Iceland: Itinerary and Master Guide [Work In Progress]
Editor’s note: This currently unfinished article is the launch of a new series of itinerary and master guide articles which will contain links to separate articles pertaining to a particular destination as part of an effort to better organize The Gate. They will also double as an impetus for the remainder of unwritten articles to be written. Each itinerary and master guide article is a work in progress and will be completed once all of the articles have been written and posted.
Iceland is considered one of the most remote destinations in the world — but access to it has been rather easy in the years prior to the official declaration of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic on Wednesday, March 11, 2020 by the World Health Organization…
Iceland: Itinerary and Master Guide
…but as Iceland has opened to welcome visitors again effective as of Tuesday, April 6, 2021 to all travelers — regardless of origin — seeing the magnificently breathtaking sites is now possible once again if you can show either a certificate of full vaccination against the 2019 Novel Coronavirus or a certificate of a previous infection of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. You can read what certificates are accepted at the official Internet web site of the Directorate of Health of Iceland.
In the meantime, the following information is extracted directly from the itinerary which I prepared prior to leaving for Iceland, at which I spent eleven days — and I have thousands of photographs and many more articles which I need to write; so please stay tuned.
Departure to Iceland
Depart Atlanta at 5:25 — changed to 5:15 — in the afternoon on Delta flight 218 — changed to flight 517 — for New York arriving at 7:45 in the evening; and depart New York at 9:05 in the evening on flight 446 to Reykjavik.
Priority Pass lounges in Atlanta: Minute Suites on Concourse B and The Club at ATL Concourse F.
Priority Pass lounges in New York: Wingtips Lounge in Terminal 4. Also, Air France lounge and KAL Business Class lounge in Terminal 1; Alaska lounge in Terminal 7; and Bobby Van’s Steakhouse in Terminal 8.
Day 1 — Southern Peninsula of Iceland
Arrive in Reykjavik on flight 446 at 6:45 — changed to 6:50 — in the morning.
Procar Keflavik International Airport
Get Icelandic Krona currency when possible.
20 minute drive from Keflavik International Airport — Highway 41 to highway 44. Bridge America Europe between two continents
★ Gunnuhver Hot Springs
Nine minute drive. South on Highway 425 or 44 3.9 kilometers. Turn right 1.1 kilometers; turn right 1.7 kilometers; turn left 500 meters
Auk and Valahnúkamöl cliffs
Near Reykjanes lighthouse. 8 minute walk.
Two minute drive further down the road.
Brimketill Lava Rock Pool and The Road From Valahnúkamöl to Krýsuvík Thermal Area in Iceland
27 minute drive. 14.3 kilometers on Nesvegur or Highway 425; turn left on Highway 43 4.7 kilometers; turn right 300 meters.
Krýsuvíkurberg cliffs — if accessible. Not on Google maps. Creek blocked the road. Did not see them.
☆ Krýsuvík thermal area
Must see. 14 minutes from Selatangar. Take highway 427 to Highway 42 north 5.8 kilometers.
☆ Raufarhólshellir Lava Tube Cave
36 minute drive from Krýsuvík thermal area. Take Highway 42 south to Highway 427 — left to Highway 38 and straight on Highway 39. One hour.
Selatangar – A track for 4wd-vehicles lies down to the ruins on the coast from the road to Isolfsskali. Considered only because it is near another attraction. 19 minute drive from Blue Lagoon: Highway 43 to left on Highway 427 for 11 kilometers. Decided to skip it because it was not worth the potholes in the dirt road.
Reykjadalur Hot Spring Thermal River — 18 minute drive. Highway 39 to left on Highway 38. At the roundabout at Highway 1, take the second exit onto Breiðamörk Reykjadalur, Iceland. Did not do because of long hike. Rather do lava tube.
Returned to Reykjavik. Walked around town. Saw church. Did not go in. Parking.
