Adventurous bunch of budget travellers sharing their travel experiences

Iceland – The Land of Ice and Fire

Planning a visit to Iceland? I’m here to give you quick guide into how you can make most out of your trip to this beautiful Northern island, even if you’ve only got a few days to spend there!

1 Reykjavik

Reykjavik is located in the southwestern part of this island country and being the capital of this small nation, it is truly the center of everything regarding life in Iceland. Obviously everyone who visits Iceland has to visit Reykjavik, even if just passing through, but believe me when I say this; you will miss out on some awesome things if you don’t spend some time walking around the beautiful city.

The most prominent attraction in Reykjavik is the majestic Hallgrímskirkja (pictured above). I highly suggest visiting the church while it’s open and you can get to the top; the view is something you will remember forever.

In order to see the all the amazing natural attractions that Iceland has to offer, you should definitely rent a car! If possible, do this in advance, so you will get cheaper rates. Renting a car gives you the freedom of visiting places that you wouldn’t necessarily see through an organized tour, which means you get to experience as much as possible!

2 Golden Circle

The Golden Circle is a nickname given to a certain 300 km route driving around a circle-shaped area in southwestern Iceland. This trip is the perfect alternative to those who don’t have the time to spend a week driving around the entire island through Iceland’s ring road.

The Golden Circle route starts from and ends in Reykjavik, and it features some of the most famous natural miracles Iceland has to offer. The tour can be done through pre-arranged bus tours, but as I suggested above, the best way to experience it is with a rental car and driving yourself! I would go so far as to claim that if you visit Iceland without going through this route, you have missed out on something big.

Þingvellir National Park is the first major star of this route and it is the place for Iceland’s first Parliament way way back. Next, the route also features such beautiful and stunning sights such as the Geysir geothermal area, where the famous Strokkur geysir shoots up water into air with tremendous force every few minutes. I wish I could insert video footage from it here, but I’m sure you get the idea. The majestic Gullfoss waterfall is the third major sight to wow you.

You can also prepare yourself to see some cute Icelandic horses along the way, which are more than happy to greet you (and might try to eat your gloves, just saying). The fun doesn’t stop there either, as on the way back from Gullfoss (the furthest part of the tour) you will get to see more amazing things. You could choose to drive back the same way you came, or choose to make the route into a full circle. This way you get to see more stunning waterfalls as well as the cool volcanic crater lake called Kerið. 

While the driving time through the route is only 3 hours, most people spend between 6 to 8 hours on this trip depending on how many stops you make and how long you stay in certain places. So expect a whole day’s worth a awesomeness!

3 Vik 

In addition to the sights that you can visit on the Golden Circle Tour, the Black Beach in Vik is probably one of the most famous spots in Iceland and worth the drive. As you can see from the photo above, it is literally a beach made up of black sand and rocks. It is not the only black beach in Iceland, but it is certainly considered to be the most impressive.

The waves from the Atlantic ocean are very powerful and unpredictable, so you definitely can’t be too careful with keeping your distance to the water here. I even saw one guy lose their camera in the water when he wasn’t concentrating enough. Nevertheless, the atmosphere here is something quite magical and almost spooky. It is certainly worth checking out and hey, if nothing else, you will get awesome photos if you’re wearing colorful clothing!

4 Vatnajökull

The National Park of Vatnajökull features the massive Vatnajökull glacier, which is the largest glacier in the whole of Iceland. It actually covers up more than 8 percent of the entire country! That’s one massive ice cap. The area also features a large amount of volcanoes, as the whole of Iceland does. The drive from Reykjavik to the start of the glacier takes about 4 hours and could easily be combined to a visit to the black beach at Vik as mentioned above. The way there also features the now quite famous volcano, Eyjafjallajökull, which erupted in 2010.

None of these pictures really do justice to the beauty of the actual sights, but I can honestly say I have never seen anything so majestic as this glacier. And that is just the beginning of it. It had a lovely turquoise color to it and it was surrounded by water and quick sand (something you should definitely not kid with!). The grandiose mountains surrounding it definitely made us feel tiny and even though it was raining like there was no tomorrow, I didn’t mind staying there for a good while to just wonder how nature can present us with something this stunning.

5 Blue Lagoon

After all the traveling and hiking, the famous Blue Lagoon is the perfect way to relax. You might already know that it is not the cheapest of experiences (especially if you choose to go with VIP packages) but it is definitely worth every penny. Imagine this: you are floating around in steaming, warm turquoise water, wearing a mineral face mask and the sun is shining in your face. You might even be sipping on a cocktail. Sounds pretty good right?

If this doesn’t convince you to consider Iceland as travel destination even for an extended weekend, I sure don’t know what else will.

Taru