Guest post by rbixler
Map tips: each color represents a different day. Click a marker to learn more about the spot, and click the star in the map header to save the entire map under Your Places in Google Maps.
- Blue Lagoon
- Sun Voyager
Our flight arrived at 5:30 AM, we ate breakfast in Keflavik to kill time until the Blue Lagoon opened, then went there. We have mixed feelings about the Blue Lagoon, partly b/c of the time we were there. The weather was atrocious, sideways rain, so it didn’t give us the most glamorous visit. Could be worth the money if the weather is nice, but I think the natural hot springs would be better.
We didn’t spend much time in Reykjavik, just enough to view the church and the sculpture (within walking distance of each other). We didn’t pay to go up to the top of the church but viewing it from the outside is beautiful. Checked in to our Airbnb in Reykjavik where we stayed for 4 nights.
Day 2: Golden Circle
- Thingvellir National Park
- Kerid Crater
This is known as the Golden Circle route, and all of the places we went were worthy of a stop. Thingvellir is a national park, Gullfoss is the big waterfall, Geysir is a geyser, and Kerid is a crater lake. Good day, lots of variety as all the stops were different.
Day 3: Snorkeling in Thingvellir
We went back to Thingvellir to go snorkeling in the area where the tectonic plates are drifting apart. This was a really cool experience. The water was 36 degrees so we had a dry suit.
We asked a local for a nearby hiking destination, and he suggested we stop at a random (to us) spot and hike up a mountain. Really awesome as it wasn’t marked and no one else was around.
We had the My Aurora Forecast app, and this looked like our best chance to see the Northern Lights. It was showing that we should be just outside of Keflavik. We drove around and finally caught sight of them, ended up chasing them for an hour. It was one of the highlights of the trip.
Day 4: South Coast Tour
- Reynisfjara Beach
We booked a half-day glacier hike with Adventure Trolls and loved it. Recommend doing the first tour available, you’ll have it all to yourselves.
We ate lunch in Vik then went to Reynisfjara, the black sand beach. The weather was terrible, were there for about an hour. You can see Dyrholaey, the natural rock arch in the ocean, from the beach or drive closer to it. We stopped at the 2 waterfalls on the way back, and both are breathtaking. You have to take the time to walk behind Seljalandsfoss.
Day 5: Borgarnes and Vattarnes
We were spending the next 2 nights in Akureyri and planned on driving through the WestFjords on our way there. We stopped at Borgarnes and went hiking around the area, then continued our drive. We made it to Vattarnes but realized there was no way we could keep going that direction around the whole peninsula, and turned around to head to Akureyri. Ended up getting there around 8:30 pm, a lot of time spent in the car.
Day 6: Akureyri
- Christmas House
- The Beer Spa
It rained all day, we wanted to go on a hike but there was no visibility and it would have been dangerous to actually go. Pretty disappointed but nothing we could do. We spent the day checking out the local culture and visited a dairy farm and the Christmas Garden, which is basically a Christmas house/gift shop. The church is a beautiful building, and the Beer Spa (yep, you sit in a spa full of beer) was a great way to end the trip.
Day 7: Back to the airport
5 hour drive back to the airport, flew out at 2:30 PM
A few notes:
If you’re a vegetarian, you’ll end up spending more. Dishes with meat were common and cheaper, so you had to pay extra if you wanted a dish without meat.
We wouldn’t recommend staying in Reykjavik that long. Instead of 4 nights there, 2 nights in Reykjavik, then 2 nights in Vik, and 2 nights in Akureyri would have been better. A camper van would have been ideal, however.
We found the driving times from Google Maps to be pretty accurate. We were able to make up time by driving fast.
The rental car process was a little challenging because they are all mom and pop shops and you have to wait. Returning the rental car was an experience, we were 3rd in line, there was only 1 attendant, and they go through the entire car with you so it took forever.
Traveled in October 2017