I did so much research on what to do in Iceland, that I almost got stressed because five days would be way too short to see this beautiful, rough island. Of course five days is way too little time, but I was super satisfied with our Iceland itinerary. We had four nights to spend in Iceland and we changed Airbnb each day, to be able to make the most of our time. In this blogpost I will give you an update regarding what we did in Iceland and what we loved most.
Day 1: Golden Circle & Secret Lagoon
We arrived early in the morning and immediately set out to the car rental, where we had to wait in a queue for over an hour… Luckily this was the only downer on this day, as the rest of our day ran pretty smoothly. We decided to drive the Golden Circle, as this is pretty close to Reykjavik and gives you the opportunity to see a lot in a day. We loved that all activities on the Golden Circle were accessible for free, which makes this the perfect budget activity. These reasons also create an enormous popularity for the Golden Circle, so beware to find many people at the sights (which didn’t botter me, but you’d better know). Below you will find some pictures, with indications about the activities.
Thingvellir: This is a national park, you will find beautiful sights just a short walk from the parking lot.
Geysir: This is a park with one large geyser that erupts every 8-10 minutes and many small geysers. Of course, this is a stinky place because of all the sulfur. I found this park to be incredibly touristy, but the vibes are really good because everybody gets really excited when the geysers erupt. Apparantly geyser-bonding exists.
Gulfoss: An absolute highlight of the Golden Circle. When we arrived at Gulfoss we were struck by the enormousness of the waterfalls and we were amazed by the rainbow that was hanging right above the falls. Welcome to Iceland 🙂
Faxi: Surprisingly the Faxi falls were completely void of tourists! With the water being super blue they were definitely worth a visit!
We went to the Secret Lagoon to round off our day. The Secret Lagoon is a hot spring, which actually isn’t secret at all, as lots of people know about it. It is accessible really easily and close to the Golden Circle. The entrance is 3000 ISK, which is about € 20. It is dubbed as the perfect alternative to the Blue Lagoon, but the person who thought of that clearly is colorblind… But that doesn’t mean it is not a good activity, it is commercialized but we did love rounding off our day in the Hot Spring. We were very tired from our early flight and the hot water felt heavenly! The Secret Lagoon has shower facilities and free lockers available. It is also closely located to Selfoss, which is where we stayed the night.
After our visit to the Secret Lagoon we watched the sunset with the Icelandic horses (spontaneously)! The Icelandic horses are bringing out my inner horse girl…
Day 2: Sólheimasandur Plane Wreck & Black beaches
On our second day we drove the first part of the ring road in the South of Iceland. We started at Kerid crater lake, hoping for a beautiful sunrise but finding a morning fog instead.. I can only imagine how beautiful this lake is when it is completely visible, but I also liked how serene the lake was in the early morning.
After Kerid we wanted to drive to Sólheimasandur but we got distracted by the amazing Icelandic horses & the beautiful Seljalandsfoss waterfall. The Icelandic horses seem to be everywhere in the Southern part of Iceland and they were super curious and come to the fence when you give them some attention 🙂 The Seljalandsfoss is the waterfall which has a trail behind the fall, this was a super cool trail and we were impressed by the enormous power of the falling water. You only have to pay a parking fee of 700 ISK to be able to visit the waterfall.
We visited the Sólheimasandur Plane Wreck during lunch time and were super lucky that it wasn’t crowded around that time. I was warned for the strenuous and boring walk to the plane wreck, but the weather was quite good for Iceland (+10 degrees and hardly any wind), so I took that as a sign that we had to do the walk. It only took us 45 minutes to reach the plane, so we were happy we didn’t take the jeep instead (2000 ISK). The plane wreck was super impressive to see, it is located quite isolated on a black sand beach which only adds to the mysterious vibes. Some historical info: The plane wreck has been lying on the beach for over forty years and nobody died during the plane crash.
Next up were the Black Sand Beach Reynisfjara and Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon. Reynisfjara featured super cool columns, on which you can take a seat, but everyone seems to know about this. The Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon was lovely as well, but unfortunately it got kind of rainy when we arrived. I have seen many instagram pics of this canyon and discovered that loads of people trespass to get the best picture and that it actually is kind of dangerous to do, so I stayed behind the “fence”.
Day 3: Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon & Diamond beach
We dedicated this day to Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon & Diamond Beach, two highlights of Iceland. When you drive to Jökulsárlón from Reykjavik you will pass another lagoon just before Jökulsárlón. At this lagoon you can get much closer to the actual glacier, which was super cool. The water of Jökulsárlón is much more beautiful though, so I would definitely recommend visiting both! We visited the first viewpoint of Jökulsárlón, which is right next to the ring road and not at the side with the food stalls. Views were really lovely, you face the glacier directly and it isn’t crowded at all. We loved listening to the sounds of the water and seeing ice pieces melt.
When visiting Jökulsárlón I would recommend bringing lunch, we forgot to bring lunch this day and were a bit disappointed how little choice the food stalls had and how expensive they were. We decided not to a boat tour as they are on the pricy side (about € 40 and it gets really cramped on the boats). We had really good weather and if we would have known that they would still offer kayaking tours in October I think we would have booked a tour. The tours were well under € 100, which is expensive but not as expensive as in other parts of the world (Perito Moreno Glacier for example).
Diamond beach was crazy busy when we visited… But we still managed to get some good shots 😉 It is located at the beach side of Jökulsárlón and it was super cool to see the ice rocks arrive at the beach.
We rounded off our day in Hoffel Hot tubs. These are geothermal hot tubs in the middle of nature, located close to Höfn where we stayed the night. The views were amazing and the hot tubs were affordable and relaxing (1000 ISK per person). Unfortunately the parking lot of the Hoffel hot tubs is located right next to the hot tubs which does lower the quality of the stay (who would design that?). I loved the outdoor shower which you have to use before and after the hot tubs.
Day 4: Skogarfoss & Reykjavik
Today we had to drive all the way back to Reykjavik from Höfn (5,5 hours). On the way we stopped at Skogafoss & the Kerid crater which luckily wasn’t cloudy anymore.
This blog has turned out (too) long, so next time I will continue with Reykjavik & the Blue Lagoon which were our next activities. We absolutely loved visiting Iceland so far, with Sólheimasandur, Jokulsarlon and Gulfoss being absolute highlights in combination with all the relaxing hot springs and hot tubs!
I expected Iceland to be crazy expensive, it definitely wasn’t cheap, but it wasn’t as expensive as I expected it to be. We stayed in Airbnbs with a shared bathroom with an average cost of € 80 per night. The supermarkets in Iceland had a high quality of products and doing your own cooking definitely keeps costs down. We spent about € 40 per day for food. The only thing that was incredibly expensive (besides alcohol) was the Blue Lagoon for about € 80 per person, so if you skip that you will be fine.
I loved that Iceland felt super safe! We stayed in one Airbnb and the owners just left their house unlocked for us…
In Iceland you pay with Icelandic Crowns (ISK), but you hardly need any cash and there are sufficient ATMS.
Of course the weather is going to be a factor on your Iceland holiday. We visited early October and were lucky with lots of sunshiny days. If the wind starts blowing it does feel cold, but I was fine with just thermal leggings. We had temperatures of 5-10 degrees celsius. We had rain for one day, but if you bring a wind- and rainproof jacket you still will be able to visit lots of sights, but I would advise against the Sólheimasandur hike in wind and rain, as it will be really uncomfortable on the open beach.