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ULTIMATE GUIDE TO ICELAND

ICELAND, best islands to visit , island travel , island vacations

There’s nothing like a good road trip. Especially when driving past active volcanoes, icebergs, raging waterfalls, and northern lights on Iceland’s Ring Road. The Ring Road is designed perfectly for a road trip. According to Google Maps, and under ideal circumstances, the total drive time is around 17 hours. I recommend undertaking this in 8-10 days, which allows for plenty of time to explore the main regions and attractions.

There is so much to do in Iceland. There are 4 regions to explore: East, West, North and South of the Island. I would recommend selecting 2 regions that you really want to explore if you have a short amount of time.  See the map below to get a general idea of where all the main attractions are and plan your trip accordingly.

Iceland Map with adventurous attractions and cities

Currency: Icelandic Kroner
High Season: June-August
Low Season: May-September

When Should You Go?

The best weather is during the summer, July & August. But the shoulder season of September & October can be a good time to visit too as prices are lower, less people are on the road, and days become shorter, increasing chances to see the Northern Lights. You can also track the Northern Lights forecast to see which days have the most activity.

Check The Weather

Speaking of the weather, it changes quickly in Iceland. A sunny morning can easily turn into a whiteout blizzard. Bookmark the website vegagerdin.is for real-time road conditions. They even have a smartphone app. 

ARRIVAL:

  • Fly into Keflavik International Airport and land into the capital city of Reykjavík. You can either take a cab (pricey) or a bus called Flybus  ($25 one way) which will drop you directly to your hotel in the capital. I recommend staying in the capital at the end of your trip.
    ***Make sure to pick up alcohol from the duty free because it is very expensive in Iceland

Top 5 things to do in Reykjavik

  1. HAVE LOBSTER SOUP AT SEA BARON
  2. HEAD UP TO HALLGRÍMSKIRKJA CHURCH FOR A BIRD’S-EYE VIEW OF THE CITY
  3. DAY TRIP ON THE GOLDEN CIRCLE TOUR
  4. TAKE A TRIP TO THE BLUE LAGOON
  5. VISIT THE WORLD’S ONLY PENIS MUSEUM
    NIGHTLIFE: Bars to visit: Kaffibarinn, Boston, The English Pub,

All the bars in Reykjavík are located in and around the main shopping street; Laugavegur. None of them charge entry fees (unless there is a live band playing or something special going on).

Top 10 Things to do in Iceland

  1. Blue Lagoon is the most popular and very commercial. There are other natural springs all around Iceland which are just as good. Some other options for natural baths if you don’t like commercial spots: Myavatn12193564_10154299648835968_6764283065270879178_n
  2. Vik-black sand beaches12185172_10154302256930968_3581479568753848419_o
  3. Glacier Lagoon12189150_10154304629885968_876247172225916586_n
  4. Golden Triangle 1 Day Tour: Skogafoss Waterfall, Seljalandsfoss, Gulfoss Waterfall, Geyser12191073_10154301162875968_6626836401725624146_n
  5. Northern Lights
  6. Ice Caving
  7. Viti Crater Lake
  8. Landmannalaugar
  9. Crystal Ice Caves
  10. Plane wreckage

Sample Itinerary:

Day 1: Keflavík→Vik

Depending on when you land, you can either stay in the capital or start driving right away.

•Skogafoss Waterfall

•Seljalandsfoss Waterfall

•Sólheimasandur Plane Crash

•Black Beach

•Reynishverfi Rocks

•Dyrhólaey Arch

•Seljavallalaug Pool

Day 2: Vik→Hofn

•Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon

•Mossy Lava Rocks

•Jokulsarlon Lagoon

•Skaftafell National Park

•Svartifoss Waterfall

•Landmannalaugar

•Ice Caves/Ice Caving

Day 3: Hofn→Egilsstaðir

•Town of Seydisfjordur

•Dyrfjoll

•Laekjavik coast

•Djúpivogur

Day 4: Egilsstaoir→Myvatn

•Dettifoss Waterfall

•Lake Myvatn

•Viti Crater

•Myvatn Nature Baths

•Hverarönd/Namafjall Geothermal

•Hverfjall Cone

Day 5: Myvatn→Fjords Base

•Akureyri

•Aldeyjarfoss

•Godafoss

•Geitafell Restaurant

Day 6: Fjord Base→West Fjords

•Latrabjarg Cliffs

•Hornstrandir

•Holmavik Museum of Witchcraft and Wizardry

•Gardar Ba 64 Shipwreck

•Kirkjufell Church Mountain

•Ísafjörður

•Ferry Baldur

Day 7: West Fjords→Thingvellir

Sights

•Hotel ION

•Geysir

•Gullfoss

•Thingvellir

Day 8: Thingvellir→Reykjavik

•Helicopter Tour

•Hallgrimskirkja Chruch

•Harpa Concert Hall

•Bankastraeti Main street

•Grillmarket

•Blue Lagoon

Essential Packing List for Iceland

  1. Phone with Google Maps offline and pick up a hard copy map when you get to Iceland (your hotel/airbnb/guesthouse should have one)
  2. Rain Coat
  3. Hiking Shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty
  4. Sweaters for layering
  5. Flashlight
  6. Small first aid kid
  7. Day Backpack
  8. Sunglasses
  9. Swim Suit
  10. Sunscreen
  11. Good Camera
  12. Gloves
  13. Wool Socks
  14. Adapter for Electronics
  15. Water bottle
  16. Electronic cables for the car (ipod, car chargers)
  17. Optional: Flask to keep you warm 😉

 

Hope this post helped you getting to know Iceland a little bit more! Comment below or email me with your thoughts or questions:)

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Vishal Mansukhani
    June 18, 2016 at 1:25 am

    This is very helpful! I have planned my entire trip based on this! Thank you

  • Reply
    Shreya
    July 28, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    Totally going to be my next trip, the pictures look so beautiful!

  • Leave a Reply