best day trip reykjavik

21 Best Day Trips from Reykjavik to Take in 2024

We hand-picked a list of the 21 best day trips from Reykjavik to help you plan your trip. Many visitors choose Reykjavik as their base for exploring Iceland. It’s not necessarily a bad choice because Reykjavik is close to many charming spots one can make a day trip to.

Having visited Iceland numerous times over several years, we list here exclusively the places that can realistically be planned for as a day trip, and we also believe are worth your precious time in Iceland!

We include all kinds of activities to offer a diverse range of adventures for all types of explorers. Our Reykjavik day trip guide should give you a good overview of what’s out there and what to choose to have an unforgettable Icelandic holiday!

1. Thórsmörk

thorsmork valahnjukur hiking trail

Hiking trip in Þórsmörk valley

What is it: a scenic valley
Where is it: near Hvolsvöllur
Distance from Reykjavik: 3 hours, or 130km (81mi)
How to reach it: super jeep tour, self-drive with a jeep or highland bus
When to go: self-drive in summer only, super jeep tours all-year-round
Best for: hikers and nature lovers

Why go

Þórsmörk is a hidden gem away from all the tourist crowds and yet pretty close to the main Icelandic ring road. Thórsmörk can easily be done as a day trip from Reykjavik. It’s a go-to place for every hiking enthusiast or avid nature explorer.

Lush green valleys intersected with hundreds of riverbeds with majestic glaciers sitting above this awe-inspiring scenery. That, and much more, is Þórsmörk.

How to get there

To reach the Valley of Thor, you have to overcome a rough highland road F249. This so-called F-road requires a huge jeep because of the several significant rivers you must cross on your way.

There are three different ways to get to Thórsmörk:

  1. Take a guided Thórsmörk super jeep tour
  2. Take a public Highland bus to Þórsmörk
  3. Drive to Thórsmörk yourself

It takes less than 3 hours to reach Thórsmörk from Reykjavik.

Tip from a local

  • It’s best to visit Þórsmörk between June and September when all the snow is melted and the valley is the most colorful.
  • Plan for doing at least one hike. It’s more than just worth it!

Our experience

We drove to Thórsmörk ourselves with a modified Toyota Land Cruiser we rented in August. It was one of the highlights of our trip to Iceland. We wrote a detailed guide on visiting Þórsmörk and dealing with its challenges.

2. Kerlingarfjöll

kerlingarfjöll hveradalir geothermal area

One of the Best Day Trips from Reykjavik – Kerlingarfjöll Hveradalir Geothermal area

What is it: orange mountains
Where is it: central highlands of Iceland
Distance from Reykjavik: 3.5 hours, or 190km (118mi)
How to reach it: guided tour, or self-drive with a 4x4
When to go: hiking possible in summer only
Best for: hikers and nature lovers

Why go

Kerlingarfjöll is one of the most otherwordly spots you can visit as a day trip from Reykjavik. You will be hiking orange mountains full of steaming Sulphur and bubbling hot springs. We guarantee you’re going to feel like you’re on another planet!

Kerlingarfjöll is a must-see if you are into remote places in harsh surroundings and enjoy silence rather than company. Be sure to take any hike here, and your jaw will drop.

How to get there

To reach Kerlingarfjöll, you can either:

  1. Drive there via rough but rather easy roads 35 and F347
  2. Take a guided Kerlingarfjöll tour

Tip from a local

  • Kerlingarfjöll typically enjoys volatile weather. A visit in heavy rain and wind may be quite unpleasant. We suggest carefully planning the trip according to the local weather forecast.
  • Dress well! It will be cold, even in summer. When camping, remember that summer night temperatures may fall as low as 0°C, or 32°F.

Our experience

We have visited Kerlingarfjöll several times and have always struggled with harsh weather. We wrote a detailed article on How to visit Kerlingarfjöll and what to see.

On one trip, we even took a hike to the tallest peak of Kerlingarfjöll called Snaekollur, and we can’t recommend it enough!

It takes about 3 hours and 30 minutes to get to Kerlingarfjöll from Reykjavik.

