We flew from London Gatwick and arrived in Keflavik airport at 8am. Most flights arrive quite early in the morning, but this is perfect as you have a whole day ahead of you. First we picked up our rental car, which is a must! We paid £130 to have the car for four full days. We rented it through global rental car, but there are so many. After picking up the car we headed to the Blue Lagoon. The best time to go is when arrive or just before you fly out, because it’s only 25 minutes from the airport. The Blue Lagoon was £75 each, so quite pricey, but so so worth it! You can stay there as long as you like, get a free drink and a silica face mask. It’s one of the coolest things I’ve experienced.
After a few hours, we headed to Reykjavik, a 45 minute drive from the Blue Lagoon. We stayed in an AirBnb, a 10 minute drive from the city centre. We went for a few drinks at a bar called Icelandic Street food, which is a restaurant and has a bar attached to it. We were expecting drinks to be really expensive, but a beer was about £5 here, very similar to London prices. The food here was really good too, I think we paid about £13 for traditional soup in a bread bowl, and this was unlimited, as well as some delicious biscuits and cakes, also unlimited!
Golden Circle day! The Golden Circle is a really popular day trip to do from Reykjavik, you can do it in about 6 hours. Not to be confused with the ring road, the Golden Circle is a sightseeing route that is home to some beautiful sites.
Þingvellir National Park, here you can find where the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates meet, and the Mid-Atlantic Ridge is formed. You can snorkel between them, but we weren’t brave enough to face the cold. We explored for about an hour then drove over to the Öxaráfoss waterfall, which is part of the National Park.
Next we visited a highly recommended ice cream shop that is connected to a farm, after reading many a blog about Iceland, we decided this was a necessary stop. The farm is called Efstidalur II, and it’s on the way to Geysir. The salted caramel is the best ice cream I’ve ever tasted.
Next up was the Geysir. Coming from New Zealand, I have seen geysers before, but this was still impressive. We watched it blow twice, it happens every 12-15 minutes. I should add, that we didn’t stop for lunch, we brought snacks with us from London and ate them throughout the day.
The next stop was the Gulfoss waterfall, which was enormous and so impressive.
There’s another little spot called the Secret Lagoon, which we didn’t actually make it to, but I was told by a friend, that it’s a natural hot pool, quite close to Gulfoss. Put Hrunalaug into google maps, park at the bottom and walk over the hills and there will be a hut where you can get changed. Apparently it is quite small, but looking at photos, it looks very picturesque! (Thanks Sabrina for the tip).
After Gulfoss we stopped at the Faxi waterfall, which was on the way to the Kerid Crater, no matter how many waterfalls I see, I will always be impressed!
Kerid Crater was the last stop of the day, and it was very cool, definitely recommend paying to £2 entry and walk all the way round, and down to the bottom.
For dinner we went to Lebowski Bar, had a few happy hour beers and one of the best vege burgers I’ve ever eaten, and Matt can vouch for the beef burger.
Day Three – Southern Coast Guide
We left the AirBnb at 7:30am, because of the huge day of driving ahead of us, 750km from Reykjavik to Diamond Beach and back. If I was to do this trip again, I would stay one night somewhere on the south coast to break up the drive, we saw so many little cabins and hotels, in the middle of nowhere.
After a 2 and a half hour drive, our first stop was Skogafoss, an enormous waterfall, here you can walk up to the top of it too. Make sure you stop somewhere along the way to pat some Icelandic Horses, they are gorgeous!
Next up was the Sólheimasandur Plane Crash. In 1973 a US navy DC-3 crashed here, and amazingly nobody died. It was easy to find, right on the main road, but the car park is actually 2km away from where google maps takes you. The walk out to the plane is 35-45 minutes, and so worth it, its quite an incredible thing to see.
There are a few popular black sand beaches to visit, we chose to go to Reynisfjara, which has the famous basalt columns. Vik, is about 5 minutes on from the beach, and is a great place to stop for coffee/snacks.
We drove all the way out to Diamond Beach and the Fjallsaon Glacier Lagoon, which is about two and a half hours from Vik. It seems far, but it’s so so worth it, and the roads are very easy to drive (according to Matt). The glacier is melting and constantly has ice breaking away from it, which is taken out to sea then washes the ice onto the beach. This was my highlight of the day, can’t recommend it enough.
Another two and a half hours in the car took us to Seljavallalaug, which is the oldest pool in Iceland. It’s quite easy to find, turn of the ring road (No.1) into road 242 marked Raufarfell. You drive until you see a sign that says Seljavellir, keep following it down until you get to the car park. From there, walk for 15-20 minutes towards the bottom of the valley, you’ll see the pool round the corner.
Last stop were the two waterfalls, Seljalandsfoss and Gljufrabui. These waterfalls are next to each other, the first you can walk behind, you get very wet but it’s really cool. The other one, Gljufrabui, is less impressive, but you can walk into it (we didn’t do this) and according to my friend it was amazing and so worth the wet feet and legs.
It was about a 14 hour round trip, but one of my favourite travel days ever.
We spent our last day exploring Reykjavik on a walking tour of the city. We did it with the company City Walk, and our tour guide was great. After a beer and some food, we drove out to the airport and dropped the car off.