What is there to see and do with 7 available days in Iceland? Is it enough to travel the full length of the country and fit in numerous activities? What do most people recommend for a week in Iceland? Read on to find out all you need to know about What To Do With 7 Days in Iceland.
Good news for you, a week is more than enough time to experience the many cultural and natural highlights on offer in Iceland. With one singular asphalt road, The Ring Road, circling the entirety of the island, travelling from one corner of the country to the next is more than possible in a 7-day timeline and leaves plenty of opportunities to fit in all kinds of activities and adventures.
Despite the apparent occurrence of spring and autumn, it is, undeniably, the summer and winter seasons that dominate the mind, culture and landscapes of the Icelandic psyche.
This is because of the seasonal extremes and the benefits they bring. The winter sees the Icelandic countryside blanketed with pure white snow, the Northern Lights dancing luminescent overhead. On the other hand, summer sees nearly 24 hour light under a phenomenon known as the Midnight Sun.
The winter season begins between September and October. In this time, the Central Highlands are inaccessible to hikers and vehicles, but freshly formed ice caves are ready for exploration (although tours only run between mid-October and November to March). The slopes of Iceland’s Ski and Snowboarding resorts also open in winter. Throughout this period, as previously mentioned, the Aurora Borealis is an elusive presence in the night sky.
Summer starts in March, although there will still likely be snow on the ground for the initial few weeks. The summer sees an abundance of creative and cultural energy as the local population ventures out into the sunshine with a range of festivities and events. Hikers will be able to now access the trails of Landmannalaugar and Þórsmörk Valley.
Whichever season you decide to travel here, you’ll be sure to find plenty of adventure, beauty and promise. Many travellers, in fact, choose to come back to Iceland in order to experience both seasons as it feels like visiting an entirely different country.
Thankfully, the majority of Iceland’s major attractions are readily available in both the winter and summer. One such example if the famous Blue Lagoon Spa, or the Golden Circle sightseeing route, which comprises of the three major features, Þingvellir National Park, Gullfoss waterfall and Haukadalur Geothermal Area. You can even go scuba diving and snorkelling in the dead of the winter, a truly unique and magical experience.
So you’ve managed to bag yourself a week in the summer to discover the many magical experiences in store for you in Iceland. Travellers during this period should make the most out of the long days, travelling as much of the country as they can in the time available. We would recommend that you spend at least one or two days in Iceland’s capital city, Reykjavík, before travelling out to the rest of the country.
To drive the full length of the Ring Road within a week, you will need to drive approximately four hours a day and limit your time at each attraction. Take into consideration that between late May and early August, you’ll have nearly 24 hours of daylight, providing plenty of time to explore, as well providing you with that extra burst of energy.
If you’re looking for a more relaxing holiday experience, then we would recommend choosing one particular region of the country to focus on. From the south-west, it is fairly easy to combine attractions found in the north and along the South Coast, and Iceland’s most popular sightseeing route, the Golden Circle, begins approximately forty minutes from the capital.
For those looking to remain independent and travel the country themselves, we would highly suggest this 7-Day Self-Drive | North Iceland + Mývatn package that takes you around the incredible natural attractions of Iceland's north. If you'd like to explore the other side of the country, here is a suggested 6-Day Self-Drive | South + Jökulsárlón, a tour that can be modified to add an extra day, and this self-drive trip to the highlands: 6-Day Self-Drive | Landmannalaugar + Þórsmörk.
If you'd rather not do the driving yourself, then you can choose between plenty of day trips or multi-day tours departing from Reykjavík. For example, this 7-Day Summer Package | Inside a Volcano & Glacier Lagoon provides a real insight into why Iceland is called "The Land of Ice & Fire", combining a glacier lagoon with a tour inside of a volcanic magma chamber.
These types of package are the perfect choice for those looking to avoid any organisational responsibility. For instance, you'll be picked up from the airport and driven directly to your accommodation or activity.
This leaves you, as the traveller, free to sit back and relax as nothing but gorgeous scenery and fascinating attractions pass by the Minibus window.
