Iceland is a magical place and has a lot to offer. It’s a perfect destination for those who like to be around nature. The uniqueness and beauty of this land has always fascinated us and it was our biggest dream to go there. That’s why we planned to visit it as soon as possible on one weekend just in the middle of the academic year. Although it’s a very expensive country, we managed not to spend a lot and do Iceland sightseeing on a budget.
DAY 1 of Iceland Sightseeing
We got to Keflavik Airport by a flight that arrived in the evening, took the bus to the Central Station in Reykjavik and went on foot to the apartment, that we’d booked by Airbnb – it was pretty cheap (comparing to standard prices in Iceland) and we had a whole apartment for us, which was an extra convenience. By the way here you are the link to book your accommodation cheaper.
We decided to take a walk because it was hard to find an accurate and direct bus connection to the place of our staying but it wasn’t that long to get there – only about 20 minutes. When we got to our new place, we found out that we actually had some company – a very friendly cat :) So, it was a pleasant surprise for us!
DAY 2 of Iceland Sightseeing
Ok, we forgot to write that we came to Iceland at the end of November … Of course, it’s a good time when it comes to experiencing the typical Iceland, but the sun was with us for only 6 hours a day :( We were there only for couple of days, but still it was hard to get used to it. At the time we were in Reykjavik it was light only from 10:00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. It’s strange to go out at 9:00, when there is still dark because you get a feeling that you should probably be in bed and sleep soundly :)
We decided to begin our Iceland sightseeing from the capital city. At first, we headed to the famous church – Hallgrímskirkja. On our way, we were passing by lots of houses and estates – there is a typical island construction and it’s significantly different from the one that you can meet in other European cities.
Then we got to the church, that is very high, beautiful and definitely worth seeing. As always, we took many pictures and then went inside. The interior was actually slightly different than in Catholic churches, but it was the first time that we visited Lutheran one. At the entrance there were some particular paintings and sculptures.
There was also a possibility to go at the top (with a lift :)), so we took it. We really enjoyed the view at the city and mountains – most buildings in Reykjavik are small – there aren’t any skyscrapers, and the houses are very colorful.
Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur
Then we got really hungry and went to Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur – famous hot dog stand in the center of Reykiavik. Hot dogs are really DELICIOUS!!! They are made of lamb and we couldn’t eat many of them because they are very filling. There are big queues to the stand all the time but we didn’t have to wait for our order – we got it straight away. There are two untypical regular customers there – two sparrows :) They were sitting nearby and people fed them. Those two were the fattest sparrows we’ve ever seen!
Harpa Concert Hall
We went to Harpa concert hall next (it’s the cultural heart of the capital city). We wanted to see it from inside – the whole building is very modern. It would be nice to visit it when concerts take place but unfortunately we didn’t have such opportunity.
Then we took a long walk along the ocean coast. The landscape of Iceland is really beautiful and it can be actually seen even in the capital city. We saw white mountains in the distance (at first at the beginning of the day when we beheld them from behind the buildings, we thought they were clouds :)) and as always we had to take a lot of pictures :)
Icelandic Phallological Museum
After that we got again to the city center and we still had some time but no particular plan what to do, so we came up with an idea that we can visit the Icelandic Phallological Museum ;) In general we have to admit that it’s a pretty weird experience but we had fun to be there. It is only one bigger room with lots of shelves, full of vials with penises. We saw lots of penises of every sizes. Some were really small and barely discernible and some almost that big as we are ;) And at the end of the exposition there was also a human penis – but it didn’t really resemble a human one. If we didn’t see the sign, we wouldn’t guess :)
At the time we were in the museum, there weren’t much people visiting – maybe 2 or 3, so it doesn’t look like it’s a famous attraction, but still it’s something different so maybe it’s worth to go there :)
After seeing so many penises, we thought that it’s enough of attractions for that day and decided to go back to our place. We only needed to go shopping first, so went to Bonus supermarket – it’s the cheapest one in Iceland and really, prices are fair in comparison with other shops.
We definitely recommend to buy Skyr there (a kind of yoghurt) and crisps (of Bonus mark but we forgot the exact name). If someone is into alcohol then should probably also try vodka – Reyka (we heard it’s good, but haven’t tried).
