Iceland: Icebergs, Waterfalls, and Wide Open Spaces
Updated: Jul 14, 2019
I keep a loose list of top ten countries in my head that I would like to visit. Not to cross them off and consider them done, but to roughly keep myself focused on travel goals. Iceland is the first country ever, that once visited, didn't come off the list. Here's why...
Iceland is a outdoor enthusiasts dream - wide open spaces, waterfalls everywhere, and so many ways to get off the beaten path. Mountains to climb, glaciers to visit, shorelines to explore - Iceland really has it all.
We visited Iceland in June of 2014 and used Reykjavik as our home based for the week we were there. In future visits, we'll travel around the country instead, but this was a great way to start of our Icelandic experiences. Reykjavik is about 40 minutes from Keflavik airport, so if you aren't renting a car, the Fly Bus is a great way to get into the city.
Reykjavik is a really easy city to be able to see all of the main attractions (and more) in a couple of days. It's a great stopover spot heading to or from many European destinations as well. While there, we did a food tour (Iceland is for foodies too), visited Hallgrímskirkja (be sure to go up to the top for great views of the city), explored the Harpa concert hall, Town Hall, and Perlan, admired the Sun Voyager sculpture, visited a flea market, and bought an amazing handmade Icelandic sweater. We also lucked into being there for their national holiday, where thousands of people came out for free concerts, kids activities, and festivities.
We also spent a few days day-tripping out from Reykjavik to check out more of the country. One day, we did a day long tour out to Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. This is a must visit if you are spending time in Iceland. Our tour included stops at Skógafoss, Vik, a turf church in Hof, Fjadrargljufur canyon, and time to hike in to Svartifoss in Vatnajökull, and well as time to explore Jökulsárlón and a boat tour around the lagoon itself. We made many more quick stops for pictures along the way as well.
We also did the Golden Circle Tour. This is one of the most popular tour for visitors to Iceland, and can easily fit into a quick stopover in the country (though I definitely recommend you spend way more time there). This tour consisted of Kerið crater lake, a church at Skálholt, Gullfoss, Geysir hot spring and Haukadalur geothermal area, and the absolutely stunning Þingvellir National Park.
To wrap up our visit, we spent the afternoon at the Blue Lagoon before heading to the airport for our flight home. This is one of the few places we encountered in Iceland that charges an admission fee, but understandably so as they are actually a geothermal spa. If you want to experience a natural hot spring in Iceland, there's lots of other options with a less hefty price tag. We enjoyed our time there - the process to get in can be a bit crowded (they have a very busy but very organized luggage storage area) and there's many locker rooms, but once you're outside in the lagoon, it's very easy to find some space to yourself.
Is Iceland on your bucket list? For helping planning your visit, contact me any time at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-877-987-4770 ext 1071.