How Long to Stay in Iceland – Where to Spend Your Time

The Land of Fire and Ice is a traveler’s dream, and it can be tough to decide how long to stay in Iceland for. To help you choose, we’ve put together a spectacular guide for every region of Iceland. It includes exactly how long you should spend in each location. Enjoy!

While planning our trip to Iceland, our main objective was to fit as much stuff in as possible, because we wanted to SEE. IT. ALL. Looking back, we wish we would have better allocated our time. Everywhere we went was spectacular, but we do wish we’d had more time at a few places. We’re going to take a look at a few of our favorites and tell you exactly how long you should stay in Iceland!

In all honestly, you never know how cool a place is until you see it in person. Unless you’re reading this nifty little blog of course! We scheduled short stops to places that ended up  our favorite spots— and it made sticking to our schedule so much tougher. Plan ahead, make time for what you want to see and enjoy!

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Read on to find out exactly where to go, and how long to stay in Iceland for!

How Long to Stay in Reykjavík

Reykjavík

Ideal Time: 2-3 Days. Iceland’s capital city is know around the world for its historical, social, and cultural significance. With plenty of shops, museums, and tour guides calling the city home, it’s a natural stop for travelers. During the day we encourage you to check out all the city has to offer. From Hallgrimskirkja Church (above), to the Perlan Observatory, to the shops on Laugavegur Street, you can always find something to enjoy.

At night the city is far from empty. Being one of the only true cities in Iceland, Reykjavik’s nightlife is revered throughout Europe. If you’re looking to save some money, there are also plenty of Free Things to Do in Reykjavik. Regardless of your budget, be sure to spend a couple of days exploring the vibrant metropolis. After a couple days in the capital we’d encourage you to check out Iceland’s most famous hot spot!

The Blue Lagoon

Ideal Time: 2-4 Hours. We were lucky enough to visit the Blue Lagoon in early May. Lucky, because we visited in the heart of the shoulder season. The smaller crowds meant we were able to enjoy a less crowded version of the lagoon. If you’d like to read more about our experience check out our Honest Blue Lagoon Iceland Review.

If you have an afternoon to spare in Reykjavik, we recommend the lagoon. It’s warm, opaque waters are the perfect way to relax away after a long day. It’s also only a quick drive from Reykjavik so you can be there and back easily. Unless you plan to stay for dinner at the cafe, or a spa at the massage, you’ll only need a couple hours to visit. Anything more than that and you’ll start to look like a raisin!

How Long to Stay in South Iceland

Thingvellir National Park

Ideal Time: 2-4 Hours. Thingvellir is the meeting place of two of earth’s tectonic plates. As such, the landscape is a mix of large cliffs, dizzying canyons, and cascading waterfalls. Beautiful trails meander through the park and make most sites accessible for everyone.

Historically, Thingvellir was used as the meeting place for Iceland’s first government. For hundreds of years Icelanders would convene in the valley to meet and discuss the country’s future. interestingly enough, another political drama has unfolded withing the park. Game of Thrones fans will recognize many locations in the park from scenes of their favorite show. We’d encourage every visitor to spend at least a few hours exploring the beautiful park.

Geysir Geyser Park

Ideal Time: 1-2 Hours. Iceland’s geyser park is located in the Haukadalur Valley and is home to numerous geothermal features. Local geyser’s Strokkur and Geysir still erupt to this day, the former more so than the latter. Strokkur can be spotted erupting at heights up to 100 feet every fifteen minutes. The park also contains main boiling mud baths and emerald pools. Occasionally, Geysir still shows signs of activity. In 2016 a surprise eruption sent boiling water hurtling into the sky.

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Gullfoss Waterfall

Ideal Time: 1-2 Hours. Gullfoss is known for its stunning two tiered, 90 degree turn falls. As the Hvita River twists and turns through the land surrounding Gullfoss, it swiftly falls over two separate 90 degree bends. The river drops over 100 feet across the two falls and throws mist high into the sky. Adding to the raw beauty of Gullfoss, the mist often covers the falls in a multitude of rainbows. Be sure to bring a rain jacket, that mist is chilly!

Skaftafell National Park

Ideal Time: 2-4 Hours. Hiking through Skaftafell National Park is every explorer’s dream. Short and easy climbs meander through the park. Beautiful waterfalls like Svartifoss, seen above, are scattered throughout the acreage. If you’re feeling more adventurous you can wander deep into Morsárdalur Valley and high into the Kristínartindar Mountains.

