We are finally happy to share with you our road trip through Iceland, a 8 day trip (excluding the two A / R by plane) to discover the most beautiful attractions of this charming country.
Our itinerary will be divided into three parts because we have many stories to tell and about 5000 photos to show you! We’re just kidding… you will only find the photographs that best describe our tale.
Iceland has been one of the most exciting trips we have done so far and, of course, one of the most adventurous! The trip on the road with friends, the breath-taking views, the Nordic architecture, the adverse weather conditions and the delicious food, everything contributed to make the experience special and unforgettable.
The map shows the entire route we have travelled and especially the section we will discuss in this post. All you need to know about the planning of this journey can be found in our guide; as explained, we have booked several months in advance, choosing to travel in May / early June, when prices are still low and the tourist traffic hasn’t started yet. It was nice to visit this country in spring because, even if we did not see the Northern Lights, we experienced endless days of light. How strange it was to look out the window at midnight and still see the sun in the sky! Anyway … let’s start this story!
Departure from Venice, 5 hours flight with a stopover, and then arrival at night in Keflavík. Outside the airport, we immediately understood what people meant by defining the Iceland’s weather “unpredictable”: strong wind first and a deluge after were freezing us from head to toe! So, after this first experience with the weird climate, we withdrew our rental car and reached the ION ADVENTURE HOTEL, a design hotel built in the middle of nowhere, about 30 minutes from Reykjavík. The rooms were nice, and the bed was one of the most comfortable we have ever slept in!
Day 1: the Golden Circle
The morning after, we had breakfast and then we started our tour. Unfortunately, the weather forecast predicted heavy rains throughout the day so we wore waterproof jackets and Hunter boots and, dressed like we usually do in the North of Italy during January, we left for the Golden Circle. This is a very popular route that includes the main attractions of the Þingvellir National Park, the imposing Gullfoss waterfall and Geysir and Strokkur geysers.
Because of the rain, it was difficult to take pictures of the beautiful attractions of the Golden Circle but in the end we were satisfied with the result. That day we feared that the weather was adverse for the entire holiday, but luckily, besides few short showers, the weather was perfect to enjoy Iceland and its wonders!!
We found a really nice place to have lunch, the “Fridheimar Farm“. It was located inside a greenhouse where we ate a delicious pizza among tomato and basil crops. Many hornets, completely harmless, fly free in the environment as they are used to pollinate tomato plants naturally.
The last point of interest of the day was the Kerið volcanic crater; inside of the crater there is a lake, where the rock is red due to the hematite. Looking out the window, despite the dark rainy clouds, the landscapes were of an infinite beauty … mountains, hills, lakes, sheep and horses’ enclosures … what a magical place is Iceland!
Back in the hotel, we really needed to warm up so we benefitted of the outdoor thermal pool. After wearing swimsuit and bathrobe, we immersed ourselves in hot water. In this beauty environment, with the rain falling and the steaming water, we found the joy of being on vacation! The pool was about ten meters long but not deep, perfect for the simple pleasure of relaxing. We also had dinner at the restaurant of the ION, the Silfra Restaurant, because we heard that it was really good… and we can confirm that! The restaurant is well furnished and the food is divine!
Day 2: Reykjavík and the South of Iceland
The following morning, after checking out from our beautiful hotel, we explored Reykjavík, doing some shopping in its streets, visiting the Harpa Concert Hall and the impressive Hallgrímskirkja church.
After lunch we went to the south through the Ring Road but we did a quick stop at the supermarket Bonus (a typical Icelandic supermarket with the logo depicting a pig). Here we had a lot of fun as we found many curious products, like whole frozen strawberries. It took us an hour to buy few things (with obvious disapproval of our partners), just for the pleasure of looking at all those strange packagings!
