Iceland is an island in the North Atlantic and has the most sparsely population in Europe. The capital city is Reykjavik and most attractions are reachable from the city. Since tourism increased very much Iceland decided to let in only a certain amount of people in the country.
Good to Know: Restaurants and Accommodations but also Supermarkets are quite expensive in Iceland so you should take into account your budget.
When to Visit Iceland
It depends what you prefer, during summer (max. 15 degrees) the days are super long. It's almost never dark however it can rain quite often. During winter you will see the beautiful winter landscape which has a very special flair. But keep in mind that the days are very short and it's mostly dark. I have visited in summer however, I would recommend going during winter because it is more magical.
What To Do in Iceland
I suggest to stay 10 days in Iceland. Doesn't matter if you do a whole circle (called the Ring Road) around the island or day trips from Reykjavik. There is so much to discover but also to relax. A must do in summer is visiting natural hot pools - they are everywhere. Above you see a picture of a geysir. It's located in Haukadalur Valley, a 90-minutes drive from Reykjavik.
This waterfall is a two hours drive away from the capital. On the right side you see a picture of the wide and majestic landscapes.
Black Sand Beach & Reynisfjara
Iceland has several beaches with black sand. The so calld Black Sand Beach is one of the nicest because it has the view of Reynisdrangar (the rock formation in the water). The beach is located in the small city Vik and is almost three hours away from the capital city.
Reynisfjara is almost three hours away from Reykjavik. The basalt columns are very imposing when you stand below them. Iceland is full of those columns. They are formed after a volcanic eruption and form these symmetric shapes.
This mountain is located in the very west part of the country. We were super lucky on that day, it was the only sunny day in 10 days.
There is no real parking next to the mountain so we parked next to the street and started our climb before sunset. Caution: the first 10 minutes will be through mud, my feet were totally wet. Don't climb when it's dark because you won't find the right way. You will know if you are right when you see the ropes for the steep parts. Once you arrive on top it's just a beautiful view and a sunset lasts a couple of hours.
Airplane Sólheimasandur & Puffins
The rest of this airplane is located on Solheimasandur beach. There is a parking lot right at the street. From there you will have to walk around 40 minutes until you reach the airplane wreck. FYI - nobody died when this plane had to land on the beach. I recommend to go as early as possible because after 10 it starts to be packed and you won't have the chance to get a picture without people.
Puffins are very typical birds in Iceland. They can be found in several areas of the country. We went to Látrabjarg. Not only is it full of puffins but it also has a beautiful scenery.Apparently it's one of the largest bird rocks on earth.
Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
This is a very special place. You can see big ice blocks on the black sand beach - unique! Also, you can find seals between the ice floes. If you are interested boat trips are available. I believe that you see enough from shore.
Very typical for Iceland are the steep cliffs all around the island. A very beautiful cliff forms the arch of Dyrholaey. Additionally, very imposing are the huge waves that crash on the cliff. It's reachable within 2.5 hours from the capital.
Iceland has a variety of waterfalls spread all over the countries. The Dettifoss waterfall is the biggest in Iceland and due to the combination of volume and falling height it's the most powerful waterfall in whole Europe. If you are interested in seeing this waterfall you will have to drive very far from Reykjavik. It's a 7.5 hours drive but if you are doing the circle it's doable.
Getting Around in Iceland
Best way to get around in Iceland is by car. Very important is that you have a 4x4 car as the road can be very challenging for a 2x4 car. Getting around by car makes you very flexible and makes it possible to circle around the island. If you are only interested in the main tourist attractions you can also just stay in Reykjavik and book daily tours. My friends and I wanted to explore the whole island and the best way was by car and camping.
Where to Stay in Iceland
The Dolder Grand
Hotels are quite expensive in Zurich and I recommend you stay somewhere in the center, especially if you do not have a lot of time to visit. The good thing is that you have many options on Airbnb as a lot of people offer they apartments. I noticed that many people are on Couchsurfing therefore, I am sure you can find a cheap place to stay. You can always get great deals on Booking.com. Watch out for special deals on the weekend as the city is more expensive during the week due to business people.
A very good price-performance offers the CitizenM for around CHF150 per night for two people on a weekend. It is located very central and the rooms are modern and new. I had some friends sleeping there and they were happy.
A luxurious option is the Dolder Grand. It's a five star hotel which is known for its beautiful spa and a lot of celebrities go there. You can get a room for around CHF800 per night for two people. It's located on a hill around 15 minutes away from the city center. You have an amazing view.