How to Spend a Perfect 4 Days in Iceland Itinerary
Iceland has become a top bucket list destination and I totally get why! As we self-drove countless hours through Iceland, we couldn’t stop thinking, “wow, it feels like we are on another planet!”. Below, I cover the best things to do in Iceland including visiting Vik’s black sand beach, glaciers, the blue lagoon, and more in this self-drive ultimate itinerary to 4 days in Iceland!
You might be asking if 4 days is enough time in Iceland? Well, I doubt a month is enough to see Iceland’s beauty! However, 4 full days in Iceland is definitely the minimum amount of time I’d recommend to see the South Coast of Iceland and most main attractions in an Iceland itinerary.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which I may receive a small commission at no cost to you. Disclosure
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- How to Spend a Perfect 4 Days in Iceland Itinerary
- Is Iceland Expensive
- Viewing the Northern Lights in Iceland
- Day 1 of 4 Days in Iceland: The Blue Lagoon and Iceland Tour
- Sky Lagoon
- Explore the Local Area or Take a Tour
- Day 2: Daytrip to Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon and Diamond Beach
- Day 3: Self-drive the Golden Circle
- Day 4: Kirkjufell and Reykjavik
- How to Get Around Iceland
- Where to Stay in Iceland
- 4 Days in Iceland Itinerary Review
Is Iceland Expensive
The first thing everyone asks us about Iceland is if it’s an expensive destination. It’s true, Iceland is extremely expensive! We found great flight prices on Skyscanner, but once you land, your gas, food, and even your stay will cost a pretty penny.
For example, everything on the menu seemed to cost at least $20 USD from what we saw. It can be as simple as a bowl of soup, BAM $23 dollars. Even gas for our compact car cost around 70$ USD (in NYC costs about 36$USD).
It’s still definitely doable to visit Iceland on more of a budget but just be prepared. Some ways we were able to budget in Iceland was by staying at an Airbnb in Selfoss (outside the city) and we bought groceries so we didn’t have to eat out much.
Viewing the Northern Lights in Iceland
Depending on the time of year, you might have the chance to see the Northern Lights! The best time to see the aurora in Iceland is from November to the end of March.
Also, make note that the Northern lights might not appear the same as you have seen in photos or videos. Without getting too technical, cameras are able to capture more light than our eyes, making the photos appear way more vivid than our eyes can see.
Day 1 of 4 Days in Iceland: The Blue Lagoon and Iceland Tour
With 4 days in your itinerary, The Blue Lagoon is easily a must-do Iceland attraction! I mean did you even visit Iceland without seeing the turquoise water of this geothermal feature?
The best time to visit the Blue lagoon is upon arrival or departure since it is right next to the international airport (not to be confused with the Blue Lagoon Spa in Reykjavik)!
So depending on your flight, this might be on your last day instead.
Because the Blue Lagoon is one of Iceland’s most popular things to do, you should book your ticket in advance if you want to visit.
The tickets now range depending on how many tickets are available for each time slot. I found they are ranging between $50 – $100 USD each for the basic (comfort) package, which I believe was more than enough. It included your towel, a free silica mask, and a free drink.
So, is the Blue Lagoon worth all the hype? I think so! It was pouring rain and extremely windy the day we went so we weren’t expecting much.
The tickets were nonrefundable, so we said, “let’s just jump in and jump out of the lagoon quick”, just to say we did it.
To our surprise; once we were inside the water, it was magical. The water was so warm making it the perfect relaxation after our 5-hour flight and arrival at 4 AM!
Tip: When driving there, make sure you drive the Blue Lagoon next to the International Airport, and not the resort Spa which is about 45 minutes away!
Additionally, I created this Beginners Guide to the Blue Lagoon, so you know exactly what to expect and important tips before going in the water!
The Sky Lagoon is all the new hype in Iceland. Many find themselves choosing between the two or in fact doing both. One of the main differences is the color of the water. You will only see that turquoise blue water at the Blue Lagoon.
However, if the color doesn’t mean too much to you, some reasons people have been choosing the Sky Lagoon is because it is generally a little less crowded, offers beautiful views, and only allows children over 12 years old. You can learn more about the Sky Lagoon here!
Address: Vesturvör 44-48 200, Kópavogur, Iceland
Explore the Local Area or Take a Tour
You likely won’t spend all day at either lagoon, so if you are staying in Reykjavik, this is a great time to explore the town. Additionally, you might want to consider taking a tour.
Day 2: Daytrip to Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon and Diamond Beach
No Iceland itinerary is complete without some road trips and with 4 days, Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon and Diamond Beach are a must-see!
These two iconic Iceland attractions are situated directly across from each other! Seeing the Jokulsarlon Glacier was an incredible experience and the first glacier I’ve ever witnessed!
My favorite was hearing the ice all cling together as the water swished back and forth. As you make your way to Diamond beach across the street, you will see pieces of the glacier scattered along the beach literally glistening like diamonds!
From Selfoss, where we stayed is about 4 hours away. Reykjavik is approximately 5 hours away so you will want to start early!
This road trip will take the full day and include some awesome stops along the way. While driving you will pass epic waterfalls such as Seljalandsfoss Waterfall (the waterfall you can walk behind) and Skogafoss Waterfall. If you have the time you can even hike to the abandoned Solheimasandur plane crash.
I also suggest driving through the town of Vik and visiting the black sand beach and basalt columns! During the summer you can even see puffins on Vik’s beach! If you are visiting Iceland during the winter months, you might want to consider a tour through glaciers – a once-in-a-lifetime experience!
Find the full detailed Road Trip Guide to Glacier Lagoon and Diamond Beach with all the best stops along the way!
