Iceland 4 Day Itinerary: An Unforgettable Adventure

This Iceland 4 day itinerary provides travelers a unique trip filled with beauty and adventure, from incredible waterfalls to volcanic landscapes,. Iceland has incredible sites everywhere you turn, and this 4 day guide to visiting Iceland will leave you satisfied, but also eager to return.

A View of the Skogafoss waterfall
The Breathtaking Skogafoss Falls

4 Days in Iceland: Traveling Tips

How many days do you need in Iceland?

Many families decide to take up to 2 weeks to explore Iceland and to travel the Ring Road. If your time is limited, you will can still see some of the beautiful natural wonders that the country has to offer on an Iceland 4 day itinerary.

Do you need 4wd in Iceland?

No, a short Iceland 4 day itinerary can easily be done in a 2wd car. If you are planning on venturing far off of the Golden Circle or off of the Ring Road, then we would recommend a 4 wheel drive vehicle.

What time of year is the best to go to Iceland?

Many travelers choose to travel to Iceland during the summer months because school is out, days are long, and the weather is mild. Between June and August, temperatures range generally in the 50s, and it is comfortable for outdoor activities. The peak of July brings 18 hours of daylight, providing more daylight to explore Iceland’s magic.

We chose to go to Iceland in September. We really loved Iceland in September and would recommend it to anyone traveling. Iceland weather in September continued to be mild, with temperatures in the 40s to 50s. It is slightly rainier than the rest of the summer, but we came prepared with a shell layer. Ultimately, the great thing about Iceland in September is that attractions were less crowded, and you are entering into northern lights season! We captured northern lights on many nights, and this may have been difficult had we not visited Iceland during September.

Can you travel to Iceland with Kids?

Absolutely! We brought our 2 year old to Iceland and it was the best decision we ever made. Many of the attractions in Iceland are very accessible, and our Ring Road trip was the perfect balance of exploring nature and the outdoors. To hear more about traveling in Iceland with kids, see our blog post about the Do’s and Don’ts of Traveling to Iceland with a Toddler.

The view of Reykjavik from the Hallgrimskirkja tower.

Iceland Itinerary Day 1: A Day in Reykjavik

Day one of your 4 day Iceland itinerary will begin after flying into Reykjavik. A one day Reykjavik stay is enough to get a sense of this unique city. When in Iceland, there is so much to see you will want to get out to explore the beautiful wonders the country has to offer.

The lobby of the Icelandair Hotel in the Reykjavik Marina.

Where to stay in Reykjavik?

There are a variety of well appointed hotels in Reykjavik. We would recommend staying in the Marina or the downtown area to be walking distance to the cathedral, restaurants and shops. We really love the Icelandair hotels, and stayed at the Icelandair Hotel at Reykjavik Marina. We absolutely loved it, and it was by the water, but within a mile of the cathedral. Other great options we would recommend are: Canopy by Hilton, the Eyja Guldsmeden Hotel, and the Foss Hotel.

Things to do with One Day in Reykjavik

An evening view of Reykjavik

When spending one day in Reykjavik, I would recommend navigating the city by foot. We stayed in the Icelandair Hotel at Reykjavik Marina and after our long flight, enjoyed a latte at Reykjavik Rost, with a beautiful view of the water. There is a Sculpture and Shore walk, and if followed you will reach the extraordinary Harpa Concert hall as well as the often photographed Sun Voyager statue.

Resting in Austurvollor square.

The downtown has many unique stores and craft galleries, and one can easy fill an afternoon browsing up and down Laugevegur, the main downtown street. If the weather holds, take a rest in Austurvollur square near the Iceland parliament building.

The Hallgrimskirkja cathedral.

Finally, one day in Reykjavik would not be complete without a visit the impressive Hallgrimskirkja, the largest church in Iceland and one of the tallest structures in the country. The 1000 ISK fee to go up in the tower is well worth it, and the view of the city is breathtaking.

Where to eat in Reykjavik?

Fish and chips at Reykjavik Fish

Iceland food while expensive, is always the highest quality. Be sure to sample fresh fish while you are in town. Our family recommends Reykjavik Fish which was easy with kids and quite delicious. If you are looking for a higher end meal, consider Matarkjallarinn which resides in a 160 year old building and is known for well crafted cocktails, and exceptional service. Fiskfelagid Fish Company is also an excellent place to enjoy fresh fish in a traditional, warm, cozy atmosphere.

Iceland Itinerary Day 2: The Golden Circle

What are the Golden Circle Stops?

