3 Day Iceland Stopover | Relax in the North
Join us for this popular stopover holiday in Iceland and experience unparalleled nature in all its beauty! Your stay might be short, but we'll make sure you'll have a blast. You'll go to all the hottest places (and the coldest glaciers) available, to give you a crash course in Reykjavík 101.
A soak in the sky-blue waters of the Blue Lagoon is included, and you'll get closer to the unspoiled nature of this beautiful country.
We have arranged a trip that is perfect for the busy traveler who needs it short and compact, or for those interested in a quick weekend getaway with some fantastic and adventurous options. Leave the planning to us, and just enjoy the fun. Relax in this quirky and otherworldly northern country. That's what vacations are all about: relaxation and new surroundings!
You can also choose to spice your relaxation up with some stress-relieving activities, like horse riding through lava fields or racing over glacial ice on snowmobiles. We aim to please even the pickiest travelers with a wide array of options, be it in activities or accommodation.
This tour will allow you to see the most famous sites in Iceland, including Þingvellir National Park, the Geysir geothermal area at Haukadalur and the Golden Waterfall, Gullfoss, in the company of an experienced guide.
You'll see Iceland at her best, while still keeping the trip compact and light. These locations are popular not only for their stunning beauty but their great historical significance.
Reserve your three days in Iceland now, and get ready to chill in the north! Check availability by choosing a date.
- Available: Apr. - Oct.
- Duration: 3 days
- Activities: Sightseeing, Cultural Activity
- Difficulty: Easy
- Minimum age: 2 years.
- Languages: English
- Highlights: Blue Lagoon,
The Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spa and is the single most popular attraction in Iceland.
The water is rich in silica and sulphur that helps make your skin shine like a baby. The Blue Lagoon also operates a Research and Development facility that helps find cures for skin ailments using the mineral-rich water.
The temperature in the bathing and swimming area is very comfortable, and averages 37–39 °C (98–102 °F). There´s a restaurant there and it´s a truly romantic and beautiful place one should not miss while in Iceland.Reykjavík,
Reykjavik is the capital of Iceland and the northernmost capital of a sovereign state in the world.
Despite a small population (120.000 and more than 200.000 in the Greater Reykjavik area), it is a vibrant city that draws an ever increasing number of visitors. It is the financial, cultural and governmental centre of Iceland. It also has a reputation of being one of the cleanest and safest cities in the world.
The city of Reykjavik is located in southwest Iceland by the creek of the same name. Throughout the ages, the landscape has been shaped by glaciers, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions and the area is geothermal. Much of the current city area area was subglacial during the Ice Age, with the glacier reaching as far as the Álftanes peninsula, while other areas lay under the sea. After the end of the ice age the land rose as the glaciers drifted away, and it began to take on its present form.
The coastline of Reykjavik is set with peninsulas, coves, straights and islands, most notably the island of Videy, and seabirds and whales frequent the shores. The mountain ring as seen from the shore is particularly beautiful. Mount Esja is the highest mountain in the vicinity of Reykjavik and lends its distinct feature to the whole area. This majestic mountain is also highly popular for climbing. Other notable mountains that can be seen from the seaside are Akrafjall and Skardsheidi and on clear days one may even see as far to the legendary Snaefellsjokull glacier, at the end of the Snafellsnes peninsula.
The largest river to run through the city is Ellidaa in Ellidaardalur valley, which is also one of Iceland‘s best rivers for salmon fishing.
There are no trains or trams in Iceland, but most people travel by car. The city also operates a bus system. There are two major harbours in town, the old harbour in the centre and Sundahofn in the east. The domestic Reykjavik Airport is located at Vatnsmyrin, not far from the city centre and close to Oskjuhlid and Perlan. The international Keflavik Airport at Midnesheidi heath then lies around 50 km from the city. Cars, jeeps and bicycles can be readily rented in the city and many organized tours are also being offered.
What to See & Do in Reykjavik
The local arts scene is strong in Iceland, with both annual events and single ones, many of whom have hit the international stage. For the annual ones please check our articles Best Annual Events in Iceland and the Top Ten Festivals in Iceland. Major events taking place in Reykjavik include the Iceland Airwaves, Gay Pride, RIFF (The Reykjavik International Film Festival), The Reykjavik Literature Festival, Cultural Night, the Reykjavik Arts Festival, Food & Fun, the Reykjavik Fashion Festival and the Sónar music festival.
Among famous people from Reykjavik are artists Bjork Gudmundsdottir, Sigur Ros, writers Halldor Laxness (born in Laugavegur) and Arnaldur Indridason and mayor Jon Gnarr. For more well-known and fairly-well known Icelanders, check our article on the subject.
