This itinerary is best done from Reykjavik and ending with an overnight in the small town of Vik. On the first part of the trip, we left Reykjavik around 9-10AM, saw everything along the way, and end up in Vik around 3PM. Staying in Vik will not only avoid you having to drive back to Reykjavik, but also continue on to Itinerary 3, which to me, should be a must see in any trip to Iceland.
After arriving in Vik and checking into our hotel, we then ate and rested a bit, then went out around midnight to see the black sand beach with basalt columns.
Where as Itinerary 1 was a bit disappointing, the following Itinerary, and number 3, which I will post later, was amazing. As with Itinerary 1, you should note that we did this trip in July and we were lucky with the weather and, it never really got dark out during this time.
Stop 1 – Seljalandfoss Waterfall (about 1 hour and 40 minutes from Reykjavik)
This was an amazing sight to see, and the best part is that you can walk behind the falls. You should dress warmly AND wear waterproof clothing (including shoes). Invest in a good pair of hiking shoes for your trip to Iceland. You should also dress in layers (including a hat and gloves – even in July, these came in handy sometimes).
…and the view from behind. The only downside of this stop is that it is popular, and so, there will be a lot of people.
Stop 2 – Skogafoss Waterfall (about 30 minutes from stop 1)
Along the way to Skogafoss, you will see incredible scenery. For example, looking at this gorgeous field of purple flowers with a waterfall in the distance!
…and here are the falls. Not as crowded as stop 1.
Stop 3 – Kvernufoss (hidden waterfalls – close by stop 2)
The falls above are easily accessible from the road with ample parking. This next one is not. However, to me, this is one of the best things I saw. The short journey to get here is just as beautiful as the destination.
To “find” these falls, go towards the Skogar museum. Drive to the last building in the parking lot and park. Go around the building to the back, and walk a short distance until you come across a fence where someone has placed a short ladder to allow you to easily get over the fence.
From here, follow this path which will curve left about where you see the two people below, and take you to a small river.
Below is a picture of the river.
Continue to follow the path a short distance more and you will be rewarded with the view below.
You can go right up to the falls and even behind them. The entire journey is amazing:
- we saw free roaming sheep on the side of a mountain along the way
- the hike is not long, it take about 20 minutes with a small incline part
- the scenery along the way is straight out of a dream
- there will be VERY few people compared to the other waterfalls above; when we went, there were about 6 other people there
Stop 4 – Unplanned stop at a glacier
On our way to the town of Vik, after stop 3, I saw a glacier on the side of the road and a sign advertising glacier walks. I decided to make an unplanned exit and see. I do not remember the name of the glacier. However, even if you skip this part, do not worry, itinerary 3 is mostly all glacier.
For this one, you will park, hike a short distance, and come to this amazing view of a lake with some ice floating in it, and the glacier to the right. You can hike down and go up to the shoreline. It is not recommended to go on the glacier without a guide.
Stop 5 – Arrive in Vik and check into hotel
Vik is a very small town. We stayed at the Icelandair Hotel Vik in a family room. Apparently, there is an old part and new part. The room we stayed in was in the newer wing. It was clean and modern. I do not know what the old part of the hotel looks like so I would definitely recommend checking ahead to request they put you in the new wing.
Pros of Hotel
- clean and modern
- location – near black sand beaches
- decent breakfast
Cons of Hotel
- room was not ready when we arrived at 3:15 PM despite a 3PM check in time
- no chair at work table (I used a side table as my chair)
- no safe in room
- no lotion provided
Stop 6 – Smidjan Brugghus (burgers) in the town of Vik
By now, we were starving so we headed to Smidjan Brugghus. When you arrive, you order at the counter before sitting down and they will bring the food to your table.
The burgers here are delicious. From what I experienced, I believe they are made from scratch, cooked perfect and juicy, and NOT pre-made frozen patties. The fries are good also. Note, as mentioned many times in previous posts, the food in Iceland is expensive and these were no exception. For three orders of the below, onion rings and wings, I think the bill came close to $90.
Stop 7 – Black sand beach – Vik
First, note that there are two black sand beaches in the area. The lady at check in told me fortunately or else I would of missed the most amazing one. This one, located in the town, is nice, but the one below (stop 8) is much better.
Stop 8 – Reynishverfi Basalt Column Beach
This beach was spectacular. It is about a 15-20 minute drive from Vik heading back in the direction towards Reykjavik. We decided to go after some rest back at the hotel around midnight. There were 4 people on the entire beach! I will let the pics speak for themselves.
Stop 9 – Little red church and vista over Vik
One thing you will notice driving into Vik is this little red church that sits on a cliff overlooking the town. One our way back from the black sand beach, we decided to stop and take photos before heading back to the hotel.
We were rewarded with this view of the town as well.
Note that after 10PM, there is nothing to eat in the town as everything is shut down. I would recommend bringing water and food with you, on this trip, or buying in the town grocery, earlier in the day, if you want to eat something after 10PM.