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Things to do in Iceland on a road trip. Our must-sees - Blog Voyage - Découvrir Ensemble

Things to do in Iceland on a road trip. Our must-sees

Last update : 24 April 2024
Planning your next trip and wondering what to do in Iceland? You've come to the right place!

We had the opportunity to take a road trip to Iceland during summer 2023, and today we’re going to share with you our list of all our favorites. If you’re looking for things to do in Iceland, understand the must-see spots, you should find your happiness in this article. As usual on our travel blog, you’ll also find all our tips and good addresses in this article dedicated to Iceland. Come on, let’s set off on a journey that will undoubtedly not leave you indifferent!

Things to do in Iceland? The list of our 20 must-sees on our travel blog

Below you’ll find our favorite spots from our Iceland road trip. We’ve listed them in the order in which we discovered them. If you’d like to follow our itinerary, you can do so with your eyes closed. A little fun-fact before we start: all the spots ending in “foss” are waterfalls, and yes in Icelandic waterfalls are called foss!

1. Seljalandsfoss

We start our list of Iceland must-sees with one of the best-known waterfalls, Seljalandsfoss. Although very touristy, this waterfall is magnificent, and we highly recommend a visit. You’ll be able to do the whole tour, so make sure you don’t forget your raincoat. On this subject, we’ll talk a little later in the article about the clothing and equipment you need to take with you on a trip to Iceland in summer. The spot is very easy to get to, so we advise you to get there early or in the evening to avoid the crowds as much as possible. Pay parking is available on site. There’s also another lesser-known waterfall nearby,  Gljufrafoss, so don’t hesitate to check it out! 


2. Skógafoss

This waterfall was one of our favorites in Iceland, so you absolutely must visit if you’re wondering what to do in Iceland! Located a 30-minute drive from Seljalandsfoss, Skógafoss is a natural wonder. Once there, you can admire it from below, directly from the beach, or via a footbridge at the very top. Allow 10-15 minutes for the ascent. Ample free parking is available on site. We also loved the viewpoint in the first photo, close to the road. 

What to do in Iceland Skógafoss Skógafoss Islande

3. Solheimasandur Plane Wreck

We continue our list of Iceland must-sees with a spot we’ve wanted to discover for years, the wreck of an American plane that crashed in 1973. From the parking lot, you have two options: make the journey on foot (allow 1h30 return) or take the shuttle bus available from the parking lot. Please note that the shuttle is quite expensive, costing $23 per person.

For the record, we chose the free option, and although the journey isn’t difficult, in hindsight we probably should have waited for the shuttle! There’s a lot to discover in Iceland, so losing 1h30 is a bit of a shame. A few of you told us on Instagram that it was possible to negotiate the price with the driver, so it might be worth a try. 🤫 The place is really worth it, we loved the atmosphere there. If you like lunar landscapes and unusual places, go for it!

what to do in Iceland Solheimasandur Plane Wreck Solheimasandur Plane Wreck

4. Reynisfjara Beach

Reynisfjara is one of the country’s most beautiful black sand beaches. This beach is a must-see in Iceland, so it’s often taken over by tourists. We went there at the end of the day and found it quite peaceful. We’re lucky enough to travel a lot, and this was the first time we’d come across a beach like this. If you’re a fan of Game of Thrones, you’ll probably recognize this as one of the filming locations for season 7. A large free parking lot is located right next door. 

what to do in Iceland Reynisfjara Beach

Fancy a coffee or a gourmet break? Don’t miss the Skoolbeans!

A favorite address close to Reynisfjara beach, this delicious coffee shop is housed in an American school bus. The team is attentive to your every need, and the coffees and pastries are to die for! You might even be lucky enough to bump into the owners’ cat, the Skoolbeans mascot. Une great address that we love and recommend with our eyes closed.

