7.29.2015

Top 5 things to do in Iceland



After spending eleven days making my way around the Ring Road in Iceland I have come up with my Top 5 things from this trip in no particular order.

Disclaimer:  These might be off the beaten path.  There are things I will do next time I go to Iceland like go to the Blue Lagoon straight from the airport and probably spend a day or two in Reykjavik, but my Top 5 are things I will do EVERY time I visit Iceland in the future.  To me they were the highlights of my trip.

Drum roll please....

1. The Rift Zone in Pingvellir National Park.

The Rift Zone in Pingvellir National Park is where two continental plates are pulling apart from each other.  The North American Continental Plate and the Eurasian Continental Plate.  Now there isn't a deep crack where you can see the center of the earth, but there is a crack between the two plates and you can walk from one to the other.  Below are a few photos and then the Middle Sister and I made a short video before we crossed over.
Rift Zone Hike
 Walking down the rift.
People from our tour hiking the rift.  Can you see them in the middle of the photo?
People from our tour hiking the rift.  Can you see them in the middle of the photo?

Then we met a Viking!
Then we met a Viking!

North American Plate on the left, Eurasian on the right.
North American Plate on the left, Eurasian on the right.


Iceland Rift Zone - Pingvellir National Park from everyAugust on Vimeo.

2. Glaciers and Glacier Lagoons.

Glaciers and Glacier Lagoons were my FAVORITE thing about Iceland.  I even dedicated a whole Blog Post about them HERE.  Epic. Amazing. Breath taking.  Yes, yes, yes!  I took some black and white photos of these in Iceland and they are now hanging on my wall.  If you get a chance, I encourage you to visit a Glacier Lagoon!
On a boat in glacier lagoon

Iceland glacier

Iceberg in glacier lagoon

Glaciers of Iceland- June 2015 from everyAugust on Vimeo.

3. Husavik.

Husavik is a town in North Iceland that we stopped at when we stayed in Myvatn.  We arrived there later in the day on day seven of the trip and a lot of people had dinner in town.  I was needing some "mental health time" and ended up wondering the town and enjoying the weather and the light on my own.  Two days later some of the group went whale watching out of Husavik (the Middle Sister and Mo went horse back riding) and I decided to do neither of those options and instead stayed in Husavik at a cafe with Susan (the tour leader's wife) and later had my one and only real Icelandic meal (besides hot dogs) in Husavik.

There was something about this town that was peaceful and serene.  When I go back to Iceland I hope to stay here for a few days to ground myself as the tide goes in and out.

Husavik, Iceland harbor

Husavik is located at 66° North!
66 North Husavik, Iceland

Husavik, Iceland

hot chocolate


Beer in Husavik, Iceland

Arctic Char on barley risotto....
Arctic Char on barley risotto

Blueberry ice cream.
Blueberry ice cream

Us leaving Husavik.  We had just met some members of the USA Arctic Golf team.  You can see them in the upper right corner.  They had been playing in the Arctic Open until 5am!  As the sun wasn't setting, it never got dark!

4. Black Sand Beach and Volcanic Cliffs at Reynisdranger.

I can not wait to go back to the Black Sand Beach and Volcanic Cliffs at Reynisdranger.  I want to explore this area and maybe even camp here for a few days.  A sea-arch nearby is the Southern most point of Iceland and staying here would ensure access to this amazing place with minimal people.  I suspect I will return again in the summer and look forward to seeing the midnight sun reflecting off the black sand.

Iceland Black Sand Beach


Iceland Black Sand Beach at Reynisdranger from everyAugust on Vimeo.

5.  Hot Dogs and Donuts.

Yes, you read that correctly.  Hot Dogs and Donuts.  If you have been keeping up with my travels you might of realized I travel to eat.  I LOVE EATING.  This trip to Iceland, not about eating.  This trip was different than any trip I have done before.  It was a tour (not my favorite way to travel) and we stayed in a lot of guesthouses / hostels.  Some of them remote.  Before the trip we were told to bring food as
1) Iceland food can be expensive.
2) There would not be a lot of places to eat where we were staying.

We were also told of the places that would have kitchens and the Middle Sister, Mo, and I brought food as advised.  We coordinated and had food for happy hour, oatmeal breakfasts, dinner, and sandwich stuff.  We stopped at a few grocery stores (MY FAVORITE KIND OF STOPS) in Iceland and picked up a few things along the way as well.  So with all this food prep, I did not eat out very much.  As a matter of fact I only had three real meals out in Iceland.  At a French place in Reyjakavik, an Italian place in Akureyri, and the Arctic Char in Husavik.   All of those meals were excellent by the way.  But I did supplement the food we brought with some Iceland snacks; mostly hot dogs and donuts.

The "Icelandic Hot Dog" is the unofficial national food of Iceland and I highly recommend it.  Made mostly of lamb, get it with everything which includes raw and fried onions, sweet brown mustard (like a double honey mustard), ketchup, and remoulade.  Hot dogs are sold all over the country and I might of had one everyday.....

Hot dogs in Reykjavik

Hot dogs in Reykjavik

Hot dogs in Reykjavik

Waiting in line for a hot dog at the famous Baejarins Beztu Pylsur in Reykjavik. 
Waiting in line at the famous Baejarins Beztu Pylsur in Reykjavik.

The donuts were a happy accident.  On our first day in Reykjavik we walked by the Sandholt Bakari (Icelandic spelling) and made a note to stop there to pick up some bread for sandwiches before we left the next day.  Once inside the bakery (make sure you grab a number!) we decided to get more than just bread.  We got croissants and bread and some pastries and I asked for a donut!  All amazing, but that donut,  heaven.  Different.  Airy dough.  Not too sweet.  Delicious.  I was hooked.  I purchased a donut whenever I saw one.  Which, lucky for my waist line, was not as often as the hot dogs.  





And there you have it, my Top 5 Things to do in Iceland.  A very non traditional list.  But moments that MADE my trip.  All of Iceland was fantastic and I had to narrow it down to five things to stay focused.  My list was getting longer and longer....  I have already highlighted a few other adventures in Iceland and you can read more about it HERE.

Special thanks to my Middle Sister and Mo for being such excellent travel partners and to GeoTours for giving me my first adventure in Iceland.  I will be heading back there some day and look forward to visiting more of this amazing country!

-elizabeth

**This is part of my Iceland adventure in June 2015.  Read more about it HERE.**

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