The Perfect 4 Days Iceland Itinerary - Reykjavik & Around
Reykjavik is the capital city of Iceland and the largest city in the country. This perfect 4 days Iceland itinerary will help you plan a hassle-free short trip to Iceland. If you are visiting Iceland for a longer time, check out this 6 Days in Iceland Itinerary.
Reykjavik is a small yet fascinating city brimming with culture. Its name means ‘smoky bay’, and it is believed that the first inhabitants started to live in the city at around AD 874.
While Reykjavik is beautiful all year round, you should consider visiting Iceland in March in general. Do bear in mind though that even in the summer, the temperature doesn’t go above 12 degrees Celsius in Reykjavik.
Keep in mind when planning your trip that during the summertime, Reykjavik has about 21 hours of sunlight. During the winter season, that drops to only 5 hours of sunlight, which makes it a little bit more difficult to travel around during the winter months. However, if you don't mind the shorter days and are looking for a unique place to visit, then Reykjavik is the perfect adventure for you any time of the year.
This itinerary showcases the best attractions of the city and around that every visitor should visit while staying in Iceland. During the 4 days, you are going to experience Icelandic culture and visit places that you can’t find anywhere else.
- 4 day itinerary
- Average of 6 stops per day
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Iceland 4 Day Itinerary
- Blue Lagoon & Reykjavik Highlights
Golden Circle of Iceland
- Have early breakfast at Reykjavík Röst
- Explore Þingvellir National Park - Thingvellir National Park
- Stop by Öxarárfoss - Game of Thrones Filming Location
- Relax and have lunch at Laugarvatn Fontana Spa
- Be amazed by Geyser Strokkur
- See the magnificent Gullfoss Waterfall
- See the picturesque Kerid Volcanic Crater Lake
- Explore Icelandic Highlands
- Natural Beauty of the South Coast
Using the map of Iceland, you can explore all the days and stops.
Blue Lagoon & Reykjavik Highlights
Your first day in Reykjavik is going to be filled with excitement and interesting sites. You are first going to visit the famous Blue Lagoon resort spa that is located only a short ride from central Reykjavik.
You can rent a car from a car rental in the airport, or take a bus to get to the lagoon. After soaking yourself in the natural hot springs, return to Reykjavik to explore the city itself further.
Once in the city, you will visit several of the most famous sites there, such as Hallgrimskirkja Church, which has made Reykjavik well-known all around the world. You can explore these locations on your own or join a free tour that is available through hotels or hostels and the Tourist Information Centre.
Relax at the Blue Lagoon
One of the most visited attractions of Iceland, the Blue Lagoon can't be missed during your four days in Iceland trip.
The Lagoon is a famous geothermal spa that has bright blue water and is surrounded by beautiful scenery. Different packages are available to visitors, such as entrance tickets to the Blue Lagoon’s hot springs, spa treatments (massages and or body scrubs), or the ability to book an overnight stay at the Lagoon's own hotel.
Do note that the Blue Lagoon is an expensive and luxurious experience. Therefore, be prepared to pay quite a lot for it.
Back in Reykjavik, your first stop will be Hallgrímskirkja, which is a Lutheran parish church. It is the main landmark of the city that can be seen from every corner of Reykjavik.
Hallgrimskirkja is the largest of Iceland’s churches and is one of the tallest buildings in the country. It has a height of 74.5 meters. It was designed by Guðjón Samúelsson and finished in 1986.
The church is well-known for the gargantuan pipe organ, which is 15 meters tall and weighs 25 tons. You will also find a statue of Leifur Eiríksson - the first European to discover America.
Explore National Museum of Iceland
The National Museum of Iceland is located in the centre of Reykjavik and has a massive collection of Icelandic exhibits.
Inside the museum, you will also find Kaffitar; a coffee shop that makes the best coffee in Iceland! Pop inside for the quick lunch and a sip of coffee.
If you're eager to learn more about glaciers and ice specifically, before you see them in person on Day 3, then head over to the Perlan Museum - a relatively new museum all about glaciers and ice! The Perlan Museum is also one of the best museums to visit if you're exploring Reykjavik with kids.
