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Perfect 10 days in Iceland itinerary without car

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It would be difficult to do justice to the natural beauty of Iceland in such a short amount of time, but 10 days is enough to get a good taste of what this unique country has to offer. We are sharing our 10 days in Iceland itinerary to help make your trip planning a little easier!

From the capital city of Reykjavik to the stunning scenery of the Golden Circle and the North, Iceland is a place that will stay with you long after you leave. 

By following this Iceland 10 day itinerary you can not only check off various natural sites and attractions but also soak in multiple geothermal spas with ease!

10 days in Iceland itinerary: Planning your trip to Iceland and sightseeing 

10 day Iceland itinerary

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As you must have read in the title, this 10 day Iceland itinerary is perfect for those who do not wish to rent a car and drive. 

I experienced this itinerary firsthand when I traveled solo, as I had no intention of driving, so I researched, read reviews, and picked day tours, excursions, and flights to enjoy everything that I had on my Iceland bucket list

Here is how my Iceland itinerary looked like, 

10 days in Iceland itinerary

  • Day 1 in Iceland: Arrive at Keflavik Airport and enjoy the Blue Lagoon. Overnight in Reykjavik
  • Day 2 in Iceland: Explore Reykjavik. Optional northern lights tour
  • Day 3 in Iceland: Take a day trip to the Golden Circle highlights
  • Day 4 in Iceland: Check off south Iceland waterfalls and Vik + Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon (optional)
  • Day 5 in Iceland: Visit the Snaefellsnes peninsula
  • Day 6 in Iceland: Learn about Icelandic sagas in the Highlands (Silver Circle)
  • Day 7 in Iceland: Activity day (volcano hike, snowmobile tour, glacier walk, ice caving tour) 
  • Day 8 in Iceland: Travel to Akureyri in north Iceland. Overnight in Akureyri
  • Day 9 in Iceland: Day trip to Myvatn Lake area and waterfalls
  • Day 10 in Iceland: Return to Reykjavik and soak in Sky Lagoon

Other Iceland trips: 3 days in Iceland itinerary | 5 days in Iceland | 8 days in Iceland itinerary

If you are looking for a 10 day Iceland Ring Road trip itinerary, you can use the same attractions and stops for each day as outlined above – just that you will be driving yourself without a guide leading the way. 

It is totally possible to do it on your own, relax and enjoy your Iceland road trip. 

In terms of costs, if you are traveling solo remember that you won’t be splitting car rental, insurance, and gas expenses with anyone, so it is worth considering a day tour (and not worrying about driving, gas, parking fees, etc). 

Girl at Skogafoss waterfalls near Reykjavik
Skogafoss waterfall in South Iceland

Popular tours like Golden Circle, South coast, and the excursion to Snaefellsnes peninsula are usually available for around/less than 100 USD per person (it includes pick up, drop off from the hotel, and parking fees on the natural attraction site).

I have included links to all the tours I took, plus a few extras to cover different seasonal activities and a Plan B should you need one. Some tour operators require at least 2 bookings to launch the tour, hence the extra options! 

View of Akureyri Town centre and street murals
Lanes of northenr Iceland: Very walkable

Based on tour availability you can always move the days around. For the most part of the Iceland itinerary, you will be based out of Reykjavik and going on day tours from there. 

For exploring northern Iceland we will suggest a flight ride (but more on that later).

Is it possible to visit Iceland without a car?

Yes, it is. We never rented a car in Iceland on all of our trips. It is 10000% possible to explore Iceland, including the famous Ring Road attractions, waterfalls, cool landscapes, and more without renting a car or driving. 

We rely on public transportation, and tours to explore destinations, and Iceland was no different. 

Girl at the Reykjanes Peninsula Iceland
Hot springs while on a day tour from Reykjavik Iceland

Don’t hesitate to book a guided tour. Tours in Iceland are not intrusive – they will pick you up and drop you off, and provide guidance so that you are safe and able to enjoy (without hand-holding).

I personally had a great time. I was able to relax, and take a TON of photos and videos (I used my tripod and got my own shots without any people in them!). 

So yes, it is totally possible to see and enjoy Iceland without renting a car!

Day 1 of Iceland 10 day itinerary: Arrive at Keflavik Airport, visit Blue Lagoon and stay overnight in Reykjavik

Arriving at Keflavik International Airport

Your first point of entry into Iceland will be at the Keflavik International Airport. It is the main airport of the country and is located about 45 minutes from the capital city of Reykjavik. 

Keflavik is the hub of IcelandAir, so you won’t have any issues finding flights. 

Most flights from North America arrive in Keflavik in the morning and that gives you ample time to settle in on your very first day. 

Car rental pick up in Reykjavik Iceland

If you are picking up a car rental, we recommend reserving a vehicle before your arrival. You should be able to start from the airport for your Iceland ring road trip. 

If not renting a car – perfect! You can ride an airport transfer bus to Reykavik. It will take anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour (with a stop at the BSI main Bus Terminal). 

Note that a bus transfer is one of the affordable ways to get to the capital city, without renting a car or paying for a taxi. 

Here is our detailed guide with a step-by-step process for getting from Keflavik Airport to Reykjavik.

Book a Keflavik to Reykjavik transfer

Stop at Blue Lagoon 

Visiting Blue Lagoon: 10 day Iceland itinerary

With a bus ride, you can also arrange for a stop at the famous Blue Lagoon Spa before making your way to the capital city. It is located about 15 minutes from the Keflavik airport. 

Tickets: 

The Blue Lagoon is a man-made geothermal spa and it is still on every first-timer’s Iceland bucket list. And for a good reason. It is known for its healing waters. 

Girl at the Blue Lagoon
Blue Lagoon

And the lovely warm pool is the perfect place to unwind after a long flight, and enjoy its mineral-rich waters. 

Trust us, you won’t want to miss out on this Icelandic institution.

We recommend making a reservation prior to your visit to the Blue Lagoon. Their tickets get sold out fast (and sometimes weeks in advance), so plan ahead of time and make your bookings online.