3. Snæfellsnes

kirkjufell in winter iceland

Kirkjufell in winter, the most legendary place on a Snæfellsnes peninsula

What is it: a scenic peninsula
Where is it: west Iceland
Distance from Reykjavik: 2 hours, or 140km (87mi)
How to reach it: self-drive or a guided tour
When to go: any time
Best for: easy day trip for anyone

Why go

Snæfellsnes peninsula is a great day trip spot full of natural wonders and mesmerizing coastal sceneries not too far from Reykjavik. It’s very well accessible with basically any car and almost any time of the year.

Some of the most photographed spots in Iceland, like Kirkjufell or Budakirkja, are in the heart of Snæfellsnes. Unique cliff formations, black beaches, narrow ravines for adventurers and even seals! You can find all of these in Snæfellsnes.

How to get there

It will take you slightly over 2 hours of driving to get to Snæfellsnes from Reykjavik. Driving is the easiest and most convenient way to access Snæfellsnes.

Tip from a local

  • By far the most sought-after spot is Mt. Kirkjufell. We recommend visiting Kirkjufell before 10 AM or after 7 PM to avoid big tour groups.
  • There’s a cute little hill with lovely views called Helgafell, where almost nobody goes. Check it out!

Our experience

We visited Snæfellsnes three times. We enjoyed each trip a lot and highly recommend seeing the peninsula both in summer and winter. It looks entirely different when covered by snow in February, opposite to lush green surroundings in July or August.

4. Katla Ice Cave

katla ice cave day trip

Katla is the Best Ice Cave that can be done all year round as a Day Trip from Reykjavik

What is it: an ice cave
Where is it: south Iceland, close to Vik
Distance from Reykjavik: 3 hours, or 200km (125mi)
How to reach it: a guided tour only
When to go: all-year-round
Best for: any ice cave enthusiast

Why go

Katla is the most beautiful ice cave doable as a day trip from Reykjavik. And we don’t know anybody who was not impressed by Katla! It’s a one-of-a-kind ice cave consisting of glacial ice and black volcanic ash. Out of this world, colors will follow you with each step.

How to get there

To visit Katla, you have to take a Katla guided tour. Visiting the cave by yourself is very dangerous and highly discouraged.

The best tour operator in Iceland running Katla Ice Cave tours is:

A ride to Katla from Reykjavik takes something over 3 hours.

Tip from a local

  • Katla is the only natural ice cave in Iceland open all year round for visitors.

Our experience

If you could choose a season, we recommend going to Katla in winter. Katla typically possesses the most shiny colors between November and April in winter. You can also visit Katla outside of winter, and it’s still awesome, just a bit smaller and less shiny.

5. Snowmobiling

snowmobiling from gullfoss

Snowmobiling day trip from Gullfoss

What is it: a guided tour
Where is it: central Iceland, next to Gullfoss Falls (pickup point)
Distance from Reykjavik: 2 hours, or 120km (75mi)
How to reach it: a super jeep tour from Reykjavik, or self-drive to Gullfoss
When to go: all-year-round
Best for: thrill seekers

Why go

What about snowmobiling on a glacier besides volcanoes during the sunset? Too much of a cliché? Well, it’s entirely possible in Iceland!

Various tour providers offer the snowmobiling experience in Iceland. The two best ones are also located the closest to Reykjavik:

How to get there

To take a snowmobile tour, you can take either:

  1. Tour from Reykjavik: Take a combo super jeep tour of snowmobiles with Golden Circle or
  2. Self-Drive to meeting point: Either to Gullfoss (Mountaineers) or Myrdalsjökull (Icelandic Mountain Guides) and take just the snowmobile tour directly there

Reaching Gullfoss or Myrdalsjökull from Reykjavik will take you around 2 hours.

Tip from a local

  • The cheapest way to enjoy the snowmobile is to ride on a shared snowmobile with your companion. Separate snowmobiles are priced higher.

Our experience

We are young, and we love adventure and speed. This means we would always choose the fastest snowmobiling tour available. Currently, Mountaineers run the fastest one from Gullfoss on a Langjökull glacier. The fast-paced tour is a bit pricier but comes with fewer fellow riders.

