Day Trip Destinations From Reykjavik, Iceland

Don’t worry if a short trip to Iceland means you have to stick close to its capital city, since there are plenty of stunning places you can visit within a days drive of Reykjavik. Whether you head to just one of these spots or link a few destinations together, you’re bound to have an epic day exploring Iceland’s dynamic landscapes.

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Reykjadalur Hot Spring

About 30 minutes southeast of Reykjavik. Hike up a beautiful valley surrounded by hazy thermal clouds of steam that dot the landscape. The upper basin of the valley has a boardwalk stretch along the river where temperatures are ideal to warm up in a natural "hot tub" surrounded by mountains.

Kerid Crater

About 1 hour southeast of Reykjavik. Walk the trail that circumnavigates the rim of the caldera or head straight down to the shore of the vibrant blue lake.

Bruarfoss

About 1.5 hours east of Reykjavik. Bruarfoss is a lightly trafficked waterfall with an unbelievable light blue hue that is tucked away just off the main route of the Golden Circle in a small neighborhood.

Haukadalur Valley - Strokkur Geyser

About 1.5 hours east of Reykjavik. With eruptions every 6-10 minutes, you’re guaranteed a show at this geothermal hotspot along the Golden Circle.

Gullfoss

About 1.5 hours east of Reykjavik. View the Olfusa river as it drops over 100 feet into a large crevice in the landscape while chilly mist billows all around you (rain jacket advised).

Hvita Glacial River

About 1 hour southeast of Reykjavik. Up your adventure for a day and enjoy Iceland’s landscapes while whitewater rafting down the bright turquoise waters of the Hvita.

Seljalandsfoss

About 1.5 hours southeast of Reykjavik. It is impossible to miss this 200-foot waterfall as you drive Route 1. Bring your raincoat and walk the trail that loops behind the waterfall, and if time permits head along the cliff to the neighboring hidden cascade, Gljufrafoss.

Gljufrafoss

About 1.5 hours southeast of Reykjavik. Bring shoes that are waterproof or at least have good traction, because you have to wade up a short distance up a shallow stream to get a good view of this waterfall tucked away in a small canyon just down the cliff from Seljalandsfoss.

Porsmork Flood Plain

About 2 hours southeast of Reykjavik. You’ll pass this beautiful rocky expanse as you head north from Route 1 towards the Porsmork Valley.

Porsmork Valley

About 2.5 hours southeast of Reykjavik. Porsmork is an off-roading adventure not meant for the average vehicle. It may be full of boulder-laden roads and nerve-racking river crossings, but it is a beautiful and remote escape from the heavily trafficked Golden Circle and southern portion of Route 1.

Porsmork Volcano Huts

About 2.5 hours southeast of Reykjavik. Most rental cars won’t be able to make it here, so book a ticket on one of the suped-up bus shuttles that run to the Volcano Huts during the summer season and hike the stunning panoramic trails of Porsmork.

Skogafoss

About 2 hours southeast of Reykjavik. Disappear into the mist at the base of Skogafoss or stay dry by walking up the stairs to the upper viewing platforms along the cliff to the right of the falls.

Solheimasandur Plane Crash Site

About 2 hours southeast of Reykjavik. A walk along a straight and seemingly endless road will take you to this '70s plane crash site that feels like it’s straight out of a post-apocalyptic film.

Solheimasandur Beach

About 2 hours southeast of Reykjavik. Continue past the Solheimasandur plane crash to the intimidatingly desolate black sand shoreline. With freezing waves crashing into the dunes with impressive force, this definitely isn’t a beach that inspires sunbathing.

Dyrholaey

About 2.5 hours southeast of Reykjavik. This small peninsula towers over the seemingly endless black sand beaches extending along the coast in both directions. During certain times of the year, visitors may even be able to spot some puffins along its rocky outcroppings!

Reynisfjara Beach

About 2.5 hours southeast of Reykjavik. This famous black sand beach located just outside the town of Vik is a must-see destination with its puffin-dotted columnar basalt cliffs, echoing caves and uniquely dark expanse of shoreline. Despite its beautiful landscape, the powerful waves and strong currents along this section of coast shouldn’t be underestimated, so mind your distance from the water's edge.

Fjadrargljufur

About 3 hours southeast of Reykjavik. This steep-walled canyon is a beautiful stop for a short hike and is only a short detour off the ring road near Skaftarhreppur.