Stop by Harpa Concert Hall
One of the most spectacular landmarks of Reykjavik, The Harpa Concert and Conference Hall is located close to the harbour and has a unique glass-shape that looks like a honeycomb.
It holds famous conferences and concerts every evening. Harpa is also known for its night lights and is a popular place for an evening stroll along the North Atlantic Ocean. You will also be able to enjoy the view of the tall mountains in the background.
Harpa has two restaurants, various shops, and a travel agency. If you are hungry, I suggest having a meal at Smurstöðin, located on the ground floor.
Guided tours around the building are available daily.
Stroll along the beach towards Sun Voyager
My 4 day trip to Iceland itinerary has to include a relaxing walk along the North Atlantic Ocean. From Harpa head towards the beach till you see beach stone pyramids (Galicany) and the pedestrian path called Sculpture and Shore walk.
If you follow the path, you will come across Sun Voyager - a steel sculpture that resembles a Viking ship. The sculpture was created by Jón Gunnar Arnason and became one of the most photographed monuments in the city.
From Sun Voyager, you can enjoy picturesque views of Mount Esja and the ocean. If you still have some energy left, continue walking till the end of the coastal sculpture park.
Golden Circle of Iceland
The second day in Iceland is all about the Golden Circle - a tourist route just outside of Reykjavik and north of the city. It is called the Golden Circle because almost every route goes in a circle as you visit the most scenic locations.
During the Golden Circle tour, you can expect to visit natural and beautiful sites close to the capital. You are going to visit destinations, such as Þingvellir National Park, Öxarárfoss, Geysir Hot Spring Area, Gullfoss Waterfall, and more.
The Golden Circle can be done by booking a tour with any company in Reykjavik, or you can rent a car or campervan, and do the tour at your own pace. It is an ideal tour if you wish to explore Iceland's natural beauty, but have a limited time.
Have early breakfast at Reykjavík Röst
Reykjavík Röst is a local independent cafe near Reykjavik harbour. It serves a wide variety of hot and cold drinks, light meals, and delicious sweet treats. If you decide to go in, make sure to try the chorizo croissant-sandwich.
The items are reasonably priced, so you will not be splurging on breakfast. If you are driving the Golden Circle yourself, try to come to the cafe as early as possible so you will have more time exploring.
You can also ask for takeaway and eat your breakfast at one of the stops along the Golden Circle. This option is perfect for people who prefer eating breakfast later in the day.
Explore Þingvellir National Park - Thingvellir National Park
Your first stop of the Golden Circle is Þingvellir National Park (Thingvellir National Park) - the only designated UNESCO World Heritage Site in mainland Iceland.
Þingvellir National Park is famous for its continental drift as it is the only place where you can see the edges of tectonic plates as they are above the sea level. You can even walk alongside the plates! Hiking along the tectonic plates in Thingvellir National Park is one of the most scenic walks you can do while visiting Iceland!
Stop by Öxarárfoss - Game of Thrones Filming Location
Öxarárfoss is a waterfall situated within Þingvellir National Park and is one of the most touristy places in this Iceland 4 day itinerary. It usually receives more visitors than the park due to it being a Game of Thrones filming location.
The waterfall is 13 meters high and about 6 metres in width. It flows out the Öxará River, cascading into two drops over the cliffs. There is also a lovely icy natural rock pool.
Öxarárfoss can be visited at any time of the year. However, you should avoid the summer if you wish to skip the crowds. If you are travelling in winter, be aware that the rock pool and waterfall might be entirely frozen.
Relax and have lunch at Laugarvatn Fontana Spa
Situated in the small town of Laugarvatn, Laugarvatn Fontana Spa is one of the hidden gems of Iceland. It is also an ideal stopover to rest and have lunch before continuing your trip.
Fontana Spa has several outdoor mineral baths, pools, saunas, and steam rooms. The water comes straight from hot springs that are located beneath the spa. There is also an ice-cold Lake Laugarvatn located next to the main pool.
If you aren't interested in soaking yourself in the hot springs, head straight to the restaurant which serves good Icelandic dishes.
Be amazed by Geyser Strokkur
Located in the Geysir Hot Spring Area (Geysir Geothermal Area), Strokkur Geyser is the most famous and the most visited active geyser in Iceland.
