Travel Recap: The Perfect Long Weekend in Iceland

My friend and I just got back from a 4 day 3 night trip to Iceland and it was AMAZING! I could not be more excited to share it with you! Iceland was such a fun trip for me because it wasn’t like any vacation I had been on before. Instead of relaxing, we spent a majority of our days in a rental car plugging in random locations into our GPS and hitting the open road to explore. We experienced about every climate imaginable from hail, strong winds, incredibly cold rain storms and beautiful sunny weather (but still cold). But despite the crazy changing climates, we were so happy just cruising along listening to music and taking in all the beautiful scenery (which included at least one rainbow a day)!

Below is our itinerary and what we did on each day! Please leave a comment below if you have any questions!


Day 1


We landed in Iceland around 11am, picked up our travel wifi from the Dunkin’ Donuts in the arrivals area (high recommend getting one of these – it’s only $10 a day and 100% worth it) and then called our rental car company to send a shuttle to pick us at at the airport. They have a Joe in the Juice coffee shop in the main terminal which I recommend getting breakfast at if you’re not going straight into Reykjavik (it was much nicer than the Dunkin’ Donuts). We rented our car through a company called City Car Rental. Not only did we get a great deal on the car (under $300 for 4 days including all insurance) but they were very prompt when we called them to come pick us up at the airport. We hopped in the shuttle for about a 10 minute ride to the rental car facility, filled out some paperwork and hit the road!

Our very first stop believe it or not was Costco! Costco opened in Iceland about a year ago and has become a very popular spot. Because Iceland has to get a lot of it’s food and goods imported, it is VERY expensive to eat. Since we had been warned about this ahead of time we decided to pick up some snacks to hold us over during the day (granola bars, nuts, bread and peanut butter, fruit and flavored waters). We also got lunch here (I love their pizza) and it was definitely the cheapest food we had the whole trip! I also highly recommend filling up on gas at Costco if you have a membership. It was about 1.99 isk per liter (about $1.65 USD). Every other gas station that we went to throughout our trip was about 2.35 isk per liter (about $1.95 USD). And seeing as we spent a LOT of time driving – gas ended up being one of our biggest expenses of the trip.

For the rest of the day we drove around and googled a bunch of places we had listed out before we went. Our first stop was at Seljalandsfoss Waterfall. There was a parking fee here but pretty cheap (under $10) and you can stay for up to 24 hours.

Next we went to Asolfsskali to check out this adorable church (which we later found out are all over the country). We even met a new four legged friend here who we thought wanted to hang out with us but really was just attacking me for a candy bar I forgot I had in my pocket.

Our last stop of the day was at the Skógafoss Waterfall. It was beautiful, but by this time it was getting dark so we decided to head to our hotel.


Day 2


We woke up to some gorgeous views at our hotel and headed out for our second day of exploring! The first hotel we stayed at was the Icelandair Hotel Klaustur. It was in a great location, the rooms were decent and the staff was very accommodating. I would definitely recommend this place if you go to southern Iceland.

Driving to the Black Sand Beach we stumbled across some Lava Fields. One of my favorite things about Iceland is that you can pretty much pull your car over anywhere in the country to take in the scenery or climb on Lava rocks if you’re adventurous 🙂

When we finally got to the Black Sand Beach we attempt to go for a walk and take some pictures but it was EXTREMELY windy and we were getting blasted in the face with sand, so we only ended up staying for about 5 minutes. It would be a gorgeous spot on a less windy day!

Our next stops were to see the Fjallsarlon Glacier ice shelf and the Jökulsárlón Lagoon. Both places were equally as beautiful and fun to walk around!

Our next stop was at the Hofskirkja Moss Church which is one of 6 turf churches remaining in Iceland.

To be honest i don’t know what this thing is below,  but we drove by it and it looked cool so I obviously took a picture hahah

Our last stop of the day was at Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon which was an incredible way to end the day! It’s a bit of a hike to get all of the views it has to offer but it’s so worth it!

Exhausted from driving all day and not ready to have another peanut butter sandwich hahah we decided to have dinner at Systrakaffi which was walking distance from our hotel. The food was delicious and reasonably priced compared to most places. A good pizza and a slice of chocolate cake made us two happy girls.


Day 3


This was our last day exploring southern Iceland before we made the trek back to Reykjavik. We started our day at Sólheimajökull Glacier. Since we didn’t pre-plan a galcier hike (which I’ve heard amazing things about from my sister) we just walked around to take in the scenery. However, just like the day before it was VERY windy and started to hail / cold rain while we were walking around so it was pretty miserable and we headed back to the car within 30 minutes.

Next we stopped at the Secret lagoon to warm ourselves up. This was a much needed stop – especially since we had just been pelted with hail and cold rain at the glacier. It is a small lagoon but still very relaxing and enjoyable!

