V

Visiting Iceland Without a Car – Day Trip Ideas From the Capital

Icelandair Stopover

Unless you’ve been living under a rather large rock, there’s a fairly good chance you’re aware of just how attractive Iceland is right now. But with prohibitively increasing car rental costs and rare accommodation outside the capital, planning a road trip can be a daunting task. Fret not: I’ve compiled a list of places that are doable as day trips from Reykjavik.

Visiting Iceland without a car is surprisingly easy as there is only one major ring road and plenty of tour operators catering to permit-free visitors or simply those who’d rather not be bothered with a vehicle.

Whether you’re after northern lights, scenic lookouts, exhilarating adventures or just the plain old scenic route, there’s a tour tailor-made for you.

Golden Circle

Gullfoss Waterfall - The Best Day Trips From Reykjavik
Gullfoss
Hiking in Þingvellir National Park - The Best Day Trips From Reykjavik
Þingvellir National Park
Þingvellir National Park - The Best Day Trips From Reykjavik
Þingvellir National Park

This quintessentially Icelandic expedition encompasses some of Iceland’s most photographed and notorious sights, including the tectonic rift at Þingvellir National Park (where it’s not only possible but strongly encouraged to walk in) and the literally boiling Strokkur geyser, as well as the multi-tiered Gullfoss waterfall and Kerið crater lake. Nearby is the Laugarvatn Fontana wellness centre, featuring natural hot springs and geothermal pools – a quieter, cheaper, and more tranquil alternative to the Blue Lagoon.

This tour can technically be done is just a few hours time, making it ideal for travellers with limited time on their hands.

The best day trips to the Golden Circle from Reykjavik:

Exhilarating Adventures

Clearest waters in Silfra - The Best Day Trips From Reykjavik
Otherworldly waters in Silfra
Glaciers in Iceland - Langjökull - The Best Day Trips From Reykjavik
Inside Langjökull

It would be an understatement to say that thrill-seekers will have a field day in adventurous Iceland!

Go deep into Europe‘s second largest glacier at Langjökull, hike up Snæfellsjökull — the glacier that inspired Jules Verne’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth — explore all-natural ice caves at Jökulsárlón, scuba dive in the world’s clearest waters at the tectonic drift in Þingvellir National Park, mingle with birds and whales on a kayaking expedition in the West Fjords or trek on one of the world’s most active volcanoes, Hekla — which, funnily enough, is nicknamed the “Gateway to Hell”.

Iconic, much?

The best adventure day trips from Reykjavik:

Snaefellsness Peninsula

Snaefellsness Peninsula, Stykkishólmur boat trip - The Best Day Trips from Reykjavik
Fishing expedition out of Stykkishólmur
Kirkjufellsfoss, Snaefellsness Peninsula - The Best Day Trips from Reykjavik
Kirkjufell
Snaefellsness Peninsula, Djúpalónssandur - The Best Day Trips From Reykjavik
Snæfellsjökull
Waterfalls in Iceland - Hraunfossar, Snaefellsness Peninsula - The Best Day Trips from Reykjavik
Hraunfossar

Often described as Iceland in a nutshell, this 90-kilometre long charming peninsula does indeed comprise an impressive concentration of the Iceland’s most evocative attractions: glaciers (Langjökull, Snæfellsjökull), oddly shaped mountains (Kirkjufell), waterfalls (Hraunfossar, Kirkjufellfoss), adorable fishing villages (Stykkishólmur, Grundarfjörður), dramatic beaches and cliffs (Gatklettur, Lóndrangar, Hellnar, Arnarstapi, Djúpalónssandur), lava fields (Berserkjahraun), and saga-related sites (Bárðar Saga statue).

This is the perfect destination for Icelandair stopover first-timers on a mission to fully grasp what Iceland is about, with just a handful of days on their hands to explore.

The best day trips from Reykjavik to  Snaefellsness Peninsula:

South Iceland

Waterfalls in Iceland - Seljalandsfoss, South Iceland - The Best Day Trips From Reykjavik
Seljalandsfoss
Waterfalls in Iceland - Skogarfoss - The Best Day Trips From Reykjavik
Skogarfoss
Driving-in-South-Iceland---The-Best Day-Trips-From-Reykjavik
Along Route 1, heading East
Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon - The Best Day Trips From Reykjavik
Jökulsárlón glaciers

The attractive road trip will take you to the East Fjords and back and along some of Iceland’s most jaw-dropping vistas.

Notable and worthwhile stops include Seljalandsfoss, Seljavellir, a concealed man-made hot spring pool right at the foot of Eyjafjallajökull, the Westman Islands, Skogarfoss, the Folk Museum, Dyrholaey and the Reynisfjara black sand beach, Vatnajökull glacier and the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, the picturesque fishing hamlet of Hofn, and, lastly, the stunningly beautiful east fjords – all of which will be awash with Icelandic horses and lush lupine expanses.

This is the lengthiest possible way to fully take advantage of a stopover in Iceland, but it’s also one of the most rewarding.

The best day trips from Reykjavik to South Iceland:

CategoriesIceland
Marie-Eve

Marie is a native Montrealer trying to balance a deep love for her hometown and an unquenchable thirst for travel and discovery. She has been to more than 36 countries, lived abroad in both France and the U.K., and is always on the lookout for authentic experiences wherever she travels -- especially if it involves chocolate.