Canopy by Hilton Reykjavik City Centre
47 minute drive from Reykjadalur Hot Spring Thermal River. Highway 1 west for 43.6 kilometers. Take Highway 49 for 6.3 kilometers. Take the exit toward Route 40/Keflavik/Hlemmur. Turn right onto Snorrabraut. Turn left onto Eiríksgata. Turn left onto Skólavörðustígur. Turn right onto Bergstaðastræti. Continue onto Smiðjustígur. Hotel is on the right.
Day 2 — Golden Circle of Iceland
★ Þingvellir National Park — 42 minutes from Canopy Hotel in Reykjavik. Lake, trail between two plates, Öxarárfoss. Two hours to visit at the most.
Head northeast on Smiðjustígur toward Hverfisgata. Turn right onto Hverfisgata. Turn left onto Frakkastígur. Turn right onto Skúlagata. Turn left toward Sæbraut/Route 41. Turn right at the 1st cross street onto Sæbraut/Route 41 for 1.3 kilometers. Turn right onto Kringlumýrarbraut/Route 40 for 1.7 kilometers. Turn left onto Miklabraut/Route 49 for 6 kilometers. Continue onto Vesturlandsvegur/Þjóðvegur 1 and take Highway 1 to Þingvallavegur Highway 36 — right 26.5 kilometers to national park.
Not much time to spend there. 15 minutes from Þingvellir National Park. Highway 36 to left on Highway 365 8,5 kilometers — left onto Lyngdalsheiðarvegur for 2.7 kilometers.
Bruarfoss — 23 minutes from Laugarvatnshellir. Up to an hour at the most. Highway 365 to left on Highway 37 for 14.1 kilometers. Saw lower part of falls with horse and water. Did not go all the way because of long hike.
★ Geysir Thermal Area — 12 minutes from Bruarfoss. Geysir (inactive) and Strokkur (every 5 to 10 minutes). Litli geysir. Two hours to visit at the most. Highway 37 to left on Highway 35.
★ Gullfoss — 9 minutes on Highway 35 for 9.6 kilometers. Up to 90 minutes at the most.
Brúarhlöð — 14 minutes. Roadside stop. Up to 30 minutes at the most. Go back on Highway 35 to left on Highway 30 for 6 kilometers.
Faxafoss — 11 minutes. Roadside stop. Up to 30 minutes at the most. Go back on Highway 30 to left on Einholtsvegur or Highway 358 for 7.5 kilometers. Turn right toward Biskupstungnabraut. Turn left onto Biskupstungnabraut or Highway 35.
15 minutes. Up to 30 minutes at the most. Highway 35 for 14.6 kilometers to left on Highway 31 for 2.1 kilometers. Turn right onto Skálholtskirkja for 750 meters.
Kerið — 19 minutes. Walk around the crater. Roadside stop. Up to one hour at the most. Take Highway 31 back to Highway 35. Left 22.7 kilometers. Did not visit because it had admission fee and Viti crater had no admission fee.
Hilton Reykjavik Nordica
Sudurlandsbraut 2, Reykjavik, 108
51 minute drive from Kerið. Take Highway 35 south to right on Highway 1 to Route 49 for 5.2 kilometers. Turn right onto Kringlumýrarbraut/Route 40 for 800 meters. Turn right onto Suðurlandsbraut. Hotel will be on the right.
Executive lounge access. Access to Nordica Spa — included?
Day 3 — Western Peninsula of Iceland
Glymur Waterfall — Hike to falls. One hour from Hilton Reykjavik Nordica. Hike is 7.5 kilometers round trip. Three hours. Head east on Suðurlandsbraut toward Hallarmúli for 1.7 kilometers. At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto Skeiðarvogur. Take the ramp onto Route 49 for 4.2 kilometers. Take Highway 1 to right on Hvalfjarðarvegur or Highway 47 for 34.7 kilometers. Turn right for 3.1 kilometers. Did not go all the way. Treacherous because of river over log and then climb after it.