Next we drove to see the Strokkur geyser

And last but not least we drove through the Thingvellir National Park

When we arrived in Reykjavik we checked into our hotel at the Canopy by Hilton. Luckily with my Hilton status we were upgraded to a suite and had amazing views overlooking the harbor! I would highly recommend this hotel to anyone going to the city! Also if you do stay here they have USB chargers in the wall so you won’t have to worry about a convertor for your phone.

After we got settled we headed to dinner at a place called Le Bistro right around the corner. We shared an appetizer of their traditional Icelandic cheese followed by french onion soup (..yeah I know a little bit of cheese overload..but it sounded good!) and then a desert tray with creme brûlée, carrot cake, tiramisu and a small Americano coffee.

After dinner we headed to Kaffibarinn for a few after dinner drinks. This was a cute little spot and after I uploaded a picture here, one of my friends told me she also went to this bar when she was in Reykjavik and ran into Gerard Butler. So it must be a hip spot to go!


Day 4


On our last day we explored the city of Reykjavik. Since our hotel was right in the middle of the city we were able to walk right outside to the downtown area. Our first stop was to grab a morning cinnamon roll at Braud and Co. and let me tell you – YUMM!

After we ate the delicious rolls we checked out the Hallgrímskirkja Church. There was a service going on so we didn’t get to see the inside or go to the top, but the outside was incredible enough. It kind of looked like a giant church organ.

It was on and off raining so we decided to stop into Reyjkavic Coffee Roasters for a Chai Tea Latte to warm ourselves up.

After a little shopping we stopped for lunch a place called Sandholt which was incredible! Highly recommend going there for brunch/lunch if you are in Reykjavik! This was probably my favorite meal of the whole trip.

I loved walking around this adorable city, even if it was only for a day!

After we had enough exploring we headed off to our last stop of the trip – The Blue Lagoon. This is probably one of the most known attractions in Iceland and I’m not going to lie – it was one of my favorites! You can’t beat relaxing in a huge hot lagoon, with cool air hitting your shoulders and a Prosecco in hand. With the Comfort package you get a towel, one free drink and one free face mask in the lagoon. There is another package you can buy where you get a robe and I believe an additional mask, but to be honest – I don’t think it’s worth the extra money. We had our towels stolen from where you get into the lagoon (which to be fair I knew would happen with thousands of white towels thrown around) and you would wear the bathrobe for a good 5 minutes. Either way if you go to Iceland you have to stop here! It’s only 20 minutes from the KEF airport so plan to stop here either right after you land or right before your flight.

Also It’s always so hard to know what to pack for a trip and what activities you need to book in advanced, so below I put together some of the things that I think are MUST haves when you go to Iceland in the Fall.

  1. Costco Card – if you have one – like I said above 100% bring it!
  2. Trawire Modum – This little guy was a life savor on the trip! We were never without wifi (aka google maps to help us get around)
  3. Converter – You will need this to charge your phones. They use the same two prong outlets that they use in Europe.
  4. Debit Card – Some places require a pin (even for credit cards). So I would either set up a pin for your credit card, or bring a debit card. Also make sure to set travel alerts for these before you leave.
  5. Blue Lagoon Tickets – make sure to book in advance! It was almost sold out by the time we booked a few weeks before we left.
  6. Valid Passport (Check your expiration date) – Iceland requires that your passport be valid for up to 3 months after your trip is complete, so if you passport is about to expire (even within 6 months) do yourself a favor and get it renewed.
  7. Clothes Wash – if you go in the blue lagoon at the beginning of your trip – I would bring a little detergent to wash your suit in. I packed mine in a plastic bag on the way home and all I can say is it was not pleasant opening that when I got home.
  8. Multiple Jackets – I went in-between wearing my puffer coat and my lighter Patagonia. Because the weather changed so much for us I was always taking on and off layers.
  9. Rain Gear – it rained literally everyday we were there so make sure to bring at least one pair of waterproof shoes and a jacket.
  10. Hotels – Hotels booked up quickly when we went so make sure to book these in advance.

Thanks for stopping by!

XOXO

4 Comments

  1. Robert
    November 7, 2018 / 7:05 am

    Wow. What a wonderful trip. Thanks for all
    The great tips.
    Take care.

    • Kirsten Elizabeth
      November 7, 2018 / 2:41 pm

      Thanks for reading! It was such a fun trip!

  2. November 7, 2018 / 12:31 pm

    What an interesting post to read! Iceland is definitely on my bucket list. It’s so amazing to know that you can park your car anywhere in the country and just go explore! The pictures are magical! And, not to mention, how smart you were about spending money on food! Definitely putting down all the helpful tips 🙂

    • Kirsten Elizabeth
      November 7, 2018 / 2:41 pm

      You should keep it there girl! It was so fun and it’s a great trip to catch up with people on since you’re in the car so much! Thanks for reading! 🙂

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