Iceland Travel Guide! (How to budget, what to see, eat, & tips!)

Hello!
I’m so excited to share my Iceland Itinerary with you! Iceland should be number one on your bucket list!! We drove around the whole Country, I can’t believe it! I am going to talk about everything — where we explored, driving around ring road,  ate, slept, what to bring, and how we went on a budget.

Getting there:
Most likely when you land at Keflavik International Airport you will land at 4 am, that seems like when most of the flights were coming in. From Chicago to Keflavik my flight was $250 roundtrip, we flew WOW Air. The flight was great, would 100% recommend them. When booking them just know everything is a la carte– baggage, drinks, food. We just bought snacks and drinks in the airport to bring on the plane, so it worked for us. Tip: As we landed at 4 am, not much is open in Iceland till 9 am usually, we had to just hangout in the airport till our van rental opened.  Because of flying in the evening, we hadn’t slept in 24 hours. So, if you can find a hotel or airbnb for that day, I would definitely do that next time. 

What to Pack:
◙ Water boots – shop mine / similar here / I wore these about 90% of the time, I highly suggest bringing some!
◙ Slip On’s – I forgot some, and had to buy a pair there. I sometimes needed a quick pair of shoes to slip on to go from the vehicle to a building or to shower, etc.
◙ Tennis Shoes – I wore these probably about 10% so I’m not sure if I would bring them again.
◙ Layers will be your best friend / Pack basic long sleeve tops & leggings
◙ I would bring sweaters and pullovers
◙Wool Socks
◙Rain Coat – shop mine here (out of my green color!)
◙Coat – I would bring one like this – here
◙ 1 or 2 pair of jeans. Honestly, I would probably just bring one, they get so dirty.
◙ Swimsuit
◙Thick leggings
◙Hats & gloves
Tip: I would not bring nice clothes, my boots and clothes got so so dirty!

When to go to Iceland:
We were thinking about going in the summer but the flights were outrageous, let’s just say not the $250. Summer is Iceland’s busiest time, I wanted to explore all these places when there were not a lot of people. We decided on April, and we loved the time we went. The weather was in the 40’s, not bad when you are hiking. I definitely would like to go back in the summer, I hear it’s just amazing. Unfortunately, did not see the Northern Lights. Times for Northern Lights: September – Mid April. Tip: Everyplace we went took my credit/debit card, I did not have to exchange money or anything. 

Where we slept:
Something that is actually a very popular thing to do in Iceland is camping. There are several van rental companies where you can rent a camper van. I HIGHLY suggest this. We used Kuku Campers. They were the best price when I researched, and they were absolutely great! We picked them specificaly because they had a van that got 50 mpg. We knew we would be driving so much so we wanted something that was decent on gas, as gas is about $8 a gallon in Iceland! The van had a comfy mattress and storage underneath for our luggage, had heat you can turn on that will stay on all night, so we were never cold.  There are over 300 campsites in Iceland, there will always be a place to stay. We stayed at some campsites and hostels as well, you just park your van and sleep. One question I got asked a lot is where we showered and went to the bathroom. The campsites and hostels of course had bathrooms and showers we used. If we were on the road we would just stop in grocery stores or gas stations. The hostels/campsites are usually around $15-20 a person. Tip: There are not a lot of gas stations in Iceland, especially the north. We never let our gas tank get below half tank.

How we saved so much money:
Definitely, the camping is a huge money savor in Iceland. Food is no surprise, so expensive in Iceland. We went to the grocery store and bought essentials like bread, peanut butter & jelly, pita, hummus, snacks, water, etc. From a restaurant, soup can be like $20 & hamburgers are like $25, so getting grocery’s is the way to go. Everything we explored, was free to see, minus the blue lagoon. We decided not to do any tours or anything, as we wanted to do our own thing. How to get from the airport to Reykjavik: Taxi or bus. Taxi was about $130. You can take the public bus – here. I believe it was $5 one way. We missed the time leaving the airport, so we had to eat up the expensive taxi price. Going back to the airport we definitely did the public bus. Going to Iceland with friends helps because you can split the costs. 🙂

