The island country of Iceland may be the least populated one in Europe, but you will not have a shortage of exciting adventures and stunning views to enjoy.
To give you an idea of what you can expect, here are the best things to do in Iceland on a 6-day itinerary to this country of supreme contrasts.
Day 1 – Golden Circle
The first day of your journey begins with a pick-up in Reykjavik, on your way to exploring the Golden Circle.
Spanning 300 kilometers, this is Iceland’s most famous route for tourists as it takes you through the top 3 popular attractions: Thingvellir National Park, the Haukadalur geothermal area featuring the Geysir & Strokkur geysers, and the Gullfoss waterfall.
Thingvellir National Park
Gaze at the wondrous natural features of the Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the first of the country’s national parks to be established.
The park’s visitor center has an exhibit which will teach you about Thingvellir’s history and political importance.
Check out the park’s campgrounds, explore the hiking trails, go horseback riding, or indulge in diving in the submerged rifts filled with crystal clear water.
Geysir hot springs
A stop at the Geysir hot springs area are will give you insight into the geothermal features of Iceland.
The Geysir was once an active geyser that stopped erupting in recent years.
However, you will still see a highly-active geyser (the Strokkur) hurling boiling water jets that reach 230 feet into the air every 4-10 minutes.
Helping a chef boil eggs in the hot spring and enjoy the “hot spring bread” which has been baked for 24 hours underground.
Prepare for the magnificence of the Gullfoss waterfall, one of the most iconic views in Iceland.
Feel the sheer power of Mother Nature as the water thunders from two tiers, on its way to a churning foamy mass at the bottomless crevasse.
On a sunny day, you will get to see the awe-inspiring sight of the falls as it is bathed by a golden-colored spray from several viewpoints.
This is also a popular spot for you to witness the beauty of the Northern Lights as they dance across the sky with the vividly-hued spray as a lovely complement.
For more thrills, you can go rafting on the rapids of Hvita – the river that feeds Gullfoss.
A visit to the beautiful Seljalandsfoss Waterfall will get you even closer to the power of nature as it can be fully encircled.
Follow a path that will bring you behind the falls, where you can feel the true energy from the waterfall.
The walk behind the waterfalls will lead you to a small cave where you can still feel the water crashing down as part of the Seljalands River.
Get your waterproof camera or GoPro out to catch the rainbow that often appears during sunny days – what a fantastic way to take a personalized souvenir photo of the waterfalls!
Stand close to the base to feel the might of Skogarfoss Waterfall.
It is an unforgettable yet humbling experience as you are faced with the power of nature.
You will definitely get wet if you go too close to the waterfall so make sure you have a waterproof camera.
Go up the stairs that will lead you to a hilly part above the waterfall.
You will get to see Skogarfoss from a remarkable vantage point from above.
Reynisfjara black sand beach
The black sand you will see on the mesmerizing Reynisfjara Beach was created by lava that flowed into the ocean.
As one of the most beautiful non-tropical beaches in the world, Reynisfjara offers a magnificent location for photography enthusiasts.
The beach also features basalt columns and stacks, lava formations, basalt caves, and towering cliffs.
Don’t forget to take check out the Garðar, which are a series of columnar joints in a unique arrangement, created by volcanic forces.
Just off the beach, you will see dramatic Reynisdrangar rock formations shooting out from the surface of the ocean.
Day 2 – Skaftafell
The second day of your epic Iceland journey takes you to Skaftafell, the Jokursarlon Glacier Lagoon, and the fishing town of Hofn.
Vatnajokull National Park
The Vatnajokull National Park features a variety of land features.
Most are formed by the forces of geothermal activity, glacial ice, volcanic activity, and river water movement.
As such, you can be sure that you will have a lot of thrills and scenic sights to look forward to!
This national park is also home to the Vatnajokull glacier.
The surrounding areas covers approximately 14% of the total land mass of Iceland, making it the largest national park in Europe.
Towards the north of the glacier is where you will see glacial rivers dividing the highlands.
This is also where the volcanoes Kverkfjoll, Askja, Snaefell, and the Herdubreid are located.
The south side showcases towering mountain ridges with outlet glaciers that drop into the lowlands.
It is home to the highest peak in Iceland – Hvannadalshnjukur, and the ice-covered volcano Oraefajokull.
Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon
Head on to the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon for stunning views of the vivid blue water – flowing into the Atlantic Ocean – dotted by icebergs.
Watch the seals as they swim on the lagoon or just leisurely bathe in the sun on top of an iceberg.
Check out the nearby black beach Breiðamerkursandur.
The ice pieces strewn over the black sand look like diamonds so it was then referred to as “Diamond Beach”.
This lagoon is also home to several bird species, including the arctic tern.
Enjoy the scenic views in and around the lagoon.
See the sights that featured in movies like Tomb Raider and James Bond films.
Alternatively, prepare for the unique activities in the lagoon.
You can go on a boat tour, kayaking, or paddle boating amidst floating icebergs.
There’s even an enchanting crystal cave tour for the adventure of a lifetime.
Relax for the rest of the evening with an overnight stay in the fishing town of Hofn.
Day 3 – Egilsstadir
Your third day begins with a picturesque drive following the coastline.
You’ll head towards Egilsstadir where you will also get to explore the Hengifoss Waterfall.
Egilsstadir is the trade and service center for the majority of East Iceland.
The town is home to numerous businesses, local shops, and banks.
Aside from its trade, the town is also famous for its beautiful sights.
