Tonight, we hop on a plane & head to Iceland! This is a trip that has been six months in the planning, but really at least three years in the making. 2013 was about the time that this little nordic island skyrocketed to the top of people’s “must travel” list – the number of visitors coming through their airport has almost doubled since then!
I’m hopeful that we didn’t wait too long to visit – that there will still be quiet back roads to explore, uninterrupted moments with nature & genuine discovery of the heart & soul of the Icelandic people. The onslaught of visitors has not been easy for a country with a population roughly the size of Corpus Christi, Texas. Many small communities are struggling to keep up with the buses of tourists that instantly double, trip, quadruple the size of their town. As we were researching our trip & booking our accommodations, we were surprised by how few lodging options there really are outside of Reykjavik & how quickly those filled up.
Our itinerary looks like this:
Tomorrow morning, after a brief 5.5 hour flight, we will land & grab our rental car. Our first stop is the famed Golden Circle to see some of Iceland’s most famous natural wonders. We’ll be spending the night in Hella & will hopefully find a local hot springs to rest our tired bones at the end of the day.
Day two will be our big driving day: we’re headed from Hella all the way to the east coast in Höfn, with a stop at the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon en route (& hopefully a waterfall or two (or five) & the black sand beach in Vik) along the way.
Day three is our adventure day: we’re headed our in the morning to kayak in the stunning lagoon of Heinabergsjökull, one of the tongues of the the Vatnajökull Glacier. Then in the afternoon, we’re off to the Falljökull glacier tongue for a glacier hike (completed with crampons & ice picks!).
After spending the night in Kirkjubæjarklaustur, day four will be spent driving back to Reykjavik, stop at all the spots we missed on the way out & returning our rental car. Unfortunately, we’ll only be in the capital city for one night (about 20 hours), but we’re looking forward to making the most of it. Day five will be a morning of exploring the city before catching a late afternoon flight home.
It will be a quick trip, no doubt. We could stay for twice the amount of time & still do the same itinerary. But thanks to the midnight sun, we’ll have long hours of daylight to explore &, as I like to say, we can always sleep when we get home.
I am feeling all kinds of emotions about this trip: very excited, a little bit nervous (we’ve never done such a driving intensive itinerary before) & pretty anxious just to get there & get going. I have been nagging B for three years to go to Iceland & I feel like this is my one chance to make him fall in love with a country I fell in love with long ago.
I can’t wait to share more about this magical country (where 54% of the population believes in trolls & fairies), so keep an eye out here in the weeks ahead. In the meantime, make sure you’re following me on Instagram, where I’ll be posting as often as possible during our trip. Sjáumst síðar!