Two weeks in Iceland: A sample itinerary

Tourism is Iceland is booming, though that may not be a good thing for the nation of just over 300,000 residents.  Yours truly spent two weeks there in 2015 and loved every second of it.  Here’s the itinerary that was employed, and some comments as far as what we did right, and wrong.  Pictures will be added in separate posts, and linked to this post.
Day 1:  Blue Lagoon, Reykjavik
  • Arrived at Keflavik airport early morning.  The airport is about 50 km or a 40 minute drive from downtown Reykjavik.
  • My thought was that a rental car wasn’t necessary for time spent in Reykjavik, so we went to the Blue Lagoon via bus.   The Blue Lagoon is a tourist trap, and that was known going in…almost didn’t go, but then, we wouldn’t have known what was missed.  The Blue Lagoon is about 20 minutes from the airport, so if you go, do it on either your first day or your last.  First day = relaxing after overnight flight, last day = one last bit of relaxation before your flight.  I recommend the first day as you’ll be tired and can relax at BL.  You have to purchase the Blue Lagoon package ahead of time.
  • There are plenty of baths/spas around Iceland that are not touristy.  Some are free…so if the fanciness of Blue Lagoon isn’t for you, there will be other opportunities.
  • We spent some time at the Blue Lagoon, and then took the bus to our Airbnb host in downtown Reykjavik.  We walked around downtown Reykjavik to get our bearings, then hit the hay early (though it’s daytime nearly all the time in late June).

Day 2: Golden Circle, Reykjavik

  • We took a bus tour of the Golden Circle, leaving mid-morning and back by early evening.  Most Golden Circle tours visit the big three:  Þingvellir, Gullfoss (Golden Falls) and the Geysir geothermal area.  All areas were packed with tourists, though this won’t be an issue as you continue your journey around Iceland.
  • We were lucky enough to be in Iceland during the great Euro 2016 soccer run.  Iceland beat Austria on this day and we joined the street celebration in downtown Reykjavik!  (Our itinerary included too much time in Reykjavik for a normal visit…however, the soccer celebrations made it perfect!)

Day 3: Reykjavik morning, drive to Grundarfjordur

  • We picked up a rental car at Sixt’s downtown location at noon and drove to Glymur Falls, approximately a one hour drive.  The Glymur Falls experience is much different than Gullfoss – it is not for the faint of heart.  You don’t have to be a great climber, just have some good hiking shoes.  This isn’t a place for kids.  The hike took about three hours round trip (we went quite a ways up, though not to the very, very top).
  • Overnighted east of Grundarfjordur after a few stops along the way.  We did not spend as much time in the Snaefellness Peninsula as we could have – would recommend another day here.

Day 4:  Grundarfjorur to Bildudalur

  • The day started at Kirkjufellfoss just west of Grundarfjordur.  This waterfall is the backdrop to the blog’s homepage.  The waterfall is right next to a mountain and makes for a very scenic sunset photo, if you are in Iceland when the sun sets.
  • You can either take a ferry at Stykkisholmur or drive through to the Westfjords.  We drove, with the small town of Bildudalur our overnight stop.
  • The highlight of the day was a trip to Latrabjarg to see the famous cliffs and the puffins.  The road to Latrabjarg was verrrrrry rough – 20-25 mph in many spots, narrow, no shoulder, big dropoffs and it was rainy/foggy.  All part of the adventure!

Day 5:  Bildudalur to Isafjordur

  • This was a short driving day, distance-wise (90 miles, plus side trips).  It’s very slow in points, especially around Dynjandi.
  • The morning started with a stop at a small waterfall along the road (after a few days, you may not even stop at a waterfall like this one).
  • Another highlight was a hot spring, right along the road.  This one was free and only a few other people were there.
  • Dynjandi is the big stop of the day.  It’s one of several cascading waterfalls.  Surprisingly the area wasn’t too busy.
  • The area near Isafjordur is beautiful with all of the purple nootka (Alaska lupine).  We stopped and hiked up a hill to get a wide look at this.
  • There’s an interesting tunnel right as you approach Isafjordur…it’s one way.  We were driving north, or clockwise, so we had the right-of-way and didn’t have to use the turnouts.
  • It was a quiet evening for a delicious fish dinner in Isafjordur (it’s busy during the day as cruise ships dock in town).

(I WILL BE ADDING MORE TO DAYS 6 – 14, plus photos in time)

Day 6:  Isafjordur to Hvammstangi
Day 7:  Hvammstangi to Akureyi area
Day 8: Akureyri to Myvatn

Day 9: Lake Myvatn to Egillsstadir
Day 10  Egilsstadir to Hofn (116 miles if direct)
Day 11 – Hofn to lodging west of Vik
Day 12 – west of Vik to Reykjavik
Day 13 – Reykjavik – watched Iceland take on France with about 30,000 fans!
Day 14  – Reykjavik morning, to airport

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