Unveiling Iceland Travel Itinerary: A 13-Day Exploration with Local Adventures

Arnar

Arnar

A co-founder of Local Adventures and guide, Arnar has a degree in physical education and is certified glacier guide. Along with his education he has worked in tourism for 20 years.

Iceland, the Land of Fire and Ice, attracts travelers with its dramatic landscapes, powerful waterfalls, and captivating folklore. This 13-day Iceland travel itinerary by Local Adventures delves into this otherworldly island. In this blog, we will weave together a story of breathtaking sights with the history, myths, and legends whispered by the wind.

Read on to learn about the best places to visit in Iceland.

Day 1: Thingvellir National Park and its Historical Significance

Our journey begins at Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here, the tectonic plates of North America and Eurasia dramatically pull apart, creating a stark, yet awe-inspiring landscape.
Tourists usually come to see the “Thingvellir tectonic plates.”

Please note that this was also the site of the Althing, the world’s oldest parliament. It is where Vikings settled disputes and whispered tales of trolls and hidden waterfalls guarded by huldufólk (hidden people).

Day 2: Witnessing Nature’s Power at the Golden Circle

The Golden Circle in Iceland promises a day filled with geothermal wonders. It is a must-see scenic route that takes you to some of Iceland’s coolest natural wonders.

Get ready to witness the Strokkur geyser erupt skyward. It is a modern-day representation of the fiery breath of the underworld serpent, Jörmungandr, in Norse mythology.
You can marvel at the majestic Gullfoss waterfall. It is a cascading beauty said to be guarded by a hidden waterfall spirit.

Gullfoss waterfall, also known as the “Golden Waterfall,” has two legends surrounding its name. One says an old Viking hid treasure there to keep it from others. The other claims the name comes from the rainbows that form above the falls on sunny days.

Brúarfoss waterfall, named after a natural stone arch over the river, has a darker history. In 1602, a diocese employee destroyed the bridge to keep hungry travelers from reaching Skálholt for food during a famine.
These Icelandic stories are like secrets whispered from the past. They tell the tale to the visitors that people used to believe magical beings lived around the waterfall, maybe even hiding nearby.

These stories make the waterfall even more special. It is like it has a secret history and isn’t just a pretty sight. Such stories add another layer of wonder to the waterfall, making it special not just for its beauty but also for the mystery it holds.

Day 3: South Coast Adventure – Waterfalls, Black Sands, and Puffin Paradise

The south coast adventure promises dramatic landscapes. Many tourists lovingly call this trip “Iceland’s waterfall tour.”

We will take you to the spot where you can feel the spray of the majestic Seljalandsfoss waterfall. It is believed that playful huldufólk frolic behind the cascading water.

Skógafoss waterfall, a powerful waterfall thundering into the ocean, is a place whispered to hold hidden Viking treasures.

Explore the black sand beach at Vík. It is where the pounding waves are said to be the restless souls of drowned sailors.

We will end the day by spotting adorable puffins at the dramatic cliffs of Dyrhólaey.

Day 4: Skaftafell – A Realm of Glaciers and Legends

Skaftafell National Park offers a glimpse into Iceland’s glacial heart.

Hike amidst towering ice giants and explore pristine wilderness. Legend speaks of hidden crystal caves guarded by watchful glacier spirits, some benevolent, others mischievous.

Take a leisurely walk through this area and you’ll be amazed to witness the beauty of the region surrounded by glaciers. You can choose the length of your walk and enjoy breathtaking views of Vatnajökull, Iceland’s largest glacier, and the south coast.

After your walk, enjoy a meal and take in the stunning surroundings. We’ll stay at a scenic campsite near a waterfall in Skaftafell National Park. In this place, you can take a relaxing evening stroll.

Believe us, it is one of the best campsites in Iceland!

Day 5: Glacier Lake Paradise!

Get ready for some seriously stunning scenery as you explore the glacier lakes at the foot of the mighty Vatnajökull glacier. These magical lakes are filled with icebergs that have broken off the glacier, making for an otherworldly landscape.

Whispers of huldufólk, hidden people, dwelling beneath Vatnajökull are always rife. While some say a slumbering giant sleeps within its icy heart.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even hop on a boat tour to explore the lakes up close. We’ll spend plenty of time soaking up the beauty before heading to a cozy campsite nestled in a valley with cascading waterfalls.

