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3 nights in Iceland (Reykyavik) Itinerary Suggestions

We will be there in 3 weeks on the return leg of a trip to the UK and France (Icelandair). Normally we like to rent a car to get around, however, right now leaning towards not renting and doing tours instead (there's 2 of us). I'm thinking 3 nights (2 full days) are not enough to do any of the longer trips around the island, so would rather not deal with the (perceived) hassle of renting a car in Iceland. Thoughts on that?

Also, any suggestions for must see or do in those few days, tour companies, etc. are welcome too. Thanks

Posted by mkuhlmann
1 posts

I hope I am not too late in responding to you. Having just spent three days in Iceland I might be able to offer some advice. Viator tours (www.viator.com) offers tours to the South coast that includes Thingvelir National Park (absolutely a MUST! There is nothing like it), plus they also offer a visit to the Blue Lagoon and the Golden Circle which includes a visit to the Gullfoss waterfall; and Kerid Crater Lake, which is surrounded by striking red volcanic rock. I didn't think I would much care about the Blue Lagoon but was really glad we visited there. It was snowing when we went in for a dip. Great fun! Very warm water. If you are interested in Viking history you can rent a car through Enterprise and drive yourself to the town of Borganes (the original settlement site with a really nice museum), and then to the town of Reykholt where there is a museum on Snorri Sturleson (very important 13th century writer of the Helmskringla and Icelandic sagas). The drive to Borganes was about an hour from Reykjavik; Reykholt was a half hour west of Borganes. The restaurant at the museum at the settlement site was absolutely fabulous/ If you are more adventurous you can continue driving further north to the ferry connecting the mainland to Grimsey Island where you can cross the Arctic Circle. In any event, it is very easy to drive in Iceland and the views are quite magnificent. To travel further you will need more time.

Posted by jules m
Twin Cities of MN
843 posts

I was in Reyjkavik three years ago in September for three days. I did a Golden Circle Tour. I think the company was Gray Line. I just looked at a list and didn't see it on there. I feel like it might have been most of the day, something like 9-3. They typically will take you to the Geysir area, Gullfoss falls and Thingvellir. For anyone that has seen Yellowstone, the Geysir area is underwhelming, though intersting. I liked Gullfoss and Thingvellir. I think there are hop on hop off tours, but if there isn't guide, I'd think you'd miss a lot on the history and geology of Thingvellir. It cost about $90 USD so you can take that into account vs. rental car, though I think those are pricey, too. Other than that I walked around town and saw all the sights. Somewhat close to town is the Reykjanes peninsula which has a lighthouse and lots of birds. I learned too late that I could have taken a city bus there. Make sure to walk along the harbor and go into Harpa, and see the building where Reagan and Gorbachev had a summit. I went to the top of Hallgrimska where the views were amazing. There are fun buildings to look at and lots of quirky graffiti. Food is pricey although grocery stores are reasonable. It was fun to have a hot dog at Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur, where a lot of famous people have stopped. I also thought the food was good and prices ok at Icelandic Fish and Chips. I didn't go to Blue Lagoon, its really pricey and its man made. Alcohol is super expensive. The best place is to get whatever you think you might want at the Duty Free before you leave the airport.

Posted by stephen
Greeley, co, usa
892 posts

The company was probably Gray Line. We used them for the Golden Circle. They also do transfers from the airport

Posted by nanjowood
23 posts

I'm happy to see this question. We are also stopping in Iceland on our way home from England.
Except we will be a few weeks later (in July) and stay one additional day in Iceland.

I will use and enjoy the answers to this topic too.

Posted by stephen
Greeley, co, usa
892 posts

Book your tours in advance. We booked the day we arrived and one of the days we wanted a tour, it was sold out - and that was in October.

Posted by Anita
Long Beach, California, USA
2727 posts

I was just in Iceland the first week of April. My thoughts on a rental car is that is wasn't really a hassle at all. We took the rental car shuttle from the airport around the loop to Fox rental car, rented the car, and drove off. Easy!
Driving in Iceland is incredibly easy, everything is well-marked, and the roads are in good condition considering the weather they experience.
With two full days you can easily get a taste of Reykjavik and drive the Golden Circle. You won't get to see the grand landscapes of the south coast though unless you skip Reykjavik. If you enjoy natural beauty, you do have time to drive the southern ring road down to Vik and the Jokulskarlon Lagoon / Diamond Beach and then work your way back. The glaciers, waterfalls, mountains, and black sand beaches along that route are stunning!
Reykjavik is a cute town but definitely not the highlight of Iceland. The Golden circle is nice if that's all you have time to see but the only two things that are unique there (IMHO) are the Gullfoss Waterfall and the geothermal geysers at Geysir. If I had to do it again I would have spent more time on the south coast.