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Ultimate 3 Days in Iceland Itinerary & Travel Guide

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Iceland is a stunning country. It is a must-visit at least once in your lifetime. In no other place, will you witness such an interesting landscape – lava fields, stunning waterfalls, glaciers, cute coffee shops, and street art or nature’s phenomenal displays. Chase those northern lights in the winter or sleep under the blanket of stars on warm summer nights – use our 3 days in Iceland itinerary and make your dream trip a reality!

3 days in Iceland Itinerary
3 days in Iceland Itinerary

We were impressed with the country’s management of natural resources, economic boom, cuisines, and of course the vibrant capital city of Reykjavik. People are warm and the sheep and Icelandic horses will melt your heart. 

3 Days in Iceland Itinerary – What to see in Iceland in 3 days

3 days in Iceland Itinerary and guide - snippet
Best Iceland Itinerary 3 days

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Best Way to Spend 3 days 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
3 days in Iceland Itinerary: Reykjavik, South Coast and Golden Circle

This is a quintessential 3 day Iceland itinerary. Since our first trip to Iceland, we have explored more regions and embarked on more excursions. And we have added an alternate itinerary for Iceland below, 

Volcano hike near Reykjavik
Volcano Hike from Reykjavik
Reykjavik Sightseeing

If you prefer to rent a car and embark on a road trip, we have included a Google map below with routes.

Is 3 days in Iceland enough

In 3 days in Iceland, you will comfortably explore the capital city of Reykjavik and the southern coast. Most of the iconic attractions (and Instagram worthy waterfalls, Icelandic horses, lava fields, and the cutest church in Vik) are all located on the south coast of Iceland. 

For a 3 day Iceland itinerary, we highly recommend joining a small group tour, rather than renting a car. We took day tours from our hotel in Reykjavik and utilized the bus transfer to reach our hotel from the airport (45 minutes). It was perfect – we had free time to explore and take pictures (as you can see in this post). 

Iceland Airport Arrivals & Departure

If you are flying to Iceland from international airways, you will arrive at the Keflavík International Airport. Keflavík International Airport is located about 50 minutes away from the capital city of Reykjavik.

Keflavik Airport
Keflavik International Airport

Reykjavik also has an airport, but it only services internal flights or flights to Greenland. The airport although small is packed with stores, restaurants, and services like sightseeing tours, bus services, and car rentals.

Reykjavik Excursions and Reykjavik Sightseeing via Flybus operates buses to take you to Reykjavik city.

Clean and safe bus transfers

You have options to either choose your hotel as a drop-off point or the BSI terminal (central bus terminal in Reykjavik). It is not required to pre-book bus seats, but you can get 10-20% discount coupons from Iceland tour companies if you book through them online. Get your airport transfer here online

If you are planning to rent a car, you can reserve it online and pick it up at the airport.

Car rentals in Iceland
  • There are many car rental companies on site.
  • Bring your own GPS to keep costs low.
  • Take additional insurance.
  • While on the road, wear seatbelts (it is mandatory in Iceland), watch out for wildlife, and don’t get distracted by the landscape outside.
  • Re-fuel when you find a station, sometimes you will be driving for miles and miles without any fuel station insight.
Chase waterfalls & northern lights,soak in geothermal spas, meet horses & pluffy sheeps & explore Reykjavik's colorful lanes in your 3 day Iceland Itinerary

The immigration process is easy and quick. You will require a Schengen Visa to visit Iceland if you do not belong to the passport exempt countries. More information on Schengen visa process and list of countries here

Departures are a bit tricky if you have check-in bags for your flight. Line-ups are huge, and so we recommend arriving early to Keflavík to check in.

Day 1 Iceland Itinerary – Arrival – Blue Lagoon – Reykjavik Downtown – Northern Lights/Midnight Sun

Day 1 Iceland Itinerary
Day 1 Iceland Itinerary – Google Map for direction/informational purpose

We flew from Canada and arrived in Iceland in the morning hours. The flight was only 6 hours long and we arrived at 6:30 am via IcelandAir.

Quick break stop for us at the airport and we were ready with our backpacks to explore. As mentioned, Reykjavik is 50 minutes away from the airport, so we took a Flybus to reach the capital city.

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

Blue Lagoon is located 15 minutes from the Keflavík – Reykjavik airport. So if you are planning to visit the Blue Lagoon, we recommend visiting on your day of arrival or departure.

We decided to book a bus to take us to Blue Lagoon and then drop us at the hotel in Reykjavik. Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spa, powered by the Svartsengi power station. It is a man-made lagoon and is one of the popular Iceland attractions.

