Iceland Route: the best road trip itinerary for 10 days

by suitcasestoriesbe
Iceland Route - Best Road Trip Itinerary for 10 days

Waterfalls, geysers, volcanoes, fairytale landscapes, and breathtaking sceneries at every turn. Welcome to Iceland! A road trip through this beautiful country is a once-in-a-lifetime experience! Are you planning a road trip to Iceland and looking for the best travel itinerary? Read on! Based on our own Iceland route, we created the best travel itinerary for 10 days in Iceland including the best things to do, places to stay, and tips on how to get around. This itinerary covers all the highlights you need to see along the famous Route 1 Ring Road, making it perfect for any duration above 7 days.

Read also: 10 most beautiful places in Iceland

Iceland in 10 days: an overview of our road trip itinerary

START Keflavik | END Keflavik

DURATION 10 days

METHOD OF TRANSPORT Camper van of Happy Campers

BEST TIME OF YEAR June-Augustus (Long summer days) & December-February (Winter + Northern Lights)

WHEN DID WE GO End of September

HIGHLIGHTS Reykjavík, Blue Lagoon, Golden Circle, Stokksnes, Jokulsarlon Glacier, Husavik, Diamond Circle, Myvatn, Snaefelsness

Iceland Route: the best road trip itinerary for 10 days

Iceland road trip itinerary: before you read on

Before you read on, we quickly want to mention that depending on what time of the year you are going, this Iceland road trip itinerary can take up to 2 weeks during winter. In winter (December-February), driving conditions can be quite challenging. With limited daylight hours (around 3 hours at the end of December) it’s not recommended to travel long distances in the dark and roads may close down due to snowstorms.

If you’re planning to go during winter which is the perfect period to spot the Northern Lights or you have less than 8-10 days, you might be better off with this travel route:

Are you ready to explore magical Iceland? Check the best flight deals to Iceland here.

Read also: Iceland with a camper van: everything you need to know

Iceland - Road Trip Itinerary

Iceland with a camper van or rental car

If you’ve always wanted to travel with a campervan, do it in Iceland! The roads are super easy to drive on, with one big main road known as the Ring Road or Route 1 and you can explore all the beautiful places on your own pace without booking anything in advance.

We rented a camper van of Happy Campers, which is an extremely friendly family run business. We took the Happy 2 camper van and had everything we need for cooking and sleeping. Above all, we didn’t need to fold up our bed every day and had enough space to store all our camera gear and warm clothes we’d brought with us.

Read also: Iceland with a camper van: everything you need to know

Iceland with a camper van road trip itinerary
Best spot for our campervan at Skógafoss waterfall
Iceland with a camper van road trip itinerary
Making a healthy lunch in our camper van

Day 1 – 2: Reykjavík

Travel distance: 49 km – 40min

We flew with WOW Air from Brussels to Keflavik Airport (KEF), where our road trip through Iceland started. From Keflavik Airport, it was a 40-minute drive to Reykjavík, which is the capital of Iceland. Along the way you pass the beautiful Blue Lagoon, which you could visit before going to Reykjavík. We did it on the last day of our road trip itinerary, see day 9-10 but the choice is yours!

Funny fact: Reykjavík is one of the smallest capital cities in the world where 2/3 of the Icelandic population lives!

Despite the fact that it is a small city, there are quite a lot of things to do where you can easily spend a full day with. We loved strolling around the idyllic streets, hopping into one of the cozy coffee bars, doing some window-shopping, and visiting the stunning Hallgrimskirka church. With the sunset we went to the waterfront to see the Sun Voyager sculpture, which is the best place to end your day in Reykjavík.

Recommended stay

  • 1 – 2 days

Where to stay in Reykjavík

Things to do in Reykjavík

  • Watch the dancing colors of the Aurora Borealis during a Northern Light tour
  • Visit the Hallgrimskirkja church, which is possibly the most well-known landmark in the city
  • Explore the city on foot and stroll around the idyllic streets
  • Go window shopping in Reykjavik’s most famous street, Laugavegur
  • Make a full tour to the Golden Circle
  • Hop from coffee bar to coffee bar and try the best hot chocolates
  • Enjoy sunset at the Sun Voyager sculpture
  • Walk along the Harpa concert hall at night for a beautiful light show
  • Hop on a Whale Watching tour
Iceland Reykjavik
The cozy and lovely Stofan Cafe
Iceland Reykjavik
Having hot chocolate at Stofan Cafe
Hallgrimskirkja church - Reykjavík
Hallgrímskirkja Church in Reykjavík

Day 2 – 3: The Golden Circle

Travel distance:  59 km – 50min

On our second day in Iceland, we drove from Reykjavík to Selfoss, which is the perfect base for exploring the Golden Circle. The Golden Circle is the most popular attraction in Iceland and can be done as a day-trip from Reykjavík but we highly recommend staying in this area for at least one night.

