Travel | Iceland

5.20.2023 Iceland


I'd like to start off by saying that even though I went for 6 days, I feel like I wish I had 2 days more to finish the entire Island. Eight days would have been perfect! * Excel Sheet and packing list included at bottom. Insta Video link included at end of each day* 

Day One

Don't forget to grab the small WiFi device at the airport by the pizza place before heading out! This will be your life saver

  • Fagradalsfjall Volcano - TIME: Your Choice, at least 30 minutes to enjoy walking on lava. $ - pay for parking. Erupted recently; GPS should take you to the proper spot. You can just hike over a small hill and go down the other side to where the lava is. Really cool to see and walk on. You can hike up the hill even more if you want, we did, but you really don't need to, the view doesn't change much. 

  • Reykjadalur River - *HIDDEN GEM* TIME: Plan to spend 3.5 hours minimum here. $ - pay for parking. This was awesome but a very long hike along a naturally hot river. You go all the way up the mountain and then continue in the valley behind. Eventually, you will come to an area where the river widens enough to enjoy the natural hot spring. There are man-made docks, and changing areas to take a dip in the river. Spend as much time as you want here, just relax, the water is really warm and feels really good.  I recommend this over all the lagoons. 
  • Blue Lagoon - SKIP IT! TIME: 3 Hours Minimum. $$ - $63 USD /person +.   Out of all the thermal spas and baths, this one is the most touristy, sort of felt like you were at the public pool. That being said, the blue water is pretty cool and out of all the thermal spas and things I did, the water here felt the hottest. Even though there were a lot of people, it did not feel crowded. I do recommend if your looking to just enjoy the thermal spa and have some drinks but overall I found the river to be wayyyy more worth the time! Not to mention you don't have to pay for the river hike. **Ladies - the water will destroy your hair! 
  • Explore Reykjavik - It's a city like all others around the world so we didn't care to spend much time here. But we did enjoy the Hallgrimskirkja Church and the rainbow road for pictures. The food is also great, see my other blog post about my favorite Icleand eats

Day Two - Golden Triangle 

  • Thingvellir National Park - $ - Pay for parking. This park has a lot to offer and you can easily spend an entire day here. I recommend parking by the Oxararfoss Waterfall as it seemed pretty central and easily walkable to other points of interest. 
    • Oxararfoss Waterfall 
    • Pingvallavatn Lake 
    • Almannagia Gorge
    • Snorkel the Silfra - HIGHYL RECOMMEND - The Silfra is the area between the European and North American tectonic plates. The water is extremely clear because it is glacier water filtered through the lava. You snorkel down the channel, the water is freezing cold but you don't feel it since they suit you up. Overall you don't even really need to be able to swim, you simply float down the channel because the water is coming from below and there is a slight current moving you forward. Quit incredible, don't skip it! Our Tour Info

  • Fridheimar - *HIDDEN GEM* A Tomato Farm with the best tomato soup I've ever had. Sounds silly, but you have to go here. You need a reservation but they were very flexible with us being late. The bottomless bread and soup bowl is a must! 
  • Bruarfoss Waterfall - *HIDDEN GEM* Time: 3+ Hours. I loved this hike. It was easy, took about 1 hour each way, and there was next to zero incline. You walk along the river and see three waterfalls along the way. The water is naturally really blue so you want to go while there is some sunlight. The GPS may take you to a private drive but there will be a sign telling you the parking is 2km further down the road. There's a muddy part and a part where you cross some rocks in a stream so I do recommend the waterproof boots here. Great place to fill up your waterbottle! You can also end your day with this. 

  • Gulfoss Waterfall - TIME: 45 minutes. This is a beautiful waterfall. No hike, you just park and you're there. I recommend all three viewing points. 

  • The Great Geysir - TIME: 10 minutes. Cool if you've never seen a geysir erupt, but not a must do. Really easy, you just park and you're there. Erupts approximately every 10 minutes. 
  • Things we didn't get to: Helgufoss Waterfall, Thorufoss Waterfall, Thjorsardalur Valley - Hjalparfoss, Granni, Haifoss, Pjofafoss. Kerid Crater, Hrunalaung Hot Springs, Secret Lagoon. 

Day Three - Southern Iceland to Vik 

  • Seljalandfoss Waterfall - Time: 1 hour. Walk around behind the waterfall and if you're brave, stand under the smaller fall next to it. You park and you're there so pretty easy. 

  • Gljufrabui Cave - Short walk from Seljalandfoss, you will go to the left of the sign, down a little ramp and then walk on the water of the creek, hugging the wall, into the cave to basically be right under the waterfall inside. 

  • Skogafoss Waterfall - Time: As long as you want, we spent about 2-3 hours here. This was awesome. LOT OF STAIRS. Definitely take the stairs all the way to the top and then keep going on the trail. The trail goes for 21 km but you can turn back at anytime. I think we went for about 3 to 4 km. It just gets more and more beautiful and you'll see a waterfall every 15 minutes. Pretty easy hike after the stairs. You can spend forever here. I recommend going at least to Fosstofufoss. We went past Steinbogafoss, got to a point where you have to climb some rocks and decided to turn back. Maybe about 2 hours total. Nice spot to picnic. 
  • Kvernufoss Waterfall - *HIDDEN GEM* While you leave Skogafoss, turn left and stop at Kvernufoss. Super easy, short walk, (10 minutes) but it was beautiful and you can walk behind it. One of my favorite stops. Much less crowded and off the beaten path. 
  • Dyrholaey Lighthouse - Touristy thing to do but the view is nice. You just drive up to the top. Very windy.
  • Reynisfjara Black Sand BeachYou can see the cave from Game of Thrones (Halsanefshellir Cave). Enjoy the Basalt columns. Don't get close to the waves. 

