In recent years, Iceland has become one of the most popular travel destinations in the world due to its stunning landscapes and unique culture. But if you have ever considered visiting Iceland yourself before, you might have found the prospect a little overwhelming.

How do you know where to start exploring in a country so wild?

While no trip to beautiful Iceland could ever be wasted, there are a few key destinations every traveler will want to add to her itinerary. Here is the ultimate guide on how to spend four days in Iceland and make the most of your time.

Travel Time

When your plane first touches down in Iceland, you will inevitably be pretty tired. Jet lag after international travel can put a real damper on your adventures, so head to your hotel in Reykjavik and refresh yourself with a quick rest before you do any sightseeing.

Stop at a convenience store and grab a local snack like Skyr or chocolate covered licorice for fuel.

Day One: The Golden Circle

Once you feel rested, you can tackle your first full day. Get started on crossing a few major items off your bucket list by driving along the Golden Circle. This iconic Icelandic road trip allows guests to visit many of the most popular tourist attractions in the country: Thingvellir National Park, Geysir Geothermal Field, and Gullfoss Waterfall.

Thingvellir National Park is unique because it is home to the fault line between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. You can see the boundary and its effects on the surrounding landscape. The park is also the birthplace of Althing, the first parliament in the world established in 930 AD.

Geysir Geothermal Field is home to two of the most noteworthy geysers in the whole world. The Great Geysir is the oldest recorded geyser in Europe, and its Icelandic name is the origin for the English word geyser.

The famous Strokkur Geyser.

It used to be extremely active, but it has been completely dormant since 1916. Just a few feet away, Strokkur Geyser erupts every 5 to 10 minutes, with a blast of a warm water reaching anywhere from 32-130 feet.

Last but not least, Gullfoss is an impressively massive waterfall. It is one of the most famous waterfalls in Iceland because of its size and unique shape. It is fed by Langjokull, the second-biggest glacier in Iceland.

Day Two: The South Coast

Another easy day trip from Reykjavik that will allow you to maximize on the amount of scenery you experience is a drive down to the South Coast of Iceland. The three most important stops on this leg of the journey are Seljalandsfoss Waterfall, Skogafoss Waterfall, and the Reynisfjara Black Sand Beaches.

Seljalandsfoss is one of the most popular waterfalls to visit because you can actually walk behind it into a hidden cave. If you’ve ever wondered what the back of a waterfall looks like, now is your chance to find out. Make sure to wear a waterproof jacket over your clothes for this stop.

Skogafoss is another must-see waterfall because of its breathtaking power and impressive size. It boasts a 200-foot drop that often produces a huge rainbow.

Devote most of your time on this daytrip to the Reynisfjara Black Sand Beaches. With towering basalt columns beaches covered in smooth black pebbles, Reynisfjara is probably like nothing you have ever seen before. If you visit during the months of April through September, you will probably spot puffins nesting at the tops of the cliffs.

Day Three: Glacier Lagoon & Hiking

On your last day trip out of Reykjavik, divide your time between a boat tour along Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon and a hike through Skaftafell National Park.

Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon is a stunning lake full of enormous glaciers known as “the crown jewel of Iceland” for its natural beauty. You can book a boat tour of the lagoon and climb nearby hills for an overhead view and some pretty incredible pictures. From October to March, you can also explore nearby ice caves and walk inside a glacier!

Driving back towards Reykjavik, make a stop at Skaftafell National Park. Here you can hike through the mountains to a hidden waterfall called Svartifoss surrounded by iconic basalt columns. The hike is only about 1 mile long, and it takes 1.5-2 hours to complete.

Aurora borealis lights up the night sky next to the stunning Hallgrímskirkja church.

Day Four: Reykjavik

On you last day in Iceland, explore the capital city! Eat some authentic cuisine like lamb, lobster, shark, or Icelandic rye bread. A couple of the best restaurants include Grillmarkadurinn (Grill Market), Verbud 11 Lobster and Stuff, and the famous hot dog stand Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur.

Snap some photos of the architectural wonder Hallgrímskirkja church. See a performance at the stunning Harpa Concert Hall. Shop for souvenirs and admire local artwork in the numerous shops downtown.

Reykjavik is a smaller city and it is very walkable, so you can see just about everything in one day.

The Ultimate Trip to Iceland

There are endless opportunities to uncover jaw dropping nature scenes and sample swoon-worthy cuisine across Iceland. This four-day guide simply curates the top highlights for first-time visitors with limited vacation days to spare.

If you are planning your own Icelandic adventure, remember to leave some time open for extra surprises along the way. In a country so drenched in beautiful nature, you never know what you might discover along the road.