Road trip | 4 days in Iceland

Road trip | 4 days in Iceland

There is so much top do and see in Iceland, but due to it being quite expensive, its not always feasible to be able to do and see everything there in one go. So here is a short guide of some of the things I did in my 4 day stay there.

For ease, it's split into the following sections;

  • Tours
  • Street Art
  • Things to do in Reykjavik
  • Places to eat

[ Tours ]

Northern Lights Tour

Kerid Crater
I booked the Northern Lights Tour for the first night that I arrived. This is due to the fact that if you don't get to see them, the tour operator I went with, allows you to do another tour for free the next night. So by doing doing this trip for the first night that you arrive, you increase your chances of being able to see them.  I struck lucky and saw them on my first night, however, due to us driving around for a couple of hours to find a break in the clouds, the tour operator let us all rebook for the next night for free.
During the journey out of town, as you head to some dark locations, the tour guide talks you through all the information on what causes the northern lights, old Icelandic superstition, and how to photograph them. If you want to see my guide on how to photograph them, and how I got the image above, then check my post here.
One thing I would say is make sure you wrap up warm. If you don't, then it will completely ruin your experience. Some people on my tour even went to sit in the bus because they were too cold, which is a shame. Remember this is a natural event, you're not guaranteed to see them. But if you are lucky enough, you want to be able to enjoy it, not be worrying that you're too cold.

The Golden Circle

Thingvellir National Park
First Northern lights, then The Golden Circle! Doing all the classic cliché tourist trips huh? Well, yes, but if i'm completely honest, this one is also really good and worth it. Its just one of them things you must do. Again, I booked onto a tour, simply due to the fact I didn't hire a car while I was out there, but you can easily just drive to these locations yourself if you did have one. The golden circle tour was about 8hrs long.
I was super lucky and was in Iceland while it was snowing. Thingvellir looked like a winter wonderland. I was there for a couple of hours, and your free to roam around the national park wherever you want to. You don't have to follow the tour guide and your free to explore. Just make sure you're back at the tour bus in time for leaving.
Thingvellir was the first National Park in Iceland and it is forever expanding as it is being created by two tectonic plates pulling apart.

Strokkur Geyser
The second stop was the Geysir Hot Springs. This is the place where you can see the famous Strokkur Geyser, which was erupting every 8-10  minuets.
When I got here, there was already quite a few tour busses already here, but luckily as it was midday, a lot of people decided to get lunch first at the café, which left around the Geyser quite quiet. But if you want to guarantee to be able to see this place while its quiet, then if definitely recommend getting here very early.

 Gullfoss Waterfall
The final official stop (we had an extra bonus stop afterwards) was Gullfoss Waterfall. As it was winter, it was extremely cold there - the wind was insanely strong and was whipping up the water mist, making it feel even colder. Again, we got to spend just over an hour walking around and exploring the area. I can imagine this place also gets quite busy, but for some reason, hardly anyone was there when I got there. You could here the thunderous roar of the waterfall, and in the summer months, you can walk down the lower path to the waterfall. This however was closed when I was there, due to the whole path being completely frozen over.

 Faxi Waterfall
On the way back to Reykjavik, we got a bonus stop off to a place called Faxi waterfall for about 20 minuets before it got too dark. Its not as well known, and our bus was the only bus there, so it was super peaceful. It reminded me of a mini Gullfoss. If you got the time, I'd recommend making the detour to see it.

Lava Fields Horseback riding

I'll be honest, this was an impromptu trip that was booked the day before. My original trip was cancelled due to bad weather, so that left me with a free day. Nearly every single trip was getting cancelled due to a snowstorm, which left me only two choices, whale watching or horse riding. I decided to go with the latter.
The horses are all native Icelandic horses - which are the only horses in the world that have a unique, natural gate called a 'Tölt'. At least one foot is always on the ground, which makes the ride extremely smooth. You'd be able to drink a pint while riding, without spilling a drop.

Blue Lagoon

As good as it was here, there's no getting away from the fact that it is very expensive. Its one of those things that probably doesn't justify the price, but its just one of those things you just have to do. Its not that its bad in any way, I really enjoyed it and spent more than a couple of hours there, however once you've done it, you probably wont feel the need to do it again.
Due to it being near the airport and not actually near Reykjavik, it makes sense to tie this into either A] once you arrive to Iceland visit it first. Or B] go here before you get the flight home. Bearing in mind though that if you book for when you arrive and your flight is delayed causing you to miss your booking, you wont be refunded. 
I booked mine before my journey home, and timed it so I got to see the sunset from there

[ Street Art ]

BRAUD and Co bakery
There is so much street art in Reykjavik and I went a bit OTT on taking pictures of it all. You don't really need to go searching for it considering some of it is whole houses. Most of the art is part of the part of the project 'wall poetry' where 10 artists and 10 bands joined together to create art during the Icelandic music festival.

[ Things to do in Reykjavik ]

View from Hallgrimskirkja
I'd recommend leaving to to actually see Reykjavik and explore it. Its not a massive place, but it can be easy to get caught up in doing constant tours. Here's a few places that I'd recommend visiting.
  • Walk along the 'sculpture and shore walk'
  • Sun Voyager
  • Hofdi House
  • Go to the top of Hallgrimskirkja
  • Visit the Icelandic shops
  • Just generally take time to walk around the streets with all the multi coloured houses

Hofdi House


[ Places to eat ]

Svarta Kaffid
Due to being on a far amount of tours, we made some packups to eat on the bus. A good place to buy reasonably priced food for snacks etc is a shop balled 'Bonus'. Its logo is a pink pig with a really weird looking face.

We did eat out for tea however. Hands down the best place I ate at was a soup restaurant called Svarta Kaffið. It has a very small, simple menu... meat soup, or vegetable soup. The soup is incredible! And my favourite thing of it all, is that it's served in a fresh, giant bread bun (which you then can eat afterwards). It's super filling, and I actually went here after the Golden Circle Tour, so I was thankful to have some warm hearty food.

A few other places I feel that are worth a mention are;
  • The Harbour Restaurant - I sat and grabbed a coffee while watching the marina.
  • Reykjavik Roasters - Chilled out cafe with a record player to put whatever you want on.
  • BRAUD and Co - Bakery that you cant miss due to the street art. The cinnamon buns taste amazing.
  • Gló - Quite cheap to eat at, but the bean burgers taste pretty good.
  • Hlemmur Food Hall - Pretty much exactly what it says, an indoor food hall with various restaurants inside.
The Harbour Restaurant
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