6. Southern Highlands Safari

highlands jeep day trip reykjavik

Best Super Jeep Day Trip from Reykjavik? Try Highlands with Midgard Adventure! 10% discount code: EPICICELAND10

What is it: isolated canyons, hills, and deserted roads
Where is it: an area between Vik, Hvolsvöllur (pickup point) and Landmannalaugar
Distance from Reykjavik: 1.5 hours, or 110km (70mi)
How to reach it: a super jeep tour from Hvolsvöllur, or self-drive with a jeep
When to go: from July to September
Best for: those who love remote sceneries

Why go

Southern Highlands of Iceland are our personal favorite when it comes to day trips from Reykjavik. It will be a long day, but the one you will never forget!

There’s just so much to see in the highlands, and basically, any place there looks like on another planet. You will be fording rivers with a jeep, exploring green volcanos, and admiring the harsh power of the Icelandic wilderness.

How to get there

Reaching the southern highlands of Iceland requires a large 4×4 car and sound driving experience, including crossing treacherous rivers. You have two options when it comes to visiting the highlands:

  1. Study, practice, plan, and drive there on your own or
  2. Take a guided super jeep tour (10% discount code: EPICICELAND10)

Tip from a local

  • One day is not enough to explore every single place in the southern highlands. It could take you weeks to do so. Nevertheless, even one day in the highlands is much better than no day!

Our experience

We’ve driven across the southern highlands countless times and never stopped admiring them. This is simply our most beloved corner of Iceland. We write extensively about every place we’ve ever visited in the highlands for free on our website.

Don’t underestimate the highlands! Always check the road conditions before going, and when feeling unsure, better don’t go!

7. Solheimajökull glacier

iceland glacier tour

Solheimajökull Glacier hike is the nearest glacier hiking trip you can take from Reykjavik

What is it: a glacier to hike and a glacier lagoon to sail on
Where is it: between Vik and Hvolsvöllur in the south
Distance from Reykjavik: 2.5 hours, or 160km (100mi)
How to reach it: a self-drive to a meeting point at the glacier or a combo tour from Reykjavik
When to go: any time
Best for: glacier and winter lovers

Why go

Do you want to hike on a glacier near Reykjavik? Then, your best choice for a day trip would be a Solheimajökull glacier hike. Is that not enough? Well, then you can also take a kayaking tour of the glacial lagoon right next to the glacier!

Solheimajökull is the closest glacier to Reykjavik, providing excellent hiking and canoeing opportunities. Blue ice, white ice, ice covered with ash, or icebergs in a lagoon are just an introduction to this ice paradise.

How to get there

You can reach Solheimajökull in about two and a half hours from Reykjavik. The ride there is easy and just follows the ring road.

To hike the glacier, you have to take a guided tour. It’s too dangerous to go on your own.

Tip from a local

Our experience

We had the best experience at Solheimajökull with the two most experienced local glacier hiking companies:

  1. Icelandic Mountain Guides, 5% discount code: EPICICELAND24
  2. Arctic Adventures, 5% discount code: EPICICELAND23

8. Hvammsvik

hvammsvik hot springs iceland

Hvammsvík Hot Spring is possibly the best hot spring day trip from Reykjavik! Image courtesy to: https://hvammsvik.com/

What is it: a man-made hot spring with a scenic view
Where is it: north of Reykjavik
Distance from Reykjavik: 1 hour, or 55km (35mi)
How to reach it: an easy self-drive or guided tours
When to go: any time
Best for: relax in the natural scenery

Why go

Hvammsvik hot spring offers a unique combination of a luxurious spa with Icelandic wilderness. The hot spa overlooks the fantastic scenery of Hvalfjordur Bay, with picturesque mountains in the background.

A combination of hot water and beautiful views of the fjord makes Hvammsvik a perfect spot for a relaxing day.

How to get there

Hvammsvik is a top candidate for one of the best day trips from Reykjavik. It’s conveniently located just about an hour of drive from the Reykjavik city centre.

Our readers can use a 10% discount code: EPICICELAND10 on Classic and Comfort tickets bought online.

Alternatively, many guided tours visit Hvammsvik on a daily basis. You can either join one of these tours or simply drive to Hvammsvik yourself via easy and well-maintained roads.

We can highly recommend a Hvammsvik guided tour with Golden Circle run by NiceTravel, a top local family company. You can use a 5% discount code: EPICICELAND on their tours.

Tip from a local

  • Regardless of whether you’re a couple, a single traveler, or a family with small children, we are sure you will enjoy Hvammsvik! Just check out the reviews anywhere online.

