Summer Travel Guide: 3 Days in Iceland
SUMMER IN ICELAND
The nordic island nation of Iceland is known for its dramatic landscapes, volcanoes, geysers, and hot springs unlike anywhere else in the world. This land of extreme weather and epic wilderness is the perfect escape for those looking for an adventure. I visited Iceland with two of my girlfriends for our annual girls trip this mid-July and had a blast during all 21-hours of daylight. We found the capital of Reykjavík to be a central location to experience both the mossy landscapes by day and jovial bar scene at night. With photos that can’t do these beautiful views justice, this popular destination is truly worth the trip.
Upon arrival in Iceland
You’ll most likely be arriving at Keflavik Airport in the early morning after a red eye flight. I highly recommend renting a car and starting the day off with a mild activity to make the most of your time (more information on rental car tips and our experience further down).
Between the airport and the city of Reykjavik, the Blue Lagoon is the perfect activity to start off your visit to Iceland. You can drive straight there from the airport avoids temptations of taking a nap at the first glance of your hotel room bed and further preventing you from acclimating to the time change. The Blue Lagoon has storage available for luggage or you can opt to keep it in the car.
My friends and I enjoyed four hours of swimming in the mineral rich waters of the Blue Lagoon at their swim-up bars, playing with mud face masks, enjoying complimentary smoothies, and even getting a floating massage from the spa. As relaxing as it is beautiful, unwinding at this geothermal spa is a great way to ease into your trip as a weary traveler and leave ready for the many adventures to come.
SUMMER TRAVEL GUIDE:
3 DAYS IN ICELAND
🧖🏻♀️ Swim in the mineral rich waters of the Blue Lagoon
p.s. You must buy your tickets in advance! As one of the largest attractions, there are only a certain number of tickets sold per day. We chose the premium package which included a cozy robe, second face mask, and slippers - which I highly recommend!
AFTERNOON EXPLORING REYKJAVIK
🥘 Dinner a Kol Restaurant
🐎 Take pictures of the Icelandic Horses on the drive to Kerid
🌋 Visit the breathtaking volcanic Kerid Crater along the Golden Circle Driving Route
🍅 Lunch in the Fridheimar Tomato Farm Greenhouse
🏊🏻♂️ Snorkel the Silfra Fissure — the coldest glacial waters, but seeing the neon “Troll Hair” algae made it totally worth it!
🐟 Upscale dinner at Grillmarkadurinn
🍷 Sunset drinks at Petersen's Rooftop Bar
🚙 Spend the morning driving on the Golden Circle Route, a road loop that hits a few of the main tourist attractions
💦 Watch the eruption of Strokkur Geyser
🌊 Take in the splendor of Gullfoss Waterfall
🥪 Lunch at The Coocoo's Nest
🐎 Horseback riding through the mossy lava fields
🛍 Shop in downtown Reykjavik
🐟 Dinner at Snaps Bistro Bar
PACKING FOR SUMMER IN ICELAND
THE CITY OF REYKJAVIK
Iceland Weather during the Summer?
July - August temperatures range from 50–55 °F. There is a high chance you'll see rainbows along your moss-laden drive as the sun and scattered rain showers make them common.
If you're planning a summer vacation in Iceland, know that it is a destination with cool temps for most of your trip. You probably won't be in a bikini except for when you warm up in the milky waters of the Blue Lagoon.
Where should I stay?
The Canopy by Hilton was our wonderfully trendy hotel that was centrally located in the town of Reykjavik - would highly recommend.
RENTING A CAR IN ICELAND
Renting a car is the best way to get around Iceland. Everything from alcohol to tours are pretty expensive in this country as it is, so splurging on the ability to explore at your own pace is 100% worth it. You'll be able to wake up early and pack your things comfortably for day trips such as driving around the Golden Circle, snorkeling in the National Park, or heading to the famous Blue Lagoon.
Three Tips Before Renting a Car in Iceland:
Rent directly from a reputable company like Budget, Hertz, or Sixt
For our girls trip we rented a Jeep through Orbitz and I have to WARN YOU to check which local car rental company they pair you with if you choose to do this. I didn't realize they paired us with Green Motion Car Rental which, after checking reviews on Tripadvisor, is know for scamming renters with expensive insurance or claiming they damaged the car.
2. Buy the extra car insurance! - or check if your credit card covers international car insurance
Visiting natural wonders and rolling landscapes usually means you are going to encounter gravel roads at some point. It is very common to have tons of little rocks and it only takes one to hit your windshield and crack the whole thing. Also, depending on the time of year you visit Iceland there may be volcanic ash or ice to worry about with gusts of high winds that come out of nowhere. With all of these factors that you can't plan for, it is most definitely worth the peace of mind to pay for the extra insurance. That said, don't be scared to drive - we had no problems navigating our long-weekend trip and ABSOLUTELY LOVED having a car! We were so happy we weren't tied to the schedule of a tour guide. Trust me, if my friends and I can learn how to navigate the road of Reykjavik, you can too!
3. Take pictures of the car before you sign the rental agreement
Iceland is known for extreme weather like sand storms, but we didn't encounter any of the dramatic events the car rental company warned us about. During our van drive from Keflavik Airport to the car rental lot, the driver dramatized the weather to encourage us to buy the premium insurance, which I did -- just in case! But the best way to make sure you aren't blamed for scratches or damage already done to your car is to take pictures upon receiving it. It is the best protection for you & helps you enjoy the trip more!
4. Overnight Street Parking in Reykjavik is easy & affordable
I was pleasantly surprised by how seamless overnight parking was. Quick and easy, all you need to do is make sure you park within a designated white line, type in your license plate number into the street meter, and pay less than $15 USD during the day time. Plus! It is free to park overnight from 6pm - 9am.
THE GOLDEN CIRCLE SIGHTS
Traveling to Iceland soon?
Would love to hear about your trip in the comments below!