  • There are 3 types of packages available for purchase at the Blue Lagoon. 
  • The basic or the Comfort Package is all you need. In this, you get access to the waters, public changing facilities, a silica mud mask, a drink, and a towel. 

Once in, you can stay as long as you like. 

Blue Lagoon Cafe

If you are hungry you can grab a bite to eat at the Cafe, or enjoy drinks from the swim-up bar. 

There is a luggage storage room at the Lagoon entrance area where you can store your backpacks and suitcase. Storage fees start at 800 ISK.

Blue Lagoon Iceland

We recommend spending 2-4 hours at the Blue Lagoon and then making your way to your centrally located hotel in Reykjavik. 

When paying for the transfer ticket, pay attention to the timetable/schedule so that you can get a ride to the capital city. 

Where to stay in Reykjavik Iceland?

Center Hotels
  • Center Hotels Plaza: I loved staying at the Center Hotel in Reykjavik, and it is hands down one of my favorites! I had a lovely deluxe room with a panoramic view of the entire city – imagine waking up to this view – every morning! The hotel offers free breakfast as well and is within walking distance of many attractions. Book your stay here
  • Guesthouse Sunna: Sunna is located near the iconic Hallgrimskirkja. Popular Loki cafe is also a few steps away. I stayed here solo and highly recommend this clean guesthouse. You can pay for breakfast and parking when renting a car. Check out more review 
  • Room with a View Apartments: Located on the main street of Reykjavik Laugavegur, we stayed here on our very first trip to Iceland with my husband. The rooms are very spacious and perfect when traveling with a lot of gear or luggage. Book your stay here

Walking food tour in Reykjavik

After checking into your hotel, relax and get ready for a nice stroll in the evening. 

You can also book a three-hour food tour that offers five samples of Icelandic delicacies including a beer! Here is what I booked

This will be your dinner. 

If you prefer not to do a tour, then you can pick one of these options for a traditional Icelandic meal. 

Icelandic hot dog Baejarins Beztu

Top picks:

  • Cafe Loki
  • 101 Reykjavik Street Food
  • Baejarins Beztu
  • Kopar
  • Svarta Kaffid 

Be sure to try some traditional Icelandic food like lamb stew or smoked salmon, and don’t forget to sample the local beer and Brennivin schnapps. 

Arctic Char and Rye bread

Reykjavik might be small compared to other major cities, but it has a big personality, and you’ll find plenty of bars and restaurants to keep you entertained. Read our guide on free things to do in Reykjavik

Day 2 of Iceland 10 day itinerary: Explore Reykjavik. Optional northern lights tour

Day 2 of the Iceland itinerary is all about exploring the capital city. You won’t need a car to visit Reykjavik’s prime attractions. They can be easily explored on foot. 

Beautiful lanes of Reykjavik

If interested you can either reserve a spot on a free walking tour or a Viking history tour here

Now, Reykjavik is the world’s northernmost capital city, and it’s full of charm. Start your day with a warm breakfast at Cafe Loki and then head to the Hallgrimskirkja church for a panoramic view of the city.

Breakfast with views of Hallgrímskirkja: Cafe Loki
Breakfast with views of Hallgrímskirkja: Cafe Loki

Hallgrímskirkja

Hallgrímskirkja is the tallest church in the whole of Iceland. The interiors of the church are simple yet grand. 

Step inside the church to admire the pipe organs and the simplicity of the altar and the hall. 

There is no cost to go inside or around the building. 

Right outside the prayer hall, you will find a small souvenir and ticket shop. 

Inside Hallgrímskirkja
Inside Hallgrímskirkja

Here you can buy entry tickets to access the church lift to the top. It costs 1 000 ISK. 

We have to warn you that it gets super windy up there, but the ride is worth the money and effort as the city look pretty colorful and charming from up there!

Get the 20+ free things to do in Reykjavik, perfect for a stopover for one day in Reykjavik Itinerary or more. A budget friendly way to see more of Iceland. #icelandtravel

Hallgrímskirkja is a Lutheran church and is open every day. 

Right outside the church, you will find a massive statue of Leif Eriksson, an Icelandic explorer. 

You will occasionally find musicians, performers, and parades taking place here at the church square/complex. 

Next, go strolling down the streets and take in the colorful buildings and vibrant street art. 

Get the 20+ free things to do in Reykjavik, perfect for a stopover for one day in Reykjavik Itinerary or more. A budget friendly way to see more of Iceland. #icelandtravel
Harpa Concert Hall

It is a good idea to head towards the beautiful harbourfront, and this is where you will find the gorgeous Harpa Concert Hall (the same place from where the food tour kicked off on day 1), and then make your way to the Sun Voyager. 

The Sun Voyager Sculpture

The Sun Voyager is a sculpture made of steel and glass structure and it denotes a dreamboat or an ode to the Sun. 

Get the 20+ free things to do in Reykjavik, perfect for a stopover for one day in Reykjavik Itinerary or more. A budget friendly way to see more of Iceland.
Sun Voyager

The sculpture stands for dreams of hope and progress. 

It is completely free to visit the Sun Voyager or take photos. 

Perlan

Up next is the Perlan, another of Reykjavik’s iconic buildings. 

The observation deck at the Perlan offers 360-degree views of the city and surrounding mountains and makes for a nice stop if you are tired from all the walking. 

Inside the complex, you will also find a museum and a large planetarium. There is also a café, restaurant, and gift shop inside Perlan. 

The cost of admission is different for the museum, and tours at the Perlan Wonders of Iceland. 

Museums in Reykjavik 

Reykjavik has some cool and quirky museums that will just blow your mind! 

  • The National Museum of Iceland: Learn about the cultural history of Iceland at the National Museum, which dates back to 1863. The entry fee is 2500 ISK (free with City Card). 
  • The Icelandic Phallological Museum: This quirky museum with genitalia/penises on display is visited by 70,000 people annually. It is located in the heart of the city and is open until 07:00 in the evening. 
  • Reykjavik Maritime Museum: There is the Reykjavik Maritime Museum to learn about Iceland’s rich maritime history. The entry fee is 2,050 ISK and is free with the City Card.

Another museum worth visiting is the Reykjavík Art Museum. The museum has three locations in Reykjavik: Hafnarhus, Kjarvalsstadir, and Asmundarsafn. You can visit all three for the price of one (and free with the City Card).

Reykjavík Art Museum Ásmundarsafn is located further away from the city center. But if you are driving you can surely make a trip there – it is a studio – an open museum with sculptures and outdoor exhibits.

Finish sightseeing by checking off the Reykjavik City Hall and Tjörnin (aka The Pond) in the evening. 

Reykjavik City Hall and Tjörnin

The striking Reykjavik City Hall is located on the shores of Tjörnin, the city pond. We love taking a walk around the pond’s embankment – it is just so serene. 

The Pond

It’s also a great place to take photos, relax and feed the ducks!

If you have time, step inside the City Hall. This is where you will find a large mural by the Icelandic artist Hálfdan Pétursson. This mural depicts the country’s history and culture.

Winter/evening activity: 

When visiting during the months, particularly from late September to mid-April, you can chase northern lights in and around Reykjavik at night. 

It is possible to book a northern lights tour which leaves at around 09:30 pm from your accommodation.

Or you can pair a northern light and a south coast Iceland tour (which can be done on 2 separate days). 

Northern Lights in Iceland Chase waterfalls & northern lights,soak in geothermal spas, meet horses & pluffy sheeps & explore Reykjavik's colorful lanes in your 3 day Iceland Itinerary
Northern Lights Iceland

During our very first trip, our northern lights tour was canceled due to low visibility, and we were offered a free tour the next day. 

And we got lucky – we saw those gorgeous green dancing lights aka aurora borealis! 

We highly recommend a tour to see it all, if you are not driving around yourself. 

Northern Lights Tour options:

Day 3 of Iceland 10 day itinerary: Take a day trip to the Golden Circle highlights

The Golden Circle is one of Iceland’s most popular tourist routes, and this is where you will be going on day 3 of the Iceland 10 day itinerary. 

Thingelliver National Park Chase waterfalls & northern lights,soak in geothermal spas, meet horses & pluffy sheeps & explore Reykjavik's colorful lanes in your 3 day Iceland Itinerary
Thingelliver National Park

This scenic drive takes you through some of the country’s most stunning landscapes, including the Thingvellir or Þingvellir National Park, the Gullfoss waterfall, and the geothermal area of Geysir.

It is also one of the easiest day tours to embark on from Reykjavik. You can book a full-day tour of the Golden Circle Route, along with Secret Lagoon

Thingvellir National Park

Day tours usually pick you up at around 08:30 am and your very first stop is at the Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home of the world’s oldest parliament – alpingi. 

Chase waterfalls & northern lights,soak in geothermal spas, meet horses & pluffy sheeps & explore Reykjavik's colorful lanes in your 3 day Iceland Itinerary
Thingvellir National Park: 10 days in Iceland itinerary

The national park is located in southwest Iceland, about an hour’s drive from Reykjavik. 

If you are driving you can take your time here and enjoy hikes, chase waterfalls or enjoy a self-guided walking tour. 

Are you planning a trip to Iceland? Read this ultimate guide -Travel Tips Iceland - filled with tips like currency, packing, budget & savings, apps & more

With or without a day tour, you can also add on a snorkeling adventure and swim between two of the earth’s tectonic plates – the North American and Eurasian Plates. 

Book here: Golden Circle with snorkeling in Silfra (equipment provided)

Gullfoss

Your next stop is the gorgeous waterfall – Gullfoss. This waterfall is found in the Hvítá river canyon in Southwest Iceland. 

Once you reach the parking lot, it is a short walk/hike to get to the viewing platform. 

Gullfoss

There are two viewing platforms to see this beautiful waterfall. Because the falls come with such a force it is possible that you will be completely drenched from the closest platform. So ensure you wear waterproof clothing. 

Also, keep in mind that the viewing areas will be slippery. But there are guardrails around for support. 

Chase waterfalls & northern lights,soak in geothermal spas, meet horses & pluffy sheeps & explore Reykjavik's colorful lanes in your 3 day Iceland Itinerary
Gulfoss Waterfalls

Note that there is a restaurant on-site, and washroom facilities are available if you need a quick break. 

Also, located near the viewing platform at Gullfoss is a sculpture and informative plaque about Sigridur Tomasdottir, who was an Icelandic environmentalist. 

She is known for her efforts in preserving the Gullfoss waterfalls, from industrialization.

Geothermal area

The last stop on the Golden Circle route is the Geysir geothermal area. This is where you can see the erupting geysers – Strokkur and Geysir, in action. 

These two geysers are the most active in the park and erupt every 10 minutes or so.

The Haukadalur geothermal area has a lot smaller hot pools that you will most likely see along the way. 

Always follow the marked pathway, whether you are on a guided tour or not. 

Golden Circle Route tour add-ons

The highlights of the Golden Circle route can be done in as little as four hours. That’s why many tour operators also offer this as a half-day excursion for those on an Icelandic stopover. 

Geyser part of the Golden Circle Iceland Tour
Golden Circle Tour

A typical full-day tour will be 6+ hours with ample rest stops and sightseeing time along the way. 

You can add the following add-ons to your day trip itinerary for a more in-depth exploration of the route. 

Kerid Crater is spectacular at all times of the year. The blue waters make for an amazing photography subject. A short hike is essential to get to this awesome view. 

If you do not wish to walk/hike anymore, then opt for a final stop on the Golden Circle route to the Secret Lagoon. So this way you can make the most of your trip on a single day. 

Girl in Secret Lagoon, one of the best hot pools in Iceland
Secret Lagoon: Iceland 10 day itinerary

We did the Secret Lagoon combo tour, and LOVED it! 

The Secret Lagoon is a cheaper alternative to the popular Blue Lagoon. The standalone tickets are not super expensive, but it was a very relaxed way to end the day with the Golden Circle! 

There are changing facilities as well as a restaurant and a bar on-site, where you can relax and break the journey before traveling back to Reykjavik. 

Day 4 of Iceland 10 day itinerary: Check off south Iceland waterfalls and Vik (+ Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon)

The Golden Circle might be a popular route, but the gems on the southern coast of Iceland will steal your heart! 

South Coast of Iceland

On this day, you will get to check off the highlights such as the waterfalls of Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss, the black sand beaches of Reynisfjara, as well as the smallest village of Vik (and its Instagrammable church).

Now, if you have a rental car, you can follow directions to Seljalandsfoss first, it will take you about 2 hours to get there, then stop at Skogafoss, followed by Reynisfjara black sand beach, and Vik. 

Without a car, you can book a full-day tour of the South Coast

During our tour, we stopped at Skogafoss first, and had ample time at the Seljalandsfoss for a short hike, and then relaxed at the Reynisfjara black sand beach, and Vik. 

On a guided tour, many exclusions can be added such as glacier walking, horse riding, and hiking excursions. Here are the options

Seljalandsfoss waterfall

Seljalandsfoss is one of the iconic waterfalls in Iceland. This is the famous ‘you can walk behind these waterfalls’. 

And even enjoy a hike in the nearby areas.  

Seljalandsfoss Chase waterfalls & northern lights,soak in geothermal spas, meet horses & pluffy sheeps & explore Reykjavik's colorful lanes in your 3 day Iceland Itinerary
Seljalandsfoss: 10 days in Iceland itinerary

To get to the falls, you don’t have to hike, it is just a short walk. 

If you wish to walk behind the waters, ensure you have waterproof clothing and shoes – the area has rocks that you have to climb unto, and it is slippery – so exercise caution as you go.

Note: This waterfall is located about 130 kilometers (about 80 miles) south of Reykjavik, on the road to Vik. It is completely free to access the site of the waterfall and view it. Parking costs 800 ISK.

Skogafoss

Skogafoss is the next waterfall on your south coast itinerary. It is located about 28 kilometers (17.4 miles) from Seljalandsfoss. 

Skogafoss: Iceland itinerary 10 days

Skogafoss is fed by the glacial river Skoga and has a height of 60 meters. 

There is a parking lot in the area, and within a short walk, you will be near the falls.

Reynisfjara black sand beach and Vik

The iconic basalt columns and the gorgeous black beach of Reynisfyjara are next on the list. 

Reynisfyara Black Sand Beach The very best guided tours of Iceland handpicked to suit every traveler needs. Whether you like adventure tours or city walking tour, we got you covered.
Reynisfyara

This is a nice photo spot, and we are sure you will love to take a walk here and stretch your legs. 

Many of the horse riding tours take place here. 

Vik

From here, you can also hike up to the beautiful white and red church – Vikurkirkja, in the village of Vík í Mýrdal.  

Pro tip: Because of its location along the Ring Road, Vik is a convenient stop for food, views, and souvenir shopping as well. 

Day 5 of Iceland 10 day itinerary: Visit the Snaefellsnes peninsula

Mini Iceland aka Snæfellsnes Peninsula is worth exploring. 

Although there are lots to explore, on a quick day tour you can still check off some of the highlights (without a lot of driving yourself). 

Snaefellsnes

Here is the full-day tour of Snaefellsnes Peninsula to book. It does make for a long day, but the attractions that it covers make it amazing. 

Pack some snacks, and drink/s, and wear hiking shoes for a full day of sightseeing!

Each day trip excursion includes Kirkjufell and Kirkjufellsfoss, Saxhóll Crater, Djupalonssandur, and Budakirkja and you can even check out seals on the beach!

Arnarstapi
Arnarstapi

If you are on a road trip from Reykjavik, you can follow similar stops. It takes about 1.50 to 2 hours to get to Snaefellsnes. 

Your first stop will be at Borgarnes, a small town where you can pick up food, fuel up, or use a washroom break. All tour operators stop in this town as well. 

Located here is the Berserkjahraun lava field and which is over 4000 years old. 

From here, make your way to the Kirkjufell. 

Kirkjufell means ‘church mountain’, and it is widely popular due to its feature on the “Game of Thrones” television show. 

It greets you as soon as you get closer to the sightseeing area parking lot. 

From the parking lot, it is a quick walk to the mountain and the waterfalls. 

On a day tour, you can go on a short hike. 

There are more hiking trails near the mountain but the waterfalls are accessible without a strenuous hike. 

It is absolutely gorgeous on a lovely day to soak in the views of the mountains and falls! 

Up next is the Saxhóll Crater. It is a 100-meter-high volcanic crater, and to get to the top you will be taking the ‘Stairway to Heaven’. 

Stairway to Heaven

You have to climb the steps/stairs to get to the top of the crater. Once you reach the top, you will be rewarded with stunning views of the creator and the nearby mountains. 

Up next is Djupalonssandur. 

Djupalonssandur views
Djupalonssandur

Djupalonssandur is a sandy beach and bay on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula in Iceland, just above Snæfellsjökull. 

It was previously home to one of the peninsula’s most active fishing towns, but it is now unpopulated. 

Djupalonssandur viewing area

Once you disembark from the tour bus, you can head to the viewing platform first for views and then hike down to the beach. 

You can also enjoy a circular loop from the black sand beach, craters, and rock formations and back. 

Arnarstapi: 10 days in Iceland itinerary

From Djupalonssandur, the tour continues to the land of Icelandic sagas and history, to Arnarstapi. 

This is where you can check out the sculpture of Bárður Snaefellsnes. Bárður is believed to be the Protector of the Snæfellsnes peninsula. 

Bárður sculpture
Bárður sculpture

The giant monument actually looks beautiful from the harbor views. From here, you can walk to check the beautifully eroded cliffs and listen to seagulls at play!

The trip continues on to the Black Church or Budakirkja. This little church is an absolute Instagrammable spot in Iceland with a gorgeous mountain backdrop. 

Budakirkja
Budakirkja: 10 day Iceland itinerary

You can enter the church for free, and also view historical artifacts from the 19th century. 

The last stop on the day tour is the beach of Ytri-Tunga. This is a seal beach, and on a nice warm day, you will find seals relaxing on the rocks and soaking in the sun. 

Seal at the Ytri Tunga Seal beach
Seal Beach

Other stops on the Snæfellsnes peninsula

When on a self-guided day trip (or a longer stay) you can add/swap one of the attractions from the list below,

  • Glymur falls: Take a detour and hike Iceland’s second-highest waterfall (only Morsárfoss is taller). The trail is 7.5 km (4.66 miles). 
  • Mt. Eldborg: Alternately, you can also hike to the edge of Mt. Eldborg- a volcano that’s no longer active. The trail is 7 km (4.3 miles). Both hikes can take anywhere from 1.50 to 2 hours.
  • Kirkjufell: You can hike to the top of the Kirkjufell. Keep in mind is for advanced hikers. The roundtrip takes about 3 hours and fatal accidents have occurred so be careful and take your time navigating this trail. 

Day 6 of Iceland 10 day itinerary: Learn about Icelandic sagas in the Highlands

Known as the Silver Circle route, this is another west coast road or day trip from Reykjavik. 

Turfhouses: Silver Circle

Home to more beautiful waterfalls, sagas, hot springs, and geothermal pools, the Icelandic Highlands are completely different from what you saw on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. 

For sightseeing, you can also book a full-day tour. This day tour is not super jamp packed like the day before – it is slightly relaxed with food and restroom stops.

If you are driving, you can make it at a stop at Borgarnes first (reachable in an hour), and then follow along with the attractions as mentioned below.  

The route surely takes you away from the touristy and busy Ring Road into forested landscapes and glacial rivers with the Langjokull. 

The very first sightseeing stop is the Glanni waterfall. From the parking lot, it is a short walk to the viewing platform where you can soak in views of the pretty falls. 

Glanni waterfall

The waterfall has multiple tiers that fall down on old lava fields known as the Grabrokarhraun. 

As you make you way to the viewing areas, you will see signs of vegetation and greenery, juxtaposed to black landscapes (lava-ridden sites we saw before). 

The next stop is Deildartunguhver, and this is where you will find the most powerful hot spring in Europe. 

You will see the steam and heat from a distance, as the water is super HOT at 97°C (200°F). 

Deildartunguhver
Deildartunguhver

The water is used to provide heat to the nearby cities of Akranes and Borganes. 

Spend sometime at the site, but be very careful and not step inside the guard rails. 

Located near the hot spring is a greenhouse and a spa – Krauma geothermal baths and spa.

After the hot springs, head to the historic site of Reykholt. One of the most important tourist spot is the Snorralaug (Snorri’s Pool), which was the home and pool of Icelandic poet and chieftain, Snorri Sturluson, who wrote many sagas. 

Snorralaug

Today, Snorralaug is a protected archaeological site. 

There are no entry fees here. You can admire the pool, and also enter the house to see what it looks like (it’s like a cute turf house). 

Just like the south coast of Iceland, you can also stop at waterfalls in this part of the country – and they are equally surreal! 

The first one is the Hraunfossar, or the “Lava Waterfalls.”  Here you will see a series of small waterfalls flowing over a lava field, called the Hallmundarhraun. 

Hraunfossar

This was created a thousand years ago by a volcano eruption (under the Langjokull glacier located nearby).

Hraunfossar is unlike other waterfalls seen in this Iceland itinerary. There are many walking and hiking trails located at the Hraunfossar. 

Plus there are small bridges and viewing platforms from where you can even see the meltwater from the Langjokull glacier over the lava fields, pouring into the Hvita river. 

Girl at the Hraunfossar in 10 days in Iceland itinerary
Hraunfossar: Iceland itinerary 10 days

No strenuous hike is necessary to access the viewing platforms to see the waterfalls

From here you can follow signs to see another waterfall called the Barnafoss. 

Also known as “the waterfall of the children ”, this is smaller in comparison to the Hraunfossar, but is still pretty!

Barnafoss

Legend has it that the name of the falls comes from a very sad story of two local children, who lost their lives here by drowning. 

When you are on a guided tour, you have 2 excursion option to add to your Silver Circle route

  • Lava tour: The first one is a lava tour at the Vidgelmir Lava Cave. This 90 minute add-on takes you through the guided experience of visiting a lava cave. The cave is filled with stunning stalactites and stalagmites, with lava formations and multi-colored rocks. 
  • Husafell Canyon Baths: Husafell Canyon Baths (Giljaböð hot springs) is unlike any of the spa you have experienced in Iceland. It is all natural, and the baths uses the concept of a traditional Icelandic hot spring experience in a remote location in Hringsgil canyon. 

We have written a detailed guide to experiencing the Husafell Canyon Baths here. 

Husafell Canyon Baths

Note that this excursion is only available with a guide, and a 4×4 vehicle is required to access the Baths entrance. 

At the site, there are 2 geothermally-heated stone pools (both almost of the same temperature), plus a fully functional washroom and changing rooms. 

Langifoss

As part of the Husafell experience you will also get to explore a waterfall nearby, called the Langifoss. 

There is a short walk to get to the viewing platform, so we recommend wearing proper hiking boots to get there. 

Day 7 of Iceland 10 day itinerary: Activity day (volcano hike, snowmobile tour, glacier walk, ice caving tour) 

Day 7 of the 10 day Iceland itinerary is all about activities. We recommend choosing an activity based on your interest and season. 

Volcano hike

Iceland offers some of the kickass excursions from Reykjavik with round trip transportation from your central hotel, so why not take the advantage. 

These excursions are typically led by an expert, so if you are not opting for a tour, and are driving there yourself you still have to reserve a slot (+ equipment). 

During my recent trip, I signed up for a 8 hour Fagradalsfjall volcano tour

Reykjanes Peninsula Iceland

The tour included 2 hours of guided hike, along with stops at the Bridge Between Continents, Reykjanesviti Lighthouse, Lake Kleifarvatn, and Gunnuhver Hot Springs on tour from Reykjavík (total of 8 full hours).

The hike was great and doable for hikers of all levels. Trust me the views from up there were worth it. 

The trail has some steep and inclined patches and we recommend wearing proper hiking shoes to enjoy it to the fullest. 

Without a tour, you can drive to the Geldingadalur Valley yourself, and there is a parking lot (fees apply) available near the site. 

Ice cave tours (November to March)

In the winter, add a cool ice cave tour to your Iceland itinerary instead. 

You can book such an experience as a full day tour, or if you are driving you can get to the meeting point yourselves and then participate in the guided excursion. 

Tour options:

Here are some of the seasonal excursions

Day 8 of Iceland 10 day itinerary: Travel to Akureyri in north Iceland. Overnight in Akureyri

From Reykjavik, you will be flying to Akureyri on day 8 of your Iceland 10 day itinerary. 

view of hearts and Akureyri Church
Cute town of Akureyri

Without renting a car, flying to Akureyri is your best bet, and in this, you will also get to explore the second-largest settlement in Iceland. 

Flying into Akureyri airport: 

You can book flight tickets, departing from the Reykjavik Domestic airport to Akureyri. 

Note that this is not the Keflavik airport near the Blue Lagoon. 

Reykjavik Domestic Airport

The Domestic Airport is only a 5 minute drive from the City centre. I took a taxi to get to the airport from my hotel and it cost about 15 USD. 

Flights are operated by the national carrier – IcelandAir, and there are multiple trips in a day. The flight duration is 45 minutes. 

Both airports are super small, and there are no security checks for yourself/your luggage. However, you will find ample parking space, a cafe, and staff on-site for assistance!

Domestic Airport in Reykjavik
Domestic Airport in Akureyri

We recommend a morning or noon flight for Akureyri, after a nice breakfast in Reykjavik. 

Now, the driving time from Reykjavik to Akureyri is 5+ hours (one way).

Once you land in Akureyri, take a cab and get to your hotel. 

Here are a few options we recommend,

Where to stay in Akureyri? 

Icelandair Akureyri
  • Icelandair Akureyri: I stayed at the IcelandAir Akureyri and it was amazing. My room had a nice big window with views. The hotel has a huge parking lot, a beautiful patio restaurant, and a bar. You can opt for breakfast (paid), and it is a good idea because some of the cafes in town don’t open very early. Check availability here
  • Hotel Kea by Keahotels: Another centrally located hotel is the KEA. It is super close to the Church of Akureyri, which is one of the touristy spots in the city. Click to view photos and book your stay here

After you are settled in, take a walk and explore the cute little town of Akureyri. You can easily check off most of the main sites in a few hours – 4 to 6 hours. 

We have a detailed one day in Akureyri itinerary and an Akureyri walking tour that you can refer to for your trip!

Now, here is what you must visit

Akureyri Church or Akureyrarkirkja

The Akureyri Church or Akureyrarkirkja is a beautiful Lutheran church located in the centre of the town. 

Church of Akureyri

The church was built in 1940, and due to its location (elevation), you are welcomed to the stunning views of the fjords and the colorful town below. 

A series of steps leads you to the church entrance and inside you will find a large organ pipe. 

The church is free to enter and is open on weekdays from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm (on Friday, it closes at 4:00 pm). 

Akureyri Arctic Botanical Gardens 

Arctic Botanical Gardens and Public Park is a free attraction in Akureyri. As the name suggests it is a garden and it makes for a nice stroll in the summer or warmer months. 

Botanical Garden

There are over 7,000 species of plants on display and a few greenhouses. The site also conducts scientific research on a regular basis.

During winter, certain sections of the park and gardens may be closed. 

Cafe at the Botanical Garden

But there is an awesome cafe inside the park which is open all year and perfect for a nice afternoon sit down with a book!

Akureyri Waterfront 

The waterfront area of Akureyri is lovely, just like the one in Reykjavik. 

Waterfront of Akureyri

But this one is sprinkled with cute wrecked ships, covered wood bridges, beautiful paved areas, and of course the views of the fjords. 

Landemar Monument 

Monument Landnemar à Akureyri is the First Settlers Statue located in Akureyri. The statue showcases Helgi, the lean, and his wife – Þórunn Hyrna, overlooking the town from above. 

Helgi The Lean

It is believed that he came to this area in the 9th century. 

You can walk/hike to the First Settlers Statue from the Town Hall Square and get there in 15 minutes or so. 

Akureyri town centre 

If you are tired and don’t wish to explore all the spots, no worries. Just take the time to wander the Akureyri main street. 

Akureyri Main Street

There are tons of cafes and restaurants where you can grab a bite to eat, shop for souvenirs and even soak in the views of the Akureyri Church from afar! 

Day 9 of Iceland 10 day itinerary: Day trip to Myvatn Lake area and waterfalls

On day 9 of your Iceland itinerary, take a day trip from Akureyri to check off the Myvatn Lake area (Diamond Circle). 

You can book a day tour, which also includes pick-up from Akureyri hotels. 

The tour covers 5-7 stops which we will cover below. It also includes an entry pass for the Myvatn Nature Baths

Book this full-day tour here

If you are driving we recommend setting aside a total of 8 -10 hours with ample stops along the way. 

Whether you are driving or joining in a tour, you will get to soak in the scenic coast of Eyjafjordur along the way!

Goðafoss Waterfall

On this route, explore the Waterfalls of the Gods aka Goðafoss. 

Godafoss

This waterfall is named so because one of the prime lawmakers in Iceland threw the pagan gods/statues into the waterfall after converting to Christianity.

The falls are gorgeous and formed by the glacial river Skjálfandafljót. 

From the parking lot, it is a short walk to get to the viewing platform of the Godafoss. There are many trails in and around the waterfalls. 

Godafoss viewing areas

You can also get to the lower section of the falls and get really up close and personal. 

Unlike the waterfalls of the southern coast of Iceland, this is not super crowded. You can spend anywhere from 1 to 2 hours here, checking out the falls from various levels, and bridges. 

On the Godafoss site, there is a restaurant, souvenir shop, and washrooms.

Pseudocraters of Skútustaðagígar

The pseudocraters of Skútustaðagígar are unique to this region and are a special geological phenomenon. 

