We were only in Iceland for 6D5N. The first day is spent flying and settling down so that boils down to five. Ideally, I’d like to be there for two weeks just traveling and covering the whole of Ring Road but five days is good enough for us to immerse in the beauty of Iceland!
So here’s our itinerary to give you some ideas if you’re not sure where to go in Iceland within 5 days.
Travel dates: 2nd March – 7th March 2016
We picked February and March to travel Norway, Finland and Iceland due to the increased chances of seeing the Northern Lights (or so they say) and of course, having reasonable amount of daylight in Iceland for our roadtrip.
Weather and climate: Temperature hovers around 0 degrees celcius, which is really not to bad as compared to its arctic neighbours. There were still plenty of snow on the road and all around, but driving in it was manageable (even for a first timer like me). The wind was obviously nuts!!!
Car rental: We rented a Kia Sportage 4WD (Automatic transmission) for a total of 68500ISK (~SGD750) including insurance and studded tyres via BlueCarRental and they are pretty good! Airport pickup available – just remember to choose Keflavik (KEF) airport instead of Reykjavik Airport if you are flying international!
Day 1 (2nd March)
We touched down Iceland at about 4.30pm and our car rental guy was already waiting for us! Made our way to our first Iceland Airbnb and honestly was quite stressed out whilst driving because I wasn’t used to left hand drive and driving on opposite lane haha!
It wasn’t very eventful. We needed to buy some necessities from the supermarket like toilet paper, bottled water, bread, spread, potato chips, cookies and all that for the road trip. It’s best if you bring your own coffee (if you need) and INSTANT NOODLES!!!! This can save you SO much money. We’ve had some meals in Iceland, but they were mostly at about SGD30~50 each person per meal. How long can we go on spending like that? That would break the bank!
Photo taken from Airbnb host
Our first accommodation in Hafnarfjörður was extremely clean. Almost spotless actually. One of the cleanest ones I’ve stayed! I picked this location because we needed to head off to Vik the next day anyway, there was no need to stay in central Reykjavik for the time being. We didn’t need to go anywhere by foot, so distance to city center is not a huge factor. There are supermarkets and fast food within 5 minutes drive, so we were good.
Link to Airbnb: https://www.airbnb.com.sg/rooms/6991346
Day 2 (3rd March)
Sunrise was at about 8am, so we set off at about 7.30am towards the East.
We were going to spend the next two days around the southern and southeastern coast so we used Vik as our base. The drive supposedly takes a little under an hour but you know… I wasn’t expecting it to be accurate because I was mentally prepared for some crazy storm, ICELAND-STYLE. But hmmm, we did quite okay. All in all, we took about 4-5 hours to get to Vik with several pit stops made.
The drive was of course filled with ‘wows’, ‘oohs’ and ‘AAAHHHHHHHs’. So beautiful!
BUT the first half of the drive was pretty torturous. 😦 One of the worst driving experiences of my life!!! It wasn’t because of my inexperience with snow driving or anything else like that. It was because we were driving in the direction of the sun and so the glare rendered my field of vision USELESS. I think I could only see a maximum of maybe 2-3 metres in front of me? The sun was so low on the horizon, it was seriously directly in my eyes and there were times I needed to completely come to dead slow speed to avoid getting into an accident. So please consider this when you pick a time to set off!!! Bring sunglasses too!
The first stop was Seljalandfoss (Google Maps link) because we needed to go to the bathroom. Didn’t know what to expect beforehand though. On the day we went, the waterfall was partially closed off for movie filming. I was a little bummed but we BUMPED INTO JACKIE CHAN!!! So that was a fun bonus to our Iceland trip hehe! 🙂
Next up on the way is Skogafoss (Google Maps link) which was significantly larger than Seljalandfoss. We were greeted with a rainbow over the waterfall! So magical.
Nice little hill before turning into the carpark of SkogafossSkogafoss
Before I move on, I’d like to give a little frivolous tip! 🙂
If you have yet to pick up a windbreaker, I think it’s great to choose brighter colours for your outermost layer. It contrasts against the Icelandic scenery’s colour palette and makes you pop. This mostly applies for when you are in Iceland during the winter season, of course. With colors like grey or dark green, it’s easy to blend into the background… which might not be ideal sometimes, especially when you need to pose for photos from a distance. So pick something bright for your windbreaker, such as red, cyan or yellow if you want to pop! #justsayin
Shortly after Skogafoss, we’ve arrived at the entrance of the Sólheimasandur plane crash (Google Maps link) which I heard is now closed to all vehicles as of March 2016. So be prepared to walk to the actual plane wreck if you still want to see it! It was an extremely rough 4km drive in, on snowy and bump terrains. With no snow driving experience, it was one hell of a scary ride for us!!!! There were no visible roads, just yellow wooden indicators all the way. At one point, I sort of felt like maybe I might have gotten the wrong location or sabotaged us. BUT NAH WE’RE GOOD!
Sólheimasandur plane crash
The wind is pretty insane there though. Out of all the places we went in Iceland, I think this was the craziest. Maybe it was due to the mini ‘snow storm’ nearby. Felt like I was gonna topple over hahaha!
Next up was Dyrhólaey (Google Maps link), a ‘gigantic arch of lava standing in the sea’. During summertime, it’s a viewing spot for the famous and adorable puffins. Do take note though, as they close the site for a brief period of time to facilitate breeding.
The dramatic Dyrhólaey peninsula
Photo by Kári K. I’ve realized that I’ve forgotten to take a photo of the arch itself (because my camera LCD randomly blacked out) sigh
You can see the famous Blacksand Beach from here, and vice versa. They are about 15~20 minutes drive apart. Next up – Blacksand Beach (Google Maps link). It felt quite surreal to me because I’ve never seen columnar basalts before in my life. They looked almost mythical! Like whuuuut, how did these blocks even happen. Googled, and lava had something to do with it, of course.
Making our way to the beach from the carparkLike I’ve mentioned before – wear super bright and pop against awesome Icelandic rocks!I’m in love with the formations
Be cautious of the big waves, as they sometimes will creep up very close to the shore. There are reports of tourist accidents.. so don’t be a statistic! In my case, I was unlucky to have met a particularly stronger wave whilst at the outskirts of the column, which resulted in my damaged camera LCD screen. Quite a bummer, but of course I won’t let that stop me from taking more photos and enjoying my trip!
Time to call it a day! Went back to our accommodation: Skammidalur Guesthouse.
On the way back to our Airbnb
Photo from TripAdvisor
Chose this guesthouse as it was the mid-way base and it was also quite close to the southern attractions like Blacksand Beach. Communal bathroom, toilets, a well equipped kitchen and a common area. I thought the location was pretty convenient with ample parking space, and the house was very clean (such an important criteria, seriously). It is almost pitch black here at night so I think chances of seeing northern lights can be quite high, though I tend to sleep before 9pm every night (oops!).
Link to Airbnb: https://www.airbnb.com.sg/rooms/8856958
Getting too lengthy, aye? Click here to continue reading about my next few days!