Stokkur erupts regularly, every 4 to 10 minutes. Its water usually reaches a height of about 15 to 20 meters. On an exceptional day, the geyser has reached heights of up to 40 metres!
Apart from watching Stokkur, there is not much more to do around the valley. You can check out the gift shop, and there is also a lovely cafe where you can warm up and have a hot drink.
See the magnificent Gullfoss Waterfall
Gullfoss (Golden Falls) is considered to be one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Iceland. It is a must-see natural wonder during this 4 days in Iceland itinerary.
The waterfall has two cascades - the shorter cascade is 11 meters, and the taller one is 21 meters. The waterfall gets water from the mighty Hvítá River, which travels from the glacier Langjökull. Then it cascades 32 metres down.
During the summer, the falls become heavier and wilder, making the cascades a more impressive sight to see at this time of year.
Note, this waterfall is the most popular location in the Golden Circle, so be prepared for crowds.
See the picturesque Kerid Volcanic Crater Lake
Created more than 3000 years ago, Kerid volcanic crater lake showcases one of the best views of the Golden Circle.
The vivid aquamarine blue coloured lake is surrounded by red volcanic rock slopes. It is a shallow lake, about 7-14 meters depth depending on the rainfall.
You can hike around the rim of the crater or take the ladder down for a closer look.
If you are driving, time your visit so you will arrive there by late evening. If your timing is right, you might be able to see the breath-taking Northern Lights. Don't worry if you can't drive, there are plenty of Northern Lights tours that include Kerid crater lake.
Explore Icelandic Highlands
On your third day of this four days in Iceland itinerary, you will take another day trip from Reykjavik.
You are going to see small waterfalls in the Sigöldugljúfur canyon, spot the Hnausapollur volcanic crater, and enjoy the views from Frostastaðavatn Lake. You will also have a chance to hike to the top of Brennisteinsalda volcano which offers the best scenic views of the Icelandic highlands.
Be aware that you will have to pack some sandwiches, drinks, and snacks for this day as there aren't many eateries along the way. Also, don't forget to bring a towel, swimming suit, and spare clothes since your last stop of the day will be a Landmannalaugar geothermal natural pool.
Explore a hidden gem - the Sigöldugljúfur canyon
Situated deep inside the Icelandic highlands, Sigöldugljúfur canyon is a natural wonder that is a must-see while in Iceland. It is an ideal spot for nature lovers and photographers.
The canyon offers stunning views of small waterfalls and the Tungnaá River. You can also freely wander around and enjoy the scenic landscape.
Sigöldugljúfur canyon is around 172 kilometres from Reykjavik. However, the mountain roads leading to it aren't pleasant. The good thing is that the canyon is not crowded as it is not included in the main tours.
Be aware that Sigöldugljúfur canyon might not be accessible during winter, late autumn, and early spring due to snowfall.
Stop by Hnausapollur Volcanic Crater
Hnausapollur, also known as Blahylur, is a volcanic crater lake known for its turquoise blue water. It situated about 570 metres above sea level deep inside the highlands.
It is a remote place, usually overlooked by the tourists, you won't meet many people there. The crater lake is located on the Highland road Fjallabak Nyrðri and can be easily reached by car.
To reach the top of the crater, you will need to hike, so wear comfortable shoes and clothes suitable for hiking.
If you can't drive, be aware that buses don't run in this remote location, so you will need to book a tour.
Have lunch by the Frostastaðavatn Lake
Famous for picturesque views of the highlands, Frostastaðavatn Lake, also known as Frostastadavatn, is one of the most beautiful natural lakes in Iceland. It is situated 573 metres above sea level and surrounded by black lava fields and high mountains.
It is well-known for being a fishing lake filled with trout. The lake also receives lots of attention from hikers as it is a perfect spot to rest and eat a packed lunch. If you have listened to my advice at the start of this itinerary and packed some food, sit down by the lake and enjoy your lunch while looking at the mountains!
The hike to the lake is relatively easy, and there is a parking lot available at the bottom.
Hiking in Landmannalaugar
Try to arrive at Landmannalaugar no later than 1 PM so that you can enjoy the real beauty of the area.