Hraunfossar and Barnafoss — One hour and 13 minutes from Glymur. 45 minutes at the most. Back to Highway 47 — right 13.3 kilometers to Highway 520 — right 19.7 kilometers and cross highway 508. Left back onto Highway 520 for 4.3 kilometers. Left on highway 52 and right on Highway 50 for 15.9 kilometers. Continue on Highway 518 for 21.1 kilometers. Turn left.
Gerðuberg Cliffs — One hour and 16 minutes from Hraunfossar. 45 minutes at the most. Highway 518 to right on Highway 50 to left on Highway 1. Right on Highway 54. Go 43.4 kilometers.
Bjarnarfoss — 10 minute drive west on Highway 54 from Guesthouse Langaholt. Short hike. 45 minutes at the most.
Ytri-Garðar, Langaholt, 0356
+354 086 57245
30 minute drive west from Gerðuberg Cliffs. Take Highway 54 west 42.3 kilometers.
Free breakfast for two people
Day 4 — Western Peninsula and Westfjords of Iceland
Gatklettur in Arnarstapi — 18 minute drive. 30 minutes at the most. Highway 54 west 400 meters to Útnesvegur — left 16.8 kilometers. Turn left onto Arnarstapavegur for 850 meters. Turn right.
Londrangar — 8 minute drive west on Útnesvegur. 15 to 30 minutes at the most.
☆ Vatnshellir Cave in Snæfellsbær — 2 minute drive. 45 minute tour. 3,750 Icelandic Krona. Did Not Do because less expensive but not as good as Raufarholshellir Lava Tunnel in Southern Peninsula.
13 minute drive from Londrangar. 45 minutes at the most.
☆ Svörtuloft Lighthouse — 16 minute drive. 15 to 30 minutes at the most. 6.5 kilometers on Útnesvegur; then left 4.8 kilometers.
Lookout overlooking Ólafsvíkur
★ Kirkjufellsfoss — Witch hat shape. 43 minute drive. 45 minutes at the most. Back out and left on Útnesvegur, which becomes Ennisbraut and then becomes Ólafsbraut and then continues as Útnesvegur. Left on Highway 54 for 17.8 kilometers.
451 Brjánslækur, Iceland
+354 456 2041
11 minutes from Hellulaug Spring south on Highway 62 for 12.9 kilometers.
Checked in, then…
★ Hellulaug Spring
3 hour 45 minute drive from Kirkjufellsfoss. 90 minutes at the most. Highway 54 east for 97.4 kilometers. Left on Highway 60 for 187.6 kilometers. Turn left onto Highway 62 for 400 meters. On the left.
Day 5 — Westfjords and Western Iceland
★ Látrabjarg Bird Cliffs — Westernmost point of Europe. One hour 40 minute drive. One to two hours. Highway 62 west to left on Highway 612 west to the end.
★ Dynjandi Falls — Two hour 30 minute drive. 60 to 90 minutes. Go back on Highway 612 to right on Highway 62 to left on Highway 60 for 35.7 kilometers.
★ Hvammstangi — Seal colonies. 4 hours down the east coast of Westfjords. 30 minutes. Highway 60 south to left on Highway 59. Right on Highway 68 to left on Highway 1. Left on Highway 72 — go 5.5 kilometers. Travel along the coast.
Hvitserkur (?) — Rock arch and view of fjord. Black sand.
★ Þingeyrar — One hour drive on Highway 711, with stops along the way for seal colonies. Left on Highway 716 to right on Highway 1. Did not stop in it.
Kolugljúfur Canyon — 35 minute drive. 45 minutes at the most. Highway 1 south to left on Highway 715.
Akureyri — heart shaped traffic lights
Gula Villan Brekkugata
Brekkugata 8, Akureyri 0600
+354 354 8968464
2.5 hour drive from Kolugljúfur Canyon. From Highway 1, turn right onto Strandgata; Turn left at Hólabraut; Turn right onto Brekkugata.
Day 6 — Northern Iceland
View of Akureyri.
