Welcome to the ultimate Iceland itinerary for 8 days! We, the team at Reykjavík Cars, are passionate explorers of Iceland's ethereal landscapes and hidden gems.
Having personally embarked on this 8-day journey, we recall the awe-inspiring geysers at the Golden Circle and the tranquility experienced on the serene South Coast. In the following sections, we will share our insights, tips, and recommendations to help you craft the perfect Iceland itinerary for 8 days, covering everything from notable stops along the Ring Road to budget management.
So buckle up and start planning your unforgettable Iceland adventure together!
Day 1: Reykjavík
Embarking on your Iceland itinerary for 8 days begins in the heart of Reykjavík. Start your day at the towering Hallgrímskirkja church. Take the elevator to the top for a bird's-eye view of the city's colorful rooftops, the old harbor, and the distant mountains.
Next, stroll down Laugavegur, the city's main shopping street, with boutique stores, cozy cafés, and Icelandic design shops. Don't miss the Harpa Concert Hall, an architectural marvel with its geometric glass facade reflecting the shimmering waters of the harbor. For a taste of history, the National Museum of Iceland offers a comprehensive overview of the Icelandic saga and heritage.
As evening approaches, head to the old harbor for a delectable seafood dinner at one of the renowned restaurants, like Saegriffin. To maximize your Reykjavík experience and save on attractions, we recommend taking out the Reykjavík City Card. This card gives you free entry to numerous attractions, museums, and city buses.
Day 2: Golden Circle
On day two of your 8-day Iceland itinerary, immerse yourself in the splendors of the Golden Circle, a roughly 300-kilometer (190-mile) loop from Reykjavík into central Iceland and back. Begin at the remarkable Þingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where you can witness the continental drift between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates.
Next, experience the thrill of watching the Geysir geothermal area's powerful Strokkur geyser erupt every 5 to 10 minutes, shooting water up to 20 meters (65 feet) in the air. Finally, marvel at the breathtaking Gullfoss Waterfall, a spectacular natural wonder whose cascading waters create a rainbow on sunny days.
To end this enriching day, consider relaxing in the soothing waters of the Secret Lagoon, a geothermal pool that offers a tranquil, less crowded alternative to the Blue Lagoon. Just be sure to book your Secret Lagoon tickets in advance, since the lagoon can get quite busy.
Day 3: South Coast
The third day of your 8 days in Iceland journey unveils the mesmerizing beauty of the South Coast. Start your exploration at Seljalandsfoss, a unique waterfall you can walk behind, feeling the mist on your face.
A short drive away is Skógafoss, another majestic waterfall with a drop of 60 meters (197 feet), often adorned with a vibrant rainbow. As you continue along the coast, the black sand beaches of Reynisfjara beckon. The powerful Atlantic waves crash against the shore, and the iconic Reynisdrangar basalt sea stacks rise from the ocean. For a unique experience, we recommend the Black Beach Riding Tour offered by Vik Horse Adventure.
It's an easy-going one-hour ride, suitable for all abilities, allowing you to experience the wild Icelandic terrain on horseback. Further east, the charming village of Vík offers a perfect pit-stop with its picturesque church and panoramic views from the hilltop.
Day 4: Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon
On the fourth day of your Iceland itinerary for 8 days, you'll be captivated by the ethereal beauty of Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon. This vast lagoon is dotted with floating icebergs that have calved off the nearby Vatnajokull Glacier, creating a dynamic and ever-changing landscape.
As you stand by its shores, you'll witness the dance of ice and water, with shades of blue and white contrasting against the deep black of the volcanic sands. We recommend the Glacier Lagoon boat ride to truly immerse yourself in this glacial wonder.
This tour allows you to sail between the icebergs and offers insights into the lagoon's formation and significance. As a bonus, watch for seals that often frolic in the lagoon's chilly waters.
Day 5: Vatnajokull National Park
Your 8-day Iceland itinerary continues exploring the magical Vatnajokull National Park on day five. Home to the largest glacier in Europe, Vatnajokull National Park offers breathtaking views of vast ice fields, rugged mountain peaks, and deep blue glacier tongues.
One of the day's highlights is embarking on the Skaftafell 3-Hour Glacier Walk. This guided tour takes you across the spectacular Skaftafell glacier, where you marvel at the fascinating ice formations and crevasses, learn about the glacier's formation and movement, and enjoy inspiring panoramic views.
Equipped with crampons, ice axes, and safety gear, you'll experience the thrill of walking on a glacier, making it an unforgettable part of your Iceland adventure.
