Prior to planning a trip to Iceland, we researched a bit on the best time to visit Iceland. Ultimately, we chose the month of July to visit Iceland as we wanted to experience the 24/7 daylight.We flew with Icelandair direct from Chicago to Reykjavik. Although the flight was two hours delayed, the 6.5 hour flight was a breeze. The aircraft that was used for this flight was the aging wide-body 767-300 (I was actually expecting a smaller aircraft, the 757).
To my surprise, the economy cabin was spacious with comfortable seats, great selection of in-flight entertainment, and even wifi on-board – a far cry from other airlines’ waning B767-300.
It was the after flight experience that left me stressed out. Read my review my experience with Icelandair here.
Are we still on planet Earth?
When our plane was approaching for touch down at Reykjavik airport, I remember looking out the window and seeing the Icelandic landscape for the first time. It was flat, green and covered in mist – really felt like we were landing somewhere uninhibited. The scenery from above gives a glimpse of what an amazing road trip in Iceland would be like.
SAMPLE 4-DAY ICELAND ITINERARY
Day 1 – Arrive in Reykjavik/Blue Lagoon
Considering the short distance of Keflavik airport to the Blue Lagoon, it only made sense for us to make it our first stop. It saved us time and allowed us to explore more of Iceland by keeping this itinerary.
Day 2 – Road Trip to Snaefellsness
My first epic Iceland road trip starts with the Reykjavik to Snaefellsness route!
My friend and I rented a car and explored the western peninsula of Iceland. The nature and dramatic landscapes we covered throughout the 12-hour road trip were breathtaking. Perhaps the biggest challenge was keeping focus while driving and not getting distracted by the jaw-dropping scenery in every corner.
Day 3 – Golden Circle Tour
Perhaps Iceland’s most popular day tour among tourists, the Golden Circle route allows you to see Iceland’s most iconic sights in a day.
This route covers roughly 3000 km, looping from Reykjavik into the southern uplands of Iceland and back. While actual driving hours is around 3 hours, the total tour took us approximately 7 hours with all the stops we took.
On this tour, we visited the Geysir geothermal area, the waterfall Gullfoss, UNESCO site Pingvellir National Park, lunch at Fridheimar, take a bath at the Secret Lagoon, and finish the tour walking around Kerid crater.
Day 4 – Bye Reykjavik!
Our flight didn’t leave until after lunch, leaving us plenty of time to explore more of downtown Reykjavik. We finished off our visit with the Harpa Concert Hall and Hallgrimskirkja Church.
Considering we had limited time in Iceland, this itinerary was a great introduction to the sights and beauty of this country. We definitely need another plan to come back and explore the rest of Iceland – perhaps in a different season to witness the magic of the northern lights!
The lunch that we had at the Blue Lagoon was probably the best meal I had during my stay in Iceland. Granted this thing cost an arm and a leg (about 70$USD) – but that lamb with mushroom and bearnaise sauce gave me all the feels.
INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT ICELAND
1 -There is an Iceland naming committee. This means any first names that has never been used in Iceland must be approved by the committee.
2- Iceland is a temperate country, not too hot nor too cold. The winter in Iceland is actually warmer than Chicago. #WHAAAT!!
3- There are no forests in Iceland.
4- Nor are there any McDonald’s
5- And no mosquitoes!
6- And to round up the list of no’s: No navy, air force, nor army in Iceland.
SOME USEFUL PHRASES I LEARNED
Thank you (pakka pér)
Ok, everyone in Iceland speaks English and speaks it probably better than ME (or better than I?… meh).
But shame on me for not attempting to learn the language. I think I was intimidated by knowing it’s Icelandic and it’s one of the most difficult language there is to learn….
ON THIS TRIP, I TRIED
That’s a lie…I tossed that sucker out to the ground the moment I saw my friends closed their eyes and took a deep breath while they ate it. It was slightly entertaining watch them go through that experience though… #suckaaaa
MOST MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE
The midnight sun !! Going home at 3 or 4am and bright as day was a triiiiiip. It was quite an experience
Also, the road trip exploring western Iceland and the Golden circle tour – some spectacular landscapes that will make your jaw drop. Iceland is a geographic wonder
Iceland is expensive AF – don’t be surprised to pay an average of 30$ USD per meal and 20$ for a drink!
On the bright side, you never have to use cash because everyone takes credit cards!