These more strenuous hikes are not for the faint of heart but are incredibly rewarding. Hikers are awarded unparalleled views of glaciers, craggy peaks, and arctic highlands. The park is also used as a base camp for those daring enough to summit Iceland’s highest mountain, Hvannadalshnjúkur. If you have the chance to visit set aside at least 2 hours to explore the picturesque park.

The Glacier Lagoon

Ideal Time: 1-2 Hours. The run off of Breiðamerkurjökull glacier meets with sea water to form  Jökulsárlón, the Glacier Lagoon. Large icebergs float in the ever-expanding lake as they make their way out to Atlantic Ocean. Some of these icebergs are over 1,000 years old and larger than houses.

For those patient enough, seals can be spotted dancing in the waters near the inlet. They can be found year round hunting the fish that call the lagoon home. Just past the lagoon is the Diamond Beach. Small jewels of ice polished by sand and water litter the expansive beach. The lagoon has become one of Iceland’s most famous destinations. Plan to stay for at least an hour in this jewel!

Skogafoss Waterfall

Ideal Time: 1-2 Hours. Skogafoss drops almost 200 feet into the canyon below its mouth. The striking waterfall is as powerful as they come. Incredibly, you can still walk right up to its edge and feel its breathtaking strength. Mist pillows in waves down the canyon and rainbows are an ever present reality. A short, steep hike will take you up and above the falls. If you’re prepared for a hike, the trail will lead you deep into the mountains, glaciers, and hot springs of Iceland’s highlands.

Seljalandsfoss Waterfall

Ideal Time: 1-2 Hours. Seljalandsfoss is one of Iceland’s most stunning destinations. So much so, we included it in our Favorite Adventures in Iceland post! If you’re lucky enough to visit make time to take the boardwalk back behind the waterfall. You can watch the falls catapult almost 200 feet into the pool below as the sun tries to peak into the hollow.

Vík Black Sand Beach

Ideal Time: 1-2 Hours. There are a multitude of black sand beaches scattered along Iceland’s coast, but none as popular as the one located in Vík. Reynisfjara Beach stretches for miles before being engulfed on each end by massive cliffs. The Apostles stand guard at sea as large waves crash repeatedly into the coarse sand. Ideally, you have a chance to visit the beach at sunset. Whenever you visit be weary of the water. Strong riptides turn below the surface and several people have passed away in the strong currents.

How Long to Stay in North Iceland

Akureyri

Ideal Time: 1-2 Days. To be honest, we knew that Akureyri was Iceland’s second largest city and “capital of the north” but we weren’t really expecting to see a whole lot when we got there. Although it’s smaller than Reykjavík, it’s still an incredible little city! It can be a wonderful base camp for whale watching, exploring the North’s mountains and fjords, or just meandering about.

We were only able to spend a morning in the city, and most of it was spent in a café drinking hot chocolate and eating cookies. We walked away content and warm but dreaming of exploring its endless shops and alleyways! If you have a chance be sure to allow a couple days to explore all the museums and stores the city has to offer.

Myvatn Nature Baths

Ideal Time: 2-4 Hours. Located between Akureyri and Egilsstaðir, the Myvatn Nature Baths are a beautiful collection of lakes and hotpools in Northern Iceland. Given its distance form Reykjavik, these pools see a much smaller crowd than the Blue Lagoon. In such, you can consistently find a spot in its relaxing waters. Given the chance we’d recommend everyone carve out a couple hours to soak in the warm waters at Myvatn.

How Long to Stay in West Iceland

Snæfellsjökull National Park

Ideal Time: 4-6 Hours. West Iceland’s Snæfellsjökull National Park is home to glaciers, caves, cliffs, and craters. It is also Iceland’s only National Park that stretches all the way to the sea. Visitors have a chance to explore the numerous grottoes and caves that line the park. If short drive and short hikes are more of your style, Snæfellsjökull has plenty of quick trails. When you visit, make sure to allow a few hours to tour the cliffs along the coast and the gorges and canyons along the interior.

Kirkjufell Mountain

Ideal Time: 1-2 Hours. Kirkjufell is supposedly the most photographed mountain in all of Iceland. Its famous for its tiered steeple peak and freestanding structure. It sits alone surrounded by beaches on an outcropping into the Atlantic Ocean. Guided and unguided tours will take you to the summit just over 1500 feet above the ocean below. Alternatively, you can enjoy the views from the neighboring waterfall, Kirkjufellfoss.

