Iceland’s geographical size means that you can spend a long time here, and still not see everything there is to see. The “biggest little country in the world” offers sights and experiences that can last even the locals a lifetime. We realise not everyone can spend a lifetime in Iceland, but how does a whole week sound? Pretty good, right? As always, the Iceland Travel team is dedicated to making things as smooth and easy as possible so we’ve put together the ideal week in Iceland for you.
Welcome! Once you‘ve landed and picked up your rental car at the airport you are free to start your Iceland adventure. Drive straight toward the big city lights of the capital Reykjavík, head to your hotel and get ready to do some city exploring. A city walking tour will take you around all the biggest landmarks and introduce you to the city’s history. Must-sees include the majestic Hallgrímskirkja church and the radiant Harpa Concert Hall. Reykjavík has tons of world class restaurants and bars that specialise in local produce. Try traditional Icelandic cuisine with a modern twist at Matur & Drykkur or the tasty seafood dishes served up at Messinn. And you can’t visit Iceland without trying a hot dog at the Bæjarins Beztu hot dog stand.
Start your day early to make the most of all the awesome places on your route today. We’ll start with the basics, Iceland 101 if you will (different from Reykjavík 101 which is the downtown postcode). The Golden Circle is a must see for any visitor as it contains all of Iceland’s best features; breathtaking volcanic rifts, hot springs and majestic waterfalls. Stop off at the Geysir volcanic area to witness Strokkur spouting hot water straight from the ground and then at Gullfoss waterfall for the awesome raw power of nature. This area is also known as the “Breadbasket of Iceland” due to its many farms and greenhouses. Grab lunch at the Friðheimar guesthouse and try their acclaimed tomato soup, or get some delicious ice cream at Efstidalur II dairy farm as you watch the dairy cows go about their business. Continue on along the south shore to such highlights as Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss, two very different but equally impressive waterfalls. Stop in the charming town of Vík for the night.
Make sure your phone/camera is fully charged before you leave the hotel because you will want to take lots of photos today. So far on your trip you’ve seen a lot of what makes Iceland a must-visit destination but you haven’t fully experienced what it is that makes Iceland live up to its name. That’ll change today as you move along farther on the south coast, alongside the icy bulk of Europe’s largest glacier, Vatnajökull. Your main destination for the day is the magical glacier lagoon, Jökulsárlón. The peaceful lagoon is full of massive, blue icebergs that float along down to the Diamond Beach were some of them are marooned on the black sand allowing you to get up close and personal with the sparkling ice. Stop at the quirky Thorbergur cultural centre, honouring one of Iceland’s best-loved authors, for a lovely dinner and a bit of local history.
By now you’ve seen the very best of what Icelandic nature has to offer so it’s time to get to know a little bit more about the country’s history and its people. The Þingvellir national Park is the site of the world’s oldest parliament. This stunning national park is where the nation’s lawmakers and affluent farmers gathered together to make and enforce the law. Since then it’s played an important part in Iceland’s political history, like in 1944 when we declared our independence with a celebration at Þingvellir. Continue your history tour in Borgarfjörður fjord, where you can visit sites such as Reykholt and The Settlement Centre. By now you’re probably starting to feel like a proper Icelander so celebrate by paying a visit to the Ljómalind Country Market to sample some homemade pastries and jams before heading to your hotel.
So we’ve explored the nature and the historical side of Iceland so now it’s time to get into the mystical side of this island in the north Atlantic. Until pretty recently Iceland was very isolated and so it’s not surprising that the country’s folklore is still so prevalent today. The Snæfellsnes peninsula is thought to be one of the most powerful and mystical places in the country and it’s no coincidence that the peninsula’s magnificent glacier, Snæfellsjökull, is the setting for both Jules Verne’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth and a supposed UFO landing in 1993 (although the aliens never materialised. Maybe they got lost on the way). It’s not hard to see how Snæfellsnes’ spectacular landscape has shaped the imagination of its inhabitants for centuries. Quaint little fishing towns are surrounded by awesome rock formations and steep cliffs and as you drive around the peninsula your surroundings can completely change in the space of a few minutes, under the watchful eye of the glacier.
Today you should take some time to discover the wonders of the Reykjanes peninsula. With endless lava fields and gorgeous geothermal areas the area really gives you the feeling of having landed on the moon. Once you’ve done some moon walking head to the small town of Sandgerði for a delicious lunch at the Vitinn restaurant. Afterwards, head to the world famous Blue Lagoon for a relaxing dip in the bright blue water and a first grade spa experience. Once you’re properly relaxed, drive back to Reykjavík for one final Icelandic dinner and maybe a cheeky drink. The area around the Old Harbour is perfect for your final night, with its ocean views and lively atmosphere.
How quickly a week goes by! It’s time to say “bless bless” to Iceland and go back home. Rest assured that you have made the most of your time here and have experienced all the best Iceland as to offer. Also, you still haven’t explored the West, North or East so there’s plenty of excuses to come back! See you soon!