This is a perfectly curated 5 day Iceland itinerary that I recently created for my ring road journey. In this post, I will go over all the places that we hit on our five-day journey, one-by-one, so you can see every stop we made from start to finish. At the end, you will have the option to download this itinerary should you like it enough to use it! Let’s just say, I made it a little prettier than the Google doc I was originally using.
A Little Background
The Ring Road is essentially the 1, which runs mostly on the outer edge of the island and makes a large circle. It’s the main road that runs throughout Iceland. Then, of course, there are smaller roads here and there that you can take. There is some debate about how much time you should take to drive the entire road, but after researching this extensively, the average suggested time is about 10 days to drive the whole thing. For my trip, I decided to cut that time in half and only do a five-day journey, hitting the main stops in Southwest, South, and Southeast Iceland.
Most people rent a camper van and camp as they go, which is exactly what we did. However, we did see a lot of rental cars on the road too, implying that quite a few people traveling the road opted for hotels or Airbnb’s on their journey. Either way you do it is fine! We loved the camper van that we got through Happy Campers and couldn’t recommend that choice enough, but more on that in another post.
For the creation of this Itinerary, I had done a ton of research online from other people and bloggers who also did shortened itineraries. I also read up on each stop and scoured forums for the best advice. I saved Instagram photos I came across and made sure to include those locations as well. Everything was strategically placed to fit into an 8:00 am to 6:00 pm window of time. Depending on how much time you wanted at each place, you could easily go from 7 am to 7 pm. I took into account driving time as well, and packed in more stops on the days there was less driving time. Basically, I did a ton of research! I was shocked with how well the trip turned out and how perfectly planned everything was, which actually allowed us some more chances for spontaneity.
Let’s dive right in! Here was our itinerary for five days:
Valahnúkamöl – A less visited destination among tourists, this is at the very tip of Southwest Iceland. It’s got a beautiful lighthouse and great cliffs for getting photos and exploring.
Krisuvikurberg Cliffs – This spot is also less visited by tourists. The cliffs are an amazing sight to see and have all to yourself. The walk from the parking area is quite long but worth it.
Kerið – This is a huge crater filled with water. There will be a lot of tourists here but it’s really neat to see. We spent the least amount of time here. You don’t need much.
Gullfoss – A huge waterfall that brings a ton of people. We didn’t stay here long either because as neat as it was, it’s hard to get a good view. Instead, we tried to go on the other side of the waterfall where no one was but we failed to find an entrance road. We did end up exploring smaller streams that led into Gullfoss, feeding some horses, and photographing a beautiful bridge.
Fludir Camping – This was where we camped for the night. As a less visited campsite, there was a ton of space.
Seljalandsfoss – This waterfall was definitely my favorite! Two things: fill up your water bottle from its stream (best water you will ever taste in your life) and walk 10-15 minutes left of the waterfall to see a secret cave with another waterfall. Be prepared to get wet though. DO NOT go into the cave with anything that isn’t waterproof.
Seljavallalaug Pool – I believe this is one of the oldest (if not the oldest) hot springs pool in Iceland. In my opinion, the walk to the pool was better than the actual pool. It’s so beautiful. The pool changing rooms were trashed and absolutely disgusting. I still cannot believe I changed and went it. Do yourself a favor and put your bathing suit on in the car before you make the walk to the pool. It takes about 30 minutes to walk to the pool. I was surprised that I didn’t read anywhere how disgusting the rooms were, but now you’ve been warned.
Skógafoss – A beautiful waterfall that’s popular among tourists. It’s hard to get a good photograph here without any people in the way. You have to damn near run up to it and get soaking wet. Nonetheless, a pretty sight.
Dyrhólaey Lighthouse – This was our first stop in a series of places that were all near each other. Unfortunately, we were rained out this day, so I cannot comment too much on the lighthouse personally. But it’s definitely a must see if you’re not being pelted on with rain.
Kirkjufjara beach – This beach is shared with the lighthouse, but you do need to drive around to it. It is a black sand beach.
