4 Days in Iceland: The Perfect Itinerary

Discover the wonders of Iceland in just 4 days! From the Blue Lagoon to the Golden Circle, make the most of your short stay.

4 Days in Iceland

blog author By Johanna Sigurðardóttir shield verificationVerified Expert

Ever thought about spending 4 days in Iceland? Well, buckle up because you're in for a treat! Imagine a land where geysers erupt with a playful wink, waterfalls compete for your attention, and the city streets are as colorful as a painter's palette.

Now, you might be wondering: 'Can I really experience all that magic in just four days in Iceland?' The answer is a resounding YES! And lucky for you, we've been there, done that, and are here to spill the beans.

So, grab your favorite travel mug, fill it with some Icelandic coffee (or just your regular brew), and let's dive into the ultimate Icelandic escapade together!

4 days in iceland

Day 1: Discover Reykjavik's Vibrant Charm

  • Distance: +- 7 Kilometers (4.5 miles). 

Kick off your 4 days in Iceland in Reykjavik, the world's northernmost capital. Brimming with colorful streets, rich history, and a unique artsy vibe, this city sets the tone for an unforgettable Icelandic escapade.

Explore the City's Colorful Streets and Charming Shops

During your Iceland 4-day trip, Reykjavík's vibrant streets are a must-visit. Begin your journey at Laugavegur, the city's bustling shopping artery. Here, boutique stores showcase local handicrafts while aromatic cafés beckon with Icelandic pastries.

A short walk away, Skólavörðustígur offers a visual treat with its art galleries and murals, leading you straight to the iconic Hallgrímskirkja. For fashion enthusiasts, the city is a treasure trove of vintage finds.

Dive into the numerous thrift stores in Reykjavík to discover retro gems. As you wander, the blend of modern aesthetics and rich history makes every step in Reykjavík a delightful discovery.

4 days in Reykjavik

Visit Hallgrímskirkja, the Iconic Church

A highlight of any 4 days in Reykjavík is the awe-inspiring Hallgrímskirkja. Towering over the city at 74.5 meters (244 feet), this Lutheran church is Reykjavík's tallest architectural structure.

Its unique design, inspired by the basalt lava columns found throughout the country, stands as a testament to modernist architecture. Inside, the vast nave and the impressive pipe organ, which boasts 5,275 pipes, captivate visitors.

Don't miss the opportunity to ascend the church's tower. From there, you're treated to a panoramic view of Reykjavík's colorful rooftops, the surrounding mountains, and the shimmering bay.

Walk Along the Waterfront

After basking in the beauty of Hallgrímskirkja, stroll down to Reykjavík's waterfront—a must in any 4-day Iceland itinerary. The path unfolds from the old harbor, alive with fishing boats and seafood eateries, to the modern Harpa Concert Hall with its kaleidoscopic glass design.

En route, pause at the Sun Voyager, a sculpture echoing a Viking ship, symbolizing dreams and discovery. This waterfront isn't just about the ocean's calm; it's a window into Reykjavík's seafaring soul. Hungry for more city gems? Dive into our top things to do in Reykjavík guide.

Reykjavik itinerary

Where to Stay in Reykjavík

In Reykjavík, lodging options abound to suit every traveler's style and budget. If you fancy a luxurious retreat, check out the Hotel Borg's art deco elegance. For a budget-friendly yet cozy stay, the Reykjavík Downtown HI Hostel is a gem. And if you crave a local feel, numerous charming Airbnb rentals dot the city.

Day 2: Delve Into the Untamed Beauty of the West Fjords

  • Distance: +- 254 Kilometers (158 miles). 

As you embark on the second day of your 4 days in Iceland journey, prepare to be captivated by the West Fjords. This remote region, with its jagged cliffs, deep fjords, and untouched landscapes, offers a more secluded Icelandic experience, far from the usual tourist trails.

Soak Up the Majestic Views of Dynjandi Waterfall

As part of your Iceland 4-day itinerary, a visit to the grandiose Dynjandi waterfall is a must. Tucked away in the remote West Fjords, Dynjandi is a series of seven cascades resembling a wedding cake. 

Its name translates to 'Thunderous,' quite fitting given its powerful roar that echoes through the fjords. The waterfall's total height is an impressive 100 meters (328 feet), and its widest section spans 60 meters (197 feet). 

As you approach Dynjandi, prepare to be awed by its sheer magnitude and mesmerizing beauty. It's a sight guaranteed to be one of the highlights of your Iceland adventure.

iceland 4 day tours

Explore Rauðisandur Beach

During your 4 days in Iceland, Rauðisandur Beach is a sight you won't want to miss. Unlike the typical black sand beaches of Iceland, Rauðisandur surprises visitors with its vast expanse of red and golden sands. 

Stretching over 10 kilometers (6 miles), this beach offers a serene backdrop of the Westfjords' rugged cliffs. Depending on the sunlight, the sands can shift in hue, creating a mesmerizing palette of colors.

