So when I mentioned that I was going to Iceland on the way to my longer adventure in Europe - I don't think I included it would be a whirlwind stop of about only 20 hours!
It was an amazing adventure and quite possibly one of my favorite days (certainly the longest one!) of our entire trip. Even though we only saw a small portion of the island - I was amazed by the dramatic natural beauty and open space that Iceland has to offer. I very much hope that someday I get the chance to return and see more. So without further adieu, here's how we spent 20 hours in Iceland...
After arriving at Keflavik International Airport a little after 7AM, we headed straight into Reykjavik to grab some coffee and tea before setting out on the rest of our adventure. It's about a 45 minute drive, so if you can't wait that long for your morning beverage, there is a nice coffee shop right next to the rental car counters. We made a mandatory stop at the Sun Voyager, in Icelandic Solfar, sculpture to admire some of the first gorgeous views we'd see throughout our day.
Driving through Iceland was a delightful experience - peaceful, energizing, and astounding. We made sure to stop every once and awhile to admire the sights and take in the breathtaking scenery and wide open spaces.
Our next stop on our journey was Thingvellir National Park, a 45 minute drive from Reykjavik and quite possibly one of the most amazing places I've been in my life. Looking across the rift formed by the movement of the North American and Eurasian plates and thinking about the history one can't help but be stopped in your tracks.
One of my favorite things about Thingvellir is the natural beauty in all the geologic formations. The cliffs surrounding the rift valley were one of my favorite sights to marvel at.
Walking into the valley you can explore Iceland's history and see where people gathered for generations. This is one of the many places I would really love to explore and learn more about. We only had time for a quick stroll down from the cliffs, across the river, and back.
Another part about driving around Iceland I loved was all the fuzzy critters along with way - especially the sheep.
After Thingvellir, we headed to Geysir which was about another 40 minutes up the road to see more of Iceland's spectacular natural sights.
While we didn't have time to stick around to photograph the eruptions - they were certainly awesome to watch. We actually caught a double eruption which was extra cool and very fun.
As we drove towards our next destination, we finally spotted some ice! Oh how I wish we had the extra time to get closer to it!
The next sight on our list, Gullfoss, was just about a short 10 minute drive from Geysir and as waterfalls go it was pretty spectacular.
I would most definitely recommend walking down from the main viewing area and getting closer to the waterfall. In fact, I actually found this view looking down the canyon at the second cascade just magical.
We rounded out our scenic travels by taking the long drive to our final destination. From Gullfoss we drove south to the coast and then west to our last destination. This part of Iceland actually reminded me quite a bit of Hawaii - with ancient lava flows, high cliffs, and open ocean. Another area I would love to spend more time in and especially more time photographing.
We ended our whirlwind 20 hours in Iceland at one of the most famous sights and experiences - the Blue Lagoon. But that experience was just so amazing that it's going to be a story for another post.
Have you ever been to Iceland? What are you must see sights?