Day 6: Akureyri
The sixth day of your Iceland 8-day itinerary leads you to Akureyri, fondly known as the 'Capital of North Iceland.' This charming town is famed for its unique cultural experiences and vibrant nightlife amidst picturesque landscapes.
Walk through Akureyri's colorful streets, visit its quaint cafés, and explore the Akureyri Church. This distinctive landmark crowns the town. The Akureyri Botanical Garden is a must-visit for nature enthusiasts, showcasing both Icelandic and foreign flora. The day holds a thrilling experience with the Akureyri Classic Whale Watching tour.
This 3-hour voyage into Eyjafjörður, a verdant fjord brimming with marine life, offers the chance to spot Eyjafjord Humpbacks, dolphins, and many seabird species. A professional guide will ensure an informative and exciting journey, making Day 6 a highlight of your Icelandic adventure.
Day 7: Snaefellsnes Peninsula
On the 7th day of your Iceland itinerary for 8 days, the enchanting landscapes of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula await. Often dubbed 'Iceland in Miniature,' this region encapsulates the essence of Iceland's diverse natural wonders.
From the iconic Kirkjufell mountain, often photographed with its cascading waterfall, to the rugged cliffs and lava formations of Arnarstapi, there's no shortage of breathtaking sights. As you traverse the peninsula, consider a detour to Stykkisholmur.
Here, the Baldur ferry offers a unique perspective of the Breidafjordur Bay, shortening the route between the south and the West Fjords. You can relish the views onboard, and there's even a floating restaurant to enhance the experience.
Day 8: Selfoss
Ending off your Iceland in 8 days, Day 8 brings you to the vibrant town of Selfoss, a hub of activity and natural wonders in South Iceland. Nestled by the banks of the Ölfusá River, Selfoss offers a blend of cultural experiences and scenic beauty.
As you explore the town, you'll find local eateries serving traditional Icelandic fare and artisan shops showcasing local crafts. But the true highlight of your day in Selfoss is the exhilarating River Fun Rafting experience. Embark on a 3.5-hour adventure with Arctic Rafting, where you'll navigate a glacial river amidst the stunning Icelandic nature.
Before wrapping up your day, make a detour to the world-renowned Blue Lagoon. Soak in its geothermal waters, rejuvenating your body and soul and reflecting on your unforgettable 8-day journey through the land of fire and ice.
Tips for Planning Your Iceland 8 Days Trip
Here are some tips to help you plan your Iceland itinerary for 8 days. These nuggets of advice are designed to assist you in experiencing the best of what Iceland has to offer, providing you with a smooth, enjoyable, and memorable adventure.
- Research Seasons: Iceland's landscapes change dramatically between seasons. Decide if you prefer summer's midnight sun or winter's northern lights. As the saying goes, 'There's no bad weather in Iceland, only wrong clothing.'
- Book Tours in Advance: Popular tours, like whale watching or glacier hiking, can fill up quickly. Secure your spot early to avoid disappointment.
- Stay Connected: While Iceland offers good connectivity, consider getting a local SIM card or portable Wi-Fi for uninterrupted access, especially in remote areas.
- Budget Wisely: Iceland can be pricey. Plan your finances, considering accommodation, food, and tour costs. Look for package deals or discounts.
- Respect Nature: Iceland's beauty is fragile. Stick to marked paths, don't litter, and always follow local guidelines to preserve its natural wonders.
How To Get Around Iceland In 8 Days
So, you've decided on an Iceland itinerary for 8 days. Now you're wondering how to zip around this island of fire and ice. Let's break it down:
- Renting a Car: Hands down, renting a car in Iceland is the best way to explore. Why wait for a bus when you can have the freedom to stop wherever you fancy? Plus, who doesn't want to feel like an intrepid explorer, albeit in a heated car with a GPS?
- Stick to the Ring Road: The Ring Road is a well-maintained road that encircles the island and is your golden ticket to most major attractions. Just remember, those sheep have the right of way!
- Fuel Up: And we don't just mean the car. Icelandic gas stations are oddly social hubs, often with cafes serving hearty local dishes. Perfect for refueling both car and driver.
- Mind the Weather: Icelandic weather is like a moody teenager – unpredictable and occasionally stormy. Always check forecasts and road conditions.
