Iceland is the perfect destination for a three-days getaway (or longer if you have the time). It has Reykjavik for shopping, food and drinks. And the rest of the island has breathtaking nature and unforgettable sights.
It took a while before I got to visit this beautiful Island. I guess I wasn´t enchanted by the weather and temperature, but I absolutely loved being there. In just three days, we got to stay at a world-class designer hotel, eat excellent food and experience much more than anticipated. I have such fond memories of this trip.
Reykjavik is the capital of Iceland and the home to 2/3s of the around 330 000 people who live here. The size of the town is perfect, and there is no distance between all the wonderful shops, and even more wonderful cafes and restaurants. The atmosphere is chill and the people are rugged but soft. I had no idea that there were so many great places to eat here, and had trouble choosing. We ended up at the Grillmarkadurinn one night, and Dill (which is the best restaurant on the island) the other. The third night, we enjoyed some food from the restaurant at our hotel.
Where to stay: There are several good hotels to choose from too, but I fell for 101 Design Hotel. The rooms were stylish and minimalistic, in black and white, the view was beautiful, and the bar area was an awesome place to hang.
What to do: If you only have two full days to spend in this beautiful island, I suggest that you drive the golden circle one of the days, and visit the Blue Lagoon on the other. The remaining time should be spent strolling the streets in Reykjavik and relax in the cafes and bars.
Renting a car is a must in Iceland. At least if you want to see more than Reykjavik and its beautiful Hallgrimskirkja.
We drove on route 36 from Reykjavik to our first stop, Þingvellir National Park. Thingvellir is the loation of Iceland´s first Parliament and also where the North American and Euroasian tectonic plates slowly splits apart. The second stop is Haukadalur where you can see two geysers named Geysir and Stokkur. The original Geysir is no longer active, but Stokkur erupts about every ten minutes, and it is a great spectacle. The third stop, and perhaps my favorite, is a bit off the track, but truly worth it. Gullfoss Waterfall will take your breath away with its powerful and misty scenery. Just remember to wear wind- and waterproof clothes. A pair of rubber boots may also be smart for this trip. This is also an ok place to have lunch.
Our last stop on this route was the Kerid Crater Lake. This used to be a volcano that collapsed and is now an empty magma chamber filled with beautiful, blue water. You decide if you want to view it from the top or hike down to the bottom of the crater. That only takes a few minutes.
Even if this Golden Circle has four major stops mapped out, one of the best things about this trip is the trip itself. The roads are in excellent condition and sometimes the view is just breathtaking. At times it feels rather desolated, but still beautiful, and other times the black mountains with snow covered tops (depending on when you travel, of course), the famous Icelandic horses, that you can stop and say hello to, if you like, and the unique black rocks covering most of the countryside are all unforgettable sights.
The Blue Lagoon in Iceland was so much cooler than I thought. Even the drive there was amazing. As we were getting closer, the damp from the warm water made for a beautiful sight on the blue sky, and the area was so much bigger than expected. I suggest that you book your ticket in advance and go for the Premium package. This means that you get your own fast-track line, get a robe and slippers, and a free sparkling wine if you dine at the LAVA restaurant. Which I also recommend. The restaurant is very elegant with a wonderful view to the lagoon. The food is surprisingly good, and there are also good choices of wine. The best part about spending time in the Lagoon is still the in-water massage. This really was a “one-of-a-kind experience for body and soul”. And after a couple of hours in the water, including two different mud masks, my skin really felt like a soft baby’s butt!
So get your tickets and go to Iceland! But remember that it is pricy and pack your bag with warm, wind- and waterproof clothes.
Thanks to Expert Vagabond for great tips!