5 Days in Iceland: Driving the Golden Circle & More

The Land of Fire and Ice is sure to take your breath away with its varied volcanic and glacial landscapes, breathtaking views, quaint towns and rich culture and history. Iceland is a popular destination all year round, with tourists visiting natural wonders such as; The Blue Lagoon and the magical Aurora Borealis, aka The Northern Lights. But how do you take in all of this beauty in one trip? Fret no more, as we have the perfect 5-day itinerary for you!

Day 1 - The Blue Lagoon 🏊

Start your trip off the right way and visit the world-renowned Blue Lagoon, Iceland's most famous geothermal pool. Only a 20-minute journey from the main airport (Keflavik Airport), this is a perfect start to a superb trip in Iceland. If you're heading to the small island for a relaxing retreat, then the Lagoon will provide just that!
The pools will allow you a relaxing experience like no other. With the piping hot water that rises to 38 degrees and the mineral-rich mud and water that you will kick back in, no other spa could ever compare! Fun fact, the mineral-rich waters are believed to have therapeutic properties, especially for sufferers of psoriasis and eczema.
In addition to the therapeutic spa opportunities that this natural wonder possesses, the pools are surrounded by phenomenal views of the black lava rock landscape. This is definitely perfect for a photo opp! The tourist attraction also offers unique spa treatments, lodging and, dining options so you can make the most of your first day at the Lagoon with swimming, treatments and dinner!
Prices vary at the Blue Lagoon depending on the time of year, time of day, the type of package you are purchasing, and any extras! It is also recommended that you book in advance to avoid any disappointment, considering this is Iceland's top tourist attraction!
Blue Lagoon Geothermal Spa in Iceland, reykjavik, Iceland

Day 2 - Drive The Golden Circle 🚙

The next day, we recommend that you visit one of Iceland's most iconic road trips - The Golden Circle. You will encounter quite a few extraordinary geographical sites that you do not want to miss on this drive! The three stops include; Thingvellir (Þingvellir) National Park, the Geysir Geothermal Area, and the Gullfoss waterfall.
Thingvellir National Park is bursting with Icelandic history and the astonishing beauty of the natural landscapes. Regarding history, this location was the site of the first Icelandic parliament and is the hub from which Icelandic culture has originated and grown. The geology of this location is the source of its beauty. This location is the meeting point of the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates, which has resulted in some stunning geological sights at this National Park. You can see the split between the continents here and, if brave enough, snorkel between the tectonic plates, which is one of the world's top 10 dive sites.
Next on the excursion, you will visit the Geysir Geothermal Area which, is home to numerous bubbling mud pools that erupt with hot water and steam. The picturesque views and phenomenal natural activities are great to watch and document. Every 6–10 minutes, the Geyser shoots hot water as high as 40 metres (131 ft) into the air. Don't forget a case for your camera and a raincoat!
Finally, the drive will lead you to the Gullfoss, one of Iceland's most famous waterfalls. This waterfall is impressive, with various tiers and a ginormous volume of water toppling over the edge. With the water falling a total of 32 metres (105 ft), this is sure to take your breath away. Gorgeous rainbows form from the spray making this landscape even more picture-perfect. Summer months allow you to climb the edge of the falls allowing for a close-up and brilliant experience.
Guided tours of the circle usually last from 9 am-5 pm, meaning that you can stop off and really take in each landmark's culture, views, and history. In addition to this, each site has its own informational centres, restaurants and individual activities, meaning that you can experience it all in good time. However, tourists are welcome to rent their own cars meaning that they can do the circle in the way they would like and in their own time.
Gullfoss, Bláskógabyggð, Iceland

Day 3 - Go Whale Watching 🐋

Ever seen a whale up close? No? Well, Iceland's shores are home to magnificent creatures. Take an unforgettable whale watching tour that departs from Reykjavik and spot one of the 23 different species.
With the majestic geographical landscapes, the icy waters and brilliant sea life, a whale spotting tour is perfect for any nature lover! Tours take roughly 3-4 hours and can overrun, meaning that you should dedicate a whole day to the excursion to avoid missing any other plans/reservations.
Whale watching tours from Reykjavík are available all year round. There are departures daily from the Old Harbor, located within a short walking distance of the downtown area.
Hauganes, Iceland

Day 4 - Visit The Capital City, Reykjavik 🌆

With two-thirds of Iceland's population inhabiting here, this city is teeming with culture and excitement. As the central hub, this is where you will find bars, eateries, museums, shops, galleries and much, much more. Therefore, to fully immerse yourself in this trip, you must swing by and grab a bite and take a wander.
Reykjavík has become renowned for its vibrant nightlife, and tourists have also approved this statement. Here bar crawls, festivals and craft beer breweries can be found, making for the perfect night out!
When it comes to what to eat, Reykjavik has various establishments, some cheap and others where you will splash the cash! One top restaurant to dine at is Bergsson Mathus found in the city centre. With dishes inspired by the Mediterranean and middle eastern kitchen, all ingredients are healthy and are sourced from local produce.
In addition to wining and dining, the city only takes around 2-3 hours to explore, with numerous galleries and museums teeming with culture and history, allowing you to dive into the traditions and culture of this truly fantastic location.
Reykjavík, Iceland

Day 5 - Spot The Northern Lights 👀

Finish your trip to Iceland in style and the right way by spotting the Northern Lights. This experience is like no other, providing you with A. bragging rights, B. phenomenal pictures and C. a fantastic experience that you will never forget!
The Northern Lights are one of nature's most magical sites but are highly unpredictable. They're only visible under certain conditions, at certain times of the year, and only with enough solar activity. So, the best time to visit is between September and April as the nights are darker. The lights can last from mid-afternoon to noon the next day during these months so, to maximise your chance to see them, we recommend going to Iceland then!
It is best to head somewhere slightly more rural, then close to your accommodation so, either rent a car or jump on a tour bus to a prime location.
Reykjavík, Iceland

Starting from Skratch? Here are a few tips to get you started:

https://independenttravelcats.com/guide-to-the-blue-lagoon-iceland/

https://www.nordicvisitor.com/blog/driving-golden-circle-how-to-guide/

https://adventures.com/iceland/tours/activities/whale-watching/

Facts before you go

Currency

💰Icelandic Króna

Spoken Language

🗣 Icelandic

Time Zone

⏰  UTC +0

Known For

🌋 Volcanoes & Glaciers

🏊 The Blue Lagoon

😍 The Northern Lights

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Imogen Kemp
January 8, 2022
posted in
JOURNEYS

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