★ Goðafoss Waterfall — 45 minute drive. 45 minutes at the most. Highway 1 south, then cross water east, then north. 50 kilometers.
Lookout overlooking Mývatn.
★ Hverarond Namaskard — Thermal area. 5 minute drive. 45 minutes at the most. Highway 860 north to right on Highway 1. Go 2.2 kilometers. On right side.
Grjótagjá cave — Iconic lava cave with a thermal spring. 18 minute drive. Up to 30 minutes at the most. Either Highway 848 to right on Highway 860; or to right on Highway 1 to right on Highway 860.
★ Hverfjall — massive crater. 11 minute drive. 20 minute hike. 60 to 90 minutes maximum. Highway 848 one kilometer — right 1.3 kilometers; slight left for one kilometer.
★ Dimmuborgir — 2 minute drive on Highway 848. Up to one hour.
Hofði — 6 minute drive on Highway 848. Up to 30 minutes.
★ Skútustaðagígar Mývatn — Flies in mouth. 30 minute drive from Goðafoss Waterfall. Up to one hour. Highway 1 to straight on Highway 848 for 5.2 kilometers.
★ Húsavík — Blue whale?!? 47 minute drive. Whale watching less expensive but better than Akureyri. Discounts if booked at 4-8 pm; 3 hour tour. Highway 1 to right on Highway 87 to right on Highway 85 into town. North Sailing was the company.
Guesthouse Stöng and Cottages
Stöng, Myvatn 0660
+354 089 66074
49 minute drive from Húsavík. Highway 85 to Highway 845 to left on Highway 1 for 19.6 kilometers. Turn right onto Mývatnsheiðarvegur and go 5.1 kilometers.
Day 7 — Northern Iceland
★ Víti crater — 40 minute drive from Guesthouse Stöng and Cottages. One hour at the most. Go back out to Highway 1 for 25.2 kilometers. Turn left and go 8.9 kilometers.
★ Krafla Lava Fields — 3 minute drive. 5 kilometer hike. Two hours at the most.
Shower. In the middle of nowhere. Went under square arch of pipes.
★ Dettifoss — Western side and Selfoss Waterfall — 45 minute drive. 60 to 90 minutes at the most. Go back out to Highway 1 for 20 kilometers. Turn left onto Dettifossvegur or Highway 862 for 9.9 kilometers. Continue onto Dettifoss Road for 11.1 kilometers. Turn right for 2.8 kilometers.
★ Hljóðaklettar — Basalt column structures. 40 minute drive. 60 minutes at the most. Right onto Highway 862 for 19.8 kilometers. F-road? Did not explore the entire area. Cave was a long hike away.
Ásbyrgi cliff — 18 minute drive. Can drive into it. Up to 45 minutes on foot. Take Highway 862 north to right on Highway 85 for 1.8 kilometers. Turn right for 1.9 kilometers.
Hafragilsfoss — 30 minute drive. Up to 30 minutes at the most. Back out to Highway 85 — right to Highway 864 — right 23.3 kilometers. Turn right for 500 meters.
★ Dettifoss — Eastern side and Selfoss Waterfall — 8 minute drive. 60 to 90 minutes at the most.
☆ Seyðisfjörður — 3 hour drive. Eastern Iceland. Gufufoss is a roadside stop 22.8 kilometers on the right off of Highway 93. South on Highway 864 to left on Highway 1 for 128 kilometers. Left on Highway 93 for 27 kilometers. Explored town.
Nord Marina Guesthouse
Strandarvegur 21, Seyðisfjörður, 710
+354 787 0701
Right on Austurvegur from Highway 93. Slight left onto Hafnargata and go one kilometer. Continue onto Strandarvegur for 550 meters. Destination is on the left.
Day 8 — Eastern Iceland
Gufufoss in daytime.
★ Hengifoss — Included waterfall below it. Litlanesfoss? One hour drive from Seyðisfjörður. 2.5 kilometer hike one way. Highway 93 to right on Highway 1 to left on Highway 95 to straight onto Upphéraðsvegur or Highway 931 for 22.6 kilometers.
