Mike and I are not travel bloggers, however we know some of you might be interested in traveling to Iceland in the future, so we wanted to share our experience & itinerary with you to help with your planning.
There is SO much to see in Iceland, we have just scratched the surface.We know we missed things along the way that were “must-see” sights, but we couldn’t fit them all in, and decided to simply take in and enjoy the sights we did get to and not have FOMO on the sights we didn’t see.
Our trip was planned in the summer. We got lucky as it never rained and the sun was shining for the majority of the trip. If you want to see the Northern Lights, do not come here in the summer! If you want to see puffins, make sure you come before the end of August as they head on out to sea and won’t return until April. In summer, days are very long, which makes for easy travel as you can visit the sights at basically anytime you wish. If you are a light sleeper and need dark, don’t forget to pack a sleeping mask.
We stayed 8 days and 7 nights in total. However, the last day was basically spent in the hotel, so we planned a 7 day itinerary. If you want to see all of Iceland, they say you need at the very least, 12 days. So we are planning to go back, but if you have time, then plan well. You could travel the entire Ring Road if you wanted, which would be amazing.
So, without further ado, I’ve shared our itinerary of each day below. We have our “plan” and then I’ll share the reality. Enjoy!
Before you go to Iceland you must do the following:
- Check the Covid information through Iceland at this site.
- Get Covid rapid antigen tests.
- Pre-register (this can be done through above website).
- We needed to buy travel insurance as our insurance is just in the states. We went through Safety Wing.
- Get pin numbers for your credit cards. While not necessary in the US, it is necessary to have this in Iceland.
Also, it’s beneficial to join the Facebook group called: Iceland- Tips for travelers. This group is great. I got so many ideas from it.
Plan for Day 1, Monday, Aug. 9th
- Purchase wifi & sim cards (Do this at Duty Free)
- Purchase alcohol if wanted (Duty Free)
- Stay updated on Covid
- Wait for Shuttle
||Shuttle arrives for Kuku (be sure to pre-register) – email sent on 7/28
Tel: +354 415 KUKU
If necessary, take flybus to Viking Hotel- then a 20-30 min. walk
||Arrive at Kuku and rent van
Groceries: Bonus or Kronan
Get lunch or snack at the bakery next to Kronan (good sandwiches) Recommend Kleina & Vinabrouo.
||Start drive to Borgarnes (1 hour 4 min)
||Leave Route 1 at Borgarnes. Drive 30 minutes along route 54 to see
||Explore Gerõuberg Cliffs- 15-30 minute walk or long walk to top.
||Drive toward Lava Fields (takes 40 min).
When 54 leaves the coast and goes inland, follow Utnevegur to the left and explore Búoakirkjat Budhahraun Lava Fields
Explore for 15-30 minutes.
||Head toward Hidden Waterfall Rauõfeldgiá Gorge (15 minute drive)
||Head to twin fishing villages of Amanstapi & Hellnar
Take 2-3 hours to explore the towns.
Arnanstapi- start at Harbor and continue along marked trail along the cliffs. Look for Gatklettur, which is an arch made of piled stones.
Finish in Hellnar
||Campground : Anarstapi Campground
Price: Price: 1500 ISK / person
Reality: Day 1
Our arrival at the airport went well. There have been complaints about hours and hours of waiting upon arrival, but that wasn’t the case for us. We arrived at 6:05 a.m. and were finished with COVID processing, immigration, etc. within 10 minutes. We went to Duty Free and bought vodka, but we were tired and forgot to buy our SIM cards. So we ended up going later to a gas station where we purchased them. No problems with this at all.
We rented a camper van through KUKU camper vans. We DO NOT recommend this company. Their shuttle was late in picking us up and when we arrived at their place, it was jammed with people (no social distancing) and the check-in process was highly inefficient. Not only that, they sent us off with two bald front tires and a flat spare tire which we had replaced later on in the trip. But we did love their little van and how it was set up. Check out the video here.
If we were to do it all again, we would have rented a larger van as the sleeping space was quite small in this one. Lesson learned.
