Iceland

Iceland

  • February 2015

Route Overview

  • 10+ hours of driving∼estimated over 15 hours with stops
  • 860 km = 534 miles
  • 6 days
  • 3 People

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Itinerary Outline

Day 1: Keflavik→Reykjavik
Day 2: Reykjavik→Vik
Day 3: Vik→Jokulsarlon→Vik
Day 4: Vik→Laugarvatn
Day 5: Laugarvatn→Mossfellsbaer→Reykjavik
Day 6: Reykjavik→Keflavik

Itinerary Description

Day 1

We dropped our stuff at Hlemmur Square Hostel and started walking the streets of Reykjavik. We took in the sites of gift shops, quaint homes, the concert hall, and Hallgimur Church.

Once we had an unobstructed view of the harbor, we made a beeline for the Sun Voyager and the mountains across the harbor.

 

Since our flight landed early in the morning, we were able to enjoy excellent service at a small cafe for brunch, and an indescribable dinner at a high-end restaurant called Apotek. Here we sampled the chef’s special 4 course meal including fresh, seasonal fish, minke whale, and mushrooms sautéed in bone marrow. We finished with a raspberry sorbet and assortment of small desserts before returning to our hostel for the night.

Day 2

We left around 8am to make our way to the village of Vik. Other than going the wrong way for the first 30 minutes, the drive was easy going and easy to navigate with only a roadmap to help us.

We stopped at many sites along the way including Seljalandsfoss Waterfall, Skógafoss Waterfall and Eyjafjallajökull. The entire drive skirted us around towering, snow covered mountains and cliffs.

 

As the daylight faded, we made our way through the winding mountain roads and a snow storm to the cozy village of Vik. We dropped our stuff off at Puffin Hotel and made the 5 minute walk to the black sand beach.

 

We watched the tumbling waves crash against the eroded basalt rocks before the frigid wind and gloomy clouds proved too much and we retreated to a small, rustic restaurant next door to our hotel. The food was all homemade with products and produce taken from local farms.

Our waitress told us that we could access the beach and a better view of the rocks from the opposite side of the cliff. We vowed to make this a short pit-stop before our long drive the next morning.

 

Day 3

Departing by 9am, we drove out from Vik and turned on to the main road. The N1 and smaller side roads are clearly marked with numbered signs and symbols for towns and accommodations.

 

As per our directions, we took the first left after leaving Vik. This turn took us down a winding road that passed through farms, small houses, and skirted along the base of the rocks before ending up in a small, snow covered parking lot. We followed the signs down to the beach and were pleased to see a massive black sand beach with foaming waves, and closer views of the giant basalt rocks we had seen the day before. As we rounded the marked path, the small mouth of a cave opened up beneath the massive cliffs.

 

After frolicking in the sand and climbing sharp rocks, we continued on N1 for another 2 hours, stopping halfway, only to build a snowman.

 

We eventually reached Jokulsarlon’s Glacier Lagoon. Here, a glacier molts massive pieces of its own ice. The enormous chunks flow down a river that connects and pushes the ice out into the ocean. Most of the pieces, however, end up pushed onto the shore by the crashing waves. It is an incredible site.

We awed at the size of the ice, as well as the muffled, yet powerful sound of the miniature icebergs bumping and floating out to sea.

 

Day 4

We left early in the morning from Vik, heading back West to make our way to the Golden Circle.

(If you’re strapped on time or transportation, take a look at this post from ExpertVagabond about driving the Golden Circle!)

Our first stop was the Gullfoss Waterfall. The sound of the roaring waters could be heard from the visitor center at the top of the icy stairs.

 

We cautiously climbed up the slippery stairs and walked over to watch as the one of the geysers bubbled and erupted. The smell, while not a deal breaker, is something of a mild rotten egg.

From here we left for our hostel in Laugarvatn. With almost a full morning drive and a slight navigation error, we nearly didn’t make it. Our gas was running low, but at the last second, we came up to the picturesque Héraðsskólinn Boutique Hostel. Luckily, there was a gas station right next door!

We relaxed at the hostel before ending the night with another extravagant dinner at Lindin Bistro.

Day 5

We left Laugarvatn to drive through þinvellir national park. It was a gloomy day, but we were able to see the mountains, lake, and the tectonic plates.

We stopped at the visitor center to grab some snacks before making our way to Mossfellsbaer for an ATV adventure!

We spent our last night in Reykjavik, in the same hostel we started with. We took a spontaneous trip out to the Blue Lagoon and waded in the waters as the sun set.

Day 6

We sadly said goodbye to Iceland and flew back to America.

 

This itinerary was great for us as first time visitors to Iceland. We were able to set our own pace and see constant, amazing scenery only covering a small portion of the souther coast of Iceland. After 6 days, we were exhausted, but left with so much more of the country to see, which makes a great excuse for a return trip!

 

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