Where to Stay During Your Iceland 8 Days Itinerary
When embarking on your Iceland 8-day itinerary, finding the right accommodation can make all the difference. Iceland offers a range of stays, from cozy cabins to luxury hotels. Here's a quick guide to help you rest easy:
- Hotels: Located in most towns and cities, they offer comfort and modern amenities. Perfect for those who like their wilderness with a side of Wi-Fi.
- Guesthouses: A more personal touch. Often family-run, they provide an intimate experience of Icelandic hospitality.
- Farm Stays: Dive deep into Icelandic culture by staying on a farm. Stay on a working farm, enjoy fresh produce, and maybe even help with chores!
- Hostels: Ideal for budget travelers. They're not just for backpackers; many offer private rooms and scenic views.
- Camping: For the true adventurers. Just remember, Icelandic elves are shy, so no loud music!
For a comprehensive list, check out these accommodation options in Iceland.
What To Pack for Your Iceland Itinerary for 8 Days
If you're jetting off for your grand Iceland itinerary for 8 days, there are a few essentials you'll need to squeeze into your suitcase. Here's a cheeky checklist to keep you warm, dry, and ready for all of Iceland's surprises:
- Thermals: Long johns and thermal tops are a must. You're headed to Iceland, not Ibiza. Your wardrobe should reflect that.
- Layers: Channel your inner onion and think of layers. T-shirts, sweaters, and a waterproof jacket will have you ready for any weather tantrums.
- Waterproof Boots: Iceland's terrain can be unforgiving, and wet socks are no one's idea of fun. Go for sturdy, waterproof boots.
- Hat, Scarf, and Gloves: Keep these frostbite fighters handy. Your future selfie game will thank you.
- Swimsuit: This might sound like a joke, but trust us. Those geothermal pools aren't just for looking at!
- Camera: You'll be kicking yourself if you forget this. Iceland's views are second to none.
Things To Do in Iceland on an 8-Day Tour
If you're planning an Iceland 8-day tour, arm yourself with a formidable to-do list that will have your Instagram followers green with envy. Stay buckled as we take you on a whirlwind tour of the land of fire and ice.
- Chase Waterfalls: Icelandic waterfalls, like Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss, are truly spectacular sights. Just watch your step on those slippery rocks!
- Explore Ice Caves: Step into the frosty underworld of an Icelandic ice cave. These natural wonders are a sight straight out of a fantasy movie.
- Relax in Geothermal Pools: Take a dip in one of the many geothermal pools in Iceland, like the Blue Lagoon. Note: turning into a prune from long soaking hours is totally worth it.
- Catch the Northern Lights: Stand in awe as the sky dances with colors. Cameras ready! The Northern Lights are the stuff great profile pictures are made of!
- Horseback Riding: Have you ever seen a horse with a fabulous hairstyle? Meet and ride the Icelandic horse, famous for their extra gait and fabulous manes.
- Visit the Black Sand Beach: Walk along the stunning black sand beaches of Iceland. It's like stepping into a black-and-white photograph. Fair warning: sand castles here may look a tad bit gloomy!
Budgeting for Your Iceland Trip
It's time to hit the road with your Iceland itinerary for 8 days! But wait... the most daunting part of any trip - the budgeting. Fear not; we've got some solid tips to keep your wallet happy while you're gallivanting around the island.
- Affordable Eats: Icelandic hot dogs are legendary. They're not only delicious, but also a budget-friendly way to keep your stomach satisfied. We highly recommend stopping at Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur in Reykjavík for a taste.
- Sharing is Caring: Rent a car and share the costs with friends. The more, the merrier - and cheaper!
- Camp if You Can: If you're feeling adventurous, camp instead of splurging on hotels. Just remember that camping in Iceland is allowed only in designated areas.
- Take Advantage of Freebies: Many natural wonders in Iceland, like waterfalls and beaches, are free to explore and visit. Yes, Mother Nature doesn't charge an entry fee!
- Duty-Free Joy: Stock up on snacks at the airport's duty-free. Because munchies in Iceland can cost you an arm and a leg. We're not kidding!
Final Frosty Thoughts on Your Iceland Itinerary for 8 Days
As countless adventurers have embarked on our Iceland Itinerary for 8 Days, the feedback has been overwhelming.
Sarah from the UK exclaims, 'It was a trip of a lifetime! Every day was a new adventure.' Meanwhile, John from the US reflects, 'If you think you've seen it all, wait until you've explored Iceland in 8 days!'
Dive into this meticulously crafted journey, and soon, you might be the one sharing your own glowing testimonial. Here's to the Icelandic adventure of a lifetime!