Girl at the Blue Lagoon

The warm water is full of minerals like silica and sulphur and is considered very beneficial for body wellness. Blue Lagoon maintains a strict hygiene policy – you have to take a shower before getting into the pool.

Blue Lagoon Iceland Tips

  • Pre-purchase your Blue Lagoon tickets online here. Packages start at 65 euros (called the Comfort Package, and this is what we booked)
  • The entry tickets have time stamps on them and they start as early as 08:00 am and close at 10:00 pm or 00:00 am depending on the seasons
  • Extra luggage can be stowed in a locker room for a fee. Towels and bathing suits can be rented
  • If you were not able to book tickets online or if your preferred time slots are not available, you can still explore Blue Lagoon Iceland without purchasing tickets, just that you cannot go inside the pool/spa. There are restaurants and stores open at the Lagoon which are open to the public (without entry fees).
  • The food at the cafe is decently priced.

You can easily spend two-three hours at the Blue Lagoon. If you visit the lagoon in the morning, then by noon try to hit Reykjavik. Our accommodation was at one of the Reykjavik downtown apartment hotels – A Room with a View.

Room with a view

Reykjavik downtown is (I think) one of the prettiest and hippest downtowns that I have explored so far. It is nothing like what I imagined it to be, and I am glad to admit that it took me by surprise.

Reykjavik downtown can be easily explored on foot or bicycle during the summer months.

The lanes are marked by names and numbers. Laugavegur is the main street downtown and addresses in that lane/street are marked by numbers. For example, our hotel was located on Laugavegur 18.

Grab a Reykjavik tourist map and explore. You will notice that on one side of Reykjavik, there is a long coast or harbor. If you are planning to explore Reykjavik for a full day, then consider starting your sightseeing venture from the harbor.

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

Located along the harbour are some of the prime Iceland tourist attractions like – Harpa Concert Hall and the Sun Voyager sculpture (Solfar).

If you only have a few hours (4-6 hours), then you will have to pick a few spots, and the tallest church of Iceland should be included in that. The church of Hallgrímskirkja is a Lutheran church located in Reykjavik. It is one of the most popular Iceland attractions.

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

The architecture of the church from the outside is quite interesting and grand. The interiors are very simple. There is a large pipe organ located inside the church.

There is no entry fee to enter the church, but if you plan to access the tower then a 10 Euros entry fee is required.

Inside Hallgrímskirkja Church

It is worth taking the elevator to get tower access to view the entire city of Reykjavik and its colorful houses. During the summer months (May to September), tower access is available from 09:00 am to 09:00 pm.

During winters (October to April), the tower is open from 09:00 am to 05:00 pm.

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
View from the church towers

Your second stop in Downtown Reykjavik should be the Reykjavik Free Church. It is a beautiful green and white church. Right opposite the church is a beautiful lake – the Pond.

Perfect place for a quick stroll in the afternoon or evening during summers. You can also see swans enjoying their swim. The Reykjavik city hall and Iceland tourist centre are also located in the area.

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

Read about 20+ free things to do in Reykjavik here.

As you walk or bike away from the Pond, you will be back into the heart of Reykjavik. These lanes are lined with pubs, restaurants, and coffee houses. Downtown Reykjavik is colorful and vibrant – their nightlife is hip and happening; music, good food, and drink.

There are numerous museums, stores, and grocery markets in Downtown as well. On your first day, you can pick up snacks or groceries before heading to the hotel.

We checked in to our hotel in the evening and rested for a couple of hours. At night, we had planned to take a Northern Lights tour.

The Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis, are a natural phenomenon occurring in the Northern Hemisphere when the sun’s charged particles enter the earth’s atmosphere and create an eerie green glow with a dancing array of lights in the night sky.

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 the winter months, which are from October to February, you can view the northern lights in Iceland.

Northern Lights Tips

  • You do not need to take a tour to view the Northern Lights. As long as you can find a spot, away from the city lights and dark, preferably between 11:00 pm to 02:00 am, you can chase these lights.
  • As it is a natural phenomenon and weather dependent, if it is raining or snowing, you won’t see any dancing lights in the sky. Northern Lights tour operators offer a second-day free tour, if no northern lights were seen or if a tour was canceled. So it is a good idea to squeeze this on the first or second day of your 3 day Iceland itinerary.
  • Cell phones (including iPhones) cannot capture the beauty of the Northern Lights. You will need a proper camera to shoot the northern lights.
  • Our tour operator actually had binoculars, cameras, and tripods and they helped us capture those amazing moments. We also saw shooting stars, along with the Northern Lights that day. Book your Northern Lights Tour
  • There are fun and romantic ways to witness the Northern Lights – Hotel Ranga (this resort is located about 1.50 hours from Reykjavik in Hella and people often see Northern Lights here). Another option to witness the Northern Lights is by staying in a Buubble (these are transparent bubbles where you can sleep overnight and witness the aurora borealis all night long. This is a great item if you have 4-5 additional days in Iceland. These bubbles have to be pre-booked as well and cost 450 Euros per person – so yes a little pricey)

The midnight sun is a natural phenomenon and a term used to refer to consecutive 24-hour periods of sunlight experienced in the Arctic and south of the Antarctic Circle. It occurs during the summer months – from late May to July.

