Like I mentioned in the overview of our Iceland vacation, we spent 3 days in Reykjavik on the front end of our vacation and 3 days in southeast Iceland to split our time evenly between city and country. I think everyone in our travel group would tell you that the three days we spent exploring southeast Iceland were some of the most magical of our entire time there. We saw rolling hills, waterfalls, wild horses, glaciers, black sand beaches and so much more. Today I’m sharing all about our time spent in Vik and southeast Iceland.
3 Days In Southeast Iceland
After we checking out of our hotel in Reykjavik, we took our time driving out to our rental home property. There were several stops we wanted to make along the way and we wanted to use our time wisely since we would be passing by and through some really cool stops!
The first stop we made was Seljalandsfoss and we were all kind of amazed that here was this majestic and beautiful waterfall just right off the main road. It was packed with tour buses, we got out and snapped a few photos. Casey and Eric even climbed behind it, which they said was incredible! I helped Dane fly the drone while they did that.
The second stop we made was at the abandoned Sólheimasandur plane crash. If you have ever scrolled photos on Instagram of Iceland, this is a big hotspot for tourists. If you plan to visit, know that it’s a good hike out to the plane (I will be forever mystified by people who pose there in skimpy dresses) and it’s quite cold.
In fact, we experienced sun, sleet and rain all during our time there. Just be prepared, since it’s located on a beach with nothing to shield you from the elements! This is also where we saw the most vibrant rainbow of our whole trip.
We stayed out snapping pictures of the plane wreck, before trekking back to our car. When we made it into Vik, we were all pretty hungry, so we stopped for lunch at LAVA. Both the guys got the lava soup in the volcanic bread bowl. Super cool! Casey and I both had a different kind of soup (I honestly forget the name now) but it was lentil-something and delicious!
After that, we stocked up at the nearby grocer in Vik before heading out to our home rental. Our host had recommended that we do our grocery shopping in Vik prior to arriving at the house since there was absolutely nothing nearby and we are so glad we did, because it was easily an hour plus to anything once we got out there. The solitude was incredible! Siggi, our host, showed us around the property and how to work the wood fire outdoor hot tub before leaving us to enjoy the picturesque landscapes and one of the best sunsets of the trip.
We made salmon with salad for dinner and I had every intention of staying up to enjoy the hot tub with everyone else, but I wound up falling asleep in my swimsuit. Whoops! LOL!
Our trip so far had been go-go-go, so we all opted to take it easy the next morning, which worked out perfectly, because it was a deluge of rain that just wouldn’t let up. We made breakfast (Casey had packed gluten free pumpkin scones from Trader Joe’s and we had packed Kona coffee), so it was the perfect way to relax and catch our breath.
We spent almost the entire day in the car, but it was one of the most beautiful days of our time in Iceland. We ate lunch at the most delicious brewery in Vik (I had a blueberry cider, a quinoa kale ‘burger’ and we all had this insanely good peanut butter and chocolate mousse cup), enjoyed Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon, saw field upon field of moss-covered lava rock and rounded out the day with sheep and horses against a pink sunset.
Dinner was at home again with a yummy fall-inspired salad (can you tell we were missing greens?!) and the best part of the whole evening — we saw the Northern Lights! As I was packing for this trip, the leg of our tripod snapped off and I threw it across the room thinking any hope of long exposure Northern Lights photos were dashed before we ever got on the airplane. Dane and Eric sat outside and manually captured these from the side of our hot tub. A beautiful show around 10:40PM over Vík capped with a moonbow — didn’t even know those were a thing! Also to note…photographing the “Lights” is a total beast. These aren’t the jaw dropping photos you typically see on the internet but I’m pretty damn proud and impressed!
We all went to sleep giddy knowing we got to witness the Lights and that we were going to hike on a glacier the next day! We chose to do the Blue Ice Experience with Icelandic Mountain Guides of Vatnajökull, the largest glacier in Europe! It’s tucked within Vatnajökull National Park and the beauty sort of takes your breath away. If you plan to do this and are staying in Reykjavik, know that it will take you about 4.5 hours to get here, so plan accordingly.
We got done on the glacier and ate sandwiches we had packed (Casey and I made these unreal hummus and vegetable pitas that tasted exceptionally good) and then headed off to Diamond Beach and Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. You guys – I cannot even begin to tell you how insanely beautiful these places are. The photos do not do it justice and if you ever get the opportunity to go – TAKE IT! Several people, including our glacier guide, had told us to pick up a small piece of glacier ice to take with us to make cocktails later in the evening, so we did as instructed and wow – you can actually taste the freshness. It sounds crazy, but it’s true.
We enjoyed another salmon dinner at our rental house (the fresh seafood of Iceland cannot be beat!) and soaked up one last night of the outdoor hot tub and sauna. Our rental home was a true treat and there was not a single part of us that wanted to leave it!
The next day, we headed back to Reykjavik, but took our time. We stopped at the world famous black sand beach Reynisfjara with the rock formations, Dyrhólaey Lighthouse for the panoramic lookout views, before winding up at Skogafoss for one last epic hike. If you make it to Skogafoss, make sure you climb the steps and go hiking past the touristy points. We went about 2 miles and it was worth every step and wind gust. More stunning waterfalls are tucked back there and it’s beautiful in a way I struggle to explain.
Once back in Reykjavik, we headed to the food hall in the central part of town and all enjoyed homemade tomato soup.
The next morning, Casey and I shopped in town while the guys went to get a famous Icelandic hot dog! Some of our favorite stores included Farmer + Friends and the Icelandic Christmas Store. All too soon, it was time to pack up and head to the airport for our flight home on WOW Air. Our flight home was a disaster, but I’d rather not think about it and just reminisce on how truly amazing Iceland is.
On our way home, we flew over Greenland and I snapped this out the window with my phone – how incredible, right?!