Our experience

We haven’t visited Hvammsvik yet, but we are really looking forward to it! We’ve heard so many spectacular references about this place. We plan to visit Hvammsvik during shoulder season, like April, May, or October, to avoid crowds.

9. Hrunalaug

hrunalaug hot spring

Amazing scenery around Hrunalaug hot spring

What is it: a wild hot spring on a grass field
Where is it: near the town of Fludir
Distance from Reykjavik: 1.5 hours, or 110km (68mi)
How to reach it: self-drive only
When to go: any time
Best for: relax in the natural scenery

Why go

Hrunalaug hot spring is one of the most picturesque Icelandic hot springs. As it is located close to the Golden Circle, “Hruni” has become a viral spot and a popular day trip from Reykjavik.

Netflix could easily feature Hrunalaug in a fairy tale. Green grass, sheep eating it, and in the midst of this scenery, an old wooden shelter with a hot pot next to it.

How to get there

The only way to visit Hrunalaug is to drive there. No tours are stopping at Hrunalaug.

That being said, Hrunalaug is an easy one-and-a-half-hour-long drive from Reykjavik.

Tip from a local

  • Hrunalaug sits on private land, and you must pay for pool access.
  • The hot spring has become quite crowded; better visit it during unusual times.

Our experience

We visited Hrunalaug for the first time in the summer of 2020 during the worldwide Covid lockdowns. The charm of the hot spring quickly enchanted us. Only until we had a very peculiar experience with a young Icelander in the hot pot :).

We’ve also been to Hrunalaug in winter and can confirm it’s an equally good choice. Maybe even more charming when you bathe with snow and ice everywhere around you.

10. Black Sand Beach

reynisfjara beach winter

One of the most popular day trips from Reykjavik, Reynisfjara beach, can easily get crowded also in winter. This is one of the most touristy places in Iceland.

What is it: a black gravel and sand beach
Where is it: near the town of Vik
Distance from Reykjavik: 2.5 hours, or 190km (120mi)
How to reach it: self-drive or guided south coast tours
When to go: all-year-round
Best for: anyone loving beautiful natural sceneries

Why go

The Black Sand Beach, or Reynisfjara in Icelandic, proudly belongs to the most beautiful day trips from Reykjavik. The beach has been featured in many movies and is famous due to the otherworldly sand and rock formations.

How to get there

The Black Sand Beach is nested in the vicinity of the cute little town Vik. It takes around 2.5 hours to get to Reynisfjara from Reykjavik. The road is usually accessible all year round and by any car.

Tip from a local

  • The sneaky waves on the beach can be deadly. Always pay special attention to the traffic lights showing how far from the waves you should stand. More info about these dangerous waves is on the Icelandic Safe Travel website.

Our experience

When we first visited Reynisfjara, I remember we just stood still in awe. Black Sand Beach is a one-of-a-kind place, and there’s no wonder it attracts so many visitors. That’s the price you have to pay for such a beautiful place that is very easily accessible from Reykjavik.

11. Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss

reykjavik day trip skogafoss seljalandsfoss

Two favorite waterfalls for Icelandic day trippers – Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss

What is it: waterfalls
Where is it: south Iceland between Vik and Hvolsvöllur
Distance from Reykjavik: 2 hours, or 140km (88mi)
How to reach it: self-drive or guided south coast tours
When to go: all-year-round
Best for: any waterfall enthusiast

Why go

Visiting Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss waterfalls is most likely the the most popular day trip from Reykjavik. And for a very simple reason. These are the two most gorgeous yet easily accessible waterfalls in south Iceland.

Yes, Seljalandsfoss is that waterfall you can walk behind, and Skogafoss is the one you may climb above. Both are, without any doubt, just must-see spots for any first-time visitor. And when you are based in Reykjavik, it makes perfect sense to go see them on a day trip.

How to get there

Driving on the main Icelandic ring road, you can easily reach both Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss waterfalls from Reykjavik in about 2 hours.

The best way to do so is by renting a car. Alternatively, you can take a guided south coast tour. Almost all of them stop at both Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss and are pretty affordable.

Tip from a local

  • You can walk behind Seljalandsfoss only outside of winter. Otherwise, it’s dangerous due to paths full of snow and ice.
  • Make sure to wear spikes on your shoes when taking stairs to climb above Skogafoss in winter. The trail is very slippery.

