I get a lot of emails from people who want to visit Iceland and often they only have a few days to spend, so the big question is what to see & do! If you didn't know about the Icelandair Stopover program then I want to share with you a great way to explore Iceland when flying a Transatlantic flight! An Icelandair stopover is when you get two destinations for the price of one. On your way across the Atlantic, you can stop in Iceland for up to 7 nights at no additional airfare. In this blog post I’ve gathered all kinds of information and ides how to plan your perfect #TripInIceland.
Here are itinerary ideas I've gathered for you:
If you only have one or two days to spend in Iceland, I recommend you start at the Blue Lagoon after arriving. Most of the US flights arrive early in Keflavík and the Blue Lagoon is open from 8am (June-Sept) or 9am (Oct-May). So either chill at the airport or drive around Reykjanes peninsula. Places to explore around Reykjanes are e.g. Gunnuhver, Reykjanesviti, Kleifarvatn, the bridge between the continents and Strandakirkja church. FYI the Blue Lagoon recommends you book admission tickets in advance since availability is limited. I recommend you book their most popular package, the premium one, which includes entry fee, special skin care pack, slippers, bathrobe, one drink of choice while soaking in the lagoon (yes they have a bar in the lagoon) and more. Click here for more information about the premium package.
So after spending a few hours relaxing and hopefully the jet-lag is gone it’s time to head to Reykjavík, the capital of Iceland. If you are hungry then have a quick lunch at a popular and affordable restaurant among locals, Vegamót. I recommend Vegamót because it’s situated in the heart of Reykjavík and it’s one of my favorite dining spot to go with my girlfriends. Check out my foodie review here.
If your stopover is only a day stay then next up would be to roam around Reykjavík. I’ve already wrote a post about what to do if you only had one day in Reykjavik so make sure to read it. For example check out: Harpa concert hall, go to Hallgrímskirkja church tower for the perfect view of downtown Reykjavík, taste the famous lobster soup at Sægreifinn (e. Sea Baron) and don’t forget to try the Icelandic "Pylsa" (it's known for being the best hot dog in the world) and when you order say "Eina með öllu" (e. one with everything)! There are a lot of museums to visit in Reykjavik and I recommend the National Museum of Iceland and the Museum of Photography (In my oppinion it's a hidden gem and I love the fact there is free admission).
If you only have one or two days then start by exploring Reykjavík and then drive the golden circle, it's a perfect route to pick. It’s not a long drive and you can easily book it as a tour if you didn't rent a car. The Golden circle includes visiting Þingvellir national park, Gullfoss waterfall and Geysir hot spring area. If you have time I would add to your itinerary, Kerið volcano crater and visit Laugarvatn Fontana Geothermal Baths to soak & relax for a bit.
If you have three to seven days to spend in Iceland then you should start with the things I described above and pick either to road trip or book tours. A picked a few popular tours: Explore the South coast, snorkling at Silfra, glacier hike and Super Jeep adventure. If you decide to rent a car then you need to pick the area you want to explore. When traveling on an Icelandair's stopover you don't want to rush exploring Iceland, rather get a taste of what the island of fire and ice has to offer so one day you can come back for a longer stay. In my opinion pick either South, West or North Iceland! I don't mention the Westfjords because I feel that area should be explored on a seperate trip to Iceland just focusing on the Westfjords.
Below are plenty of itienery tips to help you plan the perfect Icelandair #MyStopover
West Iceland is a magical area which can be driven in one day but I would split it into two days and stay at e.g Hotel Búðir, Hotel Edda Laugar Sælingsdalur,(summer hotel), Icelandair hotel Hamar, Hotel Hellnar or Hotel Egilsen. Places to explore in West Iceland: Deildartunguhver geothermal area, Glymur Waterfall, Hraunfossar waterfalls, Akranes lighthouse, Reykholt, Vatnshellir cave, Búðakirkja church, Lóndrangar, Dritvík beach, Arnarstapi, Hellnar, Kirkjufell mountain, Stykkishólmur, Breiðafjörður (I recommend a boat trip around the fjord), Eiríksstaðir, Guðrúnarlaug natural hot pool (free admission), Hallmundarhraun lava field and visit a glacier tunnel in Langjökull. Plenty of more places to find around the West so click here for the official website of West Iceland.
Highlights to explore on the South coast: Seljalandsfoss & Gljúfrabúi waterfall, Seljalandslaug (the oldest swimming pool in Iceland), Skógafoss waterfall, US navy plane wreck, Dyrhólaey, Reynisdrangar cliffs, the town VÍK, Hjörleifshöfði (viking cave), the town Kirkjubæjarklaustur, Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon, Svartifoss waterfall, Fjallsárlón and Jökulsárlón glacier lagoons. For detailed blog posts about South Iceland I've written click here
Places to visit around North Iceland e.g: Goðafoss & Dettifoss waterfalls, Hverir (geothermal mud pools, Hveravellir), Krafla volcano and Askja volcano, Mývatn lake, Ásbyrgi, Hljóðaklettar, Dimmuborgir, Hvítserkur (Dinosaur rock), Aldeyjarfoss waterfall and Kjarnaskógur woods. Akureyri city has rich history and there are a few good museums to check out. Here is a blog post I wrote about Akureyri. If you need accommodation check out my Icelandair Hotel Akureyri review.
If you choose to fully use your Icelandair stopover with seven days then I would spend one day in Reykjavík and combine e.g. West + North Iceland or South Iceland and a bit of the East. In 2013 my friend Elisabeth Carlson, who publishes the blog Young Adventuress decided to use the option of an Icelandair’s stopover. We had seven days to explore Iceland and make sure to check out the blog posts here. Our trip was called #IcelandChallenge
Still not convinced about booking an Icelandair Stopover? Then click the links below to see video ideas how to plan your #MyStopover.
- 1 DAY Wellness Stopover in Iceland
- 2 DAY Culture Stopover in Iceland
- 3 DAY Nature Stopover in Iceland
- 5 DAY Adventure Stopover in Iceland
Don’t forget to follow Tiny Iceland via social media for frequent updates. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Tiny Iceland's Pinterest profile is filled with boards and pins to get more ideas what to see & do when planning your #TripInIceland. Tag using Tiny Iceland’s official hashtag #TripInIceland. Cheers and happy travels, Inga, founder of TinyIceland.