Iceland was an unexpected yet welcomed trip for me. To be completely honest, Iceland was never on the top of my bucketlist. In fact, since the wave of photographers that have traveled there, I wrote it off as an “overrated” travel destination. An extra plane ticket from a friend quickly changed my mind and I decided to accompany her to the land of fire and ice. And spoiler alert: it totally lived up to the hype.
My friend and I decided to stay in the capital city, Reykjavik for our 5-day journey of the Iceland. We rented a car so we could do most of the driving and sight-seeing on our own, though we did do a guided tour of the Golden Circle for one of our days. Before we arrived in Iceland, we tried our best to have our roadtrips and key stops mapped out before we got there (for this we used My Maps on Google Maps– highly recommend this tool)! There are so many helpful itineraries and resources online that help you break down your roadtrip based on the number of days you are staying in Iceland.
Since we only had 5 days in Iceland, this meant we kept most of our exploring to the West and Southern most parts of Iceland. We traveled as far north as the Snaefellsness peninsula and as far south as the Black Sand Beaches in Vík.
- Day 1: Drove from the Reykjavik to the Black Sand Beaches in Vík (about 2 hour drive).
- See the Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss waterfalls along the way.
- Don’t miss the Solheimasandur Plane Wreck (it is a 40min hike to the actual site of the crash.)
- Day 2: Went to the Secret lagoon / Chill Day
- Day 3: Drove to Snæfellsjökull peninsula (about a 3 hour drive)
- Such an overlooked stop in Iceland because it is not on the Ring Road but was one of my favorite stops!
- We visited the fishing town of Stykkishólmur (it was one of the filming locations for the Secret Life of Walter Mitty) even stumbled on the cutest coffee shop, Cafe Nú.
- Saw the Budir Black Church and Kirkjufell Mountain on our drive.
- Day 4: Drove the Golden Circle + the Blue Lagoon (go in the evening around 9-10pm when it is less crowded! I would also suggest going upon arrival or before departure from Iceland. It’s located right near the airport.)
- Day 5: Explored the city of Reykjavik before our flight!
If I could do this trip again…
I would plan more time! There is so much to see around Iceland. If you want to get the most out of your Iceland trip I would suggest planning 10-14 days and drive around the Ring Road, which circles the entirety of island. Instead of staying in a hotel in Reykjavik like us, rent a camper van or stay in guesthouses along your route.
I would go in the winter and see the northern lights! This summer trip was a beautiful and perfect introduction to Iceland. Roads and weather get a bit harder to navigate in the winter but I have heard nothing is quite like Iceland covered in snow.
After this trip to Iceland, I totally understand the hype and will definitely be planning another trip. Never have I seen a landscape that is so unique, covered in both volcanos and snow. I hope you find this little summary of our trip helpful! Let me know if you have any other specific questions below.