There aren’t many destinations that I think everyone should go to. That’s just quite the sweeping statement to make about a place, knowing there are all different kinds of travelers out there. However, there are a couple places I think every single person should see. And you guessed it… Iceland is one of them.
As we road-tripped around this beautiful country, we felt like we were on another planet. It’s home to some of the most diverse landscapes I’ve ever seen, most of which can be taken in without crowds of people. Now tell me, is there anything better than that?!
If you’ve been convinced to go, I highly recommend taking a road-trip around the ring road, as opposed to staying in Reykjavik. This is where you see the 100 foot waterfalls in completely remote areas. While I have a thousand tips I could (and will) share for an Iceland trip, this post is strictly our 7 day itinerary. Enjoy. 🙂
We spent the better half of our first day in Iceland recovering from our flight. The +5 hour time difference with our midnight departure from STL put us there at 11am, exhausted. We got the rental car and went straight to the AirBNB for a power nap (our host let us check-in early).
Once we got a little rest, we went out to explore Rey and Kef. This included some coffee, some thrift shopping, grocery shopping for the week, and just taking in some of the scenery.
Jessica, the coffee shop queen, found Stofan Cafe in Rey: good coffee + on an adorable street. We did our grocery shopping at Bonus, a local budget grocer. We stocked up on things we could keep in the car all week – snacks, peanut butter and jelly, water. You get the idea.
We wrapped up our first day at the Blue Lagoon. While planning, Jessica and I went back and forth on whether or not this would be worth the ticket. We landed on the fact that we will likely only see Iceland one time and that we should just go for it! Boy, were we glad we did! This place was SO cool, y’all. Logistically, if you decide to go, make sure you book your spot as soon as you can. We chose a late evening spot (8pm in August) and found that the crowds were lower than normal.
At the end of the trip, we were all 3 talking about our favorite parts of the week and the general consensus was that this day was pretty close to the top. Ambitiously, we hit all of the stops of the Golden Circle: Thingvellir Park, Gulfoss, Geysir Area, Seljalandsfoss, Kerid Crater Lake AND Skogafoss.
Pro tip: Walk past Seljalandsfoss to the left and follow that trail and you’ll find a secret waterfall with way less people!
I loved every stop of this day (and I think Jessica and Ashley would agree), but the part that made it so amazing was Skogafoss. As we were getting out of the car, I joked that we were only going to be there “for like 10 seconds” and to not worry about grabbing coats! Boy, was I WRONG. Y’all. We ended up spending like 3 hours here. (We did end up grabbing the coats.) If you go, climb the stairs to the right and just hike as long as you can. I promise you won’t regret it.
Helpful Tip for this post: Foss means waterfall in Icelandic. 😉
We got up and at ‘em early the next morning to see Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach, figuring there would be less crowds in the morning. We explored, climbed on the rocks, flew the drone, an as soon as crowds started to roll in, we rolled out. After a quick pit stop in Vik for coffee and gas, we got on our merry way.
This was the day that we learned random road side stops are just as amazing as the big attractions we were read about before coming. From moss covered rocks, to wide open spaces of volcanic rock, to waterfalls — you can find it all right on the side of road, usually with no people around.
Our end goal this day was Höfn, a darling, little fishing town. (if you go, go to Otto Makur & Drykkur – super cute restaurant.) On our way, we stopped at Jokulasarlon Glacial Lagoon. Beautiful, because what in Iceland isn’t beautiful?!
If you haven’t caught on, Jessica, Ashley, and I like to pack our days when we travel. (Thank goodness for lots of sunlight in August!) Driving wise, this day was our longest. We needed to end up in Akureyi, which was a 6 hour drive from Höfn with no stops. If we could do it again, we would’ve stayed somewhere closer. Eastern Iceland is amazing, and while we got to see a lot of it, we definitely could’ve spent more time there.
The stops we did make were: Mjóifjörður, Seydisfjordur, and Dettifoss.
I would consider all 3 of them musts, but Mjóifjörður was the most breathtaking. We took our little rental car down a steep, long gravel road into this tiny fjord town (population 40, y’all) and it made us believe we were living a fairy tale. There is genuinely nothing I could say or show you that would do this place justice. If you find yourself in Iceland, don’t miss it!!
Seydisfjordur is a cute little town — the one with the rainbow sidewalks. And Dettifoss is the most powerful waterfall in Europe. Both are amazing places and you should totally hit them if you can!
We spent the morning of day 5 exploring Akureyi — shopping, coffee shops, a little ice cream… ya know. The usual. Our drive was short this day; only two and a half hours to get to our next AirBNB in Blönduós, so we made quite a few stops. One being a giant rainbow trampoline at a city park, because why the heck not?! That night we got dinner at a restaurant right on the coast.
This day felt super typical of Iceland… some massive waterfalls at Snaefellsnes National Park, a short pit stop at a small coffee shop, a beautiful church, and the famous Kirkjufell Mountain. That night we stayed in Stykkishólmur, where we got dinner at this little burger joint and watched soccer with 3 Italian women. (best.day.ever)
Our last day!! We woke up early and headed back to Rey so we could grab lunch, one last coffee, and be to the airport in time for our flight!
Pin it for Later