After we got our camper van, we hit the grocery store (which didn’t open until 11 a.m.!). Had we thought about it, we would have headed off to our destination at that time, and shopped there, but we didn’t know if there would be a grocery store later on so we didn’t do that. However, there are many grocery stores (Bonus or Kronan) and the gas stations are quite large with tons of food, so we would have been fine.
Anyway, we took the road to Borgarnes. We made it to some town, stopped for gas, and then parked and fell asleep for two hours. We had flown all night and jet lag was real. Afterward, we grabbed some coffee and continued on.
The drive was stunningly beautiful as we headed Northwest to Snæfellsnes Peninsula. One really cool part was crossing the river through a tunnel. It was the longest tunnel I’ve ever been in as it must have been a 10 minute drive or more going down, down, down, under the river, and then up, up, up, to the other side.
Our first stop, Gerõuberg Cliffs, was pretty meh. We couldn’t really figure out why this was a sight to see. It was pretty sure, but the driving along the coast was truly incredible, so I would say, skip this one.
As we are from Central Oregon, we live in the land of lava fields, so we did not spent time in the lava fields here. If this is a new experience for you, however, I’d recommend checking it out as lava fields are cool!
So we headed straight to the Hidden Waterfall. By the way, “foss” means waterfall, and you’ll see signs everywhere to go to this foss or that foss. You could literally spend your entire trip just looking at waterfalls. This one was cool as once you got to it, you could hike back into the source of the waterfall in a bit of a cave. It was quite pretty.
We then drove to Arnarstapi and took a walk along the cliffs of the beach. Such gorgeous landscape. And Gatklettur, the arch is truly gorgeous.
We also went to the famous black church, which is beautiful enough. But we had the added bonus of watching a group of four sheep come trotting through the parking lot and into the church yard to have their evening meal. You can check out the video here.
We found our campsite in Arnarstapi and went for a beer and french fries at a small little restaurant nearby. Prices for food are HIGH in Iceland. Beer was about $10 US and the fries were probably $10 as well. But ah well…it was worth it to celebrate the fact that we were traveling overseas for the first time without children since they were born 23 years ago. And well, it’s been a rough few years, and we needed this, damn it.
Camping here is cool. They are just open fields and you park anywhere you want. The bathrooms are very nice and clean. They are heated and have nice showers as well. The first night sleeping was a little rough as we were getting used to the mattress, sleeping bags, etc. but there’s nothing like waking up in a beautiful open space in the cool morning air. My happy place, for sure.
Plan for Day 2, Tuesday, Aug, 10th
||Wake up and get movin’
||Leave for the Snæfellsjökull
Glacier. 16 minute drive.
||Enter Snæfellsjökull National Park
||Drive to Londrangar Basalt Cliffs
Hike to lighthouse- about 1 hour total
||Drive to Vatnshellir Cave tours available (lava tube)
||If we don’t do above tour, drive 10 minutes to Djúpalónssandur Black Sand Beach (Plan an hour- according to website) 2 blue lagoons to explore
||Lunch- Sandwiches, chips
||Drive to Saxoll Crater (1 minute drive)
Hike to top of crater (10 minutes)
||Drive to Skarðsvík Beach and then 30 more minutes to Kirkjufellsfoss Waterfall and Kirkjufell Mountain (Be sure to walk over the bridge to the other side for the perfect view with Kirkjufell in the background.)
Kirkjufell is a 15 minute or 3 hour hike.
||Drive 15 minutes to Berserkjahraun lava fields. History
||Drive to Bjarnarhöfn Shark Museum and Stykkishólmur
||Drive to Reykjavik (2 hours 4 min.)
||Dinner: Glo https://www.glo.is/en
||Camp: Grafarvogur Campsite (Close to city center)
Reality: Day 2
After a decent night’s sleep and a morning of using our camp stove to make oatmeal and coffee, we set off for Snæfellsjökull National Park. A nice thing about Iceland, is you generally don’t need to pay to enter a National Park.
