Iceland is one of those countries that I never knew very much about until I started researching it! Once I started blogging I began following other travel bloggers on social media and kept seeing Iceland everywhere! The pictures that I kept seeing were absolutely stunning and I KNEW that I had to go! I asked a few of my hometown friends if they would be interested in traveling to Reykjavik with me, and they said yes! I was so excited to be able to travel with my hometown friends and show them a little piece of my favorite part of life – seeing the world! Iceland was not ready for us!
Day 1: City Center (Reykjavik)
We flew in this morning around 5am and took two shuttle buses (FlyBus+) to finally arrive at our hostel in the city center at 7am European time! Mind you that was around 2am American time, so we were exhausted! We tried to sleep in our hostel’s lobby seeing how check-in wasn’t until 2pm but they yelled at us and started to play salsa music – we were happy campers. This clearly wasn’t going to work out, so we jumped up, went into the bathrooms, cleaned ourselves up, asked for a taxi (because it was extremely cold and windy in November), and headed in to the city center! I was up for anything in the city center, but I knew FOR SURE I had to go to the top of the church (Hallgrimskirkja). This church is the staple of the city center and has amazing views of the colorful roofs of the houses, from the top! We then found lunch at a Pizza shop for our Thanksgiving meal and it was so good! They put cream cheese on their pizza’s & the tomatoes were so fresh, I really missed European food! You will also find that Reykjavik has incredible street art! Not something that most people think much about, but around every corner there was something new which is one of the things that I look for when traveling! Aside from popping in and out of almost every shop on Laugavegur Street, we also hunted down the Sun Voyager! If you continue walking down the hill that splits Laugavegur Street, you will find the voyager that symbolizes light and hope for the Icelandic people. Before the sun voyager, there is this hill that we found to be a perfect spot for taking pictures of the sunset in the background with the water and mountains!
Day 2: Golden Circle
Head out to the Golden Circle! Our first stop was about an hour to an hour and a half outside of Reykjavik to Gullfoss Waterfall! This is the one destination where I was very very cold, even in all my layers! If you’re there in the winter time, bundle up! Here, walk down the path to the lower and higher viewpoints of the falls where you can snap a quick selfie with the ginormous waterfall! If you don’t like waterfalls, you better start – this is only just the beginning of the waterfall hunt you’re about to embark on! (p.s. I suggest using your crampons at this location!) Next, we headed to the land of smelly eggs – the famous Geysir Glima that goes off every five to eight minutes! Take a video of it going off, put it in slo-mo, and you’ll be laughing for a good amount of time after! We then traveled to the second waterfall of our trip, which was Seljalandsfoss! This waterfall drops into a stream over a cliff and has pink and purple clouds surrounding the top all day long! It was gorgeous! I may or may not have had a mini photo shoot at this location! Then we went to the ever so popular Skogafoss waterfall! I’m sure you’ve seen this waterfall if you’ve ever looked up pictures of Iceland on Instagram. I had and I was so excited to see it! Of course we were there in the Winter time so we were able to walk pretty close up to it, but with a little bit of fear that we would fall through the ice! Luckily we didn’t – at this location anyway. We finished out our hours of daylight at the Black Sand Beach, a popular location due to its architecture of the Basalt pillars and rock formations! Once we got to our hotel near the town of Vik, we went Northern Lights hunting!! O.K. a few things on the Northern Lights – 1. They are a little bit difficult to spot if they aren’t strong, 2. You will probably see them (I saw them every night but 1 that I was there! I even saw them on the plane ride in – so cool!) 3. BRING A GOOD CAMERA – My friend could capture them on her iPhone 6 a little bit, but I could not capture them on my iPhone 8. We asked a family who was successfully getting pictures on their camera to take pictures of us to email to us, and they did, but they never emailed them! It’s a little upsetting that we don’t have those pictures, but we do have them in our memory and that’s just as amazing!
