The end half of my holiday to the Canadian Rockies was a 4 day stopover in Iceland. I purposely picked Icelandair because I knew you could stopover in Iceland without any extra cost. For only four days I decided to stay in Reykjavik and make a couple of day trips out on tours to see more of the island.
Thursday 29th September: Blue Lagoon & Reykjavik
- Icelandair flight from Edmonton, Canada arriving in Reykjavík at 6:40am
- Shuttle bus to Blue Lagoon for early (cheaper) entry at 8am
- Shuttle bus to HI Reykjavik Downtown Hostel
- Lunch in Cafe Paris
- Walking tour with CityWalk – pay what you think it’s worth at the end, all guides are self-employed. Great for learning a lot about the country’s history and culture, although each tour’s contents varies depending on the guide.
- Visit to the Hallgrimskirkja Church and up to the top for a view of the city
- Walked back to hostel, stopping in a few shops along the way
- Pasta dinner in the hostel, because food in Iceland is generally double the price you’d find anywhere else (e.g. my lunch of hot chocolate & chips was £10)
- Northern Lights tour with Grayline
Friday 30th September: Golden Circle tour
- Golden Circle bus tour with BusTravel Iceland 9am – 5pm
- Kerið volcano crater / lake
- Faxi & Gullfoss waterfalls
- Geysir geysers
- Thingvellir National Park (meeting of the continental plates, location of old Icelandic parliament)
- Sandwiches for lunch, then pasta dinner again in the hostel
Saturday 1st October: Glacier Lagoon tour
- Glacier Lagoon minibus tour with Iceland Bus Tours 7am – 10pm
- Long drive across southern Iceland (spectacular scenery) to Glacier Lagoon – a lake of icebergs formed from the melting of Jokulsarlon glacier. Also Diamond Beach, where the icebergs are washed up on the beach nearby.
- Vik village & black sand beach
- Skogafoss & Seljalondfoss waterfalls
- Sandwiches for lunch, then soup in Vik village on the way back
Sunday 2nd October: Whale watching & Reykjavik
- Whale watching with Reykjavik Sailors – unfortunately due to a storm we had to return to the harbour without seeing anything
- Flea market
- Lunch at Messinn – which I can recommend to anyone visiting Reykjavik, the food was divine and prices at lunchtime are very reasonable considering the normal prices
- National Museum of Iceland
Monday 3rd October: Flight home
- Icelandair flight to Birmingham 07:50 (which meant pickup from hostel at 4:30…)
Generally high, but with no separate flight costs it wasn’t too bad. There are currently no entrance fees for the national parks, so if you had your own car you would save money on the tours.
- Flights: £0 (stopover at no extra cost)
- Tours: £255 (Golden Circle, Glacier Lagoon & Northern Lights)
- Other activities: £100
- Accommodation: £36 per night (hostel)
- Food: ~£22 per day (mostly supermarket food)
*Mostly pre-Brexit prices
What I’d change
Similarly to Canada – for an introduction my itinerary worked well, but to see Iceland properly you need to hire a vehicle and go exploring away from Reykjavik. Doing northern lights on the first night is a must – you need to maximise your chances of a clear night and aurora activity. Personally I’d skip Blue Lagoon because I didn’t think it was worth the money. Instead I would probably go on the journey inside a volcano tour that someone from my hostel went on and recommended. Next time I go (because there will be a next time) I’ll hire a car and spend a week road-tripping around the island.