At the end of 2017, we took our honeymoon and finally took a dream trip to Iceland. And we must say, the second we were there we immediately knew we wanted to go back. Although the country seemed to be made up of about 90% tourists, it still held its charm flawlessly. Although Reykjavik provided a feel of a quaint city life, you could travel ten minutes out of the city and feel like you were on a completely separate planet all by yourself. Iceland has been hyped on social media the past few year and if you're worried that it won't meet your expectations, fear not. It will meet all of your expectations and raise over them.
Places To See
Gullfoss Waterfall is one of the most popular natural beauties that attract tourists in Iceland. You can get there by bus or car (we recommend car). The waterfall is located in a canyon in Southeast Iceland. It's size is awe-inspiring and the colors were simply glorious.
This is probably the place where we encountered the most tourists. Although it is crowded, it is definitely worth it to see the first geyser ever known. In the Southwestern part of Iceland, it's also surrounded by sulfuric rocks and hot springs.
Thingvellir National Park
This national park is a mere half an hour ride out of Reykjavik and is full of the most beautiful sights we have ever seen. The park is full of mountain peaks, frozen tundra, and sprawling lakes. Along the way, and throughout the park, there are small villages and Icelandic horses lining the roads. It's the most beautiful drive we've ever taken.
The Northern Lights
Although it's not guaranteed that you'll see the Northern Lights while you're in Iceland, it is highly likely, especially if you're traveling in the winter months. The further you are away from city lights, the higher the chance you have of witnessing vibrant Northern Lights. We used the app My Aurora to see our chances of seeing the Northern Lights each night and where the best locations were.
Places To Eat
Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur
We waited about a half an hour in line to eat at one of the most famous hot dog stands in the world. And it was so worth it--it was seriously the best hot dogs we've ever had in our life. They dressed their hotdogs in ketchup, mustard, remoulade, fried onion, and raw onions. And now we can't eat any hot dogs without fried onions. Truly genius.
Braud & Co
This little and eclectically decorated bakery in the heart of Reykjavik was adorable and served fresh bread and pastries. One of these pastries, their cinnamon buns, were some of the best cinnamon buns we've ever had---and we've had a lot.
- RENT A CAR! When researching our trip, we read so many travel blogs that said renting a car in Iceland was expensive. However, we found this not to be the case whatsoever. We rented through Sixt and ended up paying about $150 total to rent a car for four days. We found renting a car to be so important to us because we were able to do the things we wanted to do on our own timeline. Some of the best moments of our trip happened when we just pulled over on the side of the road to look at something beautiful. If we were on a bus tour, we would not have been able to do that.
- No matter what time of year you're traveling to Iceland, definitely bring all of your layers. Although the temperatures are not the most extreme (we live in Wisconsin, we're used to it), the wind is intense. Iceland is one of the windiest places in the world that people actually inhabit, so the windchill was often 20-30 degrees colder than the actual air temperature. Scarves and layers are your best friends here.
- Budget for food. Due to the fact that Iceland has to important nearly all of its food, food is quite expensive here. Expect to pay 2-3 more times for a meal than you would back home. You can cook your own meals to save money, but in the end, it will still be expensive.
- Be prepared to have a lot or a little sunlight. In the winter months, Iceland gets about 4 hours of sunlight a day and in the summer, Iceland gets about 4 hours of dark in a day. This can be an extreme adjustment, especially for your sleep schedule. Just be prepared to be a little confused about what time it is.