Planning a stopover in Iceland

Now that I have a pretty extensive itinerary planned for our visit to London, I am focusing on the Iceland portion of our trip in September. We booked our flights with Icelandair through their Stopover in Iceland program which offers a stopover flight to Iceland at no additional fare. Following six days in London, we will fly over to Reykjavik for our quick visit to Iceland spanning four days.

Iceland is undoubtedly a country that warrants its own extended visit, but we are short on vacation time and trying to work within a budget, so this trip is intended to just give us a brief glimpse of the country. We are still hoping to check a few things off our bucket list.

1. Explore Reykjavik city centre.
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We will be landing in Reykjavik in mid-afternoon, so are planning to spend some time exploring the city on our first day. A few sites that I have on my to-see list include Hallgrímskirkja Church and the Sun Voyager statue. We can also browse shops on Laugavegur Street and check out one of the many interesting museums in the city centre. If we have an appetite, I’d like to try an Icelandic hot dog at Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur.

2. Chase the Northern Lights.
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For our first evening in Reykjavik, we have booked a Northern Lights minibus tour with Arctic Adventures. The Aurora can apparently be seen in Iceland between September and April, so hopefully we will be there on a clear night to get a view.

3. Tour the Golden Circle.
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Our first full day in Iceland will be spent on another Arctic Adventures tour to the Golden Circle. This is Iceland’s most famous scenic route that will take us through Gullfoss waterfall, Strokkur geyser, and Thingvellir National Park — another UNESCO world heritage site I can add to my checklist.

4. Dip in the Secret Lagoon.
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Known locally as Gamla Laugin, the Secret Lagoon is the oldest swimming pool in Iceland. It was constructed in 1891 at Hverahólmi, a geothermal area near Flúðir. I’m looking forward to having a relaxing dip here to cap off our visit to the Golden Circle.

5. See the sights on the South Shore.
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We will go on our last day tour with Arctic Adventures to the South Shore. I was debating between this tour versus a trip to Snæfellsnes Peninsula, and ended up opting for this one since it is a bit closer to Reykjavik. The tour will take us to several notable sites including Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach, Skógafoss Waterfall, Seljalandsfoss Waterfall, and the village of Vík.

6. Relax at the Blue Lagoon.
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Prior to our flight back to Toronto, we have booked a morning at the Blue Lagoon. This large geothermal spa is located in a lava field near Grindavík and in front of Mount Þorbjörn on Reykjanes Peninsula. It is actually manmade, supplied by water used in the nearby Svartsengi geothermal power station. It’s a top attraction in Iceland and I’m excited to have some spa time to get me nice and relaxed for our long trip home.

7. Taste Icelandic cuisine.
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I couldn’t leave Iceland without satisfying my foodie needs with a proper exploration of the local cuisine. Referring to this article on Eater, I’ve planned for us to have dinner at Þrir Frakkar which serves Icelandic style seafood, and at Michelin starred Matur og Drykkur for the tasting menu of modernized classic Icelandic dishes.

As always, I look forward to your thoughts and recommendations for our stopover in Iceland!