected cost: Free. Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon doesn’t have parking, entrance or bathroom fees.

🍀 My take: Like many other things in Iceland, Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon is really beautiful to look at. The man-made viewpoints make it feel less natural than other sites.

A woman behind rails looking at a steep, green canyon with a river running through it.
Looking at Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon from the highest viewpoint platform.

Stop #5: Quick Stop at Dverghamrar

If you want to break up your drive a bit, you can stop for a brief visit at Dverghamrar, the dwarf cliffs with a legend behind it. It’s not a must-see, but it’s not popular so it’s very rarely crowded.

There’s a small parking lot near it and a short walk will take you right to the cliffs.

A small mountain with basalt columns on the side.
Visiting Dverghamrar, which was very not crowded.

Day 4 Accommodation: Svinafell Campsite

When settling down for Day 4, consider driving to and staying near Skaftafell since that’s where you’ll have an early start on Day 5.

🏕️ Where I stayed: I stayed at the nearby Svinafell campsite. It’s a beautiful, but crowded campsite during peak season (but not as crowded as the Skaftafell campsite). It has hot showers (two outdoor ones plus one in each bathroom) and a spacious kitchen facility that gets busy during peak meal times.

Blog author standing in front of an open campervan parked at a campsite with a mountain view.
Parking at the Svinafell campsite.

Day 5: Glacier Hike, Glacier Lagoons, Diamond Beach

📍 Here’s the driving route of day 5 of this Iceland itinerary.

  • Distance covered: 76 miles
  • Drive time: 2 hours

Stop #1: Hike the Vatnajökull Glacier

🤔 Why: Vatnajökull is Europe’s biggest glacier. There are not many places in the world like Iceland where you can easily access a glacier. Also, Iceland’s glaciers are receding due to climate change, making them less accessible over time.

This Iceland glacier hike guide shares tips on hiking a glacier.

The blog author surrounded by glacier in all directions.
Hiking up a glacier.

Stop #2: Bonus Stop at Múlagljúfur Canyon

If you have time for a stop between Vatnajökull Glacier and the next stop, Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, Múlagljúfur Canyon is a beautiful and less well-known canyon in between the two.

A 40-minute hike in Múlagljúfur Canyon will take you to a beautiful waterfall view. My friends visited it and described it as a “crazy place where you see a gold glacier first and then a lush green canyon next.”

A lush canyon overlooking a lush scenery with a river.
A view at Múlagljúfur Canyon. (Photo by my friend, Shannon Tsai.)

Stops #3: Visit Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon and Diamond Beach

🤔 Why: Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon is a stunning must-see destination in Iceland. Some of the ice here is over 1,000 years old. A short walk from it, Diamond Beach is one of Iceland’s most famous black sand beaches with ice chunks floating in it. The ice comes from the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier slowly melting.

🚙 Getting there: After you navigate to Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, be aware that the parking lot is very crowded during peak season and the bathroom lines can get long. From there, you can walk or drive over to Diamond Beach.

Several food stalls close at 5 pm near Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. You can also take boat, kayak and ice cave guided tours here.

Suggested duration: 30-60 minutes is sufficient to visit Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon and Diamond Beach.

💰 Expected cost: Free. Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon and Diamond Beach do not have entrance, parking or bathroom fees.

🍀 My take: Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon feels and looks unreal in real life and is one of my favorite stops, despite the crowd. Diamond Beach is also a cool stop. The ice in the ocean was neat, but I was personally more amazed by how soft the black sand was.

The blog author staring at a lagoon with giant icebergs floating in it below a blue sky.
Looking out at the stunning Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon.
The blog author a crystallized ice chunk with black sand beach in the background.
Admiring an ice chunk at Diamond Beach.

Stop #4: Quick Stop at Fjallsárlón Glacier Lagoon

If you want to see another less popular glacier lagoon, you can do a quick stop at Fjallsárlón Glacier Lagoon. This lagoon pales in comparison to Jökulsárlón, but the glacier mountain background is breathtaking. The lagoon is a 10-minute short walk from the parking lot.

Day 5 Accommodation: Svinafell Campsite

When settling down for Day 5, you can stay at the same location near Skaftafell since we’ll start Day 6 nearby.

🏕️ Where I stayed: I stayed at the same Svinafell campsite as the previous day.

Day 6: Svartifoss, Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach, Secret Lagoon

📍 Here’s the driving route of day 6 of this Iceland itinerary.

  • Distance covered: 244 miles
  • Drive time: 5.5 hours

Stop #1: Hike to Svartifoss

🤔 Why: Svartifoss is a unique waterfall falling from basalt columns formed by lava cooling and contracting.

🚙 Getting there: Svartifoss is one of the more popular sites in the Skaftafell area, but the trailhead isn’t clearly marked. Look for a start with an uphill climb. The hike is almost entirely uphill and will take you straight to the waterfall.

