I planned an epic trip to Iceland in June of 2017, and ever since then I’ve had a lot of friends ask me for my advice on touring this beautiful country. I’d love to share what I’ve learned along the way.
My husband and I spent over 26 hours in the car traveling over 1,833 kilometers (1,139 miles) to see the major spots of the island. This is a rough sketch of our 9 day road trip.
Iceland was my “big trip” between my husband’s transition from medical school into residency. I figured we could use a last hurrah before the hospital indentured him as a surgical intern. I also desperately needed something to distract me from his impending Match Day, which is a sophisticated method of torture to hire newly graduated doctors into residency programs across the country for specialized training.
The natural control freak in me could not handle the mystery of where we would spend the next several years of our lives for my husband’s career, and so I channeled my nervous energy into a very positive, very OCD form of travel planning. And it was awesome. Please, somebody, stress me out so I can plan out my future trip to New Zealand.
In case you don’t believe my insane need for control, this was my proposed “cliff notes” itinerary for 9 days of travel. I’m sparing you the 30 page document I have on my Google Drive outlining all of this in detail.
That’s right y’all, we Davis’ know how to vacation.
So Why Iceland?
Iceland is exotic, beautiful, and on the rise as a major destination spot for tourists. This means that it’s discussed enough in the travel blogger sphere for adventurous travelers to realize that they ought to go there, but not yet so popular that you would be pelted by an unending sea of tourists.
Do you enjoy nature? Do you prefer spending time in beautiful vistas rather than bustling cities? Then you will love Iceland. Iceland is full of hiking trails, camp sites, and is largely unregulated by rules the way popular American hiking areas are regulated. This means you are given more freedom to push your physical boundaries in an area unmarred by the human touch. However, this also means you have a greater potential to hurt yourself, so you must exercise caution and wisdom and follow Iceland’s rules when they do have them posted.
It may not take terribly long to travel to Iceland, depending on where you are coming from. Here are some average flight times I’ve found online:
- London, UK > Reykjavik = 3 hours
- Boston, MA > Reykjavik = 5 hours
- Rome, Italy > Reykjavik = 7 hours
- Los Angeles, CA > Reykjavik = 9 hours
- New Delhi, India > Reykjavik = 13 hours
- Beijing, China > 15 hours
- Tokyo, Japan > 15 hours
- Sydney, Australia > 28 hours
IcelandAir offers an amazing stopover program so that you can spend a few nights in Iceland along the way to your final destination without it increasing your airfare. So even if you are on the way from Boston to London, you can stop in Iceland for a few days to enjoy the sights.
Iceland is a small island, so you don’t really have to worry about getting lost if you follow their major highway. You won’t find yourself reaching the border of another foreign country without the proper currency or documentation. In fact, Iceland does not operate with cash transactions very often, so you are encouraged to rely on your international credit card for traveling. This makes Iceland a “safer” destination for those who desire to travel abroad but who need to get their feet wet with a slightly less intimidating experience.
The country has been aggressively expanding its tourism appeal, and the citizens of Iceland are largely fluent in English. Iceland officials decided to add road signs in English alongside their Icelandic road signs, which helps with road tripping English speakers who would otherwise struggle to find their way around the country without falling off a cliff. Trust me, it is much easier to plan a trip in a foreign country where its citizens are fluent in English. Have you ever seen or heard Icelandic?
And speaking of Walter Mitty, my life was transformed when I watched The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and saw just how beautiful Iceland was. I met some photographers at art shows who featured their works in Iceland. I became obsessed with the idea of traveling to this exotic world filled with volcanos, black sand beaches, waterfalls, and sulfur pits. Iceland carries so many diverse landscapes, and this variety intrigues someone like me. I was inspired to take the trip myself to satisfy the photographer in me.
Here are a few of my photographs of our trip to entice you:
Intrigued yet by this beautiful, mystical country?
Then consider following my blog for my updates. I’ve got a lot of tips to share about planning a trip to Iceland:
- Traveling in the summer versus in the winter
- Navigating your way around the country
- Currency and pricing expectations
- Waterfall chasing
- Sleeping accommodations
- Rental car advice
- Icelandic bloggers to follow
- Safety resources
- and more!
I hope to see you around. Please feel free to comment with any questions, tips, advice, or recommendations concerning Iceland that you have also found in your travels.