Iceland is one of the countries where you should go there as soon as it is completely devastated by tourists. And if you don’t want to stand in front of a photo for a few minutes at every known place, go there outside the main summer season. You can get a return ticket from Vienna for as little as CZK 2,000.
In Iceland, it is best to move around by car so that you do not have to be tied to tour buses. Car rental is already worthwhile for two people, but expect higher prices than in continental Europe and high insurance due to frequent accidents, scratches and cracked glass from flying stones.
More adventurous natures can set off on a hitchhiking, but out of season off-road traffic is not very heavy.
There are large car parks at all major tourist sites, in most cases free of charge. However, parking is paid everywhere in central Reykjavík, so choose a hotel outside the main center. For myself I can recommend Alba Gueshouse – a family guesthouse with excellent breakfast included.
Hallgrímskirkja Reykjavik Iceland
Views of central Reykjavík from Hallgrímskirkja Church
The whole of Reykjavík has only 120,000 inhabitants and the center is really small. Half a day is enough to explore the city. If you plan to visit one of the many museums or try more thermal pools, it is worth buying a tourist City Card, thanks to which you have free admission everywhere.
You can also use it for all city buses and ferries to Viðey Island, where the John Lennon Memorial is located. But the trip here is worth it because of the beautiful views and a walk in untouched nature.
Visit one of the thermal pools. For myself, I recommend Laugardalslaug, where they have several outdoor pools with different temperatures. Sitting in 44-degree water when the surrounding air has 4 degrees is a really interesting experience.
Although the parking lot in front of the pool was completely full, people somehow dispersed inside and we often sat alone in a small pool. And go to the water slide! On the contrary, what you can safely miss is the zoo. So if you don’t need to see three reindeer in the distance and one quite cute arctic fox.
Reykjavík is a good starting point for various day and multi-day trips. An absolute classic is the Golden Circle – a 230-kilometer circuit connecting three natural attractions – vingvellir National Park, the Geysir Geothermal Area and Gullfoss Waterfall. Along the way, visit the Kerid crater, a clear lake created by an erupting volcano.
You can get everywhere for free, you can easily hit thanks to clear indicators and there are parking lots at all attractions. But count on the fact that even out of season and in bad weather, there will be huge crowds of people everywhere, which spoils the overall impression a bit.
In the finals, I liked the most nameless mountains, mountains and lakes in Iceland, where no one was with and where you could enjoy the beautiful nature in peace.
The second day trip from Reykjavík is a trip along the south coast to the village of Vík. Along the way you will see the Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss waterfalls, the cliffs of Dyrhólaey, home to the Puffins, the black beach of Reynisfjara, and you can head to the wreckage of an American plane that had to make an emergency landing on the beach in 1973.
For lunch, stop by The Soup Company for Víka and try a local specialty – spicy beef soup served in bread.
If you rent a car, book it directly at the airport in Keflavík. It is 40 kilometers away from Reykjavík and one way to the city by bus costs about 500 CZK. Once you have the car, drive through the southwestern tip of the island. There are beautiful views of the lakes and the sea and a minimum of people.
Along the way you can stop in the Blue Lagoon, where the water is incredibly azure. Admission to the spa starts at 50 euros and due to the large number of visitors, it is better to book it in advance. However, part of the lake is also freely accessible and if you do not want to swim, it is not necessary to go directly to the spa.