I get asked many times about my first time in Iceland and what gold nuggets I can give to others embarking on their first adventure there. As Iceland is very popular and offers a plethora of experiences I have created a quick List to inspire you.
Top Tip: Iceland is expensive. One of the cheaper destinations to visit but not so great when you come to squaring up your tab at the end of the night. Make sure you save enough spending money to truly enjoy some spectacular experiences as well as eating out.
Where To Stay
First off, stay near to Reykjavik for your first time, it's a great place to get a real feel for Iceland and you can tick a lot of bucket list items off. Win Win. Some of my favourites are:
Kvosin Downtown Hotel - Kvosin is all about location, right in the heart of the city centre
Reykjavik Residence Hotel - Need space? Snag a luxe apartment in the harbour
Keahotels - I stayed in Reykjavik Lights, which was lovely, but it was too far out for me (we paid for a lot of taxi's) Check out Skuggi Hotel, affordable and only a couple of minutes' walk to Laugavegur.
The hotels are of a high standard in Reykjavik so when booking yours, check to see if your prospective lodgings are in walking distance to Laugavegur Street. Don't make my mistake of paying a lot of cash out for Taxi's.
What To Do
There is seriously a lot to do here and it can be quite overwhelming to choose from first time round. Here are the top things to do:
Now the Golden Circle is the top attraction, for good reason, as you will visit the Gullfoss waterfall, Geysirs and the National Park Thingvellir - all spectacular. I would advise you try and find a company like Extreme Iceland which specialises in smaller mini bus tours, I experienced a crowded, multilingual coach for 9 hours and it was horrendous. You will pay extra but it is really worth it.
Northern Lights Tour
Unfortunately, the Northern Lights didn't want to play ball when I visited, however, most tours offer the chance to chase the lights for the duration of your stay.
Across Iceland there are tons of geothermal springs but the most iconic, and the one you will want to visit is the Blue Lagoon. It is tourist heavy! BUT, it's large so plenty of space to avoid other humans. Some words of advice, get the airport express Blue Lagoon ticket, you can get a trip to the Spa after landing or before take off. The airport is literally a 5 minute drive away.
Game of Thrones Tour
I am the biggest Game of Thrones Fan so sorry if you aren't so keen or never watched it (shame on you!) but this tour was my favourite thing I did. Our tour guide was ridiculously knowledgeable about all things Icelandic, their myths, Norse legends and some special surprise locations along the way. Even if you're that one person who hasn't seen GOT, I still recommend you go.
Not the biggest city to explore but there are so many quaint stores, cafe's, restaurants and bars to get stuck into. Now, I loved Reykjavik, I thought it was cute, typically scandi but you only need a day to wander round, so factor this into your itinerary. If there is an epic adventure you want to do, a good 5 hours should about cover a city walk. The Hallgrímskirkja Church offers a stunning 360 degrees view of Reyjkavik, well worth a visit, it's roughly £7 for admission.
Where to Eat & Drink
As many of my friends have been to Iceland I thought they would find it useful to have an extensive Food and Drink Guide with a map, of tried and tasted places in Reykjavik.
Download it HERE to print and take away with you.
Don't forget to Download or Print the Fact Sheet with all the information from this post. Get it HERE.
Are you going to Iceland soon? Let me know if this Guide and the printable sheets were useful in planning your trip.