If taking an epic 5 days in Iceland road trip is on your bucket list, you are not alone! These days it seems like everyone is suiting up, packing their photography gear, flying with a stopover, and visiting the Land of Ice and Fire. We are one of those people and we think you should absolutely take an Iceland road trip. 5 days in Iceland is the perfect amount of time to spend if you are looking for a good introduction to the country or if you are looking to visit on a stopover.
If you are searching for how to best spend 5 day Iceland itinerary, we have got you covered and have been to Iceland and done this 5 day Iceland itinerary multiple times in all types of weather and in all seasons. This Iceland itinerary can be completed during any time of year, so whether you are visiting in winter or summer, this Iceland 5 day itinerary has got you covered!
5 Days In Iceland: The Ultimate 5 Day Iceland Road Trip Itinerary
Table of Contents
If the thought of driving the entire Ring Road [the 827+ mile highway circumnavigating the island] doesn’t appeal to you or you don’t have enough time, you can still plan a 5 days in Iceland road trip itinerary that covers all the best parts of the country! Our Iceland 5 day itinerary offers you the perfect “snack size” trip to Iceland and fits perfectly with a 48-hour airline stopover or extended weekend trip. We recommend checking out Skyscanner to find the best and most affordable flights into Iceland. We use this tool to discover the best flights for our trip because you can easily compare rates.
During your time on the island, you can still see geysers, hot springs, volcanic rock, ponies, glaciers, puffins, landscapes that look like they should be on another planet and more. If you are hoping to see Iceland in 5 days, this is the way to do it!
Instead of driving the entire Ring Road, you will get to see the best parts of the Iceland Ring Road in 5 days. Our Iceland itinerary focuses on the stunning landscapes in the south-eastern part of the Island. You will still get to spend a ton of time on the Ring Road but you will experience it in a do-able amount of time. 5 days in Iceland is a great starting point for seeing all the best sights on the ultimate Iceland road trip.
Disclaimer: Although shortened, the entire 5 day Iceland road trip itinerary we have laid out below is not for the faint of heart. It includes a lot of driving and quite a few stops. That being said, you can always tailor it to your wants and needs so that it best fits your preferred 5 days in Iceland itinerary. Since this is a 5 day Iceland road trip itinerary, you will be spending minimal time in Reykjavik, but that is okay because there is so much to see. Are you ready? Let’s get to planning!
Day 1: Begin Your 5 Days In Iceland By Driving the Golden Circle
Highlights: Geysers, Gullfoss Waterfall, Icelandic Ponies, Reykjavik
During the first day of your 5 day Iceland road trip itinerary, you are heading out on a loop road called the Golden Circle. It both starts and ends in/near Reykjavik so you can spend the day in nature and the night exploring the city since one afternoon-night is really all you need for Reykjavik. The Golden Circle drive is an easy 190-miles round trip. Along the way, be sure to stop and pet the adorable Icelandic ponies who are waiting for some love! If you want to opt out of driving this part, there are many affordable Golden Circle Tours you may like to go on instead.
If you are dedicated to driving the Golden Circle fast, you can complete the whole thing and see all the sights in about 3 hours. We recommend budgeting around 5 hours to make the most of your experience. When you are driving this part of your 5 day Iceland itinerary, you can either start clockwise or counterclockwise. We suggest the clockwise version so you can get started seeing the sights right away! Driving the Golden Circle is a great way to kick off your 5 days in Iceland road trip!
Best Stops On The Golden Circle Self Drive Itinerary:
Stop 1: Thingvellir National Park
Listen up: Vikings used to have meetings here! How cool is that? Thingvellir National Park is also where the American and Eurasian tectonic plates meet and you can actually go diving/snorkeling between them if you budget enough time in your 5 day Iceland itinerary. Regardless, it is a cool place to walk around and take photos. Many people choose to stay in Thingvellir instead of Reykjavik which is fine if you are looking to be outdoors and close to nature.
Thingvellir Lake Cottage: Check Rates On Booking.com
Blue Grove Guesthouse: Check Rates On Hotels.com
Stop 2: Geysir Hot Spring Area
Boiling mud pits, the smell of sulfur, and lively geysers can all be found at Geysir Hot Spring Area and make a unique addition to your 5 days in Iceland. Geysers erupt every 7-10 minutes so you will certainly be able to capture multiple eruptions on film. The hot spring area is the perfect place to stop at a restroom since there aren’t many on the Golden Circle!
