After Sam and I both completed our goal races for the year (Boulder IM for him, LT100 for me), we decided we deserved a vacation. We have had our eye on Iceland for a few years now, ever since we went to London for the 2012 Olympics and had a layover in Iceland. They practically force you to watch tourism videos in the plane (not that I’m complaining – it’s gorgeous), and the airport is plastered with pictures of gorgeous landscapes. So, this year we figured, why not? #yolo
Our travel plan was to travel the “ring road” which is a main highway that goes around the outside of the island. I think it worked well to do this in 10 days.
Lodging: We did more of a budget approach to lodging. For all of the places we stayed, we had a private room, but we shared a bathroom with a few other rooms. I highly recommend this if you want to save a few bucks. We never had any issues trying to get in a bathroom. Sometimes, the other rooms weren’t even full, so we really had it to ourselves! An alternative to lodging, which looked super cool, were these big vans you could rent, which had bedding (and I think a kitchen area?) in the back of them. We would consider this if we went again!
Disclaimer: I am too lazy to do the Icelandic characters in all the names of these places. Use your imagination.
Day 1: Reykjavik
Day 2: Pingvellir
Day 2: Efstidalur II – The best little farm restaurant ever. Definitely worth a stop for coffee and ice cream!!!
Day 2: Geysir
Day 2: Gullfoss
Day 2: Kerid
Day 3: Seljalandsfoss
The waterfalls at the end are a MUST SEE. There is a crazy little path that leads up to this ladder.. which ends in a sheer drop off down to the pool at the bottom of the waterfall.
Day 3: Area near Seljavallalaug
This is near a really old, really cool thermal pool. We didn’t know about the pool beforehand, but went on a hike around the area, and it was one of the highlights of the trip for me. You have to be into adventuring though.
Day 3: Skogafoss
Can you find the sheep in the photo below!?
Day 3: Solheimajokull
Day 3: Vik & Dyrholaey
Day 4: Mossy rocks!!!
Day 4: Fjadrargljufur
Day 4: Dverghamrar
Day 4: Lava fields
Day 4: Vatnajokull National Park
Day 4: Glacial tongues
Day 4: Jokulsarlon
Day 5: Hverarond geothermal area
Day 5: Area near Krafla
Day 5: Vogafjos Cowshed Café (near Myvatn)
We went here for dinner, and it was absolutely amazing. If you can’t tell by the name it’s a restaurant attached to a cowshed. You walk by the cowshed, and then there is a door to the restaurant. It sounds weird (well it didn’t really to me, but Sam’s from a farm), but it is so cool. The food is top notch. Probably the best food we ate on the trip. I had some of Sam’s hamburger, and it was the best hamburger I have ever had. I had the goulash, and I wanted to take a tub of it home. So so good.
Day 6: Whale watching in Husavik, accompanied by café lattes (which happened every day.. usually multiple times)
Day 6: Myvatn nature bath – We didn’t take any pictures here, but it was a very cool nature bath with water heated by geothermal energy. It was more low key than some of the other baths, but it was still a good size. I am really glad we did it!
Day 7: Dimmuborgir (lave formations)
Day 7: Hverfall
Switchbacks up the crater. This was the “difficult” way. There was an easier way, but we like a challenge.
Day 7: Detifoss
Day 7: Akureyri
Day 8: Countryside with sheep
Day 8: Uncountable islands of Breidafjordur
Day 8: Stykkisholmur
This was a great little town. We ate at Narfeyrarstofa, and it was amazing! Highly recommend.
Day 9: Kirkjufell
Day 9: Londrangar
Day 9: Djupalonsandur
There was a fun little stop with four different stones weighing different amounts. The video below is my attempt to lift them. Basically, the story is that there were four rocks weighing different amounts, and men had to lift either the 3rd or 4th heaviest rock in order to be accepted as a worker on a boat. The first rock (signifying a weakling) weighed around 50 lbs. The second one was around 100 lbs. The last one was something ridiculous.
Day 9: More lattes!!!
Day 10: Back to Reykjfavik
Overall, we really liked Iceland. It is a unique country with such a diverse landscape, including volcanoes, glaciers, waterfalls, and seaside towns. It is also unique in the varying amounts of sunlight throughout the year. I would love to spend more time exploring. The biggest plus is that there are so many natural wonders to explore that cost nothing (and that are absolutely gorgeous). The negative is that the food (and housing to a less extent) is absolutely crazy expensive. Like ridiculously expensive. A casual (but nice) meal cost around $70. I’m not exaggerating. The cheapest we could probably eat for (with no drinks) was probably $30. We cooked one night and groceries were $25 for the makings for pasta, salad, and a little bit of fruit. Crazy. But, worth it. The food was usually top notch, especially that which Iceland is known for, including beef, sheep, seafood, and dairy products. Not ideal for vegetarians, but I’ve been known to make some food exceptions.