If you want to see the best of what Iceland has to offer, you’ll want to check out this 8 day Southern Iceland Road Trip Itinerary!
If you can stay longer in Iceland, we highly recommend that, but if you want to fit in all the best landmarks, activities, and delicious food into 8 days, we have all the plans you need! Iceland was a dream destination for us and we loved every minute of our time there! We have a full Iceland with Kids: Family Travel Guide, but here’s the itinerary you need to go along with it!
Overview of Our 8 Days Southern Iceland Trip
Iceland is a gorgeous country with so many natural wonders and spectacular scenery! From sight seeing to enjoying the local food options, experiencing lagoons, hiking, and so much more, there is so much to see and do!
Click here to read our full Iceland Family Travel Guide for tips on where to stay, things to see and do, where to eat, and more!
8-Day Southern Iceland Road Trip Itinerary
This itinerary will take you through all the must-see, do, and taste experiences that we enjoyed on our trip.
Getting to Iceland
Iceland only has one major airport that you can fly into and it takes about 45 minutes to get to the city of Reykjavik. Wherever you fly out of internationally, you’ll fly into this airport in Iceland. You can learn more about our experience with our flight and the airport here.
Day 1 of the Southern Iceland Road Trip Itinerary:
5 AM: Arrive at the airport in Iceland. Be sure to get breakfast at the airport, which has plenty of shops and restaurants, before you leave since most places outside of the airport won’t be open at this time. Pick up your rental car at the airport.
6:30: From the airport, head to the Bridge between Continents. Make sure you are dressed warm, it will be cold! It’s a close walk from the parking lot and you will only need 10 or 15 minutes here.
8:00: Reservation at Blue Lagoon (be sure to schedule this in advance).
Noon: Head to the grocery store to stock up on food before you go to your accommodations. Costco is on the way! Then head to Reykjavik. Our kids napped in the car, so that was a plus for that car ride.
3pm: Check into the hotel, get settled, and take naps if needed.
7pm: After dinner jump into the car and head out of the city to check out the Northern Lights. We drove towards Þingvellir national park after we realized it was a little too bright in town to see them. There are many pull offs on the side of the road to park and watch.
Head back to the apartment/hotel to sleep.
Day 2 of the Southern Iceland Road Trip Itinerary: Golden Circle
Morning: Wake up, pack up, and check out. It’s time to head to your next location!
11am: Grab breakfast at Stand Holt. We loved the waffle with gouda and fried egg and the avocado toast with fried egg! Kids eat free here, but keep in mind that food prices in Iceland are expensive. Even though the kids ate free, the bill was still $70 USD. We also took pastries to go for a car ride.
We spent about 45 minutes on breakfast.
Next up, head to Þingvellir National Park: a 45 minute drive from the city. We saw a beautiful waterfall and canyon. We did have to pay 760 kroner for parking, and we spent about 30 minutes here.
From there head to Stokker Geyser: There is a restaurant with restrooms but it closes around 5:30 so we were there too late to check them out. The geyser erupts every 7 minutes or so. Parking is across the street and it’s free. We spent 30 minutes here.
Take a 10 minute drive to Gulfoss waterfall: There is also a restaurant, gift shop, and restrooms here, which close at 7. There are three viewpoints to see the waterfall and my favorite was down the stairs. In the summer there is a path to get really close but that path is closed in winter. You’ll take a short walk from the parking area to the waterfall. When wind blows over frozen water it’s very cold so make sure you’re dressed appropriately! This waterfall is absolutely beautiful so I highly recommend you do not miss this stop!
We drove to Hellisholar cottages next, which was an hour and a half from Gulfoss but closer for our plans the next day!
If we had more time we would have loved to visit the Secret Lagoon, since it was on the way, but instead we saved that for the way back as well as Solfoss Waterfall.
Day 3 of the Southern Iceland Road Trip Itinerary:
We got an early start to explore the southern part of Iceland.
Early AM: Wake up, pack up, and stop by the grocery store close by to stock up on food for the day. Remember those restaurant prices are very high!
First stop is Seljlandafoss: If you are there at just the right time you’ll catch a beautiful rainbow! In the summer you can take a bath behind the waterfall, but it’s closed in the winter. You’ll have to pay for parking.