Stop 3: Gullfoss Waterfall
Whether you visit Iceland for 5 days in winter or take your Iceland road trip during the warmer months, Gullfoss Waterfall is an epic sight to behold. Unlike most waterfalls that you stand under, you actually stand above and gaze down into Gulfoss. Budget spending the most time at the waterfall because it can’t be missed and should be added to your Iceland itinerary even if you are visiting Iceland in the low-season.
Day 2: Continue Your 5 Day Iceland Itinerary By Traveling From Reykjavik To Vik
Highlights: Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss waterfalls, Sólheimasandur Airplane Wreck
Day 2 of your Iceland road trip is going to require a few hours of driving and a bunch of sightseeing and walking around. You will start by programming Vik into your GPS and will head east on the Ring Road out of Reykjavik. As we said above, it is totally doable to see some of the Iceland Ring Road in 5 days and today is when you begin!
During your self-drive in Iceland, you will traverse between a mountain pass, over glacial rivers, and through stunning lava fields. You will spend the night in or near Vik, depending on availability. Make sure to get plenty of rest because Day 3 of your 5 Day Iceland itinerary is going to be busy!
Stop 1: Seljalandsfoss Waterfall [and the hidden Gljúfrabúi Waterfall]
A little less than 2 hours outside of Reykjavik lies the stunning Seljalandsfoss Waterfall.
As you approach, you will be able to see the waterfall from the road. There is also a sign and the waterfalls shows up in your GPS so it is quite easy to find! Seljalandsfoss is a fascinating stop to add to your 5 day Iceland road trip itinerary because it is a waterfall you can walk behind! Although beautiful, we much prefer the hidden Gljúfrabúi Waterfall.
To find Gljúfrabúi Waterfall, face Seljalandsfoss and walk about 1/4 of a mile to your left. You can also drive to the next parking lot over. There you will spot a small sign marking that you have arrived. In order to see the hidden waterfall, you are actually going to have to walk through a gorge until you get to a cave. Here you will see Gljúfrabúi Waterfall in all of its glory! This is one of the most fun stops along any 5 day Iceland itinerary!
Stop 2: Skogafoss Waterfall
If you thought the first two waterfalls were epic, you are in for a real treat! Skogafoss is only a short drive from stop 1 [about 30 minutes] and there are plenty of signs to direct you where you need to go. When you are at Skogafoss, make sure to head to both the base and the top of the waterfall. This stop is a “must” on your Iceland road trip as it is one of the most iconic spots in the country.
Many people spend a ton of time at the bottom but don’t hike the stairs to the top. Don’t spend the entire time looking at the falls either! From the top of the ridge, turn around and check out the fields and sea in all their glory! These days, Skogafoss Waterfall will be one of the busiest stops on your Iceland 5 day itinerary. There will be hundreds of other people and it won’t be that remote unless you go at sunrise or sunset!
Where To Stay Near South Coast Waterfalls:
Stop 3: Kvernufoss Waterfall
If you are looking for lesser-known things to add to your 5 day Iceland itinerary, this is it! This is one part of your Iceland road trip itinerary that many people miss or don’t know about. Shh, keep it a secret so there aren’t hundreds of tourists! Kvernufoss Waterfall is located down the same road as Skogafoss! Once you turn off the Ring Road, instead of turning left for Skogafoss, you continue straight until you reach the Skogar Museum.
Drive to the remote end of the Skogar Museum, park, and then walk behind the building and hop over a little fence. You will walk through a gorge until you arrive at Kvernufoss Waterfall! When we have visited during past 5 day Iceland road trips, there have only been 5-10 people we see the whole time! You can walk behind this waterfall too and you won’t get super wet either! It makes for a wonderful stop on your 5 day Iceland itinerary.
Find out exact directions for the hike to Kvernufoss in this post!
Stop 4: Sólheimasandur Airplane Wreck
Once you leave Skogafoss, you are heading only a few miles away to make the long trek to Iceland’s hidden airplane wreck. You used to be able to drive down the beach until you reached the wreck, but you are no longer able and must hike around 4 miles round trip. The hike is on flat ground and takes a while, but you get to see a freaking airplane on a black sand beach! This will surely be one of the most unique stops during your 5 days in Iceland!