Stopped at lookout on side of fjord.
Streitisviti Lighthouse — One hour and 49 minute drive. Up to 30 minutes at the most. Continue north on Highway 931 to right on Highway 1 for 103.2 kilometers.
Sveinsstekksfoss in Djupivogur — 30 minute drive. 30 to 45 minutes at the most. Drive 38.8 kilometers on Highway 1.
Hvalnes Lighthouse — Saw reindeer and black sand beach view. One hour drive. 30 minutes at the most. Drive 67.4 kilometers on Highway 1.
Stokksnes beach — 40 minute drive. 30 to 45 minutes at the most. Did not go because 800 Icelandic Krona per person. Take Highway 1 for 38.5 kilometers — sharp left and go 4.8 kilometers.
★ Jökulsárlón Lagoon and Vatnajokull Glacier— One hour 11 minute drive from Stokksnes beach. Standard tour 7,500 Icelandic Krona per person. Diamond beach included. 2 to 3 hours. Drive 81.2 kilometers on Highway 1 and turn right twice.
Fjallsárlón — 13 minute drive. 30 minutes. Drive 9.7 kilometers on Highway 1.
★ Skaftafell National Park — 55 minute drive from Klausturhof Guesthouse. Includes Svartifoss; view of Skaftafellsjokull; Hundafoss; and Magnusarfoss. 2 to 2.5 hours. Back out Highway 205 to backtrack on Highway 1 — turn left.
Dverghamrar — One hour and 11 minute drive. Up to 30 minutes at the most. Drive 100 kilometers west on Highway 1.
Foss á Síðu — One minute drive. 8 minute hike. Up to 30 minutes at the most.
Stjórnarfoss — 11 minute drive. Up to 30 minutes at the most. Drive on Highway 1 for 11.3 kilometers. Right turn onto Highway 203 for 1.1 kilometers.
Klausturvegur 1-5, Kirkjubæjarklaustur, 880
+354 567 7600
One minute walk from Systrafoss.
Breakfast is € 16 extra per person.
Day 9 — Southern Iceland
Systrafoss in Kirkjubæjarklaustur — Walking distance from guesthouse. 6 minute drive. 45 to 60 minutes at the most. Highway 203 south to right on Highway 205 at roundabout. Go 1.3 kilometers.
★ Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon
One hour and two minute drive from Skaftafell National Park. 60 to 90 minutes at the most. Back out Highway 998 to right on Highway 1. Go 72.4 kilometers and turn right. Go 1.1 kilometers and turn left. Go 1.3 kilometers and another 900 meters.
★ Reynisfjara Beach — 1 hour drive. 30 to 45 minutes at the most. Drive 70.2 kilometers west on Highway 1. Turn left onto Reynishverfisvegur or Highway 215 and go 5.7 kilometers.
★ Dyrhólaey Viewpoint — 25 minute drive. 45 to 60 minutes at the most. Back out on Highway 215. Turn left on Highway 1 and go 7.6 kilometers. Turn left onto Highway 218 and go 6.4 kilometers.
★ Solheimasandur Plane Wreck — 20 minute drive. 90 minutes to 2 hours. Back out on Highway 218. Turn left on Highway 1 and go 10 kilometers. Path to wrecked airplane is on the left. Did not do because too long of a walk — changed the entrance to much longer walk.
11 minute drive. 60 to 90 minutes at the most. Drive on Highway 1 for 9.8 kilometers. Right turn, left turn, left turn, left turn.
☆ Ferry to Westman Islands — 12 minute drive from Seljalandsfoss Waterfall. 32 minute ferry one way; 40 minute hike one way; up to 45 minutes at the volcano. 4 hours to 5 hours. Turn right on Highway 1; then left on Highway 254 to the end.
