Iceland is becoming a popular tourist destination and I have many friends traveling to Iceland in the coming months. Most of them are going for a few days and always ask advice on the best places to visit while they are there for 2-3 days. Since I have been to Iceland twice, once for a few days and once for 7 days, I have a pretty good idea on what they should check out. Here is what I suggest for a 3-day itinerary in Iceland:
8:30 AM - Blue Lagoon
Most likely, your flight will arrive early in the morning at Keflavik airport. I suggest visiting Blue Lagoon first thing since it’s close to the airport. Make sure you reserve your time online before going since it is a popular attraction and always booked.
10:30 AM - Lunch at Blue Lagoon
After you enjoy your relaxing time in the hot springs, enjoy lunch at their cafe or restaurant. Both places have excellent food.
12:00 PM - Reykjavik
From Blue Lagoon, it takes 45 minutes to travel to Reykjavik. See if your hotel will let you check in early. If not, you can have them store your luggage while you explore Reykjavik. The main places to see in this little city isBæjarins Beztu Pylsur (Iceland’s famous hot dog stand), Hallgrímskirkja (Iceland’s largest church), Harpa Concert Hall, and the Sólfarið - Sun Voyager sculpture.
6:00 PM - Dinner and Bed
You will probably be really tired at this point and will need some rest after you eat dinner. The earlier you go to bed, the better so that you can wake up early the next morning and beat the crowd to your next destination.
7:30 AM - Golden Circle
The Golden Circle is the most popular tourist route in Iceland. It consists of Pingviller National Park, the geysers at Haukadalur and the Gullfoss waterfall. It takes about 40 minutes to drive to Pingviller National Park from Reykjavik and the earlier you go, the better. The tourist buses start arriving around 9:00 AM and gets pretty crowded, so it’s better to enjoy the peaceful scenery before everyone gets there. Pingviller is small, but significant in the fact that you can visibly see the two tectonic plates colliding. At Haukadlaur, the popular geyser erupts every 7 minutes, so you’ll get plenty of photo opportunities of the eruption. Gullfoss waterfall is a large waterfall where you can always see a rainbow when it’s a sunny day.
11:00 AM - Lunch at Gulfoss Cafe
There is a cafe by the parking lot at Gulfoss waterfall, which will be a good stop for lunch and snacks.
12:00 PM Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss Waterfalls
After lunch, drive to Seljalandsfoss waterfall (1.5-hour drive) first and then to Skogafoss waterfall (30-minute drive). Both of these waterfalls are 200 feet tall and is quite a sight to see. You can go behind the waterfalls and climb up to the top to get some different views. Make sure you're wearing waterproof material because you will get wet the closer you get. If you have a nice camera, I would recommend looking into protective gear.
4:00 PM - Solheimasandur Plane Crash
I’m sure you’ve seen quite a few photos of this place on Instagram. It’s a plane that crashed in Iceland in the 1970’s (everyone was safe on board) and has been left there ever since. The walk is long on the black sand beach, but worth seeing the abandoned plane in my opinion. It’ll take 45 minutes each way.
7:00 PM - Stay the Night in Vik
7:30 AM - Reynisfjara - Black Sand Beach
Reynisfjara is a black pebble beach and has an amazing cliff of basalt columns called Hálsanef. The columns look like an art piece and is incredible to see in person. There are also unique rock formations in the middle of the ocean, like Reynisdrangar.
1:00 PM - Snæfellsnes Peninsula
After exploring Reynisfjara, drive to Snæfellsnes peninsula, which is a 4.5 hour drive. Check out the Snæfellsjökull volcano, Arnarstapi, Hellnar and Kirkjufell. Kirkjufell is one of the most photographed mountains in Iceland surrounded by trickling rivers.
5:00PM - Reykjavik
It’ll take about 2 hours to drive back to Reykjavik. If you felt like you didn’t get to see enough of Reykjavik on your first day, you can explore more on your final day (or skip Snæfellsnes Peninsula).
- If you’re not comfortable with driving, there are plenty of tours in Iceland that can drive you around. I highly recommend Iceland Guided Tours.
- If you like adventure, try out glacier hiking or scuba diving.
- Do not take out too much cash. Iceland is extremely credit card friendly. I actually didn’t exchange any money on my last trip to Iceland and I was there for 7 days.
- For additional tips, check out all of our Iceland posts.
WHERE TO STAY IN ICELAND
Fosshotel Baron (located near the Sun Voyager sculpture in Reykjavik)
Sigtun 38, Reykjavik 105, Iceland
Volcano Hotel (located near Vik and Solheimasandur Plane Crash)
THjodvegur | Ketilsstadaskoli, Vik 871, Iceland