Svartifoss gets crowded, but even during peak season, starting at 9:30 am meant I had the hike mostly to myself.

Suggested duration: The uphill hike should take 30-60 minutes, depending on how fast you go.

💰 Expected cost: Svartifoss doesn’t have any entrance fee, but you need to pay for parking at Skaftafell’s visitor center.

🍀 My take: Svartifoss was a nice short, rewarding hike. The viewing platform is not big, so I recommend trying to get there earlier and beating the crowd.

Blog author looking at a waterfall flowing between basalt columns.
Looking up at Svartifoss after the quick hike.

After seeing Svartifoss, you will start to head back west to Iceland’s South Coast. If you want to do the full Ring Road, you would continue east and north from here.

Stop #2: Visit Dyrhólaey Arch to See Puffins

🤔 Why: The popular Dyrhólaey Arch near the town of Vík is one of the best places in Iceland’s South Coast to see puffins. 50% of the world’s puffin population lives in Iceland.

🚙 Getting there: Dyrhólaey Arch has a big parking lot. You have to walk further down to the cliff area to see the puffins. The best time to see the puffins is in the early morning or evening, but I saw plenty of them in the early afternoon.

Suggested duration: You can spend anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour at Dyrhólaey Arch, depending on how long you want to look at the puffins.

💰 Expected cost: Free. Dyrhólaey Arch has no entrance or parking fee.

🍀 My take: Seeing puffins in real life is cool (I didn’t even know they could fly; I thought they were more like penguins) so I think visiting Dyrhólaey Arch to see them is worth it. I wasn’t as impressed by the arch itself.

The blog author pointing down at a cliff, with a big, flying puffin photoshopped in.
Pointing at puffins at Dyrhólaey Arch. I couldn’t take a good photo with my phone camera, so I borrowed my friend’s Iceland puffin photo (photo credit: Marshall Goff).

Stop #3: Climb the Sea Stacks at Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach

🤔 Why: The sea stacks at Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach is one of Iceland’s most iconic and photographed spots. It’s an incredible view. The color of the sea stacks can vary depending on the weather.

🚙 Getting there: Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach has a big parking lot with a cafe right next to it. Walk down to the beach and the sea stacks will be on your left.

Suggested duration: You can spend 15 minutes or 1.5 hours at Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach. I was there for 45 minutes mostly climbing the sea stacks.

💰 Expected cost: Free. Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach doesn’t have a parking or entrance fee.

🍀 My take: The sea stacks are an iconic sight, so it’s worth seeing them in person. Given how crowded and popular they are during peak season, it was hard to enjoy the view, so I mostly enjoyed climbing them.

The blog author climbing up sea stacks.
Climbing the sea stacks at Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach.

Stop #4: Hike Part of Waterfall Way Hike

🤔 Why: The Waterfall Way hike is an easy 10-mile hike where you can pass by 25+ waterfalls along the way.

🚙 Getting there: The Waterfall Way hike is located up the staircases next to Skógafoss and is not very well known (I barely saw anyone 45 minutes into the hike).

Suggested duration: The hike will take several hours, but it’s an out-and-back, so you can turn around anytime you want. I only hiked for ~1.5 hours so that I had enough time to make it to the last stop, Secret Lagoon, before they closed.

💰 Expected cost: Free. There’s no entrance or parking fee for the Waterfall Way hike.

🍀 My take: I would mostly recommend doing this hike if you love waterfalls and can’t get enough of them. The hike itself is not that interesting, but you get to see a lot of waterfalls.

Natural Icelandic view of a canyon with a river crossing through it and mountains in the background.
One of the views along Waterfall Way hike.

Stop #5: Relax in Secret Lagoon

🤔 Why: Secret Lagoon is the oldest swimming pool in Iceland (made in 1891) and it’s relatively affordable for what it provides. Many people say that Secret Lagoon feels hotter than Blue Lagoon.

🚙 Getting there: Secret Lagoon is located in the famous Golden Circle area and has a big parking lot.

As a heads up, Secret Lagoon has a communal shower and you’re required to shower nude before getting into the pool.

Suggested duration: One to three hours is a good amount of time to spend in the Secret Lagoon.

💰 Expected cost: The entrance fee for the Secret Lagoon is 3,000 ISK (~$20 USD).

I visited three hot springs and compared them in depth.

Blog author submerged in a hot spring surrounded by nature.
Enjoying the hot water at the Secret Lagoon.

Day 6 Accommodation: Thingvellir Campsite

When settling down for Day 6, consider staying in the Golden Circle area for an early start in that area on Day 7.

🏕️ Where I stayed: I stayed at Thingvellir Campsite. This is a small, isolated campsite next to a beautiful lake. It doesn’t have hot, running water or a kitchen facility, but it has bathrooms.

The campsite is only for tent campers and not campervans (but I didn’t realize this when I stayed there). Instead, you can stay by nearby Thingvellir – Nyrðri Leirar.