During the summer solstice, the sun in Iceland is visible for almost 24 hours (the sun sets after midnight and sunrise occurs just before 03:00 am).

Living in Canada, it is easy to understand both the northern lights and the midnight sun phenomenon. If you have never seen Northern Lights – boy, you are in for some real treat. And if you have never experienced midnight sun or long summer days, then it could be hard on your body.

Some people find it difficult to adjust their bodies during extended sunny hours. Imagine, it is actually 11:00 pm and you are not hungry or sleepy because you think and feel that it is just 18:00 pm. Longer summer hours mean you can stay out exploring or even camp under the blanket of stars.

Day 2 South Iceland Itinerary – Sólheimajökull Glacier – Vik – Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach – Seljalandsfoss Waterfall – Skogarfoss

Day 2 Iceland Itinerary
Day 2 Iceland Itinerary – Google Map for direction/informational purpose

Start your day 2 in Iceland by embarking on a southern exploration and go way down to the village of Vik (the southernmost part of Iceland). You can rent a car or take a day tour from Reykjavik. The south coast tour or the drive can be done in 9-11 hours.

If you start by 8-9 am from Reykjavik, you will be back downtown by 5-6 pm and that gives you time to explore the city, enjoy a nice dinner, or just nap!

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

To reach Vik, you will be passing through lava fields. You will see the volcanic landscape (lava/black in color) and no trees around. That is why Iceland is so windy – no trees around.

The country is high on using environment-friendly products and many will request you to not print your vouchers when you take a tour. I saw this in my email confirmation when I booked a tour, which was very different from other European cities – where they ask you to get your vouchers printed.

Anyhow, back to the drive. You will see Hekla Volcano and the mighty Eyjafjallajökull (hey, now I can pronounce it right) from your car seat. Such a stunning landscape feel like you are on a different planet.

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

Sólheimajökull is your first stop. It is located about 2 hours from Reykjavik. Sólheimajökull is a glacier located in south Iceland and one of the most accessible sites from Reykjavik.

There are options for a glacier hike (3 hours or so). You can also walk to the beach area or take a short hike to see the glacier opening.

(Note: Sólheimajökull is located closer to Reykjavik than Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon in the Vatnajökull National Park in southeastern Iceland. Day tours to the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon and the south coast will take 12-14 hours. The popular Diamond Beach is located just across from Jökulsárlón. You can substitute Sólheimajökull for Jökulsárlón and include that as part of three days in Iceland. Learn more here about the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon tour

After a drive of 3-3.50 hours, you will arrive at Vik and Rejnisfjara Black sand beach. This place is beautiful with black sand and the huge basalt-column cave and sea stacks. Be very careful as the wave currents are very strong – strong enough to sweep you away into the sea.

You can also meet Icelandic horses here and go horse-riding. How stunning are these black sand beaches?

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

It is almost lunchtime after a walk at the beach. Vik has a tourist stop where you can have lunch and also purchase IceWear goodies from their factory outlet. I think I had the best lamp soup here at Vik. The “town” of Vik only has 271 residents.

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

The next stop is the Skogarfoss waterfall. Skogarfoss is one of the biggest waterfalls in Iceland. You can go as close as you want to the falls – but be careful the force is strong.

You can also climb up 527 steps to see the 60 meter high waterfall from above. It is recommended to wear waterproof clothing as you will be drenched in water. Due to the force of water, you will very often see rainbows here, we did too.

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

Very close to the waterfalls is a farm where I played with the cutest and fluffiest sheep. I fell for these sheep more than the Icelandic horses (sorry horsie)

The last stop on your south Iceland Itinerary is another waterfall – Seljalandsfoss. This is the coolest as you can walk from behind and around the waterfall. Again waterproof clothing and good gripped shoes are important as you will be climbing on rocks to access the waterfall from behind.

Book  South Iceland Tours here

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

Day 3 Golden Circle Iceland Itinerary ( Thingvellir National Park – Geysir – Gulfoss Waterfalls) – Secret Lagoon

After yesterday’s South Iceland itinerary, you will be exploring one of the most popular routes in Iceland – the Golden Circle Route, on your last day.