We took another walk along the cliffs and to the lighthouse. It was a really nice, easy way to start the morning. We set out early, so there weren’t other travelers.
We decided to skip the lava cave tour, as again, we have all this in central Oregon. And, in all honesty, I don’t love caves (claustrophobia is real), so yeah, we skipped it.
Hiking around Djúpalónssandur Black Sand Beach was just stunning. I loved being out in the fresh air and seeing the clear blue water against the black sand. I highly recommend this.
We then drove to the Saxoll Crater. I was not impressed. It was a cool walk up to the top, and I was glad to get some exercise, but this is another “meh” moment.
For some reason we skipped the next beach on our itinerary. Neither Mike nor I can remember why we did so, lol. Anyway, we then went to Kirkjufellsfoss Waterfall and Kirkjufell Mountain. This was a cool place and is one of the scenes in Game of Thrones. (Google it). The waterfall is nice, but it’s the view of the town Kirkjufell that takes your breath away as you view it from a great vantage point. Mike and I decided to walk up a portion of the mountain. It was quite wet and muddy, so we just went about ¼ of the way up, but it was a nice way to get some exercise and see the beauty of the area. This is a definite for your itinerary.
We drove a bit further and saw a “rest area” sign. This sign is a picnic bench with a tree and you’ll see them all over. We made some sandwiches and sat and enjoyed the view for a while.
Afterward we drove to the Shark Museum. I was jet lagged so I chose to nap in the car while Mike went inside. This was not for me as the stank of the cured shark meat was too much for me, so it was best I didn’t avail myself of this opportunity. Mike enjoyed the experience. He got to tasted shark meat from the Greenland Shark. Apparently, when first caught, the meat is poisonous. It has to be cured for over 6 months in order for it to be edible. When he returned to the van, he was covered in shark smell. Ewwww.
While we thought we’d drive to Reykjavic that evening to explore the city and eat at a fun restaurant, we decided instead to drive to the Golden Circle to get a jump start on the next morning’s adventure as well as to stay in a nicer campground. We found a beautiful campground and parked for the night. We brought dehydrated meals from the states that we could just add hot water to and eat. So using our camp stove, which was basically a bottle of butane and a burner, we boiled our water and ate some yummy dinner. We used the Mountain Home brand as it was recommended to us from some of our friends who are camping enthusiasts. Afterward, Mike and I played some frisbee and enjoyed the fact that the sun was out so it wasn’t so cold. Around 10:00, while it was still light outside, we tucked in for the night.
Plan for Day 3, Wednesday August 11
||Drive to Golden Circle
||Arrive in þórufoss. 10 minute viewing
||Drive 20 minutes to Thingvellir National park. Things to see:
Highlights include Þingvallakirkja (the church), Lögberg (rock formations), the various fissures, and the Öxarárfoss waterfall. Allow 90 minutes.
||Drive 40 minutes to Efstidalur II for lunch if we want (burgers, ice cream, etc.)
||Drive 15 minutes to Haukadalur Geothermal Field. 30-45 minute visit
||Drive 10 minutes to Gullfoss Waterfall. 30-45 minute visit. Gift shop/cafe/restaurant found here
||Drive 31 minutes to Secret Lagoon. Take a soak in the hot pool. 45 minutes.
||Drive 31 minutes- Take Route 35 to Kerið Crater. Spend 15 min. here.
||Drive 55 minutes to Reykjavik.
||Check into Hotel. 201 Hotel
Reality: Day 3
The Golden Circle is one of those things you hear about when you’re coming to Iceland, so I made sure to plan it in the itinerary. We, unfortunately, missed out on the Öxarárfoss waterfall. don’t recommend missing this one. We got a late start and there were lots of tourist there, so we made the decision to skip it, but that was a poor choice. I’ve seen gorgeous pics of this waterfall and I’m bummed I missed it.
The Geothermal field was phenomenal. We explored the area for well over an hour. There are multiple geothermal pools that are a beautiful blue color. The geyser blows about every 10 minutes. While we were there, it was quite active and went off every 5 minutes. There is a walk you can take to an overlook. It’s a nice trail up and you can see the entire area of geothermal pools steaming. I highly recommend this part of the trip.
