Hubs and I did a quick overnight trip to Reykjavík. If you’re contemplating one day or a really long layover in Iceland, you can do a lot in a day!
A Simple Plan to Drive the Golden Circle:
– Rent a car from the airport (KEF) so you can drive the Golden Circle yourself at your own pace. Organized tours take too long and are too crowded. We rented online ahead of time and picked the car up once we arrived.
– KEF has good WiFi. Download the offline Google map for Iceland. If you’re accustomed to using Maps.me, be aware it doesn’t have navigation in the Iceland region for some reason. Once you have Google maps downloaded, you can use GPS navigation to hit the road just like at home.
A good order for driving the Golden Circle (plus a couple extra stops) from KEF Airport:
1. Blue Lagoon,
2. Crater Lake,
3. Stokkur and Geyser,
4. Gullfoss Waterfall,
5. Drive through Thingvellir National Park on your way to Reykjavík.
This route takes about 4 hours of total drive time and as long as you want for stopping. We left KEF at 9am and were in Reykjavík by about 3:30 that afternoon.
– Horses are everywhere. No need to make a special trip out the way to see them.
Staying Overnight in Reykjavik:
– If you’re staying overnight, pick a hotel or hostel in Reykjavík city center. There’s nothing in Keflavík so don’t stay there.
– Once you’re parked in town, leave your car and walk everywhere. Parking is free after 6 on weekdays, 4 on Saturday and all day Sunday. After driving the Golden Circle, by the time you get to your place, street parking will likely be free.
– Be flexible (as always). My first time to Iceland was in March and a drop-in blizzard thwarted lots of plans. This time, weather was perfect. You never know with Iceland.
– Be prepared to drop some dough. Iceland is expensive. Gas alone was $45 to fill half a tank. Still cheaper than taking the Fly Bus though. Fly Bus is your best bet however if you just want to get to Reykjavík and don’t plan to drive the Golden Circle.
This was one of our best quick trips! Smooth flights (only 5ish hours from JFK), hospitable locals in town, excellent weather (for Iceland lol, it was in the 40s and clear skies), loved the room and a phenomenal dinner. We’ll be back Iceland. 🇮🇸🇮🇸🇮🇸