When I tell people I’ve been to Iceland I alway get impressed looks. Why though? Prices to Iceland are at a record low because of the new discount airline WOW air not to mention Iceland Air flying there daily from many North American cities. So let’s crack this country open and get you over there having an impressive icy time as well!
Key things to know:
It is expensive. I hear most Scandinavian countries are pricey and this one is no exception. Gas, food, alcohol you name it is pricey. Just like any other island, a lot of consumables are imported necessitating a price increase.
It’s drop dead gorgeous. Once you get over the cold issue.
They believe in elves, go with it.
How I would explore:
Like I said gas is expensive so this isn’t the budget option. However in my humble opinion, I think this is the best. Grab a buddy or two. Don’t have any buddies? Once you stay at the Kex Hostel you will, no problem. Now head out and EXPLORE. Iceland is full of natural wonders! Don’t skimp on the 4×4 especially in the winter so you can see it all.
Keflavik is the small town you’ll fly into. Make sure you take advantage of the duty free when you arrive as alcohol is very expensive in Iceland.
The Blue lagoon geothermal pool is a sight to see and experience. If you have a lot of money to spend then definitely check it out otherwise stick to the cheaper geothermal pools in and around Reykjavik they’re just as good. The neat thing about Blue Lagoon is its surroundings which is a ton of volcanic rock. The drive up is a spectacular science fiction sight.
New to Iceland? Make sure you check out the town before you venture out. Iceland has a very unique culture and Reykjavik is no exception!
Relax in the Laugardalslaug heated pool, great for kids and adults. Make sure you try all the different heated pools and the salt water tub!
KEX Hostel is more of a socializing experience. Famous for concerts and bringing people together.
Have you ever wanted to see 215 animal penises in one room? Check out Rekjaviks Phallic museum. Not to be missed this museum is fascinating.
Whale watching is amazing in Iceland. You can’t see whales from April to October. On our tour we did see whales but the experience was my favourite part. Suiting up in giant red floatation snowsuits and holding on for dear life while the boat zoomed around will be an experience I’ll never forget.
Dog sledding is an experience you can only get in certain countries around the world. Flying through the snow with only the power of a skilled dog pack is such a rush. Seeing how they live is also a highlight. Make sure you dress warmly the temperature drops significantly out on the snow.
Iceland is an Island with a generally round shape. In it there are two tourist routes. The Golden circle aka the express route close to Reykjavik and then the ring road, a road trippers dream.
Important things to pack before you head out:
Cell phone with Icelandic Sim card and lots of gigs for maps. Either unlock your own or buy a cheap one for the car.
Snow chains, it can get icy up north
Cash, unless you’re certain your foreign cards will work at their gas stations, and even then emergency money is never a bad thing when you’re so remote.
Some of my favourite stops on the golden circle are listed. This is a great introduction to Iceland. It’s still close to civilization but you’ll see some spectacular sites. I personally like to make this a road trip but if you don’t have a GPS or are intimidated by foreign road signs then try a golden circle tour!
Gullfoss waterfall – The furthest point on the circuit but beautiful. You’ll see lots of tourists here. Make sure you wander around and down the stairs to see better views of the falls.
Strokkur geysir – About 10 minutes away from Gullfoss waterfall, if you’ve never seen a geyser before definitely check it out.
Tectonic plates in Þingvellir plain national park – Iceland is sitting right on top of the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. If you don’t know what that means go check it out! If you’re a diver you can actually dive between the plates, how neat is that!
Kerid Volcano in Hvítá River Valley – Check out this amazing volcano spanning 270m wide with a lake in the centre.
The Ring Road
The ring road will take you minimum 7 days to complete. Budget for more (please). In the winter driving is not the best so if you’re not used to winter driving stick to the bottom half. SOME of the sights you should check out on the ring road are:
Solheimasandur plane crash site
Viti in Askja – Hot spring inside a volcano crater
Jokulsarlon iceberg lagoon
Crystal ice caves under Vatnajokull glacier
Black sand beaches in Vik
Northern lights, head north!