Afterward, we drove to the Gullfoss Waterfall. This is an extraordinary waterfall. Be sure to bring your waterproof clothes. We made the mistake of not wearing them and the spray of the waterfall certainly drenched us. There is a nice walk down a trail for the waterfall There are lots and lots of tourists here, but I think it’s because it’s so accessible for people of all physical abilities. The sound of the falls and the shear size of this sight made this a must see. When people talk about Iceland, they always mention “the waterfall” and this is the one they mean by that.
A short drive away is the Secret Lagoon. This was a nice geothermal swimming pool. This was an experience. They had swim noodles and flotation devices for us. We hung out for about 45 minutes “soaking it in.”
We then drove to the Kerið Crater. The blog I read said to spend 15 minutes, but I’d plan in over an hour. You can walk around the rim and you can hike down into the crater. It’s a really beautiful sight.
At this point in the trip is when we realized that our tires were in terrible shape, so we drove back to Reykjavic and had them replaced. We felt much better driving after these were fixed. We checked into the 201 Hotel which was a fine enough place. It’s hard to find a decently priced hotel that doesn’t have shared bathrooms. We went through Booking.com and got a good deal. My only complaint is they use feather pillows and duvets so I had an allergy attack and couldn’t sleep. The breakfast the next morning was decent as well.
We went to dinner at 101 Bistro, which incidentally is just a 4 minute walk from The Iceland Phallological Museum, which we did not visit, but hey, if that’s your thing, we’re not judging.
Plan for Day 4, Thursday, August 12
||Eat hotel breakfast.
Pack up/Visit grocery store/Pick up supplies
||Drive 55 minutes to Fagradalsfjal Volcano.
15 minute walk to rim
60 minute hike to orange lava flow
Can hike for several hours
This all depends on the weather. Monitor carefully.
||Drive 5 hours to Jökulsárlón. (Can make stops along the way or see them on the way back)
||Arrive in Jökulsárlón and eat dinner (lots of choices)
||Camping at Skaftafell Camping
Reality: Day 4
Well, the best laid plans…Mike got the stomach flu and did not feel well at all on this day. So, I took the keys and with Mike passed out in the passenger seat, we started off about 3 hours later than planned to drive the 55 minutes to Fagradalsfjal Volcano.
The drive here alone was magnificent. It was so breathtakingly beautiful and different from anything I’ve ever seen. I blasted the music and was simply beyond excited at the adventure in front of us for the day.
Before coming to the volcano, I highly recommend that you check out the live feed to see if the volcano is showing any activity on this day. People have hiked for long periods of time without seeing anything, so yes, check out this site.
There are times when you can park much closer and you need to pay, but on the day we went, parking was closed off so Mike and I parked out and started the long walk up. I highly recommend hiking sticks. These made a world of difference for me. Poor Mike felt so terrible, he had no energy and knew he wouldn’t be able to make it up, so he sent me ahead while he stayed down low and explored the lava flow before returning to the van to sleep. So, armed with my hiking sticks and pure adrenaline, I started flying up the 2 mile trek to the top. At one point, I got high enough to see the magma spewing from the crater. I can’t tell you how excited I was about this, and my legs and body were so driven, I never felt tired despite the steep climb and loose rocks which made people lose their footing along the way. I really wanted to share this experience and so I face-timed my siblings and my best friend from elementary school onward. I tried calling Mike, but he was dead asleep. Anyway, I could truly go on forever about this experience, but will not bore you.
The only thing I would advise now that I have done it. Do it! But, if you’re adventurous, go when it’s dark outside. You will need flashlights (headlamps would be best), but the view you’ll see at night is absolutely outstanding. I only know as a friend of mine showed pictures of his hike a few days after I went and I was quite jealous. Why didn’t I think of that? Also, you need to take path C to get as close as possible. I don’t know what path I took as I just kind of followed the crowd. From what I read online, Path C takes about 90 minutes each way.
