During the second week of October, my dream came true and I finally made it to Iceland! Together with my cousin, we did a road trip through the main places of interest as it was our first time there. As there is so much to include into one single post, I will divide this trip into two posts. In this first post, I will start with some general info and tips and then I will go through our itinerary day by day.
Some Useful Notes
Getting around | We rented a smaller car (not an off-road) which was perfectly fine for the two of us and our bags and the majority of roads we did (asphalt ring road and some gravel shortcuts). For road conditions, I found this site useful.
Accommodation | We slept in guest houses or hostels close to the ring road where we paid something around 40-50 EUR per person per night. In most cases, we only received a code for keys as there was nobody apart from other guests.
Food | As many told me and I can only confirm that the restaurants are quite expensive in Iceland so most of the time, we did groceries in local supermarkets (Netto and Bonus) and prepared our sandwiches for lunch. In the evening, we stayed more or less in guesthouses with a shared kitchen so we could cook some simple meals or use the microwave.
Weather | For what concerns the weather, we checked every day, or actually every 20 minutes the weather forecast as it was constantly changing. But in general, for the first half of October, we had quite nice weather. It was only raining when we were sleeping or driving, we had partially sunny and cloudy days and around 5-8 degrees (except Joekulsaron and the North).
Aurora Borealis | Simply a magic experience to see these particles created by the eruptions on the Sun creating visual dance and enlightening the dark sky in green colors. It is visible only when the sky is dark which is from the end of September until late April. To check the probability of Aurora on a specific night, check out the Aurora forecast or download an application. The best place to observe this miracle is usually where there are no clouds and far from a civilization (light pollution).
Other useful links
Guide and some basic travel info: guidetoiceland.is
For travel and weather alerts: safetravel.is
Our Itinerary Day by Day (part I)
The flight from Dresden to Reykjavik took about 3.5 hours and we arrived in Reykjavik Keflavik Int. Airport shortly after midnight from Saturday to Sunday. Therefore we spent the following morning in Blue Lagoon which lies about 20 km from the airport. It is a geothermal bathing lagoon with blue water of about 38°C. The color is given by the silica which has some positive impacts on your skin – it acts as a deep cleanser and purifies it. It was a lovely wake up with a sunrise in a warm bath and we stayed at least 3 hours there as there was so much to do (face masks, sauna, smoothie bar etc.).
From Blue Lagoon, we went to the neighbor village Grindavik for lunch and then we drove up towards Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls. I have never seen a clearer water in nature. And with the autumn colors, this place was just so beautiful! As the sunset was approaching, we turned back the road and headed to Borgarnes where we had our accommodation booked for that night.
We toured the Snaefellness Peninsula which is often referred to as Iceland in a nutshell. Well, the sceneries are gorgeous even if you simply drive through it. The plan was to drive up to Akureyri afterward where we already booked a guest house, but it turned out a bit ambitious. The landscape you see while driving in Snaefellness makes you want to stop and get out of the car so many times as you see millions of waterfalls, mini caves or for example this cute little church in Budhir.
After we took a small 2-hours’ hike in the lava fields on the coast between Atanarstapi and Hellnar. We wanted to continue hiking in the National Park but had to skip it in order to reach the iconic mountain Kirkjufell which is supposed to be the most photographed place from whole Iceland, so of course, something I couldn’t miss. And of course, crowds were there even once the sun was already throwing shades on the mountain. The drive to Akureyri was still something around 4-hours’ drive so we also decided to skip the village called Stykkishólmur. If I could do one thing differently, I would add at least one more day for Snaefellness Peninsula in order to hike and see more of it.
After waking up in the center of Akureyri, the second largest city in Iceland, we got into the car and drove through the mountainous area to the East, making a quick stop at a massive Godafoss waterfall before driving through the landscape around the lake Myvatn and consequently a long way towards a lovely village Borgarfjoerdhur Eystri for a short hike in the coastal mountains. The drive was long and challenging but we saw some pretty landscapes! We arrived at our guesthouse in Djúpivogur when it was already dark.
– END OF PART I –
In the Part II, I will take you to the surrealist glacier lagoon, black beach and to see some pretty moody but stunning waterfalls! Continue reading here.