If you want to see as much of the country as possible—meaning, you'll want to conquer the entire Ring Road—then you can partake on this incredible 7-Days Guided Tour | Ringroad of Iceland.
However, take into consideration that this tour does not include a pick-up and drop-off at Keflavík airport, so you will have to arrive in Iceland the night before, making sure that you have an evening flight out of the country. Alternatively, you could add an extra day to your trip.
If you want a tour package that's really flexible, then consider this 7-Day Summer Package | Customize Your Trip, allowing you to choose between all sorts of exciting activities. Alternatively, with this tour, you could simply choose to spend more time in Reykjavík discovering the city's many museums, art galleries and cultural exhibitions.
Travelling Iceland in the wintertime is an entirely different story to the summer, requiring more forethought and respect. In the winter, it is a far easier and more sensible choice to stay close to Reykjavík, not venturing too far out into the harsh Icelandic wilderness.
Though it might sound strange to say, attempting to travel to some of the country's most remote spots during the winter is not only largely impossible, but dangerous, and puts yourself and others—including the rescue teams—at risk.
Each night throughout your week, you will want to ensure you're looking up at the sky, eagerly hunting down those elusive Northern Lights. Don't plan your trip solely around the Northern Lights, however, as there are plenty of other exciting places and things to see and do during your 7 days. Find the perfect balance between constant star-gazing and filling your evening with something else entirely.
Although day tours to the Golden Circle, half day tours to the Blue Lagoon and day tours to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula remain popular during wintertime. We here at Guide to Iceland would still recommend spending at least one night outside of Reykjavík, however, as it provides a fantastic opportunity to see mainland Iceland under a blanket of white snow.
If you only want to spend one night away from the bustling capital, then that should be on the South Coast of the country, home to the dazzling "Crown Jewel of Iceland", Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. The South Coast is more easily accessible than the north in the wintertime, although you should find driving to Akureyri or Mývatn relatively clear too.
With only a week, you'll need to make your choice of heading north or south—driving the whole circle should not be attempted in the wintertime, especially in under 7 days.
The daylight hours are notoriously short (maximum; 4 hours) and the weather is incredibly unpredictable, often switching from clear skies to fierce storms in under half an hour. There is also a far higher degree of ice and snow on the roads, meaning journey times are far longer than if conditions were optimum.
However, the 7-Day Guided Winter Tour | Half Circle of Iceland and Flight Back to Reykjavik does a half circle of Iceland before flying you back to Reykjavík from the northern "capital" of Akureyri.
In mid-winter, you will likely be presented the chance to enter one of Iceland's most stunning natural attractions: an ice cave underneath a glacier.
The ice caves are stunningly blue and simply magnificent to see, providing fantastic opportunities for photography and gaining a deeper insight into the geological makeup of the country. A visit to an ice cave cannot be guaranteed, however, as actually reaching them is highly dependent on the weather.
If it's too warm or has recently been raining, the ice caves will quickly begin to melt, making them unsafe to enter. And yet, if you are in the south-east part of the country and conditions for ice caving are optimum, you might find yourself lucky enough to experience one of the most dazzling and authentically Icelandic activities available.
The following 7-Day Winter Self-Drive | Northern Lights Hunt takes you directly to the South Coast of Iceland, one of the island's most picturesque strips. Again, if you're hoping to explore Iceland's northern side, you can partake in the 7-Day Winter Self-Drive | North Iceland + Golden Circle, which also allows time to enjoy attractions in Iceland's south-west.
Again, if you'd prefer to go on an organised tour rather than drive yourself, then we'd recommend this 7-Day Winter Vacation | Northern Lights and Ice Cave Treat package or, alternatively, this 5-Day Winter Package.
If you're feeling even more adventurous, then check out this 3-Day Winter Tour To Landmannalaugar. There are also plenty of day tours or shorter 2-day excursions available in wintertime. Find all tours available here.
Also be sure to check out our other suggested itineraries, for 3, 4, 5 or 6 days! We wish you all the best for your week's holiday in Iceland.
What did you get up to during your week in Iceland? Did you travel here in the summer or the winter? Please, feel free to leave thoughts and queries in the Facebook comments box below.