7 Day Trip to ICELAND
When you research most itineraries for Iceland, most people say you need at least ten days to drive around the island. My travel style is go go go, sleep little as possible. So here is the most jam-packed itinerary to see the most sites as possible in Iceland!
Most people think flying to Iceland would be very expensive since it is just out there on its own. The trick is to be flexible with your dates. I found awesome flight deals when we went with WOW airlines (which is no longer in service, a whole other story) roundtrip tickets to Iceland from SFO for $300 apiece. After checking a bag, paying to pick our seats, I think the total right under $700 for both of us. SCORE!
The best way to see Iceland is to do a road trip around the island if you want to see a bunch of different things. So we did a bunch of research and came across Lava car rentals. Most cars on the island are manuals, so if you don’t know how to drive a stick shift, be prepared to pay about an extra $200. A big tip if you are driving, if you see a gas station and you don’t have a full tank.. fill it up! You can seriously run out of gas if you’re doing a road trip because there can be such long stretches of zero gas stations.
On one other note, food is costly in Iceland. We tried to spend as little as possible by booking Airbnbs that had access to the kitchen and hit up grocery stores to buy snacks and easy food; protein bars, yogurt, peanut-butter, soup, etc. And even groceries are priced high, so be sure to build that into your budget.
Here are the main stops that I had planned out, but there were a lot of stops along the road for photos because there were random things to take photos of! It would be a serious dream to photograph a wedding in Iceland, so if any couples are questioning if I’d fly here to photograph an Iceland wedding the answer is a definite yes. That also goes for an destination elopement in Iceland, HECK YES.
ARRIVE AT KEF, VISIT BLUE LAGOON, EXPLORE REYKJAVIK
The first thing we did when we landed is found food! I wasn’t going to pay the premium price for an airplane meal. We stayed in the cutest little Airbnb that was outside of Raykevik that had horses across the road. Airbnb’s were the cheapest places to stay all around Iceland. Also, the sooner you book, the better! Our first thing on the list was the Blue Lagoon. I had booked our tickets an hour before sunset so we could see the sunset from there and it wasn’t that busy. The water is the actual aqua color that you see photos of on Instagram. It was 100% absolutely worth going. Be sure to purchase tickets in advance! https://www.bluelagoon.com
Hotel: 8 miles outside of the city center, I wanted to be outside of the city lights in case there were Northern Lights: https://www.booking.com/hotel/is/akurholt-guesthouse.en-gb.html?label=gen173nr-1DCAEoggI46AdIM1gEaKYCiAEBmAEJuAEHyAEN2AED6AEBiAIBqAIDuALxppntBcACAQ;sid=0dd6ff85b0c27c5fb1121e3ebdfc8db3
Stokr is one of the main attractions in “the Golden Circle”. It erupts very frequently about every 8 minutes, so we stayed and watched a few times.
Seljalandsfoss is one of the most famous waterfalls in Iceland. Expect the crowds to be a little bit heavier at this location. I do suggest wearing a rain jacket to this waterfall because you can walk entirely behind it, so be prepared to get a little wet. I also brought along my waterproof camera backpack for my gear; the hike to get behind it was the mistiest. It was raining off and on, once there was a break for a few minutes, I decided to fly the drone up. As I was flying it around the waterfall I looked over to my left and there was a full rainbow shooting across the sky. That image is probably my favorite of the trip.
We stayed at this Airbnb that had the potential to see the Northern Lights, and it is right down the road from Skogafoss. The owner was also very friendly and cooked everyone breakfast in the morning!:
If you don’t have an Airbnb account yet, use my link to get a discount! (I’ll also get a few dollars off my stay on my next adventure!)
This waterfall is a short drive from Seljalandfoss, and this one is my favorite! You can walk up as close as you want to the falls if you wish to, but you can get pretty wet. There is also a path on the side of the waterfall that you can take that will lead you to the top, and even continue hiking on. I heard from other travelers this was a gorgeous hike, but being short on time, we decided to skip this.
SOLHEIMASANDUR PLANE WRECK
This was a must-do on my list. It is a little over an hour to walk one way out to the plane. The path is reasonably flat, but there are no landmarks, so it seems you are on planet mars and that you aren’t even walking anywhere. Then all of a sudden you finally see the plane!
In 1973 a United States Navy DC plane ran out of fuel and crashed on the black beach at Sólheimasandur on the South Coast of Iceland.
There are two parts to this location; the higher and lower.
We did the higher part, which is the drive to the top. (Only do this if you have 4-wheel drive). The views from up there are beautiful. One of the sites that it overlooks is Kirkjufjara Black Sand Beach.
BLACK DIAMOND BEACH AT JÖKULSÁRLÓN
I had this amazing photo in my head that I wanted to do here with my tripod. But once I opened the door, there was no way I was taking off even one layer. It was SO freezing. This spot is where the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon washes up onshore. The contrast of the black sand and the sparkling ice pieces look like dazzling crystals.
We got to this hike right before sunset, and the hike up to Svartifoss takes about an hour.
Svartifoss is another unique looking waterfall because of the way the rocks stack.
This is the most powerful waterfall in Europe, so of course this made our list. It had started to snow and rain when we got this area of the island so once we got to the parking lot of this waterfall, we were the ONLY people deciding to continue to hike down. We must have looked like crazy people for doing this, but hey, I can cross it off the list!
Hotel only 15.5 miles away from the waterfall:
This was another very cold stop, as you can see I look like I am ready to freeze to death.
I found the cutest little Christmas store called The Christmas House and it looks like Santa’s workshop. I bought a few special ornaments and learned about a couple of Iceland Christmas traditions.
Drive back to the airport and fly home!