Skool Beans

5. Fjadrargljufur (Fjaðrárgljúfur) Canyon

Continuing our must-see list, if you’re wondering what to do in Iceland you absolutely must check out Fjadrargljufur Canyon. Made famous by Justin Bieber’s music video “I’ll show you” released in 2015, the site now attracts a lot of tourists. Don’t hesitate to get there early enough if you can.

Access to the platforms is fairly easy from the parking lot (paid for via the Parka app), but the signposted path climbs a little. Take care not to leave the marked path during your visit, as the vegetation on the site is quite fragile. Allow 1 hour’s walk to reach Mögáfoss, the canyon’s magnificent waterfall. 

Fjadrargljufur Fjadrargljufur

6. Svartifoss

Svartifoss was one of the spots we were most keen to discover before leaving for Iceland. This waterfall is famous for the basalt organs that surround it. The spot is truly magnificent and the path to get there is very nice. We were very lucky with the weather during our visit, so we were able to make the most of it. Allow around 1h30/2h return for this short hike. This waterfall is a must-see on your visit to Iceland, and one of our favorites. 

what to do in Iceland Svartifoss

7. Jökulsárlón and Fjallsárlón glacier lagoons

This was the first time we’d come so close to the glaciers – what a magical moment! Free parking is available on site, and it’s a 5-minute walk to the banks of the lagoons. We decided to take a walk around the lake to get as close as possible to the glaciers, which we really recommend. When we arrived, we spotted some small boats heading out to get closer to the glacier, which could be a fun idea for an activity if you have the time!

incontournables islande Fjallsárlón

8. Diamond Beach

Right next to Jökulsárlón, don’t miss the famous black sand Diamond Beach. This beach is famous for being lined with chunks of ice detached from the surrounding icebergs. We loved walking around it and taking photos, so we’d definitely recommend a visit. It’s a truly magical place, albeit quite touristy. Un free parking is nearby, just before you cross the bridge.

Diamond beach islande

9. Folaldafoss

We stumbled upon this waterfall completely by chance and decided to stop for breakfast. The car park has a picnic table right in front of the waterfall, which is just perfect. The perfect spot to start the day! From here, you can head for the fishing village of Seyðisfjörður. We decided not to go there, as it was a 3-hour detour. 

Folaldafoss Folaldafoss

10. Hengifoss

Located 1 hour from Folaldafoss, Hengifoss is one of Iceland’s most beautiful waterfalls and the country’s 3rd highest at 117m. This waterfall stands out from the others thanks to the red and black color of its strata. It takes 1 hour on average to reach the waterfall from the free parking lot.

On the parking lot, you’ll also find a food truck offering a range of sweet and savoury products, ideal for recharging your batteries after your hike!


11. Studlagil (Stuðlagil) canyon

Studlagil is one of the country’s most impressive canyons, so you absolutely must put it on your list of things to do in Iceland. The canyon can be accessed from two sides. If you want to get as close to the canyon as possible, prefer the first access and the parking area located here.

The road is in poor condition, so don’t hesitate to drive at walking pace. Allow 1 hour’s walk from the parking lot to reach the canyon. If you don’t want to walk, you can also admire the canyon from the footbridge above, in which case go to this car park. This spot is also among our favorites, the view is sensational! 

what to do in iceland Studlagil

12. Dettifos and Hafragilsfoss

We continue our must-see list to help you figure out what to do in Iceland by the Dettifos and Hafragilsfoss waterfalls. Located in the north of Iceland, these waterfalls are easy to access from the parking lots.

Dettifos is the waterfall with the highest water flow in Europe, at 400m3 per second. To get the best view of this waterfall, we recommend using the parking est.


13. Húsavík Whale Watching

Who says visit Iceland in summer, inevitably says try to admire whales! We had the opportunity to meet some up close, one of the most magical moments of our trip to Iceland. We recommend this company for whale-watching in the north of the country. The boats are on a human scale, very well equipped and the team is really friendly.

Here you won’t be on big boats full of tourists, and that’s good. You can meet these majestic animals with the utmost respect. If you go to Iceland in summer, you’ll also have a great chance of meeting puffins! We’ll tell you more about them below.

