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MDW in Iceland

The flight

I booked my flight for MDW on January 18 which was a Tuesday and paid $330. My cousin booked hers about a month before leaving and paid about $400. WOW has good deals on flight to and from Iceland. Just know that if you plan on taking a carry on, you are going to pay. The planes to and from are very bare as well. For a 5 hour flight, no snacks or drinks are served for free and there are no TVs. So just keep that in mind.

Day 1

Our flight arrived at 5 am. Unlike what I had read online, the airport did have a few places open in the airport if you wanted food. We took the car rental shuttle bus to Sixty because it was pouring out. I booked our car and hotel through Expedia. The package ended up being $440 before I added an extra day and gravel insurance. It took about five minutes to get our car and we were off. No wait time.

First stop, Kirkjufellsfoss. About a 3 hour drive from the airport. This is in GOT so I wanted to see it obvi. I didn’t think about the weather however, so when we arrived, you couldn’t see much which was a tad disappointing since we drove 3 hours to see it.

Second stop, Thingvellir National Park (2.5 hour drive). There is a lot to see and do here such as a fault line, waterfall, and where Europe and North America meet.

Third stop, Geysir (37 min drive). I was quite unimpressed with this stop. It was overcrowded and to see water pop out of the water for 2 seconds really wasn’t my cup of tea.

Fourth stop, Gullfoss Falls (10 min drive). The falls were awesome to see. Lots of viewing points too.

Fifth stop, Kerid (48 min drive). This was the only place we had to pay to see. It was about $4 so it wasn’t bad. You can see the crater from above and go down to the lake of the crater as well.

Sixth stop, Hveragard (20 min drive). This stop is only worth it if you are in the mood to hike. We were not due to being tired. We also were a bit confused on where this actually was since there is no signs of visitor parking like we saw for the other stops.

We did get some food at the Bonus market that was on the road here for our trip. Don’t expect to find fruits and veggies here though. Mainly processed items, meats, and dairy products.

We then went to the hotel to check in. We stayed at Icelandic apartments which is part of the package I got on Expedia. The hotel was amazing from the views out the windows, mini kitchen, walk in shower in the bathroom, huge bed, and was only an 8 min drive outside of Reykjavík. We ended up taking a nap for a few hours around 5 pm. Probably shouldn’t have but oh well, we did.

Seventh stop, Reykjavík (8 min drive). We woke up around 9 pm and decided to go explore the city. We saw the church and ate a hot dog which was actually really tasty. We got everything on the hot dog to get the full experience. We then drove around for a bit and called it a night.

Day 2

First stop, Seljalandsfoss (1 hr 30 min drive). We left the hotel at 6 am to get a head start and try and beat the rain. That didn’t happen though. The rain came anyway. We survived though. This waterfall is gorgeous, and there’s a trail that goes behind the falls as well.

Second stop, Seljavellir/Seljavallalaug ( 20 min drive). This is where you will find the oldest thermal pool in Iceland. You will have to walk about a mile through the rocks and across a stream to get here. It is well worth it and the walk is gorgeous. The hot water is piped in on one side so it is warmer on one side of the pool than the other. I would say the water on the warmer end of the pool was in the low 90s. Our hair felt so soft after being in this pool. There are changing rooms but just know that it’s not going to be very clean.

Third stop, Skógafoss ( 6 min drive). This is the most famous waterfall from my perspective. This is the waterfall that I see pictured the most. A short walk from the parking lot, you can get up close and personal with the falls as well as climb the stairs to overlook it.

Note, the plane crash on the beach is only 19 min from Skógafoss. It is a 3 mile walk one way to the plane crash site. Therefore, we didn’t do it because we heard it wasn’t anything great and didn’t want to give up 3 hours.

Fourth stop, Vik (28 min drive). This is a cute little town with the Black sand beaches. It was too foggy to see anything going through so we didn’t stay long.