Skaftafell National Park

About 4 hours southeast of Reykjavik. Located along the southern edge of Vatnajokull Glacier, this park offers visitors an opportunity to get up close and personal with towering glacial flows.

Fjallsarlon Glacial Lagoon

About 4.5 hours southeast of Reykjavik. Less crowded than Jokulsarlon, its neighboring glacial lagoon, Fjallsarlon has easily accessible trails that allow visitors to get right to the edge of the iceberg-strewn shoreline.

Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon

About 4.5 hours southeast of Reykjavik. Walk the shores of the frigid turquoise lagoon and watch the seals play between the icebergs, or take a boat trip out to get a closer view of the ever-changing massive blocks as they drift away from the glassy blue wall that marks the southern edge of the Vatnajokull glacier.

Diamond Beach

About 4.5 hours southeast of Reykjavik. Just across Route 1 from Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon is a beautiful stretch of black sand beach littered with ice shards cleaved from larger icebergs tumbling in the fierce waves along the shore as they float from the lagoon into the ocean.

Blue Lagoon

About 45 minutes south of Reykjavik. This geothermal spa sits at the top of most visitors' bucket lists of destinations to visit while in Iceland, and while there is no shortage of hot springs throughout the island, the Blue Lagoon is a unique way to relax for a day in the remote lava flows of the Reykjanes Peninsula.

Silfra Fissure

About 45 minutes east of Reykjavik. Experience every shade of blue snorkeling or diving between the plunging canyon walls that divide the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates.

Reykjanesfólkvangur Nature Reserve

About 30 minutes south of Reykjavik. This lava-formed landscape makes you feel as if you’ve been transported to an alien planet. It is a great extended drive to take if you're headed from the city to the Blue Lagoon, or you can explore the area more with one of the companies that offers caving tours in the lava tubes.

Krysuvik Geothermal Field

About 45 minutes south of Reykjavik. While the sulfuric smell might make you want to head for the hills (not advised since they are equally smelly here), visually this geothermal field is a great stop for anyone intrigued by the geothermal activity that makes Iceland's landscapes so diverse and beautiful.

Kolugljufur Gorge

About 2.5 hours northeast of Reykjavik. A short detour off the Route 1 along the 715 will lead you to this small but lush gorge and its cascading waterfalls, which are well worth a stop if you’re headed to the Vatnsnes Peninsula.

Vatnsnes Peninsula

About 2.5 hours northeast of Reykjavik. Drive the loop road around the peninsula and go seal spotting on this little-visited appendage off the north coast.

Hvitserkur

About 3 hours northeast of Reykjavik. At low tide you can walk out to this sea stack rock formation on the northeastern coast of Vatnsnes Peninsula.

Kirkjufell

About 2.5 hours north of Reykjavik. It’s hard to miss this well-photographed peak jutting up in solitude along the north coast of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, whose most recent claim to fame was an appearance in seasons 6 and 7 of Game of Thrones.

Kirkjufellsfoss

About 2.5 hours north of Reykjavik. You can find Kirkjufellsfoss just off the road along the coast and at the foot of the iconic Kirkjufell mountain.

Snaefellsjokull National Park

About 2.5 hours north of Reykjavik. Encompassing the westernmost portion of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, this 170-square-kilometer national park centers around the imposing Snaefellsjokull glacier, which caps a sprawling lava landscape before reaching the North Atlantic on three sides.

Snaefellsjokull Glacier

About 3 hours north of Reykjavik. There are plenty of ways for you to experience this icy expanse and volcanic summit made famous in Jules Verne's’ Journey to the Center of the Earth, but no matter if you choose to explore on (cramponed) foot, on skis or by riding a snowcat, you’re bound to be mesmerized by this stunning landscape.

Djupalonssandur Beach

About 2.5 hours north of Reykjavik. Visitors to Djupalonssandur Beach (located along the western edge of Snaefellsjokull National Park) can enjoy the landscape by walking the black stone beach, littered with rusted remains from a 1940s shipwreck, or stroll the trails along the surrounding lava cliffs.

Northern Lights

On occasion you may be able to glimpse this stunning natural phenomenon from Reykjavik, but your odds are much better if you head out of town a ways to escape the light pollution of the city.

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