Make sure that you know what time the sun sets based on the time of year you are completing this 5 day Iceland itinerary so you aren’t stuck rushing your visit and hoping you don’t get stuck in the dark. We were only at this cool landmark for about 10 minutes total because we didn’t budget our time correctly. Don’t make the same mistake we did and be sure to factor enough time into your Iceland road trip itinerary to enjoy this unique site.
Stop 4: Vik
Spend the night in or near the town of Vik. There are small grocery stores and a gas station if you are looking to purchase affordable food to save some money while in Iceland. If you can’t find any accommodations in Vik, try looking near Selejendafoss Waterfall. Although the waterfall is a bit further out and you will have to backtrack, you can find more affordable accommodations out here. You can visit Vik on the third day of your 5 day Iceland itinerary so don’t fret and consider locations all over the south coast for your second night’s accommodation.
Where to Stay In Vik Iceland!
Day 3: Drive From Vik To Hofn For The Next Day Of Your 5 Day Iceland Itinerary
Highlights: Black sand beach, basalt columns, glaciers, Skaftafell National Park
Day 3 of our Iceland road trip itinerary is what we call a “sleep when you die” day because you will be out and about from dawn-till-dusk! This jam-packed 5 day Iceland itinerary isn’t for the faint of heart! You will spend the morning admiring black sand and basalt, the afternoon checking out glaciers and lava fields, and the evening driving to the city of Hofn or somewhere near it if you find an accommodation option closer. It is a lot of work but you can totally make it happen if you only have 5 days in Iceland and want to see as much as possible! If you have a longer time to spend on an Iceland road trip itinerary, split this portion up into two or even three days!
We were able to do all of this and more in the winter when it was completely dark by 7pm. If you are fortunate to visit during warmer months, you will have more than enough time before night falls. Anything you pass up on the way to Hofn you will catch on your way back to Reykjavik. Make sure to budget some time to get out of your car and admire the lava fields during this part of your 5 Day Iceland itinerary.
Stop 1: Reynishverfi Basalt Column Beach
You will start the third day of your Iceland 5 day itinerary by visiting the countries most famous black sand beach. You have seen the photos of these basalt columns darn near everywhere, and now it is your turn to visit! If the tide is out, climb on them for unforgettable photos! You can easily reach the basalt columns by a side road off Highway 1 near Vik. Keep your eyes out and program your GPS accordingly so you don’t miss it and have to backtrack like we did! Get an early start because this is the longest day of your 5 days in Iceland itinerary so you want to make the most of every stop!
Stop 2: Vik’s Black Sand Beach
The entrance to Vik Beach is located right near the only gas station in town. Stop for a bite to eat or to stock up on groceries and gas and then walk along the beach and admire the sea stacks and jet black sand. The beach is equally beautiful in both winter and summer. Before you visit, make sure to read up about these 5 things to know about beaches in Iceland! Although they are beautiful, they are quite dangerous and people have died from not paying attention to safety precautions. This is not the way you want to see Iceland in 5 days so make sure to be careful.
Stop 3: Skaftafell National Park
Today is the perfect time to make a quick stop in Skaftafell National Park to see what it is all about. The park is massive with tons of hikes and beautiful landscapes, but since you only have 5 days Iceland, it is best to hit the highlights. We suggest a trip to the visitor center followed by a short 2-mile round trip hike to a nearby glacier. The hike consists of walking down a pebble path until you reach the glacier. It is ideal for anyone and doesn’t require much time at all. If you do NOT want to hike to see a glacier, WAIT until stop 4 of today’s itinerary where you can simply drive to one! If you are pressed for time on your 5 day Iceland itinerary, skip the Skaftafell Visitor Center hike and wait for stop 4.
If you started really early or can add more time to your 5 day Iceland road trip itinerary, you may be able to take a fabulous tour of one of the Ice caves at Skaftafell National Park! Please note that you can only do this tour during the winter! If you are sticking to our 5 day Iceland itinerary, you will love the glacier hike from the visitor center! Whether you have 5 days in Iceland or more time, make sure to at least drop by Skaftafell National Park!
