Going to Iceland has never been on my bucket list but somehow I find myself in this beautiful country because the plane tickets were so cheap. I landed in Iceland with no expectations in mind and let the adventure take off. Now that my trip is over, I highly recommend this magical country to everyone. What I experienced during that week is absolutely unexplainable, so here I gathered my itinerary for must-sees and tips if you plan on visiting Iceland in the near future. Hopefully it can inspire your next journey to the land of fire and Ice!
Day 1 - Friday
My friend and I arrived in Iceland on Friday and rented a car at the airport for the entire trip. I definitely recommend renting a car to avoid touristic tours, enjoy the country at your own pace and discover local destinations. We also rented a bedroom on Air BNB about 10 minutes drive from Reykjavík, but renting a few places around the Ring Road is a better option if you plan on driving around the country. Another great way to travel in Iceland is renting a camper so you can drive around and sleep in your car, but perhaps not ideal during winter time. We enjoyed staying with locals because they were able to recommended us activities and guide us throughout our journey.
We spent the first evening exploring the streets of Reyjkavik, the capital. It is a cute little town filled with elegant shops and stylish restaurants, and bars.
Day 2 - Saturday
We embraced the sunny weather to go hiking Mount Esja. It takes approximately two hours to hike to the top and approximately the same time to comeback down including the various stops along the way to take pictures. This mountain is 914 meters while the trail is marked with the difficulty level along the way. I highly recommend this hiking trail because it is challenging and the view from the top is absolutely phenomenal.
To catch the sunset, we headed to Akranes and stopped at the harbour where two lighthouses are located. This unique spot is called Akranesviti and offers a breathtaking view on the ocean. It is definitely worth a stop along the way. You can also visit the main lighthouse between 11:00 and 17:00 where a photography exhibition is installed.
* On your way to Akranes, you have to go through an underground tunnel which costs 1000 ISK each way
Day 3 - Sunday
Mentioned in all the touristic books, we had to drive around the Golden Circle to catch the three major destinations at hand. It is composed of Pingvellir (National Park), Geysir and Gullfoss.
Pingvellir rift valleys comes from its location where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates are tearing apart. You can walk in the area consisted of stretches of lava rock partially covered in moss and embrace the history of this site.
The Geysir Geothermal area is the second stop within the Golden Circle. On site you get to observe the Great Geysir which is mostly inactive and his neighbor, Strokkur, which erupts every 5 to 6 minutes throwing water 20 to 40 metres into the air. This experience is very unique and quite impressive to assist.
Last but not least: Gullfoss. This massive waterfall of 32 metres ends the Golden circle tour perfectly. Allowing you to observe it from various stand points, the sight is absolutely mesmerizing. This was definitely my favourite location from the three mentioned.
Day 4 - Monday
As the most trumpeted geothermal spa of Iceland, the Blue Lagoon is quite expensive and crowded with tourists, but is definitely worth the price once for the experience. Formed artificially following the operation of the Svartsengi thermal power station, this heaven on earth is composed of three natural active ingredients; silica, algae and minerals which explain its blue color reflecting sunlight. The Blue Lagoon offers one of the most relaxing experience as the geothermal water ranges between 37C and 40C. You also get to apply a silica mask on your face during your visit which nourishes the skin. Since the lagoon is enriched with minerals, it is necessary to rub your hair with conditioner before and after bathing as for protection.
We headed to Gardur which is 7 km from Keflavik because we were in the area and felt like exploring a bit more before heading back to Reykjavík. After a little while, we stopped at Gardskagil Lighthouse on the harbour where you can enjoy the peacefulness of the sea. It is an excellent place for bird spotting.
Day 5 - Tuesday
Seljalandsfoss & Gljufrabui
Next to one another, these two magnificent waterfalls offers a one of a kind experience. The first one is 65 metres high. A path surrounding it allows you to walk behind it which gives you one of the most impressive point of view. As opposed to Seljalandsfoss, Gljufrabui waterfall is 40 meters high and hidden behind a cliff called Franskanef. It is possible to walk through the gorge and access the full view, but you definitely need rain boats to cross the watery path.
This powerful waterfall is 60 meters high and 25 meters wide, giving you an enchanting scenery to observe. You can also access the top of the hill above Skogafoss by using the staircases aside from it. The view from the top is mind blowing as the river is coming from further away and you can walk along it. I never felt so tiny next to this natural grandiosity.
Reynis Fjora (Black Sand beach) (Reynisfjara)
The Black Sand beach offers you a terrifyingly beautiful view of the sea. The Basalt cliffs rising from the sea are called Reynisgrandar. A legend recalls that the rock formations were actually two trolls turned into stone after getting caught during daylight while trying to drag a boat ashore.
