This May, I finally managed to visit Iceland. This country was on my list for a while and the trip was booked back last November. Why Iceland? I think the main reason why we chose it because of it nature – we spend a lot of time outside and Iceland is known for its natural beauty and Nordic serenity. So on May 11, we left in the evening from Montreal and arrived early morning next day in Reykjavik.
There are a few ways you can travel around Iceland – you can rent a car and make a circle around the whole island (that’s what we did), you can stay in Reykjavik and take tour bus to famous locations, or, as our friends did, you can rent a place for the whole week and a car and then explore around and come back to the same location. We chose the first option – rented a car. We also got a windshield insurance – and this is extremely important since Iceland has strong winds and rock can fly in your windshield and break it anytime. When the rental company offers you the insurance, they are not trying to upsell the service – it is actually useful.
Another thing before you start driving in Iceland is to pay attention to speed cameras. They are introduced by a blue sign and if you go over 90km/h in the areas outside of cities and villages, you can get a fine. And those fines are steep.
Once we got our car, we drove from Keflavik airport to Reykjavik to spend there a few hours before we head further. The drive took about 40 minutes and there was no tree in sight. Since we were in Reykjavik on the early Saturday morning, there was not much to do – most of the stores and museums were closed. We walked around a bit and headed to our next destination.
After Reykjavik, we headed to Gullfoss, a big waterfall in the south of Iceland. We have stopped a few times at different memorable locations on our way. The way that we took looked approximately like this one – we have also stopped at different points to take pictures.
On our way, we also came across a tiny church with a mesmerizing view of the mountains in the back. We drove off the main road to take a few shots. I do not remember the exact location of the church – it was close to the lake between Reykjavik and Gullfoss.
As we drove on, we also spotted some greenery with the view of the mountains in the back. In Iceland, almost every 10 km, there is a parking spot for the cars so that visitors can stop and enjoy the landscape.
Our last stop before Gullfoss was to pet Icelandic horses – there are few farms on the way to Gullfoss and the field borders with the road. The horses are used to visitors who often stop their cars on the side of the road to pet them and they easily come close to you.
Our final destination for that day was Gullfoss which was impressive but also more touristic. It was still fascinating to see but everything we came across on our way there was not less exciting.
On our first night in Iceland, we stayed not far from Gullfoss at Guesthouse Fagrilundur. I found it randomly on Booking.com and it was indeed nice. The host was a girl from Slovenia and we felt welcomed in her home. Also, the pancakes for breakfast which she made were excellent!
This was so far our first day in Iceland and there is more to come. Every 50 kilometres of the way there are things to admire – Iceland is truly mesmerizing.