Pack Your Bags: The Perfect Iceland Itinerary


I'll be honest: When we first added Iceland as a trip in our semester, I was really overwhelmed at the idea. Basically, because I had NO previous knowledge about the country. Nor could I even begin to guess how I to pronounce them either. (So many letters. So few vowels!)  Luckily, my boss hooked us up with an amazing company to do the thinking for us, Iceland Private Tours. They created us an amazing itinerary for our time there and took all the thinking out of the equation for us.

Their work is my gain. And now yours, too, because I'm taking our three trips and merging them into an itinerary for five solid days in Iceland. 

 

DAY ONE | ARRIVAL 

Welcome to Iceland! Grab your bags and pick up your rent car to get this adventure started. Your trip to Iceland begins with a journey to the famous Golden Circle. First stop is Thingvellir National Park- the site of the first Icelandic parliament in 930 AD and where the North American + Eurasian tectonic plates meet. Don't forget to stare into the gorgeously clear pools at the end of the park. They're amazing. Next, you're off to Geysir, where you'll see loads of geysirs and where we get our word English. Wander around the large site for a chance to watch Geysir spurt frequently, and grab lunch at the cafeteria inside. (It's decent food, promise!) From here, head on to Hestheimar Horse Farm for your first night in Iceland. Plan to get a sunset ride on their horses before dinner at the farm. They cook great food, and you'll never feel so homey. It's the perfect place to rest your jet-lagged body.

Recommended Hotel: Hestheimar Horse Farm (tiny cabins, horses, Free wifi, Endless homemade bread, and a great breakfast!) 


DAY TWO | THE SOUTH SHORE (SKOGAFOSS + GLACIER)

If you're going to head out to Iceland, you'll need to see some waterfalls. It's a mandatory stop, and Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss are two of my favorites. Both give you the chance to hike up and around to get some great views of the cascading falls. Afterwards, head to the Dryholaey peninsula for stunning views of the coast. (Not to miss!) After that, grab lunch at the little gas station in Vik and stop at the wool mill next door to pick up some souvenirs. When you've had your fill, head out to the amazing black sand beaches of Reynisdrangar, just outside of town. Famous for it's amazing colors, huge waves, basalt rock formations and huge lava formations in the surrounding water- it's not a stop to skip. You can also get some pictures in front of the Icelandic volcano, Eyjafjallajokull, that famously erupted in 2010. They also have a small museum with a video that, if you have the time to spare, is nice to watch. 

Recommended hotel: Islandia Nupar Hotel (Restaurant on-site, free wifi, and a good spot for seeing the Northern Lights.)

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DAY THREE | THE SOUTH SHORE (SKAFTAFELL + JOKULSARLON)

Start out the day with a cruise around a Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon- full of icebergs that have broken off from the large glacier above. You'll take some of the most unreal photos of your life, and maybe even spot a seal or two swimming alongside you. (Boat rides should be booked in advance.) Afterwards, head to the gorgeous national park, Skaftafell, for an afternoon of hiking to some of the most photogenic spots in the country. Discover the hidden waterfall, Svartifoss, who's waters cascade down a backdrop of a black cliff.

Recommended hotel: Islandia Nupar Hotel (Restaurant on-site, free wifi, and a good spot for seeing the Northern Lights.)


 

DAY FOUR | REKYJAVIK 

After breakfast, make your way back to the capital city of Iceland, Reyjkavik. With two-thirds of the country living in this city, you'll notice that it's considerably more populated than all of the other places you have been. Drop off your goodies at the hotel, and head out for the day. Since the city isn't huge, you'll have plenty of time to see lots of the sites. If you're staying at Hotel Odinsve, you can start at the Hallgrimskirkja and work your way down the main street to the harbor. Check out my more extensive guide to Reykjavik for more ideas on how to spend your day. Have your hotel book you a table at Sjavargrilld ("Seafood Grill") for a special night to end your trip. It's so, so good. Fresh fish and amazingly cooked. It's a great date spot.

Recommended Hotel: Hotel Odinsve (Located in Downtown Reykjavik near loads of good restaurants, free wifi, breakfast at the hotel or across the street at my favorite cafe- C is For Cookie.)


DAY FIVE | BLUE LAGOON + DEPARTURE

You can't come to Iceland and miss out on the famous Blue Lagoon. End your trip to Iceland with a relaxed morning, coffee and cake from C is For Cookie, and lounging in the healing waters of this geothermal wonder. It's amazingly. warm. Give yourself a couple of hours. (I'd max out at three, personally.) If you are up for a real treat, try to get a in-water relaxing massage. It won't have deep-tissue work, but it will be, without a doubt, one of the most relaxing things you've ever done. Booking in advance is mandatory. After that, you're only about 15 minutes from the airport. Take your car back, make sure you have all tax-free receipts over 5000ISK stamped by customs BEFORE going through security, and head on up to fly out. Safe travels!

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Looking for a itinerary for Iceland that is crafted just for you? I recommend working with Iceland Explore. They've done great things for us, and I have no doubt they'll get you set up with a dream vacation to Iceland, too! Also, I am happy to help with my (less-than-local, but still pretty good) knowledge. Contact lauren@aspiringkennedy.com for travel consult information.

 

Still want more? Tyler & I tried to make it easy on you but tagging all of our trip photos on Instagram with the same hashtag, #icelandknights. You'll find all our favorite sites geotagged there!

 

 

*all images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on September 29, 2014 and filed under iceland, travel.