In September 2015, I went to Iceland for 24 hours. Ok, that’s an exaggeration. I was there for 25 hours.
Honestly, my Iceland visit was a total fluke. I was looking for flights to London, and IcelandAir options kept popping up. I started digging and discovered the “Iceland Stopover” on IcelandAir.com You can book 1-7 day stopovers in Iceland at no extra cost. DONE AND DONE.
I had a wedding on Cape Cod the weekend before and I needed to meet my sister in London on Tuesday, so my only option was fly to Iceland on Sunday night and then fly to London on Tuesday morning. That’s right, folks. A single day in Iceland. That may seem aggressive but I planned the shit out of that one day. And thanks to my crazy, it was an easy trip. AND I would 1000% do it again in a heartbeat.
Before I get to the deets of my Iceland trip, here are my three go-to to-dos for prepping any trip:
- Stalk Pinterest, Instagram and any blog you can get your hands on. I need inspo – food, pics, places, all of it.
- Make a Google map. Anytime I read about a restaurant or museum that I want to visit, I save the location in a Google map. I like to live in the moment but having a good game plan can actually make things a lot more relaxing – even if you have a crazy day ahead of you.
- Tech. I need to stay connected when I’m traveling so depending on my destination I either set up a Boingo account or rent a hot spot. (I went with TEP Wireless for this trip.)
Ok, back to Iceland…
I land at Keflavík airport at 6:30 am and WOOF, I am tired. I immediately get a coffee …and a ginger shot. Because I literally just drank for past three days and I have a very full day of driving ahead of me. [Thanks, Joe & The Juice.]
Hour one, minute one
I throw back the ginger shot and with my coffee in hand, I head over to pick up my rental car. I went with a well-known company since I needed an automatic, but if you can drive a standard you’re probably going to find better deals. Also, word to the wise, if you get a hotspot, you DO NOT need a GPS from the rental company. My hotspot plus Waze/Google Maps is WAY BETTER. And cheaper. Oh, the things I would have bought with the extra $40.
Hours two – four
I decide to drive around the area, because 1) I need to get my bearings, and 2) its f*cking gorgeous countryside.
Next, I head to the Blue Lagoon. I made a 9 am reservation but decided to head over a little early since I’m totally exhausted and would love to relax a bit before the massive road trip I had planned. The Lagoon is touristy but it’s definitely worth a visit. Grab your free drink at the lagoon bar, put on a silicon mask and relax by the edge of the pool.
Hours four – seven
I’m not sure if there will be an opportunity to stop for lunch while I’m on the road, so on my way out, I grab a sandwich at the Blue Lagoon cafe. And another coffee… because all the caffeine.
I’m heading to Gullfoss Waterfall, which is about two hours from the Lagoon. The drive wasn’t very eventful, but it was stunning. I keep describing it as “Ireland on Mars” which is weird because how would I know. Anyway, I just keep saying that and deal with all the funny looks I get afterward.
Hours seven – nine
Gullfoss is massive and awe-inspiring. You can explore a lot and get pretty close to the waterfall itself. (If you do this, wear a raincoat.) But fair warning, there isn’t much there. If you need a drink, snack or bathroom, stop at the Geyser on your way in or out.
I totally recommend making the two-hour trip though. If only for a selfie. And the horse paddock on the way in. Hi, horsey!
Get ready for a huge change of scenery on the drive back to Reykjavik. Instead of moss-covered lava rock, it’s all countryside. Beautiful, Napa-like countryside. And if you like animals, get ready for a lot of sheep and horses. Word to the wise, try not to kidnap them.
Hours nine – thirteen
When I finally make it to Reykjavik, I check into my hotel. I booked a room at Hotel Odinsve, which is fairly central. After I park the car and take my bags to my room, I head out in search of food. ALL THE FOOD. A friend recommended, Sægreifinn, a seafood place in the waterfront area so that’s where I’m going. They’re known for lobster soup, so guess what I’m getting?
I had a local IPA with my soup. Oh, and a loaf of bread. It was de-lish.
Hours thirteen – twenty-five
After dinner, I walk around the waterfront. I check out the Harpa, the concert hall, and the Sun Voyager, a steel boat sculpture.
It has been a LONG ASS day of driving and I am beyond exhausted so that concludes my Iceland trip. The rest of my time in Iceland was either spent sleeping, driving back to the airport or waiting for my flight at the airport.