Our experience

These two waterfalls are an Icelandic classic, and we’ve seen them countless times, so we are not that much excited about them anymore. BUT. Exactly the opposite was true when we saw them for the first timewe were impressed! And so will be you, so go and see them!

12. Blue Lagoon and Sky Lagoon

blue lagoon sky lagoon iceland

Blue lagoon and Sky lagoon

What is it: luxurious hot spas
Where is it: Reykjanes peninsula (Blue) and Reykjavik (Sky)
Distance from Reykjavik: 45 minutes and 15 minutes, or 50km (30mi) and 10km (6mi)
How to reach it: self-drive, public bus or taxi
When to go: all-year-round
Best for: lovers of luxurious hot springs

Why go

Blue Lagoon and Sky Lagoon are iconic hot spas every visitor to Iceland has heard about. Being located either close the Keflavik airport or directly in Reykjavik, they are frequently a beloved candidate for a Reykjavik day trip.

Blue Lagoon offers an almost unrealistically looking blue color of water, that attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors a year. On the other hand, Sky Lagoon is sought for its even more luxurious experience with the so-called 7 Steps Ritual and views over the ocean.

How to get there

Sky Lagoon is located right in Reykjavik in the neighborhood called Kópavogur, near the shore. It takes 15 minutes to reach it by car from the city center. Alternatively, you can take a taxi or a public bus.

To reach the Blue lagoon, either rent a car and take a 20-minute drive from the airport or use a transportation service.

Tip from a local

  • Did you know that neither Blue Lagoon, nor Sky Lagoon are natural? Both have been man-made, and so is the source of the hot water.
  • Ticket prices vary based on the particular time slot. The less attractive times have lower price.

Our experience

Our philosophy goes against mass tourism, so we avoided both lagoons for years. Finally, we visited Blue Lagoon a year ago with modest expectations. And it was nice. Blue Lagoon definitely wasn’t and will never be a highlight of any of our trips to Iceland, but it can be a nice relaxing stop.

13. Active Volcano

active volcano day trip iceland

We took a day trip from Reykjavik to a lava field created by an active volcano at Fagradalsfjall.

What is it: Fagradalsfjall volcano
Where is it: between Keflavik and Reykjavik
Distance from Reykjavik: 1 hour, or 60km (37mi)
How to reach it: self-drive, or guided tour
When to go: all-year-round, but better in summer
Best for: volcano enthusiasts

BEWARE! Before visiting any volcanic area, carefully check www.road.is and www.safetravel.is. The area may be dangerous or closed!

Why go

Did you know Iceland boasts 32 active volcanoes? Yes, you read it right, thirty-two. But don’t confuse an erupting volcano with an active volcano. These are two different things. No volcano is erupting at the time of writing this article.

So why go and see an active volcano? The closest active volcano that can be visited as a day trip from Reykjavik is Fagradasfjall volcano and its neighboring Litli-Hrútur area. Here you can admire the freshly spewed lava from 2021, 2022, and the summer of 2023. And that is a hell of an experience!

How to get there

There are two ways of getting to Fagradasfjall volcano. You can take a guided volcano tour or drive there yourself and take a hike. A drive takes about 30 minutes from Keflavik airport.

There are several hiking trails around Fagradasfjall. Choose the one that suits you based on your hiking ability and on how much time you have.

Tip from a local

  • Please closely monitor the situation of any volcano before heading there. Icelandic Safe Travel web should help a lot.

Our experience

We were lucky enough to experience an active volcano in Iceland erupting and spewing out lava in August 2021. Similar “tourist” (harmless) eruptions then followed in the summer of 2022 and 2023 near the Fagradasfjall area.

In the end of 2023, however, Iceland faced a different kind of eruption near the town of Grindavik. This eruption may have been be very harmful and dangerous, but only locally around the Grindavik town. Please closely monitor the situation and information before visiting the area.

14. Þakgil

yellow trail Þakgil iceland

Amazing views from the yellow hiking trail in Þakgil

What is it: a scenic green valley full of hiking trails
Where is it: near the town of Vik
Distance from Reykjavik: 3 hours, or 200km (125mi)
How to reach it: self-drive only
When to go: from July to September
Best for: avid hikers

Why go

Although a bit further away from Reykjavik, Thakgil can make a day trip of a lifetime! Þakgil is one of our favorite spots in the Icelandic Highlands. When you go for a hike in Thakgil on a nice summer day, you will be rewarded with unbeatable views you will never forget about.

