I just got back from a 3 days in Iceland, and I am confident that I was able to see and do everything I wanted to and experience every minute in the Land of Fire and Ice – even though I was there for a short amount of time! Of course, I could have stayed longer and visited many more sites, but if you’re on a time crunch, these are the things and places you must put on your itinerary.
Day 1. Hallgrimskirkja Church and exploring Reykjavik
If you’re staying in the capital city of Reykjavik, this step is especially easy. Drop your bags off at your hotel or hostel, lace up your sneakers, and hit the town! Walk to the Hallgrimskirkja Modern Church and walk around the grounds and chapel. It cost approximately $7 USD to take the “lyfta” aka elevator to the top, but the 360 degree scenic views are 100% worth it. It’s the best view of the city you will find.
Here’s a photo I snapped from the top.
At the base of the hill from the church, make time to find Reykjavik Chips where the “fries are twice as nice.” Icelandic food isn’t for everyone, or for picky-eaters, so a quick snack/small meal at Reykjavik Chips is sure to make you happy, happy, happy.
Whether you call them “fries” or “chips” – your belly will thank you for this treat. They have 10+ sauces to dip or smother your chips in. I tried the Bernaise, Chives Sauce, and the Samurai Chili Mayo.
All were exceptional, but my favorite was definitely the Samurai. If the staff isn’t busy, ask them to try a few of the sauces at once. They were super friendly and understanding that I was a tourist and dipping-sauce connosiour who needed to try as many flavors as possible.
Day 2: Golden Circle Tour
Finding a tour that will take you around the famed Golden Circle is an effortless task in Iceland. There are several reputable companies who are excellent. I used Extreme Iceland and Grayline for all of my tours and transportation and they were fantastic.
The 3 main stops on the Golden Circle are usually:
a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the location where the North American and Eurasian tectnonic plates meet. Seen below.
One of the greatest waterfalls in Iceland. It’s breathtaking to view, and you can even feel the mist on your face. Keep your eyes peeled to spot a rainbow near the viewing area. I was lucky enough to take a few photos with a rainbow making a cameo.
And BRING YOUR WATERPROOF JACKET!!! I was some 500 yards away at least and I felt the mist pierce my skin. This is in late April, if you visit in the winter months, I highly recommend also brining an extra sweater to put on if your clothes get wet. It’s cold, cold. cold, near the viewpoint of the waterfall.
The Geysir to name all other geysers. No really, the term for “geyser” was named after the great Icelandic Geysir. Keep your camera on and set at all times because you never know when the Geysir will erupt!
And listen to your tour guide and the signs surrounding the Geysir, the water is HOT. Like, you will burn yourself hot if you touch it. The stray run offs are a little cooler and feel like bath water, but it’s best not to touch the water entirely.
Day 3: The Blue Lagoon, Experience the Nightlife
The Blue Lagoon
I personally loved my decision to book my Blue Lagoon tickets for my last day for 3 main reasons:
- It released the aches and pains of traveling. After a few days of constant moving with a backpack on my shoulders, my feet and back were yearning for a rest. What better way to treat yourself than by spending a few hours in a geothermal pool?
- Relaxed for the airport. Sort of the reverse reason of #1. When you visit the Lagoon for your last day, your mind and body are calm and prepared for the day of traveling before you in busy airports and cramped airplane seats.
- Last days for any trip can be sad – save the best for last so you have something to look forward to!
Many bars and hotspots stay open WELL into the night (err… morning?) If you’re like me and had a super early wake up call to head to the airport, perhaps think about checking out the famous nightlife scene on your last day and just stay awake ’til you catch your flight. Then sleep during the entire flight. It’s a win/win!
But be prepared to pay steep prices when you go out. A beer was about $9 a bottle, glass of wine about $12 and $15 for a cocktail. Yikes!
Did I miss anything that I should add to this 3 days in Iceland Itinerary? Let me know in the comments!