Having alone time to enjoy this experience and solve all the world’s problems, I hopped in the car to find a very unhealthy Mike looking like he wanted vacation to end that very moment. When I asked if we should return to Reykjavic, he bravely told me to forge on. So, I blasted the music and continued the drive down the south coast.
We knew Mike wouldn’t be able to handle camping that night, so we booked The Puffin Hotel in Vik, which is a really cute town about 2 ½ hours from the Volcano. Along the way, there are multiple stops we could have made, but decided to take it easy. I did, however, stop at Skogafoss Waterfall. This waterfall is super accessible for everyone, so even Mike, feeling like heck, decided to go with me. This is the waterfall where several movies have been filmed such as Walter Mitty and one of the Thor movies. It’s another beautiful waterfall in Iceland, but this one is a bit different as it has a rainbow accompanying it seemingly at all times a day. For us, the rainbow was to the right of the waterfall, though I’ve seen pics of it to the left or directly in front of the waterfall as well. Don’t miss this one.
We drove a bit farther through lush green cliffs against the sea to Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach. This is such a neat place as it has these stacks that you can climb on. They are very hard to explain. But they are full of legend. “According to local Icelandic folklore, these large basalt columns were once trolls trying to pull ships from the ocean to shore. However, these trolls were dim and went out too late in the night; dawn broke on the horizon, turning the trolls into solid stone.
Another legend tells of a husband whose wife was kidnapped and killed by two trolls. The man followed the trolls down to Reynisfjara where he froze them, ensuring that they would never kill again.” You can read more about this place here. It was also featured in season 7 of Game of Thrones.
You may have read my facebook post that we ended up seeing a friend of ours from college, Eric Dudley, while we were here. I love the randomness of the world. I happened to glance over as he was looking up. I said, “That looks just like Eric,” and he said, “Lori and Michael? Is that you?” Ha. So funny, and great to see a familiar face so very far away from home.
Anyway, this is a must see place and while here you can also see puffins flying and perching above the cliffs. They are so interesting to watch fly as they flap and flap and flap like crazy. Their bones are solid, rather than hollow as most birds, so we thought that was pretty interesting.
That night we went to The Soup Company for dinner. We highly recommend this place. . We ended up going there twice on our trip. Their soup is scrumptious and you can have two servings of it for the price. They have a beef goulash soup called Hot Lava which is highly popular. They serve it in a rye bread bowl. If I wasn’t a vegetarian, I would have been all over it! LOL, but my creamy mushroom was delightful. Mike had about two bites of soup and could eat no more. This stomach bug was no joke.
The Puffin Hotel was a cute little place on the side of a cliff where, you guessed it, puffins hung out. So, they were fun to look at. It’s also within walking distance to the black sand beach. The breakfast was nice. We’d recommend it for a relatively inexpensive place to stay in Vik. Just know, it’s not a luxury hotel.
Plan for Day 5, Friday, August 13
||Slow morning, wake up, eat breakfast
||Things to see here:
||Zodiac Boat Tour (Tickets)
||Visit Diamond Beach
Reality: Day 5
We had tickets reserved for a Zodiac Boat tour of the glaciers in Jökulsárlón. So the morning consisted of me driving down the coast blasting more music and taking in the incredible scenery. Mike? You guessed it. He was passed out in the passenger seat still feeling like crud. I was quite worried he would not be able to go on the boat!
We arrived in the area in a fog bank. We saw there were tons of cars parked but couldn’t really see what they were all looking at. And then we saw the most incredible thing: icebergs being whisked away by a river and out into the ocean. Seeing this in fog was quite eerie and cool. We then arrived to Ice Lagoon tours and signed in. They gave us a flotation suit, took us on a short bus ride, and we were at the zodiac boats. Our boat drivers, Tamara and Adam were so great. They both had really nice cameras and were just excited about the tour as we were. Tamara’s eyes lit up each time we saw a different glacier. As soon as we hit the boats, the fog lifted and there was the magnificent glacier ahead of us. Tamara explained that in 1990, that glacier was several kilometers closer to us than it is now. It’s melting quickly. It’s truly a worry. She drove us to the glacier itself and several times we heard large bits breaking off and landing in the water. You actually hear it AFTER you see it, so we didn’t actually witness any of them breaking off, but many did while we were out there. As it was so sunny, the blue colors of the icebergs popped out and it was unreal. I’ve heard of blue ice, but hadn’t realized how blue it could actually be until witnessing this first hand. Tamara found seals sunbathing on the icebergs. In all we saw about six of them. We toured the bay for an hour and I took in every glorious moment.
