Iceland isn't really the type of place you'd think of for a weekend break, but recently I went for three days and although I'll definitely go back to explore more because we couldn''t squeeze everything in, it was 100% worth doing plus I'll be more clued up next time I go. I thought I'd put together some tips on how to do Iceland in three days, plus just a few tips for visiting Iceland in general (that I can reread myself when it comes to me going back!)
Prioritise | Decide what you want to do the most. For us that was The Blue Lagoon so we made sure we had that booked as a definite before we went and built the rest of our time around that. We would have loved to have seen the Northern Lights and the Golden Circle, but there just wasn't enough time (which is why I'm obviously just going to have to go back!) We also made sure we were staying near The Blue Lagoon seeing as that's what we wanted to do most and just explored the area around there.
Stay rural | We stayed in a wooden cabin in the middle of nowhere on a flat expanse of barren land right next to the sea (sounds grim, but it was great). It was much cheaper than staying in Reykjavik, it was super cosy and it just felt a bit more like real Iceland. I'd say only stay in Reykjavik if you're planning on getting tours from there, but there isn't actually much there, it's not as pretty and although we visited the city I wouldn't bother going there again when I go back to Iceland. It's not difficult to stay rural either seeing as the majority of Iceland is!
Hire a car | With only a short amount of time there we couldn't really do tours to places because they take up quite a bit of time, plus we thought it'd be easier to just do our own thing. We'd definitely have been lost without our car because we were staying so far out we needed it to drive pretty much anywhere. It also meant we could make random decisions about where we wanted to go - at last minute we decided to stop off on the coast on our way to The Blue Lagoon so without the car we'd definitely have seen less and would have spent a fortune on taxis!
Don't underestimate the weather | The weather is very changeable. We'd just driven through a massive hail storm before the above picture was taken and the ground was clear of snow about ten minutes earlier! I'd like to go back in the summer months because daylight wasn't very long (6 hours) and the wind was ridiculously strong which made it feel very cold. Obviously the romanticised vision of Iceland is being in the snow watching the Northern Lights, but for practicality I think it'd be better to have more daylight hours to see things and for it to be a little warmer so you actually enjoy being outside for long periods of time! It depends what you prefer!
Tips in brief:
- I'd read a lot about it being a requirement to have a naked shower before you enter The Blue Lagoon and a lot of people seemed to be worried about that. Don't worry because there are separate cubicles so it's all very private.
- I'd also read a lot about how bad The Blue Lagoon is for your hair. I did layer conditioner (provided) on before I went in, but I honestly didn't notice any bad effects at all.
- Unlike most other European countries the tap water is very clean and drinkable so you don't need to waste your money stocking up on bottled water.
- It's very expensive for things like food and drink. I don't know if it's just because of the bad exchange rate or if it's just expensive anyway, but be prepared!
Have you ever been to Iceland?