Iceland. The land of fire and Ice. Where do I even begin? It has been one of my most requested itineraries. It was also my first solo trip. I did a lot of research before settling on Iceland for my first vacation alone. I was most drawn to it due to it's naturally diverse landscape - from massive icebergs, to towering waterfalls to bubbling lava, this is simply the most stunningly beautiful country I have been to so far.
I visited Iceland in June, nearly 3 years ago...since then just one other country has even come close to replacing this place as my most favorite country of all time. When I visited in 2017, this place was just starting to get on the "tourist" radar. Now, of course, there are over a gazillion itineraries on the internet. What I am doing here is giving you a guide for everything I covered during my 6 day trip.
I don't drive, so this itinerary will help big time if you are a) traveling solo and b) looking to avoid driving for some reason. I did all my trips with Extreme Iceland. They were professional, shared lots of information about the country, were on time - and, most importantly, all their tours included pick up and drop off at the hostel.
Places you can't miss on your first visit:
One day in the Reykjavik area
Golden Circle (Geysir, Gullfoss. Pingvelir. Kerio, Hverageroi)
South Iceland (Vik, Black Sand Beaches)
Western Peninsula (Snaefellsnes).
Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon. Diamond Beach.
Optional - Blue lagoon
Best time to visit
I have been asked if it’s worth visiting Iceland in summer.
Iceland is one of those places that you can visit all year round. I went in June and was welcomed by fantastic weather, lush green mountain, crystal clear waterfalls and acres of lupine meadows. It was beautiful and dramatic at the same time. Iceland is unique, and it will definitely surprise you. Iceland is magical any time of the year. Pack your bags. Just go!
Flights and Visa
I traveled by Qatar Airways (literally just a week before all the trouble with our country began) - definitely one of my favorite airlines.
I flew into Denmark and then flew with WOW Air into Iceland.
Schengen Visa required for entry into Iceland. There was no immigration as such since I flew in from Copenhagen. Just walked right out with my trek bag.
The official language spoken in the country is Icelandic but almost everyone I encountered was fluent in English.
Travel and Medical Insurance, Currency
Travel and Medical Insurance is mandatory to travel to all Schengen countries.
Currency is Icelandic Krona.
Where I stayed
I stayed at the Bus Hostel in Reykjavík. Shared with 3 other travelers. They have the most amazing views of the alps from their hostel. This is where you can pick up breakfast and coffee in the AM.
The hostel was comfortable enough with a shared kitchen and bathrooms. The bathroom was spacious, which was a pleasant surprise.
Cost and getting around
When I booked my tickets with WOW Air, I also booked a bus shuttle from the airport to and from the hostel. They picked me up right outside the airport. On my way back to the airport, I called to confirm the pick time from the hostel.
Since I went in the summer, I enjoyed walking in the city. I also decided to do tours every day, all my trips outside the city were included in the package.
That being said, Iceland is expensive - I spent 7 EUR for a tiny cup of coffee!
I was alone throughout my trip. One of the safest countries I have ever been to.
There was not a lot of decent vegetarian food available (but I already expected this). I carried ready-to-eat oatmeal, noodles/pasta, granola bars on my trip. Used the hostel kitchen to cook myself a meal at night. During the day, I managed with juices, coffee and light sandwiches.
Either way, good food IS expensive, so carry food IF you are looking to save.
What to pack for summer
Summers can be unpredictable. I got lucky with absolutely no rain.
You should still pack waterproof jackets and pants. A thick fall jacket and a beanie, if you are camping. Good trek shoes.
Pro tip: Pack an eye mask (I always carry one with me anyway), you will need it. It's bright out throughout the day (hello, midnight sun). Your body cycle will definitely get affected.
Camera - DSLR, phone and tripod. I had so much fun clicking my own pictures.
The sky at 1 a.m.
Day 1 - Reykjavik
Unfortunately I lost all my pictures from here but here are some of the places I covered by hitching a ride with fellow hostel mates..
Harpa - concert hall
Perlan and Tjornin at the city center