Pseudo craters in Myvatn Lake area

Normally craters are formed due to volcanic eruptions. During an eruption when lava runs across an area, the heat and water trapped underneath to create a crater-like shape. 

But a pseudo-crater is not a real crater but looks like one. It is caused when lava flows and crosses over a water body (like a lake, or a pond) and then causes an explosion of steam through the lava. 

Later the gases erupt from the surface like a normal volcanic eruption, which creates a crater-like surface!  

This site is great for light hikes and photography! 

I was sooo tempted to get a drone to capture this landscape – it is so unique and gorgeous! 

Dark fortress

Dimmuborgir or Dark cities/Dark fortress is one of the stops on the North Iceland day tour. 

This area is known for its dramatic black lava and rock formations. Many of the structures look like castles, caverns, and caves and hence the name – dark fortress.

Dimmuborgir
Dimmuborgir

A quick walk through the site will take you to a different world. Hiking is one of the popular activities here. 

But there is more. Have you heard of the yule lads or the Icelandic Santa Claus? 

So there is a famous folklore of half-troll, half-ogre Grýla (female), and her submissive husband Leppalúði. 

Dimmuborgir signs of yule lads
Dimmuborgir – Yule lads

They have 13 children (Yule Lads) who come to visit little kids thirteen nights before Christmas. 

It is believed that their story originated here. You can read info boards about them, or follow signs to see their abode. 

Lake Myvatn and Nature Baths

The highlight of the North Iceland tour is Lake Myvatn and the gorgeous nature baths which are perfect for a soak after a day of sightseeing. 

Lake Mývatn is a volcanic lake and is best known for fishing and bird-watching opportunities. 

East of the lake is Mývatn Nature Baths, also called the Blue Lagoon of the North!

If you missed out on the Blue Lagoon, you will happy to know that Myvatn is never super crowded or pricey. So you will be able to find a slot that works for you. 

Girl at the Lake Myvatn Nature Baths Iceland

Your entry ticket will be included when you choose Baths to the day tour, as an add-on upon checking out. 

You can spend 1-2 hours here and then return to Akureyri for the night.  

Day 10 of Iceland 10 day itinerary: Akureyri Museum, whale watching tour. Return to Reykjavik

This is your final day in Iceland. Depending on the flight back home, feel free to switch a few activities around. 

In the morning, head to the Akureyri Museum and the Nonni House, and then enjoy a whale-watching tour before flying back to Reykjavik. 

Akureyri Museum & Nonni House 

So the first stop for the day is the Akureyri Museum. It is one of the main attractions in the city. 

The museum along with the Nonni House and a 19th-century church is located on the same site, and with one ticket you can access all three. 

Tickets are 2000 ISK per person. To enter the grounds and garden is completely free.

There are two permanent exhibitions at the Akureyri Museum. The permanent collection highlights the life and stories of residents from its early settlement days to modern times. 

Akureyri Museum

As you leave the museum, you will see a nice garden with a cannon on display. 

The Nonni House, located on the site, is a wooden house dating back to 1850. This is one of the oldest houses in Akureyri and is very well-maintained. 

Nonni House Akureyri
Nonni House

Inside the house, you will find furniture, clothing, and utensils from the 19th century. 

Everything is kept in immaculate condition. This house is named after its owner, who was lovingly known as Nonni.

Whale watching tours

In the afternoon, join a 3 hour whale watching tour that leaves from the downtown area of Akureyri. 

Humpback whales are a common sighting in this region from April to September. 

Whale watching tour, departing from Akureyri

You will be provided with thermal overalls, raincoats, and blankets to stay warm and toasty on the ship. 

As you sail, you will be greeted with unobstructed views of the rugged coastline of Eyjafjord, and snow-capped mountains.

You will also find a bar and café on-board where you can purchase refreshments. 

The guide also shares about the lifecycles of the humpbacks and alerts you to the whales when sighted. 

Once the tour concludes, you will be dropped off from the pickup location in downtown Akureyri. 

From here, pick up your luggage and get to the Akureyri Airport to fly back to Reykjavik or Keflavik and fly out!

Day 10 of Iceland 10 day itinerary: Return to Reykjavik and soak in Sky Lagoon (alternate option)

If you are driving, plan for a long drive to get back to Reykjavik, about 5+ hours (maybe longer in the winter). 

Reykjavik

In this case, you might have to return to the capital city without a whale-watching tour – depending on your travel plans. 

Once you arrive in Reykjavik celebrate your 10 days in Iceland by soaking in the newest geothermal spa – Sky Lagoon! 

Sky Lagoon 

Sky Lagoon is located just 15 minutes drive from Reykjavik. 

It is a man-made lagoon as well, but I have to admit the Sky Lagoon is just fantastic – the sauna room, the infinity pool and all the amazing views from the warm waters are truly unmatched!

Sky Lagoon

It is a beautiful place to take a dip and enjoy all the goodness of Icelandic traditions. We recommend paying for the Pure Pass to enjoy one round of the 7-Step Ritual at the Sky Lagoon.  

Tickets for Sky Lagoon: Pure Pass (mid-level) | Sky Pass (luxury level)

Sightseeing Map: 10 day itinerary for Iceland

Click on the image to view the full map

Iceland Travel Tips

So you see there are plenty to see and do in Iceland in 10 days. We will leave you with some planning tips for Iceland.

Iceland tourist visa

Iceland is not a part of the EU, but as a European state it follows the Schengen Visa agreement. 

If you require a tourist visa to visit most of the countries in Europe, the same Schengen visa will apply for Iceland. 

Visitors with US and Canadian passports do not require a visa to enter the country and stay for 90 days; however, from 2025, an online authorization – ETIAS – is required prior to travel. 

Best time to visit Iceland

The best time to visit Iceland really depends on what you want to see and do while you are here.

For example, if your primary focus is to see the Northern Lights, then you will want to come during the winter months when there is less daylight, particularly from late September to mid April. 

Unsure when to travel to Iceland? Answer: October. Find out why the best time to visit Iceland is October. All questions about Iceland in October, answered
Thingelliver National Park in the fall

On the other hand, if you want to experience Icelandic nature at its finest – with long days and plenty of sunlight – then you will want to come during the summer months. 

