Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Iceland Travel Notes - 2019

My daughters and I spent a long weekend in Iceland last weekend - long time readers may remember when I took my older daughter Katie there in 2015. Here are some travel notes in case you are thinking about going and of course, you should go. Iceland is like no other place on earth and it's easy to get to, the people are friendly and you can get in a good adventure [but if you are me, not too much.]
+ You can not be overprepared for winter in Iceland so make sure you dress for it. Late March is just about when winter ends but for us, it was temps near freezing and blizzard conditions every day that we were there. There was a high wind warning one afternoon meaning lots of snow and recommendations that no one travels.
+ When we went the last time, I had no idea so I rented the cheapest car I could, a Toyota Yaris. We were lucky to make it home alive. This time, I rented a Toyota Land Cruiser because I knew I wanted something with 4 wheel drive and I knew we were going to drive quite a bit. I rented from ISAK 4X4 because I had seen their vehicles on Chris Burkard's Under An Arctic Sky short film. These guys even give you a rescue kit including a big shovel.
+ We spent one day and night around Laugarvatn, staying at the Laugarvatn Hostel, which is a family owned and run property. They've got deep ties to the area and gave us lots of local context. The geothermal pools at the Fontana are worth it and this is also very close to Gulfoss and Geysir. We stopped at the Kerid Crater on the way to the south coast but it was snowing madly and we couldn't see any of the crater colors. We had dinner at the Efstidalur restaurant, a farm property transformed into a hotel and restaurant.
+ We spent two nights at Hostel Skógafoss, close enough to the Seljalandsfoss waterfalls, and literally right next to the Skogafoss waterfall. It was, believe it or not, snowing our whole time there so we got recommendations not to drive very far but instead stop at the Sólheimajökull glacier, Reynisfjara Beach, the black sand beach, and Dyrhólaey, the southern-most spot in Iceland with a lighthouse high up on the hill. Getting to the lighthouse is a somewhat steep drive up a gravel road - 4WD recommended.
+ Had we more time and better weather, we would have driven up to Jökulsárlón Glacier, at least a 3 hour drive from Skogafoss and would have tried to stay on the eastern side of Vik.
+ Loftstofan is a Baptist church right in Reykjavik and a church that is not interested in the status quo. Interestingly enough, they have some partnerships with a handful of churches here in the DMV as well as being intentional about multiplication and church planting. The first church planters sent out from them land in Iceland this coming weekend. I've followed their work these past few years so it was fun to meet Gunnar face to face.

Grateful to spend a few days traveling with my kids.


  1. 1. Casually saying "I spent a long weekend in Iceland" is an incredibly Tony Sheng like thing to say. LOVE.

    2. Now I really want to go to Iceland!!

    1. Lol granted it's a longer trek from the west coast haha