Where To Stay Near Skaftafell National Park:
Stop 4: Svínafellsjökull Glacier
If you don’t want to hike to see a glacier, don’t worry! If you drive just a few moments past the entrance to the Skaftafell Visitor Center, you will see a small sign for Svínafellsjökull Glacier. This is the easiest place on your 5 day Iceland itinerary to get up close and personal with a glacier! When you turn off the Ring Road to go down the road to Svínafellsjökull Glacier, you will be driving on a poorly-kept dirt road.
The road is horrible so if you are driving a 2×2 you will have to go slow because of all the potholes. The short drive to Svínafellsjökull Glacier is doable during winter or summer and you will drive to a parking lot and then get out and the glacier will be right there! Walk along the side of the mountain and enjoy the wonderful views! This is a quick and easy stop to see when spending 5 days in Iceland.
Stop 5: Hofn
You will end day 3 of your 5 day Iceland road trip itinerary by spending the night in the town of Hofn. If you can’t find any accommodations in Hofn, feel free to search the entire area from Skaftafell National Park area to Hofn area. Don’t fret if you can’t find anything the town is small but the area is popular! In Hofn, you will enjoy local restaurants, a large grocery store, and multiple lodging options. Remember that you can save a lot of money by not going out to eat!
Where To Stay In Hofn Iceland:
Day 4: Spend The Day Exploring Glaciers And Mountains For The Most Relaxing Part Of Your 5 Days In Iceland Itinerary
Highlights: Stokksnes, Glacier Lagoon, Hofn
By this point, you have done a TON of driving during your Iceland road trip Itinerary and you have a lot more left to do. Take Day 4 of your 5 days in Iceland to relax a little and soak it all in. If you wanted to spend more time in Skaftafell National Park, the nearest entrance is about an hour away so it is totally doable with an early start. Other than that stick around town and the surrounding areas.
Pick up some food at the local grocery store, stroll around town for some Icelandic souvenirs, and walk along the beautiful waterfront of this maritime fishing village. If the weather is nice, pack a picnic lunch and enjoy watching the boats go in and out of the harbor.
Stop 1: Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
Located less than an hour away from Hofn, you start Day 4 of your Iceland road trip itinerary by visiting a glacier lagoon. You haven’t seen anything until you have seen a glacier lagoon in Iceland! Seeing chunks of crystal-clear blue ice sitting on a perfectly black beach is something you will never forget and a must-see during your 5 days in Iceland. Look out for wildlife because seals often come out to play among the floating icebergs. Rain, shine, or snow, this is an essential stop on any road trip itinerary in Iceland.
Although you will pass the Glacier Lagoon on Day 3 of this Iceland itinerary, we recommend going back on Day 4 because you will want to spend a lot of time exploring the area. While you are visiting the Glacier Lagoon, make sure to go across the street to visit the popular Diamond Beach! This is a must-see during your 5 day Iceland itinerary as the pieces of ice drift out of the lagoon and land on the beach.
Where To Stay Near Glacier Lagoon:
Stop 2: Stokksnes
Simply plug the name Stokksnes into your GPS or drop a pin and within 30 minutes you will land on Mars. Okay not really, but Stokksnes looks like it shouldn’t even be on this planet! This stop will be a memorable one on your 5 day Iceland itinerary because the landscape is unlike anything you have ever seen. The landscape consists of giant dunes, seagrass, a black sand beach, and mountains that plunge straight into the sea. Depending on the time of year, you can also see the northern lights! This is as far northeast as you will head on our 5 day Iceland road trip itinerary so make sure to spend some time exploring!
There is an entrance fee of 800 kroners to visit Stokksness and the entry is good for only one trip. If you are looking to photograph the Northern Lights, you will have to buy a ticket in advance so you can get through the gate that is there. Alternatively, you can park your car and simply walk to avoid paying the entrance fee. Stokksness is a great place to visit during your 5 days in Iceland, especially if you are a photographer!
Day 5: Finish Your 5 Day Iceland Road Trip Itinerary By Driving From Hofn To Reykjavik
Highlights: Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon and Dryholaey
The final day of your Iceland road trip itinerary concludes with a 5-hour drive back to the capital of Reykjavik. Five hours seems like a long time, but time flies when you are having fun and taking in the scenery. This will also be the day you visit the famous Blue Lagoon! Visiting the Blue Lagoon at the very end of your 5 days in Iceland itinerary is a great way to cap off a busy Iceland road trip!