Back on our journey by car, we headed to Hjalparfoss: two waterfalls that flow into the same basin, not particularly impressive as we expected. The following stop would have been Haifoss, but the road we were supposed to travel was impassable due to the heavy rain; so, after several attempts with our car, we gave up and changed route to reach Thjofafoss, another waterfall in the area. Did you know that Iceland produces most of the energy supply in hydroelectric plants thanks to its numerous waterfalls?
In the evening we reached the second accommodation of our trip, the WELCOME HOLIDAY HOME, where we rented two wooden houses. Surrounded by a beautiful landscape with snow-capped mountains behind us and wide prairies up to the horizon, these little houses were very comfortable for their strategic position and because, even if a little small, they were modern and equipped with every comfort!
Day 3: from Seljalandsfoss to Vìk
On the third day the weather gave us an unexpected day of sun that allowed us to stick with the plan we made originally! First stop: Seljalandsfoss, a beautiful waterfall. Thanks to a path it is possible to go behind the waterfall and admire its powerful jet. Moving to the left for about 800 meters, you can find the Gljúfurárfoss waterfall, hidden inside a small canyon (you’d better be equipped with a pair of rubber boots to explore it).
Skógafoss was our second stop; it is the most majestic waterfall in Iceland … A unique place made even more enchanting by the sun and the blue sky. It is possible to climb up to the top thanks to a long side stairway, but we warn you that it is rather steep and slippery. Skógafoss is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world and you can’t miss it in your Icelandic itinerary! For a quick lunch, we stopped at the Hotel Skógafoss Bistro Bar and we realized that in Iceland you can eat well even in the most unlikely places!
Third stop:Skógar Museum, the museum of Turf Houses and Icelandic civilization that you can visit by paying a few crowns ticket. The ancient houses with a grassy roof, typical of this country, belong to the UNESCO World Heritage.
Later, we headed to the Sólheimajökull glacier; there you can buy guided tours with expert instructors who take tourists to discover the glaciers. We opted for a simple walk near the glacier tongue! Our car was a big Mazda 4×4 that we equipped with everything: GPS, medicines, phone chargers and cameras, sweaters for the cold, snacks of all kinds and hot drinks inside the thermos; all of this was essential for a long car trip!
We arrived fast from the glacier to the ocean: after only 15 minutes we reached the beach of Sólheimasandur Plane Wreck. Here, in the ’70s, a US Navy plane had to face an emergency landing (all the passengers survived). Since then, the fuselage remained abandoned in this lost place. We thought It would have been a bit tricky to get there, because we had read that the starting point of the route was not clear (once, it was possible to get to the wreck directly by car but the passage has recently been forbidden to vehicles). In 2018, on the other hand, they created a real parking area with a map that shows the track about 4km long.
The site can be reached on foot in an hour. It was one of the most surreal places we have ever seen; we have to thank Justin Bieber‘s music video “I’ll Show You” for letting us discover it !!
Last stop of the day, the small town of Vík. Before checking in our accommodation, we headed to Dyrhólaey to admire the long black sand beach, hoping to see the Puffins. For dinner we went down to the town centre and had dinner at the Berg Restaurant inside the Icelandair Hotel. We also went to take pictures of the Vík Church and its surroundings before going to bed.
You should know that before leaving, we did a lot of researches, without definitive outcomes, to understand if the Lupins would have flourished at the end of May. In summer, in fact, the Icelandic meadows are coloured in purple thanks to these plants from North America, but in Vík we found only bushes with closed buds … it was still too cold for them!
For that night we chose a newly built mini apartment, the BLACK BEACH SUITES, equipped with every comfort and with a view of the Ocean: We highly recommend it! At about 22.00 we were exhausted but it was hard to fall asleep with all that light! It was interesting to find out that in Iceland, even if for several months of the year the light days are long, Icelanders do not use blinds on the windows. For the whole week we had to sleep with the Audrey Hepburn style eye mask!
We end here the first part of the story, we hope you enjoyed it! Stay tuned for the second and third part of our itinerary soon on our blog! ♥