There are lots of short hiking trails available from the service area. The most popular ones are Landmannalaugar lava field circle (about an hour) and Brennisteinsalda volcano trail (about 2 hours). It's really up to you which one you want to take.
I highly recommend taking a volcano hike. The views from the top are magnificent and can't be found anywhere else in Iceland. The hike is also relatively easy and suitable for beginners.
Dip into Landmannalaugar hot springs
After the hike, head towards the tourist information centre where you will be able to spot the geothermal pool. It has been famous amongst locals for years, but only in recent years, it has become a well-known tourist attraction.
The pool water consists of cold and warm streams that flow beneath the lava and mix in the pool. The temperature is hot and pleasant to bathe in after a tiring day, especially, you have done lots of hiking.
Be aware that you can only bath in it if you are wearing a swimming costume, so don't forget to bring one with you.
Natural Beauty of the South Coast
Your last day of this Iceland 4 day itinerary focuses on travelling to the South Coast. This part of the country is known for the natural beauty that attracts thousands of tourists to this end of the country every year.
You will visit four of the most famous locations in this area at a slower pace, so you will be able to explore the natural beauty fully. The main attractions of South Coast are located quite a while from Reykjavik by car, so I suggest departing as early as possible.
Be aware that you will need to rent a car or book a tour to visit the locations listed below.
Be amazed by Seljalandsfoss
When you look through various lists of what to do for 4 days in Iceland, Seljalandsfoss is always included in the list. It is a very iconic waterfall and one of the most visited waterfalls in Iceland.
The waterfall has a drop of 60 meters. Its cascade is quite narrow but powerful. A unique feature of Seljalandsfoss is the pathway around it. Behind the waterfall, there is a cavern that makes for a beautiful viewing point.
Also, many postcards from Iceland use this iconic waterfall for its picture. It is also a famous filming location for various music videos and TV shows.
Visit Dyrhólaey and Puffins
Dyrhólaey is a rocky peninsula that is famous for a massive black lava arch that is located in the sea. Because of this lava arch, the peninsula is sometimes called The Arch with the Hole.
The peninsula is divided into two parts: lower and higher parts. I recommend spending more time exploring the lower part as it showcases great views of the ocean and a lovely beach for walks.
Dyrhólaey is also home to cute puffins who come here to nest and raise their chicks. Bear in mind that Dyrhólaey is closed from mid-May to mid-June due to puffins nesting.
Stop by Eldhraun Lava Field
Situated near the village of Kirkjubaejarklaustur, Eldhraun Lava Field is the biggest lava flow in the world, and it occurred when volcano Laki erupted from 1783 to 1784. The eruption killed most of the area's animals and plants.
It is a 565 square kilometres field and is considered to be the second-largest lava field in the country. Also, Eldhraun Lava Field is famous for being a place where the Apollo 11 crew came to train for the moonwalk.
Note, try not to destroy moss that covers the field as it takes years to grow back.
Wander around Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon is a lagoon filled with blue icebergs that look like diamonds from afar. This place is one of Iceland's most famous locations and is widely known outside of the country. It is Iceland's deepest, largest, and the most magnificent lagoon.
There are tons of things that you can do in the lagoon, such as spend hours walking along the shore, take a fancy cruise or a boat tour. You can also join glacier hike or ice cave tour if you wish to experience something unique.
The lagoon can be visited at any time of the year; however, boat tours only operate from April to November. There is also a small cafe where you can sit down and enjoy a light meal, hot drinks, and the view of glaciers.
This 4 days Iceland itinerary focused on the main attractions of Reykjavik and natural wonders that can only be seen in Iceland. It also covered several restaurants and cafes where you can try authentic Icelandic cuisine.
Iceland is the country that can't be fully explored within 4 days as there are too many natural wonders scattered around the country. Also, most of Iceland's areas are hardly accessible without a car or tour, so make sure you are able to rent a car or book a tour.
This itinerary is ideal for solo and group travellers. Do note that it might be more difficult to follow it with kids.
I hope you have enjoyed my 4 days in Iceland itinerary and have gained lots of useful information. Have a safe and unforgetful trip!
This article was first published on Jul 13, 2019 20:41 UTC.
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