Þakgil is a majestic valley full of ravines, ridges, and even melting glaciers, just a few hours of hiking away from the Thakgil campsite. There are three main trails, and each one is simply breathtaking.

How to get there

You can get to Þakgil only by car. To reach it, first, take the ring road towards Vik and then the rough road 214 full of potholes.

A journey to Thakgil will take you more than 3 hours from Reykjavik, but it will be worth every minute of driving! Be sure to rent a car with higher ground clearance, otherwise, you may damage the undercarriage. Road 214 is very bumpy.

Tip from a local

  • Þakgil boasts one of the most picturesque campsites in Iceland. If you are into camping, you can’t miss the Thakgil campsite!

Our experience

We took the day trip to Þakgil from Vik, as it is much closer. The same can be done from Reykjavik as well, though, it just requires more time. We hiked two out of the three most beautiful hikes in Thakgil and wrote a detailed guide about hiking in Þakgil.

15. Fimmvörðuháls hike

fimmvorduhals trail most beautiful part

Fimmvörðuháls hike is one of the longest, but also one of the most beautiful day trips from Reykjavik

What is it: a 10-hour long hike through incredible terrain
Where is it: between Skogar and Thórsmörk
Distance from Reykjavik: 2 hours, or 150km (93mi)
How to reach it: self-drive, Highland bus, or guided tour
When to go: from July to September
Best for: long hike lovers

Why go

This place is famous for its panoramic views of the volcanoes Eyjafjallajökull and Hekla and its beautiful waterfalls and the Thórsmörk valley. The famous trail from Skógar to Thórsmörk passes through Fimmvörðuháls, which can continue to the rainbow mountains of Landmannalaugar.

What can you expect there? You will probably see the most dramatic scenery Iceland has to offer. Get ready for a series of canyon-like waterfalls, volcanic moonscape, glaciers, and many more.

How to get there

The best way to get to Fimmvörðuháls is to rent a car from Reykjavík and drive along Route 1 towards the southeast until you reach Skógar, where the Fimmvörðuháls trailhead begins. It is possible to complete the hike in a day, but camping facilities are available for those wanting to extend their journey.

Tip from a local

  • If you don’t have the energy or time to make all 22 kilometers, do not worry. From Skógafoss Waterfall in Skogar, follow the path along the Skóga River, where plenty of beautiful waterfalls await you.

Our Experience

You can read in detail about our experience in our Detailed guide to hiking Fimmvörðuháls. Long story short, we highly recommend you hike Fimmvörðuháls at least once in your life! But only in summer and only in good weather. The trek may be dangerous otherwise.

We started the trek in Skógar and finished in Thórsmörk in about 9 hours, still having plenty of time to wait for the last bus. There was one section that was quite dangerous, and hiking poles were a must. Other than that, the hike was not difficult, just long. This can change dramatically during adverse weather, though.

16. Glymur

glymur waterfall iceland

Glymur is one of the most sought-after waterfalls in Iceland. It makes for a beautiful summer day hike.

What is it: a very tall waterfall
Where is it: west Iceland
Distance from Reykjavik: 1 hour, or 70km (45mi)
How to reach it: self-drive only
When to go: from June to September
Best for: waterfall and hiking enthusiasts

Why go

Glymur, the second-tallest waterfall in Iceland, is a hidden gem within easy reach of Reykjavik. It was the tallest in Iceland at 198 meters. In 2011, however, it was overtaken by Morsárfoss with 240 meters. Though this waterfall is very difficult to access, we can still say Glymur is the tallest accessible waterfall in Iceland.

Glymur is one of the best one-day trips that you can do from Reykjavík. The surrounding nature is beautiful, and you will enjoy the peaceful atmosphere when you come here.

How to get there

Drive north from Reykjavik towards Hvalfjörður. From the parking lot, follow the signs to the Glymur trail. You will then have a roughly 50-minute trek uphill quite steeply. The hike is moderately challenging but well-marked.