How Long to Stay in East Iceland

East Iceland, while ruggedly beautiful, is worth a little less of your time. The drive around the dizzying fjords often transitions to gravel and is unnerving for even the most iron-stomached. If you’re seriously planning how long to stay in Iceland for, we’d recommend avoiding most of the East coast.

Vestrahorn and Stokksnes

Ideal Time: 1-2 Hours. Even East Iceland has its gems. While the local Viking Cafe was listed on our roundup of What to Skip in Iceland, nearby Vestrahorn and Stokksnes are a must. The beautiful mountain and wind swept black sand beach look like they belong on a foreign planet. Ideally, you could spend a few hours here and be right back in the action. Unfortunately, even these beautiful mountains are hours from the closest other attractions.

Almost forgot? Remember to pin our guide on How Long to Stay in Iceland for later 🙂

As you can see, Iceland is full of incredible locations that are well worth your time. Figuring out how much is the hard part! If you’re tired of wondering how long to stay in Iceland just follow our handy guide and we’re certain you’ll have a blast. Enjoy!

So please let us know in the comments below… Have you ever been or would you ever go to Iceland? Do you have any recommendations for places to visit, or how long to stay in Iceland for? Still have questions or comments, let us know in the comments! Where’s your next vacation taking you? Please remember to like and share😊 God Bless, K+J!

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Verse of the Week: Galatians 1:10

“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

We’ve struggled in the past to identify our purpose and intentions for The Agape Co. As its grown its taken on new roles and meanings constantly. We started off thinking it would be vacation planning for others. After a year we realized it wasn’t our passion and it was very hard to scrap out a living doing so. While we loved helping others discover and explore the world around them, we didn’t feel we were having an impact on their lives. Our posts would only get a few hundred likes and our website a measly ten views a day.

That all turned when we focused on God and his plan for The Agape Co. We began implementing his word into every single one of our posts. In doing so, we crafted and created an audience that we feel can make a difference. We hope that we’ve been able to help them grow their faith first, and their love for exploration second. Letting go of our desire for fame, recognition, or whatever you want to call it prompted this change.  This week, dedicate your time to a passion that both fuels you, and furthers God’s Kingdom.

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Adventures in Iceland – 7 Incredible Experiences

It’s tough to see everything Iceland has to offer, especially so if you only have a few days. That’s exactly why we compiled our 7 Favorite Adventures in Iceland. If you have the time and the funds, you have to check them out during your trip! Enjoy!

Some travelers like to pick a location and stay there for the duration of their vacation, but not us. We like to get out and explore! Most of the time this means we spend a lot of time in the car driving. After all that downtime we tend to pick some fairly adventurous activities at our next stop. These seven adventures in Iceland are just that, adventures!

These activities are found all around Iceland’s ring road and are in no particular order. They’re just seven places/tours/things that we would love to try given the chance. Some are well within are budget, and some we’ll have to save for. Either way, we’re sure there’s an adventure in Iceland that’s within your budget and your time constraints!

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Want to learn more about Iceland? Check out our other posts on the Land of Fire and Ice!

Ice Cave Tour

While dreaming about the endless adventures in Iceland, the ice caves were immediately added to our itinerary. Too bad we didn’t look at the price until we started actually planning. These tours are still fairly reasonable, around $150 to $250 a person, but at the time we couldn’t spare the cash.

On the bright side, most ice cave tours last between 3 and 5 hours. If you really splurge, you can go for the full-day volcano and ice cave tour. It lasts for around 11 hours and should be included on any bucket list. After pick up in Reykjavik, you visit epic landscapes, hike on glaciers, tour the ice caves, and watch the roaring river rush down Iceland’s most famous waterfalls. Any number of tour companies offer great services, just give it a search and see which fits your budget!

Helicopter Tour

If you haven’t already guessed, this activity also got crossed off our list for the price. Iceland is exceptionally unique from the ground, but seeing the landscape from above would be magical! If you do have the funds by all means try it out. Most tours leave right from Reykjavik and last for 1-2 hours.

While the tour its self is breathtaking, the price will also leave you gasping for air. A quick 1 hour jaunt will cost you upwards of $250 per person. Want to head further inland? Get ready to fork over around $1,500 a person. While at the time it wasn’t in our budget, if we get the chance to return we’ll make it a priority. We better start saving!

Seljalandsfoss

Seljalandsfoss, a waterfall in southern Iceland, is probably Iceland’s most famous waterfall. Sure Skogafoss and others are incredible, but just look at that! The Seljaland River falls almost 200 feet into the pool below and it really is a sight to behold. The best part, they built up a boardwalk to let visitors walk behind the falls!

