How to Spend Your First Day in Iceland Like a Pro

A Guide

Day 1 of Iceland—April 18, 2018: When we landed in Reykjavík, we took a taxi to get our car. The first thing I noticed was that literally right on the side of the road, there was moss everywhere. I later learned that these were lava fields all dried up from the volcano that erupted a while back. Right when we got our car, we set off to our first destination. 

Since I was the one who had done all the research, I knew exactly where to go. Our first stop was Seljavallalaug, Iceland’s oldest swimming pool still standing. It was built in 1923 on the side of a volcano in the middle of nowhere. 

While we were driving there (it was a two-hour drive from Reykjavík) we decided to go the coastal way, through Grindavík instead of a direct route. This would cost us an extra 30 minutes but it was our first day and wanted to drive along the black sand beaches and the Greenland sea. Of course I’m looking out the window at all of this because I’m in freaking Iceland. I see a church on the side of the ocean and I beg my dad to stop. It looked like the ones you see in movies. What you don’t see in the picture is the other side of it. If you walked probably 100 feet, you would see a set of stairs that leads you on to some black rocks right on the ocean. This was officially our first stop out of the car and I wouldn’t stop saying “I can’t believe we are in Iceland!!!” It felt unreal. It was exactly how I had imagined it. I couldn’t see a single person except my sister and dad, in the middle of nowhere. We decided to get back into the car to continue our drive. 

Two minutes in, I look right in front of the car on the side of the road and I couldn’t believe what I saw. I was told I wouldn’t see them because it wasn’t the season for them. But nope. I saw a freaking Puffin. I knew it was no other bird because I saw it’s orange long beak and I was like, “DAD LOOK ITS A PUFFIN” and I was literally freaking out. That was the only one I saw the whole trip but wow i'm really a child at heart. Flash forward about 45 minutes and we are sitting in a parking lot, my dad asleep snoring in the front seat and my sister asleep in the back seat.

I was so excited for the day that I was wide awake, even though I hadn’t slept for over 32 hours. It was only like seven in the morning but we had a early landing time. 30 minutes later I woke my dad up and we drove all the way to the pool. I lead the way (obviously) because I knew where to go. Even though I hadn’t been there, it felt like I had, considering I had probably done 12 hours of research JUST for the pool. The walk was about 20 minutes and believe me when I tell you, I hadn’t felt stronger wind in my entire life then what I felt there. I could have jumped, and the wind would have carried me 15 feet. We make it there, change, and go swimming in the water. It was cold, but we managed. The pool was geothermal, like all pools in Iceland. 

After the pool, we head to Seljalandalfoss (Iceland’s most popular waterfall aka the one you can walk behind). There isn’t much to say about it except it’s the coolest thing I’ve ever seen, a lot bigger in person, and I started crying when I saw it. Yeah, you're probably like wtf you started crying at a waterfall? And yes bitch I did. I had been wanting to go to Iceland since the fifth grade when I first got Pinterest and my LITERAL DREAMS were coming true.

Our next stop was vík, the southern most town of the country. It was only about a 20 minute drive. We make it to one of the first civilized places we saw that day. We stopped at a cafe to get some food and decide what to do next. We decided to go to Fjadrargljufur, a 45 minute away Canyon. Personally, this was the place I was wanting to go to the most. We drive all the way there and I finally get some sleep during the car ride. Only to find out it’s closed due to bad weather. To explain it, its a very deep canyon that has a river running through it, and has moss just about everywhere. Also known as probably the coolest canyon you'll ever see. 

On our way back, we stop at a lava field where we take some pictures before it starts raining. We also stop at a glacier where me and my dad got out and walked a little up it. And it was amazing. There were icebergs floating in the water and just snow everywhere on the mountain. We were only there for about ten minutes but it was still amazing.

We drive all the way back to vík and we stop at a shop called IceWear right by the cafe we went to. Me and my sister Sarah really wanted to see the black sand beach before we left so we walked to the beach and it started to down pour. But did that stop us? Hell no. We stayed there for about 20 minutes watching the contrast of the white foamy waves against the pitch black sand. After being soaked, we head back to the store where my dad is.

For the people still reading this I’m adding stupid details you don’t care about but let me just tell you this: we had ran into these group of guys multiple times throughout our trip and it was the craziest thing ever. They were on the same plane as us, we saw them at a cafe in the morning, we saw them at the waterfall, we saw them at the pool, and we saw them in Vík. No matter the fact that we took different routes, stopped at different places to take breaks, we saw them multiple times. It. Was. Crazy.... anyways, we drive to Reykjavík where our guesthouse is and order some 50 dollar Domino's pizza. For some reason it was hella expensive. We then dropped dead on our beds and rested for the next day.

Alright fellas there you go, expect another journal coming soon for day two of Iceland. So far, this was one of my favorite trips I've ever been on. I have been to many places in the world and i'm very grateful for the amazing memories. Leave a small tip to support my next journey!

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How to Spend Your First Day in Iceland Like a Pro
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