Updated: Mar 27, 2020
Finally getting around to posting my Iceland trip itinerary! It is very detailed but please read through it all, I have great trip and pointers, I promise! All my notes are in teal italics.
DAY ONE (11/24 Sunday):
Land at 6:05am at KEF
6:45am - scheduled pickup for car at Sixt
I highly recommend renting a car; we paid about $350 for the week for a small SUV. It took diesel and we got 700km to the tank, we only had to fill up twice during the whole trip. Each tank was approximately $100. We were told a taxi from airport to Reykjavik runs around $200 so you’re definitely better off renting a car even with having to pay for parking. It is much better to see the island on your own so you can create your own timeline and stop wherever and whenever you want. Otherwise you will have to see everything via tour groups and those get really costly.
9:00am - reservation for Blue Lagoon (25 min drive from airport)
-Arrive between 9-10am
-Stay for 2-3 hours then go somewhere for lunch
Blue Lagoon is best to do right after landing since it is close to the airport and about 45 minutes from Reykjavik, so there’s no need to come back to this side of town again. Also, it feels great to let your body relax in the hot water after a long flight! We stayed for about 3 hours; it was absolutely beautiful at sunrise. We did not eat at the Lava restaurant, as we did not see anything we really wanted to eat. I suggest going with the cheapest package – comfort. You won’t miss much.
Also, if you want to buy products from here - don't! Just wait until you get to the airport when you are leaving and buy it from the Blue Lagoon store there, it will be cheaper there as they offer a discount, I believe up to 20% off.
12:00pm – lunch @ The Coocoo’s Nest (Reykjavik)
This was the first place we ate at in Iceland and again as our last meal. BEST PANCAKES EVER!!! Like the besttttt!!! Must go here! Really cute and quaint in here. Nice staff as well and everything is made from scratch.
2:00pm - check in to hotel (45 min drive to hotel from Blue Lagoon)
Reykjavik Konsulat Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton
Hafnarstrti 17 19
Reykjavik, IS, 101, Iceland
We wanted to stay at the Hilton Canopy hotel but it was sold out so this was the next best option, it is also a Hilton property. The rooms were very nice and clean, the décor was presidential looking. We did not enjoy the complimentary breakfast that was included. They did fill the fridge in our room daily though with bottled waters, Pepsi, chips and chocolate. After seeing where the Canopy hotel is located, I am actually happy we stayed at the Konsulat hotel because there was parking nearby. The other hotel is in city center and we would have had to park far away in a garage, which would have been totally inconvenient. Konsulat hotel was still within walking distance of everything in the main part of town.
Sites to see around Reykjavik: all walking distance from city center
-Hallgrimskirkja (closes at 5pm) – beautiful church, takes about 10-15 min to see
-Harpa Concert Hall (closes at 6pm) – not much to do in here, just walk around
-Sun Voyager Statue (outdoor) – outdoor sculpture, just something to walk by
-Laugavegur - most famous street in Iceland - lots of restaurants and bars here
-Old Harbor (outdoor)
-Perlan (museum; $36 tickets; open 9a-9p) – we didn’t get time to go here
-Icelandic Phallological Museum ($13 tickets; open 10am-6pm) – went here our last day, it took about 30 minutes or less to see it all. It’s only one room. Pretty interesting though, I don’t recommend it but if you have time to kill, why not?
We fell asleep super early after exploring and were extremely jetlag, therefore we missed dinner! Ended up having a hot dog at Bæjarins Beztu Plysur, which we had on our list anyway. This was right outside our hotel so it was convenient, cheap and open late night!
DAY TWO (11/25 Monday):
Breakfast at hotel - opens 6am
Depart hotel @ 7:30am; arrive to following sites approx. 10:30am
-Snæfellsjökull National Park - 2h45m drive from hotel
-Dritvik (7 min from park; Stones of Trial)
-Hellnar (between Dritvik & Arnarstapi)
-Arnarstapi (17 min from park)
-Kirkjufell Mountain - 45 min drive from Park
-Landbrotalaug Secret Hot Springs – 1 hr. drive from Kirkjufell (optional, if we have time)
While driving around, we saw wild, Icelandic horses everywhere along the sides of the road. They are absolutely beautiful! Not a lot of them came over to us but there were two that we found that were close to the fenced area and they were friendly. One was younger so he was a little shy but the older one let us pet him. If you're an animal lover then definitely stop to see them! They are gorgeous!
