If traveling to Iceland for the very first time the options of activities and tours can easily become overwhelming. You could dwell in Iceland for weeks on end without running out of things to do or see, so what are the must-see places and how do you get there? We have come up with a three-day itinerary, perfect for solo travellers and families alike who choose to base themselves out of Reykjavík.
Plan on flying in the night before to utilise the day ahead. The Golden circle region, although crowded, should not be missed by anyone. The area is loved by locals and visitors alike with it’s rich history, powerful waterfalls, geothermal pools, geysers, separating continental plates at a rate of a few cm a year and delicious food production all on Reykjavík’s doorstep. On our Golden Circle: Platinum tour we start at the Secret Lagoon to bathe Icelands oldest hot pool built in 1891 before lunch at Friðheimar Tomato Greenhouse famous for their tomato soup and homemade bread. After lunch we make our way to the three main sights within the area; Gullfoss waterfall, the ever erupting Geysir and Þingvellir National Park. You’ll be returning back to Reykjavík in just in time for dinner.
Learn more about the Golden Circle: Platinum tour here.
The south coast of Iceland has some of Iceland’s quintessential sights with vivid blue glaciers, numerous waterfalls, volcanic black beaches and infamously destructive volcanoes. The south coast really has it all, and you can experience it all in one unforgettable day. On the South Coast: Fire & Ice tour we start the day with a visit at the recently opened, award winning LAVA Centre where we learn all about the volcanoes we will see throughout the day. After the exhibition we head on to Sólheimajökull glacier for a glacier hike, exploring the incredible features on the ice. Once off the glacier we visit Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach before making our way back west to Reykjavík, but not before visiting the famous Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss waterfalls.
Learn more about the South Coast: Fire & Ice tour here.
Snæfellsnes peninsula to the north of Reykjavík has some of the best sights on it’s 100 km long peninsula whose beauty and mystique inspire world famous novels and enchant every visitor with it’s sparkling fjords, dramatic sea cliffs and endless lava fields. The communities on Snæfellsnes peninsula were the first in Europe to receive certification from Green Globe for sustainable travel and tourism. I can go on and on about this stunning area.
It’s a day trip worth your while setting sails early morning with it’s first stop being Selvallavatn for a lookout over the incredible mountain range before coming into the charming town of Stykkishólmur. Here we have lunch at Narfeyrarstofa who make the most out of the local produce and seafood available at every given time in the cosiest of settings. After lunch it’s on to Kirkjufell mountain famous for it’s appearance in Game of Thrones and Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall. From here it’s on to the black beach of Djúpalónssandur where the walk through it’s small gorge, lava fields and mineral water pool is always a delight. From here we start to see the enormous and powerful Snæfellsnjökull volcano who will dominate the skyline for the remaining of the drive. Second last location is Arnastapi, a small fishing village sitting on the edge of dramatic sea cliffs with it’s vivid birdlife. From here it’s only a short drive to the enchanting Búðarkirkja black church with it’s stunning backdrop of lava fields and mountains making it the perfect stop to tie the knot to this day.
Learn more about the Snæfellsnes Peninsula tour here.
Do plan around a rather late flight from KEF airport or in the following morning as this trip goes until dinner time.
Hopefully this gave you a good overview of the areas worth the visit on a short three day stopover to Iceland. The trips mentioned run all year round and these places can be appreciated no matter the season or weather. Just pack your warm layers if you do come during the colder months! These three days should have you ticking the boxes of your bucket list all day long and filling up the memory card on your camera.
Hi I’m Dagný Björg, a twenty-something Reykjavík-dweller, mother, designer and freelance journalist who loves getting lost in nature, coffee and easy Sunday mornings.