As I announced on our Facebook page last month, we are going to Iceland!! We will be arriving on March 2nd in the early morning and will spend the next 7 days exploring the ‘Land of Ice and Fire.’ We will spend the first 4 nights in the capital city of Reykjavik where we have rented an AirBnB and will spend the next 3 nights roadtripping the southern part of the country.
Our plans were inspired when some of Jake’s family found great flights on Icelandair and booked a 3 days package. We missed the sell and decided since we would have to pay closer to $800 round trip per person we would make our time count by spending a little longer then originally thought. I’m so glad it worked out this way because I had no idea how much there is to see in Iceland in winter!
We still haven’t decided if we will rent a car at Keflavik Airport on our first day or if we will wait until we are done in Reykjavik and rent one for the last part of the trip. We want something with four wheel drive because of the weather, but at close to $100 a day it is a little too expensive for the whole trip. We also don’t want to miss out on day trip opportunities from Reykjavik because we don’t have a vehicle. So we shall see what we decide, we still have a little more time.
We can’t travel all the way to Iceland and not visit the Blue Lagoon! I have dreamed about visiting this place since I heard about it. I know that it can get crowded and it’s on the pricey side at around $60 USD per person but I think it will be worth it to see it at least one time.
If you Google search Reykjavik you will probably see the image of Hallgrimskirja church many times. It is definitely an iconic site and I think it will be fun to photograph.
Road Trip the Snæfellsnes Peninsula
The Snæfellsnes peninsula is located about 2.5 hours north of Reykjavik and is full of adorable fishing villages. A lot of the movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty was filmed here which is what really drew me to this place. On this 90km peninsula you can find beaches, mountains, volcanoes, old churches and waterfalls.
Speaking of waterfalls, I’m a big fan! We can’t go to Iceland and see one of the best, the Gullfoss waterfall. Pictures of this waterfall in winter look especially beautiful when it can get iced over.
Þingvellir National Park
Þingvellir National Park is the location of a few really interesting things. It was home to longest running Parliment, as it was a site of assembling from the year 930 until 1798. Honestly, it’s kind of baffling to think about the fact that there were people in Iceland in the year 930! Jake and I have never visited Europe so it’s exciting to get a taste of really old history.
Also, Þingvellir National Park is a popular destination for crazy people like us who want to snorkel in the near freezing water of the Silfra fissure. This is where the North American and Eurasian tetonic plates are seperating, which means that you can snorkel between two continents. The water is so clear, blue and pure, I can’t wait to snorkeling in it!
See Geysers in Geysir
I didn’t know until I started researching Iceland that the word geyser is actually an Icelandic word. The ‘original’ geyser called Geysir isn’t currently active, but nearby Strokkur geyser is active and regularly erupts every few minutes. I saw geysers in Yellowstone National Park but this will be the first for Jake, so he’s pretty excited.
I don’t know what it is about this little town that is drawing me to it, but I must go! From the old church, to the interesting rock formations to the black sand beach; this will be a nice little stop on our road trip along the southern coast of Iceland.
Winter Ice Caves on Vatnajökull
This is the one activity we already have booked since spots are limited and fill up quickly. Ice caves only occur in winter, from October until the end of March. From Reykjavik it is about a 4 hour drive so it isn’t much of an option for people here on quick stopovers. I’m excited that we actually have the time to drive out to Skaftafell and explore this beautiful part of the country. We won’t know until the day of the tour what cave we will explore, since they pick the best one that day. The tour will last around 3-4 hours and cost about $150 USD per person.
At some point we would like to relax in some hot springs. Hopefully this won’t be too difficult since Iceland is so geothermic.
Photograph the Northern Lights
Ahhhh, I’m going to see the freaking Northern Lights!! At least I hope so. With a week in the country I feel like we have a good shot of viewing them. The Aurora Borealis is kind of cyclic, so it can be really active for a few days and then not be seen for 3 or 4 days.
I just upgraded my camera and have been doing research on night photography so hopefully I will be able to capture them.
This itinerary may sound ambitious, but the area that we are exploring isn’t actually that large, so I think that it will be doable for us. Have you been to Iceland before? If so let us know your favorite part! Is there any ‘must see’ we are missing? Let us know in the comments below!