Iceland is truly a magical place. We landed after a six hour flight from Minneapolis, at 6:30am local time. Some car rentals have offices inside the airport, while others, like the one we booked our car with, is a short shuttle ride away. We rented a small car for our 3 days in Iceland so we could experience more of the county, on our own schedule. This was not our first time there, however I have to admit this was by far, my favorite visit.
My previous mistakes were not booking a car and only booking excursions, using the taxi service (SOOO expensive), and not doing enough research on what to see in Iceland. For example, to get from the airport to the hotel we booked via Flybus, which was what I recommended on my last blog post about Iceland, cost over $58 per person, so $116 for my husband and I. Then we had to pay for all the excursions so we could see the sights. The car rental for the 3 days was about $220, but I did add total coverage so we wouldn’t be liable if anything happened to the car. Without this coverage it would have been about $160 total. Then we did fill the tank 1.5 times, for a total of about $100 in gas. We also added the wifi option with the rental, which was about $35 dollars total. I think $350 to have access to a car and be able to go at our own place, and see what we wanted to see. Since we booked a car we also avoided having to book a taxi (there are no ubers/lyft in Iceland). My first time in Iceland I took a 5 minute taxi and it cost $30 dollars!
This time around I also did a lot more research. One of the best tips I have is to read the blog Iceland With a View. The blogger has tips based on what month you’re going, what to pack, where to go, even things like how to pump gas! I purchased her $20 guide which was extremely helpful. She also has a code for a discount with Blue Car Rental, which we used.
As soon as we got our car from the rental facility (very quick process) we got started right away towards Reykjavik. The drive is about 45 minutes. The airport is actually that far from the capital, with very little around it (except gorgeous landscape). The first time I came I booked a hotel near the airport, and regretted it so much I decided to book another one in Reykjavik, and just cut my losses for the additional nights. We booked a hotel right in the heart of Reykjavik, close to lots of shopping and dining. Check in wasn’t until 2pm, so we decided to find a breakfast spot, and then start sightseeing. The only downfall of booking a car is that parking in Reykjavik can be a little frustrating.
PARKING SIDE NOTE: You will notice signs for P1, P2, and P3 all around. P1 is the closet to the city center, P2 a little farther away, and P3 even more. It is always free to park after 6pm and always free on Sundays, unless you’re in a multi-storey parking lot. Areas P1, P2 and P3 all charge from 8am to 6pm on weekdays, and from 10am to 6pm on Saturdays. There are pay stations everywhere. Fines for not paying are about $500 USD.
We chose Bersson Mathus for breakfast and ordered their bread with cheese, prosciutto, homemade butter, jam, and peanut butter. We also ordered their pancakes, and eggs. Everything was super delicious! RJ had the coffee and thought it was very good as well.
After breakfast we decided to drive the two hours to Seljalandsfoss, a stunning waterfall! Make sure to get close, and walk behind it as well. You’ll most likely get wet, so wear waterproof clothes and shoes. There’s another little gem of a waterfall a short walk to the left (if you’re facing the waterfall) which is worth checking out as well, called Gljufrabui.
From there we decided to go to Seljavallalaug a pool at the base of a glacier with natural hot spring water from the nearby volcano! It is the the oldest pool in Iceland, with THE best ice capped mountain views. It’s about a 15-20 min walk/hike from the place where you have to park, and completely unmarked.
The next day we drove the opposite direction and found some beautiful hidden gems, and spent the afternoon in a spa called Krauma. The last day was spent shopping in Reykjavik, eating yummy food (including the best crepes I’ve ever had), and walking the local markets. Exploring more of Iceland in 3 Days was amazing, but I have a feeling I’ll come back again.
Favorite Places to Eat:
Bersson Mathus – Awesome breakfast
Reykjavik Chips – Beer + fries
Svarta Kaffio – Delicious soup in bread bowl
Dill (Michelin Star Restaurant)
Reykjavik Street Dog (Best hot dog)
Eldur & Is (Best crepes EVER)