Lunch – Hraun in Olafsvik
This little town was so cute! We stopped at this restaurant that I had just looked up on our route since I didn’t have anything planned for us and it was one of the best meals we had our whole trip. They had an amazing creamy curry fish soup along with fresh homemade bread. They also had a pretty nice selection of pizzas, nice entrée plates with seafood and lamb and then some sandwiches and burgers as well.
We came back and took a nap after this since it was a long day and planned to hunt for the Northern Lights that night. We downloaded the free version of the Aurora app and it worked just great for us. The app helped let us know when they were most visible as well as predicting when they would be best to see. It has an alert so you will know when to go looking for them. We drove out towards Þingvellir National Park since it was the closest dark area to go see the lights. We drove about 45 minutes out from the city, there was cell service out there. It was extremely dark and kind of scary but we were able to pull over onto a little nook on the side of the road to set up our tripod and camera to be able to get some clear shots of the lights. It was FREEZING but well worth it! This was the main reason I wanted to come to Iceland.
DAY THREE (11/26 Tuesday):
Depart hotel @ 7:00am; arrive Gulfoss Cafe approx 8:45am (1h45m drive)
Gullfosskaffi Ehf, Gullfoss, 801 Selfossi, Iceland
Snowmobile tour - 9:00am, approx. 4-5 hours long
We did our tour with Artic Adventures. I had a great time with them; the guides were all very friendly and nice. It was easy to find the meet up location and check in. Upon check in, you leave your car at the café and board the monster bus where they take you to a location to bundle up some more and get into gear. They give you mittens but they were not warm at all, we regretted not keeping our own gloves. The rest of their gear was great though! They gave us a body suit, facemask fleece, and helmet. Once we were geared up, they took us in the monster bus onto the glacier, which was bit of a bumpy ride because of all the terrain. It was really cool though! They get you to wear the snowmobiles are, then you get on and start the tour! You ride until you get to the ice cave, you check out the cave for a bit and then drive back on the snowmobile. We had some extra time to kill so we got to ride around for an extra bit. It was definitely a thrill to ride! They go super fast, would definitely recommend! It was a bit pricey though. You can book with them via Viator.com.
Gulfoss Falls/Golden Falls – saw this once our tour was done, it’s right there at the café.
Geysir - 10 min. from Golden Falls – drove here from the falls, was a quick stop. Just watched the geysir erupt a few times and then we left for the tomato greenhouse for lunch.
-Friðheimarn- tomato greenhouse (open 12-4pm) – love loved it here! This was such a cute place; the bread here was to die for. I ate so many pieces!! I would just suggest getting the soup and bread here. My husband had the clams – it was a LOT, too many to finish. I had the pasta, which I didn’t love, it was good and super fresh tasting, it just wasn’t meant for my palette. I think anyone else would’ve loved it. I am just not much into pesto. It was interesting to learn about how they grow the tomatoes there.
Hrunalaug Hot Spring – 30 min from Gulfoss car park
Secret Lagoon Hot Spring – Gamla Laugin ($25) – 30 min from car park also
We did not make it to either hot spring; it was too cold for us!!
DAY FOUR (11/27 Wednesday):
Grab food for road trip
Depart for South Coast @ 7:30am (approx. 2h drive)
1st stop - Seljalandsfoss Waterfall – easy to find, don’t need much time here depending on how long it takes for you to take pictures.
2nd stop - Skogafoss Falls – also easy to find, same as the previous falls. This one was a little more slippery to walk around and more misty. It was a heavier waterfall than the former. Be careful when walking!