Most day tours from Reykjavik include a stop at the falls but to truly appreciate it try arriving earlier than the crowds. During the day you’re bound to be surrounded by tourists, but come early and you may get lucky. The falls are located just off the Ring Road so the drive is doable in any vehicle.

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Glacier Hike in the Highlands

**F-Roads are Iceland’s most dangerous roads, but they take you to some of the most incredible places. If you plan on visiting the highlands, you MUST rent a 4×4 vehicle. Two wheel drive vehicles are not allowed, as some roads are impassable without four wheel drive. Be cognizant of road closures as F-Roads are not open year-round, so be sure to check your route and avoid any closed roads.

The highlands are chalked full of canyons, waterfalls, hot pools, and glaciers. It’s like walking in a dream. To really get a feel for the most unique adventures in Iceland you have to go into the highlands. If you go through a tour operation, guides will even take you out onto the massive glaciers to see Iceland at it’s finest. If you go it alone, stay on designated trails and be sure to rent a 4×4 vehicle.

Whale Watching Tour

While Icelandic wildlife on land is somewhat lacking, the waters surrounding are a different story. It’s very common to spot humpback whales, orcas, belugas, porpoises, seals, and much more patrolling the local waters. The endless fjords of West and North Iceland are the best spots for an up close encounter. In fact, we spotted whales just 100 meters off the shore in our car driving through the Westfjords.

If you have the chance we’d recommend starting your tour up North in Akureyri or Húsavík. Your chances of seeing whales are extremely high regardless of the season and the prices are comparable to others in the area. Most tours are around $75 to $100 per person and last 3 to 5 hours.

Myvatn Nature Baths

Myvatn Nature Baths is the North’s answer to the Blue Lagoon. Located  between Akureyri and Egilsstaðir, it offers many of the same amenities as the Blue Lagoon, but is much farther the airport and thus there are fewer tourists. The lakes surrounding the lagoon are pristine high alpine pools and leave the view to the surroundings unimpeded.

You can enjoy these views via the expansive infinity pool at the lagoon. The crowd is a nice mix of locals and tourists (a rarity in Iceland!). After a relaxing dip you can enjoy the dining options on campus or begin your journey home. You can expect to spend an hour to return Akureyri or two to Egilsstaðir.

See the Northern Lights

The northern lights are most visible in Iceland between November and April (when there’s the least amount of sunlight per year). Unfortunately for us, we went in mid-May, and were unable to catch a glimpse of the famed light show. We undoubtedly will return to experience this adventure in Iceland some winter!

There are many agencies that offer “northern lights tours”; however, they cannot guarantee that you will see the aurora borealis. We suggest seeking out the northern lights on your own. To do so, try:

  1. Getting out of the city and into an area that isn’t affected by light pollution. The darker the sky the better.
  2. Pick a night that isn’t cloudy and doesn’t have a full moon.
  3. Check out http://en.vedur.is/weather/forecasts/aurora/ for an accurate aurora forecast.

Almost forgot? Remember to pin our guide to Seven Adventures in Iceland for later 🙂

Looking for awe inspiring adventures in Iceland? From Iceland Northern Lights to Glacier Hikes and Helicopter Tours in Iceland, we've got you covered! Our guide lists seven bucket-list adventures in Iceland for you to try. Enjoy! www.theagapecompany.com #icelandtravel #visiticeland #luxurytravel #adventuretravel #iceland

As you can there’s an adventure for almost every budget and everyone. From whale watching to hiking the rims of volcanoes, these are the seven adventures in Iceland we would love to try!

So please let us know in the comments below… Have you ever been or would you ever go to Iceland? Which adventure in Iceland would you like to try? Still have questions or comments, let us know in the comments! Where’s your next vacation taking you? Please remember to like and share😊 God Bless, K+J!

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Verse of the Week: Mark 8:36

“What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, but forfeit his soul?”

You can often tell what people value by how they spend their time and money. It’s very easy to look form the outside and say, “I’ll be happy when I’ve done…” or “when I have…”. Part of that is the rise of social media, and always seeing the “perfection” of other’s lives. Instead of chasing fleeting happiness in a trip, new car, or even a 100 likes on a post, search for eternal joy. There is a Savior that loves and cares for you. Devote not only your heart, but your time, and money to him and his kingdom. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” This week, dedicate not only your time to Christ but make an effort to give to his works as well.

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