It wasn’t cheap (but nothing in Iceland is other than the flights there on WOW airline) but it was a great experience. We loved our tour guide so much even, we started following him on social media (IG: @iceland.according.to.garp). Not only was he entertaining, but he taught us a lot about Icelandic culture, which is honestly invaluable.
My pointers (in no order) …
1. Buy a waterproof raincoat BEFORE you get here. It’s cold and rainy (even in the summertime). I failed on this front and almost bought an $800 raincoat in desperation (but ended up finding a thrift store downtown and buying a used one for $150).
2. When booking a hotel, stay as close to downtown as possible. Anywhere inside the Route 49, 40, & 41 loop would be good. The closer you are to Hallgrimskirkja (the iconic cathedral in downtown), the less walking you’ll have to do.
3. If you book tours out of Reykjavik, you don’t need to rent a car. It’s 45-minutes to the airport though so make sure you don’t miss your pre-booked pickup time (especially for those early AM flights). Set 2 alarms on your phone and have a cab company number in your phone as backup (or in my case, desperately plead with a private driver to take mercy on you).
4. Try an Icelandic Hot Dog. Trust me, it is an experience. And contrary to popular belief, I don’t think Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur is the best. Pylsuhusid Hot Dog House had the hot dog I had been looking for – which I guess really was a bratwurst (#5 with the fried onions can’t be beat!).
5. While we’re talking about food, french fries from Reykjavik Chips were da bomb! (http://www.rvkchips.is/) – Don’t miss out
6. The Blue Lagoon is worth the trip. Yes, it’s expensive but they’re well organized and no matter the weather, it’s a nice relaxing time (perfect for your travel day either in or out). They’ll store your luggage, you can go to a swim-up bar, and they tie all your purchases to a waterproof wrist band. #treatyoself
7. The Golden Circle – Day 2 of our tour they us to Þingvellir National Park (where you can stand on 2 tectonic plates at once), the Geysir Geothermal Area (who doesn’t love a geyser?!?), and Gullfoss (iconic beautiful waterfall). I think as a bonus we also went to Kerið (volcanic crater lake). But due to the lack of raincoat (see #1) I was tired and cold and done for the day.
8. The South Coast – Day 3 of our tour took us to iconic Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss waterfalls, Reynisfjara (world-famous black-sand beach) and lava formations in the form of the Reynisdrangar sea-stacks, Dyrhólaey lighthouse, Eyjafjallajökull glacier (the famous volcano that erupted in 2010 causing major disruption to air traffic and impossible to pronounce), and lots of fun stops along the way exploring the land of fairies and trolls. Everything was beautiful!
If I can help with any other questions, please ask! Here are some pics to prove I'm not lying: