We put together a suggested itinerary for Iceland first timers…if you are adventurous enough to rent a car and explore the south part of the island. If not, you can always stay in Reykjavik the whole time and do day trips.
My recommendation is 2 nights in Vik and 3 nights in Reykjavik
Transportation/Blue Lagoon on last day
Rent an SUV 4WD from KEF airport (Avis, Budget, National, Hertz, Europcar) in order to explore the South. I would rent one upon arrival for 2 nights and drop off in Reykjavik, not at the airport (airport about 45 mins from Reykjavik). Note that car rentals are kind of pricey but decline insurance if your credit card covers.
The Drive from KEF to Volcano Hotel in Vik is 2 hrs 40 mins. Note you’ll be stopping to see sites off the road (i.e. waterfalls) along the way. There’s also places to stop for food (don’t be afraid of gas stations).
This means you would start your trip in the South and end in Reykjavik. You don’t need a vehicle in Reykjavik and you can take the FlyBus from your hotel to KEF stopping at Blue Lagoon along the way.
Use link above to book a Blue Lagoon package including transportation from Reykjavik to the Lagoon and then from the Lagoon to KEF. You can enter your hotel pickup details as well. When booking, note the transportation schedules so you allow enough time at the Lagoon (would recommend minimum 2 hrs at Lagoon, taking into account check-in, changing, and time at Lagoon) and then enough time to get to airport with at least 2 hrs before flight departure. You’ll see transportation schedules from Reykjavik to Lagoon and then from Lagoon to KEF.
If you don’t want to visit the Blue Lagoon you can arrange transportation back to airport via FlyBus.
Vik (south of Iceland): Would recommend staying in Vik for basis for 2 nights to explore South.
- Great hotel with only 7 rooms so book ahead!
- Trip Advisor reviews
Reykjavik: Would recommend staying at the Iceland Air Reykjavik Marina
- Very nice hotel in a great location. Excellent restaurant onsite
- Trip Advisor reviews
You really can’t go wrong with Iceland restaurants. We’ve never had a bad meal. Ingredients are very fresh and to the highest quality.
Vik (in addition to hotel restaurant which is very good):
Reykjavik (in addition to hotel restaurant which is very good):
- Grillmarkadurinn (fantastic restaurant, great for lunch or dinner)
- Fiskmarkadurinn (sister restaurant to above specializing in seafood)
- Dill (#1 restaurant in Reykjavik but pricey)
- Bæjarins beztu pylsur (famous hot dog stand, a must)
- KEX Hostel Gastropub (really good burgers, soup and beer)
- Icelandic Fish & Chips (really fresh local fish, very good quality)
- Hversfisgata 12 (great pizza)
- Snaps Bistro (great for brunch)
- Reykjavik Roasters (best coffee in Reykjavik)
- Mikkeler & Friends (great bar serving excellent craft beer from the Danish brewery)
Vik Area Recommendations
No need to take a tour as you can self-drive. I would explore black sand beach, these areas are a must:
- Vik Black Sand Beach: Located very close to Volcano hotel. They can provide directions
- Hike to Svartifoss Waterfall: Located in Vatnajokull National Park. Very easy hike to see beautiful Svartifoss Waterfall
- Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon: Floating glacier lagoon. Adventure Glacier Lagoon tour is a must!
Reykjavik Tour Recommendations
All of these tours include pickup from your hotel in Reykjavik:
- Warm Baths and Cool Lights: Great tour that includes dinner and time at Laugarvatn Fontana´s open air geothermal baths followed by night Northern Lights drive
- Iceland Mountain Guides Glacier Walk and Northern Lights: Another great tour that includes a Glacier hike (not strenuous at all), dinner at local farmhouse, and Northern Lights drive
- Golden Circle Tour: Tour includes 3 of the most visited sites in Iceland, Þingvellir National Park, Geysir hot water spouts, and Gullfoss waterfall
- Snorkeling Day Tour: Travel 1 hr to Thingvellir National Park to snorkel Silfra where you will float between two continental plates in crystal clear water
- Includes transportation, snorkeling equipment, dry suit (water is freezing year round), and hot chocolate and cookies post-snorkel
- 30-40 mins in the water, other time needed to get in and out of gear
- Frommers Iceland: http://www.frommers.com/destinations/iceland
- Fodors Iceland: http://www.fodors.com/world/europe/iceland
- National Geographic: http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/countries/iceland-guide/
- Northern Iceland: http://www.northiceland.is/en
- Akureyri Tours:https://sagatravel.is/tours/day-tours/akureyri-day-tours/
- Aurora Forecast: http://en.vedur.is/weather/forecasts/aurora/#type=total