Blog author wearing cold gear and cutting up bell peppers at a campsite.
Making a simple meal at the Thingvellir campsite.

Day 7: Glymur Waterfall Hike, Reykjavík

📍 Here’s the driving route for day 7 of this Iceland itinerary.

  • Distance covered: 119 miles
  • Drive time: 3 hours

Stop #1: Hike Glymur Waterfall

🤔 Why: The Glymur Waterfall hike is an interesting, moderate four-mile hike involving a log crossing, a cave pass, some steep moments and different viewpoints of the waterfall.

🚙 Getting there: Glymur Waterfall is a one-hour drive from Reykjavík. It has a medium-sized parking lot that I heard gets crowded by 11 am. I went on a rainy day and it was mostly empty the entire time I was there.

Suggested duration: The Glymur Waterfall hike takes about three hours to complete.

Cost: Free. Glymur Waterfall doesn’t have a parking or entrance fee.

🍀 My take: Glymur Waterfall is a great moderate hike because of all the things you get to see and do (e.g., the log crossing). This hike is more about the journey than the destination; the waterfall will not be the most impressive one you see in Iceland.

A man wearing a poncho crossing rocks and a log in a moving river.
The log crossing at Glymur Waterfall hike.
The blog author wearing a poncho and a raincoat in front of a waterfall in between cliffs.
Hiking Glymur waterfall and reaching one of its viewpoints.

Stop #2: Visit Reykjavík

If you didn’t get to visit Reykjavík at the beginning of your trip (see Day 1), it’s a great stop for the end of your trip to get settled down.

Day 7 Accommodation: Grindavik Campsite

When settling down for Day 7, consider staying within an hour or two of driving time from the Keflavík International Airport (KEF) to easily fly out the next day.

🏕️ Where I stayed: I stayed at Grindavik campsite, which is a very modern campsite. It was overcrowded when I visited because the nearby volcano, Fagradalsfjall, was erupting. Overall, it was the most modern campsite I stayed at and even had an outdoor grill.

Itinerary Bonus: Snaefellsnes Peninsula

If you’re spending eight or nine days in Iceland and have some extra time, you can include the Snaefellsnes Peninsula at the beginning or end of your trip. Snaefellsnes Peninsula’s top attractions are:

  • Kirkjufell. One of Iceland’s most unique-looking mountains, Kirjufell has an arrowhead shape and is located next to Kirkjufellsfoss, a waterfall that’s often photographed with it.
  • Stykkishólmur. The peninsula’s biggest town, Stykkishólmur is a fishing village that’s home to a modern-looking church and a small red lighthouse.
  • Arnarstapi. Arnarstapi is a small fishing village with stunning sea cliffs.
  • Búðir. Búðir is a small settlement in a lava field that features an interesting black building against an otherwise largely empty land near the ocean.

🍀 My take: I would only prioritize the Snaefellsnes Peninsula if I had eight days or more in Iceland. While it has some great stops, it’s located relatively far from the South Coast and has fewer impressive sites.

Iceland Trip Planner

To make your travel planning easier, download the trip planning template below and use it as a starting point. The template has country-specific travel information as well as an itinerary, packing list and map with recommended places pinned.

The template is built on Notion, which is what I use for all my travel planning (I’m not paid to say this; I just like the tool). If you don’t have Notion, creating an account is free.

Three Notion template screenshots are shown: travel information, itinerary, and map + packing list templates.
Preview of the Iceland trip planning template (built on Notion).
A Notion template screenshots is shown giving more details to the itinerary.
Preview of the Iceland trip planning template (built on Notion).

If you have any questions or thoughts, feel free to leave them in the comments below.

🧋 This site is run entirely by me, Lukiih. I spend hours writing each article to ensure its accuracy and conciseness. If you find my site helpful, you can say thanks by buying me bubble tea!


  1. Rafa

    Hi Lukiih, thanks for the tip about waterfall Kvernufoss. Is an immigrant to Iceland I´ve been many time to Skógafoss but had no idea, Kvernufoss waterfall is so close.

    But I want to ask different question. I am thinking about trying to use camping sites instead of hotels, when I travel around the Iceland but I have no idea how is it with payments. Can you pay somehow online or through some app, or you always need to pay to a person from camp? Did you use credit cards all the time or did you need to pay with cash in some camps? Thanks for reply

    1. Lukiih

      Hey Rafa, glad you found the information helpful. I have another post that goes into credit cards and cash in Iceland here that should answer your question. I also have a post on traveling through Iceland via campervan. Enjoy your trip!

  2. Rafa

    Thanks for a quick reply, checked the second article and found what I needed 🙂
    Very good job with the article about trip cost breakdown, very comprehensive post.
    Hope more travelers will appreciate the effort you put into it 🙂

    1. Lukiih

      Appreciate it, Rafa! Feel free to let your friends know about my travel guides 🙂

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