Day Four - Southern Iceland to Hofn 

  • Fjaorargljufur Canyon - This will be during the drive, It's an easy stop, no hiking required, you park and you're there. Walk around and take in the view. 

  • Eldraun - This is the mass of land around you as you drive away from Vik and towards Hofn. There are places to stop if you want. It's just a vast frontier of lava rock with moss growing on it. Pretty crazy.

  • Skaftafell Glacier - This is the big glacier. We did the glacier hike. It was much easier than I thought, they keep it very simple and you don't go very high up because the ice can be unpredictable. You pretty much get on the glacier and then walk around the bottom half of it. Still a cool experience though since the glaciers are, you know, melting. 

  • Svartifoss Waterfall - This was really nice. The hike was just one big incline tho which was rough on the calves. The rock was formed from lava falling off the cliff and it forms square columns all around the waterfall. 

  • Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon - This is beautiful, easy stop. Just off the road. We took the boat out, I recommend the speedboat if you can, they take you closer to the glacier. 

  • Diamond Beach - Across the road from Glacier Lagoon. This is where the ice washed up on the black sand beach so it looks like diamonds. Really pretty  

Day Five - East Fjords to Akureyri

  • Vestrahorn Mountain - This is a mountain with thin water from the sea at it's base. It's so clear that you can stand on it and looks like your walking on water/standing on a mirror. You have to pay to drive into the area. Real easy stop. Beautiful and peaceful area. Spend as much time as you like here, definitely use the bathroom or pick up snacks here as it's one of the last places you see for a while. 

  • The East Fjords - Driving through these. Beautiful Drive. 
  • Oxipass Canyon - You'll drive through this on your way to Dettifoss. Honestly, one of the best parts of the trips. This canyon was absolutely beautiful and there were so many waterfalls in it. 

  • Studlagil Canyon - Two options for this one, stay to the right at the fork and go to the last lot. Take the stairs down and see the columns across the canyon. Or, you can cross the bridge on the left at the fork and take a perilous gravel road to the further parking lot, followed by a 40 minute easy hike, to actually climb down the columns into the canyon. 

  • Dettifoss Waterfall - The largest waterfall in Europe I believe. Words can't describe the power of this waterfall. When you are on your way, the GPS will make you take a road, but there is a sign that says to take a different road. Make the U-turn and go the recommended road based on the sign, NOT GPS. Shorter drive and easier walk to get to the falls. Not really a big hike here, just a short walk.  (try to make it a goal to get here by or before sunset, it's absolutely gorgeous!) 

  • Selfoss Waterfall - Definitely make the short walk from Dettifoss to Selfoss, While Dettifoss is powerfull, Selfoss is before and is absolutely beautiful. It's also cool to see how the calm the water is before Dettifoss. 

Day Six - Akureyri back to Reykjavik 

  • Spend some time exploring Akureyri - It's much less crowded or touristy than Reykjavik so I recommend trying the local foods and enjoying the shops here rather than back in the main city. The heart stop light were my favorite detail and had such a beautiful story behind them. 

  • Godafoss Waterfall - Another easy waterfall right outside Akureyri. Has a unique story to it. You park and you're there. 

  • Sky Lagoon - *RECOMMEND THE 7 STEP BODY REJUVENATION* Personally, I liked this better than Blue Lagoon. If you have a late flight on your last day, this is a clutch way to spend the evening. It's in Reykjavik and the overall atmosphere was more spa like and relaxing. Beautiful view too. Make sure you get the package that offers the 7 stage body rejuvenation (I stayed in the cold bath for 30 seconds). The sauna room will take your breath away. There's also a pretty nice bar/cafe area where you can hang until you need to leave for the airport. *Ladies! For instapics I recommend a colored swimsuit to really pop against the black lava rock backdrop!* 

Things We Didn't Get to do: 

  • Way back from Akureyri: Hvevir Geo Thermals, Grjotagja Cave, MYVATN Nature Baths 
  • Snaefellsness Peninsula: 
    • Kirkjufellsfoss
    • Arnarstapi Stone Bridge
    • Raudfelsdsgja Gorge
    • Deildartunguhver Hot Spring
    • Barnafoss Waterfall
    • Hraunfossar Waterfall
    • Drive Hvalforour
  • Viti Crater
  • West Fjords
  • Dynjandi Waterfall
  • Ice Cave

Packing for Iceland was quite the doozy but here's what I was able to take in a carry-on and personal item that I felt was immensely useful! 

  • Waterproof hiking boots - Columbia Omni Grip 
  • Waterproof Gloves 
  • Ear warmers 
  • Sweatshirts and crewneck hoodies 
  • Waterproof Pants - Rdruko Cargo water-resistant 
  • Inner layers 
  • Good socks 
  • Fleece waterproof jacket with hood - recommend not black or green, get a fun color or white so it pops in photos! 
  • Waterproof liners 
  • Flip flops 
  • Small backpack 
  • Swimwear 

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