Húsavík Whale Watching


14. Myvatn thermal baths

Bathing in hot baths is one of Iceland’s must-do activities. Far less famous than the Blue Lagoon, the Myvatn thermal baths may be a good option to try the experience. That said, the Myvatn baths are still quite touristy, so we recommend you get there as soon as they open to make the most of it. We left around noon and the place was packed, which wasn’t pleasant at all… Also be aware that hot baths in Iceland smell strongly of sulfur (= rotten egg 😂), so don’t be surprised when you arrive.

Thermal baths Myvatn

15. Akureyri

Akureyri is a small town in northern Iceland. Often considered a stopover town by travelers and backpackers, Akureyri is ideally located for visiting this corner of the country. The town is small but charming. When we were there, the weather wasn’t exactly perfect, so we took the opportunity to recharge our batteries at the Akureyri Hotel. The hotel is very well located and very well decorated, we recommend the address. 


If you’re looking for a nice place to have lunch in Akureyri, we had the opportunity to try out the Backpackers restaurant and we really liked it, so we recommend it. It’s a beautifully decorated youth hostel with a very pleasant atmosphere.

Restaurant Backpackers

16. Godafoss (Goðafoss)

Godafoss, understand cascade des dieux in French, is an impressive waterfall and undoubtedly one of the most beautiful in this part of the country. The waterfall is easy to access and has two free parking lots. Favour the parking to the east if you want to get as close as possible to the waterfall. Godafoss wasn’t necessarily the highest or most powerful waterfall we discovered in Iceland, but we found it very beautiful. We’d recommend stopping by if you’re in the area!

Godafoss Godafoss

17. Kerlingarfjöll

We’ve arrived at one of the most mystical and memorable spots we’ve had the opportunity to discover on our Iceland road trip. If you want to wander through the mountains, between snow and volcanic fumes, this is the place to be!

Kerlingarfjöll is one of the most beautiful natural sites we’ve ever seen, so go there with your eyes closed. You’ll feel like you’re on another planet! To discover the site, we recommend the Hveradalahringur hike. This 2-hour hike forms a loop and gives you a good overview of the site.

Bear in mind that much of the road is completely unpaved, so you’ll need a 4×4 to get there. We strongly advise you to check the road conditions before driving on the Road accessibility can quickly change depending on the weather in Iceland. 

what to do in Iceland Kerlingarfjöll incontournables islande

If you want to sleep close to the site, we recommend you take a look at this address. We spotted it on the road and it looked like a lot of fun! The Kerlingarfjöll parking lot can be reached from this hotel in just ten minutes.

hôtel Kerlingarfjoll

18. Gullfoss 

Gullfoss is the last waterfall we’ll have a chance to admire on our Iceland road trip. And just as well, because Gullfoss is truly impressive! You’ll be able to get right up close to the waterfall thanks to a specially-designed platform. Just don’t forget your raincoat! The waterfall is very powerful and will let you know if you venture onto the platform. Parking is ample, free and really close by, making Gullfoss very accessible. 


19. Stokkur, Geysir and Blesi

Close to Gullfoss, don’t miss the impressive geysers of Geysir! This was our first visit to Geysir, and we thought it was pretty cool. The site is beautiful and quite well laid out. A spectacle of nature we’d recommend for your trip to Iceland. You’ll also find free parking right next to the site.

Geysir Geysir

If you’re looking for a good hotel close to Gullfoss and Geysir, we recommend taking a look at this address. The hotel is new and tastefully decorated. The hotel restaurant is also of a very high standard.

Hôtel Geysir

20. Reykjavik

We end our trip and our list of things to do in Iceland with the capital, Reyjavik. One day is more than enough to tour the city. Despite its small size, we loved it! Street art, colorful houses, little cafés and boutiques… In short, Reykjavik was a wonderful surprise for us!

