It may sound crazy but Iceland is definitely doable in a long weekend. The flight from the east cost is only 5 hours. It takes about that long to get to the West Coast. Also, if you leave in the evening you will arrive in Iceland in the AM – sleep on the plane. Forget about trying to make things perfect and just go with the flow. Of course have a plan, but don’t get bent out of shape if it morphs. Just live life and have fun.
Day 1 – Northern Lights (one of the 7 natural wonders of the world)
- The Northern Lights are only visible from Oct – March. We signed up with a tour company prior to our arrival. They picked us up from our hotel in the late evening along with 40 other tourists and bused out in the freezing temperatures. When I say “freezing” I mean it. It was 19 degrees out. I wore ski gear and could only bare with being off the bus for no more than 10 minutes at a time.
- We parked at Pingvellir National Park along with at least 10 other buses filled with Northern Lights Hunters. The location is pitch dark and all the buses have their lights off so as not to impede on the sky visibility.
- We parked for at least 2 hours and was about to pull off when they arrived. Everyone that was on the bus jumped off to see the magnificent lights bounce around the sky. It was so mystical. What an experience.
Day 2 – Chasing Waterfalls around South Shore & Jökulsárlón
- Our first stop, with a 8AM pickup, was Rangárping eystra to visit the Skógafoss Waterfall. This was a very beautiful waterfall and on sunny days you get the bonus of a huge rainbow 🤗🌈.
- Skógafoss is one of the biggest waterfalls in Iceland, with a drop of 60 meters and a width of 25 meters, and you can walk right up to, but be prepared to be drenched. In the winter you have to walk across sheets of ice and the water droplets add to the slippery nature.
- Our next stop was Mÿrdalshreppur, main village is Vik. Near Vik is a black sand beach in Reynisfjara. I have never worn a down coat, hat, gloves and boots to the beach before :-).
- Other sites on this tour were the Seljalandsfoss Waterfall, a village town of Dyrhólaey, and the glacier of Svínafellsjökull. My friends partook in the glacier walk but opted to stay upright on this trip.
Day 3 – Morning Glacier ride on the 2nd largest glacier in Iceland – Bláskógabyggò
- We signed up for this tour before we arrive and good thing we did because it sells out. I had never been on a snowmobile before so I was excited and a bit nervous about falling off. I ended being the last rider for the whole tour.
- The tour started with us getting suited up in our snow jumpsuit, helmet and gloves. They recommended we keep our down coats on under the suit to keep warm.. I even had on my ski bib overalls under my down coat. I wasn’t about to freeze.
- The bikes were cool, the handlebars were made with hand warmers. And the helmets worked very well with keeping the cold breeze away from your face.
- The tour lasted about 2 hours. We biked out to an ice cave and did a little exploring and then biked back.
Day 4 – The Blue Lagoon in the AM and Golden Circle Tour in the afternoon
- The Blue Lagoon was so relaxing. I had my doubts that I would be able to be in the lagoon with it being so cold. The thing is the thermal waters keeps the whole area very warm that as long as your in or near the water, your bikini works just fine.
- We didn’t opt for the add ons, Iceland tours were already very pricey so we just paid for the basic package which was the entry fee with silicon mask.
- The Golden Circle Tour was interesting. It was in the same direction as the Glacier Ride so we ended up at some locations twice. We knew this was going to happen so we opted not to see some things during the Glacier Bike Ride tour such as the geysers.
- The “circle” is the 300 kilometers that connects Reykjavik with southern Iceland and back. What made it interesting was that there is an area in Iceland,Þingvellir National Park, that is neither on the European Continent or North America Continent but still part of Iceland.
- The three primary stops on the route are the Þingvellir National Park, the Gullfoss waterfall, and the geothermal area in Haukadalur, which contains the geysers Geysir and Strokkur.
We stayed in the city center of Reykjavik at the Radisson Blu where you could walk to shops and restaurants if you could brave the snow and cold temperature. There was a frozen lake in town where everyone slid across the ice for fun. You could see lots of beautiful ducks on the ice as well
Nothing grows in Iceland so food is expensive. Most meals are at least $20 and up unless you plan to survive on fast food. The lobster dinner below was $90. Add two drinks and my bill was $140.
Another tip, most restaurants are very small and require reservations.