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2 day layover help

Hi, we have 48 hour layover on way to Paris and trying to determine if best to stay both nights in Reykjavik or stay somewhere along golden circle or south coast to see more.
Land from Seattle at 9:30 am, made reservations at Blue Lagoon for 12 (11 is soldout) then was thinking of going to volcano since close then head to Reykjavik for the night? Guessing we will be tired from flying all night.

Day 2 would love to be able to do the golden circle &/or south coast, is this doable in a day? We fly out day 3 at 11am so wondering if best to go back to Reykjavik end of day 2 or stay somewhere else.

Any suggestions on how much we can see in a day?

We will be there mid August and have car rental
Thank you!

Posted by
7571 posts

We visited in early April a few years ago, and in August you’ll have a bit longer daylight. We drove a full Golden Circle route in one day, but got back to Reykjavik in the dark. I make a point of arriving at an airport for an international flight 3 hours prior to takeoff, so I’d be at Keflavik Airport by 8:00 AM for the flight to Paris. Car return timing would have to be factored into that equation, too. Any stay the second night would need to allow for that 8:00 airport arrival.

Posted by
2462 posts

I suppose you could do golden circle and south coast in one day, but you will be mostly driving and and not actually visiting any of the sights. Pick one (I suggest golden circle, having done both). You will likely be tired from overnight trip, do not underestimate this when getting in a car and driving. If it were me, day one would be Blue Lagoon, volcano, stay Reykjavik overnight (be sure to find a place that has parking, not all central hotels do). Day 2 blue lagoon and back to airport to return car and stay overnight near airport. The airport is 45 minutes from city center and as was suggested you need to allow time at airport to check in, etc.

Posted by
2150 posts

Another option would be to pick up the rental car and instead of the Blue Lagoon, head into Reykjavik and go to the Sky lagoon. After that head into town and see the city. There is a lot to see and do there and is perfect for the day of arrival, IMO/IME. Take the Citywalk "free" walking tour and/or a food tour. We have done both on arrival days and these work well. You could even hit a local pool that evening. On our most recent trip in February, we did the food tour and started that at 11am and it goes for 3 hours. There is so much food that we did not need dinner, so that freed us up for more time to explore.

Then the next day do the Golden Circle and stay in Grindavik. Take a look at the Northern Light Inn there. We stayed there for our last night on our trip last August and loved it! Their onsite restaurant, Max's, is excellent. NLI is only about 15 minutes from the airport, so that would put you ion good shape for the morning instead of having to drive 45 minutes in from Reykjavik. It would also give you more time for the Golden Circle.

I would skip the volcano. It was great last summer, but it is not erupting right now, so is not very exciting. We stopped by in February as we had time, but last August we did hike up and got to actually see it steaming etc.