Fifth stop, Fjadrarglijúfur (49 min drive). This a famous trench in Iceland. Sadly, it was closed. We met others though that disregarded the closed sign and still went.

Sixth stop, Svartifoss (1 hr 6 min drive). This one was a bit of a hike. It is located on the backside of a mountain so you will be doing a lot of inclines. So start prepping on the stair master. It was quite foggy there so the falls weren’t as clear as I would have like but you could still see how amazing it was. There are other waterfalls and nice picture spots along the hike. Just know that it can be muddy so dress appropriately.

Seventh stop, Jokulsarlon/Glacier Lagoon (48 min drive). It was so cool to see the large pieces of ice floating in the water. Sounds odd and boring, but it was actually incredible. They also have bathrooms there as well as some food to buy.

On our way back, we stopped halfway in Vik again because the fog had left the area. We got a great shot of the Black beaches and had a salad at a no name place. I got a recommendation after we had eaten but was told to try out the ice cream so we had to check it out. Wish we hadn’t eaten yet because everyone eating around us loved their food. The ice cream was great. One that you need to try to have your own opinion of it. It was simple, subtle, and delicious. The restaurant is called Sudur Vik.

We made it back to the hotel around 8 pm and called it a night. This was our time to pack and check into our flights for our final day in Iceland.

Day 3 Blue Lagoon (31 min from hotel)

I had made reservations for the Blue Lagoon about a week before going. I would suggest booking even earlier so you have more time slots available to book. We had 8 am reservations and arrived at 8:30. Just note, showing up early doesn’t mean you get in early. They will make you wait until it’s your time. I wanted to go all out since I couldn’t get anything booked for their new spa called the Retreat so I bought the premium tickets which are $122. Your call. I was happy I did it. You get bathrobes, flip flops, algae mask, and a couple free drinks. Was it worth the extra money? Again, your call. Everyone gets a locker to put all your things. If you do get the premium, leave your towel in your locker for now and just wear your bathrobe and flip flops to the lagoon. You can enter the lagoon from inside or outside. The water is quite warm; in the low 100s if I had to guess. It’s a hot tub you don’t get too hot in. Head over to the mud hut on the left where everyone can get a free silica mask which you leave on for 5-10 mins then if premium, get the algae mask which you would leave on for another 5-10 mins. They say to not get your hair wet but I did. You shower after and use their conditioner but I highly suggest bringing a clarifying shampoo with you so you don’t have dirty feeling and probably looking hair for the plane ride home like I did. If you have the premium package, you get a free drink at the swim up bar. It can be alcohol or non alcoholic (smoothies or fresh squeezed juices). As for making the most of your time in the lagoon, don’t forget to check out the other features in the lagoon such as the two steam baths, sauna, and waterfall that is great on your shoulders. Note that the cave steam bath is extremely hot. We then had lunch when Lava opened at 11:30. If you want the one table that has the best view of the lagoon, make a reservation ahead of time. The food is very expensive but was a great experience and the food was delicious. If we had more time, we would have stayed in our bathrobes and flip flops to go eat in. We split the mussels and cod, and had our free champagne from the premium package. Even the bread was fancy and had the butter served on a lava rock sprinkled with lava salt. Nice touch.

Drive to airport ( 16 mins) Dropped off our rental car which only took 10 mins and walked over to the airport because it’s a 5 min walk and it was a beautiful day. Our check in to Iceland’s International airport was seamless. They have thought of everything. I was very impressed with that airport. In closing I would love to go back and complete the full Ring Road. There is so much to see in this country. The landscape changes every 15 minutes and there is always something beautiful to look at outside your window. I felt like we saw more in 2.5 days than what people see in a week. If you are up for the challenge, try and do everything we did. It will enrich your body, mind, and soul. You will also go back to look at your pictures and think to yourself, WOW, Iceland is gorgeous and I can’t believe I was there. Side note, a lot of Iceland’s landscape makes me think it was all underwater at one point.... Hope to hear about your experience in Iceland!

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