The main attractions on the Golden Circle are Thingvellir National Park (UNESCO World Heritage Site), the powerful Geysir geothermal area, and Gullfoss waterfall. If you have more time, there are plenty of hidden gems like Secret Lagoon and Kerid Crater which are definitely worth a stop too.

Recommended stay

  • 1 – 2 days

Where to stay along the Golden Circle

Things to do

Iceland Route - Road Trip Itinerary - Thingvellir National Park
Sunrise at Thingvellir National Park
Iceland Route - Road Trip Itinerary - Kerid Crater
Kerid Crater, hidden gem on the Golden Circle
Iceland Route - Road Trip Itinerary - Geysir
Geysir geothermal area
Iceland Route - Road Trip Itinerary - Gulfoss
The impressive Gulfoss waterfall

Day 3 – 4: Vík

Travel distance: 129 km – 1h 40min

From Selfoss, we drove to Vík, a small charming fishing village surrounded by impressive mountain landscapes. Here you’ll find a big supermarket, some shops, a few restaurants, and a stunning black beach. Along the way you’ll pass lots of highlights so be sure you leave early enough.

First we stopped at Seljalandsfoss, a beautiful waterfall and one of the most popular highlights in Iceland. After that, we took a cold swim in the Seljavallalaug pool, visited the Skógafoss waterfall, and had a 2 to 3-hour walk (4 kilometers from the parking lot) to see the abandoned Sólheimasandur plane wreck. During sunset we went to the Dyrholaey Lighthouse and had dinner at Sudur Vik restaurant, which has a lovely atmosphere and great food. The morning after we visited the black volcanic beach of Reynisfjara before we continued our trip.

Recommended stay

  • 1 – 2 days

Where to stay

Things to do

  • Visit the Seljalandsfoss waterfall and walk up the stairs to go behind it
  • After visiting Seljalandsfoss, walk to the left for 10 minutes until you reach the hidden waterfall called Gljufrabui (right at the campsite)
  • Take a swim in Seljavallalaug pool, one of the oldest swimming pools in Iceland
  • Stop at Skógafoss, one of the biggest waterfalls in Iceland
  • See the abandoned Sólheimasandur plane wreck
  • Go with sunset to the Dyrhólaey Lighthouse for the most beautiful ocean views
  • Have a walk on the black volcanic beach of Reynisfjara
  • Hop on a super Jeep and visit the Secret Ice Cave
Seljalandsfoss and Gljufrabui waterfalls
The hidden Gljufrabui waterfall (left) and stunning Seljalandsfoss waterfall (right)
Iceland Route - Road Trip Itinerary -Sólheimasandur plane wreck
Sólheimasandur plane wreck
Iceland - Seljavallalaug pool
Seljavallalaug pool
Iceland Route - Road Trip Itinerary - Vik
Sunrise at the black volcanic beach of Reynisfjara

Day 4 -5: Jökulsárlón

Travel distance: 163 km – 2 hours 

After a morning walk on the black volcanic beach in Vík, we made our way to Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. Along the way there are so many incredible places to visit, especially if you’re into hiking.

Our first stop was the stunning Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon, which is only a small detour away from the Ring Road. Afterward, we continued our way to Skaftafell Nature Reserve where you can do lots of different hikes in the beautiful Vatnajökull National Park. We did a short hike to the beautiful Svartifoss waterfall, located about 1.5 kilometers or 45 minutes (one way) from the Skaftafell Visitor Center.

Skaftafell is also the place where you can experience the ice blue caves, do lots of glacier walks, try ice climbing and take a scenic flight over Landmannalaugar. Check all Skaftafell experiences and tours here.

After a night’s sleep and a good breakfast, we went to the stunning Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, which is one of Iceland’s most beautiful spots. Across the road you’ll find the black volcanic Diamond Beach, which you definitely need to see too!

Recommended stay

  • 1 – 2 days

Where to stay

Things to do

Iceland - Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon
Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon
Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
The beautiful icebergs of Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
Iceland - Skaftafell National Park Svartifoss waterfall
Svartifoss waterfall in Skaftafell National Park
Diamond Beach - Iceland
Diamond Beach near Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon

Day 5 – 6: Egilsstaðir

Travel distance: 256km – 3h 47min

After visiting Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon and Diamond Beach, we zigzagged our way up along the East Fjords to the town of Egilsstaðir. We made a stop in Höfn first to see the Vestrahorn mountains and the extremely beautiful Stokksness beach. At Stokksness Beach we spotted dozens of Icelandic horses, which was a really beautiful view with the mountains in the background.