If you want to spend more time at any of your previous stops on this 5 day Iceland itinerary, now is the perfect time because you will pass each and every stop on your drive back to Reykjavik. For example, we stopped at Skogafoss again because we didn’t get enough of it the first time! Maybe the first time you stopped at the Glacier Lagoon it was very sunny and today it is moody! Weather changes in an instant in Iceland which is why this 5 day Iceland itinerary is flexible enough for you to modify if necessary!
Stop 1: Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon
Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon is one of the lesser-known and most underrated stops along our 5 day Iceland road trip itinerary. This massive canyon is just a few miles away from the main road so it is an easy stop to get to. Please note that you will be driving down a dirt road. This is not an F-road and it is accessible all year round. The road is in pretty good condition but you may have to drive slowly if you are in a 2×2 vehicle.
You are able to climb to the top of the canyon to see some awesome views! We recommend hiking along the whole canyon until you come to the very end so you can see the entire length of it. If you are short on time, just climb to the top to the first lookout, take a peek, and be on your way! Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon is less than two hours away from Vik so if you have less than 5 days in Iceland you can still make it a stop. We highly recommend Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon for your 5 day Iceland itinerary, even if you are short on time!
Hotels Near Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon:
Stop 2: Dyrhólaey
Dyrhólaey is a small peninsula not too far from Vik and about a 2 and a half hour drive from Reykjavik. While you could technically make this stop on day 2 of your 5 days in Iceland, it makes for a nice view on your way back to Reykjavik. Feel free to modify this stop as you see fit! You may want to visit on Day 2 or Day 3 as it is near the Basalt Black Sand Beach. Either way, you have multiple options to fit it when you are seeing Iceland in 5 days.
It is the home to Puffin, rock formations, and stunning beaches. This stop is the ideal spot for photography, especially if you arrive during sunset. The cliffs and giant waves are reminiscent of the Pacific Northwest and you will be hard pressed to convince your friends and family that you really weren’t in Oregon or British Columbia!
Dyrhólaey has two parts, a lower beach with one view, and a higher beach with Dyrhólaey for a higher view from above. The drive up to the higher view is on a pretty sketchy dirt road with no guardrails. We have done this short drive in both winter and summer and with both a 2×2 and 4×4 so it is doable either way. The top view of the black sand beach stretch is a highlight on your 5 days in Iceland itinerary. Dyrhólaey is a fantastic way to cap off your 5 days in Iceland and to mark the last stop along your Iceland road trip itinerary.
Stop 3: The Blue Lagoon
If you can afford it, we highly recommend a stop at the Blue Lagoon at either the beginning or end of your 5 days in Iceland. We love a stop at the Blue Lagoon after your 5 day Iceland itinerary has come to a close because it is a great way to relax and wind down before your flight. You may consider skipping the Blue Lagoon because it is too touristy, but we assure you it is a worthy stop to round out seeing Iceland in 5 days.
The Blue Lagoon is so large and entrance tickets are timed so only 500 people are allowed in at a time. This means it never feels overly crowded compared to some other hot springs in Iceland. The Blue Lagoon also had restaurants, saunas, changing rooms, and a huge pool area so the number of people never feels overwhelming or crowded. The blue water is so unique and you can purchase entrance tickets that allow you to have an included drink and multiple mud masks.
Consider purchasing a Blue Lagoon ticket for later in the evening in case the drive takes longer than expected. This is a wonderful way to conclude your 5 day Iceland road trip itinerary!
Hotels Near The Blue Lagoon:
Stop 4: Reykjavik
Congratulations! You just completed an epic 5-day Iceland road trip! Spend your last evening resting in the capital, hitting the town, or dropping off your rental car and catching a late flight back to your home country. If you have already seen Reykjavik, we highly recommend spending the night near Keflavik Airport either in the towns of Keflavik or Vogar. This makes your drive to catch your flight so much easier!
There are many ways you can modify this Iceland road trip itinerary so take the parts you love and leave the parts you don’t have time for as you spend a memorable 5 days in Iceland.
Where To Stay In Reykjavik:
Iceland Road Trip Map
If you are a more visual person, don’t worry! We created this Iceland road trip map so you can see where you will be heading during your 5 days in Iceland! Iceland is a very GPS friendly country and you can visit all of the locations listed above by quickly plugging them into your GPS! This makes your Iceland road trip very easy to navigate and your 5 days in Iceland a breeze!
Is Driving Necessary In Iceland?
