Iceland has always been on top places to visit for me. But never really had the time and plan to realise it. It is one of the pretties countries in the world (the prettiest in my opinion :)), and I am sure you have seen so many stunning views of it. Almost like watching Geographic Channel.. I finally made up my mind, found a travel buddy and realised my most epic road trip into the country of Elf lovers.
I am writing this article to help whoever is thinking of going to Iceland with limited amount of time. I wish I had a post that I could read and that would help me with my planning process. I had to research every single detail and took a lot of time. But hope this article will be useful for whoever is tired of planning a trip to Iceland!
In this post I will talk about everything from how to rent a car, where to go, where to eat, to how much time you’ll need to do the famous golden circle tour.
We landed in Reykjavik on 3rd December around 9.30am. The weather was still pitch black. The airport is really nice by the way and I could have easily spent hours there. However, being aware of the time limitations we had, we went to rent our car from the Rent a Car company, called “Dollar“.
I actually spent some time researching Rent a Car companies to make sure we get the best deal, and Dollar seemed to have the best deal out of all the companies. And knowing that it may be icy and that we may want to go off road, I checked only 4 x 4 cars. (It is highly suggested to rent an SUV in the winter months, and we really saw the benefits of this).
Firstly, we wanted to see the capital, spend few hours there, have some Icelandic food and go to Grindavik (This is where the famous “Blue Lagoon” is). On the way to Reykjavik, it really felt like we were in the Moon. We have some signs about Elves and Vikings. This country is really obsessed with Elves :D. How cute!!!
Reykjavik is a very pretty city full of cafe shops and Icelandic stores. We really wanted to try “Snaps” after doing some research and it was really worth it. Not being familiar with what “a snap” is we ordered the most traditional snap. Oh my god! It was strong. We realised that snaps are shots only served in fancier glasses. The food in snaps was incredible!!! I highly recommend the place, and while you are there make sure you try their famous fries.
Once we got exposed to amazing food, and walked around the city (it really is not big, you can easily walk from one side to the other), and saw the famous Hallgrímskirkja, we decided to make our way to Grindavik.
Grindavik is a small city, very close to Blue Lagoon. There was not much to do or see, but we found a very cute Icelandic restaurant called “Salthuid“. I definitely recommend their mushroom soup.
Blue lagoon. That summarises the second day. It’s been on top of my list for quite some time, seeing the pictures of people in this heaven like place. I was so excited to go there myself finally! I highly recommend booking your tickets in advance though. Even though we booked ours a week in advance we could only get the 8am slot. However, the nice thing about was that we got to experience both the dark and the light in Blue Lagoon. Pluswe took pictures when its dark and when its light.
The LAVA restaurant is the luxurious restaurant inside the lagoon. The food is absolutely delicious. There are few cafes around, but I highly recommend going to the restaurant and trying out their dishes. Especially the desert “Ástarpungar & Caramel”. Ástarpungar is Icelandic dough balls and they are so -crunchy but soft inside- tasty!
Also make sure you don’t wet your hair in the lagoon, because it really damaged mine. It has been a week now and it is still like horse hair, so stiff:(. But I really don’t care because the whole experience was one of a life time kind and I couldn’t have gone there without getting completely wet! Apparently the conditioner they have is great and they recommend to use loads of it afterwards.
We decided to leave Blue Lagoon, before it gets dark, to see beautiful Iceland better, while driving. Our next stop was the city called “Hella”.
We get to the Hotel Ranga in Hella around 3.00 pm and wow! What an amazing location, what an amazing venue! It was around 1 hour and 30 minutes drive and was well worth it. I will have a separate blog about Hotel Ranga and give you guys more details about this beautiful place.
Seeing the hot tubs outside, we jumped into the hot water, having the river scenery. Hoping to see the northern lights that night. And, nope. No northern lights for us…
We woke up very early, because today was the day that we were going to be doing the “Golden Circle Tour”. After doing some research we realised we wouldn’t be able to see everything as it may take up to 7-8 hours. So we made our own list by adding one extra location (Yup, because that makes sense) :D.
1- Fluðir (Secret Lagoon)
3- Gullfoss Waterfall
4- Faxi Waterfall
This one is a hidden gem. No one really knows about it and it is very close to Gullfoss. We were literally the only one there. It was so peaceful and quite 🙂
To do this tour took us indeed 8 hours! However, I am so glad we did not do it with professional tour busses, as with our tailored tour we took our time in each one of the wonders, took as many pictures as we’d like, even have some food stops (try the soup place called “SUPA” in Geysir – wow).
The good thing about renting a car is that you can tailor the tour as you wish. And it is so much cheaper as well.
Iceland, to me now the prettiest country in the world. And weird thing is; instead of my bucket list decreasing, it has grown even more . Next time I go to Iceland, I want to explore the Northern Part, see the Askja caldera and so on! And who knows, maybe I get to see the Northern Lights this time 🙂