It’s a longtime dream of mine come true – we are going to Iceland!
2016 will be the year of Iceland for Justin and myself. I’ve gawked wistfully at photos online of Iceland for years. Anytime a travel blogger writes about Iceland, I’m glued to the computer screen. Why am I so completely obsessed with Iceland? Simply put, it’s an absolutely beautiful country. As someone who loves the wonders of nature, Iceland offers a huge variety of scenery unlike any that I’ve witnessed before with my own eyes. Perhaps I can even attribute my love of Iceland to my love of Icelandic rock stars, like Sigur Ros or Bjork. When Guide to Iceland asked if I could write about Iceland, I started to plan out our journey around the country. I came up with a rough two week Iceland itinerary. The plan from the start was to take two weeks to drive around the Iceland ring road. We are hoping to visit in early June for the most incredible birthday gift I could ever imagine.
Justin and I haven’t booked our flights, hotels, rental car, or anything yet. This is all still very much in the planning stages. For those of you who have been to Iceland, it would be amazing if you could help us plan our two week Iceland itinerary. What do you think of our plans? Is there anything we need to definitely include or leave off the list? We would love your input!
Day 1 & 2: Reykjavik
We will fly from Toronto to Reykjavik, and will relax a little bit before setting out on our adventure around the island. It will be a good time to stock up on groceries. With that said, we’d like to explore Reykjavik, too. It is a very walkable city, so we will walk all over the place by foot. The Hallgrímskirkja church looks very impressive and I’ve read that it isn’t to be missed. It’s possible that we may have time to check out a couple of museums here. We can also visit the Blue Lagoon from Reykjavik. I often read about travelers going to the Blue Lagoon for a final farewell before flying home. I’m thinking, why not start off the trip with some relaxing moments at this famous geothermal spa?
Day 3: Golden Circle
We’ll begin our travels along the Ring Road by hitting up some attractions along the Golden Circle. It is a tourist route made popular by the fact that it’s very close to Reykjavik and the airport. However, there are some breathtaking sights that are geologically significant. At Thingvellir National Park (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), we’ll be able to see a canyon caused by the shifting of the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. There’s also Geysir, an erupting hot spring, and the spectacular Gullfoss waterfall.
Day 4: Vik
We will drive on the Ring Road to Vik, a small town in South Iceland. We will do some hiking and walking along the black sand beach. We may book an organized tour here to the glacier Myrdalsjokull and the Katla volcano.
Day 5: Jokulsarlon
Jokulsarlon is a huge glacial lagoon on the outskirts of Vatnajokull National Park. It’s a great spot to view icebergs. I’d like to take a zodiac boat tour on the lake to see the icebergs up even closer.
Day 6 & 7: Myvatn
Even though this is an epic road trip, it’s nice when there’s the possibility of having a “home base” for a couple of days. Once we reach Myvatn, we plan on staying there for a couple of nights. By day (which really could technically be all night as the sun barely sets), we’d like to visit the Dettifoss waterfall because there’s no shortage of sensational waterfalls in Iceland. Myvatn is known for its nature baths, so we’ll definitely be soothing our aching muscles there. We’ll also check out the volcanic lake and the impressive numbers of waterbirds that live there.
For our second day in the Myvatn region, we may go to the Namafjoll Hverir mud pots for a Mars-like landscape, go hiking in the lava fields of Dimmuborgir, or visit Grjotagja, a small lava cave with a thermal spring inside.
Day 8 & 9: Akureyri
We’ll be staying in the larger city of Akureyri for another two nights, making it a second short-lived home base. I’d like to designate one day to take it easy, stock up on groceries, and maybe walk around town or the surrounding area. On another day, we can drive up to Husavik for a whale watching tour. I’ve read that these tours travel within kilometres of the Arctic Circle, and the whale watching is phenomenal.
Day 10: Hvammstangi
We’ll be continuing in a counter-clockwise direction around the Ring Road towards Hvammstangi. Of course, at any point along the way, I’m sure we’ll be stopping by the side of the road to snap pictures numerous times daily. Hvammstangi is a place where lots of seals hang out, so I’d love to see some seals in their natural habitat. This is also a good point to stop between the central and western regions of the island to break up the driving days into manageable chunks.
Day 11: Latrabjarg
We’ll continue our drive to the Westfjords. According to Lonely Planet, only 14% of visitors travel to this section of the island, though the dramatic landscapes must be seen. Plus, there are millions of puffins that live on the Latrabjarg Peninsula. They are so cute. This will be our longest driving day, clocking in at around five hours.
Day 12 & 13: Grundarfjordur & Snaefellness Peninsula
From Latrabjarg, we’ll take the ferry across to Grundarfjordur to journey around the Snaefellness Peninsula. We’ll spend part of one day getting there, and have another full day to take in the sights. Many wondrous places can be seen here, lending Snaefellness to be known as “Iceland in miniature“. There’s a volcano, a national park, small towns and fishing villages.
Day 14: Reykjavik
For our last day, we’ll head back to Reykjavik, perhaps staying another night depending on when we’ll be flying back home. I’d like to take a tour to go caving inside lava tubes and magma chambers from Reykjavik, as it might be a great opportunity to squeeze in one last adventure before we head home.
As you can see, we will have no shortage of memorable and exciting places to see when we visit dreamy Iceland! So, what am I missing? I certainly don’t have the details of our itinerary ironed out yet, and I’d love any suggestions that you might have! If you’re a blogger, please leave me links to your travel blog posts in the comments section below so I can read more about this magical country and your personal experiences.
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Have you been to Iceland? What do you think of our plans? Do you have any advice?