The Golden Circle Route consists of – Thingvellir National Park, Geysir, and Gullfoss Waterfall. You can drive or take a Golden Circle day tour from Reykjavik to explore these sites.

Day 3 Iceland Itinerary
Day 3 Iceland Itinerary – Google Map for direction/informational purpose

The full day Golden Circle tour will last 6-8 hours. Most tours start at 8 or 9 am and are back in town by 4-5 pm. This allows you to spend some time in Reykjavik in the evening – shopping, eating, or exploring the downtown. (Book Golden Circle Tours here)

If you are in Iceland for a shorter duration, then you can also opt for a Golden Circle afternoon tour. Click to learn more about this tour

Thingvellir National Park (Þingvellir) is a UNESCO heritage site in Iceland. This site is important for historical and geographical reasons. Historically significant as this was the seat of Iceland’s parliament (Althing). The Althing Iceland was presided over by their Norwegian chieftain – I Arnarson.

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 – Iceland 3 days

Althing Iceland – the creation of the national Parliament was instrumental in shaping Iceland and its communities the way it is now.

The site – Þingvellir is also the first national park in Iceland. Quite an interesting visit to the Parliament as it is like no other in the world – it’s not like the Hungarian Parliament or city halls in Munich – but something very raw and unique as it shows how humans facilitated the understanding and need for common assemblies and association.

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

I was impressed and was imagining Vikings presiding over these sessions, which is also so cool, don’t you think?

The Thingvellir National Park is also unique as it lies in a rift valley, marking the boundary between the North American and the Eurasian tectonic plates. You can take a short hike and walk through those plates.

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

You will notice that the North American plates are bigger than the Eurasian one. To the south of the park, lies the largest natural lake in Iceland – Thingvallavtn (Þingvallavatn). You can snorkel or go diving here.

Up next on the route is something that personally I have never witnessed before – a geyser. A geyser is an upward spring characterized by water discharge from the ground, intermittently. The two geysers in the Golden Circle route are – Strokkur and Geysir (geysers of Haukadalur). (Geysir gave the English word “geyser”).

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

We saw the Strokkur erupt in 2-4 minutes  – so stay put and get the cameras ready. This site also has many hot springs, mud-pots, and smaller geysers. The boiling water from these mud pots was insane – you can even boil eggs here!

Gullfoss is a beautiful waterfall, located in the Hvita glacial river. It is possible to take a leisurely walk to the site. There are two observation areas. The closest and easiest one also has a statue of the first environmentalist of Iceland, a lady name – Sigriður Tómasdóttir.

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

The story is that she walked to Reykjavik to save this waterfall from being commercialized for hydro-power.

If you keep walking, you will reach the second observation area, where you can feel the cascading power of this waterfall (a drop of 21 meters). This feeling of standing so close to the waterfall is surreal – it is almost like standing on top of these mighty falls.

As always, waterproof clothing and shoes are key to enjoying these natural wonders safely.

There is also another waterfall close by, called Faxi waterfall. On warm days, you can actually sit here and soak up the sun.

The last treat for the day is Secret Lagoon. This is actually not a part of the classic Golden Circle sightseeing route, but it is on the way and many tours also provide this as an add-on option to your Golden Circle tour.

Girl in Secret Lagoon, one of the best hot pools in Iceland
Secret Lagoon

As part of the tour, you can spend 1-2.50 hours at the lagoon. We were there for 2 hours and it was more than enough time to enjoy the warm waters and take a short walk to see the geyser.

Yes! The secret lagoon has small boiling pots and other geothermal spots that are interesting to see.

Secret Lagoon Tips – The Secret Lagoon or the Gamla Laugin is the oldest swimming pool in Iceland. It was created in 1891. It is located close to the Fludir geothermal site and you can see greenhouses near the site as well.

Secret Lagoon Chase waterfalls & northern lights,soak in geothermal spas, meet horses & pluffy sheeps & explore Reykjavik's colorful lanes in your 3 day Iceland Itinerary
Secret Lagoon
  • This is a great option to enjoy the geothermal spas in Iceland.
  • I consider this a great alternative to the Blue Lagoon as it is natural. Also if you couldn’t pre-book your Blue Lagoon tickets, then you MUST visit the Secret Lagoon as no advance booking is necessary.
  • As you swim or float to the edges, the water gets warmer and warmer as it is powered by the geothermal water (boiling pits nearby)
  • The water is very shallow – so you will be fine, even if you dint know how to swim.
  • There is an entry fee of 35 Euros to the lagoon. It has shower and change room facilities. Lockers are free (of any size). Get Entry tickets for less than $30 USD here
  • There is a restaurant inside and a few fish food stalls outside the lagoon lobby area.
  • Book  Golden Circle Tours with Secret Lagoon Entry here

Secret Lagoon is less crowded, less commercialized, and a perfect way to unwind and relax after 3 days of intense exploration.