The tranquility here is occasionally interrupted by seals playfully lounging or the distant call of seabirds. Rauðisandur isn't just a beach; it's a tranquil Icelandic dreamscape.

Spot Wildlife in Hornstrandir Nature Reserve

On your 4-day Iceland trip, a visit to Hornstrandir Nature Reserve is a must for wildlife enthusiasts. Located in the northernmost part of the Westfjords, this untouched wilderness is a haven for Arctic foxes, especially during summer when they roam freely, unafraid of humans.

The cliffs of Hornstrandir are also a birdwatcher's paradise, teeming with puffins, guillemots, and kittiwakes. With no roads or permanent residents, the reserve offers a pristine experience, accessible only by boat from Ísafjörður or Bolungarvík. Here, nature reigns supreme, offering visitors a glimpse of Iceland in its purest form.

Westfjords in Iceland

Where to Stay In the West Fjords

Accommodations in the West Fjords cater to various tastes and budgets. For a taste of luxury, consider the remote Hotel Djúpavík, set in a converted herring factory. If you're after a more homey experience, check out the charming Simbahöllin guesthouse. For budget-conscious travelers, camping is a popular option, with picturesque sites like Tungudalur Campground offering stunning views and basic amenities.

Day 3: Embark Towards The Golden Circle 

  • Distance: +- 120 Kilometers (75 miles).

As you venture into the third day of your 4 days in Iceland journey, gear up for the iconic Golden Circle. This popular route encapsulates Iceland's geothermal wonders, historic sites, and breathtaking landscapes, offering a snapshot of the country's diverse natural beauty in just one day.

See Gullfoss Waterfall, One of the Most Powerful Waterfalls in Europe

Your 4-day trip to Iceland wouldn't be complete without witnessing the majesty of Gullfoss Waterfall, one of Europe's most powerful waterfalls. Nestled in the Golden Circle, Gullfoss (Golden Falls) is a two-tiered waterfall that plunges into a rugged canyon.

Iceland in 4 days

Its combined drop reaches an impressive 32 meters (105 feet), and its largest cascade stretches 21 meters (69 feet) high. Don't miss the spectacle of Gullfoss in full force during the summer when its roaring water produces a glistening mist that, on sunny days, forms a captivating rainbow over the falls. It's a sight that encapsulates Iceland's raw, untamed beauty.

Go on a Geyser Tour and See Strokkur Erupt

A quintessential experience for anyone exploring Iceland in 4 days is witnessing the raw power of its geysers. Strokkur, meaning 'churn' in the Icelandic language, is one of the most active geysers in the region, erupting every 6-10 minutes.

Its scalding water can reach impressive heights of 15-20 meters (49-66 feet) into the air, offering a thrilling spectacle for visitors. Witnessing Strokkur's eruption is an extraordinary experience, a reminder of Iceland's dynamic, ever-changing landscapes driven by subterranean heat. Don't forget your camera – capturing a Strokkur eruption is a 'must-do' for any Iceland itinerary.

Visit Þingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

No 4-day Iceland tour would be complete without stepping into the historical and geological wonders of Þingvellir National Park. A designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, Þingvellir holds a unique position in Iceland's history as the original site of the world's oldest existing parliament, founded in AD 930.

Moreover, the park is a geologic marvel, marking the visible rift between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. Here, you can literally walk between two continents, marvel at the stunning Þingvallavatn, Iceland's largest natural lake, and even dive into the crystal-clear waters of Silfra fissure. This park is a must-visit, interweaving history, culture, and nature seamlessly.

4 days in Iceland summer

Where to Stay In the Golden Circle

The Golden Circle offers a range of accommodations to suit various preferences. For a luxury stay, the ION Adventure Hotel offers modern comforts against an awe-inspiring backdrop. Those favoring a quaint setting might opt for the cozy Efsti-Dalur II, a charming farm hotel. Budget travelers can find solace in the affordable yet comfortable Blue Hotel Fagrilundur.

Day 4: Uncover the Mysteries of the South Coast

  • Distance: +- 459 Kilometers (285 miles).

As we enter the final leg of our 4 days in Iceland journey, we turn our sights towards the enchanting South Coast. Brimming with towering waterfalls, black sand beaches, and the captivating Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, the South Coast is a treasure trove of natural wonders waiting to be explored.

Marvel at the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon and Its Drifting Icebergs

A pinnacle moment in any 4-day Iceland itinerary is a visit to Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. Situated at the foot of Vatnajökull, Europe's largest glacier, this lagoon is a mesmerizing display of nature's artistry. 

Icebergs, calved from the glacier, drift serenely on its icy waters, creating a dynamic landscape of blues and whites. Seals can often be spotted lounging on the ice or swimming in the lagoon. As the icebergs journey towards the ocean, they create a surreal spectacle on the nearby Diamond Beach.

Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon

Hike to the Haunting Sólheimasandur Plane Wreck

For those seeking a bit of intrigue on their four days in Iceland journey, the haunting Sólheimasandur plane wreck offers a unique adventure. In 1973, a US Navy DC plane ran out of fuel and crash-landed on this desolate black sand beach. 

Thankfully, everyone survived, but the plane's remains were left behind. Today, it is a haunting yet photogenic relic against the stark backdrop. The hike to the site is about 4 km (2.3 mi) each way, offering a chance to immerse in the vastness of the landscape. Remember to tread lightly and respect the site's history.

Immerse Yourself in the Soothing Waters of the Blue Lagoon

As your 4 days in Iceland adventure draws to a close, make your way towards the ethereal Blue Lagoon, conveniently located near the airport. Immerse yourself in its soothing geothermal waters, famed for their skin-healing properties.

Boasting a temperature of 37-40°C (98-104°F) year-round and rich in minerals like silica and sulfur, the Blue Lagoon offers a rejuvenating respite before your homeward journey. This luxurious spa experience, surrounded by volcanic landscapes, is the perfect finale for your Icelandic vacation. Remember to book your spot in advance, as the Blue Lagoon is a popular destination. 

Four days in Iceland

Where to Stay at The South Coast 

The South Coast of Iceland boasts a variety of accommodations to cater to different tastes. For luxury seekers, Hotel Rangá offers a touch of opulence amidst the wild landscape. Guesthouse Vellir is perfect for budget-conscious travelers, offering comfort without breaking the bank. For a unique stay, consider the quaint Skyrhúsid Guesthouse, a charming farm hotel that guarantees an authentic Icelandic experience.

Navigate Iceland's Roads With Expert Self-Drive Tips

When you're planning your 4-day Iceland itinerary, knowing how to navigate the roads is crucial for a smooth and enjoyable adventure. Here, we will provide invaluable tips for self-drive tours in Iceland, helping you to explore the island's raw beauty safely and efficiently.

How To Rent a Car in Iceland

Renting a car in Iceland is a straightforward process that involves a few key steps:

  • Select a reputable rental company: Choose a company with positive reviews, such as Reykjavík Cars. We have been in the business since 2013 and offer competitive rates for various vehicles.
  • Choose your vehicle: Depending on your route, consider a 4x4 for highland roads.
  • Check insurance coverage: Ensure the rental has adequate insurance, covering scenarios like damage from gravel or collisions.
  • Pick-up/Drop-off: Most agencies are located in Reykjavík, but airport options are available for convenience.

Car rental Iceland

The Best Scenic Routes To Take

Iceland's roads are a gateway to its breathtaking landscapes. Here are some top scenic routes:

  • Route 1, Ring Road: Circumnavigating the island, Route 1 showcases diverse landscapes - from cascading waterfalls to dramatic volcanic fields.
  • Golden Circle Route: This popular route offers three iconic attractions - Thingvellir National Park, Gullfoss waterfall, and the Geysir geothermal area.
  • South Coast Drive: Expect black sand beaches, glacier lagoons, and epic sea cliffs. 
  • Snæfellsnes Peninsula Drive: Fondly known as 'Iceland in Miniature,' captures the essence of Iceland's natural diversity.

iceland in 4 days

Things To Keep in Mind When Driving in Iceland

When you're embarking on your 4 days in Iceland adventure and planning to self-drive, here are some vital tips to keep in mind: 

  • Weather Watch: Icelandic weather can be unpredictable. Always check weather forecasts and road conditions before you set off. 
  • Stay on Roads: Off-road driving is illegal in Iceland and can damage fragile ecosystems. Stick to marked paths. 
  • Speed Limits: Adhere to speed limits, which are 90 km/h (approximately 56 mph) on paved highways and 80 km/h (approximately 50 mph) on gravel roads, to ensure safety. 
  • Gas Stations: Keep an eye on your fuel gauge; gas stations can be few and far between. 

When Is The Best Time To Visit Iceland

The optimal time for a 4-day trip to Iceland hinges on your preferred activities:

  • Summer (June to August): Ideal for hiking, wildlife spotting, and witnessing the surreal phenomenon of the Midnight Sun.
  • Winter (December to February): Best for hunting the elusive Northern Lights and enjoying winter sports like ice caving or glacier hiking.
  • Spring and Autumn (April to May and September to November): Perfect for those seeking fewer crowds and lower prices, along with a spectrum of breathtaking landscapes.

Reykjavik sightseeing

4 Days In Iceland To Remember

There you have it, your 4-day trip to Iceland decoded, with all the geysers, waterfalls, and puffins you could dream of. Remember, Iceland isn't just about the views (though they're pretty epic); it's about the adventure, the midnight sun ice creams, and those 'did I really just see that?' moments.

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