There are a number of options to explore the natural wonders of the area.
You can try biking, hiking or even horse riding for a different experience.
Take a dip in a geothermal pool of Laugarfell in the middle of the highlands, while surrounded by ice-capped mountains and glaciers.
A short hike will take you to the Hengifoss waterfall, which, at 419 feet, is Iceland’s third highest waterfall.
The water comes from a plateau and rushes down into a splendid gorge.
The rock face presents a series of colors with various layers that have resulted from volcanic eruptions.
You can hike close to the gorge’s edge to take a peek into the smaller waterfalls.
Check out Litlanesfos waterfall, which is framed by basalt columns.
A cozy hotel in the area will be your home for the night.
Day 4 – Lake Myvatn
From the Hengifoss area, you will then take a trip to the Lake Myvatn.
You will see the Dettifoss waterfall, Myvatn Nature Baths, Hverjfjall, Dimmuborgir, and Godafoss waterfall on the way to Akureyri.
The most powerful waterfall in Europe is the Dettifoss waterfall.
It has the greatest water volume that thunders over the edge at the rate of 500 cubic meters per second.
Explore the area with a hike while surrounded by the mighty waterfall, following a 34-kilometer trail that goes along the canyon all the way to Asbyrgi.
This is a grand photo opportunity no matter which season you visit.
Namaskard geothermal area
The Namaskard geothermal area covers 4 square kilometers and is one of the largest Sulphur spring areas in Iceland.
This is where you can feel the power coming from the center of the earth.
There are many steam springs and sulfuric mud springs that dot the landscape.
Myvatn Nature Baths
Don’t miss the Myvatn Nature Baths in the geothermal area.
It is also called the “Blue Lagoon of the North”.
Take a dip in the milky blue water of a natural steam bath and enjoy the stunning views on the background.
The high sulphur content in the water also has health benefits.
Entrance fee to the baths is not included in the tour.
Explore Hverfjall on foot and be amazed at the unique appearance of this tuff ring volcano.
It looks like a gigantic black ash cone!
You can walk around the rim of the crater or up the steep slopes to get jaw-dropping views of the surrounding natural beauty.
Head on to Dimmuborgir to check out the extraordinary landscape featuring numerous oddly-shaped lava fields.
Locals also call it the Black Fortress.
Be transported back in time as you hike through the area dotted by rock formations and volcanic caves.
Known as the waterfall of the gods for its ethereal beauty, the Godafoss waterfall is one of the country’s most breathtaking natural wonders.
The spectacular views will make for the best photos, especially with summer or autumn colors.
As you get closer to the waterfall’s edge, the water spray gets stronger so hold onto your belongings.
Prepare for a restful sleep at a country hotel in nearby Akureyri.
Day 5 – Eyjafjordur
Your 5th day of adventure will take you to a town called Akureyri.
You’ll board a cruise in Eyjafjordur and then head to the Trollaskagi peninsula to visit Siglufjorður.
Called the “Capital of North Iceland”, Akureyri is a vital fishing and port center.
Visit the turf homes which are preserved to depict the life of ancient Icelanders.
Check out the colored flowers at the Arctic Botanical Gardens.
You can also see the outdoor geothermal swimming pool or visit the Christmas House.
Eyjafjordur whale watching
Eyjafjordur is one of Iceland’s longest fjords and an ideal spot for whale watching.
This is a once in a lifetime chance to see several whale species.
There are Minke whales, Humpback whales, harbour porpoises and white-beaked dolphins.
You also have the option to try your hand at sea angling.
In the mainland’s northernmost town is the lovely fishing town Siglufjorður.
The valley and mountains surrounding the town are ideal places for an energizing hike.
During winter, this town turns into a skier’s paradise and features a variety of winter activities such as skating, slalom, or gliding on a snowmobile.
This is where you’ll stay a night – in the West Iceland area.
Day 6 – West Iceland area
The last day of your adventure will showcase the beauty of the West Iceland region.
In 2016, Lonely Planet voted it as the best destination.
The day includes stops at Deildartunguhver, the Barnafoss waterfall, Hraunfossar, and the historic Reykholt.
You’ll then head back to Reykjavik to conclude the unforgettable adventure.
Feel the amazing power coming from underneath the earth’s surface.
The Deildartunguhver thermal spring is the biggest and most powerful hot spring in Europe.
This hot spring sits in the middle of a captivating farm surrounded by a natural backdrop.
You can enjoy a hot shower within a 65-kilometer radius of this hot spring.
Barnafoss and Hraunfossar waterfall
In Borgarfjordur, you’ll find the Barnafoss and Hraunfossar waterfalls.
Hraunfossar is formed by a series of big & small cascades, as well as creeks streaming from a lava field.
From the Hraunfossar, a short walk on a marked path will lead you to the Barnafoss waterfall.
You’ll see crystal clear water passing through a small canyon.
Visit one of the most notable historic sites in Iceland, the village of Reykholt.
It is renowned for being the home of the esteemed historian, writer, and chieftain Snorri Sturluson.
He was also one of the most celebrated medieval writers in the world.
Take a short trip to the Snorrastofa, a research center honoring Snorri’s life and contribution to medieval studies.
The rest of this quaint town is also a delight to explore.
Don’t miss its scenic surroundings especially Iceland’s oldest natural structure, Snorralaug geothermal pool.
Your 6-day Iceland adventure concludes with a trip back to Reykjavik.