Tip from a local

  • The hike to Glymur is usually only one-way, but if you don’t want to follow the same way, we have a pro tip. It includes a river crossing. Follow the trail until the peak and then get down to the river, choose the spot you like, and get ready for some adventure. The water is cold, but it allows you to make a loop, see the waterfall from all sides, and enjoy more Icelandic nature. There is a well-marked trail.

Our experience

Glymur is quite a hike, but it is worth every breath. At one point, you need to cross a river – there is a log with a rope to get over so your feet will not get wet. The more you move up, the more you can enjoy an unbelievable view of the deep and narrow gorge and surrounding mountains.

17. Reykjadalur

reykjadalur hot river iceland

Reykjadalur Hot River is a trendy Reykjavik day trip all year round.

What is it: a hot river valley
Where is it: south Iceland near Hveragerdi
Distance from Reykjavik: 45 minutes, or 45km (28mi)
How to reach it: self-drive, or public bus
When to go: any time, except for harsh weather
Best for: hikers and hot spring enthusiasts

Why go

Do you want to enjoy a hot bath after the hike? Then Reykjadalur is a great place for your one-day trip from Reykjavík. The trail is not very challenging, so it is also suitable for beginners.

Reykjadalur is a very famous spot, so don’t be surprised if you won’t be alone there. On the positive side, thanks to that, there are wooden walkways around the river and even screens for changing clothes.

How to get there

The trail starts in Hveragerði. It takes around 45 minutes to drive there from Reykjavík. There is a paid parking lot where you can leave a car and then follow the signs for the trail to Reykjadalur.

It is so close you can even get there by bus from Reykjavík. Take the bus number 51 from Mjödd Bus Stop in Reykjavík. Get off in Hveragerði and continue to the Reykjadalur parking lot. But it takes around 45 minutes to walk from the bus to the parking lot.

Tip from a local

  • If you want to avoid crowds, take advantage of long summer days and go there early in the morning or later in the evening.
  • Reykjadalur in winter can be challenging, wear spikes!

Our experience

A small hill in the beginning was a bit steep, but after that, the hike was quite easy. After about an hour of hiking, we enjoyed a relaxing reward.

The higher upstream we went, the warmer the water got. Where the water is at the best temperature for a bath, wooden walkways, benches, and changing shelters have been built around the river. The water temperature here is between 35 and 45 °C (95 to 113°F).

18. Landmannalaugar

f208 landmannalaugar iceland

Amazingly beautiful roads around Landmannalaugar

What is it: a colorful mountain valley
Where is it: central Iceland, in the Highlands
Distance from Reykjavik: 3 hours, or 180km (110mi)
How to reach it: self-drive with a 4x4, highland bus, or guided super jeep tour
When to go: from June to September
Best for: wild nature lovers and hikers

Why go

Landmannalaugar is an iconic, must-visit place located in the southern highlands of Iceland. This geothermal valley offers stunning views of multi-colored mountains and thermal springs. It is a paradise for hikers and nature lovers.

Enjoy views of lush green valleys, walk through black-grey lava fields, observe steaming spots in the valleys and mountains, and relax in hot springs.

How to get there

There are multiple options for taking a day trip to Landmannalaugar from Reykjavik:

  1. Drive yourself. A 4×4 car is required, and various roads of variable difficulties lead there. Please read our detailed Landmannalaugar guide.
  2. Take a Landmannalaugar super jeep tour
  3. Take a Highland bus

A journey to Landmannalaugar from Reykjavik takes about 3 hours.

Tip from a local

  • If you want to enjoy more of Landmannalaugar, there is a campsite where you can stay overnight.
  • Landmannalaugur is accessible only from around mid-June to mid-September. Outside of this time, the road is closed due to weather conditions.

Our experience

We keep coming back to Landmannalaugar over and over. It’s a magical place with endless hiking opportunities. We’ve recently discovered a magnificent Graenihryggur hike and can’t recommend it enough!

We advise you to choose some of the many Landmannalaugar hiking trails based on your time and hiking skills. Try to follow the tracks deeper into nature or climb up to catch the best views.

19. Westman Islands

westmann islands top things to do

A hot candidate for a top Reykjavik day trip? Westman Islands are close!

