Spoiler Alert: We’re going back to Europe this summer! It’s no secret that we love traveling through Europe, and while we’ve done a pretty good job of covering ground there over the years, there’s always so much left to explore.
And while we’ve been to Europe quite a few times, there’s one unique travel hack we have yet to take advantage of: the opportunity to add-on a free 7-day layover in Iceland.
In case you haven’t heard, IcelandAir offers passengers traveling from the US & Canada to one of 26 different European destinations the chance to have an extra-long layover—up to 7-days—in Iceland at no additional airfare charge.
We’re hoping to take advantage of this opportunity to explore a new country since we’ll be heading to Europe anyway! Iceland has long been on our bucket list with many people saying it’s the most gorgeous place they’ve ever visited. As such, we’re already deep into planning mode (even though we have three new destinations in the 2017 lineup before we even think about Europe!)
The ultimate consensus from fellow travelers is that we’ll want to have our own set of wheels to explore Iceland in depth. And as most of our readers know, we love a good road trip anyway! So, we’re planning to hire a car in Iceland to make the most of our time. We love having the freedom to stop and explore as we please, and with so many remote, must-visit attractions in Iceland, we can’t image another way to best experience the country.
So far, here’s our list of the top seven attractions to include on our Iceland itinerary:
How To Plan The Ultimate Trip To Iceland
1. The Blue Lagoon
Perhaps Iceland’s most popular tourist destination, The Blue Lagoon attracts visitors from all over the world with its warm, enchanting waters shielded in white clouds of steam. The mineral-rich waters provide an oasis from the winter chill and leave your skin feeling softer than silk.
This multicolored rhyolite mountain range looks picture-perfect, complete with bubbling lava fields and snow-capped tips. Take a tour or hike around to witness this one-of-a-kind destination. Just make sure to plan your trip between June and September since the road up will close for winter.
3. Mount Kirkjufell
The Kirkjufell is known for its majestic conical shape and stunning backdrop. Rolling hills with tranquil streams by day, and the chance to spot the Northern Lights by night (if you visit during the right season.) There are some easy walking paths, though we’re keen to try the more challenging hike up.
This stunning 197 ft waterfall located in Southern Iceland was a waypoint during the first leg of The Amazing Race 6. But even cooler than that is the amazing opportunities visitors have to see this waterfall from behind, where there is a viewpoint of an eye-shaped cave opening.
5. Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach
This intriguing black sand beach is said to be one of the coolest beaches in Iceland. The velvety shores of Reynisfjara contrast against the cylindrical marble-like pillars that make up the towering cliffs. This beach is perfect for picture-taking and exploring, but swimming is advised against due to the unpredictable nature of the waters. While typically we dream of white sand beaches, this is one unique beach that seems worth checking out.
The gorgeous valley of Gjáin is one of those scenes that looks like it must be straight out of a fairy tale. With lovely waterfalls, trickling streams and a verdant landscape, we’re already planning to allow for more time than we think we’ll need to fully explore and photograph this attraction. The roads in and out are apparently quite bumpy, but the views definitely look worth it.
Northern Iceland’s most stunning lake, Myvatn, was formed a little over 2,000 years ago during a massive volcanic explosion. Visitors have this eruption to thank for the stunning terrain that now surrounds the Myvatn. We’ve read that each season you visit allows for a completely unique experience, so even if you’ve been to Iceland before, this is one spot that might be worth checking out a second time.
Iceland has been described as one of Earth’s most beautiful gems. We can’t wait to drive around, lounge around steamy natural hot tubs, and hike through these magical landscapes. But of course, since we haven’t been there yet, we would love your tips and feedback! If you’ve been to Iceland, what sites and attractions would you recommend adding to our list if we only have seven days to explore?
Think we missed something great? Share your Iceland Travel Tips in the comments below!