Our 5 day Iceland itinerary is a self-drive road trip. If you are tentative about driving in Iceland, we beg you not to be! We are Floridians and if we can drive in Iceland then anyone can! Driving in Iceland is about knowing what you are getting into and we created 7 Things To Know Before Driving In Iceland as a guide for preparing you for the task! We have driven in Iceland in all four seasons including rain, snow, sleet, hail, wind and more. If you take proper precautions you should be 100% fine!
When it comes to driving in Iceland during your Iceland road trip, keep in mind to look out for local road closures and safety information. You can visit this website to keep up with the conditions during your trip! It is run by locals and has all the up-to-date information you could ever want or need.
That being said, if you do NOT want to drive in Iceland, there are still some options for you and ways that you can see the majority of this 5 day Iceland itinerary on your own without driving. We recognize that driving is a privilege and we want to provide you with other options!
Day Tours From Reykjavik
There are so many wonderful day tours that you can take from Reykjavik. If you aren’t driving in Iceland, simply take a bus from Keflavik Airport to the city center of Reykjavik [or your hotel shuttle]. Many tours in Iceland pick you up form your hotel which is a wonderful option. We put together the best 15 Tours in Iceland for your money and the majority of them start in Reykjavik.
There are many wonderful tour options from Reykjavik if you don’t want to drive like this four hour Nothern Lights tour departs from Reykjavik and takes you into the darkness for best chances of viewing the lights. This is actually exactly where we saw the Northern Lights in Iceland on our first trip so hopefully, you will have the same luck! If you want to visit many of the same locations on this 5 day Iceland itinerary, The South Iceland Full Day Tour From Reykjavik covers everything you need to see from Iceland’s black sand beaches to the most popular waterfalls in Iceland! You will never have to drive and you will still get to see fabulous sites in Iceland!
Multi-Day Group Tours
Another option where you don’t have to drive but can still experience the best that Iceland has to offer in 5 days is by taking a multi-day group tour. You won’t have to plan each individual day on your own and you can truly see the best Iceland has to offer with a local guide. Depending on how long you want to spend in Iceland, these are a few of our favorite multi-day tours in Iceland:
Yes! You heard that correctly! Hitchhiking is very popular in Iceland. Many people experience Iceland simply by hitching rides from others. Unlike the United States, people DO pick up hitchhikers and it is a popular culture in Iceland. This is a safe and free way to get around Iceland without a car. That being said, you will have to put some work into it by standing out until a car passes to pick you up. We saw many hitchhikers and many people picking them up so if you are brave this is totally an option!
We have to be honest, busses are not a huge thing in Iceland. That being said, they ARE a thing that exists and you can totally use them if you are interested. The best way to use buses during your 5 days in Iceland is to check into getting a bus passport. This is the most economical way to travel in Iceland if you are going to visit multiple destinations. The busses in Iceland can get you to popular locations such as Reykjavik, the Blue Lagoon, and there is even a bus that will take you to Thorsmork in the Highlands if you are interested in doing some hiking during your Iceland itinerary.
When To Visit Iceland
Don’t be surprised, but there really is no bad time to take your Iceland road trip! We created this whole post that breaks down the best time to visit Iceland and explains the pros and cons of each season. This 5 days in Iceland road trip can be done at any time of the year! Whenever you are planning your Iceland road trip and you have time off to spend 5 days in Iceland is when you should visit this beautiful country!
If you are looking to see the Northern Lights, visit during the winter! Winters in Iceland are quite mild but you need to be sure to dress properly. Want to experience neverending daylight during your Iceland road trip? Then make sure to travel during the summer! The off-season is also the perfect time for an Iceland road trip because everything is more affordable and the weather is still great. No matter when you have 5 days in Iceland to spend, you should ensure you have proper clothing so you enjoy your Iceland road trip!
Where To Stay In Iceland
As you know, Iceland is very expensive! When spending 5 days in Iceland, costs can add up quickly. For your Iceland road trip itinerary, we highly recommend that you book an Airbnb or a similar home-share type property because you will gain valuable access to a kitchen OR a hotel that offers food and dining options. We recommend hotels in our 5 day Iceland itinerary above because it is easier to book, cancel, and modify and in the event something goes wrong, the agency will back you up!