Day 3: Self-drive the Golden Circle
The Golden Circle drive is another bucket list-worthy thing to do in Iceland. The Golden Circle is probably the largest tourist attraction in Iceland aside from the Blue Lagoon, and it’s totally worth diving with 4 days to spare.
This incredibly scenic road trip takes about 3 hours with no stops, so you will definitely want to give yourself an early start!
During your trip, you will have the opportunity to experience Iceland’s Geysers, interact with Icelandic Horses, visit Thingvellir National Park (Þingvellir in Icelandic) more waterfalls including Gullfoss Waterfall, and even scuba between two continental plates.
I’ve included a full Road Trip Guide with a map and points in this Self Drive Golden Circle Road Trip.
If you don’t feel like having another day of driving, you can also do a Golden Circle tour. The tours usually leave out of Reykjavik.
Day 4: Kirkjufell and Reykjavik
Are you a Game of Thrones fan? If so, you will want to make sure you visit Kirkjufell which appeared in seasons 6 and 7! Even if you’re not a fan of GOT, it’s still worth a drive if you love scenic views and waterfalls!
I must admit since this Iceland itinerary is so jam-packed, you might want to have a more relaxing day on day 4. If this is the case, I’d suggest spending more time in Reyjavik or heading to one of the Iceland Lagoons.
Additionally, you can take another tour. Iceland has such a unique landscape with lots of cool tour options. One tour I wish I had done was snorkeling at Silfra Fissure. It is the only place in the world you can swim between two tectonic plates! Next time!
Road Trip to Kirkjufell
Kirkjufell is a bit of a drive from Reykjavik (about 2 hours), but after being inspired by a fellow travel photographer and blogger friend of mine, Marielena from Epic 7 Travel, we decided to do the road trip.
These 2 hours consisted of numerous roundabouts, the longest underground tunnel we’ve ever driven through, and incredible landscapes!
Kirkjufell is known to be one of Iceland’s most famous and photographed mountains. It stands 463 meters high and is located on the North coast of Iceland’s Snaefellsnes peninsula.
Behind Kirkjufell, you will also find 3 waterfalls and mountains.
Best Things to Do Reykjavík, Iceland
If you didn’t stay in the city of Reykjavik, you will want to make a point to stop here. We stayed in Selfoss since we knew we would be doing a lot of road trips. However, if I could do it over again, I would definitely stay in Reykjavik.
The city is so charming with tons to see and eat. I would recommend at least one full day here if you are not lodging here to check out the town and even get some Iceland souvenirs.
Parking is also free after 6 pm on Saturdays and free all day Sunday.
First head to the famous church Hallgrímskirkja. This unique church is the tallest in Iceland and among one of the tallest buildings in the Country. You even have the opportunity to go to the very top and lookout. Just make sure you are there before 5 pm!
Address: Hallgrímstorg 101, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
The Sun Voyager is a steel sculpture by Jón Gunnar Árnason. The boat is meant to symbolize a dreamboat; a promise to itself seeing undiscovered lands, a dream of hope, progress, and freedom.
I truly admired this piece of art and all that stands behind it as so many of us can relate to this message! It especially hit home for me since we had just quit our jobs about 1 week before arriving in Iceland to pursue our dreams of travel.
Address: Sæbraut, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
To the left of the sculpture, you will see the Harpa. This unique building is a concert hall. The Harpa is the perfect spot to run inside to warm up, serves food, have great views, and also have some gift shops. You can also get free wifi here!
Address: Austurbakki 2, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
How to Get Around Iceland
The best way to get around Iceland is by renting a car. Iceland is a country you will want to explore, especially with 4 days in your itinerary to spare. We used Thrifty (linked above) and had no issues.
Depending on the time of year you visit, it might be required to have chains on the tires and 4 wheel drive. We visited Iceland in April and didn’t need chains, however, we did notice little metal studs in our tires!
We found it was very easy to self-drive in Iceland as long as you pay attention to their signs.
Getting a car with Wifi was a huge help for all of our road trips. Also, pay attention to speed limits since there are a ton of cameras for speeding tickets along the main highways!
Do you need a car to explore Iceland? The answer is no, however, you will have to do tours out of Reykjavik each day. If you decide to go that route, you will want to look for tours on Viator or Get Your Guide which both offer the best tours in Iceland.
Where to Stay in Iceland
During our time visiting Iceland, we decided to stay in Selfoss. We chose Selfoss because of the location to the Golden Circle and Glacier Lagoon.
However, as I mentioned before, I think staying in Reykjavik is better since there is a lot more to do and places to eat.
Since Iceland is such a popular destination, I would definitely recommend booking your hotel or accommodation in advance! You will find the best locations go pretty quickly or prices are raised significantly.
Some places to consider staying in Iceland include: Midgardur by Center Hotels $$$ | Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Marina $$| Canopy by Hilton Reykjavik City Centre $$$$| Loft – HI Hostel $| Vrbo Home Rentals
4 Days in Iceland Itinerary Review
This sums up our 4 Days in Iceland Itinerary. Iceland really has so much to offer especially if you wanted to drive the Ring Road ( Iceland Perimeter). We found that 4 days in Iceland really gave us plenty of time to explore the lands, but there was still a lot we would have liked to see.
If you tend to travel and explore at a slower pace, you might want to extend your itinerary for 5-6 days in Iceland. If you plan on driving the Ring Road (perimeter of Iceland) I would suggest 8 to 10 day itinerary.
If you haven’t already, I’d also suggest checking these Iceland Travel Tips!
Have any questions? Leave them in the comments below!