My 10 Day Iceland wintertime Initiary
Let me start by explaining a few things. Iceland had on my wishlist for quite a while since I heard a colleague talking about it. It had never popped up in my mind before as a suggestion, but when I heard the stories it sounded like a place I definitely had to go to visit. In the years following it kind of went to the back of my head and I didn’t really think about it anymore, until one day.
I wanted to plan my very first solo trip and of course, the biggest question was: Where should I go to? Me being a 25-year-old woman, traveling solo for the first time, I was looking for a place with a lot of nature to photograph. But also, I wanted to feel safe and able to travel around easily. I love doing road trips, cause I always want to see as much as possible.
After some googling and some asking around I stumbled upon Iceland again, and then I knew, I just had to go there. I was a little bit afraid of the very short days and the long hours of darkness, but I decided I’d give it a shot. And I haven’t regretted it, not for a second!
So, the planning had begun. I found a nice ticket deal but it turned out after that Iceland was really as expansive as everyone was telling me. The plan was to travel around and stay in Hostels.
It was quite hard planning the trip because a lot of blogs were giving different info on driving the Icelandic roads in wintertime. Most articles were about a summer trip, and it seemed that the weather could get really indecisive in the winter, so you had to be flexible. Icelandics always say, In Iceland you can have 4 seasons in one day. This made me decide to just only do the south part instead of the whole Island. (which could be possible in wintertime with a minimum of 10 full days)
So when reading this Initiary, keep in mind, I went in November, which is full on winter in Iceland.
Day 1 Arrival at Reykjavik – Kevlik Airport – Reykjavik
I arrived in Iceland during the afternoon, I then figured out the sun was setting around 4 pm. So after a one hour drive to my hostel in the middle of Reykjavik, it already turned pitch black. It was so dark, you could easily sleep with the curtains open because the sun got up several hours later around 10 pm. My first day was all about exploring the City of Reykjavik and strolling around their main highlights. If you want to read a detailed blog post on Reykjavik check the blog, cause it will be following. After picking up some groceries at Bonus to spare out some money I drove up to Selfoss just before the night coming in early again.
Day 2 Selfoss
Selfoss was just an hour out of Reykjavik, but the perfect spot to start early on the Golden Circle trip. The Golden Circle is probably the most famous trip to do in Iceland, also because it is very accessible from Reykjavik and a lot of tour busses start from the Capital to drive everyone around.
The Golden Circle consist of 3 main attractions, but in my opinion, they missed one small but beautiful spot which is also on the way. This spot is called the Kerið volcano crater, it usually has clear blue water, but in wintertime, it totally froze which gave it a very special look.
The main sites are:
Þingvellir National Park
As the name already states, you drive through the spots in kind of a circle, so at the end of the day. I ended up at Selfoss again.
Day 3 Selfoss
After Sellfoss my trip went on in the direction of Vik
My main stops were
The Turf houses at Skogar (next to the waterfall)
Reynisfjara black sand beach / Reynisdrangar.
It was a very windy day, which meant walking the very beautiful black sand beach, gave your face a nice free scrub.
This day I also heard the weather was getting very bad for the next day.
I know I read all about Icelandic weather, but I probably had hoped I wasn’t going to be a victim by it. Unfortunately I was and the roads were blocked both ways. So there I was, stuck in Vik. Luckily I found out some people I met during the trip were staying in the same hostel. And also my new roommates were very fun, so staying in wasn’t that bad after all. After a nice dinner, we all knew we had to change our plans for tomorrow. I wasn’t going to be able to go forward and I had to cancel the rest of my trip. I planned on seeing Jökulsárlón Glacier lagoon and seeing some ice caves. But as all the Iceland blogs tell you. Be flexible and always check the road before leaving. The website www.road.is is always your best source for update road info and next to that also follow the facebook page Safeiniceland for some great and accurate updates.
Because I didn’t want to stay inn the whole day I took my chance during the day when a part of the road opened up again. After a very windy ride and helping cars that got stuck, we finally made it to Fjaðrárgljúfur. And I am so happy I didn’t miss it. I absolutely loved this place. Even though it was quite hard to walk up the mountain because of the crazy amount of wind it still was a Wonderfull place I wouldn’t have wanted to miss.
That night we slept with all of the people I met in a cozy chalet because the hostel rooms were already rented out again. We had this room with a window in front of us and we were even able to see a bit of the northern lights from our beds. It was so lovely, who would have thought this could turn out so great.
Day 5 Vestmannaeyjar
I originally planned to stay this day in Vik, but since I had already been staying there for 2 days because of the storm, I decided to drive to another place where some of my roomies already had booked something. Turned out they had an apartment available to rent, so we went in their with all of us. On our way there we made another stop at the Skógafoss waterfall, this time to climb it to the top. After this stop, we went on to have a look at the island of Iceland called Vestmannaeyjar.
Of course, during all these rides we had various stops to take as many pictures as possible.
Day 6 Seljaland
I had already planned my stay at Seljaland and that is where our road split again. I stayed in a very nice hostel next to Skógafoss. Turned out, I didn’t look on the map that good so I started exploring the area a bit more. I kept checking the road map every hour because the road conditions were still very unstable. In the end, I decided to book a snow scooter tour, ( I had to treat myself for not seeing Jökulsárlón;)) The ride up the mountain was crazy, we went up there with some kind of monster truck fearing our lives. But it was a very cool experience.
Day 7 Reykjavik
Again some city exploring. After all, it turned out one day had also been enough for Reykjavik because the city is actually pretty small.
Day 8 Reykjavik
After enough of exploring I had a chat with my friends again, they were up north a bit. There were quite some places I wanted to see up north in the Snæfellsnes peninsula but the ride would be quite long and I wasn’t sure If I as going to make it before dark. They told me they were going anyway so I decided to join. I drove up to Akranes quick and then we joined each other for a lovely road trip consuming all day.
We have some amazing stops at:
Lóndrangar basalt cliffs
Djúpalónssandur Black Sand Beach & Dritvík
The black lava pearl beach
After the lovely road trip we decided to check if we could spot the Northern light with the others but after freezing our asses off for a while we decided we weren’t lucky and had to go back to our hostel.
Day 9 Reykjavik
The last day was all about relaxing at the Blue Lagoon. Blue Lagoon is the one spot everyone is always talking about when they know you are going to Iceland. Blue Lagoon is one of the 25 world wonders. It is such an amazing experience sitting in a 38 C bath while your hair is freezing because it is -5 outside. This day was Wonderfull to get back on the plane fully relaxed. After a very short night near the airport, it sadly was time to go back home again.
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