Lambafell, 861 Eyvindarhólar
+354 487 1212
10 minute drive west from Skógafoss. Drive on Highway 1 for 6.8 kilometers. Turn right onto Raufarfellsvegur for one kilometer.
Breakfast not included but available for € 14 per person.
Day 10 — Southern Iceland
★ Seljalandsfoss Waterfall and Gljúfrabúi — 18 minute drive from Welcome Edinborg. 60 to 90 minutes at the most. Drive on Highway 1 for 20.3 kilometers. Turn right onto Þórsmerkurvegur for 750 meters. Turn right again.
Urriðafoss at Urriðafossvegur — 45 minute drive from ferry. Up to 30 minutes at the most. Back out Highway 254 to left on Highway 1 and go 49.3 kilometers. Turn left onto Urriðafossvegur for 650 meters.
Þjóðveldisbærinn — 30 minute drive. 15 to 30 minutes at the most. Continue on Highway 327 for 7.1 kilometers. Turn left onto Þjórsárdalsvegur or Highway 32 for 190 meters. Turn right onto Búrfellsstöð for 400 meters. Turn left onto Þjóðveldisbærinn for 600 meters.
★ Haifoss Waterfall, Háifoss — 2.5 hour drive from Hilton Reykjavik Nordica. Up to one hour. Head east on Suðurlandsbraut toward Hallarmúli for 1.7 kilometers. At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto Skeiðarvogur. Take the ramp onto Route 49 for 4.2 kilometers. Take Highway 1 to left on Highway 30 to right on Highway 32 to Highway 332 for approximately 7 kilometers.
Hjalparfoss — 6 minute drive. 30 to 45 minutes at the most. Back out to Highway 32 and turn left for 650 meters. Turn left onto Hjálparfoss for 1 kilometer.
Hilton Reykjavik Nordica
Sudurlandsbraut 2, Reykjavik, 108
Take Highway 1 to Route 49 for 5.2 kilometers. Turn right onto Kringlumýrarbraut/Route 40 for 800 meters. Turn right onto Suðurlandsbraut. Hotel will be on the right.
Executive lounge access. Access to Nordica Spa — included?
Used free weekend night certificate.
F-Road 9 hours without F-Road
★ Landmannalaugar — 3 hour drive from Reykjavik. Rainbow mountains. Requires F Road. Still was not open yet for the season.
☆ Gjáin in Stangarvegur — 30 minute drive. 45 to 60 minutes at the most. Highway 332 to Highway 327 for 3.5 kilometers. Turn right onto Stangarvegur. Valley with a bunch of small waterfalls. Did not do it. Treacherous road.
Keflavik International Airport — 2 hours and 10 minutes drive. Back out to Highway 32 and turn left to Highway 30 — turn left. Turn right on Highway 1. Turn left on Highway 413. Take Highway 41 to the airport.
Drop off rental car at Procar Car Rental at 19:45 in the evening.
39 minutes and 46.7 kilometers from Hilton Reykjavik Nordica. Highway 40 to Highway 41 to Keflavik International Airport — drive 35.8 kilometers. At the roundabout, take the first exit onto Flugvallarvegur and turn left onto Iðavellir — or turn right at the next roundabout near gasoline station onto Aðalgata and turn right onto Iðavellir.
Depart Reykjavik at 21:45 in the evening on Vueling flight for Barcelona — DO NOT BOOK A HOTEL
Arrive in Barcelona at 4:05 in the morning.
This was my itinerary for Iceland and will serve as the master guide for the articles pertaining to Iceland which are posted to The Gate.
As the itinerary and master guide series of articles is a new project which I have taken on for easier access to information, your thoughts and suggestions are welcomed and appreciated.
Other articles in the itinerary and master guide series at The Gate — but are still unfinished at the time this article was written — include:
- Easter Island: Itinerary and Master Guide [Work In Progress]
- Rocky Mountains of Canada: Itinerary and Master Guide [Work In Progress]
- The Master List of Itinerary and Main Guide Articles at The Gate
All photographs ©2018 by Brian Cohen.