Top tips for a whirldwind tour of Iceland
This year for my hubbys 40th birthday I booked a whirlwind visit to Iceland for just two nights! We had always wanted to go to Iceland but with three young children and us both working in busy jobs, there had never been the right time so this was the perfect opportunity!
Here you will find my top tips for visiting Iceland.
Hire a Car
I was a little apprehensive about a DIY driving trip but we wanted to see so much in such a short time that it was the only way. There are plenty of car hire companies and it genuinely couldn’t have been easier. On arrival at the airport, we were met by a rep and within minutes were loaded onto his mini van and driven out to the hire garage. Despite a bit on a lengthy queue, we were off in the car within the hour. The roads around Iceland are so easy to navigate and despite driving on the opposite side of the road and the car being a left hand drive it was releatively stress free and we were at our hotel in just 45 minutes.
Places to Stay
There is an abundance of hotels around Iceland but given we were only there for a whirlwind visit, we wanted to stay somewhere central and not far from the airport so staying in Reykjavik itself was perfect. Hotels can be pretty pricey (as are most things around Iceland) so we stayed about a mile from the centre in the ‘Atlantic Apartments’. We had a double room, with mini kitchenette and table and chairs. It was clean, easy to get to and a perfect base for us despite being on the budget end.
The Blue Lagoon is an abolsute must and was the highlight of my trip! Situated just a few miles from Reykavik airport, the Blue Lagoon really is home to one of the wonders of the world and Icelands most famous Geothermal Spa which filled with milky blue water with a temperature of around 39 degrees. We paid around £70 each for a 2 hour visit and for that we got entry to the spa, towels, a silica mud mask and a drink each. The night we visited was cold and windy but once you were in the water, it was nothing short of heavenly.
Golden Circle Tour
The Golden Circle is the most popular tourist route around Southern Iceland and you could drive it in around 4 hours however, with so many attractions along the way, its likely to take you much longer than this. We visited the Geysir geothermal area, where you walk past boiling mud pits and exploding geysers. The most lively Strokker spounts water 100ft into the air every couple of minutes – its an amazing sight! We then headed to the Thingvellir National Park and finishes up at the Gulfoss Waterfall. Each of the attractions are really easy to find along the route and you will find many other tourists along the way as well as plenty of places to stop for shopping and food.
We visited Iceland in September and although you can get to see the Northern Lights during this month, it was just too cloudy while we were there. I would however, recommend doing a guided tour as I dont think it would be easy to find the best place on your own as well as the fact that it would mean driving in middle of the night which may be difficult bearing in mind the left hand drive.
There are so many places around Iceland to eat. We headed into Reykjavik centre for our meals but be prepared to pay top prices. We ate at the most amazing Fish restaurant, ‘Hofnin’ right on the harbour,the food was so fresh and tasty but it was expensive. Drinks are also pricey so expect to pay at least £10 for a glass of wine or beer. On our second evening, we got fish and chips from a van right on the old harbour. It was truly the most amazing fish and chips I have ever had and made even more special by sitting right on the harbour with the most fantastic views.
So in two days, we mangaged to see quite alot but you quickly realise how much more there is to do and see which gives us something to look forward to for next time!