I knew Iceland would be beautiful, but the picturesque landscape and natural wonders blew me away. Iceland has so many amazing things to see, like geysers, waterfalls, hot springs, and so on, you could spend weeks exploring the country. I spent just a few days in Reykjavik, which is the largest city and capital of Iceland, and immediately wished I had more time to explore. Don’t worry, though, I made sure to fit in as much as possible in the limited time I had. I was not going to miss out!
When choosing a hotel in Reykjavik, consider booking on or near Laugavegur, one of the main streets for shopping, restaurants, and other fun. Alda Hotel is right in the middle of all the action, with friendly staff, a modern design, and a huge balcony with this fantastic view.
And there’s a lot of shopping, sites, and other fun things to see within walking distance…
But back to those Icelandic wonders…your best bet for seeing all the major sights is to book a tour, especially one of the Golden Circle packages. There are so many different options for half day, full day, and multiple day excursions, depending on your schedule and what you want to see. They all pretty much get you to the same big ticket items, and of course some hidden gems. I love using Viator to book my excursions in all the places I travel because they have so many great activities to choose from, including in Iceland.
My Golden Circle experience was mind blowing! Getting so close to natural wonders, you just have to stop and appreciate life for a moment. Some of the major highlights included the Thingvellir National Park, Geysir and Strokkur Geysers, Gulfoss Waterfall, White River, and a special treat along the way (but more on that later).
Thingvellir National Park has beautiful scenery in every direction as far as the eye can see.
You even get to walk right down the middle of the American and European tectonic plates. This path did not use to be here, which is amazing and scary all at the same time, but interesting nonetheless.
Beautiful yellow flowers line the rocks along the path.
And the path ultimately leads to a small waterfall and stream. I just had to stop and take it all in, with a fresh smell in the air and that peaceful atmosphere.
We even got to stop and drink fresh water right from a pond. No joke, our tour guide stopped the bus as we were about to leave and told us to grab our cups and water bottles. Wow!
Moving right along, next were the Geysir and Strokkur Geysers, an explosive experience to say the least. The rain finally stopped, making room for the sun at the perfect moment! There’s a famous saying in Iceland…”if you don’t like the weather, just wait five minutes” and as you can see, it’s true!
The geothermal heat and energy could be felt, even from a distance. And the most famous geyser in Iceland, Strokkur, exploded just as we arrived. The heat and the expansive nature of it were simply amazing!
Heading next to the Gulfoss Waterfall, the rain started again, but little did we know it was about to make our day! A full rainbow appeared right above the waterfall just as I made my way down the stairs to see it.
I just had to capture the moment, with my curly rain hair, and all. Don’t judge!
Finally, we made our way to the White River, which is one of those out in the middle of nowhere type places that most of the tours do not get to see. The rain was brutal at this point, so I did my best to capture the river, but the picture does not do it justice. And yes, I was soaked.
Oh, but wait, there’s one more hidden delight that surprised us along the way. A stop at the Efstidalur dairy farm allowed us to taste what is said to be the best ice cream in Iceland.
Yummy! This was probably the creamiest, smoothest ice cream I have ever had. And the cows even watch you eat through the window, which is pretty amusing.
I learned that Efstidalur actually has rooms for overnight stays, and it looks like a great place to see the Northern Lights if you come at the right time of year.
My last day in Iceland was well spent relaxing in the Blue Lagoon, which was a great calming experience before having to travel home. I decided to splurge and stay at the Silica Hotel at the Blue Lagoon complex for that last night, and let me tell you, it was well worth it!
Yep, that’s lava rock outside the bedroom window and all around the hotel. After getting settled in, I headed over to the Blue Lagoon to enjoy what I had heard so much about, and it did not disappoint!
As part of the hotel package, you get a premium entry into the Blue Lagoon, which includes sparkling wine, mud and algae masks, and a reservation at Lava restaurant overlooking the lagoon.
There’s nothing better than relaxing in a geothermal spa, feeling the warmth all around you, the minerals soaking into your skin, and then eating great food with a view. Oh, except maybe getting your own private lagoon back at your hotel for the rest of the afternoon and into the night.
The Blue Lagoon was extraordinary, and something everyone should experience at least once. While there are so many Icelandic treasures, the trip would not have been the same without this experience.
Iceland’s dramatic scenery and natural wonders were astounding, and had me feeling like I was in an episode of Game of Thrones! I had the best time exploring this place known for fire and ice that you hear about and dream about, but often don’t get to see. I can’t wait to adventure out into other areas of the country. I will be back!
Have you been to Iceland? If not, what are you waiting for?