This is also when you can experience the midnight summer hours (June to early August).  

In general, the shoulder season (May-June and September-October) is a great time to visit Iceland as the weather is more stable and there are fewer crowds. 

This also means that prices for accommodation and activities will be slightly higher than during the winter months.

Must add pack for Iceland

No matter what time of year you visit Iceland, you should always pack layers and waterproof clothing. 

  • A waterproof jacket is a must – all year round
  • Hiking shoes – all year round
  • Swimsuit (when visiting spas) – all year round

In the winter, pack some extra warm clothing like thermal base layers, sweaters and accessories like colorful beanies, scarf, and gloves. 

Plus your winter boots and warm parka jacket.

Additional Iceland tips and FAQ:

Can you drive across Iceland in a day?

Iceland as a country is not very huge. It is possible to drive around the country in a day or so (non-stop drive).

Iceland Ring Road Itinerary Information

Iceland ring road is a popular tourist route in the country. This route encircles the entire island and provides visitors with stunning views of Icelandic landscapes. 

It takes you past glaciers, lava fields, volcanoes, waterfalls, black sand beaches, and more. 

You can drive the entire ring road in about 20 to 24 hours without stopping in good weather conditions. 

Here is a 8 day ring road itinerary for Iceland (with campervan tips compiled with the help of another traveler).

If you’re planning on driving the ring road, be sure to check the conditions of the roads before you go. The weather in Iceland can change very quickly, and the roads can be slippery and dangerous.

What month is best to go to Iceland?

Iceland in October is the perfect crossover month to experience the best of warm (more daylight) and winter activities. 

If you are planning a road trip or love to hike, the summer months are best. In June – July Iceland is warm and you can also experience midnight summer. 

How much does a 10 day trip to Iceland cost?

On an average expect to spend the following per day,

$125 (budget hotel) + $100 to $200 (day tour) + $50 to $150 (food) = $275 USD minimum

I stayed at a mid budget hotel in Iceland on all of my trips, and traveled during the slow months/off-season. Typically, price range for a 3 star hotel is $125 to $175 USD per night.

It is totally possible to get a decent accommodation in that price range in the capital city of Reykjavik. 

Round trip airport transfer is around $55 USD per person.

Day tours are typically in that price range. You can spend more and book snowmobile or ATV tours or private tours if you like; but a small group tour to the natural sites will be around 100 to 200 USD. 

Geothermal spa/lagoons/nature baths – starts at $30 USD (cheapest tickets). Popular spa will be around $80 to $100 USD (+ add-ons). 

Hotels + Tours is something you can always book and budget for in advance. Plus your flight tickets. 

For food we recommend making a budget and also be open to move it up a bit, especially if you are a foodie. 

You can stay under budget by doing groceries (all accessible without a car in Reykjavik or Akureyri) and choose healthy and affordable meals. 

Food: $5 to $30 USD (street food to sit down restaurant)
Drinks: $6 to $20 USD (lattes to cocktails, the latter are very expensive) 

Eating out everyday will be expensive. During my 10 day Iceland trip, I paid for breakfast in the hotel room rate (in Reykjavik it was included), and for lunch I had a snack packed from the grocery store. 

I did spend a lot on coffee (I really love my mid day caffeine, but you don’t have to). 

My dinners ranged from a hot dog to Arctic char, salmon and traditional lamp soup – depending on the day. 

This combination of fancy and non-so-fancy meals helped me to stay under budget and yet try out new things. Oh and I also did a food tour, which was my dinner!

What is the cheapest month to visit Iceland?

Off-season is great for traveling to Iceland, which is spring, and fall. We recommend choosing a crossover month like April or October to get the best of two seasons and save on flights and accommodation.

What currency is used in Iceland?

The official currency of Iceland is Icelandic króna, or ISK. In Iceland you will see it marked as “kr.” before or after the prices.

Do I need to carry cash in Iceland?

No, you don’t. 

And it is better if you don’t (I know I will have a hard time counting all the cash – most prices are in thousands of kronas!!!!). 

On all of our trips to Iceland, credit cards were super handy. You can also use your debit card with ease, no problems! 

What kind of food is Iceland known for?

The most common food in Iceland consists of some type of meat, be it fish, or lamb. Ice creams and Icelandic skyr (a type of yogurt) are popular too. 

Can you drink tap water in Iceland?

Yes, you can. The tap water in Iceland is safe to drink. Don’t forget to carry a reusable water bottle for that!

How to enrich your Iceland experience: Iceland Travel Guide

Geothermal pools

If you’re looking for a more authentic Icelandic experience, there are plenty of geothermal pools to choose from. 

The Myvatn Nature Baths are a great option, and the Secret Lagoon is another popular choice. 

Whichever pool you choose, make sure to take advantage of Iceland’s unique geothermal pools!

Hikes in Iceland

Lots of hiking opportunities in Iceland, from the Vatnajokull National Park, to the Highlands and beyond. 

With going on an Iceland ring road trip, you can join guided hikes led by an expert. Just make sure to pack your hiking boots, and follow along. 

For a truly unique experience, consider taking a glacier hike or even an ice cave tour (winter). 

These tours typically need to be booked in advance, so make sure to plan ahead.

Photography and drones

Iceland is extremely photogenic and Instagrammable! It is a great place for practicing drone shots, landscape and astrophotography. 

Because many of the attractions won’t be super crowded you can easily capture photos, clips or videos for Reels without a lot of people (except for cute Icelandic sheep)!

Ensure you pack your camera gear, get a sturdy tripod like my Peak Design Travel design, and a waterproof cover for all gear!

Is 10 days enough for Iceland?

It is possible to have a well rounded Icelandic experience in 10 days. 

Whether you are roadtripping on the Ring Road in a full circle or taking day tours from Reykjavik and Akureyri, you can surely touch the iconic attractions such as south coast waterfalls, northern Iceland to the west for exploring the Highlands and the Snæfellsnes peninsula. 

And also soak in the mineral rich geothermal waters (more than once). 

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Iceland 10 day itinerary

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