If Iceland was summed up into one word, that word would be magic. A nature fanatics dream and a photographer’s playground, this island offers miles and miles of untouched, unaltered beauty. Get lost exploring the enormous ice caves and glaciers or go chasing waterfalls, because that is one thing Iceland has an abundance of. Drink some of the purest water you’ll ever taste, bath in a natural hot pool, or have a midnight dance with the northern lights. Regardless of what you decide to do, definitely try to drive around the island. It takes about 5-6 days depending on how long you want to spend in each place (and weather permitting). All in all, I’d say the ideal amount of time to spend in Iceland is around 10 days, although you can cover some ground from Reykjavik in just 4.
WARNING: Absolutely make sure to check the weather forecast before planning your road-trip!
10-DAY ICELAND ITINERARY
Here’s where most bloggers would tell you to go to the Blue Lagoon - but not me. Overcrowded, overpriced, and not as serene as one would think, this is a destination that is solely popular because of social media. If you're on a bit of a time crunch or want to go just to get a photo, then do it. Otherwise, check out the blue lagoon in Mývatn for a more authentic experience.
In Reykjavik, it’s all about having a wander and exploring the town. Take a snap from the top of the Hallgrímskirkja Church, grab lunch at Gló, eat dinner at Vegamót, buy a bar of delicious Icelandic chocolate, and go out for a night on the town! The nightlife here is great even though drinks will cost you a pretty penny. (BARS)
Reykjavik – Western Fjords – Sauðárkrókur
Once you leave Reykjavik, you’re practically leaving civilization as ¾ of Iceland's population actually live in the capital. It’s no wonder the rest of the island seems so desolate, but honestly that’s the beauty of it! We stayed our first night in Sauðárkrókur, which is the largest town in Northwest Iceland.
Akureyri – Mývatn
We booked it to Mývatn for a chance to see the northern lights, but made sure to stop at some cool places along the way! Goðafoss is definitely a highlight, along with Hverarönd which is an area of sulfur hot springs and mud pits (not suitable for swimming). This is also where you'll find the Mývatn Nature Baths (Jarðböðin) that rival the Blue Lagoon. After a beautiful sunset at Víti and a delicious dinner at a random restaurant I'll never remember the name of, we set up camp and waited with expectations of seeing the northern lights instantly. After hours of waiting, we came to terms with the fact that we may have to stay another night because they weren't showing up. As soon as we walked inside of our hostel we heard yells to run back out as they had finally decided to appear after all. We got an amazing show that lasted a few hours, and after all the tears and excitement, there was nothing else that could top our aurora experience. So we thought...
Photo cred to my beautiful friend Petra who perfectly captured the moments below..
Mývatn – Eastern Fjords – Höfn
Highlights: Egilsstadir, Seyðisfjörður
Cute town after cute town! We were on cloud 9, especially after all we had seen and done so far. We had lunch lakeside in Seyðisfjörður, population: 700.
Höfn – Vik
We hit some epically awful weather and flood warnings, which bounded us to our hostel for the majority of the day. No worries though! We had a great bottle of red, a few movies and some decadent Icelandic chocolate.
Highlights: Jökulsárlón, Diamond Beach, Svartifoss
Vik is where you’ll find the majority of places you typically see on Instagram. You'll easily be able to spend two days around the area, especially if you’re on a photo hunt and it’s good weather. If you're into hiking, there's a short hike to Svartifoss, which is a unique waterfall surrounded by dark lava columns. If it's raining, bring shoes you won't mind getting muddy.
Highlights: Reynisfjara Beach, Skógafoss, Seljalandsfoss, Sólheimasandur Airplane Wreckage
We experienced pretty bad weather for the majority of our time in Vik, severely cutting our time short in each place. We were basically racing out of the car to each sight, checking it out, then running back to avoid being drenched. Despite the wind and rain, it was all insanely gorgeous and we still had fun!
the GOLDEN CIRCLE
Highlights: Kerið Gullfoss, Geysir, Reykjadalur
If you’re in Iceland for a long weekend, the Golden Circle will be your best bet. A classic day trip from Reykjavik, it gives you a small taste to what the entire island has to offer. It’s the most touristic part of Iceland, but 100% worth seeing!
Þingvellir National Park
Another day trip from Reykjavik, Þingvellir National Park is where Iceland’s first parliament used to meet, but is more famously known for being the meeting place of the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. Choose to hike between the plates or if you’re a real adventure seeker, snorkel or dive through them!
Until next time, Iceland!