To plan your trip in Iceland, start with these decisions:
- Northern Lights or Midnight Sun?
- Ring Road
- Shorter Trips
- Cruise Circumnavigation
Highlights of Iceland:
- Glaciers, boiling mud pots
- Hot springs
- Black lava beaches
- Special Interest: Hiking, Multi-sport, Horseback riding, Foodie, Fishing, and Golf
1) Northern Lights or Midnight Sun?
The first thing you need to decide is if you are going to Iceland to see the Northern Lights or if you are going to see the wildlife (summer).
SUMMER: March – August
- Best for wildlife — puffins, whales, fishing
NORTHERN LIGHTS: End of August – February
- Sept, Oct, and Feb are the most popular as they aren’t so cold
- The Northern Lights tours are at night!
WINTER: November – January can be very cold and windy.
You will start and end your trip in Reykjavik (Keflavik International Airport).
As part of a larger trip, you will want to spend 2-3 nights in Reykjavik at the beginning and 1 night at the end before your flight out.
If you are just doing a “city break” to Reykjavik, you will want a minimum of 3 nights.
- Blue Lagoon — Typically done on first or last day en route from/to the airport.
- Golden Circle — This is a full day tour (10-12 hour), including Thingvellir National Park (geysers), Gullfoss Waterfalls, and ice fields.
- City Tour (guided walking and driving) or Hop-on/Hop-off Bus
- Northern Lights Tour (nighttime Sept-Feb)
- Puffin Watching Tour
- Whale Watching Tour
- Foodie Walk
- 4×4 Superjeep tour into the highlands
- Free day in Reykjavik
3) Ring Road
This is an 8-10 day trip all around the perimeter of Iceland. It really shows you the different regions and highlights of the country.
You can do self-driving or a guided tour.
4) Shorter Trips
If you want something more than a “city break” but don’t have time for the full Ring Road, add on a few days from Reykjavik to the West coast or East coast.
West Coast — Snæfellsnes Peninsula with glaciers, black beaches, bird cliffs, mountains, volcanic craters, and fishing villages.
5) Cruise Circumnavigation
Another option to the Ring Road is a circumnavigation of Iceland by ship. This is an 8-10 day trip and operates May-September.
There is also a longer option that includes Greenland.