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! 🙂
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!
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!
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.
- Dyrhólaey (peninsula with rocks/a cool arch)
- Black sand beach (near the town of Vik)
We stuck our hands in the water – sooo cold!
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!
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!
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?