If you want to power through your vacation, you can visit Iceland and see the main attractions in 3-3.5 days. I recommend a little more time so you can really take in Reykjavik. It might be smaller than other major European cities but the people are friendly and city has a lot of hidden gems.
Day One: Reykjavik. Visit the tourist office and find out when the next walking tour is. The tours are an hour/90 minutes (depending on your guide and how many questions people ask) and really interesting. You’ll hear a lot about Iceland’s history (a dry country until the 1980’s!?!) and start to get a feel for the downtown area.
After your tour, grab some lunch and chill out. You are on vacation after all. When you are relaxed, walk to Hallgrimskirkja, the cathedral that over looks Reykjavik. This is the main attraction in the city so it won’t be hard to find. In the summer they have (or used to have) organ concerts so check for details if you are interested. While you are there, take the lift up to the bell tower for a stunning look at the city.
Day Two: Golden Circle Tour. A bus will pick you up and bring you to Iceland’s Geysir’s, Gullfoss Waterfall and Pingvellir national park. Here you can stand on two tectonic plates at once (hey, somewhere deep down that’s cool to all of us).
Day Three: Spa! After spending the previous day on a bus sightseeing, hit the Blue Lagoon today. After you are relaxed and in your happy place, hit the clubs and bars that everyone raves about.
Day Four: South Shore Adventure. Indulge in another tour, this time the South Shore adventure. You’ll see the Seljalandfoss waterfall and get to walk behind it. The experience can be surreal – getting sprayed with water and feeling kind of like you are in a movie at the same time. You’ll also see black sand beaches and the Reynisdranger rock formations.
Day Five: Northern Iceland. I missed this in Iceland due to poor planning on my part. If you are staying longer than the typical three days, consider this tour because there is more to Iceland than Reykjavik. I’ve also heard the great things about the lava tours in Iceland.
If you’ve been to Iceland, feel free to add your itinerary suggestions via a comment.