3 ½ Days in Iceland – we want to see as much as possible! (This was the actual itinerary from a recent trip with my mom)
-Early morning arrival from US
-Rented a Car with Lagoon Rentals (We were very happy with Lagoon and their prices were much lower than their competitors. They meet you in the arrivals hall but in case your fight is delayed, make sure you have their phone number and email address on you)
We spent the night in Vik at the Edda Hotel. (The hotel was comfortable but nothing to write home about.)
-Jumped back in the car and headed N. W. to do the Golden Circle – Geyser (after which all other Gyser’s are named), Gullfoss Waterfall and Pingvellir National Park to see the Parliament sight from 960 AD and the rift between the North American and Eurasian plates (our favorite stop). Also recommend a short stop at Kerid Crater which is on the way to the Golden Circle.
-After a quick stop at the Settlement Center in Borgarnes, we then headed west to enjoy the views of Snaefellsnes and spent the night at Budir. Jules Verne based Journey to the Center of the Earth on the scenery in Western Iceland and I certainly felt like I was at the edge of the world. Hotel Budir was outstanding. The food was excellent (their bread that comes with dinner has gone on my short list for some of the best I have ever had) and the scenery was amazing. They also have a Northern Lights wakeup call and we were treated to an amazing show.
Headed back to Reykjavik to see the sights. We were in time to catch the afternoon whale watching tour with Special Tours (although I got the feeling the companies are pretty similar and all offer passes if you don’t see whales). We saw more whales than I bothered to count (3 different species). We then spent the rest of the afternoon just walking around town. We spent the night at Holt Hotel about a 15 min walk from the harbor and the cathedral. The rooms were comfortable and the staff was outstanding.
Back to the airport to catch an afternoon flight.
*Blue Lagoon less than 15 minutes from the airport is the #1 attraction in Iceland. We aren’t fans of hot springs so we didn’t stop but if you want to go, I recommend you go either on arrival or departure to maximize your time and transportation. The Blond Abroad also has a good post about taking care of your hair at the Hot Springs.
**If I were to go back I would like to take a day trip to Greenland, drive the rest of the Iceland and have one extra day in Reykjavik. I would recommend 1-2 days for Reykjavik. Definitely two days if you do something time consuming like whale watching.
***If you are going Nov-Apr but not leaving Reykjavik, you can book a Northern Lights boat trip your first night there. I recommend your first night because most companies will give you a voucher for another trip if you don’t see them.
****Food was very, very, very expensive. I am still in shock.
Books: While on my trip I read Icelandic Folk Tales and Fairytales by Jon Amason and Kjartan Gud Jonsson. My trip to Snaefellsnes inspired me to read Jules Verne Journey to the Center of the Earth (inspiration for the setting of his book).