Epic 4 Days in Iceland Itinerary (Plus Iceland Travel Tips)

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 of 4 days in Iceland!

View of Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon with 4 days in Iceland Itinerary
Explore Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon with 4 days in Iceland itinerary

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Is 4 Days in Iceland Enough time?

You might be asking if 4 days is enough time to spend in Iceland. I’d say 4 days in Iceland is the minimum amount of time I’d spend. This gives you an opportunity to sample Iceland and then plan to come back for more!

I doubt a month is enough to see Iceland’s beauty! With 4 days in Iceland, you should be able to explore the South Coast of Iceland (the most popular) and hit the main attractions.

Is Iceland Expensive

Before getting into this 4 day in Iceland itinerary, I want to cover a couple of common questions.

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 and 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.

It is not guaranteed to see them, but your best bet is to do a Northern lights tour since they will know the best places to spot them. You can even use this link to check the forecast for the lights!

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 Iceland 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.

The Blue Lagoon is a must-see with 4 days Iceland Itinerary

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!

Experience The Blue Lagoon with this detailed itinerary on the best things to do during your trip to Iceland!

Sky Lagoon

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 over the Blue 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.

Right now, there is an active volcano in Iceland that has been very popular to visit! Or consider doing a whale watching tour!

Day 2 in Iceland: 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 thing about visiting 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!

This is also one of the most beautiful black sand beaches in Iceland.

From Selfoss, where we stayed, it 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 includes 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 Reynisfjara 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!

See the Diamond beach with 4 days in Iceland itinerary

Day 3 of 4 Days in Iceland: 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, a historic site and 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.

You will definitely see Iceland horses with 4 days
Visit Gullfoss Waterfalls while driving the Golden Circle
Gullfoss Waterfalls found on the Golden Circle Drive

Day 4 in Iceland: 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 with our 4 days in Iceland 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 make 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.

Hallgrímskirkja Church

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 look out. Just make sure you are there before 5 pm!

Address: Hallgrímstorg 101, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland

reykjavik Church in Iceland Hallgrímskirkja

Sun Voyager

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

The Sun Voyager in Iceland
The Sun Voyager

The Harpa

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, has great views, and also has some gift shops. You can also get free wifi here!

Address: Austurbakki 2, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland

Discover the best of Iceland including seeing the Harpa in this detailed 4 day Itinerary!

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 the 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

The Best Time to Visit Iceland

Iceland is very unique at all times of the year, so there is really no bad time. It mainly depends on what you wish to experience in Iceland.

Winter in Iceland can be the most brutal, but if you are planning on seeing the Northern Lights, this is the best and only time to visit Iceland.

Sometimes you can see the Northern lights in the fall in Iceland, but the chances are rare. If you are trying to escape the cold, try towards the end of October or early November.

During Spring in Iceland, you can start to enjoy longer days and flower blooms.

Summer is probably one of the most popular times to visit Iceland, so booking accommodations in advance is important. During the months of July and August, you can experience the midnight sun, making the Iceland summer very unique. This is when the sun doesn’t actually set, so it’s 24 hrs of daylight.

Iceland horses driving the golden circle

4 Days in Iceland Itinerary Wrap-up

This sums up our four 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 entire 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!

As a quick recap of your 4 days in Iceland Itinerary:

Day 1 in Iceland: Visit the Blue Lagoon. After, explore Reykjavik, or consider a tour.

Day 2 in Iceland: Take a road trip to visit Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon and Diamond Beach, where you will see waterfalls, black sand beaches, and unique landscapes.

Day 3 in Iceland: You will take another Iceland road trip around the Golden Circle. This drive will include more waterfalls, hot springs, geysir geothermal area, and the famous Thingvellir National Park.

Day 4 in Iceland: Explore more of Reykjavik if you haven’t already, and or, visit Kirkjufell waterfalls and mountains, which was a scene from Game of Thrones.

Have any questions about this Iceland itinerary or feel like I forgot something? Leave them in the comments below! 

Enjoy this 4 Days in Iceland Itinerary? I’d appreciate it if you could share it below!

Iceland itinerary - 4 days in Iceland travel guide
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Samantha Oppenheimer

Samantha Oppenheimer (Sam Opp) quit her corporate marketing job in 2018 to travel the world and become a travel writer, blogger and content creator. She loves experiencing authentic travel experiences, photography, and nature. Sam shares helpful travel itineraries, travel tips, budget tips, and travel advice from her personal experiences. You can also find Sam's words featured in large publications including Mirror, Thrillist, and Well + Good.

