Iceland (July 2018)

With our Hawaii trip off the table, we figured we might as well use up the flight money we’ve been saving on a trip abroad! While we’ve traveled abroad extensively, Jon and I have never traveled outside of North America together!

Since we definitely want to do some trekking on our trip, I am thinking that we’ll fight the crowds and try to go in July for Jon’s birthday.

Maybe around a 10 day trip (leverage the weekends). First half more civilized exploration, second half 4 days backpacking.

Nonstop flights from LAX to Iceland = ~ 9 hours
Drive around Iceland = ~12-13 hours

The Northern Lights appear from September until April – but February to March, and September to October – particularly around the equinoxes – are the best months to see them.

June and July are the months of the midnight sun, which may sound wonderful but expect a few nights of troubled sleep as your body adjusts to the constant Arctic light. And pack an eye mask! By August, the nights begin to darken.

If you want to drive bear in mind that many minor roads – especially in the mountains – are closed from late September to June (and sometime early July) due to snow and ice. Even when open you need a 4WD for most of them.

Hallgrímskirkja

The unique church is situated in the middle of Reykjavík. It is the tallest and most recognizable building in the country. The architecture was inspired by the Black Falls – another Icelandic natural wonder.

Other Lagoons in addition to Blue Lagoon

Secret Lagoon also in the southwest and Mývatn Nature Baths in the north. The former, although far from being a secret nowadays, is still a lot quieter than the Blue Lagoon, and Mývatn is a must.

Maelifell Volcano, Myrdalsjökull Glacier Park

The perfect cone makes Maelifell a classic looking volcano. During the warm season, snow uncovers a lavish green surface, covered with moss. There is plenty to do and see in the park, full of volcanoes, hot springs and other beautiful sites.

Gullfoss Waterfall

The gorgeous waterfall is one of the most popular attractions in the country. Located in the canyon, which forms three step terraces, river Hvítá plunges creating a powerful stream and Gullfoss. There are no rails – just a natural surroundings.

Skaftafell Park

Measuring 4800 square kilometers, Skaftafell is home to some of the strangest and most surreal landscapes on the planet; the area is formed by a constant duel of fire and water, and camping in the greens of a birch wood forest, surrounded by black desert sands, glacial rivers, and a spur of the Vatnajökull ice cap is always a humbling experience.

https://www.gadventures.com/trips/best-of-iceland/4157/

Hike Laugavegurinn Trail

49 miles with options to add on.

Must do between mid-June and mid-Sept, mid-July onward is better.

https://www.fi.is/en/hiking-trails/laugavegur

http://frugalfrolicker.com/iceland-laugavegur-trek/

http://andrewskurka.com/adventures/iceland-traverse/about-the-laugavegur/

Laugavegurinn and more:
http://withoutbaggage.com/mission-iceland/

 

Other handy resources:

How to do Reykjavik on the cheap: https://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/save-money-reykjavik/

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