OUR GIRLS TRIP TO ICELAND! | WHAT TO DO, PACK, AND SEE PART 2

Check out part one of our trip here!

With so much to share, I've split our trip into two parts. Here's part two which includes our last four days, what we ate, and lots of tips if you're planning a trip there.

Day 5:

  • Drove south to Vík and checked into our Airbnb. 
  • Saw Seljalandfoss and Skógafoss waterfalls.
  • Visited the DC-3 plane crash at Sólheimasandur Beach (aka Black Sand Beach).

Vík and the rest of the southern coast of Iceland was probably my favorite region of the whole trip. The Black Sand Beach makes this coast other-worldly and we were mesmerized by it the whole time. We were also inspired to shoot our own spoof of Dierks Bentley's music video for his song "Black" which he shot here as well as Justin Bieber's "I'll Show You." Release of this parody music video is pending the embarrassment factor of the final cut :D

And of course, the DC-3 plane crash site was just - insane. It's eerie + inspiring to see in person. I was TERRIFIED to climb on top of it, but once we had our flow of where to slip our feet into the metal and what to hold on to, it wasn't too bad.

Day 6:

  • Explored the entire southern coast, particularly Reynisfjara, Dyrhólaey, and the basalt columns.

Again, this was a magical day as we continued our exploration of the southern coast. The Dyrhólaey arch was stunning and I'm pretty sure we would've stayed perched atop those cliffs for the most of the day had the wind not been so powerful. 

Day 7:

  • Explored Jökulsálrón and Fjallsárlón Glacier Lagoons.
  • Visited Hofn, the "lobster capital of Europe."

Glaciers! I had never seen one before! The bright blue stuck out amongst the mossy ground and snow surrounding it. And it was incredible to see little icebergs that broke off from the glacier. Morgan even sat on one because if you ever have the opportunity to sit on an iceberg, you take it. Our last full day was capped with one last stop to pet the horses! You should have heard our shrills, "Horses!" every time we pulled over to pet them. They're so friendly + full of personality. Can't wait to print a large photo of them to put on my wall!

Day 8:

  • Breakfast in Reykjavik then headed to the airport to fly home!

Restaurants

Half the fun of traveling is trying the local food so we had lamb, reindeer (!), langoustine, cod, arctic char, and Icelandic hotdogs. They are known for their lamb soup which was like a stew and absolutely delicious. I don't usually like lobster much, but their langoustine was incredible. One of the girls ordered a reindeer burger which we all tired and it was pretty good. I think they spiced it with nutmeg which was unique. Their seafood is obviously incredible so naturally we had fish nearly everywhere we went. The fish + chips at Sveitagrill Miu Mia's was absolutely amazing, as well as the haddock I had at the Blue Lagoon. And we couldn't visit Iceland without trying their hot dogs which apparently are big there. I never eat hot dogs here in the States, but since they aren't processed the same way there as they are here, I gave it a shot. It was amazing! They topped it with fresh onions, fried onions, mustard, and their famous "remoulade" which is mayo-based, but doesn't taste like it. It was so good! You have to visit the hot dog cart mentioned above in Reykjavik. 


Tips

  • Rent a car and explore the island instead of doing bus tours. Unless you're really into touristy bus tours, you can see everything on your own and it's a very easy country to drive in.
  • Ladies, don't bother getting a manicure before your trip. The hot springs will ruin it. We were sad about that.
  • Also ladies, your hair dryer, curling iron, etc. won't work there, even with an adapter. Buy one there or embrace the au natural hair like we did. 
  • Don't ignore the suggestion about waterproof boots! Seriously, it's a wet country even in the summer and you won't regret it!
  • Bring a waterproof phone case if you want photos in the Blue Lagoon or other hot springs.
  • Check your credit cards to see if any of them feature perks of no foreign transaction fees. My Amazon Visa did so I used that for the majority of the trip.
  • Get an international data plan with your cell phone provider. You need data to navigate with GPS and it's fun to Google each spot you're seeing to learn more about the area! Our rental car company offers wifi in the cars for an extra fee, but it was cheaper for me to add a service to my plan (I have T-Mobile.)
  • Bring snacks! Several friends told us that the food servings were small there so we all brought a ton of bars, granola, jerky, etc. We actually found the servings to be pretty substantial, but the snacks did come in handy since we were on the road so much. It also saved us money because food there is incredibly expensive...
  • ...so be prepared for expensive meals! A simple sandwhich can easily cost $20-$25.
  • Grocery stores and coffee shops open late there (at least in the ones we encountered). It isn't uncommon for a grocery store to only be open from 11am-5pm so plan accordingly.
  • Many gas stations only accept debit cards. Some of us only brought credit cards so be sure to bring both. And at many stations, you pump first, then pay inside. We had a running joke of "how many girls does it take to pump gas in Iceland?". We're smart, I swear.
  • The Blue Lagoon is close to the airport so logistically it makes sense to do it early in your trip, but I'd save it for the middle or end. It was such a relaxing day and gave us a break from the "go, go, go" rhythm we'd had for the previous days. I would also highly recommend making a reservation for it as early in the day as possible! We went at 8am so we got to watch the sunrise and enjoy the mellow lagoon. It gets incredibly busy as the day goes on.
  • If we had stayed more than 10 days, I would've done the Blue Lagoon a second time. We loved it that much! It was such an incredible experience and I already want to go back just for that!

things we would have done differently

  • I wouldn't have converted as much money before we left. I took out about $250 in króna, but would have been completely fine with $75-100. Most places take cards.
  • I would've stayed for 3-5 more days (at least). We were there for 8 but only got to see the southern half of the island. I would have loved to have been there longer to complete our tour of the northern parts!

And that's it! It was truly the trip of a lifetime that I'll remember forever. It's so rare to get to travel to another part of the world with a group of girlfriends, a couple of which I didn't even know prior to this trip! But it was the perfect dynamic of personalities and I already miss them terribly. I hope everyone gets an opportunity to experience this incredible country in their lifetime. And if you need someone to photograph you frolicking in front of a waterfall, send me an email ;)

Cheers!

Elyse Whall

Plum & Oak Photo, 28545 Old Town Front Street #201-A, Temecula, CA, 92590