Make sure to walk to the right of Seljlandafoss to check out a hidden gem, the Gljúfrabúi waterfall. You have to hike into a little cave to find it but it’s well worth it! It might be one of the most beautiful things I have seen so I would recommend not missing it for sure! Be sure to have proper footwear for this excursion. Waterproof shoes or hiking boots will be best. Also a rain jacket may be a good idea because of the spray.
Seljlandafoss has restrooms, a cafe, and a cute little shop for souvenirs. Stop at the restrooms before you leave, the next stop has fewer facilities.
Next up, Skogafoss: Once you arrive, you’ll take a short walk from the parking lot. You can climb to the top viewpoint or take pictures from below. This place is absolutely breathtaking! There are restrooms, but there aren’t as many public facilities here as there are at Seljlandafoss.
From there, head to Reynisfjara Beach: This beach has black sand with amazing cliffs that are really a site to see! Be careful of waves sneaking up on you and never turn your back to the ocean.
We made PB&J sandwiches in the car on our way to our accommodations. Read more about the cottages and where to stay in Iceland here.
We ended the day at the cottages.
Day 4 of the Southern Iceland Road Trip Itinerary
Early AM: We made breakfast in the cottage, checked out, and then got back on the road toward our next destination.
First top, Skaftafell: This is a hike uphill. It was longer than other hikes we have done and there’s a great visitor center with a cafe to visit as well.
Up next, Glacier Lagoon: The lagoon is filled with enormous icebergs that have broken off from the glacier and float in the water. It’s surrounded by beautiful mountains and is a must see!
Diamond Beach was up next: This is a great attraction for photography and site seeing because it’s a picturesque beach full of black volcanic sand and chunks of ice, with the waves of the Atlantic Ocean crashing in the background. Unfortunately, we were unable to see the glaciers while we were there.
We ended the day checking into our hotel in Hofn.
Day 5 of the Southern Iceland Road Trip Itinerary
AM: The weather prevented us from going north as planned, so we decided to go back the way we came to catch sites we didn’t see the first time.
First we stopped by Diamond Beach again. This time it was earlier in the morning and we were able to see the glaciers this time.
Next up, we hiked Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon. This canyon is considered one of the most beautiful places in the whole country. You won’t want to miss it!
Continuing our drive, we stopped in Vik at Skool beans Cafe. This is a cafe in a school bus and the kids loved it! You can read more about it in our Iceland Travel Guide.
Next we stopped at Seljlandafoss again and caught a waterfall.
We ended the night at our accommodations at Midguard Base Camp. This was our favorite place we stayed in Iceland. Learn more about it and our other accommodations in our Iceland Travel Guide.
Day 6 of the Southern Iceland Road Trip Itinerary
Secret Lagoon: We spent the majority of our day at this geothermal pool located in the Flúðir village in the south of Iceland. It’s a really cool place and believed to be the oldest swimming pool in the country! The lagoon is fed by a hot spring that heats the water to a comfortable temperature, even when it’s freezing outside. You can hang out and relax, swim and take in the view. Plus there’s a small Geyser that erupts every few minutes.
Day 7 of the Southern Iceland Road Trip Itinerary
Spend the seventh day at the Laugarvatn Fontana. Make sure to check out the geothermal bakery experience and the geothermal baths.
Next we continued on back to Reykjavik.
We ate Reykjavik street food for dinner. Try the fish and chips!
Day 8 of the Southern Iceland Road Trip Itinerary
Spend the day exploring Reykjavik. Check out Rainbow Road, a really cool and beautiful spot in the heart of the town. It’s an actual rainbow colored road! Grab a snack at the Broad and Co Bakery. Try a signature hot dog from the Baejarins Beztu Pylsur food stand!
Finally, head to the airport for your flight home.
Major Takeaways from our Southern Iceland Road Trip
Road-tripping through Iceland was an incredible experience! Our biggest takeaway is to be prepared for adventure! Since Iceland’s weather can change at any time, you may have to change plans at any time as well. Embrace it and enjoy the ride! You and your kids will love the sites and experiences of Iceland!