You might also want to check our article on some of the many things to see and do in Reykjavik, such as visiting the city‘s many museums, exhibitions and galleries, checking out live music, visiting the Harpa music hall or the theatres, visiting the lighthouse at Grotta, the main shopping street of Laugavegur, visiting the old harbour and the flea market, going on a bird- and whale watching tour or visiting Videy island. We also have a top ten list of things to do.
Make sure to visit the public square of Austurvollur, one of the city‘s most popular gathering places, where you‘ll also find the national parliament, Althingi, the state church a statue of independence hero Jon Sigurdson, as well as cafés, bars and restaurants. Austurvollur was central in the 2008 protests, along with Laekjargata, home to the House of Government. You are also not likely to miss the great church of Hallgrimskirkja that towers over the city from the hill of Skolavorduholt, wherefrom you‘ll get a great view of the city.
Try a walk by the city pond, greet the many birds that frequent the area and visit the city hall, stationed by its banks. The Hljomaskalagardur is a beautiful park that lies by the pond, it ideal for a nice walk and sometimes concerts get held there. Further off is the campus of the university of Iceland, the Nordic house and the Vatnsmyri wetland, a particularly pleasant place, but be mindful of not disturbing the wildlife there and keep to the pathways.
For a nice swim on a warm day, we particularly recommend Nautholsvik beach.
Visit the Laugardalur valley, home to one of the city‘s best swimming pools, as well as the Asmundarsafn gallery, a beautiful botanical garden and a domestic zoo. A walk by the Aegissida beach, with it‘s old fishing sheds, in the west part of Reykjavik also holds a particular charm. The aforementioned Elllidaardalur valley is also a popular resort.
Another place that offers one of the city‘s best (and free) views is Perlan, up in Oskjuhlid hill. The hill itself is a popular resort, with over 176.000 trees and great opportunities for walking and cycling.
Travel to Alftanes to see the president‘s house at Bessastadir, which is also a historical site in it‘s own right, having been the educational centre of Iceland for centuries. Nearby is a beautiful lava field, Galgahraun, well worth a visit, though there is currently an environmental struggle going on as to it‘s future state.
The city is furthermore a short drive from many of Iceland‘s major attractions, most famously the Golden Circle and the Blue Lagoon. In close vicinity you‘ll also find the Heidmork preservation area, a favourite pastime resort of the people of Reykjavik, as well as the Blue Mountains, one of Iceland‘s most beloved skiing venues.
Check our Best of Reykjavik guide further for tips on the best cheap things to do in Reykjavik, some of the best restaurants in the city, happy hours, the top ten value places to eat and our two articles on the famous Reykjavik nightlife; Nightlife in Reykjavik and Nightlife and mating.
Finally, we‘d like to stress that these are only some suggestions of the many things you might check out in Reykjavik. Whatever you choose to do, we hope you‘ll be able to make the most of your visit and we wish you a pleasant stay in our capital.Geysir,
Geysir is a famous hot spring in Haukadalur valley in South Iceland. Part of the ‘Golden Circle', Geysir gives its name to hot springs all over the world.
Though Geysir itself is hardly active anymore, the area features spectacular hot springs such as the powerful Strokkur, which spouts a vast amount of water every 10 minutes, around 15-20 meters into the air, Smidur and Litli-Strokkur.
North of Geysir are fumaroles, i.e. unlike the hot springs that emit hot water, only steam and gas emanate from these. You may be able to observe bright yellow stains at the fumaroles, this is native sulphur, which crystallizes from the steam. At the southern part of the geothermal area, called Thykkuhverir, you‘ll find various mud pots. Such mud pots are actually fumaroles that boil up through surface water/groundwater and may become steaming fumaroles during dry spells, rather than the usual boiling mud pots.
About 2 km from Geysir is an old preserved natural pool called Kúalaug. One can bathe in it and it has room for 3-5 people at a time, but care should be taken, as the area around the pool is very delicate. The temperature is 39-43°C, depending on how you are positioned in the pool. The water is slightly muddy, as the pool is built on soil, and the bottom is slippery due to algae, so caution is advised.
In Haukadalur there has also been tree planting in recent times and today the forest Haukadalsskógur is one of the largest in South Iceland. Aspen, various types of pine, and other plants have been tried out there and experiments and research continue. We also recommend visiting the tree museum, built in the memory of forester Gunnar Freysteinsson. There are good paths and roads in the forest and the wood is specially designed to accommodate wheelchairs.
Haukadalur has been a church site since ancient time. The current wooden church was last rebuilt in 1938 but the variety and appearance of the church dates back to 1842, making it one of the oldest of its kind in Iceland.
Haukadalur is indeed a historical place. It was settled during the age of settlement and scholar Ari “The Wise“ Thorgilsson grew up there. The first pastoral school in Iceland was also built there.
