South Iceland & the Golden Circle
Being from the Caribbean I love warm weather, anything below 17 C it’s too cold for me, so Iceland was never on my radar. On the other hand being the travel addict that I am, I can’t say no to a cheap travel deal. Once I had my tickets, it was time to plan my trip and the more I researched, the more it drew me in. I found many, unique experiences and beautiful places I was dying to see and I cared less and less about the weather.
After much research, I decided the best route for me to take, with the number of days I had was south Iceland and the Golden Circle. Planning my trip wasn’t too complicated, Iceland is relatively easy to navigate. I spent three days in the city of Reykjavik and four days on a road trip from east to west Iceland. Enough time to do and see everything I had on my list.
There so much to see that renting a car is the way to go to get the most out of your trip. Iceland has a lot to discover, is filled with natural attractions and the landscape is so majestic, is not worth it to spend most of your day inside a tour bus. Hopefully, this itinerary convinces you to explore Iceland by car and to plan your trip to the Nordic country.
Thanks to companies like Icelandair and WOW Air Iceland is just a few hundred bucks away. I found my ticket for $200 USD round trip thru WOW Air. Their prices are low and now and then they have $99 specials and is one of the biggest stopover destinations. Read more about how to make Iceland a free stopover with this article.
Protip: subscribe to my newsletter to receive latest deals to Iceland right into your inbox.
Protip: keep in mind that the included bag allowance in the WOW airfare is one small personal item up to a maximum of 42x32x25cm/ 17x13x10in (10kg/22 lbs), such as a small bag/backpack, laptop or a camera bag. Must fit under the seat in front of you. (Resource: WOW Air)
Carry ons and checked in bags have an additional fees. I know it doesn’t sound like a lot of room to pack everything you’ll need but if you get a little creative and very strict with what you pack you can totally pull this off. I’m planning to make a video soon to show some tips and tricks for packing light.
On The Road
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The Thingvellir National Park is a #UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its unique geology and its historical significance. #Thingvellir is the place where the first parliament of Iceland was assembled in 930 AD.
Another plus of renting a car is the possibility of stopping on the side of the road to say hi to the ponies. They’re so photogenic!
Tip: Don’t call them ponies in front of any Icelandic person, apparently is rude. (I’m sorry, I can’t help it, they’re so cute!!!) So remember, they are Icelandic horses.
Located in The middle of the Golden Circle, the hotel is also a family run farm.
Efstidalur Hotel • Bláskógabyggð, 801 Laugarvatn, Iceland
Protip: Don’t stick to a home base. Most tourists stay in Reykjavik and spend several hours every day driving to all the natural attractions. Instead find a hotel along your planned route to stop every night, drive less and make the most out of your time.
Diving in the Silfra fissure was one of the most amazing experiences of my life, I highly recommend it! If you’re not a certificated diver, you can also do a snorkeling tour. Thank you to Magma Dive for the private tour!
The Silfra fissure is a unique place in the world! It’s a freshwater rift in between the Eurasian and American tectonic plates.The visibility in Silfra exceeds 100m, making it some of the clearest and purest water in the world! It is absolutely delicious to drink. In fact, you can drink water from anywhere in Iceland.
Protip: Before the dive put on your clothes feet and hand warmers.
Protip: Bring a refillable water bottle on the trip. The water in Iceland is one of the purest water in the world so there is no need to purchase water. Just refill your bottle on any sink and don’t be afraid of the smell. When you use hot water, the minerals in the water smell a little weird, regardless is safe to drink.
Magma Dive • 38 Ground Floor, Skólavörðustígur 38, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
The waterfall has a drop of 60 m or 197 ft and is part of the Seljalands River that has its origin in the volcano glacier Eyjafjallajökull. Is a breathtaking sight from every view. You can walk behind it and is just as gorgeous from the back of it as it is from the front.
black sand beach
The legend says that its basalt sea stacks were created when trolls tried to drag a three-masted ship to land, but the daylight broke before they could finish the job and they turned into these piles of rocks.
VATNAJÖKULL NATIONAL PARK
In my opinion, after doing some research Goecco is one of the best Iceland tours.
Ehf Vatnsstígur 3 / 42 101 Reykjavik, Iceland • Telephone +354 696 7474.
Jökulsárlón ice lagoon
the blue lagoon
The Blue Lagoon geothermal spa • www.bluelagoon.com • Nordurljosavegur 9, 240 Grindavík, Iceland
Reykjavik: See, Eat & Drink
I landed at Keflavik Airport (KEF), picked up the rental car and headed towards Reykjavik. From the airport is a 40-minute ride to the city. I stayed at the FossHotel in Downtown Reykjavik and took a walk down Laugavegur Street where all the tourist shops, restaurant, and bars are located.
Hallgrímstorg 101, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
Baejarins Betzu (the town’s best sausages) The city’s best hot dog place and is an Icelandic staple. Thanks to the rain the was no line. We had to find shelter across the street at a building’s entryway, but it was worth it. Delicious! If you’re in Reykjavik make sure you try the Icelandic hot dog.
Tryggvatagata 1, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
The food can be quite expensive in Iceland, to stay within budget I had to eat a couple of these every day. But, I’m not complaining. These hot dogs are so yummy.
After visiting the Hallgrímskirkja church’s mirador, walk straight down the street to Cafe Mokka for some hot chocolate.
Skólavörðustígur 3A, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
Later you can move on and stop at 12 Toner music store to check out some local music.
Skólavörðustígur 15, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
bars & restaurants
Bar Ananas (beach bar)
Klapparstígur, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland – Icelandic people can be a little sarcastic 🙂
- Boston • Laugavegur 28a, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
- Vegamot •Vegamótastígur 4, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland – One of the restaurants I enjoyed the most in Reykjavik. The food is decadent, the drinks delicious and have great service. I recommend the wild mushroom soup and the Icelandic cod.
- Mokka Kaffi • Skólavörðustígur 3A, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
- Bar Ananas (beach bar) • Klapparstígur, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
- Baejarins Beztu • Tryggvatagata 1, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
- Restó • Rauðarárstígur 27-29, 105 Reykjavík, Iceland – This restaurant is particularly delicious and has a great seafood menu. In fact, anything on the menu is worth a try.
- Dill • Rauðarárstígur 27-29, 105 Reykjavík, Iceland
- Sandholt Bakery • Laugavegur 36, 101 Reykjavík