If you’re thinking about a trip to the beautiful country of Iceland and wondering, what should I do in Iceland? What should I see in Iceland? What should I wear in Iceland? This should help.
I recently spent 2, very full days in Iceland and loved every minute of the experience. Hopefully you have more than 48 hours to spend there, but if that is all you’ve got, here are some things you should see and do. Certainly there are many other beautiful areas to experience, this is built around the 2 days I spent in Iceland.
Most major airlines fly into Iceland’s international airport, Keflavik. We flew WOW Airlines and had zero issues on this no frills airline and even landed 40 minutes early. The airport is about 45 minutes away from Iceland’s capital of Reykjavik. After you land, take a short bus ride to the rental car location.
Start the day bright and early at The Blue Lagoon, it is a short drive from the airport. You’ll need to buy tickets in advance on the website.
- WHAT TO WEAR: A swimsuit and possibly a hat. The only thing that was cold on me were my ears. But if it’s raining, a wet hat wouldn’t be very comfortable.
- Get there when it opens, before it gets busy. It’s very peaceful and serene to be in the lagoon before more people arrive.
- If you want to take pictures while you’re in the lagoon, bring a waterproof case for your camera or phone. We were able to get some great shots!
- Bring a comb. After you leave the lagoon, you will wash out the conditioner and can use one of their blowdryers so you don’t leave with cold, frozen hair. They offer q-tips and blowdryers, but no combs or brushes.
Next up, explore the stunning southern coast.
- WHAT TO WEAR: Dress warm and waterproof. Pending what time of year you go will dictate how many layers you need. Here is a breakdown of what I wore from head to toe:
- A fleece lined hat
- Long sleeved thermal shirt
- Waterproof gloves
- Columbia Pillow Hybrid jacket
- Columbia Pardon My Trench jacket
- Cuddl Duds under a pair of leggings
- Columbia fleece lined socks
- Sperry duck boots
You can easily drive to all the destinations, as they are all off of one main road or join a day tour. I would recommend using Trip Advisor to find a tour that is right for you. We opted to drive and had no issues. Our car had WiFi, so we did have access to Google Maps.
The first stop: Seljalandsfoss. It is absolutely beautiful. You can climb back behind this waterfall, which I would highly recommend. Watching the beauty and power is memorizing.
From there, take a short walk down a path to the amazing, hidden, Gljúfrabúi waterfall. Climb back between the rocks to get a better view of this beautiful waterfall.
From there, continue to Skogafoss waterfall. This beauty is massive in size (compared to the others) and has 435 steps right to the top. Take the climb to the top, the views are beautiful.
The last stop on the coastal drive is the black sand beach in Vik. It doesn’t even seem real, though it looked very familiar from it’s recent cameo in Game of Thrones.
After you leave the beach, it is a 2.5 hour drive back to Reykjavik. End your day in Reykjavik with dinner at one of the wonderful restaurants in the city. And if the weather is cooperating and it’s the right time of year, keep your eyes on the sky for the northern nights.
Explore the popular Golden Circle.
WHAT TO WEAR: Dress warm and waterproof, same as day 1.
This is another drivable adventure, though we opted for a group tour with Your Day Tours. It was great to sit, enjoy the scenery and relax. The free WiFi, Icelandic music and wonderful driver/tour guide are a great addition.
Pending the tour and/or how you drive the circle, the order of what you see will vary. This was our path with Your Day Tours.
The first stop: Faxi waterfall. This is one of the less popular stops on the Golden Circle, but a beauty to see. The next stop is the Gullfoss waterfall and it is absolutely magical. Spend time there admiring the views, taking photos and absorbing the moment.
After you leave Gullfoss, head to Strokkur, an active geysir. The geysir erupts every 3-5 minutes. Enjoy and quick lunch and visit with Icelandic horses before you head to the Pingvellir National Park. Spend some time walking around the area and taking in the beautiful sites.
As your day winds down, enjoy one last great dinner in Reykjavik and keep an eye out for the northern lights. We were lucky enough to see them on our last night. If you have an opportunity to see them, they are truly magical.
- Iceland isn’t cheap. Be ready for food, transportation and gas to be expensive.
- No need to exchange money in Iceland. You are able to use your credit card almost everywhere.
- If you decide to do northern lights tour and are unable to see them, most places will let you go another night for free.
- Get to know the Icelandic people. We stayed at an Air BnB and had a wonderful experience.