With the addition of the Secret Lagoon to your Golden Circle day trip Itinerary, you will arrive in Reykjavik by evening – 07:00 pm or so.

Sightseeing Map for Iceland 3 day Itinerary

Here is an Iceland short breaks map, use it for 1 to 3 days. 

 

Alternate 3 days in Iceland itinerary

  • Day 1: Arriving in Iceland. Visit Sky Lagoon, explore Reykjavik, and join a 3-hour food tour
  • Day 2: Explore the Reykjanes Peninsula (add a volcano hike), whale watching, or northern lights
  • Day 3: Snæfellsnes Peninsula day trip and glacier hike

This is an alternate Iceland itinerary which can be done by keeping Reykjavik as a base and then taking day tours. 

Snaefellsnes

Day 1: Arrival in Iceland and exploring Reykjavik

Your first day in Iceland will be all about getting settled and exploring the capital city, Reykjavik. After arriving at Keflavik International Airport, you can hop on a bus or rent a car to make your way to Reykjavik. Once you reach your accommodation, drop off your luggage and head out to explore the city.

One of the top things to do in Reykjavik is a visit to the stunning Sky Lagoon. This geothermal spa offers incredible views of the ocean while you soak in its warm waters. Book your tickets in advance to avoid any disappointment. 

Sky Lagoon tips and guide
Sky Lagoon

Reykjavik to Sky Lagoon is about 15 minutes by car. 

Next, take a stroll around Reykjavik’s charming streets, where you’ll find colorful buildings, street art, and a lively atmosphere. For an immersive experience, we recommend joining a 3-hour food tour where you can try some of the local delicacies and learn about Icelandic culture and history.

I took this walking tour in the evening and it was perfect for dinner! There was lots of food (including fermented shark), and the tour ended with coffee and sweet treats. 

Day 2: Exploring the Reykjanes Peninsula (add a volcano hike), whale watching, or northern lights

On your second day in Iceland, head to the Reykjanes Peninsula for a day of adventure and natural beauty. This area is home to rugged landscapes, geothermal areas, and stunning coastlines.

You can start your day with a hike up one of the volcanoes in the area for breathtaking views. I joined a guided hike to a volcano eruption site, and although there was no smoke or new lava, it was still a fascinating experience! Here is a day tour to book.

Or, if you prefer a more leisurely activity, go on a whale-watching excursion from Reykjavik harbor. If you’re lucky, you may even spot some dolphins!

In the evening, head out to chase the northern lights. Reykjavik is one of the best places in Iceland to see this magical natural phenomenon.

Day 3: Snæfellsnes Peninsula day trip and glacier hike

On the third day in Iceland, take a day trip to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. This area is known as “Mini Iceland” due to its diverse landscapes that showcase all of the country’s highlights.

You can join a tour that takes you around the peninsula or rent a car and explore at your own pace. 

On a full-day trip from Reykjavik, you can visit the Berserkjahraun lava fields, Snaefellsjokull volcano, and Kirkjufell Mountain. I got to climb the staircase to the top of Saxholl (open from March – November) – a 100-meter-high volcanic crater. Up top, you will be rewarded by the stunning views of the 3000-year-old feat of nature. 

Girl in One day in Snaefellsnes itinerary
Djupalonssandur view
Arnarstapi

You can also add a stop at Djupalonssandur, and later visit the fishing village of Arnarstapi and soak in the views of the eroded cliffs and the seagulls. Most tours also stop at the Ytri-Tunga beach (from March – November) and watch seals at play. 

Snaefellness also takes you on a cultural tour from learning about Icelandic history at Budakirkja, and the sculpture of Barour Snaefellsas.

Travel Tips for Iceland Itinerary 3 days

Iceland is a unique country to visit. The country’s capital is Reykjavik, which is located in the southern part of the island. It is a very clean and organized country, in terms of urban planning – cities, and streets. People are friendly and everybody can speak English.

Iceland tourism is blooming. There is no dearth of all-inclusive packages to Iceland, day tours, or excursions. Here are some quick travel tips for your Iceland Trip.

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

Iceland Travel & Budget – Iceland Tours Reviews

IcelandAir operates flights to Iceland from many international airports daily. You will most likely see deals from IcelandAir, with hotel packages during spring and they are a steal. Depending on your departure airport, a return trip can be as low as $300 USD (outside of Europe such as New York City)

To explore Iceland, you can either rent a car or book tours. For a short trip or a layover in Iceland, consider booking tours instead. They are the best way to travel to Iceland and enjoy the views. 