Reykjavik blog what to do in Reykjavik street art Reykjavik Reykjavik Reykjavik Reykjavik

We’re preparing a full article on our must-sees in Reykjavik, but in the meantime here’s a list of places not to be missed in the capital :

  • The Hallgrimur Church (Hallgrímskirkja);
  • The Rainbow Street and its cafés;
  • Laugavegur Street in the city center between colorful houses and street art;
  • The harbor district;
  • The Sun Traveler;
  • The Kock restaurant for dining in a retro atmosphere;
  • The Kex Hostel to sleep in or simply settle down for a coffee.
hotel Reykjavik restaurant Reykjavik

Preparing your road trip in Iceland, practical information

How to rent a car to visit Iceland

Our car rental was organized by Travelbase. During our road trip in Iceland, we had a 4×4 with a tent on the roof and we recommend this type of vehicle to be sure to pass on all roads in Iceland. It’s almost compulsory if you want to get out and about!

A few things to bear in mind when driving on Icelandic roads:

  • In Iceland, there’s 0 tolerance for alcohol, and numerous police checks are in place on the roads. If you’re driving, avoid having even a single drink.
  • Speed limits are 90km/h on Route 1, which circles Iceland. 80km/h on unpaved roads. 
  • Position lights must be switched on day and night. 
  • Monitor road conditions before driving on the official website
  • The emergency number on Icelandic roads is 112. 
  • The price of petrol is equivalent to that of France.
  • Roads are all free in Iceland, except for the Vadlaheidi tunnel to Akureyri. Passages cost 1,500 ISK (around $10). To pay for your passage, you need to visit the tunnel’s website. Everything is explained on the signs at the entrance and exit.
4x4 Iceland

What’s the best time to go on a road trip in Iceland? Choosing between summer and winter

When to watch whales and puffins in Iceland? Choose summer

Wondering when to take a road trip in Iceland? In Iceland, summer runs from June to August. In our opinion, this is the best time to visit the country. In fact, this is when you’ll be able to see the most of Iceland. The weather is between 10 and 15 degrees depending on location, which is ideal for hiking. The midnight sun will also extend your days, as the sun almost never sets! In winter, the opposite is true. You can also meet the whales and the many puffins that frequent the island at this time of year!

Whales Iceland Puffins Iceland

When to watch the Northern Lights in Iceland? Choose winter

Finally, the only advantage (in our opinion) of discovering Iceland in winter is being able to admire the famous northern lights. If this is your case, we recommend you visit Iceland between November and March. From our side, we recommend it more for a second trip to Iceland.

What equipment for an Iceland road trip?

How to dress for Iceland in summer?

One of our main pre-departure concerns, we’re going to try and make it easy for you! If, like us, you’re leaving in summer, temperatures average around 15 degrees, which is quite temperate, although it does rain quite regularly;

Just make sure you have with you :

  • waterproof hiking boots;
  • two or three pairs of waterproof pants;
  • one or two raincoats (so you always have a dry one);
  • sweaters;
  • a hat and a pair of gloves; 
  • if you’re chilly, like Clem, take along thermal ski underwear.  

To complete the picture, electrical outlets are the same as in France, and mobile packages offering data in Europe also cover Iceland. 

vetement islande routes islande islande nature

What is the currency in Iceland?

The currency in Iceland is the Icelandic krona. In July 2023, 1000 Icelandic krona is equal to $7. You can pay almost anywhere in Iceland by credit card!

Ideas for must-do activities on an Iceland road trip


How to find the best hotels to visit Iceland

In order to find the best hotels and benefit from the best conditions (security, cancellation…) we go almost exclusively through for our trips. We recommend that you take a look at the available hotels and filter them according to their ratings. There are plenty of recent customer reviews, so there are no nasty surprises when you’re traveling!

Iceland blog voyage
Thank you for reading

We hope the tips and good addresses on our travel blog will help you know what to do in Iceland.

You can also follow our daily adventures on Instagram 🙂
Clem & Alex

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