Any Iceland 4 day itinerary must include the Golden Circle. The Golden Circle is a 300 km looped route from Reykjavik that features a variety of beautiful natural wonders of Iceland, and can be accomplished in a single day. Most attractions are open late in the summer until 7 or 8 PM due to the long days.

Exploring Thingvellir National Park

The first stop of the Golden Circle is Thingvellir National Park, which is the historical location of the formation of the original Icelandic Parliament. It also marks the division between the tectonic plates. Thingvellir is a 40 minute drive from Reykjavik, and the first stop on the Golden Circle self drive.

The bubbling Geysir Geothermal Area

The Geysir Geothermal Area is a 50 minute drive from Thingvellir, and the next stop on the Golden Circle route. The field is remarkable, covered with small boiling mud pits and geysers. The sight of steam and bubbling water rising from the ground is surreal, and transports you to an alien landscape. A small rope separates you from the active areas, but children must be watched closely if visiting.

The visitor center at Geysir is lovely, clean, and has a small cafeteria which is the perfect place to divide the day. We recommend stopping for a warm drink or a snack before travellng on.

The spectacular Gulfoss falls, the last wonder of the Golden Circle

The last stop on the Golden Circle drive is the incredible waterfall Gulfoss. It is only about 10 minutes from Geysir. Bring your camera, this was one of the most spectacular and powerful waterfalls we saw on our trip in Iceland.

Where to stay after visiting the Golden Circle?

Hotel Selid, a peaceful, serene haven after a day visiting the Golden Circle.

If planning a three or four day Iceland itinerary, we recommend embarking east on the Ring Road and heading towards Vik. There are so many amazing bed and breakfasts in Iceland, it is hard to go wrong. We recommend the Hotel Selid in Hella. It is located on a breathtaking property, and they offered lovely service, and a delicious home cooked meal at the end of a long day.

Iceland Itinerary Day 3: Waterfalls and the Black Beaches of Vik

What to see on the South East Ring Road?

Behind the beautiful Seljalandsfoss Falls

An Iceland 4 day itinerary would not be complete without some exploration of the Ring Road. When embarking east from Reykjavik on the Ring Road, the first site not to be missed is the Seljalandsfoss Falls. Seljalandsfoss parking is easy, and right adjacent to the falls itself. It is a short walk to the falls, and then if you choose you can follow the somewhat slippery path to go behind the waterfall.

Exploring historic homes at the Skogar Folk Museum.

The next stop on the Ring Road is the Skogar Folk Museum. Don’t miss this, particularly if you have young children with you. They will enjoy exploring the Icelandic traditional houses and the artifact exhibit inside the museum.

The spectacular Skogafoss falls

Next to the Skogar Folk Museum, Skogafoss towers off the side of the road. Skogafoss is one of the most picturesque waterfalls, and visitors can wander very close to the towering cascade and see rainbows in the mist coming off of the falls.

The Matarkjallarinn Glacier

Turning left on Route 221, you can approach the Solheimajokull Car Park in order to glimpse the Myrdalshreppur Glacier. This is the closest you can get to this massive glacier without booking a tour.

Reynisfjara beach with black volcanic sand

Last on this incredible stretch of the Ring Road, you will encounter Reynisfjara, a beach of black volcanic sand. From the shore you can see the towering basalt Reynisdrangar sea stacks, and on the beach you can explore the Halsanefshellir sea cave. Leave time to wander and explore the beach, there is a lot to see and the landscape is surreal.

Exploring the Halsanwfshellir sea cave.

Where to Stay Near Vik?

Vik has a variety of beautiful and modern hotels to take refuge after a day of exploration. Our recommendation is the Hotel Kria, with spectacular views from the dining room, and elegant contemporary guest rooms.

Iceland Itinerary Day 4: Return from Vik to Reykjavik

What to do upon return to Reykjavik?

Iceland’s Blue Lagoon

Your Iceland 4 day itinerary will end returning back along the Ring Road to Reykjavik. The trip from Vik to Reykjavik is 187 km and takes about two and a half hours. If you have time before your flight, and are looking for a destination, consider visiting the Blue Lagoon. If you would like to visit the Blue Lagoon, but don’t have the time to take a swim, you can park in the visitor center and follow the paths along the left to a free area where you take in the lagoon without the distraction of its visitors.

We hope this itinerary inspires you to explore Iceland and take in this amazing country, with experiences unlike any other in the world. If you would like more help planning your Iceland trip, see our other blog posts:

Must See Stops on the Ring Road

Iceland with a Toddler: The Do’s and the Don’ts

Golden Circle with a Toddler

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