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Travel Guide: Reykjavik & The Southern Coast of Iceland

Iceland was a dream and so enriching for all three of us. If you had asked me 5 years ago where I would pay to go, I never would have thought I’d go here, and yet it’s the one trip I’m going to hold so dear to me! This was our first trip where we felt that Dominic was fully engaged, and I couldn’t have thought of a more magical place to plant the seeds for his imagination and love for the planet.

Iceland is one of those places that you need to go to if you want to reconnect with nature or get a new perspective on the planet. It’s beautiful, and I know you’ll leave feeling the same way too.  Here’s some tips from our trip if you’re planning to head over too…

OUR ITINERARY (click link for blog post):
Day 1: Blue Lagoon
Day 2: The Golden Circle
Day 3: The Southern Coast
Day 4: Reykjavik
Day 5: Hellisheidi Power Station, Reykjavik, Perlan

Check back soon for places we ate!

***Our best tip is to use the Google Maps app on your phone. Plan in advance, and bookmark all of the locations that you want to see – you can even bookmark restaurants if you’ve been researching those too. When you get to a landmark, check your Google Map to see what other places you’ve bookmarked that are in that vicinity. We typically would cluster our stars visually and spend the entire day in one or two “clusters” so we don’t waste time bouncing around town. With a tot in tow however, make sure to prioritize what you want to see/do in each area. It’s likely you won’t get to do everything on your list, but at least you’ll hit the stuff that’s really important to you.

WHERE WE STAYED:
We stayed at Blue Mountain Apartments which was less than 10 minutes away from Reykjavik. This was my husband and I meeting halfway. I wanted an Airbnb to get a view and a kitchen, and he wanted a gym. At this apartment, we got the kitchen and the gym. It was absolutely perfect. It was clean and had amenities like a hotel but felt completely like an apartment (even though I didn’t get to have a meadow for a backyard as I was envisioning :).

HOW WE GOT AROUND:
We rented a car from Thrifty car rental. You pretty much have to rent for a trip here, unless you plan on booking tours for all of your sightseeing outside of Reykjavik.  There are a few things that differ from America when driving here, but the rental company should cover all of that with you.

PHRASES TO LEARN:
Everyone we encountered spoke perfect English. Just remember to be polite! Each person that we met on our trip just further confirmed that they are the nicest people we’ve ever met.

THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND:

  • Get a place with a kitchen or at least a fridge. The food is expensive here so to save money we bought pre-packaged sandwiches and groceries. It’s also great for late night meals if you get back from a road trip late or just to stock up on snacks for the road!
  • Be prepared for some very volatile weather.  The weather in Iceland can vary every 10 minutes of driving going from sun, to fog, to rain, to wind.
  • Drink the tap water! It’ll probably be the best tap water you’ve ever tasted.
  • If you’re going in the summer, there’s at least 20 hours of sunlight, so take advantage! Go out and do all the things.
  • Again, everyone speaks English, so don’t stress about language barriers. The only time we struggled a little was with some street signs.
  • Bring a credit card with a chip for use (ideally with no international transaction fees). You do not need cash at all here – everywhere will take a card with the chip.  Also, there is no need to tip in the country.
  • Remember that the metric system is used and temperatures are in Celsius.  Try to learn the conversions beforehand in case you can’t access the internet.
  • For gas, you set the dollar amount you want to spend and then it’ll fill up the amount of gas worth that amount. If you put more money than your gas tank needs, it will just credit you back the balance.
  • Everywhere we went was really welcoming and family-friendly!  You should have no problems traveling with kids here if you’re on the fence about traveling with them in tow.

ONE THING WE WISH WE DID:

We drove past the entrance to the fjord Fjaorargljufur that we wanted to see and decided not to turn around. I kind of wish we did now, but at the same time, I hope to bring Dominic back when he’s older to experience the magic all over again. So, you know, were adding it to the itinerary 🙂

Feel free to also check out our family vacation video to Iceland that my husband put together.  We love it!

Iceland from Tristan Robles on Vimeo.

Enjoy and happy travels!

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1 Comment

  • Reply Dieter

    Wo wow wow, impressive, love the photos and videos, nice made blog, keep your work up, cheers dieter

    August 9, 2017 at 7:18 am
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