The trip was planned around our wedding ceremony, which was July 17th. The requirement for Iceland is to turn the marriage documents in person 5 days before the actual ceremony. So, we spent the days leading to the wedding exploring the country.
This was our trip:
MONDAY through THURSDAY
We explored using a rental car from Avis, we picked up once we landed.
Day 1 was traveling from the states to Iceland. The flight was around 6-7 hours total but with the time change we landed in Iceland 11 PM Icelandic time. The awesome part of that was, it's summer in their country and also the land of the midnight sun. Having daylight the entire trip was fantastic for sight seeing but took a good couple of days to adjust to the time change.
The Blue Lagoon. We made reservations that day for dinner and the pool because it's not possible to get in without doing so. It's worth planning ahead, the food was unbelievably delicious and the experience of the lagoon was amazing.
Day 3 we headed west. My goal was to get to the west fjords, but I seriously underestimated the time it would take and the stops we would make. Our exhaustion got us as far as the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, but the views we saw there was other worldly. Along the way were falls and horses and more sheep than I had seen my entire life. We passed trolls, ancient churches and rivers colored with gray glacier water.
Day 4 we drove the Golden Circle and did a little bit of puffin searching. We ventured off the path a bit and found some rocky beaches, ocean pools that originated from troll legends, underground volcano pockets and miles upon miles of barren lava ash fields that led to cliffs with hundreds of birds. The background for the drive was enormous mountains and volcanoes so high the peak was above the clouds.
Day 5 was one of the coolest experiences I have ever had. We ventured to Þingvellir National
Day 6 was spent running through the highlands of Iceland for an ultra that kicked my ass. The race covered the Laugavegur hike that covers the Iceland highlands and takes you to mountain tops and more of the beautiful varied landscapes of the country.
After filling our bellies, we continued east toward the Fjords and made several stops along the way to explore waterfalls and beaches. The surprise was when we arrived at our accommodations, after miles and miles of enormous mountains and cliffs along the ocean we were surprised to find ourselves in a forest that surrounded a beautiful lake. I chose Hallormsstaður National Forest as our location by sheer luck, I had no idea how beautiful it was. We spent the night at Hotel Hallormsstaður, and I want to tell you online did not do this place justice. The hotel, the food, the forest was gorgeous.
Day 8 WE GOT MARRIED!!! We spent the day heading back toward Vik and had our ceremony at a hidden waterfall tucked away near Skogafoss. After the ceremony, we spent the evening exploring more black sand beaches and making our way back to the capital to wrap up our amazing trip.
|My bible while in Iceland|
To end the summary of our trip I thought I would offer my top 5 tips for a trip to Iceland.
1. Iceland is expensive! Everything costs more, so plan to spend a lot. There are ways to save but don't skimp on the diving or the blue lagoon or the local food.
2. Rent a 4x4. I read so many reviews saying you won't need it, but there are some places we wanted to go that required F-road accessible vehicles. Spend the money to rent a vehicle and upgrade to a 4x4.
3. Make an itinerary. I don't usually like to plan but there are so many things to see and time is limited. We started early every morning and didn't stop until late every night and we still didn't see everything we wanted to. You will need more than 8 days and you will need to plan well to fit everything in.
4. Take a coat. Even in summer the winds can be strong and the air can be cool, especially when it rains. Take a coat, take a jacket and lots of layers. You won't regret it.
5. Enjoy the kaffi! I joked the entire trip about the coffee in Iceland being my favorite, I was sort of telling the truth. I could not get enough of their coffee. Every gas station and restaurant had espresso machines and made the yummiest cappuccinos. Try them while you're there if you're a coffe drinker. Delicious!
I would be happy to answer any questions you have or give advice to anyone thinking of going, just leave a comment below!!!
Photos courtesy of my talented wife, Jackie 💗