They are convenient, safe, and make efficient use of your short time in Iceland. Full-day tours start as low as $60 USD per day. These tours are not intrusive.

The bus operator and a guide will take you to the Iceland tourist spots and you can explore those sites your way. They leave the tourists alone to explore and enjoy the site. They do operate on strict time-lines though as weather can be quite unpredictable in Iceland.

What to pack for Iceland 3 day trip

Iceland is one of the windiest places on earth and as such don’t carry an umbrella or a beret (leave that for cities in Western Europe).

For first time visitors to Iceland, you might think Iceland is “cold” (I mean – ICE-land). But let me tell you, Iceland is quite warmer than most parts of western and northern Canada – even in the dead of winter.

Thermal Bottoms in what to wear in October in Iceland
Thermal Bottoms in what to wear in October in Iceland

Iceland, typically only has 2 seasons – summer and winter. Other than heavy winter outerwear and boots, carry waterproof jackets, pants, shoes, and base layers (or merino wool shirts) at all times of the year. So here is what you must carry to Iceland all year round

  • Waterproof Jacket – Carry a waterproof jacket at all times of the year. When we visited the waterfalls, we were completely showered by the mighty falls. And then there were days when it rained without a warning. Thank God for this waterproof jacket. It was super handy.
  • Base Layers – I am someone who is always cold and wear thermal clothing to keep me warm. We visited Iceland in October, and base layers came in handy all day for me. Buy thermal top and bottom here. 
  • Waterproof shoes/ boots – I wore my waterproof winter boots to Iceland and they had the perfect grip, while I attempted to hike and climb uneven surfaces. Carry waterproof boots or shoes, depending on the season. Those boots were bought in Canada, and are not available online. So here is a similar one from the North Face 
  • Winter Parka – I took a short puffer jacket to Iceland in October, as it was not winter yet. If I were to visit Iceland in winter, the parka that I wear for Canadian winters would be perfect. Here is the winter parka to take to Iceland
  • Don’t forget – universal adaptor and my favorite item – multi-port charging cable. 

Food & Budget for your 3 day Iceland Itinerary

Iceland has some great delicacies that you got to try in your 3 day itinerary.

Arctic Char and Rye bread
  • Skyr is an Icelandic yogurt (less sweet than Greek yogurt), which is a must-try. My favorite flavor was Creme Brulee.
  • Try Icelandic Lamp Soup. It is healthy and delicious. A big bowl of soup with a bun is a filling meal. It costs around $16 USD. You should try this once in a restaurant.
  • Dark Rye Bread – Love everything about this bread. It is crustless and a tad sweet. It is made by burying the dough underground near a hot spring (what!). Yes, and it is so delicious!
  • Fish – Iceland has over 340 species of fish. Codfish with mashed potato is one of the popular dishes. It is called Plokkfiskur, served with dark rye bread.

When it comes to budgeting your trip to Iceland, special attention has to be paid to food expenses. Eating out in restaurants every day of your 3 day Iceland Itinerary will be costly for your wallet.

Meal for two – Iceland 3 days

An average meal for 2 is about $65 USD (2 sandwich meals), which is expensive. So plan to buy groceries and cook in your hotel.

Budget-friendly grocery stores include Bonus, 10-11, Kronan, etc. These stores also sell some Icelandic must-try items like Skyr (Icelandic yogurt), dark rye bread, Icelandic chocolate, soup, salads, etc.

Cup noodles from Bonus grocery stores are the most delicious cup noodles that I have ever had. Try them for 169 krona. Reykjavik has an Ikea store and it is a great option for budget eating.

Iceland Where to Stay?

There are tons of options for Iceland accommodation. Options include luxury resorts and hotels, hostels, campsites, camper vans, and Airbnb.

We stayed in a hotel for our 3 days in Iceland and the hotel was located in Reykjavik. Here are some recommended places to stay in Iceland.

