Iceland, often referred to as the land of fire and ice, is a magnificent country unlike any other in the world. If you are reading this itinerary, then you are likely looking for a 4 day Iceland itinerary. While 4 days in Iceland may not seem like enough time to explore such a unique country, it is certainly enough time to get a sample of what it has to offer before committing to a longer trip! This 4 day itinerary packs in a great number of activities and experiences in and around Reykjavik, however, it leaves some time and flexibility to get to know the city.
Note: This itinerary is built around my visit to Iceland in May, and certain activities (such as horseback riding) might not be available in the winter months. If you are planning a trip to Iceland for the winter time, I would recommend dropping horseback riding and adding in a night tour to try and chase the Northern Lights!
4 Day Iceland Itinerary
Day 1 – Arrive in Reykavik:
Upon arrival to the airport in Reykjavik, I would recommend taking a shuttle to the city center to kick off your 4 days in Iceland. There are a few shuttles that allow you to book transportation to your hotel in advance – we used Flybus by Reykjavik Excursions. Upon checking into your hotel (or dropping your bags if you arrive before check-in time), I would head straight over to Reykjavik Roasters to get your trip started off right. This charming Icelandic coffee shop offers strong coffee, and is ideally located a short walk from Hallgrimskirkja Church. After enjoying your coffee, friendly company, and ambiance at Reykjavik Roasters, I would head straight for the this iconic church. After taking some photos out front, head inside to admire the beautiful architecture. Pay a small fee to head to the top of the building for a birds eye view of the city – simply breathtaking!
After climbing down from the viewpoint, head over to the Perlan. The Perlan is a combination of a museum, planetarium, and revolving restaurant. It is a must-visit while you are in Reykjavik, as the incredible architecture and views from the structure are not to be missed. If you are feeling hungry, I would head to the restaurant on the top floor of the glass-dome structure.
At this point, the jet lag and exhaustion from travel will probably be hitting you (at least it did for us)! We chose to head back to our hotel at this point to relax for a bit, then went to the beer garden at our hotel (Fosshotel Reykjavik). Even if you are not staying at Fosshotel, it is worthwhile to make a stop here for some Icelandic pub food and local beer at some point during your time in the city.
Day 2 – The Golden Circle:
No trip to Iceland would be complete without visiting the famed Golden Circle. Since we opted not to rent a car during our trip, we booked an excursion through Extreme Iceland – the Golden Circle Complete Tour. We had an amazing time on our tour and our guide was fantastic, but there are plenty of options to choose from on sites like TripAdvisor and Viator as well! The tour operator picked us up directly from our hotel in the morning, and we went to a wide variety of places on the tour.
The day started at the Geothermal Exhibition at Hellisheidi Power Plant, which was unexpectedly one of our favorite stops! It was incredibly interesting to learn all about how Iceland is powered by geothermal energy, and the history behind it. We made many nature stops along the way, including the three most popular spots – Gullfoss waterfall, the Geysir, and Thingvellir National Park. In addition to these well-known stops, we also visited Kerid crater and a lovely local farm for some ice cream. Each and every stop was an incredible sight to see, and I rarely put my camera down the entire tour! My favorite stop was most certainly Gullfoss waterfall, as the rainbows were almost as magical as the waterfall itself.
Day 3 – Wildlife Sightseeing and Explore Reykjavik:
After a long day of touring the entire Golden Circle, we set aside day 3 of our 4 days in Iceland as an opportunity to further explore Reykjavik at our own pace. I would recommend waking up early and taking a walk along the water on Sæbraut road. Make your way to the iconic Voyager Sculpture, while taking in breathtaking views of the mountains. As you continue walking, you should head towards the Harpa, the city’s conference center and concert hall, to admire the building’s architecture. The unique design looks almost like a honeycomb, and it is well worth popping inside to admire it further.
After this, we explored the waterfront area before heading on our Puffin Sightseeing Tour (booked in advance). Whether or not you are a big wildlife enthusiast, this tour is worth it for the views from the boat alone! We found that many tour companies seemed a tad overpriced for this type of tour, but we ended up discovering Special Tours Wildlife Adventures, which had an affordable 1 Hour Puffin Tour. Depending on the time of year that you visit, you might prefer a whale watching tour – either way, I feel that taking a boat ride to see some of Iceland’s wildlife up close and personal is well worth it!
After seeing hundreds of adorable puffins (or other wildlife of your choosing), I would recommend grabbing lunch from the famed Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur hot dog stand! Conveniently located near the waterfront, this is a must do while you are in Iceland. After this, I would recommend exploring the nearby shopping area, and walking further into the city of Reykjavik to explore! We spent our afternoon (and evening) exploring the city at our leisure, and popping into pubs and shops as we saw fit. If you are looking for some authentic Icelandic dinner options, I would recommend checking out this article from Savored Journeys which walks through some awesome options!
4 Day Iceland Itinerary Day 4: Viking Horseback Riding & Blue Lagoon:
No visit to Iceland would be complete without horseback riding and visiting the famed Blue Lagoon! We decided to hit both of these options on our last day in Iceland to end our 4 days in Iceland on a high note. We booked a tour through Viator which took us to a farm for horseback riding on the viking horses, followed by a relaxing afternoon spent at the Blue Lagoon. Horseback riding on the viking horses among the beautiful Icelandic landscape was one of the most amazing experiences I had on this trip, and I highly recommend making time for it during your time in Iceland.
After bidding farewell to our new viking horse friends, we were transported to the Blue Lagoon. I had no idea that the Blue Lagoon was also a spa and resort before my visit, so I was pleasantly surprised to arrive at such a luxurious place! They have spa treatment options there that you can take advantage of, such as face masks and hair treatments. Another fun discovery I made while at the Blue Lagoon was that there was a bar in the lagoon – swim up bar (and day drinking) took on a whole new meaning for me in this beautiful moment. I recommend grabbing a glass of wine (or two) and relaxing in the lagoon for as long as you can!
If your flight home is on the evening of Day 4, there are ample transport options to get you to the airport directly from the Blue Lagoon (through shuttle companies like Flybus by Reykjavik Excursions). Our flight was the following morning, so we took transportation directly back from the Blue Lagoon to our hotel and enjoyed one last night in Iceland. By the end of our trip, we had determined we did not want to leave Iceland – ever. But alas, we had jobs, our dog-child, and other responsibilities awaiting us at home. The following morning, we made our way to the airport via our pre-booked shuttle, and headed home.
I hope this 4 Day Iceland Itinerary was helpful in your planning, or has sparked an interest in visiting this awe-inspiring country! Although we have not yet returned to Iceland, we are hoping to make our way back someday to explore more of the island! If you have any questions about our 4 days in Iceland, our experience, or Reykjavik, please feel free to leave a comment below. Happy Travels! xx