48-Hours in Iceland: Your Ultimate Adventure Guide
With so much to do in Iceland, it’s sometimes hard to know where to start, and especially so if your time is limited.
Whether you’re on a stopover or enjoying a fleeting visit to Iceland, it’s still possible to pack in some great adventure activities.
We’ve taken care of the planning and compiled the ultimate 48-hour adventure guide to Iceland. Read on to learn how you can enjoy the best adventures the country has to offer in just two days.
DAY ONE IN ICELAND
Breakfast is always considered the most important meal of the day, but especially so when you plan on pushing your body and undertaking some extreme adventures. You’ll need every ounce of energy to make sure you complete the tour and also enjoy the adventure as best as you can.
Luckily, we have numerous articles on the best places to eat in Reykjavík, as well as along The Golden Circle and throughout Iceland. If you’re based in Reykjavík, make sure to check out Grái Kotturinn. This quaint restaurant is situated in a basement in the center of the city, and serves up a wholesome, filling breakfast. And the best thing about this particular eatery is that it opens at 7:30 am, giving you plenty of time to grab breakfast and join your 9 am tour!
There’s no doubt that you’ll want to pack as much into your time in Iceland as possible, which is why it’s important to pick your tours wisely. Luckily for visitors to Iceland, Arctic Adventures offers a wide range of day tours, which combine a number of different activities.
Whether you want to combine snowmobiling with ice caving, or hike some of Iceland’s highest peaks while enjoying spectacular views of the country’s waterfalls, there’s a myriad of combination tours for you to choose from.
Our Top Pick – The Golden Circle and Snorkelling Combo Tour
With so much choice, we thought we’d highlight one of our favorite combination tours. Our Golden Circle and Snorkelling tour lets you experience Iceland from above and below. The full-day tour starts at 9:00 am and arrives back in Reykjavík at 18:00.
While on the tour, you’ll visit some of The Golden Circle’s most famous natural attractions and UNESCO world heritage sites, such as the Great Geysir, Gullfoss Waterfall and Thingvellir National Park.
The national park holds a special place in the hearts and minds of many Icelanders. The park is closely associated with the Althing, the national parliament of Iceland, which was established at the site in 930 AD. In fact, Iceland’s parliament continued to hold sessions there until 1798.
Aside from its historical significance, the park boasts spectacular views and is well worth a visit. It’s also the point where the Eurasian and North-American tectonic plates separate; speaking of which….
Snorkelling between two tectonic plates is a unique and unforgettable experience, which can’t be rivaled anywhere else in the world. Iceland’s Silfra Fissure is one of the best diving locations, thanks to the water’s clear visibility and low temperature.
While swimming between two tectonic plates, you’ll get to explore four of Silfra’s main sections including; Silfra Deep Crack, Silfra Hall, Silfra Cathedral and Silfra Lagoon. Participants will experience a cacophony of colors with countless shades of blue and green on display.
Dinner and Drinks
After your day exploring the best that The Golden Circle has to offer, as well as snorkeling between tectonic plates, it’s time to relax with a well-earned dinner and some drinks. Those staying in Reykjavík are spoilt for choice when it comes dinner options.
For some hearty options, we recommend The Coocoo’s Nest on Grandi. Famed for their weekly themed nights like “Taco Tuesday” and “Sourdough Pizza Nights”, the restaurant is ideal for travelers in need of some comfort food.
DAY TWO IN ICELAND
It’s your last morning in Iceland, so that means treating yourself to another amazing Icelandic breakfast. For this breakfast, we recommend Braud and Co. The authentic bakery is one of the best cafes in Reykjavík and its cinnamon swirls are mouth-wateringly delicious.
After savoring your fill of homemade bread, tasty pastries, and freshly brewed coffee, it’s time to move on to your final adventure.
For your final Icelandic tour, we recommend ice caving as it’s sure to get your blood pumping. The tour only lasts three hours, which gives you plenty of time for one last adrenaline rush before you catch your flight.
Our Top Pick – Ice Caving
Once you’ve booked your ice caving tour, you’ll be collected in Reykjavík and brought to Vik, which is approximately two and a half hours away. Once you arrive at the designated meeting point, you’ll travel by Super Jeep to the foot of the amazing Kötlujökull Glacier.
From here, your guide will give you a brief history of the glacier, ice cave, and surrounding area, before making your way through an ice tunnel to the center of the glacier. Visitors can enjoy all the wondrous blue colors on display, and see the dramatic hole in the glacier’s roof, which lets an abundance of natural sunlight shine in.
After taking enough pictures to fill a photo album, your guide will check to see if any of the nearby smaller ice caves are accessible. If not, you’ll return to the Super Jeep and travel back the meeting point near Vik.
Your drive home is almost as beautiful as the glacier and ice cave itself. In winter, the sun sets behind the mountains, creating a magical winter atmosphere.
Your Final Evening in Iceland
It’s your final evening in Iceland, you’ve had the adventure of a lifetime and, despite the short time frame, you’ve packed a whole lot in. Depending on your itinerary, you might have to catch a flight back home or, with any luck, you may have a couple of hours to yourself.
If time is on your side, we recommend enjoying an authentic Icelandic dining and drinking experience at Kaffi Loki. The cheap and cheerful eatery is the ideal location to toast your arctic adventures. If you’re feeling brave enough, order a shot of Brennivín, Iceland’s local schnapps!
48 hours in Reykjavík might not seem like a lot, but with the right itinerary, some advanced planning and a good pair of walking shoes you’ll get to enjoy all the best things the city has to offer. From swimming pools to schnapps and everything in between, we’ve compiled the perfect 48-hour itinerary for Reykjavík.
Our three-day itinerary is perfect for those who are visiting Iceland in the summer, and who would like a good balance between hiking and sightseeing. It is great for those who want to go to both Landmannalaugar and visit the South Coast.
Driving the famous Ring Road comes top on the bucket-list for many travelers to Iceland. I have done the Ring Road three times, met wonderful people along the way, and had a great time. Would I do it a fourth time - absolutely, yes! There are so many different things you can do along the way. Take a few days or a couple of weeks! Let me share my Ring Road tips and ideas with you.
Whether you’re on an extended stopover in Reykjavík or enjoying a city break, a holiday in the city doesn’t mean waving goodbye to your Icelandic adventure. Reykjavík is the perfect hub from which to explore the wildest, most untamed parts of Iceland. You’re only a short distance from your next adrenaline rush.