Feeling restless after a long day of travel? No worries! There are tons of treks and trails perfect for an evening stroll to unwind and reflect on this amazing adventure.

Day 6: Journey to the East Fjords

On the sixth day, we venture to the remote eastern fjords, a region steeped in folklore. Borgarfjörður Eystri boasts dramatic scenery and a secluded village.

You will get to hear tales of trolls and hidden settlements that linger in the Icelandic fjords.
Egilsstaðir is a place where stories come alive. One legend tells of a young Viking girl who placed a gold ring in a lingworm’s den (heath dragon). She believed it would increase the ring’s value. Instead, the wyrm grew enormous, and the girl was forced to throw it into Lagarfljót lake.

It is believed that the wyrm has lived there since the 14th century. Many tourists claim to have captured its massive size on film.

We make a point to visit the magical town of Egilsstaðir on our 13-day trip.

Day 7: Storurð Tranquility and Natural Wonders

On the seventh day, we will explore the incredible Storurð area. Think of crystal-clear blue lakes surrounded by dramatic boulders and the remnants of a glacier. It’s one of Iceland’s most scenic walks, perfect for breathtaking views and diverse landscapes.

You can explore the surrounding coastline and listen to local stories passed down for generations.

Day 8: Day Off – Camping Under the Midnight Sun

Take a break today at Storurð. Relax at the campsite with a book or explore the many scenic walking trails. These paths might be the same ones used by Iceland’s hidden people, the huldufólk!

Feeling adventurous? Rent a mountain bike and zip around the breathtaking landscape. Whale watchers can try their luck at spotting them from the nearby coast (just a short walk!). It’s your choice – relax, explore, or indulge in whale watching!

Want to know about the Trolls of Storurð? One legend tells of a troll who was so enchanted by the beauty of the lakes that he decided to stay and live among the people.

Our advice: Dwell on the day fueled by Icelandic myths of eternal day and night.

Day 9, 10 and 11: Mývatn Lake – A Volcanic Playground

Mývatn Lake, a volcanic wonderland, offers a landscape unlike any other. Witness the thundering power of Dettifoss waterfall, also known as Europe’s, most powerful waterfall. Think of it as a force of nature comparable to the mythical battles of the Norse gods.

Explore the surreal pseudo-craters at Skútustaðagígar. It is said to be the footprints of a gigantic troll.

Day 9: You can xplore Stuðlagil Canyon, and Dettifoss waterfall. Camp by Lake Mývatn & visit geothermal areas (watch for huldufólk!). Relax in natural baths.

Day 10: You can hike across lava fields, see “pseudo-craters.” Take a bathe in a warm water gorge. Visit Krafla’s geothermal area with a crater lake. Hike back through lava fields (optional).

Day 11: Choose your adventure! Hike, bike the lake, explore volcanoes and lava fields, or relax with a book. Hike through lava fields and visit an extinct volcano.

Feel the raw energy of the earth that inspired tales of fire giants and hidden forges.

Day 12: Whale Watching & Goðafoss Waterfall

We will go on a whale watching adventure on the twelfth day of our 13 day Iceland tour. It is a chance to hearr majestic tales about creatures that were once believed to be messengers from the gods.

Later, visit the majestic Goðafoss, where the golden statue of a pagan god was once cast into the churning water. Located between Akureyri and Húsavík in Northern Iceland, Goðafoss Waterfall is a breathtaking sight known as the “Waterfall of the Gods.”

This name comes from its impressive size and unique history. According to legend, the waterfall got its name when Iceland converted to Christianity in the year 1000.

Day 13: Farewell to Iceland

On our way back to Reykjavík, we will explore the beautiful northern peninsula of Vatnsnes.
Don’t miss the Hvítserkur rock! It is a towering basalt stack that resembles a mythical troll guarding the coastline.

Iceland, a land of fire and ice, is also richly woven with myths and legends. Every dramatic glacier, cascading waterfall, and geothermal vent whispers tales of huldufólk (hidden people), mischievous trolls, and powerful jötnar (giants).

Come and experience the magic of Iceland for yourself.

Book your tour with Local Adventures

The 13-day Iceland travel itinerary by Local Adventures is just a taste of the magic the country has to offer.

As you explore its breathtaking landscapes, keep your ears open for the whispers of myths and folklore. Rest assured; it will add another dimension to your Icelandic experience.

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