The Ultimate 8-Day Iceland Road Trip Itinerary
Iceland is the most beautiful place I have ever been to. I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s for sure the best so far.
It’s the place where we experienced all four seasons in one day, and it’s the country where we found the most paradoxes. It’s the place where I felt like home, but in the same time, I felt so vulnerable. It’s also the place where my boyfriend proposed to me under the northern lights, and it’s the place whose geographical coordinates became our couple tattoo later , to mark the beauty of that very moment and location.
This is pretty much what Iceland means to me.
It’s really cheap to get there from Europe (we flew from Budapest with wizzair), and as I heard, it’s almost the same deal from the eastern coast of the US. That being said, you just have to pack your warm clothes!
Our 8-day itinerary:
DAY 1: From Budapest to Reykjavik
- We left Timisoara, Romania and we drove to Budapest (where we parked in the airport parking – €30 for a week), from where we flew directly to Reykjavik with Wizzair. The flight should have taken five hours, but it was extended to a 7-hour flight because of the bad weather conditions which led to our flight stopping in Norway. The flights cost around €300 euros for two people with only one large luggage.
- We arrived at the Keflavik airport, where we took the bus to the center of Reykjavik.
- We spent the night at the Loki 101 Guesthouse, which was very close to the city center and super pretty.
DAY 2: The start of our adventure.
- We took a free 2-hour guided tour around Reykjavik (donations recommended) with the City Walk team, but not before visiting the Hallgrímskirkja church and the Harpa music hall (because the guys from the tour told us there won’t be enough time to visit them while sightseeing the city).
- We rented a camper van from Campeasy (booked and paid for in advance – which I recommend). We chose the camper van option because of two reasons: we wanted to be independent and to see exactly what we wanted, not relying on the organized day-trips, and because we wanted to save money (we also slept in the camper van for 6 nights). What I would advise you to do is take out gravel insurance for the car – as Iceland doesn’t have highways and a lot of roads are made of gravel, it could be risky to drive without this insurance.
- We visited the volcanic crater lake at Kerid, where you can pay a small fee as soon as you get there.
- We visited the Strokkur geyser and some other small geysers nearby (free of charge).
- We visited the Bruarfoss waterfall (this article helped me find this hidden treasure).
We spent the night somewhere on an empty field, but I really don’t remember the place. Iceland banned free camping a couple of years ago, but being given the fact that most of the campings are closed during winter, you can camp on their area for free.
DAY 3: Awing at the northern lights.
- We visited 3 waterfalls: Skogafoss, Seljalandsfoss and Skaftafellsfoss (all of them amazing and free of charge).
- We chilled out at the Laugarvatn Fontana thermal pool (where the entrance fee is around €10).
- We spent the night at the Skogafoss camping, which was closed, but the toilets were in fact clean and functional. This is where where we saw the northern lights for the first time. We woke up every two hours until 4am to check out the sky again for the lights.
DAY 4: From canyons to glaciers.
- In the morning, we went to the Fjadrargljufur canyon – a breathtaking place which is free of charge (at least during the winter), and which can be reached by car; but we walked around two hours to reach it, as the road was already covered in snow.
- We then visited the city of Vik, followed by the black sand beach at Reynisfjara.
- Next up, we visited the Vatnahokull glacier. We just gazed at it and touched some small pieces of ice – organized tours costs are no less than €150 for a couple of hours.
- We spent the night in the glacier’s parking lot, as a storm was about to come.
DAY 5: Returning To Reykjavik.
- The storm I was telling you about was in fact the strongest storm of this winter. In fact, it snowed the most it has ever snowed in the last 65 years. The roads were thus closed and it was forbidden to leave that parking lot for almost a whole day. However, the employees of the touristic center were helpful enough to play us some movies and keep us up-to-date regarding the weather, as well as plenty of other tourists that were waiting, so it wasn’t that boring.
- When we were finally allowed to leave, we started driving back to Reykjavik. Our plan was to drive around the whole island, but because of the storm we had to go back.
- Once in Reykjavik, we bathed at the Selfoss Swimming Pool.
- We then spent the night at the Kerid crater’s parking lot, where we saw the northern lights for the second time.
DAY 6: Exploring the wonders of Reykjavik
- We drank coffee and tea at the Kex hostel’s caffeteria (kex means biscuit in Icelandic), which is a nice place to try out. We then followed this up with several lamb meat hot-dogs at Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur.
- Afterwards, we went to the annual Icelandic beer festival, which took place at the Kex hostel.
- That night we attended a live concert of some local bands at the Kex hostel.
DAY 7: Onwards To Olafsvik
- Because the weather got better, we headed to Grundarfjordur, a fjord in the north of Reykjavik.
- We visited the Kirkjufell mountain and Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall, before heading to Arnastapi for cake.
- We explored the small city of Olafsvik.
- We drove towards the Blue Lagoon and we spent the night in a parking lot nearby.
DAY 8: Relaxing At The Blue Lagoon
- Very early the next morning, we went to the Blue Lagoon. We booked and paid for it almost a month in advance. Despite this, the last day of our trip being the only option available – which makes me recommend you book several months in advance!
- We gave the camper van back and we headed to the airport.
I know this is not a part of the itinerary, nor an advice, but while we were at the airport waintng to take off, I started crying; out of saddness because this fairytale place was goind to become only a memory, out of happiness because we had this amazing opportunity to go there, but also out of a sum of feelings and emotions, because we saw so many beautiful places during such a short period of time, that I just could’t help myself.
The only thing I could advise you to do is to visit Iceland!