Published November 14, 2017
So, you’ve got just one day for a trip out of Reykjavík and into the countryside. But what to do with it? Should you just hire a car and hit the road? Should you book a bus trip around the Golden Circle? Should you go all-in and blow the family fortune on a Super Jeep excursion into some far flung corner of the Highlands? You could have fun doing any of these things, but to help you narrow it down, here are some day trips that we can heartily recommend.
The most liberating way to travel in Iceland is by car. You’ll need snow tyres, a steady hand, and a sense of adventure, but going it alone enables you to take your destiny into your own hands. You could do the Golden Circle at your own speed, stopping for hot soup at the Fríðheimar greenhouse, drive the ‘forgotten fjord’ of Hvalfjörður, and hike to the Glymur waterfall, or hit Route One South and take in the spectacular waterfalls of Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss, as well as the black beach views from the Dyrhólaey headland.
You could also make a full day of it and head for the stunning and varied landscape of the famous Snæfellsnes peninsula. You could even get the ferry to the Westman Islands and go to the Eldheimar volcano museum, then hike up the Eldfell volcano. Pro tips: pack snacks, drive safe, take your swimming stuff in case you find any pools (which you will)—and be careful not to become a Grapevine news story by getting stuck on an off-limits F-road.
Life In The Coach Lane
Coach trips might not be the most glamorous way to see Iceland, but they’re affordable and hassle-free, and they have regular, frequent departures to various destinations. The Golden Circle is often sniffed at as a well-trodden, basic Iceland tour, but to be honest, it’s nothing short of spectacular—Þingvellir, Gulfoss and Geysir are especially majestic in the snowy season.
There are also quieter routes around the magnificent Reykjanes peninsula with its vast mountains, placid lakes, the Krýsuvík geothermal area, and the coastal cliffs around the Reykjanesviti lighthouse. If you don’t mind spending much of your day on a bus, and seeing Iceland through a window, you could simply traverse right across the south coast to the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, and the crystalline ice caves of Vatnajökull.
If money isn’t an object and you wanna see something really remote and spectacular, there are some great options available. Our best suggestion would be to book a Super Jeep tour. These monstrous vehicles are equipped for the rough weather, and come with a driver who’s seen everything. There are group tours to the inaccessible and beautiful Þórsmörk valley, which is flanked by volcanoes and glaciers that seem within touching-distance. Or you can drive up onto the blue ice of the famous Eyjafjallajökull glacier. Private super jeep trips are also available, and allow you to design your own route.
Finally, a helicopter tour from Reykjavík’s domestic airport can zip you quickly to a remote mountain spot, and the pilot will even pop open a champagne bottle while you’re there.
Get more travel ideas here.