Iceland Day 1

Hey guys! I thought for my first Iceland trip recap post I’d start at the beginning and share what we got into on our first day on the island! For the rest of my posts, I’m going to highlight a few of our other favorite things/hikes we did (vs. sharing a day by day recap), but since we did so much on day 1 it made sense to start with more of a play by play for that day. So, enjoy! :)

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We landed at 6:20 a.m. (red eye – oof!) and lucked out with a GORGEOUS first day (the only nice sunny weather day of the trip, as it turned out, so I’m really glad we took advantage)!

We met our German friends, Melli and Moritz, at the airport – so good to see them again! We rented a car (definitely recommend doing this if you travel to Iceland!), and our friends arrived the night before, so since they were well rested they drove while Matt and I took cat naps in the car, rousing ourselves every time we stopped for something cool. Luggage tetris FTW!


It ended up being a really fun day!

iceland trip recap

For the first 3 nights of our trip we stayed at Hörgsland Cottages (affiliate link), so we basically drove there and stopped a ton to sightsee on our way. It’s a 3 hour drive east to get there from the airport, but with all the stops we turned it into an all day adventure! The cottages were a great option if you are traveling in a small group or just solo/as a pair – it’s affordable and they have cabins and also dorm-style accommodations as well. Nothing fancy or spacious but it did the job! We also loved that we had a kitchen (a tiny one with a hot plate, but still doable) to cook dinners ourselves because eating out is really expensive in Iceland! (They had a restaurant, but it was pricey and sounded pretty gross… mostly fried/cheap stuff.) Plan a stop to a grocery store (Bonus is the name of their big/cheap one) on your drive so you have some supplies!

horgsland cottages review

By the way: if you do something like this where you land and then drive around and sightsee, be sure to pack a day bag with hiking clothes (or wear them on the plane) so you can take advantage of all the cool stuff on the way. And for lunch, either grab something at the airport to bring with you, or at some of the tourist stops they have booths with food, but it’s pricey and not that great. If you do want to eat out, work in a stop to Gamla Fjosid, a cool farm that’s supposed to have amazing food. I wish I’d realized we were near this!

And now, for the sightseeing highlights on our drive!

  • Seljalandsfoss waterfall – this was GORGEOUS and right off the road. I highly recommend walking behind it, although you want to wear waterproof clothing because you’ll get soaked! When you’re done checking the main waterfall out, walk left – there’s another smaller waterfall and a mini hike you can do which were fun.




  • Skógafoss waterfall – again, gorgeous and right off the road. Since we lucked out with awesome weather, we did a nice long hike here, too – you can climb up to the right of the waterfall and keep going up past the main tourist view point – gorgeous views!





Bumpin’! :) I was about 14 weeks here.

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  • Dyrhólaey (peninsula with rocks/a cool arch)


  • Black sand beach (near the town of Vik)



We stuck our hands in the water – sooo cold!

vik black sand beach

We made it to our cottages around dinnertime. We stopped at a grocery store along the way earlier in the day so we had lots of supplies, and chef Matt got right to work for us!

horgsland cottages

Melli and Moritz are vegetarian so we kept things simple and made rice and beans! We added a can of diced tomatoes to the mix as the sauce and did lots of sauteed veggies, too. I ended up mixing mine all together. It was really good – I want to make this again now that we are home because simple meals seem to be settling best for me right now!

how to save money on food in iceland

Also: we made a cat friend! We had the door open for fresh air since it was so nice out and she strolled right in. So cute and friendly!


Matt and I were really impressed with ourselves for staying up until a reasonable hour – the car naps definitely helped! We were still more than ready for bedtime when it arrived, though. So weird going to bed when it was light out – even at this time of year there’s basically no total darkness – the sun set around 11:30 and rose at 3:30, but it stayed looking like dusk the whole time – never fully dark. Weird!

I’ll be back with more Iceland recaps in the coming weeks – stay tuned! :)

Have you been to Iceland? What were the highlights for you?


  1. 1

    This looks so amazing! I drove around Ring Road two years ago and it was the greatest time ever. I wish I had known about that restaurant, looks so cool!

  2. 3

    Awww, so glad you had fun! I love Scandinavia in the summer. Think of how productive you can be with all that light! 4am morning runs!!! ;) Skogafoss is my favorite waterfall! <3

  3. 5

    We are leaving for a 9 day ring road trip the end of June so I’m so excited about your tips! We are actually booked at that same lodging for our second night! Can you talk about if and how you navigated using GPS? Did you get a SIM card and use your phone? Thanks!

    • 6

      Awesome, have fun!! For GPS, download Maps.Me app — you can download maps offline and then use them to navigate without wifi! We didn’t have wifi/interest on our phones for most of the trip – just at a few of the tourist stops and at our last hotel. The lodge place has wifi at the main lodge, but not in the cabins!

  4. 7

    What a fun first day! Those waterfalls are gorgeous! I love that you met a sweet cat while you were there. How funny that she just made herself right at home!

  5. 8

    your trip looks absolutely beautiful so far!! that waterfall is epic. i’m dying to go to iceland, it’s on my travel bucket list for sure!

  6. 9

    Oh man your day at the black sand beaches was so much nicer than mine. We got caught in a terrible wind/hail storm in March and could barely see the pillars in the water.

  7. 11

    Those waterfalls and the cabin look so beautiful! It reminds me a bit of Alaska, where I lived for 4 years while I was in the Air Force. I can’t wait to see more!

  8. 13

    So excited to read your recaps! My best friend and I are heading to Iceland on June 6 :) We have rented a car and will be seeking out lots of waterfalls. Did you find that hikes required heavy-duty hiking boots, or would regular sneaker-type shoes be okay?

  9. 15

    I’ve always wanted to visit Iceland! My friend growing up was from there. It looks GORGEOUS- especially that waterfall!

  10. 16

    How beautiful! Iceland is one of my bucket list places, hoping to go when the babes are a bit older.

  11. 17

    Wow so pretty–can’t wait to hear more about your trip. I’m also so impressed you did all of that hiking and traveling while pregnant!

    • 18

      The hiking felt great, actually! The travel was okay except on the way back… got wayyyy too hungry/nauseous and then the jetlag didn’t feel great either. Blech! A red eye while pregnant was not super fun either ha.

  12. 19

    The waterfalls are beautiful! I can’t wait to read all the other recaps. Your bump certainly is getting to go on lots of adventures!

  13. 21
    Lauren K says

    Very cool!

  14. 22

    Great pics and adventure! We are flying through Iceland on our way to Germany/Greece (wish we had more than a two hour layover) and I was wondering if the airport had good places for healthy food? I’ve recently lost 24lbs, finally eating whole, healthy foods so worried about our first vacation and wondering if I should bring my own food?

    • 23

      YES they had an amazing place in the airport called “Joe and the Juice” – really good sandwiches and tons of healthy smoothies and fresh juice, too!

  15. 24

    Looks awesome!! :D Hi to Melli and Moritz! Also your bump is adorable :)

  16. 25
    Roadrunner says

    Seriously stunning, a great start to your adventure! Fun!

  17. 26

    What hiking pants did you take with? Also, did you take a backpack, which one? I went to Iceland last year in winter and am going back in July.

    • 27

      I had two pairs of hiking pants – one was North Face, one was Prana. And my husband had a North Face hiking back pack with him. I can’t find the exact stuff online unfortunately, I’m sorry!


  1. […] Hey guys! I’m back for my second Iceland recap. If you missed the first one, check that out too: Iceland Day 1. […]

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