Traveling Iceland: General Tidbits and Information

I’ve been trying to figure out how to write about Iceland because people surely want information for their own adventures but probably don’t want to have to sift through a 2,000-word blog. Thusly, I’m going to try to break these up into shorter posts which will keep your eyes happy. (Even thought this is 1,000 words…oops)

This first one will be a high-level overview of things and then I’ll get down into the granular things in future posts.

The Itinerary

We arrived on Friday morning and left two Sunday’s later. In all, we spent 10 days.

  • Reykjavik
    • We spent three days here Fri – Sunday evening. This included bar hopping (Friday), Blue Lagoon (Saturday), and whale watching and a local soccer game (Sunday). We then headed out to begin camping.
  • Snaefellsness Peninsula
    • We spent Monday and Tuesday night on the peninsula and checked out the National Park and coastal villages. It’s about a 2.5-hour drive from the city out here. Very beautiful. Plus, I got to see the northern lights.
  • Golden Circle
    • This was Wednesday. We headed from Snaefellsness to the Thingvellir National Park where we snorkeled between tectonic plates and checked out some other sights. I went to Bruarfoss while the gang went to dinner.
  • Highlands/Waterfalls
    • We headed towards the highlands on Thursday and checked off some more waterfalls and super cool spots. We didn’t get fully to the highlands which was the biggest disappointment of the trip. Also, gives me a reason to come back.
  • Southern Coast
    • We headed south and to the Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon where we kayaked throughout icebergs and saw waterfalls.
  • Southern Coast
    • We woke up Saturday to a torrential downpour which literally washed away our final full day in Iceland. This was when I was supposed to go to the highlands to make up for not going on Thursday. Again, I’ve gotta go back. Instead, we headed back to Reykjavik and took cover inside.

So that’s the rough itinerary. I’ll talk more below. Also, it takes about five hours to drive from the city to the glacier lagoon, just to give you some perspective on drive time around the country.

Tips and Suggestions

  • Conversion rate is roughly 1,000 Krona = $8. Remember this. (As of October 2019.)
  • Gas is freakishly expensive. We were paying between $120 and $140 per tank. Yeah, it’s wild
  • The grocery stores were pretty good and not too pricey. The hardest part is keeping food cold (we did buy a cooler).
  • Anything you buy is going to be expensive – especially at a restaurant. Expect to shell out at least $40 per meal and that’s without a drink. Drinks are anywhere from $10-$20 depending on the bar/restaurant.
  • Plan your Blue Lagoon stay right after you land. It’s closer to the airport vs the city and you probably don’t want to do anything right after flying.
  • Get your alcohol at the airport duty-free and somewhat reasonably priced.
  • There’s a delicious fish and chips spot called “Issa Fish and Chips” right by the airport. Like SUPER GOOD.
  • The snorkeling at Silfra in Thingvellir National Park was very unique and the water was crystal clear. That said, as much as I liked it, I’m not sure if it’s really worth it. You really don’t get to see much and it took up a ton of time. If the weather is going to be crappy, I’d say go for it. If you’ve got a beautiful day, you can probably spend it better.
  • The kayaking was super fun and definitely worth it. It’s pricey but how often do you get to kayak around icebergs? For an Arizona resident, that answer is never.
  • Whale watching was neat but the whales were rarely that close and after seeing a couple dozen of them, it sorta got old and were just shapes coming in and out of the water. Now, if we’re talking whales that will show their tales or get out of the water, I’d wholeheartedly endorse it.
  • Definitely take the F570 road up to the mountain when you’re in Snaefellsness. It’s stunning and may have been the best part of the trip.
  • Roads are generally one way each way along the Ring Road Speed limit is 90 km per hour which is roughly 55mph. Plan accordingly.
  • Paying for gas can be weird. Some places wanted a pin and when you have a credit card, that’s not possible. I also have/had no idea how many liters go into a tank so paying for gas outside of saying “full tank” is a bit of a mystery. However, every place takes a credit card so no need to carry cash.
  • Bathrooms. Oh boy. A lot of places say you need to pay for bathrooms or be a customer. I’m sorry, I’m not paying to use the bathroom (or water for that case). No one’s going to stop you from going. Just act normal and respectful.
  • Most water flowing around Iceland is drinkable. Enjoy it. Savor it. Especially around the highlands.

What I would have done differently in Iceland

  • I bet you can tell but at the age of 27, I have little interest in being in a city, let alone a city in a new country. I can do city things when I’m retired and can’t move. With that said, I would have liked one less day in the city and one more day out and about in Iceland (highlands anyone?).
  • Less eating out. I’m not a foodie, so just fill my stomach up and let’s get going to the next area. However, my friends enjoy the finer parts of eating which are good and all – it just got quite expensive.
  • Less time on Snaefellsness. It’s a cool place but it’s sort of all blends in. I mean, you have to hit the key points but I think we could have done it quicker and moved on to other parts.
  • I also have a different motive in going to Iceland. I was here to document and see as much as possible in the 10 days. If you’re not a photographer, you’ll have a different wish list. And that’s totally cool!


Until next time adventurers, take care and be safe.

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