We have tried both hotels and Airbnb while in Iceland and prefer each depending on your circumstances. You will not be forced to eat all meals out [which is also expensive] and Airbnbs are roughly the same cost, if not much cheaper, than many hotels or even hostels in Iceland! If you are going for a special occasion or are looking to stay somewhere really unique, then hotels are surely the way to go! There are also some incredible hotels in areas that Airbnbs are not and vice versa. You should compare options between Airbnb and hotels in Iceland!
Check Rates For Hotels In Iceland On Booking.com
Safety Tips For Your 5 Days In Iceland
During your Iceland road trip, there are some safety tips that are essential to consider. Iceland is a beautiful but harsh country and it is important to be prepared. First off, you are going to want to watch the weather closely. The weather can change quickly during your 5 days in Iceland and can range from cold to freezing and windy. Make sure you dress in layers so you can easily take off or put on clothes based on the weather. Download a weather app to keep track of local weather during your 5 days in Iceland so that you don’t venture out when it is too dangerous.
If you hear about a wind storm warning, heed the warning and do not drive! Windstorms are common in Iceland and there is a high chance you will experience one during your 5 day Iceland itinerary. These storms often have hurricane-force gusts of wind and can blow cars off the road, especially if it is icy or slick out. When opening your car door on a windy day, be sure to park INTO the wind and hold your door with all your might when opening it.
Always let a family member or friend know if you choose to go hiking during your 5 days in Iceland so if something happens, someone knows where to find you. Luckily, Iceland has very good 4G phone service, even in the middle of nowhere, so if you need to phone for help, you will usually have the ability to do so.
When taking this Iceland road trip, always ensure that you have extra food and water in the car in the event you get into an accident and are stranded for a long period of time. You don’t want to be stuck without food and water while you wait for help. You can fill your water bottle from any tap in Iceland and we recommend a reusable water bottle as well as an emergency bottle of water during your drive.
Finally, when driving in Iceland, make sure that you drive the speed limit. The speed limits may seem a bit slow, but they are there for your safety. As mentioned above, the weather can change quickly and the wind can be strong, so these speed limits take this into account. Driving more carefully and slowly will ensure that you stay safe during your entire 5 days in Iceland.
Quick tips for your Iceland road trip
-Bring plenty of water. When taking an Iceland road trip, you will want to bring plenty of water! Be sure that you bring a reusable water bottle so you can save the earth and fill up in a bathroom or at your hotel. If you must, buy bottled water at one of the Iceland grocery stores to bring with you on your Iceland road trip.
-Be prepared to potentially pee on the side of the road. Iceland is actually a pretty desolate place so don’t be surprised if you have to pee on the side of the road during your Iceland road trip. When taking a road trip through Iceland, you may drive for hours before you see an appropriate bathroom stop. Pull over to a safe spot on the road, open both car doors, and do your business! It is all part of the Iceland road trip experience!
-Driving off-road is 100% illegal in Iceland. When taking an Iceland road trip, you may be tempted to drive off-road. After all, there is no one around and there are so many open spaces. Don’t do it! Driving off-road is actually illegal in Iceland and also destroys the environment. Stick to the approved roads for a safe, legal, and environmentally friendly Iceland itinerary.
-Leave no trace. This means that when you are taking an Iceland road trip, do not litter in any way, shape, or form. If you are driving along this 5 day Iceland road trip itinerary and have trash, do not throw it out your car window. Make sure to put it in a plastic baggie and throw it away in an appropriate receptacle when you arrive into a city.
-Do not speed or drive recklessly. It is super tempting to drive fast on the perfectly straight Icelandic roads but don’t do it! You may risk getting a hefty ticket and that isn’t an enjoyable part of an Iceland road trip. Plus, you don’t want to do anything dangerous or illegal during your Iceland itinerary.
-Make sure to stay safe at all the stops along your Iceland road trip. Places such as the black sand beaches in Iceland are one of the best things to see in Iceland but they are also the most dangerous. When taking an Iceland road trip, make sure to read all the signs and proceed with caution when visiting many of the stops listed above. The warning signs along this 5-day Iceland itinerary are provided in multiple languages so there really is no excuse for doing ill-advised things.
