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Recent trip to Iceland

I just got back from a 4 day trip to Iceland and I thought I would share my itinerary.

The day we landed we took a detour to Reykjavik and stopped by Brúin milli heimsálfa to stand on the black sand between the Eurasia and North American tectonic plates. Then took a quick look at Brimketill which are lava pools along the coast that look so unique and quite beautiful. We had the entire place to ourselves and it was so serine. After a nap at the apartment, we spent a few hours at the Blue Lagoon and then I hiked to the Volcano. I decided to hike the closed trail A which was probably a mistake as the last bit is a hike straight up a rocky mountainside that is not cleared, but the view of the volcano from the top was well worth it and I was mere inches from the lava field. It took about an hour and a half to hike up and an hour to hike down.

On day two we did the golden circle. We started with the lava bread tour at Laugarvatn Fontana. The bread was absolutely delicious and our tour guide was very engaging. We learned a lot about the surround area and hot springs as well. They have tours everyday at 11:30 and 2:30. We then had lunch at Friðheimar which is a popular tourist stop. A greenhouse that specializes in cucumbers and tomatoes and a menu that revolves around it. I don’t even like tomatoes but thought their tomato soup was absolutely delicious. I think this place lives up to all the hype. The rest of the day was spent hitting up the typical stops, Gullfuss, Geysir, and Thingvellir.

The next day was a trip to the south coast which included Seljalandsfoss, Skogafoss, Sólheimajökull glacier, and the basalt columns on the black sand beach. The highlight of the day was definitely Gljufrabui which is a waterfall just left of Seijalandsfoss and is simply magical. Wear a full rain suit to these waterfalls to be able to fully experience them and not be soaked head to toe.

On our last day we headed up to the Snæfellsnes peninsula. Stopping at þórufoss, Kirkjufellsfoss, the black church of Búðir, and Rauðfeldsgjá Gorge. The gorge was probably the highlight of this day as walking through it feels almost as walking through the portal to Narnia. If you come prepared with a waterproof outfit and shoes, you can rock scramble quite far down the gorge.

Posted by
5618 posts

Could you copy and paste this in the trip report section of the website as well?

Posted by
138 posts

Thanks for the detailed report. Sounds like a great trip. I am curious whether you rented a car or were able to do this with public transportation? I am gessing you had a car?

Posted by
113 posts

Claudia- I sure can, I will just add it to the comments of my post already in the Trip Report thread.

CD in DC- I did rent a car. I looked into doing tours instead, but when looking at the ones for the South Coast, they only allotted 30-45 min at most attractions and that just didn’t seem like enough time. It was really worth it to me to be able to set my own schedule and spend enough time at each sight as I wanted. It was my first experience renting a car in another country and driving, and it was far easier than I expected.

Posted by
3 posts

Christina, would you mind sharing additional details of your car rental - who did you go with, insurance, etc.? We are going in September and I was daunted by the dire warnings re: car rental problems in one guide book I just read - all about how you have to buy all kinds of insurance in order to be truly covered but that the insurance fine print essentially makes you liable for everything that happens! I'm hoping that's not true - usually we buy excess insurance to reduce our liability to either zero or a more reasonable amount -

Posted by
1 posts

Help to Preserve Iceland's Amazing Nature

Disappointed when I read that you were hiking a closed trail.
The following is from "All Things Iceland"
Icelandic nature is beautiful, awe-inspiring and fragile. If we all do our part, we can help to preserve nature here for generations to come. Here are some simple guidelines to follow during your visit:

Stay on the marked paths. Walking on moss can ruin it and it takes many decades to grow back

Make sure to dispose of your garbage properly. If you are in a place that doesn't have garbage bins, take it with you until you can find a proper bin (this includes organic waste, such as food).

Never buy bottled water in Iceland. The water in this country is some of the freshest and most delicious in the world. You can enjoy it right out of the tap. I highly encourage you to bring a reusable bottle with you to fill up on water during your stay.

Those three actions go a long way in helping to preserve nature here.

Posted by
1 posts

Thank you for sharing Christina! I’m going there in July and I’m a little stressed about getting the COVID test to re-enter the US. What was you experience of that like? Thanks!
-Tim

Posted by
221 posts

Christina, can you please comment what that crowd sizes were like?

Posted by
113 posts

I spoke about both my car rental and covid test process in this post https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/trip-reports/trip-to-iceland-june-2021

But to add eastfalls- I ended up going with Blue Car Rental and used my American Express which insurers car rentals. You can also purchase excess insurance through the car rental company if you feel inclined but we didn’t have any issues returning the car and weren’t charged anything extra.

Tim- Their testing process is streamlined and very easy to schedule. We did the rapid test and had our results in an hour. We went during a very busy time and it only took 30 min. We drove by the testing center around noon on Sunday and there was no line so maybe avoid Saturday morning if you can. Either way, it isn’t a long time investment though. Something to note is that although there are testing centers available around the country, only the one in Reykjavik is open on weekends

Posted by
113 posts

Roubrat- The crowd sizes were very manageable. I wouldn’t say the sites were empty but definitely not comparable to pictures I’ve seen in the past. Some of the most crowded places were Seljalandsfoss and Gullfoss, but when I was at Skogafoss, there were many moments I was at the bottom of the waterfall all by myself. The whole day on the Snaefellsnes peninsula, I was never around more than 5 tourist. The blue lagoon was also surprisingly not very crowded. I think it helped that a new hot spring/spa opened up in Reykjavik.