Iceland has been one of the best surprises we’ve experienced in a long time. Stunning landscapes, friendly (mostly-English speaking) locals, and only 4.5 hours from JFK, this is one trip you can wring a lot out of in just a 3 day weekend!
Granted, you will want to stay forever, and there is enough to see and do to last weeks!.. but a 3 day weekend is absolutely do-able!
Travel! We had a 10pm flight out of JFK which gave us a 9am arrival in Iceland! Since we traveled during the summer, we flew Delta (they only fly there June-September), but if you are already planning a European trip, consider flying Iceland Air which allows you to have a FREE layover (up to 7 days) in Iceland! Find out more here!
Head straight to the Blue Lagoon! Book your tickets for a specific time-slot ahead of time (don’t worry, you can still enter later if your flight is delayed) and then spend the morning soaking and drinking in pure bliss! I would recommend 2-3 hours for your time here, unless you also want to pre-book a massage. Pack your swimsuit in your carry-on; lockers and showers are provided with your admission!
We did a ton of research and ended up going with Back to Iceland for our transportation for the entire trip. We couldn’t be happier. They were there waiting once we arrived and took us (a group of 6) along with another couple straight to the Blue Lagoon. They held our suitcases and afterwards took us straight to our hotel in Reykjavik!
Check in and explore! Staying in downtown Reykjavik puts a lot of awesome stops right at your front door! We spent the evening exploring and tasting all downtown has to offer!
Laugavegur Street – Walking street of bars, shops, and restaurants
Golden Circle Tour! A tour of the Golden Circle is an absolute must-do regardless of your length of time in Iceland. Since we were only in for a few days, we opted not to rent a car and enjoyed being driven around instead.
Choosing a tour guide within Reykjavik was a process I spent entirely too much time on, but ultimately I am really happy with our experience with Back to Iceland. I wanted to avoid being lumped on a bus with 100+ other people and they ended up being perfect! The van only seats 8 and no one else booked so we had the van to ourselves for only $0.60 more/pp than the megabus! (Note: We are not sponsored in anyway, we paid for the entire trip with our own money). Plus the van had wifi… ultimate win!
Our stops included:
Thingvellier National Park
Geysir hot springs area
The tour was about 8 hours, but the time flew by. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!
Our last night in Reykjavik was spent pretty much the same way the first night was spent: food and drinks!
Here are a few of the other places that we stopped in and really enjoyed:
Islenski Barinn (Icelandic bar with local foods!)- Pósthússtræti 9, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
Kaffibarinn (English pub with local brews) – Miðborg, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
MAR Restaurant (Highly rated restaurant with a fun, trendy bar) – Geirsgata 9, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
Frederiksen Ale House (Very Americanized, but local beers and great food with a LARGE menu)- Hafnarstræti 5, Reykjavík, Iceland
As a guidebook junkie, I’d recommend the Lonely Planet Iceland guide. I liked all the detail it had about the Golden Circle.
I also had the LP Pocket Reykjavik book, but didn’t feel like this version had enough information inside of it.
So, there you have it! We had a great taste of Iceland in only 3-days. While it is only a peek at everything this beautiful country has to offer, I was impressed with how easy it was to get around and soak in as much as possible in such a short time. Now if only we had been to get a glance at those pesky Northern Lights!! 😀