Amy’s tips for a 4 day trip to Iceland. Her goals were to be active, see beautiful scenery, be adventurous, then take a shower and have a nice meal after.
Who & what? Iceland for 4 days and three nights in October. Three girls the first night in Reykjavik and then two of us for the second two nights, which were spent on the south coast. Our meals were expensive even for Iceland and hotels were mid-range.
Any lodging, restaurants or activities especially awesome?
Lodging: the Foss Hotel Glacier Lagoon was great. The Northern Lights can be seen right out the windows of some of the rooms, the hotel was new/clean/modern and the food was wonderful. We had a great dinner and they put out a fantastic, complimentary (right?) spread for breakfast.
Activities: The Glacier Lagoon and Diamond beach were amazing. It was raining when we went and I still could have stayed there all day. Seeing the Northern Lights was also spectacular and a highlight of the trip for me.
Dislikes/things you would have done differently? I wish we had one more day. The Glacier Lagoon is a must see but it was a far drive from Reykjavik and so we wound up spending a lot of time in the car (getting out there and then turning around to drive back the next day). I also would have gotten some advice on HOW to view the Northern Lights as we spent one evening (it turned out, needlessly) driving around in the darkness looking for them and were lucky enough on the next night to have a fellow traveler give us a lesson.
If you had one more/one less day? If we had one more day I would have wanted to spend more time enjoying the truly spectacular scenery. We had a great itinerary but in October the sun sets on the early side, so we didn’t have a ton of time to spend in each place. I would have wanted to do another hike, maybe onto the Skaftafell Glacier, and maybe even an adventure activity of some sort. One less day I think wouldn’t have been enough time.
Any other tips? Food is expensive everywhere in Iceland so be prepared for that. To see the Northern Lights you need a clear night, the patience to stand outside in the dark for a while (they come and go), and to face north. You do not need to drive around for hours looking for a break in the clouds. When renting a car, make sure everything works before you venture too far outside the city (we had trouble with the sound system in our rental), and at the Blue Lagoon, coat the CRAP out of your hair with the conditioner they give you before going in. Actually, bring your own conditioner as I’m not sure the stuff they have there is that great. My hair wasn’t the same for weeks afterward due to the minerals in the water (great for the skin, bad for the hair).