Chasing Davies: Four Days in Iceland!

May 30, 2017

Four Days in Iceland!

four days traveling in iceland 

After our four days in Paris, we took an afternoon flight from Paris to Iceland (only a 3.5 hour flight) to start part two of our vacation.  Iceland is a place I'd never been before and has been on my wish list/radar the last 2 years, so when I some how talked my friend Katie (and her boyfriend, Joe) and my husband in going with me, I was so excited. 

We took advantage of Iceland Air stopover that basically gives you two trips for one low airline price!  Plus, flying through and stopping in Iceland really breaks up the long flight to Europe. 
Day One:
Iceland Air stopover in Iceland

After we flew in, got our rental car, drove to our Airbnb to drop off our stuff - we then headed to downtown Reykjavik (Iceland's capital) to walk around, find dinner and go out a bit.  The downtown is so nice, clean, safe and pretty.  The whole town looks very Danish with brightly colored rooftops and uniquely shaped and painted buildings. I loved just walking around downtown looking at everything.

And because it's the start of summer in Iceland, we had a copious amount of daylight to do just that!  It was pretty much only dark between midnight and 3am, which was pretty weird, but thankfully our Airbnb had blackout shades! ;)

Our first meal in Iceland was, ironically, at a French restaurant, Snaps.  SO SO good - I highly recommend it. 

After dinner, and more wandering, we went to the Lebowski Bar (lovingly named and decorated after the Big Lebowski - one of our favorites movies) with an extensive White Russian bar.  Greg was really excited for this particular stop, especially when they started up Game of Thrones trivia.

I had the White Russian with Cocoa Puffs, Katie had a Strawberry White Russian, and Greg just had the classic.  It was the perfect dessert post our French dinner. It also was the perfect night cap before we headed for bed to rest up for a big next day.

Day Two:

Our first morning, but second day in Iceland, we headed back downtown to start off with brunch at Laundromat Cafe (which I discovered when I went downstairs to the bathroom, is also a real laundromat!).  I loved the food and ambiance of this place. On the walls hung tons of bright photos of laundromats around the world and over the years, and the book shelves were lined with colorful bindings organized by the rainbow.

After a little walking around before hoping in our rental car and hitting the road for the rest of the day to drive the great Golden Circle!  This is a smaller, inner-Iceland circle (not to be confused with the Ring Road that goes around the outside of Iceland and takes about 10 days) that hits some of the best tourist spots that is totally doable in one day (about 3 hours if you drove non-stop).  There are lots of big and little things to do along this route, so you can customize it however you want. We customized our trip using this guide for reference and the Google Map below:

Our first stop was at Þingvellir National Park to hike to see the Öxarárfoss waterfall, and along the way - beautiful views of the land.  The Iceland flag flies high there, as this is one of the most visited tourist attractions and considered a jewel to the land.

After this hike, we drove a bit longer before stopping in Laugarvatn at Lindin Bistro for lunch. The weather this particular day (of course) turned bad once we were committed to the drive. It was super windy and and cold (huge props to Greg for driving the whole way!). The more eastern we got on our route, the worse it seemed to get. We waited out one storm during lunch by chance, which was a good thing, plus we all enjoyed our lunch.  The boys got Reindeer burgers, which they still talk about.

After lunch, we continued on to see the great Geysir, which spouts heated water into the air every third hour or so. I think we were less impressed with this attraction mainly because waiting for it was so miserable with the cold wind.  But just a couple miles or so east of Geysir, on our way to Gullfoss, we stumbled upon the best thing: Icelandic horses! 

We'd seen some from afar along the drive, but this was a little stop where they were all next to the fence and you could buy "horse candy" to feed them. They were so beautiful with all their long hair, and really quite sweet (because they wanted "horse candy").  

After we got back to Reykjavik, we went to a pizza speakeasy that had come recommended to me by a friend.  It's also referred to as "pizza place with no name" - but whatever it's called, it's a must. So good, plus we were lucky and got the "best seat in the house" according to our waiter. I twas a round table cozied up to windows with a view of downtown. The entire place was really nice and cozy.

I just love this above photo of Katie and Joe in their new Icelandic wool sweaters.

Day Three:

In the morning, after breakfast at Bergsson Mathús (which was so good, that I didn't get any pics!), we went inside the tall, beautiful church that overlooks downtown Reykjavik - Hallgrimskirkja Church - and to the top to see the views (the first picture of this post was taken from the top).

Then Greg and I ventured back to Pingvellir National Park (first stop on the Golden Circle) to snorkel  in Silfra, between the North American and Eurasian continental plates. Did I mention the water was about 2 degree Celsius (about 35 degree Fahrenheit)? While we were wearing a dry suit that kept us pretty dry, our face and hands were subject to the cold temps for about 30 minutes while we snorkeled. But it was worth it.

We ended with some hot cocoa and then walked around some. It was such a beautiful view, and finally a nice day, that we wanted to explore more before heading back to Reykjavik meet up with Katie and Joe for dinner at ROK (another recommendation and also so good that I didn't take pics!).

Curious what Katie and Joe were doing while we did this? They went to Elf School! The stories over dinner were amazing.

Day Four:

We couldn't leave Iceland without visiting the Blue Lagoon. I wondered what this would be like - a tourist trap? worth it? amazing? weird?  It's actually all of the above. So weird, but so cool and unlike anything I've ever done.  

TIP: You should definitely pre-purchase your tickets, and go either after landing or before your flight out since it's semi-close to the airport and basically not near anything else. I highly recommend going early (we got there at about 9:30am and there was NO line, but when we were leaving around 1:30, there was a long line).

Also, I highly recommend a 30 minute in-water massage. It was really interesting and unique, but felt really relaxing.  They have longer (and more expensive) options, too, that look awesome if you have the time/money.

Overall, I would totally go to Iceland again to do more of the things that we didn't even get close to doing (like north and south of Reykjavik) - and with the stopover option on Iceland Air, this would be totally doable on our way to another city/country!

Now, what do you wear to a place like Iceland? 

The answer is LAYERS. Bring all the layers. They day it was so cold, windy and rainy - we wore everything we brought, but the other days, we wore light layers. You can obviously look ahead to the weather, but don't forget about the wind! I brought a super light weight and easy to pack wind jacket that I just wore over my leather jacket, and that was perfect.

Some of pieces we wore and used in Iceland:

Lands End is a great place to get layers and pieces that look nice, keep you warm + travel well. I used this backpack as my carryon and during our Iceland hikes, and loved matching with Greg's toiletry bag.  Big thanks to Lands End for sending some of these pieces and items to help our travel!

Have you been to Iceland? 
Any other recommendations for our next stopover trip there?? ;)

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