Travelling to Iceland can be a dream come true, but it can also leave you feeling like you didn’t have enough time to get the most out of your visit. With breathtaking natural landscapes, welcoming locals, and countless activities available, it’s easy to spend two weeks in this country and still feel like you missed out on important sights and experiences. This guide will help you make the most of your time in Iceland by exploring the best areas and making the most of your trip with advice from locals and experts.
Start in Reykjavik
Spend a day discovering the charm and culture of Reykjavik by taking a walk through Laugavegur, stopping for coffee at one of the many cafés in town, or checking out Reykjavik’s latest exhibition at Kjarvalsstadir Gallery.
Your next stop is the Perlan, an iconic architectural landmark that offers an unbeatable view of all Reykjavik.
Rent a car
It’s important to hire a car in Iceland if you’re planning on exploring, rather than relying on public transport or taxis. This will give you much more freedom and control over your schedule, which is an advantage that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Drive along South Coast
You can drive from Reykjavik, go to Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, and visit all the waterfalls along your way. From there you can drive through Þingvellir National Park and explore Thingvellir – home of the Alþing, an early parliament which is still used today. Nearby Þingvallavatn is a great place for outdoor adventures such as kayaking and hiking. If you’re looking for something more serene, Geysir or Gullfoss are both excellent choices. The Geyser area also offers horseback riding tours where you can learn about Icelandic horses and see some of the island’s beautiful landscapes up close.
Head up North
The best thing about this part of the country is that it’s accessible from Reykjavik by car, bus, or ferry. There are all sorts of places to see. One favourite is Þingvellir National Park—this area has a lot to offer for nature lovers and history buffs alike.
Venture into the Highlands (e.g. Skogar, Jokulsarlon, Landmannalaugar, etc.)
One other place that you might want to consider visiting is Landmannalaugar. Located on a highland plain, Landmannalaugar is situated on the longest fissure between glaciers, lava fields and lakes in Iceland. Geothermal activity, including hot springs and bubbling mud pools are scattered throughout the area. The temperature here can get as low as -10°C (14°F) so bring warm clothes. A small campsite in this area also offers basic accommodation for those who wish to stay overnight or for more than just a day trip.
Drive back towards Reykjavik on the West Fjords (e.g. Hella, Seljalandsfoss, etc.)
The West Fjords are home to some of the most spectacular waterfalls on Earth, including Seljalandsfoss, Europe’s largest waterfall that sits next to a beautiful cliff. Located close by is another waterfall called Skogafoss, which translates as Forest Waterfall. The third falls in this area worth visiting is Dynjandi (Powerful) Fall. There are several other attractions around the region too such as ancient lava fields, towering mountains and many small fishing villages. It’s one of the best places to visit if you have limited time but want to see something different than what you’ve seen before.