For accommodation, Hotel Gullfoss is about 7 km from the Geysir area, and closer still is the Hotel Geysir.Gullfoss,
Gullfoss (translated to ‘Golden Falls’) is one of Iceland’s most iconic and beloved waterfalls, found on the Hvítá river canyon in south Iceland. The water in Hvítá river travels from the glacier Langjökull, finally cascading 32m down Gullfoss’ two stages in a dramatic display of nature’s raw power.
Because of the waterfall’s two stages, Gullfoss should actually be thought of as two separate waterfalls. The first, shorter stage of the waterfall is 11m, whilst the second stage is 21m. The canyon walls on both sides of the waterfall reach heights of up to 70m, descending into the 2.5km long Gullfossgjúfur canyon (geologists indicate that this canyon was formed by glacial outbursts at the beginning of the last age.)
In the summer, approximately 140 cubic metres of water surges down the waterfall every second, whilst in winter that number drops to around 109 cubic metres. With such energy, visitor’s should not be surprised to find themselves drenched by the waterfall’s mighty spray-off.
In the early days of the last century, Gullfoss was at the centre of much controversy regarding foreign investors and their desire to profit off Iceland’s nature. In the year 1907, an English businessman known only as Howells sought to utilise the waterfall’s energy and harboured ambitions to use its energy to fuel a hydroelectric plant.
At the time, Gullfoss was owned by a farmer named Tómas Tómasson. Tómas declined Howell’s offer to purchase the land, stating famously “I will not sell my friend!” He would, however, go on to lease Howells the land, inadvertently beginning the first chapter of Icelandic environmentalism.
It was Tómas’ daughter, Sigríður Tómasdóttir, who would lead the charge. Having grown up on her father’s sheep farm, she sought to get the lease contract nullified, hurriedly saving her own money to hire a lawyer. The ensuing legal battle was an uphill struggle; the case continued for years, forcing Sigríður to travel many times by foot to Reykjavík if only to keep the trial moving. Circumstances became so difficult that Sigríður threatened to throw herself into the waterfall if any construction began.
Thankfully, in 1929, the waterfall fell back into the hands of the Icelandic people. Today, Sigríður is recognised for her perseverance in protecting Gullfoss and is often hailed as Iceland’s first environmentalist. Her contribution is forever marked in stone; a plaque detailing her plight sits at the top of Gullfoss.
Restaurant / Cafe
Besides Gullfoss, visitors can enjoy the views from Gullfoss Cafe, a locally run delicatessen that serves a wide variety of refreshments and meals. The menu has options to tantalise everyone’s taste buds; hot soups, sandwiches, salads and cakes. There is also a shop on site where visitors’ can browse and purchase traditional Icelandic souvenirs.Þingvellir
Þingvellir is one of the most important sites to visit in Iceland for its landscape, history and cultural value.
The Icelandic parliament was founded in Þingvellir in 930 and remained there for centuries. Þingvellir is surrounded by a beautiful mountain range and is the site of a rift valley, marking the crest of the Mid-Atlantic range. Today it is a natural park, listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and considered a vital part of the ‘Golden triangle’ (with Geysir and Gullfoss). Of particular note is the magnificent gorge Almannagjá, which marks the eastern boundary of the North American plate and into which the beautiful waterfall Öxarárfoss falls.
Other notable attractions within the park include the beautiful lake Þingvallavatn, the largest lake in Iceland, the Silfra fissure, one of the world's top dives, Þingvallakirkja Church and Gjábakkahellir, one of Iceland's most interesting lava tubes.
Pickup time : Flexible
2 nights of accommodation in Reykjavik (different levels available; breakfast not included for Super Budget level; breakfast included for Comfort and Quality levels; more detailed info below)
Airport transfer on arrival/departure
Blue Lagoon standard entrance (upgrades available) and return transfer
Golden Circle sightseeing tour in a minibus (upgrades available with other activities)
Detailed Itinerary with fun and practical information on the nature, history and culture of Iceland
Hands-on travel agent to oversee your itinerary
What to bring:
Good to know:
Although it is summertime, the Icelandic weather can be very unpredictable. Please bring appropriate clothing. Please be aware that your itinerary may have to be rearranged to fit your arrival date and time better.
Day 1 - Arrival - Welcome to Iceland
Now that you are in Iceland, you're ready for adventure! From the airport, you'll go on a ride through the black, charred lava field known as Keflavíkurhraun, which is said to hold many mysteries.
Afterward, you will be transported to the city of Reykjavík, the northernmost capital in the world. The location might be cool, but there is lots of hot stuff happening here. The city is filled with world-class restaurants, gourmet coffee shops (the amount of high-quality slow roast cafés is phenomenal!), beautiful music and interesting sites.