Egilsstaðir is a great place to stay for the night and buy new groceries at affordable prices in one of the great supermarkets like Bonus.

Recommended stay

  • 1 – 2 days

Where to stay

Things to do

  • Make a detour to Stokksnes peninsula where you can see the Vestrahorn mountains, Iceland’s most photographed mountains
  • Spot wild Icelandic horses on Stokksness beach
  • Hike to the Hengifoss waterfall, the 3rd highest waterfall in Iceland
  • Take the ferry from Djúpivogur to Papey Island to see the unique puffins from close (only possible in Summer)
Iceland Travel Itinerary - Vestrahorn Stoksness
The stunning Vestrahorn mountains on Stoksness beach
Icelandic horses Stoksness
Icelandic horses on Stoksness beach

Day 6 – 8: Húsavík or Mývatn

Travel distance: 219 km – 2h 52min

On day 6, we drove to Mývatn where we joined the next morning a whale-watching expedition in Húsavík to see the biggest animals on earth from close. Seeing the big blue whales was such a memorable experience! We booked our whale-watching tour with Gentle Giants, which are in our opinion the best in Iceland to do it with.

Húsavík itself is a small fishermen’s village and located 45 minutes from Lake Mývatn. If you choose to go camping, the best place to find a campsite is Mývatn. Do you prefer to stay in a hotel or guesthouse, go to Húsavík. Both are good locations to explore the Diamond Circle. Our favorite highlights were the Dettifoss & Goðafoss waterfalls and the stunning Námafjall Geothermal area. And in the afternoon, we went to Mývatn Nature Baths where you can relax and enjoy a breathtaking sunset from the geothermally heated pools. Amazing!

Recommended stay

  • 2 – 3  days

Where to stay

Things to do

Iceland Travel Itinerary - Námaskarð geothermal area
Iceland or Mars?
Husavik whale watching tour
Seeing the big blue whales from close in Húsavík
Husavik whale watching tour
Getting ready for the whale-watching tour in Husavik
Godafoss Waterfall Iceland Itinerary
Goðafoss waterfall
Mývatn Nature Baths Iceland
Mývatn Nature Baths

Day 8 – 9: Borgarnes

Travel distance: 387 km – 4h 39min 

Borgarnes was our last stop on our road trip itinerary before going back to Keflavik. From Borgarnes we explored the Snæfellsnes peninsula which was one of our favorite parts of our entire Iceland trip. Looking back, we wished we could have stayed here longer than only one day as there is so much to see and do.

If you only have one day like us, be sure to go to Kirkjufell, a very picturesque mountain in the Snæfellsnes peninsula and one of the Games of Thrones filming locations. Furthermore, we loved to climb up the Saxhóll Volcanic Crater and visit Arnarstapi, a fishing village with many great viewpoints. And ow yeah, the cute Budir Church is also a must-see!

Recommended stay

  • 1-2 days

Where to stay

Things to do

Kirkjufell - Snæfellsnes peninsula
Kirkjufell in Snæfellsnes peninsula
Saxhóll Volcanic Crater
Saxhóll Volcanic Crater
Budir Church in Snæfellsnes peninsula
Budir Church in Snæfellsnes peninsula
Iceland Route - Best Road Trip Itinerary for 10 days
Arnarstapi - Snæfellsnes peninsula
Beautiful ocean views from Arnarstapi
Beautiful ocean views from Arnarstapi

Day 9 – 10: Blue Lagoon

Travel distance: 116 km – 1h 33min 

On our last day of our road trip through Iceland we finally visited the amazing Blue Lagoon, which is only a 20-minute drive away from Keflavik International Aiport. The Blue Lagoon is the perfect place to relax in the warm, mineral-rich waters and look back on the incredible adventure you just have experienced. We booked our tickets to visit the Blue Lagoon in the late afternoon and delivered our campervan in the morning before our flight back home. 

Tip: you can also deliver your camper van or rental car the day before your flight, and book this Blue Lagoon entry ticket including round-trip transfers to your hotel in Reykjavik or Keflavik Airport. 

Recommended stay

  • 1 day

Where to stay

Things to do

Blue Lagoon Iceland
Blue Lagoon

Resources we’ve used for planning our Iceland road trip itinerary

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Iceland route - the best travel itinerary for 10 days

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