Side note: If you have ever seen 007 Die Another Day, with Pierce Brosnan, you will see this glacier. They crazily took months to freeze the water in the area to film about 2 minutes of the film. Nuts! And even crazier is that Pierce couldn’t make it, so every part you see of him driving there is CGI. Oh Hollywood.
After our tour (I was so sad when it was over- I could have stayed there for hours), we went to Diamond Beach. It’s another black sand beach where the ice bergs taken out by the river tend to wash up and make their home for a while. It’s pretty outrageously cool.
Would I recommend this experience? 100% Yes! Mike, as ill as he felt, would as well. We LOVED it! Definitely go through this company. Their tour guides obviously love their jobs. The tour is bittersweet of course as watching our earth melt as quickly as it is is incredibly sobering. If you don’t believe in climate change and what we are doing to our planet, please take a trip to Iceland and well, wake up!
There are two food trucks here. Both are in demand so if you’re hungry, get in line with the tons of others and be prepared to wait.
We drove back west and made camp at Skaftafell National Park. This campground is at the base of a glacier and is very popular. This is definitely the most crowded campsite we saw. It’s very nice as well.
Plans for Day 6, Saturday August 14
||Explore more of the area w/ possible walking tour of glacier (book later)
||Drive back to Vik and explore along the way
||Check into hotel in Vik Stay at Guest house
Reality- Day 6
After a great night’s sleep, Mike, still a bit weak, took a 3 hour nap, so I took a 2 hour hike up to see yet another beautiful waterfall and be higher up to see more of the glacier. When Mike woke up, we drove back to Vik. We then went to Dyrhólaey which is just another beautiful sight to behold. Much to my surprise, there were puffins everywhere at this place. So we spent a lot of time watching these quirky little birds as they hung out on the grassy cliffs. This was such a great treat as I thought we would not be able to see them up close.
We decided to eat at the Soup Company again that night as Mike thought he could handle the food there. Once again, quite yummy.
This time we stayed in a guest house called Skammidalur just outside of Vik. This was quite interesting. It was a home on a farm and was a gorgeous setting. We walked in to find our name listed under room #4 and there was a key in the door waiting for us. Our room had 2 twin beds and a sink. Very basic, but clean and cute. Room 4 had a bathroom assigned to it so we were to share that bathroom with Room 5. We got lucky as no one was staying in room 5, so we didn’t have to share at all. This sharing a bathroom thing is common in Iceland. It’s difficult to find a reasonable rate for a place to stay that doesn’t have a shared bathroom. They also have a common kitchen. Some of the guests cooked large dinners for their family. I suppose if you aren’t staying in a camper van, this would be a good way to go rather than staying in hotel rooms each night.
Plans for Day 7, Sunday August 15
||Drive from Vik to Reyjavik (much to see along the way)
||21 minute drive to Dyrholaey Arch Photo op.
||26 minute drive to Skogafoss Waterfall (explore)
||25 minutes to Seljalandsfoss Waterfall hike up to cave behind waterfall. Approximately 2 hours.
||Lunch and drive to Reykjavik (2 hours 11 minutes)
||Arrive in Kevflavik.