You could visit one of the many museums, or go to a live jazz session at one of the cocktail bars. We're pretty confident you'll find something that strikes your fancy in Reykjavík.
Day 2 - Golden Circle: All the Best Bits!
The Golden Circle is one of the best-known routes in Iceland, loved by locals and travelers alike. We'll take you on a tour of amazing sights and unparalleled nature. Wherever you look, there is something new to see.
In Iceland, there is always a chance of adventure. Your first stop will be the Þingvellir National Park, also known as Parliament Park, as the world's first democratic parliament was founded there over a thousand years ago.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is the heart of the nation, standing where the land has again and again been torn apart by earthquakes caused by the fact that it stands, quite literally, on the continental rift between Europe and America.
Your next stop will be the saga-filled Haukadalur, where the one and only Geysir resides, surrounded by smaller geysers and hot springs. Big brother to them all is Strokkur, a geyser so powerful that his blow can reach up to 60 m (196 ft) high! All around the area, exotic colors paint images on the clay, creating an alien landscape with the perfect mixture of raw earth and steaming water.
Your last stop is then the magnificent Gullfoss, a massive waterfall that keeps its glory all year round, dropping in three heavy steps nearly 80 m (262 ft) down into the canyon below. You can walk on a pathway to the rushing water and feel the glacial water splash over you as it plummets down. A sight one never forgets.
If you are looking for some adventure, you have a variety of options to make your day on the Golden Circle a thrilling experience worthy of a Hollywood blockbuster.
How about taking a dive between the continents in the Silfra fissure at Þingvellir? It is, undoubtedly, the coolest dip both Europe and America can offer – and at the same time!.
If you'd rather keep dry, we can arrange a close encounter of the horse kind, and take you on a riding tour in the area on the well loved Icelandic horse. (Although they are small, they are mighty! Their feelings will be hurt if you call them ponies.)
If you prefer a faster ride, a trip to the glacier Langjökull is well in order, where snowmobiles await you on the great white ice planes. For those who are more laid back, we can offer a beautiful spa trip to the Fontana Geothermal Spa, or a dip in a geothermal pond-turned-pool that goes by the name Secret Lagoon, as it blends so wonderfully into its surroundings. Whichever you choose, you won't be left unsatisfied.
On the way back to the city after the Golden Circle tour, you’ll make a stop at the Blue Lagoon, for a sensory experience unique to Iceland. Release all your tension, letting the azure water soothe tired muscles and joints.
Please note that if you have arranged additional activities with your Golden Circle tour, such as snorkeling, horseback riding or snowmobiling, your visit to the Blue Lagoon will be scheduled on either your arrival or departure day instead, so you will have time to take full advantage of its restorative powers. The Lagoon is world-famous for its healing, mineral-rich waters - This is not a place you want to rush.
After this incredible day, you will return to the city for the night and spend another evening in the lovely, lively Reykjavík.
Day 3 - Goodbyes Are Bittersweet...
...but you don't need to go just yet! If your flight leaves in the afternoon, you still have the time for more fun and exploration! If you feel a proper goodbye to the city is in order, you could hop on a helicopter and say your adieu from above.
Another option is to head out from the Old Harbour and take a look at the well known sea-dwelling residents of Iceland, those gentle giants, the whales, and if the season is right, the puffins that nest at Akurey island on Faxaflói bay.
We'll pick you up at your hotel, and you'll get your last glimpse of Iceland as we head to Keflavik again through the lava and to the airport. We're sad to see you leave, but hope you will visit us again.
Until next time, or, as we say: Sjáumst seinna!
See our accommodation levels below. Super Budget booking will be arranged in hostel dormitory bed accommodation. For Comfort and Quality bookings, single person bookings will be arranged in a single room, while bookings of 2 or more people will share twin/double room(s) or triple room(s). If you are travelling with others, but prefer a single room, please make separate bookings. We always do our best to accommodate special requests, which may incur additional costs.
Rooms or dormitory beds with shared bathrooms in guesthouses or hostels, such as HI Hostel. Located in the capital region. Breakfast is not included.
Rooms with a private bathroom at three-star hotels such as Fosshótel Barón, or quality guest houses. Located in the city center or in close vicinity. Breakfast is included.
This insurance guarantees that you can cancel the booking of this package and receive a full refund, minus the insurance cost of 5,000 ISK per person. The cancellation must be made within a minimum of 48-hours before the listed starting time. To cancel your booking and claim your refund, simply contact our service desk by writing to email@example.com no later than 48-hours before departure and declare the cancellation. Please note that this insurance only covers the full cancellation of this entire package. It does not cover cancellations of individual activities and services within the package. The cost of the Cancellation Insurance is neither refundable nor transferable.