Ask anyone what countries are on the top of their bucket list and no doubt Iceland will be included in that list. For me, it’s absolutely top five on my list of must see countries for 2017. Since we’ve been at home for over 6 months, I have had plenty of time to plan out our travels for next year. While nothing is set in stone, I have a really good idea of what I’d like to do. And you better believe, Iceland is in the mix!
Here are our Iceland travel plans for 2017:
Guide to Iceland has been an invaluable resource into putting together our travel plans for Iceland. It is definitely the place to start planning your trip to Iceland, coming up with a list of the best things to do, renting a car and booking tours.
7-10 Day Road Trip Around Iceland
Initially I thought it would be a great idea to tour Iceland in a campervan… then I checked the price! Back to the drawing board and I think a car rental is our best bet. Renting a car in Iceland isn’t cheap but it seems like the absolute best way to get around the country. When you’re travelling with little kids you really need 100% freedom and flexibility and we find that road tripping is often the best way to explore.
7-10 days would give us enough time to do a circle tour of Iceland, taking in a lot of the major sites along the way. I found this blog which maps out a really good itinerary and I think we’d base our trip off this doing a counter-clockwise trip around the ring road from Reykjavík.
Iceland road trip must-see places:
- Jökulsárlón – Magical glacier lagoon
- Gullfoss Falls – Amazingly powerful waterfall that blows Niagara Falls out of the water (excuse the pun!)
- Dynjandi Falls – Beautiful, tall falls
- Dettifoss Falls – The largest waterfall in Europe
- Lake Myvatn Geo-thermal Area
- Skaftafell Park – Crazy, surreal landscapes
- Seljavallalaug Pool – Swim in the old outdoor pool built into the hillside
Helicopter Tour Over Iceland
In places like New Zealand and Hawaii, where it’s all about the volcanoes, waterfalls and cliffs, the best way to truly admire the landscape is from the air. Iceland seems like no exception to this rule. A helicopter tour is definitely going to be part of our planning when we’re putting together our budget for our Iceland trip.
The Blue Lagoon
This is an absolute essential experience for anyone visiting Iceland and one that I’m very much looking forward to. I love hot springs and thermal baths so this is right up my alley! It’s kid-friendly, no babies under 2 years though. Children under 8 years old are required to wear armbands which are provided on arrival. The best bit? Kids are free of charge!
My friend Tamara when on a puffin cruise in Iceland which sounds like a must do for anyone visiting Iceland with little kids. My kids love going on boats but combine that with cute puffins? That is a real winner.
If the Northern Lights are not on your bucket list then there is something wrong with you! I mean, just look! It’s incredible. Aurora holidays are easily planned with the Northern Lights active in Iceland from September to mid-April. The summer midnight sun stops them from being seen at other times of the year. You can monitor conditions for the Northern Lights when you’re in Iceland using this site.
When to Go to Iceland – September or October?
The main question for me is not should I go to Iceland, it’s WHEN should I go to Iceland? After our Trans Siberian train journey next year we will obviously end up in Europe and will spend a couple of months there. I’m sure we’ll need a travel break after spending a month traversing Russia so I have been looking at going to Iceland in early September.
The only problem with that is, the Northern Lights are not particularly active in September and we’d have a great chance of seeing them if we waited until October. Of course, with the Northern Lights come colder temperatures which might be a bit harder to pack for especially as we’re hoping to travel really light and just do carry on baggage only to Europe. Conversely, come October, we’ll probably miss out on the puffins so it’s hard to know when to go exactly!
If you’ve been to Iceland, I would love you to weigh in on whether you think early September or mid-to-late October would be a better time to visit.
What to Pack for Iceland
Warm clothes and layers are travel essentials for me when travelling to colder or changeable climates. This is a good Iceland packing list to refer to.
Getting to Iceland
Coming from Europe, it seems like the most affordable place to fly to Iceland from is actually London, with direct flights on WOW, Norwegian, Easy Jet, IcelandAir and British Airways. That works in well with our current thoughts on what we’ll do after the Trans Siberian. We are actually thinking of spending some time in the UK because it’s an absolute bargain at the moment thanks to the post-Brexit Pound drop.
Been to Iceland?
I’d love you to weigh in on our Iceland travel plans for 2017. What are the must-see places, the best eats and fun activities for kids?
I have been to Iceland several times – some travelling with husband, 4 times leading school geography trips. One of the highlights is to take the ferry across to Heimaey, and walk to the top of Eldfell, the volcano that erupted in 1973, across the lava field with remnants of homes evident in the lava, and old street patterns marked by signposts.. Great views from the top, back to the mainland and the ice sheets (on a clear day) and in the other direction to Surtsey, the island that appeared out of the sea in 1963.
Back on the mainland of Iceland again, we love Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss (can walk behind the waterfall); Jokulsarlon as you suggested; Seydisfjordur (where the ferry comes in from Denmark, location for Sony Soundville ad (check it out on YouTube), and site of annual music festival); Akureyri and head north from there on a day-long coastal drive through Dalvik and Siglufjordur through tunnels, along fjords, where the road is closed for snow from end Sept – mid July some years!;on to the western fjords, back towards Reykjavik using the ferry to Stykkisholmur. Have a wonderful trip!
Thanks so much for sharing your tips Anne! I hadn’t heard of the ferry to Heimaey before. Sounds cool! I’d love to include a few more things like that that no one else is blogging about in their Iceland itineraries. 🙂
I recently visited Iceland Aug 30-Sept 14 and we saw spectacular Northern Lights five times–2 were really spectacular. We also saw puffins near Vik! Admittedly, the Northern Lights would be even more enhanced if visited in late October. I to see both, I’d recommend the bumper.
Oh that’s great to know Kristi!
My favorite spot in Iceland was a spot called Thakgil, north of Vik. We camped, but there are also cabins. It was astonishing! Great hiking trails to a glacier, sheep everywhere. The drive there was incredible and scary. The scenery was unbelievable. We drove around counter clockwise in July, and found we went too fast at the beginning. There isn’t as much to see and do on the east or northwest as there was along the south, but great scenery none the less. Lake Matyvn area was really cool and they had a hot spring Jarbodin which was nice.
My husband and I traveled around Iceland for 9 days in a campervan, I wrote about our trip on my blog. We went in September and although we did not see the Northern Lights it was mostly because the best show of the lights was at around 1 am on a very cold night with clear skies and we ended up going back to bed just before it happened. We were fed up next day to hear from others that it was spectacular. Heyho…always next time. I hope you will have a great time?