11-Day Itinerary in Iceland with Packing List

Iceland Glacier

Here is how we planned an 11-day itinerary in Iceland with packing list for a September visit. We didn’t make the full circle around the island. After flying to Reykjavik, we toured the southern half of the island driving half-way up the east coast. We then returned on the same road, but stopped to see different things, and continued west to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, and back to Reykjavik.

Ideally, If I had the time, I’d spend another day or two in Reykjavik. But unless I had at least two weeks (or better yet three weeks) in the summertime, I don’t think I’d take the road that circles the entire island. It’s a lot of driving on not-very-good roads. As to accommodations and restaurants, I’ve only included the names of those we enjoyed.

Day One

All Day

• Travel to Iceland
• Pick up rental car
• Drive to Reykjavik; find B&B/hotel; get acclimated to the city

Day Two

Morning
• Reykjavik has a hop-on, hop-off bus with unlimited 24-hour-travel
• Find tourist information center for maps; get free booklet Around Iceland
• Buy postcards and mail them home
• Drive to suburb – Mosfellsbaer’s outlet for Alafoss (Icelandic sweaters – quite expensive)
Afternoon
• Drive to the Blue Lagoon for a soak

Note: blueberries and crowberries are free for the picking on hillsides in Aug and Sep unless posted otherwise.

Day Three – Golden Circle

All Day
• Explore Pingvellir National Park & visit Interpretive Center
Reservations: “Black & Blue” Snorkeling & Lava Cave
• Geysir & Strokkur (geysers)
• Visit Gulfoss waterfall
• Eat at Gulfoss Cafe
Overnight at Nature-spa Guesthouse in Lake Laugarvatn

Day Four

Morning
• Drive to Eyrarbakki & Stokkseyri (stop in Selfoss for groceries)
• Eat at Rauda Hassid (Red House) – very good
Afternoon
• Hekla volcano
• Saga Center (Njal’s Saga)
• Gloggofoss (Window Falls)

Day Five – drive east on Hwy 1 along coast

Morning
• Keldur – medieval farm (check whether it’s open first)
• Seljalandsfoos & Gljufurarbui – waterfalls with walking path behind
• Skogar – Folk Museum & Skogafoss water fall with paths
• Hike Waterfall Way – 1st section is Skogafoss to bridge
Afternoon
• Lunch in Vik at Sudur
• Black sand beach at Vik (rainiest place in Iceland & very beautiful)
• Sea stacks (Reynisdrangur) & hike to top of ridge for view of coast
• Souvenir shop nearby – Vikurprjon – lots of product

Note: All shops in Iceland have the same prices, so don’t imagine you’re getting a “deal.”

Day Six – drive east to Skaftafell National Park

Morning
• Reservations: Glacier hike “Blue Ice Experience” – 2 hrs on Svinafellsjokull)
• Take picnic lunch to eat outdoors at Visitor’s Center
• Hike easy 1.8 k trail to Svartifoss (Black Falls)
Afternoon
• Drive to Jokulsarlon; walk around lagoon (movies filmed here)
Overnight at Gerdi Guesthouse in Gerdi (liked it)

Note: this is as far north as we drove on the east side of the island.

Day Seven – drive west on Hwy 1

Morning
• Hveragerdi (active geothermal area of Hverasvaedid)
(cook eggs in hot spring; many small earthquakes every day; lots of delicious places
to eat; walk around and poke in the shops)
Afternoon
• Drive to Borgarnes; Visit Settlement Center (best in Iceland)

Day Eight – drive to Snaefellsnes Peninsula

Morning
• South road – fjords, golden beaches (a cross-section of all Icelandic scenery)
• Snaefellsjokull National park (Jules Verne’s setting for Journey to the Centre of the Earth)
• Coastal hike from Hellnar to Anarstapi (picnic places on the way) – 40 minute hike
Afternoon
• Climb sacred mtn Helgafell
• Soak in geothermal hot pots at Sundlaug Stykkisholmurl
Evening
Reservation: “Taste of Iceland” dinner cruise 6:15 PM in Stykkisholmurl (2 ½ hrs) – loved this!

Day Nine

Morning
• Walk from Stykkisholmur across stone causeway from harbor to Sugandisey Island
• Library of Water (museum with 24 pillars of water) – check if it’s open
Afternoon
Reservation: Lysuholl Horse Farm to ride Icelandic horses on the beach
• Lysuholslaug – geothermal pool nearby horses

Day Ten – drive to Reykjavik

All Day
• Take elevator to top of Hallgrimskirkja
• Museums
• Tour Harpa – see what’s playing there for evening performance
• Laugardalslaug Geothermal Pool

Day Eleven

All Day
• Continue exploring Reykjavik
• Return rental car
• Fly home

Packing List (for September travel)

3 cotton turtle-necks
3 warm sweaters
3 sweat pants
rain jacket with hood, and big enough to accommodate a sweater underneath
rain pants (preferably with a removable liner for warmth)
waterproof gloves
sturdy hiking boots & 4 pair of woolen socks
runners & 4 pair of cotton socks
swimsuit, cover-up, super absorbent little towel
undies
toiletries
pajamas
water bottle
electrical hair machines
electrical outlet adapter
Guidebook(s): We used Lonely Planet and Top 10 Iceland, Eyewitness travel
$200 US cash; you will need to get kroner at the airport for incidentals
Front & back photocopies of the following originals to keep somewhere else on your person:
Passport
State driver license
ATM card
Credit cards (kind with chip)
Telescoping hiking poles
Binoculars

Don’t bring:
Umbrella – high winds will ruin it
Jeans – too cold and rigid; cotton or wool knits are best for all seasons

My blogs about Iceland are topical rather than itinerary-based. Enjoy!

Animals of Iceland

Favorite Short Walks in Iceland

More Favorite Short Walks in Iceland

Waterfalls of Iceland

Architecture in Iceland

Icelandic Sagas and Contemporary Ethics

Why Do Icelanders . . .?

Iceland’s Water, Liquid and Solid

Iceland’s Columns of Black Basalt

Icelandic Whimsy

Meals to Love in Iceland, Or Not

Things to Know About Iceland

Iceland, Here We Come

Black Rock, Lava Tubes, and Moonscapes

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