3rd stop - Solheimasandur Plane Wreck – this was pretty cool to see, it is a 2.5 mile hike from the parking lot but it is a flat walk so it’s easy. It takes about 45 minutes to walk each way. They also have a shuttle now for $5 each way to take you back and forth. We walked to the plane and took the shuttle back as we were on a time crunch.
4th stop - Reynisfjara(20 min from plane) – This was one of my favorite places, there is a café here too if you are hungry and need to grab a bite. The pillars on the black sand beach are so gorgeous. Everything here is so scenic.
5th stop – Vik I Myrdal (15 min from Beach) – Cutest little town that you have to drive through. We stopped to eat here at The Soup Company – I had the creamy mushroom soup. It was soo good, probably the best mushroom soup I have ever had. We stopped here again on our way back the following day.
6th stop – Fjaðrárgljúfur (1 hr. from Vik) – we did not make it here.
Head to hotel in Jokulsarlon (1h20m drive from Fjaðrárgljúfur)
Check in to Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon
Hnappavellir, 785 Öræfi, Iceland
-Dinner at hotel – We had dinner at the bar instead of the restaurant because we liked the menu options better. The food was pretty good. I had no complaints.
Northern Lights – we drove a few miles away from the hotel to get away from the light pollution to see them better although we were able to see them from our room. It just depends. This hotel is out here all by itself so that made it easier.
DAY FIVE (11/28 Thursday):
Breakfast at hotel by 7am – We paid to have breakfast added with our reservation as there are no other places around here we figured it was our only option and it was! They had a better breakfast than our hotel in Reykjavik did. It was enough to get us going for our hike.
Depart 8:00am for Glacier Hike (30 min drive – check in @ 8:40am)
-Skaftafell Terminal (not to be confused with the Skaftafell visitor center)
- Glacier Hike & Ice Caving @ 9am – approx. 4 hours – We booked this hike with Troll Adventures. This hike was absolutely amazing. Once we reached the terminal, they gave us our gear, which was a harness, helmet, ice pick, and crampons. The bus drove us to our drop off spot, which is only 10 minutes away. Once we were dropped off, our guide leaded us into our hike. Once we reached the glacier, we put on the crampons and proceeded to climb up. It was approx.. 4 hours long from start to finish. I think anyone can do this since I was able to! I never, ever work out, and I have asthma, yet I was able to do it. I had to take a few breaks here and there and our guide understood. But I made it! I would def recommend this too, you cannot get on this glacier without a guide. It is Europe’s biggest glacier too!
Svartifoss Falls – Right near Skaftafell – I forgot about this place because it wasn’t on my original itinerary so we did not get to see it and I am so sad because it looks so beautiful in all the pics! =(
Head to Diamond Beach/Jokulsarlon ASAP after tour – 45 min drive – This was my absolute favorite place in Iceland!! The glacier lagoon was gorgeous but once we went to Diamond Beach, I was truly in awe of all its beauty. There were hundreds of broken glacier pieces that had just washed up on the shore. We got here at sunset and it was absolutely breathtaking. This place is a must see!!
Stay until sunset and head back to Reykjavik – 5 hr. drive – we took breaks. We stopped in Vik to eat. It wasn’t too bad even though it was a long drive.
DAY SIX (11/29 Friday):
Wake up whenever
Head to Thingvellir National Park – (45 min drive) where the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates meet, World Heritage UNESCO site – we actually did not make it here either because we were just done at this point! Too tired to drive anymore.
Go back to Reykjavik – sightseeing (whatever we haven’t seen yet) – We just spent the day walking around Reykjavik and exploring the city since we didn’t get much of a chance on day one.
Dinner at 8pm @ Austur-Indíafélagið – 11 min walk from hotel – Hyped up Indian restaurant that everyone talks about. The scallops and langoustine were amazing. Hariyali salmon was great too. The butter chicken was lacking though. Mine is definitely better!
DAY SEVEN (11/30 Saturday):
Check out of hotel by 11am
Lunch and explore a little more if we have time
We ate at Coocoo’s Nest again because the pancakes were THAT good!
1:00pm - head to airport – 45 min. drive
-Drop rental car at Sixt
5:15pm Depart KEF