  • Room with a View – We stayed at this hotel, located in Downtown Reykjavik
    • The hotel was located in a very convenient location for tours, bus stops, sightseeing in Reykjavik, and restaurants and grocery stores
    • The rooms were big and had a kitchen – which was a bonus. Some rooms with detached washrooms were cheaper than rooms with attached bathrooms. Budget-friendly hotel.
    • Located close to the Hallgrímskirkja Church.
    • Book your stay here
  • Icelandair Hotel Natura – Great option when paired with IcelandAir Vacation Packages
    • Close to the center and Perlan in Reykjavik. Most tours will pick up and drop off guests from here
    • Clean, environmentally friendly.
    • The hotel has a restaurant on site. Happy hours start at 04:00 pm
    • Book your stay here
  • Canopy by Hilton Reykjavik City Centre – One of the finest hotels in Iceland
    • Luxurious hotel in the heart of Reykjavik. Great interiors
    • Great location for tours and sightseeing in South Iceland
    • The hotel overlooks the Faxa Bay
    • Book your stay here
  • Hostel Options in Iceland  – Galaxy Pod Hostel – Unique, compact, budget-friendly. This pod hostel has singles and couples rooms with TV and air-conditioning. Check out the Galaxy Pod Hostel here
  • Campsites – There are over 170 registered campsites in Iceland. You can consider staying at a campsite for cheap. They are open from June to August/September only. Iceland’s nature preservation law dictates which sites are considered campsites. However, you are allowed to put out tents in residential areas for a night. Conditions apply.
  • Camper-Vans/Motor HomesCamper-van Iceland offers 24 hours services for camper-vans. These services are available all year long.
    • Most camper vans offer unlimited mileage. You have to return a full tank upon returning your van
    • Basic insurance is included and you have to pay for additional coverage.
    • Most camper vans are offered for a minimum of 3 days to 7 days. So definitely an option for your 3 days Iceland itinerary.
    • This is a great option if you are taking the scenic ring road and planning for an Iceland road trip itinerary.

Find great Iceland Hotel Deals here or book one of the best airbnbs in Iceland

Iceland Travel Itinerary – Summer & Winter Tips

Things to do in Iceland in Summer

You can use the above stops for your 3 days in Iceland summer itinerary. You will miss out on the Northern Lights, but the weather will be more favorable to camp outside or stay exploring into the later hours of the evening.

You can explore Reykjavik on food or bike around the town. In fact, exploring the downtown core (the cafes, lanes, and harbor) is one of the best places to visit Iceland in summer, without worrying too much about the cold or the wind. Great options for capturing the midnight sun in Iceland in summer.

As always, carry waterproof clothes, a windproof jacket, and a sweater. Don’t forget the sturdy shoes. Summer is also a great time for some Iceland adventure travel like exploring lava caves, helicopter tours or snorkeling, hiking, horse riding, etc.

Summer is a great time to do an extended 7 day Iceland road trip, by driving the Ring Road. Find more Iceland Summer Activities

Things to do in Iceland in Winter

Iceland winter itinerary is extra unique due to the amazing things that you can do. Let’s start with the Northern Lights tour, of course. Glacier hikes, ice cave tours, and snow-mobile rides are even prettier during winters.

Soaking in a geothermal spa is best experienced when it is lightly snowing, yet you feel warm in the water! So definitely a must-winter item.

Winters also bring unpredictability in travel planning though, especially for a short 3 day trip to Iceland. You can definitely visit all the sites mentioned in this itinerary (northern lights depend on weather conditions).

If you are driving, stay careful on the road. Can’t stress enough how important it is to dress well and layer your sweaters.

Iceland Getaway – Plan perfect Iceland Weekend Breaks

Iceland is one of the most accessible countries than you think. Iceland vacation packages are offered in many international destinations. Some of the popular ones are highlighted below.

Before that, a word about IcelandAir – Iceland Air should be credited with offering affordable and safe flights to Iceland. They are innovative and one of a kind. From the moment you step into their aircraft, you can feel the Icelandic hospitality.

I adore their in-flight safety precautions video – how creative! (you have to see this yourself: Youtube). The in-flight entertainment package also includes day tours and airport transfer options to book from. Iceland Air is also well connected to other European cities, so this is also a perfect layover destination.

  • Iceland tours from the UK – If you are in the UK or planning to visit the UK, you can add a complete tour package from London to Reykjavik. Flights start as low as 40 Euros (non-stop 3-hour flight) which is a perfect weekend getaway to Reykjavik Iceland from London. Once you are in Reykjavík, you can tailor this 3 day weekend in Iceland Itinerary to your taste.
  • Iceland tours from the USA – Flights from major cities in the USA at $300 USD for Iceland return trip deals. Many Iceland vacations combine flights, hotels, sightseeing tours, and airport transfers for a decent price.
  • Iceland getaways from Canada – A perfect Iceland weekend getaway from Canada is possible! Icelandair operates from most of the major Canadian cities including Edmonton, Toronto, and Montreal. We departed from Edmonton via IcelandAir (6-hour flight) at 6:20 pm and arrived the next day at 6:30 am in Iceland. Almost the same flying time as traveling to Toronto from Edmonton and flight costs cheaper than that. During springtime, Iceland Air offers flight return trip deals starting at $350 CAD from major Canadian cities.
  • Iceland tour packages from India – Iceland tour packages from India are quite affordable than other European countries. MakeMyTrip.com offers flight+hotel deals via IcelandAir. Flights to Paris from major cities in India are also cheaper (thanks to the flight frequency), so you can book a flight to Paris and get a connection to Iceland after.
  • Bonus: Reykjavik Weekend Itinerary – If you are traveling to Iceland for 2 days only, we highly recommend enjoying a city break in the capital, plus taking one day tour of – the South Coast or the Golden Circle. Golden Circle tour is shorter in duration. 

