The Ring Road in Seven Days: An Itinerary

Here is my recommendation for a seven day itinerary around Iceland. I hope you enjoy it!

Day 1

You'll be arriving at Keflavík Airport, which is pretty close to the Blue Lagoon. If visiting the Blue Lagoon is on your bucket list I suggest you stop there on the way from the airport to Reykjavik. Usually I stay around 2 hours in total at the lagoon.

The Blue Lagoon Iceland The Blue Lagoon. Travelade/iStock.

There is a very nice restaurant at the Blue Lagoon called Lava restaurant . If the time is fitting I would recommend that to you.

Naturally, there are numerous things to do in Reykjavik, but the most common thing to do is to see the main tourist attractions and if that is your wish, here are a few stops I recommend.

  • Hallgrímskirkja – is a magnificent church right in the heart of Reykjavík. It took 41 years to build the church and during the construction time the nation was struggling with poverty. Being able to finish the church in those meager years was a great achievement.
  • The Parliament square – if you stand in the middle of the square, which is called Austurvöllur, you can see the Parliament which was built in 1881 and the oldest hotel in Reykjavík, called Hotel Borg. Jamie Oliver has opened an Italian restaurant on the ground floor of that hotel. If the weather is nice, you will see the square packed with Icelanders having a picknic on the lawn.
  • The Pond & The City Hall – Icelanders regularly go to the Pond to feed the ducks. On the northern shore of the Pond you'll see The City hall, and inside the main hall there's a huge relief map of Iceland. You can absolutely use this map if you need a better overview of the country and are still trying to figure out where to go on your travels around Iceland.
  • Harpa – this is our pride and joy. Harpa is our music and conference hall, I recommend looking at their website www.harpa.is to see if there are any shows on while you are here. There are at least two classical performances every day in Eldborg, Harpa's main hall in the summer of 2017, you can read more about that here .
  • The Sun Voyager – this is a prime location if the weather is nice to see our beautiful landscape, not just in Reykjavík but west on the Snæfellsnes peninsula. On a clear day, you can see as far as Snæfellsjökull Glacier (where Jules Verne went to the center of the world).
  • The Pearl – If you just want to see how big (or to you small) Reykjavík really is, here you will find a panoramic viewpoint where you can see the whole city and the neighboring towns.

The Sun Voyager in Reykjavik, Iceland The Sun Voyager. Travelade/iStock.

A geyser by the Pearl in Reykjavik, Iceland A "geyser" by The Pearl. Travelade/iStock.

For restaurants, I recommend a few ones:

  • Matur & drykkur serves you traditional Icelandic food but done in a stylish way. They've done a great job making Icelanders proud of their food traditions.
  • Kolabrautin is situated in Harpa (see comments on above). The menu includes Icelandic and Italian fusion. At Kolabrautin, you will find some of the best chefs Iceland has to offer and the best view in town.
  • Marshall restaurant and bar which just opened by one of Iceland ‘s elite chef. It's located by the harbor so you will see all the ships and the stunning sea outside your window. You will not ever taste a fresher fish than at Marshall.
  • The Fish Market is a restaurant I tell everyone to try and when Andri brought the Stanford group here we went there with everyone and did a surprise tour. Everyone was very happy, even those who didn‘t eat fish or meat.

Day 2

The second day of your trip is ideal for doing the Golden circle route. I recommend that you start by visiting Thingvellir National Park and Geysir and make Gullfoss Waterfall your last stop.

Gullfoss Waterfall in Iceland The splendid Gullfoss Waterfall. Travelade/iStock.

To make the day a little more special I would go to these extra places.

  • Fridheimar farm -is a unique restaurant/greenhouse. You can enjoy soup and drinks here, see the famous Icelandic horse and get to know a little about icelandic horticulture.
  • I would also go and see Kerid which is a volcanic crater lake. It is just too stunning to miss.

Tomato soup in Friðheimar Tomato Farm in Iceland The delicious tomato soup at Friðheimar Tomato Farm. Photo: Fridheimar.

I think you would want to move east for the night but I would recommend dinner at either one restaurant:

  • Tryggvaskáli is a nice restaurant, located in the town of Selfoss. The building, which is actually one of the oldest houses in Iceland, is beautifully located on the bank of Ölfusá River. I would go for a nice Icelandic lamb or just a great gourmet burger.
  • Fjöruborðið is a seafood restaurant located in the small fishery village Stokkseyri. Here you can order big portions of langoustine, if you are fond of lobster. This place has been very popular with the locals for years.

For the night I would look for either AirBnB in Hella or Hvollsvöllur and I would probably stay for two nights. There are also nice hotels in this area, such as Hotel Rangá and Hotel Stracta.

Day 3

I would suggest either of these tours which are operated by an awesome local guiding comany:

The people at Midgard are great, they would make you a custom made tour if you prefer that.

Day 4

Drive to Vík and stop by the black sandy beach, Reynisfjara. The beach is a must-see, but I have to warn you that it's a bit dangerous place. Don‘t go too close to the ocean as the waves are stronger than you would find at normal beaches. It is a stunning place – here you will see stunning basalt columns both rising from the beach but also in the sea.

Reynisdrangar at Reynisfjara Beach in Iceland The awe-inspiring Reynisdrangar rock pillars at Reynisfjara Beach. Travelade/iStock.

After that I would drive to Jökulsárlón and I would take an amphibian boat tour just to get the majestic of it.

I would then drive as far north as you think you are up for in a day. You should know that driving along the east coast is time-consuming since you have to zig-zag the fjords and the mountains.

Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon in Iceland Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. Travelade/iStock.

Day 5

I would use this day to explore the magical paradise around Lake Mývatn. The Mývatn area is perfect for hiking, I especially recommend hiking at the mud pool area of Leirhnjúkur by the Krafla volcano. There you can walk by a stunning blue crater lake called Víti ("Hell" in English). Don’t miss the pseudo craters by Skútustaðagígar, and for more columns you will see beautiful lava ones by the Lake Mývatn.

My favourite place here is Dimmuborgir. It is the focal point of many Icelandic folklores, and is basically a very large area of lava fields with caves and other fascinating things.

Make a stop by Goðafoss, which is one of my favorite waterfalls in Iceland. It is said to have played a pivotal role in the nation's christianisation around the year 1000. Goðafoss actually means "the Gods' Waterfall" and that is because Thorgeir Ljosvetningagodi, the man who had the final ruling in this matter, threw statues of the Viking gods into the waterfall to make the nation forget about its pagan religion.

Many people who visit Iceland want see all the tourist attractions there are, but I recommend that you dedicate a whole day to explore this area instead of trying to finish it off in a rush.

A visit to the Mývatn nature baths will make the day unforgettable!

The Mývatn Nature Baths in Iceland The Mývatn Nature Baths. Flickr/Aurélien Coillet.

You can spend the night in Akureyri, the capital of the North. There are numerous lovely restaurants in town: A visit to the renowned sushi-place RUB23 is mandatory for Reykjavik locals that happen to be in Akureyri.

In Akureyri there are many hotels of all categories and many AirB&B’s there also.

Day 6

Today you drive from Akureyri to Reykjavík. I recommend to stop on the way for an amazing tour that actually takes you inside a glacier, which I believe is a must do in Iceland.

Your final destination is Reykjavík, where you'll be staying for the night. If you are feeling hungry, you can go to one of the restaurants mentioned above.

Day 7

You go back home. The drive from Reykjavík to Keflavík takes 45 minutes or so and you can buy tickets for the flybus here .

The ring road in Iceland in 7 days