After Thanksgiving dinner my cousin, Kevin, asked, “so what is there to see in Iceland?”. In a flash my mind exploded with memories of our daily ‘bigger than life’ experiences. We had taken our daughter and son-in-law to Iceland as their Christmas present. The flight was a short overnight 5 hour flight from Boston. We picked up a rental at the airport and circled the country. We’ll be returning soon…
A few favorite memories:
We started and ended our adventure at the Blue Lagoon, which is near the airport. When my daughter suggested this adventure to me I cringed, but plunged in anyway, only for her. … then I didn’t want to get out. If this spa were near my house I would go at least twice a week. The silica mud from the bottom of the lagoon makes a fabulous facial mask.
Gulfoss was quite impressive. This was our first of many waterfall sightings.
Nearby is Stokkur which erupts at regular intervals every 10 minutes or so and its white column of boiling water can reach almost 100 feet high.
Seljalandsfoss is very near the main road so you can’t miss it. If you choose to, you can walk behind the falls. The thundering water seems to be absorbed into the black sand stone.
The white foam of the waves on the black sand beach is stunning. The towering cliffs were home to hundreds of sea birds and the enormous stacks of basalt rock made us feel like we were mere humans in the land of giants.
The small peninsula of Dyrhólaey is near Vik. We came in hopes of seeing puffins, but we were a little too early in the season.
Glacier Lagoon took my breath away. I’d seen pictures, but when you see the blue, 1,000 year old, glacial ice floating by so close to you, as many things in Iceland, the experience is surreal.
Höfn is one of the towns where The Secret World of Walter Mitty was filmed. This town is known for their lobster so we had to stop by for lobster rolls …and Icelandic hotdogs of course.
The road between Höfn and Egilsstaðir was long and winding. The views of the fjords were breathtaking but….
As evening fell it was hard to see where the edge of the road/cliff ended and the sky began. We drove a couple of hours in this. We truly were weary travelers. The warm fire in the lobby of the Icelandair Hotel Herad had to be the finest welcome of our trip. We stayed only in Icelandair hotels on this trip. These hotels capture the natural beauty, the ancient history and local culture and bring it all inside. This authenticity greatly enhanced our experience.
We woke up early and drove to Seydisfjordur before breakfast. Another storybook village in Iceland.
…and then on to the quaint village of Husavik after breakfast.
The wildlife was exciting to us. Did you know that the Icelandic horse’s bloodline has remained pure for 1,000 years? If an Icelandic horse goes abroad for showing or breeding, it can never return home. To see these horses, just drive… there are so many farms around the Ring Road. We were also excited to see reindeer along the road as well as long-haired sheep. We were a little early for the puffins (which was a must-see for me), but on our last day we did see 3 on a tour from Reykjavik.
On the way to Akureyri we stopped by to see Godafoss. All the sights we saw were so easily accessible from the Ring Road.
There are so many ‘must-sees’ in Iceland, but Laufas, outside Akureyri was near the top of my list. People lived in turf houses for hundreds of years. Trees are scarce in Iceland, so wood was used sparingly.
We returned to the capital, Reykjavik, for our last two nights. We stayed at the Icelandair Reykjavik Marina and were able to walk to Hallgrimskirkja church, the Harpa Concert Center, fabulous restaurants and shopping, and explore the waterfront. I have to add that the fish and chip food truck behind our hotel was amazing as well as Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur hot dog stand (translated means best hotdogs in town). When I read online that hotdogs were Iceland’s famous food I was skeptical, but they aren’t like our hotdogs. They sell them freshly made at gas stations. By the end of our adventure we became quite hooked.
There were so many sites we saw but too many to put in this blog. Check out our Iceland Pinterest page and our Instagram.