Day 3: Golden Circle
We started the morning in the town of Vik! This is the cutest Icelandic town with a church at it’s highest point! The church has incredible sunrise views – I am basically telling you that you HAVE to go there for sunrise. Just do it. From there we drove to Haufskalavarda (try pronouncing that). Here, it is said to be good luck to build your own rock formation, so of course I built one! Speaking of rocks – our next stop on our guided tour was the Scenic Green Lava Walk, which is a path through lava rocks! We took a little detour after this and stopped in Skaftafell on our way to Hundafoss to play on pieces of an old bridge! Note: If you slide down a piece of the old bridge, go very slowly, gravity catches up with ya! At Hundafoss, we did a little hiking to the top of this waterfall! I FaceTimed my mom this entire hike, so don’t worry it does not have you huffing and puffing all that much. It is more of a scenic hike! Also, we found the cutest log cabin hidden away at the base of the waterfall with nothing in it – I made my friend go inside first. We finished out this day at the Black Diamond Beach and the Jokulsarlon-Glacier Lagoon! On one side of the bridge, you have the glacier! On the other side, you have the Black Diamond Beach where broken pieces of the glacier wash up when they float down the water! There are small pieces on the beach and much larger pieces fit for a Queen’s throne! Forget your bungee jumping and sky diving activities, walking onto the Glacier was just as risky! Each piece you’re wondering – will I fall in this time? Well, yes, yes you will. Multiple times. But it’s worth it! You only get a little bit wet, brush it off, and keep exploring!
Day 4: Golden Circle
We woke up on a farm in Hofn (which has amazing sunrise views, just sayin’), and headed out for the day! In the first fifteen minutes of our day, we saw Reindeer!! REAL REINDEER! What’s the North Pole? Santa must come from Iceland. We spent this entire day climbing a glacier! With helmets and crampons! We got fitted for our shoe size to wear proper climbing attire and were given helmets and crampons along with it! We piled into a bus, took an unbelievable ride out to the glacier (I felt like I was driving through sand dunes in Dubai again), and geared up to go find the ice cave within the glacier! There was never a bad view the entire time. The glacier was white and blue with a little bit of dirt on top from the wind! If you’ve ever eaten mint cookie crumble ice cream, it looks the same! Walking on the ice is definitely a struggle and a good workout – you have to stomp down every time you step so that the crampons grip the ice well enough so that you don’t fall! We had great conversation with our tour guide who said that if the Glacier ever started to melt, they would have between 5 and 30 minutes to get out of there to make it out alive – it takes 30 minutes just to get to the bottom of the glacier. That would have made for an interesting time! When entering the ice cave, we were awestruck! The entire cave looks almost like a wave with small wave indentations inside of it, and it is completely turquoise blue! So beautiful, and so cool to see!
Day 5: Blue Lagoon
My hometown friends and I KNEW that we had to go to the Blue Lagoon. We also knew that it is a little pricey, but you have to know that all of Iceland is pricey, so we went with the package that was the second level up! We were supplied towels, a free drink, and both of the mud masks! You will read online that you have to shower naked in front of a bunch of other men or women before entering the lagoon. This is true BUT it is not as scary as you are thinking. Some stalls have doors that you can close so that you may shower privately. We were there around 9 or 10 in the morning so we were able to see the sunrise from inside of the lagoon! It was not as crowded as I was expecting either which was great! Crowded spots sometimes take away from the speciality of a location – not this one. The Blue Lagoon is something that everyone should experience when they go to Iceland! I was only there for a couple of hours, but I could have easily spent the entire day there relaxing in my bathing suit, eating lunch, wearing mud masks, and being warm in the cold amongst me!
My hometown friends and I knew that we only had 5 days during our Thanksgiving holiday from university to make the most of our time in Iceland! The amount of pictures that I had to go through in my camera roll leads me to believe that we saw and experienced more things than we were ever expecting! Iceland is full of kind people, street art, good food, non-stop scenery, and good vibes. If that sounds good to you, than Iceland should absolutely be next on your list of places to visit! Why not start planning now with 2020 Adventures itinerary builder, Tripsushi? Check out their incredible itinerary!
Interested in a video of all of these locations? Check it out here!
“Life was meant for good friends & great adventures!”
Always with Adventure in Mind,