Iceland’s landscape and the country’s welcoming vibe won’t disappoint you. You can definitely craft this suggested Iceland itinerary to fit a layover in the city of Reykjavik for a few hours or 1-2 days on an Iceland tour.

Enjoy Iceland in three days!

Additional Reading

Essential Europe Guides

Pin – The Best Iceland Itinerary 3 Days – What to do in Iceland for 3 Days

Best Iceland Itinerary 3 days Chase waterfalls & northern lights,soak in geothermal spas, meet horses & pluffy sheeps & explore Reykjavik's colorful lanes in your 3 day Iceland Itinerary
Best Iceland Itinerary 3 days
Best Iceland Itinerary things to do in 3 days and Iceland travel guide. Explore the best in Iceland Itinerary with northern lights, Blue lagoon, secret lagoon, Reykjavik, Thingvellir National Parks, Skogarfoss waterfalls, Gulfoss, Vatnajokull glacier, geysir and so much more. Get tips on Iceland Itinerary winter and Iceland Itinerary summer activities, with places to stay and things to eat in Iceland and Iceland vacation destinations #iceland #icelandtravel
3 days in Iceland Itinerary
Chase waterfalls & northern lights,soak in geothermal spas, meet horses & pluffy sheeps & explore Reykjavik's colorful lanes in your 3 day Iceland Itinerary
Iceland Itinerary – tosomeplacenew

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28 Comments

  1. Man, I can’t imagine only having three days in Iceland! What a tease! I was there for a week and didn’t get to see everything I wanted to see! I guess if you’re traveling on a tight budget, limiting your time in Iceland may be helpful though.

  2. I definitely agree about the Secret Lagoon. I went to the Blue Lagoon on my first trip to Iceland. It was definitely something you have to see but I really enjoyed my visit to the Secret Lagoon when I went to Iceland the second time. It’s so much more natural, less crowded and less commercial. We went in the late afternoon and stayed after it got dark. The mist rising off the water into the black night was beautiful.

  3. Love your photos, it’s making me so excited for my trip to Iceland soon! I’m also just making a short trip so it’s great to read that you were able to do so much in three days! I’m thinking to add the Secret Lagoon to my itinerary now.

  4. Thanks for this guide – I didn’t realise you could see so much of Iceland in 3 days! Beautiful photographs – I really love the look and feel of downtown Reykjavik, the “pond” and Thingelliver National Park. Have bookmarked this itinerary for a future trip to Iceland!

  5. I’ve been wanting to visit Iceland for a while – this may have tipped me over the edge!! (in a good way!) Beautiful photography – is the country really as expensive as everyone says? Or is it okay with careful budgeting?

    1. Of course, you can keep costs low with good budgeting tricks. You will also save some money by going off-season as flights and hotels will be cheaper

  6. Damnnn I was there for 3 days but I think you did much more than I ! This post is so comprehensive and chock full of info. I think a dedicated trip back to Iceland for a week or more is in order for sure!

    1. Thanks so much! Glad you liked it.If you have 2-3 additional days, you can definitely spend more time in Reykjavik, also add a day’s itinerary with glacier hike or ice cave tours etc. You can also travel to the North and Western part of Iceland to explore more as well.

  7. What a great guide and beautiful photos! We were just in Iceland a few weeks ago and pretty much followed this exact itinerary. What a magical country!

  8. I definitely want to visit Iceland one day as a romantic getaway. Blue Lagoon and seeing the Northern Lights would be perfect.

  9. Thank you for this post! It’s the best one I found in google for my trip to Iceland. I love that your photos are stunning and real. I hate those posts where you only see pictures one got from google images.
    I just took note of all your tips and I’m looking forward to get to know Iceland! 🙂
    Thank you again!!!

  10. What a fantastic article!! I am in LOVE with your boots!! What brand and type are they? I would love if you shared. 🙂

    1. Thanks so much Krista. These boots were from Denver Hayes (from Marks Warehouse), but they are no longer available. Here is a pair from the North Face/REI that is quite similar. Take a look (this is an affiliate link) – North Face Boots

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