So you want to go to Iceland...
(You won't want to miss the pictures below)
Many of you have asked about my Iceland itinerary and for recommendations on how to get the most of your trip to Iceland. So here it is! Below I give the in's and out's of how to make your trip to Iceland absolutely epic. I'm also attaching my full itinerary so you can check out all the best places. Keep in mind, your itinerary will be a bit different, as the team and I had to make a couple extra stops for work along the way. But you'll be able see all the places we visited, where we stayed, the sites we saw, etc.
First thing's first, you have to decide how you're going to get around. The BEST way to travel Iceland is to travel by 4x4 vehicle. Camping vans are convenient, but with a 4x4 you truly get to experience all of the magic of Iceland. There were many roads we traveled that were only accessible by 4x4. Not to mention we crossed about 25 rivers. You can't do that in a car or camper. So if you're looking for a true adventure, rent yourself a 4x4. The team and I partnered with Lagoon Car Rental, renting their modified Toyota Land Cruiser. We comfortably fit four with all of our luggage. We also took along a 4G Internet Router from Lagoon, which I highly recommend. Especially as an international traveler, it's a game changer to be connected to wifi at all times so you don't have to eat up any data (not to mention you can share your daily adventures on social media). We wouldn't have been able to see half of the sites we visited with any other vehicle.
Second, you need a route. There are many different routes and roads you can take, but there is one that stands above the rest: The Ring Road, otherwise known as Route 1. This is the road that goes around the entire island. Along it you can also take the golden circle, detour to the western fjords, and check out the Snæfellsnes peninsula. The golden circle and the Snæfellsnes peninsula are things you just need to do when in Iceland. What makes the ring road so fantastic, is that you get to experience the parts of Iceland that are less traveled, leaving you in countryside that is straight out of the Game of Thrones, experiencing all the magic without the crowds. There are hidden waterfalls, cliffs, black beaches, and hot springs everywhere along the ring road. The only time I wouldn't recommenced the ring road is if you're going for less than 10 days. Then I'd probably focus on Reykjavik, the Snæfellsnes peninsula, and exploring the southern part of the island, including the golden circle.
Third, you need to figure out where you'll be sleeping. My travel pals and I did a little bit of everything. we slept in hostels, hotels, went camping, and slept in the car. If you're traveling in the summer, camping is a fantastic option. There are campgrounds everywhere, and they're quite cheap compared to the hotels. Most of them have very accommodating bathrooms/ showers. Camping always makes it more of an adventure. If you're on a budget and aren't going close to winter time, I highly recommend renting camping equipment. If you rent a large 4x4 vehicle, having a couple nights in the car is also an option. Considering the circumstances it was a great to be able to crash in the car so that we could make sure to get up and catch sunrise at remote locations. Our modified Land Cruiser from Lagoon Car Rental treated us well. Hotels and hostels tend to be on the pricier side, but just do some research ahead of time and book at least a couple days out. The hotels we stayed in were beautiful and most include breakfast.
Last, but certainly not least, you have to decide which of the incredible sites you'll be spending your time. It's impossible to see all that Iceland has to offer, so do some research and figure out which spots you absolutely must see. In my itinerary below I mention all of the planned locations we stopped at. With that being said, we stopped countless times on the side of the road to take in new views, or unknown sites. Make sure to give yourself time on the road trip to make these stops. Let your heart and feet wander a bit. Remember, it's an adventure. Get excited about the unexpected!
Don't have too rigid of an itinerary that you stress yourself out. You'll spend more time at some places than you will others, and plans will inevitably change along the way. But enjoy the ride! Iceland is hands down the most breathtaking country I have ever been to. I definitely plan on returning sometime soon. Happy adventuring! Shoot me a message on the gram and let me know how your trip goes!
ALYSSA'S TWO WEEK ITINERARY
Road trip: ROUTE 1 RING ROAD (and extra)
Team fully arrives in Iceland. Pick up car from Lagoon Car Rental airport office. Catch bearings, grab a drink in Reykjavik.
pick up camping equipment
Stock up on dry foods and snacks
Stay at Kex Hostel
Foodie tour with Wake Up Reykjavik. Yum!
Explore downtown Reykjavik
Stay at Kex Hostel
Northern lights tour with Extreme Iceland
Stay at Kex Hostel
Drive the golden circle in the morning (drive takes about 3 hours, but with stops looking at 6-8 hours)
Þingvellir National Park.
Geysir and Strokkur
Gullfoss waterfall (takes off main golden circle road a bit, need 4x4 vehicle to get there)
Drive to Volcano huts and stay there for the night (only accessible by 4x4)
ALONG THE WAY TO VOLCANO HUTS:
Drive to the Town Of VIK (1.5 hour drive)
ALONG THE WAY:
Sólheimasandur Plane Crash
Vikurbraut (black sand beach in Vik)
Stay at VIK HI Hostel
Head to: Höfn (6.5 hour drive)
Along the way:
Skaftafell national park (hiking, waterfall, “waterfall squares”)
Arrive in the town of Hofn. Get fuel snacks, etc.
Car camp and catch sunrise on the beach
This is the last major town before heading into the eastern fjords, no man’s land.
Scenic coastal drive through East Fjords (3 hour drive)
Arrive at town of Egilsstaði
Stay at Stora Sandfell Cottages
Drive to Town of Akureyri (4 hours of driving)
Detifoss waterfall (largest most powerful waterfall in Europe)
Mývatn, Iceland Volcano lake, hot springs*
Námafjall Hverir (Geothermal spot noted for its bubbling pools of mud & steaming fumaroles emitting sulfuric gas.)
Arrive in Akureyri (Iceland’s 2nd largest city, capitol of the north)
Stay at Hotel Akureyri
Spend day in Akureyri exploring
Go whale watching!
Stay at Hotel Akureyri
Explore the Snæfellsnes Peninsula (5 hour drive, leave early)
Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall (most photographed waterfall in Iceland)
Kirkjufell (iconic cone shaped mountain)
Camp at Kirkjufell campground
Finish exploring Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Return to Reykjavik (2 hour drive)
Snowmobiling tour with Extreme Iceland! Meet at godafoss waterfall
Bar crawl with Wake Up Reykjavik
Stay with friends in Reykjavik
Blue Lagoon in morning
Return car at Lagoon Car Rental