Reynisfjara Beach – This beach is on the other side of the last beach and features tall pillar-like rock formations that make for really amazing photos. I believe Game of Thrones was shot here. Was so bummed we got rained out on this day.
Vik Camping – We camped in Vik for the night. This was by far the most crowded campsite we stayed at. However, their bathrooms are completely new and remodeled which was amazing. They are not private though. There is only one shower with four showerheads for the ladies. Hopefully, you’re not shy!
Solheimasandur Plane Wreck, Iceland
Solheimasandur Plane Wreck – In 1973 a United States Navy DC plane ran out of fuel and crashed on the black beach at Sólheimasandur. It’s now a tourist destination. Technically this location is before the lighthouse and beaches, but because it gets so crowded with tourists I recommend backtracking 20 minutes and visiting this early in the morning. We did and it worked out perfectly! Be prepared to walk 2.5 miles there and 2.5 miles back (an hour each way). The terrain is very rocky. I do not recommend doing this with small children.
Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon – This was one of my favorite stops during the entire trip. There are literally no words for how breathtaking seeing this glacier lagoon is. Make sure to visit the lagoon (on one side) and the beach (on the other side). You can spend hours here, which is what we did.
Hofn – This is a little beach town that’s great to grab a bite to eat and watch the sunset.
Hofn Camping – We camped here for the night. It is similar to Fludir on the ‘crowded’ level. They have a little kitchen for use too.
Stokksnes – Not too far from Hofn, this is an amazing little beach area that features mountains as its backdrop. If you have a sunny day, boy are you in luck. You will pick up the reflections from the water perfectly. There are almost no tourists too. This was definitely my favorite stop of the trip!
Sveinsstekksfoss – Another day, another waterfall. By this time, we had seen our fair share of waterfalls. This one you cannot get that close to because of the terrain, but it’s still neat to see. There aren’t a lot of tourists here. If I am being completely honest, this was my least favorite stop.
Tjaldsvæðið Kleifar Camping – This was the coolest and best campsite we got to stay at. Honestly, don’t be mad if you arrive here early. Slow down, make dinner, watch the sunset, and see if you can catch the northern lights. This campsite has its own waterfall to explore and is completely empty! This campsite doesn’t have any showers, but it’s the first one we came across that didn’t.
Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon, Iceland
Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon – A large canyon with a waterfall towards the end. You will get some amazing images here, so don’t forget your camera! Trails have been made and there are lookout towers too. You cannot go off trail here. Someone works here and they will yell at you (you really shouldn’t go off trail anywhere anyway). The walk is kind of brutal though. It’s all uphill since you are climbing the mountain to get a view down into the canyon.
The Blue Lagoon – The Blue Lagoon is a geothermal seawater pool. Essentially, it’s a gigantic hot tub full of amazing minerals for your skin. I think a lot of people do this first since it’s near Reykjavik, but definitely do this last if you are driving the road and sleeping in your van! It’s a great way to unwind, destress, and relax your body from all the damage it just took on the road. Purchase tickets before you leave as it does sell out. We took the 3:00 pm time slot and with our first stop and the driving time, it worked out perfectly.
Reykjavik – Head back to Reykjavik for your stay before your flight the next day.
Download My 5 Day Ring Road Itinerary
Now that you have some background information, how I planned everything, and insight into each stop, it’s time for you to start your own journey to Iceland!
I created a downloadable PDF for my readers, so you too can take the same carefully-crafted journey around Iceland. First and foremost, the PDF is way prettier than what I used. Second, the PDF contains Google Maps direction links to each spot, driving time from place to place, and an overall estimate of the amount of driving each day (the tiny vans symbolize light vs heavy driving). All you need for your trip is this single PDF, which you can download here:
I hope you enjoyed this little rundown of what I saw on our five day Ring Road journey. Do let me know if you plan on using this itinerary in the comments! And I am happy to answer any questions you have below. Expect for pronunciations. You’re on your own with those!