My recent trip to the fabulous Faroe Islands reminded me of a similar trip, eight years ago (to the exact month) when I visited Iceland. Although I wrote a fair bit about Iceland at the time, I never dwelled on it, nor did I ever compile a top sights type of post. These are my top 5 memories from my visit to Iceland, a country with immense countryside and terrain.
We did some of these as part of an organised Iceland Golden Circle Tour of the country, which tends to be a fast and easy way to tick off the top sights. I was there with my football friends.
Simply stunning, the Gullfoss Waterfall once made my list of favourite waterfalls and it’s easy to see why. The lack of tourists at this one (at least back in 2007 there were less than 10 of us when we went), the wild, gushing waters that never seem to cease. Either drive here yourself or get it included in your Golden Circle Tour. It’s magnificent.
Pingvellir is a national park and also the venue where the Icelandic government was formed. There was a cool museum here, some obscure countryside and a walk past some waterfalls. The countryside is breathtaking, I wrote a bit about backpacking in Pingvellir before.
2007 was a year of geysirs on my travels. I made it to some geysirs in and around Rotorua and Taupo when backpacking in New Zealand. But the one in Iceland erupts with a squirt of water once a minute and was worth the trip out to. There is the Great Geysir and also a smaller one with hot natural pools all around.
The Blue Lagoon trip was memorable for me not because of the Blue Lagoon itself. On this particular trip I had forgotten to pack any kind of swimming shorts (which was a stupid novice backpacker mistake to make).
So on the way to the Blue Lagoon, we stopped off in a shop at Gullfoss where I searched in vain for a pair of swimming trunks. All I could find was a tight pair of ladies pants, so I bought them and wore them to the Blue Lagoon.
I was talk of the Lagoon for a while, but it was worth it to get a visit to this famous venue.
The actual football match we went to, wasn’t a happy one as Northern Ireland lost the match 2-1 to a late own goal despite once being 1-1. However I toured 2 football stadiums in Reykjavik, including the FC Valur venue where Glentoran once played and 1 football stadium in Keflavik, where Una Harkin of Northern Ireland ladies was playing.
At the time I also backpacked in Reykjavik and we did an organised tour to see a lot of these sights in bulk. However, Guide to Iceland have Iceland self drive tours, which means that you are in control of your time and vehicle and have more flexibility. If I do head back to Iceland someday, I will probably hire a car like I did recently in the Faroe Islands.
There were a few crazy moments in Iceland though – I had a mega crazy night out in Keflavik and ended up missing my flight. Something which I learned my lesson from and didn’t repeat!
7 thoughts on “Backpacking in Iceland: My Top 5 Memories”
Iceland is amazing! And I agree. Gulfloss is absolutely wonderful…But it seems like others have caught on to the country’s stunning and diverse landscapes. I visited earlier this year, and the tourist destinations (especially along the Golden Circle) were PACKED!
Erika (Erika’s Travels) recently posted…Rediscovering Paris in 24 Hours
Hi Erika, thanks for the comment. Wow – Iceland in packed now?! Crazy, there weren’t many people about when we were there. It’s funny how cheap flights and word of mouth spread popularity. In which case, I’d recommend the Faroe Islands – a brilliant place and still not too busy. Safe travels. Jonny
Iceland seems so much like far southern Patagonia, where I am at right now … can’t wait to see Iceland in the flesh soon!
Hi Heather thanks for the comment. Patagonia is a cool spot too – hope you can make it down to Antarctica when you are there. Iceland and the Faroe Islands are marvellous spots. Safe travels. Jonny
I visited Iceland this past August and I loved it! I was only there for 5 days but got to explore the Golden Circle a little bit. The Blue Lagoon was definitely one of my biggest highlights, it’s so beautiful and relaxing.
Oh, nice pink panties by the way, they really suit you 😉
Claus Gurumeta recently posted…Efes Beer at the “Beach Club” in Kaş, Turkey
Hi Claus thanks for the comment. Yeah it’s a nice country. I don’t like the pants – it was just because I didn’t pack any on that trip and it was the only option to buy them to get into the Blue Lagoon. Safe travels. Jonny