There’s no doubt about it — Iceland is having a moment right now. The country’s snow-capped glaciers and vast black sand beaches inundate Instagram feeds, and the capital city of Reykjavik is praised on lists such as “5 Magical Reasons to Visit Iceland.” Whether you’re there for three days on a layover or two weeks on a cross-country adventure, Iceland has endless sights to see and adventures to experience. Here is a four-day guide to some of the country’s most scenic offerings.
Fly into Keflavík International Airport, about a 45-minute drive to Reykjavik.
Stay in Reykjavik for the night and check out some of the local sights such as Hallgrímskirkja, also known as the Church of Iceland. This impressive structure is the tallest church in the country and boasts a unique architectural style.
If you’re hungry, check out Braud & Co., a hole-in-the-wall bakery about a block away from the church. This little bakery is home to fresh-baked bread and melt-in-your-mouth cinnamon rolls.
If you’re craving something a little more savory, walk through the main streets and find yourself at Burro, a tapas restaurant with an Icelandic twist. The eclectic menu includes langoustine tacos and arctic char ceviche. For after-dinner drinks and dancing, head upstairs to Pablo Discobar.
Once you’ve had a day to see some of the city’s sights, it’s time to leave two-thirds of Iceland’s population behind. Head south toward the Golden Circle, Iceland’s most popular tourist route, which includes Þingvellir National Park, most well-known for the Strokkur Geyser and its “Game of Thrones” filming location, the Gullfoss Waterfall.
Each of these stops offers a distinct viewing experience of Iceland’s natural beauty. The National Park, also a World Heritage Site, lies in a valley on the boundary between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. At the Gullfoss Waterfall, visitors can walk down a cliffside path and watch as water plunges down a crevice and into the river. Finally, the Strokkur Geyser is one of Iceland’s most famous geysers, and it erupts every five to 10 minutes, at an average height of 50 to 65 feet.
As your journey continues, travel south another 30 minutes to arrive at the Secret Lagoon Hot Springs. This geothermal area is home to the oldest swimming pool in Iceland and offers a relaxing end to a busy day!
Check out the village of Vik, home to a few exciting parts of Iceland’s geography. Located on the southern coast of Iceland, this remote area houses the Vikuprjon Wool Factory. Take a guided tour of the factory and see where the Icewear clothing brand creates some of its famous wool sweaters.
After visiting the wool factory, head to the ice cave at the Vatnajökull Glacier and explore hidden spaces that lead to an amazing vista of snow-covered peaks. From the glacier, drive over to the most famous black sand beach in Iceland, Reynisfjara. The cave that sits on the edge of the beach is made of hexagonal basalt columns and will make you feel like you’re in an episode of “Game of Thrones.”
On your last full day in this incredible country, travel to Diamond Beach, about a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Vik. This beach is home to some of the biggest “diamonds” you’ll ever see. These crystal-clear ice structures on the black sand beach are truly one of a kind.
Just a short distance from Diamond Beach is the Jökusárlón Lagoon. This glacier lagoon consists of icy blue waters and enormous icebergs that have broken off from the glacier. Depending on what time of year you visit, you can see seals pop their heads out of the freezing water.
This four-day guide just scratches the surface of what Iceland has to offer. If you have the opportunity, leave Reykjavik behind and explore the beautiful sights of southern Iceland too!