40 thoughts on “Epic 4 Days in Iceland Itinerary (Plus Iceland Travel Tips)”

  1. Great list of things to do.
    I am wondering did you stay in one hotel the entire trip or have certain places along the route?
    Thank you

    • Hi! We stayed in Selfoss the whole time, which put us sort of in the middle. If I did it all over again, I think I would base myself in Reykjavik and then maybe one night in Vik for the day we drove to the glacier lagoon.

  2. Hi Sam, Iceland just looks so incredible!!! This is awesome, thank you. Some fantastic tips, I’ll def head to the Blue Lagoon first!

  3. Hi Sam: Great tip to visit the Blue Lagoon right when you arrive… that is so smart & also seems to be the exact right place you want to head immediately after getting off a plane!! Thanks also for mentioning to keep your Airbnb stay quiet when speaking to locals. That’s a pro tip right there.

  4. Iceland has been on my bucket list for so long. I was thinking that you would need at least 7 days to explore, so thank you for sharing this! Love your photos, they are absolutely stunning.

    • Thanks so much! 4 days will let you see a good portion of Iceland, but 7 days will allow you to drive the ring road of Iceland, so of course you will be able to see more!

  5. Loved the Blue Lagoon. Cannot believe I missed Diamond Beach. As we went in summer I missed the Northern Lights so I’ll just have to go back to see the lights and the diamonds. Thank you for sharing your beautiful trip and pictures.

  6. Thanks for this, it’s exactly what I’ve been looking for and perfect timing as looking at a spare 4 days at the end of a Baltic cruise. Iceland sounds perfect.

  7. Iceland is so high on mine bucket list. Your photos are so amazing. Especially the ones with black beach, an ultimate dream destination.

  8. Wow you had a full itinerary! I only managed Reykjavik when I went, with Blue Lagoon. Tried to see the Northern Lights and did some whale watching but neither were successful! Hoping to hit some of your spots next time, especially Golden Circle!

  9. I love Iceland and definitely want to go back, especially to see Diamond Beach. This is an amazing 4-day itinerary! Also, your photos are beautiful!

  10. I loved Iceland and this a great guide for 4 days, you definitely were able to pack a lot of the south coast in! I agree about spending more time in Reykjavik, I only had an evening there and it definitely felt a bit rushed and I missed out on seeing the sun voyager statue and concert hall. Kirkjufell is another place that is still on my Iceland wishlist, it looks so beautiful! I need to go back because I was hoping to see the Northern Lights on my visit but unfortunately they weren’t active when I was visiting.

    • We only got a quick glimpse because we went mid-April. I would also love to go back and see Northern Iceland =) Hopefully we will both make it back!

  11. This is such a good guide and made me want to visit Iceland even more! I’m usually not a fan of cold destinations but Iceland almost seem to good to be true. Kirkjufell and the Blue Lagoon (good to know there are two locations) are at the top of my list 😀

    • Yes, I usually will not visit cold destinations either but Iceland is amazing and the landscape is really stunning! I hope you will get to visit soon!

  12. Iceland looks amazing! Thanks for sharing this, so many useful tips! will definitely remember about this post when I plan my itinerary there 🙂

  13. I loved Iceland so much! Kirkjufell is definitely a stunner and the horses hair made me jealous haha! I think you did a great job of capturing a lot highlights in 4 days.

  14. Sam, Thanks for sharing such great tips. I missed the Blue Lagoon while there and look forward to checking it out next time. Great to know there are two different ones so that I book properly. I’m so happy you made it to Kirkjufell and enjoyed it. Such a stunning sight and waterfall(s). And, a must see for GoT fans like us! I also sincerely appreciate the shout out!

    • Thank you so much for such a kind comment Marielena! I am so glad you shared it with me and beyond happy to shout out your amazing blog!

  15. Thnxxxx for sharing your travel story with us, and also for the tips of traveling true Iceland.
    It is on my bucket list tooo
    Have a nice day Sam XXX

      • Iceland has always intrigued me and I always wanted to visit it but I feel it’s somewhat expensive from where I live. Nonetheless, your post has inspire me to save and plan for a future trip.

        • I have found the flights tend to be reasonable, but once you are there the prices are high. Where I live now, it’s expensive to fly anywhere since its a small airport.


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