Wow. What a trip! My first time in Iceland was also my first solo trip ever.
I’ll walk you through the week!
Wednesday, November 20th
After an AMAZING Lizzo concert the night before (!!!), I headed out for the airport around 6am, excited for the days ahead of me.
After the metro and the train, I made it to the airport, grabbed breakfast, and hopped on the plane. Lucky for me, the flight was pretty empty, so I had the whole row to myself to catch up on some sleep.
When I landed in Oslo, where my connection was, I only had 45 minutes to make if off the plane, through the airport and onto the next plane, which (luckily), I successfully did. Then, it was off to Reykjavik!
After 3 hours, I had made it to Iceland. As soon as I was off the plane and onto the bus that took me to my hotel, I had a big smile on my face, as my adventure was officially beginning!
During the trip I stayed at the Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Natura, which is a green hotel that stays true to its Icelandic roots! There is art from local artists throughout the hotel and it is situated in one of the greenest areas in the city.
Once at the hotel, I grabbed some food at the Satt Restaurant, which is the one that’s in the hotel! Because I was so tired from the lack of sleep the night before and from all of the travel, I decided to stay at the hotel and get some work done. I have a lot of final projects and papers that still need to get done, even if I’m on vacation, so I need to make sure I set aside time for school!
After a relaxing and productive night, I decided to get some sleep, as I had a busy schedule for the next day.
Thursday, November 21st
On this day, I went on the famous Golden Circle tour here in Iceland! It takes you to some of the most beautiful natural sites that the country boasts. I booked a small group tour, so I was only with five other people, which made the tour much more personal and enjoyable for me!
The Volcanic Crater of Kerið
This was unlike anything I’ve seen before. The crater was filled with deep blue water and all of the surrounding nature was so colorful, even in the middle of November! Here are some pictures:
On our way to the next stop, our guide decided to take us to an extra spot, which was this black church in the middle of nothing.
This geyser erupts every 5-10 minutes, so we were able to see it happen a couple of times! The whole place is a geothermal area, so there were lots of little pools and streams everywhere. It was a really cool experience.
Lunch at Kantína
Right across the street from the geyser, there were restaurants and gift shops conveniently placed for all of us tourists. Look at my view while I was eating lunch!
This waterfall, the second largest in Iceland based on the volume of water flowing through it every second, was breathtaking. The water cascading from one place to the next was so calming and my new friend, Maggie, and I couldn’t stop looking at it!
There’s something super special about these horses…they’re tiny!! They are the ONLY type of horses that live in Iceland, and if one is exported elsewhere, it is not allowed back in the country. We got to stop and visit some, getting to feed and pet them!
The Ice Cream Farm
Located in the Efstidalur valley, this farm is one of the only farms in Iceland that takes its product past the point of initial production! As a dairy farm, the farm takes the milk and turns it into ice cream! Our tour guide treated us to some of the ice cream and we enjoyed it while observing the workings of the organic farm.
Þingvellir National Park
This was the final and most astonishing stop on our tour. This national park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was ridiculously beautiful.
We got to wander around for a while, exploring it at our own pace and taking in the beauty. When we were there, the sun was setting, which made the views even better! While words can’t really explain it, here are some pictures!
This ended the tour, leaving me awestruck at Iceland’s nature! It was incredible and it was a really cool thing to experience by myself!
After the tour, I came back to my hotel, grabbed some dinner and went to bed!
Friday, November 22nd
On this day, I decided to explore Reykjavik. I started my morning out pretty slowly, but eventually made my way out of the hotel and into the city. My hotel is a little bit outside of the city center, so it was a little bit of a walk, but it was beautiful outside so I didn’t really mind.
This cathedral is one of the tallest buildings in Reykjavik and can be seen from just about anywhere in the city. I just happened upon it on my way into the city center and actually ended up running into my friend, Isabella, who I met at DIS!
Here are some pictures of the church:
This street is a very popular shopping street in Reykjavik and is full of bars, shops and restaurants! Once I made my way here, I went to a restaurant called Rossopomodoro and had a wonderful pasta dish.
After lunch I wandered around Laugavegur, looking around the shops, buying postcards and getting to know Reykjavik.
The Sun Voyager
Right down on the harbor, there’s a famous Icelandic sculpture called the Sun Voyager. It was sculpted by Jón Gunnar Arnason, who designed it as an ode to the sun and as a dream boat, even though it looks like a Viking ship. It being situated right on the harbor gives it an incredible backdrop that really brings the whole “dream boat” thing to life!
On my way back to the hotel, I decided to make a quick detour to Perlan, which is about a five minute walk from my hotel. Perlan is a super cool nature exploratorium and observatory, as it boasts one of the most spectacular views of Reykjavik.
I thought it was only a place to get a good view, but it had really cool displays that showed the formation of Iceland, the wildlife the exists in the country now and even an ice cave!
It was a really incredible experience to have alone, as I was able to move at my own pace throughout the exhibits.
Once I had gone through all of Perlan, I made my way to the observation deck, where I could see all of Reykjavik, the ocean, and a beautiful sunset. Here are some pictures!
After I got back to the hotel, I got some rest and grabbed dinner before my final activity of the day!
Northern Lights Tour
In Iceland, one of the things you HAVE to do is scout for the Northern Lights! They have a tons of tours to choose from that take you around the island, looking for the lights.
Unluckily for me, there was too much cloud coverage on this night so I didn’t get to see them. While I was disappointed, I was already having a great trip thus far, so I didn’t really mind!
Saturday, November 23rd
Last minute the night before, I booked a tour for this day which i’m SO glad that I did!
This tour took me along the South coast of Iceland and allowed for some serious glacier adventures!
This waterfall was breathtaking! The glacier runoff cascaded over the edge of a cliff, creating a curtain between the cave and the outside. When we stopped here, I was able to walk all the way around the waterfall, getting really cool perspectives! Here are some pictures:
This was the highlight of the day for sure. After the waterfall, we headed to this glacier, harnessed up, tossed on helmets and crampons, grabbed our ice axes and were ready to go!
We got to hike ON the glacier. It was definitely a first for me!
It was stunning. The sun was shining, the ice was glistening…it was perfect.
Traveling alone is wonderful, but times like these made me wish I had someone with me to share in it. Regardless, I had a really incredible time, made some friends, and took some breathtaking pictures.
We spent about 3 hours on the glacier, hiking around, taking pictures and enjoying ourselves. It was a ridiculously cool experience.
This black sand beach was stunning! The waves crashing against the dark sand was such a cool contrast and there was a cave with gorgeous columns of crystallized lava!
While it was starting to get dark when we got there, it was still breathtaking. Here are some pictures!
This was the final stop on the tour! By the time we got to this waterfall, it was almost pitch black outside, because our tour was running a little late, but it was still beautiful! Even though we couldn’t see it super well, you could still feel the power of the waterfall as it crashed.
One of the friends that I made on my tour took a super cool picture of the waterfall in the dark:
That marked the end of the most amazing day. After the waterfall, we drove about two hours back to Reykjavik, where I immediately Facetimed my dad to tell him all about my day.
Sunday, November 24th
This was my travel day going back to Copenhagen, so I got up early, took a shuttle to the airport and made my way onto my flight back to Denmark.
This trip was more than anything I could have imagined. Spending time with just myself was such a new experience for me and it was wonderful. Although there were times I wish I had someone with me to share in it, I get to have those memories on my own in the context of my independence, reaffirming my ability and strength. As you have seen, Iceland was ridiculously beautiful and it is a spot that I will have to go back to and explore more one day.
While it was a busy week, I wouldn’t have changed anything about it! I am so content and thrilled about my Icelandic experience.