How to roadtrip in Iceland in one day
The best parts of Iceland are out of the city and this is why so many people hire a car and go exploring. Below are some amazing things to see based on how many days you have. You can easily do day trips from Reykjavik for your whole time there, however it is more expensive and inflexible.
So even if you only have one spare day, this is enough to justify renting a car and just driving- trust me you will be blown away by what Iceland has to offer.
ONE DAY: Golden Circle tour
If you only have one day to spare, do the route called the ‘Golden circle’. This is 4 beautiful sights only 100km away from the capital and can be done in a full day.
The first stop can be the Blue Lagoon. If you type this into google, you will be blown away, and trust me it looks even better in real life. It is a geothermal spa with gorgeous torquoise water that you can’t believe is real. It is expensive to get in 6000K ($60) but worth every dollar.
One thing you should know about the pools in Iceland is that as soon as you enter the change rooms, take your shoes off (it is very rude to wear them inside). Also, it is very important to keep the pool clean, so you must shower naked, usually infront of everyone, before getting into your bathing suit and entering the pools. Don’t be shy- this is totally custom and no one cares.
It is surrounded by black lava and spectacular mountains, like a postcard. Take a bottle of water to stay hydrated so you can maximise your time in there, after all you paid enough for it! Find a comfy rock, lie your head back and slip into relaxation. You can buy drinks there but they are slightly expensive.
There are little wooden stations in the pool that have mineral mud in them. Slop some out and DIY face mask, trust me it’s really good for you and everyone does it! When you wash it off you’ll feel like you’ve had 20 facial treatments. Just don’t get it in your hair- it will be stiff for days!
Thingvellir National Park
This is an amazing place that marks the gap between the tectonic places of America and Europe. Organise the day before to do a diving or snorkeling tour with Dive Iceland, in which you swim in between them (!!!), it’s 16000K ($160) but is an experience you can’t get anywhere else in the world. The water is from a nearby glacier and therefore has the best visability in the world (it’s clearer than the human eye can focus).
Underwater there are no fish, but heaps of flurescent algae and a beautiful blue glacier tinge on everything. It’s like a paint explosion underwater. You go out in small groups and get a thorough but short explanation of the area and what to do etc. It is a great tour and goes for 4 hours, ending with hot drinks and snacks. This was probably the coolest thing I did in Iceland and would tell anyone to prioritise it.
In the national park there is also a helpful Information centre, a gorgeous old church, and a scene from the Game of Thrones. It is a great place to do lots of walks in amongst the nature as it is quite large.
About 45minutes down the road is Geysir, an awesome geothermal area with mud hot pots that explode from underground. It is free to enter and there is an Information centre, cafe and hotel next to it.
As you walk around the area you will just see mounds of steam rising from the ground, and bubbling mud spots from the origin. It is very eery but beautiful. There is a smaller one that goes off every 10mins or so and is easy to capture on camera. There is the main geysir that is huge but rarely goes off. However that doesn’t stop the crowds awaiting its eruption with cameras.
About 15mins past Geysir is Gulfoss, an enormous waterfall that completely captures you. The boardwalk that takes you alongside it shows you all different views of this powerful and loud force (you will definitely get sprayed). There are two drops, the second one looking like it falls into nowhere. It is free, awesome and a must see.
You can do all of these in one day, however Blue Lagoon and Thingvellir are places you want to take your time, so I would spread it out to a day and a half if you can. If you’re visiting in summer you could easily do it in a day, as you have essentially 24hr sunlight.
Staying the night in the Golden Circle
If you stay the night, check Airbnb around the town Laugarvatn for somewhere with a local feel to stay for cheap.
So get out and make the most of what country Iceland has to offer!