A map of our road trip around the ring road! 
(I had to create two separate maps, for map below follow at Skógafoss.) 
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Day 1: Reykjavik
This was kind of a relaxing day for us, we were tired for being up for over 24 hours so we walked around Reykjavik a little then just chilled and went to bed early. I would suggest to stay in Reykjavik just for a day, there is so much to see past this cute town.
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Day 2: Aldeyjarfoss Waterfall
Woke up at 3:30 am and starting driving so we could get to this waterfall late morning. It is about a 6 hour drive. Getting here: If you put it in your google maps it will most likely take you to the falls. You will want to take 842 which is a gravel road, and you will pass Goðafoss. It is about a 45 minute drive on the gravel road, you will then see F26, which is an F-road and you need a 4×4 to go on this road. Once you are at the F-road you will walk and have to open a gate to get through. We were greeted by some Icelandic Horses, so of course had to take some pictures. It is about an hour hike to the falls. You will follow the path, the road will fork, make sure you go left. Drove to Reyðarfjörður for the night. We passed Mývatn on the way and found these cool springs to take photos in. The drive was so scenic and beautiful.

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IMG_0642.CR26D4A75366D4A7556.jpg6D4A75956D4A77216D4A7743Day 3: Stokksnes & Höfn
We just stayed at Reyðarfjörður for the night. The next morning we drove to Stokksnes. The drive from Reyðarfjörður to Stokksnes was so amazing, we stopped like 5 different times in 30 minutes to take pictures. Stokksnes wasn’t really on our itinerary but found it last minute, and it ended up being one of our top spots. SO SO pretty.(And no one was there, score!)  We didn’t do too much in Höfn other than grill out at our campsite. 6D4A79286D4A79526D4A79576D4A79666D4A79796D4A80616D4A80706D4A8082

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Day 4: Jökulsárlón Glaciers / Vik / Reynisfara Black Sand Beach
We left Höfn and drove to the glaciers. We first went to the famous Jökulsárlón, it was soo moody and cool. We actually saw Seals mating. We, then wanted to find big glaciers, so we stopped somewhere near Vatnajökull National Park and took some photos. Drove to Vík in the evening, where we were staying the night. We stopped to see Reynisfara Black Sand Beach, only for a hot second since it was pouring. Since it was raining, we found a swimming pool nearby so we went there and relaxed in the warm hot tubs. Everything closes early, if you plan to do anything in the night make sure you check times!
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Day 5: Sólheimasandur DC 3 Plane Crash /  Skógafoss Waterfall / Geysir
We were super excited to see the abandoned plane crash. If you just type Sólheimasandur in google maps you will find it. You will see the path when you get there and you will have to walk about 4 km(2.5 mile walk) It was about a 45 minute walk, went by fast, and so worth it. I’m fascinated with flying and planes so to see the plane crash was so cool. From what I’ve heard, everyone survived the crash and they just left the plane there on the black sand. Made a quick stop at Skógafoss, such a beautiful waterfall. Before heading to Reykjavik for the night to stay at our campsite, we stopped off at the Geysir. We went out in Reykjavik for the night had some dinner and a drink.  As I would tell anyone, when you are driving around, Iceland doesn’t even feel real. It feels like a planet. I am just amazed that anything would ever look like this. I wish photos really showed the beauty! The birds flying over the falls feel like you are in made up land. We would drive around the mountain and it would be pouring rain, we would turn the corner and it would be bright sunny — like you can’t make this stuff up!!?
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IMG_2490.CR26D4A9179Day 6: Brimketill Lava Rock Pool / Blue Lagoon
This was our last full day. We were on the go every other day so we wanted to make this day more of a relaxing day. We got up, made a nice breakfast, took our sweet ole time. Had reservations at 3 pm for the blue lagoon. TIP: If you plan to go to the Blue Lagoon — book your reservations at least a month before you go. My friends went to Iceland last year and booked a few weeks before and lucked out and got stuck with a night reservation. You can book them here . TIP: BLUE LAGOON Haircare – The salt and the springs for the blue lagoon dry your hair out. When they tell you to lather your hair in conditioner… do it!! I did, but not enough my hair felt like straw for a week or two. When I got home I did a hair mask and it’s much better now! We stopped off at Brimketill Lava Rock before the blue lagoon as it was super close. The waves were coming so high,  it felt like a movie. Makes for some epic photos!

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Day 7: Leaving Iceland
We were so so sad to leave. This was such an amazing trip. If you are thinking about Iceland, it 100% should be on your bucket-list. I just went there and it’s back on my bucket-list. On my instagram profile, you will see an icon that says Iceland(Instagram Highlights), I posted all week while I was there, feel free to check that out. If you have any questions, feel free to email me: sgcollab@gmail.com. If you are planning to visit, have an amazing time because you will love it!!

Check out my videos from Iceland:

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