Iceland was one of my favorite trips I’ve ever been on. And that’s saying a lot! I loved how different it was. I loved how inviting it was. But most of all, I loved the openness of this island country and all of its natural beauty. We spent 9 days in Iceland (with 6 others) in an Airbnb house located one hour outside of Reykjavik.
While I’m sure that Iceland is amazing in the summer, there are a few things that I really loved about the time of year we went: you get to see the sunrise and sunset, there are fewer tourists so the sights aren’t as crowded, there’s more availability with lodging, the glaciers are larger, and the chances of seeing the Northern Lights are better (unfortunately we didn’t see them)
WHAT TO PACK
I focused on layers, warm socks, comfortable clothes and made sure to have hats, gloves, a neck warmer and hand warmers. I wore winter boots or hiking boots every day and also had two heavy winter jackets (one water resistant), and I was great!
THINGS TO DO
Blue Lagoon: the blue lagoon was a magical experience. A lot of people say it’s overrated but I beg to differ. Plus, it was cheaper than I expected – especially with everything it has to offer; luxurious changing rooms that also make as a spa, steam rooms, clay masks, swim-up bar, fun rock caves, the list goes on…
Town of Reykjavik: this town is so cute. Not only is there a lot of fun shops to pop into but the restaurants are endless and packed full with popular Icelandic cuisine.
Viõgelmir Cave: exploring this lava field was one of my favorite excursions. We were fully submerged inside of a “tube” that lava used to flow throughout ages ago and got the opportunity to experience total darkness – something i’ll never forget!
Vatnajökull Glacier Hike: If you’re into hiking and working your body a bit I recommend this glacier hike! We climbed up and around the largest glacier in Europe and explored all the natural ice caves that have formed over the last several months. There are many different Glacier caves you can explore throughout Iceland but this one was special to me because nothing is man-made and we got an awesome sunrise hike out of it!
Haukadalur Valley: This was fun and free! A mild hike with beautiful view of all the different sized geysers. This is also located right near Golfoss Falls – very convenient so you don’t have to make a double trip.
Keriõ Crater: this attraction was 3 dollars and so cool! You can walk up and around the crater or take the path below right next to the bright blue water.
Black Sand Beach: free and beautiful! We stopped to see Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss waterfalls on the way to Black Sand Beach. We went on a rainy/windy day and it was still insanely enjoyable. Be careful at the beach, the waters are extremely dangerous – its important to stay far from the water line. Be mindful, the picture is not that important….we watched several people get sucked in but luckily had someone near to help them up.
Diamond Beach: my favorite! This “beach” is out of a story book. A MUST SEE. I suggest visiting diamond beach and doing the Glacier hike together. Both of these attractions are FAR OUT ( of course depending on where you’re located.) We were an hour outside of Reykjavik and still had a four hour drive to these locations – which are 30 minutes from each other. Don’t worry, they’re worth it!
Secret Lagoon: I adored this secret spot. If you aren’t into big tourist-y crowds I definitely suggest this quaint lagoon that was naturally formed (not man-made like the Blue Lagoon) + is heated by neighboring geysers!
Waterfalls: Skógafoss, Gullfoss, Seljalandsfoss are the waterfalls we visited. All of them were so beautiful and had their own charm. I wouldn’t stress about seeing every single one – there are SO many and are often on the way to a destination.
Stop on the side of the road: if you’re traveling along the countryside and see something that sparks your eye – stop! The scenery in Iceland is magical and there are also many wild horses that LOVE to pose for pictures.
ICELANDIC FOOD GUIDE
Tryggvaskáli Restaurant: this restaurant reminded me of my favorite restaurant here in New York but BETTER. The building itself is an old house renovated into a restaurant. It has a very rustic/antique feel to it. The menu is to die for…favorite food I ate in Iceland hands down.
Fridheimar Greenhouse: HIGHLY Recommend. Not only do you eat fabulous food from the tomato greenhouse but you dine IN it. They allow you to explore freely, the menu is full of delicious options, there’s a walk up coffee bar, staff is friendly, and they have a lovely gift shop. Such a wonderful experience.
Street Dog / Baejarins Bestu Hotagörõum: two spots that sell delicious dogs both located in Reykjavik!
ELDUR OG íS: Ice Cream and Crepes – so many flavors of ice cream and several options to stuff your crepe with.
Cafe Babalü: LOVED the atmosphere here and the coffee was fantastic. I suggest only getting coffee here though…the food menu is small and kind of fast-food-like.
Café Loki: a lot of Icelandic cuisine options like fermented shark, meat stew, fish, and lamb. Also have amazing drinks!
Kronan: this is one of the cheapest grocery stores to shop at. Wherever and whenever I travel I make sure to visit the grocery store to save $$$. As soon as we landed in Iceland we headed to the grocery store to stock up on food and really only ate out three times just so we could try different Icelandic cuisine.
That’s pretty much it! Please feel free to leave a comment with any questions! #peachpraylove