Iceland is such a spectacular country with beautiful landscapes. My husband and I went in November for our 5 year anniversary. We’ve always wanted to go but never really found the right time. We were a little hesitant to go to Iceland during the winter, but I’m glad we did go during that time! Before we left we created a Iceland Travel itinerary so we can stay on track and see all the sights that we wanted to. Here is a rundown of how our trip of a lifetime planning went.
You can book the trip through multiple travel companies like Expedia, I decided to book our trip through Fleetway Travel with a direct flight to Reykjavik from Boston with WOW Air because it seemed like it was the best deal i could find at the time. Beware, you have to pay for everything extra with that Airline, it is sort of like Spirit Airlines. But I suggest you load up on food/water before you board the plane and bring along an iPad or a book to read. Whatever it takes to keep you entertained for a few hours. If you forget to bring your iPad then you can rent one from WOW to use during the flight which I thought was pretty cool.
The red-eye flight left around 8pm and we arrived in Iceland at about 6am the next morning. Overall, flying with the red-eye made the flight feel faster for me because I tried to fall asleep multiple times (sadly with no success).
ICELAND TRAVEL ITINERARY | DAY 1
Our first stop with the airport transfer; that we booked earlier with Grayline,was to our hotel in Hafnarfjodur called Hotel Vellir. The hotel is about a 20 min ride away from downtown Reykjavik.
Our itinerary fort the first day was something like this:
1.Check in hotel
2. Go to the Blue Lagoon and relax in the gorgeous scenery.
However, the reality was more like:
- Arrive to our hotel
- Can’t Check in till noon
- Sleep in the Hotel Lobby until Blue Lagoon excursion
- Find out that the Excursion you booked didn’t really get registered with the company 🙁
- Do a lot of phone calls to correct the problem
- Reschedule everything
- Change everything you were supposed to do that day
So as you can see the first day didn’t go as planned but we just decided not to let that little hiccup bother us (If you use Fleetway Travel I would have them double/triple check with the third party that they book with to make sure everyone has the reservation as its written!). We just flipped our itinerary around for what we were planned on doing on the other days. We hoped on a bus and decided to go explore Reykjavik that day. As exhausted as we were I have no idea how I managed to rack up over 23K steps with my MisFit tracker. We walked all around the city, up and down the hills window shopping, to the Harpa Music Hall, visiting the famous church Hallgrímskirkja and looking over the city from the top of the tower.
Reykjavik is not a large city so it’s definitely manageable to get around and see most of the sights within one day. Also the bus system is very easy to use. Just remember which bus # drops you off at the city center when you take it from your hotel to downtown – and then take the same bus # back. The buses run around every 10 minutes or so which is great when you don’t have a car!
We rented our car from Sixt. I recommend getting an SUV with 4 wheel drive especially during the winter time. It’s best to book your car directly through the car rental agency rather than through Expedia. When we got there the agent told us that we would either have to put down a 1000 Euro deposit or buy their insurance on top of the insurance that we bought with Expedia. We purchased the insurance from Sixt to be safe, and only had to deposit 500 Euros instead (we were also able to get a refund for the insurance from Expedia later on!). I also recommend getting the Wi-Fi for the car. It was really great to be able to look up things places/restaurant on the internet while we were en route to our next stops.
ICELAND TRAVEL ITINERARY | DAY 2
We woke up bright and early and started driving to see all the sights on the Golden Circle. One of the first stops we had to make is to of course see the beautiful Icelandic Horses. They are just so chill and friendly and let you pet them. I think if I could I would have stopped at every sight of them honestly.
ÞINGVELLIR NATIONAL PARK |
On our way to Þingvellir National Park there were these cute little cottages next to the lake. As the sun was coming up it just looks so beautiful. Seriously though the whole country is just so breathtakingly beautiful. At the Park you can visit the spot where the tectonic Euro-Asian and North American plates are separating, and walk right through it.
The next place we drove to was to see the Geysir. It is a interesting spot as you can see one of them erupt every 10 minutes or so. One of the things that I disliked about this sight was the smell of Sulfur from the hot water. Something about the sulfur that’s coming from the deep depths of the earth smells well…like boiled eggs. So it’s something to note. We climbed up the mountain to get a better way of the whole area. It was a bit muddy since it was raining but it was worth it. Once we came down we went to the Visitors Center across the street and had really good vegetarian/vegan soup at a place called Supa that had a choice of 4 different soups. The restaurant is a great stop for a simple and affordable delicious alternative to other foods like sandwiches.
Our final stop on the Golden Circle drive was at Gulfoss. That waterfall is huge! I wish we could have gotten a bit closer but it seemed to be blocked off as they were going through some construction. It’s just a lovely huge waterfall kind of reminiscent of Niagara Falls.
FONTANA GEOTHERMAL BATHS |
On our way back we decided to make a quick stop at the Fontana Geothermal Baths. If you forget your bathing suit you can rent one from them! They have 4 pools and a sauna, plus a steam room. The area is very relaxing with a lake nearby and amazing views of the mountains in the distance. I managed to sit still for a minute for a quick photo after soaking for a while in the hot water. However, both of us weren’t able to stay long in the steam room. The smell of sulfur was hard to take for us, so we spent most of our time in the baths. As we were leaving we saw that they had samples of the traditional Rye bread that is cooked in the ground for 24 hours, so we grabbed a piece and went back to the hotel for the day.
If you are looking for activities to do while in Iceland I would definitely check out Expedia and Grayline for activity options and availability for days. Beware some of the activities get filled up days, sometimes even weeks in advance, so book as early as possible.
Hope you enjoy and it inspires you to go out there and explore!