Book Covid Testing. Get results in 15 minutes. Must pay at booking
- Getting here
- Voucher- must have e-ticket (in folder)
Return Camper Van
Taxi to hotel
Reality for Day 7, Sunday August 15
The following morning we had planned on taking a long walk on the beach, but we both slept in! And, since we had already explored the many sights (except for Seljalandsfoss Waterfall) we skipped those on the return. So, we simply drove to Reykjavic to explore a little. We really just ended up walking up and down one street and eating lunch at a Pho noodle shop. There is much to see in the city, but we aren’t terribly interested in cities, so we didn’t add much time to our itinerary to explore. If you want to see the city, I hear 1-2 days is plenty of time to do it well.
We then drove to Kevlavik (near the airport) to get our Covid Rapid Antigen test in order to be able to fly back to the US (which incidentally, the US didn’t even ask us for the results when we arrived).
If you are going during the time of Covid, then this must be done and you must get appointments ahead of time. We met two people who tried to do walk-in appointments with no luck. You can get your Covid testing in Reykjavik or Kevlavik. It really just depends what your plans are and where you’ll be closer to during that day.
After we received negative results (phew), we celebrated by driving to the Blue Lagoon. This is quite the touristy place, but I wouldn’t let that dissuade you from going. We had a blast.
Upon entry you’re given a robe and slippers (if you buy the upgraded package with the three facial masks). You’re also given a bracelet which is used for your locker and all purchases. Before going into the lagoon, take a shower and lather your hair in conditioner. This is an important tip as the silt from the lagoon really does a number on your hair if you don’t protect it. Then, go out and enjoy the lagoon. It’s very large with a bar for drinks and another bar for your facial masks. Mike and I probably spent about 90 minutes here, but you are allowed to spend as much time as you wish. You can also upgrade and get massages, etc.
For a less touristy option, I have heard that you can try the Sky Lagoon. This doesn’t have that crazy light blue color that Blue Lagoon has, but from all accounts, it’s a nice place. If (when) we return, we will try this one out.
We then returned our camper van and took a taxi ($28 dollars for a ten minute drive) to our hotel. We returned to the 201 Hotel where we stayed earlier in the week.
With incredibly soft skin from all those face masks, and sitting in hot water, we were exhausted and both had a great night’s sleep.
Day 8, Monday August 16
We took the Fly Bus from our hotel to the airport. You need to book the Fly Bus ahead of time. We booked it at 12:00 for pick up at our hotel. It arrived at 12:45 so be sure to ask when you are booking what time the actual pick up time will be. Lesson learned.
However, we had given ourselves plenty of time. We had heard nightmare stories of waiting in line for hours and hours at the airport and people fearful that they would miss their flights. So we got there about 3 1/2 hours early. We got lucky and the process was super smooth. We were up and eating lunch within 40 minutes of arrival. We at at Joe and the Juice. They had great sandwiches.
Big tip: Make sure you give yourself time, however, to get through passport control. We did not know that it was still waiting for us at the gates. In Asia, passport control is right after security. Once you’re through you’re ready to board. In Iceland, however, you go through security first and then there’s the shops and food. So we hung out there way too long and then realized we still had to go through passport control. Oops. Luckily the line was not too long, so we made it in plenty of time.
Once through passport control, they have a nice store you can go through to buy food for the flight home. If you’re on Iceland Air, you have to purchase meals if you want them, so Mike and I bought meals in the shop instead.
And that was it. We flew home and said trip was over.
If I were to give myself advice before going to Iceland for the first time, here is what it would be:
Make plans and realize that you will not stick to them. There is simply too much to see. You can try to fit them all in, but you will be exhausted, so why not just take in the sights you can see and enjoy them?
Iceland is a country we could easily visit multiple times. It’s a 7 1/2 hour flight from Portland. So don’t cram it all in. Plan to return.
Don’t go cheap on the camper van. Upgrade to a nicer one and fully enjoy the experience. Buy fresh food from the supermarket and create some fun meals at the campsite. Make cooking part of the experience rather than an after thought.
- Visit the volcano in the evening. Take Path C.
- Prepare for all types of weather. Dress in layers.
- Bring hiking sticks.
- Soak in every single bit of nature.
- Soak in all the hot pools you see.
- Soak it all in.
Camper Rentals (Book Early)