And that was the end of the second day :)
DAY 3 of Iceland Sightseeing
The third day started very early for us because we had a planned trip. At 8 a.m. the tour company (Bustravel Iceland) picked us from the central station in Reykjavik and we headed to see spectacular Icelandic nature. We had to set off at 8 to see the first attraction at 10 (so just after the sunrise at that time). It can be important to mention that the bus stops quite often for the toilet – the longest time without the stop was about 2 hours and it was at the beginning :)
Ok, so at 10 we got to the first stop of our Golden Circle Iceland sightseeing tour – Kerið – volcanic crater lake. It used to be active ages ago, but now there’s a lake inside. In winter the lake freezes over and snow is everywehere. What a splendid view! But we could spend there only up to 15-20 minutes :(
Then we had to go our way and after about half an hour we were at Faxi waterfall. It quite small, but still beautiful. We also had only up to 15 minutes and then headed straight to see geysers.
We could spend there something about an hour and a half. First of all we saw The Great Geysir. It used to be spectacular, but in 1960s it finally retaired. Now it rarely erupts and when it does, then not so high. By the way, the word “geysir” comes from this particular one.
Finally we saw the geysir Strokkur – the main attraction of this area. It frequently erupts every 4- minutes and its jets reaches even 30 meters. CHECK OUT THE VIDEO BELOW!
Then we passed some smaller geysirs.
It’s an amazing place and definitely worth seeing – it was so cold but still we were just standing and looking at boiling geysers.
Then we visited Gulfoss – a huge waterfall. The views were breathtaking, we had only 30 minutes there and it’s a shame because if we had been there on our own, we would have spent there a whole day. You can see it from the hill with an overview of the whole river or from the bottom just a few meters from giant amounts of falling water. However, in our case as it was winter and the snow was everywhere, the lower viewpoint was closed due to slippery of the path. Also, it’s a place full of tourists and probably that’s why there is a small restaurant and a gift shop nearby (a possibility to eat something and buy souvenirs was also next to geysers).
After that, there remained only one attraction – Þingvellir National Park. We could admire the unique nature of this park. It’s a great experience to have a walk through the crack where two tectonic plates meet. Þingvellir is an exceptional place and it’s a must-see in Iceland.
Our trip lasted only till 4 p.m. because at that time there was a sunset. That’s why all trip was a bit in hurry. But even though we enjoyed that experience so much!
The rest of the day we spent at our place and we wanted to go to sleep early because we needed to get up early next day as well.
DAY 4 of Iceland Sightseeing
We packed ourselves and left the apartment because on the fourth day we had a flight back home. But we needed to get up early to go to the Blue Lagoon :) We took transport from the bus station, but before we got to there we had to walk for some time. And it was horrible – it was so windy that it was hard to move. We couldn’t walk straight even for a few meters because the wind was blowing us away all the time. Sometimes the weather conditions in Iceland are extreme and we had the chance to experience them. Fortunately just for a very short moment.
By the way, two weeks after our stay we read in the news that the wind in Iceland was so strong that buses were falling down, people coudn’t go out from their houses and the airport and roads were closed. We were lucky to avoid this.
It took us about 40 minutes to get to Blue Lagoon and paid for the entrance (queue was pretty long, but went quickly). We took our own towels, otherwise we would have to pay extra for them.
Before our journey to Iceland we’d heard a lot of legends about the changing area in Blue Lagoon, e.g. that you have to be naked there. So, that’s how it really looks like: there are workers in the changing area that may pay attention if everyone took a shower before entering the pool. There are cabins to take the shower, so you don’t have to parade around naked in front of others. No worries, there’s nothing to be scared. All these legends are so ridiculous, but we found that many people still believe in them :D
Ok, so after showering procedures we were ready to go to the water. We remind you that it was late November – so it was really cold in Iceland. And we made a big mistake – it was not a good idea to go outside only in swimwear and then straight to the hot water. It’s definitely not a pleasant feeling. It’s better to look around inside and notice that you can go to the water when you are still inside and then go out through doors being constantly in the hot water. The doors you can find at the left side of the main exit.
In general it was very relaxing to be there, so pleasant and we also think that the views from the Blue Lagoon are the best. We will never forget that feeling. There is also a possibility to apply a face mask in the water. And there is also a lot of white steam, so it’s hard to discern others being in the distance. We spent there a few hours and then had to go to the airport.
Fortunately, there is a direct bus to the airport from Blue Lagoon. The nature around the Blue Lagoon is also very unique, so it was impossible to be bored on our way back. We were still admiring the landscape from the bus – so it was our little last attraction before getting back home.
Thanks for reading our story – Iceland sightseeing on a budget. What’s your favourite attraction you would like to see in Iceland? Share it with us in a comment below! :)