If you are going to a city, you obviously want to maximize the time that you have and see everything you can. If you are taking the long trip, you probably want to stay longer than 24 hours. But if you are like me and you hit and run a lot of places, 24 hours might be the timeframe you are working with. Here are some of the things I saw in Iceland last year in 24 hours.
24 Hours In Iceland
Iceland is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to. Even in my short time, I was able to squeeze quite a few of the tourist spots into my schedule before the Reykjavik Marathon (which takes place this Saturday, August 23).
The Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon is a great place to stop at on your way from the airport. It is a geothermal spa that gets a lot of attention for its beauty. I was in a rush so I stopped here to simply see the beautiful waters of the lagoon from the outside. Just to enter into the main portion of the lagoon costs 40 euro in the summer and 35 euro in the winter. The packages climb from there and include many other benefits of the spa.
I am not a spa guy and was limited in my time, so I stopped outside to check out the waters of the lagoon. They were certainly some of the most unique blue color I have ever seen! If you want the spa experience, I would say to plan some extra time to enjoy this special place.
For more info on the Blue Lagoon, check out this site.
The Iceland Countryside
Being able to drive through Iceland gives you the chance to enjoy the color and beauty that Iceland has. There are numerous creeks flowing through the greenery and along the hills. Do yourself a favor and stop along your drive to take in the beauty. You will be happy you did!
The Strokkur Geyser
Another highlight along a tour called the Gold Circle Tour is the Geysir geothermal region. The Strokkur Geyser launches every several minutes. Some of the waterspouts are lower than others but they are still really a sight to behold.
I had waited to take some video of the geyser, and after several minutes of recording, when it did launch, it surprised me so much I pushed the stop button. 🙂
There is a visitor center and cafe across the street from the geyser area. The store inside has some authentic Icelandic product, but you will definitely pay a high price for them.
For more on the Strokkur Geyser, check out this site.
The Gulffoss Waterfall can be quite a beautiful scene, especially when the sun is out to shine on the falls. Unfortunately, the sun was behind clouds all day, but it was still pretty great to see.
You can walk right down to the edge of the falls and get pretty close. In fact, you can see the dots of water in the photos from the splash of the falls. It is a slippery walk down to the edge, so take your time. The whole area is pretty expansive – enjoy your walk through and check out he different views of the falls that you can get.
For more on Gullfoss Waterfall, check out this site.
Other Places of Interest
This actually concluded my day trip around part of Iceland as I had to get back to the city for the marathon expo and dinner. Plus, I took my time to enjoy the drive and stopped at many scenic points along the way. There are several other things that you can do, including taking one of the many Golden Circle tours.
The Golden Circle is a 180 mile loop that hits the big tourist spots (some of which I mentioned above) before returning to Reykjavik. There are many tour companies that offer bus trips, and many at reasonable prices. I drove because I prefer driving so I can take time to do the things I want and because I needed a car for the race morning anyway.
Along the route of the Golden Circle is the Thingvellir National Park which is supposed to be another great place to visit. I know that I plan on visiting Iceland again with my family and we will take several days next time. I look forward to seeing everything else that Iceland has to offer then!
I had my GPS with me and everything was very easy to find and follow. One thing of note – if you go in the summer, rental cars are quite expensive. So, if you want to do your own driving of the countryside, you might just want to rent a car for that day or two so as not to pay too much.
One other thing to make note of that almost got me in trouble. When I went to fill up the car with gas at a station near to the airport, I had to pay with credit card because I never convert a lot of local money and was almost out since I was leaving the country. The problem was that the gas station would only take a chip and pin credit card – no other kind would work. I went inside to work it out and they kept insisting that they could not run any other card, even my debit card. After I about 10 more minutes of talking about it, they went into the back room and ran my card someplace else and came back with a receipt. I imagine they did have the ability to run other cards but maybe it cost them more? Anyway, make sure you have a chip and pin card with you or enough cash to pay the (expensive) gas.
Have you been to Iceland? What did you see and do?