What is it: a volcanic island
Where is it: south of Iceland
Distance from Reykjavik: 2 hours
How to reach it: ferry from Landeyjahofn
When to go: any time, but ideally in summer
Best for: nature lovers

Why go

In our opinion, the Westman Islands are most likely the best day trip from Reykjavik, where you can enjoy so many attractions in a small area in just one day.

Westman Islands, precisely the main island – Heimaey, have everything – mountains, puffin colonies, volcanoes, and interesting history. It is easily reachable, and even though it is better to plan it at least for two days, you can explore it in one day, too.

How to get there

To get to the main island of Heimaey, you need to take a ferry departing from Landeyjahöfn, which is 2 hours away from Reykjavík, following Ring Road to the south.

Tip from a local

  • You can explore the island on foot, but if you want to save time, take a car with you.
  • Heimaey has one of the largest puffin colonies. Visit the island while puffin season is on.

Our experience

We visited Westman Islands on a sunny summer day, and that’s exactly what we recommend to you as well. Wait for a nice day! It’s more than just worth it. Westman islands are one of the windiest places in Europe, so dress well, you’re going to feel the wind!

We wrote a detailed article with all the attractions, hiking trails, and things to do on Westman islands in one day.

20. Golden Circle

best golden circle tour iceland

By far the most crowded day trip from Reykjavik is the Golden Circle.

What is it: a loop trip around the famous national park
Where is it: northeast of Reykjavik
Distance from Reykjavik: 45 minutes, or 45km (28mi)
How to reach it: self-drive or a guided tour
When to go: any time
Best for: first-timers

Why go

The Golden Circle is one of Reykjavik’s most famous day trips, featuring three iconic destinations: Þingvellir National Park, Geysir Geothermal Area, and Gullfoss Waterfall. This route provides a perfect introduction to Iceland’s natural wonders.

Golden Circle might be crowded and very touristic, but we must put it on this list as it is a kind of a trailer of what Iceland can offer. 

How to get there

The Golden Circle is easily accessible by car from Reykjavík. The entire loop is about 230 kilometers, and you can complete it in a day. There are many different locations where you can stop and enjoy some nice walks around the area.

All the spots are very accessible by car. There are also many Golden Circle guided day tours to choose from.

Tip from a local

  • Golden Circle is the most visited area in Iceland, so prepare for crowds. If you want to avoid people, start early.

Our experience

We are not huge fans of the Golden Circle because this is one of the most crowded day trips in Iceland. That being said, it’s definitely a beautiful start for any Iceland first-timer.

We suggest you also add some other places in the area to your itinerary to make it a bit different. You can, for example, dive into the Secret Lagoon in Flúðir or the cute Hrunalaug Hot Spring. After that, you can continue to Kerid Crater, the picturesque lake in a volcanic crater formed around 4000 BC.

21. Háifoss

haifoss

Haifoss waterfall

What is it: a remote waterfall
Where is it: east of Reykjavik
Distance from Reykjavik: 2 hours, or 140km (87mi)
How to reach it: self-drive only
When to go: summer only
Best for: wild waterfall enthusiasts

Why go

Háifoss is one of Iceland’s highest waterfalls, falling from 122 meters into the Fossá River Canyon. The waterfall is located in a desert landscape a little bit away from the main tourist streams. You will have a quiet place to visit and enjoy the solitude of the landscape to the full.

How to get there

Haifoss is easily accessible with a 4×4 car. It takes roughly 2 hours to reach it from Reykjavik.

Alternatively, some guided tours going to Landmannalaugar also include Haifoss in their itineraries. However, there’s no bus option to Haifoss.

Tip from a local

  • A visit to the waterfall can be combined with a trip to the Rainbow Mountains of Landmannalaugar, as it is close to the road leading to them.
  • Route 332 to Haifoss is entirely impassable in winter.
  • Consider combining this trip with another nearby waterfall – Hjálparfoss.

Our experience

When we visited Haifoss, we realized that the main waterfall viewpoint was not very far away from the parking lot. This means many other visitors may be standing at this place, racing for better pictures.

However, there are other trails you can take if you want to explore the area more. You can even walk down to the valley and walk through the canyon to the end. Then, you will enjoy the majestic waterfall from below and typically have it all for yourself!

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Posted by Igor

Igor has spent months exploring every inch of Iceland over several years. He specializes in the Highlands, F-roads, hiking, hot springs, and less touristy places. He loves Iceland and keeps coming back.

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