Visiting Iceland during the winter months is certainly not for the faint of heart. But, that’s why you chose to vacation in this country – for adventure, right? Well, our recent trip lived up to our adventure seeking expectations. It all started with a short flight from New York to Reykjavik.
Day One – The Blue Lagoon and Icelandic Cuisine
Should you or shouldn’t you? While this is a much debated topic, I would recommend including the Blue Lagoon in your travel itinerary. Why you ask? Because it’s simply fun! My husband would never accompany me to a spa on vacation – but add a swim up bar and warm water and he was suddenly interested. For more including tips and insight on what entry ticket you should really buy, checkout the post The Blue Lagoon Experience.
After arriving at our hotel, Icelandair Reykjavik Marina, we grabbed a quick nap and headed out to see the city. We had an amazing dinner at The Fish Market totally going for it with the 9-course tasting menu ($100 pp with a minimum of 2).
Next up was our south shore adventure. It was a long day but it was 100% worth it. We were picked up from our hotel around 7:00 a.m., had a short stop at the bus station and we were off on our 10+ hour south shore trip. Once we escaped the lights of the city, the sun began to shine which allowed us to take in the untouched natural beauty of the south coast.
Here is what we saw along the way:
- Seljalandsfoss Waterfall
- Oraefajokull Volcano
- Vatnajokull National Park
- Jakulsarlon Glacier Lagoon
- Black Diamond Beach
- Vik i Myrdal
- Skógafoss Waterfall
While I didn’t love the commentary on the bus, I have to say the tour guide more than made up for it by showing us the Northern Lights. I know, we are so lucky! For more on this day trip, check out the post Jokulsarlon: Iceland’s Crown Jewel.
Day Three – Museums and Downtown Sightseeing
We spent our third day exploring downtown Reykjavik’s museums, street art, shops, restaurants and cultural sights. Here’s a list of the highlights.
- National Museum of Iceland
- Reykjavik Art Museum
- Koaportid Flea Market
- Laugavegur Street (as mentioned in Vogue)
The Golden Circle is typically on the itinerary when visiting Iceland so we of course had to include it in ours as well. We decided to do it solo using Google maps to navigate. While there are several places to stop along, here are the six we attempted based on weather conditions and a leisurely pace.
- Gulfoss Waterfall
- Strokkur and Geysir
- Bruarfoss Waterfall
- Fridheirmar Farm & Greenhouse
- Kerid Crater
- Solfar Sculpture
Check out The Golden Circle post for more about this journey.
The Bottom Line
I say, if you love seafood, untapped nature, snow covered volcanos, glaciers and black powder beaches, than an Icelandic winter adventure sounds like it’s for you. The only downside is the unpredictable weather and short hours of day light (sunup after 9:00 a.m. and sundown around 4:00 p.m.). I think it’s a fair trade-off though for a chance at seeing the Northern Lights and low airfare and hotel prices during this time.