Visiting Iceland was an experience unlike any other for me. I cannot say enough about this incredible country. The natural beauty and vastly different landscapes as you drive through is astounding. It’s the only place that I have been in the world where we would drive for a half hour and not see another person, car, animal, house…anything. Just remote countryside. Below are a few of my highlights:
Type of Trip: Groupon Getaway (yes, I actually tried this!)
Hotel: Best Western, Reykjavik
Transport: Iceland Air (via a fun weekend layover in NYC), and car rental through Budget (via Kayak)
- We took a redeye flight from NYC to Keflavík, thus landing super early in the morning. Since the famous Blue Lagoon is only a half hour drive from the airport, and on our way to Reykjavik, we decided to stop there forst for the experience. This turned out to be a brilliant choice as we were some of the first ones in (it gets crowded). Freezing air, and warm sulfur baths with mud masks. Absolute heaven and well worth the price tag.
2. We headed north to check into our hotel. Pretty basic accommodations, but worked well for the two of us, plus breakfast was included every day. It was October, so the daylight hour were relatively short and the temperatures pretty cold (frost in the morning, definitely ski coat weather for us). However, it was sunny every afternoon. We spent a day exploring town and had a brilliant time at a local (though touristy) English pub – http://www.enskibarinn.is/en/ . Lots of travelers during the week and locals on the weekends. The bar/club scene picks up tremendously over the weekend (it goes all night), when the locals come out. We also had trendy, wonderful (though expensive) dinners at the following:
Fiskmarkadurinn (Fish Market) – the mussels were a favorite.
3. We spent the remainder of our time waking up early and simply driving to explore. The first day, we drove the famous Golden Circle Route, stopping at the Gullfoss Falls, Þingvallavatn, and Strokkur (Geysir). The next day, we drove the southern portion of the Ring Route (circling the entire country perimeter). This was my favorite as we stopped at various waterfalls (Skogafoss, Seljalandsfoss), glaciers, lava fields, etc. When I make my return to Iceland, I am certainly going to plan for a full week of driving the Ring route, and staying at the various B&Bs along the way. Another day, we drove north to some of the coastal towns.
4. The Northern Lights – a must! It was FREEZING outside in the middle of the night, but we did get to see some of the lights. Very cool when we did see them, but the cold was a bit much for us to handle. Learn how to take night photos (no flash) before going – you only get a few moments to capture it!
5. Our final day, we drove back to the airport, stopping at some of the sulfur springs/lava fields in the south. This adventure was an expected joy, as it was essentially void of people. It seemed that we had the whole world to ourselves, and the landscape looked what I imagine Mars to look like. Simply cool.