-If you want to walk on the road, make sure to watch out for cars and give them the right of way. Many articles tell travelers to never walk on the road during their Iceland road trip but we disagree. Roads in Iceland are beautiful to photograph but you must do so safely. First, make sure you pull off the road as far as you can and that you stop on a straight stretch of road where you can see for a good distance and not on a hill or a corner. Then, if you are doing your Iceland road trip in a group, make sure that you have someone stand watch for oncoming cars. If you are alone, make your time walking down the road very short and quick. Never walk in the road at night at any point during your Iceland road trip.
-You do not need an international drivers license to take an Iceland road trip. As long as you have a driver license from your home country, you should be good to go when driving in Iceland. Save yourself time and money and forgo the international driving permit. If you aren’t sure, it is always good to ask the car rental company you are hoping to take your Iceland road trip with for clarification.
-Always make sure you have enough gas. The gas stations in Iceland are few and far between so if you think you need to fill up, you probably should! It is better to be safe than sorry and stranded on a desolate Icelandic road. When taking an Iceland road trip, it is always a good idea to top off your tank when you pass a gas station, especially if the nearest town is a few hours away.
Additional Reading To Help You Plan Your Iceland Road Trip
Planning your 5 days in Iceland road trip should be fun but not hard and stressful! We know that planning your Iceland road trip for the first time can become overwhelming at times, which is why we created a whole lot of helpful posts! These posts will provide you with further reading and additional information when planning your 5 days in Iceland! Check out these posts below for further help on planning and preparing for your Iceland road trip:
Iceland vacation planning articles:
- If you are wondering when is the best time to go to Iceland for 5 days, check out our detailed guide on the best time to go to Iceland as mentioned above in this post
- If you need help figuring out what to pack for your Iceland road trip, check out our All-Season Iceland Packing List and check out our recommendations for the best shoes and boots for Iceland and the best jackets to pack for Iceland. These are real suggestions on clothes, shoes, coats and more we have actually used during our own Iceland road trips over the years!
- Considering staying in Airbnbs during your 5 days in Iceland? We put together The Beginner’s Guide To Airbnb to help you through your Iceland road trip and show you the ropes if this is your first time.
- Looking to plan your Iceland road trip on a budget? It is totally possible even if you are spending 5 days in Iceland! Here are our 7 Tips For Visiting Iceland On A Budget as well as 5 More Things You Shouldn’t Forget To Budget For In Iceland so you can save the most amount of money possible! You can also check out these 10 Budget Iceland Travel tips to help plan your 5 day Iceland road trip!
- Looking to save even more money during your Iceland road trip or want to spend your 5 days in Iceland in the great outdoors? We put together the First-timers Guide To Camping In Iceland with all sorts of helpful tricks and tips including a detailed packing list.
- Since you are taking an Iceland road trip and this may be your first time driving in Iceland, we put together these 7 Tips For Driving In Iceland!
- Planning your 5 day Iceland road trip itinerary during the winter? Here are 5 Things To Know Before Visiting Iceland In Winter to make sure you have all the information you need to enjoy your trip!
- Is 5 days in Iceland to long for your Iceland road trip? Only have a short amount of time? Don’t worry! We put together this detailed 3 day Iceland itinerary just for you! Hint: You can do it with or without a car!
Top Things To Do And See In Iceland In 5 Days:
- Do you love cute animals? Check out the Top 10 Animals In Iceland You Will Want To See During Your Trip.
- Taking your Iceland road trip during the winter and not sure what there is to do? We put together this awesome list of 30 Things To Do In Iceland In Winter and everything included on our Iceland road trip itinerary here can be done during the winter!
- Are you traveling to Iceland for 5 days to take lots of stunning photos? There are so many great places you are going to stop during your Iceland road trip and these 25 Iceland Photography Locations That Will Blow Your Mind
- Looking to hike to some of the best views in Iceland but don’t want to spend your 5 days in Iceland trekking for days? We don’t blame you! That’s why we gathered the 5 Best Easy And Rewarding Hikes In Iceland
- Of course, you are going to visit a few Black Sand Beaches during your 5 days in Iceland! Make sure to check out our Ultimate Guide To Visiting Beaches In Iceland so that you are well prepared! The last thing you want to happen during your Iceland road trip is to get caught by a deadly sneaker wave!
Start shopping for your Iceland road trip:
Heading to Iceland for 5 days soon? Which one of these stops along our Iceland road trip itinerary has you most excited? Have you taken an Iceland road trip? Where did you head? Let us know in the comments!
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