Vik is Iceland’s most southerly village and most photographed area in the country and is worth a detour after the long journey.
Day 6 - Wednesday
In the morning, we stopped at Hellisgerdi to check out the Elf Garden. It is a cute and simple little garden mostly occupied during summertime so there was not much to see beside walking along the small trails.
We headed south to Hveragerði to go hiking Klambragil valley. After 45 minutes hike, we reached Reykjadalur, a natural Hot Spring where you can bathe. It is quite impressive to be able to bathe is such hot water when the temperature is minus zero Celsius. You don’t find much tourists there but there is definitely an increase of visitors from the past few years.
Near Hveragerði is located the small town Selfoss. After the hike and the bathing, it felt great to stop at a local cafe to enjoy a cup of Icelandic coffee. We stopped at Kaffi Krus and had a chai latte. It was nice to take a little bit of time to rest after such a busy week.
Glo (Vegetarian restaurant)
Since I am pescatarian, I wanted to try out some vegetarian options in Reykjavik so we went to a place called Glo. The price was decent for the city but honestly, the food was a bit ordinary. I tried their vegan burrito and I was a bit deceived so if you go there; try the vegan lasagna. I heard that’s the best thing on the menu.
After dinner, we went to meet a friend in town and got to experience the bar life in Reykjavik for a bit. We went to Bar Ananas which is more groovy and a bar called Olstofan which was more cozy.
Day 7 - Thursday
We hadn’t planned anything before leaving the house on that day so we opened The Lonely Planet and decided to head West for some new discoveries. We opted for Glymur as it had a waterfall design on the map. We did not know what to expect as we had never heard about this place before, but it was definitely not a touristic spot which made us both very happy. We parked the car and hiked for 30 minutes on a rocky trail. The hike was quite smooth and we could enjoy the view of the mountains covered in snow ahead of us. When we got to Glymur, we were actually on top of a hill, catching the gigantic waterfall from above. Needless to say that this view surprised us both in a good way. Since the temperature in Iceland is always changing at a rapid pace, it suddenly started raining, but lucky enough, there was a giant cave next to the waterfall where we could hide till the rain stops.
After this little adventure, we headed a bit more north to another local cafe, this time in Borganes. We stopped at this bakery called Kaffihus which is located right next to the water. You can enjoy the beautiful view while sipping your coffee. After all the intermittent rain, we were even able to catch a rainbow over the bridge in between the mountains. It felt surreal!
Horses and goats
They are everywhere along the road in Iceland and this is probably one of the thing that makes this country so unique. It it definitely worth stopping to observe them and take pictures. The goats are very afraid so it might be a bit hard to approach them but the horses are the complete opposite. They will come toward you if they feel safe so you can pet them. We got to pet this magnificent black and white horse along the Icelandic Coast.
We went to this amazing seafood restaurant in Reykjavik to taste the Icelandic fish and let me tell you; it was delicious. Recommended by our Air Bnb hosts, we couldn’t end our trip in a better way. I had the special of the day which comprised a coconut milk lobster soup and grilled skewer salmon. We also shared a small piece of whale to try it out which tastes a like steak.
Day 8 - Friday
For our last day in Iceland, we drove around the Snaefellsnes Peninsula and stopped at the various sight seeing: Ytri Tunga Beach (for seal watching), Budir, Arnarstapi, Hellnar, Djupelonssandur, Hella and Hellissandur, Riff and Olafsvik. We were very lucky to experience our last day with the snow covering the country as it offered us a fairytale like perspective. It totally felt like we were in a mystical world!
My friend and I flew back to our respective country on the following day. We had a very memorable trip filled with adventures. Every day felt like we were in a different country because of the temperature change and the various scenery encountered. I highly suggest this country for your next travel to any nature lover. May Iceland take you on your next dreamy journey!
Welcome on my artsy blog! I decided to create this section because I also have a huge passion for writing aside from acting. I thought this would be the perfect place to share my inspirations, experiences and adventures with you. I also write a lot of poetry so you will definitely get to read a lot of my poems here. Hope you enjoy ! Xo
"Let life be your playground"
"I provoke the odds
And learn to sew the dots"
"Do not live in excess
But embrace the success"
"Creativity cures the soul"
"Face your fears
Rehearse your journey"
"Make your dreams your priority"
"Set the bar high
"Prepare yourself for
Be ready to take on the wave When it comes your way"
"We live in a world of tomorrow's..."
"We die to live."
"Life is not against you"
"The unknown is the path to greatness. Jump on the train."
"Assume your choices.
You are ready."
"There is no rush
Give it your heart
"Go back to your roots"
"Spider web of dreams"
"All blocks are mental"
"Feed your faith and your doubts will starve to death"
"Make your pain push you to greatness"
"Set the bar high,
"Take you time. Abandon. Love"